Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem

By Rev. James Brown Jr.

“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.” –Psalm 122:6

Fox News reported on Tuesday that President Donald Trump officially recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, intending to move the United States embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem at a later date.

This move has drawn criticism from all sectors of American society but is largely supported by dispensational evangelicals like Pastor John Hagee, who is also the founder and chairman of Christians United for Israel.

Although I support the sovereignty of nations, like Israel to determine its own capital, I also believe it is important for our sovereign nation to make wise decisions for our own best interest. Obviously, we should also consider the best interest of our allies and even the world, but is this really what we are doing?

The question that seems to be lost in this discussion among conservatives is, “Why now?” Why is this policy in the best interest and security of the United States at this time? What is so important that we must gamble with the security of the Middle East and the safety of the nation of Israel? Is it necessary or even in our best interest to risk potential blood and treasure against the probable fallout from this decision?

Never shy about his Evangelical Zionist agenda, Pastor Hagee told the President this move would be significant because it is the “Jubilee Year.” Hagee claims to have told the President:

“I told him that God measures everything in modules of 50 years. And I said this is a principle that's carried out in Leviticus, the 25th chapter. I said, ‘If you look at 1917, it was a Jubilee Year, and the Balfour Amendment came, and then in 50 years, it was 1967, and Jerusalem was reconnected to Israel. And you add 50 to 1967, and you're in 2017.' I said, ‘This is the year to move the embassy and make that declaration because it is a biblical timing of absolute precision.’”

There you have it. Hagee believes moving the American embassy to Jerusalem in 2017 would be the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy. For him this is a significant reason, but is this biblical and adequate to dictate our foreign policy in an hostile region?

It is ironic this announcement comes during Advent when we celebrate the coming of Jesus Christ into the world. Jesus did not share Hagee’s Zionist sentiments saying that He did not come to bring peace, but a sword (Matthew 10:34). Jesus pronounced destruction on the apostate city of Jerusalem (Matthew 24) promising to make all things new (Revelation 21:5).

From A.D. 70 to A.D. 1948, Palestine was under the control of foreign occupiers when the United Nations established a Jewish state. Jerusalem did not fully come under its control until 1967 as a result of the Six-Day War. Although Hagee sees this as the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy, it is not in any way a reestablishment of the Old Covenant state.

The old biblical Israel was a theocracy comprised of the 12 tribes of Israel. Modern Israel is a secular parliamentary democracy and not the Old Testament theocracy many evangelicals confuse them to be. Plus, modern Israel can never be a regathering of the 12 tribes since 10 of the 12 are now lost in history after having been assimilated into the nations of the world.

This is not just an historical fact, but one that was prophesied in the Bible. Without question, the Scripture does prophecy the salvation of Israel, but this salvation of Abraham’s promised descendants would come through the true Israel of God—Jesus Christ—in order to save the whole world.

Jesus is identified as the true Israel of God (Hosea 11:1; Matthew 2:13–15) and true Jews are no longer identified with outward circumcision but inward circumcision (Romans 2:28-29). Although Israel after the flesh was a type of the true Israel of God, it was imperfect and failed to bring salvation. The flesh could not could not save just as the sacrifices in the Old Covenant were unable to take away sins (Hebrews 10:4). They could only point to the spotless Lamb of God (Jesus Christ) who alone can justify sinners.

Even though physical Israel failed, God’s true Israel prevailed! Jesus, in fulfilling the Old Covenant promises, caused the old to pass away in order to create a new Israel. Jesus is the true Israel and believers in Christ are the children of Abraham (Galatians 3:26-29). One nation was destroyed so that all nations might live.

“And she conceived again, and bare a daughter. And God said unto him, Call her name Loruhamah: for I will no more have mercy upon the house of Israel; but I will utterly take them away...Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God.” –Hosea 1:6, 10

“And I will sow her unto me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not my people, Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God.” –Hosea 2:23

“Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy. For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.” –Romans 11:31-32

“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.” –1 Peter 2:9-10

For this reason, Paul declares, “Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also (Romans 3:29).” Jesus did not only come to save and create a new Israel out of the few remaining Jews from Old Israel. No, Paul says that it is not just the Jews who are called but also the nations (Romans 9:24).

This is the message that was rejected by the Zionist Jews of Jesus’ day. They hated His message because they believed they were in fellowship with God through their racial merits and religious works. But Jesus said, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

Throughout history, this Christian view of salvation through Christ alone (Solus Christus) has been condemned as anti-Semitic because we refuse to compromise the Gospel for Zionism. The Gospel teaches us that Jesus is the only mediator to God. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me" (John 14:6). Jesus did not come to restore the Old Covenant system, but to fulfill it and create all things new.

One of the new things Jesus established was a New Jerusalem; not the old physical Jerusalem of the old system, but a spiritual Jerusalem that includes all peoples of every nation, language, and tribe (Revelation 5:9; 14:6).

Writing to the Celtic people of Galatia, Paul informs these Gentiles that they too are included in this spiritual Jerusalem in Christ:

“Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law? For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all. For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband. Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise.” –Galatians 4:21-28

Paul identifies two distinct covenants. One is of the flesh and the other is of the Spirit. Paul informs these Celts that they too are the children of the promise through Christ. They belong to this true promised seed not because of their flesh but because of the Spirit. This is something the unbelieving Jews could not understand because of their racial supremacy. They believed in the covenant of the flesh and not the covenant of promise. Their focus was upon rituals, racial lineage, and holy sites.

In contrast, this covenant of promise uses physical types to reveal spiritual truths. Therefore, the writer of Hebrews identifies the true Jerusalem as the Church.

“But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.” –Hebrews 12:22-24

As we seek to live among the nations of the world, it would be prudent for America to deal wisely with the Middle East. Instead of going off half-cocked based upon some half-baked scheme of end-time prophecy, we need sane foreign policy to dictate our policies and actions.

Dispensationalism has fabricated a false end-time system that has repeatedly failed in its predictions. We can not afford another false prediction when there is so much at stake in the Middle East. The ramifications of which could not only destabilize the region but the entire world.

Yes, we should pray for the peace of physical Jerusalem. Still, our first priority must be love and prayer for the true Jerusalem—Christ’s Holy Church—if we are to experience “peace on earth, goodwill toward men” (Luke 2:14).

Therefore, our message to the nations must also include, “Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.” (Psalm 2:10-12).

Without the King of the nations, Jesus Christ, ruling over the hearts, lives, and institutions of men, there is no hope for true and lasting peace in Jerusalem, Moscow, Tehran, or Washington D.C.