Princess Palestina & Queen Esther
By Dr. Dan Stolebarger
When God spoke to Jeremiah at the beginning of his ministry, He asked him: “What do you see?” Good question for us as Believers today! What do you see?
Once upon a time, long long ago, Israel was the darling of the free world. It was the little David against massive Goliath, and the world watched and cheered as they miraculously survived their War of Independence. Then it was Gideon’s minuscule army against the overwhelming hordes of the Midianites in the 1967 War and on and on … but that was then and this is now!
With the rise of a plethora of social media outlets (YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, et al.), it is not hard to shape global public opinion. Add to this a biased media and an anti-Israeli United Nations and what do you have? A not-so-slow growing anti-Semitism; and to think that the horrors of the Holocaust are no more than one generation away! But this is now!
Last month I came across the following from the Vatican as we see the Catholic Church once again stirring the anti-Semitic pot by rejecting the “Chosen People” claim and calling for Israel to end the “occupation.” Archbishop Cyrille Bustros suggested that Israel was “using Scripture” to continue its occupation of Palestinian territory: “The Holy Scriptures cannot be used to justify the return of Jews to Israel and the displacement of the Palestinians.”
The Archbishop then questioned the Biblical idea of a “promised land” set aside by a specific group of people. “We Christians cannot speak of the Promised Land as an exclusive right for a privileged Jewish people,” Bustros continued. “This promise was nullified by Christ. There is no longer a Chosen People—all men and women of all countries have become the Chosen People.”
The Rise of Princess Palestina
So, according to Bustros and the Vatican, the Jews are no longer the Chosen People and have been rejected as the apple of God’s eye. And with that, lovely Queen Esther continues to lose favor and the up-and-coming princess of Palestina continues to rise! To date this embrace of Palestine has only been seen in the anti-Semitic media, the anti-Semitic UN as well as the Vatican … but wait, now we see the unthinkable—the Evangelical Right is currently being wooed by Palestina! Wheaton College … Willow Creek Association … are you kidding me?
I read recently that a Wheaton student, Jason, stated his interest in the Christ at the Checkpoint Conference (CATC). “Growing up in an Evangelical church, I had heard the Israeli narrative, but I wanted to come and learn the Palestinian side of the story.”
I am sure that many Christians are new to the CATC movement, which started in 2010. In its inception it included activists from Sabeel, an organization dedicated to a form of far-Left “Liberation Theology,” which seeks to merge Christian faith with revolutionary Marxism.
Again, here’s a quote by Archbishop Bustros:
“In this season of Lent, it seems to many of us that Jesus is on the cross again with thousands of crucified Palestinians around Him. It only takes people of insight to see the hundreds of thousands of crosses throughout the land; Palestinian men, women, and children being crucified. Palestine has become one huge Golgotha. The Israeli government crucifixion system is operating daily. Palestine has become the place of the skull.” – Archbishop Cyrille Bustros
The CATC in 2012, for example, had a notably large contingent from the relatively small Evangelical Left. Tony Campolo and Shane Claiborne represented the “Red Letter Christians,” a group that calls Jesus’ teachings “radical and countercultural,” and posits that the Gospel “calls us away from the consumerist values that dominate contemporary America” and toward such ideologies as pacifism, since “when Jesus tells us to love our enemies, He probably means we shouldn’t kill them.” Accordingly, the Red Letter speakers offered unwavering support for the Palestinian cause and lamented the “structural sin of occupation.”
It has always been considered noble to support the cause of the underprivileged underdog, but the soothing songs of the nymphs are leading Believers to do the unthinkable—to forget the role of Israel!
Have We Forgotten Already?
Many who are now labeled the Millennials have no history of things like the horrors of the Diaspora, when the Jews were driven out of their homeland and were scattered over the face of the earth. And when the moment was ripe, Satan was able to maneuver the Nazis into what was called the Final Solution, that being the extermination of six million Jews during World War II.
As the rail cars were delivering the Jewish lambs for the slaughter at the Gates of Hell, places such as Auschwitz-Birkenau, Belzec, Chelmno, Majdanek, Sobibor, and Treblinka, the church sat silently.
I once heard the story of a church that was located next to the railroad tracks a few miles from Auschwitz. They were telling about the horrifying screams the Jews were making as the trains passed the church. They spoke about how these screams were such an interruption to their worship time. When asked what they did about it, they simply said they just “sang a little louder”!
Taking a Stand
Friends, I am taking a stand that as followers of Jesus we should care for both Israelis and Palestinians and that we should work hard for justice on both sides of the fence. Let me warn you, however, that the seeds of anti-Semitism are being sown in our day in our very own churches. The ultimate blame for the suffering of the Palestinian people does not lie at the feet of the Israelis but at the doorstep of their leadership and at the hate infused in them by Islam.
The truth is that out of the billions of dollars of support that pours into Gaza (Hamas) and the West Bank (Palestinian Authority – Fatah) from America and Europe, only a small portion of it finds its ways into the hands of the people, instead it is used to pad the bank accounts of the leaders and to further their war on Israel.
The Worldview Today
With that being said, today when the uninformed scan the Middle East landscape, what do they see? No longer do they see Israel as little David, but they now transfer that image to the Palestinian Goliath who dwells in Gath. Esther has lost her luster to the up-and-coming Palestina. One must remember that Emperor Hadrian renamed Israel Palestina Capitolina because of his hatred of the Jews and knowing that the Philistines were the eternal enemies of Israel.
When God spoke to Jeremiah at the beginning of his ministry, He asked him: “What do you see?” Good question for us as Believers today! What do you see? For me, I see darkness creeping in. I see Replacement Theology (supercessionism) on the rise. I see the need for the Righteous Gentiles who reside amidst the carob trees of Yad Vashem to once again rise up!
God is not finished with Israel; He has not rejected her forever and replaced her. He has an eschatological plan for her and we who have been grafted in must take a stand. I am not saying that we need to support everything the Israeli government does or that they are infallible, but I am saying that we must stand with Israel as the weeds of anti-Semitism continue to grow.
What do you see? I see a growing misplaced sympathy for the Palestinian cause that would have us believe that Israel should give up the West Bank and go back to the pre–1967 borders.
Do you know what that means? Do you realize that the entire Old City, the Mount of Olives, David’s City as well as Qumran would be in the hands of the Palestinians? You must know that this is not just a land grab and that whatever Israel releases will NEVER be enough!
Today we are hearing the cry for more prisoners to be released! Do you know that Israel has released thousands of Palestinian prisoners as a gesture of peace, even though many of these prisoners have the blood of Israeli men, women, and children on their hands? They are hailed as heroes when they return home. But the cry remains: more prisoners, more land, and now (can you hear the voices rising)…give us JERUSALEM!
Why Is Jerusalem So Special?
Jerusalem? Seriously? There are facts that you must know because, mark my words, it is and will always be “ALL about Jerusalem!” [Read my article in the March 2014 issue of Personal UPDATE, “The Battle for Jerusalem,” for more background.]
Did you know that Jerusalem has never been the capital of any Arab state since the city’s existence of 4000 years? It has, however, always been the capital of the Jewish people whenever they were allowed to live in the Holy Land.
Arabs never thought about Jerusalem being their capital until the Jewish people began returning in droves to the city in the early 1900s. Now the Palestinians claim their “incontrovertible” right to make the entire eastern part of Jerusalem their capital. For the Believer you must know that Jerusalem is:
1. The location of Mt. Moriah where the Akedah (the offering of Isaac) took place.
2. The location of Mt. Zion.
3. The Hebrew letter Shin (a symbol of one the names of God, Shaddai), is carved throughout the hills and valleys; in other words, the very fingerprint of God Almighty!
4. This is where the Temple was erected and where the Holiest of Holies resided.
5. This is where the Hosannas rang out for the Messiah.
6. This is the place where Yeshua was crucified and resurrected
7. This is the place where one day soon Yeshua will return and reign
Why is Jerusalem so important? Have you ever noticed the strategy of Satan? Whatever he sees as important to God, he must either seize or destroy! Examples include worship, God’s relationship with Adam and Eve, and Jerusalem—the City of God.
Wake up people, we are in a war! Which side are you on?
I am often asked: “Why do you care so much about Israel?” My answer is actually quite simple: I care about Israel (and Jerusalem) because God does!
As journalist Caroline Glick wrote:
“Nearly every day a Palestinian leader announces that the Palestinians will not make peace with Israel under any circumstances. These statements are part of the public record, and all are published to great approval in the Arabic media. Palestinian children regularly appear on PA-controlled television children’s programs, calling for the annihilation of Israel and demonizing Jews as subhuman. Summer camps are named after terrorists.”
The time has come for you to make your stand! As for me and my house, we choose to stand with ISRAEL!
Long live Queen Esther!