We would become mature enough to plant our feet and our families and our foundations in every nation, kindred, tongue, and people permanently. Zion would be everywhere—wherever the Church is. And with that change—one of the mighty changes of the last days—we no longer think of Zion as where we are going to live; we think of it as how we are going to live. To frame this new task just a little, I wish to draw tonight upon three incidents Sister Holland and I have experienced within the fairly recent past. If time permitted I could cite dozens more, and so could you. Number one: A few years ago a young friend of mine—a returned missionary—was on one of the college basketball teams in Utah.
That happens in athletics.
Middle Eastern Christians Are Under Threat. How do They Feel about Jews and Israel?
So, with the full support and best wishes of his coaches and his teammates, my young friend transferred to another school where he hoped he might contribute a little more. As fate would have it, things clicked at the new school, and my friend soon became a starter. What happened in that game has bothered me to this day, and I am seizing this unusual moment to get it off my chest. But here is the worst part. You are the hometown boy who has made good. These are your people. These are your friends.
As I entered the rear door of the stake center, a something young woman entered the building at about the same time. Even in the crush of people moving toward the chapel, it was hard not to notice her. As I recall, she had a couple of tattoos, a variety of ear and nose rings, spiky hair reflecting all the colors now available in snow cones, a skirt that was too high, and a blouse that was too low. Three questions leapt to my mind: Was this woman a struggling soul, not of our faith, who had been led—or even better, had been brought by someone—to this devotional under the guidance of the Lord in an effort to help her find the peace and the direction of the gospel that she needed in her life?
Another possibility: Was she a member who had strayed a bit maybe from some of the hopes and standards that the Church encourages for its members but who, thank heaven, was still affiliating and had chosen to attend this Church activity that night? Or a third option: Is this the stake Relief Society president? Somehow I was sure she was not. Here is my third example: While participating in the dedication of the Kansas City Missouri Temple just a few months ago, Sister Holland and I were hosted by Brother Isaac Freestone, a police officer by profession and a wonderful high priest in the Liberty Missouri Stake.
In our conversations he told us that late one evening he was called to investigate a complaint in a particularly rough part of the city. Over the roar of loud music and with the smell of marijuana in the air, he found one woman and several men drinking and profaning, all of them apparently totally oblivious of the five little children—aged about two through eight years of age—huddled together in one room, trying to sleep on a filthy floor with no bed, no mattress, no pillows, no anything.
Brother Freestone looked in the kitchen cupboards and in the refrigerator to see if he could find a single can or carton or box of food of any kind—but he literally could find nothing. He said the dog barking in the backyard had more food than those children did. He hunted until he found some sheets if you could call them that , put them on the mattress, and tucked all five children into the makeshift bed. With tears in his eyes he then knelt down, offered a prayer to Heavenly Father for their protection, and said good night. And there will be more changes after that.
You have my word on it. What do these three incidents have in common? Not much really, except that they happened to Sister Holland and me in the recent past. And they give three tiny, very different real-life examples of Babylon—one personal and as silly as deplorable behavior at a basketball game, one more cultural and indicative of one-on-one challenges with those who live differently than we do, and one very large and very serious matter, with legal implications and history so complex that it would seem to be beyond any individual one of us to address it.
In posing these three challenges, I intentionally did not use sensational cases of sexual transgression or physical violence or pornographic addiction, even though those might strike closer to home for some of you than the examples I have used. But you are smart enough to make unspoken applications. We are talking about basketball here, not Sunday School. We pay good money to see these games. We can act the way we want. We check our religion at the door. My young friends, that kind of discipleship cannot be—it is not discipleship at all.
No, someone in life, someone in the 21st century, someone in all of these situations has to live his or her religion because otherwise all we get is a whole bunch of idiots acting like moral pygmies. It is easy to be righteous when things are calm and life is good and everything is going smoothly. The test is when there is real trial or temptation, when there is pressure and fatigue, anger and fear, or the possibility of real transgression.
Can we be faithful then? But we have to try; we have to wish to be strong. That leads me to the woman with the rainbow hair and the many splendored rings. However one would respond to that young woman, the rule forever is that it has to reflect our religious beliefs and our gospel commitments.
Therefore, how we respond in any situation has to make things better, not worse. And He always did what should have been done to make the situation better—from teaching the truth, to forgiving sinners, to cleansing the temple. It is no small gift to know how to do such things in the right way! So, with our new acquaintance of the unusual dress and grooming code, we start, above all, by remembering she is a daughter of God and of eternal worth.
We start by being grateful that she is at a Church activity, not avoiding one. In short, we try to be at our best in this situation in a desire to help her be at her best. We keep praying silently: What is the right thing to do here? And what is the right thing to say? What ultimately will make this situation and her better? There is a sheepfold, and we are all supposed to be in it, to say nothing of the safety and blessings that come to us for being there. It is only the high ground of revealed truth that gives us any footing on which to lift another who may feel troubled or forsaken.
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Our compassion and our love—fundamental characteristics and requirements of our Christianity—must never be interpreted as compromising the commandments. In this regard—this call for compassion and loyalty to the commandments—there is sometimes a chance for a misunderstanding, especially among young people who may think we are not supposed to judge anything, that we are never to make a value assessment of any kind. The alternative is to surrender to the moral relativism of a deconstructionist, postmodern world which, pushed far enough, posits that ultimately nothing is eternally true or especially sacred and, therefore, no one position on any given issue matters more than any other.
And that simply is not true.
In this process of evaluation, we are not called on to condemn others, but we are called upon to make decisions every day that reflect judgment—we hope good judgment. For example, parents have to exercise good judgment regarding the safety and welfare of their children every day. No one would fault a parent who says children must eat their vegetables or who restricts a child from running into a street roaring with traffic. So why should a parent be faulted who cares, at a little later age, what time those children come home at night, or what the moral and behavioral standards of their friends are, or at what age they date, or whether or not they experiment with drugs or pornography or engage in sexual transgression?
When we face such situations in complex social issues in a democratic society, it can be very challenging and, to some, confusing. But to make the point, let me use the example of a lesser law. Does everyone have to do what we do? Must they behave as we do? And you have to do this without demeaning those who transgress or who believe differently than we believe because, yes, they do have their moral agency. My young friends, there is a wide variety of beliefs in this world, and there is moral agency for all, but no one is entitled to act as if God is mute on these subjects or as if commandments only matter if there is public agreement over them.
Having already used another religious term of great importance, Zion Jerusalem , to coin the name of their movement, being associated with the return to Zion. As originally stated, "The aim of Zionism is to create for the Jewish people a home in Palestine secured by law. These differences relate to the importance of the idea and its land, as well as the internationally recognized borders of the State of Israel and the Jewish State's secure and democratic existence. Many current governments, politicians and commentators question these differences. The Biblical concept of Eretz Israel, and its re-establishment as a state in the modern era, was a basic tenet of the original Zionist program.
This program however, saw little success until the British acceptance of "the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people" in the Balfour Declaration of Among other things, he presented a plan for development together with a map of the proposed homeland. The statement noted the Jewish historical connection with " Palestine ". These borders included present day Israel and the occupied territories , western Jordan, southwestern Syria and southern Lebanon "in the vicinity south of Sidon".
Three Incidents That Lead to Three Lessons
Early in the deliberations toward British civilian administration, two fundamental decisions were taken, which bear upon the status of the Jews as a nation; the first was the recognition of Hebrew as an official language, along with English and Arabic, and the second concerned the Hebrew name of the country. He was aware that there was no other name in the Hebrew language for this land except 'Eretz-Israel'. At the same time he thought that if 'Eretz-Israel' only were used, it might not be regarded by the outside world as a correct rendering of the word 'Palestine', and in the case of passports or certificates of nationality, it might perhaps give rise to difficulties, so it was decided to print 'Palestine' in Hebrew letters and to add after it the letters 'Aleph' 'Yod', which constitute a recognised abbreviation of the Hebrew name.
His Excellency still thought that this was a good compromise. Salem wanted to omit 'Aleph' 'Yod' and Mr. Yellin wanted to omit 'Palestine'. The right solution would be to retain both. The compromise was later noted as among Arab grievances before the League's Permanent Mandate Commission. Consequently, in 20th century political usage, the term "Land of Israel" usually denotes only those parts of the land which came under the British mandate. On May 14, , the day the British Mandate over Palestine expired, the Jewish People's Council gathered at the Tel Aviv Museum, and approved a proclamation , in which it declared "the establishment of a Jewish state in Eretz-Israel, to be known as the State of Israel.
When Israel was founded in , the majority Labor leadership, which governed for three decades after independence, accepted the partition of the previous British Mandate of Palestine into independent Jewish and Arab states as a pragmatic solution to the political and demographic issues of the territory, with the description Land of Israel applying to the territory of the State of Israel within the Green Line. The seed was sown in , when Menachem Begin of Likud brought his party to power for the first time in a stunning election victory over Labor.
Israel, Israel, God Is Calling
A decade before, in the war, Israeli troops had in effect undone the partition accepted in by overrunning the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Ever since, Mr. Begin had preached undying loyalty to what he called Judea and Samaria the West Bank lands and promoted Jewish settlement there.
But he did not annex the West Bank and Gaza to Israel after he took office, reflecting a recognition that absorbing the Palestinians could turn Israel it into a binational state instead of a Jewish one. Following the Six-Day War in , the elections and the Oslo Accords , the term Eretz Israel became increasingly associated with right-wing expansionist groups who sought to conform the borders of the State of Israel with the biblical Eretz Yisrael.
Early government usage of the term, following Israel's establishment, continued the historical link and possible Zionist intentions. In —2 David Ben-Gurion wrote "Only now, after seventy years of pioneer striving, have we reached the beginning of independence in a part of our small country. It must now be said that it has been established in only a portion of the Land of Israel. Even those who are dubious as to the restoration of the historical frontiers, as fixed and crystallised and given from the beginning of time, will hardly deny the anomaly of the boundaries of the new State.
The creation of the new State by no means derogates from the scope of historical Eretz Israel". Herut and Gush Emunim were among the first Israeli political parties basing their land policies on the Biblical narrative discussed above. They attracted attention following the capture of additional territory in the Six-Day War. They argue that the West Bank should be annexed permanently to Israel for both ideological and religious reasons. This position is in conflict with the basic " land for peace " settlement formula included in UN The Likud party, in the platform it maintained until prior to the elections , had proclaimed its support for maintaining Jewish settlement communities in the West Bank and Gaza , as the territory is considered part of the historical land of Israel.
He endorsed for the first time the notion of a Palestinian state alongside Israel, while asserting the right to a sovereign state in Israel arises from the land being "the homeland of the Jewish people". The Israel—Jordan Treaty of Peace , signed on , led to the establishment of an agreed border between the two nations, and subsequently the state of Israel has no territorial claims in the parts of the historic Land of Israel lying east of the Jordan river.
According to Palestinian historian Nur Masalha , Eretz Israel was a religious concept which was turned by Zionists into a political doctrine in order to emphasize an exclusive Jewish right of possession regardless of the Arab presence. Media related to Eretz Israel at Wikimedia Commons. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For the newspaper, see Haaretz. For other uses, see Israel disambiguation.
Interpretations of the borders of the Promised Land , based on scriptural verses. Main article: Tribal allotments of Israel. Further information: From Dan to Beersheba. Part of a series on the. Main article: Laws and customs of the Land of Israel in Judaism. Main articles: Ottoman Syria and Zionism. Retrieved 11 August Bible Gateway. Vlach, Has the Church Replaced Israel?
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Wagner, Walter T. Oxford University Press. On 17 December , the Israeli military government issued an order stating that "the term 'Judea and Samaria region' shall be identical in meaning for all purposes. This change in terminology, which has been followed in Israeli official statements since that time, reflected a historic attachment to these areas and rejection of a name that was seen as implying Jordanian sovereignty over them. The history of Israel. An authentic and original name for this land as a whole has not come down to us from Old Testament times, and presumably no such ever existed; since as a natural phenomenon it was never a homogeneous, self-contained entity and was never occupied by a homogeneous population, and it was hardly at any time the scene of a political organisation which substantially coincided with its actual area.
So the expression 'the land of Israel' may serve as a somewhat flexible description of the area which the Israelite tribes had their settlements. Like Pharaoh before him, Herod, having been frustrated in his original efforts, now seeks to achieve his objectives by implementing a program of infanticide. And finally, in perhaps the most vivid parallel of all, the present narrative uses virtually the same words of the earlier one to provide the information that the coast is clear for the herds safe return: here, in Matthew , "go [back]… for those who sought the Child's life are dead"; there, in Exodus , "go back… for all the men who sought your life are dead.
Buchanan, Margaret Moore eds States, nations, and borders: the ethics of making boundaries. Cambridge University Press, pp p. This version of the list was prepared in You are to consider them as native-born Israelites; along with you they are to be allotted an inheritance among the tribes of Israel.
Retrieved 13 November Archived from the original on 13 April Malcolm Fabiyi's essay". Retrieved 11 December And thus, under those kings, the seed of Abraham was established in the land of promise according to the flesh, that is, in the land of Canaan Race, Nation, or Religion? Philadelphia: Dropsie College Press, The term "Zionism" was derived from the word Zion, which is the other name for Jerusalem, and is associated with the Return to Zion and coined by Austrian Nathan Birnbaum , in his journal Selbstemanzipation Self Emancipation in Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Retrieved 4 July Future government of Palestine'': Retrieved 24 April ". Archived from the original on 24 May The New York Times. While the concept of Medinat Israel dominated the first decades of statehood in accordance with the aspirations of Labour Zionism, the conquest of land that was part of "biblical Israel" provided a material basis for the ascent of the concept of Eretz Israel.
Expressing the perception of rightful Jewish claims on "biblical land", the construction of Jewish settlements in the conquered territories intensified after the elections, which ended the dominance of the Labour Party. Yet as the first Intifada made disturbingly visible, Israel's de facto rule over the Palestinian population created a dilemma of democracy versus Jewish majority in the long run. With the beginning of Oslo and the option of territorial compromise, the rift between supporters of Eretz Israel and Medinat Israel deepened to an unprecedented degree, the assassination of Prime Minister Rabin in November being the most dramatic evidence.
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