Why Zionism Must Fail
Many Jews and non-Jews see in Zionism the fulfillment of Bible prophecies. Read on to learn why all such err and to whom such restoration prophecies do apply.
WHAT is Zionism? “Zionism is the Jewish nation on the march.” So said one Theodor Herzl, father of the Zionist movement. According to the 1953-1954 Yearbook of the State of Israel, “Zionism is a true attempt to achieve and attain the survival of the Jewish people.” And according to certain American Zionists, Zionism is, not only “Judaism at its fullest and its strongest,” but also the Messianic hope of all mankind.
Among fundamentalist clergymen of Christendom are to be found many who likewise expect great things of Zionism. The periodical Land Reborn is devoted to these views. And a comprehensive statement of this position is found in the book The Fall and Rise of Israel, by William L. Hull, a Protestant missionary who has spent many years in Palestine. He has the greatest admiration for Zionism and likens its leaders Herzl and Weizmann to Moses and Abraham. He interprets the ‘hunters and fishers’ of Jeremiah 16:16 to be the Nazis, whose persecutions caused the Jews to return to Palestine, and the ‘pure language’ of Zephaniah 3:9 to the Hebrew language, which is again being spoken in Palestine today. According to him, God permitted World War I so that Palestine might be set free from the Turks, and such men as Lloyd George, Churchill and Balfour “let God use them” in behalf of the Zionist cause “because they had faith in his Word.” Hull applies scores of prophecies recorded in Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, etc., as well as the warning words of Gamaliel at Acts 5:38, 39, to Zionism.
In a similar vein The American Weekly, October 13, 1957, reported on the fruits of Zionism under the heading “In Modern Palestine—Bible Prophecies Are Coming True.” According to it, “they that wait for Jehovah . . . shall mount up with wings as eagles” had fulfillment when some 40,000 Jews were flown from Yemen in southwest Arabia to Palestine; and the prophecy “instead of the thorn shall come up the fir-tree” foretold the great reforestation that has taken place in the State of Israel, an increase from 17,000 trees in 1917 to 21,000,000 in 1957, most of which are conifers or cone-bearing trees. Israel’s irrigation system, the waters of which come from Mount Zion, is said to fulfill the prophecy that “in that day . . . all the brooks of Judah shall flow with waters; and a fountain shall come forth from the house of Jehovah, and shall water the valley of Shittim.” Likewise to the coming of Jews from five continents and seventy-four different lands to Palestine is applied the prophecy: “Fear not; for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west; I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back; bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the end of the earth.”—Isa. 40:31; 55:13; Joel 3:18; Isa. 43:5, 6, AS.
FROM MOUNT ZION TO ZIONISM
What is the origin and history of Zionism?
The term “Zionist” was coined by one Nathan Birnbaum even before Herzl organized modern Zionism. Birnbaum borrowed the term from the Scriptures, for Zion was the name of the citadel hill in Jerusalem and the site of the palaces of Israel’s kings, beginning with King David. In fact, it was David who first freed it from the grip of the Jebusites. It was a steep hill and difficult of ascent. The name itself has been variously defined as meaning “sunny,” “fortress,” “conspicuousness” and “a monumental or guiding pillar.”
Zion became a symbol of the city of Jerusalem as well as of the two-tribe kingdom of Judah and Benjamin. It was laid waste in 607 B.C. by Nebuchadnezzar and remained a barren waste for seventy years. It was again laid waste A.D. 70 by the Roman legions. Each time this desolation was foretold to come as a punishment for the sins of the Jews.
Throughout the centuries since A.D. 70 Jews made repeated attempts to resettle Palestine, but nothing permanent ever came of it until the 1880’s, when the Choveve Zion, the “Lovers of Zion,” began to colonize Palestine. The first Aliyah, or resettlement, took place in 1882. The celebrated Dreyfuss case in France in the early 1890’s revealed intense anti-Semitism and made one Jewish correspondent, Theodor Herzl, keenly aware of the sufferings of his people and their need for a homeland. To this end, in 1897 he called together the first Zionist Congress, which had as its objective the creation of a homeland for all Jews.
For Herzl, the president of the Zionist movement, and certain other leaders, the location did not matter. They were nationalists and philanthropists, not devout religionists. But the rank and file, and especially the Russian Jews, would hear of nothing except Palestine. So Herzl capitulated, and until his death in 1904 he vainly tried to interest the leading men of the various European nations in his project of a Jewish homeland in Palestine. Success, however, came to Chaim Weizmann, who succeeded Herzl as president of the Zionists. Because of his valuable help to the British government during World War I in the manufacture of munitions, he was instrumental in getting her to issue the Balfour Declaration, in which she declared herself in favor of establishing a national homeland for the Jews in Palestine.
On July 24, 1922, the Council of the League of Nations gave Britain mandatory power over Palestine. But finding that her friendship with the Jews was estranging the Arab world, Britain began to renege on her promises to the Jews. This caused violent Jewish terrorists to make Britain’s position in Palestine so difficult that at last she withdrew, on May 14, 1948, at which time the Jews established the State of Israel. Britain’s withdrawal was the signal for the Arab League to attack Israel. Although they vastly outnumbered the Israelis, they were defeated because of Israel’s superior weapons. A truce was declared at the instance of the United Nations, which has continued to this day, the Arabs refusing to concede defeat and sign a peace treaty.
The course of Zionism has been far from peaceful ever since. Not only have there been continuous strife and border incidents between Israel and her Arab neighbors, but her internal affairs have been turbulent because of radical and fanatical disagreement between its many political parties. Then, too, the Zionists who have gone to Israel are very critical of those who prefer “the flesh pots of Egypt” in the Diaspora or dispersion, such as the United States. There, incidentally, many Jews strongly oppose Zionism, insisting that Judaism is not a matter of race, nationality or politics, but purely one of ethics and religion.
WHY IT MUST FAIL
Zionism must fail because Jehovah is having nothing to do with it and “unless Jehovah himself builds the house, it is to no avail that its builders have labored on it.” For more than nineteen centuries Jehovah had shown the Hebrews special favor, but when they rejected God’s Son as their Messiah and had him put to death God ended his covenant with them and replaced it with a new one made with those who did accept Jesus Christ as their Messiah. What has counted since is not blood relationship with Abraham but having the faith of Abraham, which Zionism does not have. In fact, Ben-Gurion considers Jehovah, the God of the Bible, as a myth and quotes from the Bible because, as tradition, it “certainly carries a grain of truth.”—Ps. 127:1; Matt. 23:37, 38; 26:28; Gal. 3:7.
Nor is this the position of only Ben Gurion. Thus Waldo Frank, in his book on Israel, Bridgehead, shows that the youth of Israel think of themselves not at all as Jews but wholly as Israelis. There are therefore no facts to support the belief held by many that God will perform some miracle causing the Israeli Jews to accept Jesus as their Messiah. Nor do the Scriptures support such a position. As Jesus showed in his illustration of the rich man and Lazarus, if men do not heed the word of God’s prophets neither will they heed if a miracle is performed, such as the raising of one from the dead. Proof of which, it might be observed, was given when the resurrection of Jesus failed to result in a general conversion of the Israelites to their Christ.—Luke 16:31; Matt. 28:12-15.
In spite of its name Zionism is essentially a political movement, as Judge Sobeloff showed in his address at the banquet of the sixtieth anniversary of Zionism, held in New York city, reported on by The American Zionist, October, 1957. Speaking on the subject “Zionism as a Continuing Political Movement,” he stated that “Zionism is the reaffirmation of international justice. . . . Zionism has demonstrated . . . that politics can be the tool of morality, and Jewish politics is an extension of Judaism. . . . Zionism must remain a political movement, solidly and powerfully organized to wield its influence everywhere and especially on the American scene.”
Zionism is a part of this old world or system of things and therefore is doomed along with it. As Peter foretold in likening it to the world before the Flood: “The world of that time suffered destruction when it was deluged with water. But by the same word the heavens and the earth that are now are stored up for fire and are being reserved to the day of judgment and of destruction of the ungodly men.” This will not mean the destruction of this globe, no more than that this globe was destroyed at the time of the Flood. Rather, it will mean a wiping out of the wicked system of things upon this earth by what is known as ‘the battle of Armageddon.’—2 Pet. 3:6, 7; Rev. 16:14, 16.
THE RESTORATION PROPHECIES
What, then, someone may ask, about all the prophecies that speak of Zion’s and Israel’s restoration and prosperity? Will these go unfulfilled, or have they already been fulfilled, or will they be fulfilled in the future, and, if so, by whom?
Jesus stated that it was impossible for any of God’s Word to go unfulfilled. (Matt. 5:17, 18) The facts show that these prophecies have had and are having fulfillment. How so? In the first place, many of them had a fulfillment on a small scale when the Jews returned from their captivity in Babylon in 537 B.C. The land that had been desolate seventy years again became fruitful and populous, and Jehovah’s pure worship was restored, at least for a time.
But these prophecies have a far more striking fulfillment in our day upon spiritual Israel and Zion, identified at Revelation 7 and 14 as the footstep followers of Christ who will gain the heavenly reward and who are limited to just 144,000. These began to be selected at Pentecost and of their number only a few, a “remnant,” remain till the present time. It is to this remnant, which belongs to heavenly Zion and spiritual Israel, that these restoration prophecies apply. The facts show that particularly since the 1870’s members of the “remnant” began to be brought together and then suffered a period of captivity during 1914-1918. At that time their “land” or condition of worship was wasted, corresponding to the seventy years’ desolation of Judah. Then in 1919 God delivered them and gradually brought them to a condition of spiritual prosperity by means of his providences, his holy spirit and his Word. Proof thereof is to be seen in their increased understanding of Jehovah’s Word and purposes, in their great happiness and in their being joined now by a great crowd of ‘aliens,’ who aid them in the spiritual ingathering.—Isa. 61:5, AV.
No, political Zionism has not returned to Palestine to restore Jehovah’s worship, the way the Jews did in 537 B.C., and the way the spiritual remnant returned to their “land” of pure worship. Political Zionism does not have the faith of Abraham as did the returning exiles from Babylon and as do Jehovah’s servants today. There being no Scriptural support for political Zionism, it is doomed to failure. It is the work of men and will come to nothing.—Acts 5:38, 39.
Let all men of good will, Jews and non-Jews, therefore, who have faith in God’s Word and in its restoration prophecies turn away from political Zionism. Instead, look to heavenly Zion, to spiritual Israel, now represented on earth by the members of the New World society of the Christian witnesses of Jehovah. Learn how you can now enjoy the blessings and prosperity of the spiritual restoration and have a sure hope of endless life in happiness in God’s paradise earth in the near future.