The Promised Land

Discussion in 'The Commons' started by Botolph, Apr 15, 2024.

  1. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    With the intensity of political opinion of late, it is difficult to have a sensible conversation on this subject.

    The text of the promise I guess starts here.

    Genesis 17:1-8 When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said to him, ‘I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless. And I will make my covenant between me and you, and will make you exceedingly numerous.’ Then Abram fell on his face; and God said to him, ‘As for me, this is my covenant with you: You shall be the ancestor of a multitude of nations. No longer shall your name be Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you the ancestor of a multitude of nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you. I will establish my covenant between me and you, and your offspring after you throughout their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you. And I will give to you, and to your offspring after you, the land where you are now an alien, all the land of Canaan, for a perpetual holding; and I will be their God.’​

    The Nation State of Israel makes much of this promise today. They are there because of the resolution of the United Nations, and the pressure of the course of history, the work of the United Kingdom, and Germany in promoting Jewish immigration to the area. Many of those involved no doubt saw something of this divine imprimatur based on this text.

    Sequentially in the text this follows the birth of Ishmael and precedes the birth of Isaac, who in turn was to become the father of Jacob/Israel and of course Esau.

    Abraham subsequently married Keturah and had further children Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah.

    I might add there is a very untidy account of how the birthright of Esau came into the possession of Jacob.

    The question I would like to consider sensibly is if the Promised of the Land of Canaan was an exclusive promise to the children of Israel or an inclusive promise to all the descendants of Abraham.

    (NB: the land of Canaan did not include Philistia, which on contemporary maps is pretty close to the Gaza Strip)
     
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  2. AnglicanAgnostic

    AnglicanAgnostic Well-Known Member

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    I see the land of the Canaanites being given to the descendants of Abraham. And as God says "You shall be the ancestor of a multitude of nations." I see no promise that Israel will be the one of that multitude that gets Canaan. Don't all Muslims claim to be descendants of Abraham?
     
  3. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    I am not sure about 'all Muslims', however, I think that Mohamud made some claims about descendency from Ishmael. I am unclear as to whether that was for himself, or the Arabian nations generally. There is certainly a wide range of Semitic people in the area (generally understood as the descendants of Shem) which means that several leaders and others around the world have used the term 'anti-semitism' in a very confusing way.

    Islam is classed as an Abrahamic Religion, in company with Judaism and Christianity. There are of course more, including the Samaritans.

    The 'religious' side of Islam is in some sense distinct from the 'geo-political' face of Islam. The same might be said of Christianity and the Holy Roman Empire, and Judaism and the Nation State of Israel. In each case, there is both distinction and correlation. In the contemporary climate Christians are more inclined to speak of a kingdom of hearts and minds, and to speak of the vulnerability or power and the power of vulnerability.
     
  4. Nevis

    Nevis Active Member

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    God promised a land that was already inhabited.

    So to get it, the Israelites had to conquer it first.

    So they destroyed Jericho, killed all the men, and enslaved the women and children …. by order of God .,..

    what kind of a kind God was that?
     
  5. Nevis

    Nevis Active Member

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    Any answer to this.?
     
  6. Nevis

    Nevis Active Member

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    You know the story of Jericho?
     
  7. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    Presumably, most people in this forum will have some awareness and familiarity with the story of Jericho, however, the story is at best tangential to the matter raised in the opening post.

    It is a fairly significant question, in light of the events that are happening in the region at the moment.
     
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  8. Nevis

    Nevis Active Member

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    it has become new significance
     
  9. Pub Banker

    Pub Banker Active Member Anglican

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    I don’t recall a single army with God fearing individuals in it that didn’t want for Our Father to be on their side because they “were in the right” so please take that comment for what it’s worth. But I congratulate you the damndest question of the year. I’m afraid my feeble mind will never be able to comprehend the question’s fullnes until I achieve full clarity once received on the Other Side.
     
  10. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    I seem to recall the walls of Jericho were breached by trumpets, not missiles.

    Biblical Account
    According to the Book of Joshua, when the Israelites were encamped at Shittim opposite Jericho, ready to cross the river, Joshua, as a final preparation, sent out two spies to Jericho. The spies stayed in the house of Rahab, a local prostitute. The king of Jericho sent soldiers who asked Rahab to bring out the spies. Instead, she hid them under bundles of flax on the roof. After escaping, the spies promised to spare Rahab and her family after taking the city, if she would mark her house by hanging a red cord out the window.

    After the Israelites crossed the Jordan, the king of Jericho ordered that the gates of the walls be closed. God commanded Joshua to go around the walls of Jericho for six days, once every day, and seven times on the seventh day. God commanded the city to be attacked by seven priests blowing horns, with the Ark of the Covenant in front of them and all the people behind the Ark of the Covenant. They encircled the wall of Jericho once a day for the first six days, and then encircled the city seven times on the seventh day. After the shofar (horn) sounded a great blow, the Israelites shouted, and the city walls fell beneath them.

    Following God's law, the Israelites killed every man and woman of every age, as well as the oxen, sheep, and donkeys. Only Rahab, her parents, brothers and all "those who belonged to her" were spared. They were incorporated into Israel. Joshua then cursed anybody who rebuilt the foundations and gates, with the deaths of their firstborn and youngest child respectively. This was eventually fulfilled by Hiel the Bethelite under King Ahab's reign.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Jericho#Biblical_account

    I think it is worth observing that Jericho is not in the Gaza Strip, not in ancient Philistia. Jericho sits about 30 km NNE of Jerusalem and perhaps 10 km west of the Jordan River.

    @Nevis asks a question and I think it is valid. By comparison, we might call this Metrocide, given that all the inhabitants, save Rahab, were slaughtered. If this was the only place in scripture to inform us of the character of God we may form a jaundiced view of God, however, thankfully it is not. We know in many places God is loving and forgiving, and we know that to be the dominant narrative. The image of God painted here is both partisan and brutal and there is no escaping that. This would seem to be the view of God that Benjamin Netanyahu wants to paint for us. This is the God of the Jews, on the understanding that God is always on their side and that they can do no wrong. That is a view of God that does not sit well with vast tracts of the Old Testament before we start talking about the New Testament.
     
  11. Nevis

    Nevis Active Member

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    my wuestion again
     
  12. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    There is no single view of God described in Holy Scripture. God is described as an Omnipotent Creator, a Tribal God carried around, as a Universal Ruler and Redeemer. Our task is to hold it all together, not simply dissect God and use the bits we want when it suits us. The Patristic Narratives are widely variant and often challenging. The Bible is not a book of systematic theology. You may not like this answer, or the answer I provided before.
     
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  13. Nevis

    Nevis Active Member

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    ok
     
  14. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    A holy, righteous God. The same God who saw the pollution of the human race by the fallen angels (the "sons of God" who had sex with the "daughters of men") and the rampant sinfulness that resulted, and who flooded the earth while preserving only 8 human beings in the ark. The same God who rained fire and sulfur upon Sodom and Gomorrah. The same God who judged Pharaoh and his army. We see that the people who proclaim only a God of love do a disservice to mankind, for the same God is also a God of holiness, righteousness, and judgment.
     
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  15. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Abraham was supposed to have a son, Isaac. Isaac was the son God wanted Abraham to have. But because God accounted Abraham righteous through faith, God prospered Abraham's other sons in terms of fecundity and made them nations as well. But He foretold that they would be a source of extreme friction.

    What we see is a harvest field filled with mixed wheat and many tares (weeds), a pasture full of mixed sheep and many goats; at the judgment they will be separated.

    God gave specific lands to the descendants of Israel. As we see in Deuteronomy, for example:
    Deu 34:1 Then Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, which is opposite Jericho. And the LORD showed him all the land, Gilead as far as Dan,
    Deu 34:2 all Naphtali, the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, all the land of Judah as far as the western sea,
    Deu 34:3 the Negeb, and the Plain, that is, the Valley of Jericho the city of palm trees, as far as Zoar.
    Deu 34:4 And the LORD said to him, “This is the land of which I swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, ‘I will give it to your offspring.’ I have let you see it with your eyes, but you shall not go over there.”
    Deu 34:5 So Moses the servant of the LORD died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the LORD

    Within that area, God specified certain lands, different ones for each of Jacob's (Israel's) children, in Joshua 13. (Levi got no land since his descendants were the Levites, and Reuben lost his birthright.) It appears that some other descendants of Abraham had to be moved out of this land, by God's orders. This shows the primacy of the Israelites' claim to those specific lands according to the will of God.

    Any people who disagree and who want to take & hold some of this land for themselves, when they are not the appropriate descendants of Israel, are disagreeing with God and are fighting against His will. There were, and are, plenty of other places to live. But we see many of Abraham's "other" descendants refusing for decades to allow the displaced people, their own brethren, places within the neighboring countries. Because these "other" descendants hate Israel with a passion, keeping the "Palestinians" essentially without a country to call their home served the purpose of maintaining friction against Israel in the ultimate hope of eliminating all Israelis permanently.

    Among the many other non-Israelite people who live in the Middle East there has always been tremendous animosity toward the Israelites. We see them chanting "death to Israel" all the time. Some have come to the US and are chanting the same thing here. Now, do we see Israel gathering and chanting, death to Ishmael? Or death to _____ (any other people)? No, we don't.

    Israel showed compassion for the residents of the area we now call Palestine, they said the people were welcome to live there so long as they lived in peace, and initially those people had open access to Jerusalem. From 1967 onward Israel has shown tremendous restraint. But as attacks and death threats continued over the years, measures were taken and gradually strengthened in an effort to secure the safety of the people in Israel. A barrier with checkpoints had to be built. The "iron dome" system was developed. And so on.

    The October incursion and massacre was a "straw that broke the camel's back." All efforts for peace and harmony have been rejected by the "Palestinians" for decades. So Israel's gloves have come off. Now, we have the inevitable collateral damage which comes with a military action designed to root out once and for all the people who instigate and conduct the attacks. If you had a neighbor up the road who shouted all the time that he was going to kill everyone in your house, and if he kept trying to kill you and your family, and if no one else would stop him,

    We should be mindful that even the people being portrayed as "innocent civilians" have been taught and trained from childhood to hate Israel and to desire the complete genocide of descendants of Israel. The so-called "Palestinians" are not the lily-white innocents the media portrays them as. While we may pity them and feel sorry for the hardships they are going through, those hardships pale in comparison to the vitriolic animosity and evil intentions they hold toward the descendants of Israel. Not that the Israelis are innocents either, but they are living on land that God granted them (and a very small portion of it at that!). The hatred, the murderous intent, and the murderous actions their mortal enemies exhibit should neither be condoned, tolerated, nor defended by teary-eyed Christians, but it should be condemned by the united Christian community in the strongest terms.

    After all, if you had a neighbor up the road who constantly screamed at you that he intended to kill everyone in your house, and if he kept trying to do so (with some success!), and if no one else would intervene but instead half the neighborhood said they felt sorry for the neighbor, how would you feel and what would you do?
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2024
  16. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    I wonder @Rexlion if you think UN Security Council Resolution 242 had any bearing on what has transpired since then. Does the absolutely no mention of Palestine and the Palestinian people contribute to the alienation of peoples who have been living in and around the areas for 3000 years?

    The Davidic Kingdom exercised sovereignty for about 75 years until the Assyrians descended like a wolf on the fold. For the next 1100 years, there were periods of exile and subservience to Empires, essentially a vassal kingdom. For the past 1900 years, they have largely lived in diaspora. To their credit, they have retained a culture and a religious tradition across wide-reaching disparate and disconnected areas in a way that is difficult to imagine. Perhaps two factors that contributed to that were a strong sense of community and exclusion from many mainstream communities across Europe.

    The modern State of Israel has resulted from the rise of the Zionist movement in the 19th and 20th Centuries in England and Europe and, fueled by a strong romantic sentiment among many Jews next year in Jerusalem and amongst non-Jews reflecting an anti-semitism that preferred them to live elsewhere, just not in my backyard. The Balfour Declaration set England's course in this and the Nazi movement in Germany set the German response, which included paying for many to migrate, as it was cheaper than incarceration. Equally, the Russians post-revolution were glad to be shot of them as well.

    To what extent we are required to understand the contemporary secular state of Israel as the fulfilment of the Davidic Kingdom, I am not sure.

    The promise in Genesis 17 seems to be to all of Abraham's descendants, including the children of Haggai, Sarah and Kendra. The return of the people from Egypt does not necessarily require the exclusive possession of the land. There is a dynamic tension in the Old Testament, whereas at times it seems that God is the Universal Sovereign and at times a Tribal Deity. They are clearly to show hospitality to the stranger in the land.

    The recent destruction of citizens in a defined humanitarian area in tents by missiles does not, in my view represent the exercise of such an obligation.

    I stand firmly opposed to all acts of terror, including those conducted by militant groups like Hamas, or national bodies like the Israeli Defence Force.

    I understand that the US has always been a strong supporter of Israel, cherishes Israel and is a significant consumer of American Military Products, yet we as Christians must stand for the basic right of all people made in the image and after the likeness of God, even those whose view of God is different to ours.

    I do not believe that Christians are obligated to support Israel in any circumstances, however, I am opposed to all actions that fail to recognise and support the dignity of each and every human person.