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Response to Exodus of the Palestinian Christians
by Randy Loudenslager
22 October 2003Israeli Flag

The Christian Right has for the most part ignored Palestinian Christians. But the creation of an independent Palestinian State would violate the covenant between God and his chosen people, the Jews.

Dear Professor Ata,

Thank you very much for your email. I must say that it struck me in a variety of ways. I found it somewhat disturbing, enlightening, puzzling and humbling. I hope you don't mind that I have taken your email and answered individual points as needed.

You wrote: The Palestinian Christian is an endangered species. When the modern state of Israel was established there were about 400,000 of us. Two years ago the number was down to 80,000. Now it's down to 60,000. At that rate, in a few years there will be none of us left.

Palestinian Christians within Israel fare little better. On the face of it, their number has grown by 20000 since 1991. But this is misleading, for the census classification 'Christian' includes some 20000 recent non-Arab migrants from the former Soviet Union.

My response: I have seen various figures, but most are close to what you have quoted. I have always found this alarming. In a twisted sort of irony I have met many Christians who feel such attachment for the region that they sometimes express desire to move there.

You wrote: So why are Palestinian Christians abandoning their homeland? We have lost hope, that's why. We are treated as non-people. Few outside the Middle East even know we exist, and those who do, conveniently forget.

My response: I believe that many Americans know of the existence of Palestinian Christians, but unfortunately I believe that their view has been adulterated by slanted journalism that depicts the siding of a few Palestinian Christians with Yassar Arafat as indicative of the beliefs of the general Palestinian Christian population. It isn't helped by Arafat's shrewd attempts to pretend solidarity with Palestinian Christians. My personal opinion is that we are being deceived here in America and that the majority of Palestinian Christians do seek peace with Israel.

You wrote: I refer, of course, to the American Religious Right. They see the modern Israel as a harbinger of the Second Coming, at which time Christians will go to Paradise, and all others (presumably including Jews) to Hell. To this end they lend military and moral support to Israel.

My response: I believe that the teachings found endemic to the Religious Right are steeped in false assumptions about who is going where and how this will happen. My web site (www.LastDay.info) demonstrates my beliefs by what I find in the Bible rather than the regurgitations of myths perpetuated in false teachings. I have indeed taken side with Israel against the Intifada. I am not against the Palestinian people but against the violence and their choice of leadership.

My beliefs, based on the Bible, are that the Jews are the apple of God's eye. He refers to Israel as his wife. But she is a wayward wife filled with sin and wickedness. God has clearly pronounced that in the end-times she will rebel against the covenant he made with her. She will do this by entering what Isaiah called a covenant with death. That is, she will desperately seek peace with her enemies apart from God and will give some of her covenant lands to her enemies in order to procure that peace she desires. She will indeed have that peace for 3.5 years and then God will severely punish Israel by letting her enemies have at her. This will last for another 3.5 years before Jesus Christ comes. At that time he will resurrect ALL who have stood firm in the faith to the end, whether they are faithful Jews, Christian Palestinians or other believing gentiles makes no difference. God seeks obedience from ALL of his people.

I, as a Christian American do agree with American military and moral support of Israel. As long as America sides with the covenant then we are not against God. Unfortunately our President supports the establishment of a Palestinian state. By supporting this he stands against the covenant and so God will severely punish the US just as he will all who stand against his covenant with Israel. That covenant made with Abraham is to be everlasting and it will be, regardless of the desires of mankind.

You wrote: Even by the double-dealing standards of international diplomacy this is a breathtakingly cynical bargain. It is hard to know who is using whom more: the Christian Right for offering secular power in the expectation that the Jewish state will be destroyed by a greater spiritual one; or the Israeli Right for accepting their offer.

My response: Again, the Religious Right does not represent all Christian Americans as evidenced by my growing newsletter subscription list. The Religious Right is often sadly mistaken because, as the name implies, they are religious but not necessarily believers. By the time Jesus comes Israel will have been nearly annihilated by the forces of a world that is bent on evil rebellion. They will have no love loss for Israel. Along with Israel's destruction will come the near extermination of true Christians. When Jesus comes he will deliver wrath upon his enemies and save the remnant of Israel and true gentile believers and resurrect those who have already fallen asleep. Most of the Religious Right's adherents are shallow in their beliefs. They will be among those who fall away from the faith as the time of testing comes upon the world.

You wrote: What we do know is that both sides are abusing the Palestinians. Apparently we don't enter into anyone's calculations. The views of the Israeli Right are well known: they want us gone.

My response: I am guilty of saying little to defend Christian Palestinians, I will take immediate steps to rectify my oversight. I am sorry, please forgive me. You must understand though that I differentiate between Christian Palestinians and non-Christian Palestinians. I do this the same as I would with all humanity. The line is drawn and clear; People are either believers or not in Jesus Christ. I see no difference in the lost condition of an American non-believer and a Palestinian non-believer. And likewise with true believers. Therefore I will continue to speak up on behalf of the covenant by standing against a Palestinian state on covenant lands. There are alternatives that all parties are guilty of not pursuing seriously. Israel's lack of love in regards to Palestinian rights will be dealt with severely by God, but so will the Palestinian violence upon Israel. America will be judged because she has lost her way and no longer understands God's word or looks to it for guidance. She will continue to act with good intentions but at the moral expense of all!

The faithful Jews read God's word and see what will come upon them. They are afraid and therefore they react to events. They are the keepers of Judaism and if they are faithful then they will be saved. They know that they are being isolated by the secular powers of Israel. They see that Israel is abandoning God and thus heading for desolation as spoken of in the Bible. They are desperate to keep God at the center of an exclusively Jewish culture. Their extremism is not always right, but they on the right are not all extremists. These people will be blind to the ultimate truth of Jesus Christ and their brotherhood with you as a Christian until Jesus himself lifts the veil from their eyes on the last day of this age.

You wrote: Less well known are the views of the American Religious Right. Senator James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma) said: "God appeared to Abraham and said: 'I am giving you this land,' the West Bank. This is not a political battle at all. It is a contest over whether or not the word of God is true."

My response: I don't know the context in which this statement was taken from, but by itself it is true. I agree with it based on what I explained earlier.

You wrote: House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-Texas) was even more forthright: "I'm content to have Israel grab the entire West Bank. I happen to believe that the Palestinians should leave." There is a phrase for this. Ethnic cleansing.

My response: I don't agree with this statement. I do believe that the West Bank belongs to Israel but I believe that the Palestinians, if they choose to, could live under Israeli law in an Israeli state and voice. Israel on its part would do well to allow a more pluralistic society based on moral concerns. Israel had taken the steps of allowing the Palestinians self-governance (since then almost destroyed by the Intifada) within Israel. I think this model can work biblically with further concessions by both parties.

You wrote: So why do American Christians stand by while their leaders advocate the expulsion of fellow Christians? Could it be that they do not know that the Holy Land has been a home to Christians since, well, since Christ?

My response: Good questions and good points, but the situation is not that simple. Christians were persecuted in the Holy Land from the time of Christ along with other peoples and by other peoples. What shall we say of the exodus of Christians from Lebanon? Is it at the hands of Jews? This is far more complex than that. The bottom line is that American Christians wouldn't be accepted in Israel either if they didn't protect and support Israel through huge loans and grants. Israel will never be the home of Christians until Jesus Christ comes and establishes his kingdom in Jerusalem. Whatever select American leaders say, it is the President who is charged by the our constitution with the formation and maintenance of foreign policy for the US. President Bush has made it clear that he supports a Palestinian state. This would suggest at least a temporary state of relief is on the way for Palestinians, but it will cost Israel dearly. God will first punish Israel for her unfaithfulness and then he will expend his wrath upon her enemies.

You wrote: Do not think I am asking for special treatment for Christians. Ethnic cleansing is evil whoever does it and to whomever it is done. Palestinian Christians, Maronite Catholics, Orthodox, Lutherans, Armenians, Baptists, Copts and Assyrians have been rubbing shoulders with each other and with other religions -- Muslims, Jews, Druze and (most recently) Baha'is -- for centuries. We want to do so for centuries more. But we can't if we are driven out by despair.

My response: I agree. The only advice I can give is what we receive in the Bible, "When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another." Matthew 10:23. I'm sorry if that sounds non-caring. I care deeply for my brothers and sister in Christ all over the world. I believe that you will get your state of Palestine, God has shown me in his Word. This grieves me because I know what will follow and it will be truly horrible. Not just for the Jews but for people such as yourself. Islam will not stop with the Jews. You must know that although you are proud to be a Palestinian you are considered an infidel to the adherents of Islam. They will not be satisfied by driving the 'Zionist entity' into the sea. They will come against all who stand firm in the name above all names -- Jesus Christ!

You wrote: What we seek is support: material, moral, political and spiritual. As Palestinians we grieve for what we have lost, and few people (the Ashkenazi Jews are one) have lost more than us. But grief can be assuaged by the fellowship of friends.

My response: I am your friend and in the love of Jesus Christ I love you and all Palestinians, believers or not. Just as I, a believer in Jesus Christ, must put my faith above my patriotic love for my country so must you put your faith above the patriotic love of your people and culture. We must love our people, but the causes of this world are not to be placed above the cause of Jesus Christ, but rather at his feet in humble submission to his sovereignty over the affairs of men!

I am committed to prayer for your people and I will be more outspoken on behalf of Christian Palestinians. If Christian Palestinians want to be supported by Americans then they must be seen standing firmly for the faith and against the violence of the Intifada. Your terrible situation cannot be morally supported if violence against the people of the covenant is supported by people who claim to be of Jesus Christ.

Randy Loudenslager is the head of LastDay.info Ministries.

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