Jerusalem Is About Prophecy Not Politics
For many conservative evangelicals, Jerusalem is not about politics. It is not about peace plans or Palestinians or two-state solutions. It is about prophecy. About the Bible. And, most certainly, it is about the end-times.
“Other evangelical pastors and teachers also praised the action
as “biblical” and likened it to a “fulfilled prophecy.”
When I was young, our pastor insisted that Jerusalem had an important role to play in these end-times events. When the Jews rejected Jesus as the messiah, he explained, God chose the church to accomplish his mission. Soon this “church age” would end with the rapture of true believers.
But God still loved the Jews, he told us, and wanted to redeem them. Thus, absent the church, the Jews would experience a great religious rebirth and rebuild their temple in Jerusalem. This would spark a series of cataclysmic events that would culminate in the Battle of Armageddon, the last war of humanity. But it would also cause the Jews to finally accept Jesus as their savior. After all this occurred, Jesus would return in glory and God’s kingdom — a thousand-year reign of peace. And it would begin in Jerusalem.
This theology — a literal belief that all these things must happen before Jesus will return to reign on Earth — is called”dispensational pre-millennialism” and it is not the quirky opinion of some isolated church. Although the majority of Christians do not share these views, versions of dispensational pre-millennialism dominate American evangelicalism.While that may sound benign (or perhaps nutty) to the theologically uninitiated, they are referring to the “prophecy” of the conversion of the Jews, the second coming of Jesus, the final judgment, and the end of the world — the events referred to as the biblical apocalypse.I doubt that President Trump could explain dispensational premillennialism.I doubt he knows the term. But his evangelical supporters know it. Some of his advisers are probably whispering these prophecies in his ears. Trump might not really care how they interpret the Bible, but he cares that white evangelicals continue to stand with him. Moving the embassy to Jerusalem is one way to arm his commitment to these evangelicals — reminding them that he, Donald J. Trump, is pressing biblical history forward to its conclusion and that he is God’s man in the unfolding of these last days.