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Christians Remember Zion

 

Perhaps one of the first people since early Christian centuries to realize and proclaim the restoration of the Jews, was a man by the name of Francis Kett. Kett had apparently read his Bible, and he came to the conclusion that the Jews would return to Zion. For his revelation, the Church burned him at the stake in 1589. 1

Others followed in his direction, including, Edmund Bunny (the traveling preacher 1540-1619), Thomas Draxe, Giles Fletcher, William Gouge, and Sir Henry Finch, all of the same general period. It is believed that Finch was the first person to bring forth a genuine plan for the restoration of Israel to the land.  The efforts of Finch and Gouge brought them the wrath of England’s King James I. They were arrested and imprisoned.

Another prominent thinker and theologian of the era was Thomas Brightman (1562-1607). Brightman has been credited as being the “father” of the British concept of Jewish restoration. 3

Christian Zionism, or the Restoration movement as it was called in those early days, was spawned by the pietistic Protestants, and later aided by certain groups of the English Puritans. 4   In 1611, the King James version of the Bible was published, and with it there came a new accessibility of the common man to the Word of God. This accessibility to Israel’s ancient prophets stirred Restorationism.

The movement was also soon heavily influenced by millennialism. The millenarians looked for the coming of Christ followed by his thousand-year-reign on earth. According to this understanding, the Jewish return to the land was a necessity prior to the millennial reign. The millenarians also looked for the conversion of the Jews prior to this second advent
and reign.

The Restoration Movement was championed not only in England but in other countries in these early years. In Holland, Johanna Cartwright and her son Ebenezer were Puritan writers and activists for the cause of Restoration. In France, there were the scholars Isaac de la Peyrere (1594-1676) and Marquis de Langallerie (1656-1717). A most famous French Restorationist of a slightly later period was Charles-Joseph Prince de Ligne (1735-1814).

In America, the Puritan fathers were great boosters of restoration. They named their children and their towns with Hebrew names. Hebrew letters graced the seals of their early colleges. Hebrew was taught at Harvard from 1636 onward, and was at certain times an obligatory course.  Roger Williams (1604-1683), founder of Rhode Island, was a free-thinker and was outspoken in the cause of the Jews.

RESTORATIONISM TAKES A POLITICAL TURN

Although Restorationism is not basically political, it was necessary for it to take a political stance. The Bible almost presupposes some political activity in the return to Zion with these words: “Nations will take them and bring them to their own place…” (Isa. 14:2). It was in God’s plan for the nations of the earth to be involved with this project, and nations are political. Soon an agitation began for political leaders do something for the cause of Zion.

A pietist Dane, Holger Paulli (1644-1714), worked incessantly dispatching memoranda to the kings of England and France. He boldly called upon them to conquer Palestine and provide a home for the Jewish people.

However, with the rise of Napoleon, Restorationist ideas were propelled fully into the political arena. When Napoleon attacked the Holy Land in 1799, he made an offer to restore the Jews to their homeland. 6 Unfortunately, the enthusiasm was short-lived as Napoleon failed to conquer Acre and was forced to retreat to Egypt.

It is of note that even after Napoleon’s military reverses he continued to support the Jewish return. In 1806, Napoleon drew together various rabbis and community leaders from throughout his empire. This meeting has been described as “the first organized Jewish political meeting in over 1700 years.”  Although his political plans failed, Napoleon may have done a great deal to give Restorationism a political basis, and to free it from purely theological considerations.

The next political shock affecting Europe and indirectly affecting Restorationism was the rise of Mohammed Ali in Egypt in the 1830s. Ali’s revolt against the Turkish Empire raised Europe’s fears about its isolation in the Middle East and the loss of trading routes to the Far East. Suddenly the Restorationist viewpoint, with Jewish control of the Holy Land, began to make a lot of political sense.

At this time, especially in England, there was a rising tide of Zionist sentiment and political activity toward this end. The Christian statesman, Lord Palmerston (1784-1865), served as a member of the House of Commons, as Foreign Secretary and as Prime Minister. He was active in seeking to obtain an agreement with the Turkish Sultan allowing the Jews to return to Palestine.

A deeply religious political figure of this era was Lord Shaftsbury (1801-1885). Shaftsbury fought for the return of Israel to the Holy Land and saw it as a fulfillment of prophecy. On his ring, which was worn on his right hand, his daily prayer was engraved: “Oh, pray for the peace of Jerusalem.” 8

Restorationism received a political shot in the arm with the rise to power of Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1887). Disraeli, popular politician and writer for the Jewish cause, arose to become Prime Minister of England. He served in that capacity for many years. Disraeli, who was probably the most powerful politician in the world, became a sort of model to influence other politicians in the cause of Zion. 9


Benjamin Disraeli
(Wikimedia Commons)

Following in the political train, a British industrialist, Edward Cazalet (1827-1883), advocated a Restorationist approach concerning the Jews. It is of note that Cazalet even proposed a university devoted to Hebrew studies in Jerusalem. 10 His vision came to pass in 1918, as the Hebrew University was established.

Political activity was blossoming also in America during this period. In 1825, US President John Quincy Adams wrote on behalf of the Jews with these words: “I really wish the Jews again in Judea, an independent Nation…” 11  Years later in 1878, William E. Blackstone published a book entitled Jesus is Coming. The book attracted much attention, in that it called for a restoration of the Jews to their homeland. Blackstone did not confine himself to writing. In 1891, he presented a petition to US President Harrison. The petition entitled, “Palestine for the Jews” was signed by some four hundred prominent US personalities, both Christian and Jewish.

ZIONISM COMES OF AGE

From the 1880s onward, there was a growing movement within Judaism for the return to Zion. This movement was partly spurred by the horrible pogroms in Russia during the period. At this time of persecution and slightly before it, a philosophical and theological groundwork was laid as several prophetic voices arose to encourage the Jewish people.

Moses Hess (1812-1875) with his work Rome and Jerusalem encouraged the nations to assist the Jews as they sought to re-establish their own nation. After Hess there were other prophetic voices like Orthodox Rabbi, Zevi-Hirsch Kalischer, who in 1862 advocated the establishment of agricultural colonies in Palestine. Another who spoke out from among the Jews was Leo Pinsker, an Odessa physician. His pamphlet, Auto-Emanscipation (freeing oneself), challenged the Jews to free themselves, and not wait on others to do it
for them.

As the century closed, Jewish aspirations of return began to focus on one man, Theodore Herzl. Herzl, a man of great literary skill and personal charm, became the prophet of Zionism. In a fever of inspiration, Herzl wrote his classic book, Der Judenstaat (The Jewish State). The effects of Herzl and his book were electrifying. Soon the Jewish Zionist movement was in full bloom. In 1897 the First Zionist Congress was held in Basle. The political movement that would re-establish the Jewish nation had truly begun.

A CHRISTIAN PROPHET

Not only were there Jewish prophetic voices raised in support of Zionat this time, but one such prophetic voice was raised from Christian quarters. William H. Hechler (1845-1931) was a minister living in Vienna. Hechler was certain that God was about to restore the Jews to their land. When this Christian minister heard of Herzl and his book, he instantly became an enthusiastic supporter. The two became life-long friends. It was through this Christian minister that Herzl was able to secure many contacts with political leaders in Europe, even with the powerful Kaiser of Germany. 12

Had we known Hechler, we might have looked at this Christian prophet askance. He was a fanatic with all of his time tables and charts spread out before him. From his calculations he became certain that God would move to restore the Jewish nation in 1897. Unlike so many of his kind, he was absolutely correct.

INTO THE TWENTIETH CENTURY

Zionism was catapulted into the twentieth century, and not just as a political movement, but also a movement with strong spiritual foundations. These spiritual foundations were reflected in several political leaders of the century. Perhaps one of the most outstanding was Lord Balfour of England (1848-1930). He learned from his Scottish mother that Christians owed a great debt to the Jewish people, and that the debt had been shamefully repaid. 13


Arthur James Balfour
(Wikimedia Commons)

Balfour personally did a great deal to repay this debt. He served as Britain’s Prime Minister and later as her Foreign Secretary. Through his efforts the now famous Balfour Declaration of 1917 came into being. The Balfour Declaration formed the political basis for the re-establishment of the nation of Israel. Pragai remarking on its importance states: “This document was the first governmental sanction of the Jewish Return since the historic Cyrus edict in the sixth century BC, which allowed the Jews to return from their Babylonian Exile.” 14

Working along with Balfour was Britain’s David Lloyd George (1863-1945), who also served as Prime Minister of the country. Like Balfour, Lloyd George also came from a religious background. He once commented, “I was taught far more about the history of the Jews than about the history of my own people,” 15 Although the political aspect of Zionism was important, it probably could never have succeeded without the deep biblical background of men like these.

Another strong and consistent supporter of Israel in Britain was Winston Churchill (1875-1965). Although as Colonial Secretary Churchill issued the White Paper that severed Trans-Jordan from Palestine, he nevertheless remained a true friend of Israel. He spoke out for the Jewish return to the land and finally insisted that his nation be among the first to recognize the newborn state of Israel.

The Zionist cause was also supported in this period by US President Wilson. He not only played a vital role in the Balfour Declaration, but again, it was his rich Christian background that made him sympathetic to the needs of the Jewish people. In 1922, the US congress got into the act with a Joint Resolution declaring their favor toward the establishment of a Jewish national home in Palestine. 16

Christians all over were stirred with the great significance of the events unfolding before them. In November, 1945, the International Christian Conference for Palestine was held in Washington, with representatives from over thirty nations in attendance. The conference called for an easing in British immigration restrictions in Palestine as well as a repeal of anti-Jewish land laws. The conference also called for the establishment of a Jewish state. Pragai remarks, “This was the first-ever assembly of Christians to call for a
Jewish State.” 17

In the political arena it was left for US President Harry Truman, a Baptist, to give newborn Israel the political lift it needed. Truman, who previously had close associations with a Jewish businessman, rushed to give de facto US recognition to newborn Israel in the first half-hour of its existence. 18 Truman did so over the strong objections of his own Secretary of State.

FAMOUS NAMES IN SUPPORT OF ZION

Through the centuries, the love of Zion has pulled at the heart strings of many of the world’s most famous people, and not just the political leaders we have mentioned. Dr. Joseph Priestley, (1733-1804), a clergyman turned teacher and scientist, is best known for his discovery of oxygen. It is little known that Priestley was also a strong supporter of Zion and member of the London Society for Promoting Christianity among the Jews.

George Gordon, Lord Byron (1788-1824), the English poet and popular romantic figure, was greatly influenced by the plight of the Jews. In his collection entitled, Hebrew Melodies, Byron pens his famous lament, “The wild dove hath her nest the fox his cave, Mankind their country – Israel but the grave.” 19

Another famous figure in the literary field to support Zion was Mary Ann Evans, known as George Eliot (1819-1880). Pragai says of her contribution, “she demonstrates deep insight into Jewish life, its mainsprings and its aspirations, and in it she forecasts with much accuracy the force which political Zionism was to become at the turn of the century.” 20 Eliot’s work apparently had a profound effect upon Eliezer Ben Yehudah, father of the modern Hebrew language, as well as upon Lord Balfour. 21


George Eliot
(Wikimedia Commons)

The love of Zion reached from politicians to poets to the outstanding Swiss Protestant, Jean Henri Dunant (1828-1910). Reeling from his own battlefield experiences in Solferino, Italy in 1859, Dunant became the driving force to found the International Red Cross (1863) and the Geneva Convention (1864). Dunant was also a friend of Zion and founded the Association for the Resettlement of Palestine. He was once referred to by Herzl as a “Christian Zionist,” 22 this being the first time the term was ever used.


Henry Dunant
(Wikimedia Commons)

CHRISTIAN ZIONISM COMES HOME TO THE HOLY LAND

It is one thing to remain safely in one’s home country and espouse the Zionist cause, but it is quite another thing to put feet to that theology. It was a big step for Gentile believers to live in the Holy Land and actually assist in helping the Jews in the early years. Yet by the nineteenth century, several had done just that.

Colonel George Gawler (1796-1869) was a senior commander at the Battle of Waterloo and later first governor of the new colony of South Australia. From his experience in Australia, Gawler realized that it was possible to settle uninhabited land within a period of a few short years. Gawler published a series of pamphlets wherein he sought to provide a solution to the Jewish problem in Europe and the unrest in the Middle East by urging Jewish settlement in Palestine.

Gawler accompanied Sir Moses Montefiore to the land in 1849, and has been credited with persuading Montefiore to begin agricultural settlements in the country. 23 Without Montefiore’s help the settlement of Israel would have been a near impossibility.

James Finn (1806-1872) was the British Consul in Jerusalem from 1845 to 1862. He with his wife Elizabeth were Anglicans with a genuine love of the scriptures. They both felt a deep attachment to the land and began to institute several works to aid the newly arriving settlers. With practical projects they trained the Jews in farming and in the building trades. Finn has been called “A pioneer for the resettlement of the Jews in Eretz Israel.” 24

Isa 14:1: The LORD will have compassion on Jacob; once again he will choose Israel and will settle them in their own land. Aliens will join them and unite with the house of Jacob.
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Another important figure who put his beliefs to work was Laurence Oliphant (1829-1888). Oliphant rose to become the most important Christian Zionists figure of his time. 25  He was a many-talented man, a writer of travel books and a member of the English parliament. With his political connections he worked hard with the Turkish government to negotiate a place of settlement for the Jews in Gilead (later Transjordan). His practical plans never materialized due to the suspicions of the Turkish government, nevertheless, Oliphant was unfazed. He moved to Haifa, and from that place he continued to assist Jewish settlers.

Today many aspiring Christian Zionists are encouraged by the story of Lydia Christensen (1890-1975). This young Danish schoolteacher forsook the comforts of her home and profession, partly in pursuit of a haunting vision that she had received. It was a vision of an unknown dark-eyed baby girl.

Lydia moved to Jerusalem at God’s urging. After settling there and getting used to the harsh life in the Holy City, Lydia was approached by a Jewish couple named Cohen. This poor couple begged Lydia to take their dying baby girl named Tikva (hope). Lydia was appalled at the prospects and at first refused. Then driven by the word of God and the Holy Spirit, she accepted the challenge. Tikva was nursed back to health through much love and prayer. That little dark-eyed girl became the first of approximately seventy orphaned and abandoned children Lydia would take in.

In the midst of a siege in the city this Danish pioneer realized why Jerusalem was so important. She describes her feelings: “I began to see Jerusalem as the stage upon which this cosmic conflict between good and evil would come to its climax – a climax long foreseen by the prophets, now seemingly close at hand.” 26

Lydia later married the world-renowned Bible teacher, Derek Prince. Her visionary and fruitful life may well represent for us those myriads of unknown individual Christians who have come to the land of Israel. Like Lydia, they have come to love, to learn, to serve and to invest their lives for the sake of the Jewish people.

Christian Zionists serving in the military also made their contribution to the Jewish homeland. Lt. Col. John Henry Patterson (1867-1947) came from a devout Irish family. His Bible background aided him in being selected to command the Zion Mule Corps of World War I. The unit that this Christian led was made up of Jewish volunteers from Eretz Israel. “By an ironic twist of history a Christian officer commanded the first Jewish fighting brigade since Bar Kochba.”27  One of Patterson’s associates would later become a national hero of Israel as he fell fighting at Tel Hai. His name — Joseph Trumpeldor.

Charles Orde Wingate (1903-1944) hailed from a Puritan family of missionaries and soldiers. In 1936, Wingate was assigned to Palestine by the British as an intelligence officer. At that time Arab rioters had the initiative. They were not only posing a serious threat to the Jews but to the British as well, as they attempted to disrupt the flow of the Iraqi oil pipeline. Wingate proposed the establishment of Special Night Squads made up of Jews. Their task was to counter Arab terror and to take away the initiative. The squads became very successful, but most important was the example and encouragement of Wingate, affectionately called by the Jews “hayedid” (the friend).


Orde Wingate
(Courtesy, Jerusalem Post Archives)

Although the British superiors were not amused, Wingate firmly espoused the cause of Zionism. He was one of the very first to say that the Jews would make good soldiers. He perceived that his work was laying the foundations for the Jewish military. In 1939, the British abruptly dispatched Wingate back to England. In his final address to his troops, Wingate said to them in Hebrew: “You are the first soldiers of the Jewish army.” 28 Later “the friend” was killed in a plane crash in Burma.

Now we turn from fighting men to men of the soil and the cloth. Prof. Walter Clay Lowdermilk, eminent soil conservation expert and Bible lover, was sent by the US Department of Agriculture in 1939 to survey Palestine. Lowdermilk’s work, Palestine Land of Promise, later became an important document regarding the restoration of the nation. Also, Lowdermilk testified before the Anglo-American Palestine Committee in 1946, concerning the ability of the land to support its growing population.

One Christian clergyman was an eyewitness and alert observer of the momentous events of Israel’s rebirth. Canadian, Rev. William L. Hull recorded these events for us in his book The Fall and Rise of Israel. His book reveals Hull was a strong believer in the fulfillment of biblical prophecy. He was also a man of some connections. Through his friendship with Justice I.C. Rand, a Canadian member of UNESCOP, Hull unknowingly was able to exert a great deal of influence toward the founding of a Jewish State. 29

One of the true pioneers of Christian Zionists was Dr. Douglas Young (1910-1979). Young was born of Presbyterian missionary parents. He received his Ph.D. from Dropsie College and after time in the pastorate, became seminary Dean and Professor of Old Testament. Dr. Young became enamored with the newly established state of Israel. In 1958 he founded the Institute of Holy Land Studies on Mt. Zion in Jerusalem (now Jerusalem University College). Dr. Young felt it necessary for pastors and individual Christians to get better acquainted with Israel, to come to the land, to study, and to get involved with the land and its people.


Dr. Douglas Young
(Courtesy, Bridges For Peace)

After retiring from the Institute in 1978, Young devoted himself to the work of Bridges For Peace, a Christian organization he had founded a couple of years earlier. Through Bridges he began to publish his Dispatch From Jerusalem, a small monthly pamphlet designed to disseminate good news from Israel. In 1978, for his long and fruitful work in the city, Dr. Young received Jerusalem’s highest award, the Yakir Yerushalayim (Worthy of Jerusalem).

The influence of Dr. Young has been enormous on the Israeli people as they saw in him a very different kind of Christian. The institutions he founded continue to thrive in Jerusalem.

CHRISTIAN ZIONIST ORGANIZATIONS IN ZION

Since Israel has become an independent nation, and since she has scored remarkable victories in several wars, Christian interest in Israel has greatly increased. It has now become virtually impossible to even catalogue the worldwide organizations and churches that are in support of Zion. Even an enumeration of the larger ones would reach into scores. Small organizations and individual efforts on behalf of Zion could easily run into the hundreds today.

For this reason, we will limit our endeavors to listing some of the most notable English-speaking Christian Zionist organizations actually based in Israel and at work in the
land today.

Bridges For Peace

In founding Bridges For Peace, Dr. Douglas Young envisioned that he would accomplish several important goals. Among these goals, he wished to interpret Israel to Christians abroad by means of connecting biblical prophecy to current events. He hoped to encourage and give counsel to pro-Israel groups within Christianity. He also hoped to counter anti-Semitism within the church.30   Dr. Young’s small publication, the Dispatch From Jerusalem, became the primary tool for his work.

In 1978, Bridges For Peace was introduced in the US and later in Canada. Upon Dr. Young’s untimely death in 1979, Clarence Wagner, Jr. assumed the directorship of Bridges. The work soon began a period of rapid growth and expansion into many other countries.

The small Dispatch From Jerusalem was greatly enlarged and changed from a quarterly to a bi-monthly publication. In 1985, Bridges began Operation Ezra (“Ezra” means “help” in Hebrew), a social assistance program allowing Christians everywhere to become personally involved in helping Israelis, particularly new immigrants.

In the ten-year period beginning with 1990, Bridges assisted at least 20,000 new immigrant families upon their arrival in Israel. These families were supplied from the Bridges Food Bank with food baskets, blankets, kitchen utensils and many other items. As Bridges entered the twenty-first century the organization was assisting 2400 families each month and distributing 31 metric tons (31,000 kilos) of food each month. Through Bridges programs, hundreds of families have now been “adopted” for regular support by Christian families abroad. Hundreds of homes of Holocaust survivors, new immigrants and the poor, have been repaired by the Bridges home repair team.


The Bridges For Peace Food Bank in Jerusalem
(Courtesy, Bridges For Peace)

On two occasions, Bridges has received special recognition by the city of Jerusalem for outstanding work in the area of social assistance.

The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem

In July 1980, Israel declared Jerusalem as its eternal, indivisible capital. Under threat of Arab oil embargo, all 13 national embassies in Jerusalem representing western nations relocated to Tel Aviv. Two months later, in solidarity with Israel, Christians from 23 nations founded the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem.

Under the leadership of Johann Luckhoff, Jan Willem van der Hoeven and Timothy King, the Embassy has challenged the Church regarding its responsibility towards Israel, while comforting the Jewish people in practical ways:

· Helping Jews immigrate from the former Soviet Union and cope with absorption difficulties in Israel. To this end the Embassy has so far sponsored numerous new immigrant flights to Israel;
· Providing social assistance to needy Jews, Arabs, Druse and Bedouin;
· Proclaiming Israel’s prophetic significance to the Christian world, and countering anti-Israel bias in the media.

Isaiah 49:22: “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: ‘See, I will beckon to the Gentiles, I will lift up my banner to the peoples; they will bring your sons in their arms and carry your daughters on their shoulders.'”

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Each year since its inception, the Embassy has hosted an eight-day Feast of Tabernacles celebration in Jerusalem, bringing thousands of pilgrims from more than 100 countries to what has become Jerusalem’s largest annual tourist event.


Hundreds of Christians from all over the world march through Jerusalem.
The march is sponsored each year by the International Christian Embassy, Jerusalem.
(Courtesy, International Christian Embassy)

Christian Zionism, the prophetic vision underpinning the Embassy’s work, entails a commitment to comfort Israel, pray for her peace and be a part of what God is doing among his ancient people in the land today. The Embassy has hosted three Christian Zionist Congresses, bringing together Christian and Jewish leaders for theological and political discussions and seminars. The first was held in Basel, Switzerland in 1985, 88 years after Theodore Herzl held the first Zionist Congress at the same venue. Subsequent congresses have been held in Jerusalem, in 1988 and 1996. A fourth is scheduled for
March 2000.

Today the Embassy has representation in more than 100 nations, and a staff of 60 multi-national volunteers based at its Jerusalem headquarters.

Jerusalem Vistas

Jay and Meridel Rawlings forsook their careers in hospital administration and nursing and pursued their vision, moving their family to Israel in 1969. Their burning desire was to become “fishers” (Jer. 16:16), assisting Jewish people dispersed abroad in their return to Israel. In this cause, they visited Jewish communities in some 120 countries. Their remarkable story was later related by Meridel in her book entitled Fishers and Hunters.


Jay Rawlings sounding a shofar in Red Square prior to the fall of the USSR
(Courtesy, Jerusalem Vistas)

Jay turned down a job offer as Administrator of the second largest hospital in Israel in order that he could bring the story of Israel to Christians on film. His production, Apples of Gold was shown worldwide and was even placed in Israeli Foreign Ministry offices around the globe. The film was followed in 1986 by Gates of Brass, a documentary making known the plight of Jews behind the Iron Curtain. Within three years of the film’s release, the Rawlings’ were able to rejoice as thousands of Soviet Jews began making their way home to Israel.

As the tool for their work, Jerusalem Vistas was established in Jerusalem in 1982. The work is now called Jerusalem Vistas and Israel Vision. Israel Vision is their regular television program that reaches 130 million viewers in 60 countries.

The Rawlings family continues to be great friends of Israel. Two of the Rawlings’ sons have proudly served in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

Christian Friends of Israel

Christian Friends of Israel (CFI), is an evangelical para-church ministry also with its headquarters in Jerusalem and affiliate offices throughout the world. Christian Friends was established in 1985 by its co-founders, Ray and Sharon Sanders.

During the Gulf War of 1991 when great numbers of new immigrants were arriving, CFI went into action to provide help in the resettling process for these immigrants. Clothing, both new and used was secured from abroad and transported to Israel by loving Christian hands. The clothing was then sorted and distributed at the CFI center. To date, Christian Friends has supplied over 200 tons of clothing to more than 130,000 new immigrants.


A new immigrant selects clothing from the CFI Distribution Center
(Courtesy, Christian Friends of Israel)

A very important part of the CFI Distribution Center is that of lending new immigrant brides their wedding gowns free-of-charge. The entire wedding party is often outfitted. All wedding garments are donated by Christians from the nations.

CFI sponsors other outreach projects to Israel. Holiday gift parcels are made up for IDF soldiers who are defending the nation. A Holocaust Fund helps hundreds of needy survivors with financial aid and Christian love. An annual Holocaust Remembrance Day is sponsored in order to share the healing balm of God’s love with many who suffered in
the Holocaust.

An invisible Wall of Prayer continues to be built as Christians from over 87 nations intercede for the cities, towns and villages of Israel. There are 1,800 locations in Israel that are continually covered in prayer around the world.

Christian Friends also sponsors the Annual Pentecost (Shavout) Conferences in Jerusalem. This conference brings Christians from the nations and believers in the land together. They receive relevant, in depth teaching on God’s plans for Israel and the Jewish people. They also participate in intercession on Israel’s behalf.

The churches in the nations are kept informed through the many publications of CFI. Among these are the monthly Watchman’s Prayer Letter for intercessors and news on current issues through the Israel News Digest.

THE STORY CONTINUES

Like Ruth of old, Gentile believers continue to arrive on the shores of Israel in increasing numbers. They come to share, to serve, to learn, to live and at times to even suffer hardship with the people of God (Heb. 11:25). They work as Israel’s vinedressers and plowmen (Isa. 61:5). They come as servants to joyfully take the lowly jobs, and that most often without remuneration.

They come as practical souls, as gentle praying types, as starry-eyed visionaries, and as fiery prophets. Still they come. They unknowingly fulfill the words of the prophet: “The Sovereign LORD declares– he who gathers the exiles of Israel: ‘I will gather still others to them besides those already gathered’” (Isa. 56:8).

Increasingly Gentile believers are realizing the Messianic nature of Israel’s restoration as well as the eschatological necessity of a restored Israel before the Lord returns. They are gaining a better understanding that someday Jew and Gentile will be united as the scriptures emphatically declare in Ephesians 2:15-16. They are realizing that the Church must return home to Zion as the end-days approach, that it must gain a Zionist orientation. The prophet Isaiah declares:

The ransomed of the LORD will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away (Isa. 51:11).


STUDY QUESTIONS

List two religious movements that had great influence upon the Restoration Movement.

What thing in their backgrounds united famous politicians like Lord Balfour and David Lloyd George?

Name two people in the literary field who had great influence on Zionism.

In your words, what is the difference between Christian Zionists and ordinary Christians?

NOTES

1. Lawrence J. Epstein, Zion’s Call, Christian Contributions to the Origins and Development of Israel (Lanham, MD: University Press of America, Inc., 1984) p. 7.
2. Epstein, Zion’s Call, Christian Contributions to the Origins and Development of Israel, p. 8.
3. Michael J. Pragai, Faith and Fulfilment, Christians and the Return to the Promised Land (London: Valentine, Mitchell and Company, Ltd., 1985) p.12.
4. Goeffrey Wigoder, ed., Encyclopedia Judaica, Vol 16 (Jerusalem: Keter Publishing House Jerusalem, Ltd., Israel, 1971-1972) p. 1154.
5. Pragai, Faith and Fulfilment, pp. 32-33.
6. Epstein, Zion’s Call, Christian Contributions to the Origins and Development of Israel, p. 20.
7. Epstein, Zion’s Call, Christian Contributions to the Origins and Development of Israel, p. 21.
8. Pragai, Faith and Fulfilment, p. 45.
9. Epstein, Zion’s Call, Christian Contributions to the Origins and Development of Israel, p. 56.
10. Epstein, Zion’s Call, Christian Contributions to the Origins and Development of Israel, p. 56.
11. Pragai, Faith and Fulfilment, p. 49.
12. Claude Duvernoy, The Prince and the Prophet (Jerusalem: Christian Action For Israel, Francis Naber Publishers, 1979) p. 64.
13. Epstein, Zion’s Call, Christian Contributions to the Origins and Development of Israel, p. 86.
14. Pragai, Faith and Fulfilment, p. 87.
15. Quoted in, Pragai, Faith and Fulfilment, p. 86.
16. Pragai, Faith and Fulfilment, p.97.
17. Pragai, Faith and Fulfilment, p. 135.
18. Goeffrey Wigoder, ed., Encyclopedia Judaica, Vol 15 (Jerusalem: Keter Publishing House Jerusalem, Ltd., Israel, 1971-1972) 1409.
19. Quoted in, Pragai, Faith and Fulfilment, p. 7.
20. Pragai, Faith and Fulfilment, p. 23.
21. Epstein, Zion’s Call, Christian Contributions to the Origins and Development of Israel, p.50.
22. Pragai, Faith and Fulfilment, p. 77.
23. Goeffrey Wigoder, ed., Encyclopedia Judaica, Vol 7 (Jerusalem: Keter Publishing House Jerusalem, Ltd., Israel, 1971-1972) p. 339.
24. Goeffrey Wigoder, ed., Encyclopedia Judaica, Vol 6 (Jerusalem: Keter Publishing House Jerusalem, Ltd., Israel, 1971-1972) p.1300
25. Goeffrey Wigoder, ed., Encyclopedia Judaica, Vol 12 (Jerusalem: Keter Publishing House Jerusalem, Ltd., Israel, 1971-1972) p. 1362.
26. Lydia Prince, Appointment in Jerusalem (Grand Rapids, MI: Chosen Books, 1975) p. 163.
27. Pragai, Faith and Fulfilment, p. 81.
28. See, The Jerusalem Post, 24 March, 1995
29. William L. Hull, The Fall and Rise of Israel (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing Company, 1954) p. 9.
30. Calvin B. Hanson, A Gentile…With the Heart of a Jew, G. Douglas Young (Nyack, NY: Parson Publishing, Nyack, NY, 1979) p. 380.