Dec 11, 2017

Match. Lit.

Well, he did it.

This week, President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capitol. It was a momentous day.

From the White House:

“President Trump reaffirms United States support for the status quo at the Temple Mount, also known as Haram al Sharif.

“President Trump is prepared to support a two-state solution to the dispute between the Israelis and Palestinians, if agreed to by the parties.”

Did you notice the nuance? East Jerusalem, particularly the Temple Mount is still up in the air. This past spring, Russia (surprisingly?) recognized West Jerusalem as Israel’s capitol.

Joy and fury erupted simultaneously. The Arabs predictably threatened “unrest” as they have for 50 years. Significantly, both Philippines and the Czech Republic opened talks to move their embassies to Jerusalem.

Leadership breeds leadership. These days are far different from the Muslim-embracing Obama.

Still, there are plenty of enemies of Israel left in Western power centers. Think “Establishment.” From the Wall St. Journal:

“Because of Jerusalem’s disputed status, Mr. Trump now risks derailing a Middle East peace effort that the White House had been working on and could damage strong ties his U.S. administration has nurtured with Arab states, foreign officials say.”

It is grotesque that enemies of freedom operate out in the open in America. Media, politics, religion…all are infested with these operatives.

The usual suspects in the American Church voiced their displeasure. Lynne Hybels referenced a tweet from Jon Huckins:

“In a moment when the region desperately needed diplomatic deescalation, our President continues to escalate tension, divide and potential violence. Deeply disturbing and sadly. Especially for my friends on the ground who will likely be caught in the wake.”

Pope Francis said: “I cannot silence my deep concern over the situation that has emerged in recent days. At the same time, I appeal strongly for all to respect the city’s status quo, in accordance with the relevant UN resolutions.”

United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters: “We have always regarded Jerusalem as a final-status issue that must be resolved through direct negotiations between the two parties based on relevant Security Council resolutions.”

We have just witnessed a seismic shift in prophecy, as the American recognition will inflame those who despise the current status of Jerusalem. And, we know from Scripture that Israel will end up friendless and alone in the end. It is certain that some successor to Trump will roll back what he’s done.

At some point.

Until then, let’s enjoy this moment in the sun for the Holy City.



Dec 4, 2017

Embassy: Challenges and Opportunities

This week the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs posted Ambassador Dore Gold’s congressional testimony regarding the movement of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem. He made one statement that has prophetic implications:

But what I’d like to discuss today is what could be called the international interest, or the interest in Jerusalem of concerned states.

We know of course that there are prophetic clues in Scripture as to the status of Jerusalem and the mood of the international community.

Gold makes the point in his congressional testimony that in order for the embassy move to come to fruition, Israel needs Western approval for such an action.

(He appeals to Washington and the wider world on the basis of Israel’s commitment to protect holy sites.)

Now, we can debate whether that is in fact true, but we do that as Bible-believing Christians who are pro Israel. However, we must remember that our worldview makes no more sense to the secular world as their worldview makes to us. Two competing views. Each views the other as crazy.

But from the standpoint of geopolitics, Gold’s statement is true. The question is, how could such approval come in the current political climate? There seems to be a window of time to do this, under Trump, but always we must take into account the utter hostility of the Obamas of this world.

Gold’s premise before the House’s Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is the product of a decent mind and heart. Problem is, much of the world does not share Dore Gold’s character. For that reason, I believe an appeal to moving the embassy because Israel will protect the holy sites is, pains me to say it, a waste of time.

Everywhere, we see compelling evidence that the international community’s priorities are seriously misplaced and in fact, people in general will not stand with righteousness. To put a finer point on it, Jesus’s prophecy has come to fulfillment, that in the last days the love of many will grow cold (Matthew 24:12). I always like the preciseness of Scripture: Many. The love of many will grow cold. This indicates a civilizational problem.

Frankly, the decision-makers in international politics don’t really care about the Holy Land’s holy sites.

A terrific Italian writer, Giulio Meotti, wrote this week in the Jerusalem Post that Western audiences have a fatal character defect (my characterization):

“The Media Research Center found that US television devoted more than six times the amount of air time to the death of a gorilla in comparison to the air time given to the beheading of 21 Coptic Christians in Libya in 2015.”

We don’t care about our own kind. Why would people see the rightness in recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capitol?

I often write in this space (and, as an aside, I am profoundly grateful for the opportunity RaptureReady—Todd and Terry—afford me in visiting with you weekly) about Israel being abandoned by everyone in the very last days. That is an unpleasant reality, but one that is necessary in order for the Messianic Age to dawn.

The fundamental problem with pro Israel advocacy is that 90 percent of the efforts are devoid of any biblical underpinnings. If one can’t make Israel’s case from the Bible, why would audiences listen to pragmatic and practical reasons to support the embassy’s move?

They don’t.

And as I also often say in this space, the very worst offenders—and this reality is a mind-bender—reside in the American Evangelical community.

Although strong pockets of Israel support still remain in the Church, they are still pockets. The rest of the suit is filled with people (leaders and laity) either hostile to Israel, or indifferent.

I spent a long time trying to convince pro Israel groups that anti-Israel fervor among evangelical leaders is a serious problem, but to little avail. However, what we must recognize—and this has everything to do with this week’s topic—is that the evangelical network led by people like Jen Hatmaker, Ed Stetzer, Rick Warren, Bill Hybels, Andy Stanley, Lynne Hybels, Jonathan Martin, Jon Huckins, Mae Cannon, Sammy Awad, and a thousand others is the train that is stream-rolling Israel support in the Church.

These people have vast influence, holding sway with a laity that is largely biblically illiterate. It is why American audiences in general don’t care about the persecution of Christians in distant lands, recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capitol, or, more close to home, abortion. Most people are “go along to get along,” in the Church.

Politically, Gold is appealing to a majority of House members who are cultural Christians, at best. If even people like Condi Rice and George W. Bush (billed as somewhat of an evangelical) don’t “get” Israel, why would people who rub shoulder with the John Kerrys of the world?

They don’t. And won’t.

Gold’s final statement before the committee reads thusly:

“Whatever is finally decided on the embassy issue, states have a clear choice. They can support the State of Israel, which has acted responsibly in protecting this legacy of humanity, or they can undercut Israel, by preferring arrangements for the Holy City that plainly have not worked in the past and will undoubtedly fail in the future. There is a regional assault on holy sites underway across our region. Israel deserves your support as it defends Jerusalem. For only a free and democratic Israel will protect Jerusalem for all the great faiths.”

I can’t say whether I believe the embassy will be moved, or not. There are other things that could trigger the epic end-times battles over Jerusalem. Granted, moving the embassy could be the trigger. Or it could be something else.

What we can say is that the challenges and opportunities for moving the embassy in our day are also epic.

As the world grows weaker in combatting Islam, and as it develops more of a dhimmi mentality, I think the words of Ambassador Gold, though noble, are falling on deaf ears.