The Church of Scotland says God’s promise of Israel to the Jews should not be taken literally
In a new report titled “The Inheritance of Abraham: A Report on the ‘Promised Land,”’ the Church of Scotland, once a staunch supporter of the Jews’ right to their ancient homeland, casts serious doubt on the biblical Jewish claim to the land.
The report is a culmination of more than a decade of increasingly strident anti-Zionism and pro-Palestinian activism by the church, especially by its local Palestinian Christian chapters.
“Promises about the land of Israel were never intended to be taken literally, or as applying to a defined geographical territory,” it concludes. “The ‘promised land’ in the Bible is not a place, so much as a metaphor of how things ought to be among the people of God. This ‘promised land’ can be found, or built, anywhere.”
Local Jewish leaders fear that if the church adopts the document at its annual general assembly, it may be become official church policy, the London Jewish Chronicle reported. The Church of Scotland’s annual general assembly is to vote on the report soon.
In the report, the church states that there has been a “widespread assumption” by many Christians and Jews that the Bible supports an essentially Jewish state of Israel.
“This assumption of biblical support is based on views of promises about land in the Hebrew Bible, and that the modern State of Israel is the fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham, as well as the fulfillment of biblical prophets such as Ezekiel, who spoke about ‘the barren mountains of Israel’ becoming fruitful and ‘the ruined towns’ being rebuilt as the people returned from exile. These views are disputed,” the report says. On God’s promise to Abraham to make the Land of Israel a home for the Jewish people (“To your offspring I will give this land,” Genesis 12:7), the Church of Scotland says that a purely literal reading does show that God promised the land to Abraham and his descendents, but that the exact geography of the land is unclear, and the land was given “conditionally to the Jewish people, and on the understanding the land is God’s, and in any case, given in trust to be cared for and lived in according to God’s instruction.”