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Our principal embassy should be in the proclaimed capital city of a nation, otherwise it is a sham.
Trump is pandering to his evangelical base that believe in dispensational premillennialism...
Over the past 150 years, however, a very popular movement has arisen within Christianity, which is best called “dispensational premillennialism” (which I will call “DP”). The Left Behind series is an example of DP literature. I won’t bother with the details of DP here, except to say that one of its big ideas is that Jesus will not return until the temple has been rebuilt. DP gets this idea by reading Daniel 9:27, Matthew 24:15, Mark 13:14, 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4, and Revelation 11:1-2 as referring to a literal future time. These passages mention a temple in Jerusalem prior to the return of Jesus; therefore, according to DP, the temple must be rebuilt before then.
DP teaches that the establishment of Israel as a nation fulfilled Bible prophecy, and that, as a result, the Jewish people will soon rebuild the temple. According to DP, this is part of God’s overall historical plan, so that Christians must support Israel’s full control of Jerusalem.
If you’re following me, you can see the problem. For DP to work, Jews must build the temple before the Messiah returns. DP teachers love to talk about the few small Jewish groups which support the reconstruction of the temple; but for all sorts of reasons, most Jews strongly oppose this idea, either because the Messiah has not yet come, or because it would anger Muslims, thereby making peace with Palestinians much harder to achieve.
This teaching of DP is very popular with Evangelicals. This is why Trump promised to move the embassy (and why his predecessors all hinted at the same idea): he wanted the Evangelical vote.
Most Evangelicals have not quite realized that the vast majority of Jewish people do not see the establishment of Israel as a sign that the Messiah will come anytime soon. For Jews, Israel is important as a place for Jewish people to escape anti-Semitism, and as a center of Jewish language, literature, and art. It just is not that important religiously. Israel is a secular state, and few of its leaders, including the current Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, practice Judaism. Ancient Israel was a theocracy, established to be ruled by God (sometimes with a king as intermediary). Modern Israel is a democracy, ruled by the desires of the people – most of whom do not practice Judaism!
This is why, for Christians, making Jerusalem the capital of Israel shold not be a theological matter. Israel was created after World War II to be a safe haven for Jews. Anti-Semitism is real; therefore, Christians should support Israel’s existence and security. But to be safe, Jewish people do not need Jerusalem to be part of Israel.
I’m sorry to have to report to my DP friends that the Bible does not say anywhere that Jews will rebuild the temple, or that when the temple is rebuilt, Jerusalem must be part of the nation of Israel. But the Bible does clearly instruct Christians to work for peace. If making Jerusalem into an international city (open to Jews, Muslims, and Christians) will help bring stability and security to that area, then Christians must support the way of peace.