Featured post

If my people, who are called by my Name, humble themselves and pray (Part One)

The text, for those who have trouble with a rather individual cursive, reads as follows: Scandal after Scandal. No institution safe....

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Part 4. Developing Christian Zionism, my next steps. Between the wars, '67 - '73.

In 1967, I was a young Christian who had much to learn about the scriptures and even more to learn about Israel and Zionism. I would not have used that term then, but as I have already indicated here , the basics were already in place. I still had to survive school, a gap-year, discover what I really wanted to do and get into college. It would be misleading to say that Israel was at the forefront of my thinking.

For me, as for many, it is only when those years were looked at in retrospect that we realised what had been happening. What seemed like an intensely personal journey, which it was, turned out to be road on which many others were also travelling. Sometimes called 'The Jesus Movement' what had happened was actually a unique form of revival. In the past, Christian revivals have always been associated with places and spread from there. This time it took place across a generation. Roughly between the Israeli wars, a generation came to faith in Jesus Christ in a radical (proper sense - not political), evangelical and charismatic way. Denominational barriers came crashing down, and were viewed by many as irrelevant. 

In 1967 a great many Christians were looking at their Bibles and wondering what is was they were witnessing. For me, as for many, these words of Jesus were taking on a new significance: “From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. 

Now there are many who argue that is nothing to do with current day Israel and some of them are conservative evangelical Christians. But there were and are a great many Christians who looked at the state of the world and began to wonder if these were truly the end-times.

(Before anyone posts saying the last days started with Pentecost, I know that. The question is are we reaching the end of the last days?)

We had only just begun to emerge from the shadow of WW2, the Korean War had ground to a halt, the Vietnam war was rumbling on and we had survived the Cuba crisis. Most people of my age were too young to understand the Cuba crisis, but everyone a few years older and paying attention was scared witless.

The vast armies and massive devastation of the apocalyptic books of the Bible began to look a lot less symbolic.

We were beginning to realise that we were looking at a series of 'firsts'. For the first time in history we had the capability of destroying not only ourselves but everything else as well. The end of the world was suddenly nigher than we wanted it to be. For the first time we had the ability to translate the scriptures into every language on the planet and for the first time the gospel could be preached to every nation even without going there by Radio and TV.  (The internet was in its infancy so very few knew about it and the Web was decades away.) 

And of course, the big first, the clincher for many bible-believing Christians, was the emergence of the Nation of Israel in the Land and it kept on surviving wars where human reason expected that it would be destroyed. Not only that, Israel was gaining territory!

Then, we began to hear of Jews coming to believe that Jesus was the Messiah. I know that Jewish readers will have their own opinions about this last one and I will have to examine it another time.  Suffice it to say, for the moment, that the Early Christians (all Jews) decided that Gentiles did not have to become Jews in order to join the Church. Similarly, there is no reason why a Jew should magically cease to be a Jew when joining the Church. After all, Jesus is a Jewish Messiah.

Of course, it didn't work out like that historically and there are knotty issues even today. I will explore these in other posts.  

Finally, those Christians who take an interest in such matters began to realise that devout Jews were beginning to look for the coming of the Messiah. We were beginning to see some sort of understanding, a lessening of hostility and a common hope. The only difference was over one word. Christians are also looking for the (second) coming of the Messiah. 

Unpacking that one word should be interesting.

Post Script 

Shortly after the '67 conflict, I read Obadiah as part of my daily devotions. As a result, I concluded that some sort of conflict in Lebanon was to be expected. That one is still working itself out! I still think that Israel will have to create some sort of protected zone for the Lebanese people who want to live in peace and are also in danger from Israel's enemies, rather like the Kurds were given in Saddam's Iraq.

Part 1; Part 2, Part 3,


  1. I shall have pleasure in cross-posting this soon, Ian.

    1. Thank you, Daphne. Greatly valued, as always