December 1997: Volume 19, Number 12


A Note From Zola

Dear Friends,

As we go to press, tensions with Iraq, an arch enemy of Israel, are easing, but the U.S. was unable to form a coalition of nations against Iraq because of the interference of France, Russia, and China. (France, purportedly a democracy, can stand the company of the Chinese Communists and the Russians just fine when it comes to making some money off the Iraqi oil.) Now, these three nations seem not haphazardly chosen. They represent the three forces that will invade Israel in the upcoming Tribulation. France represents the Antichrist's ten-nation confederacy of Europe, Russia represents Gog and Magog in the invasion described in Ezekiel 38 and 39, and China represents the King of the East in the massive 200-million-man army that will invade as part of Armageddon. Are we seeing a hint of things to come?

(Could the biological weapons of Iraq, which are released by spray airplanes, have reference to Ezekiel 38:16: "And thou shalt come up against my people of Israel, as a cloud to cover the land...")

What an experience! I visited the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. recently and I was stunned. Though I have been to the Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, and our pilgrims visit that wonderful Holocaust Memorial on each of our tours, I had not imagined the magnitude of the one in Washington. Everyone really needs to see this.

It began with a couple of quotations on the outside of the building. The one from General Dwight D. Eisenhower especially caught my attention: "The things I saw beggar description... The visual evidence and the verbal testimony of starvation, cruelty and bestiality were... overpowering... I made the visit deliberately in order to be in position to give firsthand evidence of these things if ever, in the future, there develops a tendency to charge these allegations merely to propaganda." The other quotation was from Scripture: "You are my witnesses" (Isaiah 43:10).

For a museum located in the United States capital, it certainly pulled no punches about American failings during the Holocaust. I'm afraid we have very little to be proud of. If this was a Christian country, it is a wonder that in one poll in the 1930s 77 percent of American citizens disapproved increasing Jewish immigration quotas when the Holocaust was getting underway. They refused to rescue their fellow human beings from the horrors in Germany and its conquered territories.

Some Americans did want to skip the 1936 Olympic Games, which had turned into a showcase for Hitler and his supposedly superior Aryan race. (It reminded me of our pilgrims who want to skip Bethlehem these days on our tours because it has become a showplace for Arafat and his supposedly peace-loving Palestinians.) In the end, we sent an Olympic team, but we discreetly benched the two Jewish athletes who had earned their place on that team. Jessie Owens, a black runner, totally put Hitler's theories to rest by winning medal after medal over the handsome but less effective Nazi athletes.

In one place in the Washington exhibit, I thought they had organized the flow of the crowd all wrong. We got stuck walking through a narrow passageway while the people in front of us had stopped to read long poster boards before they made a turn. I began to get very uncomfortable. But when I looked around me, I realized that I was in a cattle car where at least a hundred Jewish souls perished from being incarcerated for days without food or water during long, pointless rail journeys to distant concentration camps. I read, finally, on the poster board that sometimes those train cars were pulled over on a siding and simply left to stand while the unfortunates inside died by inches.

Another emphasis on the Holocaust at this museum was the aspect of "wholesale theft." Let's not give the Germans (or the French, or the Swiss, or the Italians, etc.) credit for simply being ideologues believing in some madman carrying out his insane doctrines. In reality, all of those tormentors of the Jews highly enriched themselves by stealing Jewish properties and possessions. The Swiss have recently been caught actually stealing the very bank accounts of the Jewish people and are niggling around to try to keep some of the loot. France is certainly not innocent. I made a promise to God to mention that very unfriendly country anytime I speak on this subject, since I was arrested there, in my view, for simply having a tourist badge with Hebrew writing on it. Details of that story are available on our videotape (#V614) Israel: Hated of All Nations.

The museum could be slightly faulted, I think, for consistently using the term Nazis instead of Germans in order to imply that it was a small group of crazies that carried out these terrible crimes. Recent scholarship has shown that German citizens of all kinds were all too willing to help in the mass murder of their neighbors and the theft of their property. It's not correct to blame one political party when hundreds of thousands of non-members willingly participated in this awful catastrophe. It bears mentioning in this context that some American politicians, those who refused to bomb Auschwitz for example, were also indicted in the museum.

But, to be fair, the town of Le Chambon was commended for its protection of its Jewish citizens under an evangelical Protestant pastor. One of the French Nazi collaborators so eager to murder Jewish children, M. Papon, is on trial, even as you read this, for his crimes so long ago. He complains of heart trouble. What a shame he can't face his just punishment as bravely as those he caused to face such unjust punishment.

Where I stand on the Holocaust is that I cannot forgive the Germans, who have, in fact, not really asked for forgiveness. In view of the cooperation of the nations mentioned above, and the British who kept the Jews who staggered to Israel after the Holocaust from even entering the country, I have to write off substantially all of Western Europe, and our own country into the bargain, as collaborators to one degree or another. And as to other alleged "Holocausts," nothing in human history compares to the cold-blooded murder of six million innocent civilians, and that's all there is to that.

It's my birthday "again." We all have to have them, and I couldn't think of a nicer gift for my birthday than a gift to this ministry. I have the Lord and everything I need. What more could I possibly ask for?

I remember that this time last year I was being rushed to the hospital because my heart was racing at 180 beats per minute. After a minor procedure, I'm in excellent shape and feeling better than ever. Once again, I thank you for your prayers for me and the ministry that God has so graciously allowed us to be a part of.

We are His instruments, and I would like to remind you that it's time for year-end gifts. As I tell you each December, this season makes possible what we can do for you in the coming year. I won't go into grand paragraphs of fund raising, but I'll simply tell you I give my own money to this ministry because I know how it's used. If you want to continue to see location programs in Israel and a fair defense of that land, then help us. We'll be there for you if you send us. As Paul appealed to the Romans, "How shall they preach except they be sent" (Romans 10:15).

Springtime is just around the corner, and in Israel it is unlike any other time of the year. The magnificent sweetness of a Galilean hillside in full bloom ("Consider the lilies of the field..."), the Jordan Valley green and lush, the ruins of Masada, commanding in its strategic location, and Jerusalem,O Jerusalem! Our 1998 Spring Tour will capture it all. The Grand Tour, April 21 (tentative)-May 6, features mainland Greece with Athens, Mars Hill, and Corinth, and a Mediterranean cruise of the islands of Mykonos, Patmos, and Rhodes, including Ephesus. Our Deluxe Israel Tour, April 26-May 6, encompasses one of Israel's most exciting holidays,Independence Day on Israel's 50th anniversary. Brochures will be available soon. Call Cynthia at (214) 690-1876 or 1-800-WONDERS (966-3377).

Your messenger,


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The State of the Ministry

by Mark Levitt

Mark Levitt

For almost twenty years, my father, Zola, has been instrumental in awakening anesthetized Christians, jolting them from their stupor, galvanizing them with the magnificence of their Jewish roots, and mobilizing them for spiritual warfare.

Jesus is the Messiah for all of us. The Old Testament says it; the New Testament proves it. Please do us a favor: if any of your friends have an amputated Bible of the New Testament (one with no Old Testament), ask them to send it to us so that we can replace it for free with a whole Bible. If they refuse, then please order our eight-audiocassette series, Discovering Our Jewish Roots for them.

God's richest blessings must go to the ministries who teach over and over that you've got to be saved. But once people are saved, going to church, and living the Christian life, many of these truly hunger to experience God and need help getting there. That's where we come in. Since this ministry is not the only one providing this help, we praise God for the privilege of publicizing some of our allies.

Satan has used anti-Semitism to further his own propaganda agenda. This indoctrination has worked. Ask yourself why so few churches teach about Israel, and so few faith-professing Christians trouble to visit Israel. After all, if we're reading the Bible correctly, all of us are going to live in Israel for a thousand years, and that could start seven years from today.

To cite one example, a lady telephoned Zola's live radio talk show, which he used to host here in Dallas, to say, "I just don't think that I can respect Jesus anymore, knowing that He's Jewish, even though He's my Savior."

What's the state of this ministry? Well, with people like that poor caller needing us so badly, we've got to be doing fine. People like her, on Judgement Day, are going to sit before the King of the Jews. Those hobbled souls need this ministry more than they do the clothes on their back.

There's only one problem. They don't know it, and this is where you come in. Many of you reading this may be unable to "vote" for this ministry with your dollars. But if you can encourage two friends to watch our television program, Zola Levitt Presents, and read our newsletters, and later ask them to reach two friends, you could be helping us more than a rich man sending us his entire tithe.

This outreach is only about reaching people. With your help we've put quality programming on reasonably good air times, but we're embarking on new challenges and facing a looming question. Our newest challenge: a brand-new, ten-program, state-of-the-art television series entitled the Covenants of God, shot on location in Israel with top quality production to capture the attention of TV channel surfers jaded by multi-million-dollar Hollywood productions. The looming question: how much longer will we be on the FAM (CBN) network, now that FOX has bought it and plans to move toward programming similar to Nickelodeon's?

Our two secret weapons for getting and keeping good air times are sending superior programs and paying our bills on time. We've had the same TV producer since the beginning: Ken Berg. There is no question that God helps him uphold his end of the bargain. Divine inspiration is the only way I can account for how good our programs look considering how little Ken charges. Thanks be to God, our little ministry has twice won the coveted Telly award in what amounts to a David-versus-Goliath competition.

When the Rapture comes, you and our staff will be gone, but what will be left behind? Probably five hundred incisive half-hour television programs (most of them having aired at least twice), as well as a broad range of Bible teaching materials; pages 11 and 12 of this newsletter list only a portion of what fills our 1,500-square-foot shipping department. With our processing 3,000 to 5,000 orders per month for our materials, can you imagine how many unbelievers will be blessed to find them once we Christians are gone?

Back to the present, we're mailing two free newsletters per month, hosting three Israel tours per year, and answering Bible questions via mail, fax and email. Our Institute of Jewish-Christian Studies correspondence course has new graduates every month. Zola continues to speak in churches and seminaries. Our Internet web site,, is growing by leaps and bounds, and we've added to it a slide show of ,Israel, plus we're working on a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions page) and considering adding a forum for Messianic chat.

If this ministry were a car, our tachometer would be redlining. Fortunately we'd be getting awesome mileage because our motor (administration) is small. Our audited financial statements are free for the asking, and they show that seventy percent of our gross revenue goes straight to American living rooms via television. Fourteen percent covers our staff, and the rest goes mainly to newsletters, teaching materials, postage and rent.

In terms of Christian investment, there is no better buy than evangelism. And if you're counting souls reached per dollar, the biggest bang for the buck is television. Please pray about the importance of this ministry's work and bear in mind our incredible economies of scale. If you could sit in my chair for a day, you would move us up on your giving list, believe me.

You may recall that we produced two major on-location series this year, The Stones Cry Out and companion book and Champions of Faith. We have a brand new music cassette, Champions of Faith, and Zola contributed the chapter "Israel — Island in the Violent Islamic Sea" to the book End-Time Thunder.

We may need your help now more than ever. We should diversify into new air times so that we're not too dependent on whether we're allowed to remain on the FAM network. As you may know, sooner is better when cultivating new television audiences, and if we successfully expand into new areas, plus remain on FAM, everyone will benefit. Whether it's survival or growth we're talking about, I know this ministry can count on you, and I find it impossible to express my gratitude. Let me just say, "Thanks, and see you in the Kingdom."


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Palestine vs. Israel as the Name of the Holy Land

by Thomas S. McCall, Th.D.

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.

Current Propaganda's Use of Palestine

Thomas S. McCall, Th.D

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.

Proper Designation of the Land

The use of the term Palestine was biblically inaccurate and wrong throughout the Church age. However, it is more than just wrong, it is devastating in our time, when the term Palestine is the cornerstone of the propaganda war against Israel and the Jewish people. Do we want to use terms invented by those who hate Christ, the Bible and Israel? Do we want to utilize terms used by the enemies of Israel who desire to accomplish nothing less than the destruction of the Jewish people? I think not.

Christians should use the terminology of the Bible wherever possible. Why not go back to the terms used in the New Testament? The Gospel writers used the term Israel to refer to the Land. Why should we use any other term when referring to the Land, especially now that the Jews are back in the Land and have re-established the nation of Israel among the family of nations?

As we draw closer to the Second Coming of Christ, we should understand that Satan's fury against the Church and Israel will grow exponentially. Satan hates the Gospel of the crucified and risen Messiah, and he hates the reality of the restoration of Israel as the nation that will ultimately receive Jesus as the Messiah at His return, and the nation that will be Christ's earthly headquarters. The only term we should use for the Land is Israel, or its subdivisions of Judea, Samaria, and Galilee. We should make every effort to remove the term Palestine from our Bible maps and textbooks, and use only biblical terms with reference to the Holy Land of Israel.


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Copyright © 1997 by Zola Levitt Ministries, Inc., a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. All rights reserved. Brief passages may be quoted in reviews or other article. For all other use, please get our written approval.