Categorized | Middle East, USA

Mike Pence, the Christian Zionist

By Rabbi Dow Marmur

Rabbi Dow Marmur

JERUSALEM — US Vice-President Mike Pence, who is due to visit Israel this week, is said to be an ardent Christian Zionist and thus apparently the main influence behind President Trump’s declaration about Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Professor Paul Rogers of Bradford University in the UK reminds us that Christian Zionism is based on the belief that God has given dispensation to the Jews to prepare the way for the second coming of Christ. He writes: “The literal fulfillment of Old Testament promises to biblical Israel is now approaching an ‘end of days’ that will involve a millennium of earthly rule centered on Jerusalem. Thus, the state of Israel, as a Jewish state, is a fundamental part of God’s plan, and it is essential for it to survive and thrive.”

The implication is, of course, that the role of the Jewish people is to pave the way for the triumph of Christianity before finally disappearing from the face of the earth. The establishment of the State of Israel in this scheme of things is to enable the Jewish people to vanish and make room for the fulfillment of the Christian promise.

Rogers reminds us that “nearly a third of Americans, around 100 million people, lean towards evangelical Christianity and of these perhaps a third embrace the Christian Zionist perspective.”

Christian Zionism has its roots in 19th century America, but it has become particularly popular in the last few decades. This seems to suggest that Christian Zionists see in the progress that Israel has made evidence of its impending demise when it finally yields to the triumph of Christianity.

Beside theology, it’s to keep thirty-or-so million American voters happy that Trump made his Jerusalem declaration. The 5-6 million American Jews my not have even been on his mind, especially since, according to available data, most of them vote Democrat.

Jews, particularly on the political right who march to the beat of Prime Minister Netanyahu, have chosen to ignore the implied notice of their impending extinction that’s at the core of the theology of Christian Zionism. Instead, they celebrate the short-term political gain. They also choose to disregard the effect the Trump declaration has had on Muslims in general and Palestinians in particular.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the task of which is to lobby on behalf of Israel. is said to cooperate closely with Christian Zionists. Organizations such as Christians United for Israel and the International Christian Embassy. Both Christian Zionist fronts, are held in high regard in Israeli government circles.

Even if we choose to approve of what’s being done, it behooves us to lament the implications. While ostensibly patriotic politicians castigates Jews on the left for not being Jewish enough, they choose not to look at the implied treachery behind their expedient and seemingly pious reactions.

I’ve always been among those who have taken it for granted that Jerusalem is the capital of the State of Israel. We don’t need Christian Zionists with their imperialist theology to tell us so. And we definitely don’t need to fall over ourselves in grateful celebration of Donald Trump and his allegedly Christian Zionist guru Mike Pence when he comes here.

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Rabbi Marmur is spiritual leader emeritus of Holy Blossom Temple in Toronto, Canada.  He may be contacted via [email protected]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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