A report by the Church of Scotland, published this week, denies any special privilege for the Jewish people in the land of Israel. The church, which in recent years has jettisoned its once philosemitic character, opened a wide rift with the Scottish Jewish community with the report. Among other controversial statements, the report argues that, "Christians should not be supporting any claims by Jews, or any other people, to an exclusive or even privileged divine right to possess particular territory."
EOZ has already noted the inherent problems in that the authors of the report basically know little and twist verses. More at this JC blog.
This follows a pattern of the past few years (see me here; and also here).
The conclusion reads:
From this examination of the various views in the Bible about the relation of land to the people of God, it can be concluded that Christians should not be supporting any claims by Jewish or any other people, to an exclusive or even privileged divine right to possess particular territory. It is a misuse of the Bible to use it as a topographic guide to settle contemporary conflicts over land. In the Bible, God’s promises extend in hope to all land and people. Focussed [sic] as they are on the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, these promises call for a commitment in every place to justice in a spirit of reconciliation.
As far as I can see, they ignore the entire corpus of "מצוות התלויות בארץ" - commandments that are dependent on the Land of Israel.
Here is a source from the Conservative stream.
Not only do these Presbyterians misinterpret text, ignore texts - Jewish and Christian - and seem not to know much, but they use the same paradigms they oppose Jews using to justify Jewish nationalism.
Just one example:
God’s promises extend in hope to all land and people
True. But how?
Here's Isaiah's prophecy, Chapter 2:
2 And it shall come to pass in the end of days, that the mountain of the LORD'S house shall be established as the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. 3 And many peoples shall go and say: 'Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths.' For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 4 And He shall judge between the nations, and shall decide for many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
That "house" is the Temple. It will be in Jerusalem, Zion. It will be rebuilt. And more in Chapter 56:
1 Thus saith the LORD: Keep ye justice, and do righteousness; for My salvation is near to come, and My favour to be revealed. 2 Happy is the man that doeth this, and the son of man that holdeth fast by it: that keepeth the sabbath from profaning it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil. 3 Neither let the alien, that hath joined himself to the LORD, speak, saying: 'The LORD will surely separate me from His people'; neither let the eunuch say: 'Behold, I am a dry tree.'
4 For thus saith the LORD concerning the eunuchs that keep My sabbaths, and choose the things that please Me, and hold fast by My covenant: 5 Even unto them will I give in My house and within My walls a monument and a memorial better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting memorial, that shall not be cut off. 6 Also the aliens, that join themselves to the LORD, to minister unto Him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be His servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from profaning it, and holdeth fast by My covenant: 7 Even them will I bring to My holy mountain, and make them joyful in My house of prayer; their burnt-offerings and their sacrifices shall be acceptable upon Mine altar; for My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples. 8 Saith the Lord GOD who gathereth the dispersed of Israel: Yet I will gather others to him, beside those of him that are gathered. 9 All ye beasts of the field, come to devour, yea, all ye beasts in the forest.
Yes, there is harmony and due consideration for all peoples but it takes place only when the sovereignty of Israel as God's selected people are reestablished in our homeland, our territorial, topographical, geographical Land of Israel, the same Land of Israel where a certain Jesus was born:
So Joseph got up and returned to the land of Israel with Jesus and his mother.
The land is real, and so is the shame of the non-Jewish nations, as in Ezekiel 36:
7 therefore thus saith the Lord GOD: I have lifted up My hand: Surely the nations that are round about you, they shall bear their shame. 8 But ye, O mountains of Israel, ye shall shoot forth your branches, and yield your fruit to My people Israel; for they are at hand to come. 9 For, behold, I am for you, and I will turn unto you, and ye shall be tilled and sown; 10 and I will multiply men upon you, all the house of Israel, even all of it; and the cities shall be inhabited, and the waste places shall be builded; 11 and I will multiply upon you man and beast, and they shall increase and be fruitful; and I will cause you to be inhabited after your former estate, and will do better unto you than at your beginnings; and ye shall know that I am the LORD.
And the action plans of these Scots are so:
Refute claims that scripture offers any peoples a privileged claim for possession of a particular
Note that the current situation is characterised by an inequality in power and therefore reconciliation can only be possible if the Israeli military occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and the blockade of Gaza, are ended, and on that basis encourage all parties and the international community to renew peace negotiations.
Instruct the C&S Council to publicise resources to encourage wide discussion of the report The Inheritance of Abraham and its concluding principles.
Encourage the appropriate committees in Presbyteries to consider the report The Inheritance of Abraham and bring it to the notice of their Presbytery.
Urge the UK Government and the European Union to do all that is within their power to ensure that human rights are respected in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
Urge the UK Government and the European Union to do all that is within their power to ensure that international law is upheld in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
Urge the UK Government and the European Union to use pressure to stop further expansion of Israeli settlements in the Occupied West Bank.
This is an "evil" from which Christians should be staying away.
The arrogance of telling the Jewish people how to interpret Jewish texts and Jewish theology is breathtaking. It is hardly surprising that the Church has this year departed from its long-standing practice of engaging in dialogue with the Jewish Community, because it claims to know Judaism better than we do. Meanwhile it recently sponsored a conference organised by someone whose website promotes Holocaust denial and the antisemitic forgery The Protocols of the Elders of Zion - but it claims to want to act as a peacemaker in the Middle East! Sadly, this document makes that impossible, and closes the door on meaningful dialogue. On behalf of the Jewish Community of Scotland, we call upon the Church to withdraw it from the forthcoming General Assembly. If the Church cannot build bridges, can it at least refrain from burning them?
Oh, and note, ironically:
In 1839, the Church of Scotland sent Andrew Bonar, Robert Murray M'Cheyne, Alexander Black and Alexander Keith on a mission to report on the condition of the Jews in their land. Their report was widely published and was followed by a "Memorandum to Protestant Monarchs of Europe for the restoration of the Jews to Palestine." In August 1840, The Times reported that the British government was considering Jewish restoration.