Zionism is a movement that seeks a spiritual and national restoration of Israel, the land of the Jewish people. Specifically, Zionists believe that the Jews have a divine right to the real estate it formerly possessed during the reign of King Solomon, based on the promises that God made to Abraham in the book of Genesis:
“On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, “To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphra’tes, the land of the Ken’ites, the Ken’izzites, the Kad’monites, the Hittites, the Per’izzites, the Reph’aim, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Gir’gashites and the Jeb’usites.” (Gen. 15:18-21).
Zionism is part of a greater eschatological worldview that sees the restoration of Israel as a sign of the end-times (this is often called “Dispensational pre-millennialism”). Christian Zionists believe that, once Israel’s land is restored and its ancient borders are secured, Christ will come again to rule with the Jews in Israel for a millennium. They base their beliefs on the “1,000 years” of Apoc. 20:2-6 (even though this apocalyptic language is only symbolic). During His reign, Christ will appoint 144,000 Jewish leaders to rule with Him over the Gentiles until the end of the world (Apoc. 7:4; 14:1,3).
However, prior to Christ’s earthly reign from Jerusalem, Zionists believe that Gentile Christians who are still living at this time will be secretly taken up into heaven. This will pave the way for the Jews to rule with Jesus for the millennial period. They call this secret taking of Christians up to heaven “The Rapture,” and base this belief on Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians:
“For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, shall not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first; then we who are alive, who are left, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so we shall always be with the Lord” (1 Thess. 4:15-17).
The “rapture” (a word that is not used in Scripture) will supposedly occur in connection with a period of tribulation for the Church (based in part on Dan. 9:27). Some Zionists believe the rapture will occur before the tribulation, and are thus called “pre-tribulation” rapturists. Some believe the rapture will occur during the tribulation (“mid-tribulation” rapturists), and some believe the rapture will take place at the end of the tribulation (“post-tribulation” rapturists).
This schema of events can be summarized as follows:
After the period of tribulation and rapture, Christ and the Jews will rule the Gentiles through an earthly kingdom for 1,000 years. During Christ’s millennial reign, most Zionists believe that there will be a mass conversion of the Jews to Christianity. They base this on Paul’s letter to the Romans, where Paul says “and so all Israel will be saved” (Rom. 11:26; we exegete this passage below). At the end of the millennial period, Christ will bring an end to the world and judge the living and the dead.
Proponents of Zionism view the war in Iraq as fulfilling biblical prophecy. Israel will have an easier time removing Christians and Muslims from Palestine (the land Israel believes is theirs by divine right) if Islamic military forces are weakened or eliminated. The United States military (which happens to be led and advised by many Fundamentalist / Evangelical Christians) is helping to make that happen. A weaker Muslim world means a stronger Israel, and that will help the Israelis secure the land it believes God has promised them (even if they secure it through violence and human slaughter). This, Christian Zionists believe, will usher in the return of Jesus Christ.
Zionism is based on a distorted and erroneous reading of Scripture, and began with the English preacher John Nelson Darby. Zionism was perpetuated in America by Cyrus Scofield during the early 20th century, who published the popular Scofield Reference Bible in 1909. Zionist eschatology is held by most Fundamentalist, Pentecostal, and Evangelical Protestant sects, and is one of the biggest falsehoods ever fabricated about the end times. We will briefly address some of the most obvious problems with Zionism from a biblical perspective below.
1. God does not owe the Jews any land or protection.
Zionism is based on the faulty assumption that God still owes the Jews the land He promised to give to Abraham’s descendants. Scripture, however, teaches that God has already fulfilled His promises to the Jews. For example, regarding the land in question, God says through Joshua:
“Thus the LORD gave to Israel all the land which he swore to give to their fathers; and having taken possession of it, they settled there” (Jos. 21:43).
God also declares through Solomon that all his promises to Israel have been fulfilled:
“Blessed be the LORD who has given rest to his people Israel, according to all that he promised; not one word has failed of all his good promise, which he uttered by Moses his servant” (1 Kings 8:56).
God further says through the prophet Nehemiah that His promise to grant the land to Abraham’s descendants has been fulfilled:
“Thou art the LORD, the God who didst choose Abram and bring him forth out of Ur of the Chalde’ans and give him the name Abraham; and thou didst find his heart faithful before thee, and didst make with him the covenant to give to his descendants the land of the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Per’izzite, the Jeb’usite, and the Gir’gashite; and thou hast fulfilled thy promise, for thou art righteous” (Neh. 9:7-8).
Thus, those who believe that God still owes the Jews land and protection by divine decree deny the plain meaning of Scripture and make God a liar.
In fact, the loss of Israel’s ancient holdings is a sign of God’s divine judgment against the Jews for rejecting His Son, Jesus Christ, their Messiah. God warned Israel in the Old Testament Scriptures:
“But if you turn aside from following me, you or your children, and do not keep my commandments and my statutes which I have set before you, but go and serve other gods and worship them, then I will cut off Israel from the land which I have given them; and the house which I have consecrated for my name I will cast out of my sight; and Israel will become a proverb and a byword among all peoples. And this house will become a heap of ruins; everyone passing by it will be astonished, and will hiss; and they will say, `Why has the LORD done thus to this land and to this house?’ Then they will say, `Because they forsook the LORD their God who brought their fathers out of the land of Egypt, and laid hold on other gods, and worshiped them and served them; therefore the LORD has brought all this evil upon them.’” (1 Kings 9:6-9).
Scripture is clear that God owes the Jews nothing more, and suggests that the Jews are suffering the ramifications of rejecting Jesus Christ. They have been “broken off” of the root of Christ “because of their unbelief” (Rom. 11:19-20). However, Paul says that the Jews can be grafted in again, “if they do not persist in their unbelief,” for God has the power to do so (Rom. 11:23).
We should also note that the Old Covenant that God entered into with the Jews has been superseded by the New Covenant of Christ (the Church calls this doctrine “supercessionism”). This happened the moment that God tore the curtain of the Jewish Temple in two (Matt. 27:51). When we speak of the “Old Covenant,” we are referring to the “Mosaic covenant,” that is, the law that God gave the Jews through Moses (see 2 Cor. 3:14). We are not referring to the Abrahamic covenant which, because it was based on grace through faith, was incorporated into the New Covenant of Christ. This is why Paul says that Abraham is the father of the children of the New Covenant (see Rom. 4:16; 9:7; Gal. 3:29; James 2:21; see also Gal. 3:9,14,16,18).
The only place where the phrase “Old Covenant” is used in the New Testament is in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, and Paul says that “through Christ it is taken away” (see 2 Cor. 3:14). Referring to the abrogation of the Old Covenant, Paul tells the Hebrews that “a former commandment is set aside because of its weakness and uselessness” (Heb. 7:18). The phrase “set aside” (from the Greek aphetesis) means to annul. Again, referring to the Old Covenant, Paul says “He abolishes the first in order to establish the second” (Heb. 10:9). The word “abolish” (from the Greek anaireo) means to abrogate or destroy. Paul uses very specific language to teach that the Old Covenant has been rendered null and void by the New Covenant of Jesus Christ (see also Heb. 8:7).
This means that the Jews are no longer in a saving covenant with God until they renounce Judaism and are baptized into Jesus Christ. The Catholic Church has affirmed this fact throughout her history (e.g., the Council of Florence; the Council of Trent; Second Vatican Council, Pius XII’s Mystici Corporis). Thus, even though the Second Vatican Council affirmed a person’s civil (but not moral) right to religious liberty, it taught that the Church must preach the gospel to the Jews, as she does to everyone else (Nostra Aetate, 23).
2. The Rapture is not a secret event.
Zionists believe that Christians who are living right before Christ comes to rule for the 1,000 year period will be secretly taken up into heaven (although they differ on whether this will happen before, during or after the tribulation period that precedes the millennium). Because Zionists believe the rapture will be secret, it will be accompanied by confusion since unbelievers won’t understand what is going on.
However, the very Scripture passages that Protestants use to advance the “rapture” theory say something quite different about the phenomenon. It says that the rapture will be no secret event, but will be accompanied by the Lords own “cry of command” from heaven, with the “archangel’s call,” and with “the sound of the trumpet of God” (1 Thess. 4:16).
These cries, calls and trumpet blasts will be no secret to anyone, living or dead. In fact, these events will literally “wake the dead,” for they will inaugurate the consummation of the world and the resurrection of all people at the end of time. For Protestants to argue that the rapture will be a secret event is plainly refuted by Scripture.
3. The Rapture occurs after the Resurrection on the last day.
Recall that Zionists believe that the rapture will occur before the millennial reign of Christ (either before, during or after the seven-year tribulation). After the rapture, Christ will rule from Jerusalem for 1,000 years. Thus, Zionists separate the rapture from the end of the world by 1,000 to 1,007 years. The end of the world will immediately follow the millennial period, at which time Jesus will raise the living and the dead.
The Scriptures, however, say that the rapture occurs coincident with the end of the world, not a millennium before the end of the world. Again, turning to the “rapture” passage in 1 Thessalonians, Paul says: “For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, shall not precede those who have fallen asleep” (v.15). In other words, those Christians living at the time of the “rapture” are not taken first.
Instead, “the dead in Christ will rise first; then we who are alive, who are left, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air” (vv.16-17). These passages clearly teach that the resurrection of the dead precedes the rapture. Therefore, to know when the rapture occurs, we must first know when the resurrection of the dead occurs.
Scripture teaches that the resurrection of the dead occurs on the “last day” of the world (John 6:39, 40, 44, 54; 11:24; 12:48). Because the resurrection of the dead occurs on the “last day” of the world, and the rapture follows the resurrection, this means that the rapture also occurs on the “last day” (there can be no day after the “last day”). Since the rapture occurs on the “last day,” it cannot occur on any other day (that is, there is no “pre-millennial” rapture).
4. The Rapture is the raising of the righteous and the unrighteous at the same time.
As we have seen, the Zionist / Rapture eschatology holds that believing Gentile Christians will be taken up into heaven before the millennial reign of Christ to clear the way for the Jews. Christ will then choose 144,000 Jewish evangelists to rule with Him from an earthly kingdom in Jerusalem for 1,000 years. This reign will bring about a mass conversion of the Jews by the end of the millennium period.
But we have already seen that the “rapture” occurs on the “last day” (John 6), and immediately follows the resurrection of the dead (1 Thess. 4:16-17). This necessarily means that the righteous and the unrighteous will be raised at the same time, because there is no day that can follow the “last day” where the unrighteous could be raised.
Scripture, of course, confirms this conclusion. In John 5:28-29, the Lord Jesus says:
“Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come forth, those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment.”
Jesus says that the resurrection will occur at “the hour” (v.28). This is the same as saying the resurrection will occur on the “last day” because an hour is part of one day, and that is the “last day” per John 6, 11 and 12. Jesus also says that “all who are in the tombs will hear his voice” (v.28). This follows Paul’s teaching on the resurrection/rapture event when he says that the Lord will descend from heaven with “a cry of command,” and the “dead in Christ will rise first” (1 Thess. 4:16).
Finally, Jesus is clear that at this “hour” both those who have done good and those who have done evil will rise at the same time. The good will be raised to life, and the evil will be raised to judgment. There is simply no exegetical basis for inserting a millennial period between the resurrection of the just and the resurrection of the unjust. Jesus says that the resurrection happens at “the hour,” when “all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come forth.” Thus, Scripture teaches that the rapture of the living occurs coincident with the resurrection of all of the dead, both the good and the evil, at the same time, on the last day of the world.
5. The Zionist / Rapturist eschatology requires “three comings of Christ.”
The Protestant scheme of a rapture preceding the millennium and final coming requires “three” comings of Christ. First, Christ came at the Incarnation. Second, Christ would come at the “rapture.” Third, Christ will come at the end of the world.
This scheme is absolutely false and contradicts the perennial teachings of the Church. It is also refuted by Sacred Scripture. For example, Paul says in his letter to the Hebrews:
“And just as it is appointed for men to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him” (Heb. 9:27-28).
Paul says that Christ will “appear a second time.” This second appearance of Christ is nothing short of His second and final appearance at the end of the world, when He will judge the living and the dead. Paul draws a parallel between our death and Christ’s death, and our judgment and Christ’s second appearance. Following the literary parallel, Christ’s second appearance is the very moment of our “judgment,” for Christ is the “lawgiver and judge” (James 4:2; 5:9).
Because this Second Coming of Christ refers to the end of the world, Christ will no longer “deal with sin” because He will have already rendered His judgments upon the wicked. In other words, at Christ’s second and final coming, the fate of all humanity will be sealed. For those who have done evil, it will be too late to repent.
The Scriptures are clear: When Christ comes again, it will be His second and final coming at the end of the world. On this “last day” and at this “hour,” Christ will judge the living and the dead. The righteous will be raised to eternal life, and the unrighteous will be raised to judgment and eternal punishment.
6. Scripture does not teach a “future mass conversion of the Jews.”
Because Christian Zionists believe that Christ will set up an earthly kingdom in Jerusalem and reign with the Jews for 1,000 years, they believe that this will bring about a mass conversion of the Jewish people to Christ before the end of the world. They base this belief primarily on Paul’s letter to the Romans, where Paul says “all Israel will be saved.” Here are the relevant passages in full:
“I want you to understand this mystery, brethren: a hardening has come upon part of Israel, until the full number of the Gentiles come in, and so all Israel will be saved; as it is written, “The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob” “and this will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins” (Rom. 11:25-27).
There are obvious problems with the Zionistic interpretation of Paul’s statements.
First, Paul is not speaking about a future millennial reign of Christ from Jerusalem that precedes the end of the world. No such thing is mentioned either in Romans 11 or any where else in Scripture. Paul is also not speaking about a future conversion of the Jews. Instead, he is speaking about the present conversion of the Jews. How do we know this?
Because Paul is focused solely on the Jews’ present (not future) condition in Romans 11, specifically, their current hardness of heart. Paul tells them that they were the natural branches that were broken off because of their unbelief, but they can be grafted back in again if they do not persist in their unbelief (v.17-23). In other words, Paul is saying that if the Jews change their present condition (hardness of heart and unbelief), then this will result in their present conversion (not a future, en masse conversion of yet-to-be-born descendants).
The Jews needed to hear Paul’s message because they began to think that God had forsaken them (after all, God tore their Temple curtain in two, and Paul was now telling them that their Jewish works of law could only condemn them, not save them). Paul explains that, even though God has abrogated the Old Covenant, He has not rejected the Jewish people. Paul says in verses 1-2, “Has God rejected His people? By no means!…God has not rejected His people whom he foreknew.”
Thus, Paul’s whole point in Romans 11 is to teach the Jews that they have salvation, here and now, not in the Old Covenant of works, but in the New Covenant of grace (v.6). Paul even says that the purpose of his mission to the Romans was to “make my fellow Jews jealous, and thus save some of them” (v.14). Paul is talking about saving the Jews of his day, and never refers to some fuzzy event in the distant future when God will suddenly effect a miraculous, universal conversion of their offspring. What good would that do for the Jews who lived during the Church age? God doesn’t work that way. God wants to save the Jews now.
Zionists read Romans 11:25-27 with futuristic glasses to make the passages conform to their pre-millennial eschatology, but nothing in the text warrants such a reading. Many read into the text a sequential ordering of conversions based on Paul’s presentation of: (1) a hardening has come upon Israel; (2) “until” the full number of the Gentiles comes in; (3) and “so” all Israel will be saved. Based on the words “until” (regarding the Gentiles’ conversion), and “so,” often translated as “then” (regarding the Jews’ conversion), Zionists see the Jews’ conversion coming after all the Gentiles are saved, which will be at the end of time.
But Paul is not speaking about the timing of the conversions; he is speaking about the manner of the conversions. When Paul says “and so all Israel will be saved,” the Greek word for “so” (houtos) is an adverb which means “in the same manner,” and modifies the verb “will be saved.” Thus, houtos describes how Israel will be saved, not when Israel will be saved. In certain Protestant translations, “so” is erroneously translated as “then,” which contributes to the confusion and Zionist bias of a future conversion.
Paul explains the manner in which God will save the Jews: “So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace” (Rom. 11:5). That is, Paul says that a “remnant” of Jews will be saved by “grace.” Paul calls this a “mystery” (v.25) because, even though the Jews appear entirely cut off from God, God is still saving a remnant of them by grace. Why does Paul emphasize the manner in which God is saving the Jews (via remnant and grace)? Paul does this for a couple of important reasons.
First, the Jews had wrongly believed that they were saved by the Mosaic “works of law.” In Romans 11:6 and elsewhere, Paul teaches them that they are saved by grace and not works of law. In using the word houtos, Paul connects the manner in which the Jews are saved in verse 26 to the manner in which the Gentiles are saved in verse 25. Paul does this to show that, as the Gentiles are saved through the grace of the New Covenant, “so” (in the same manner) the Jews are saved as well. This would have been especially striking to devout Jews, since the Gentiles were being saved but were never under the Mosaic law. Paul is teaching that both Jews and Gentiles are saved in the same manner (by grace, not works of law), as they are now one in the New Covenant (see Gal. 3:28-29).
Second, Paul is emphasizing that the Jews had a bad track record with God, which is why God is saving only a “remnant” of them. This is why Paul mentions that in Elijah’s time only 7,000 of out of ten million Jews didn’t bend the knee to Baal (v.4). In emphasizing the “remnant,” Paul is urging the Jews to repentance. He wants to change the course of events. Paul says that “if they do not persist in their unbelief, they will be grafted back in” (v.23). Since Paul says “if” they don’t persist in unbelieving, the Jews’ conversion is not a given; for Paul, it is still an open question. Because God is saving a “remnant” of the Jews, Paul says he is trying to “save some of them” (v. 14). Paul’s teaching is consistent with Isaiah’s prophecy: “For though your people Israel be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will return” (Isaiah 10:22; see Rom. 9:27).
Why will only a remnant return? Because Israel will persevere in their rejection of the Messiah throughout history. When Paul says “until” the fullness of the Gentiles comes in, the Greek for “until” (achri hou) in Romans 11:26 generally continues the action of the main verb (here, the hardening of Israel; see, for example, 1 Cor. 15:25; Apoc. 2:25). That being the case, the Jews will be hardened until the full number of the Gentiles comes in, which is at the end of time. This would mean that the Jews will be hardened until the end of time. In fact, when Christ comes at the end of the world, John says that the “tribes of the earth will wail on account of him whom they pierced” (Apoc. 1:7). This is the wailing of fear and judgment, not mass conversion. As Isaiah says, “only a remnant of them will return” (Isaiah 10:22).
We dare not prognosticate about how many Jews (or Gentiles) will be saved versus lost, for this is in our Lord’s hands. But there is nothing in Romans 11 or elsewhere about a “mass” conversion of Jews (Paul and Isaiah say only a “remnant”). There is also nothing about a “future” conversion of Jews (Paul is speaking only of the Jews of the “present time”). We can only conclude that the cumulative total of Jews chosen by grace as a remnant constitutes the “all Israel” that will be saved. As such, “all Israel” would be the elect of the Jews. Alternatively, “all Israel” could also be viewed as the sum total of both Jews and Gentiles who will be saved. This is an equally plausible interpretation, since the Church is the new “Israel of God” (cf. Gal. 6:16; Lumen Gentium 2,9; Ad Gentes 1,5; this view was also advanced by Augustine and Theodoret).
Even if, as some argue, the Greek “until” (achri hou) in Romans 11:26 does not continue the action of the main verb regarding Israel’s hardening (which is possible; see Gal. 4:19-20; Apoc. 7:2-3), this would not demonstrate that there will be a mass conversion of the Jews in the future. It would just mean that the hardening upon Israel will cease to the extent that a remnant of the Jews can be saved.
Some Zionists also try to push the conversion of the Jews into the future because Paul says that “Israel will be saved” in connection with the “Deliverer coming from Zion” (v. 26). Paul says that this Deliverer will “banish ungodliness from Jacob,” establish his “covenant,” and “take away their sins” (v.27). Zionists view the Deliverer as Jesus Christ who comes a second time to reign with the Jews during the millennium. Once again, this is a complete distortion of Scripture.
In Romans 11:26, Paul is quoting from Isaiah 59:20, which says nothing about a millennial reign of the Messiah at the end of time, and certainly nothing about a future national and spiritual restoration of Israel. Isaiah is writing about God’s anger against Israel for their sins, and how He is going to send the Deliverer to forgive their sins if they repent. Isaiah goes on to mention that the Deliverer will establish “my covenant with them” (v.21).
God establishes His New Covenant at the First Coming of Christ, not the Second Coming. As we have seen with Hebrews 9:27-28, when Christ comes the second and final time, He will not come to establish a covenant or forgive sin. He will come to judge sin according to the covenant He has already established at His First Coming.
Thus, Romans 11:25-27 must be read in the context of Christ’s First Coming, not a future, pre-millennial, second appearance before the end of the world. Jesus is the Deliverer who comes from Zion to establish the New Covenant with His Incarnation. Just as Isaiah said that the Deliverer will “banish ungodliness from Jacob,” so Gabriel tells Mary at the Annunciation that Christ would “reign over the house of Jacob” (Luke 1:33). Just as Isaiah said the Deliverer will “take away sins,” so Zechariah says that Jesus would grant “the forgiveness of sins” (Luke 1:77). Just as Jeremiah (who Paul quotes in Romans 11:27) said that God will establish his “covenant” with the Jews, Zechariah says that God has remembered “his holy covenant” in Christ (Luke 1:72). All these parallels, and many more, are only understood in the context of the First Coming of Christ.
Out of the 100 or so prominent Church Fathers, I have discovered less than a dozen who actually wrote about a conversion of the Jews at the end of time (Jerome, Cyril of Alexandria, Augustine, Gregory the Great, John Chrysostom, and John Damascene; there are also some brief remarks from Thomas Aquinas and Robert Bellarmine). There may be more, but it is safe to say that there is no patristic consensus on the question of a future conversion. Moreover, none of the Church Fathers ever wrote about a national or spiritual restoration of Israel.
The few Fathers who addressed the issue of a future conversion of the Jews often equivocated about whether there would be large-scale conversion beyond the normal quota that God is saving through a remnant. The Fathers who touched upon this subject do not provide any in-depth exegesis of Romans 11:25-27 (of course, the Church has never given an official interpretation either). There is no compelling patristic evidence that supports an extraordinary, en masse conversion of the Jewish people at the end of time, and certainly nothing to support the belief that this would occur during or after some earthly, millennial reign of Christ before His final coming.
Indeed, if there were a consensus of the Fathers on the interpretation of Romans 11:25-27, we would be bound to follow it (Council of Trent, Vatican I). This is because a consensus indicates the teaching has apostolic origins. However, where there is not a consensus, the Church teaches us to follow the literal and obvious sense of the Scriptures (Leo XIII, Providentissimus Deus). Therefore, a future conversion of the Jewish people is, at best, an open question. It certainly could happen, but this can’t be demonstrated from Scripture. It is more consistent with Scripture to believe that God is saving the Jews currently, who accept Jesus Christ, “in the same manner” as the Gentiles, that is, through the grace of the New Covenant.
The Church has condemned pre-millennial eschatology which was previously known as Chiliasm. Although Chiliasm was discredited by the early Church during the first few centuries of her existence, pre-millennialism came back in the 19th and 20th centuries with the wave of Protestant evangelicalism. As a result, the Holy Office, on July 21, 1944 under Pope Pius XII, decreed:
“In recent times on several occasions this Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office has been asked what must be thought of the system of mitigated Millenarianism, which teaches, for example, that Christ the Lord before the final judgment, whether or not preceded by the resurrection of the many just, will come visibly to rule over this world. The answer is: The system of mitigated Millenarianism cannot be taught safely” (Denzinger 2296).
The traditional Catholic view is that the millennium of Apocalypse 20 began with the First Coming of Christ. This view holds that the “rapture” occurs at the Second Coming of Christ, which is the end of the world. At this time, both the living and the dead, will be resurrected – the righteous to eternal life, and the unrighteous to eternal punishment. Because there is no millennial period between the Church age and the end of the world, the Catholic and Scriptural view is often called the “amillennial” view. This view was held by Jerome, Augustine, Ambrose, John Chrysostom, Gregory of Nyssa, Rufinus, Venerable Bede, Justin Martyr, Eusebius, Theodoret and Aquinas.
Zionism’s belief in a restoration of Temple worship and sacrifice in Jerusalem during the millennium is not only anti-Scriptural, it is anti-Christian. Paul repeatedly condemned the observance of Jewish rituals throughout his epistles (Romans, Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians). The Church has also declared that any observance of the Jewish law is “alien to the Christian faith and not in the least fit to participate in eternal salvation” (Council of Florence).
In fact, the 1911 Catholic Encyclopedia stated that the future Antichrist would be “of Jewish extraction, from the tribe of Dan,” and the 1936 edition stated that he would “rebuild Jerusalem and the Jewish Temple, in which he will set himself up as God.” Paul warned us of this very event when he said “the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God” (2 Thess. 2:3-4.
In summary, Zionism is an anti-Catholic movement that attempts to remove the Church as the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies, and the only authoritative voice for interpreting these prophecies. By turning Scripture into a wax nose for their own political and religious fantasies, Zionists make the Jews and Israel, and not the New Testament Church, the focus of God’s divine plan. Zionism is blatantly false and has no basis in Sacred Scripture or Tradition.