Christian Zionism may be defined as a movement of mostly conservative Protestant Christians who tend toward a literal interpretation of Scripture and emphasize the theological significance of covenants. Believers consequently understand the modern State of Israel as the fulfilment of biblical prophecy, therefore deserving of political, financial, and religious support. Since the 1960s the movement’s political agenda was mostly shaped by a millenarian strand, known as dispensational premillennialism (dispensations are defined periods or ages to which God allotted specific characteristics). It holds that Christian final salvation hinges upon the fate of the Jewish people and a chain of prophetic fulfilments which began in earnest with the return of Jews to their homeland and the creation of a Jewish State. Dispensational premillennialism grew in popularity when its apocalyptic prophecies seemed to align with the apparently catastrophic experiences of the Cold War and the 9/11 attacks, but has been losing some ground in recent years, notably among the younger generation.
Conflict Resolution Challenges
The establishment of the State of Israel, its victory in the Six Day War and the unification of Jerusalem under Israeli rule signal acts of divine providence. Dispensational premillennialists also generally see these events as signaling the approaching End of Times, laying the ground for Jews to build the Third Temple at the site of the existing Islamic shrines, a purported pre-condition for Christ’s second coming. Christians should press Israel’s case within the United States and directly support the State of Israel, as well as possibly also groups in Israel whose actions catalyze the second coming of Christ.
Primary Legal System
U.S. law, also as a tool to affect U.S. foreign policy. Purist dispensational premillennialists, who shy away from politics and its necessary compromise, tend toward a ‘a-historical’ (or even ‘anti-historical’) stand, consequently deeming U.S. national law, international law, and more generally, the domain of politics, as secondary because these will soon pass away with the second coming of Christ.
Dispensational premillennialists believe they live in the final days of an era, which would end when Jews establish the Third Temple; a different perfected era would then commence with the second coming of Christ. Younger Christian Zionists have shifted their focus away from Israel toward U.S. domestic agendas like prohibiting abortion and bolstering conservative family values. They also tend to own more realized eschatologies. In this reading, Christians align the coming of the kingdom with the incarnation. Essentially, the kingdom came with Christ, is still coming and one day will come in all its fullness. Those subscribing to this reading prioritize the need to demonstrate, discover and herald the kingdom in the current world and become somewhat less interested in waiting or calculating some future day.
Former Vice President Mike Pense, Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Christians United For Israel, Pastor John Hagee, Hal Lindsey, Pastor Robert Jeffress, Reverend Johnnie Moore, Author Joel Rosenberg.
Though some Christian Zionist readings allow for deep solidarity with Israel in tandem with attentiveness to Palestinian needs, those most active regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have been mostly dispensational premillennialists who hold a Manichean view toward the conflict; frequently denying validity to Palestinian national aspirations, and highly skeptical about Islamic faith in general, which they often deem inexorably linked to Islamic terrorism and a main source of humanity’s contemporary troubles. Their eschatological outlook, known as Armageddon theology, advocates that peace in the Middle East can only be achieved after a final catastrophic transfiguration ushering the building of the Third Temple and the establishment of Millennium. Other younger Christian Zionists have shifted their theological focus from Armageddon to conversion to Christianity – improving the world in order to attend to Christian salvation. Seeking to explain the Abraham Accords as a realization of prophecies, younger Christian Zionists who have maintained a redemptive focus on Israel point increasingly to prophecies about a time of calm and stability in advance of the End of Times, allowing for an indeterminate duration of peace.