By Mike Evans
Christian Zionism appears to be a new phenomenon in Israel, but in reality, it played a key role in the rebirth of the State of Israel.
In 1844 a Christian Zionist and professor of Hebrew at New York University named George Bush (a distant relative of our 41st and 43rd presidents) wrote a book called The Valley of Vision; or the Dry Bones of Israel Revived. This amazing book is based on Professor Bush’s study of the prophecies of Ezekiel 37. More than fifty years before Theodor Herzl convened the first World Zionist Congress and called for the rebirth of Israel, and more than one hundred years before Israel was reborn, George Bush wrote, based on his study of Scripture, that the prophetic Word of God would be fulfilled!
He described it as: “A final recall of the Jewish race from their prolonged dispersion among the nations, and their reinstatement in the land of their covenanted heritage…. The announcements bear nothing more unequivocally on their face, than that this reestablishment in the land of Canaan shall be final and permanent.”
Thirty-four years later, in 1878, another bestselling book was written on the restoration of Israel. It was entitled Jesus is Coming Soon by William Blackstone. It sold more than a million copies and was more scripture than commentary. It listed hundreds of biblical passages on why Israel would be restored. It was translated into forty-eight languages, including Hebrew. At that time, only twenty percent of the 2.5 million Jews living in the United States belonged to any type of Zionist organization.
Blackstone ultimately wrote a declaration and went on to present a memorial entitled “Palestine for the Jews.” It became known as the Blackstone Memorial. He gathered 413 signatures of prominent Americans—mayors of Chicago, Baltimore, New York City, and Philadelphia, John D. Rockefeller, J. P. Morgan, William McKinley (who would become the 25th president), Cyrus McCormick, publishers of several major newspapers including the New York Times, Supreme Court Justice Melville Fuller, and Speaker of the House T. B. Reed. Blackstone presented his memorial to President Benjamin Harrison and every president through President Harry Truman. It called for a conference to discuss the possibilities of a Jewish homeland.
Blackstone’s memorial was written five years before the father of modern-day Zionism, Theodor Herzl, published his book, The Jewish State and founded the Jewish Zionist Movement. When Blackstone discovered that Herzl’s book was practical, not political or prophetic, he marked all the prophecies of the Old Testament concerning Israel’s rebirth in a Bible and sent it to Herzl. Blackstone informed Herzl that his proposal to have a Jewish state in Argentina, Uganda or another country was unacceptable; it had to be in the promised land of Palestine with Jerusalem as its capital. Blackstone so greatly influenced Herzl that the Bible containing those prophecies is displayed at Herzl’s tomb in Israel.
As shocking as it may seem, the vast majority of Zionists today are not Jewish. The Christian Zionist movement globally numbers in the millions. The conspiracy theorists who have blamed the Jewish lobby in the United States for its pro-Israel foreign policy are delusional. The truth is that the Jewish population in the U.S. is not any larger than the Muslim population.
Dr. Mike Evans is the author of The Candidate, a new fiction book to be released on March 15 at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center in Jerusalem.