IMES Regional Brief – January 2018
January 4, 2018
Calling for Prophetic Passion الدعوة إلى شغف نبوي
January 18, 2018

“Whose Promised Land?” A Sermon “الأرض المقدسة لمن”

(On Sunday, 10 December 2017, Rev. Dr. Hikmat Kashouh was inspired to preach the above sermon, titled, “Whose Promised Land?” As Research Professor with a focus on the New Testament and Biblical Interpretation at Arab Baptist Theological Seminary (ABTS) and Senior Pastor at Resurrection Church Beirut (RCB), it is our belief at IMES that few voices are as capable of approaching this fraught topic with such a demonstrated depth scriptural understanding and pastoral concern for the peoples of the Middle East as Dr. Kashouh.)

The topic of my sermon today is difficult, its title being, “Whose Promised Land?” Or, I might ask, “To Whom Does the Promised Land Belong?” I am not about to give a political speech; I will leave this for politicians to do. My goal is not to solve the Palestinian/Israeli conflict. This is neither my specialty nor expertise. Others are more qualified to do that. We may even need the whole universe to intervene in order to find a solution for this difficult conflict, which is much greater than us all. I leave this privilege for others.

My goal is to convey to you what God’s Word teaches about the Promised Land. As a student of the Bible and as your pastor, my goal is to help you understand this issue from a Biblical perspective. So, my focus is not on what is happening today, but rather on the teaching of the Bible regarding this important issue, both in the Old and the New Testaments.

But before I begin, please mind the following stipulations:

First, you are welcome to criticize this message. But it is very important that you do not label us politically, saying “he is with so and so, or against so and so.” My aim is to stand for the Divine Truth. My goal for us is to hear God’s voice through the Holy Scriptures, to do His will and to obey His voice.

Second, if you wish to criticize this message, please listen first to the whole message, from the beginning to the end. Do not quote a few sentences out of context and declare, “This is what he thinks!” or “This is what he is saying!” Let us listen to the whole message together, from beginning to end.

Third, let us put our prejudices aside and be as objective as possible so that we can understand the issue of the Promised Land together, later allowing for the truth to align or redefine our concepts. In this way, our understanding of the concept of land will be based upon a foundation of truth.

And finally, because a large number of us from among our dear viewers and friends have likely not studied the Bible in depth, I will need to cite a large number of verses from the Bible today. During the first part of my sermon, I will explore the question “Whose Promised Land?” in light of the Old Testament. Afterwards, I will be exploring the question, “Whose Promised Land?” in light of to the teaching of Jesus Christ and the New Testament.

Promise and Responsibility: The Land in the Old Testament

In Genesis 12, the Lord God called Abram and said to him:

“Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”

In Genesis 17, the Lord changes Abram’s name to Abraham, declaring:

“For I have made you a father of many nations. I will make you very fruitful; I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you. I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you.”

Then in verse 8, the Lord says:

“‘The whole land of Canaan, where you now reside as a foreigner, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God’. Then God said to Abraham, ‘As for you, you must keep my covenant, you and your descendants after you for the generations to come.'”

In this text, there exists a promise and a responsibility. God promises to establish Abraham as a great nation. But God also placed upon the shoulders of Abraham, and subsequent generations, a responsibility to maintain the covenant.

In Genesis 23, an important event takes place. After God had promised Abraham the land, and after he had entered into the land of Canaan, Abraham’s wife Sarah died. According to the Bible, Abraham, who had lost his wife, did not have a site in which to bury her. Yet, he did not loot a piece of land. He did not say to a certain group, “This piece of land is mine.” Not at all. According to Genesis 23: 4, “Abraham spoke to the Hittites. He said, ‘I am a foreigner and stranger among you. Sell me some property for a burial site here so I can bury my dead.'” And the Hittites responded by saying, “You are a mighty prince among us. Bury your dead in the choicest of our tombs” and “choose whatever site you please and take it for free.” As for Abraham, he refused. He paid the full price for the field. He did not plunder the land. He did not rob anyone. He did not infringe on the rights of others. He was fully ready to pay the price for the plot of land.

In the book of Exodus, God’s people were enslaved in Egypt. And as you know, it was through Moses that they left and entered into the land of Canaan, the Promised Land. The book of Leviticus is filled with teachings and important commands that we should take note of regarding the land. Let us listen to what the Lord’s Word tells us in Leviticus 18:24-28:

“Do not defile yourselves in any of these ways, because this is how the nations that I am going to drive out before you became defiled. Even the land was defiled; so I punished it for its sin, and the land vomited out its inhabitants. But you must keep my decrees and my laws. The native-born and the foreigners residing among you must not do any of these detestable things, for all these things were done by the people who lived in the land before you, and the land became defiled.”

He gave commands akin to saying, “Watch out! Do not do this or that; do this and that. Do not defile yourselves by doing unholy deeds.” Pay close attention to verse 28: “And if you defile the land, it will vomit you out as it vomited out the nations that were before you.” God is saying this land which He has created is a holy land and He wants it to remain so. This land has life in itself allowing it to vomit out anyone who defiles it – any person, any group, any people, and any nation who does not obey the voice of the Lord by defiling the land with unholy deeds. “Even you, my people, watch out!” This is not an eternal and unconditional promise. This promise is only true “if you do not defile the land. But if you defile the land, it will vomit you out.”

Just as God punished nations as a result of their evil deeds in the book of Joshua, He will punish His people if they do not live in holiness before Him. The prophet Micah speaks about God’s chosen people at that time, the Israelites. In Micah 2:1-3 he says, “Woe!” Listen to these words, and see how history repeats itself: “Woe to those who plan iniquity, to those who plot evil on their beds! At morning’s light they carry it out because it is in their power to do it.” They are powerful and have authority. They are able to commit evil. The Lord says that they will not receive blessing. But what will they receive instead? A curse. Woe unto them. And then again in verse 2: “They covet fields and seize them, and houses, and take them. They defraud people of their homes, they rob them of their inheritance. Therefore, the LORD says, ‘I am planning disaster against this people.’” So, it is possible for the blessing to become a curse if one does not obey God’s voice.

Alright. What should God’s people do? There is a command in Leviticus 19:33-34 which states:

“When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the LORD your God.”

Your love for neighbor should be as your love for yourself. This is the only way to ensure that any people will remain on earth. Love your neighbor as yourself. This is the only guarantee.

So, I want to ask: is the destruction of approximately 500 villages since 1948 an expression of love? Occupying houses, displacing millions of innocent people, destroying houses, plundering the land and its water resources, peeing in drinking water wells…, is this loving your neighbor? Is this how we express our love for our neighbor? Ethnic cleansing, racial discrimination, confiscating the property of innocent people, torture, violence, imprisonment, beating, killing, leaving children on the streets to die…, is this an expression of love towards our neighbor? Is this how you love your neighbor as yourself? Suicide bombers, killing innocent people, infringing on the rights of others, shedding innocent blood, stabbing people, violating the rights of others…, I want to ask you, is this an expression of love towards our neighbor? Certainly not! My brothers and sisters, the Book which guarantees God’s promises for His people likewise contains expectations for the people of God. If you claim to be God’s chosen, we ask, “Are you living as God wants you to live, according to His commands?”

Leviticus 25:23 contains a very important message about the land, shocking the listener when the Lord decrees that “the land must not be sold permanently, because the land is mine.” Basically, do not fight over this land anymore. Whose land is it? “The land is mine!” It is the Lord’s. He is the King of this land. But He continues to address His people by saying, “And you reside in my land as foreigners and strangers.” So no matter who you are, you are still a foreigner and a stranger in God’s land because He owns everything.

I want now to present two practical examples from the Bible to illustrate how people at that time understood land ownership, and how God interacted with the people regarding the land.

The first story is found in 1 Chronicles 21. Satan incites David to take a census of the people of Israel, with the purpose being for David to know how many soldiers he had and take count of his people. This was a sign of reliance on the power of his army and not on the power of the Lord. It was a test that King David failed. Eventually, David realized he had sinned and God sent a plague on the Israelites. David witnessed an angel between heaven and earth with a sword drawn and extended over Jerusalem. He fell facedown, broken before the Lord asking for mercy. So, the Lord told him to build for Him an altar on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite, a foreigner living among the people of Israel. The king went to this threshing floor to build an altar for the Lord. The Bible says that when Araunah found out that God had asked for his threshing floor, and that David wanted to build there an altar for the Lord, he said, “Take my threshing floor, my cattle, whatever you need for free! It is all yours.” But listen to King David’s response: “But King David replied to Araunah, ‘No, I insist on paying the full price. I will not take for the LORD what is yours, or sacrifice a burnt offering that costs me nothing.'” This is the right spirit! Where was David? He was in Jerusalem. And who is David? He is the king! And who is Araunah? Yet, the Bible says that David insisted on paying Araunah full price for a piece of the land. David was declaring, “I will not take your land for free, because I do not violate or infringe upon the rights of anyone. This is your land; it is your right. Even if I am taking it for the Lord, I will pay you the full price.”

The second story comes from 1 Kings 21. Ahab, the king of Samaria, was rich and lived in a great palace. Close to the palace was a vineyard belonging to a man called Naboth the Jezreelite. The king wanted to enlarge the grounds of his palace, so he wanted to take Naboth’s vineyard. The king went to Naboth and said, “Let me have your vineyard and I will give you another one in exchange for it.” Naboth the Jezreelite responded by saying, “The Lord forbid that I should give you the inheritance of my ancestors. This field has been passed on from generation to generation in my family. It is mine; I want to hold onto it.” The king returned to his palace and laid on his bed downcast and upset. His wife Jezebel came to him saying, “Why are you upset? You are the king!” After telling her what had happened, she said, “Really? You are the king! The king does whatever pleases him.” Long story short, she sent letters and caused strife. They slandered Naboth by saying that he had cursed God and the king. As a result, Naboth was stoned to death. When Jezebel heard the news, she rejoiced and told the king, “Go down. Take your inheritance, Naboth’s vineyard.” So the king, “the hero,” went down to the vineyard he wanted to possess with the intent to transform it into a garden with many fruitful trees. But, it was at this moment that God spoke to Elijah the prophet, telling him:

“Go to the king who is in the vineyard and say to him, ‘Have you not murdered a man and seized his property?’ Then say to him, ‘This is what the Lord says: ‘In the place where dogs licked up Naboth’s blood, dogs will lick up your blood—yes, yours!’ Ahab said to Elijah, ‘So you have found me, my enemy!’ ‘I have found you,’ he answered, ‘because you have sold yourself to do evil in the eyes of the LORD.'”

Wow! Therefore, anyone who would say, “This land is mine!” must ask themselves if they are morally and ethically qualified to take possession of the land. Am I correct?

Listen to the words of the prophet Jeremiah, from Jeremiah 7: 5-7: If you really change your ways and your actions…” Pay attention to the word “if.” There is a condition here. This is not unconditional. He says, If you really change your ways and your actions.” There is a second condition, “And if you deal with each other justly…” and a third condition, If you do not oppress the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow…” So who should you not oppress? The foreigner, the fatherless or the widow. “And do not shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not follow other gods to your own harm, then I will let you live in this place, in the land I gave your ancestors for ever and ever.” This is conditional! The ends never justify the means! We never have the right in the name of eschatology – the study of the end times – to trample on Biblical ethics and values like mercy, truth, justice and equality. We have no right to do that. But we have reached the point now where we are living in a swamp of blood as a result of particular interpretations of prophecies, to the extent that we fight over small and insignificant details. We are straining out gnats, all the while swallowing sins and immorality as large as a camel. As Zechariah 8 says, “Jerusalem will be called the City of truth.” My brothers and sisters, the truth cannot be built on the shedding of innocent blood. Am I correct?

So, whose land is it? The land belongs to the one who keeps and walks according to the covenant of God. Once again, it belongs to the one who keeps and walks according to His covenant.

Thy Kingdom Come: The Land in the New Testament

Let us look now to the New Testament. What did the Lord Jesus Christ teach us about the land? What does the New Testament as a whole teach about the land? “Whose Promised Land?” according to the New Testament. I have a number of comments.

Here is the first: Christ took no interest in talking about the land. In fact, who here knows what his primary concern was? It was the Kingdom of God. His concern was not the kingdom of Israel, but the Kingdom of God and its expansion. This is a spiritual Kingdom that transcends earthly and geographical boundaries. In John 4, the Samaritan woman said to Jesus: “Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.” But Jesus responded: “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.” God moved her eyes from the place of worship to the correct way of worshipping. Through Christ Jesus, worship is done in Spirit.

My second observation comes from Luke 3. John the Baptist was Jewish, right? He was speaking to the Jews in the first century:

“You brood…! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father’. For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham.”

What does this mean? Essentially, it means that not everyone who claims to be a descendant of Abraham, as a result of DNA, is truly a son of Abraham. No. For God is able to raise up children for Abraham from the stones. They will inherit the promises. From the stones! God is all-powerful.

My third observation comes from John 8, a chapter containing a very important story. Some of the Jews who were influenced by Jesus’ teachings came to Him as He was teaching, “If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” To which they responded, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone” to which they added, “Abraham is our father.” In response, the Lord Jesus Christ spoke the following:

“If you were Abraham’s children, then you would do what Abraham did. You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning.” What an answer!

The Lord Jesus is saying, “Watch out! It is possible for you to be a descendant of Abraham yet also to have Satan as your father.” These are not my words. These are the words of scripture. These are Jesus’ words. So not everyone who says, “I am a son of Abraham” truly is Abraham’s son. Show me your faith by your deeds, in how you stand for the truth. Show me that your faith is alive in holy deeds.

My fourth observation comes from Galatians 3:15-16 – a beautiful discourse about Abraham and his seed to whom Paul says belongs the promise. Do you know who the seed is? Who is the seed? The seed is Christ Jesus. Listen to these verses:

Brothers and sisters, let me take an example from everyday life. Just as no one can set aside or add to a human covenant that has been duly established, so it is in this case. The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. Scripture does not say ‘and to seeds’, meaning many people, but ‘and to your seed’, meaning one person, who is Christ.”

So in light of the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, we now have a correct awareness, a correct understanding, a correct perception, and a new way of understanding our theology. This is possible in light of Jesus’ coming. Jesus Christ represents the climax of revelation. Revelation became complete in the person of Jesus Christ. This means that through Jesus all the nations of the earth will be blessed. Through Jesus, we will inherit the promises. Through Jesus, we enter into the land. Jesus, who walked on our land, has become the Promised Land. God’s glory falls not on a geographical location, but on the person of the Lord Jesus Christ: “The Word became flesh and dwelled among us. We have seen His glory.” Jesus turns our eyes from a geographical place to a person. From a place, being in Jerusalem, to being in Jesus Christ. “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has gone and the new has come.” Romans 4 clarifies this point, saying from verse 9 on:

“We have been saying that Abraham’s faith was credited to him as righteousness. Under what circumstances was it credited? Was it after he was circumcised, or before? It was not after, but before! And he received circumcision as a sign, a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised.”

And now, pay special attention to this: “So then, he is the father of all who believe but have not been circumcised, in order that righteousness might be credited to them. And he is then also the father of the circumcised,” meaning the Jews. The uncircumcised refers to the Gentiles. “And he is then also the father of the circumcised who not only are circumcised but who also follow in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.” So anyone who says, “Abraham is my father” must also have Abraham’s faith. Paul goes on to say that it is faith in the One who raised the Lord Jesus Christ from the dead. So whether Gentile or Jew, no matter who you are, once you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, the promises and the blessings are yours. Verse 13 is amazing: “It was not through the law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir [read with me] of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith.” He is no longer heir of a certain piece of land, but heir to the world! Usually, one nation, made of one ethnicity, owns a certain geographical area. But, through Christ Jesus, the people of God come from every nation, tribe, people and tongue. So what do these people need?

They need the whole universe, the entire world as an inheritance!

Those who are in Christ Jesus, those who believe in Him, come from different tribes, different backgrounds. How then can they hold on to a certain piece of land? The whole earth belongs to God. “The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.” Hallelujah! This is why, in the Sermon on the Mount, the Lord Jesus Christ proclaims: “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.” Really? You are the Messiah! We expect you to say, “Blessed is this people, for they will inherit the Promised Land.” But, Christ instead says, “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.” Blessed are those who live by the ethics of the Kingdom, for they will inherit the earth. Again, “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.” This means that if you want to be first, you will not inherit it. If you want to rule over it, you will not inherit it. If you love yourself, you will not inherit it. If you fight for it, you will lose it. If you love your life, you will lose it. If you hold on to its treasures, you will spoil them. The earth is for the meek, for those who do not use power. The earth is theirs. The earth is for the humble. The earth is for those who live by the ethics of the Kingdom. About himself, the Messiah said: “Learn from me for I am meek and humble of heart.” And when He was asked about His nation, He replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head!” Yet He is the One who became heir to everything. The One who showed no interest in the land became heir to everything. It is written:

In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.

The Lord Jesus Christ is meek and heir of everything. Who are the meek today? For they shall inherit the earth.

My fifth comment is based on Hebrews 11:8-10:

“By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country.”

It says that the Promised Land was like a foreign country. “He lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.” And then, verse 13 says:

“All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth.”

What promise and country is the author of Hebrews referring to? The answer is found in chapter 12: 21-22. He is talking about Jerusalem, what he calls the Heavenly Jerusalem. Revelation calls it the New Jerusalem coming down from above, the Kingdom of God among humankind: “Your kingdom come; Your will be done.” Isn’t this how we pray? “Your kingdom come; Your will be done.” This is God’s spiritual Kingdom among all mankind and all peoples.

My penultimate observation is from Acts 1:8. The disciples came to the Lord Jesus Christ and asked Him when He would restore the kingdom of Israel. Calvin, the great theologian, says that “the number of errors in this sentence is as many as the words in it.” They could not think beyond this one framework. With our human minds, we ask about an earthly kingdom, a political kingdom, a geographical and national kingdom. But, the Lord Jesus Christ lifted their eyes up to a heavenly and spiritual Kingdom – a global Kingdom, for all nations. And He told them: You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.

He tells them: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” This is the message of the Lord Jesus Christ, a universal message. Every land is a holy land belonging to the Lord Jesus Christ. So, do you understand now why Jesus Christ did not speak of the land? Because He comes from above. Again, He comes from above. He was preoccupied with God’s Kingdom being among us. There is no doubt that the city of Jerusalem holds a special place in the hearts of Jews, Christians and Muslims.

And this is why this city should belong to all. It is the city of God.

My final reflection is based on the writings of Paul in Romans 9-11. Paul was struggling with a specific thought, asking himself: “Will the Jews who rejected Christ be rejected by God for eternity?” To which the apostle Paul replies: “No, for they are loved on account of the patriarchs.” So God, in His divine plan, allowed for their rejection of Christ in order to bring others to faith in Christ Jesus. The day will come when the Jews will turn towards the One they pierced saying that Jesus is Lord and Savior. They will return and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and surrender their lives to Him. It is then that they will be grafted again into the olive tree that is people of God. And it is then that they will inherit the holy promises.

Finally, when the prophets spoke against the people of God in the past, they were not anti-Semitic. They were taking a stand for truth, against injustice. So every people, every nation, in Lebanon, in our Middle East, every group, every institution, every party, every organization, every individual, every head of household, everyone who treats his or her human brother or sister with injustice, regardless of race or color – and we are all guilty of that, none of us has not treated someone else unjustly – God raises up prophets to speak the truth and hold the offender to account.

So, in the end, what should we do?

We should pray. As the Church of Christ, we should pray. And, there are many other things that we can do. But I will only mention two verses from Proverbs 31:8-9: “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves.” What shall I do, as a Christian? “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.” Sometimes, our silence is a sin. Sometimes, our cowardice is a sin when we fail to make a decision. But:

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

Yes! “The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.” The one who wants to live on this earth peacefully must walk in the path of the Prince of Peace, the Lord Jesus Christ.

“الأرض المقدسة لمن”

لست بصدد أن أقدّم خِطابًا سياسيًا، ولست أهدف إلى حلّ الصراع الفلسطيني الإسرائيلي القائم حتى يومنا هذا. أترك هذا الامتياز لغيري. هدفي كتلميذ للكتاب المقدس أن أساعد كلّ مؤمن مسيحي وغير مسيحي أن يفهم نظرة الكتاب المقدس (في عهديه) للأرض المقدسة التي تتصارع عليها دول كثيرة.وسأجيب عن سؤال واحد من شقّين: لمن الأرض المقدسة بحسب تعليم العهد القديم، ولمن الأرض بحسب تعليم العهد الجديد؟

1) لمن الأرض بحسب تعليم العهد القديم؟
في سفر التكوين الفصل ١٢: ١-٣ دعا الله إبرام وقال له اذهب من أرضك ومن عشيرتك إلى الأرض التي أريك فأجعلك أمة عظيمة وأباركك وأعظم اسمك، وتتبارك فيك جميع قبائل الأرض. (أي أريد أن أباركك حتى تكون بركة لكل قبائل الأرض).

في تكوين الفصل ١٧: ٧-٩ قال الرب لأبرام:
٥ فَلاَ يُدْعَى اسْمُكَ بَعْدُ أَبْرَامَ بَلْ يَكُونُ اسْمُكَ إِبْرَاهِيمَ، لأَنِّي أَجْعَلُكَ أَبًا لِجُمْهُورٍ مِنَ الأُمَمِ.٦ وَأُثْمِرُكَ كَثِيرًا جِدًّا، وَأَجْعَلُكَ أُمَمًا، وَمُلُوكٌ مِنْكَ يَخْرُجُونَ.٧ وَأُقِيمُ عَهْدِي بَيْنِي وَبَيْنَكَ، وَبَيْنَ نَسْلِكَ مِنْ بَعْدِكَ فِي أَجْيَالِهِمْ، عَهْدًا أَبَدِيًّا، لأَكُونَ إِلهًا لَكَ وَلِنَسْلِكَ مِنْ بَعْدِكَ.
٨ وَأُعْطِي لَكَ وَلِنَسْلِكَ مِنْ بَعْدِكَ أَرْضَ غُرْبَتِكَ، كُلَّ أَرْضِ كَنْعَانَ مُلْكًا أَبَدِيًّا. وَأَكُونُ إِلهَهُمْ. وَقَالَ اللهُ لإِبْرَاهِيم: «وَأَمَّا أَنْتَ فَتَحْفَظُ عَهْدِي، أَنْتَ وَنَسْلُكَ مِنْ بَعْدِكَ فِي أَجْيَالِهِم”.

في الفصل ٢٣ من سفر التكوين حدث أمر مهم وهو موت سارة. ماتت سارة في حبرون في أرض كنعان (لمن هذه الأرض؟ له) ولم يكن لإبراهيم مكان حتى يدفن فيه امرأته، فقال لبنو حِثّ في العدد ٤ “انا غريبٌ ونزيلٌ عندكم. أعطوني مُلْكَ قبرٍ معكم لأدفن مَيتي من أمامي”. وجاء جواب بنو حثّ “أنت رئيس من الله بيننا. في أفضل قبورنا ادفن ميتَك”. فطلب إبراهيم مغارة يدفن فيها سارة. ووهبه بنو حث حقلًا ومغارة لدفن سارة، أما إبراهيم فأبى إلّا أن يدفع ثمن الحقل كاملًا. لم يقل هذه الأرض عطية لي من الرب! لم يسلب الأرض! كان يحفظ شريعة ربّه.

في سفر الخروج نرى شعب الله يخرج على يد موسى من أرض العبودية في مصر إلى أرض الموعد. وفي سفر اللاويين نقرأ ما يلي:

لاويين ١٨: ٢٤-٢٨ – بعدما أعطى الرب وصايا لشعبه ليسلك بحسبها، وطلب ألا يتنجسوا بفعل الشر قال:
٢٤ بِكُلِّ هذِهِ لاَ تَتَنَجَّسُوا، لأَنَّهُ بِكُلِّ هذِهِ قَدْ تَنَجَّسَ الشُّعُوبُ الَّذِينَ أَنَا طَارِدُهُمْ مِنْ أَمَامِكُمْ
٢٥ فَتَنَجَّسَتِ الأَرْضُ. فَأَجْتَزِي ذَنْبَهَا مِنْهَا، فَتَقْذِفُ الأَرْضُ سُكَّانَهَا.
٢٦ لكِنْ تَحْفَظُونَ أَنْتُمْ فَرَائِضِي وَأَحْكَامِي، وَلاَ تَعْمَلُونَ شَيْئًا مِنْ جَمِيعِ هذِهِ الرَّجَسَاتِ، لاَ الْوَطَنِيُّ وَلاَ الْغَرِيبُ النَّازِلُ فِي وَسَطِكُمْ،
٢٧ لأَنَّ جَمِيعَ هذِهِ الرَّجَسَاتِ قَدْ عَمِلَهَا أَهْلُ الأَرْضِ الَّذِينَ قَبْلَكُمْ فَتَنَجَّسَتِ الأَرْضُ.
٢٨ فَلاَ تَقْذِفُكُمُ الأَرْضُ بِتَنْجِيسِكُمْ إِيَّاهَا كَمَا قَذَفَتِ الشُّعُوبَ الَّتِي قَبْلَكُمْ.

هذه الأرض لا تقبل بالنجاسة، أيًّا كان الشعب الذي يقطنها. حتى وإن كان من نسل إبراهيم؛ إذا فعل الشر، لا بدّ للأرض أن تقذفه. فكما أن الله في سفر يشوع دان الأمم بسبب شرهم، هكذا أيضًا يفعل بكل امة تعمل الشر وأوّلهم شعبه.

النبي ميخا يقول عن إسرائيل هذه الكلمات (ميخا ٢: ١-٣)

١ وَيْلٌ لِلْمُفْتَكِرِينَ بِالْبُطْلِ، وَالصَّانِعِينَ الشَّرَّ عَلَى مَضَاجِعِهِمْ! فِي نُورِ الصَّبَاحِ يَفْعَلُونَهُ لأَنَّهُ فِي قُدْرَةِ يَدِهِمْ.
٢ فَإِنَّهُمْ يَشْتَهُونَ الْحُقُولَ وَيَغْتَصِبُونَهَا، وَالْبُيُوتَ وَيَأْخُذُونَهَا، وَيَظْلِمُونَ الرَّجُلَ وَبَيْتَهُ وَالإِنْسَانَ وَمِيرَاثَهُ.
٣ لِذلِكَ هكَذَا قَالَ الرَّبُّ: «هأَنَذَا أَفْتَكِرُ عَلَى هذِهِ الْعَشِيرَةِ بِشَرّ…

إذًا ماذا يجب أن يفعل الشعب حتى لا تتقيأه الأرض؟ الجواب نقرأه في لاويين ١٩: ٣٣-٣٤
٣٣ وَإِذَا نَزَلَ عِنْدَكَ غَرِيبٌ فِي أَرْضِكُمْ فَلاَ تَظْلِمُوهُ. ٣٤ كَالْوَطَنِيِّ مِنْكُمْ يَكُونُ لَكُمُ الْغَرِيبُ النَّازِلُ عِنْدَكُمْ، وَتُحِبُّهُ كَنَفْسِكَ، لأَنَّكُمْ كُنْتُمْ غُرَبَاءَ فِي أَرْضِ مِصْرَ. أَنَا الرَّبُّ إِلهُكُمْ.
أن تحب الغريب كحبك لنفسك، هذا هو الضامن الوحيد لبقائك في الأرض. وكيف تحبّ الغريب؟
تدمير حوالي ٥٠٠ قرية منذ عام ١٩٤٨ هل هذا تعبير عن المحبة للغريب؟ احتلال البيوت، تشريد ملايين الأبرياء، هدم البيوت، سلب الأرض، سلب مياهها، عندما يتبوّل جنود إسرائيليون في آبار مياه يشرب منها الفلسطينيون، هل هذه محبة الغريب النازل عندكم؟ التطهير العرقي، التمييز العنصري، مصادرة ممتلكات الأبرياء، التعذيب، والعنف، سجن الناس في بيوتها، الضرب، قتل الناس وهي تصلي في أماكن العبادة، ترك الأطفال يموتون في الشوارع ومنعهم من الذهاب إلى المستشفيات، هل هذه هي محبة الغريب النازل عندكم؟ ظلم الأطفال، ونفيهم، وتعذيبهم، هل هكذا تتحقق وصية تحب قريبك كنفسك؟!
حين يقدم الله الوعود لشعبه فهو يتوقع منهم بالمقابل أن يسلكوا بحسب وصاياه.
نقرأ في ميخا ٦: ٨ “قَدْ أَخْبَرَكَ أَيُّهَا الإِنْسَانُ مَا هُوَ صَالِحٌ، وَمَاذَا يَطْلُبُهُ مِنْكَ الرَّبُّ، إِلاَّ أَنْ تَصْنَعَ الْحَقَّ وَتُحِبَّ الرَّحْمَةَ، وَتَسْلُكَ مُتَوَاضِعًا مَعَ إِلهِكَ”.

وفي لاويين ٢٥: ٢٣ نقطة مهمة حول من يملك الأرض، صحيح أن الله قد أعطى الأرض لنسل إبراهيم، ولكن المالك الأوّل والأخير يبقى الله:
وَالأَرْضُ لاَ تُبَاعُ بَتَّةً، لأَنَّ لِيَ الأَرْضَ، وَأَنْتُمْ غُرَبَاءُ وَنُزَلاَءُ عِنْدِي. كل شعب على هذه الأرض هو غريب ونزيل وحده الله هو صاحب الأرض.

وللتوضيح أكثر، لننظر إلى هاتين القصتين المهمتين من الكتاب المقدس:
القصة الأولى وردت في ١ أخبار ٢١، حيث أغوى الشيطان داود ليُحصي الشعب وفي عمله هذا نزعة كبرياء ودلالة على الاعتماد على قوة جيشه بدلًا من الاعتماد على الرب. وبعد قيامه بالإحصاء دان الرب الشعب بوباء، ثم رأى داود ملاك الرب بين الأرض والسماء وسيفه مسلول على أوشليم، فسقط أمام وجه الرب فرحم الله داود. وقال له أن يذهب ويُقيم مذبحًا للرب “في بيدر أُرْنانَ اليَبُوسيّ” (وأُرنان كان غريبًا عن القبائل العبرانية وعلى الرغم من ذلك طلب داود الملك أن يشتري الأرض منه. رفض أُرنان ان يأخذ المال ثمنًا لأرضه، فقال له داود: “شراءً أشتري البيدر بفضةٍ كاملة، لأني لا آخذُ ما لك للربّ فأُصعِدَ مُحرقة مجانية “. (ع ٢٤)

أمّا القصة الثانية فوردت في ١ ملوك ٢١ – كان لآخاب ملك السامرة قصرٌ جميلٌ جدًا وكان بقرب القصر بُستان يملكه نابوت اليزرَعيلي، فقال له آخاب أريد أن اشتري منك هذا الكرم وأعطيك عِوضه كرمًا أحسن منه. فرفض صاحب الكرم وقال حاشا لي من قبل الرب أن أعطيك ميراث آبائي. انغمّ الملك، ودخل قصره، واضطجع على سريره، فأتت إيزابَل امرأته، وسألته ما بالك حزين؟ وانتهى الأمر باتهام نابوت بالتجديف على الله والملك، وكانت النتيجة أنه رُجم ومات. بعد موته، قالت إيزابَل للملك، قم رث الحقل لأن نابوت مات. يقول الكتاب، كان كلام الرب للنبي إيليا: انزل للقاء الملك هو الآن في كرم نابوت وقل له:
١٩ هكَذَا قَالَ الرَّبُّ: هَلْ قَتَلْتَ وَوَرِثْتَ أَيْضًا؟ ثُمَّ كَلِّمهُ قَائِلاً: هكَذاَ قَالَ الرَّبُّ: فِي الْمَكَانِ الَّذِي لَحَسَتْ فِيهِ الْكِلاَبُ دَمَ نَابُوتَ تَلْحَسُ الْكِلاَبُ دَمَكَ أَنْتَ أَيْضًا. ٢٠ فَقَالَ أَخْآبُ لإِيلِيَّا: «هَلْ وَجَدْتَنِي يَا عَدُوِّي؟» فَقَالَ: «قَدْ وَجَدْتُكَ لأَنَّكَ قَدْ بِعْتَ نَفْسَكَ لِعَمَلِ الشَّرِّ فِي عَيْنَيِ الرَّبّ”.

أي شعب يصرّح ويجاهر أنّ الأرض له، يجب أن يسأل نفسه هل هو مؤهل أخلاقيًا وسلوكيًا أن يمتلك الأرض؟

لنقرأ كلمات إرميا النبي ٧: ٥-٧
٥ لأَنَّكُمْ إِنْ أَصْلَحْتُمْ إِصْلاَحًا طُرُقَكُمْ وَأَعْمَالَكُمْ، إِنْ أَجْرَيْتُمْ عَدْلاً بَيْنَ الإِنْسَانِ وَصَاحِبِهِ، ٦ إِنْ لَمْ تَظْلِمُوا الْغَرِيبَ وَالْيَتِيمَ وَالأَرْمَلَةَ، وَلَمْ تَسْفِكُوا دَمًا زَكِيًّا فِي هذَا الْمَوْضِعِ، وَلَمْ تَسِيرُوا وَرَاءَ آلِهَةٍ أُخْرَى لأَذَائِكُمْ ٧ فَإِنِّي أُسْكِنُكُمْ فِي هذَا الْمَوْضِعِ، فِي الأَرْضِ الَّتِي أَعْطَيْتُ لآبَائِكُمْ مِنَ الأَزَلِ وَإِلَى الأَبَدِ.

إنّ الغاية لا تبرر الوسيلة. والعلوم الاسكاتولوجية (أي التي لها علاقة بنهاية الزمان) لا تدوس على القيم الأخلاقية، وعلى الحق والرحمة والعدالة. هذه العلوم لا تبرّر العنف والقتل وسفك الدماء الذي يحصل. غرقنا بالتفسير الحرفي لبعض النبوات، حتى في التفاصيل الصغيرة، كمن يُصفّون عن البعوضة، ويبلعون جمل الشر والخطية.

جاء في زكريا ٨: ٣-٥ “وتدعى أورشليم مدينة الحق” (هل يبنى الحق على سفك دماء الأبرياء؟)

لمن الأرض أولًا وآخرًا؟ للذي يحفظ ويسلك بموجب العهد!

2) لمن الأرض في العهد الجديد؟
أولًا، المسيح لم يهتم أن يتكلم عن الأرض بل كان جلّ اهتمامه أن يخبر عن ملكوت الله الروحي المنتشر في كلّ الأرض. ملكوت إسرائيل لم يكن هو موضوع رسالته بل أتى ليعلن لنا ملكوت الله. مُلك الله في قلوب الناس وليس في مملكة أرضية. ملكوت نختبره بالروح ملكوت ليس محصورًا ببقعة أرضية معيّنة، ملكوت يرتقي إلى ما فوق الأرض.
في يوحنا ٤: ٢٠ قالت السامرية:”آباؤنا سجدوا على هذا الجبل وأنتم تقولون أن في أورشليم الموضع الذي ينبغي أن يُسجد فيه”. أجاب يسوع في ع ٢٣ “ولكن تأتي ساعة لا في هذا الجبل ولا في أورشليم تسجدون للآب، الله روح والذين يسجدون له فبالروح والحق ينبغي أن يسجدوا.” حوّل أنظارها من مكان العبادة إلى الطريقة الصحيحة في العبادة.

ثانيًا، في لوقا ٣: ٧ توجّه يوحنا المعمداني إلى اليهود وقال لهم: “من أراكم أن تهرُبوا من الغضب الآتي، فاصنعوا أثمارًا تليق بالتوبة، ولا تبتدئوا تقولون في أنفسكم، لنا إبراهيم أبًا، لأني أقول لكم: إنّ الله قادر أن يُقيم من هذه الحجارة أولادًا لإبراهيم!”. ليس من كان من نسل إبراهيم هو من أبناء إبراهيم، فالله قادر أن يصنع من الحجارة أبناء لابراهيم ليكونوا أيضًا ورثة في ملكوته.

ثالثًا، في يوحنا ٨ مجموعة من اليهود، وكانوا قد تأثروا بكلام يسوع ولكن لم يقدموا له الولاء، نقرأ عنهم يقولون له: “نحن ذرية إبراهيم”. أي نحن أحرار، لنا المواعيد والميراث، وفي العدد ٣٩ نراهم يقولون: “أبونا هو إبراهيم”. فأتى ردّ يسوع: “لو كنتم أولاد إبراهيم لكنتم تعملون أعمال إبراهيم”. إذًا ليس كل من هو من نسل إبراهيم ابنًا لإبراهيم بل الذي يعمل أعمال إبراهيم. ثم قال لهم (ع ٤٤): “أنتم من أب هو ابليس وشهوات أبيكم تُريدون أن تعملوا. ذاك كان قتّالا للناس من البدء”. أي أنّه يمكن لشخص أن يكون من نسل إبراهيم وهو ابن لإبليس. ما العلامة؟ يقول المسيح في العدد ٤٢ “لو كان الله أباكم لكُنتم تُحبّونني”.

رابعًا، في غلاطية ٣: ١٦ يحدّد بولس على نحوٍ مذهل من هو نسل إبراهيم، ويقول أنّه المسيح. ع ١٥أَيُّهَا الإِخْوَةُ بِحَسَبِ الإِنْسَانِ أَقُولُ: لَيْسَ أَحَدٌ يُبْطِلُ عَهْدًا قَدْ تَمَكَّنَ (تثبّت) وَلَوْ مِنْ إِنْسَانٍ، أَوْ يَزِيدُ عَلَيْهِ. ١٦ وَأَمَّا الْمَوَاعِيدُ فَقِيلَتْ فِي إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَفِي نَسْلِهِ. لاَ يَقُولُ: «وَفِي الأَنْسَالِ» كَأَنَّهُ عَنْ كَثِيرِينَ، بَلْ كَأَنَّهُ عَنْ وَاحِدٍ: «وَفِي نَسْلِكَ» الَّذِي هُوَ الْمَسِيح”ُ. في ضوء مجي المسيح، فهمنا أنّ مواعيد الله تحققت في نسل إبراهيم الذي هو المسيح. وكلّ الأمم تتبارك بواسطته. يقول بولس: كل مواعيد الله التي أعطاها لإبراهيم تتحقق في شخص الرب يسوع المسيح. بيسوع تتبارك جميع الأمم، بيسوع، ننال المواعيد، بيسوع، ندخل أرض الموعد، ويسوع الذي داس أرضنا صار هو الأرض المقدسة، مجد الله يشع من يسوع المسيح نفسه. والكلمة صار جسدًا وحلّ بينا ورأينا مجده.

وفي رومية ٤ يوضح بولس هذه المسألة:

٩ب لأَنَّنَا نَقُولُ: إِنَّهُ حُسِبَ لإِبْرَاهِيمَ الإِيمَانُ بِرًّا١٠ فَكَيْفَ حُسِبَ؟ أَوَهُوَ فِي الْخِتَانِ أَمْ فِي الْغُرْلَةِ؟ لَيْسَ فِي الْخِتَانِ، بَلْ فِي الْغُرْلَةِ!١١ وَأَخَذَ عَلاَمَةَ الْخِتَانِ خَتْمًا لِبِرِّ الإِيمَانِ الَّذِي كَانَ فِي الْغُرْلَةِ، لِيَكُونَ أَبًا لِجَمِيعِ الَّذِينَ يُؤْمِنُونَ وَهُمْ فِي الْغُرْلَةِ، كَيْ يُحْسَبَ لَهُمْ أَيْضًا الْبِرُّ. ١٢ وَأَبًا لِلْخِتَانِ لِلَّذِينَ لَيْسُوا مِنَ الْخِتَانِ فَقَطْ، بَلْ أَيْضًا يَسْلُكُونَ فِي خُطُوَاتِ إِيمَانِ أَبِينَا إِبْرَاهِيمَ الَّذِي كَانَ وَهُوَ فِي الْغُرْلَةِ.

إنّ إبراهيم أبٌ لجميع الذي يؤمنون (ليس فقط لنسل واحد)، أكانوا يهودًا أم أممًا لا يهم، المهم أن يؤمنوا بمن أقام يسوع ربّنا من الأموات.
أخيرًا في العدد ١٣: “فَإِنَّهُ لَيْسَ بِالنَّامُوسِ كَانَ الْوَعْدُ لإِبْرَاهِيمَ أَوْ لِنَسْلِهِ أَنْ يَكُونَ وَارِثًا لِلْعَالَمِ، بَلْ بِبِرِّ الإِيمَانِ.”.
فالوعد هو لنسل إبراهيم، أي المؤمنين بيسوع المسيح ربًا ومخلصًا، فهم ورثة العالم. فالشعب الواحد المتحدر من أثنية واحدة، يحتاج الى بقعة أرض واحدة، أما في المسيح لدينا جماعة كونية، من كلّ قبيلة وأمة وشعب ولسان فنحتاج إلى الكون كله.

للذلك، في عظة الجبل، عندما تكلم المسيح عن الأرض، قال في متى ٥:٥ طوبى للودعاء لأنهم يرثون الأرض.
خطير جدًّا الكلام الذي تفوّه به يسوع؛ ليست الإثنية (الانتماء العرقي) التي تعطيك الحق بالوراثة، بل الوداعة، الوارث هو من يتمتع بأخلاق الملكوت. من يريد ان يكون أولًا، لن يرثها؛ من يحب ذاته لن يرثها؛ من يحب التسلط لن يرثها؛ من يحارب من أجلها يخسرها؛ من يحب حياته يهلكها، ومن يتمسك بكنوز الدنيا يُفسدها؛ لأنّ الودعاء هم الذين يرثون الأرض. المتواضعون هم الذين يرثون الأرض. صانعو السلام هم الذين يرثونها. قال المسيح تعلموا مني لأني وديع ومتواضع القلب: ويسوع لم يتمسك بأرض، فهو من قال: للثعالب أوجرة ولطيور السماء أوكار أما ابن الإنسان فليس له أين يُسنِد رأسه.” (لوقا ٩: ٥٨). وصار وارثًا لكلّ شيء.

خامسًا نقرأ في الرسالة إلى العبرانيين ١١: ٩-١٠
٨ بِالإِيمَانِ إِبْرَاهِيمُ لَمَّا دُعِيَ أَطَاعَ أَنْ يَخْرُجَ إِلَى الْمَكَانِ الَّذِي كَانَ عَتِيدًا أَنْ يَأْخُذَهُ مِيرَاثًا، فَخَرَجَ وَهُوَ لاَ يَعْلَمُ إِلَى أَيْنَ يَأْتِي
٩ بِالإِيمَانِ تَغَرَّبَ فِي أَرْضِ الْمَوْعِدِ كَأَنَّهَا غَرِيبَةٌ، سَاكِنًا فِي خِيَامٍ مَعَ إِسْحَاقَ وَيَعْقُوبَ الْوَارِثَيْنِ مَعَهُ لِهذَا الْمَوْعِدِ عَيْنِهِ
١٠ لأَنَّهُ كَانَ يَنْتَظِرُ الْمَدِينَةَ الَّتِي لَهَا الأَسَاسَاتُ، الَّتِي صَانِعُهَا وَبَارِئُهَا اللهُ
١٣ فِي الإِيمَانِ مَاتَ هؤُلاَءِ أَجْمَعُونَ، وَهُمْ لَمْ يَنَالُوا الْمَوَاعِيدَ، بَلْ مِنْ بَعِيدٍ نَظَرُوهَا وَصَدَّقُوهَا وَحَيُّوهَا، وَأَقَرُّوا بِأَنَّهُمْ غُرَبَاءُ وَنُزَلاَءُ عَلَى الأَرْضِ. الأرض المقدسة أصبحت أورشليم السماوية (عبرانيين ١٢: ٢٢) النازلة من فوق (رؤيا ٢١ ٢) ملكوت الله بيننا وإلى الأبد.

سادسًا، في أعمال ١: ٨ – سئل المسيح، هل في هذا الوقت ترد الملك لإسرائيل؟ يقول كالفن عدد الأخطاء في هذه الجملة بعدد الكلمات التي فيها– في فكرنا البشري نسأل عن ملكوت أرضي، سياسي، جغرافي، قومي. والمسيح رفع أعيننا إلى السماء ليظهر لنا أن مكلوت الله روحي، كوني، لكل الشعوب. “لكنكم ستنالون قوة متى حل الروح القدس عليكم وتكونون لي شهودًا في أورشليم وفي كل اليهودية والسامرة وحتى أقاصي الأرض.”
صمت المسيح عن التكلّم عن الأرض، لأنه آتٍ من فوق، وما يهمه هو ملكوت الله بيننا. لا شكّ أنّ لمدينة القدس مكان مميّز في قلوب اليهود، والمسيحيين، والمسلمين، لذا يجب أن تبقى للجميع.

نقطة أخيرة أسلّط الضوء عليها من رسالة رومية ٩-١١.
هل رفض اليهود للمسيح يعني أنّ ليس لهم مكان في المستقبل؟ لا بل يقول بولس هم أحباء من أجل الآباء (رو ١١: ٢٨)، وسيأتي اليوم الذي فيه الكثير من اليهود، ينظرون إلى خلف، ويعترفون بيسوع المسيح المخلص ويصبحون في المسيح ويطعّمون وينالون هم أيضًا المواعيد المقدسة.

في الختام، عندما تكلّم الأنبياء ضد إسرائيل هذا لا يعني أنهم من فريق مناَهَضة السامية، بل أنهم ضد الظلم (بغض النظر من هو مرتكب الظلم)، وإلى جانب الحق. كلّ شعب، كلّ امة، كلّ نظام عربي، يهودي، أجنبي يرتكب الظلم، يُقيم الله أنبياء ليتكلموا ضدّه. ونحن نريد أن نعلن الحق كما علمّنا يسوع.

ما هو المطلوب مناّ بالإضافة إلى الصلاة من اجل أصحاب القرار؟
نقرأ في أمثال ٣١: ٨-٩
٨ اِفْتَحْ فَمَكَ لأَجْلِ الأَخْرَسِ فِي دَعْوَى كُلِّ يَتِيمٍ.
٩ اِفْتَحْ فَمَكَ. اقْضِ بِالْعَدْلِ وَحَامِ عَنِ الْفَقِيرِ وَالْمِسْكِينِ.
إذًا الصمت عوضًا عن مواجهة الظلم خطية، الجبن في الوقت الذي فيه نكون أصحاب قرار شر. طوبى لصانعي السلام لأنهم أولاد الله يدعون.
للرب الأرض وملؤها، المسكونة والساكنين فيها. كلّ من يريد أن يسكن الأرض ويعيش بسلام يجب أن يسلك كما سلك رئيس السلام، الرب يسوع المسيح.

لفتتني قصة رواها الدكتور كانث بايلي قديمًا عن رجل كان له ابنان، الواحد ثري والآخر فقير.
ولم يكن للابن الثري أولاد، بينما أنعم الله على الفقير بالبنين والبنات. وحدث أن مرض الأب، لدرجة أنّه لم يكن ليعيش حتى نهاية الأسبوع. فدعا ولداه يوم السبت ليجلسا إلى جنبه وأعطى لكلّ منهما قسمته من الأرض، فورث الابنان نصف قطعة من الأرض عن والدهما الذي ما لبث أن فارق الحياة. وقبل مغيب شمس ذلك اليوم، قام الابنان بدفن الأب في جوٍّ من الوقار لما كانت تقتضيه عاداتهم وتقاليدهم.
في تلك الليلة، لم يستطع الابن الثري أن يخلد إلى النوم، لأنه قال في نفسه “ما قام به أبي لم يكن عادلًا. أنا ثري وأخي فقير، ولديّ من القوت ما يكفيني، أمّا أولاد أخي إن وجدوا ما يأكلونه اليوم فهم يتكلون على الله ليجدوا ما يقتاتون عليه غدًا. ينبغي أن أنقل العلامة التي وضعها أبي في منتصف قطعة الأرض، حتى يكون لأخي النصيب الأكبر منها. اوه، لكن لا يجب أن يراني أخي أفعل ذلك. لأنه لو علم بالأمر سوف يشعر بالحرج. لا بدّ من أن أستيقظ في الصباح الباكر قبل بزوغ الفجر وأنقل العلامة!” وبعد أن فطن لهذه الفكرة، خلد إلى النوم، واستغرق في نومٍ هانئٍ وآمن.
في هذه الأثناء، لم يستطع الأخ الفقير أن يخلد إلى النوم. وفيما هو متقلقل في فراشه قال في نفسه، “ما قام به أبي لم يكن عادلًا، ها أنا محاط بفرحة أبنائي وبناتي فيما أخي يستيقظ كلّ يوم على الواقع المخزي نفسه، وليس له ابنٌ ليحمل اسمه ولا بنتٌ تعينه في شيخوخته. يجب أن تكون أرض آبائنا من نصيبه، لعلّ ذلك يعوّض له عن حالة الحرمان التي يعيشها. لكن لو أعطيته نصيبي من الميراث سوف أحرجه. لا بدّ من أن أستيقظ في الصباح الباكر قبل بزوغ الفجر وأنقل العلامة التي وضعها أبي!” وبعد أن فطن لهذه الفكرة، خلد إلى النوم، واستغرق في نومٍ هانئٍ وآمنٍ.
في اليوم الأوذل من الأسبوع، في الصباح الباكر، قبل أن تطلع شمس النهار، التقى الأخان عند العلامة القديمة. فارتميا في أحضان بعضهما البعض وانهمرت أعينهما بالدموع. وعند تلك النقطة بُنيت مدينة أورشليم.


  1. Great Biblical exposition. I have forwarded it to a handful of my Evangelical brothers and sisters. Thank you Sir, for your careful and concise exposition.

  2. says:

    Many thanks for a stimulating and provocative address. I have no criticism at all in what you say , but can I ask you to comment on the re-establishment of the State of Israel, as a historical fact, in the providence of a Sovereign God.

  3. My dear Brother, Dr. Hikmat Kashouh, I used to teach at ABTS some of the same courses you are teaching. I certainly agree with what you have preached and written as if I were still teaching! God bless you and continue to use you for His glory throughout Lebanon and the Middle East and North Africa!

  4. At last, we have a prophetic voice in our land , Lebanon and the ME. This exposition on “the land” is very biblical. The land is mine says the Lord. We need to know this in order to fight and pray for there right causes : justice , mercy and love

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