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Explainer: Christians Hold Different Opinions About Moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem

Laura Lacey Johnson | Contributor to ChristianHeadlines.com | Wednesday, February 28, 2018
Explainer: Christians Hold Different Opinions About Moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem

Explainer: Christians Hold Different Opinions About Moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem


Last week, the United States announced it would open its embassy in Jerusalem in May to coincide with the 70th anniversary of Israel – ahead of schedule.

While some Christians advocated for moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, others cautioned the move could appear provocative and incite violence.

News about Israel is of interest to many Christians primarily because of prophecy, not politics. Specifically, some Christians believe moving the US embassy to Jerusalem is a prophetic sign; others, however, aren’t so sure.

Last month, I summarized the findings of LifeWay’s recent survey of Christian beliefs about issues involving Israel – from the nation’s place in the Bible to its treatment of Palestinians. In that survey, 80% of evangelicals said the “rebirth” of Israel in 1948 was a fulfillment of biblical prophecy.

With the May deadline approaching, let’s examine two different opinions Christians hold about the US embassy move to Jerusalem.

Position # 1 – Moving the US embassy to Jerusalem is a bad idea.

– Christians who hold this position worry the embassy move could lead to violence and bloodshed.

– They reject the notion that God’s promises to Abram apply to modern Israel.

– Their concern is peacemaking, and they don’t want to support practices that seem contrary to the teachings of Jesus, particularly injustice.

– While they agree Jerusalem is the historic capital of Israel, they challenge the idea that Israel still holds an ethnic claim to the land.

– These Christians anchor their thinking not in the Old Testament’s land-based promises, but in the gospel, where tribal theologies about Israel become universal, welcoming all people into a divine promise of blessing.

– They also look at Scriptures such as John 3:16 and believe God loves the whole world and wants to bless Israel and Palestine.

Position # 2 – Moving the US embassy to Jerusalem is a good idea.

– Many Christians who support the US embassy move to Jerusalem do so primarily because of a literal interpretation of Scripture; they cite Genesis 12:3 as the rationale to “bless” Israel.

– These believers think the promises God made to Abram in Genesis 12 are still in effect today.

– In addition, they point to Genesis 17:8 as proof of God’s ongoing land covenant with Israel.

– Some Christians believe Scripture was fulfilled when Israel became a modern nation in 1948 (See Isaiah 11 and 66, as well as Ezekiel 37).

– Also, there is a Christian teaching that explains God will focus His attention on Israel in the last days (see Romans 9–11 and Daniel 9:24).

– Therefore, these believers point to Revelation 7 as evidence that God still has a plan for Israel, and consequently, they want to support Israel.

Conclusion

While there are undoubtedly other opinions among Christians about this topic, my goal is to illustrate that Bible-believing followers of Christ can interpret prophecies differently.

Meantime, we can all agree that Jesus is coming back to earth, though none of us know when (Matthew 24:36).

As you watch news from the Holy Land, let me help you stay informed:

For a simple explanation of Jerusalem’s complicated history, read my article “Why the Peace (and Pieces of) Jerusalem Are Significant.”

Also, subscribe to my blog and receive a free download to help you understand “Why Jerusalem is Important to 3 World Religions.”

 

Laura Lacey Johnson is a cutting-edge faith and culture writer who focuses on everyday headlines. In addition to speaking, she is a columnist for Christian Headlines.com. To read Laura’s latest work on the headlines, visit www.lauralaceyjohnson.com, or to download your FREE copy of Why Jerusalem is Important to 3 World Religions, subscribe to her blog here.

Photo courtesy: ©Thinkstock/rrodrickbeiler

Publication date: February 28, 2018

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