Psalm 135:21 “Blessed be the Lord from Zion, who dwells in Jerusalem. Praise the Lord!”
On May 14th America made good on a 23-year old promise to relocate the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Congress had passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act (JEA) in 1995, which called for Jerusalem to be the location for the US Embassy, and Jerusalem was to be recognized as the capital of the State of Israel. Why did it take 23 years for this law to be carried out?
70 years ago to the day, on May 14, 1948, the State of Israel was born. The next day, the surrounding Arab countries declared war on Israel. The war ended in September, with the creation of a Palestinian Arab State that claimed Jerusalem as its capital. 19 years later, in 1967, the Arabs attacked Israel in the famous 6-day War. Against all odds, Israel won and once again Jerusalem became its capital.
But the US has not carried out the 1995 JEA because of the Palestinian hatred toward Israel and the Arab mandate to destroy her, fearing that by declaring Jerusalem as Israel’s capital they would be delegitimizing the existence of the State of Palestine and its claim to Jerusalem. So while American law recognizes Jerusalem, which sits on historic Mount Moriah, as the capital of Israel, no US Administration has had the courage to carry it out and move the US Embassy to Jerusalem. That is, until President Trump.
So how does this historic event point to Jesus Christ? It was on Mount Moriah, nearly 3,500 years ago, that Abraham offered his son Isaac as a sacrifice to God. And in that event we see the future sacrifice on the Cross of God’s only Son Jesus Christ for our sins. How do we know this? The name Abraham gives God is ‘YHWH Yireh’, the Lord WILL provide the sacrifice – it’s in the future tense: “Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. Abraham called the name of the place ‘The Lord Will Provide’, as it is to this day, ‘In the Mount of the Lord it SHALL be provided.’” (Genesis 22:13-14).
This event recorded in Genesis 22 occurs on the same Mount Moriah as today’s capital Jerusalem sits! It tells us that a future sacrifice (not the ram of Abraham’s sacrifice) will be provided by God Himself in that same place for the forgiveness of our sins. Only one sacrifice in history fulfills this specific promise made by God – the voluntary sacrifice of Jesus Christ for all mankind. So this historic event on May 14th once again shines the light on why Jerusalem, and Mount Moriah, has been the focal point of God’s plan.
Let’s take a journey through the Bible to see how God has always protected Jerusalem and claimed that city as His. Our verse for this week is from Psalms, dating around 1,000BC. Then we have the words of the prophet Isaiah, dating around 730BC: “On your walls, O Jerusalem, I have appointed watchmen; All day and all night they will never keep silent You who remind the Lord, take no rest for yourselves; And give Him no rest until He establishes and makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth.” (Isaiah 62:6-7). Then, another prophet named Jeremiah confirms in 600BC the significance of Jerusalem in God’s plan: “At that time they will call Jerusalem ‘The Throne of the Lord,’ and all the nations will be gathered to it, to Jerusalem, for the name of the Lord; nor will they walk anymore after the stubbornness of their evil heart.” (Jeremiah 3:17).
After Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed by Babylon in 589BC, Ezra records this in 540BC as the prophecy of Persia restoring Jerusalem: “Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he sent a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and also put it in writing, saying: Whoever there is among you of all His people, may his God be with him! Let him go up to Jerusalem which is in Judah and rebuild the house of the Lord the God of Israel; He is the God who is in Jerusalem.” (Ezra 1:1-3).
And finally, the last prophet Malachi in 440BC records the future event of the Messiah appearing one day in the Temple in Jerusalem: “I send My messenger, and He will prepare the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple… Behold, He is coming, says the Lord of hosts.” (Malachi 3:1). What is the significance of this prophecy? After Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey, being hailed by the crowds as Messiah, the first thing He did was go to the Temple, as Malachi had recorded Messiah would do: “Jesus entered Jerusalem and came into the temple; and after looking around at everything, He left for Bethany with the twelve, since it was already late.” (Mark 11:11).
Last week’s statement by America that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital means more than fulfilling a 23-year old law. It is a confirmation of history that the God of the Bible continues to be glorified in the affairs of men.
“The Evidence of Faith’s Substance”, Article #296 – May 26, 2018