On May 14th 2018, the nation of Israel celebrated its 70th anniversary as a sovereign country. A hallmark of that special day was the controversial act by President Trump to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
For over two decades American presidents have only given lip service this idea. When it came to taking action past presidents hesitated. But, President Trump did what his predecessors didn’t have the courage to do. Concerning the move, Benjamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister of Israel remarked, “This is history. President Trump, by recognizing history, you have made history. Thank you, for having the courage to keep your promises. Thank you, for making the alliance between America and Israel stronger than ever. We have no better friends in the world. You stand for Israel and you stand for Jerusalem.”[i]
In reality, Trump’s move merely recognizes what the Bible has declared for centuries—that Jerusalem is the center of the world. Ezekiel 5:5 says, “This is Jerusalem; I have set her at the center of the nations.” And again, in Ezekiel 38:12, the Jewish people are referred to as the people who live at the “center of the world.” Actually, the literal Hebrew reads, “the navel of the world.” Considering what the Bible declares about Jerusalem, it would make sense that Israel would want that city to be recognized as the “eternal capital” of their nation.
Of course, there are also interesting prophetic implications at play here. The Bible makes it clear that in the end times, the Jewish people will be regathered to their homeland in unbelief (Isaiah 11:10-12), their state will be re-established (Isaiah 66:7-8), and they will reoccupy their historic capital of Jerusalem (Zechariah 8:7-8). The fact that Israel is celebrating its 70th year as a nation is indeed a super-sign pointing to the fulfillment of Bible prophecy.
In the wake of this decision, there were many Arabs in the region not happy, as protests and skirmishes erupted in the Gaza Strip. Trump’s action inflamed the debate and the hatred of Arabs who lay claim to Israel. Once again, we see an alignment with prophecy. In Zech. 12:3 we read that in the end times, “Jerusalem will be a heavy stone for all the peoples; all who lift it will be severely injured. And all the nations of the earth will be gathered against it.” One day, all the nations of the world will be opposed to Israel, including her current ally America.
Jerusalem is not just the center of the universe politically, but spiritually as well. It is the focus of God's plan of redemption. It is the city where Jesus, died for our sins. And, it is that same city of Jerusalem that Jesus has promised to return and reign over all the world (Zechariah 14:4).
Going forward we should remember two things. First, we as a nation will be blessed when our leaders choose to help Israel. God says in the Abrahamic covenant of Gen. 12:1-3, that He will bless those who bless Israel. Second, Joel 3:2 is a sobering prophecy which states that any nation in the end times that gets involved in trying to divide the land of Israel will suffer the judgment of the Lord. Let’s pray for our leaders and be ready for Christ’s return. -DM