THE WHOLE “BLACK LIVES MATTERS” ISSUE has become the spring-board to thoughts and ideas which have kept many from making a distinction between an *organized movement* and a *phrase.* This has led to false statements and even quoting the Bible out of context.
As Scripture tell us, “there is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1: 9 ). Even Jesus had to deal with people who didn't make distinctions between “organized movements” and “phrases.” Jesus wept over the same kind of mistake that's being made today.
Most of us are probably familiar with the Triumphal Entry; Jesus is making His way to Jerusalem. As He makes His entrance we get quite an unexpected reaction from Jesus during what we might have thought to be a warm and grand welcome.
John 12: 13 - They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
Luke 19: 41 – 42 As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes.
People shouting, "Hosanna" (which means “save us”), and waving palm branches and Jesus weeps. Why? Was it for those shouting “hosanna” or those that weren’t? Well, there’s a theme happening that most Christians don’t realize.
Hundreds of years earlier, Solomon decided to dedicate the Temple during the time of Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles). It’s during this time that the people were also commanded to wave palm branches (Leviticus 23: 40).
During the dedication Solomon prayed a long prayer (1 Kings 8) which included asking GOD for rain, or else they'll die.
What would they have said, asking to be saved? "Hosanna!"
Where do we get palm branches to go with “Hosanna”?
Psalm 118: 25 - 27 Please, Lord, please save us (hosanna). Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. From the house of the Lord we bless you. The Lord is God, and He has made his light shine on us. With **boughs in hand**, join in the festal procession up to the horns of the altar.
When do we know them to carry boughs in hand, saying “save us”? It's during Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles). Psalm 118 reaffirms the connection between “Hosanna” and palm branches.
But Jesus isn’t entering during Sukkot. What’s going on? Why are people shouting “Hosanna” and waving palm branches during this time???
In about 586B.C., Solomon's Temple was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar It's rebuilt and in 180B.C. by Ezra, Nehemiah, Zerubbabel and the palm branches and “Hosannas” continued. However, Greeks took over the Jewish nation and defiled the Temple
Then, a family of Jewish priests, called the Maccabees, revolt, defeat the Greeks and cleaned out the Temple. However, during the time it took to reclaim the Temple they realized they missed Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles).
They didn't gather palm branches and pray for rain, crying "hosanna"! What if GOD doesn’t send rain? So, they had a "Late Sukkot".
It was because of all this that now the Palm Branch and "Hosanna" take on a new meaning – VICTORY! It becomes more than “save us” with rain. It is now, “save us” from our enemy; those evil pagans. GET THEM!
“Hosanna” took on a very political meaning, as well as religious. And the Palm Branch became their symbol, their banner. Jesus understands all this and knows exactly what they're asking for.
In Jesus' day the enemies aren't the Greeks but the Romans. The Romans are the ones oppressing their people, their race, their rights. These “Freedom Fighters” (also known as Zealots) took as their symbol the Palm Branch – and their war-cry was “Hosanna!” And so, in Jesus’ day, Palm Branches and Hosanna at this time meant, in a sense, “Kill/get rid of the Romans” (those in political power and authority).
The Jewish people eventually lost this battle. When the Romans won, they actually minted a coin with the words “Judaea Capta” (Judea captured/defeated) with a defeated Jew under a palm tree. Even the Romans recognized the Palm Branch’s meaning.
So when Jesus walks in and hears the “hosannas,” He's not hearing, "You are the Lamb of GOD to take away the sins of the world". He hears, "Kill the Romans!"
Now, to the issue at hand. **As Christians**, we can’t argue against the many reasons for anger and frustration the Black community feels. Still, it’s a mistake for people to use, hashtag, or chant a phrase such as “Black Lives Matter” without making the distinction between rhetoric vs. an organized movement which has proven itself to be questionable and unashamedly promoted anti-Christian values.
“All rhetoric that leads to violence, let alone that calls for violence, must be categorically renounced and repudiated. Not a few leaders in the Black Lives Matter movement need to do some serious soul searching in light of the intentional, targeted shooting of cops in several states this past week. There is no comparison between a policeman overreacting and killing someone and another person intentionally targeting a policeman for death.” – Dr. Michael L. Brown
The “Black Lives Matter” phrase has become the new “Hosanna.” It’s a cry to rid ourselves of alleged “oppressors.” No one argues that innocent lives should be protected in every way. No one argues that race plays a factor in everyone’s life, either directly or indirectly. What should be argued is whether we are standing with a movement that most people have not taken the time to research beyond their rhetoric? Or, are we standing with a truly sympathetic outreaching heart to a suffering community, without acknowledging or promoting a movement which holds to opposing values?
As Jesus made His Triumphal Entry, people thought a revolution was happening. But, He came to die, not to kill. He wept because they wanted Him to be what He wasn't. Whenever someone believes the Christian movement will come by might, political power, etc., they miss the point.
Let’s not be sloppy in our speech or in our thoughts.
Ephesians 4: 29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
Romans 14: 19 So then, let us pursue what leads to peace and to mutual edification.
Colossians 3: 8 But now you must put aside all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your mouth.