From 1948 to 2018: What’s the big deal?

David Rubinger's iconic photograph: Paratroopers at the Western Wall during the liberation of Jerusalem in the Six-Day War, June 1967

Israel. What’s the big deal? Why is this little sliver of land so important?

Constantly in the news, grabbing headlines out of all proportion to her land mass or population, Israel seems to provoke an emotional response – either deep respect or deadly hatred.

Now, in a bold move that is drawing both protest and praise from around the globe, the United States is moving its embassy to Jerusalem, Israel’s now and forever capital. This dramatic change, which brought the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem on May 14, 2018, took place exactly seventy years after David Ben Gurion declared Israel’s independence as a nation-state – a homeland for Jewish people everywhere. Hearing the hue and cry of voices opposing the placement of a foreign embassy in the capital city, one cannot escape the irony. Every nation on earth is expected to choose its capital city and govern its people according to its own laws and customs. But when Israel welcomes the establishment of America’s diplomatic offices in Jerusalem, known to all as its national capital, this is considered an outrage. Why?

To answer this peculiar question we must return to the Hebrew Bible. Here, the ancient prophets foresaw the illogical and venomous response to Jerusalem. Here, we view the phenomenal saga of Jerusalem’s early choice by God, her impressive growth during the reigns of David and Solomon, her destruction at Babylonian hands (witnessed and described by Jeremiah), the exile and return of her inhabitants (recorded by Ezra and Nehemiah), and the prediction of a yet longer exile (prophesied by Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Hosea) to be followed ultimately by the miraculous resurrection and restoration of the people to Jerusalem and all Israel.

Both the disproportionate focus on Israel and the outrage over Jerusalem were predicted 2500 years ago.

Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples, when they lay siege against Judah and Jerusalem. And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it.” (Zechariah 12:1-3).

Authority that Supersedes Human Governments

The nations of the world cannot comprehend the meaning of Israel and her capital city, Jerusalem. Why? It is because they don’t recognize God’s authority. Without the concept of a sovereign, divine Authority that supersedes human governments, the idea that God has declared His choices, values, and plans sounds absurd.

Why do the nations rage and the people plot a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord and against His Anointed … He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; the Lord shall hold them in derision … ‘Yet I have set my King on my holy hill of Zion.’” (Psalm 2:1-6)

Our destiny is to welcome Yeshua back to the very city in which He was pierced for our transgressions, His back shredded for our redemption. Anticipating His arrival transforms our daily routine into preparation for the ultimate coronation. Despite our foibles, God has involved us in this history-forming process. Our role is as intercessors, persevering in agreement with His plans.

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 till He establishes And till He makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth.” (Isaiah 62:6,7)

This is a year to celebrate, and to rededicate ourselves to preparing the way of the Lord (Isaiah 40:3).

This article originally appeared in Israel’s Restoration newsletter, June 2018, and reposted with permission.