Constantly in the news, grabbing headlines out of all proportion to her land mass or population, Israel seems to provoke an emotional response. (Unsplash/Denny Müller)

Israel. What's the big deal? Why is this little sliver of land so important?

Constantly in the news, grabbing headlines out of all proportion to her land mass or population, Israel seems to provoke an emotional response—either deep respect or deadly hatred.

Now, in a bold move that is drawing both protest and praise from around the globe, the United States has moved its embassy to Jerusalem, Israel's now-and-forever capital. This dramatic change, which brought the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem on May 14, 2018, took place exactly 70 years after David Ben Gurion declared Israel's independence as a nation-state—a homeland for Jewish people everywhere. Hearing the hue and cry of voices opposing the placement of a foreign embassy in the capital city, one cannot escape the irony. Every nation on earth is expected to choose its capital city and govern its people according to its own laws and customs. But when Israel welcomes the establishment of America's diplomatic offices in Jerusalem, known to all as its national capital, this is considered an outrage. Why?

To answer this peculiar question, we must return to the Hebrew Bible. Here, the ancient prophets foresaw the illogical and venomous response to Jerusalem. Here, we view the phenomenal saga of Jerusalem's early choice by God, her impressive growth during the reigns of David and Solomon, her destruction at Babylonian hands (witnessed and described by Jeremiah), the exile and return of her inhabitants (recorded by Ezra and Nehemiah), and the prediction of a yet longer exile (prophesied by Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Hosea) to be followed ultimately by the miraculous resurrection and restoration of the people to Jerusalem and all Israel.

Both the disproportionate focus on Israel and the outrage over Jerusalem were predicted 2,500 years ago.

"The oracle of the word of the Lord against Israel. Thus says the Lord, the One who stretches out the heavens and establishes the earth and forms the spirit of man within him: I am going to make Jerusalem a cup of reeling before all the surrounding nations. And when there is a siege against Judah, it is also against Jerusalem. And it will be on that day that I will set Jerusalem as a weighty stone to all the peoples. All who carry it will surely gash themselves, and all the nations of the land will be gathered against it" (Zech. 12:1-3).

Authority that Supersedes Human Governments

The nations of the world cannot comprehend the meaning of Israel and her capital city, Jerusalem. Why? It is because they don't recognize God's authority. Without the concept of a sovereign, divine Authority that supersedes human governments, the idea that God has declared His choices, values and plans sounds absurd.

"Why do the nations rage, and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against His anointed, saying, 'Let us tear off their bonds and cast away their ropes from us.' He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord ridicules them. Then He will speak to them in His wrath and terrify them in His burning anger: 'I have installed My king on Zion, My holy hill'" (Ps. 2:1-6).

Our destiny is to welcome Yeshua back to the very city in which He was pierced for our transgressions, His back shredded for our redemption. Anticipating His arrival transforms our daily routine into preparation for the ultimate coronation. Despite our foibles, God has involved us in this history-forming process. Our role is as intercessors, persevering in agreement with His plans.

"I have set watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem, who shall never hold their peace day nor night. You who remind the Lord, do not keep silent; give Him no rest until He establishes and makes Jerusalem a glory in the earth" (Isa. 62:6-7).

This is a year to celebrate, and to rededicate ourselves to preparing the way of the Lord (Isa. 40:3).

This article originally appeared at tikkuninternational.org.

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