Inside View Mar/Apr 2018
As we all know, President Donald Trump in December officially recognized Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel.
Why it took seven decades for the United States to do so can easily be blamed on politics. However, we know a great spiritual battle is at play that resists acknowledging Jerusalem’s place in Israel’s history. Since the day King David conquered the Jebusite city 3,000 years ago and established it as the capital of the Jewish people, it has never served as the capital of any other nation. There has never been a sovereign nation of Palestine in the history of the world, and Jerusalem has never been an Arab or Muslim capital.
Israel is the only nation with a God-given right to the land and city and the only nation with a historic claim to Jerusalem as its capital. Jerusalem is where God placed His house, the Temple, to dwell with Israel. It is where He has written His name and where He has promised to set His only begotten Son, the Messiah, on the throne of David to rule over Israel and the world. God has never given Jerusalem to any other nation or people, including the church.
The justification for a divided Jerusalem has no basis in history. So-called East Jerusalem is, in fact, the ancient, historic city. It includes the City of David, the Temple Mount, Calvary, and the tomb where Jesus was buried until His resurrection. All of the major Jewish and Christian sacred biblical sites lie within what people are calling East Jerusalem.
Trump’s bold, courageous action was reminiscent of President Harry Truman’s when he made the United States the first nation to officially recognize the State of Israel moments after David Ben-Gurion read Israel’s Declaration of Independence in 1948. Both men acted in the face of great opposition.
However, we wish President Trump had gone further and declared Jerusalem the indivisible, eternal capital of the Jewish people. His remarks left the door open for dividing Jerusalem in future peace negotiations. He also could have ordered the U.S. State Department to move our embassy’s shingle immediately from Tel Aviv to the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem, thereby officially relocating our embassy to Jerusalem until a permanent embassy can be built there.
Yet we must not lose sight of the significance of Trump’s action. He walked where other presidents have failed to tread. He has instructed the State Department to make plans to move the embassy, and we hope the Trump administration will fulfill the president’s promise.
The importance of presidential recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital cannot be overstated. It marks a pivotal point in U.S. policy that rejects the idea the Arab-Israeli conflict is the primary cause of the Middle East’s troubles and the biggest obstacle to peace. The National Security Strategy of the United States of America, a 68-page report released by the White House on December 18, 2017, identifies Iran and terrorist organizations as “the cause of the region’s problems.”
Trump’s action also will change the dynamics of future peace negotiations, removing from the negotiating table the question “To whom does Jerusalem belong?” and allowing negotiators to focus on the real issues that prevent peace: Arab refusal to recognize Israel. U.S. recognition also stands in opposition to UN and European efforts to deny Israel’s historical connection to its ancient city.
After President Truman officially recognized Israel, other nations followed suit. Our hope is that even more nations will again follow the U.S. lead and recognize Jerusalem as the eternal capital of the Jewish nation.