The Blaze has reported that the mayor of Bethlehem, Victor Batarseh, hopes for a most unusual Christmas gift:
“Christmas inspires peace on earth and goodwill toward men (as written in Luke 2:14), so one might wonder why the mayor of Bethlehem used the launch of festivities at the birthplace of Jesus to compare Israel to apartheid-era South Africa and call for a cultural boycott of the Jewish state.”
And that isn’t the half of it. Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad:
“Who pressed the button lighting up the 50-foot decorated tree in Manger Square outside the Church of the Nativity, also inserted a political message into the holiday. According to AP, Fayyad said Christmas is an opportunity to ‘celebrate the Palestinian identity of Jesus Christ.’”
Batarseh, a Marxist and member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) emphasized his desire for a boycott, while Fayyad’s assertion that Jesus Christ was a Palestinian is a grotesque lie, but one that is increasingly embraced even by American evangelicals.
Fayyad was schooled in Soviet-style propaganda, like his old boss, Yasser Arafat, and the “Jesus was a Palestinian” whopper—though thoroughly false—has real currency among those who don’t like Jews.
It has even found its way into the language of Christians who should know better, or do know better. Back in the ‘90s, bestselling author Philip Yancey referred to Jesus as a “Palestinian rabbi” in the pages of Christianity Today.
You see, if Palestinians and other enemies of the Jewish state can convince people that Jesus was a Palestinian, they further separate Christians and Jews.
Newt Gingrich endured a storm of protest recently by asserting that the “Palestinians” are an invented people. The issue for us now at this Christmas season is that this political “Jesus” is invented. The Palestinian Jesus does not exist. He would have been an Arab man devoid of any Scriptural reality.
The historical facts are these: neither Jesus nor the apostles would have known anything about “Palestine.” They lived in Judea in the first century, as Jews. The region was re-named a century later by the Romans, who wanted to carve-away Jewish connection to the land. Evidently, it’s a popular tactic that’s never gone out of favor.
“Jesus was a Palestinian” is really a diabolical lie, because it is hatched from a desire to be disingenuous.
Jesus Christ, the biblical Jesus, was born in Bethlehem and raised in Nazareth (Luke 4). In Luke 1, we read about his heritage, including that of his Jewish cousin, John, born of the priest Zacharias and his wife, Elisabeth. Zacharias wasn’t a priest in a mosque, by the way. He served in the Jewish temple (also denied by the current Palestinian political leadership).
Scripture tells us there were 14 generations from Adam to Abraham, 14 generations from Abraham to David, and 14 generations from David to Jesus. In the famous “Table of Nations” in Genesis 10, we are able to read about the lineages of both the Jews and the Arabs.
In the famous account (Luke 4) of Jesus reading from the scroll of Isaiah in the synagogue (again, not a mosque or a church, but a Jewish synagogue), he affirms that He is the fulfillment of prophecy:
“And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.
“And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written,
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,
“To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
“And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.
“And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.”
Besides highlighting the astonishing fulfillment of biblical prophecy—unequaled among other sacred books—Jesus was and is clearly Jewish. He was raised by Jewish parents, in the Land of Israel.
His synagogue reading, from Isaiah 61, is also quite fascinating in its entirety, for He was so precise in His reading that he stopped short of reading the rest of what we know as Isaiah 61:2. After reading, “To preach the acceptable year of the Lord,” He left off the rest of the sentence: “…and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn…”
The Day of Vengeance is still to come.
The rest of the chapter also describes the restoration of Israel in the latter times, another hateful reality for the Palestinians, especially Christians and their counterparts in the West who do not like the presence of Jews in Scripture.
Ironically, while a growing number of evangelical Christian leaders in America are siding with the Palestinians, they challenge Christian Zionists to embrace the New Testament more than the Old. The problem for them is that the Jewish heritage of Jesus is ubiquitous there, as well.