One of the truly strange phenomena about Jewish conventions has to do with people chasing down the symbols without understanding the substance. This is not an unprecedented predicament. In New Testament times there were people who wanted to be teachers of the law without having a clue as to what they were talking about, and such people were in the church. We are noticing the rise of a number of programs and articles about the ark of the covenant for example. People are interested in finding out where the arc is and there is huge speculation about what the ark was meant to do. In addition, there are some researchers who think that every people has an ark of some kind, and that these arks authenticate the culture of the people who claim to have had a version of the ark of the covenant. That is a patent and latent jab at the unique endowment of the Jewish people.
Ark is not a hot topic
I suppose we should all be expecting the discovery of the “lost” ark, because like the finding of the remains of a ship wrecked in one of the many wars, the outcome is reverence for the graveyard. We inadvertently justify war and violence. Without faith, much of what people treasure as their spiritual distinction is laughable foolishness. The elephant in the room is the treatment of migrants, foreigners, and servants. Spirituality is that simple.
Who is laughing?
American exceptionalism in the face of the treatment of First Nations and Black people. Yeah! Right.
Christians and Jews as people in perfect compliance with God’s laws. Yeah! Right.
Russians fighting Nazism in Ukraine. Yeah! Right.
The government can legislate acceptance of LGBTQ people. Yeah! Right.
Adorable extreme right wing governments in Italy and Israel. Yeah! Right.
The most destructive manifestation of Antisemitism is the adoption of Judaism’s historic and exclusive markers. It is right there in plain sight: Americans, Australians and Europeans and Africans (1) talking about their countries as “promised lands”, (2) people believing that they have the equivalent of the ark of the covenant, (3) anyone believing that they are in possession of promises of being higher than other nations, and (4) especially people refusing to learn biblical Hebrew or treating the language component of Bible study as an attempt to learn to speak the language. You cannot be so jealous of the Jewish people that you idolize them and try to submerge their contribution to the world’s spiritual environmentals. Can you?
Prophetic approbation does not amount to a hill of beans. Don’t we realize how many prophets are genuinely “heard” in their own community? You are in for a rude awakening if you thought that the “foundation of the church” included dead prophets of long ago. Should not the Living God’s church have living stones for its security as surely as its Head lives forever and its authoritative message is preserved alive in the words of those eyewitness stones?
The Jewish narrative proceeds on the basis that God gives the land to Abraham and his descendants forever but that does so much damage to the expectation that there is a design for the human family, because the global family – not a Jewish, Arab, Christian composite – is the focus of Abraham’s justification. Jews evicted from Palestine may be shocking to new observers, but Abraham’s descendants spending seventy years in exile is historic. What was happening in the Holy Land when Muslims built a mosque on Temple Mount cannot be a token of Jewish accountability. The eviction is more a question of responsibility for revelation than a question of residence or ownership. Even the kingdom of God has a replacement motif.
No one is replacing Abraham’s descendants
People will come from abroad to occupy the spaces in which Abraham’s descendants were. Of course this is not Gentiles having full participation in the traditions of Israel, especially the priesthood and temple services.
A parable teaches that Israelites have no guaranteed space
25) Once the head of the house gets up and shuts the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock on the door, saying, ‘Lord, open up to us!’ then He will answer and say to you, ‘I do not know where you are from.’ 26) Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets’; 27) and He will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you are from; depart from Me, all you evildoers.’ 28) In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but yourselves being thrown out. 29) And they will come from east and west and from north and south, and will recline at the table in the kingdom of God.
In the current state of affairs there are strict and unyielding barriers to Gentile participation in the life of the state. Getting past them depends on the lowering of the heat of the renters’ rhetoric. For God to have his children from east, west, north and south celebrating in Zion there has to be an eviction.