In response to a recent post on Facebook a respondent had this to say; ‘All of u who raises against Istael U are fighting with GOD’S real hand and will be put shame by God Himself. BE CAREFUL IN ALL YOUR MOVED’. This was in response to a post concerning Israel’s violations against Palestinian children.
I have no reason to doubt my correspondent’s commitment, but cannot leave unchallenged his views on Israel. It is an ideology that I refuse to call theology, since it ignores or glosses over large parts of the Hebrew Bible (the Old Testament or Covenant), and sets aside much of the New Covenant. Many of us, including myself, grew up assuming that Israel, the small nation state on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea, was/is directly related to the Israel we find in the pages of our Bibles. When, sometimes, we may have questioned the actions of Israel’s government’s we are told in terms of certainty echoed by my correspondent above, “don’t mess with God’s chosen…”.
I have heeded these warnings and done the work — history and theology. And I find myself facing the choice: do I follow Jesus and his teaching, or do I follow an exciting story that seems to honour God but that disintegrates at several crucial points. I, and others infinitely better qualified, have dealt with these issues in detail elsewhere, so I will summarise some of the main features. As to the old Testament it
- ignores God’s purpose in calling Abraham (and therefore Jacob): Genesis 12; and 17; 18
- .Ignores the warnings given to Israel in Deuteronomy (Chapters 27 to 30)
- fails to appreciate the calling of Israel as witnesses (Exodus 19:5-6)
- deals selectively with the prophets, and, as to history, it
- conflates the exiles, and doing so contradicts Scripture,
- claims subsequent exiles that did not and could not have happened,
- ignores the proselytising element of Judaism during the years either side Jesus. and, as to the new Testament it
- conflates the Jewish leaders with the Jewish people, (Matthew 21, Jeremiah 23)
- assumes an ethnic identity unsupported in the old covenant and completely undermined and overturned by the gospel.
- Undermines the good news of God’s kingdom by a retrogression to the violent imperialism that Jesus rejected,
- and sets aside or defers for some future time much of Jesus teaching including that in the sermon on the Mount.