Question: "Should Jerusalem be the capital of modern-day Israel?"
Answer: Jerusalem figures prominently in both biblical history and biblical prophecy, and it is currently the focus of much controversy and political wrangling. As of December 6, 2017, the United States has recognized Jerusalem as the official capital of Israel, acknowledging the facts of history but rankling the Muslim world. All politics aside, the declaration that Jerusalem is the legitimate capital of Israel is biblically and historically accurate.
King David first chose Jerusalem as Israel’s capital 1,000 years before Christ. The city was destroyed in AD 70, but, after World War II, on May 14, 1948, Israel once again became an independent state. The U.S. quickly recognized Israel’s restored status as a national homeland for the Jewish people. Then on December 5, 1949, Israel declared Jerusalem to be its capital again. Unfortunately, other nations have been slow in facing the reality of Israel’s independence and its right to choose its own capital.
In 1995, the United States Congress passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act, which required the U.S. embassy be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. However, for twenty-two years, implementation of that law was delayed on the grounds of “national security.” Now, finally, the U.S. has officially recognized the obvious—Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. This recognition accords with thousands of years of history and the wishes of Israel itself.
Of course, some are opposed to recognizing Jerusalem as the Israeli capital. Muslims in general and Palestinians in particular (and Muslim terrorist organizations) are offended by the thought of Jerusalem being made the legitimate capital of Israel. This is due in large part to the place the Temple Mount holds as the third holiest Islamic site. According to the Qur’an (Surah 17:1), Muhammad made a miraculous night journey from Mecca to Jerusalem in AD 621. There he led worship at “the farthest mosque,” was lifted to heaven, and returned to earth to carry on his teachings. The Dome of the Rock, built in AD 692, marks the place where Muhammad supposedly ascended to heaven. Today the Temple Mount is under the control of the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf, a trust established in 1187 to manage the Islamic structures in Jerusalem. Under their current rules, access to the holy sites is prohibited to all non-Muslims.
It is important to realize a couple things: first, the Israeli government recognizes the rights of Muslims to worship on the Temple Mount, and it works to protect them there. Second, the Qur'an upholds the rights of the Jews to the Promised Land, which includes Jerusalem: “And thereafter Allah said to the children of Israel, ‘Dwell securely in the Promised Land’” (Sura 17:104; see also Sura 2:122; Sura 45:17; and Sura 57:26).
Normally, every country designates its own capital, and then nations with diplomatic relations with that country build an embassy in that city. For instance, when Brazil moved its capital from Rio de Janeiro to Brasilia in 1961, all the foreign embassies moved as well. The only country in the world whose capital has not been honored this way is Israel. All of Israel’s government buildings, as well as the residences of the President and Prime Minister, are there. Yet not a single foreign embassy is in Jerusalem. We believe that Israel should be afforded the same right as every other country to choose its own capital.
The rebirth of Israel in 1948 was a vital step in the fulfillment of biblical prophecy. The dry bones began coming back together (Ezekiel 37). The recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s true and historic capital is another giant step. The stage is being set for the rest of prophetic scriptures to be fulfilled. We may not know all the implications of current events on the prophetic timeline, but one thing we can say for sure is that Jerusalem is a special city. It is the only city in the world where God has put His Name: “In Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, I will put my Name forever” (2 Kings 21:7).