Inheriting Zion is perhaps the world’s biggest controversy, after the issue of Yeshua being God! The word ‘Zion’ refers to Jerusalem, but is also used to describe the entire land of Israel. Central to Zionism is God’s faithfulness to His covenant promises concerning Israel.
So, how big is Zion, who does it belong to and how should the land be conquered?
According to Genesis 15:18-21, the land covenanted to Abraham’s descendants was from the wadi of Egypt to the Euphrates River, including Gaza, the West Bank and stretching eastwards far into present day Syria and Jordan – seriously controversial!
A fast-growing response to Zionism is anti-Zionism – opposition to Jewish political self-determination, the state of Israel and especially Jewish control of Jerusalem. In the West it is OK to be Jewish, but not for an undivided Jewish state to exist. The UN body UNESCO, went as far as effectively denying Jewish-Christian ties to the Temple mount in favour of Islamic ties, with even ‘civilised’ nations abstaining in the successful 2016 ‘Occupied Palestine Resolution’. In radical Islam, it is neither OK to be Jewish nor for the Jewish state to exist in land once occupied by Muslims (Ottoman Turks).
Nevertheless, God promised Abraham’s descendants, through Isaac, the physical land, and no Scripture says that the Church or Islam replaced Israel. Arab peoples wonderfully received a much larger inheritance elsewhere. However, the way in which God’s people possess the land is very important, both historically and today:
- When there was argument between Lot’s herdsmen and Abraham’s, to avoid dispute Abraham offered Lot his choice of grazing in the land.
- When Sarah died, Abraham insisted on buying her burial site from a Hittite, even though it was offered as a gift.
- Similarly, David insisted on purchasing the threshing floor of Araunah, a Jebusite, to make a sacrifice in the location of the present-day temple mount, Mount Moriah, where also Abraham was willing to sacrifice Isaac.
- When Yeshua was asked if he was going to, “Restore the Kingdom to Israel”, he pointed to another priority, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
- In 1917 Chaim Wieizmann accepted British Lord Balfour’s promise to the Jewish people of a homeland in the Middle East, after Weizmann helped Britain to victory in World War 1.
- In 1948 Jewish leaders established a state in response to a League of Nations vote.
- Many early pioneering Jews bought land from Arab, often absentee, landlords. Some land was considered stolen, despite being taken in war, but afterwards restitution was usually made through legal process.
- When Israel took back Jerusalem in 1967, it was not stolen from Palestine because the concept of modern-day Arab Palestine barely existed at the time. Rather it was won in a defensive war from Jordan, who had joined Egypt and Syria in attacking Israel.
- Israel is almost unique in returning land won in defensive wars.