Sunday, June 13, 2010

Science has underlined the keeping power of God

The thought came up again on the comment section of my posting I have no words: Carol Hylkema's answer to my e-mail. The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s Israel/Palestine Mission Network in their booklet Steadfast Hope suggested that the Jewish immigrants to Israel were genetically not connected to ancient Israel but were only descendants of converts to Judaism. In other words, genetically, they have no real claim to any part of the Holy Land at all.
IPMN in making the claim referenced Shlomo Sand and his book The Invention of the Jewish People. (The title of the English translation is slightly different then the original title.) The authors, IPMN, of Steadfast Hope write:
“The founding narrative of the State of Israel links the modern-day Jews’ claim to the land of Israel/Palestine to their direct genealogical descent from the ancient Israelites. Recent anthropological scholarship shows that this widespread belief is very likely a myth, not historical fact. Shlomo Sand, an expert on European history at the university of Tel Aviv, and author of When and How Was the Jewish People Invented? posits that the Jews were never exiled en masse from the Holy Land and that many European Jewish populations converted to the faith centuries later. Thus, he argues, many of today’s Israelis who emigrated from Europe after World War II have little or no genealogical connection to the ancient land of Israel.”

Now new genetic findings and their reports, as should be expected, show that Sand’s theories are false. The information is gathered, explained and linked to in an article in the New York Times. “
Studies Show Jews’ Genetic Similarity” written by Nicholas Wade shows the close relationship between the Ashkenazim and Sephardim Jewish communities.

Wade writes, “Jewish communities in Europe and the Middle East share many genes inherited from the ancestral Jewish population that lived in the Middle East some 3,000 years ago, even though each community also carries genes from other sources — usually the country in which it lives.”

He writes further, “A major surprise from both surveys is the genetic closeness of the two Jewish communities of Europe, the Ashkenazim and the Sephardim. The Ashkenazim thrived in Northern and Eastern Europe until their devastation by the
Hitler regime, and now live mostly in the United States and Israel. The Sephardim were exiled from Spain in 1492 and from Portugal in 1497 and moved to the Ottoman Empire, North Africa and the Netherlands.’
This is an extremely fascinating article including the links. In an earlier posting on Sand’s book,
Shlomo Sand's book "The Invention of the Jews" from a Christian perspective , I pointed out that one had to forgo any belief in the biblical account of ancient Israel in order to accept most of the book. Now it is amazing that science is vindicating the faithfulness of God to keep his promises.

It isn’t that God needs to place the Jewish people back in the Holy Land in order that Christ will come again. That isn’t biblical. But what is certain is that when God calls, chooses and makes promises to a people he keeps his word. Israel’s preservation as a people despite unremitting persecution is a sign of the faithfulness and love of God.

The Jewish people's preservation is a sign that the Church must observe. Jesus our Lord has promised that he will build his church and the gates of hell will not prevail against her. If he removes her candlestick in one place it will still burn bright in another. The story here, for both the Jews and Christian believers is about God’s word, love, promises and faithfulness.
Picture by Stephen Larson


Pastor Bob said...

Personal opinion: "Semitic" is a language group. That doesn't mean that there aren't genetic links (I think I read somewhere that there are genetic links between Jews and Palestinians as well which would not be a great surprise.)

The Ashkenazim thrived in Northern and Eastern Europe until their devastation by the Hitler regime, and now live mostly in the United States and Israel. The Sephardim were exiled from Spain in 1492 and from Portugal in 1497 and moved to the Ottoman Empire, North Africa and the Netherlands.’

The Ashkenazim thrived in Northern and Eastern Europe? Aside from the various pogroms and attacks by Christians I would guess this means unless thrived means having lots of descendants. But please note that there is no mention here of Jews who stayed in the Middle East and held on to the faith. And this is to say nothing of the Ethiopian and Indian Jews.

Viola Larson said...

Bob, both points are good. I think by thrive the writer meant grew into huge communities. And yes, there was a time when the Jews of Germany did thrive. But of course in Eastern Europe they were constantly persecuted

And I have to admit that while I was including them In my thoughts, the Jews who had never left the Arab nations until the 1940’s when they were exiled, he did not mention them. However the studies he is looking at may have, I will have to go back and check.

I know the Arabs are a Semitic people but this is about whether the Jews from Spain as will as Europe are connected to ancient Israel.

will spotts said...

Pastor Bob - you may be right about genetic similarities between Jews and Palestinians. In fact, I suspect that to be the case.

Having said that, the point of the 'genetic impurity' argument that has been so often repeated in anti-Israel activism is to argue that Helen Thomas argument. The Palestinians are the indigenous inhabitants and the Jews come from Germany and Poland.

While this might seem laughable, it is widely argued - in the Middle East and historically among European and American antisemites. It used to be that you could instantly tell that literature was borderline Nazi (or neo-Nazi) when it started to speak about Khazaria.

Today, this basic argument is being made by, for example, the IPMN - but in a veiled manner. The IPMN presents Sand's book to suggest ... what exactly? Of course, this way they can avoid being accused of making the statement ... they just report the results of an Israeli writer.

I would say the IPMN is fooling no one. But I fear that is demonstrably untrue.

Will Spotts
North East, MD

Presbyman said...

Dear Viola,

This is not a response to your post so much as a heads-up to a surprisingly helpful article I discovered (via Presbyweb) in The Christian Century. I am very pleased that the Christian Century prints perspectives different from those of James Wall:


John Erthein
Erie, PA

Viola Larson said...

Thanks. I read that just awhile ago. I was suprised too. It is very good and I was happy it pointed out some of the same things I have pointed out, only they did it with a much nicer tone. Having written on anti-Semitism and racism for so many years and about that happening on the conservative side I am afraid the liberal side has really shaken me. I hope that you also read the piece on rooting racism out of the PCA. A very good article.

Pastor Bob said...


If you listen to the Waqf there was never a temple on the temple mount.

will spotts said...

Pastor Bob - lol

Of course, they seem to throw away contrary artifacts.

Pastor Bob said...

And destroy archeological strata in the process! Most curious is that the Israel Antiquities Authority has control over all possible archeological sites in Israel and the West Bank but refuses to exercise that control on the Temple Mount! Afraid of a riot maybe?

But some are going to the dump where the dirt and antiquities went and are sifting through the leavings. No Stratification however.