Donald Trump’s announcement that the United States will recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move the American Embassy there enraptured (pun intended) some evangelicals who view it as hastening fulfillment of biblical prophecy and an event known as the Rapture. They probably also see it as vindication of those who criticized their support of Trump.
The land promised to Abraham’s descendants
The restoration of the Jewish people to that portion of the Levant bequeathed to Abraham’s descendants has been ongoing as prophesied since the Babylonian captivity. Jerusalem has been the ancient capital of Israel and is considered so by modern Israelites, though for political reasons Tel Aviv is the functional de facto seat of Israel’s government and most embassies.
In doing so Trump has fulfilled substantially the 1995 symbolic mandate of our own Congress, reversed an Obama administration policy, and pleased his evangelical base of support. That’s three birds with one stone, very thrifty.
Eschatology is the study of “last things” or the end of time. There are four schools of thought within this branch of theological study: Premillennialism, Postmillennialism, Amillennialism and Preterism. And within each of these there are varying degrees of agreement and disagreement. Christian scholarship when it comes to Eschatology seems more confused than having a consensus.
“One thing we can say about the last days according to Scripture is there is coming a time of trouble to this world that is unprecedented in human history.”
There are some things about biblical prophecy yet to be fulfilled that we cannot say dogmatically, but there are some things we can say with scriptural clarity. Jesus said,
“For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will.” One thing we can say about the last days according to Scripture is there is coming a time of trouble to this world that is unprecedented in human history.
I am not aware of a single verse of end-time prophecy that is tied to the restoration of Jerusalem as the capitol of Israel. So I am mystified by the current evangelical euphoria. I do not see where Trump has aided the fulfillment of prophecy in this respect.
The purpose of prophecy is not to give us an exact map of where the future will take us; it is to give us enough information about what is to come so that as it unfolds we will know God saw it coming and is in control.
The Church’s mandate
I get the impression sometimes that Evangelicals are obsessed with the end of time. They shouldn’t be. Jesus’ disciples seemed to be also when they questioned Him about when the kingdom would be restored to Israel. Jesus told them, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority,” Acts 1:7.
The Church has received a mandate to “make disciples of all the nations.” We are not to sit on our hands awaiting God’s timing fretting about the future. We are to be about our Father’s business making disciples. The future is in His hands; the present is in ours.