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Fundamentalist Christians and Zionist Jews vociferously proclaim the ‘Divine right’ of the Jews to statehood in Palestine, and are willing to joyously support all manner of Jewish atrocities done in order to kick others out of that land and keep them out. It was the support of western ‘Christian’ nations that originally (following World War 2) ‘granted’ the Jewish people the right to supplant the Palestinian Christians and Muslims who were at that time inhabiting the land. (Christian supporters of Israel conveniently overlook the fact that a large portion of Palestinians are in fact Christians; they’re not all ‘evil’ Muslims, whom some Christians love to hate). Any opposition to any Zionist Jewish acts, no matter how atrocious, is considered opposition to God and His purpose and Word.
So what is the basis of this supposed Divine right of Jews to the land of Canaan? Well, of course it is to be found in the promise of God to Abraham found in Genesis 17:8 – “The whole land of Canaan, where you are now an alien, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God.” This is taken to be a true historical event, and is to be interpreted literally (according to the fundamentalist Christians, and Zionist Jews). And of course it is pointed out that this covenant is ‘everlasting’.
Now first of all, the word ‘everlasting’ means ‘for an age’; that is, for a long time – not ‘forever’ the way the Zionists want us to think of it. And secondly, despite this ‘everlasting’ covenant, the Hebrew Scriptures themselves warn that if the Jewish descendants of Abraham violated the terms of the covenant, God would ‘curse’ them and drive them out of the land (see Deuteronomy 28 and 29 for instance). According to these Scriptures, God even warned that he would violate His own promise due to their disobedience: “The LORD will send you back in ships to Egypt on a journey I said you should never make again” (Deut. 28:68). The curses and threats in Deuteronomy were fulfilled by the Babylonians and Assyrians; and then finally, after warnings by the Jewish Prophet Jesus and his followers, it was fulfilled by the Romans in 70 C. E. Jesus even said (Matt. 21:43): “Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit.” That word ‘people’ is the Greek word “ethnos” which is frequently rendered as ‘Gentile’ and ‘heathen’; it means a non-Jewish people or nation. From a Muslim viewpoint this means that the kingdom of God is to be found in people of every nation and tongue in whose hearts God reigns supreme, who hear and obey His word. It includes Jews who love and serve the One God, but they are only a part of God’s people, not a ‘chosen nation’ any more (if they ever were such). That of course was in fact part of that original covenant promise to Abraham: that all the nations of the earth would be blessed in him. Who can imagine that God would ‘go back’ to a former predominant concern with the Jewish nation (if He ever had such a predominant concern) now that He is blessing the whole world?
If it be objected that in Deuteronomy 30 God said that He would bring back the Jews to their land, from whatever part of the world in which they had been scattered, it should be noted when such a return would occur: “When all these blessings and curses I have set before you come upon you and you take them to heart wherever the LORD your God disperses you among the nations, and when you and your children return to the LORD your God and obey him with all your heart and with all your soul according to everything I command you today, THEN the LORD your God will restore your fortunes…” (Verses 1-3). Will any thinking person (particularly the fundamentalist Christians) say that such was the case in 1948, or any time since? I don’t think so! A good portion of Jews are atheists today (or even devil worshipping Free Masons); how many of those who are not atheists love God with all their heart and all their soul I wonder? Would it not be fair to say that most non-atheists are still just nominal Jews, fulfilling rituals but not heart-felt lovers of God? Well, who am I to judge, right? There are certainly at least some Jews who are truly devout, anyway. But surely the fundamentalist Christians (and modernist ‘Muslims’ like the Saud’s), who are such avid supporters of Israel, won’t be willing to admit that any but the Muslims would truly fit into the category of those who fulfill those verses quoted above. Therefore, Jews don’t have any claim to the fulfillment of that prophecy yet; and current support for them based on that promise is without foundation.
Having said all of that, though, the real question to be examined is whether or not the events depicted in the ‘historical’ books of the Hebrew Scriptures are indeed genuine history, and to be understood literally. We really need to know who wrote those accounts, and whether or not they can be trusted as having given us accurate historical accounts. It has traditionally been believed by the Jews and Christians that the first 5 books of the Bible (the Pentateuch: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy) were written by Moses; and the next book – Joshua – was written by Joshua. Conservative Christians still defend this idea, but it won’t hold up to examination. First of all, nowhere in the Pentateuch is it ever claimed that Moses was the author of the books, and Joshua doesn’t make any claim that Joshua was its author. Secondly, the books are all written in the 3rd person about the characters in those books, just the way one would expect in a ‘history book’. Moses did such and so, and Joshua did this or that; not “I did” or “I said”. Now if the books made claim to being written by Moses or Joshua, one could acknowledge that a person could write about himself in the 3rd person; but absent such a claim to authorship, there is simply no basis to assume this.
There are so many more plain proofs that these books were not written by Moses or Joshua, though – rather they were written by some other unknown person or persons several hundred years later. Would Moses have said about himself: “Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth” (Numbers 12:3)? Such a claim by Moses himself would prove the claim was untrue! How could Moses write about his own death and burial in Deuteronomy 34? Note the account of Moses’ death and burial is written in the 3rd person, past tense (as one would naturally expect). Whoever wrote this lets us know that he is writing a long time after the events, because he said: “to this day no one knows where his grave is” (verse 6); “Since then, no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses” (verse 10); and “For no one has ever shown the mighty power or performed the awesome deeds that Moses did in the sight of all Israel” (verse 12). These statements, and others like them in the Pentateuch and Joshua, show that the writer lived a long time after the events being described. (In Joshua 24, the death of Joshua is reported, so the same question applies as did to Moses’ death: can we really be expected to believe that Joshua wrote about his own death??!)
In Genesis 14:14 we read: “When Abram heard that his relative had been taken captive, he called out the 318 trained men born in his household and went in pursuit as far as Dan”. The problem with that statement is that the city named ‘Dan’ did not go by that name in the time of Abraham or Moses. It was not named Dan until after the death of Samson, several hundred years after the time of Moses. Judges 18:27-29 tells us when that town came to be named Dan: “Then they [the Danites] took what Micah had made [idols], and his priest, and went on to Laish, against a peaceful and unsuspecting people. They attacked them with the sword and burned down the city. There was no one to rescue them because they lived a long way from Sidon and had no relationship with anyone else. The city was in a valley near Beth Rehob. The Danites rebuilt the city and settled there. They named it Dan after their forefather Dan, who was born to Israel – though the city used to be called Laish”. So whoever wrote Genesis could not possibly have done so before the Danites destroyed Laish and renamed it Dan.
In Genesis 26:31 there is this statement: “These are the kings who reigned in Edom before any Israelite king reigned…” Of course, the first Israelite king to reign was Saul, so whoever wrote Genesis at the very least had to have written after Saul became king. The city of New York used to be called New Amsterdam; the name was changed in 1644. Anyone who writes about events in New York, calling it by that name, by that very fact indicates that he is writing after 1644 even though the writer does not identify himself or tell us when he was writing. So it is with the writer of Genesis. Even though the writer is anonymous, and does not tell us when he wrote, the fact that he says those Edomite kings lived “before any Israelite king reigned” unquestionably tells us that he was writing after Israelite kings began to reign.
This is only a small portion of the evidence available that Moses and Joshua were not the authors of those books traditionally attributed to them. What’s the point, though? The point is that we have no idea who the author was, so we know nothing about his character and trustworthiness. The events happened many hundreds of years before he wrote, and we don’t know what sources he used for his accounts (and the trustworthiness of those sources). Any claim of the Jewish people to the land of Canaan, based on the Biblical story of Abraham, Moses, and Joshua, is worthless because the validity of those accounts is utterly unprovable! They are stories compiled and edited by scribes relatively late in ‘Old Testament’ Israelite history, and as ‘histories’ they are just examples of prejudiced Jewish propaganda designed to validate themselves as a nation with a country to inhabit.
In fact, I believe many of the stories were deliberately made up so that we would be taken in by the ‘letter’ to fool people into believing the so-called ‘right’ of the Jewish people to the Land of Canaan. Consider the deplorable morality of some of the stories. For instance, consider Deuteronomy 20:16 and 17: “However, in the cities of the nations the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance, do not leave alive anything that breathes. Completely destroy them…” That is precisely what Joshua did to the city of Jericho, as recorded in Joshua 6:21. What person who has any feelings for the honor of the God of love, mercy, compassion, justice and righteousness would ever be a party to such slanderous lies against God by believing such examples of moral depravity in the name of God? We must either believe they are outright lies, or that the writers (forgers) intended us to know from their loathsomeness that these stories were fabricated in order to suit the Holy Land agenda of the Jews.
An indication of what the higher truth is can be found in the great ‘faith chapter’ of Hebrews 11 in the “New Testament”. In verses 8-10 we read concerning Abraham: “By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.” This city is then further explained in verses 13-16: “All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country – A HEAVENLY ONE. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them”.
The “land of Canaan” is not a material, earthly territory, but is a ‘heavenly one’. The story of Abraham being commanded to sacrifice his son (whether it was Isaac, as in the Bible, or Ishmael as in the Qur’an) is an allegory teaching us that we must be willing to let go of even the dearest earthly attachments if they hinder our pursuit of God and His kingdom. In our struggle to inherit the heavenly Canaan, “our struggle is not against flesh and blood” –those ‘Old Testament’ accounts of combat are allegories of the heavenly struggle – “but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world [age] and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12).
Those Zionist Jews and fundamentalist Christians who promote Jewish occupation of the earthly Canaan, and building of a material Temple in earthly Jerusalem, have entirely ‘missed the boat’. The true Jerusalem is the one which ‘comes from above’, and the true Temple is the people of God, not a building. The true Canaan is the ‘heavenly country’ which God has prepared for those who love Him. Don’t ‘miss the boat’. And when you see or hear about despicable atrocities being done by anyone ‘in the name of God’, denounce them for the hypocrites and impostors they are, whether they’re Christians, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists or Hindus (or anyone else).
To Whom Was the Earthly Land of Canaan Given?
Gen 17:9 And God said to Abraham, “As for you, you shall keep my covenant, you and your offspring after you throughout their generations. 10 This is my covenant, which you shall keep, between me and you and your offspring after you: Every male among you shall be circumcised. 11 You shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you. 12 He who is eight days old among you shall be circumcised. Every male throughout your generations, whether born in your house or bought with your money from any foreigner who is not of your offspring, 13 both he who is born in your house and he who is bought with your money, shall surely be circumcised. So shall my covenant be in your flesh an everlasting covenant. 14 Any uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin shall be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.” 15 And God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. 16 I will bless her, and moreover, I will give you a son by her. I will bless her, and she shall become nations; kings of peoples shall come from her.” 17 Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed and said to himself, “Shall a child be born to a man who is a hundred years old? Shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?” 18 And Abraham said to God, “Oh that Ishmael might live before you!” 19 God said, “No, but Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his offspring after him. 20 As for Ishmael, I have heard you; behold, I have blessed him and will make him fruitful and multiply him greatly. He shall father twelve princes, and I will make him into a great nation. 21 But I will establish my covenant with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this time next year.” 22 When he had finished talking with him, God went up from Abraham. 23 Then Abraham took Ishmael his son and all those born in his house or bought with his money, every male among the men of Abraham’s house, and he circumcised the flesh of their foreskins that very day, as God had said to him. (English Standard Version)
According to the Biblical story, God made a covenant with Abraham – spoken of in several places in Genesis – whereby God would be in a special manner his God, bless him greatly, and give to him and his offspring the land of Canaan. Genesis 15:18 said that this land would extend from the “river of Egypt” to the Euphrates – quite a sizable area. The vexing question, though, is: who are the offspring of Abraham to whom this portion of land was said to be given by God?
The traditional answer given by Jews and Christians is considered to be obvious: it was given to that line of offspring descending from Abraham’s son Isaac, and grandson Jacob. Ishmael and the other children of Abraham are said to be excluded from this promise of land. This is based on verse 21 of Genesis 17 (quoted above): But I will establish my covenant with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this time next year; and on Genesis 21:12 – But God said to Abraham, “Be not displeased because of the boy and because of your slave woman. Whatever Sarah says to you, do as she tells you, for through Isaac shall your offspring be named. This is understood to mean that God’s covenant is only with Isaac (not Ishmael or any other of Abraham’s children), and only the offspring of Isaac would be counted as Abraham’s offspring.
But is that traditional answer true? If you read this 17th chapter of Genesis from the beginning, you’ll see that the promise God was making to Abraham – based on the command to walk before me and be blameless – was that He would confirm the covenant promises to Abraham and greatly increase the number of Abraham’s offspring. Abraham would become the father of many nations, and kings would come from his descendants (the “many nations”). God would establish His covenant with those “many nations” offspring, and give them that land of Canaan.
Now one would assume from this that the covenant – with its promise of the land of Canaan – was intended for all of those “many nations” descendants (so long as they also fulfilled the covenant requirement to walk in blamelessness before God). As a confirmation of the correctness of this assumption, God proceeded to give Abraham a covenant sign – circumcision – which was to be applied to all of his male descendants throughout their generations. In fact, the covenant – with its sign – was not only for those who were physically descended from Abraham, but also with all the servants who were purchased and therefore members of his household. As long as all of these “descendants” (whether direct or purchased slaves) continued to practice that sign of the covenant, they were included in the covenant promise of being God’s people and inheriting the land of Canaan.
As a result, verse 23 says that Abraham proceeded to obey God by circumcising Ishmael, every other male born in his household, and all of those who had been purchased with money. They all received the sign of the covenant, and all – including Ishmael – were included in that covenant.
Note that this was a year before the birth of Isaac. Ishmael was already included in this covenant before Isaac was even conceived. However, while God was making this covenant promise and requirement, He told Abraham that his wife Sarah would give birth to a son – to be named Isaac. Abraham, though, was 99 years old and Sarah was 89; and despite the fact of the greatness of Abraham’s faith and trust in God, this was more than he could believe it would seem. He fell on his face laughing at this idea, and asked God to just let Ishmael “live” before Him.
God patiently responded that Sarah would indeed give birth to a son – to be named Isaac – and God would establish His covenant with that son. Ishmael would be blessed with fruitfulness, and a great nation would spring from him; but I will establish my covenant with Isaac. And it’s with that little word “but” that the problem arises. Despite the very apparent previous inclusion of all of Abraham’s circumcised descendants (including Ishmael) in the covenant of promise, that one little word seems to suddenly place a huge restriction on who would inherit the promise. Doesn’t that seem a good bit strange??
It would indeed be very strange; but that’s not what the Genesis account tells us that God said. Despite the fact that the translators are almost unanimous in putting that word “but” in there, the correct translation is “and” or “also”! Young’s Literal Translation renders it: and My covenant I establish with Isaac, whom Sarah doth bear to thee at this appointed time in the next year.
A web site called “Ark of Salvation” has an article explaining and defending this rendering of “and” rather than “but”. In this particular article, he points out that the word “but” in Genesis 17:21 is a single letter – transliterated as ‘V’ in English letters – which is prefixed to the first word of the sentence. As the author says, The Hebrew prefix “V-“ (Vav) is defined by Langenscheidt’s Hebrew Dictionary as a conjunction meaning “and, and therefore, also, then, yet”. He comments that beginning Hebrew students are taught that this prefix “V” means “and”. This would be the clear and obvious meaning in Genesis 17 if Hebrew prejudice and arrogance had not twisted it in order to make themselves “God’s special people”.
When the statement in Genesis 17:21 is read as “and” or “also”, it takes on an entirely different meaning than if it’s read “but”. The meaning in context then comes to this: God told Abraham that He was so pleased with him that it simply wasn’t sufficient that He was going to provide Abraham offspring through Ishmael; he was also going to give him another son whom God would also make to be very fruitful, and with whom He would also establish His covenant. [Compare this to what the LORD said to his servant (the messiah) in Isaiah 49:6 – he (the LORD) says: “It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to bring back the preserved of Israel; I will make you as a light for the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.” The idea is the same in what God is reported to have said to Abraham.] Ishmael was already obviously included in the covenant, but God was going to add to that blessing by establishing His covenant with another son also. Verses 20 and 21 would then read: As for Ishmael, I have heard you; behold, I have blessed him and will make him fruitful and multiply him greatly. He shall father twelve princes, and I will make him into a great nation. 21 And I will establish my covenant with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this time next year. Or if one insists on keeping the word “but” in the translation, it would read But also I will establish my covenant with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this time next year.
Some people maintain that it was certainly a very great blessing God bestowed on Hagar and Ishmael – making a great nation to come from them – but this was entirely separate from establishing His covenant. The covenant was a far greater blessing than just causing a huge number of descendants to come from them.
My response is that, on the contrary, the promise of fruitfulness and their descendants becoming a great nation (or nations) is precisely what the covenant was all about. Notice that in verses 15 and 16, this is precisely the promise that is made regarding Sarah and Isaac (which verse 21 defines as meaning God would establish His covenant with Isaac): And God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. 16 I will bless her, and moreover, I will give you a son by her. I will bless her, and she shall become nations; kings of peoples shall come from her.” When God says he will make Ishmael fruitful, and cause a great nation to descend from him, that is the definition of establishing His covenant with Ishmael. (And the fact that Ishmael’s offspring would become a great nation necessarily implies that they would have a land to inhabit. And what would that land be other than at least a part of the promised land which would extend from the river of Egypt to the Euphrates – a land promised to the “many nations” offspring of Abraham?)
When verse 19 says: “No, but Sarah your wife shall bear you a son…”, that was not a negation of Abraham’s request that Ishmael would “live” before God (as the context makes very clear); rather if there is any negation involved at all, it is negating Abraham’s denial that he and Sarah could possibly conceive a child at their advanced ages. In fact, the word rendered “nay, but” is probably not a negative at all. The KJV renders it “indeed” (And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed…); and the NIV renders it “yes, but” (Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son…). The Hebrew word appears 7 times in the Bible, and in the KJV is rendered “verily” 3 times; “indeed” twice; and “nevertheless” twice. In response to Abraham’s incredulity, God was telling him that His promise of a son through Sarah would indeed come to pass – without at all denying that Ishmael also would have God’s covenant blessing.
So verse 21 is not saying “but I will exclusively establish my covenant with Isaac”; rather it is saying “in addition, I will also establish my covenant with Isaac”.
This same idea of additional blessing, rather than exclusivity of blessing, can be seen in the passage in Genesis 21:12 and 13: (12) But God said to Abraham, “Be not displeased because of the boy and because of your slave woman. Whatever Sarah says to you, do as she tells you, for through Isaac shall your offspring be named. (13) And I will make a nation of the son of the slave woman also, because he is your offspring.” Here’s how Young’s Literal Translation renders these verses: (12) and God saith unto Abraham, `Let it not be wrong in thine eyes because of the youth, and because of thy handmaid: all that Sarah saith unto thee–hearken to her voice, for in Isaac is a seed called to thee. (13) As to the son of the handmaid also, for a nation I set him, because he is thy seed.’ When Sarah jealously insisted that Hagar and Ishmael be “cast out” from the household, Abraham was understandably very distressed. But God is said to have reassured Abraham. Abraham could safely do what Sarah requested, because God Himself guaranteed that Hagar and Ishmael would be safe, and would in fact thrive. Isaac would indeed bear offspring for Abraham; but Ishmael also was Abraham’s offspring, and God was going to fulfill His previously made promise and see to it that Ishmael survived to have a large family which would eventually become a great nation. Abraham’s offspring would be “called” from both of those sons.
That is the story as it is presented in the Hebrew Scripture. If it is a historically accurate account, then the “Israelites” don’t have a leg to stand on in arrogating to themselves sole “ownership” of the land of Canaan, and sole (or even primary) inheritance of God’s covenant with Abraham. The land belongs to all of Abraham’s descendants (including those from Ishmael) who keep God’s covenant requirements. If the story is not historically accurate, but is instead either false or allegory, then obviously again the “Israelites” don’t have any legitimate right to claim the “Abrahamic covenant” and the land as their own. The covenant is for all who follow in the steps of Abraham’s faith, and the “land” is allegorically interpreted as the “heavenly” inheritance.
It is certainly true that the Hebrew people twisted and distorted this Abrahamic covenant to make it theirs exclusively; and this distorted interpretation was reflected later in the writings of the prophets. But it is high time that this misuse of “sacred Scripture” should be corrected. The Qur’an points out in a number of passages that the Jewish people tended to pull verses out of context and distort their meanings. This is one example of such abuse. Nevertheless, the interpretation of the particular text was wrong, although the principle he was seeking to establish was correct. This is a proof that God is able to bring forth good out of evil!
Is Israel God’s ‘Chosen Nation’??
“Then Peter began to speak to them: ‘I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him” [Acts 10:34, 35].
In this article I want to pursue the related idea of whether Jews (the physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) have any special place in the purpose of God. This is obviously the key issue in the controversy over any national right of Israel to a particular land. It is the most basic element in the claims of Zionist Jews and their fundamentalist Christian supporters: the Jewish nation is God’s ‘chosen people’, made by God to be above all of the other nations and peoples of the earth; all nations must serve the Jews, and whoever opposes them opposes God Himself.
That viewpoint is so distorted, though, that one has to cry out in astonishment to Christians or Jews who hold such a view: “for you are still carnal [of the flesh]” [1 Corinthians 3:3]! The key point of that story, though, is that Abraham and his descendants were being set apart as God’s witnesses to the nations, in order to – by their testimony – bring all the nations into the kingdom of God, and thereby into God’s blessings on an equal basis with themselves. God wasn’t setting up a national hierarchy, with one nation superior to all others. When the physical descendants of Abraham broke God’s covenant through disobedience, and failed to be a testimony to the nations of God’s righteousness and justice, mercy and kindness, then God cut them off from His blessing – as their own prophets testified.
Hosea, in chapter one, gave symbolic names to his children indicating that Israel would be called “not pitied” and “not my people” because of their disobedience. The point here is that it is not one’s genetic lineage that makes him part of the ‘people of God’, but one’s belief in God as manifested by an obedient life. The Hebrew prophets were clear in showing that it was never a violation of God’s covenant with Abraham when He removed unbelieving and disobedient descendants of Abraham (physically speaking) from the covenant blessings. The story of Elijah in 1 Kings 19 illustrates the point beautifully. Elijah complained to the LORD that he was the only person in Israel still loyal to God, and the Israelites were seeking to kill him. The LORD responded that Elijah was mistaken; there were still 7000 in Israel who refused to worship Baal. These 7000 would be spared by God while the rest (the unbelievers) were cut off from God’s blessing and destroyed – despite their verifiable claim to be genetically pure descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
The prophet John (“the Baptist”), when castigating his Jewish hearers for their sinful departures from obedience to God’s covenant and calling on them to repent before God cut them off (he said: “Even now the axe is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire” – Matthew 3:10), made this very interesting statement in verse 9: “Do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our ancestor’; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham”! He was using the metaphorical and hyperbolic language of the Hebrew people to refer to the fact that all of creation ‘sings praises’ to God; trees ‘clap their hands’ and mountains ‘skip like lambs’ in joy at God’s presence and blessings. So metaphorically speaking, the very stones believe in and praise God, and are therefore children of Abraham (children of his faith) in contrast to the disobedient physical descendants whom God was about to cut off from His blessings. Here it is made plain that not only must Jews be believers to be the true ‘people of God’, but there can be children of Abraham who have no physical connection to him at all. The only thing that matters is obedient faith, such as Abraham illustrated.
Jesus taught this truth when he said (in Matthew 21:43): “Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that produces the fruits of the kingdom”. The physical Jewish descendants of Abraham were to be disinherited, and another nation (the ‘nation’ of believers from ALL nations – including the remnant of believing Jews) would inherit the promises forfeited by the (national-Zionist) Jews. (This was equivalent to John’s prophecy that the axe was at the root of the Jewish ‘trees’ and was about to cut them down).
The fact of the matter, then, is that God has never blessed a people based on their physical descent, doesn’t now, and never will. That is why Peter’s new understanding of God, quoted at the beginning of this article, is of such importance. Peter had once believed the carnal distortion of many Jews that those who are Jews by physical descent from Jacob were a ‘special’ people to God, separate from the ‘unclean Gentiles’. He told the household of the Roman centurion Cornelius: “You yourselves know that it is unlawful for a Jew to associate with or to visit a Gentile; but God has shown me that I should not call anyone profane or unclean” (Acts 10:28). And so he said (as quoted at the start of this article): “I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation ANYONE who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him” (Acts 10:34 and 35). The nation of Israel has no special claim on God’s favor, and never will! With the destruction of Jerusalem and its Temple, and the dispersal of the Jewish people throughout the nations, in 70 AD, God has torn down the ‘first tabernacle’ with all of its outward trappings (land, Temple, sacrifices, and other regulations of worship) in order to open the way to the ‘holiest of all’ (Hebrews 9). You may be sure that God will never ‘rebuild’ that ‘first tabernacle’ with its outward ordinances and land. Anyone holding to the Zionist illusion should disillusion himself, and set his eyes on that ‘spiritual, heavenly country’ which is the inheritance of those in every nation who fear God and do what is right. This includes Jews, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus and anyone else who truly loves and serves God. They show the law of God and of his anointed written on their hearts, even if it is not recognized intellectually. It is they who are the true ‘children of Abraham’ and receive the covenant promises.
Genesis 12:1 Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. Gen 12:2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.Gen 12:3 I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.
Isa 45:22 Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.
John 12:32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.
John 10:16 And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.
Acts 10:28 [The Christian apostle Peter speaking to the household of the Roman centurion Cornelius – SGP] And he said to them, “You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a Jew to associate with or to visit anyone of another nation, but God has shown me that I should not call any person common or unclean …
Act 10:34 So Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, Act 10:35 but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.
Qur’an 49:13 People, We created you all from a single man and a single woman, and made you into races and tribes so that you should get to know one another. In God’s eyes, the most honoured of you are the ones most mindful of Him: God is all knowing, all aware.
Qur’an 5:18 The Jews and the Christians say, ‘We are the children of God and His beloved ones.’ Say, ‘Then why does He punish you for your sins? You are merely human beings, part of His creation: He forgives whoever He will and punishes whoever He will. Control of the heavens and earth and all that is between them belongs to Him: all journeys lead to Him.’
[Bible quotations are from the English Standard Version; Qur’an quotations are from the Abdel Haleem English Version.]
Those verses, taken from the Hebrew and Christian portions of the Bible, and the Qur’an (Koran), proclaim with utmost clarity a most basic principle of the Religion of God in all its manifestations: God is King of all the earth (indeed of all worlds), all human beings come from Him, and He has no favorites among them – except that He favors all those from every nation and tribe who believe in Him and do righteous deeds.
This is actually something which should be clear to anyone who uses the reason God gave him/her, even without any ‘Divine Revelation’. Yet the darkness of human understanding is sometimes so great that even the most clear and evident truths of “the laws of nature and of nature’s God” are not seen or are ignored.
Some people have imagined that the color of one’s skin makes him/her superior to everyone else: “white supremacy” for instance – whether its manifestation in the Ku Klux Klan in the USA; or the white, blond haired, blue eyed ‘Aryans’ of Nazi infamy; or any other manifestation. And of course there was the reaction of the “Black Muslims” of the “Nation of Islam” who maintained (maintain?) that the true ‘master race’ is the race of black skinned people.
Others imagine that “God’s elect” are those who belong to a particular expression of the Religion of God. Perhaps most obvious would be some from the Christian religion (“evangelicals”, “fundamentalists”, etc.) who think that they alone belong to the family of God – because they have come to believe in the ‘right’ Prophet, and believe the ‘right doctrines’ concerning that Prophet (that he is – supposedly – Pagan doctrines like “God the Son”, the “Second Person of the Trinity”, and that he died as a substitute for all believers to bear the wrath of God against them and so-called ‘save’ them).
Such ‘supremacist’ imaginations are demolished by the above quoted verses.
But there is another group of people who believe they are “the apple of God’s eye” because of a combination of physical genealogical descent from Abraham through his grandson Jacob/Israel, and their religious faith and obedience to the Law of Moses. For many, it is the genealogical descent which at least seems to be the biggest factor. These people, of course, are the Jews – or at least some from among the Jews. I’m not one who believes that they’re all alike.
Nevertheless, even though not all Jewish people are ‘racists’, I imagine it must be with difficulty that they avoid it. It is so ingrained in Jewish thinking based on interpretations of the Bible and the Talmud, that it seems to me that one must either reject a large portion of those books as forgeries and fable, or resort to what appears to many as ‘far fetched interpretations’ of them. Still, there may be some truth to the idea that much of what are known as the ‘historical’ portions of the Hebrew Scriptures was never intended to be understood as ‘true history’, but rather as Zionist propagandism. It is not “the truth” historically, but it contains a truth. And perhaps the stories were written in such a way as to be unbelievable and even atrocious, in order to ‘cue us in’ that they were in fact forgeries rather than true histories.
However, historically the Jewish Scriptures have been understood by much of the Jewish ‘nation’ as very literally teaching that they are “God’s chosen people”, vastly superior to the ‘dogs of the Gentiles’. An illustration of just how ingrained such thinking is in Jewish thought is the story in Acts 10 and 11 of the Christian “New Testament” concerning Peter and the household of Cornelius.
Peter would not even have considered entering the house of Cornelius – a Roman centurion – if he had not been given a vision by God showing him that God doesn’t show favoritism. This despite the fact that Peter had spent so much time in the presence of Jesus Christ; and the fact that Cornelius was considered a ‘righteous’ and ‘God-fearing’ man, even by the Jews – who respected him (Acts 10:1, 2, 22). Despite his righteousness and fear of God, he was still a ‘dog of the Gentiles’. He may have been a ‘good dog’, but he was a ‘dog’ nevertheless. He was not an ‘equal’ of the Jews, and no good Jew would think of entering his house and eating with him.
It took visions given to Peter and Cornelius to convince Peter that this notion of Jewish superiority was invalid. And when he returned to Jerusalem, he had some explaining to do – because the Jewish disciples of Jesus there were horrified that Peter had done something as unthinkable as entering the house of an uncircumcised Gentile and eating with him (again despite the fact that Cornelius was respected by the Jews as a righteous and God-fearing man) [Acts 11:1 and 2].
This idea of Jewish superiority is easily seen today in what is known as ‘Zionism’ and ‘the Jewish State of Israel’. Most Jewish people seem to accept without hesitation that the land of Palestine belongs to them by so-called ‘Divine Right’. They are “God’s chosen people”, and they just don’t seem to comprehend that there might be some problem with them ‘cleansing’ the land of its non-Jewish inhabitants, demolishing their houses and cities, burning their crops, etc.
They eagerly accept fables about the land of Palestine being uninhabited, barren, and unfruitful – just waiting for “the apple of God’s eye” to come in and make the ‘desert’ blossom like a rose! Their blind prejudice is reflected in the slogan they adopted about the land: “a land without a people for a people without a land”. Despite the fact they had to murder or drive out hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from the land in order to turn it into a ‘Jewish State’, they still said it was a ‘land without a people’. I guess that’s because of the ‘fact’ that those Palestinian ‘Gentiles’ weren’t really people, but ‘dogs’! (Naudhubillah).
All of those olive and orange groves (as well as other types of agriculture) which the Zionist Jews had to destroy in order to be able to plant their own crops and turn the ‘desert’ into a ‘fruitful field’ were only imaginary, I guess. After all, Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) wrote that in his travels in Palestine he found the land uninhabited and barren! (We’re supposed to ignore the fact, I suppose, that Mr. Clemens also said the same thing of Greece – in perhaps even stronger terms. Mark Twain was a great writer of fiction and humor; but it sounds like his “non-fiction” was perhaps not quite so ‘non’ fictional.)
What is truly amazing, though, is that many Christians – and even some (westernized dajjalized) Muslims – buy into the absurd notion of Jewish ‘chosenness’ and their ‘Divine Right’ to the land!
In the past two and a half years that I have been reading the Qur’an, I have seen that the Qur’an does indeed confirm what remains of the truth in the former revelations; and it definitely confirms the truth seen by Peter that God shows no favoritism, but those in every nation who believe in God and do good works are accepted by Him. The quotations from 49:13 and 5:18 given at the beginning of this article are quite explicit. 5:18 in particular says that neither the Christians nor the Jews are God’s special people; they’re just human beings, and God bestows His blessings on whom He will among human beings.
Surah 2:124 says this: When Abraham’s Lord tested him with certain commandments, which he fulfilled, He said, ‘I will make you a leader of people.’ Abraham asked, ‘And will you make leaders of my descendents too?’ God answered, ‘My pledge does not hold for those who do evil.’ This confirms the Biblical assertions that Abraham believed God (and showed it by his works), and this was accounted to him for righteousness; and that it is those who have the same faith as Abraham (shown by righteous works) who are his descendents and heirs. Those who disbelieve and disobey are not Abraham’s heirs.
Sura 17:4-8 says this about the children of Israel: (4) We declared to the Children of Israel in the Scripture, ‘Twice you will spread corruption in the land and become highly arrogant’. (5) When the first of those warnings was fulfilled, We sent against you servants of Ours [Assyrians and Babylonians] with great force, and they ravaged your homes. That warning was fulfilled, (6) but then We allowed you to prevail against your enemy. We increased your wealth and offspring and made you more numerous – (7) whether you do good or evil it is to your own souls – and when the second warning was fulfilled [We sent them] [“servants of Ours” – the Romans this time] to shame your faces and enter the place of worship as they did the first time, and utterly destroy whatever fell into their power. (8) Your Lord may yet have mercy on you, but if you do the same again, so shall We: We have made Hell a prison for those who defy [Our warning].
This again confirms the prophecies of the Hebrew prophets. Isaiah and Jeremiah for instance predicted the Assyrian/Babylonian captivity, while Daniel in particular (though not only Daniel) predicted the Roman destruction of Jerusalem and the “last days/end” for the Jewish State. Daniel 9:24-27 predicted that from the time Cyrus the Persian freed the Jews from the Babylonian captivity there would be 490 years (70 “weeks/sevens” of years). Messiah the Prince would appear in the 69th “week/seven”, and be “cut off” in the 70th “week/seven”. After that, and as a result, the “people of the Prince” would come and destroy the city of Jerusalem and its Temple. When the “people of the Prince” is referred to, I believe the Prince is the same “Messiah the Prince” previously referred to who would come and be “cut off”. The Roman legions are seen as being sent at his command, by the will of God, to fulfill God’s purpose. However, others believe that this Prince whose people would destroy the Temple is Titus, the Roman General (son of Emperor Vespasian) who was the actual Roman leader.
In keeping with this prophecy of the destruction of Jerusalem and its Temple by the Romans – and its fulfillment – the Qur’an says this in 5:78 and 79: (78) The Children of Israel who defied [God] were rejected through the words of David, and Jesus, son of Mary, because they disobeyed, they persistently overstepped the limits, (79) they did not forbid each other to do wrong. How vile their deeds were!
I believe this Qur’anic statement about David and Jesus proclaiming God’s rejection of the Jewish people who defied and disobeyed God refers in particular to a parable and statement of Jesus given (with minor variations) in 3 of the 4 “Gospels” (the “Synoptics” – Matthew, Mark, and Luke). Jesus told a parable about the owner of a vineyard leasing it out to some tenants, and then leaving on a trip. From time to time the owner would send servants to collect some of the fruit from the tenants (lease payment); but the tenants beat some and killed others of those servants. Finally, the owner sent his son (servant) (the last Prophet of Bani Israel), figuring that the tenants would at least honor him. Instead they tried to kill him, thinking that with the heir dead they would inherit the vineyard themselves.
According to Matthew’s account, Jesus then asked his hearers: Mat 21:40 When therefore the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants? Their response (verse 41) was: He will put those wretches to a miserable death and let out the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the fruits in their seasons.
Then followed this response: Mat 21:42 Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: “‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’? Mat 21:43 Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits. Mat 21:44 And the one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him.”
So Jesus confirmed the conclusion of his hearers, and applied it to the Jewish nation by quoting from David (Psalm 118:22 and 23) and making his own declaration of God’s rejection of Israel and replacement of them by another people.
Yes, I without hesitation adhere to what some (even Christians, interestingly) disparagingly label “replacement theology”. God honored the faithful obedience of Abraham by telling him that his descendants would bring the blessing of God to all the nations. The descendants of Abraham’s grandson Jacob were chosen to have the opportunity to fulfill that purpose and be a “light to the nations” (not to be superior to, and slave masters over, the nations). When those descendants of Jacob became arrogant and disobedient, and became a “blight to the nations” rather than a “light to the nations”, God repudiated them and gave that position to the descendants of Abraham’s firstborn son, Ishmael. The Arabic people, beginning with the leadership of Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), fulfilled the purpose of being a “light to the nations”. They did not arrogantly imagine that God had made them superior to everyone else as the Jews had done. People from all nations and races have become “Muslims” (submitted and devoted to God), and the Arabs have no superior place among that “Muslim” people. They became the “cornerstone” in the kingdom, but they are not the kingdom itself.
To conclude then: it is simply impossible that God would adopt some particular nation or tribe of people – or followers of one particular Prophet out of the many He sent – to be His “chosen” or “special” people in any sense that makes them superior to everyone else. The Jewish people were chosen to have the opportunity to bring God’s light to other nations; but when they brought instead a “blight” to the nations, God rejected them and replaced them with a people who would not be arrogant and unfaithful. And it remains true of Arab Muslims as well as all other Muslims that if they are unbelieving and disobedient, they too will be rejected by God. God simply doesn’t play favorites!
In the next part we will try to identify the people of “The Stone which the Jewish People Rejected” and “the kingdom of God will be takeb away from you anf giveb to a people producing its fruits.” Insha Allah.