Papua New Guinea this week opened its embassy in Jerusalem stating clearly that it was doing so to honour the ‘God of Israel’. In fact, the Christian leader of the country said you could not be a Christian without honouring the things God loves, and that includes recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

The opening ceremony took place in Jerusalem on Tuesday with the leaders from both Papua New Guinea and Israel being part of the opening ceremony.

“Today is a milestone moment for my country Papua New Guinea,” Prime Minister James Marape said. “We are here to give respect to the people of Israel to the fullest.”

Marape was explicit in laying out the biblical motivation for the move, which makes Papua New Guinea the fifth country to open its embassy in Israel’s capital.

Papua New Guinea opened its embassy in Jerusalem “because of our shared heritage, acknowledging the creator God, the Yahweh God of Israel, the Yahweh God of Isaac and Abraham,” said Marape.

“You have been the great custodian of the moral values that were passed for humanity,” Marape said to Netanyahu.

“Many nations choose not to open their embassies in Jerusalem but we made the conscious choice. This has been the universal capital of the nation and people of Israel. For us to call ourselves Christians, paying respect to God will not be complete without recognizing that Jerusalem is the universal capital of the people and nation of Israel.”

The leaders of Papua New Guinea are Christian and this represents the majority of the country, with over 95% of them identifying as Christians, with some of the larger denominations being Catholic, Lutheran and Pentecostal.

Israel’s Prime Minister responded saying, “I was very moved when I heard your anthem. I heard the words ‘prayer’ and ‘hope’. Much of the origin of this prayer was in this city, and as you correctly said, it’s been our capital for the last three thousand years.”

Netanyahu said Jerusalem “is where so much of our heritage emerged from. This is where our values were forged. This is where our prophets prophesied. This is where so many of the eternal values that we hold dear were created and disseminated to the people of Israel, and from there to all humanity.”

“I think it’s fitting that a state and a people so deeply committed to these values do what you just did,” Netanyahu continued.

It is wonderful to see a Christian nation honouring God by recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. It is always wonderful to see Christians and Jews joining together in unity in this way and we pray that the love and friendship shown to Israel from Papua New Guinea will open the hearts of Israelis to their Christian brothers and sisters around the world.

Christians really are Israel’s greatest ally. The world needs more Christian leaders to stand up for their Biblical beliefs in this way.

This year, we want to do more to bless Israel and the Jewish people.

We know that as we bless Israel this year, God will bless us, just as He promised in Genesis 12:3, “I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” Now is the time to bless Israel and the Jewish people.