Many in the Arab and Muslim world are in an uproar because Pres. Trump honored a campaign promise to move the United States Embassy to Jerusalem, thus, acknowledging that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.
Of course, Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. Long before there was Islam or Palestinians, there was Israel. Jerusalem has been its capital of Israel since the reign of King David. It’s true that a majority of Jews were driven out of their land in AD 70 by the Romans, but this did not change the fact that the nation continued to exist, Jews continued to live there, and Jerusalem was its capital
Moving an embassy to Jerusalem has no biblical significance, however, and neither does the United States acknowledging or not acknowledging Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The Bible doesn’t make any mention of these types of political maneuverings. Many Evangelicals who disagree with Trump’s pronouncement about Jerusalem do so because of the political fallout the decision might bring about. I’ll leave that discussion to others.
What I would like to answer is the claim that this particular event and others like it regarding Jerusalem have prophetic significance. According to modern-day prophecy theorists, a time will come when God will take His church off the earth in something called a “rapture.” At that point, God will once again deal with national Israel for a period of seven years. “Setting the stage” for this end-time event is said to have started in 1948. The first half of the seven years will seem like heaven on earth for Israel and the world. Israel will rebuild its temple, Jews will flow into Israel from around the world, the sacrificial system will be reinstituted, and peace will break out. But in the middle of the seven years, a world leader that the Jews had made a covenant with will show his dark side. This is said to be the antichrist. He’ll break the covenant he made with Israel, and all hell will break loose. He will lead the world to Armageddon where billions of people will be killed, including two-thirds of the Jews living in Israel (Zech. 13:8-9).
There’s more detail to this interpretation. I explain how this view of the end times developed in my book Truth About the Rapture: A Biblical Study. Also, see my books Last Days Madness, Wars and Rumors of Wars, 10 Popular Prophecy Myths Exposed and Answered, and Identifying the Real Last Days Scoffers.
What does the Bible say about the future of Israel as it relates to the question of Jerusalem’s prophetic significance? The Old Testament teaches that Israel was taken into captivity, first, the northern kingdom by the Assyrians in 722 BC, and the southern kingdom by the Babylonians between 597 to 581 BC. God promised He would return Israel to the land after a period of time. They did return, the capital city of Jerusalem was reestablished and the temple rebuilt (See the books of Ezra and Nehemiah). Any promises in the Old Testament related to Israel returning to their land and rebuilding the temple were fulfilled in the post-exile period and continuing in the ministry of Jesus Christ…