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Re: Israel, Contracts & Palestinians

This article was forwarded to me by a subscriber, and seems to
originate from International Christian Embassy Jerusalem, although I
could not see that any name was attached to the article, itself, as to
who its author was. Accompanying the article were words encouraging it
to be forwarded. While I don't necessarily endorse ICEJ, this article,
itself, is very good and informative; and adds another perspective
regarding historical facts about Israel and the middle east conflict
from Scripture.

Chaye Sarah - the Life of Sarah Torah: Genesis 23:1 - 25:18 Haftara : 1 King 1:1-31 In the beginning of this parasha, Sarah, the wife of Abraham and mother of Isaac dies (23:2.). Through her death the first of three important contracts are made which are sealed in the Word of God. Those three contracts are: a.) Abraham buys the cave of Machpela in Hebron for 400 shekel of silver b.) Jacob (Israel) buys a field in Shechem for 100 kesitas and builds the Lord an altar and names him "God, the God of Israel" (Genesis 33:19-20) c.) David buys the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite (Arauna in 2nd Samuel 24) for 600 shekels of gold (1st Chronicles 21:25) and builds an altar there. This is the spot where his son Solomon later builds the first temple. The question for us now, is: Where is the connection between these ancient contracts and modern time? What does this have to do with us? A lot in every respect, as the first contract was made by our "father" Abraham. Paul makes clear to us that Abraham is the father of us all. The father gives his property, his inheritance to his children and according to the Bible; we who believe are amongst these children. We are the heirs of Abraham, of all his property. Therefore, we are obliged to take care of this property in every respect and we should care about what has happened to it. Romans 4:16-17a Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all as it is written, "I have made you a father of many nations" Galatians 3:29 And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise. Abraham's promises were basically connected to two physical blessings: first, that his descendants will number as the sand of the seashore and second, that he will inherit a specific land. In this particular reading we learn that Abraham came into possession of the land not through stealing or occupation, not via murder or blackmail, but rather by a legal action. He bought the land to bury his wife. As his descendants (according to Paul in the above mentioned verses) it is indeed important to know what happened to our inheritance. What happened to this piece of land? And what happened to the other two places, which were bought by Abraham's descendants Jacob and David? Shouldn't we be interested? Both of the places were specific real estate bought to build an altar for our heavenly father. The first altar was called, as we already said above, "God, God of Israel." The second altar, built by David, stood on the same ground where later the first and second temples were erected. It is the place where Abraham wanted to sacrifice his son Isaac and where God revealed himself as "YHVH - Yireh" - "the LORD sees" (Genesis 22:14) None of these three places were ever sold or given away. Today, however, not one is in the hand of its rightful owner. Let's take a look: 1.) The Machpela Cave in Hebron is covered by a structure built by Herod the Great shortly before Jesus lived. Presently this building is called the Ibrahim Mosque. Jews are allowed to enter only a small part of it for prayer. The Palestinian Authority (PA) rules about 80% of Hebron. Of 100,000 people living there, only 400 are Jewish. In past centuries Jews were repeatedly massacred or cast out by Islamic mobs. 2.) About 300 years after Jacob bought the field in Shechem, when Joshua led Israel into the Promised Land, Jacob's son Joseph was buried there (Joshua 24:32). Even though Jacob's descendants were physically absent for centuries, they were still recognized as the legal owners of the field. Shechem, which was renamed Nablus by the Arab population, is presently inhabited solely by Arabs, most of whom are Muslims. They have control over the tomb and the field of Israel (Jacob). In October 2000 Muslim Arabs invaded the Tomb of Joseph, slaughtered a Rabbi, destroyed the tomb and erected another mosque at its place. Even before this present conflict, the Muslims had been harassing and refusing entrance to Jewish visitors in violation of several signed agreements guaranteeing them free access. 3.) On the property of David's threshing floor, where the First and Second Temples later stood, the famous Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa mosque stand today. In control of this little piece of land in the heart of Jerusalem, is the Waqf, the fundamentalist Islamic group, which guards the property of "holy Islamic ground." Every prayer of a non-Muslim on this piece of property is strictly forbidden and is terminated immediately if performed, if necessary with brutal force. At the place were Jesus taught his disciples the Dome of the Rock proclaims through a written statement in its "sanctuary" - "Allah has no son." (So much for the issue of religious freedom under Palestinian rule.) I do not believe that we are able to solve this complex political situation, but I do believe that it is important for we who are Christians to understand the spiritual connection between the land of Israel, the people of Israel and the present conflict and wave of Anti-Semitism around the world. And in this conflict, we as Christians have to stand with the truth and nothing but the truth. The truth is, that the land of Israel belongs to Israel and to no one else. God gave it to his people for an eternal possession. And to make his point clear, God himself confirms this by a document - the Bible. It is a part of God's covenant between him and Israel. So the matter is fully spiritual and not natural. If we as Christians are standing against Israel, speaking against her and demonstrating against her, we are standing against God - not a good place to stand! It is interesting, that with this weekly portion, where the purchase of the Machpela Cave is described, we have the Haftara reading from the book of 1 Kings. There is seemingly no connection between these incidents, but a closer look and a comparison with the modern time show many parallels with today. 1 King 1 gives the account of Adonija, the son of David, who took the position as the king in an illegitimate manner. When I read the story, I was amazed by how much truth this chapter contains for today, where the legitimate King Jesus is replaced by a false king - allah. In the story the chosen king of Israel is ignored. This king is Solomon. He is an illustration of Jesus, who is initially passed over in a favour of another. As with the anointing of Solomon, nobody recognized Jesus as king immediately when he came. Until the moment the real and anointed king takes his rightful place a false and illegitimate king sits on his throne. We can see today, that until the second coming of Christ, who will come to his rightful place on his throne on the Temple Mount a false king is reigning there. Today allah sits at the place which rightfully belongs to Jesus alone. As in our reading, the false king rejects the authority of the real king. But the story ends when the real king sits on the throne in Jerusalem and the false king has to bow down in front of the legitimate sovereign. Philippians 2:10-11 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Today it is easier to follow the false king and to give him glory. With every invitation of a Muslim speaker to a church, with every demonstration against Israel, where Christians and Muslims are walking side by side, allah, the false god is honored. It is easier to run with the masses and to reject the legal right of Israel to live and to posses her land, then to listen to the Word of God. As followers of Jesus we should not be part of this evil, but stand with the truth. Our most important task is to pray with a sincere heart "your kingdom come, your will be done" to welcome the real King.

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