I. Trump’s declaration of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital
At the beginning of December 2017, US president Donald Trump declared Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and decided to move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. As a result, strong opposition broke out among the Palestinians, causing violent clashes against the Israeli military and police forces. Soon, the whole Islamic world began to express their strong condemnation against this action. Hamas of Palestine cried out, “Trump has opened the gates of hell!”
The European Union expressed their deep concerns, criticizing Trump’s decision. Russia stood firm in their stance against Trump. The Pope also declared Trump’s decision to be reckless, stating that Jerusalem could not be the capital of Israel.
At the same time, Turkish president Erdogan called for a meeting of Islamic countries. In this summit meeting that was held a few days after Trump’s decision, they officially denounced Trump’s decision and stated that Jerusalem must become the capital of Palestine. Immediately following the summit, Turkey and Yemen issued a proposal to the UN and called for an emergency meeting. The US then threatened the members of the UN saying that they will halt all aid to anyone who votes against the US’s decision, which would especially put pressure on the countries of Africa. However, Erdogan countered this pressure by challenging African Islamic countries to not betray Islam because of money. After voting, the results were almost unanimously against the US. All 56 Islamic countries, Europe, and Russia voted against the US. Even India, China, Japan, and Korea stood by the Islamic world regarding this decision.
Afterwards, Trump condemned the UN, arguing that the UN had no right to intervene in a sovereign decision of the state. Trump reaffirmed his decision to soon move the US embassy into Jerusalem. In the midst of all this turmoil, the US Congress was silent and had no grounds to oppose Trump’s decision because, in 1984, the US Congress had already approved to set Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. When the US Congress this, the current president had the power to either declare the decision officially or to delay the process every 6 months. Every US president since 1984 used the power to delay this decision due to their fear of opposition from the Islamic World. By officially declaring Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, however, Trump opened Pandora’s Box that everyone was afraid of.
The Pope extended an invitation to President Erdogan to come to the Vatican and hold a meeting on February 4th, 2018. This invitation was due to their agreed stance against Trump’s decision. He had plans to create alliances with the Islamic World and the EU in order to actively stop the move of setting Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. But the question that remains is why then was he so involved in this issue of making Jerusalem the capital of Israel? From this, we can induce a spiritual mechanism that will begin to unfold in the world in the near future.
In the mid-1970s, the Pope argued that Jerusalem should neither be the capital of Israel nor Palestine, but rather managed by the international society. This implied that Jerusalem should be under the sovereignty of the UN. The World Council of Churches (WCC) came alongside his opinion and also opposed the idea of Jerusalem becoming Israel’s capital.
The Pope and the WCC argued that since the conflict of Jerusalem was centered on the temple, it would only prolong the conflict if it was handled by Israel and Palestine alone. The alternative, they argued, was to give the management of Jerusalem to a fair and authoritative third party, namely the UN. Through this external party, the deeply rooted conflict over Jerusalem could come to an end and bring peace. This plan, however, points to the Pope and WCC’s plan to make Jerusalem the capital of the world, not just the capital of Israel. As we observe, the sovereign territory of the Catholics is the Vatican. UN headquarters are on US territory, but the UN desires their own sovereign land. If the UN were to be given the management rights of Jerusalem, then Jerusalem would become UN’s territory. In other words, this is the project of world capitalization for the peace of Jerusalem. Therefore, the true issue at hand is about whether Jerusalem will become the capital of Israel or the capital of the world.
II. The spiritual significance of Jerusalem
Jerusalem holds a very special spiritual significance. 1 King 11:36 says, “[Jerusalem is] a city where I have chosen to put my name” and tells of God’s covenant to give this city to David and his descendants forever. Jerusalem is the city of God and will forever belong to the descendants of David, Israel. Not only that, in 2 King 21:7, God declares that he will put his name in Jerusalem forever.
Some argue that this type of special significance ended in the Old Testament times and is thus no longer valid in the New Testament times. However, this is not necessarily true when you look at the words of Jesus.
“But I say to you, Do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King.” (Matt. 5:34-35)
As Jesus speaks of Jerusalem, he equates it to the vast heavens and the earth, making it clear that it is God’s city. Through this we know that Jerusalem still holds a distinctive spiritual significance even in the New Testament times.
Even more shockingly, Jesus began to weep for Jerusalem as he was drawing near to the city to eventually suffer on the cross.
“And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.” (Luke 19:41-42)
Jesus wept over the peace of Jerusalem. What is this peace of Jerusalem that Jesus weeps over before his mission to save the world? This scene is not one we can understand easily.
Jesus wept twice while on earth: once over the death of Lazarus and the other over the peace of Jerusalem. We can understand Jesus’ tears for Lazarus as his sorrow over the death of people and lost souls. But why does Jesus weep about the peace of Jerusalem? Through this, we can understand God’s special heart for Jerusalem.
In Isaiah 29:7 it says, “And the multitude of all the nations that fight against Ariel, all that fight against her and her stronghold and distress her, shall be like a dream, a vision of the night.” Ariel is another expression for Jerusalem. It is God’s stern warning that anyone who strikes Jerusalem will disappear without a trace. In Ezekiel 38:12, Jerusalem is called the center of the world. Such a statement cannot be taken lightly in the spiritual aspect.
The significance of Jerusalem was clear even before the time of King David and the temple. Its significance appears in Deuteronomy 12:11-12:
“then to the place that the Lord your God will choose, to make his name dwell there, there you shall bring all that I command you: your burnt offerings and your sacrifices, your tithes and the contribution that you present, and all your finest vow offerings that you vow to the Lord. And you shall rejoice before the Lord your God, you and your sons and your daughters, your male servants and your female servants, and the Levite that is within your towns, since he has no portion or inheritance with you.” (Deut. 12:11-12)
God tells Moses about his plans for Jerusalem. This reveals to us that God chose Jerusalem to put his name there, while continually emphasizing the significance of Jerusalem throughout history.
“You may not offer the Passover sacrifice within any of your towns that the Lord your God is giving you, but at the place that the Lord your God will choose, to make his name dwell in it, there you shall offer the Passover sacrifice, in the evening at sunset, at the time you came out of Egypt.” (Deut. 16:5-6)
III. God’s throne, Jerusalem
When we say that Jerusalem has a special spiritual significance as the chosen city of God for his name, we can say that Jerusalem is the “throne of the Lord.” (Jer. 3:17). What does it mean to be the throne of God? It means that God will be enthroned in Jerusalem to rule the world.
In Matthew 24:1-3, as Jesus enters into Jerusalem for the final time, he prophesies that the temple of Jerusalem will be destroyed and that not a single stone will be left on another. The disciples were so shocked that they inquired about when the destruction of Jerusalem would take place, when the return of Christ would be, and when the end of the world would be in relation to the signs of these things. The return of Christ and the end of the world signifies the same thing, but what does the destruction of Jerusalem signify? From this, we can comprehend the world view of the Jewish people. The Jews believed that God had chosen Jerusalem to build up his holy temple. Therefore, the Jews were the holy people of God. To them, the temple of Jerusalem, the city of Jerusalem, and Israel were all bound together in one fate. Therefore, the Jewish faith rests upon the idea that God’s presence will come upon the temple of Jerusalem, from which he will rule the world.
This is why the disciples were so shocked when Jesus said that the temple of Jerusalem would be completely destroyed. The destruction of the temple implied that the holy temple, the holy city, and the holy people would also end. In other words, the destruction of the temple signified the end of the world to the Jews. As Jesus prophesied, the Romans invaded Jerusalem, destroyed the city, and scattered the people of Israel to the corners of the earth in the year 70 AD. It was all over. But the end of the world that the Jews had anticipated did not come! They could not understand why.
The Jews could not understand because they were missing one point. Jesus clearly points out the error of their perspective in Matthew 24:14, which explains that the end of the world does not come through the destruction of the holy temple, the holy city, and the holy people of Israel. In order for the end to come, the gospel of the kingdom must be preached to all nations. All nations must hear the gospel, not just the Jews! This was why Jesus commands his disciples to go and make disciples of all nations in the Great Commission.
IV. The return of the Jews to Jerusalem
Why were Jews scattered all over the world? It is because they killed the Messiah. Despite being a chosen nation, the Lord could not just ignore this incident. As a result, the Jews were scattered in foreign lands throughout the world, suffering for 2,000 years. These Jews, though, never forgot about Jerusalem. They wept in prayer every day towards Jerusalem, crying out,
“God! Forgive the sins of our ancestors and bring us back to Jerusalem. We will restore the temple of Jerusalem. Be enthroned there and rule the world! Almighty sovereign God, restore Israel to be your holy people!”
According to the prophecy found in Ezekiel 36:24-28, the Jews returned to Jerusalem in 1948. Upon their arrival, their first mission was to restore the temple. However, the place of the temple’s ruin was now occupied by a grand Islamic mosque built with the very stone where Abraham sacrificed Isaac right inside. The Jews were determined that this mosque must be eliminated. However, even after 70 years, the El Aqsa Mosque still stands tall with its prominent golden dome.
The reason why is because if this mosque was threatened in any way, an army from 56 Islamic states would collectively rise to attack Israel. This site holds absolute significance to the Muslims who believe that Mohammad was lifted up to the heavens from this place. The El Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem along with the Great Mosque of Mecca in Saudi Arabia are the two sites that Muslims could never surrender. This is why even the US and Europe who always sided with Israel strongly opposed them from eradicating the mosque for the past 70 years. The elimination of this mosque would begin the Third World War that would be based upon religion. No powers in the world – not even the western empires – would be able to contain the outcome.
For the reasons explained above, the Jews continue to weep everyday at the temple wall. They cry out,
“Lord! Abolish this mosque and restore your holy temple!”
Because Judaism only allows sacrifices in the temple, they do not perform any sacrifices. Their prayers at the Wailing Wall are still not being answered. As we see, the temple of Jerusalem located in the Eastern side is at the core of today’s issue on the ‘Peace of Jerusalem.’
V. The abomination in the holy place
The issue of the temple of Jerusalem is the world’s greatest dilemma. How will this problem be solved? This problem will eventually be resolved by some person. This person is the Anti-Christ. He will be embraced by the whole world and worshiped like a god. He will sit in the rebuilt temple of Jerusalem and rule the world. He will attempt to imitate God by stealing his throne in Jerusalem. This is why he is the abomination in the holy place, the beast, and the anti-Christ.
Through him, the peace of Jerusalem will come. Of course, this will not be the peace of God (shalom), but rather a political peace. This is when people will begin to say, “Peace, peace!” and rejoice, without realizing that this will be the beginning of the Great Tribulation. Through the anti-Christ, the Great Tribulation will come upon the people of God. At the height of the tribulation, Jesus will return and destroy the anti-Christ beast forever (Matt. 24:1, 1 Thess. 5:1-6, 2 Thess. 2:3-8).
“Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God. Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? And you know what is restraining him now so that he may be revealed in his time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming.” (2 Thess. 2:3-8)
In order to resolve this problem, the leaders of the world have been engaged in a secret project of the ‘Peace of Jerusalem,’ identified as the religious unification movement. The Catholics and the WCC are at the forefront of this movement with an active support from the UN. They argue that peace between religions is the peace of the world. As we see in the world, religion is the foundation of most major conflicts. Some examples include Israel-Palestine, Russia-Chechen, India-Pakistan, Sudan, Nigeria, along with many more, which explains why the intellectual society of the world created inter-religious conversations and “Coexist” movements. The purpose was to initiate the religious unification movement for the sake of eliminating all factors of conflict. This is their attempt to strengthen the principles of inter-religious conversation within each religious sector in order to permanently normalize religious relativism. Since the 1950s, this religious unification movement received support from Catholics, Muslims, Jews, and Christians. In Judaism, there is no concept of proselytizing. In Islam, this is also the case except within in the Wahabi sect. The Catholics and the WCC also officially denounced the act of inter-religious mission work to convert several years ago.
Starting in 1952, the WCC slowly began eliminating the work of evangelism and cross-cultural missions in the world evangelical camp. They dissuaded others not to speak about “Jesus” through the “Mission of God” movement. Their logic is simple: cross-cultural missions restrict peace between religion and the world, so it should not be done. They emphasize mentioning “God” when doing missions, but not the name of Jesus Christ. The WCC explains that saying, “God loves you!” is sufficient. Following this logic, the WCC directs Jews not to talk about Moses, Muslims not to talk about Mohammad, and Christians not to talk about Jesus Christ. By talking about “God” only, the rationale is that all religions can pursue the “universal church” by unifying the three clashing major religions as the generalized religion of Abraham. From this religious unification movement, we can deduce that the values of Catholicism and the WCC are founded upon peace rather than the truth. Furthermore, this kind of logic and ideology is being accepted everywhere and becoming an unstoppable force.
In addition to the “Mission of God” movement, the WCC also began the “Missional Church” movement, which emphasizes doing good, voluntary work within your culture instead of engaging in cross-cultural missions. They teach not to preach the gospel even if you travel cross-culturally. They also created new terminology, “aggressive missions,” to criticize the mission work towards the Islamic world. Over the past decade, the Missional Church movement spread like wild fire, forcing even the most mission-minded churches to terminate their cross-cultural evangelism and focus on good voluntary work within their own society. Even the last standing evangelical camp that stood firmly for the Great Commission and cross-cultural missions is now on the verge of collapsing.
Through these mechanisms, “peace between religions” will be fulfilled to establish the unification of world religions. By going beyond Moses, Mohammad, and Jesus, our society is heading towards the reign of the singular religion of Abraham for all people. Although the temple of Jerusalem will be restored, it will be the temple for the religion of Abraham. Although the peace of Jerusalem will come, the peace of the world will come along with it. Jerusalem will become the capital of the world as well as the center of anti-Christ’s rule. Despite this, Jesus will surely return to declare the eternal end of this world which is covered with sin and evil.
As the imminent end draws near, the voices of people even within the church will grow louder: “Do not speak of Jesus!” and “Do not preach gospel!” But Jesus Christ our Lord cries out to us, “For Jesus alone!” and “For the gospel alone!”
“And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.” (Mark 8:34-35)