(Part III will appear in the next issue)
Whenever people from other lands visit Palestine they are always deeply moved by historic places familiar to us from the New Testament: Nazareth, Bethlehem, Gethsemane, Golgotha, and Jerusalem. Palestine has indeed been called the “Fifth Gospel.” The expression is really unacceptable, since it elevates seeing the Holy Land (a privilege given to relatively few) to the same level with the Gospels which have come to all. But the intention of this expression is certainly clear; here in Palestine it becomes plain that God has not dealt with us in the form of an idea, but in the events of history. The dealing of God is not a disclosure of lovely thoughts unconnected with historical circumstances, but is a revelation in history.
This has a different meaning for Christians than it has for Jews, who still, with enthusiasm, repeat and sing the words of Psalm 137:5, “If I forget thee, O Jerusalem.…” Among the Jews this is a religious homesickness. When in the history of Zionism the idea of establishing the state of Israel in Ugandi in Africa was put forth, and the fatigued Herzl seemed satisfied with this, then the future president of Israel, Chaim Weizmann, protested fiercely and made his choice for Jerusalem (Psalm 137).
The Place Of Holy Events
Although our thoughts of Jerusalem are different than those of the Jewish people, and even though we may never be able to visit Palestine and live our lives far from the “Holy Land,” this Oriental land still remains the place of holy events. Here history was fulfilled in the fullness of time (Gal. 4:4): God was revealed in the flesh. Here God comes; all the lines of the purposeful dealing of God are drawn together here. All the ways of God’s doings cross ...1
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