Abraham and the Foundations of Zionism

Abraham and the Foundations of Zionism

In actuality, Abram (Abraham) of the Old Testament might be designated as the first Zionist. He was a wealthy man in the village of Haran. Christian Zionist Walter Clay Lowdermilk wrote: “The movement for a Jewish homeland in Palestine [began four thousand years earlier] when Abraham, prompted by Divine inspiration, left the plains of Mesopotamia to establish a new people on the land of Canaan.”

Abram was the son of Terah, a seller of idols, but from early childhood questioned his father’s dedication to gods fashioned of stone and wood. Abram began to seek the truth and came to believe that his surroundings, the earth and sky, were the work of one Creator. He began to share this concept with others. I envision Abram sitting on a bench outside the front flap of his tent. Sarai, his wife, is likely overseeing the servants as they go about their daily tasks—winnowing grain, hauling water for the animals, spinning cloth, or roasting a goat or camel.

Perhaps God had appointed others who failed to answer His call, but obviously, the Creator sees a trait in Abram that prompted Him to say, “That’s My man! He’s the one with whom I’ll make a covenant.” So suddenly, Abram found himself in an encounter with Jehovah God. He was stunned to hear the voice of the Lord calling to him: “Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you.”

Abram responded with great faith. Imagine the conversation he must have had later that day with Sarai: “Wife, we’re leaving first thing in the morning. God told me to go. Have the servants take down the tents, gather the flocks, pack everything, and load the camels.” “Abram, what do you mean we’re leaving? We can’t leave. Where are we going?” “I don’t know yet,” Abram responded. “God will tell me when we get there!”

Along with Lot, Abram’s nephew, they packed up “all their possessions that they had gathered, and the people whom they had acquired in Haran, and they departed to go to the land of Canaan” (Genesis 12:5). Abram’s complete trust in God and his obedience are unique in Scripture, although he did bring Lot and his father even after God had instructed him not to bring any relatives (Genesis 12:1). His father died on the journey, but by the time Abram had reached the Land, he and Lot had acquired so much cattle and livestock that they had to separate (Genesis 13).

Following Lot’s departure and the later destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, God again spoke to Abram: “Lift your eyes now and look from the place where you are—northward, southward, eastward, and westward; for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever. And I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth; so that if a man could number the dust of the earth, then your descendants also could be numbered. Arise, walk in the land through its length and its width, for I give it to you” (Genesis 13:14-17).

After this land grant was bestowed upon him, Abram’s name was changed to Abraham, for God had declared that his servant would be “a father of many nations.” At the same time, He changed Sarai’s name to Sarah (princess) and announced that she and Abraham would have a son, Isaac. The news must have come as a great shock for both, as they were already well past their childbearing years. But Isaac was born just as God promised. The covenant between God and Abraham would pass to Isaac, and through him to Jacob and to future descendants.

Why People Hate Zionism

Why People Hate Zionism

Zionism is something that has become very controversial in our day. In fact, speaking out against Zionism has become the new and acceptable form of anti-Semitism. In 2001, the United Nations Conference World Conference Against Racism met in Durban, South Africa. At the urging of Jew-haters, they declared that Zionism—the idea that Jewish people deserve a home in the land of their fathers—was itself a form of racism.

That’s right. If you believe God’s Word, the United Nations, which means most of the nations, thinks you are a racist! It’s outrageous.

Christian Zionism is defined as the support of the return of the Jewish people to Zion (Jerusalem or Israel) by Christians. These Christians recognize and celebrate the biblical covenant in which God promised certain lands to Abraham and his descendants—forever. This divine land grant, called the Promised Land, would be theirs for all time.

Since God’s decree, there has always been a presence of Jewish people in the Land, but they did not always rule it or maintain it as the State of Israel. That began to change in the 19th century. The contemporary outpouring of support for the belief in a homeland for the Jewish people surged to the forefront of British foreign policy in the 1800s. It was spread from there to the United States by those who believed in a literal interpretation of the Holy Scriptures: William Blackstone, Cyrus Scofield, Dwight L. Moody, John Nelson Darby, Professor George Bush, and other noted Bible scholars.

First, the Blackstone Memorial and then the Balfour Declaration began to influence noted politicians who were forced to take a stand—for or against God’s Chosen People. After a decades-long battle for the right to possess their original God-given grant, David Ben-Gurion stood before a microphone on May 14, 1948, and declared the rebirth of the State of Israel in Palestine. United States President Harry Truman was the first foreign head of state to acknowledge the new nation, and other heads of state took up the gauntlet to ensure that Israel would survive.

The Jewish people were no longer what staunch Zionist Chaim Weizmann had called “a sort of disembodied ghost.” They were following the command given to them in Deuteronomy: “Every commandment which I command you today you must be careful to observe, that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land of which the lord swore to your fathers.”  When asked to speak to the Palestine Royal Commission in 1936, Weizmann explained: “I believe the main cause which has produced the particular state of Jewry in the world is its attachment to Palestine. We are a stiff-necked people and a people of long memory…. Whether it is our misfortune or whether it is our good fortune, we have never forgotten Palestine, and this steadfastness, which has preserved the Jew throughout the ages and throughout a career that is almost one long chain of inhuman suffering, is primarily due to some physiological or psychological attachment to Palestine. We have never forgotten it nor given it up.” Hebrew writings refer to Israel as the “navel” of the world, with Jerusalem at its center.

What Is Zionism?

What Is Zionism?

If you understand what is taking place in our world today, you know what motivates the enemies of Israel, what unites anti-Semites across the globe, and even confuses the loyalties of some evangelical leaders—it is the single word Zionism.

ZIONISM is a belief in God’s promise of the land (Eretz Israel) to His Chosen People.

Numbers 34:1-2: “And the LORD spake unto Moses … this is the land that shall fall unto you for an inheritance, even the land of Canaan with the coasts thereof…”

Standard history records Theodor Herzl as the founder of Zionism, but that is not correct.  Zionism was declared and decreed by God Almighty, El Shaddai, the God of Abraham.

Thus said the Lord God: …you, O mountains of Israel, shall yield your produce and bear your fruit for My people Israel, for their return is near. For I will care for you: I will turn to you, and you shall be tilled and sown. I will settle a large population on you, the whole House of Israel; the towns shall be resettled, and the ruined sites rebuilt. I will multiply men and beasts upon you, and they shall increase and be fertile, and I will resettle you as you were formerly, and will make you more prosperous than you were at first. And you shall know that I am the Lord. I will lead… My people Israel to you, and they shall possess you. You shall be their heritage, and you shall not again cause them to be bereaved. (Ezekiel 36:7-12).

Mount Zion is where Abraham offered up Isaac as God directed.  The word Zion occurs over 150 times in the Bible. It essentially means “fortification” and has the idea of something that is “raised up” as a “monument.”  Zion is described both as the city of David and the city of God.  As the Bible progresses, the word Zion expands in scope and takes on an additional, spiritual meaning.

The word Zion is also used in a theological or spiritual sense in Scripture.  In the Old Testament, Zion refers figuratively to Israel as the people of God (Isaiah 60:14).  In the New Testament, Zion refers to God’s spiritual kingdom.  We have not come to Mount Sinai, says the apostle, but “to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem” (Hebrews 12:22).  Peter, quoting Isaiah 28:16, refers to Christ as the Cornerstone of Zion: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame” (1 Peter 2:6).

Zionism is God’s prophetic plan for the future of our world.

Pain Prepares Us for Promotion

Pain Prepares Us for Promotion

Why does an all-powerful God permit pain and injustice in our lives? Mankind has struggled with this tough question since time began. For those who have been victimized and traumatized, the question becomes far more than just a stimulating topic for discussion. Driven by a desperate search to find truth and meaning, we eventually resolve the question one way or another. For some of us, the search leads to trust and faith. Others, too angry or anguished in spirit to continue the search, walk away empty.

The Old Testament Book of Genesis contains a story that rivals any current bestseller or famous classic for its suspense and attention-gripping plot. It is the incredible story of Joseph, a young man who victoriously overcame one injustice after another, any one of which would be enough to embitter or break the average person. It is also the story of Joseph’s incredible God and how He turned Joseph’s pain into preparation for promotion.

For years Joseph was the target of his brothers’ vicious jealousy, hatred, and rejection. Their father, Jacob, had never disguised the fact that Joseph was the favorite of his twelve sons. Because of their father’s partiality, his ten older brothers hated Joseph so much that they couldn’t speak a kind word to him.

When Joseph was seventeen, his brothers’ malevolent feelings reached the boiling point. Genesis 37 records the ugly scene. Instead of killing Joseph as they had originally planned, they threw him into a well in the wilderness and then sold him to a band of traders whose caravan passed by. In Egypt, the traders sold Joseph to Potiphar, a high-ranking officer and chief executioner of the royal guard for Pharaoh, king of Egypt. Jacob’s favored son was now a slave.

Things went from bad to worse, and Joseph ended up in prison on false charges. Then one day everything changed. He went from the prison to the palace. Thirteen years of some of the longest, darkest trials imaginable had neither embittered nor broken Joseph. His life serves as a strong reminder that it is not suffering itself, but our reaction to the suffering, that makes or breaks us.

In the final analysis, it was a powerful, sovereign God, not Joseph’s brothers, who sent Joseph to Egypt. But the Bible puts the responsibility for all the agony Joseph endured exactly where it belongs—not upon God, but upon the people whose offenses against Joseph caused his unjust pain and suffering. The Bible also clearly reveals that God took the wicked injustices intended for Joseph’s destruction and reversed them, making the offenses work together for Joseph’s development and deliverance instead.

In the middle of your darkest trial, keep seeking development as did Joseph. He learned to forgive. He learned to resist sin and serve God in a pagan society. He learned to defeat bitterness, loneliness, and hopelessness and to persevere in faith and prayer. Like Joseph, you will discover that as you seek development, deliverance will come in God’s appointed time, and the pain you have endured will become a necessary step on your pathway to promotion.

God’s Favor in Action

God’s Favor in Action

The story of a blind man named Bartimaeus in Mark chapter 10 is a beautiful illustration of how to unleash more of God’s favor in your life—even when your situation appears hopeless. One minute this man was begging along the roadside, just as he had done for much of his life. But in a moment’s time, everything changed for him.

Suddenly, he could see! He had received a new beginning beyond his wildest dreams.

Bartimaeus had stumbled upon the secret to unleashing God’s miracle-working power, and his life would never be the same. When he went to sleep that night, his life was completely different than it was when he had awakened that morning.

You see, the Favor of God (F.O.G.) is all you really need. Everything else will follow when you seek Him and His kingdom (Matthew 6:33). Bartimaeus started his day seeking favor from anyone passing by on the road, but then he heard that Jesus of Nazareth was coming by. Faith began to rise in the heart of this blind man, for he knew that Jesus was no ordinary man. “‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!’” (v. 47) Bartimaeus cried out. At that point, people in the crowd told him to be quiet, but he “cried out all the more” (vs. 48).

If you need some kind of breakthrough in your life today, it begins when you recognize that Jesus is nearby and you begin to call out to Him by faith. And a crucial principle here is to not let anyone talk you out of your plea to the Savior! There will always be naysayers, trying to discourage you and undermine your faith, but you need to keep crying out to Jesus for your miracle.

Something stunning happens at this point in the story: “So Jesus stood still and commanded him to be called” (v. 49). If not for the impassioned cries of Bartimaeus, Jesus would have passed right on by. But sensing faith in the voice of this blind beggar, Jesus “stood still.” If you’ve been crying out to Jesus for some kind of turnaround in your life, I encourage you to take a moment to picture Him stopping…pausing…standing right in front of you. Yes, the Lord of all creation is taking time to stop and hear your petition, ready to meet your need!

Jesus asked Bartimaeus one of the most important questions in the entire Bible—and it’s the same question He is asking YOU today: “What do you want Me to do for you?” (v. 51).

Let that sink in for a moment. Jesus is right there with you, and He wants you to tell Him what your greatest need is. What, exactly, do you want Him to do for you? This is a critical component of what it takes to unleash the F.O.G. in your life:

When Bartimaeus’ breakthrough came, it was sudden and amazing: “immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus on the road” (v. 52). Of course, Jesus could have told the blind man that his healing would come gradually, over a long period of time, but that was not the case with Bartimaeus. Jesus had unleashed the miraculous, and the results were instantaneous.

Rise and Shine

Rise and Shine

For many decades now, I’ve traveled the world as an ambassador for Christ and a herald of His life-changing favor.  In every continent and nation, I’ve met people in search of new beginnings, and they yearn to live in the Favor of God (F.O.G.).  They see the marvelous promises the Lord has given them in the Scriptures, but often they’re frustrated because they don’t know how to activate those promises.

When I talk with people in my travels, they tell me of their desire for breakthroughs in their life. Some need God’s healing touch in their body or their emotions. Others are desperate for a financial turnaround. Many are seeking a breakthrough in their marriage or with their children.

It grieves my heart that many of these precious people can quote Bible verses about the promises of God, yet they often are missing some crucial ingredient of implementation and activation. They lack the necessary tools to bridge the gap between the doctrine of God’s favor and the actual experience of that favor.

I want to help YOU experience more of God’s favor so you can receive the breakthroughs you need. As you learn how to implement these truths, your life will never be the same!

If you’ve spent any time reading God’s Word, you’ve surely seen that your Heavenly Father loves you and wants to bless you with the good things of life. Jesus makes this absolutely clear in Matthew 7:11: “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!”

As much as your earthly father may love you, your Heavenly Father loves you more…so much more. Your Father in heaven longs to show you His kindness, approval, and favor. However, it breaks God’s heart—and breaks my heart as well—to see so many of His children missing out on the abundant life He wants them to have (John 10:10). Often, they are trying hard to do the right things, but something is missing.

My friend, if you are frustrated today in some area of your life—such as your finances, your relationships, your emotions, or your health—I have good news for you: The Favor of God (F.O.G.) can reverse your losses and turn things around for you! Living in the F.O.G. will help you turn the head of God, touch the heart of God, and move the hand of God. It’s a place where you can gain affirmation from the Father and His Word rather than from those around you—at home, at work, or wherever else you may be. As God’s favor releases emotional, physical, spiritual, and financial success into your life, you will no longer have to allow people or problems to define you.