I felt very strongly about the message last Sunday—as I do now about the message contained in this column. While evangelical Christians all over America are celebrating the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ, they are totally oblivious to the darkness they have helped to bring back to the city of Christ’s birth: Bethlehem.
At the time Jesus was born, Bethlehem was under the authority and domination of King Herod and the Roman Empire. King Herod was as evil a man as ever lived. And he produced one of the most evil families in human history. I go into some detail of Herod’s wicked family tree in my message last Sunday.
The oppression and ugliness of King Herod’s rule was without a doubt one of the darkest periods in Bethlehem’s (and Palestine’s) history. Christ’s biographer, Saint Matthew, makes sure to note that Jesus was born in Bethlehem “in the days of Herod the King.” (Matthew 2:1)
The hatred and persecution of Jesus, His disciples and the Early Church by the family of Herod, the Jewish Sanhedrin and the Roman government rival the great persecutions, genocides and ethnic cleansings that are recorded in the chronicles of human history—in both intensity and severity.
After the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD in fulfillment of Biblical prophecy, however, the Gospel of Christ multiplied Christian disciples all over Palestine—especially in what are now Northern Israel and the West Bank, including the cities of Bethlehem and Nazareth.
Even today, Nazareth is known as “The Arab Capital of Israel.” The vast majority of the population in Nazareth are Arab Christians and Muslims. It is much the same in Bethlehem.
When I preached to a Baptist church congregation in Bethlehem while I was there, I found that over 90% of that wonderful congregation consisted of Palestinian (Arab) Christians. And I found those precious people to be among the most loving, warm and kind people I have ever met: giants of Christian grace and charm—so very opposite from what one typically finds in America’s churches today.
When Zionist Ashkenazics began conquering Palestine in December 1947, the Christian population of Bethlehem was over 80%. After over 70 years of authoritarian rule, persecution, ethnic cleansing and genocide by the Israeli government, the Christian population of Bethlehem now sits around 10%.
In Israel itself, the Christian population has shrunk from over 21% to less than 2% under the harsh, bitter persecution of Ashkenazic oppression. Georgetown University professor, the Reverend Drew Christiansen, said, “This is ethnic cleansing.”
Indeed it is.
I urge readers to get the book The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine by renowned Israeli historian Ilan Pappe. This is the true story of how Israel became a state off the blood, rape and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people. Read this book and you’ll never look at the Middle East the same way again. And that will be a VERY GOOD thing.
Life for Christians living in Palestine has grown increasingly difficult since the rise of the Religious Right in the 1980s that lifted America’s support for the Zionist state to unprecedented levels politically, militarily and financially. Life for Arab Christians living in Gaza and the West Bank is especially arduous.
And by the way, the next time you hear news about Israel’s “annexation” projects in the West Bank that include bulldozing entire neighborhoods and displacing hundreds and thousands of Arabs living there—many whose families have lived in those villages and neighborhoods for hundreds of years—remember that Bethlehem is located in the West Bank.
I go into some detail to describe life in modern Israel for Palestinian Christians under Israeli occupation in my message last Sunday. I wish every Christian in America would listen to it—but most won’t. Not because they aren’t able to, but because they don’t want to. Most evangelicals have no ears for hard truths (John 6:60), especially when it comes to the Middle East.
In 2018, an investigative report in Bethlehem shed much light on the plight of Palestinian Christians living in the city of Christ’s birth.
A Christian pastor’s wife in Bethlehem, Rudaina Isaac, believes that American evangelicals who form a vital base of support for hard-line Israeli policies have made the local Palestinian Christian community’s suffering more acute.
“If we are sisters and brothers in Christ — they should understand,” she says. “They want Jews to control this land, but Christ came for all the nations.”
Many evangelical Christian Zionists believe that by “redeeming” or reclaiming land, Israeli Jews are bringing the world a step closer to the second coming of Christ. Most evangelical leaders reliably support the policies of Israel’s government.
The Holy Land’s native Christian communities are being depopulated, even as thousands of pilgrims from abroad flock to Jerusalem, Bethlehem and other biblical sites.
Evangelical Christians can make life difficult for Christians living in Israel and the West Bank, Theology Professor Rev. Ramzi Sidawi said.
“Sometimes when they make declarations pro-the-state-of-Israel, it becomes difficult for the Christians among the Palestinians,” he said, adding that such comments make some Muslims assume that “all Christians are pro-Israel.”
Along with other Palestinians in the West Bank, Christians face land seizures, arbitrary detentions and collective punishment that are part and parcel of the Israeli occupation, residents say.
As evangelicals grew more prominent domestically, their ties to the Israeli political establishment strengthened.
The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, Israel’s largest charity, is funded largely by American evangelicals. Since being founded in 1983, it has raised a total of $1.5 billion with the help of evangelical leaders including the Rev. Pat Robertson, the prominent televangelist.
The Rev. Robert Jeffress, the influential pastor of the 13,000-member First Baptist church in Dallas, explains evangelicals’ stalwart support of Israel this way: “The Bible says this land belongs to the Jewish people — period.”
“If they do not want to continue to live under that arrangement,” Jeffress said, “perhaps some need to go someplace else.”
Munther Isaac, the pastor in Bethlehem, has heard this sort of talk before.
“We are secondary to Christians in America,” he says. “These Christians do not think about or care about us.”
The Isaacs describe the daily stress of life in the West Bank — the roadblocks, checkpoints, difficulties traveling and an overall feeling of being trapped.
[Then] Vice President Pence, an evangelical himself, spoke in Israel’s Parliament, the Knesset.
While Pence was warmly received by Israeli leaders, the heads of the established Christian churches refused to meet with him during his trip, revealing the chasm between American evangelicals and Christians in the Holy Land.
“These so-called Christians are causing us more damage than help,” one Christian in Bethlehem said.
And so they are. And that’s putting it mildly. It is no hyperbole to say that the blood of thousands of Palestinian Christians drips from the pulpits and from the hands of America’s pastors and Christians.
Again, I urge readers to watch my message regarding this subject from last Sunday. Please watch it here.
Do you need more evidence? After watching my online message last Sunday, a Christian missionary friend in Finland sent me the following email.
Hi, Chuck! Thank you for your message from last Sunday (Dec 5). You continue to be a lone voice sharing the light of these truths to a generation in darkness.
As a confirmation to the truth of your message, I wanted to share this:
We had a very dear Christian Palestinian brother visit us in our home. Over coffee we asked him to share his testimony of how he had found Christ.
He was born in a refugee camp in Syria and was raised a Muslim. His father, who was an Imam, had him memorize nearly half the Koran. Desperate to escape the refugee lifestyle, he fled to Russia even before the massive migration of refugees from the middle east in 2015. From Russia he attempted to enter the EU via Finland but was apprehended by the Finnish authorities. He spent nearly 2 years in jail and refugee centers. Because local churches were inviting refugees to their services, he decided to go, mostly to take advantage of the change of scenery. Not because he was interested in Christianity.
A church person tried to witness to him about Jesus, and his answer was most telling. “Your Jesus has told America and other nations to give our land to Israel. Your Christian countries have bombed us and killed us, and we have been forced to live as a stateless people our entire lives, and you expect me to accept this Jesus?”
The happy ending to his story is that another Arab Christian refugee befriended him, and through the understanding and loving patience of a Christian friend, he ultimately accepted Christ. By a series of miracles he was granted not just asylum but full residency in Finland. He is now married to a Finnish woman, and they have a young toddler. His service for the Lord is to fly to the Greek islands to bring aid, help and witness to the hundreds of Arab refugees who are stuck there.
This is to illustrate how everything you said in your message is absolutely right on.
This young Arab’s story could be repeated millions of times over the past seven decades—except many of them are so hardened against the Gospel for the reasons stated by the young man above that they never find Christ. And it’s all due to the mass acceptance of the false prophecy doctrines of Scofield futurism by evangelical Christians in America.
At this point, I urge readers to watch my first two messages on Bible prophecy. I have been teaching and preparing the people at Liberty Fellowship for over six years for this prophecy series, which has now commenced. Those preparatory messages are contained in three sets known as The Israel Package.
Before one can understand the true Biblical teaching of eschatology, they must first fully understand the foundational principles contained in The Israel Packages.
As to my first two messages on prophecy, they are titled:
Scofield’s Israel-based prophecy doctrines have poisoned a large majority of the Western church—especially the evangelical church. By its very nature, Israel-based futurism creates division, hatred, militarism, oppression and death. I will go so far as to use the word that General Douglas MacArthur used to describe war: Scofield’s Israel-based prophecy doctrines are a SCOURGE.
I will be picking up my series of messages on Bible prophecy after the first of the year. I urge readers to please watch the first two messages before I deliver the third message.
It is no hyperbole to say that after the Gospel of Jesus Christ delivered Bethlehem from the dark days of oppression and tyranny under King Herod, the saturation of “Christian” Zionism (aka Scofield futurism) within the evangelical church in America has taken Bethlehem back to the days of Herod.
P.S. Again, here are my first two messages on Bible prophecy:
Article posted with permission from Chuck Baldwin
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