"a movement, largely among Gentile Christians, supporting the right of the Jewish people to return to the Promised Land which has, of course, happened right before our eyes during this century"
ICEJ NEWS SPECIAL RELEASE: The following Proclamation was adopted at the Fourth International Christian Congress on Biblical Zionism, convened in Jerusalem from February 19th to 22nd, 2001. The Congress, attended by approximately 700 delegates and other participants representing over 25 countries, was sponsored by the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem.
* To encourage the people of Israel as to the justness of their cause and certainty of their redemption;
* To give guidance to the Church as to her solemn spiritual and moral responsibilities in this hour, and
* To underscore for the world the blessed hope and distinct warnings that arise from Biblical Zionism.
We declare our steadfast belief in that glorious vision of coming peace for Israel and for the world which was first proclaimed in times past in the sacred writings of the Hebrew prophets and confirmed by our Lord and His Apostles. We consider this biblical concept of peace to be one that has furnished hope and shaped human history like none other, inspiring faith and uprightness throughout successive generations and surpassing still any other path to world peace yet conceived of man. It is our enduring devotion to this promised epoch of Messianic peace and rest that ever governs our approach to the present circumstances confronting Israel, the Church and the world (Isaiah 2:1-3).
TO ISRAEL, we speak tenderly that we have borne witness to the tremendous pressures exerted on you to cede portions of your divine inheritance in exchange for unreliable assurances of peace. We attest that your nation has earnestly and sincerely pursued peace with your Arab neighbours, only to be met with terrorism and the sword of Islam. We are fully aware that, as a result, many in Israel are disillusioned and weary of the struggle over your existence.
It is our sense that this generation of Jews is undergoing a divine testing of faith with regard to your people's ancient and profound attachment to the Land of Israel, and particularly to Jerusalem and the Temple Mount. We urge that Israel and the Diaspora not be intimidated by Muslim threats meant to coerce you into degrading or severing your deep spiritual and historic bond to this precious heritage, which remains central to your promised national redemption. We firmly believe that your cause is just and that the Lord God, King of the Universe, will preserve you and ultimately will vindicate you before all nations.
We commend Israel's exemplary record in protecting and allowing access to biblical sites in the Land. We urge that Israeli leaders take immediate action to preserve the archaeological remains of the Jewish temples on the Temple Mount from the wanton destruction carried out by Muslim authorities in recent years. This and other biblical sites are of great importance to Christians as well, and must be preserved from Muslim encroachment.
We recognize that the great Aliyah lies on a biblical foundation; therefore we encourage Jews worldwide to continue the return to Eretz Israel.
TO THE CHURCH, we issue the challenge to hold fast to our Great Hope - the coming of the Lord - in the face of ridicule, unbelief and opposition, and to realize that it is dependent upon the triumph of Biblical Zionism. Furthermore, Biblical Zionism recognises the debt that Christians owe the Jewish people, since we share in their spiritual blessings and it involves redressing this debt by demonstrating our concern for them through deeds of genuine love (Psalm 122:6; Matthew 25:31-46; Romans 15:27). Christians must take courageous action to support the return of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel in all its parts; to comfort and pray for them in their trials and adversities; and to proclaim to all men that their election is irrevocable, and was and is meant to bring about God's redemptive plan for the whole world (John 4:22; Romans 3:1-2; Romans 9:1-5; Romans 11:29).
The promised restoration of Israel is to be understood as a two-phased process, encompassing a restoration to the Land followed by a restoration to the Lord, the God of Israel (Ezekiel 36:24-28; Jeremiah 24:6-7). This is an irreversible process, since we are promised that there will never be another exile (Amos 9:15; Isaiah 11:11). And while Israel has been promised the entire Land, we nevertheless must allow room for God to judge the nation of Israel in her borders, just as in biblical days, as His chosen means of divine correction, knowing His higher goal is to bring her to Himself (Ezekiel 11:10-11; Ezekiel 20:33-44; Hosea 5:14-6:3). Regardless of political developments within the Jewish State, we are to stand by her, encourage her, make her jealous by our zeal for Him and for His Word, and declare the Word of God to her concerning her destiny (Isaiah 62:1-12; Romans 11:11).
The Church is commanded to honour the natural olive tree of Israel into which we have been grafted (Romans 11:17-18). We note that there is a Body of Messiah in the Land of Israel today with much to offer the universal Body of believers - a living testament to the Jewish roots of our faith and to the faithfulness of God to His promises, and a means to counter anti-Semitism and encourage the Church in the nations to embrace Biblical Zionism.
Resolutions in prior Congresses have dealt extensively with the doctrinal error of Replacement Theology. We note the growing usage of Liberation Theology to build support for the cause of Palestinian nationalism, and view it as a belief system that misapplies the message of Scripture in pursuit of a humanistic form of social justice. The Bible indeed charges Christians to speak truth and have compassion upon all men. But God in His mercy cannot bless a lie, nor can He bless the pursuit of a false god. It is inescapable truth that much of the suffering among the Palestinian Arab people is, first and foremost, a product of their own callous and corrupt leadership. Further, the Palestinian nationalist movement has aligned itself with a larger Islamic agenda that is unsupported by any reasonable interpretation of Scripture. In contrast, the Bible puts its full weight behind the Return of the Jewish Exiles to Eretz Israel. Therefore, Christians have no biblical grounds on which to base support for Palestinian nationalism (Jeremiah 31:10-12; Luke 21:24).
We also urge the Church to recognise that local Christian Arabs have been living under unbearable circumstances due to abusive Islamic coercion and intimidation.
We strongly condemn the deliberate Palestinian falsification of the historical identity of Jesus and his early Jewish followers, and their exploitation of His sufferings and sacrifice for temporal and devious political purposes. We urge Christians everywhere to refute such distortions, which are intended to arouse Christian anti-Semitism.
TO THE WORLD, we assert that the Holy Scriptures clearly foretell of a coming time of blessed rest and peace for the whole earth. No greater hope has ever been instilled in the heart of mankind, as when "they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more" (Isaiah 2:4; Micah 4:3).
The Scriptures also reveal that this age of peace will be preceded by the restoration of Israel, which will come in the midst of great conflict and distress, as the nations resist and oppose the Jewish return to Zion. It has not been hidden from man that ultimately God will judge the nations for coming against the Jewish people whom He has regathered in Jerusalem (Joel 3). And it is only after the Lord "rebukes strong nations" for these actions that the promised universal peace shall prevail (Isaiah 2:4; Micah 4:3).
Thus, we admonish all nations and peoples that those who seek to dislodge the Jewish people from any part of Jerusalem, to disinvest Israel of her bequeathed inheritance, or to divide the Land of Israel are placing themselves in conflict with the God of the Bible (Joel 3:1-3). Indeed, they shall rupture themselves and fall irreparably under the judgment of God (Zechariah 12:1-9). Ultimately, we affirm that the restoration of Israel will usher in the coming of the Messiah to the Mount of Olives, as the Hebrew prophet Zechariah declares (14:3-20), and bring rest to God's people and the entire world.
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