ZION, the hill of Jerusalem on which the city of David was built, is often used as a synonym for Jerusalem, the land of Judah and the people of Israel as a whole.
The most important use of the word “Zion” is in a theological sense, used figuratively of Israel as the people of God (Isaiah 60:14).
The spiritual meaning of “Zion” is continued in the New Testament, where it is given the Christian meaning of God’s spiritual kingdom, the heavenly Jerusalem to come (Hebrews 12:22; Revelation 14:1).
So, as the Bible progresses, the word “Zion” transitions from referring primarily to a physical city of David to having a more spiritual meaning of the future city of God.
Zionists come in many forms but, at the core, believe the Jews must have their own nation again. Due to the fact that Zionism was begun as a politically motivated movement, there exists among secular Gentiles and non-religious Jews a line of thought stating that the religious background of the Jewish people had nothing to do with Zionism. It is argued that Zionism was instead a reaction of the Jewish people to worldwide persecution during World Wars I and II. No nation would take them in, so they were forced to create their own nation, the land of their ancestry being the most opportune place.
Regardless, the Zionist movement begun in the late 1890s, found fulfillment in 1948 when Israel was officially recognized as a state and granted sovereignty as a nation within Palestine by the United Nations. This is when, technically, the political Zionist movement ended and the ideology of Zionism began, and as such, has become a much-debated topic.
Some would say that Zionism has become a motivation for racism, or a reaction against anti-Semitism. Others believe that Zionism as it currently exists is merely Jewish patriotism. Jesus said it would be one of the signs of the end times.
Christian Zionism is simply Gentile support of Jewish Zionism as based on the promises to Israel found in the Bible, passages such as Jeremiah 32 and Ezekiel 34. Christian Zionists are primarily evangelical and give support in any way possible to the Jewish state of Israel. The return of the Jews to the Promised Land is the fulfillment of prophecy and is seen, especially by dispensationalists, as a sign that the world has entered the end times.
Anti-Zionist Jews believe in the Old Testament only, in that they believe the Jewish people were scattered by God, and they must stay scattered until God sends their Messiah. Because most Jews reject Jesus as their Messiah, they overlook the Bible prophecies regarding the end times and the return of Jesus.
However, the Bible does say there will be terrible conflict in Israel during the end times. That is why the time period is known as the Tribulation, the Great Tribulation, and the “time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7). Here is what the Bible says about Israel in the end times:
- There will be a mass return of Jews to the land of Israel (Deuteronomy 30:3; Isaiah 43:6; Ezekiel 34:11-13; 36:24; 37:1-14).
- The Antichrist will make a 7-year covenant of “peace” with Israel (Isaiah 28:18; Daniel 9:27).
- The temple will be rebuilt in Jerusalem (Daniel 9:27; Matthew 24:15; 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4; Revelation 11:1).
- The Antichrist will break his covenant with Israel, and worldwide persecution of Israel will result (Daniel 9:27; 12:1, 11; Zechariah 11:16; Matthew 24:15, 21; Revelation 12:13).
- Israel will be invaded (Ezekiel chapters 38-39).
- Israel will finally recognize Jesus as their Messiah (Zechariah 12:10). Israel will be regenerated, restored, and regathered (Jeremiah 33:8; Ezekiel 11:17; Romans 11:26).
- Then a ‘Millennial temple’ (Ezekiel 40-48) will be built by Jesus Himself (Zechariah 6:12-13), after He returns with his feet touching the mount of Olives (Zechariah 14:4).
“On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south.” Zechariah 14:4