Thank you, Mr. President, for recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital.
I’m homesick for Jerusalem. It is my spiritual home, and I have not been able to go there for the past four years because of my wife’s illness.
Between 1979 and 2014, I visited Jerusalem 45 times — either leading pilgrimage groups, directing video crews or speaking at special events.
I will never forget my first visit in the summer of 1979. My first morning in Jerusalem, I was so excited to be there that I got up at 4am and took a taxi to the top of the Mount of Olives. I sat down on the mount looking east over the Kidron Valley toward the Old City, the Temple Mount and the Eastern Gate. I took the glorious sight into my soul as I watched the first rays of sunlight come up behind me and illuminate the old walled city, reflecting off the gold dome of the Muslim shrine called The Dome of the Rock.
I listened to the sounds of an ancient city awakening. It seemed like there were roosters crowing everywhere, accented at times by the braying of donkeys. Horse drawn carts began passing in the streets.
The scenes, the smells and the sounds of those moments are etched into my memory.
But the most significant thing I experienced was spiritual. I sensed in my spirit that I was sitting at the center of the earth and the focal point of all history — where God became flesh and where He taught, healed, died and rose from the dead.
In fact, it occurred to me that I was sitting at the very site where Christ ascended into Heaven, and I was reminded of His promise to return to that very place on the Mount of Olives.
As I contemplated these things, I was suddenly struck with how fortunate I was to be living in the season of the Lord’s return — a time when I could witness end time prophecies being fulfilled before my very eyes. I’m referring to things like the regathering of the Jewish people from the four corners of the earth, the re-establishment of their nation and the re-occupation of their ancient capital.
Jesus Himself told His disciples that in the end times when the Jewish people returned to their homeland and re-occupied their capital, He would be at the very gate of Heaven ready to return (Luke 21:24-28).
“Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised, in the city of our God, His holy mountain. Beautiful in elevation, the joy of the whole earth… the city of the great King.” (Psalm 48:1-2)
Recognizing Israel’s Capital
“It will come about in that day that I will make Jerusalem 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.” (Zechariah 12:3)
- Presidential candidate Bill Clinton promised to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to that city.
- Presidential candidate George W. Bush promised to do the same.
- Presidential candidate Barack Obama refrained from making any promise of recognition.
- Presidential candidate Donald Trump renewed the promise.
The promises of Clinton and Bush proved to be insincere, meaningless hot air. Obama’s unwillingness to take a stand signaled that he would become the most anti-Israel president in American history. President Trump has kept his promise, and he is to be commended for doing so.
He made his proclamation on December 6, 2017. In it he stated, “This [recognition] 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.”
The Jewish Tie to Jerusalem
Jerusalem became the capital city of the Jewish people 3,000 years ago when David conquered the city from the Jebusites (2 Samuel 5:6-7). During the 1,878 years that the Jewish people were evicted from the land (70 AD to 1948), Jerusalem never served as the capital of any Arab or Muslim nation.
It should also be kept in mind that when God gave the land of Canaan to the Jewish people, He gave them an eternal title to it (Psalm 105:8-11). He warned them that if they were not faithful to Him, they would be evicted from the land (Deuteronomy 28:64-67). But He made it clear in His Word that if they were ejected, they would retain their title to the land, and one day they would be regathered to it (Ezekiel 11:14-17).
During the period of their dispersion from the land, it became a barren wasteland, with malaria-infested swamps along the Mediterranean coast and in the Upper Galilee. It was a land that no one coveted except the Jewish people.
Each year, at the end of their Passover meals, Jews worldwide would pray, “Next year in Jerusalem.” And when they built their synagogues anywhere in the world, they made sure that they faced in the direction of Jerusalem.
The Return of the Jews to Their Homeland
The land of Palestine, as it was renamed by the Romans, remained sparsely populated. It was owned mainly by absentee landlords, and it was under the domain of the Ottoman Empire whose capital was Constantinople (modern day Istanbul). The people living in Palestine considered themselves to be Syrians.
When the Jewish people began to return to their homeland in the 1890s, they bought the land that God had already given them in perpetuity, and they paid inflated prices for it. The Arabs laughed all the way to the bank over the foolish Jews who were willing to purchase such worthless land.
The Arabs were unaware of a prophecy contained in Ezekiel 36:35 where God promised that when the day came for the Jews to return to their land, it would become “like the Garden of Eden.”
And that is exactly what has happened since 1948 when the Jewish state was re-established. Today, the land of Israel is the bread basket of the whole Middle East, and the Arabs now want it back.
To finish this article and learn whether there’s any validity to the Arab’s claim to the land of Israel, download the Lamplighter magazine.