Stephen R. Sizer. There are two essential questions which this article will seek to address: one political and one theological. They are multifaceted and interwoven.
The political question is this: How should Christians view the situation in Israel/Palestine today, where two peoples claim the same territory? How should they regard the State of Israel? As a democracy or apartheid state? Should the Israeli authorities and Christian Zionists continue to resist Palestinian aspirations to autonomy and statehood? Should they continue to occupy, settle and annexe more and more of East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza, creating small urban Bantustan reservations for Palestinians living under military occupation within an exclusive Jewish state? Or, do Palestinians have fundamental human rights and freedoms enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights?
For example, to live in the land of their birth, to freedom of movement, to work, education and religious practice. and collectively to the right of self-determination, political expression, autonomy and nationhood? That is the essential political question.
The central theological question is this: Does possession of the Land by Jewish people today, and the existence of the State of Israel, have any theological significance in terms of the fulfilment of biblical prophecy or within the purposes of God? Or, should we believe that this understanding of the Land is inconsistent with the gospel proclaimed by, and summed up in, Jesus Christ? The question is whether we have good biblical and theological reasons for giving whole-hearted support to the Zionist vision? Or, do we find in Scripture grounds for criticizing and rejecting this ideology as sub-Christian or even heretical?
I will attempt an answer under seven propositions taken from Scripture. Each of these can stand on their own, but each also forms a vital link in a logical and progressive argument based on the flow of biblical history and revelation.
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