The Genesis 12:1-3 Question Ignites a Firestorm (again)

Looks like this bishop stepped in it:

U.S. Bishop Says Jews Have No ‘Exclusive Right’ To Israel


A special Vatican meeting on the Middle East ended Saturday (Oct. 23) with a flare-up in Catholic-Jewish tensions, after an American bishop declared the Bible does not give Jews privileged rights to the land of Israel. “We Christians cannot speak of the ‘promised land’ as an exclusive right for a privileged Jewish people,” said Archbishop Cyril Bustros, a native of Lebanon who is currently a Melkite Greek Catholic bishop in Newton, Mass. “This promise was nullified by Christ,”…(more)

One party upset at this statement is Joel Rosenberg:



The entire Bible — from Genesis to Revelation — makes crystal clear again and again the Lord’s love for the Jewish people, His decision to choose Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and their descendants for His very own, and His eternal promise to give the Holy Land to the Jewish people.

As such, it is the duty of all true followers of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to bless Israel and reaffirm her fundamental legitimacy and right to the Land. Yes, we should bless and love the Palestinians, as well, because our Lord Jesus said as a Jew living in Israel, “Love your neighbor,” and, “Love your enemies.” But we should never accept the false teaching that God has rejected the Jewish people or rescinded His promises to the nation of Israel. That simply is not Biblical.

In Genesis chapter 12:1-3, the Lord makes it clear He has chosen Abram to “make a great nation” and the Lord says to him, “I will bless you and make your name great; and so you shall be a blessing; and I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.” (more)

Recommended reading:

Misinterpreting Scripture (Genesis 12:3)

Steve Lumbley’s excellent message, Who is Israel?

Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man’s covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto. Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, ‘And to seeds’, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. (Galatians 3: 13-16)

2 comments on “The Genesis 12:1-3 Question Ignites a Firestorm (again)

  1. Thanks, PJ, for bringing attention to this development. I’ll be watching to see what kind of back-and-forth might go on between Jewish leaders, the Catholic church, Zionists, and others as a result of these statements.

    There are a couple of points made by the bishop that I’d like to see clarification on, but I’m not sure if this will come. They are: [1] his use of the phrase “nullified by Christ” to refer to the land promise, rather than perhaps saying “fulfilled by Christ” [2] his statement that there is no longer a chosen people, but that all men and women worldwide have become the chosen people.

    The second point above sounds like universalism, but I might be understanding him wrongly (perhaps he means all men and women in Christ, but didn’t say so clearly?). Also I believe that there is a chosen people today, the body of Christ, but I assume he simply meant that there is no chosen people today based simply on ethnicity.

    I don’t have any affection for the Catholic church, but I’m glad this discussion has gone public in this way. Rosenberg’s response was as expected. I wonder if Hagee has spoken, or will speak, to this?

  2. Part of the problem here appears to be a linguistics problem. Paul points out the use of the *singular* seed v the plural seeds. The problem for English speaking people to understand this is that in the English language the differentiation between “seed” and “seeds” is very blurred. For English speaking people, this argument Paul is making is very confounding because in English “seed” is almost as likely to denote plural and “seeds”. Obviously the meaning in Hebrew and Greek is more clear?

    As for Adam’s comment, I would be surprised if the Roman Bishop was referring to anything but a universal application. In my experience, that is how they tend to think. For them, all the world are Catholic, but most of us are just rebellious children. What is needed, of course is a good forceful cleansing to either bring us to our senses or send us to purgatory for another shot at life. And that is the great attraction of theocracy which creates a setting where that sort of approach can be implemented. I think it is referred to as … inquisition?

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