Abstract: This article focuses on the concept of ‘blessing’ Israel that has become common among contemporary American Christian Zionists. After introducing a theological scheme that has dominated discussions of contemporary Christian Zionism, the article critically examines one of the emerging narratives concerning the (re)discovery of Christian Zionists’ Jewish roots and the way the Jewish contribution to Christianity is framed. Following this, the article considers the way Israel and Jews are understood to hold a distinct place in the network of world redemption and how contemporary Israel acts as a marker—what is referred to as a ‘signifier of stability’—that helps Christian Zionists locate God’s ongoing work in the world. Finally, the article discusses how Christian Zionists ‘bless’ Israel in practical ways as a form of submission to God, a reminder of their relationship with God, and a way to locate themselves in the redemptive process.
Abstract: This article argues that discourse used to define and understand Israel by prominent American Christian Zionists is a discourse of national idealisation. Drawing on Durkheim’s (2008) notion of symbols as sources of social solidarity, I argue that this imagined Israel reflects conservative social and military values that are shared among Christian Zionists and their supporters – values which many in this broad category see the United States failing to uphold. Following this, I show how one of America’s most prominent pastors – John Hagee – and his organisation – Christians United for Israel – have taken on the role of a contemporary Jeremiah, criticising the American government for not adequately supporting Israel. This article concludes by considering how Christian Zionists are calling America to renew and align itself with God by ‘blessing’ Israel, and acting like Israel.
Abstract: A great deal of work on contemporary Christian Zionism focuses on the apocalyptic eschatology of premillennial dispensationalism, critiquing it from an idealistic perspective that posits a direct line of causality from “belief” to action. Such critiques frequently assert that since Christian Zionists are biblical literalists, they read apocalyptic texts such as Revelation and Ezekiel with the goal of making the events they find predicted in these books come about in the world. This article takes a different approach. Although many Christian Zionists can be considered “literalists,” they read themselves into the text typologically. Special attention is paid to the book of Esther which is shown not to function primarily in a prophetic or apocalyptic role, but as a tool to help Christian Zionists understand political action, construct identity, and strengthen faith.