As nearly everyone is aware by now, yesterday president Trump declared Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. This move sparked an immediate backlash of negativity from much of the national and international community, with promises of impending major unrest by the Palestinians.
To better understand this event, especially when viewed in the light of Scripture, we need to first understand how things got to this point. With that in mind, a little history lesson if you please.
In 1947 Israel became a state, thus fulfilling several Old Testament prophecies concerning the return of the Jews to their homeland. Amos 9:14, Ezekiel 37: 10-14, and perhaps the best known prophecy of Isaiah 66: 7-8 which foretold the birth of Israel in one day, all give clear indication that God’s chosen people Israel would one day return to their ancestral homeland.
It was thought at that time that Jerusalem would become a city shared by multiple cultures. Remember, this was a different time in history, and optimism ran high that everyone would “play nice”.
All of that changed just one year later however when Israel was attacked by her Arab neighbors. This left Jerusalem divided, with the western part of the city controlled by Israel, and the eastern part controlled by Jordan.
All of this changed in 1967 when Israel was again attacked by her neighbors, in what became known as the “six day war”. After the dust had settled, Israel had gained control of the entire city of Jerusalem, a fact that has been a major point of contention ever since.
So here’s where this really gets interesting. The U.S. embassy has always been in Tel Aviv, it has never been in Jerusalem. But did you know that a plan has been in place to move our embassy since 1989? It’s true: in 1989 Israel and America agreed to a 99 year property lease for a new embassy to be constructed in Jerusalem.
Oddly enough, since the inception of this lease, this property remains untouched to this day. Hmmmm….
You might be thinking by now who cares! What does any of this have to do with anything I care about? Well, as I said, here’s where this gets real interesting.
You see, six years later in 1995, our Congress passed a law REQUIRING America to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem! Did you know that? It seems the supporters of the law felt at that time that the U.S. should respect Israel’s choice of Jerusalem as its capital.
I won’t even go there!
So the million dollar question then is this: why hasn’t America moved its embassy to Jerusalem before now? Several previous presidents including Clinton, Bush, and Obama have all said “no” to the moving of the embassy. Their fear has been that such a move would lead to further unrest in the region and negate any peace efforts already underway.
How do they get away with not complying with this law you ask? They simply sign a waiver every six months to “delay” the move. Sort of like what we’ve come to know as an Executive Order. Apparently it’s true, the pen is indeed mightier than the sword!
So why now, why this president, why move the embassy now after all of this time? I believe the reason is because the time is finally right to insert this particular piece of the end time’s puzzle into its proper place.
Every Christian should be aware of Jerusalem’s importance in end time events. We may not completely understand all things, and we likely do not all agree on every point. What is non-negotiable however is that the events leading up to Christ’s return center around Jerusalem.
At some point in the future, Israel is going to build a third Temple on what is called the Temple Mount. One of the purposes of this new Temple will be so that daily animal sacrifices can be re-instituted. The Antichrist will ultimately defile this place as well.
As it stands currently, this cannot happen because the Temple Mount compound is not under Jewish control. Israel controls all access to the TM through eleven gates, but the compound itself is under Islamic control. Obviously, something has to give here.
For those unaware, the Temple Mount is believed by Jewish scholars to be the center of the Temple Holy of Holies, the site where Solomon built the first Temple, where the second Temple referred to by Jesus was destroyed in 70 AD, and where the Third and final temple is to be built.
The importance of this site cannot be overestimated from a purely Biblical and prophetic point of view. From Wikipedia…
“The Temple Mount,“Mount of the House of God, known to Muslims as the Haram esh-Sharif “the Noble Sanctuary”, is one of the most important religious sites in the world. It has been venerated as a holy site for thousands of years by Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Herodian walls and gates with additions dating back to the late Byzantine and early Islamic periods cut through the flanks of the Mount. Currently it can be reached through eleven gates, ten reserved for Muslims and one for non-Muslims, with guard posts of Israeli police in the vicinity of each.”
I have no doubt that if America does actually move its embassy to Jerusalem, it will create a firestorm heard all around the world. Every one of its Arab neighbors will rattle their sabers, with Iran and possibly the Soviet Union threatening all out nuclear war.
In fact, I believe there will be nuclear war in the Middle East, as Damascus is turned into a “heap of ruins” (Isaiah 17:1). Rather than be overran and defeated by all of it’s enemies, Israel will deploy it’s “Samson Option” of expending its nuclear warheads, thus causing Damascus to cease from being a city.
Of course, all of this is yet to come. No one knows the precise calendar of God, as we are given bits and pieces of coming events without specific dates and times. It is exciting however to be alive and witnessing these end time events!
We are told to watch and pray. We are also instructed to be wise and redeem the time. My prayer is that Christians will focus not on the politics of a Jerusalem capital, but on the spiritual implications instead.
As for today, I’m just glad to know who Jesus is!