Church History Bites – Why Palestine is Anti-Semitic

a_palestine_map_jesus_timeTranscript: The teacher in Ecclesiastes is correct that there is nothing new under the sun, how often do we look back into history so that we can learn Short Lessons from Church History is a podcast devoted to small bitesize chunks of history, which are designed to give you the aha moment that we all love in history. “I never knew that”. and hopefully a few tips to help us grow in wisdom and devotion to Jesus.

Today we look at the question of why the name Palestine is Anti-Semitic.

Many Bibles printed in recent years have had helpful Maps at the back. One of those maps in recent years has been a map entitled Palestine in the time of Jesus. However the truth is that Palestine never even existed in the time of Jesus. So where exactly did the name Palestine come from? Well many people are familiar with the first Jewish Revolt which saw the fall of the Jerusalem Temple in 70AD. People are less familiar with the second Jewish Revolt which occurred a little over 50 years later. Between 132-135 AD the Revolt also known as the Bar Cochba Revolt was eventually cruelly put down by the Romans under the Emperor Hadrian. After the revolt was crushed the Emperor expelled the Jews from the city of Jerusalem, had the city plowed like a field and rebuilt as a Roman city named Aelia Capitolina. The province of Judea was also renamed. Hadrian chose a new name based on the ancient enemies of Israel.

If we remember back to the beginning of the monarchy in Israel, we remember the leader of the Hebrews – the prophet Samuel and Kings Saul and David fought against a iron working people called the Philistines. They were eventually vanquished, but it was these enemies that Hadrian sought to revive by spitefully naming the province of Judea after. In Latin, the lingua franca of the Roman World this name became Palestina, which we know today as Palestine.

The trouble with this naming is that in the Abrahamic Covenant that we find in Genesis 13 God says he will bless those who bless the descendants of Abraham and will curse those who curse, and that word curse includes the meaning of making light or ridiculing Israel. As a result it is important if we are using the name Palestine that we first understand where it came from and secondly if we do have to use it, use it in a way that does not repeat the insult against the Jewish people.

Thank you for listening and join us again for another short lesson from church history.

About Jono Hall

Disciple of Jesus, Husband and Father, Intercessory Missionary, Senior Leader at International House of Prayer and Teacher at IHOPU
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