When American and Israeli officials inaugurated the first-ever U.S. embassy in Jerusalem Monday (May 14) in a festive red, white and blue ceremony, more than 100 evangelical Christians, including former U.S. congresswoman Michele Bachmann, were on hand.
So were scores of American Jews, including Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, many of them Orthodox.
President Trump’s December 2017 decision to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem has spurred criticism from those who believe the decision will impede a broader peace settlement in the Middle East by denying Palestinian claims to the city. It has also brought fears of increased violence. (As of this writing, at least 58 Palestinian deaths have been reported along Israel’s border with Gaza in protests against the embassy’s relocation.)
But for some evangelical Christians and Orthodox Jews, the embassy’s relocation is not only a smart political move but a fulfillment of divine prophecy.
“We see the embassy as crucial to God’s timing to bring about the revelation of the messiah,” the Rev. David Swaggerty, the leader of CharismaLife Ministries in Columbus, Ohio, said following a joint Christian-Jewish Bible study session hosted at the Israeli parliament the day before the embassy ceremony.
“For evangelical Christians the embassy move is part of eschatology,” the expectation of what will transpire at the end of times,” explained Rabbi David Rosen, director of the American Jewish Committee‘s Department of Interreligious Affairs. “The return of the Jewish people to their ancestral homeland and the reestablishment of Jewish sovereignty in Jerusalem is seen as a stage ultimately leading to the full messianic era.”
For religious Jews, too, moving the embassy from Tel Aviv represents a step toward redemption and the coming of the messianic era. “Certainly, when the world’s most powerful nation establishes its embassy in our eternal capital, we see the further realization of the ancient prophecy of how we have come home to rejoice in this ancient city,” said Rabbi David Stav, founder of the Tzohar rabbinical organization in Israel.
SOURCE: Michele Chabin
Religion News Service