The Church of Scotland turns against the return of the Jews and Zionism
Does the Church prefer to go along with public opinion and propaganda over the words of the Bible?
May 4, 2013 - Audio, 11.40 MIN
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The Church of Scotland this week issued a report entitled: The inheritance of Abraham? A report on the 'promised land'. The left wing Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz reported this on the Ha'aretz online edition, under the headline, "Church of Scotland: Jews do not have a right to the land of Israel." The story lead in states, "A new church report challenging Jewish historic claims and criticizing Zionism has drawn anger and harsh condemnation from the local Jewish community."
Reading through the report it is apparent that the Church of Scotland doesn't really believe the scriptures and wrests them to suit their purpose. The report says, "There are different meanings attached to “land” in different contexts and in the theological and political agendas of the various authors of the Hebrew Bible." If the Hebrew authors of the Bible wrote according to their own "theological and political agendas", we may as well count the Scriptures as worthless, as far any real value in understanding the truth about God and his purpose. The Apostle Paul in the second letter to Timothy says that, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God..." There isn't any room here for theological and political agendas from the author - unless they are referring to the Almighty himself, who does in fact have a theological and political agenda with the earth!
According to this church, the Bible does not speak as a whole but the message changes as we go along. So the report says that, "The prophetic writings especially were developing a different understanding." This in respect to God fulfilling his promise to Abraham to give him and his seed the land of Israel. One wonders if the authors of the report have ever read the Hebrew prophets! The message is so clear, unified and unmistakable in their plain meaning. Israel will inherit the land, as promised to their fathers and the blessings promised to Abraham will be fulfilled, including other nations being blessed through Israel - which does not do away with Israel itself. Here is a small sampling of some of the words of the prophets:
Jeremiah 30:3 "For, lo, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will bring again the captivity of my people Israel and Judah, saith the LORD: and I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it."
Jeremiah 31:35,36 "Thus saith the LORD, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The LORD of hosts is his name: If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the LORD, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever."
Isaiah 61:9 "And their seed shall be known among the Gentiles, and their offspring among the people: all that see them shall acknowledge them, that they are the seed which the LORD hath blessed."
Ezekiel 36:8-11 "But ye, O mountains of Israel, ye shall shoot forth your branches, and yield your fruit to my people of Israel; for they are at hand to come. For, behold, I am for you, and I will turn unto you, and ye shall be tilled and sown: And I will multiply men upon you, all the house of Israel, even all of it: and the cities shall be inhabited, and the wastes shall be builded: And I will multiply upon you man and beast; and they shall increase and bring fruit: and I will settle you after your old estates, and will do better unto you than at your beginnings: and ye shall know that I am the LORD."
When the church of Scotland gets to the New Testament things keep changing. We are supposed to believe that, "The New Testament contains a radical re-interpretation of the concepts of “Israel”, “temple”, “Jerusalem”, and “land”."
Interestingly all these are essential elements of the kingdom of God which existed in the past. Israel was the nation, the temple the physical and spiritual centre of worship chosen by God, Jerusalem the capital city chosen by God and the land also chosen by God within the territory promised to Abraham. This indeed was the kingdom of God as taught in the scriptures. See for example 1 Chronicles 28:5, where King David says, "And of all my sons, (for the LORD hath given me many sons,) he hath chosen Solomon my son to sit upon the throne of the kingdom of the LORD over Israel."
The report states that: "Jesus gave a new direction and message for the people of God, one which did not feature a special area of land for them."
Is this really so? In fact the opposite is true, Jesus went everywhere preaching the gospel or good news of the kingdom. Mark 1:14 for example. At the end of his ministry Jesus had a special promise and good news for his 12 close followers as is recorded in Matthew 19:28:
"And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel."
In order for the 12 apostles to sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel, the twelve tribes must be restored to their land again and the Lord Jesus Christ will be their king as the angel Gabriel promised at his birth - in some good news for the people of Israel. "He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David" That is the throne we read about in Chronicles.
After Jesus resurrection in the New Testament and his 40 days of teaching about the kingdom (Acts 1:3), his disciples came to him and asked, "Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?" Jesus does not contradict them, but goes on to speak of the timing of these events. Jesus' disciples had only one kingdom of Israel in mind - the one of the Hebrew scriptures and prophets, which king David spoke of in the passage quoted. Later in Acts 3, while Peter is preaching, now possessing the power of the Holy Spirit, his message is the same. Acts 3:20 -21
"And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began."
Here Peter teaches that Jesus would return to the earth and to the Jewish people, at the time of the restoration of all things, which had been spoken by the mouth of all the Hebrew prophets - as we have quoted. The Church of Scotland has departed from the truth and come to despise God's people and land.
Jeremiah 33:24 "Considerest thou not what this people have spoken, saying, The two families which the LORD hath chosen, he hath even cast them off? thus they have despised my people, that they should be no more a nation before them."
Psalm 106:24 "Yea, they despised the pleasant land, they believed not his word"
The sad part is that the Church of Scotland used to be much closer to the truth. The Ha'aretz article says: "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." Further on the Ha'aretz article says: "The report acknowledges the fact that the Church of Scotland was once a believer in the right of the Jews to the ancient land of Israel and a Scottish minister, Alexander Keith, may even have coined the famous phrase: "A land without a people, for a people without a land.""
Alexander Keith wrote a very interesting book called, "Evidence of the Truth of the Christian Religion, Derived from the Literal Fulfilment of Prophecy: Particularly as Illustrated by the History of the Jews and by the Discoveries of Recent Travellers". It would be worthwhile reading for the Church of Scotland. The second edition was published in 1826, before Zionism and the return of the Jews. In an appendix No. I, Alexander comments on "Prophecies concerning the final restoration of the Jews and their return to the land of Israel." After quoting a large number of Old Testament prophecies on the subject, Keith comments:
"These prophecies, exclusive of many others, need no comment. They declare, as clearly as language can, that the Jews shall return to Judea, and be at last permanently re-established in the land of their fathers. The uniform experience of the literal truth of every prediction respecting their past history may suffice to give assurance of the certainty of their predicted restoration."
Further on the Ha'aretz article says: "The report makes much of the fact that Zionism used the Bible as a basis for its claims to Israel but argues that "it is a misuse of the Bible to use it as a topographic guide to settle contemporary conflicts over land.""
Reading a statement like that has an erie ring to it when we recall the words of the prophet Joel, "For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem, I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land."
Not only does the Bible predict the scattering and manner of the dispersion of the Jews, and their restoration, it also prophecies of the conflict that would arise over the land of Israel. The fact is, that it is the hand of God that has brought the Jews back to their land again. To fight against this process is to fight against God and it will only bring misery. The Church of Scotland has drunk deeply from the mixture of propaganda and re-writing of recent history to do with the return of the Jews.
Supporting the return of the Jews to their land, does not mean that one supports everything 6 million Jews do in the land or the policies of governments. The current state of Israel is simply the nucleus or basis from which God will work to re-establish the kingdom of Israel. That kingdom will then rejuvenate the whole planet. Isaiah 27:6
"He shall cause them that come of Jacob to take root: Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit."
Thanks for joining us for Bible in the News, a weekly program on current events and prophecy published at www.bibleinthenews.com. This has been David Billington with you.
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