The glow of tinsel and winking Christmas tree lights are already warming many hearts. But as the Western world prepares for Christmas, the God of Israel is quietly engaged on a secret mission. He is turning the hearts of kings and presidents wherever He wishes, like channels of water in the hand of YHVH (Proverbs 21:1). Jerusalem is the hot button. And once again in response, the peoples are in an uproar. Why do the nations rage and the Palestinians call for days of rage (Psalm 2:1-2)?
What is the significance of U.S. President Trump’s recognizing of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital? Does the Bible shed any light on this matter?
Past U.S. positions on Jerusalem
The original American position on Jerusalem goes back to 1947-48 and is based on the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181, adopted November 29, 1947 (https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/United_Nations_General_Assembly_Resolution_181).
That Resolution calls for the dividing of the Land of Israel into “independent Arab and Jewish States.” It also calls for “the Special International Regime for the City of Jerusalem.” All the residents of the city would automatically become “citizens of the City of Jerusalem” unless they opted for citizenship of the Arab or Jewish State.
The plan was never implemented, so on December 11, 1948 GA Resolution 191 restated “detailed proposals for a permanent international regime for the territory of Jerusalem.” This projected Jerusalem area stretched from Abu Dis (East) to Bethlehem (South) and from Ein Karem/Motza (West) to Shu’afat (North).
The plan was never implemented, so on December 9, 1949 GA Resolution 303 restated “its intention that Jerusalem should be placed under a permanent international regime, … established as a corpus separatum under a special international regime and shall be administered by the United Nations.” Corpus seperatum is a Latin legal term for ‘a separate body.’
This plan was never implemented, but since the UN has never revoked its resolutions 181 and 194, it still maintains the official position that Jerusalem should be placed under a special international regime. On November 30, 2011 General Assembly Resolution 66/18 stated , “Recalling its resolution 181 (II) of 29 November 1947, in particular its provisions regarding the City of Jerusalem… reiterates its determination that any actions taken by Israel, the occupying Power, to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the Holy City of Jerusalem are illegal and therefore null and void and have no validity whatsoever.”
The United States has never officially relinquished its original support of the corpus separatum. “The United States has never recognized such unilateral actions by any of the States in the area as governing the international status of Jerusalem” (344. Circular Telegram From the Department of State to All Posts; Washington, July 5, 1967, 8:55 p.m; 1508. Subj: Jerusalem Resolution in UNGA – https://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1964-68v19/d344).
U.S. foreign policy is not controlled by the U.S. Congress. To this day official U.S. documents and web sites do not refer to Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
What is the Jerusalem Embassy Act?
On 23 October 1995, the United States Congress passed an advisory Act called the Jerusalem Embassy Act (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerusalem_Embassy_Act). It stated 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.” Another similar law is the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Year 2003 – Public Law 107-228 – September 30, 2002 (https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/PLAW-107publ228/html/PLAW-107publ228.htm).
Since 1998, the Congressional suggestion to relocate the Embassy from Tel Aviv has been suspended semi-annually by every sitting President, each time stating that this “is necessary to protect the national security interests of the United States.”
There are two reasons behind the constant and consistent postponements:
- The first is fear of resulting rioting and terrorism in the Islamic world directed against American targets
- The second is a constitutional question regarding the separation of powers between Congress and the President
Under the U.S. Constitution the President has exclusive authority to recognize foreign sovereignty over territory (see Restatement (3rd) Foreign Relations Law of the United States, American Law Institute, 1986, §§ 203 Recognition or Acceptance of Governments and §§ 204 Recognition and Maintaining Diplomatic Relations Law of the United States).
In May 1995 the Justice Department Office of Legal Counsel (https://web.archive.org/web/20100209074518/http://www.justice.gov/olc/s770.16.htm) concluded that the expected provisions of the Embassy Relocation Act would inveigh against exclusive presidential authorities in the field of foreign affairs and would therefore be unconstitutional. Since the U.S. Constitution reserves the conduct of foreign policy to the President, any resolutions of Congress in favor of legislating foreign policy have been seen by U.S. administrations as extremely problematic if not arguably invalid for that Constitutional reason.
As long as the acting U.S. President and his State Department were opposed to recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, they could and did argue that Congress was attempting to usurp the Executive’s authority or power over matters of foreign affairs.
What is President Trump’s White House proclamation?
When President Donald Trump issued a proclamation from the White House on December 7, 2017 recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel (https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/12/06/statement-president-trump-jerusalem), he broke with a decades-old stance of the State Department, the Intelligence community and the military. But he aligned himself with decades of U.S. Congressional tradition and sentiment.
Regarding the question of the Islamic world’s threats of violence against the national security interests of the United States, President Trump said, “So today, we call for calm, for moderation, and for the voices of tolerance to prevail over the purveyors of hate…The incredible future awaiting this region is held at bay by bloodshed, ignorance, and terror… (It is) our commitment to work with partners throughout the Middle East to defeat radicalism that threatens the hopes and dreams of future generations. It is time for the many who desire peace to expel the extremists from their midst. It is time for all civilized nations, and people, to respond to disagreement with reasoned debate – not violence.”
- President Trump has now altered international debate on the Middle East. The leader of the world’s biggest super-power has gone on record affirming an ironclad connection between the Jewish people, their homeland and their capital city.
- The majority of the Islamic world (slavishly followed by the UN and the European Union) refuses to acknowledge or validate the intrinsic right of the Jewish people to their homeland and their capital. This is part of the Islamist strategy to weaken and eventually destroy the Jewish state of Israel using both military and political means.
- Trump’s declaration opens up a strong influence for change in the Middle East equation. It is undoubtedly also connected to strategic planning regarding Iran’s geopolitical threats to U.S. and Saudi influence in that region, as well as to shoring up political good will from both his Evangelical constituency and the more conservative wings of the Jewish community.
“A new king arose over Egypt…”
The Jewish people have seen the rise and the fall of many kings and many empires. Mark Twain wryly commented:
- “The Egyptian, the Babylonian, and the Persian rose, filled the planet with sound and splendor, then faded to dream-stuff and passed away; the Greek and the Roman followed, and made a vast noise, and they are gone; other peoples have sprung up and held their torch high for a time, but it burned out, and they sit in twilight now, or have vanished. The Jew saw them all, beat them all, and is now what he always was, exhibiting no decadence, no infirmities of age, no weakening of his parts, no slowing of his energies, no dulling of his alert and aggressive mind. All things are mortal but the Jew; all other forces pass, but he remains. What is the secret of his immortality?” (https://sourcebooks.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/1898twain-jews.asp).
Two hundred years ago, when a new Tsar arose in Russia many Jews would hold their breath. Would the new king be good or bad for the Jews? The more tolerant Alexander II was followed by the cruel and anti-Jewish Alexander III. In the same way, one U.S. President can be a breath of fresh air and make a wonderful proclamation, but this does not guarantee that the next President will continue the same course or have the same sympathies.
The vast majority of Israeli Jews and most Jews worldwide are thrilled at President Trump’s proclamation and are very supportive of it. The small minorities of anti-Israel or ‘leftist progressive’ Jews are opposed to Trump’s declaration, as they are to most pro-Israel moves.
Jewish fears in the Warsaw Ghetto
A well-known Jewish joke describes a fictional tale during the Jewish Warsaw Ghetto Revolt of 1943. Two Jewish ghetto fighters are captured by Nazi S.S. units. As they are brought before a field firing-squad, the fictitious commander asks them if they have any last requests before being shot. The first Jewish fighter says that he would like a last cigarette. The second fighter turns and yells at him, “For Heaven’s sake, don’t make trouble!”
The black humor in this joke is based on the fact that it is understood that both Jews are destined for death. Yet the second Jewish fighter somehow believes against all reality that if they both scrape and bow, perhaps the Nazi Kommandant might spare their lives.
Some Jews who live in the Diaspora are afraid. If Israel proclaims its freedom and sovereignty too boldly, the anti-Semites of the world (be they neo-Nazi, BDS, Antifa, ‘Socialist Progressive,’ Christian or Islamist) may simply rise up and slaughter the Jews once again. Better to avoid angering the anti-Jewish psychopaths of the nations!
Yet when the threat of terror causes its victims to hide and not to fight, it can be concluded that terrorism has succeeded in its aims. The Nazi juggernaut could not be blissfully ignored, as Mahatma Gandhi once suggested. It had to be defeated on the battlefield. The Imperial Japanese Army only sued for peace after terrible weapons were unleashed against its Empire. In order to vanquish a murderous jihadi attempt to re-establish the slavery of a world caliphate, only decisive and repeated victory will do.
Opening the gates of hell?
The response of the Islamic world to President Trump’s proclamation was expected. Islamist terror groups such as Hamas (www.dailysabah.com/mideast/2017/12/06/trumps-jerusalem-move-opens-gates-of-hell-on-us-interests-hamas-says) declaring that the gate of hell have been opened, presumably allowing the satanic Hamas to kill and destroy Israelis – something they have had no problem doing in the past under more friendly circumstances (www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/12/hamas-leader-jerusalem-decision-war-declaration-171207083427072.html). Islamic Jihad in Gaza declared that Trump’s proclamation was “a declaration of war…on the entire Arab and Islamic nation” (www.israelnationalnews.com/News/Flash.aspx/405059). Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) declared that the proclamation is “a clear challenge to the Muslim world” and encourages its adherents to join in the jihadi struggle on this issue (www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-israel-aqap/al-qaeda-condemns-trumps-jerusalem-move-calls-for-action-idUSKBN1E126H).
World media has raised headlines to a fever pitch, prophesying that the entire Islamic world will nearly immediately break out into violence over this matter, and that Israel herself should get ready for mass violence and casualties. In some cases enterprising newspersons have gone out of their way to film ten Palestinians burning a photograph of President Trump as leading news on their networks. Melanie Phillips explains how Western governments and media are actually catalyzing Islamist violence through their anti-Israel media activism (www.melaniephillips.com/historic-watershed-shames-britain-europe/).
Tell me the old old story
King David once penned a psalm about how the nations of the world would rage against Jerusalem and attempt to frustrate God’s divine strategy for the Jewish people’s capital city.
Why are the nations in an uproar and the peoples devising a vain thing?
The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers take counsel together
Against YHVH and against His Anointed, saying,
“Let us tear their fetters apart and cast away their cords from us!”
He who sits in the heavens laughs. YHVH scoffs at them.
Then He will speak to them in His anger and terrify them in His fury, saying,
“But as for Me, I have installed My King upon Zion, My holy mountain.”
I will surely tell of the decree of YHVH:
He said to Me, “You are My Son, today I have begotten You.
Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance,
and the very ends of the earth as Your possession.
You shall break them with a rod of iron. You shall shatter them like earthenware.”
Now therefore, O kings, show discernment. Take warning, O judges of the earth. (Psalm 2)
Today we watch the sharks of the nations gnashing their teeth about President Trump’s proclamation. We bless the United States of America for their leader’s bold and courageous stand. We pray for other nations to bow to God’s strategic declaration in Psalm 2 regarding His heart for the Jewish people, their homeland and their capital city.
How should we then pray?
- Many of the leading lights in the U.S. Departments of State, the Intelligence and military communities are opposed to President Trump’s proclamation. They and influential voices in the oil business are certainly biding their time and planning their next step. Pray for the frustration of ungodly strategies and for God’s revelation to enlighten the eyes of these leaders with His heart for Jerusalem and the Jewish people
- Pray for God’s wisdom and leading, His protection and discernment for President Trump and his advisors and counsellors
- Pray for intercessors worldwide (and especially in the U.S.) to receive the divine burden for this moment
- Pray for Messiah’s body to receive strategies and empowerment in standing with the Jewish people as anti-Semitism and anti-Israel movements increase
- Pray for the frustrating of all hands raised to do violence and mayhem against Israel, the Jewish people and American interests
Your prayers and support hold up our arms and are the very practical enablement of God to us in the work He has called us to do.
In Messiah Yeshua,
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