When America was established, Jewish people in most of the world faced intense persecution and discrimination. They were restricted as to where they could live, what businesses they could enter, and often their belongings were taken from them on the flimsiest pretexts. America would be different. The freedom of religion prized by our Founding Fathers was extended to small Jewish communities that had taken root in America. And the contributions of financiers like Hyam Solomon to the success of the Revolution cannot be overstated. Support of the Jewish people only continued to grow as America became a powerful nation.
The revival that swept America beginning in the 1800s, the Second Great Awakening, played a conspicuous role in the formation of the Christian Zionist movement. Men such as Revivalists Peter Cartwright and Charles Finney led the charge. The Second Great Awakening was a return of the revival popular in the early 18th century. The renewed pursuit of personal holiness was characterized by the notion of the God-called common man, who carried the Gospel to his friends and neighbors. This was in high contrast to the highly-educated theologians who led their congregations in established churches.
The Second Great Awakening had a profound impact on the young country, even after its immediate passion and enthusiasm faded. Its influence was felt in the formation of new denominations, a more democratic society, and in the building of orphanages, schools, universities, hospitals, and programs to assist the poor. As one after another began to share the Good News with their neighbors, people began to witness God’s grace and mercy.
Among the groups birthed from that great revival were those dedicated to helping the Jews—and particularly to aid in establishing a homeland for God’s Chosen People. Books by William Blackstone and Professor George Bush were instrumental in outlining what the Christian Zionism movement in the United States would eventually become. They helped open the door for the likes of Theodor Herzl and other advocates of a Jewish homeland. It can be said that both Great Awakenings helped to birth the Christian Zionism movement.