On 7th December 2017, the United States of America recognised Jerusalem as the capital of the state of Israel.
Donald Trump announced the move the day before. The US president said: ‘I’ve judged this course of action to be in the best interests of the United States of America and the pursuit of peace between Israel and the Palestinians.’
Moreover, he said he was directing the US state department to begin preparations to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
The BBC points out the decision fulfils a promise made by Mr Trump in his presidential campaign.
Recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital was, firstly, ‘nothing more or less than a recognition of reality’, said the president. He added, secondly: ‘It is also the right thing to do.’
Israel ‘profoundly grateful’
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel was profoundly grateful to Mr Trump, who had ‘bound himself forever with the history of the capital’.
He also said Israel was ‘in touch with other countries to follow suit’. He did not name any of these countries, although the Philippines and the Czech Republic have been mentioned in Israeli media.
Reaction from Muslim Arab countries has been less enthusiastic. Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned Mr Trump he was ‘throwing the region into a ring of fire.’ The BBC reports that Saudi Arabia, another armaments customer of the US, described the move as ‘unjustified and irresponsible’.
Eight of the 15 members of the United Nations Security Council called for a briefing on the US president’s decision. They included permanent council members France and the UK. The Arab League will meet in the coming days to decide its response.
‘Day of Rage’ over Jerusalem recognition
In the Holy Land itself, the Islamist Hamas terrorist group dominates the Gaza Strip. Its ruling Charter calls for the destruction of the state of Israel. Its leader, Ismail Haniya, called inevitably for a ‘day of rage’ the following Friday. He said it should ‘be the first day of the intifada against the occupier’, meaning Israel.
In the so-called ‘West Bank’, Fatah is the largest faction in the multi-party Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). It is filing a complaint to the UN Security Council and pushing for a strong stance by the Arab League.
‘We are going to declare the United States disqualified as co-sponsor of any peace process or political process,’ said spokesman Dr Nasser Al-Kidwa. ‘In our mind, it has lost its ability to do or perform any efforts in this regard.’
Fatah have also cancelled a meeting with US Vice-President Mike Pence. Jibril Rajoub, a senior official in Mr Abbas’ Fatah party, said Mr Pence was ‘not welcome’ in the Palestinian territories. The meeting ‘would not take place’, he added.
Jerusalem ‘sacred’ to Muslims
The mainstream media describes Jerusalem as ‘holy’ to those of three faiths. These are Jews, Muslims and Christians. But Christians are not seeking Jerusalem as their capital. Jews do, obviously, and Muslims want East Jerusalem as the capital of a Muslim Palestinian state.
The city is sacred to Muslims because they believe Mohammed visited it. According to CBN News, ‘Muslim tradition says the prophet Mohammed traveled to the Al-Aqsa Mosque on his famous night journey’. It goes on: ‘that tradition is the basis for the Palestinians’ claim to Jerusalem.’
The Al-Aqsa Mosque was built in 705 AD over the Church of St Mary on the wall of the Temple Mount. It is not to be confused with the Dome of the Rock. Caliph Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan built the latter between AD 685 and 691. It was intended, not as a mosque for public worship but rather as a shrine for pilgrims.
Mohammed was never in Jerusalem
Muslims believe the miraculous steed, the Buraq, took Muhammad to visit ‘the Farthest Mosque’. Many Muslims believe that is Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. They believe he prayed there and was taken to the heavens. This all happened in a single night in the year 620 AD. This event is known as Al-Isra’ wal-Mi‘raj or ‘The Night-Journey and the Ascension’ in Islamic tradition.
Mohammed even wrote the alleged incident into the Quran, in Surah 17. ‘Isra, The Night Journey’: ‘1. Glory to (Allah) Who did take His servant for a Journey by night from the Sacred Mosque to the farthest Mosque, whose precincts We did bless,- in order that We might show him some of Our Signs: for He is the One Who heareth and seeth (all things).’
From Mecca to Jerusalem is a distance of some 920 miles. It would take a month by camel. Mohammed claimed he went to a city with no mosque and visited its mosque. He claims he flew. Even his cousin Umm told him not to brag about the imagined event ‘for they will know you are lying and will mock you.’ His favourite wife Aisha did not believe the preposterous story either. See sources for all that here.
The result is Muslims claim Jerusalem as the Islamic city of Al-Quds on no evidence except the fraudulent witness of Mohammed and his Quran.
Jerusalem liberated 100 years ago
But it is the timing of President Trump’s announcement which is astonishing. One hundred years ago, on 8th December 1917, the Mohammedan army of the failing Ottoman Empire was leaving Jerusalem. The Holy City was surrounded by British and Empire forces under the command of General Allenby. The inspired General left the Turks a northern escape route. The word of God says:
Isaiah 31:5 As birds flying, so will the LORD of hosts defend Jerusalem; defending also he will deliver it; and passing over he will preserve it.
But Isaiah’s prophecy was to have another fulfillment, The Ottoman army retreated to a nearby hill and prepared to shell the town. Again, Allenby called up British aircraft. They bombed the Turkish positions with accuracy, defending their newly-captured city. See more here.
General Allenby’s humility
The Jewish online newspaper Haaretz.com pictures ‘General Allenby entering Jerusalem on foot out of respect for the holiness of the city.’
That is not quite the whole story. Allenby had already showed his respect for the Holy City by refusing to fire a single shell into it while the Turks were still in control.
It was respect for God himself that motivated Edmund Allenby to dismount. In the Cambridge History of the First World War: Volume 3, edited by Jay Winter, we read the truth behind the ‘ostentatious humility’ of General Allenby:
‘Allenby walked into the Old City, in deliberate contrast to Kaiser Wilhelm who had ridden a white horse in triumph into the city before the war.’ Wilhelm rode his charger into Jerusalem in 1898, trying to forge closer ties with the Ottoman Empire against England, France and Russia.
Winter goes on: ‘Allenby let it be known that he would have been ashamed to ride a horse along the route that his Saviour had ridden on an ass. It is perfectly plausible that this was a genuine sentiment. It was also brilliant propaganda.’
The date of the liberation of Jerusalem was 24th of Kislev. Kislev is the ninth month in the Jewish year. Centuries earlier the prophet Haggai promised a shaking of the nations and prosperity to Israel. The promise came as a reward for Zerubbabel’s faithfulness in rebuilding the Temple of the LORD:
Hag 2:18 Consider now from this day and upward, from the four and twentieth day of the ninth month, even from the day that the foundation of the LORD’S temple was laid, consider it. 19 Is the seed yet in the barn? yea, as yet the vine, and the fig tree, and the pomegranate, and the olive tree, hath not brought forth: from this day will I bless you.
Hag 2:20 And again the word of the LORD came unto Haggai in the four and twentieth day of the month, saying, 21 Speak to Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, saying, I will shake the heavens and the earth; 22 And I will overthrow the throne of kingdoms, and I will destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the heathen; and I will overthrow the chariots, and those that ride in them; and the horses and their riders shall come down, every one by the sword of his brother.
Hag 2:23 In that day, saith the LORD of hosts, will I take thee, O Zerubbabel, my servant, the son of Shealtiel, saith the LORD, and will make thee as a signet: for I have chosen thee, saith the LORD of hosts.
By the grace of God, that reading was scheduled in the Christian Voice Lamplight Bible Reading plan for yesterday.
In early December, the Christian Voice ‘Lamplight’ Bible Reading Plan set this word:
Zech 2:7 Deliver thyself, O Zion, that dwellest with the daughter of Babylon. 8 For thus saith the LORD of hosts; After the glory hath he sent me unto the nations which spoiled you: for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye. 9 For, behold, I will shake mine hand upon them, and they shall be a spoil to their servants: and ye shall know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me.
Zech 2:10 Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion: for, lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith the LORD. 11 And many nations shall be joined to the LORD in that day, and shall be my people: and I will dwell in the midst of thee, and thou shalt know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me unto thee.
Zech 2:12 And the LORD shall inherit Judah his portion in the holy land, and shall choose Jerusalem again. 13 Be silent, O all flesh, before the LORD: for he is raised up out of his holy habitation.
The United States has led the world in following the Lord’s desire to ‘choose Jerusalem again’, within days of that reading. Above all, the US action was within days of the Liberation centenary. And is it not appropriate that Zechariah singled out ‘Judah’ for a portion in the holy land, rather than all Israel? The latter were scattered across Europe following their captivity by Assyria. Clearly only Judah with some of Benjamin and Levi returned from Babylon.
A strange Jewish mystic
But the American decision and its timing grows ever more strange. This ministry is not known for consulting prophecy charts and gazing heavenward. However, a twelfth-century rabbi made the most extraordinary prediction.
Yehuda Ben Samuel, known as Yehuda the Hassid (1150-1217) lived and worked in Germany. He was consulted by the Bishop of Salzburg and the Duke of Regensburg.
Ludwig Schneider of Israel Today magazine has translated some of his work into English. From these writings, we learn of a specific prophecy concerning the Holy Land.
WorldNet Daily writes: ‘Following the Christian crusades to the Holy Land, between 1096-1270, a regular correspondence developed between the Jews in the Holy Land and the Christian West. Thus, for example, the rabbis in Worms and Regensburg in Germany knew that Saladin’s Ayyubids had been ruling in the Holy Land since 1187.
‘At this time, Judah Ben Samuel published the results of his biblical calculations (Gematria) and astrological observations and summarized as follows: “When the Ottomans (Turks) – who were already a power to be reckoned with on the Bosporus in the time of Judah Ben Samuel – conquer Jerusalem they will rule over Jerusalem for eight jubilees. Afterwards Jerusalem will become no-man’s land for one jubilee, and then in the ninth jubilee it will once again come back into the possession of the Jewish nation – which would signify the beginning of the Messianic end time.”
The Tenth Jubilee
‘One jubilee is 50 years (Leviticus 25). It is the 50th year after seven times seven years, the year in which each person should regain ownership of his or her land. Ben Samuel’s calculations were purely theoretical; there was absolutely no sign at that time of their being fulfilled. He himself was not able to experience their fulfillment, for it was only 300 years after his death that the first of his predictions were to come true.’
We know the Mamluks had been reigning in Jerusalem since 1250. It is certainly uncanny that firstly, the Ottoman Turks conquered them in 1517. That was exactly 500 years ago. Secondly, the Turks remained for eight jubilees (8 x 50 = 400 years). They occupied Jerusalem for 400 years precisely as Ben Samuel prophesied. Thirdly, as we saw above, General Allenby drove the Turks out of Jerusalem in 1917.
Thus commenced Ben Samuel’s ‘no-man’s land’, especially as the United Nations granted the British their ‘Mandate’ shortly after. When Israel re-captured Jerusalem in the Six Day War of 1967, exactly one jubilee (50 years) after 1917, Jerusalem reverted to Jewish-Israeli ownership once again.
After that, according to the prophecies of Yehuda Ben Samuel, the Messianic End Times began. We do not know what he meant by that. More than one commentator has suggested something dramatic would happen in 2017. Well, with the year drawing to a close, something most certainly has.
The Bible is our standard, and we stand amazed by God’s doings in the Holy Land. Nevertheless, it is worth acknowledging the man who in the Twelfth Century saw it all coming.
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem
We continue to be as concerned for the Palestinian Christians as for the security of the state of Israel. They face hardship from Israeli sanctions and suspicion and worse from their Arab neighbours.
But we have little patience for Muslims whose claim to Jerusalem rests on a lie and who desire the complete destruction of the Jews and the Israeli state.
A ‘two-state solution’, the dream of an independent Palestinian state living peacefully alongside Israel, looks dead now. It would never occur along ‘pre-1967 boundaries’ as the received wisdom demands. But that must never stop us praying for our Christian brothers and sisters, for Israel and for Jerusalem. Hubert Parry set this Psalm for Her Majesty the Queen’s Coronation on 2nd June 1953:
Psa 122:6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee. 7 Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces. 8 For my brethren and companions’ sakes, I will now say, Peace be within thee. 9 Because of the house of the LORD our God I will seek thy good.
It is our prayer today.
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