If a person was born in Jerusalem, should that person be allowed to list his or her birthplace as “Israel?” You would think that the answer to that question would be an obvious and straightforward, “yes.”
But it seems nothing relating to Jerusalem can be obvious or straightforward.
The U.S. Supreme Court recently reversed an act of Congress that permitted U.S. citizens to list “Israel” as their country of birth on their passports if they were born in Jerusalem. The law was passed and signed by President George W. Bush way back in 2002 specifically to overcome reluctance by the U.S. State Department to recognise Jerusalem as being officially a part of Israel. Regarding this decision, Commentary magazine’s Jonathan Tobin wrote:
“The administration thinks being upheld on this point is good for America because it allows it to continue maintaining the fiction that Jerusalem isn’t part of Israel. The bizarre refusal of the U.S. to formally acknowledge that even West Jerusalem — that section that has always been part of Israel since May 1948 — is part of the Jewish state also makes peace less likely.”
Bible prophecy states clearly that Jerusalem will be a global point of contention in the days leading up to the return of Christ. Indeed, the prophet Zechariah declared that Jerusalem would become a “very heavy stone” to the whole world:
“And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it.” (Zechariah 12:3 NKJV)
Blessing and cursing
When God chose the Jewish People through Abraham (Genesis 12:2–3), He said He would make Abraham into a great nation. Part of that promise was to bless those who blessed him (Abraham) and curse those who cursed him or his offspring:
“I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Genesis 12:2-3 NKJV)
That promise has been at work throughout the ages, and we certainly have evidence of it in history.
The evidence of history
In the last century alone we saw the fall of the British Empire, an empire so vast the sun never set on it. And although it was instrumental in initiating the 1917 Balfour Declaration that began the process of Israel becoming a nation, it was also instrumental in turning away Jews and dividing up the land when the Jewish People needed Britain’s help the most, after the liberation of the Nazi death camps in 1945.
An empire that took 300 years to acquire crumbled in 30 years.
More recently, the Arab nations that have dedicated themselves to destroying the Jewish nation are themselves being destroyed.
For example, Israel’s neighbour Syria, which has tried to destroy Israel in several wars, including attacking Israel in 1948 when she declared her independence, is now itself being destroyed by warring internal factions and outside Jihadist Islamic forces, such as Hezbollah and the Islamic State (IS). In fact, the “state of war” with Israel has never been officially called off.
Similarly, Iran threatens to annihilate Israel almost daily, and that country has been experiencing great economic hardships, as well as abnormally high levels of earthquakes.
On the other hand…
While countries seeking to obliterate Israel are themselves experiencing trouble and decline, those countries that bless the Jewish state are being blessed.
For instance, Jordan signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1994 and is able to effectively ward off the advancing Jihadist forces of IS.
Another neighbour of Israel, Egypt, has been working closely with Israel on security issues against IS and Hamas since overthrowing the Muslim Brotherhood Government. Although IS has infiltrated the Sinai Peninsula, Egypt has been able to withstand their advances as well.
Alongside a marked rise in anti-semitism, a great number of factions in Western nations increasingly seek to displace the Jewish People off their land by dividing Jerusalem. These same groups recognise the “State of Palestine” as a sovereign entity though it has not yet made any peaceful negotiation agreements with Israel, or recognised her right to exist as a sovereign nation.
Every US president since Harry Truman has supported the existence and defence of Israel in some unequivocal form, until today. Time will tell what the real consequences of President Obama’s less supportive attitude toward Israel will be.
The outlook for Israel and the world
God wants to bless those who bless the Jewish People because He has a greater plan for all mankind that begins with them. God plans to bless all nations, not just the descendants of Abraham – the nation of Israel. God told Abraham:
“In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.” (Genesis 22:8 NKJV)
The promise God made to Abraham is extended to anybody who has been baptized:
“For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ…And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:27-29 NKJV)
So it is in the best interests of everybody to be baptised and to be aligned with God’s plan, not against it.