President Trump has made his announcement. The US recognises Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The Palestinians rage. Hamas threatened a new Intifada. The nations of the world join in their condemnation of the announcement. What are we to make of it?
Here at Revelation TV we want to declare that Jerusalem is God’s eternal city. God has decreed it to be a united city and under the control of the Jewish people. That is not a political statement. It is a spiritual statement! The nations of the world may have other ideas but they will discover at their peril the folly of seeking to go against the will of God.
To understand what is going on, we need to remind ourselves of some of our history. As World War II came to an end in 1945, the British ruled the area of land occupied by the Jewish people today. With the end of World War II, the Jews wanted to move into what they saw as their own homeland. On the other hand, the Arabs didn’t see why Jews, who were still the minority in Palestine at that time, should be given their own land. The British didn’t know what to do!
NEW STATE OF ISRAEL
On the 29th of November 1947, the United Nations General Assembly voted in favour of a plan dividing the land ruled by the British into two independent states, one Jewish and the other Arab, with Jerusalem having International status under the administration of the United Nations. It was agreed the British mandate to rule Palestine would finish on the 15th May 1948, and all British troops would be out of the region by 1st August 1948. The Jews accepted the plan. The Palestinian Arabs and surrounding Arab states rejected it.
The day before the British withdrawal, the Jews proclaimed the new State of Israel. After nineteen hundred years, Israel was reborn as a nation. The Arab nations responded by sending in forty thousand troops. The new Israel State was attacked on four fronts by five Arab armies. The fighting was fierce but gradually, the new State of Israel got the upper hand, and the Arab states were forced to begin peace talks. In 1949, peace agreements were signed with each of the attacking Arab nation. Israel had won, but none of the Arab nations was prepared to recognize the right of the State of Israel to exist.
A DIVIDED CITY
Jerusalem remained a divided city. Western Jerusalem was in the hands of the Jews. East Jerusalem, including much of the Old City, the Temple Mount and the Jewish Wailing Wall, was in the hands of the Jordanians. This didn’t stop the new Israel government declaring on the 23rd January 1950, Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
The bitterness felt by the Arab states, at having been defeated by the fledging state of Israel smouldered beneath the surface. That resentment came to a head in 1967. In the May, President Nasser of Egypt, mobilized a hundred thousand of his troops, and a thousand tanks, and placed them on high alert in the Sinai desert within striking distance of the Israeli borders. On the 26th May, President Nasser publicly declared that he intended to destroy Israel. Other Arab States expressed delight at the thought of Israel being destroyed and indicated they would give military support to his action.
BEST FORM OF DEFENSE IS ATTACK
Israel decided the best form of defence was attack! Early in the morning of the 5th June 1967, Israeli aircraft attacked Egyptian airfields, and destroyed most of Egypt’s planes. At the end of the day, Israel had air supremacy over all her attacking neighbours. Although fighting continued for a further 5 days, the war was effectively over. Israel had won. Of greatest significance to the Jewish people, and in fulfilment of biblical prophecy, the Israel army, on the 7th June took control of the Arab East Jerusalem, including the Old City, the Temple Mount, the Wailing Wall and other historical sites. For the first time in 2,000 years, all of Jerusalem was now in the hands of the Jewish people. For us, as gentiles, it is impossible to understand the sense of awe, wonder, and sheer emotion that the Jewish people felt at again being in control of their Holy City, and having access to their Holy sites.
There can be no doubting the significance and importance of the City of Jerusalem to the Jewish people.
WHO DOES JERUSALEM BELONG TO?
Each major world religion claims the city of Jerusalem as its own. Jerusalem has been destroyed twice, besieged 23 times, attacked 52 times and captured and recaptured 44 times. Jerusalem is God’s eternal city. It is to be a united city and under the control of the Jewish people. That is not a political statement. It is a spiritual statement! The nations of the world may have other ideas but they will discover at their peril the folly of seeking to go against the will of God.
On the 30th July 1980, the Israel Knesset passed its Jerusalem Law, which declared Jerusalem, complete and united, is the capital of Jerusalem. There was an angry response from the world!
The UN Security Council passed Resolution 478 declaring that Israel’s new law was null and void, and a violation of international law, and numerous resolutions by the UN General Assembly. They called on all member states to withdraw their diplomatic missions from the city.
With a few weeks, the 13 countries who had embassies in Jerusalem, had moved their embassies to Tel Aviv. Israel remained defiant declaring the resolution will not undermine the status of Jerusalem as the capital of a sovereign Israel and as a united city which will never again be torn apart.
In 1995, the US Congress passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act. The new law required that Jerusalem should be recognized as the capital of the State of Israel; and the United States Embassy in Israel should be established in Jerusalem no later than May 31, 1999.
The legislation, which notes that each sovereign nation, under international law and custom, may designate its own capital, acknowledged that Jerusalem had served as Israel’s capital since 1950. The law asserted that Jerusalem should remain an undivided city.
However, every American President since that time – Bill Clinton, George W Bush and Barak Obama – have opted to waive that order for six-month periods, at a time. The Presidents have cited national security as their excuse for not doing so. The national security they were referring to was the threat of what the Arabs would do if any embassy moved back to Jerusalem. Until now Governments of the world have buckled at the threat from the Arab world and done nothing. Now President Trump has made his announcement that the US recognises Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. He clearly fears God more than he fears man!
Whatever the nations do, don’t despair. Remember God is in control. The final book of the Bible, Revelation, has already been written. As Christians we know that one day soon Christ will return, and that when He comes, it will be to Jerusalem. Until then, we are called to be watchmen on the walls of Jerusalem.
I have set watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem, They shall never hold their peace day or night.
You who make mention of the Lord, do not keep silent,
And give Him no rest until He establishes
And till he makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth.
on behalf of Howard and Lesley Conder, Gordon and Lorna Pettie.