Jesus Who?

September 16, 2019

by: Nathan Williams, Director of Marketing and Communications

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We live in an era of fake news, conspiracy theories and half-truths. Detractors of the State of Israel are experts in tactics of disseminating disinformation in their ongoing campaign of misrepresenting the history of the Land of Israel as a means to taint various facets of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. Repeating the same lies over and over again appears to be the dominant strategy, inundating the audience with falsifications until the waters of truth have become so muddied that it is difficult to discern fact from fiction. One such lie is that Jesus (Yeshua) of Nazareth was a Palestinian.

Fabricated History

There is no ancient history of a Palestinian people within the Land of Israel—or anywhere else. As such, Palestinian leaders have long since embarked on an ongoing campaign to create a history that bestows upon its people a right to the land. According to Palestinian Media Watch, the fundamental goal of rewriting the history of the Land of Israel is two-fold. First, it erases the 3,000-year connection and history of the Jewish people to the land. Second, it replaces the authentic, rightful history with imaginary ancient Palestinian, Muslim and Arab histories. The narrative of a Palestinian Jesus (Yeshua) is one tactic of this fabricated history which, by attaching its nationalistic identity to this historical character, Palestinian leaders try to attain some credence for their fake history narrative.

In July 2019, Palestinian–American activist Linda Sarsour posted on her Twitter account, “Jesus was Palestinian of Nazareth and is described in the Quran as being brown copper skinned with wooly hair.” US Congresswoman Ilhan Omar recently retweeted an opinion piece from the New York Times by Eric. V. Copage, where Copage claimed that “Jesus, born in Bethlehem, was most likely a Palestinian man with dark skin,” with Omar adding, “Don’t they [Christians] know Jesus was a Palestinian?” What skin color and hair texture has to do with one’s nationality is really beside the point, but it is clear that these and other individuals are using Jesus as a pawn in the ongoing narrative war about the history of the Land and people of Israel.

The Facts

Perhaps it is unthinkable that anyone with even a rudimentary understanding of the Writings of the Apostles (NT) and near-Eastern history would easily accept that Jesus (Yeshua) was a Palestinian. Sadly, this narrative is widely believed by Muslims, Arab Christians and other Christian groups in the Western world. Perhaps it is understandable for such claims to be coming from other religious groups, but within the Christian community there should be no doubt about who Jesus is. If we as Christians can accept the words of the apostles about the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, then surely we are able to believe the apostles on the nationality of Jesus Himself, since they were unquestionably clear about it:

  • Jesus was born in Bethlehem, located in Judea (Matt. 2:1–8, 16; Luke 2:4; John 7:42).
  • The word Judea comes from the Latin word Iudaea, which is the Romanized version of the Hebrew name Yehudah, which is a tribe of Israel and the name given to the area allotted to them by Joshua (Josh. 15:1–12; Luke 2:4).
  • The wise men referred to Jesus as the “King of the Jews” (Matt. 2:2).
  • In the two accounts of Jesus’ genealogy, both Matthew and Luke show that Jesus was a direct descendant of David, one of Israel’s most famous kings (Matt. 1, Luke 3).
  • Jesus was circumcised on the eighth day, in accordance with the requirements of the Jewish law (Luke 2:21).
  • Jesus’ parents presented Him before the Lord at the Temple and made the required sacrifice, according to the Law of Moses (Luke 2:22–24).
  • Jesus’ parents went up to Jerusalem each year to celebrate the biblical feast of Passover (Luke 2:41).
  • Jesus regularly visited the Temple in Jerusalem, which was located on what is currently known as the Temple Mount (Matt. 21:12; Mark 14:49).

The Highest Authority

The facts laid out in the Christian Bible are proof enough to refute these blatant lies. Countless more examples can be found throughout the Writings of the Apostles (NT) that leave no room for doubt that Jesus (Yeshua) was an Israelite, a Jewish man (Yehudi) of the tribe of Judah (Yehudah) and was born in the Judean town of Bethlehem. There is absolutely no reference in the Bible to the West Bank or Palestinians. The first mention of anything near to the name Palestine comes not from the Bible but from Roman historical accounts. Following the Bar Kokhba Revolt (AD 132–135), Roman Emperor Hadrian spitefully renamed the province of Judea (Iudaea) to Syria Palaestina, merging two Roman provinces and with that attempting to obliterate any connection between the rebellious Jews and their allotted land of Judea/Judah.

Until AD 70 and the destruction of the Temple, the Roman province of Judea maintained a distinct Jewish identity. Moreover, for the past 3,000 years there has always been a Jewish presence in the Land of Israel, albeit small at times. The appropriation of Jesus into the fake historical narrative used by Palestinian liberation ideologists is not only a twisted version of history but an absolute libel against the veracity of the Bible. While fictitious history can be conjured up at a whim these days, the artifacts found buried deep beneath the earth of Israel do not lie. As these archaeological time capsules are in our day brought to the surface, we witness the ancient story of Israel coming to life again—and the ancient Biblical account of Israelites and Jewish people in the Land of Israel being verified over and over again.

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