By Jim Fletcher
No one has ever called him Cromwell the Swede. Or, Oliver of Mongolia.
No one has ever tried to claim that Alexander the Great was from Bolivia.
It would be absurd to allege that Cleopatra was Canadian.
So why are quite a few people—with a straight face—calling Jesus a Palestinian?
Of course, I do not mean that I’m comparing Cromwell or any of these other figures from history with the Son of God. Still, I am attempting to show the nuttiness of changing someone’s ethnic background, for some odd agenda.
That is what is going on with Jesus Christ. The Jesus of the Bible was thoroughly a Jew, born to Jewish parents in Bethlehem. They raised him in Nazareth. They went to the Temple in Jerusalem. Et cetera.
One of the most diabolical lies being circulated today is that “Jesus was a Palestinian.”
You know what Palestinians are, of course, at least thanks recently to Newt Gingrich. When answering a reporter’s question he simply said that there has never been a sovereign state of Palestine. This is an historical fact and is akin to saying Plano, Texas, is not a state in the Union.
Yet a growing number of folks are peddling the Jesus was a Palestinian whopper. Philip Yancey was doing it in the ‘90s. Christianity Today let him get away with it because the editorial board shares the same worldview.
Yasser Arafat said it, as does his Holocaust-denying successor, Mahmoud Abbas. Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said recently from Bethlehem that “"Christmas is an opportunity to celebrate the Palestinian identity of Jesus Christ," a clever lie from one who understands that many in the West are both gullible and uninformed.
In fact, Arafat used to tell people that Jesus was the first Palestinian martyr. This is not only a repulsive lie, but it is an attempt to distort true religion and history. Remember, Arafat used to tell America diplomats and presidents that the Temple never stood in Jerusalem.
The truly disturbing thing is that American evangelicals—or those who call themselves evangelicals—are helping perpetuate this lie. Again, Yancey thinks Jesus was a Palestinian rabbi.
In the past six months, I have discovered more fully how deep this lie goes. It is quite disturbing and has far-reaching implications.
For many decades, mainline church types have sought to marginalize Israel and Jews, whether through wacky biblical “scholarship” or political maneuvering. Now it is the “evangelicals” who are leading the (false) charge.
I will be writing about this at length in the coming weeks, but I have recently dialogued with key people who are pro Palestinian, in the evangelical world.
Last week, I had a conversation by email with a man who is part of one of these organizations. He was taking Newt Gingrich to task for saying the Palestinians are an invented people (even key PLO leaders have said this).
This man was adamant that Gingrich is wrong; he supplied a detailed rundown of ancient history.
No one in his right mind would deny that the ancient Phoenicians lived in the region, or that the Arabs also come from the seed of Abraham. The key thing there is, who was the child of the promise? Scripture is crystal-clear that it was Isaac.
What is almost baffling to me is why serious people would claim that there was once a state of Palestine, or that the Palestinian Arabs are not in fact simply part of the pan-Arab nation. This is elementary. Yet proponents of the so-called Palestinian narrative are hell-bent on demanding that the Jews have hijacked a great, ancient, and thriving civilization called Palestine.
I am not arguing that there is an ethnic group that is a cousin of the Jews in the region, or even that there might one day exist a state of Palestine. I wouldn’t like it, but I wouldn’t deny reality.
Those who push the Palestinian narrative are rejecting reality. Such is the dislike of Jews and the Hebrew nature of the Bible that these people peddle outright falsehoods.
I even heard John MacArthur the other day on radio repeatedly refer to the geography of Jesus as “Palestine.” I don’t know why he would do that.
My email correspondent arrogantly appealed to me to get on the “right side of history” and embrace these delusions. His nastiness when discussing Zionism was/is disturbing. He told me that I don’t care about the people of Palestine.
Let me tell you something: if you want to stand up for Israel in the coming months and years, you’d better have your big-boy pants on. Rather, you’d better have the full armor of God. Because you are going to encounter people who will deny reality and call you crazy in the process. We are living, my friends, in a time when inversion of the truth is normal and pervasive.
This Christmas, I am celebrating with appreciation the fact that a Jewish savior entered the world 2,000 years ago and grew up in Israel. He is a Jew now, and will one day reign from Jerusalem, the city of His forefathers. He was born in Bethlehem, to a Jewish carpenter and his Jewish wife.
He offered Himself as the only acceptable sacrifice, on a Roman cross.
His heritage, time on Earth, and ministry are rooted in reality and real history.
The question is, do enough people care?
Oliver Cromwell lived in relative obscurity for much of his life, eventually emerging as an engine of religious liberty in England. He is one of the famous figures of history, and much has been written about the one-time farmer, born in the 16th century. English through-and-through.