Both the world’s media and the Christian media have been prolific about the announcement by President Trump, on December 6 last year, that the United States recognises Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. I don’t propose adding to the debate that has ensued, except to say that since I was born after 1948, when the State of Israel came into existence, this announcement by the President of the US is the most significant event, in relation to end times, to have occurred in my lifetime. I believe it eclipses the very significant event in 1967 when Jerusalem was returned to Israeli control.
Clearly, I applaud the announcement and the ongoing arrangements to honour it by the recent confirmation that the US embassy will be moved to Jerusalem by the end of next year. What concerns me though, is the way in which this announcement has been touted as a major contributor to both the polarisation of a nation (the US) and to the widening of the divide between those who support the nation of Israel and those who don’t, including such a divide within the Church.
This polarisation and division is spoken of as if it’s a bad thing. I say it’s not a bad thing. In fact, as counter-intuitive as it sounds, in the days we are living in, not only is polarisation and division inevitable, it is absolutely necessary.
I can hear you saying, ‘what about a Scripture like Psalm 133:1?’ This verse, which is often read as applying just to the Church, says:
“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity” (KJV).
Of course, the ideal is for all people to dwell in unity. But the reality of the days we are living in is the reality that Yeshua spoke of when He said in Matthew 10:34-36:
“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household” (ESV).
He wasn’t saying that his intention was to cause division within families or anywhere. He was speaking of what had been prophesied that will happen. That prophecy is found in Micah 7:5-6:
“Put no trust in a neighbor; have no confidence in a friend; guard the doors of your mouth from her who lies in your arms; for the son treats the father with contempt, the daughter rises up against the mother, the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; a man’s enemies are the men of his own house” (ESV).
So, inevitably there will be polarisation, disunity and division, simply because there are those who choose the truth, the truth found in God’s Word, and there are those who choose to follow their own understanding of how things should be in the world. Remember the words of Proverbs 3:1and 5:
“My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, ….. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding” (ESV).
Truth is absolute, not relative or subject to modification according to times or circumstances. It is found in God’s Word, where it is always clear and unequivocal in its application to every possible situation. If we put unity ahead of truth the result is compromise. In the economy of man compromise is seen as good – it brings about unity, and unity is seen as good. But in God’s economy compromise over the truth is unacceptable. Only the truth of His Word is acceptable. The only way to achieve true unity is to unify around God’s truth. But of course, God’s Word makes it plain that man won’t be doing that.
President Trump’s announcement was uncompromising. It was based on the truth from the Word of God. And what rage it caused and is still causing. How dare the President of the United States obey the one true God, the God of Israel! How dare He provide the world with what appears to be the beginning of the outworking of the prophecy contained in Isaiah 2:1-3:
“The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be lifted above the hills; and all the nations shall flow to it, and many peoples shall come, and say: “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.” For out of Zion shall go the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.” (ESV).
At the heart of the tumult that has arisen is not just the real estate known as Jerusalem. History, as well as God’s Word, makes it plain that Jerusalem belongs to Israel, while the koran does not even mention Jerusalem. No, the tumult is due to the fact that the will of the true God, the God of creation, the God of Israel is being done, and specifically concerning Israel and Jerusalem. Satan knows his end will come when the Messiah reigns the world from Jerusalem. This is a battle in the heavenlies, a phenomenon explained succinctly in Ephesians 6:12:
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (ESV)
This precise fulfillment of God’s Word about Israel and Jerusalem and the battle that is taking place in heavenly places is forcing the nations to address their stance on Israel. It is forcing them to choose a side to be on. It is also forcing church fellowships to address their position in relation to Israel, and they too must then take a stand about Israel. No longer is it just a few people who comprise the small group in a church who speak about Israel and Jerusalem, and who have typically been an irritant in the fellowship. Now it’s all over the international news, almost daily – how the Lord works!
Inevitably, there will be opposing views within church fellowships, as there are within nations. This brings division because, as prophesied in Scripture, this has become a major issue that can no longer be ignored, glossed over, or treated with indecision. The question for each nation, each church fellowship, and each person, is whether to choose truth or falsehood, to obey or disobey God’s Word. In God’s economy there can be no middle ground, no compromise, no ambivalence and no indecision.
Given that, in this age, there will not be total unity around the truth, there will, accordingly, be disunity and division. This is the reality Yeshua spoke of in Matthew 10, quoted above. If we see disunity and division as something to be avoided at all costs, then we must embrace compromise. But if we accept the reality that there will continue to be those in our nations, in our churches, and maybe even in our families who will choose not to accept the truth about God’s nation of Israel, and we refuse to compromise with them, then we must accept disunity and division as the best option. That’s because in God’s eyes this is a better option than compromise. That’s why I say that disunity and division is not a bad thing. Relentlessly adhering to the truth of God’s Word 100% of the time, can never be a bad thing.
God’s Word is replete with clear, unequivocal statements about His view of Israel and Jerusalem. Furthermore, satan knows that his immortal and all powerful enemy, Yeshua, the Son of the one and only God, will soon rule the earth from Jerusalem. That’s why he’s causing the mayhem that, incidentally, is being attributed to President Trump. Satan knows very well Scriptures like Psalm 2:1-6. It’s a pity that more leaders of nations and churches and more people in the pews don’t know what satan knows from this passage in Psalm 2:
“Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying, “Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us”. He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision. Then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying, “As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill” [that’s Jerusalem] (ESV)
What a privilege it is to be living in the days of the literal fulfillment of prophecies of God’s Word. One would have to be blind and disconnected from God’s Word not to be filled with anticipation and excitement. Unfortunately both the previous and the current leadership of our own nation, New Zealand, have chosen, so far at least, to oppose the plans for Israel of Almighty God. This will come with a price, as it will for anyone making that choice. God’s Word promises that.