The US Formally Recognizes Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel: Why It Matters

By Jentezen Franklin Published on December 6, 2017

On Wednesday, December 6, 2017, there was a significant spiritual shift in the world as U.S. President Donald Trump reaffirmed and formally declared that the U.S. will recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. This is the first and most necessary step toward another major milestone, moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem.

While it has been the practice of some to insist on international determination over this topic, it is Israel’s right to decide the location of her capital as was spiritually declared by King David and then legally documented in 1950 when the Israeli Knesset passed the Jerusalem Law declaring Jerusalem the eternal, undivided capital of the State of Israel. Declaring Jerusalem to be Israel’s capital does not itself mark a change in American law. In 1995, a bipartisan Congress passed and Democrat President Bill Clinton allowed into law a statute declaring, “Since 1950, the city of Jerusalem has been the capital of the State of Israel.”

We share this heritage in Jerusalem as our spiritual capital, while Israel also legally proclaims it as her national capital.

Our Spiritual Heritage

Naming the city of Jerusalem the capital of Israel is not just a political right of Israel. It is also of great theological importance to Christians world-wide, and certainly to the churches I pastor. Christianity begins in Jerusalem, serving as the context for Jesus’ life and earthly ministry. Jerusalem is the city where Jesus was crucified on a cross, was laid in a tomb, and where He rose from the grave and showed Himself to many others over a forty-day period. It is the city where many believe Abraham brought Isaac up Mt. Moriah and passed God’s test of faith. The city where King Solomon built the magnificent Temple, declaring it a house of prayer for all nations. It is also the city Isaiah envisioned as the world’s center where the nations would beat their swords into plowshares and learn war no more. It is the city where Jesus wept.

The significance of Jerusalem to Christians, however, cannot be separated from the significance of Jerusalem to the Jewish people. Their history is our history. We are intertwined through our Old Testament scriptures and spiritual legacy. Their biblical examples are our biblical examples. We share this heritage in Jerusalem as our spiritual capital, while Israel also legally proclaims it as her national capital. Their national history has become our spiritual history.

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We pray for the peace of Jerusalem as scripture implores us to do. And we trust her peace and prosperity, not to man-made institutions and international efforts, but to the God of all Peace, and to the greatest Jew to have ever lived, Jesus Christ.

There is a strong possibility that many in our congregations will have seen this story as breaking news and be left to themselves to try to understand what it means to the evangelical church. Below is a brief, easy to understand fact sheet that you can use to help your congregation understand the significance of this major announcement.

Naming Jerusalem the Capital of Israel Fact Sheet:

Historical Significance:

  • The history of Israel dates back to Genesis and the story of Abram, who would become Abraham.
  • Abraham was promised a land by God (the promised land) and that land was Canaan and would later become Israel. (Genesis 12; fulfilled when descendant Joshua takes the land in Joshua 6, when the walls come down.)
  • David declared Jerusalem to be the capital of Israel (City of David; II Samuel 5).

Political Significance:

  • Legally documented in 1950, the Israeli Knesset passed the Jerusalem Law, and declared Jerusalem to be the eternal, undivided capital of the State of Israel.
  • In 1995, Democrat President Bill Clinton signed a statute stating, “Since 1950, the city of Jerusalem has been the capital of the State of Israel.”

Theological Importance:

  • Christianity begins in Jerusalem, serving as the context for Jesus’ life and earthly ministry.
  • The city where Jesus was crucified on a cross.
  • The city where He was laid in a tomb.
  • The city where He rose from the grave.
  • The city where He showed Himself to many others over a forty-day period.
  • The city where many believe Abraham brought Isaac up Mt. Moriah and passed God’s test of faith.
  • The city where King Solomon built the magnificent Temple, declaring it a house of prayer for all nations.
  • The city Isaiah envisioned as the world’s center where the nations would beat their swords into plowshares, and learn war no more.
  • The city where Jesus wept.

Shared Significance with Orthodox Jews:

  • The significance of Jerusalem to Christians cannot be separated from the significance of Jerusalem to the Jewish people.
  • Their history is our history.
  • We are intertwined through our Old Testament scriptures and spiritual legacy. Their biblical examples are our biblical examples and we share this heritage in Jerusalem as our spiritual capital, while Israel also legally proclaims it as her national capital. Their national history has become our spiritual history.

Final Thoughts

Naming the city of Jerusalem the capital of Israel is not just a political right of Israel, it is the right of all nations. It is also of great theological importance to Christians world-wide, and certainly to the churches I pastor. Please join me in praying for the peace of Jerusalem as scripture implores us to do, trusting her peace and prosperity, not to man-made institutions and international efforts, but to the God of all Peace, and to the greatest Jew to have ever lived, Jesus Christ.

 

Jentezen Franklin is the Senior Pastor of Free Chapel, a multi campus church. Each week his television program Kingdom Connection is broadcast on major networks all over the world. A New York Times best-selling author, Jentezen has written eight books including the groundbreaking Fasting and Right People-Right Place-Right Plan.

Jentezen and his wife Cherise have been married 30 years, have five children and two grandchildren, and make their home in Gainesville, Georgia.

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  • I wonder if the following quotations (all of them from respected Jewish sources) might not have something to do with this:

    “Strictly speaking, it is incorrect to call an ancient Israelite a ‘Jew’ or to call a contemporary Jew an ‘Israelite’ or a ‘Hebrew.’” (Richard Siegel and Carl Rheins, eds., “Identity Crisis,” The Jewish Almanac, (New York, NY: Bantam Books, 1980) p. 3.)

    That sentence is the opening sentence of the First Chapter entitled “Identity Crisis” of the 1980 Jewish Almanac. That today’s Jews are not genetic Israelites but merely proselytes to Judaism, not to be confused with the Old Testaments Israelites religion based upon Yahweh’s moral law) is also admitted in “The Jewish Encyclopedia,” the “Enyclopedia Judaica,” “The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia,” “The Standard Jewish Encyclopedia,” and by many of their historians.

    According to three Jewish encyclopedias and Flavius Josephus, the entire Edomite nation was forced into converting to Judaism and became known as Judahites at the time of the high priest John Hyrcanus (Maccabaeus):

    “…in the days of John Hyrcanus (end of the second century B.C.E.) … the Edomites became a section of the Jewish people.” (“Edom,” Encyclopaedia Judaica (Jerusalem, Israel: Encyclopaedia Judaica Company, 1971) Volume 6, p. 378.)

    “They were then incorporated with the Jewish nation….” (“Edom, Idumea,” The Jewish Encyclopedia (New York & London: Funk and Wagnalls Company, 1904) Volume V, p. 41.)

    “…from then on they constituted a part of the Jewish people, Herod [King of Judea] being one of their descendants.” (Cecil Roth and Geoffrey Wigoden, “Edom (Idumea),” The New Standard Jewish Encyclopedia (Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1977) p. 589.)

    “…they submitted to the use of circumcision, and the rest of the Jewish ways of living; at which time … they were hereafter no other than Jews.” (Flavius Josephus, “The Antiquities of the Jews,” Josephus, (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1960) Book XIII, Chapter IX, Verse 1, p. 279.)

    We keep hearing that if we don’t bless the modern State of Israel (which America has been doing since at least 1948) that we will be cursed. However, it seems it’s been just the opposite, Since 1948, you name it, and there’s not an area in America wherein she hasn’t become worse off. Could it because America has identified the wrong people as Israel.

    Today’s Jews are not the only ones with an identity crisis.

    For more, Google “The Mystery of the Gentiles: Where Are They and Where Are They Now?”

  • Ryan

    The scripture based in the Torah and the Bible, will play out as they were meant to do. Not as the replacement theologians of Judaism and Christianity believe they should.
    Jews intermarried throughout history as all tribes of mankind did, but not all the Jews, some remained faithful and became the remnant as God said He would always have a remnant. That is all He needs to do what He wants.
    Some may have even married with Edomites but somehow I don’t believe enough to have wiped out the Jewish people as some believe happened.
    Because the scripture says they will cease to exist in the last times. God will have His way, not man. That is why His word will remain forever not mans word.
    It is good Israel has now had her capitol identified as Jerusalem, other nations are following a strong leader and recognizing Jerusalem as well. Poor leadership in the past, actually, the lack of leadership has allowed the times we live in to speed the timing of the prophecies up, just like Jesus said.
    What has been written, will happen, regardless of mans agendas.

  • It seems to me that, in one matter, Ted R. Weiland is right: That “Jew ” does not equate to the ancient people of Israel. Rather, it equates more closely to the ancient people of Judah (one of the tribes of Israel, and, by way of rebellion against their king, the only tribe that was left in the land once the Assyrians invaded, and wiped out, the northern kingdom).

  • Kevin Quillen

    Someone please answer this question…..If God re-gathered the Jews and returned them to their promised land, then why did He only give them a tiny part of the original “promised land”? There is only ONE covenant……the new. Jews are to come to Christ just like the rest of us. In fact there is only ONE race. God made one people from the two(Jews and gentiles) Modern Israel is of NO significance.

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