The diatribe against the Jews continues in today’s section.  God accepted a covenant with the Jews.  They accepted God’s law and upheld the part of it that accommodated their agendas.  Yet at the same time they ignored whatever inconvenienced their plans of economic conquest and self-promotion.  They largely ignored God most of the time, and when he sent prophets, apostles and even angels they killed, rejected and defied.  Now they are rejecting the Qur’an, though it is another message from God.  Punishment is coming, says Allah.

Today’s section helps to further confirm my thinking from yesterday.  Islam as a whole is not inclusive in conventional pluralistic ways.  A Jew who did not accept the message of Muhammad could not be accepted as a “cousin” of faith.  There is only one way: the way of Allah as finally stated in the Qur’an, an extension and culmination of the developing revelations of the Jews and Christians.  A Jew or a Christian is worthy to be called a Muslim (as Abraham will be called in 3:67) when he or she reveals that the submission of Islam has always been in his or her heart, but such submission would naturally accept the new words of Muhammad as the crowning work of God.  Islamic “pluralism” is simply supersessionism: you can be swallowed up by the favor of my god and considered one of us by the merit of your life done before you discovered our religion, but now walk with us as one of us and leave your old inferior way.

Some of the descriptions of the Jews in this section sound like prescient images of some American Christians today who swear a greater allegiance to materialism than the Maker of all things material.

These are the people who buy the life of this world at the price of the Hereafter. (2:86)

Low indeed is the price for which they have sold their souls. (2:90)

They will never long for death, because of what they have stored up with their hands.  You are sure to find them clinging to life more eagerly than any other people, even the polytheists. (2:96)

Evil indeed is the price for which they sold their souls, if only they knew.  If they had believed and been mindful of God, their reward from Him would have been far better. (2:102-103)

These were Jews, the chosen people of God, the heirs of a land of milk and honey.  But that milk and honey became more important than the favor of the Giver of that land.  Now they only longed to live one more day in order to enjoy more pleasure and to increase their portfolio even if at the expense of the Hereafter.

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I see this in people who think death is the worst fate known to man.  And why would they think this?  Because death takes you from the here-and-now corporeal delights.  This is a very different worldview from Paul who thought death would be a “gain” (Philippians 1:21).  There are too many of us who will chase after “the life of this world” offered at the local mall, car dealership or the plastic surgeon.  How much it hurts to realize that the price for physical obsession is the selling of our soul.  How it hurts even more when we realize we could have had spiritual blessings that are far better.  Definitely, the same spirit rears its ugly head in my heart at times too.   A nice meal, a scenic vacation, anything made by Apple — these possess great power over my heart.

Remember, the Qur’an was talking about the Jews in this way.  Not savages or barbarians.  Not the polytheists of Mecca.  The covenant people of God.  The ones who should know better.

We should know better.

Back on Monday.  I’m taking Sunday off.

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