I am listening to the speeches concerning the dedication of the American Embassy in Israel and it is interesting and inspiring. Politically it makes sense and it sends a definite message to the world that the US really does recognize Israel and that Jerusalem is it’s capital and to say other, as Britt Hume commented, was an “absurdity”. The absurdities of embassies being built 40 miles away from the capital is more a function of expediency than reality.
The issue was presented theologically by many which is more troublesome. The Evangelical brand of Christianity has made the nation and the fate of Israel a theological and prophetic issue that can become an absurdity as well. Israel is important politically because it is the only Democracy in that part of the world, but it’s theological importance it seems to me was changed greatly in 70 AD when Jerusalem basically ceased to exist. The point is that whoever has the power can control that land and put the capitol wherever they want. As harsh as that sounds that is a political truth.
Evangelicals see this in truly theological terms which can be a bit troublesome. Lutherans see all the promise coming together in Christ. Reed Lessing in the Lutheran Witness had a great article we would do well to go back and study. Look up Lutheran Witness Volume 125, No.10 November 2006. The article by Reed Lessing is entitled “Whose Land Is It?”
Here is a quote:
When the New Testament is allowed to interpret the Old Testament, it follows that
the 1948 state of Israel is not a prophetic realization of the Messianic kingdom of
Jesus Christ. His kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36). Furthermore, a day
should not be anticipated in which Christ’s kingdom will manifest Jewish
distinctives, whether by its location in the land of Palestine, its capital in
Jerusalem, its constituency, or its ceremonial institutions and practices. The Old
Testament needs to be viewed in light of Jesus Christ.