The New Testament, an historical document written in the 1st century AD, refers to the land of Jesus as ‘the land of Israel” (Matthew 2:20-21). That designation was alleged to have been said not by man, but by an angel of the Lord. There is no reference anywhere whatsoever to Palestine or a land of Palestine. And yet a very modern designation has been added to the lexicon of absurdities, saying “Jesus was a Palestinian,” of course by that new group of people calling themselves Palestinians. The term Palestine was only later given to Israel by the Romans after their destruction of Jerusalem, that word coming from the Philistines (Plishtim, meaning invaders), the traditional enemies and nemesis of Israel.
Yeshua, his actual name which was translated later to the Greek as Yesous, then to Jesus in English, was born in Bethlehem of Judah, as was King David. Judah is the word from which is derived the word Jew. Yeshua, a descendant of King David of the tribe of Judah, is referred to numerous times as a Jew- the king of the Jews, the lion of the tribe of Judah, and he referred to himself thus, “We Jews know what we worship, because salvation is of the Jews.” (John 4:22). It is a far stretch of the truth to say “Jesus was a Palestinian.” A native-born Jew in Israel is called a Sabra, and Yeshua was born, lived, and died in Israel. His mother, Miriam, was Jewish. Jesus was an Israeli, and in that he is alleged to have risen from death and yet lives, he is an Israeli.
But is he a Zionist? The New Testament describes his work and mission in part as Paul tells us, “For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the Jews on behalf of God’s truth, so that the promises made to the patriarchs might be confirmed” (Romans 15:8). The “fathers” are Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to whom the promise of the land of Israel was made by promise and covenant (Genesis 17:1-8; Psalm 105: 5-11 Deut. 30:4-5; Ezekiel 36, etc.), and Yeshua did not come in any way to abolish those promises, “For all the promises of God in him are Yes, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God” (2 Corinthians 1:20). He came to confirm those promises.
Zion is the term in the Bible describing the land of Israel, and more specifically Jerusalem. The Hebrew word Zion (Tsiyon) refers to a mark, or a place marked, in this case being where God would cause His name to dwell (Deut. 12:5, 11; 16:6; 26:2; Nehemiah 1:9; Jeremiah 7:12). That name, which is YHVH, is literally found in the Hebrew word Judah (Yehuda), with the addition of one letter. The land of Judah contains the biblical cities of Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Hebron and Beersheba (where Abraham lived). Yeshua, who is called the son of YHVH, and His ultimate messenger, carries those same promises to the Jewish people of the permanent ownership of the Land of Israel. Though that custodianship would be based upon conditions of adherence to the laws of YHVH, and the promise of punishment of transgression by exile from the land, yet the promise of their return is confirmed by virtually all the prophets of the Bible.
The very last issue on the minds of Yeshua’s disciples immediately prior to his ascension from the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem was, “Will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6). His answer in no way refuted their question or the fact of that restoration, but dealt with the “when” of the question, responding, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth”(Acts 1:7-8). It is written that the same Yeshua will return to Jerusalem, and “On that day his feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives that lies before Jerusalem on the east” (Zechariah 14:4). And Paul adds, “that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved” (Romans 11: 25-26).
To the dismay of many, and the delight of others, the Jews have returned to Zion. The soon return of the Messiah as the King of the Jews may seem perhaps a not illogical following conclusion.