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Shalom Scripture Studies, Inc. A Hebrew-Christian Bible Fellowship

March, 2024 (5784) No. 9

Shalom Scripture Studies, Inc.
B'aruch Haba (Welcome)

SHABBAT SHALOM SERVICE
SHABBAT SHALOM TO SHALOM FAMILY AND WEBSITE VIEWERS

Mrs. Ari D. Hidalgo

March 2, 2024 - 22 Adar 5784
Saturday at 10:30 am

Song: Havenu Shalom Alechem - Congregation
#1 Page 11

Brechat Haner - Candle Blessing:
Page 8

Song: Sh’ma Yisrael (Hear O Israel) #2, Page 12

And now together let us
recite: Mark 12: 29-31 (Brit Ha Dashah)
Deuteronomy 6: 4-5 (Torah) and Romans 1:16,17 - Pages, 8,9

Psalm of the day: Psalm 32

Prayer Time & Sharing:
Congregation

Song: ‘Ki Eshm’ra Shabbat (Safeguard The Sabbath
#58, Page 78

Congregation
Recite: Matthew 12:8-13, Page 78


Yeshua is Lord - Part 1
With Dr. Elias E. Hidalgo

Y'SHUA - THE STONE

There are many places in both The Old Testament as well as for The New Testament that refer to our Messiah, The Lord Jesus Christ in various ways. Such is the case before us in Psalm 118.

In these few verses we will note the importance of symbolisms in regard to our Blessed Saviour. In this Psalm, He is designated as 'The Stone', which in Hebrew is called 'Eben'.

118:22 The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner.

118:23 This is the LORD's doing; it is marvellous in our eyes.

118:24 This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.

The Messiah Jesus who is referred to as 'The Stone' is:

1) Refused 2) Remarkable 3) Rejoicing

In verse 22, we are told that 'the builders' refused The Stone, meaning, the leaders of the Nation of Israel. Indeed it was the Chief Priests, Scribes and Elders of the people that rejected Him as their coming Messiah. But, let us be clear, that the individual people within the Nation of Israel had and did take the opportunity to believe and receive The Stone, as their personal Saviour and Lord, thus, we have the Apostles, and the complete divinely inspired New Testament, all written by Jewish people that were moved by The Spirit of God, and as a result, we have today, not only The Old Testament but also The New Testament as a witness that many Jewish individuals did believe and follow The Stone. Nevertheless, as predicted in our Scripture, the builders of Israel refused and rejected The Stone, and as a result, the entire Nation has been under this tremendous calamity which is still felt and known today among the Jewish Nation, but there is hope. There is coming a day that the Jews that comprise and are alive when the Messiah returns in glory, will according to Scriptures 'be saved' (Romans 11: 26). Just imagine the multitude of Jewish individuals that have died since the days of Jesus without hope and eternally separated from God. May we compassionately continue to share the Good News of Y'shua with the Jews that are alive today, that they might be saved and not be lost eternally.

In verse (22) and 23, we are reminded of something 'marvellous in our eyes', and that is, the very 'Stone' that has been refused 'is become the head stone of the corner'. This is indeed remarkable. We are told time and again in The Word of God, what is impossible with men is indeed possible with God. Imagine for a moment that one as Jesus, refused and rejected by the builders, in a most remarkable way, is today recognized by the entire world simply as they write and or speak of the historicity of life, they must of necessity say, this and this happened either 'before Christ', or, 'after Christ'. Every calendar in the world, regardless of inclination and or precedent set by each Nation, they must, say, today is September the 30th, 2010, and by this, they are testifying, even perhaps ignorantly, that approximately 2000 years ago, 'history', as we know it, was changed in a most 'remarkable' way. The Stone that was refused, became the head Stone of the corner, of all life and for all people. It is indeed a shame and very sorrowful that most of the people alive today accept the fact of the day and reject The Stone (Creator) of the day!

In verse 24, we find much rejoicing, because, the triumphant Messiah our precious and beloved 'Stone', not only has become the head Stone of the corner, but indeed, for all (Jewish and Gentile individuals) that will believe and receive Him as Lord and Saviour of their lives, have immediate and complete forgiveness of their sins and are blessed with the hope of eternal life promised by The Stone Himself in John 3: 16:

'For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son (The Stone), that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life'.

Not only so, but look at the many areas of rejoicing that are ours, for example: We are told that 'This is the day', not yesterday nor the tomorrows, but rather, 'this day', today is the time to remember and rejoice how marvellous it is to have the many blessings that await us 'this day'.

Yes, we all have mountain top experiences (yesterday), as well as for valley experiences, and isn't it just so wonderful that as we walk in the light with The Stone (Our Lord and God), we are able to sail through these times with joy and peace in our hearts. Also, the blessings of tomorrow as mentioned in The Word of God are sure and true, but, they are yet in the future, so, how about, 'this day', right now as we look forward to many blessings, 'If', you look in the right spot, and that is, with the Lord by your side 24/7, many rejoicings are ours. Hallelujah to our Lord and King.

Revelation 17: 14, 'for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful'.


ISAIAH 53 Outlines
by Dr. & Mrs. Elias E. Hidalgo


vs 1 Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?

Intro: Isaiah 52: 13-15
I The Report
II The Revelation
III The Response
Concl: Belief

====================================================


vs 2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.

Intro: For He (My Servant)
I The Growing
II The Ground
III The Grace
Concl: Desire Him

====================================================


vs 3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Intro: He is (was) Despised
I Rejected
II Reproached
III Removed
Concl: We Esteemed Him Not

====================================================


vs 4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

Intro: Grief and Sorrow
I Stricken
II Smitten
III Afflicted
Concl: Of God

====================================================


vs 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

Intro: We are Healed
I From Transgression
II From Iniquities
III For Peace
Concl: His Stripes

====================================================


vs 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Intro: All we Like Sheep
I Our Wondering
II Our Wrong
III Our Way
Concl: The LORD Hath Laid On Him

====================================================


vs 7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.

Intro: He Opened not His Mouth
I The Sacrifice
II The Sheep
III The Shearers
Concl: He Openeth Not His Mouth

====================================================


vs 8 He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.

Intro: He was Cut off (DEATH)
I From the Law
II From the Land
III From the Living
Concl: My People

====================================================


vs 9 And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.

Intro: His Grave (BURIAL)
I The Wicked
II The Wealthy
III The Witness
Concl: His Mouth

====================================================


vs 10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.

Intro: It Pleased The LORD (RESURRECTION)
I The Offense
II The Offering
III The Outcome
Concl: Prosper In His Hand

====================================================


vs 11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.

Intro: My Righteous Servant
I His Soul
II His Satisfaction
III His Salvation
Concl: He Shall Bear Their Iniquities

====================================================


vs 12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

Intro: The Great
I The Spoil
II The Strong
III The Sin
Concl: Intercession

 

 
I AM NOT ASHAMED
(Romans 1:16-17)



Dr. Hidalgo

by Dr. Elias E. Hidalgo

I AM NOT ASHAMED

I want to share with you some thoughts from The Brit Ha-Dashah (Hebrew for the New Testament). These thoughts come from the Book of Romans. The Book of Romans was written under the inspiration of the Ruach Ha-Kodesh (Hebrew for The Holy Spirit of God), to a man by the name of Saul (Paul): Being a Hebrew Christian, he was commissioned by the Lord God to be an Apostle to the Gentiles, and yet everywhere he went he first stopped and spoke to Jewish people about the Grace of God that is found in The Gospel; that is the death, burial and resurrection of Yeshua (Hebrew for Jesus) according to the Scriptures. This portion of Scripture is found in Romans, chapter 1, verses 16 and 17.

"For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one (that's you and I) that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek (the Gentile, or non-Jewish individual).

For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, the just shall live by faith".

It is interesting that as we read the above Scripture, one of the first things we are confronted with is the expression found in verse 16, "the Gospel of Christ". You may not be fully aware of what this word "Gospel" is all about. The word actually means "Good News".

It is a principle of Biblical study that one of the best interpreters of Scripture is Scripture itself. For us to fully understand this beautiful word "Gospel", (which has to do with The Good News of Jesus, our Lord and Saviour) we can go to I Corinthians, chapter 15 and read the exact Scriptural definition of this word so that we can better understand what it means when we read "The Gospel of Christ". In I Corinthians, 15 and verse 1 we read:

"Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you The Gospel, (The Good News, which Paul reminds us of) which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;"

Isn't that beautiful! The Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ not only has been preached to us, but we have had the opportunity to receive The Gospel and it is The Gospel upon which we stand.

Now, what does this mean, The Gospel? verse 2 reminds us,

"By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain".

So, it is not a matter of being saved and then being lost, but it is a matter of keeping in memory, 'remembering', that you have been saved by the preciousness of The Gospel, unless you have believed in vain, and none of us is interested in believing in vain.

Now, verses 3 and 4 give us the actual Scriptural definition of The Gospel:

"For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ (The Messiah) died for our sins according to the Scriptures;

And that he was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures":

Did you notice that twice in verses 3 and 4 of I Corinthians 15 this beautiful expression is found: "according to the Scriptures"?

Remember that when all of this took place the New Testament had not yet been fully written. So, when you read this expression, "according to the Scriptures", you must ask yourself, "according to what Scriptures"? The answer very clearly would be, the Scriptures of the Old Testament (in Hebrew, it is the TaNaCH).

It is the Tanach (The Old Testament) from Genesis through The Book of Malachi that, according to these Scriptures, The Gospel not only was presented to the world, but was performed by The Messiah Jesus.

Verse 3 reminds us that the Messiah (The Christ) died for our sins. Notice, it doesn't say for His sins (for He is sinless); but for our sins, according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried and that He rose again, according to the Scriptures.

You see, up to the point of dying and being buried is a process that everyone has to go through. But this is what make The Gospel, The Good News, so different, so beautiful and so eternal, that The One Who Dies, called The Messiah (The Christ) according to the Scriptures, was also buried according to the Scriptures. Then we are told immediately that He rose again the third day, according to the Scriptures.

This is what completes The Gospel of the Messiah Jesus. It is His Death according to the Scriptures, His Burial and His Resurrection, according to the Tanach.

For without the Resurrection, we are reminded in Scripture, that "... we of all men that believe (men, women, boys and girls, Jews and Gentiles), would be most miserable".

We thank The Lord God for The Gospel. What is The Gospel? It is the Death, Burial and Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ, "according to the Scriptures".

Going back to Romans, Chapter 1, verses 16 and 17, we are again reminded:

"For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek (the Gentile, or non-Jewish individual).

For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, the just shall live by faith".

Here again we are confronted with that beautiful expression, "The Gospel of Christ", which was our introductory thought.

There are five things that I would like to mention in relationship to The Gospel of Christ. Let me give them to you first of all and then we will make a few comments on each one:

The Gospel of Christ has built within it:

THE PERSON of The Gospel of Christ.

THE POWER of The Gospel of Christ.

THE PRIORITY of The Gospel of Christ.

THE PROMISE of The Gospel of Christ.

THE POSITION of The Gospel of Christ.

I love the way Romans 1:16 says, "For I AM NOT ASHAMED". What a reminder for you and I, as children of GOD!

If you have committed your life and heart, spirit, soul and being, to the Lord GOD of Israel through The Messiah Jesus, then you and I need to be reminded not to be ashamed. The other day, I was in the City of St. Paul, and about to share The Gospel of Christ with a Jewish man, and a couple of blocks from his place of business I became ashamed. How do I know that I was ashamed? Because I was afraid.

All of the goodness that God had given to me, all of a sudden dissipated, and I said, "Lord, you just have to help me, that I will not be ashamed of The Gospel of Christ. Help me to be a good witness". And The Lord God, in His goodness, again helped me, and gave me that 'chutzpah' (Hebrew for intestinal fortitude) to give a piece of literature to an unsaved Jewish man. But, perhaps you don't even know what it means to be saved, so we need to go through this Scripture briefly.

THE PERSON

The Gospel of Christ has within its context THE PERSON. You see, there have been many presentations of The Gospel, or "The Good News", even before the days of The Lord Jesus Christ.

There were those who were presenting the gospel of themselves. In the Book of Acts, we are reminded of two: One by the name of Theudas and another by the name of Judas (not Judas Iscariot, but another individual). These men had presented themselves as messiahs to The Nation of Israel. Even after the days of Yeshua, in 135 A.D., Bar Kochba was acclaimed by some to be The Messiah, therefore presenting "good news" to the people.

There have been literally hundreds of people, men and women, who have declared themselves to have the truth of "the gospel" within themselves. That is why we emphasize that The Gospel of Christ has within it one and only One Person. His name is The Christ, which means "The Anointed One". The very fact that The Messiah (The Christ) came to this earth 2,000 years ago was not because of some quirk of happenstance, it was the fulfillment of Scripture. Remember that The Gospel of Christ is according to the Scriptures.

When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, His lifetime, His death, burial, resurrection, ascension, and seating at the right hand of God all declares the fulfillment of Scripture. All that The Prophets had spoken about, all that The Law had spoken about, all that The Writings (The Psalms, The Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Lamentations) had spoken about, was THE PERSON of Messiah. So you see, The Gospel of Christ has as its central figure THE PERSON of Christ, no one else. His name is Yeshua Ha-Mashiach Adonai, The Lord Jesus Christ.

THE POWER

Because of THE PERSON of The Gospel of Christ we come to our second point: THE POWER. We read in Romans 1:16 again:

"For I am not ashamed of The Gospel of Christ: for it is THE POWER of GOD".

This is not simply a form of power. It is the concentrated, focused power of God which produces the effect. What is the effect? That effect is simply stated in Romans 1:16, "For salvation", "To save": To bring a person from their sinful condition to a righteous relationship with God, through THE PERSON of The Gospel, that is, Christ. THE POWER of The Gospel of Christ is Salvation. This Salvation is to everyone that believeth! May I urge you to be reminded that, if you are a child of God, if you are a believer, The Gospel of Christ presented to you in THE PERSON of Christ and THE POWER of Christ is Salvation to everyone that believeth.

That is, everyone has this opportunity to be saved through the death, burial and resurrection of The Messiah.

And yet, may I urge you as a child of God and as a believer to not put a period, to not close this sentence, after the words: "everyone that believeth", because it doesn't end there. It did not end there in the days of Paul and it does not end there today, in your time and mine.

THE PRIORITY

For you see, The Gospel of Christ not only has within it THE PERSON Who is Christ (The Messiah), and THE POWER of Salvation to everyone that believeth; but there is THE PRIORITY that we mentioned earlier. What is this priority?

You have it in the last clause of verse 16, "to the Jew first and also to the Gentile"; that is everyone! Unless you and I, as children of God, take this precious, eternal wonderful Gospel: the death, burial and resurrection of The Lord Jesus Christ, "to the Jew FIRST", for all practical purposes you will not take The Gospel to the Jewish people at all!

I tell you this based on over twenty one years of experience in The Lord's service. Unless you take The Gospel of Christ "to the Jew FIRST", you will not take the Gospel to the Jewish people at all!

The above is very important. The Gospel of Christ within THE PERSON and its POWER to save has a PRIORITY. Now, I did not set forth this PRIORITY, as some men have even accused me of doing; it was in The Word of GOD long before I was born.

It has been in The Word of God for almost 2,000 years. And yet, some will say, "Well, that was alright, that was okay for the days of Paul long ago, but surely not today: God is no respecter of persons". And I agree with you, God is no respecter of persons, and because He is no respecter of persons The Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ is not only to the Gentiles (non-Jewish people). You would think it is, the way you hear it from some pulpits and from some Sunday School classes.

Take a moment and look at your missionary budget in your church and you will find out very quickly that The Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ, which is THE POWER of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; when it comes to the Jewish people there is the matter of being ASHAMED. Don't you know that Paul included that word "... for I AM NOT ASHAMED", not only in the area of witnessing, not only in the area of taking The Gospel of Jesus Christ to the four corners of the earth; but especially in regards to His own people, the House of Israel?

Oh, many Christians speak a good line, and even play a good game of religion in taking The Gospel to the four corners of the earth... and yet, these same Christians that have been given The Word of God, through The Prophets of Israel, through The Messiah of Israel, Who Himself chose to be a Jewish man on earth (and yet He is God), the Jewish people that God selected long ago to bring The Light of Himself "to the Gentiles", and in turn some of the Gentile believers continue to exclude the Jewish people by not presenting The Gospel to them FIRST. Remembering that if one does not present The Gospel "to the Jew FIRST", then probably it won't be presented at all to them. Therefore, they have not placed The Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ "to the Jew FIRST". They have placed The Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ not to the Jewish people at all!

GOD The Almighty knew this long ago, my dear friends. May The Spirit of God (in Hebrew - Ruach Ha-Kodesh) speak to you at this moment if you are a child of GOD, to remember that The Gospel of Christ has focused within it One PERSON: He is Christ Jesus our Lord. THE POWER that is found therein is for The Salvation of everyone that believeth. THE PRIORITY of The Gospel has always been, and always will be, according to The Scripture, "... to the Jew FIRST and ALSO to the Gentile".

Imagine that in a city of over 2 1/2 million people (the greater metropolitan Twin Cities area), 45,000 are Jewish.

We at SHALOM SCRIPTURE STUDIES, INC., are one of the very few organizations that take The Gospel, "... to the Jew FIRST". Does your church? Does your missionary fellowship? Do you?

Well, perhaps they have not, perhaps you have not, but now is the time for you to consider that The Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, in THE PERSON of The Messiah, which is THE POWER of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; has within it THE PRIORITY to reach Jewish people as well as non-Jewish people. May the Lord speak to your heart in a convicting way about that.

THE PROMISE

In verse 17 we read that within the scope of The Gospel of Christ we find THE PROMISE. You remember that this was our fourth point. THE PROMISE that is given to us, through The Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, is The Righteousness of God. Isn't that beautiful that in II Corinthians, chapter 5 and verse 21, we are confronted with a truth that is given to us again by The Apostle Paul in reference to The Righteousness of God, "... For He (that is, The Lord GOD) hath made Him to be sin for us". Let me give you the thoughts on the pronouns there:

For "He" (that is, GOD), made "Him" (that is, Jesus), to be sin for "us" (that's you and me), "Who" (that's Jesus), knew no sin, that "we" (you and I) might be made (here it is again) The Righteousness of GOD in Him (Jesus).

Can you understand that once The Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ becomes effective in your life, once you have been "born again", once you have been regenerated by The Spirit of GOD, through The Word of GOD, that in the eyes of GOD, you have been given The Righteousness of GOD!! The Hebrew word is Tzedakim (for Righteousness).

THE POSITION

GOD The Almighty no longer looks at you and I, as He did before, as sinners and as individuals who are not concerned with others. Because having The Righteousness of GOD brings us to our fifth and final point: . .. . this Righteousness of GOD is revealed from "faith to faith": ... "as it is written, the "just", that's exactly what GOD has given us as our POSITION. We have been justified in the sight of GOD.

All of this is a composite love letter that GOD has given to us through The Apostle Paul. May The Lord help us not to be ashamed of The Gospel of Christ.

Yes, may we not be ashamed even when it comes to being a witness to the sons and daughters of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob that are all around us today. May The Lord speak to your heart tenderly, that you might know and understand that The Gospel of Christ has built within THE PERSON of The Gospel of Christ (that is, Jesus); THE POWER of The Gospel of Christ (which is Salvation to everyone that believeth); THE PRIORITY (to the Jew first and also to the Gentile); THE PROMISE (The Righteousness of GOD); and lastly, THE POSITION (we are justified in the sight of GOD).

So, may we share The Righteousness of GOD with Jewish people, according to THE PRIORITY in The Scriptures, and with Gentile people (non-Jewish people) that our lives will demonstrate and show forth the very reality that we have been justified in the sight of GOD. We conclude this brief study with the last few words of Romans 1:17, that "all of this is by FAITH". Let me give you my homemade definition of F-A-I-T-H:

F ull

A ssurance

I n

T he

H oly-One


That is what FAITH is all about: The Holy Bible reminds us in Hebrews 11:6, that without this commodity expressed in our life, "... it is impossible to please GOD".

May The Lord Yeshua help us in our FAITH life to please Him, in reaching Jewish people and Gentile people with The Gospel of Christ ... The Greatest News the world had need of hearing! Shalom.



Scripture quotations from The Holy Bible:
The King James Version

Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem

A note of thanksgiving to the following for their kind help:

Mrs. Ari D. Hidalgo
Rev. Jack A. Molloy


 

Palestine vs. Israel
as the Name of the Holy Land


By Dr. Thomas McCall

During the last few centuries, the world, Christians included, has fallen into a bad habit. We have bought into some early Roman propaganda. We have used the name Palestine, which Roman Emperor Hadrian placed on the country of Israel in 135 A.D., for so long that it has become common usage. This would be as incorrect as calling the Russia of today the "Soviet Union" or referring to Berlin as "East Germany". The thoughts below by our ministry's senior theologian, Dr. Thomas S. McCall, completely explore the subject. If you know somebody who's fallen into this habit, please share this article with them. - Zola

Current Propaganda's Use of Palestine

There is a propaganda war going on now with regard to the term "Palestine". At one time it might have been argued that Palestine was an innocuous designation of the Middle Eastern area, that is generally thought of as the Holy Land. During the last few decades, however, the term Palestine has been adopted by Arabs living in Israel in the area west of the Jordan River. It is specifically employed to avoid the use of the name Israel, and must be considered an anti-Israel term. In all Arab maps published in Jordan, Egypt, etc., the area west of the Jordan River is called Palestine, without any reference to Israel. Palestine is the term now used by those who want to deny the legitimate existence of Israel as a genuine nation among the family of nations.

The term now adopted by the political entity within Israel that is gradually obtaining more and more pockets of territory through the "peace process", is the PA (Palestinian Authority). Although it must deal daily with Israeli officials, the PA hates to use the term Israel in any of its communications.

Palestine, therefore, must now be considered a political propaganda term with massive anti-Israel implications. The world press uses the term to question the legitimacy of modern Israel. Christians also have used the term Palestine for centuries in referring to the Holy Land. In earlier times this might have been excused (although biblically questionable) because of its common usage. In light of the current propaganda war against Israel, however, Christians must now re-evaluate the term Palestine and consider whether it is biblically, theologically or prophetically accurate.

Biblical Use of Palestine

The term Palestine is rarely used in the Old Testament, and when it is, it refers specifically to the southwestern coastal area of Israel occupied by the Philistines. It is a translation of the Hebrew word "Pelesheth". The term is never used to refer to the whole land occupied by Israel. Before Israel occupied the land, it would be generally accurate to say that the southwestern coastal area was called Philistia (the Way of the Philistines, or Palestine), while the central highlands were called Canaan. Both the Canaanites and the Philistines had disappeared as distinct peoples at least by the time of the Babylonian Captivity of Judea (586 B.C.), and they no longer exist.

In the New Testament, the term Palestine is never used. The term Israel is primarily used to refer to the people of Israel, rather than the Land. However, in at least two passages, Israel is used to refer to the Land:

Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead who sought the young child's life. And he arose, and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel. (Matt. 2:20-21)

But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say to you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man shall have come. (Matt. 10:23)

The first passage is when Joseph, Mary and Jesus returned from Egypt to Israel, and the second has reference to the proclamation of the Gospel throughout the Land of Israel. Jesus, Matthew and the angel speaking to Joseph use the term Israel with reference to the Land, even though the term was not then recognized by the Roman authorities.

It is clear, then, that the Bible never uses the term Palestine to refer to the Holy Land as a whole, and that Bible maps that refer to Palestine in the Old or New Testament are, at best, inaccurate, and, at worst, are a conscious denial of the biblical name of Israel.

History of the Term Palestine

Where did the term Palestine originate from? How did the world and the church get into the habit of calling the land of Israel "Palestine"? One of the guides we use in our tours to Israel is Zvi Rivai, an Israeli Messianic believer, who has done considerable research on this subject. Zvi informs us that before 135 A.D., the Romans used the terms Judea and Galilee to refer to the Land of Israel. When Titus destroyed Jerusalem in 70 A.D., the Roman government struck a coin with the phrase "Judea Capta," meaning Judea has been captured. The term Palestine was never used in the early Roman designations.

It was not until the Romans crushed the second Jewish revolt against Rome in 135 A.D. under Bar Kochba that Emperor Hadrian applied the term Palestine to the Land of Israel. Hadrian, like many dictators since his time realized the propaganda power of terms and symbols. He replaced the shrines of the Jewish Temple and the Sepulchre of Christ in Jerusalem with temples to pagan deities. He changed the name of Jerusalem to Aelia Capitalina, and changed the name of Israel and Judea to Palestine. Hadrian's selection of Palestine was purposeful, not accidental. He took the name of the ancient enemies of Israel, the Philistines, Latinized it to Palestine, and applied it to the Land of Israel. He hoped to erase the name Israel from all memory. Thus, the term Palestine as applied to the Land of Israel was invented by the inveterate enemy of the Bible and the Jewish people, Emperor Hadrian.

It is interesting to note that the original Philistines were not Middle Eastern at all. They were European peoples from the Adriatic sea next to Greece. It may have pleased Hadrian to utilize this Hellenistic term for the Jewish land. In any case, the original "Palestinians" had nothing to do, whatsoever, with any Arabs.

Christian Adoption of the Term Palestine

One of the first Christian uses of the term Palestine is found in the works of the Church historian Eusebius, who lived in Caesarea. He wrote around 300 A.D., as the Roman persecution of Christians was ending and the Emperor Constantine began to accept Christianity as legal. Eusebius did not accept Hadrian's designation of Jerusalem as Aelia Capitalina, but he did use Hadrian's term Palestine. Eusebius considered himself to be one of the bishops of Palestine. Thus, the anti-Israel, anti-Christian name of Palestine was assimilated into the Church's vocabulary as the Byzantine Empire was being established.

The Church has, since that time, broadly used the term Palestine in literature and in maps to refer to the Land of Israel. It should be noted, however, that the Crusaders called their land the Kingdom of Jerusalem. When the British received the mandate after World War I, though, they called the land on both sides of the Jordan River, Palestine. This became the accepted geo-political term for several decades, and those who lived in the land were called Palestinians, whether they were Jews, Arabs or Europeans.

Even evangelical Christians who believe in the future of Israel have used the term Palestine. The New Scofield Reference Edition of the Bible has maps in the back entitled "Palestine under the Herods". There never was a Palestine under the Herods. This is a serious misidentification. It would be something like looking at a modern map of Texas and having it titled "Mexico in the Twentieth Century".

The MacArthur Study Bible published just last year contains a map called "Palestine in Christ's Time" There are numerous references in the notes to something called first-century Palestine.

It appears that Bible-believing Christians have either knowingly or unwittingly followed the world, pagans and haters of Israel in calling Israel by the anti-Israel term Palestine. It is found throughout Bible maps, Bible commentaries and textbooks.


Reprinted with permission from Zola Levitt Ministries, Inc. and www.levitt.com Map by Rev. Jack A. Molloy

 

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