As most people who read my blog know, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), among other issues, is fighting over whether Israel should be a Jewish State or not. The latest edition of First Things, the journal started by the late Father Richard John Neuhaus has an amazing article by a Jewish scholar and theologian, Michael Wyschogrod. The article addresses the issue of Israel as a Jewish State; it is entitled “A King in Israel.” The sub-title states, “a dramatic solution to Israel’s constitutional dilemma.”
I looked to see if this article was on their web site, but since I just received my copy, it is not yet there. Still, I will write a few words about the article. Wyschogrod looks at all the troubling problems that now exist because the Jewish people need a truly Jewish state. He writes about a constitution looking first at the constitution of the United States and its appeal to “nature and nature’s God” as its foundation. He goes on to explore the Jewish’s peoples covenant with God writing:
“Judaism is founded on a covenant between God and Israel. Instead of unilaterally imposing his will on Israel, God enters into a relation of mutual obligations with a people. This relation is, in content, not only religious but political and legal, and is understood in this fashion in the Bible and rabbinic literature, where god is called ‘the king of all Kings’ perhaps more often than by any other appellation.”
Wyschogrod explains that his suggestions include a Parliamentary Monarchy much like England or Holland has. But here is the unique part. The king would be absent and a regent would take his place. Part of the reasoning for this is because a human king was not God’s best choice for Israel. God was to be their king. But the absent king that Wyschogrod is thinking of would, must, be in the Davidic line. And needless to say the author works out the basics that entail democracy of the people yet still anchored in the Jewish ruling family by a king who is expected but has not yet arrived.
Wyschogrod writes that without ongoing prophecy a king could not be chosen or crowned and yet:
“Israel nonetheless can be declared a Davidic monarchy without a reigning king. This action would build into the self-understanding of the state of Israel the messianic hope of the Jewish people, while excluding a messianic interpretation of the present state of Israel.”
Of course I am a Christian, I believe the King has already come, and he is coming again. But the article is amazing and the idea does go a long way toward laying out a way for Israel to safe-guard her need to stay a Jewish State. When the article is posted you can probably find it here: First Things. Update -Thanks to Hans Cornelder of ChurchandWorld.com for linking to the now posted story.
"The Lord also declares to you [David] that the Lord will make a house for you. When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendent after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be a father to him and he will be a son to me; … ‘Your house and your kingdom shall endure before me forever; your throne shall be established forever.’ (2 Samuel 7:11b-14a, 16.)”