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Misplacing the Messiah: The shocking poster at Bethlehem Bible College

Poster sponsored by Christ at the Checkpoint at the Bethlehem Bible College (Photo: Paul Calvert)

I recently visited the Bethlehem Bible College in the hills of biblical Judea where I saw something that shocked me.

In the hallway was a large poster sponsored by Christ at the Checkpoint (CATC) 2024.

There was an image of a young child in a manger, accompanied by the following caption:

“If Jesus were born today, He would be born in Gaza under the rubble." Rev. Dr. Munther Issac

Such a statement, attributed to Rev. Isaac – or anyone else for that matter – is not only nonsensical but dangerous. I would argue that it destroys the foundation of our Christian faith.

The foundation of our Christian faith is Jesus, period.

Everything hinges on Him.

Was Jesus the promised Messiah prophesied by the prophets in the Old Testament?

I believe the answer is yes – the Old Testament prophecies were fulfilled in Jesus.

One of the most important prophecies has to do with where the Messiah would be born.

If someone comes up to you and claims to be the Messiah, ask them this simple question: “Where were you born?”

A very simple and easy test for all would-be "Messiah-hunters" out there.

The prophets pointed to “Bethlehem Ephrathah” as the birthplace of Jesus. Bethlehem Ephrathah is an ancient name associated with the region, meaning “fruitful.”

The fact that this poster was discovered in the halls of the Bethlehem Bible College only lends to the absurdity of its claim.

Bethlehem, not Gaza, is where the Messiah would have to be born.

Nativity scene in rubble in show of solidarity with Gaza, in Bethlehem, Dec. 24, 2023 (Photo: Paul Calvert)

Now, I can tell you quite clearly that I am not the Messiah.


Because I was not born in Bethlehem.

I was born in Carlisle, in the United Kingdom.

Nowhere in the Bible does it mention Carlisle.

So, I know clearly from scripture that I am not the Messiah.

Jesus being born in Bethlehem is a fundamental aspect of the Christian faith.

As Christians, we believe Jesus is the promised Messiah prophesied about in the Old Testament.

Without Bethlehem, Christianity is dead.

It shocks me that a Christian Bible college could push an agenda that denies the birthplace of Jesus. Bethlehem Bible College, established in 1979, aims to provide theological education, leadership training, and community development from a Palestinian Christian perspective.

Reflecting on the CATC poster, I do understand that is just political maneuvering and that they are not really promoting Jesus being born in Gaza.

The CATC conference is notorious for promoting anti-Israel libel under the guise of Christian love, justice and peace.

But the very stupidity of the quote is both dangerous and misleading:

“If Jesus were born today, He would be born in Gaza under the rubble.”

No, No, No!

If Jesus were born today, He would be born in Bethlehem, as scripture clearly states.

Any other assertion is political nonsense, dangerous, and merely intended for cheap point-scoring.

Let us hold dearly to our Christian foundations and defend our faith in these trying times.

We must defend our prophets and not tolerate political nonsense.

I believe my revised version of the poster makes a more accurate point:

"If Jesus were to visit Gaza today, He would be murdered by Hamas or held hostage in a tunnel.”

[Note: I have not yet spoken directly with Rev. Dr. Munther Issac about this.]

Paul is a Christian journalist based in the Middle East.

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