Where Do You Stand Christian?
This blogpost will be a work in progress. As I hope to learn more, I will change and improve it. But for now, it is important for all who call on the name of the risen Lord Jesus, to make sure where they stand on this crucial and divisive issue. And that is not so simple!
We must guard against two basic errors which politicians and the media make all the time, sometimes even deliberately, i.e., to paint a situation as “black and white,” when it is by far not so simple; and then to offer simple solutions for what was actually a very complicated problem. These mistakes have been made so many times (for instance with respect to South Africa before 1994) that it is not even funny anymore. Unfortunately, the “simple solutions” offered for “black and white” situations almost always come with a pretty hefty price tag, i.e., tragic consequences for many of the people involved. One lesson standing out over all of world history, is the law of unintended consequences!
So, what is going on in Israel/Palestine (as far we can figure out) and where should we stand? Maybe we should start by listing some of the “facts” and “myths” surrounding this tragic conflict, as much as we can determine them. Only then may we dare to offer some tentative conclusions.
On God’s Promise to Abraham
- It is a fact that the living God promised the holy land to Abraham and his decedents, as an everlasting promise, if they would be his people by heeding his voice, loving him, following him, and raising their children in the same way, thereby becoming a light and blessing to the nations (Gen. 12:1-3).
- It is a fact that God also promised to cast the Jews out of their land and the holy city, if they would go after other gods and follow the ways of the nations around them (Deut. 32 and many other passages).
- It is a fact that God promised that the nations of the world (including the Palestinians) would be blessed through Abraham’s seed (the Messiah) and that a Son of David would come to bring justice to the nations, and whose reign would endure forever.
- It is a fact that God promised that the Jewish nation—and all of us—would only be saved and restored by an outpouring of his Spirit, giving us new hearts instead of our wicked, wayward and stubborn hearts (Jer. 31 and Ezek. 36).
- It is true that God’s plan for us all was that we will only escape the curse upon this fallen world, by the Servant of the Lord—the Messiah—taking upon himself our iniquities and punishment (Is. 53) . That happened during the reign of Tiberius Caesar, outside the walls of Jerusalem around 30 AD, as the Jewish Passover dawned.
- It is true that God promised never to abandon his ancient people Israel forever – his “eternal people” according to Is. 44:6 – but to pour out abundant blessing on them toward the end of the age, turning them from their evil ways and useless idols to embrace their Messiah Yeshua.
- It is most certainly true that the God of heaven promised to make all things brilliantly new again—and destroy every bit of evil, sin, sorrow, pain and suffering, including Satan himself—when Jesus will finally come on the clouds of heaven! (Is. 35, 65, and Rev. 21 and 22)
On the Origins of the Modern State of Israel in 1948
- It is a myth that Jews only arrived in Palestine prior to 1948. There were tens of thousands living there for ages.
- It’s a myth that Jews (and Christians) always lived peaceably in Muslim lands prior to 1948. Yes, there were certainly long stretches of time when Jews and Christians lived peaceably among Muslims, but only insofar as they lived as dhimmis (i.e., as second-class citizens) under many humiliating rules, and payed jizya. They definitely also suffered sporadic pogroms and even massacres, from time to time, all over the Islamic world. Prior to the founding of the modern State of Israel, Jews were driven out of many Muslim countries. In fact, Islam started by Mohammed’s companions beheading ca. 700 Jews who surrendered on a single day in Medina. The Quran and Hadith also openly call for the killing of Jews and Christians who refuse to either submit to Allah or becoming dhimmis by paying jizya.
- It is a myth that the there was a Palestinian state prior to 1948, which the Jews then “occupied.” There was no Palestinian state (country) in Palestine prior to 1948. With the collapse of the Ottoman Empire (who fought on the losing side of WWI), the British (who fought on the prevailing side) came to control the chunk of land that the ancient Romans disparagingly dubbed “Palestine” (in the second century AD). It is nothing new for the winner of any major war to call the shots and draw the borders afterwards. The Muslims have done so countless times during their so-called golden age.
- It is true that the ancestors of today’s Palestinians lived in and around Palestine for centuries and that 700 000 left their homes when the State of Israel was founded. They nevertheless declined a United Nations offer to have their own state at the time. Some 950 000 Jews were driven out of Muslim countries as well.
- It’s is not true that all Jews wished to move to Palestine prior to and after 1948, when the modern State of Israel was founded. Many of them were opposed to the formation of a Jewish state and many still are. Ant-Zionism is therefore not per se antisemitic, though it often is.
- It is a fact that both Egypt and Jordan did not want the Palestinians in their countries, and that Palestinians are viewed as second-class Arabs across the Middle East. (A young Muslim gentleman told me personally that his father could never qualify for Saudi citizenship, in spite of having lived and worked there for ten years, simply because he was Palestinian.)
On Israeli Politics since 1948
- It’s a fact that Israeli politics have shifted to the right since the days of Golda Meir, Menachem Begin, Shimon Perez, and Yitzhak Rabin— which has only exacerbated the Palestinian problem. Consider that David Ben Gurion, the founder of the State of Israel, and Benzion Netanyahu, the current PM’s father, hated each other, as they were poles apart ideologically. The young Benjamin viewed Israel under the Labour Party’s leadership as evil, when growing up in the US. (Idriss Aberkane)
- It’s a fact that the surrounding Arab states always planned to attack Israel first, like in 1948, 1956, 1967 and 1973. The fact that Israel then repelled these attacks and afterwards occupied parts of the land belonging to these Arab nations, is not only normal, but even justifiable. In every case, where peace-treaties were signed (like between Israel and Egypt) the land previously occupied was returned. Syria never wished to sign a peace treaty with Israel, which is also why the Golan Heights were never returned.
- It is true that Israelis have been building “illegal” Jewish settlements on Palestinian soil in the West Bank since 2006, which is causing enormous grief and resentment on the Palestinian side.
- It is a fact that IDF soldiers have committed many atrocities in Palestinian territories over the years, either out of frustration, arrogance or fear. It caused deep-seated grievances and a feeling of helplessness among the Palestinian people.
- It’s true that while not all orthodox Jews would be sympathetic to the Revisionist Zionism of the current administration, their growth in number did significantly boost Netanyahu’s support.
- In fact, Orthodox Judaism is in many ways not consistent with being Jewish. There is little continuity between the testimony of the Tanach (the law, the prophets and the writings of the Jewish scriptures) and Orthodox Judaism of today (Baruch Maoz).
- It’s a fact that the secular Jewish avant-garde are among the most radical promoters of everything atheist, sexually immoral, neo-pagan, and even trans-human in the world. Tel Aviv is considered by some to be the LGBT-capitol of humanity and the Nova festival attacked by Hamas was a neo-pagan event. The well-known and outspoken views of Noah Yuval Harari of Tel Aviv are just one example of these sad trends among liberal Jews.
- There has been a strange love between Nietzschean Germans and radical Islam from sometime in the 19th into the first half of the 20th century. Both despised the Man on the Cross, and both despised the Jews. For example, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin Al Husseini, and Adolf Hitler met in Berlin on November 28, 1941, pledging allegiance to each other in their common cause to eradicate the Jews. The Grand Mufti told the Führer: “The Arabs are natural friends of the Nazis because we have the same enemies.”
- The famed American scholar of Islam, Bernard Lewis, claimed that Muslim antisemitism was imported from Christian Europe. He denied that it had any Muslim origins. Similar claims have been made by Muslim leaders like His Majesty King Abdullah of Jordan. He claimed in his letter to the American people in 1947 that the Muslim people were always generous toward the Jews, and that the latter always lived among them in peace. He said antisemitism was a peculiar Christian evil. This is evidently false. The core Islamic sources such as the Quran and Hadith have provided ample stimulus for Islamic antisemitism over the last 1400 years. (Mark Durie)
- It was an unforgiven and tragic mistake of America and the West to condemn all valid criticism of Israel or Jews since the holocaust as “antisemitism,” which basically meant that Israel became the “spoiled child” of the West for seventy years. Things hardly ever turn out well for spoiled children, as the story of Joseph in the Torah would tell us!
- If criticizing Jews or Israel is by definition antisemitic, then Jeremiah, Isaiah, Amos and the rest of the Hebrew prophets were all antisemites. What is more, God never stood on the side of Israel regardless of where they were going, but warned them incessantly that he will cast them away if they do not return to him.
- It’s no secret that Jews had been expelled from hundreds of countries for centuries, but it is also sad that there has been little honest introspection among them, as to how they could have contributed to the problem.
On Hamas and the Attack of October 7
- It is a fact that Hamas has been an embarrassment to surrounding Muslim-Arab states and their leaders, due to their extremist views and attitudes. They are an offspring of the Muslim Brotherhood, which is banned in several Muslim countries due to their radical political views.
- It even seems that Hamas’ main backers Iran was caught off guard by the scale and brutality of the 7/10 attacks. The same is probably true of Hezbollah in Lebanon.
- It is unlikely that Iran would have directly sponsored the 7/10 attacks. Iran is in a tough position, with enough trouble of its own. It recently had to deal with major unrests, its economy is in bad shape and some allege that it might not even be a Muslim nation in the near future, due to a mass exodus from Shia Islam. According to reports half of all the mosques in Iran are permanently closed. The fastest growing church in the world is among Iranians.
- It is a proven fact that a massive security breach occurred under Netanyahu’s leadership, and that Israel’s security forces were caught fast asleep, even after being tipped off by the Egyptian authorities’ three days prior to the brutal 10/7 massacres. (BBC)
- A center-right Israeli politician, Liberman, very accurately anticipated the exact scenario of 10/7 already in 2019, and warned against it. Yet Israel’s Internal Security even requested amateur radio operators, who were intercepting Hamas signals, to stop doing so, in the months prior to the attack. This all seems very strange.
- It is a myth that Hamas is for a two-state solution, as their leftist backers in the West would like us to believe. Hamas would never approve the existence of the State of Israel. It wants everything between the river and the sea for Muslim Arabs alone (not even for Christian Arabs)
- It’s a myth that Gaza was the world’s largest concentration camp prior to 10/7. Gazans were free to move and go about their own business. During Ariel Sharon’s tenure Israel not only evacuated all Jews living there by 2005, but even dug up all Jewish graves, to leave the place entirely to the Palestinians. People in concentration camps are in no position to receive large shipments of arms or to plot a massive terror attack! Moreover, many Gazans worked in Israel and freely passed in and out the strip on a weekly basis.
- Gaza is not a democracy and the majority of its citizens are not innocent. Gazans last voted in 2006, when they chose overwhelmingly for a terror organization. It has been known for years that even grade-school children in Gaza are taught to hate Israel and kill Jews.
- Hamas will never sign a peace-treaty with Israel under any conditions, since they are Islamist, and doing so would be haram (bad) according to sharia (Islamic law).
- It’s a fact that the attacks of 10/7 were of the most atrocious and brutal recorded in living memory, whether some initial Israelis reports were exaggerated or not.
- It’s also a fact that these attacks were randomly committed against innocent civilians to achieve the maximum political effect, to capture hostages as bargaining chips, and to instil fear in the general public. That is why we call such attacks terrorism, for that is what terrorism is.
- It is also quite certain, that Israeli security forces killed many of their own people in the ensuing chaos, in an effort to drive Hamas back and to prevent the taking of hostages.
- It is true, that if Israel would lay down its weapons today, the Jewish people would be in danger of being exterminated. Yet if Hamas would lay down its weapons today, there would be peace!
On the position of the Russian Federation
- It is highly unlikely that Russia has had any hand in the 7/10 attacks (in spite of Republican candidate Nicky Haley’s wild allegations). Putin’s record in condemning and fighting Islamic terror has been consistent and unequivocal (as opposed to the record of America and the West in this regard). Moreover, the Russian Federation always sought to maintain good relations with Israel, with 2.5 million Russian-speaking Jews living in Israel.
- The previous Israeli PM, Naphtali Bennet, tried to broker peace between Russia and Ukraine, and personally asked for a guarantee from Putin not to assassinate Zelensky. Israel also refused to provide its iron-dome mission-shield to Kiev. The 7/10 attacks nonetheless came as a massive birthday gift to Putin, since it immediately pulled Western attention away from the Ukraine War.
- Putin’s main concern is the destabilization of the Middle East, and the “genocide” of ordinary Palestinian citizens in the Gaza-strip due to the IDF’s war on Hamas in such a densely populated area. Since Russia is bordered by so many Muslim states on the south, and since it has a sizeable Muslim minority, it strives to maintain good relations with them all.
On the Netanyahu Administration
- Labour Zionism (represented by earlier Israeli leaders such as Ben Gurion, Golda Meir, and Yitzhak Rabin) favoured a two-state solution. Revisionist Zionism of the Netanyahu-Ben-Gvir administration, rejects the two-state solution. Netanyahu is the longest tenured Israeli PM and represents a significant shift to the right in the Knesset over recent decades. His Likud Party (with ca. 20% support in the Knesset) is only able to rule through a coalition with other right-wing parties. Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated by a rightwing Jew, for making peace with Palestine.
- It’s a tragic fact that the Israeli secret service Bet Shin, and Benjamin Netanyahu in particular, were propping up and sponsoring Hamas for many years, at first to serve as a front against both the PLO and Communism, and then to weaken Fatah, the Palestinian authority in the West Bank.
- It is true that the liberal Israeli press (Haaretz, Jerusalem Post and The Times of Israel) have all condemned Netanyahu for nurturing Hamas for years, alleging that his “poker game has now blown up in our faces.”
- Netanyahu’s revisionist Zionism did not want a two-state solution. It cynically nurtured Hamas so that the latter could counter Fatah’s influence over the Palestinian people. Fatah reluctantly recognized the State of Israel years ago, renounced all violence, and accepted the two-state solution. (Idriss Aberkane)
- It is unfortunately true that Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing politics over many years have seriously exacerbated the Palestinian problem, which is why banners were flown in Israel after 10/7 saying, “Take Bibi, give us the hostages” (Bibi = Netanyahu).
- WikiLeaks reported that Netanyahu’s government had secret plans for the evacuation of all citizens of Gaza into a tent-village in the Sinai (Egypt) and hoped in vain that the Egypt government would cooperate.
- The Egyptian government would never do so, since it will only anger the entire Muslim world and make the Palestinian problem their own problem. It would also be a violation of international law. Moreover, Egypt has its hands full in dealing with radical Islam as it is.
- If it was their goal to eliminate Hamas, Israel arguably could have done so (maybe over many years) through targeted assassinations, which the Mossad is more than capable of doing.
- Israel’s military response to 10/7 has been (as always) disproportionate. The mammoth civilian death toll makes it look like genocide and could hardly be in the interest of Israel itself. Most Israelis know this.
- There is no doubt that Hamas has been using human shields, as well as hospitals, mosques and schools in Gaza to cover up its vast tunnel system, operational rooms and arms caches. They have done so before in Sinai too, when they lived under Egyptian rule.
- It’s a fact that Israel has never been in such a bad diplomatic situation before, with the entire Muslim umma (both Sunni and Shia) and much of rest of the world united against them. This came as a massive shock to Western elites. Most of the Muslim states in the region, except for Turkey perhaps, are too weak and scared to get directly involved.
On the Clash of Civilizations
- American political-scientist Samuel Huntington has predicted a major clash of civilizations after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War. The bi-polar world of the Cold War would make way for multi-polar civilizations all vying for control over their own people and traditions. This is now also playing out in the war between Israel and Hamas.
- It is a fact that atrocities committed by IDF personal over the years have generally been censured and prosecuted by Israeli authorities, and most certainly condemned by their press. Conversely Hamas’ deeds of terror of 10/7 were not only live-streamed, but celebrated on the streets of Gaza, as were the 9/11 attacks back in the day.
- It’s a fact that Israelis are free to criticize their government and even the IDF, but that Palestinians won’t dare criticize Hamas openly.
- It’s a fact that if Israel lays down it weapons today, all Jews would be eliminated. But if Hamas would lay down their weapons today, peace would become an instant reality.
- It is a fact that two radically different worldviews, i.e., of the Tanach on the one hand, and the Quran/Hadith on the other, explain the radical different approaches to matters of life and death. The one admires life as a gift of the Blessed One, while the other celebrates death as the way to Paradise and pleasing Allah (either by killing or being killed).
- It is true that Golda Meir once said that there would be peace in Middle-East once the Palestinians have learned to love their own children more than they hate the Jews.
- It is no exaggeration to say that Muslims in the Middle East have been blaming Jews for literally everything that goes wrong, even when a ceiling fan in Saudi Arabia stops turning on a warm day! (Ayaan Hirsi Ali)
- It is also sadly true that some Jewish people have been calling for the genocide of the Palestinian people since 10/7, and that many Palestinians wish the same for Israel.
- It’s deeply worrisome that religious eschatological themes play such a prominent role in the current situation, threatening to trigger irrational behaviour. The young Benjamin Netanyahu was asked by the legendary Rebbe Menachem Schneerson of New York to accelerate the coming of the Mashiach (Jewish Messiah). Iranians have been flowing the black flag, which according to the hadith is the harbinger of the arrival of the Mahdi and the end of the world. Famous Russian Orthodox philosopher Alexander Dugin openly fears that Armageddon is imminent. PM Benjamin Netanyahu has been quoting doomsday texts in Isaiah and Evangelical Christians have for years predicted that the end will come with a gigantic battle involving Israel and its enemies in the Valley of Jezreel. Moreover, Israel itself has always kept the military “Samson Option” open—if it would face an existential threat. The “Samson Option” refers to Samson in the Bible, pulling the whole building down on himself and the Philistines, when he saw no other way out. Israel allegedly has 90 nuclear warheads, while Iran and Turkey might have it soon (Idriss Aberkane).
On the African National Congress’ Support for Hamas
- The ANC government of South Africa has come out strongly in support of Hamas and has called for Israel to be summoned before the International Criminal Court for genocide. It should be remembered that the ANC abandoned its Christian foundations for Marxist ideology and terrorist methodology since the 1960s, and that it has never officially changed course. Pres. Nelson Mandela stunned Ted Koppel and American viewers of NBC television early in the 1990s, when he defiantly pledged support for all terrorist movements. Moreover, the ANC has presided passively over the slow genocidal killing of thousands of South African white farmers, and refused to rein its political ally in, when the EFF called for the killing of these farmers at their political rallies. That makes the ANC’s virtue signalling over Palestine ring pretty hollow. The Jerusalem Post reported that the South African government will soon discover the law of unintended consequences, as the International Criminal Court would provide the best opportunity yet to Israel to state its own case and to prove to the whole world how Hamas’ genocidal Charter calls for the elimination of every Jew in the region. The ANC has probably not thought so far.
On the Unprecedented Support for Palestine
- It is good to protest against the death of innocent civilians in an armed conflict, as long as we do it for both sides.
- Much of the unprecedented support for Palestine also has other origins…
- It is either critical race theory (cultural Marxism) extended and applied to a regional conflict: identifying one side as the oppressed and the other as the oppressor, regardless of any moral or ideological context.
- Or it is the world rising up against the American hegemon and her allies, casting off the shackles of the globalist elites and their billionaire financiers, longing for a multi-polar world and the sovereignty of different civilizations.
- Or it is the fickleness of human beings, looking which way the wind is blowing, so it can stand with the many and the mighty.
On the Wall and Israel as an Apartheid State
- The wall in Israel, like apartheid in South Africa, was born out of fear. The fear of a minority to lose its own sovereignty and ability to determine its own future, in the face of an overwhelming majority of a “strange” culture, tradition, language, and religion. This is the same fear Palestinians had when so many Jews arrived in Israel since 1948, or what Nelson Mandela’s family had when he fell in love with a Swazi girl, as a young Xhosa gentleman, studying law in Johannesburg. This fear may translate into racial supremacy (like Adolf Hitler refusing to shake the Grand Mufti’s hand in Berlin in 1941), but it does not have to, and often does not. Such fears are however fully vindicated by the dismissive attitude of those in a more powerful demographic position, proving them to be valid.
- The French historian Bernard Lugan has argued that the imposition of democracy in Africa has actually rekindled tribal tensions and fuelled civil wars. The reason is simple: the winner of an election takes it all, and often rules for the benefit of his own tribe and friends, caring little for the rest. That also sits behind “apartheid-fears.” It is time to realize that democracy without a Judeo-Christian mentality and worldview is basically dead, since it is now all about demographics and caring for your own tribe.
- Words by Alexander Solzhenitsyn are well worth remembering for both Palestinians and Israelis as they ponder the events of 10/7 and the war in Gaza. He said: “While only the perpetrators of great evils are personally guilty, all who silently approve of their actions are co-responsible.”
- Lastly, but most importantly, it is a lie that one man’s freedom fighter is another man’s terrorist. Acts of terror, seeking to kill or maim innocent civilians in order to instil fear in the general public, and to force political change, is ALWAYS terrorism, never mind the context.
So, Where Should We Stand?
We must repent…
if ever we have called one man’s freedom fighter another one’s terrorist. Hatred and revenge are the marks of the Beast. Period. The followers of the Lamb have nothing to do with it, but seek to bless even those who hate and persecute them.
We must repent…
if we have ever turned a blind eye to our Western governments’ cynical programs of secretly sponsoring terror movements for their own interests. The chickens are now coming home to roost and it’s ugly.
We must repent…
if we have always blamed one side, while giving a free pass to the other. That is unbecoming of Christ’s servants and has done their cause no good.
We must repent…
if we have supported Christian Zionism; that Evangelical movement demanding from all Christians to stand unequivocally with Israel, never mind what they do or say. We stand with Israel, by calling them back to their covenant with God, as their own prophets did, praying for God’s blessing upon them. And we stand in truth and righteousness with the true people of God, whoever they are, Jew or Gentile.
We must repent…
if we have listened uncritically to televangelists and authors hoping for the world to end through a massive military conflict in Israel. Their message will lead to irrational political rhetoric, and also discredits the message of Christianity in the eyes of the unbelieving world.
God alone knows when our Lord Jesus will appear with his mighty angels, to judge the living and the dead.
We must pray… for the peace of Jerusalem and the end of all wars. (Isaiah 2, Micah 4, and Psalm 122)
We must pray… for the conversion of the Jews.
May a fountain be opened for the house of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem to be cleansed from sin and uncleanness (Zach. 13:1). May the Blessed One pour out such a spirit of grace and supplication on Israel that they would look upon him whom they have pierced, and weep for him as one weeps for an only child (Zach. 10:12).
We must pray… for the conversion of the Arabs.
May they come and bow before the God of Israel, kissing the feet of his Messiah, who was slain for their transgressions, and bruised for their iniquities, but whom they rejected and despised when they twisted the Gospel, denying the Son of God and Prince of Peace.
We must humbly proclaim…
that the conflict in Gaza has abundantly shown that Christ alone is our peace, and that he alone can destroy the wall of hostility between Jew and Gentile, through the blood of his cross and the power of his Spirit.
that both Judaism and Islam have shown themselves to be wholly clueless and impotent in how to deal with the problem of evil, both in their own hearts and in the hearts of their enemies.
that the message of Calvary and the words of the Sermon on the Mount have never been more relevant than in this hour,
that ONE Divine standard MUST be applied to all—as in Isaiah 28:17—where Yahweh says:
- “I will make righteousness and justice my plumb-line
- and sweep away your refuge of lies”
We must stand….
with the Israel of God, whether Jew or Gentile, around the world.
for what is honourable, just and true, in the true spirit of the Beatitudes (Matthew 5),
which means that we shall speak the truth to all, and seek it in every scenario,
which means that we will always be willing to be proven wrong, and to go where the evidence leads,
which means that we will unequivocally condemn all sin and evil, and commend whatever is good and noble,
and therefore, that we cannot be silent about the horrors of October 7, or the deaths of so many Palestinian civilians due to the war against Hamas.
to hide behind great numbers, political might or corporate power, for all of that is like leaning on the arm of the flesh or on the spear of Rome, which God will never bless.
In the God of Jacob alone shall be our trust (Psalm 146),
for whoever does not believe, shall not prosper (Is. 7:9)!
We will always endeavour…
to take the vulnerable position of the pre-exilic Hebrew prophets, who called injustice “a blot on God’s conscience,” and who refused to drown Jerusalem’s sins in her many temple songs and religious feasts. (Abraham Heschel)
for what does the Lord require of us, but to do justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with our God? (Micah 6:8)
and therefore to associate with the meek, the merciful and the lowly—weeping with those who weep, and rejoicing with those who rejoice—but never with the arrogant, the proud and the merciless; praying only that the Lord would grant them repentance.
to guard against gullibility, because deception abounds on all sides,
to strive being innocent as doves, and wise as serpents,
and to speak—as peacemakers— the gospel of hope into every context,
pointing a lost world to the hope on a new creation, when our risen Saviour will appear.
In the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit… Jesus, Son of David, have mercy!