With the recent happenings in Syria, the alleged gas attacks and the recent press conference from Benjamin Netanyahu, there are, most probably, numerous arguments all over social media (and more will certainly occur in the future as these events advance further on) about whether the US should engage in a conflict with Iran, or not. One particular demographic that has been particularly bellicose -throughout American history- have been the Christian Zionists.
The History of Christian Zionism and the life of its creator, Cyrus Scofield
Judaism and Christianity historically has always been pretty close, but not in a very positive light. Eight Homilies Against the Jews by St. John Chrysostom was a response against Judaizing Christians during the 4th century. Historically, pro-jewish Christians were a very small minority group, one notable of them was Francis Kett in the 16th Century. During the protestant reformation, the famous Martin Luther wrote a book “On the jews and their lies”, Christians were, as one might expect, heavily opposed to Judaism throughout the Christian era. Many Christian kingdoms throughout history has expelled Jews due to various reasons such as blood libel, business practices, various other criminal allegations, overt bigotry, and so on. A lot of these jews ended up settling in the “Jewish Capital of Europe” known as the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.
Nevertheless, Christian Zionism started to make theological breakthrough with the birth of the doctrine of Dispensationalism in the 19th century and it legitimized its existence in the eyes of the public with the Scofield Bible that was published in 1909. Ever since then, Christian Zionism started to gain mainstream attention. After WWII the western governments and its politicians started to use the Scofield Bible to legitimize the existence of the Zionist State. Today the main and most popular Theo-Political western Christian doctrine is Christian Zionism. Protestant churches and many politicians (such as Ted Cruz) are open and unapologetic Christian Zionists.
We cannot understand what Christian Zionism is truly about without investigating the Scofield Bible, since it is the root of the Christian Zionist heresy. The Scofield Bible is a Reference Bible, meaning that it is not a new bible or another translation but it is a annotated commentary with footnotes in it, similar to the Orthodox Study Bible or any other study bibles. The Scofield Reference Bible was so influential that it also gave a massive surge to other western Christian thought such as Creationism; the Scofield Reference Bible is essentially the root of the modern western American Evangelical thought.
Cyrus Scofield was a man of dubious character. He was appointed as a US District Attorney for Kansas in 1873 and ended up resigning due to rumors of financial corruption, forgeries, questionable bank transactions and so on. Afterwards he abandoned his wife and two daughters forcing his wife to divorce him. In the same year of the divorce (1883), he married Hettie Hall von Wartz; this is just 4 years after he “converted” to evangelical christianity, quite a convincing story of repentance I dare say! He worked hard in the evangelical circles doing missionary work and community building in the late 19th century. For such an relatively insignificant man, it should come as a surprise that he actually managed to get in the Lotos Club, a highly influential club for literary artists, Mark Twain would describe Lotos Club as the “Ace of all clubs”. So how could such a relatively small man manage to get into such a prestigious club? Samuel Untermyer, a Jewish Zionist Criminal Lawyer whom was a forerunner of the International Boycott of Germany had a lot to do with it. After Scofield managed to get into the Lotos Club, his life changed as he started to move onto big projects such as the Scofield Reference Bible which took him several agonizing years where he had to suffer through health problems to complete. Canfield's The Incredible Scofield and His Book talks about (with compelling and substantiative evidence) Cyrus Scofield’s life, and I highly recommend that you read it.
From the history of Cyrus Scofield and his bible, and the connection between him and Samuel Untermyer (Ex-Jewish Catholic convert Benjamin Freedman claims that Woodrow Wilson was blackmailed by Samuel Untermyer), it is obvious to see that someone in a highly influential club as the Lotos Club would have a very easy time getting his book published by another prestigious institution; in this case, the Oxford University Press.
Christian Zionism’s Theological Weakness
It is quite silly to think that Christianity was wrong for 1900 years and one obscure pastor wrote a reference bible and uncovered the ultimate truth within the faith. Unfortunately, most American Christians, particularly the protestants, agree with most of the writings of Cyrus Scofield, particularly that Israel is for the Jews and that Jews are the chosen people of God.
Are Americans (and Scofield) right about Israel being for the Jewish people? Absolutely not! One of the popular arguments from Christian Zionists is citing Genesis 12:1-3:
“Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.”
Christian Zionists believe that Abraham and his seed (which they claim is Jewish) will be blessed and the ones that are against them will be cursed. This is one of those arguments which it is difficult to debunk; not because it is a solid argument but because it is such a weak claim that has numerous holes waiting to be filled with proper knowledge. I will start by talking about how Abraham’s seed are the Hebrews, not Jews only. The word “Jew” comes from the Hebrew noun “Yehudi” which is derived from the name “Judah”; which as anyone with basic level biblical knowledge knows, Judah was only one of the sons of Jacob (who ended up having his name changed to Israel, Genesis 32:28 and Genesis 46:1). Even the Jewish Almanac of 1980 has doubts whether they alone are the Israelites.
Nevertheless, let us assume that Jews are indeed not only one of the sons of Israel, but they are the main son of Israel (since the nation of Judah after the Israel/Judah split ended up assimilating the other tribes), that would still not mean anything at all. Because the blessed seed of Abraham is Christianity. There are various important figures in the New Testament, including Jesus Christ Himself, that support this claim.
In Luke 3:8, John the Baptist says, after rebuking the multitude and calling them “Brood of Vipers”:
“Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.”
Those stones are representing the Gentiles, that are truly the sons of Abraham. What does Paul have to say on this matter? His letters to the Galatians, particularly in Chapter 3, are very cut and clear about this (3:7-9, 3:14, 3:26-29). Paul, just like the Forerunner of Jesus Christ St. John the Baptist, says that the seed of Abraham are the ones that has faith in Jesus Christ. What does Jesus Christ say about whom the seed of Abraham truly is? He affirms the statements of St. John the Baptist and St. Paul. If we read Matthew 21:33-43 we can see that Christ in His parable implies that the vinedressers are the Jews themselves, the servants are the numerous prophets, the Son (whom is the heir) is Jesus Christ, and the owner is the Father, and at the end Jesus -the killed son- will be the chief cornerstone. The irony in this parable is that the Jews themselves decide their own fate when Christ asks them in Matthew 21:40, what the owner of the vineyard would do to those vinedressers. The Jews answer in Matthew 21:41;
“He will destroy those wicked men miserably, and lease his vineyard to other vinedressers who will render to him the fruits in their seasons.”
The Biblical Jews themselves say that the owner (The Father) will lease his vineyard to other vinedressers who will render to him the fruits in their seasons (The Gentiles). Christ concludes this encounter by stating:
“Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a nation bearing the fruits of it.”
St. John the Baptist, St. Paul and Jesus Christ Himself all support the same idea: That the real seed of Abraham are the believers of Jesus Christ. The seed of Abraham is of faith and not of literal seed and this can be easily understood by properly reading Paul’s epistle to Romans and even to the Philippians in 3:3 where he states that “We have no confidence in the flesh”. All of this makes a very strong case that the Jews are not the chosen people of God.
This might be very confusing to some, as the Zionist State calls themselves “Israel”. To the Bible, The Zionist State is “Israel” as much as North Korea is a “Democratic Republic”. St. Paul himself in Romans 9 talks about how the worldly Israel is not Israel anymore. Romans 9:8 affirms that while Jews are the genetical children of Abraham, they are the not children of God nor Abraham at all due to their unbelief.
Some might cite the Old Testament to try to claim that Jews are still the chosen people of God (this is mostly called dual covenant theology and dispensationalists generally believe in dual covenant theology) however, dual covenant theology is not biblically supported courtesy of Hebrews 8:13:
“In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.”
Who is the real Israel? It is the Christian Church, specifically the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church (aka the Orthodox Church today). This claim is strongly supported as St. Paul calls the Church in Galatians 6:16 “the Israel of God”.
Other than looking at the history of Jewish-Christian relations (which is not pleasant at all) we should look at the Talmud itself. Now, as much as I disagree with Steven Anderson and his followers over a lot of theological issues, his comments on Dr. Peter Schäfer’s Book Review of Jesus in the Talmud are incredibly accurate, one passage in the Talmud -which is probably the most scandalous- is that Jesus' punishment is to boil in semen and excrement in the depths of hell. It is quite strange that “Christian” Zionists would support people with such views on Jesus, this would be taking the “turn the other cheek” to the absolute next level.
The 8th Canon of the 7th Ecumenical Council also states the following:
“Since certain, erring in the superstitions of the Hebrews, have thought to mock at Christ our God, and feigning to be converted to the religion of Christ do deny him, and in private and secretly keep the Sabbath and observe other Jewish customs, we decree that such persons be not received to communion, nor to prayers, nor into the Church; but let them be openly Hebrews according to their religion, and let them not bring their children to baptism, nor purchase or possess a slave. But if any of them, out of a sincere heart and in faith, is converted and makes profession with his whole heart, setting at naught their customs and observances, and so that others may be convinced and converted, such an one is to be received and baptized, and his children likewise; and let them be taught to take care to hold aloof from the ordinances of the Hebrews. But if they will not do this, let them in no wise be received.”
The place of (Unbelieving) Jews in Christianity
So where does the Jew belong in relation to Christianity? According to Revelation 2:9 and Revelation 3:9 there are “Jews that claim they are Jews but are not, they are of the synagogue of Satan”. Now one could say that “He is talking about Gentiles pretending to be Jews” but that is not only a massive stretch, it also doesn’t make sense to call them “Synagogue of Satan”, in fact, calling “Fake Jews” the Synagogue of Satan has a heavy implication that they are of a Synagogue, it wouldn’t make sense to call someone that has nothing to do with a Synagogue a “Synagogue of Satan”. Alongside that, the scriptures have a near obsessively heavy focus on who is a real Jew and who is not (such as Romans 2:28-29). This means that the only option remaining is that the Synagogue of Satan is of ethnic unbelieving Jews. So why are they called the Synagogue of Satan? The answer lies in the Gospels.
In Matthew 27:15-26 Pontius Pilate offers Jews to choose between the following to release: Jesus Christ who is the Son of the Father and Barabbas which means “Son of the Father” Seeing that he who sins is of the devil (1 John 3:8) The Jews choose The son of the Devil instead of the Son of God. If this sounds too much like a stretch, Christ Himself says their father is not God, their father is the devil (John 8:37-47). In Matthew 27:25 it is written:
And all the people answered and said, “His blood be on us and on our children.”.
Some bibles (Even the Orthodox Study Bible) claim that this is a blessing since Christ’s blood is a blessing not a curse, but that is to ignore the meaning of what they are saying. They aren’t saying that they want Christ’s literal blood on them and on their race, their meaning is that they are ready to accept and bear the responsibility and the results of their choice to the point of involving their own racial kin. As many Saints, such as St. Paisios the New, states in his amazing book: “Spiritual Counsels I: With Pain and Love for Contemporary Man” curses are very much real to the Jew and Christian alike.
St. John Chrysostom teaches that they acted with tremendous madness, but Christ’s infinite mercy accepts those who repent, as several Jews on the day of the Pentecost as stated in Acts 2:41 repented and became Christians, saving themselves from the curse of their racial kin, unfortunately the majority of the Jewish people still remained as Judaists, whom are cursed.
It should come off as no surprise that Christian Zionists still wonder how their countries are so cursed when all they have been doing is blessing the Jews; no problem at all, if you are Jewish, but I contend that the followers of the New Testament may not wish to do so, and claim to be observant.
Christianity in America has been co-opted and bastardized for political gain. Charlatans such as John Hagee have contributed to the tragic downfall of Christianity in the West, and have led the US Envoy to Israel to claim that Evangelical Christians are firmer backers of Israel than many Jews themselves.