This land is mine, Pilgrim

Since the Jewish people were aliens and sojourners in Egypt it is disturbing that they have  spared no energy asserting ownership of Canaan and are always ready to treat goyim (Gentiles) as second class citizens, in some cases as evil and without hope.  One does not sell another person’s property and residence is temporary.

Leviticus 25:23 addresses
[ ] no sale of the land and
[ ] the pilgrim status of the Israelite

‘The land, moreover, shall not be sold permanently, for the land is Mine; for you are but aliens and sojourners with Me.

Pilgrim profile owned

If anyone was going to say “this land is mine” without raising eyebrows it would be Abraham.  He, standing apart from his descendants in the 21st and century and in New Testament times, stated his position as pilgrim to a Canaanite family.

On the occasion of buying land for a cemetery

“I am a stranger and a sojourner among you; give me a burial site among you that I may bury my dead out of my sight.”

Genesis 23:4

The idea of the Israelite pilgrim is baked into song.   Pilgrim status is not  a secret.

A psalmist and his ancestors

“Hear my prayer, O Lord, and give ear to my cry; Do not be silent at my tears; For I am a stranger with You, A sojourner like all my fathers.

Psalms 39:12

Ownership affirmed

We have thought that the status of Jerusalem was going to be a pattern for the cities and towns based on the choices and experiences of the patriarchs.

  • Abraham in Egypt and Canaan
  • Isaac and Jacob lived in tents in Canaan
  • Jacob took his family to live in Egypt

The apostolic vision of pilgrimage

The Alien Experience

In Acts 7:6 the entire family is acquainted with the foreigner experience.  In 7:29 Moses is on the run from Egypt.  In Ephesians 2 Paul addresses all believers as “no longer strangers or aliens” due to their faith in Christ.  This is equivalent to a sojourner (ger, גר) acquiring the rights  and obligations of a native-born person (an izrach אזרח). Peter also positions all believers as aliens and strangers, this world or age being their temporary home. 

When Peter calls his readers pilgrims it is a sweeping identification of God’s people in every age.  Who in a right frame of mind wants to be stuck in one little corner when the region, the planet, and the universe has unimaginable places to visit and govern? 

The promise of land to Abraham never seemed more relevant when dispersed Jews faced annihilation in the 20th century.  Iran continues to threaten the Jewish people and the ancestors of the Iranians were the only people (nation!) who turned the Jewish people into a mob with orders to plunder the Persian (ancient Iranians) people.

Esther 8:10-12 reminds us extreme reversals in God’s justice scheme.

He wrote in the name of King Ahasuerus, and sealed it with the king’s signet ring, and sent letters by couriers on horses, riding on steeds sired by the royal stud. 11) In them the king granted the Jews who were in each and every city the right to assemble and to defend their lives, to destroy, to kill and to annihilate the entire army of any people or province which might attack them, including children and women, and to plunder their spoil, 12) on one day in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month (that is, the month Adar).

Esther 8:10-12

Did the seven Caananite nations see themselves as first nations with inalienable rights and permanent homelands?

The owner meets the tenants

The beef with the status quo in New Testament times was clear from the beginning of the Messianic mission.  John’s work was a stinging rebuke of the contemporary talking points and Yeshua laid out a similar case towards the end of his life.  The parable of the landowner, the vineyard and the vinegrowers was a contributor to hostility that crested in our Lord’s passion.

The vineyard parable

“Listen to another parable. There was a landowner who planted a vineyard and put a wall around it and dug a wine press in it, and built a tower, and rented it out to vine-growers and went on a journey.

Matthew 21:33

The vineyard analogy is as old as Isaiah (chapter 5) and the measures by the owner stand out.

Isaiah 5:5-6 and a trash-worthy vineyard

5) “So now let Me tell you what I am going to do to My vineyard: I will remove its hedge and it will be consumed; I will break down its wall and it will become trampled ground. 6) “I will lay it waste; It will not be pruned or hoed, But briars and thorns will come up. I will also charge the clouds to rain no rain on it.”

The response to the parable is surprising and ostrich-like. It is one thing to understand and another to agree and get in line behind the Owner.

Matthew 21:45

When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard His parables, they understood that He was speaking about them.

Matthew 21:45

The scenes of the parable (verses 34 to 41)

  • 34) When the harvest time approached, he sent his slaves to the vine-growers to receive his produce.
  • 35) The vine-growers took his slaves and beat one, and killed another, and stoned a third.
  • 36) Again he sent another group of slaves larger than the first; and they did the same thing to them.
  • 37) But afterward he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’
  • 38) But when the vine-growers saw the son, they said among themselves, ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him and seize his inheritance.’
  • 39) They took him, and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.
  • 40) Therefore when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those vine-growers?”
  • 41) They said to Him, “He will bring those wretches to a wretched end, and will rent out the vineyard to other vine-growers who will pay him the proceeds at the proper seasons.”

Not mine but yours

Passion for the land is easily misplaced.  Land can easily become a thing in the rearview mirror. It is true that at some point residence becomes permanent but not in the absence of a faith with purely political, geographic, and physical produce. Memory can be as short as a lifetime but pinning ones spiritual and physical security on a particular piece of earth is shortsighted and wickedly resistant. Residence in the Holy Land will change again apart from Jewish ideas of ownership and promise. Ultimately, when that change comes everyone, Gentiles and Jews, will confess, “This land is Yours, King of the nations”.

Sorry sobriety

Knowledge without the word is merchandising nonsense and the multiplication of grace is not a subject of ongoing knowledge. It is a sad and sorry alley to be in and there are many backing into it because of a soundbyte.

Grace is multiplied

2. Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; 3. seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.

2 Peter 1:2-3

“Be multiplied” is the aorist tense, passive voice, and optative mood of plethuno, πληθυνω, I multiply.  There is one way that this verse is addressing a practical processs of acquiring knowledge of God or Bible content, and that way is the fevered production of confused minds.

Off madly interpreting

One of the verified crazy and unlikely ways to rightly divide – correctly handle – the text of the Bible is that of using the existing divisions Old and New Testaments.  Conclusions of this sort are elementary and shortsighted.   If one thinks that the Messianic doctrine was plastered over every page of the Hebrew Bible we must understand how our Lord’s contemporaries so profoundly missed it and having seen his marvelous work and heard his gracious words. Let me suggest that occasions for the correct handling of the Bible’s message happen in the verse and the the sentence.

Exhibit A

Yahweh is my light and my salvation even when I am stumbling in fear.

Do our thoughts stop being ours when they range far from God’s? Do we suppose that we have God’s thoughts and ways?

Exhibit B

Psalms 28:7

The Lord is my strength and my shield; My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart exults, And with my song I shall thank Him.

Consider the following two landmarks.

  • God lives in unapproachable light and that is why the ancients presumed that one dies on seeing God. 
  • There was never a time when God was not Life, Salvation, Shield and Strength

Or maybe we want to believe in a God who changes?

Presence of God trashed

God’s promise to “never leave or forsake” is polluted by people who think they can exploit through teaching what the perceived or expected blessing might be. God’s presence is not a prophylactic, neither is the whole body of law. God goes to bars, racist churches, and loves unhinged television teachers.

Messsge from Jezero

Massive waves of joy warmed planet earth in the circles of interest in exploration.   We know that exploration has not gone particularly well for indigenous people and has left marks that we are deliberately fearful to try to erase or footnote as huge mistakes. The landing the roboxplorer Perseverance on Mars may seem like an expensive (!) and unfortunate venture and a search for answers with the wrong set of questions.  I more of us who know how to explore ancient things would simply be honest the search for the origin of life would be secondary to the search for the Lifegiver. The  message from Jezero, “safe on the surface” competes with the cries for safety on this planet from women,  children and racialized people, for whom cutting edge discoveries seem to have little benefit.

A cold, old and male threat

Exploring Mars

Leaders who do not know what truth and justice look like are many (arguably in the majority) and those who use violent power to silence or discredit the quest for a more honourable use of knowledge and resources will not be affected if the Jezero messsge says “fossil worms”, “winged anthropoid”, or “bovine skull”.  Perseverance is not expected to discover the prescription for sustaining human life in all its diversity.  Males devoid of love threaten every thing we treasure and waking  them up will take the use of extraordinary technology.  Cold, old and male describe accurately the civic realities of life on earth as much as they do the threats to Perseverance on Mars.

Remember Noah’s ark and the preservation of all life.

There aren’t really many events in human history that affect every being equally.  People have been clamoring for the pat on the back and the recognition that one of us has risen to earn the Oscar for intelligent management of resources. So let us not keep eying the search for the origin of life rather than using the means we have to ensure that our lives, all our lives, are no longer threatened by military or political strongmen or by religious conmen using wood fires in highrise apartments.

Ontario Legislature Day 2

The Leader of the Ontario New Democratic Party draws a misogynist barb from the Premier. Doug Ford misspeaks often enough and his readiness to use derogatory terms surfaced regularly during his encounters with the press at the government’s daily covid19 updates.

An environment for civilized debate

People who Mr Ford perceived as uncooperative with the government’s pandemic measures were called yahoos and irresponsible. Now he has taken aim at his colleague in the people’s house, chafing at questions from Andre Horvath. If the NDP Leader’s voice can be likened to nails on a chalkboard an apology in parliament an apology should not take long.

The officials and their shields

The raccoons, coyotes, and bears are in the city and the suburbs, and no politician that I know of represents them in our civic, provincial or federal government. Now ain’t that a headline. Places I could go to (or merely drive by) 7 years ago to see a kestrel hover for a kill are now concret jungle. Tick me off and get forgiven, but offend these little predecessors of ours and pay destroyed by God for not being a shield to the vulnerable.

Angry nations and destroyers

And the nations were enraged, and Your wrath came, and the time came for the dead to be judged, and the time to reward Your bond-servants the prophets and the saints and those who fear Your name, the small and the great, and to destroy those who destroy the earth.”

Revelation 11:18
American Kestrel

Would the North American continent be a pollution hub without Europeans?

Before and after

A fire consumes before them And behind them a flame burns. The land is like the garden of Eden before them But a desolate wilderness behind them, And nothing at all escapes them.

Joel 2:3

No and we are not indestructible. All our drilling, polluting and construction do not go unnoticed.

Not seen in my neighborhood for almost a decade

Humanity’s killer instincts have been catching up with us, and the reason we have not noticed is that people reserve the right to erase any offender they choose to designate as a threat. Threats can be found in doing good things, such as cleansing lepers, raising the dead, in asking the right question, and in having gifts that differ. Who, pray tell, will shield us from an angry God.