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The holy land historically


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#1 S. David

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Posted 07 March 2010 - 02:27 PM

Beloved in Christ,

What is the official position of the Church relating the Holy Land and the occupation? I mean, based on the Holy Scriptures in the Old Testament, is this land for Jews as they claim?

In Christ

#2 Matthew Panchisin

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Posted 07 March 2010 - 03:22 PM

Most say it means city of peace, there are also translations of deeper Hebrew origin that convey meanings like foundation of peace and possession of peace.

Even in the New Jerusalem, man makes war. Obviously, if man made the right type of Christian wars against the passions there would be peace. Yet even in all this, the time is coming where the Orthodox Christians will joyfully sing, Shine Shine New Jerusalem... Then again, it can also be allowed to happen every Sunday and all the subsequent days. I think that is what the Orthodox Church teaches.

In Christ,

Matthew Panchisin

#3 Evan

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Posted 07 March 2010 - 06:14 PM

I don't know about the Church's official position, but seeing as the Jews were around a couple thousand years before Muhammad was, they've got a decent historical claim. Not to get too political or anything.

In Christ,
Evan

#4 Dimitris

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Posted 07 March 2010 - 10:21 PM

Well, not the get too political, but do you with your post suggest that the ancestors of the Palestinian people have not been living in that area before Muhammad came?

#5 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 07 March 2010 - 10:48 PM

The People of God, the New Israel is now the Church. The New Jerusalem is Heaven. The new secular nation of Israel does not have a covenantal relationship with God, regardless of what the neo-millennialists think. The Orthodox Church does not teach that the Jews have any more divine prerogatives to the geographic area than anybody else.

#6 Evan

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Posted 07 March 2010 - 10:54 PM

The tribes of Israel were a significant, established presence in Canaan no later than 1212 B.C. The truth is carved in Egyptian stone. This historical presence is verified in the ancient records of the Egyptian, Assyrian, Babylonian, Persian, Greek, Roman, Byzantine and Muslim empires. The Arab conquest did not occur until 638 A.D.

Further, over the span of thirty centuries, there has never been an independent, internationally recognized state in the area that now comprises Israel that was not Jewish. Even when the land was part of the Arab empire, there was never an independent Arab state in "Palestine," by that name or any other. Indeed, the emergence of a distinctly "Palestinian" cultural identity, attested to by unique artwork, literature and the like, is a late development that can be traced to the mid-1800s.

Those are facts. I'm not making a moral argument here, just a historical one. As Herman points out, there is no "Holy Land" left on the basis of which any divine prerogatives can be claimed by the Jewish people or anyone else. After all, the Temple has been destroyed. As Christ made plain to St. Photini, we no longer worship in a geographic place.

In Christ,
Evan

#7 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 08 March 2010 - 12:40 AM

Why is the claim of the "Jews" stronger than the claims of First Nation Americans to their land? I can imagine a barrister showing up at Parliament presenting a case on behalf of some lost tribe of Picts demanding Scotland back, might make a great Monty Python skit...

Herman the Monty Python Fan Pooh

#8 Evan

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Posted 08 March 2010 - 01:59 AM

Herman,

Perhaps the better question would be, what is the claim of the "Palestinians" such that we should look in any way askance at the "Jewish" claim, given the history I've recited? Assuming that neither group has a divine prerogative. When the Ottoman Empire fell, the British controlled the territory that is now Israel. The original U.N. agreement provided for certain territories to be left to the Arab states-- they refused to accept them, and opted instead to wage war against Israel. The "Palestine" that exists now is a result of later Israeli concessions-- Gaza, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem (including the very site of the Temple, considered by the Jews to be the holiest place in the Holy Land) never "belonged" to the "Palestinians."

Compare this to the Turkish "accession" of Cyprus, in which the Turks, on the barest of pretenses (liberating "Turkish Cypriots"), took over Greek lands. And nobody said a darn thing. It's not like "Jews" "invaded" "Palestine," which belonged to "Palestinians." The Ottoman Empire fell, the British controlled the territory, they gave it to the Jews, who had nowhere else to go after WWII (the Eastern European countries basically told them to keep walking), and that only after much attrition.

In this context, I submit to you that the Arab claim that "Palestinian" land is being occupied must depend upon the premise that Muslims have a divine prerogative-- the land being claimed for Allah in 638 A.D. The non-divine-prerogative claim of the "Jews" seems pretty solid to me.

In Christ,
Evan

PS: I am aware that we're entering troubled waters. But you asked, so I responded...

Edited by Evan, 08 March 2010 - 02:01 AM.
tone


#9 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 08 March 2010 - 02:07 AM

Regardless, none of this changes the Orthodox position. This is not a geopolitical forum.

#10 Ben Johnson

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Posted 08 March 2010 - 03:27 AM

In the eyes of the Orthodox. the Jews might not have a special claim, but in the eyes of some of the Jews, they do. Some Jews, usually orthodox or more concervative ones, will argue that certain "regathering" passages in the Hebrew Scriptures refer to a "land of Israel" being reestablished. I haven't studied it enough to try to sort out the passages. Of course it makes it harder that some Israelis and some Palestians have hurt the other side and point the finger at the other side rather than try to learn how to get along with one another in that small area. It's a tough situation over there. /shrug

#11 Kosta

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Posted 08 March 2010 - 04:58 AM

The church doesnt view anyone as having a divine right over any piece of land. As Christ taught, "my kingdom is not of this world". St. Basil the Great explains the reason we face east during worship, is because we yearn for our old country which is located in the east, and that is Eden; paradise not an earthly country. At one time Palestine was under byzantine (roman) control, In the early 4th century the emperor Constantine allowed his mother St. Helena to build the first christian temples there and he began calling it the "the Holy Land" which has stuck to this day. At that time it was not a jewish nor a muslim-arab state but a christian-roman state.
The hope of the church of course is probably the same as the rest of the secular west, the hope that one day both jews and palestinians can peacefully co-exist in a single democratic nation based on equality, but that wont happen thats why the political leaders seek a two-state solution.

#12 Dimitris

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Posted 08 March 2010 - 06:21 AM

The tribes of Israel were a significant, established presence in Canaan no later than 1212 B.C. The truth is carved in Egyptian stone. This historical presence is verified in the ancient records of the Egyptian, Assyrian, Babylonian, Persian, Greek, Roman, Byzantine and Muslim empires. The Arab conquest did not occur until 638 A.D.

Well, the Palestinian people may be Arabs, but that does not necessarily mean they have not lived in that area before becoming Arabs and muslims. In fact, there is evidence that the today's Jews and the today's Palestinians share the very same ancestors: http://bric.postech....ow/001030a.html!

Perhaps the better question would be, what is the claim of the "Palestinians" such that we should look in any way askance at the "Jewish" claim, given the history I've recited?

Because they have lived in that area for centuries, if not milleniums?!

In this context, I submit to you that the Arab claim that "Palestinian" land is being occupied must depend upon the premise that Muslims have a divine prerogative-- the land being claimed for Allah in 638 A.D. The non-divine-prerogative claim of the "Jews" seems pretty solid to me.

No, the "Arab claim" is based on the fact, that the ancestors of the so-called Palestinians have been living in that area for centuries. As indicated above, they probably share the same ancestors with the Jews.

Some Jews, usually orthodox or more concervative ones, will argue that certain "regathering" passages in the Hebrew Scriptures refer to a "land of Israel" being reestablished.

But the again, some so-called "ultra-orthodox Jews" regard the existence of a state called "Israel" as a blasphemy against God. It seems, in that we are much closer to those ultra-orthodox Jews than to the so called "moderate Jews".

#13 Ilaria

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Posted 08 March 2010 - 08:51 AM

Dear Even,
If I am wrong,please correct me, but as far as I remember, Ismael, the son of Abraham - born from Agar - is the father of the Arab people while Isaac - born from Sarah - is the father of the Jews.

#14 Evan

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Posted 08 March 2010 - 09:15 PM

Well, the Palestinian people may be Arabs, but that does not necessarily mean they have not lived in that area before becoming Arabs and muslims. In fact, there is evidence that the today's Jews and the today's Palestinians share the very same ancestors: http://bric.postech....ow/001030a.html!


Because they have lived in that area for centuries, if not milleniums?!


No, the "Arab claim" is based on the fact, that the ancestors of the so-called Palestinians have been living in that area for centuries. As indicated above, they probably share the same ancestors with the Jews.


But the again, some so-called "ultra-orthodox Jews" regard the existence of a state called "Israel" as a blasphemy against God. It seems, in that we are much closer to those ultra-orthodox Jews than to the so called "moderate Jews".


I understand this is not a geopolitical forum. Nonetheless, I feel compelled to respond to these assertions, because it's simply not correct to characterize the current situation in Israel in this way.

That the"Arab claim" is driven by more than the desire on the part of the "Palestinians" to occupy their ancestral homeland can be plainly discerned from the fact that they're not denied the right to occupy it now-- so long as they're willing to swear allegiance to Israel, live/work in Israel for three years, and state their intention to reside their permanently-- and yet the principled denial of Israel's right to exist continues.

Indeed, citizenship by residence was intended for non-Jewish denizens of the British Mandate of Palestine (Arabs, Druze, Bedouins, etc) who were considered to be associated with Palestine at the time the state of Israel was founded. Such denizens who were still within the territorial confines of Israel after the war were granted full Israeli citizenship. In order to determine who was eligible for citizenship under this provision, the state of Israel conducted a population registration in 1952 and again in the 1980s. Those found to meet the requirements obtained Israeli citizenship.

It's not like the Arabs were "kicked out" of land that they controlled.There was a government run by the British-- the British turned it over to the Jews.

So, to say that the Arabs have lived there for centuries and therefore x, y, or z, rests upon the false assumption that they can't live there anymore. They can. They simply must abide by the laws of the standing government, which is predominantly operated by Jews. It's their refusal to do that --whether or not you feel it is justified-- that has, and continues to be, a problem. And to deny that there is a divine prerogative being claimed by Muslims, or that there is nothing in Islam driving opposition to a state run by Jews in territory claimed for Allah, is simply not tenable.

In Christ,
Evan

#15 Dimitris

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Posted 08 March 2010 - 09:58 PM

So, to say that the Arabs have lived there for centuries and therefore x, y, or z, rests upon the false assumption that they can't live there anymore. They can. They simply must abide by the laws of the standing government, which is predominantly operated by Jews. It's their refusal to do that --whether or not you feel it is justified-- that has, and continues to be, a problem.

I am sorry, but that sounds simply cruelly ironic to me. Please do not take this as offence (and please note English is not a native lanuguage to me, so maybe I am hitting a tone which might be unpolite, but I don't mean it as such ;-)), but you seem not to be aware of what is going on there. Did you ever hear of Talmud law, of treatment of Goys? Well, basically that's identical to the laws or rather the actions of the standing government. There is no protecting law for Palestinians, and that is no exaggeration, but everyday's sad truth for Palestinians.

#16 Evan

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Posted 08 March 2010 - 10:14 PM

Israel treats "Palestinians" a good sight better than the neighboring Arab states treat "People of the Book." And "Palestinians," for that matter. Seeing as they've repeatedly called the Arab population out to the borders with the promise that they would drive the Jews into the sea, and when they failed to do so, simply left them there in UN-sponsored refugee camps in order to show how badly they were mistreating them. More Palestinians died during Black September at the hands of the Jordanian army than during any of the Arab-Israeli wars.

Now, there's cruel irony for you. The double-standard applied towards Israel reflects sickening hypocrisy. First, it's, let's drive the Jews into the sea. Then, it's the Jews are savaging innocent peoples and rabbis are harvesting Palestinian organs and disseminating porngraphy and poisoning the water supplies. And so world opinion turns.

I don't mean to be impolite either, but I am not ignorant. I defend the most unjustly despised nation on the face of the earth, not because I am a neo-millenialist, but because I have sympathy for a people who many would like to see utterly wiped out.

In Christ,
Evan

#17 Olga

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Posted 08 March 2010 - 10:48 PM

Folks, despite your sincerity, this thread is, unfortunately veering into a direction not consistent with forum guidelines. Patristics, liturgics and scripture, not geopolitics, please, particularly as we're still in Great Lent. :)

#18 Eric Peterson

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Posted 08 March 2010 - 11:30 PM

From a Church standpoint, Zionism, a Jewish state, and other such modern concepts have no theological underpinning. However, as I understand it, there is a connection with the end times and the rebuilding of the Jewish temple in which Antichrist will be worshiped as God, by the segment of the Jews who do not believe in Christ, and by most of the rest of humanity, who have also rejected Christ. But that is all, really, that I can find. It was generally regarded, up until the rise of Zionism in the 19th century, even by the Jews themselves, that their exile was due to the judgment of God.

It is, in my understanding, historically unprecedented, that a people who have not resided in a country for thousands of years, and who have adopted other simultaneous cultural identities, should on the bases of historical imagination (not that it's not really, but it is imagined) be given claim to that country from which they dispersed so long ago. It's as if American or Canadian descendants of immigrants who were once residents of the Austro-Hungarian Empire should demand and be given land carved out of the various countries who are successor states of that empire, because their ancestors once lived there. They could all even be Lemkos and Orthodox, but the Ukrainians, Moldovans, Romanians, Slovaks and Poles aren't going to vacate to make room for them to set up their own Lemko Orthodox state.

#19 Evan

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Posted 08 March 2010 - 11:47 PM

From a Church standpoint, Zionism, a Jewish state, and other such modern concepts have no theological underpinning. However, as I understand it, there is a connection with the end times and the rebuilding of the Jewish temple in which Antichrist will be worshiped as God, by the segment of the Jews who do not believe in Christ, and by most of the rest of humanity, who have also rejected Christ. But that is all, really, that I can find. It was generally regarded, up until the rise of Zionism in the 19th century, even by the Jews themselves, that their exile was due to the judgment of God.

It is, in my understanding, historically unprecedented, that a people who have not resided in a country for thousands of years, and who have adopted other simultaneous cultural identities, should on the bases of historical imagination (not that it's not really, but it is imagined) be given claim to that country from which they dispersed so long ago. It's as if American or Canadian descendants of immigrants who were once residents of the Austro-Hungarian Empire should demand and be given land carved out of the various countries who are successor states of that empire, because their ancestors once lived there. They could all even be Lemkos and Orthodox, but the Ukrainians, Moldovans, Romanians, Slovaks and Poles aren't going to vacate to make room for them to set up their own Lemko Orthodox state.


So was the Holocaust unprecedented. These people had nowhere else to go. They were kicked out of every country in Europe after their "liberation." Nobody was asked to vacate anything; the Arabs did not control what is now Israel, the British did. The Arabs who would accept it were given citizenship in the new state immediately.

Zionism, despite its modern, pejorative connotation, was Theodore Herzel's brainchild. It was born of his conviction that there would, in the near future, take place a systematic persecution of the Jewish people. Herzel was himself a secularized Jew whose experience during the Dreyfus Affair (1894), for those curious about the time period), as a reporter, made him personally aware of the depth of contemporary anti-Semitism.

It was his hope that a state would take shape that would provide a safe harbor for Jews during the coming persecution. His hope was not fulfilled.

Per the moderators, this will be my last comment on this matter, about which I feel passionately. If I have given offense, forgive me.

In Christ,
Evan

Edited by Evan, 09 March 2010 - 12:05 AM.


#20 H. Smith

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 09:17 PM

Dear S. David,

Peace to you!

You asked:

Beloved in Christ,

What is the official position of the Church relating the Holy Land and the occupation? I mean, based on the Holy Scriptures in the Old Testament, is this land for Jews as they claim?

In Christ


I remember reading from a small pamphlet in an Orthodox church on the question of the Orthodox Church's interpretation of the Biblical Israel's relation to the Israeli government. (you may have seen small piles of these kinds of small, hand-sized colored pamphlets in the vestibules of some Orthodox churches: eg. "What is the Orthodox Church" etc)

One of the quotes that stuck in my head was Metropolitan Philip Saliba's statement about whether God was still in the real estate business, which I found in an article elsewhere on the subject:

Metropolitan PHILIP Saliba and Christian Orthodox Unity in America
By Richard H. Curtiss
Article taken from the July/August 1999 issue of
THE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS

Archbishop Saliba was equally outspoken about events in the Middle East. He rejected terrorism, by Israelis or Palestinians, out of hand. But he made it clear that Orthodox Christianity also rejects the doctrine of 20th century Zionism, supported by a segment of modern evangelical Protestantism, that the people of Israel are destined to return to the Holy Land. Instead it accepts the traditional Christian view that the Christian Church is the New Israel. Metropolitan Philip is comfortable with explaining why this is so, and in supporting the contention of the Christians of the Middle East that there is no biblical justification for the suffering and displacement that the Zionists of Israel have inflicted upon them. One of Metropolitan Philip's most familiar comments is that "God is no longer in the real estate business." He also has said, "My plea is that modern Protestant theologians and students of Scripture take a critical and objective look at how the Church has interpreted the Bible throughout history."

Archbishop Saliba's strong convictions in this regard gave birth to his 1968 proposal for a Holy Land state in Jerusalem where Christians, Muslims and Jews live in peace under a democratic form of government, with the new state protected by the major powers. The proposal also called for an end to Arab belligerency and plans to destroy Israel, Israeli withdrawal from the territories it occupied in 1967, and return of refugees to their homes. The proposal received a strong endorsement from former President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Pope Paul IV.

http://www.stmaryort...PHILIPunity.php


Regarding the Occupation, Orthodox Church leaders have made several statements expressing disagreement with the Occupation and/or hopes that it will end.

Off the top of my head, I don't remember a clearer answer to your good question "based on the Holy Scriptures in the Old Testament, is this land for Jews as they claim".
My best answer is that as St Paul considered nonJewish Christians to be part of Israel and wrote that for the spiritual purposes of Christianity there is no longer Jew no Greek but all are one in Christ, that the promises to Israel are shared by all Christians, since they are also part of Israel.




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