Posted by: mystic444 | May 29, 2011

Benjamin Netanyahu: Jewish People Not Occupiers in the West Bank

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave a speech before the US Congress in which he stated that he is trying to attain peace in the Middle East, and he realizes that in order to do this he will have to make “painful concessions”. But what the people of the world need to understand is that “in Judea and Samaria, the Jewish people are not foreign occupiers!” This is their ancestral land.

And for this bit of Zionist propaganda, he received a rousing standing ovation. In fact, it seemed that every couple of sentences was interrupted by applause.

Now it is no surprise that a Zionist Israeli leader would spew forth propaganda and lies; what is shameful is the worshipful response given to such nonsense by virtually the entire US Congress. One would have thought they were being addressed by “the Savior of the world”! 🙄 Is it really too much to ask our leaders that they use some reason and common sense in evaluating such statements?

How did the Jewish people come to occupy Palestine originally? According to their own Scriptures, it was done by vicious murder and genocide. They conquered a land already occupied by indigenous peoples. Supposedly this was done by the command of God; but God also warned them that if they departed from Him and His commandments, He would drive them out of the land again, and “curse” them. According to their Scriptures and history, God did indeed drive them out by means of the Assyrians and Babylonians.

Then God permitted them to return again to Judea and Jerusalem, but he also gave a prophecy to Daniel (9:24-27) that they would once again violate God’s covenant, and a ‘decreed end’ would come upon the nation of Israel. Within a period of 490 years (“70 weeks” of years – 70×7 years) “Messiah the Prince” would appear and then be “cut off” from them; and after that the “people of the Prince” would come and thoroughly destroy the city and Temple.

Again history tells us that this did indeed occur when the Roman army conquered Judea and destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple (in A.D. 70). Many Orthodox Jews recognize that this destruction was the punishment of God for their sins; they maintain that they have a commandment from God to submit humbly to God’s punishment and not take any steps, particularly military, to remove themselves from the punishment and reinstate themselves in their “ancestral land”. They must live peacefully in whatever lands to which they have been dispersed by God’s retribution, and pray for the peace and welfare of those lands. They totally repudiate Zionism, and say that the only hope for peace in the Middle East is for the Israeli government to be disbanded and government of the whole land restored to the Palestinian peoples (including the Muslims, Christians, and Jews who lived there before Zionist Israeli occupation took place). They say that no Zionist can be a true Jew, and no true Jew can be a Zionist.

Those who are Christians should repudiate Zionism, because Jesus himself – in the parable related in Matthew 21:33-46 – explicitly stated that as a result of their rejection of him (“Messiah the Prince”) and his message, the kingdom of God would be taken away from the Jewish nation and given to another nation which would – unlike the Jewish people – bring forth appropriate ‘fruit’ for the kingdom. 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 (“ethnos” – which means “nation”; the Jews use it to refer to nations other than the Jews, and it is frequently translated “Gentiles”) 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.” There is simply no room in that prophecy for a revived “kingdom of the Jews” in the sight of God. When God brought the Roman army on Jerusalem, it signified “the end” for Jewish leadership in God’s kingdom. The Jewish people no longer occupy a special place in God’s favor (if they ever did), and have no ‘Divine right’ to any piece of real estate.

The Muslim will of course recognize in this prophecy of the Prophet Jesus that the other nation to which the kingdom would be given – instead of the Jewish nation – is that other branch of the Abrahamic family which God promised to make a great nation: the family of Ishmael. This is the “stone” which the Jewish builders rejected, but God has made the “chief cornerstone” in His kingdom.

Despite all of this, however, the Zionist movement arose in the late 19th Century, calling for the Jewish people to retake Palestine and establish a Jewish nation there. In the 1940s they accomplished their mission, with the help of several ‘western’ governments, by means of terrorism and military violence. Their slogan was “A people without a land for a land without a people”. What could be more vicious than that slogan and the attitude it represents? It was either an outright lie – that Palestine had no occupants, so who could object to Jews moving to a vacant territory? – or it was, even worse, a statement that the Palestinians who were at that time inhabiting the land were subhuman, not even worthy to be considered people! Who could object to the Zionist Jews slaughtering a bunch of animals in order to retake their land?

While one could hope that they were ‘only’ telling an outright lie, the only real conclusion that can be reasonably reached based on the actions and statements of Israeli leaders since then is that the second alternative is the correct one. The Zionists don’t consider the Palestinians to even be people. No wonder Netanyahu can state, without blushing in shame, that the Jewish people are not foreign occupiers in “Judea and Samaria”. How can you be foreign occupiers in a land which was previously inhabited only by animals?

As I said, I guess it’s not surprising that vicious terrorists like the Zionist leaders should spew out such vile propaganda; what is truly shameful is that the Congressional leaders of our nation should wildly applaud such statements. (Those stupid and evil Palestinians shouldn’t object at all to being violently driven from their houses and lands; how dare they call the peaceful and righteous Israelis “occupiers”? 🙄 )

I am pleased to say, though, that an organization known as “Jewish Voice for Peace” has drawn up a letter reproving Congress for applauding Netanyahu’s lies and propaganda. (Notice that it is a Jewish organization, not a bunch of anti-Semite neo-nazis, or some group of anti-Semitic Muslims.) A commenter using the name Sunnishine (on the Loonwatch site) posted the link, and that’s where I found it. If you agree with me that the U.S. Congress has acted shamefully, please click on the link to the letter and add your signature.

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Responses

  1. “The Jewish people no longer occupy a special place in God’s favor (if they ever did), and have no ‘Divine right’ to any piece of real estate.”

    I would think that a student of God’s Word would know better. When things start to unfold, and God uses the Jewish people to show His glory to the world (which He has done time and time again through them), and you finally meet Him face-to-face, remember your words and repent.

    • Peace be with you Bartimeus.

      Although I don’t remember the date, or even the precise year, nevertheless I well remember the night something like 35 years ago when I accepted a challenge from a ‘postmillenialist’ brother to find just one verse that stated there would be a pretribulation rapture. I thought I would find it in 2 Thessalonians 1:5-12, so I turned to reread that passage. Suddenly, with a sinking feeling like I was going to drop through the floor, yet at the same time experiencing the feeling of “scales falling off my eyes”, I saw clearly that Paul said that the “rapture” would occur at the same time as the “coming in judgment” where the wicked would “suffer the punishment of eternal destruction”. There was absolutely no room in Paul’s theology for a “rapture” occurring 7 years prior to the “coming in judgment” (or any length of time prior to that “coming”). [ I now realize that Paul was not talking about any “coming” still future to us, but had in mind Christ’s “coming in judgment” on the nation of Israel in 70 A.D. If you’re interested in seeing how I presently understand 2 Thess. 1 and 2 you can read my articles on The Second Coming, Part 2 and The Second Coming, Part 3.]

      How does that relate to a supposed still remaining special place for national Israel as “God’s chosen people”? Well, I had to ask myself immediately how a post-tribulation rapture was consistent with the (supposedly) clear distinction between Israel as God’s “chosen earthly people”, and “the Church” as “God’s chosen heavenly people”. So I turned to another favorite passage in the letters of Paul to console myself: Ephesians 2. Surely that passage “clearly” taught the absolute distinction between Israel and the Church. Unfortunately, again I had both the sinking feeling and the “eye opening” experience as I saw that Paul absolutely denied such a distinction. While (according to Paul) the Gentiles were once “strangers from the commonwealth of Israel” and estranged from “the covenants of promise”, that old order of things was now done away with. There is only one people of God: Jew and Gentile forming one body as the true “commonwealth of Israel”. There is not now, and never will be, any place for the Jews as a special chosen people distinct from the Gentiles or “the Church”. The apostle Peter came to see this truth at the house of Cornelius as recorded in Acts: he saw that “God shows no partiality, but in every nation any one who fears God and does what is right is acceptable to Him” (Acts 10:34 and 35).

      Perhaps the name you use (Bartimeus) is more appropriate than you realize. Your “eyes” are still blind, and need to be “opened”. At any rate, I myself now recognize that Jesus’ castigation of the Jewish leaders correctly applies as much to the Zionists of today as it did to the leaders in his day: “John 8:44 You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” Today’s Zionist Israelis (particularly the leaders and many in the military and intelligence agency) are liars and murderers just like their “father”. I also apply to them the statement in Rev. 2:9, where Jesus is quoted as saying that he knows “ the slander of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.” These Zionists claim they are Jews, but they are not (as many Orthodox Jews themselves say of the Zionists); they are a “synagogue of Satan”.

      As Jesus said, the Kingdom of God has been taken away from the Jewish nation, and given to another nation; the stone which the Jewish builders, in their national pride, rejected – that other branch of the family of Abraham, the “great nation” from the descendants of Ishmael – has become the “cornerstone” in God’s Kingdom. The Jews had their chance and forfeited it. They are still welcome to enter God’s Kingdom, but when they do they will be built on the “cornerstone” of God’s Prophet Muhammad and the Revelation given through him of “submission to God alone” through obedience to the “bounds” laid down by His Prophet. Those “bounds”, of course, include the embracing of the Prophet Jesus as God’s anointed (Messiah/Christ).

      That is why I cannot and will not “repent” of what I said in this article; and I am quite sure there will be no condemnation from God or His Prophet Jesus for adhering to His (and his) teaching.

  2. Stephen, I believe you’re absolutely right in your criticism of Zionism and your claim that the present-day nation of Israel enjoys no special legitimacy or status in God’s eyes. However, I think your exegesis of the verse “The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone” is way off base.

    The statement occurs at least six times in the Scriptures. First Psalm 118:22. The body of this Psalm makes it patently clear that the psalmist is referring to himself, not to any “ethnos.” Looking around the psalm we also see a variety of phrases that appear to point to the Messiah (not least the Palm Sunday cry “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD,” though this too may well have been a cheer for previous Davidic kings…I do not know).

    The second is in the three Synoptic gospels, at Matthew 21:42, Mark 12:10, Luke 20:17. These three accounts–in all likelihood the same event–are the ones you quote, where Jesus states (in Matthew’s version…Mark and Luke are more ambiguous) that God’s taking away “the Kingdom of God” (NOT physical territory) from the Jews (or probably more precisely, the Jewish leaders) and giving it to another people. Having just told the parable of the vineyard owner who sends his son to the landlords who kill him, I would say the context suggests the “stone” Jesus is talking about is himself, not the “another people” described below.

    The third occurrence (well, fifth occurrence, third event) is Acts 4:11, and here Peter, “full of the Holy Spirit” (v. 8) explicitly states that Jesus the Messiah is that stone, and that the “rulers and elders” of the Jewish council in those days are the “builders” who did the rejecting.

    The final instance of this phrase is 1 Peter 2:7. Peter’s using the phrase more poetically, but the context of those verses is again unambiguously referring to Jesus.

    So while you are correct in calling out Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians and Christians’ obsession with Israel, using the “stone” as justification that Muslims now rightly own the land is simply abuse of the text.

    Grace & peace!

    • Peace and blessings, Dan. Thanks for not hesitating to call into question my Biblical interpretation. I could respond that I said Muslims would recognize in that reference the “great nation” of Ishmael’s descendents. However that would not be a really honest reply. 😀 The exposition you have given is the one I followed all my life until very recently. In fact, when I wrote my article “The Death of Jesus in the Qur’an” I referred to that passage as quoted by Jesus, and gave your interpretation. At that time, I don’t believe I even realized that Muslims might understand “the stone that the builders rejected” in another way.

      I have recently begun to rethink ‘orthodox’ interpretations of a number of Biblical passages, and am more and more coming to the conclusion that Muslims are correct in believing many of them refer to Islam or Muhammad. Some of their interpretations I’m still not so sure of, but I’m giving them consideration. I won’t be able, this evening, to explain to you the considerations which have led me to believe “the stone that the builders rejected” refers not to Jesus but to the descendents of Ismael; but I’ll try to do so tomorrow.

      Thanks again for your interest, and willingness to call me on what you believe to be inaccuracies in my presentation.

      • Dan, in rereading this article and the comments, I see that I did (in the comments) make it pretty clear that I myself hold to the position that “the stone which the builders rejected” refers to the Ishmaelites – so I definitely can’t respond to your objection by saying “I said Muslims would see that as the interpretation”. 🙂

      • Yeah, but the difference is that you humbly find and acknowledge your own error…that’s not very fundamental of you! ;{)

  3. That would be “verse 8” where the smiley appears above…I forgot that 8 followed by ) gets “fixed” by WordPress…

    • 😆 I’ve done the same thing on more than one occasion.

  4. I look forward to your expanded response, Stephen. You already know that I approach Islam with greater respect than the average Bible-thumper (at least, I presume you’ve seen my posts on Islam too), but I have to admit I wonder where you’re going on this… ;{)

    • I should probably qualify that my perspective (extrabiblical in this case) is that the entire concept of “holy ground” that is “possessed” by anybody is itself an unholy concept. Just as Jesus said we’d worship neither in Jerusalem nor on Gerazim but “in spirit and in truth,” so I think the notion of holy ground in general has morphed under Jesus to where either it’s *all* holy or *none* of it is.

      In that contested land now variously known as Israel and Palestine, I contend that no one race has any legitimate claim to land that has been fought over for millenia. No rectification of the current standoff can be accomplished that fully addresses all grievances…whether the “Palestinian right of return” or the Naqbah that started it, both involve displacing some innocent folks at this point. We ought to be looking at a reasonable mediation of the situation on the ground as it stands today…land swaps, arbitrary borders, whatever…but to issue a blanket statement on the “rights” of either Jews or Palestinians at this point is to ignore justice to the others (well, except for the issue of ongoing Jewish settlements…that is nothing but a cynical provocation and/or a move toward a hoped for eventual Jewish domination of the whole thing).

      And of course there’s the sticky situation of Jerusalem. The insistence by both Jews and Muslims that they’ve absolutely got to have Jerusalem is an argument from the pit of hell. It’s also insoluble. I think the only way around it might be to make Jerusalem a protected world historical treasure, and put it under the administration of somebody neutral (maybe the Dalai Lama? Buddhists have no religious claim there). Tragically, neither Jews nor Muslims can resolve this because each demands exclusivity to (or at least mastery of) the same dirt.

      • Peace to you Dan. I am very much in agreement with most of what you have said in this comment. I just don’t believe that there will ever again be peace in that troubled region of the world until everyone gives up on the idea of a “two state” solution to the problems there. When the Zionist “Jews” relinquish their false notion of a “Divine right” to that land, and one government “of the people, by the people, and for the people” is reestablished, then there can be peace. The land will belong to all the Palestinian inhabitants (Jews, Christians, Muslims and anyone else) as it did before the vicious Zionist invasion, and the Palestinians (again, Jews, Christians, Muslims, and everyone else) will dwell together in peace.

        I believe that at that time all questions about who gets Jerusalem will be resolved – because Jerusalem will belong to all of the inhabitants of the land. I feel certain that an equitable solution will be found so that the dispossessed Palestinians will be able to be satisfied without causing harm or hardship to the Jewish people who are 2nd and 3rd generation from the original Zionist Israeli invaders.

        It is frequently asserted that Jews and Arabs have been fighting over Palestine “from time immemorial”; but that is not true. Jews, Muslims, and Christians had been living together in peace in that land for centuries – until Zionists decided to “reclaim” their “heritage”. What is frequently overlooked and ignored is that many (perhaps a majority, actually) of Jewish people acknowledge this fact, and totally reject Zionism. I referred to the “Jewish Voice for Peace” and their petition in my article. I also like to refer frequently to an Orthodox Jewish site to show that many even of the most Orthodox Jews totally reject Zionism and call for the complete dismantlement of the “Jewish State” in Palestine. Only then can peace be restored. That’s not calling for Jews to be kicked out of the land; it just calls for a return to the peaceful coexistence that existed before Zionism raised its ugly head.

      • Don’t forget that the Zionists who really triggered this weren’t even Jewish…they were British and American premillenial “Christians” who were trying to initiate their version of prophecy to help God along a little…

        Can a truly secular state be re-established in Palestine? I don’t know…there’s a lot of anger on both sides. I do think that any state that defines itself by a religious identity (which, by the way, is true of Saudi Arabia as well as Israel) is doing an injustice to both its faith and its people. As I think by now you know, I believe that the Kingdom of God both transcends and repudiates earthly borders.

    • I don’t remember for sure how I originally found your blog – it may have been as a result of one of your comments on Kurt’s blog (currently known as “The Pangea Blog”). At any rate, I enjoyed from the start your openness to challenge ‘orthodoxy’, while always remaining respectful of those who disagreed with your point of view. And I did indeed read with pleasure your posts on Islam – and I’m pretty sure I made a comment or two. You’re plainly nowhere near as close to actually embracing Islam as I am, but your ability to see good things in that religion – and defend Muslims from some of the absurd and false accusations made against them – was very commendable.

      So I know you’ll give respectful consideration to what I’m about to say concerning “the stone which the builders rejected”, even though you probably won’t immediately exclaim: “you’re right! Why couldn’t I see that before?” 😆 It took me some time before I recognized the validity of the arguments. Viewpoints long held, and constantly reinforced by every Biblical interpreter one reads, are very difficult to change.

      One argument, which I did not find overly convincing, was simply that in the parable there are many servants that were rejected, beat up, and killed. So the question is asked: why do Christians focus on only the last one who was rejected, the son? Why couldn’t the “stone” be any of the others, or even the owner of the vineyard (because ultimately it was the claims of the owner of the vineyard which were being refused)? But one could answer, reasonably I think, that the story builds up to one final emissary from the owner, who is superior to the previous servants in that he is the owner’s son and heir. Therefore he might reasonably be considered the “stone” upon which the story focuses.

      The argument that really convinced me was that the whole intent of the story was to arrive at this conclusion: the tenants of the vineyard (the Jewish nation) would be put to death for their treachery and treason, and the lease would be given to others. That’s the whole point of the story; not that any one of the beaten or murdered emissaries would be restored or resurrected to collect the fruits owed to the owner.

      Jesus’ quotation from Psalm 118 was meant to enforce that point: “Aren’t you aware that your Scripture foretells this very thing – that you, the Jews, will lose your position in God’s kingdom and another people/nation will replace you?” As the quotation from the Psalm is usually interpreted by Christians, there is nothing in it to refer to the Jewish people being replaced by someone else; yet that is precisely the point Jesus was intending to make from that Psalm. In order for the quotation to fulfill Jesus’ intended purpose, the “stone” has to be another “people” replacing the former “tenants”. How would saying that the rejected and murdered son would be resurrected to inherit his father’s vineyard have anything to say about the tenants being put to death and others replacing them?

      Jesus skillfully got his listeners emotionally involved in the story, to the point that by its conclusion they themselves were calling for the slaying of those “wretches” and replacing them with other “tenants”. Then Jesus forcefully brings home the point as applying to the listeners themselves: “Isn’t that exactly what is predicted in the Psalms?” Then he draws his conclusion – both from their own statement, and the Biblical quotation – “Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a nation producing the fruits of it”. The “stone” is that people/nation – and it is one that the Jewish builders themselves had rejected (the Arabian/Ishmaelite people). The Jewish people are not only dispossessed; they are further humiliated by being replaced with a people they themselves despised!

      Another strong argument that I found very persuasive, if not perhaps completely convincing, comes from verse 44 (of Matthew 21) : “And whoever falls on this stone will be broken; but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder.” That verse has always puzzled me; I had never before found a satisfactory explanation of its meaning. Now, recognizing the “stone” as the “nation” of Islam (beginning with the physical descendents of Ishmael, and then spreading all over the world), it makes good sense. The words “fall upon” in the Bible frequently refer to attacking someone with the intent of capturing or killing him. I’ll just list a few of the verses without quoting them, to save space; you can easily find many more. Gen. 43:18; Exodus 5:3; Judges 8:21; 15:12; 1 Sam. 22:17,18; 2 Sam 1:15. Some examples of the past tense (“fell upon”) are Josh. 11:7; 1 Kings 2:25,32,34,46; 2 Chron. 25:13.

      So whoever attacks this “stone”, and whoever the “stone” attacks, will be utterly routed and defeated. This may be either physical or spiritual conflict, of course. As is well known, the Qur’anic revelation grants permission to the Muslim believers to fight back when they are attacked. And once some nation or people have initiated war against them, the Muslims are permitted to fight rather aggressively until the enemy is defeated. This is a part of legitimate “Jihad” (struggle) in Islam. Another more important “Jihad” though is the struggle or “battle” using persuasion and argument to attempt to convince the opponents of Islam of their errors and bring them to Islam (submission to God). In both ways, the Muslim nation is promised victory so long as they truly fight in the way of God. (This promise of victory does not apply, of course, to those “Muslims” who live or fight in ways that are contrary to God’s requirements.)

      When I look to Psalm 118, from which the “rejected stone” quotation is taken, I find this victorious conquest of enemies plays a prominent part. “(7) The LORD is on my side to help me; I shall look in triumph on those who hate me… (10) All nations surrounded me; in the name of the LORD I cut them off!… (15) Hark, glad songs of victory in the tents of the righteous: ‘The right hand of the LORD does valiantly’…” It is in this context that the Psalmist says “The stone which the builders rejected has become the head of the corner.”

      To me, it sounds like the “spirit of prophecy” inspired David to predict Muhammad and the nation which would bring forth the fruits of the kingdom of God. It fits better with them than it does with Jesus – whose kingdom “is not of this world” and whose disciples do not take up swords to fight. In addition, verses 17 and 18 say of this victorious leader: “I shall not die, but I shall live, and recount the deeds of the LORD. The LORD has chastened me sorely, but He has not given me over to death.” If the Psalmist was indeed prophesying about Jesus Christ, this fits better with the Qur’an’s insistence that Jesus was not crucified and killed than with the Christian story. [ In reality, I believe the conflict as to whether or not Jesus Christ was killed is only in appearance. While, as I believe, Jesus was indeed killed by the Jews and Romans – he “tasted death” – what is usually meant by death or being killed is a permanent status. When Jews triumphantly claim “we killed your supposed Messiah”, they’re meaning that they got rid of him permanently. There’s no thought of temporary death. In that “permanent” sense, Jesus indeed was not killed; he did not die, but he lived! The Jewish “triumph” was very short lived, as Jesus came out of the tomb very much alive. For some people, death is by definition “permanent”; there is no returning. Anyone who revives from “death” was, according to them, by definition not really dead. They call it “near death experiences” for that reason. By such a definition, Jesus did not die. I believe that Jesus’ body did indeed cease all functioning, and his spirit/soul departed temporarily – therefore he did indeed “taste of death”. But since this was not a permanent state, it is also true to say that he did not die, but it was only made to appear that way.]

      One other intriguing correlation between Islam and the “stone”. You will recall that it was a practice in the Old Testament to build altars of stones for remembrance and worship. Abraham built an altar at Bethel (Gen 12:8). Later, it is recorded that Jacob took a stone he had used as a pillow, set it up as a pillar, anointed it, and made a vow to the Lord – again at Bethel (Gen 28:18, 19). Joshua 4 records that the Israelites set up 12 stones as a remembrance after crossing the Jordan. Now it is very interesting that one of the prominent features of Islam is the famous “Black Stone” in the Ka’ba in Mecca. This stone, dedicated to the worship of the One God, was set up by the Ishmaelites whom the Jewish people despised; and Jews and Christians both ridicule the stone itself as being an “idol” (despite the fact that the most revered names in Judeo-Christian faith also prostrated before stones when worshiping the One God). Here indeed is a “stone which the builders rejected”! And it is my belief, as well as Muslim belief, that this rejected stone has indeed become the “cornerstone” in God’s kingdom.

      I don’t think I should press that last observation overmuch; but it is, to me, a really fascinating observation.

      So there you have my explanation. It’s long for a comment, but I think it’s as brief as I can make it. Peace and blessing be with you, brother.

      • Well, friend, while I continue to wish you peace (as, for that matter, I do my Muslim friends), I think your exegesis is stretched pretty thin. And no, while I warmly embrace Muslims, I’m nowhere near embracing Islam unless by it one means small-i islam…submission to the One True God (as I posted in Every Christian ought to be a muslim….

        As to your exegesis, you seem to be failing to engage with either the Acts or Peter statements I quoted above, where in both places the apostle Peter unequivocally says this statement refers to Jesus himself. When I saw the phrase “on whom the stone falls” I thought of the vision Daniel interpreted for Nebuchadnezzar, which is usually taken (accurately, I believe) to refer to the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, not “hewn” by human hands, and expanding to fill the whole earth. I believe the broader testimony of the New Testament would agree that in the rejection of the Jews as a unique people of God, the replacement was not another earthly kingdom on the same hunk of ground, but rather the kingdom of Jesus Christ which encompasses the whole earth but not of the geographical nations (ethne) thereof.

        I would finally point out that if Jesus way of peace in the new kingdom means anything at all, then it should apply to those followers of Jesus who acknowledge Mohammad’s prophecy as well. If Jesus is, uniquely, the Word of God incarnate as the Quran also testifies, then his word of peace is paramount to all those that went before or came since.

        So yes, the Christian scripture testifies that the Jews were “replaced” but not in an earthly or geographic sense. There is, since Jesus’ resurrection, now no holy land except to the extent it’s *all* holy as we live in it as citizens of God’s renewed kingdom.

        Salaam aleichum!

        • Wa alaikum as-Salaam, Dan.

          It was “my bad” for not saying anything about Peter’s calling Jesus “the stone which the builders rejected”. I had intended to comment on that, but I forgot during the course of my writing. Perhaps that’s old age setting in (I certainly hope it’s not the beginning of Alzheimer’s Disease). I thought about it later after I had posted the comment. Perhaps it’s for the best though, as the comment was already pretty long.

          I simply believe that Peter was incorrect in his attribution. While it’s an understandable mistake (Jesus was certainly rejected by “the builders”) it is nevertheless incorrect in my estimation. But God knows best.

          I find that the Biblical writers (whether they were the apostles, or others) were at times atrociously inaccurate in their usage of Old Testament quotations. To give just a few instances, there’s the famous statement by ‘Matthew’ (1:13-15) that Jesus (PBUH) was taken as a baby into Egypt, and then later returned to Judea/Galilee in order to fulfill the prophecy of Hosea 11:1 (“Out of Egypt have I called my son”). Hosea’s prophecy was not a prediction at all – especially of an event in the life of the child Jesus – but a reference to God’s deliverance of the people of Israel from their bondage in Egypt. ‘Matthew’ just grabbed at a short phrase that sounded apropos and turned it (wrongly) into a prediction about the child of Mary.

          Or, again in Matthew (1:23) there’s the statement that Jesus’ (PBUH) virgin birth was the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy (7:14): “Behold a virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel…” While Christians dearly love that verse, and insist that it must refer to Jesus since ‘Matthew’ says so by ‘infallible inspiration’, it is nevertheless simply not true. Anyone reading Isaiah’s prophecy can see that he was referring to a sign which was to be given specifically for Ahaz and the people then living – in reference to a feared attack by Syria and the northern kingdom of Israel. The “virgin” of Isaiah’s prophecy was almost certainly his own young wife; and if she was a “virgin” before the conception of the child, she was most definitely no longer such at the time the child “Immanuel” was actuallly conceived. Again, ‘Matthew’ seized on a verse which had a few words that sounded apropos, and twisted them into a prediction of the virgin birth of Jesus. Isaiah’s prophecy, though, had absolutely nothing to do with events some 600 years in his future; it referred to events very near at hand.

          Just one more instance of such tortured usage of Old Testament Scriptures: the writer of Hebrews (2:13) refers to Isaiah’s statement in 8:18 – “Here am I and the children God” [‘the LORD’ in Isaiah] “has given me” – and says that was Jesus Christ (PBUH) talking about himself and the children of God who were given him as brothers, whose salvation he was to secure. Nothing could be further from the truth. Anyone who will examine Isaiah’s prophecy will see that he was talking about himself and his own children (not brothers who were God’s children). He gave his children symbolic names, and they served as signs and portents to the people of Israel of Isaiah’s day. Whoever wrote Hebrews simply grabbed phrases from various parts of the Old Testament and tortuously twisted them to suit his own purposes. Such writers were plainly not “infallibly inspired” by God, any more than I am.

          So I have no difficulty in saying that Peter was also mistaken in his understanding of Psalm 118 – though his mistake was far more understandable than Matthew’s distortion of Hosea, or the Hebrew letter’s distortion of Isaiah.

          I believe you are correct in connecting “the stone which the builders rejected’ with Daniel’s interpretation of king Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in Daniel 2. However, I believe the fulfillment of that also is in the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and the religion/people which God established through the revelation given to him. It was in fact the Muslim armies who struck the “toes of the image” representing the mixed and weakened nature of the Roman empire. The Roman empire had in effect conquered Christianity by “embracing” (and thoroughly distorting) it. Christianity is now so distorted that it is no longer recognizable as the genuine article. But God graciously sent a new (yet old) message to and through his Prophet Muhammad, which corrects the distortions of Christianity; and the “mountain” of Islam broke up what remained of the Roman empire and has filled (and is still filling) the earth.

          This Islamic kingdom of God, which fills the whole earth, is beautifully symbolized by a “stone cut out without hands”, since it is the Black Stone in Mecca which symbolizes the religion of submission to God. This black stone, in tradition, was sent down by God from heaven. Some researchers believe it is meteorite stone, but that (I understand) is not clearly established yet. It is definitely a “stone cut out without hands”, and the religion which it symbolizes is definitely filling the earth.

          I will have to disagree that the Qur’an testifies that Jesus (PBUH) is “uniquely, the Word of God incarnate”. In Sura 3:45, Gabriel referred to Jesus as “a Word from God, not “the unique Word of God”: “Behold! the angels said: ‘O Mary! Allah giveth thee glad tidings of a Word from Him: his name will be Christ Jesus, the son of Mary, held in honour in this world and the Hereafter and of (the company of) those nearest to Allah.’ ” This is understood to mean 2 things: (1) Mary’s son will be the fulfillment of the prophetic word/message given to previous Prophets of God; and (2) Jesus conception and birth was by God’s word of command, “Be”. As verse 59 of Sura 3 says: “The similitude of Jesus before Allah is as that of Adam; He created him from dust, then said to him: ‘Be’. And he was.” Here it is specifically said that Jesus was not uniquely “God’s Word”; his conception was like the creation of Adam. Whenever God determines to do a thing, He simply says (“a word from God”) “Be” and it is. That is what it means in Islam for Jesus to be a “Word from God”.

          Jesus’ kingdom was not intended to be a political, earthly kingdom. His disciples were taught to pray that God’s kingdom would come on earth, and God’s will be done on earth just as it is in heaven; but the time was not ripe for the appearance of that kingdom which would crush the “toes” of the Roman empire and all others who would oppose God’s reign. That time was still to come. Until then, Jesus’ disciples must not attempt to carry out such a mission by force of arms. However, when the Prophet Muhammad was sent by God as the one who would fulfill God’s prophetic message of bringing God’s kingdom and righteousness to earth – in the process demolishing those who opposed and attacked him – the true disciples of Jesus Christ recognized this Prophet and his message and followed him. Just as Jesus had said that all who have been taught of the Father would follow him, so now all who have been taught of the Father follow this “final Prophet” of God. While Muhammad (PBUH) was in Mecca and without any political authority, he and his followers patiently endured mockery and persecution. But when, by the will of God, he was invited to Medina and given political authority, the word from God was given permitting the righteous to fight and subdue those who attacked and instigated war against the Muslim believers: “39. To those against whom war is made, permission is given (to fight), because they are wronged;- and verily, Allah is most powerful for their aid; 40. (They are) those who have been expelled from their homes in defiance of right,- (for no cause) except that they say, “our Lord is Allah. Did not Allah check one set of people by means of another, there would surely have been pulled down monasteries, churches, synagogues, and mosques, in which the name of Allah is commemorated in abundant measure. Allah will certainly aid those who aid his (cause);- for verily Allah is full of Strength, Exalted in Might, (able to enforce His Will). 41. (They are) those who, if We establish them in the land, establish regular prayer and give regular charity, enjoin the right and forbid wrong: with Allah rests the end (and decision) of (all) affairs.” (That’s from Sura 22, and I’ve been using the Yusuf Ali English version).

          Prior to the coming of “the final Prophet”, Muhammad (PBUH), the followers of Jesus Christ (PBUH) were “a kind of firstfruits” of God’s people. The full “harvest time” came with the revelation of the Qur’an, and of course is still going on. It is the followers of this message through God’s Prophet Muhammad who are “the stone which the builders rejected” and “the stone cut out without hands” – as symbolized by that rejected stone which “came down from heaven” in Mecca. So, at least, it seems to me; but God knows best. May He further the enlightenment of each of us in His truth.

      • I’m afraid we’ll have to agree to disagree (agreeably!), Stephen. Your interpretation presumes that God intended another earthly kingdom, using earthly means of domination, following that of the Jews. I believe that Jesus inaugurated the kingdom that God will consummate with the new heaven and new earth, but began with raising Jesus from the dead.

        I do not have a problem with your generic concept that Peter and Matthew and the others were infallible (as you know if you’ve read my posts on biblical inspiration); however, I do have a problem with bringing a subsequent presupposition (in your case the Muslim kingdoms) to the interpretation of ambiguous Biblical texts…in fact I would say that you are committing the same error of which you accuse Matthew and the writer of Hebrews.

        Please understand I am not attacking Islam here. If I may appeal to something I know the prophet Mohammad once said (though I can’t say where), I leave it to God to judge us both. What I am attacking is the notion of any earthly kingdom, with a claim to specific earthly territory, and the right to defend that territory or any other through the violence of arms. That is the way of the prince of this world, whom both Christians and Muslims rightly acknowledge as the enemy of God. When Jesus stated “My kingdom is not of this world; if it were, my servants would fight” he was not merely talking about a temporary dispensation or a long-awaited future…he was laying down the new law for the lovers of God from then on.

        I remain, apologetically, an follower of Jesus–admittedly a highly-imperfect one. I am deeply compelled to the building of peaceful bridges between Christians and Muslims, and I am also convinced that typical Christians and typical Muslims both “know” significant errors about each other and each other’s books…errors that if corrected, will not have us merging as one group, but will certainly encourage us to engage each other in peace (as you and I are) rather than in hostility and violence. Not only do I wish you peace…I also pray that you and I and our brothers will be instruments of peace between us, and toward those (including the Jews) who are not of either camp.

        • Thanks for your input, Dan. 🙂 I’m quite willing to leave it at agreeing to disagree agreeably.

          I would like, though, to make one or two clarifications of what I’m advocating, as I’m not sure it came through clearly. I don’t advocate the idea that Arabs or Muslims have a Divine right to any particular territory. I believe that the prophetic revelation to the “son of Ishmael” Muhammad (PBUH) became the cornerstone in God’s kingdom; but that kingdom is intended to “fill the whole earth”, not some particular piece of real estate. 😀

          My contention concerning Palestine is that the Jewish people do not have any Divine right to that land; but I don’t claim that Arabs or Muslim do have such a Divine right. The right of the Palestinians to that land is simply the fact that they were the inhabitants of that land (it was not “a land without a people”) and the Zionists had no right to come there and dispossess the Palestinian inhabitants.

          I do believe that any nation has a God given right to self defense; I don’t believe self defense (whether individually or nationally) is the way of “the prince of this world”. Aggression is the way of this world, but defense against aggression is a God given right.

          In the government established by Muhammad in Medina, covenants were established between Muslims, Christians, and Jews whereby each agreed to live in harmony with, and defend, the others. Each group maintained its own beliefs and religious government, and their Church buildings, Synagogues, and Mosques were to be respected and left inviolable. That is in fact Islamic political government. Only when one party violated the treaty and aggressively attacked another (or aided a ‘foreign’ aggressor – as the Meccans – in such an aggressive attack) did armed conflict come into play.

          I will remain content to “agree to disagree” about that though. I don’t think either of us is going to be aggressing against the other! 😆
          God be with you, brother.

      • make that “unapolgetically.” One of the worst “corrections” spellcheck has ever pulled on me!


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