For many evangelicals, Jerusalem is about prophecy, not politics

May 15, 2018

By Diana Butler Bass

(CNN) As I watched Donald Trump announce that the United States would recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move our embassy to that city, I could only think of one thing: my high school youth group Bible study.

I know that sounds odd. Especially coming from a liberal Episcopalian like me. But there you have it. The President makes a world-important declaration about global politics, and an absurdly apocalyptic thought arises, “Jerusalem? The Last Days must be at hand!”

When I was a teenager in the 1970s, I attended a “Bible church,” a nondenominational congregation that prided itself on a singular devotion to scripture. We read the Bible all the time: in personal Bible study and evening Bible classes. We listened to hour-long Sunday morning sermons. For us, the Bible was not just a guide to piety. It also revealed God’s plan for history. Through it, we learned how God had worked in the past and what God would do in the future.

Central to that plan was Jerusalem, the city of peace, and the dwelling place of God. It was special to the Jews because it was the home of Abraham and David. It was special to us because it was where Jesus had died and risen. We believed that ultimately, Christ would return to Jerusalem to rule as its king. We longed for this outcome — and we prayed that human history would help bring about this biblical conclusion.

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One comment on “For many evangelicals, Jerusalem is about prophecy, not politics”

  • Not only does Trump’s move to support illegal occupation feed into biblical mumbo-jumbo theology, but it also feeds into the inflated, vain self-image of American exceptionalism. America’s endorsing of the occupation of Arab lands, is tantamount to endorsement by God himself; even more than the pope, the President (at least Republican Presidents) is/are God’s vice gerents on earth.

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