This article first appeared in the CUFI UK Torch Magazine. For the latest issue, see here.

Jerusalem is the eternal, undivided, capital of Israel. The Bible says that Jerusalem has God’s name written on it. For that reason alone, it’s the most important city in the world. Yet it’s a city that has divided opinions as much as people have foolishly tried to divide it.

But let us not forget that the meaning of Jeru-salem, literally means, ‘city of peace’. The place that many in the world hold synonymous with conflict and division will one day be the epicentre of peace on earth. Today, we pray for the ‘peace of Jerusalem’ and our desire is to see the Jewish people’s capital honoured with the recognition it deserves. In this article, we will look at the moral and legal basis for recognising Jerusalem, the problem with Britain’s foreign policy, and why the arguments in opposition are completely flawed. We also consider what changes must be made if we are to become the generation that sees the UK move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

“I have chosen Jerusalem”

The Bible is clear that God has sanctified Jerusalem for a very special purpose. King David made Jerusalem capital of the Jewish people around 1,000 BC. But the earliest record of Jerusalem as a royal city is in Genesis 14:18, which refers to Melchizedek as the “King of Salem”.

The Psalmist refers to Jerusalem as “the city of the great King”. In other words, God Almighty is the One who has ultimate sovereignty over Jerusalem. Therefore, we should give full attention to what He has to say concerning it. Second Chronicles 6:6 says, “Yet I have chosen Jerusalem, that My name may be there, and I have chosen David to be over My people Israel.”
Whilst we’re familiar with Jerusalem being a holy city religiously for the Jewish people, it is also important to note the inseparable nature with which God denotes Jerusalem as the place from which King David would set up his throne and reign over Israel. For centuries that followed, Israel’s kings, like David, set up their seat of governance and administration in Jerusalem – it was a capital both symbolically and practically.

It is indisputable that Jerusalem has been the capital of Israel for over 3,000 years. No other people group in history has ever made Jerusalem their capital city. Indeed, over two millennia of kingdoms have ruled ‘over Jerusalem’, but no kingdom has ruled ‘from Jerusalem’ except the Jewish people by commission from Almighty God.

What’s more incredible is that the Jewish nation has outlasted every other empire and invading group that has ‘taken Jerusalem’. Only Israel can claim Jerusalem as its ancient capital, with undeniable, historical proof.

Today, the Jewish people are back in their historic homeland, and the State of Israel has sovereignty over its ancient capital. Not only is Jerusalem the holiest place for the Jewish people, it is also the place in which Israel has once again placed its governing administration. It is home to the Knesset (Israel’s parliament), the presidential residence, the governmental offices, the Supreme Court, and other civil authorities.

“A heavy stone”

Why then is there so much hesitation among countries, especially Israel’s allies such as the UK, to give recognition to the reality that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital? As Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, once said, “Israel could not under any circumstances negotiate over any aspect of Jerusalem, any more than Americans would negotiate over Washington, Englishmen over London or Frenchmen over Paris. Israel is prepared to offer the Arabs full and equal rights in Jerusalem—but no rights over Jerusalem.”

The book of Zechariah warns that the Lord has made Jerusalem “a very heavy stone for all peoples.” Interestingly, it is the Lord that has made it such, ensuring that it isn’t possible to move. But the verse continues, “all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces.” In other words, ‘mess with Jerusalem at your peril.’ This should act as a warning shot for any nation that thinks it knows better than the nation to whom Jerusalem was given. The Bible’s warning that Jerusalem isn’t an easy topic for nations to handle suggests there is also a spiritual battle surrounding Jerusalem’s treatment.

Jerusalem is indeed a heavy struggle for many. There are nations at the UN for whom Israel’s sovereignty over Jerusalem is an aggravating burden they wish to suppress. Meanwhile, there are some politicians in Britain for whom the topic of Jerusalem exposes political weakness. They prefer to regurgitate an outdated and overused script, or ignore the topic altogether, rather than give proper account for why they will not support an embassy in Jerusalem.

Read Part 2 here

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