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Israel in Contemporary Evangelical Christian Millennial Thought

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Abstract Israel and the Jewish people play a central role in the millennial thought of evangelical Christians. Drawing on older Christian messianic elements, as well as introducing new concepts, evangelicals have looked upon the Jews as historical Israel and at Palestine as ground zero of End-Times millennial events. Beginning in the nineteenth century, evangelicals have become actively involved in attempts to build a Jewish commonwealth in Palestine. They have looked upon the building of a Jewish state as a “sign of the time,” an indication that the current era is ending and the messianic events are about to occur. Especially in the aftermath of the 1967 war, evangelicals have become ardent supporters of Israel, turning in effect into a pro-Israel lobby in Washington and, at times, in other capitals too. Although evangelical Christians are engaged in extensive missionary work among Jews, an unprecedented cooperation has developed between groups of evangelicals and Orthodox-nationalist Jews. Among the mutual projects is the attempt to build the Temple in Jerusalem in preparation for the events preceding the arrival of the Messiah to earth.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Religious Studies, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chapel Hill, NC 27599–3225, USA yariel@email.unc.edu

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