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Arab Christians Rewrite the New Testament on 60 Minutes

From the 60 Minutes report “Christians of the Holy Land”  last Sunday night [April 22, 2012) moderated by CBS reporter Bob Simon, the viewer was fed the idea that Palestinians started Christianity and gave faith in Christ to the world.

Mitri Raheb, a Palestinian Christian and a Lutheran minister from Bethlehem accurately claimed, “Christianity started here.”  Then Raheb adds, “The only thing that Palestine was able to export so successfully was Christianity.”  Yet no where in the New Testament is name “Palestine” is ever used. The closest we come is in Matthew 15:22 where a Canaanite woman came to Jesus seeking healing for her daughter, “A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.”

According to Wikipedia, “The first clear use of the term Palestine to refer to the entire area between Phoenicia and Egypt was in 5th century BC Ancient Greece.  Herodotus wrote of a ‘district of Syria, called Palaistinê” in The Histories, the first historical work clearly defining the region, which included the Judean mountains and the Jordan Rift Valley.”

In the Bible Palestine is never mentioned as another name for Israel or the original name of Israel prior to the Jewish exiles from Egypt entering the land under Joshua around 1400 B.C.  We read, “The Hebrew name Peleshet (פלשת Pəlésheth)- usually translated as Philistia in English, is used in the Bible more than 250 times. The Greek word Palaistinē  is generally accepted to be a translation of the Semitic name for Philistia; however another term – Land of Philistieim  was used in the Septuagint, the second century BCE Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible, to refer to Philistia.  In the Torah / Pentateuch the term Philistia is used 10 times and its boundaries are undefined. The later Historical books include most of the biblical references, almost 200 of which are in the Book of Judges and the Books of Samuel, where the term is used to denote the southern coastal region to the west of the ancient Kingdom of Judah.”

Getting back to Mitri Raheb, he has the nerve to say, “Christianity has actually on the back a stamp saying, “Made in Palestine.”  Raheb could not be more mistaken.

Given the tenor of the entire article, it appears that Arab Christians are the original followers of Jesus in the Holy Land. I find it odd that Bob Simon did not interview the other Christians living in the Holy Land – Jewish people who have embraced Jesus as the Messiah aka messianic Jews. (more…)

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