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Christ Is the Owner of Haaretz. A Palestinian Perspective. My Context. I am a Palestinian Arab Christian I am living in the Middle East among Jews, Muslims, and Christians. All are equally loved by the God I worship.

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christ is the owner of haaretz

Christ Is the Owner of Haaretz

A Palestinian Perspective

my context
My Context
  • I am a Palestinian Arab Christian
  • I am living in the Middle East among Jews, Muslims, and Christians. All are equally loved by the God I worship.
  • I am an Evangelical Christian who attempts to promote both biblical love and Justice as the means to biblical shalom.
  • I believe that both Old and New Testaments are God’s inspired book.
my challenge
My Challenge
  • Cain and Abel
  • Some Muslims see Palestine as an Islamic “waqf,” a sacred possession given in perpetuity to Muslims.
  • Some Jews claim that God gave to them all the Holy Land.
  • Some Palestinian Christians and Muslims believe that the Holy Land is their historic right.
  • Many North American Evangelical Christians subscribe to certain forms of dispensationalism. They assert that God gave Israel the Land.
  • The Missiological View of the Middle East
  • The Islamic View of Western Interest in Israel
three important questions
Three Important Questions

What are the borders of Israel’s land?

Who is Israel?

How Did God give Israel the land?

the first question what are the borders of israel s land
The First Question: What are the borders of Israel’s Land?

The Problem

  • Defining modern Israel’s borders based on the Bible is difficult because the Bible gives a variety of different borders. In the Pentateuch alone, we encounter at least three different borders (Gen 15:18-21, Num 34:1-12, and Deut 11:24, cf. Josh 1:3, 13-19). The Northern and Eastern boundaries are strikingly different.
kallai s answer
Kallai’s Answer
  • Recognizing these territorial differences, Kallai suggests three possibilities, namely, HaaretzPatriarchal, HaaretzCanaan, and HaaretzIsrael.
townsend s answer
Townsend’s Answer

Jeffrey Townsend had earlier suggested that there are general descriptions of Haaretz (Gen. 15:18/ Ex. 23: 31/ Num. 13: 21/ Deut. 11: 24/ 1Kg 8:65/ 2Kgs 14:25) and specific descriptions (Num. 34: 1-12/ Josh. 15: 1-12/ Ezek. 47: 15-20). He adds that these two options are not contradictory because the wider borders are only general and variable approximations. There is a distinction between Haaretz of the Israelites’ residence and Haaretz where they exercise sovereignty.

weinfeld s answer
Weinfeld’s Answer
  • Moshe Weinfeld finds yet another explanation for these territorial differences, based on the documentary hypothesis. He believes that the Transjordanian region is promised to Israel and cites the following evidence. Chapters 1-3 of Deuteronomy consider it a part of the land promised to Israel; the Israelites implemented the total ban or the utter destruction of every creature in Transjordan (Deut 2:34-35; 3:6-7; 20:10), just as they did in the other parts they occupied; and God showed it to Moses as part of the promised land (Deut. 34:1-4).

Kallai lacks textual support

Townsend downplays huge territorial differences

Weinfeld ignores the final form of the text

What about the theological context?

the second question who is israel
The Second Question:Who is Israel?

The Problem:

Anachronistic reading of the world “Israel” and equivocality and confusion are common problems.

example 1
Example 1
  • John Walvoord described the return of millions of Jews to their ancient land, the restoration of national Israel in 1948, and its expansion in 1967 as fulfillments of prophecy. In his opinion, the establishment of the state of Israel is one of the most remarkable prophetic fulfillments since the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. And its preservation is a clear sign of divine blessing.  
example 2 many evangelical leaders in 1977
Example 2: Many Evangelical Leaders in 1977

“We the undersigned evangelical Christians affirm our belief in the right of Israel to exist … we, along, with most evangelicals, understand the Jewish homeland generally to include the territory west of the Jordan River … [W]e would view with grave concern any effort to carve out of the historic Jewish homeland another nation or political entity, particularly one which would be governed by terrorists … The time has come for Evangelical Christians to affirm their belief in biblical prophecy and Israel’s Divine Right to the Land by speaking now.”

example 3 christian zionist congress in 1996
Example 3: Christian Zionist Congress in 1996

According to God’s distribution of nations, the Land of Israel has been given to the Jewish People by God as an everlasting possession by an eternal covenant. The Jewish People have the absolute right to possess and dwell in the Land, including Judea, Samaria, Gaza and the Golan.

israel has more than one meaning in the old testament
Israel has more than one Meaning in the Old Testament
  • Jacob
    • Jacob (Gen 32:28); his children (Gen 34:7); his tribe (Gen 47:27; 49:28);
  • Moses
    • Descendants of Jacob’s tribe (Ex 1: 7)
  • Joshua and the Period of Judges
    • Jacob’s descendants except the Reubenites,
    • the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh (Josh 22:11);
    • Jacob’s descendants except Benjamin (Judges 20:35).
  • United Kingdom and before the fall of Samaria
    • It may exclude the men of Judah (1Sam 17:52; 18:16);
    • Absalom’s men who rebelled against David (2Sam 17:24);
    • Northern Kingdom
  • After the fall of the Northern Kingdom
    • many prophets like Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel used it to refer to all the follower of Yahweh.
israel has more than one meaning in the new testament
Israel has more than one meaning in the New Testament

The New Testament also includes a plurality of meanings. “Israel” might designate God’s people who are led by a shepherd from Bethlehem (Matt 2:6), or a land (Matt 2:20), or the twelve tribes judged by the twelve apostles (Matt 19:12), or the Jews and the inhabitants of Jerusalem (Acts 2:22), or an ethnic group (Rom 9:4), or the followers of God (Rom 9:6; cf. Eph 2:11-22; Gal 6: 16).

hebrew israel and jew
Hebrew, Israel, and Jew
  • Hebrew: The word Hebrew occurs 47 times in the Bible.
  • The term Jew occurs 91 times in the Old Testament.
  • the word “Jew” in the New Testament occurs 199 times with a spectrum of nuances even within one epistle or book.
  • Abraham; Samuel; Antiochus the Macedonian (2 Mac 9:17); Achior the Ammonite (Judith 14:10)
  • A Person could be a Hebrew but not Jewish or Israelite – for example Abraham.
  • One could be a member of Israel and a Hebrew without being Jewish – Samuel.
  • One could be Jewish but not Israelite or Hebrew – Antiochus the Macedonian King (2 Mac 9: 17)
  • One could be enfranchised into the household of Israel and could become Jewish but not be a Hebrew of a descendant of Jacob – Achior the Ammonite (Judith 14: 10)
intermarriages men marrying foreign women
IntermarriagesMen marrying Foreign Women
  • Judah married a Canaanite wife (Gen 38; 1Chr 2:3).
  • Joseph married an Egyptian (Gen 41:45).
  • Simeon married a Canaanite (Gen 46:10).
  • Moses married a Midianite (Ex 2:21-22).
  • Solomon married many foreign wives (1Kgs 11:1-3).
  • The Book of Judges that many of the descendants of Jacob had foreign wives (Judges 3:6).
intermarriages women marrying foreign men
Intermarriages: Women marrying foreign men
  • Shelomith the Daughter of Dibri the Danite (Lev 24:10-12)
  • A Nephtalite woman (the mother of Hiram – 1Kgs 7:13-14)
legal sonship
Legal Sonship
  • The Child of a Concubine Wife (Gen 16)
  • The Child of a Dead Brother (Gen 38: 8-9)
  • The Child of a Hebrew Slave (Ex 21:3-4; cf. Deut 15:12; Jer 34:9, 14)
  • The Child of a Foreign Slave (1Chr 2:34-35)
  • Ruth whose grandchild David became one of Israel’s greatest leaders?
  • Rahab (Josh 6:25).
  • The 32,000 Midianite virgins (Num 31:35).
  • Israel’s DNA (cf. Matt 3:9 and John 8:37-39).
  • What about Jesus?
  • What about Rom 9:6?
the third question how did god give israel haaretz
The third Question:How Did God Give Israel Haaretz?

The Problem:  

  • Israel Today is not a Repentant Israel
  • The Biblical Pattern of Returning to the Land
    • One Example Ezek 33:21-29
  • What about the Dislocation of 50,000 Christian Palestinian Arabs
the meanings of haaretz
The Meanings of Haaretz
  • Before Abraham
  • Between Abraham and Christ
  • In light of the Christ Event
the meanings of haaretz before abraham
The Meanings of Haaretz:Before Abraham
  • Planet Earth (Gen 1:1);
  • Earth without the Waters (Gen 1:24-25);
  • The People of the World (Gen 11:1) 
  • It was created (Gen 1)
  • It was given to Adam and Eve (Gen 1: 27-30)
  • It was cursed (Adamah is used Gen 3:17)
  • It was cursed with the flood
  • It was divided (Niflegah – Gen 10:25) into many lands among the descendants of Noah Shem, Japheth, and Ham (Gen 10:5, 20, 31)
  • We learn the borders of Canaan son of Ham (Gen 10:19)
  • We learn that Nimrod a descendant of Ham established the first human kingdom in Eretz Shinar (Gen 10:10)
  • The Plurality of lands is understood in light of what happens in Eretz Shinar (Gen 11)
the meanings of haaretz between abraham and christ
The Meanings of Haaretz:Between Abraham and Christ
  • Gen 12:1-3
  • Gen 22:17 (Abraham’s seed will inherit the territories of their enemies)

- HaaretzAbrahamic will grow into HaaretzGlobal

  • Psalm 2 captures the same vision
  • Zion becomes the symbol of the Global Perspective

- See Is 2:1-4

- See Ps 87

the meanings of haaretz after christ
The Meanings of Haaretz:After Christ
  • Jesus is the Second Adam (1Cor 15:45)
  • Jesus is also entrusted with Haaretz Global (Matt 28:18; 11:27)
  • Every knee will bow down to Him (Phil 2:10)
  • All things were created for him and by him (Col 1:16)
  • He is the heir of everything (Heb 1:2)
    • Leon Morris: The Word “Heir” means the one who has lawful possession.
    • Elingworth: heir points to permanent possession usually of land.
  • HaaretzAbrahamic became HaaretzGlobal through faith in Jesus (Rom 4:13)
  • For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world (cosmos not ge), was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. (KJV)
concluding remarks
Concluding Remarks
  • The Proposition: God Gave Israel Haaretz should be re-investigated in light of the biblical data
  • Promoting a Christological ownership of Haaretz provide new bridges of dialogue with Muslims.