BBC: Why do US evangelicals support Trump’s Jerusalem policy?


The BBC reported the following:

Why do US evangelicals support Trump’s Jerusalem policy?

5 January 2018

US Vice-President Mike Pence’s trip to Israel has been postponed, amid Palestinian protests against the US decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. But why does the move remain popular with evangelical Christians in the US? …
Jerusalem is important to all Christians. But the city, and Israel, is especially significant to some.

This is where the End Times comes in.

“There’s a segment of Christianity that believes the creation of the state of Israel (in 1948) was the fulfilment of prophecy,” says Prof Christopher Rollston from George Washington University.

“Not just a good thing – but the fulfilment of prophecy.”

The idea was popularised in a best-selling book called The Late, Great Planet Earth, released in 1970.

The slim paperback, by American author Hal Lindsey, said world events – including the creation of Israel – were proving the Bible correct.

To some Christians, the book validated their beliefs. It also meant the end of the world as we know it – which the Bible also predicts – was near. Not all Evangelicals share this apocalyptic view. But some do, including a group called premillennialists.

They believe in a Great Tribulation – that is, a period of war and destruction – before a thousand years of peace.

“They believe there will be, ultimately, an apocalyptic end of the age,” says Prof Rollston. “Replete with the Battle of Armageddon, the Mark of the Beast, these sorts of things.”

So what is the connection to End Times and Donald Trump recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital?

Again, says Prof Rollston, it stems from the belief that Israel’s creation was foretold in the Bible.

“Anything that’s supportive of the modern state of Israel, for them is a good thing,” he says. “It’s not data driven.”

Prof Rollston goes to an Episcopal (Anglican) church, but grew up around evangelicalism. He finds premillennialism “entirely unconvincing and a misappropriation of scripture”.

“They will cite this text or that text,” he says. “But they’re citing it entirely out of context.”

The Reverend Johnnie Moore agrees that some evangelicals hold premillennial, or dispensationalist, beliefs. But he thinks it’s a “very, very small group”, whose influence is exaggerated. … David Brog, executive director of Christians United for Israel.

“There is a widespread myth that Christians support Israel to speed the End Times,” he says. “That’s simply not true.

“Anyone who understands the theology / eschatology of pro-Israel Christians knows they believe they are powerless to change the date of End Times.

“If they are powerless to speed this day, their support for Israel must be driven by other motives.

“In the case of Jerusalem, we support President Trump’s decision because it is an act of historic justice – and an overdue recognition of modern reality.”

The BBC report referred to several evangelical leaders that downplayed the prophetic reasons for support. So, here is a report from another source:

Evangelical Christians have been among Israel’s most fervent supporters both politically and financially. Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, president of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, has raised $1.4 billion for Israel from evangelical Christian donors, many of whom say they give up luxuries like a daily Starbucks latte and donate the money to Israel instead. …

For them, he says, the return of the Jewish people to Israel is the fulfillment of a biblical prophecy and a condition for the future return of Jesus Christ as the Messiah.

“These Pentecostal Christians are based much more on a literal interpretation of the Bible as opposed to religious authority,” Eckstein said. “They often quote Genesis Chapter 12, Verse 3, where God promises Abraham that “those who bless you will be blessed and those who curse you will be cursed.”

Yet there is some evidence that younger evangelicals don’t feel the same way.

“Not all evangelicals believe that Israel is the harbinger of the Second Coming,” said Rabbi David Rosen, international director of interreligious affairs at the American Jewish Committee. “Surveys show that there is less support for Israel among younger evangelicals than among those who are older.”

According to the Pew Research Center’s study on religion in the United States, in 2013 more than 80% of white evangelicals believed that God gave the Land of Israel to the Jews. A new study released earlier this month by the Nashville, Tennessee-based LifeWay Research found that 40% of younger evangelicals (age 18–34) had no strong feelings about Israel. 01/04/18

In general, evangelicals correctly believe that the following scriptures have meaning for now:

6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
“May they prosper who love you.
7 Peace be within your walls,
Prosperity within your palaces.” (Psalm 122:6-7)

1 Now the Lord had said to Abram: “Get out of your country, From your family And from your father’s house, To a land that I will show you. 2 I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. 3 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 12:1-3)

I have heard Hal Lindsey point to the blessing promise in Genesis 12:3. Many evangelicals believe that blessings will happen to those who pray for the peace of Jerusalem and who support the Jewish state.

Contrary to how the BBC downplayed it, the reality is that prophetically-oriented evangelicals believe that support of the State of Israel is important for prophetic reasons.

Specifically, many believe that since animal sacrifices will be re implemented and later stopped (Daniel 9:27; 11:31), that the State of Israel is necessary for a ‘Third Temple’ to be built in Jerusalem.

This is consistent with what evangelical prophecy leaders such as Hal Lindsey and the late Tim LaHaye have written (see Why is a Jewish Temple in Jerusalem Not Required?).

They also tend to believe that since a peace deal is indicated by Daniel 9:27 that the Jewish state needs to exist for that.

Many also believe that the “budding of the fig tree” statement by Jesus refers to the start of the State of Israel in 1948. Here is what Jesus actually stated:

32 “Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. 33 So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near — at the doors! 34 Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. 35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away. (Matthew 24:32-35)

the late Protestant/Baptist scholar Dr. Walvoord wrote:

Matthew 24:32-35; Mark 13:28-21; Luke 21:29-33 … A common interpretation has been to interpret the fig tree as a type of Israel and the revival of Israel as the budding of the fig tree … there is no scriptural basis (Walvoord JF. Prophecy Handbook. Victor Books, 1990, pp. 390-391)

Not only was Dr. Walvoord correct that there is no scriptural basis, I will take it a step further.  Unless a generation is over 70 years, it is NOT POSSIBLE THAT THE FORMATION OF THE STATE OF ISRAEL IN 1948 FULFILLED THE PARABLE OF THE FIG TREE IN MATTHEW, MARK, OR LUKE.


Jesus noted that the events in Matthew 24. Mark 13, and Luke 21 would all happen within the same generation.  Biblically, a generation was normally considered only 30 or 40 years according to what seems to be Smith’s Bible Dictionary’s understanding of Job 42:16 (Smith W. Smith’s Bible Dictionary.  Originally written 1863, Hendrickson Publishers, p.  211).  Here is that scripture:

16 After this Job lived one hundred and forty years, and saw his children and grandchildren for four generations. (Job 42:16)

Essentially, 140 years divided by four generations equals what may be considered 35 years per generation, with 40 years more probable as that would make the grandchild of the last generation 20 years of age.

Even if a generation is biblically longer, it would not seem to be over 70 years or maybe 80:

10 The days of our lives are seventy years;
And if by reason of strength they are eighty years,
Yet their boast is only labor and sorrow;
For it is soon cut off, and we fly away.  (Psalms 90:10)

70 years would seem to be the maximum length of a biblical generation.  Since the Great Tribulation (Matthew 24:21) cannot possibly start prior to 2018 (and likely later, see When Will the Great Tribulation Begin? and/or watch Can the Great Tribulation begin in 2018?) and Jesus cannot return until 3 1/2 years later, if Jesus’ reference to “this generation” meant 70 years or less, then it is not possible that the view that the formation of the State of Israel was the first sign to count the fulfillment of much of Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21 could be biblically possible.

As far as evangelical prophetic beliefs about the peace deal and the ‘Third Temple,’ let me state that partially because of how they interpret Daniel 9:27, most will NOT know when the deal of Daniel 9:27 has been confirmed.

Furthermore, most prophetically-inclined evangelicals believe that a ‘Third Temple’ must be built in Jerusalem before the millennium.

Yet, scripture shows that the Jews do NOT need a ‘Third Temple’ per se to sacrifice in accordance with practices shown in Ezra:

6 From the first day of the seventh month began they to offer burnt offerings unto the LORD. But the foundation of the temple of the LORD was not yet laid. (Ezra 3:6)

One may argue that since it takes the participation of Jewish religious leaders in order for Jewish animal sacrifices to be resumed, that the above scripture is a moot point.

And it might be, if there were no Jewish religious leaders that thought that they could not sacrifice without a temple.

But the fact is, that although they are in the minority, there are significant numbers of Jewish religious leaders who are intent on starting animal sacrifices as soon as possible.  And these Jewish leaders do not believe that they have to wait in order for a temple to be rebuilt in order to do so.

Notice the following:

The 71 members of the “Re-established Sanhedrin” say they want to begin sacrificing animals again, despite the absence of the Temple, the ritual altar and all the required implements listed in the Bible. Rabbi Dov Stein of the group admitted…

“We want to do the sacrifice, but we have political problems,” Stein said. “We hope there will come a time when the government will agree. We will push for that to happen.” (Rabbis aim to renew animal sacrifices. Associated Press. Feb 28, 2007.

The “Sanhedrin” group referred to above began to form in 2004 and claims to have “the consent of hundreds of rabbis, scholars and leaders” ( viewed 09/11/08).   It also has been working on implements, including those related to having an altar.

Notice something from the leader of the Sanhedrin:

April 19, 2016

Breaking Israel News asked Rabbi Hillel Weiss, secretary of the Nascent Sanhedrin, if the mitzvah of korban pesach is incumbent upon the Jews today by Jewish law, despite the lack of a Temple or an altar. “Of course. There isn’t even a question,” Rabbi Weiss answered. “There is nothing in Jewish law that prevents us from performing this sacrifice. The only obstacle is the government that will not allow the Jews to do this great mitzvah, so the sin is on them, and not, God forbid, on the Jewish people.”

The Sanhedrin established a committee in 2004 concerning the korban pesach to work in cooperation with all religious, legal, and administrative authorities. The committee has attempted several times to obtain the government’s permission. Legal documents were sent to the Prime Minister, the Supreme Court, and the Chief of Police. The Prime Minister did not respond. The Supreme Court appeared to uphold the right to perform the sacrifice, but denied it on grounds of security. This answer was reiterated by the Chief of Police.

Indeed, the korban pesach is not dependent on the presence of a Temple and continued long after the Second Temple was destroyed.

This group has made some attempts to offer sacrifices in the past, but has often run into political opposition. Israeli courts have generally agreed that Jews have the right to perform animal sacrifices, but have repeatedly denied this right as the timing would have excessively negative consequences. And to rebuild a temple in the area that the Muslims consider sacred would be even more problematic politically–especially at this instant. Yet, because the Muslims have a strong presence at the site of the old Temple Mount (Har HaBayit) with their al-Aqsa Mosque, some consider the actual construction of a Jewish temple there to be impossible.

Though it may well take a war, peace deal, and/or political gridlock for that to happen.

But it will come to pass. The Sanhedrin wants it (watch also Sanhedrin pushing animal sacrifices). In late 2016, they appointed Rabbi Baruch Kahane as the next Kohen Gadol–high priest (see Reconstituted Sanhedrin names high priest in preparation for the restoration of sacrifices; to begin as early as the Day of Atonement?). More on the Sanhedrin can be found in the article Nascent Sanhedrin structure and high priest: The plan is to start animal sacrifices–this would fulfill prophecy!

Furthermore, perhaps it should be realized that the government of Israel does have a certain amount of respect for Yisrael Ariel, the founder of the Temple Institute. Yisrael Ariel is also a member of the “Re-established Sanhedrin.” Back in September 2013, my son Michael confirmed with someone at the Temple Institute that they were willing and able to begin animal sacrifices without a ‘Third Temple’–they only needed governmental permission. And the next month, I also personally confirmed that with someone at the Temple Institute when I was in Jerusalem.

Anyway, despite it being downplayed by some in the BBC article. many evangelicals do have prophetic reasons for their support of Israel. Yet, their interpretation of certain prophecies are in error.

Partially because of that error, they will NOT know when the Great Tribulation will begin until it is basically too late for many to properly respond to it.

But you do not have to be like them:

31  Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man. (Luke 21:36)

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Jerusalem, Donald Trump, and Prophecy On December 6, 2017, US President Donald Trump fulfilled a campaign promise related to the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. This brought anger, protests, and rockets from some Palestinians. It also brought condemnation from European allies–it has been claimed to be disruptive and even catastrophic. The Palestinian President (Mahmoud Abbas) said that this pronouncement eliminated the USA as being a fair mediator for a peace deal. Others have claimed that Donald Trump is an end time Cyrus and his pronouncement will lead to a Third Temple in Jerusalem. Is there ever going to be a peace deal? If so, will Europeans be part of it? Is Donald Trump a ‘Cyrus.’ Do the Jews require a Third Temple for sacrifices? Dr. Thiel answer those questions and more in this video.
Why is a Jewish Temple in Jerusalem Not Required? Although people like Timothy LaHaye teach a third Jewish temple is required, who is ‘the temple of God” in the New Testament? Does the Bible require a rebuilt Jewish Temple? Could the old Temple have been somewhere other than the “Temple Mount”? Here is a related article in the Spanish language ¿Por qué no se requiere un templo judío en Jerusalén? Here is a link to a sermon titled The Temple, Prophecy, and the Work.
Jerusalem: Past, Present, and Future What does the Bible say about Jerusalem and its future? Is Jerusalem going to be divided and eliminated? Is Jesus returning to the area of Jerusalem? There are also two related YouTube videos you can watch: Jerusalem To be divided and eliminated and God’s and Satan’s Plan for Jerusalem.
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Dangerous Protestant Prophetic Errors What are some errors that various Protestants hold to that will tend to prevent them from knowing when the Great Tribulation will begin? A related video is titled Ten Dangerous Protestant Prophetic Errors.
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Prayer: What Does the Bible Teach? This free booklet contains 28 biblically-based tips on improving the effectiveness of your prayers. This is a pdf. A related two part sermon is available: What Does the Bible Teach About Prayer? and What does the Bible Teach About Prayer (& Healing)?
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