To end off this blog series on Christian Zionism, I want to offer the following parable.
My wife is a gourmet cook. She is fantastic. Not only that, she loves to cook. I love to eat her cooking, so we have a mutual appreciation thing going on.
One of my favorite foods is a juicy cheeseburger. I typically order one, if the restaurant has a good burger, much to my wife’s chagrin and concern over proper diet.
But let us say that one day, my wife calls me up at work and says that she is promising to fix me a nice, juicy cheeseburger for dinner. Now, I have had a long, hard day, so the expectation of this future meal sounds very inviting. Furthermore, she has now promised to fix me such a burger. So far, so good.
A Parable of the Cheeseburger and the Best Filet Mignon Ever
Suppose I get home, and my wife announces to me that there will be no cheeseburger for me that night.
Suspense enters my mind. What has happened? Did I do something wrong? What is going on? Did my wife mislead me? Doubts enter my mind. But I must be patient, as my wife has not finish speaking.
Instead, my wife had been planning all along to fix me a delicious serving of filet mignon, with all of the trimmings. It will have a succulent potato with it, garnished with the best spices possible. Her announcement is incredible. Wow.
Not only that, but my wife also invited some other wonderful people to come and join the celebration. There would be fun, good fellowship, and lots of chocolate (my super favorite). This would not simply be an isolated meal. It would be a party!! Double-wow!!
Now, I like cheeseburgers, but filet mignon? That is something else. I absolutely LOVE filet mignon. My wife tells me that this filet mignon will be like something I have never tasted before. If I could only imagine the best cheeseburger I have ever had, then I should consider that this delicate, exquisite filet mignon would far exceed anything else. My thoughts of “cheeseburger” were simply meant to foreshadow what my wife originally had planned for me, this incredible filet mignon, to be shared in celebration with good company. If she had told me about the filet mignon festivities at first, I probably would never have believed her. The cheeseburger story was probably all that I could have handled at the time, anyway.
The Cheeseburger Shadow and the Filet Mignon Substance that the Cheeseburger Points Towards
Let me ask you. Would it make any sense for me to look at my wife at that point and say, “Hey, honey, I know that you have fixed me this wonderful filet mignon. I know that you have invited some dear, wonderful people over bearing chocolate and good tidings. But you had promised to fix me a cheeseburger. Are you breaking your promise to me? Can I really trust you?”
What is really odd about so many arguments in favor of Zionism, is that it sounds just like that. So many Christian Zionists I know come across as though they would be really upset if a cheeseburger was not sitting there on the table, waiting for them. The thought of filet mignon would recede to the back of their minds. They would complain that to go ahead and serve filet mignon is like some type of “bait and switch” tactic.
I have even heard it expressed that it would be as though my wife had promised me a cheeseburger, only to give that cheeseburger to someone else she invited over to the house instead, leaving me without dinner. What a sucker I would be!
Here is the way such critics come across to me. If God were to act that way, promising cheeseburger as a way of foreshadowing the eventual fulfillment of filet mignon, it would impugn His reputation. If God had promised the Jews the land of Israel, but then He offers to both Jew and Gentile the new heavens and the new earth, then this would sound more like a “betrayal” than it would a fulfillment of Biblical promises and prophecy. The types and shadows that point toward the truth as revealed in Christ suddenly and oddly loom very large, and very much out of proportion and out of place.
Frankly, such a line of thinking is completely nonsensical to me.
Come to think of it, it sounds down right crazy.
A Place for the Cheeseburger AND the Filet Mignon??
The only way I could possible embrace anything close to it would be as follows: If I were to think to myself that I simply could not believe that she was really preparing me filet mignon, then I might insist on the cheeseburger, for the sake of maintaining trust in my wife’s promises. Surely, she must be joking about the filet mignon!!
My wife would probably be a bit annoyed by my unappreciative response. She had put all of that work in preparing a most excellent meal! But my wife is kind and forbearing. She might, out of compassion, realize that I do not fully appreciate the filet mignon because I have no clue as to what is wonderfully in store for me.
Therefore, she would then most likely drive down to the closest fast food place, and order up a cheeseburger, and then bring it back to me at home, so that I could enjoy that. Or, she could have been even more generous, anticipating the situation, in that she had already prepared a cheeseburger, in addition to the filet mignon, just to make sure there was no confusion or temptation to doubt her trustworthiness in making promises. At that point, she would have kept her promise about the cheeseburger. I would have maintained my confidence in my wife’s integrity. She might just smile, shake her head and say, “Oh ye, of little faith.” Then I could take a bite out of that cheeseburger, before going on and enjoying the filet mignon that was really my destiny.
So, yes, I suppose it is possible that God indeed plans to give the Jews the physical land of the Middle East, as mentioned in the Old Testament, as a fulfillment of His promises. In this way, it would indeed establish and confirm the integrity of God in our minds. There would be no superseding of promises previously made, no unbiblical replacement. Fair enough.
But in doing so, might it not also reveal to us our own failure in having faith in God, that He really has our best interests at heart? Would we not be diminishing His glory, simply because God might fulfill His promises in ways that we would have never expected? We might need to see the land fulfillment. That might just indeed be the case. But God has no need to defend His reputation. His reputation was established on a cross at Calvary.
This is just something to think about. You be the judge as you examine the Bible for yourself.
I am Pretty Hungry Now: What is for Dinner??
I sincerely hope that I would not become so fixated on the cheeseburger that I mistake the types and shadows for the real thing. The promise of the new heavens and the new earth for both Jew and Gentile, fulfilled in Christ, is much, much more glorious than a piece of Middle Eastern real estate, or a chunk of chopped beef. Nevertheless, the reality is that all of us tend to get fixated on the lesser things quite frequently. It is part and parcel of our fallen nature.
Therefore, if running down to Wendy’s is what it takes to help us in the shallowness of our faith, then so be it. If God can use of Zionism, in the sense of God’s eventual plan to restore the land of Israel, as a means to convey to people that God is a God who keeps His promises, then who am I to discourage such a hope? It may not help me, but it may help someone else believe. It might just help ethnic Jews come to believe in the Messiah.
Either way, no matter where you come down on this issue, I hope that we might all rest in this Biblical fact: We have a gracious and merciful God, who in His kindness and forbearance, has made promises to us that He has and will indeed deliver upon, but He might do so in ways that surprise us.
For an overview and complete listing of all of the blog posts in this series on Christian Zionism, start here.