2. Early Christian Attitudes to Jews and the Holy Land

Q. We have already heard in previous broadcasts about the Prophetic Portrait of the Messiah, in which Christians saw the Messianic credentials in Jesus. I am interested to hear what were those references in the Hebrew Scriptures which motivated some Christians to help the Jews regain Statehood in Israel.
How early in church history did such Christians emerge?

From earliest times, after the fall of Jerusalem to the Romans in the year 70, pilgrimages were made to the sacred shrines, particularly in Jerusalem. The Old Testament was known only to a few Christian scholars. But the knowledge of the New Testament was becoming widespread, and the Holy Land then had mainly Christian connotations.

Few, if any, thought of Jesus the Nazarene as a Jew or a Rabbi. Fewer yet thought of the Jews as God's prophets, priests, kings, and even Apostles of Jesus Christ and authors of the New Testament. The Crusaders of the eleventh to the thirteenth centuries cut down Jews as "infidels".

Until the Reformation in the sixteenth century, the Holy Land was simply the country where Christ had lived, ministered and died, and not the land of the Jewish people. In those times, Jews were outcasts, objects of open hostility, labelled "Christ-killers".

The Roman Catholic Fathers of the Fourth Lateran Council, in A.D. 1215, laid down some laws pre-judicial to the Jewish people. The Jews were charged with being "guilty of deicide". Not until 1965, at the Second Vatican Council, was this doctrinal statement deleted in their new Declaration dated at St. Peter's in Rome, October 28, 1965.

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