President Donald Trump places his hand on the Western Wall in Jerusalem, Monday, May 22, 2017, prior to placing a prayer in-between the stone blocks of the religious site. (Official White House Photo by Dan Hansen)

This week has seen something unprecedented in the 70 years since Israel was reborn as a nation: a sitting United States president acknowledged Jerusalem as the capital of modern Israel.

I am not a political supporter of Donald Trump. I did not vote for him, and his actions, tweets and press conferences often make me cringe. I do pray for him, as Paul instructed us to pray for our leaders (I Tim. 2:1-2).

Of all the things that Trump has done and said in his 10 months in office, this one has really made me think and ponder and pray.

An Israeli friend described her feelings about the announcement like this:

You see this scene when you’re a kid and you’re watching cartoons and then a bunch of people go into this cave.  And in the middle of the cave is this stone.  And nobody has touched this stone for thousands of years because if somebody touches the stone the gods will wake up and will shake the whole world. … Then one guy is like “What are you talking about? I’ll touch the stone.” And he goes and touches the stone and the whole cave starts to shake, and they’re all like “Oh no! What have you done!?” This is how I feel about Trump.

I have to admit that I felt similarly.

Ladder of the status quo seen in Jerusalem, Israel, on March 29, 2010. ” The ladder is referred to as ‘immovable’ due to an understanding that no cleric of the six ecumenical Christian orders may move, rearrange, or alter any property without the consent of the other five orders.” (Wikipedia)

Man’s attempt to keep peace in a turbulent place has been to keep the status quo, that is “dont’ change anything.” You see it at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, where different branches of Christianity have vied for sections of the church built over the the likely tomb of Jesus of Nazareth. Cries of “status quo” went up when — after a shooting on the Temple Mount — Israel installed then removed metal detectors for Muslims going up to Al-Aqsa Mosque for prayers (tourists and Israeli Jews, by the way, already had to go through metal detectors).

However, for those of us who believe the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, we know that Jerusalem has been the capital of Israel since King David, is God’s chosen city (see the Prophets and the Psalms) and will be the global capital (replaced by the new Jerusalem come out of heaven) when Messiah comes in the flesh to rule and reign on earth (see Revelation 21:2). Jerusalem is special to God. It is holy because He has set it apart for Himself (and not for any other reason, mind you).

To better understand the background of Trump’s decision, I recommend you read “Jerusalem the joy of the whole world” by Israeli Avner Boskey. Boskey explains that

“The original American position on Jerusalem goes back to 1947-48 and is based on the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181, adopted November 29, 1947 (Wikipedia).

That Resolution calls for the dividing of the Land of Israel into “independent Arab and Jewish States.” It also calls for “the Special International Regime for the City of Jerusalem.” All the residents of the city would automatically become “citizens of the City of Jerusalem” unless they opted for citizenship of the Arab or Jewish State.

The plan was never implemented, so on December 11, 1948 GA Resolution 191 restated “detailed proposals for a permanent international regime for the territory of Jerusalem.” This projected Jerusalem area stretched from Abu Dis (East) to Bethlehem (South) and from Ein Karem/Motza (West) to Shu’afat (North). …

This plan was never implemented, but since the UN has never revoked its resolutions 181 and 194, it still maintains the official position that Jerusalem should be placed under a special international regime.”

Please go read the whole of the article, because Boskey details the difference between the Congressional position and the Executive position on the status of Jerusalem. Trump, in his announcement “broke with a decades-old stance of the State Department, the Intelligence community and the military. But he aligned himself with decades of U.S. Congressional tradition and sentiment.”

Call to prayer

No matter what you think or feel about Trump’s decision, it has been done and it will have consequences. The situation in Israel and the Palestinian territories is complicated and can be volatile. Yet, the Psalms tell us to pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Ps. 122). Also, this very public decision by the US leader could motivate Islamic extremists to target Americans abroad or at home.

Avner Boskey, at the end of his article, lists these prayer points:

  • Many of the leading lights in the U.S. Departments of State, the Intelligence and military communities are opposed to President Trump’s proclamation. They and influential voices in the oil business are certainly biding their time and planning their next step. Pray for the frustration of ungodly strategies and for God’s revelation to enlighten the eyes of these leaders with His heart for Jerusalem and the Jewish people
  • Pray for Messiah’s body to receive strategies and empowerment in standing with the Jewish people as anti-Semitism and anti-Israel movements increase
  • Pray for intercessors worldwide (and especially in the U.S.) to receive the divine burden for this moment
  • Pray for the frustrating of all hands raised to do violence and mayhem against Israel, the Jewish people and American interests

Christ Church Jerusalem also released prayer points:

  • Pray for peace in Syria and that the situation does not bring further instability to the region (with Iranian presence there)
  • Pray that Iran will move its forces out of Syria
  • Pray that millions of Syrian refugees will be able to return to their homes soon
  • Pray that more and more Iranians will come to know Jesus as Messiah
  • Pray for wisdom for the US president
  • Pray for the security of Israel and the peace of Jerusalem

Succat Hallel, a house of prayer in Jerusalem, also released analysis and prayer points. You can watch the video below.

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