"…Today, we finally acknowledge the obvious: that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. This is nothing more, or less, than a recognition of reality. It is also the right thing to do. It's something that has to be done.
That is why, consistent with the Jerusalem Embassy Act, I am also directing the State Department to begin preparation to move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.”
God said in Zachariah 12 that Jerusalem would be a burdensome stone, well that was clear this week! Welcome to bibleinthenews.com, this is John Billington with you this week. With weeks like this we ask how long O Lord?
What made Trump's statement so significant and so highly controversial is that Trump simply said “Jerusalem,” and specifically did not define the capital as West Jerusalem. Even Russia earlier this year declared West Jerusalem the capital of Israel, but in defining West Jerusalem the capital it is equally declaring East Jerusalem as not being the capital, and that narrative is not new. And for anyone who is not familiar with difference, it is East Jerusalem as it is known today that contains ancient Jerusalem, meaning the City of David, the temple mount and really all the places that hold significance. Nicki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN spoke to this detail on an interview on CNN with Wolf Blitzer:
Listen for excerpt of Nicki Haley on CNN.
This unwillingness to say that that the path to peace must be through the two state solution is truly a new era in the seemly never ending peace process. Further to that the complete unwillingness of the United States to now compromise the safety of Israel or force anything upon them seems so foreign after the Obama years. In fact many see this as a perfect response to the Obama administrations abstention of UN resolution 2334 which denied Israel any right to the City of David, the western wall, or the temple mount.
And with so much Jerusalem in the news the Bible is also very much in the news. The following is a message of thanks from Benjamin Netanyahu to President Trump.
"This is a historic day.
"It's been the capital of Israel for nearly 70 years. Jerusalem has been the focus of our hopes, our dreams, our prayers for three millennia. Jerusalem has been the capital of the Jewish people for 3,000 years.
"It was here that our Temples stood, our kings ruled, our prophets preached.
"From every corner of the earth, our people yearned to return to Jerusalem, to touch its golden stones, to walk its hallowed streets. So it's rare to be able to speak of new and genuine milestones in the glorious history of this city.
"Yet today's pronouncement by President Trump is such an occasion.
"We're profoundly grateful to the President for his courageous and just decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to prepare for the opening of the US embassy here. This decision reflects the President's commitment to an ancient but enduring truth, to fulfilling his promises and to advancing peace.
"The President's decision is an important step towards peace, for there is no peace that doesn't include Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel.
As you can see this is certainly bringing the Bible into the news in a very literal way! In fact it is like a red rag to a bull for those that hate Israel. First in line would be the Vatican as they have always been against the Jews even being in the land and especially having Jerusalem. For them they believe they replaced the Jews as God’s chosen people. Is was Chaim Weizmann who said the following when trying to get the mandate passed in the UN -
“If the mandate does not go through this time, it never will. The Catholics has been chiefly responsible for uniting the Muslims and the Christians against us, because what the Vatican really wishes to have is something which amounts to power in Palestine, and it has been using various Catholic members of the League, such as Spain, Brazil, Italy, Belgium and France, in order to achieve its object, and this is really the inner meaning of its attacks against us.”
Let that soak in and you will find that it is just the same today. The following headlines show where the Roman church (and anglican and orthodox churches) perspective:
“Heads of Jerusalem churches deliver last-minute plea to Trump” - The Times of Israel
“Heads of Christian churches in Jerusalem urge retaining city's 'international status’” - LA Times
“Trump Inflames the Middle East” - L’Osservatore Romano
“Archbishop Tomasi urges U.S. rethink on Jerusalem as Israeli capital” - Vatican Radio
“Pope Francis warns of new ‘tension’ if U.S. embassy is moved to Jerusalem” - American Jesuit Review
“Egypt: Coptic pope cancels Pence meeting over Jerusalem” - Al Jazeera
“Trump’s Jerusalem decision will cause ‘explosion’ in Arab states, Christian leader warns” - Sunday Express
“South African churches call for mass prayer in protest at Israeli violations” - Middle East Monitor
“Armenian Church Leaders Condemn Trump’s Jerusalem Recognition” - Asbarez Armenian News
“'The US has crossed all the red lines': Head of Egypt's Coptic Church and Palestinian President will shun Mike Pence when he visits the Middle East in response to Trump declaring Jerusalem Israel's capital” - Daily Mail
“Greek patriarch lobbies Vladimir Putin over Jerusalem lease deal fears” - The Times of Israel
And it was the Roman Pope himself that spoke the following words - “my thoughts go to Jerusalem and I cannot keep silent my deep concern for the situation that has been created in the past days, at the same time I would like to make a heartfelt appeal for everyone’s commitment to respect the city’s status quo, in conformity with the pertinent United Nations Resolutions”.
This call for the desire to keep the “status quo” is incredibly hypocritical. The status quo has Israel in control. Is that what the church wants? Certainly not. In fact it was only this past July when the Pope called for a change in the status quo - The following is from Crux Now a catholic news site - “In the wake of a crisis surrounding the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, the Vatican on Tuesday told the United Nations Security Council it supported “a comprehensive, just and lasting solution to the question of the City of Jerusalem… During the Security Council meeting, Monsignor Simon Kassas - the Chargé d’Affaires of the Vatican’s mission to the United Nations - said the Vatican said Jerusalem needs an “internationally guaranteed” special status.
It is no surprise then that when Mahmoud Abbas wanted to get last minute help he turned to none other than the Vatican and the Russians. The headline in the Jerusalem Post on December 5th was “Abbas urges Putin, Pope to intervene ahead of Trump decision”.
And really this is one of the most notable changes that has been happening rather quickly since Trump has come to power, the realigning of the nations, right along the lines of Ezekiel 38. Sometimes Trump is going faster than Britain and the other young lions are quite ready for, that is really the case here with Jerusalem.
But in Europe Trump is just more than they can take. In the German newspaper Deutsche Welle it was reported that the german foreign minister, Sigmar Gabriel said "The US no longer sees the world as a global community, but as a fighting arena where everyone has to seek their own advantage… Germany can no longer simply react to US policy but must establish its own position… even after Trump leaves the White House, relations with the US will never be the same.” He continued that “Washington’s role as a protector of Europe’s security and economic interests, set out by George C. Marshall 70 years ago, has begun to crumble.”
We could add much more to these comments about the northern confederacy but the bottom line is that Trump without the move on Jerusalem was moving away from Europe, add the Jerusalem declaration in and the differences could not be more clear. In fact more Germans now see their country’s relationship with Washington as a larger foreign policy challenge than the threat posed by North Korea or Iran, according to a survey commissioned by the Körber Foundation in last October.
Now as far as Bible prophecy is concerned and the plan the Almighty God has laid out does it matter really if the US recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital? In and of its self not really, but that recognition shows a new path being taken from the US and although many including the main stream media mocks at this possibly contributing to peace we know that peace would come. The picture of the state in the land before the northern confederacy lead by Russia comes down in Ezekiel 38 is a feeling of true peace, the land is without bars walls and gates. And this situation was never going to come by removing Jews from Jerusalem and the mountains of Israel (the west bank). And so for Israel having the largest power in the world today recognize the hotly contested city as belonging to them certainly lays the groundwork for a feeling of stability and removes much of the pressure to even think about dividing it once again.
As far as the peace plan goes the US administration have left most in the dark as to what their plan is. This has left many in the media saying that the peace plan is a non starter. And as far the announcement concerning Jerusalem goes it is supposedly spitting in the face of the Arabs and especially the Saudi’s. With all the meetings that have been happening lately between Jared Kushner, Trumps son in law and one of the leaders of the peace negotiations there is absolutely no chance the Saudi’s did not know this was coming. In fact my sister Angela Barnes, some of you may know her sent me an article this week from The Times of India entitled “Jerusalem as Israel capital: Saudi Arabia seen on board with US peace efforts.” The article says just the same, the Saudis had to know.
And do you know, I learnt something new in looking at these events this week, and that is the fact that Jerusalem is not mentioned even once in the Qur'an. Can you believe that?!! This is supposed to be the third holiest site of Islam and it is not even mentioned. The closest that you get is a reference once to “the farthest place or mosque” but there was not always universal agreement where that referred to. It does seem that Muslims are fairly sure today that the passage refers to Jerusalem though. This actually blew my mind! If you contrast that by the way with the Bible you are looking at over 750 references, that is not including references to Mt Zion, Mt Moriah or names such as Salem. Worth noting however is that the Qur'an does mention the return of the Jews - “When the promise of the hereafter [End of Days] comes to be fulfilled, We [Allah] shall assemble you [the Israelites] all together [in the Land of Israel].” This passage was actually referred to by a Muslim we had out to an exhibition commenting 1917 and 1967. We will leave that to one side and let you chew on that! Truly amazing though.
What we do know from Ezekiel 38 is that Tarshish (today Britain), her young lions (which includes the United States, Australia and Canada etc) are all on the same side with and Sheba and Dedan (today would be Saudi Arabia and the gulf states) opposing the northern alliance of Europe and Russia.
This has been happening at a quickening rate since Trump came into the presidency and reversed the path of Obama, who was trying to work with Iran at the expense of Israel and Saudi Arabia. Jared Kushner, Trump’s son in law has visited with Israel and Saudi Arabia a number of times, and there is known to be a fairly robust behind the scenes relationship with growing between Israel and the Saudi’s. There was reports that the Saudi crown prince covertly visited Israel in September. Of course both have a common enemy in Iran that is concern number one on the agenda.
Where exactly things will go in the next few weeks remains to be seen. One thing seems sure, the US administration apparently heard the message of Jeremiah 31:10 - “Hear the word of the Lord, O ye nations, and declare it in the isles afar off, and say, He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock.” We will end with the words of Mike Pence at the celebration and reenactment of the 1947 UN partition vote on Palestine. And when you hear these words it can be of no surprise why the Vatican and Christian churches are so bothered by the actions of the US, because I dont think there has ever been an administration or Government anywhere in the world, certainly not in over 2000 years that was so overtly pro Jewish and pro Israel.
Listen for excerpt of Mike Pences speech.
May we as Bible believers “Let Jerusalem come into our minds and “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem” for “they shall prosper that love thee.”
“Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces.”
“For my brethren and companions' sakes, I will now say, Peace be within thee.”
Join us again next week on bibleinthenews.com for another edition.