Book Notes: Burge, “Whose Land? Whose Promise?”

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Most Relevant Audience: Anyone interested in Palestinian-Israel conflict, holy land theology, end-times/eschatology, Christian ethics, solidarity, social justice.

Date: 7/6/2019

Gary M Burge. Whose Land? Whose Promise? (Cleveland, OH: The Pilgrim Press, 2003), p.

 

“Since 1998, 531 Arab villages have been either destroyed by bulldozers or occupied by Israeli residents despite U.N resolutions calling for the rightful return of these homes and lands to their Arab owners. According to UN records in June 1999, 3.6 million Palestinian refugees are the victims of Israeli nationhood.” – p. x

Who owns Halhoul? Should the Arab residents who have lived there for countless centuries be displaced based on a promise given to Joshua?” – p. x

“How do I celebrate the birth of this nation Israel when I also mourn the suffering of Arab Christians who are equally my brothers and sisters in Christ?” – p. xiv

“Three principles must be held together in order to build a long lasting peace in the region.” – p xvii

  1. Israeli Security – Israel has the right to exist as a nation.
  2. Palestinian Displacement – “need to be reassured that, indeed, a self-sustaining homeland will be theirs.” – Also must reject “government-sanctioned Israeli violence, which is not always self-defense. .” – p xviii
  3. Anti-Judaism – “It is simply incorrect to say that critics of modern Israel are anti-Semitic.” – p xviii

Chapter 1 – The Dilemma of Israel/Palestine for Christians

Lebanon 1973

In the 70s, the Lebanese civil war took place, Burge (author) was there during his college years as a foreign exchange student.

Israel/Palestine 1990 – Burge encountered street violence, arrogant Israelis

2002 – demolitions

“I wish you could stand with me in the rubble of a destroyed Palestinian home. To lose your home in the course of war is one thing. To have it destroyed before your eyes by government authorities when you are holding your property deed, when you know that your children will be homeless that very night is quite another.” – p 8

Four Complications

  1. “We bear a subliminal sense of guilt for the horrors of the 20th Century that have been perpetrated on Judaism.” – p. 9
  2. “Our relationship with Israel is further complicated by the kinship we feel with this Israeli state that overtly professes faith in the God of Jesus.” – p 11
  3. Establishment of Israel in 1948 and Israeli victory of 48, 56, and 1973. Surely God was involved, it was miraculous. Gen 12:2-3 is the core of Israel establishment and support theories.
  4. “No matter what happens militarily in the Middle East, evangelical eschatology demands that we keep a firm commitment in Israel.” – p 12

Because of these four things, “we have become paralyzed and perplexed, unable to launch appropriate criticisms of the Middle East.” – p 12

Burge’s 2 thesis:

  1. If Israel makes a Biblical claim to the Holy land, then Israel must adhere to biblical standards of national righteousness.
  2. Christians must look more closely at their commitments. – p. 13

 

Chapter 2 – Knowing the Land

“The struggle for the central hills of Israel will never change.” – p 18

Four Zones:

  1. Galilee (North sides of Israel)
    1. Sea of Galilee – a source of freshwater for Israel.
    2. Elevated Plateau, Golan Heights – Yarkmock Gorge River
  2. Jezreel
    1. South of Zone I, subjected to countless wars, hence its called “valley of Armageddon.”
    2. Agricultural asset, connection w/ Rev. 18:16
    3. Jordan River goes right down middle of this.
  3. Central Mountains and Jordan Valley
    1. Southern half of Israel. Comprises Tel-Aviv, Jerusalem, Hebron Valley.
    2. Palestinians called it the “West Bank” of Jordan River
    3. Rolling Hills, high rainfall, ag in West side of Mountains.
    4. Everyone wants this land, much fought over. – p. 21
    5. Eastern flank of Central Mts are dry – desert where Jesus was tempted, where Joshua entered land – p. 22
    6. Jordan valley is lowest place on earth.
  4. Negev Deserts
    1. Bedouin tribes, nomads “still wonder the region.” – p 23

Summary

  • Drastic changes of water simply in certain regions.
  • In the 12-tribe land distribution, the “son of Judah obtained the very best land in the country.” Reuben the first born received the deserts on the other side of the Dead Sea.
  • East of Jerusalem is desert, in the West is fertile.

Israeli Neighbors

All surrounding are Arabs and have fought Israel at one time or another since 1948.

North

  • 49 mile border with Lebanon, a beautiful seaport.
  • After the fall of Ottomans in WWI, French controlled it and gained independence in 1943. – p. 24
  • It grew and prospered until a 16-year civil war broke out in 1975. The rebuilding of its main city Beirut is still happening. – p. 25
  • The north is 70% Muslim and 30% Christian
  • In 1948, 100k Palestinian refugees fled to Lebanon. There are still 215k ref. living in camps.
  • Israel drove out the PLO troops in 1982 from the south port of Lebanon. After 20 years of occupation, Hezbullah (or “Party of God”) drove them out in 2000, and remain in control of the south still today. – p. 25
  • Israel also shares Northern border (47m) with Syria. Its desert country is 20x size of Lebanon.
  • 74% are Muslim, 16% are Muslim sects, 10% Christian. About 1mil Christians live in Syria now.
  • Syria was Ottoman until WWI, 1919.
  • Christians today are very well-taken in Syria.
  • Syria also got Palestinian refugees since 1948 (392k). – p. 26
  • Damascus has a billion dollar per year military budget.

East

  • 148m border with Jordan. Jordan had valuable lands (Jerusalem, central hills North/South) until 1967, when Israel conquered Jerusalem, West Bank, etc.
  • Jordan’s capital, Amman, is a modern city, but the land is dry and water is scarce (4% total arable land). A treaty signaled by King Hussein in 1994 allowed peaceful trade between Israel and Jordan.
  • 6mil Palestinian refugees live in Jordan today. “Even though militant Palestinian groups were expelled in 1977, Jordan still holds a keen interest in the fate of Palestinians living under Israeli occupation.” – p 27
  • 4% Jordanian pop. Is Christian.
  • Iraq doesn’t border Israel, but it’s important. “When Jerusalem was taken into exile in the Old Testament, its captives were brought to Babylon – a city about 50 miles south of Bahgdad.” – p 28
  • “Following Ottoman rule, Iraq came under British control until gaining full independence in 1932, which explains the frequent use of English throughout the country.” – p 28
  • Saddam Hussein reigned from 1979-2005.
  • 20% of Iraq’s population is divided between Kurds/Assyrians.
  • 4% are Christian, “thus, 1 million Christians live in Iraq.” – p 28
  • “The invasion of Kuwait in August 1990 suddenly brought Iraq to America’s attention.” Iraq annexed Kuwait and filled it with 300k troops. But after an air raid in 1991, followed by a massive land assault, Kuwait was free within three days.
  • “Hoping to divide Arab support of the allied offensive, Iraq launched many long-range missiles against Israeli cities. At the end of the war, Baghdad, a city of 5 million, was crippled. Not only did it lose every bridge across the Tigris and Euphrates river, but its infrastructure (water, electricity, etc.) was completely ruined.” – p 28
  • “The Palestinian – always eager to champion anyone who attacks its big time enemy in Tel-Aviv – gave moral support to Iraq…This move, which also made sense because thousands of Palestinians were living and working in Baghdad, backfired entirely. Not only was Western sympathy for Palestinians hurt, but over 500,000 Palestinians working in Kuwait were immediately expelled.” – p 28-29

South

  • Egypt – Coptic Orthodox Church as 10mil members in Egypt.
  • Muslims took down Egypt in 641, “Fortunately, one of Muhammad’s wives was Egyptian, and so he gave generous concessions to the Copts.” – p 30
  • Without the Nile, Egypt would be a total desert.
  • “Since the fall of Ottoman rule, British control of Egypt continued until 1922 when independence was gained.” – p 30
  • (In passing, Jerusalem is considered Islam’s 3rd most holy city.)
  • “Egypt has always held firm sympathies with the losses of the Palestinians and so joined in most wars against Israel. Few refugees came to Egypt in 1948…because of its distance, but over 200,000 Palestinians fleeing south packed into Gaza, a coastal region under Egyptian control.” – p 31

Chapter 3 – Knowing the History

Biblical Period

  1. Tribal Period (2000 – 1000 BC)
    1. “Abraham’s tribe migrated from Mesopotamia (Iraq) into the land. Israel/Palestine was an Egyptian province called Canaan.” – p. 33
  2. Kingdom of Israel (1000 – 538 BC)
    1. Solomon gave international status, then he died, where a civil war split the North and South. The North was Samaria, conquered by Assyrians in 721 BC. South (Judah-Jerusalem) was conquered by Babylon in 588 B.C. – p. 34
  3. Persian Period (538 – 332 BC)
    1. Persians conquered Babylon, Israelite exiles free to go back to Jerusalem, which was rebuilt by Nehemiah etc.
    2. 200 years living under Persian domination.
  4. Greek Period (332 – 164 BC)
    1. Alexander conquered Middle East after Persians in 333 BC “made entire region…part of the Greek Empire.” – p. 34
  5. Jewish Hasmonean Kingdom (164 – 63 BC)
    1. Jews defeated their Greek overlords, but internal conflict between Pharisees and Sadducees paralyzed their government. Many Jews scattered (Qumran).
  6. Roman Empire (63 BC – 324)
    1. “The Romans conquered the entire Middle East in the century before the birth of Christ (63 BC) and made it one of its provinces for more than 400 years.” – p. 34
    2. Romans quelled two Jewish revolts, destroying Jerusalem and the temple in 70AD.

The Medieval Period

  1. Christian Roman Empire (324 – 638)
    1. Israel/Palestine was “controlled by rulers in Constantinople (today called Istanbul, Turkey). This civilization (called Byzantine) was the grandchild of the Roman Empire and embraced Christianity as a national religion, “the Christian communities of Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, and Jordan grew rapidly. Pilgrimage to Syria, for instance, was common among Byzantine Christians.” – p. 35
  2. Islamic Period (638-1099)
    1. Followers of Islam (Muslims) besieged Byzantine on numerous occasions. Caliph Omar conquered Jerusalem in 638.
  3. Crusaders (1099-1187)
    1. “Christian knights form Europe traveled to Israel/Palestine and recaptured the city of Jerusalem in 1099, slaughtering most of the city’s residents, Jew and Muslim alike.” – p. 35-36
    2. But Arabs defeated Crusaders in Galilee in 1187, the rest were driven out in 1291.
  4. Egyptian Mamluks (1250 – 1517)
    1. “For more than 300 years, Israel/Palestine was a defensive province for an Egyptian Islamic Empire that needed to guard its northern frontier.” – p.36 Land and people were “neglected.”
  5. The Ottoman Turks (1517-1918)
    1. 1517, rival Islamic Ottomans (turks) to Istanbul and defeated Mamluks. The ancient walls of Jerusalem were rebuilt by the Ottomans. Israel/Palestine was under this Muslim rule for 400 years.
    2. During the 1800s, “European Jews began to migrate because of persecution, and Palestine was one of their destinations.” France, English and Spain all kicked out Jews, and eventually Russia.
    3. 18890-1900, Russia persecution was at a high, this sparked the Zionist movement (longing for return to Israel).

British Mandates (1918-48)

  • Ottoman empire collapsed after WWI
  • “France and Britain divided up the Middle East and created most of the borders we know today.” – p.37
  • Britain controlled Palestine/Jordan, so the Zionists started sweet taking to them.
  • 1917, “Balfour Declaration” established clear support for Zionists. “Five weeks after the declaration, British troops entered Jerusalem.” – p. 37 Foundations for Israeli state were laid. But conflict between Jews and Arabs started.
  • WWII and the Holocaust caused Jews to move out of Europe even more, and with force. “Zionist soldiers began attacking British positions and using terrorism, such as blowing up part of Jerusalem’s King David Hotel (July 1946) where British officials kept their offices.” – p. 38
  • Exhausted from WWII, Britain gave Palestine up to the UN, who, in 1947, “proposed a partition plan of Palestine in order to make an Arab and Jewish state…Despite extreme Arab resentment, Israel raised its new flag with the start of David in May 14, 1948. Within 11 minutes, President Truman of the U.S. gave Israel formal recognition. At once the Arabs declared war.” – p. 39

First War: 1948, “The War of Independence”

King Abdullay I, an Arab, had plans to take the region. “Israel won decisively and redrew the map, acquiring more land than was even offered in the U.N. partition.” 33% more, p. 39

But Jordan had the West Bank and East half of Jerusalem. AS a result of the war, 750k people were displaced. “Seeing this as an opportunity to move a population, Israel then closed its borders, refusing reentry to most of the refugees following the war. Soon hundreds of Arab villages were destroyed (over 350 of them), making any return an impossibility.” – p. 39

“We will expel the Arabs and take their place.” – Israel’s first Prime Minister, Ben Gurion, 1937

Jewish military then did this by terrorism. It began April 9th, 1948, Deir Yassin (village) was attacked and 250 people were slaughtered. Some other villagers “were driven through Jerusalem in a “victory parade” before being taken back to the village and shot.”

More destruction continued. “In order to guarantee that the Arabs would not return, the villages were generally destroyed and their village wells poisoned, generally with typhus and dysentery bacteria…Today the Israeli authority, Mekorot, regularly checks wells in rural areas since, according to many technicians, soldiers poisoned virtually every Arab well they captured.” – p. 40

Morris wrote a book called “Correcting the mistake” that unveils “government half-truths that covered up plans to “cleanse” a land and extermination of an entire people.” – p. 40

Second War: 1956: “The Sinai War”

Egypt reacted to Israeli hostility by closing a canal and blocking an Israeli port (Eilat). Israel launched a land assault across Sinai. Brits and France responded by cutting off other ports, but the UN (+ USA) make them leave Egypt. – p. 41

Third War 1967: “The 6-Day War”

Skirmishes on borders continued between Egypt and Israel. Eventually by 1967 Egypt and Syria teamed up to defeat Israel. “The odds could not have been stacked more firmly against Israel.” – p. 41

Israel actually struck first in anticipation on Jun 5th. Within 24 hours, 416 Arab planes were destroyed. “Within 2 days (June 7), Israel occupied all of east Jerusalem – meaning that far the first time since the days of the Roman Empire, Jews now occupied Jerusalem in its entirety. Within a week (June 10), the war was over.” – p. 41-42

Israel took the West Bank, Sinai, Gaza and the Golan Heights.

350k Arabs fled Gaza, West Bank, and Golan Heights. “And again, Israel closed its borders to them.” – p. 42.

The UN demanded in Nov. 1967, Resolution 242, for “Israel to return conquered lands and set people free.”

Fourth War: 1973, “The Yom Kippur War”

Syria and Egypt recovered from Soviet help (who was sitting on top of cash because of oil prices). They caught Israel by surprise, and within a month since Oct. 6, 1973, “Israel lost 2,378 soldiers.” – p. 42

“Resupplied by American arms stores in Europe ($2.2b), the Israeli army counterattacked within the week, pushing the Syrians back…Israeli speed, resolve, and discipline joined with superior American equipment and intelligence made victory inevitable.” – p. 42

In 1975, a peace agreement was made; Egypt regained oil fields of Sinai.

Fifth War: 1982: The Invasion of Lebanon

“Palestinians exiled since 1948 were waging a guerrilla war on northern Galilee, angry that they could not return home. In 1978, Israel launched its first land assault into Lebanon.” – p. 43

In 1982, it was a full-scale invasion to drive out PLO. By August, 16k Arabs and 700 Israeli’s died. To the Arabs, America had caused this – for our hardware was being used by Israelis.

Refugees

“Today, more than 3.6 million Palestinian refugees are scattered throughout the West Bank, Gaza, and the countries surrounding Israel.” – p. 44

“Put bluntly, 40% of the Palestinian villages were emptied and demolished as a result of the creation of the state of Israel.” – p. 44

6th War: 1979-93 “The First Intifada”

At this time, “in Gaza, 750k Palestinians consumed about 30% of the water available while 45,000 Jewish settlers were allotted the remaining 70%.” – p. 46

In 1987, a random Israeli tank crushed a small group of Palestinians “waiting in their cars on a narrow Gaza road at a military checkpoint.” – p. 46

They say the brakes failed, others say it was revenge of the death of a certain Israeli soldier. A riot broke out at the four men’s funeral, a complete street war broke out after.

The Israelis couldn’t keep up with imprisoning, killing Arabs and demolishing homes. At some detention camp Israel tortured young men. – p. 47

Death count was 1,392 from shootings, 362 under age of 16.

“The effect on Israel was paralyzing, Israelis suddenly were engaged in an internal war that could not be won.” – p. 48

“In 1988, King Hussein of Jordan made a bold move. He gave up all claim to the West Bank, thus making a way for a Palestinian claim to statehood.” – p. 48

Yasir Arafat was the leader of PLO. “While Israel refused to talk to the PLO, the US announced that it would accept direct diplomatic discussions with Arafat, thus acknowledging the PLO as the legitimate representation of the Palestinian people.” – p. 48

The Gulf War 1990-1991

“Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait in August 1990 resurrected prophetic speculations again. Did Iraq’s mighty army represent that configuration of armies that would meet in Armageddon?” Israel didn’t fight. But Hussein fired SCUDS at Israeli cities, 41000 buildings were damaged. He failed at trying to get Israel to strike back so he could get the whole Arab world against Israel. “In fact, his actions probably strengthened the allied coalition. The common threat that he posed such countries as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Syria, and Turkey provided the glue that held these unlikely comrades together.” – p. 49

“No matter how ludicrous it seems now, Hussein had dedicated his cause to the liberation of the Palestinians living in occupied territories like the West Bank and Gaza. Arafat and the Palestinians thus threw in with Hussein, and many hoped and prayed that the war would bring them freedom. This alliance didn’t make their lives any easier.” – p. 49

More people ended up homeless.

The Peace Process in the 1990s

In 1993, the PLO and Israel signed the “Declaration of Principles,” which said Palestine will control Gaza and the West Bank at the end of 5 years. But this enraged some Israeli extremists. Israel’s Prime Minister was assassinated in 1995. Eventually the West Bank dissolved into zones and regions instead of clear borders. – p. 51

“This fragmentation makes the building of any Palestinian state impossible.” – p. 52

Israel continued to try and absorb more land.

Camp David II, July 12-15, 2000

“Such conditions inevitably lead to conflict since people without hope soon become desperate.” – p. 52

Palestinians, since 1993, began training an armed police. Palestinians could now fight back, unlike during the Intifada. “This new dimension could lead to a civil war.” – p. 53

Clinton, Arafat, and Barak (Israeli P. Min.) got together at Camp David. “The incendiary issues of Jerusalem and land confiscation and refugees could no longer be ignored.” – p. 53

After 9 days, “both sides declared that resolution was impossible.” They worked harder at negotiating, but after 15 days, no go.

“The PLO negotiates found the Israeli proposals impossible to accept.” – p. 53

The Violent Aftermath: The Second Intifada

2000, under Barak’s permission, hundreds of Israeli armies went up to the Temple Mount near the Al-Aqsa Mosque and declared Jewish sovereignty over the whole region. Within 2 weeks 90 Arabs were dead, 2000 hospitalized. No one knows how to stop the violence. By late summer 2001, 7,000 Arab homes were destroyed. “The Israelis even pulled up over 25,000 Arab fruit olive trees as punishment.” – p. 54

Ariel Sharon, who started the violence in the first place at the Temple Mt., was elected Prime Minister of Israel. “Within days he announced that all peace concessions engineered by Barak were “off the table.” – p. 54

In 2002, he launched a full-scale assault on Palestinian territories. It was insane violence, “Many observers viewed the two peoples in a death grip, pulling each other toward national suicide.” – p. 55

By the end of July 2002:

  • 1,674 Palestinians dead, 20,000 injured within 18 months, 286 dead under age 18.
  • 577 Israelis dead, 4,122 wounded, 54 under age 18 dead.

“The success of Israeli-military, as well as economically – has shamed Arab pride significantly, which is one reason the Arab world is pleased to see Western dependence on its soil.” – p. 56

The war of 1967 really helped Israel out strategically, in owning the land. It doubled its sized in 67.

“The form of the equation is evident: Israel has a genuine security problem. It is surrounded by Arab nations who are suspicious of its intentions because Israel occupies land that is hotly disputed.” – p. 58

When the UN proposal to divide the land up in to Israeli/Palestinian state, the plan proposed that “31% of the population living on 6% of the land was being given half the country.” – p. 59

But even at the end of the first war in 1948, Israel had 33% more land than was proposed.

Another problem for Israel is that Arabs are populating twice as fast as Jews.

Water is also a huge problem, and will probably be the cause of wars in the future.

Ancient/Modern Times Compared

Four Facts:

  1. Israel/Palestine is an ancient highway.
  2. Life is dangerous there. West bank is highlands, the Mts provide safety.
  3. Life is precarious, war is scarce which is a huge problem.
  4. Regional nations struggle for dominance.

Alexander the Great and the rest knew of the advantages of the parts of the land. “When General Teggar surveyed the land for the British in 1937, legend has it that he studied the Bible, especially the book of Joshua.” – p. 62

Part II – Old Testament and the Land

Original Promises

Gen 12 – Promise of faithfulness and land. “The one who curses/blesses you will be cursed/bless.” – p. 69

“Strikingly, this promise fails to mention the land. Virtually every scholar who studies the passage notes that this omission is peculiar.” – p. 69

The point is the establishment of a nation, not a permanent residence.

Verses 15:18-21 mentions the land, so does 17:7-9.

“One thing is exceedingly clear. This gift of land is intimately connected to the covenant, or contract, that God is making with Abraham.” – p. 70

All the other promises to Isaac and Jacob go back to Abraham. – p. 71

Three Observations

  1. “The native residents of this province called Canaan are not displaced…Abraham becomes a neighbor (not a conqueror). .” – p. 71 He has to buy Sara’s burial ground (Gen 23).
  2. Land is linked with the covenant. “The land is certain to be an everlasting possession, but responsibility for it assumes faithfulness to a relationship with God.” – p. 71
  3. The verse “I will bless/curse…” is not as if “Gentiles must somehow support Israelite efforts at greatness and nationhood and in so doing discover the blessing of God. Nor (in its original setting) does…[it] mean that the blessing of the families of the earth will come about because” Israel will produce Christ. “The covenant with Israel is God’s strategy to bring his goodness and righteousness to the rest of humanity.” – p. 72

Promises With Conditions

A lot of the OT prophets simply wrote how Israel can’t get blessing without being faithful.

  • “Do not…otherwise the land will vomit you out for defiling it, as it vomited out the nation that was before you.” (Lev. 18:24-30; 20:22-26)
  • “To break the law is to lose the land.” – p. 74 See Deut. 4:25-27. 50; 8:17-19 – “Do not say to yourself ‘My power and the might of my own hand have gotten me this wealth.”

Who Really Owns the Land?

  • God owns the land. “For the land is mine; with me you are but aliens and tenants.” (Lev. 25:23) p. 75
  • “The divisions of the land were God’s decision, not that of the people of Israel.” (Ex. 28:30)
    • The Jubilee made “long-term investments in which wealthy people would develop huge estates “impossible.” – p. 76
  • Harvests were even owned by God.
  • “When you enter the land that I am giving you, the land shall observe a Sabbath for the Lord.” (Lev. 25:2)

Who Really Owns the Water?

  • God owns the water (Job 5:10).
  • “The Lord will open to you his good treasury in the heavens, to give the rain of your land in its season and to bless all the work of your hands and shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow.” Deut. 28:12
  • Withholding water was God’s way of punishing Israel (Amos 4:7, Joel 1:10-12)
  • “The most famous of these pronouncements is perhaps Elijah’s promise that neither rain nor dew would fall on Israel until the land was righteous (I Kings 17:1).” – p. 78
  • Palestinians agriculture uses less water (grapes) than Israel (citrus).

Chapter 5 – The Nation of Israel and the Land

Joshua’s Conquest

God commands to destroy everything before entering the land (Deut. 7:1-6)

Notice:

  1. “Joshua fights and destroys urban areas that exhibit military resistance to his arrival. The book offers no suggestions that Joshua ever massacres or depopulates large regions that did not join one of these armies. In fact, only three Canaanite cities are burned to the ground: Jericho, Ai, and Hazor.” – p. 83
  2. “Moses words have in mind the corrupting religious influences of the Canaanites.” – p. 7:5
  3. “Joshua treats many of the Canaanites with respect.” See Rahab in 10:6-8. The Israelites risked their lives to protect Canaanites who were about to be destroyed by hostile armies.” – p. 84 After the occupation Joshua read the law to both Israelites and non-Israelites.” 8:34-35
  4. “Joshua never drives out all the Canaanites.” – p. 84 In fact, the king of Jerusalem was destroyed but Josh didn’t take it. (10:3-5, 22-27). “The parallel between Joshua’s conquest and the modern Israeli occupation of the land is inappropriate.” – p. 84

Crisis Among the Judges

Cycle of falling away, then coming back (Judges 17-21)

Israel was spiritually and morally corrupt (Lev. 19)

“Judges now show in reality: sinfulness results in the loss of inheritance.” – p. 86

“Land and righteousness are limited. The book of Judges plays out theological themes provided in Moses’ covenant: fidelity to covenant righteousness is a prerequisite to enjoying the blessings of that covenant.” – p. 86

Israeli’s Kings

“It would be a mistake to think of the nation built by Saul, David, and Solomon as culturally monolithic, as if it were a “Jewish state” in the modern sense. Non-Jews were not marginalized or expelled.” – p. 87

It was ethnically diverse. II Sam. 4:2-3; 23:1-36

“Remarkably, David’s army was thus led by a diversity of men, many of whom were not native Israelites.” 88

“Non-Israelites assisted in the construction of the Temple in Jerusalem (I Chron. 22:2).” 88

153, 600 aliens were present at one point (II Chron. 2:17), they even joined in the passover (II Chron. 30:25).

“Because God had been generous with the alien Israel, so too Israel was obligated to be generous with other foreigners.” 88

Aliens and Sojourners in the Land

“(I Chron. 28:8). Keeping the land is hinged on keeping the law.” 89

Benefits for aliens:

  1. Religious privileges – included in ceremony and worship (Ex. 23:12, 12:48, Num 9:14, 15:14, Josh 8:33)
  2. Social privileges – cared for in ‘programs’ to assist the needy (lev. 19:10, 27:27, 24:19-21, Deut 14:29, 26:12, Lev 25)
  3. Legal Privileges – same system of justice as Israel (Num 35:15, Josh 20:9, Deut 24:14, 1:16, 24:17, Lev. 24:22, Num 9:14, 15:16)

The test of Israel’s goodness was how they treated foreigners.

Two Stories, Two Kings

The chosen sight of the Temple was on Canaanites land (I Chron. 21-22), who was Ornan. The land was given to David already, yet he pays him in full, refusing to accept it for free (21:24). 91

Naboth was a longtime resident of a vineyard. King Ahab wanted the land. But Naboth refused to sell, even when offered an alternative. Ahab’s wife Jezebel falsely accuses Naboth so he gets stoned to death. Abah moves in and takes possession of the vineyard.

Elijah delivers this message to Ahab, “Have you killed, and also taken possession? Thus says the Lord, ‘In the place where dogs licked up the blood of Naboth, dogs will lick up your blood’ (I Kings 21:19).

Ahab dies in battle. 91

Chapter 6 – The Prophets and the Land

April 8. In Beita, a riot started by Israelis got Arab farmers killed, and one Israeli girl. The world only heard about the girl, and Israelis began randomly shooting an Arab kid for no reason.” 95-96

When the bullet was identified, it matched up with Israeli guns. Apparently the girl was shot by accident to begin with. No one buys it, and “49 more Arab youths are injured.” 96

April 9 More homes get destroyed in Beita.

April 10 On farms bullet was from Aldubi, one of Israelis. Without trial, six Beita youths are expelled from country.

April 11, UN and US condemns the Palestinian explusion.

The Prophets say the same thing as the Law: justice is linked to the land.

Land and the Prophets

“God imposes his will in the land through the prophet.” 99

Prophetic Warnings: Micah 2:1-3, Amos 4:1-2, Hos. 9:2-3, Jer. 3:19-20, 7:5-7, Is. 1:16-17.  101

The Prophetic Hope

  • Even in predicting restoration (Ezek 47:22-23), “they did not leave out a place for the resident alien, the non-Israelite.” 104
  • Ez 22:7, 29, Mal 3:5
  • There are lots of Israelis who are anti-Zionist.
  • Rabbi Chaim Tzvi Reimann
  • Rabbi Dovid Weiss, in 2001 asserted that the only avenue to peace was the dissolution of the Israeli state altogether.” 107
    • He said “The truth is that Israel today, whether governed by ‘doves’ or ‘hawks’ is the most dangerous place in the world for Jews.” 107

Post-Zionist Scholars in Israel

  • Debunk Zionists, rewrite history from Palestinian perspective. Debunked myths.
  • “…the account of 1948 had always been told as a story of ill-equipped Holocaust survivors facing a hostile British government and a united Arab world preparing to unite them.” 109

Myth 1: “Research had always known about the non-combat nature of Palestinian society and that most Palestinians fled during the war rather than fight. But if this were true, what became of the heroic Israeli story? Simply put, scholars were refuting the myth that Israel was in danger of annihilation on the verge of the 1948 war.” 109

Myth 2: “Voluntary exodus of the Palestinians. Israel (as the story goes) was a people without a land entering a land with a people, and the Arabs who were there in Western Israel relocated to the West Bank following 1948.” 109

Summary

“The land itself holds Israel to covenant standards of justice.” 110

In the Beita incident, “Israeli justice refused to work in behalf of the aliens, the widow, and the orphan.” 110

Chapter 7 – Jerusalem

  • Has temple ruins and Dome of the rock
  • Third most holy city to Islam

Brief History

Bible Times

  • Had non-Israelite occupation as “Jebus” “almost 1000 years before the coming of Israel.” 113
  • David bought North side, which would eventually be the Temple built by Solomon.
  • The land itself was, as mentioned before, owned by Ornan and paid for by David.
  • “Solomon spent 13 years building his palace and 11 years on the Temple.” 114
  • 587 BC – city was sacked by Nebuchadnezzar, Jews exiled to Babylon. (Jer. 52)
  • 539 BG – exiles return to the ruined city.
  • Nehemiah began to rebuild its walls (Neh. 1-6)
  • Jerusalem comes under Greek influence around 333BC, the time of Alexander the Great.
  • Jews got it back in 160-140
  • Pompey’s Roman Army took it back in 63BC
  • ““Herod the Great” (37-4BC) completely rebuilt the city beginning in 20BC, and made the Temple into a true example of monumental architecture that was not completed for 80 years.” But the War in 70AD put it all to ruins. 115
  • Romans expelled the Jews from Jerusalem in 135AD.

“In each case, the destruction and exile were interpreted as judgment by God.”

  • Old Testament, II Chron. 36:15
  • New Testament, Matthew 21:33-44

Medieval Jerusalem

  • 135, Roman Emeror Hadrian renamed it to “Helia Capitolina..”
  • Christians started moving there and it because Byzantine. For 30 years it was under this Christian control.
  • In 638, the Muslims took it in their conquests.
  • 691, construction of Dome of the Rock
  • Built mosques, etc. Christians still lived there, but Islam was big.
  • 1099, European (Christian) Crusade to “take back Holy Land.” “Arab Muslims were slaughtered alongside Arab Christians and Jews – each labeled ‘infidels.’”
  • 1187, Arab Saladin expelled them.
  • 1249, Arabs take control of Europe
  • 1517, city conquered by Ottomans, Sulayman rebuilt it into what we see today.
  • Peace for Jews and Christians until 1917

20th Century

  • 1917-1948, Britain controlled all Palestine
  • 1949, Jerusalem declared Israel’s capital. “Not until 1967 did the Israeli conquest of the West Bank bring the entire city under Jewish rule…Israel announced that all Muslims and Christians always have access to all worship sites.” 118, exploded in population

“For the last 2000 years, Judaism has dominated Jerusalem for only 200 years.” 118

“The present fight over the ownership of Jerusalem has little to do with its original parameters.”

Pre 1967, it was 23 square miles. Post 1967, its 71. 119

The goal is to keep Arab population down in the city, less than 28.8% some say. 120

“Currently the US government keep its embassy in Tel Aviv because it does not have to recognize Israeli’s claim on Jerusalem.” 121

  • Good move

“I am convinced that if the Prophets of the Old Testament were to visit Tel Aviv or Jerusalem today, their words would be harsh and unremitting.” 136

  • Zionist Ben-Gurion envisioned in 1946 a nation open and free to all people. He said “we will have to treat our Arabs and other non-Jewish neighbors on the basis of absolute equality as if they were Jews.” 136
  • Theodor Herzl, though, “believed that the removal of Arabs bodily from Palestine was a part of the Zionist plan.” 136

Thus, Ben-Gurion’s wishes never, ever happened. 137

Same thing happened in Israel that happened in Africa. “No Arabs are represented in leading roles in the Jewish press. The US equivalent would be covering a race riot in Philadelphia, showing film of blacks looting and being arrested, and only hearing white police interpret every scene.” 137

1987-1992, “West Bank Palestinians could not travel, build a house, obtain a job, or dig a well in their backyard without hard-won permission.” 138

“Today…a family with Palestinian plates [on car] in Bethlehem cannot drive to Jerusalem without special permission.” 139

“Card-checking is a regular form of Israeli discrimination.” 139

“Essentially, Palestinians within Israel’s borders cannot enter the main systems of society. The major labor organizations, political parties, and even the military are all off-limits.” 139

1975, UN declared that Zionism is racism. 141

1988, “Association for Civil Rights in Israel accused the government at race-based discrimination.” 141

“A Jewish state can never be democratic for all its citizens; it’s only a democracy for Jews.” 141, Allegra Pacheco

“In the Old Testament, the non-Israelite was not denied access to the primary forms of national expression: the Temple, the justice system, or the military.” 141

Stealing Land

“Palestinian claims to land ownership are aggressively fought in court by government attorneys. If modern documentation cannot be shown, the case is lost since it is evidence from before the Israeli occupation.” 142

“The worst cases of land confiscation are found in the Occupied Territories of Gaza and the West Bank.”

142

Footnote 35, “From 1967 to 1983, only five permits for new wells were granted to Palestinians.” 142

Stealing Water

“Jews use five times more water per person than Arabs.” 143

“When the water is held selfishly, misused so that others suffer, the same judgment given by Elijah surely would come to the land.” 143

Destruction of Villages

“According to some, about 500 Arab villages have disappeared since 1948.” 144

Demolition of Homes

“Since 1987, Israel has demolished over 2,200 Palestinian homes.” 147

“Palestinians are commonly denied the right to build on their land.” 149

“Today, according to Amnesty International, ten thousand Arab homes in East Jerusalem – one third of the Palestinian population – are threatened by demolition orders.” 149

Human Rights Abuses

“Arrests and beatings have become commonplace in Israel…each year 1,000 to 1,500 Palestinians interrogated by the Shin Bet (security services), and 58% of them are subjected to interrogation that employs torture.” 152

Feb 25, 1994, Baruch Goldstein (originally from NY) entered a mosque in Hebron during Muslim prayer. He opened fire with a government issued machine gun, killing 29 Palestinians.

“Over 10000 Palestinians lived separated from spouses and children…Israel has a quota for these permits, and today over 13,000 requests are pending.”

“Osama Jamil Barkam, for example, was arrested in 1993 and remained in prison for five years without having any charges pressed against him. No trial. No defense…just imagine if your spouse was picked up by the police one day and disappeared for five years.” 154

Government admitted torturing between 1988-1992 in 2000.

“The report was written in 1997 and held back for three years because of its explosive implications.” 156

“Beatins…sleep deprivation, food deprivation…suffocation, ‘the cupboard,’ electric shock, burning…” 156

“…Dec 16, 1992, Buses carried 415 Palestinians blindfolded and handcuffed into Southern Lebanon. All information was censored from the press.” 157

“If the same ratios were applied to the US…the following statistics would result: Over five years, 5, 460,000 of the youth would be shot at, beaten, or teargased by foreign soldiers.” 160

$500/person in US taxes goes to Israel

“…fewer than 30% of Israelis are actually practicing their religion…Atheism does not invalidate one’s Judaism.” 163

“A secular outlook has taken over Israel, and many of us would be hard pressed to distinguish this nation from another secular state.” 163

“Israel is committing the sin of Ahab.”

Chapter 9 – Jesus and the early Christians

“Christians are the heirs of Abraham’s original promises, continuing the lineage of those who – like Abraham – believe in faith.” 168

  • This is Eastern Orthodox view

“The framework [Old Testament and Mishnah] is clear: Israel is the center of the world, Jerusalem is the center of Israel, and the Temple is the center of Jerusalem.”

“The feeding [Jesus and loaves] re-created the great manna miracle of Moses – who foreshadowed the coming Messiah (Deut. 18:15-22). And if Jews was a messiah like Moses, he too would lead his people to their promised land.” 171

Jesus entire attitude towards Jerusalem and the Temple (think of the prophecies and table-flipping) was astounding and unexpected.

How can a man claim to be the Messiah but not support a national dream to reclaim the promises of Abraham?” 172

“Jesus is challenging the status quo of what Israel thought was important.”

“Jesus’ emphasis on the kingdom of God gave him every opportunity to talk about land and inheritance but he refused. The kingdom of Israel did not capture his interest. He preferred to talk about the “kingdom of God” or the “kingdom of heaven.” 172

  • Acts 1:6, minds were on political restoration, but Jesus’ wasn’t’.

“People who took pride in their possession of land or city as the trophy of their spirituality would find themselves in opposition to Jesus’ message.” 173

Mark 12:7, Vineyard, inheritance.

“Nowhere does Jesus promise that the possession of the land is a by-product of membership in his kingdom.” 174

John’s Gospel

“Jesus spiritualizes the promise of land.” 174

Jesus is

  • Bread of life
  • Water of life
  • Life itself
  • Moses

“The crux for John 15 is that Jesus is changing the place of rootedness for Israel.” 176

“God’s vineyard, the land of Israel, now only has one vine, Jesus.” 176

Jesus and the People of God

New People – 12 Apostles, “This group was a new community, a messianic community, whose heritage would stretch back to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but where identity now would be found in Jesus Christ.” 177

“Many in Israel rejected both Jesus and his kingdom, and as a result, he predicted judgment on the land and the scattering of Israel.” 177

“Believers who did not succumb to Canaanite or Egyptian religion were ‘the true Israel.’” “Jesus’ followers, therefore, represent Israel’s remnant.” 178

Earliest Christians

Hebrews: “…where the Christian walk assimilates the metaphor of the Israelite journey through the wilderness. However the new goal of the believer is no longer ‘promised land’ but eternal life with Christ.” 179

Hebrews 3, 4 “Whatever the ‘land’ meant in the Old Testament, whatever the promise contained, this now belonged to Christians.” 179

  • Burge cites heavily from Walter Brueggemann.

11:8, “Remarkably we learn that this land was not really the place of God’s promise. The land was a metaphor, a symbol of a greater place beyond the soil of Canaan.” 179

Book of Acts

“Is the concept of ‘God’s people’ also something wide, something that reaches beyond the ethnic confines of Judaism?” 180

  • Stephen’s speech. Acts 7
  • “God is not confined to the geography of Israel’s land. Stephen challenges the Jewish assumption that the land is integral to the plan of God.” 181

Apostle Paul

  • Paul was a proud Jew (Gal. 1:14, Phil. 3:4, II Cor. 11:22, Rom 11:1). “Paul rarely refers to Jerusalem or the land of Israel.” 182

“Abraham can become the father of many nations because when Gentiles share in Abraham’s faith, he becomes their father too (Rom. 4:16)…The ‘land of Israel’ is likewise spiritualized now to include the entire world.” 180

Rom. 4:13-14, 8:17, Gal. 3:14, 18, Rom. 2:29. “Offspring” in Gal. 3:16 is singular – referring to Christ.

“The messianic community may be rightly called the ‘Israel of God’ – as Paul does in Gal. 6:16.”

Peter uses Old Testament language to describe New Testament Christians in I Peter 2:9-10.

Romans 9-11, Paul’s Provision for Israel

“The remnant is the body of believers within Israel who have kept faith with the covenant and God’s purposes, and God knows who they are. Therefore God has been faithful to his covenant people because these people are found now in the church. Israel in Christ is now heir to the great covenant history of the Old Testament.” 186

25-26 are to Gentiles

Rom. 11:25-27

“During the present time, Israel has become ‘hardened’ (11:25) but in the future, after the Gentiles have been ‘grafted in,’ all Israel will be saved once more (11:26-27). Paul thus anticipates a future redemption in the place of God that will include the Jewish people who originally rejected Christ…For the most part, Paul’s hope for Israel is future, at the end of time.” 187

In 11:28-29, “Paul freely admits that Judaism now stands opposed to the gospel. Judaism is hostile to God’s new purposes in Christ. Judaism has rejected the new covenant.”

Yet there is a place for the Jews in history.

Summary

Rom 9-11, double-message: A. “Israel has fallen and the church has assumed its privileges.” B. Yet, “Paul still holds out an ongoing place for Israel both in the present and in the future.” 188

“I prefer a middle-position.” 188

Conclusion

“The Israelite endeavor to acquire land and forge a nation takes on a different shape in the new covenant of Christ.” 189

Chapter 10 – The Palestinian Church

“…about 15 mil Arab Christians are living between Algeria and Iran.” 190

West Syria is packed.

8% of worldwide population of Palestinians are Muslim. 191

“A continuous Arab Christian population has lived in Palestine for almost 2000 years.” 192

Five Concerns of Palestinian Christians:

  1. Use of Bible or Old Testament thought to kill Palestinians.
  2. A Plea for Visibility and Fellowship – “Their Christian tradition has a life and validity apart from Western recognition.” 196
  3. A Cry for Justice
  4. I Kings 21 means the most to Palestinian Christians. 197
  5. A Historic Claim to Residence – “Arab Jews [Judaism] were among those converted to Christ in the earliest church. Acts 2:11 specifically includes such Arabs as among those converted on Pentecost.” 198-199

“If land promises came to Judaism by virtue of tenure in the land and biblical promise, Arabs who embrace Judaism gain those promises as well, and their faith in Jesus does not invalidate their claim to Jewish ancestry.” 199

Arab Christians came at Pentecost.

 

A Disappearing Church

Migrating out of Palestine.

Messianic Judaism

For the first time you have this: “They are believers who must struggle within a majority Jewish world.” 203

“Fidelity to Israeli nationhood is a clear sign of fidelity to ‘Jewishness’ in this country, which explains why American Messianic congregations commonly raise money for Israel.” 223

“The cultural pressure in Israel to separate from Arabs and succumb to stereotypes is enormous.” 203

Chapter 11 – Living Stones in the Land

  • Testimonies from Palestinian Christians.

Chapter 12 – Evangelicals and the Land

  • Jerry Fallwell was a Zionist. 233
  • He said “nothing will bring the wrath of the American people down on a government quicker than abandoning Israel.” 232, 2002
  • Holocaust really boosted American support.

Basis for Evangelical Support of Israel:

Dispensationalism. 237

“Walvoord clearly believes that the politics of modern-day Israel are a continuation of the politics of Old Testament Israel…the taking of land is justified for biblical reasons.” 237

“God has one people: those who follow his Son.” 238

The End Times

  • Prophecy and 1948.
  • Hal Lindsey calls it “the key to the jigsaw puzzle.” 239
  • 1992, Washington Times Headline, “70 million Christians urge President Bush to Approve Loan Guarantees for Israel.” 240

70 mil are Evangelicals.

Christian Zionism

  • Pat Robertson, John Hagee

The International Christian Embassy, Jerusalem

  • Political support

Bridges for Peace

Website says “God is a Biblical Zionist.”

“Both Bridges and the Embassy are so keep to support Jewish life that they refuse…to promote evangelicalism among Jews…even Paul would speak of Jesus to his fellow Jews, but Christian Zionists will not because it may risk their status in the country.” 246

A New Evangelical Outlook

“…we are offended by those people whose faith is consumed by the politics of Israel’s restoration.” 246

New trend is more focused on justice than politics.

  • World Vision – not being people, leading the way towards “holistic view of ministry.” 249
  • Christianity Today – not afraid to expose link between Dispensationalism and politics. (2.5 million readers)
  • Center for ME Studies, North Park U.
  • Evangelicals for ME Understanding – led by Burge, 1986 started by John Stott
  • Alternative Travel, “result is that American pastors are meeting Arab pastors.” 254

“Evangelicals have decided to move beyond advocacy and link themselves to specific Christian congregations so that both churches might benefit.” 254

Signs of Change

“Christian Zionism is Biblically untenable.” – John Stott

  • Supported by Wolterstorff, etc. 255

58 evangelicals wrote Bush in 2002, “urging him to pursue a ‘balanced’ policy regarding Israel and claiming that spokespersons such as Jerry Fallwell and Pat Robertson do not represent the evangelical majority.” 256

It included, Burge, Campolo, Vernon Grounds, Mouw, John Perkins, Sider, etc.

“Evangelicals who stand opposed to the secular nationalism of Israel are not discriminating against Jews as a people.” 258

Chapter 13 – Where do We Go From Here?

Israel has three options at this point:

  1. “Israel to keep all of its lands remain an exclusively Jewish state, and lose its identity as a democracy.” 265
  2. “Israel to keep all its land and become a genuine democracy in which the Palestinians are given complete national participation.”
  3. “Israel to let go of much occupied land in the West Bank and remain a smaller Jewish state in which democracy is enjoyed by all citizens.”

Ben-Gurion set up this approach: Israel cannot have all three at one time:

  1. Jewish State
  2. Democracy
  3. Land

Getman said in Sojourners magazine: True peace can be built when:

  • Palestinians will hear Israeli cry for security.
  • Israelis will need refugees (Palestinian)
  • Refugees will go home and be compensated.
  • UN/government visiting will prevent apartheid state.
  • Gaza, West Bank, will go to Palestinians as it should be.
  • Jerusalem must be shared city.