Monday, December 11, 2017

Trump’s Recognition of Jerusalem: Justification & Impact On Christians

            The announcement that America has finally recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital invoked a mixed response. Christians, who support Israel, are joyous. Conversely, Muslims and Christians, who do not support Israel, nonchalantly exhibit hostility to this development.

            Jerusalem has always been the capital of the nation of Israel. However, a majority of UN member states, by virtue of disputing Israel’s ownership of East Jerusalem, positioned their embassies in and around Tel Aviv. Thus the official recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital was withheld by these countries.

            Ben Shapiro contends that the American recognition of Jerusalem is a wise, legal and a powerful development. He lists seven reasons to justify the same:1

1. Jerusalem Is The Eternal Capital Of Israel. Jerusalem is only important because the Jews made it important; it was the capital of the kingdom of Israel, the site of the Temple, and the wellspring of Judaic thought for millennia. Both Christianity and Islam value Jerusalem because Judaism did. The dream of Jerusalem has animated the Jewish people for its entire existence; there is a reason the Psalms (137:5) state, “If I forget thee, Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill.” Jerusalem is mentioned hundreds of times in the Prophets and Writings (during the time of the Torah, it was not yet called Jerusalem). By contrast, Jerusalem is not mentioned at all in the Koran. If Jews do not have a historic claim to Jerusalem, they have no historic claim to any part of Israel, including Tel Aviv.
2. Congress Has Long Recognized Jerusalem As Israel’s Capital. In 1995, Congress passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act, requiring the movement of the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The act also said that Jerusalem should be undivided and be recognized as the capital of Israel. The executive branch has refused to implement the law thanks to both political and separation of powers concerns. Trump would merely be stamping Congressional law with approval. That law, by the way, passed 93-5 in the Senate and 374-37 in the House.
3. Recognizing Jerusalem As Israel’s Capital Recognizes Israel’s Sovereignty. By removing the United States from the position of pressuring Israel to sacrifice its historic, religious, strategic capital, Israel will now be able to negotiate on its own behalf. That means that the U.S. will no longer be in a position to twist the arm of our closest ally in order to pursue separate strategic interests. Imagine the United States pressuring Great Britain to hand over all of Belfast to the IRA. That’s what the U.S. has been doing to Israel for years.
4. Recognizing Jerusalem As Israel’s Capital Will Minimize Violence. Every time negotiations fail, the Palestinians threaten violence and participate in terrorism. The sticking point for such negotiations has generally been Jerusalem — that’s the excuse the Palestinian Authority and Hamas use to launch campaigns of terror, to international approval thanks to the international community’s refusal to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. They hope that using violence as a tactic will earn concessions from Israel, or pressure from the West on Israel. By leading the charge to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the United States will be sending the unmistakable signal that violence over Jerusalem will not be tolerated, and that pressure tactics through murder will earn no rewards.
5. Showing The United States Will Not Be Bullied By Terrorists Is Good Policy. The entire Oslo Accords was based on a blackmail program: Palestinians vowed not to murder Jews if Jews turned over land. That deal wasn’t just blackmail, it was a lie: Israel offered many generous peace deals, and the Palestinians responded with terror waves. The United States shouldn’t participate in such blackmail. If the Palestinians threaten violence, Trump should drop the other shoe: he should refuse to authorize the release of foreign aid to the terrorist government. There’s no reason taxpayers should be paying terrorists in the first place.
6. Recognizing Reality Makes Peace More Possible. A few days ago, the Saudi monarchy reportedly summoned Palestinian leadership and told them to support a peace deal with the Israelis. That deal would retain major Israeli settlement blocs, prevent the establishment of a Palestinian standing army, and leave the PA without Jerusalem as a Palestinian capital. By declaring Jerusalem Israel’s undivided capital, the United States would remove any other option from the table, thereby pressuring both the Saudis and the Palestinians into accepting that deal.
7. Recognizing Jerusalem Means Cementing The Anti-Iranian Alliance. President Obama's horrific foreign policy united Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Israel against Iran. But that alliance cannot be cemented until realities are recognized by all parties. Just as George H.W. Bush should have allowed Israel to join the coalition against Saddam Hussein during the Gulf War in order to force the Muslim states to recognize that their common interests with Israel outstripped their differences, Trump would be right to make clear to all parties that Israel has control over its own capital, and that the price of alliance is recognition of reality.
Jerusalem is, was, and always will be Israel’s capital. Failing to recognize that is a slap in the face to history, to reality, and to Israel itself. If Trump does what is necessary, he’ll deserve credit not just for bravery, but for decency.

            How does this development impact Christians?  

            Christians who believe that the Church has replaced the nation of Israel would neither support Israel nor be excited of this development. Their concern that this development could possibly set off violence in the region that’s immune to peace is understandable.

            However, this development cannot impede the peace process, claims Dr. Brown, “When it comes to the peace process, more than two decades of negotiations have yielded precious little progress. So the idea that recognizing Jerusalem would hurt this process is ludicrous. Instead, if the Palestinians want peace with Israel, they can have wonderful, lasting, prosperous peace — without dividing Jerusalem.”2

            Christians who believe that the nation of Israel is distinct from the Church would be immensely excited about this development!

             The Bible reveals Christ’s future rule from the city of Jerusalem for 1000 years (cf. Isaiah 2:3; Matthew 19:28, 25:31-34; Acts 1:6-7; Revelation 20:4). Hence, when the most powerful country in the world, the USA, recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, it invariably sets the date of Christ’s bodily rule on earth closer than ever before. This event heralds the glorious second coming of our Lord! This development is also a matter of great joy because it is marvelous to witness the unfolding of the events prophesied in the Bible right before our very own eyes.

            Finally, would God bless those who bless Israel? Dr. Brown says yes!3

Will God bless President Trump and the United States for making this bold and courageous move? I believe He will, for the following reasons.
1. On doing so the president is blessing Israel. God still blesses those who bless His covenant nation, despite that nation’s sins.
2. Out of all the cities on the earth, the Bible only calls us to pray for the welfare of Jerusalem (see Psalm 122; Isaiah 62:1-8).
3. The tremendous resistance to the president’s decision gives evidence to the intensity of the spiritual battle over this city.
4. There are prophetic scriptures that speak of a Jewish Jerusalem welcoming back the Messiah. So the decision to fortify the unity of the city is in explicit harmony with those Scriptures (see especially Zechariah 12 and 14).
And what about God’s love for the Muslim world? What about justice for the Palestinians?
The answer is simple: If they want to be blessed, they too must recognize the Jewish claim to Jerusalem, a city that they do not need to possess or divide. They don’t need to call for violence and war. Instead, they need to accept that East Jerusalem will not be the capital of a Palestinian state. That working with the Jewish people rather than against them will be in their best interests, too. And that the Jewish people have a massively greater claim to Jerusalem than the Muslims do.
As for President Trump, he is convinced that this formal recognition of Jerusalem will aid and abet the peace process. But even if that is not the case, I truly believe that God will bless him and bless America for making this courageous and righteous decision.
Let’s watch and see in the coming days.



Websites cited were last accessed on 11th December 2017.

1 comment:

Denny Benjamin said...

Muslims need to recognise the Love of the Savior. They need to move away from the culture of hate and death.