Professor George Bush was not a prophet. Yet, if we quote the words of this distinguished 19th-century pioneer of Christian Zionism, we can only marvel at his foresight.
He said of the Jewish people: “The dispersed and downcast remnant shall, one after another, turn their faces to Zion … find their way to the land of their fathers. This will not only benefit the Jews, but all mankind, forming a link of communication between humanity and God.”
Bush asserted this vision long before the activities of the founder of the modern Zionist movement, Theodor Herzl, and before the rise of the Zionist movement among world Jewry.
He began his career as an ordained Presbyterian minister, later becoming a Hebrew and Oriental literature professor at NY University. His Biblical scholarship led him to become solidly convinced of the prophecies foretelling the people of Israel’s return to their land.
In 1844 he published his views in a landmark book entitled “The Valley of Vision; or, The Dry Bones of Israel Revived,” based on the prophecies of Ezekiel in the Bible. Selling more than a million copies in the era before the Civil War, Bush became a national voice calling for restoring the Jewish people to their historic homeland.
This was radical thought for those days in America. But for many others, his writings had a profound impact in shaping their views of the Jews and their homeland, including men of influence like Mark Twain, Abraham Lincoln, Woodrow Wilson, and Teddy Roosevelt. Indeed, Bush himself was a distant ancestor of two US presidents named George Bush many decades later.
Professor George Bush and other courageous voices of Christian Zionism set the stage for America, a century later, to be the first country to embrace the reborn State of Israel and to remain its strongest friend in the decades since.