Two days away from Christmas, Samoa should join the Christian world in rejoicing. And we are not just talking about the fact we are gearing up to commemorate Jesus Christ’s birthday.
No it’s much more than that. The decision by U.S. President Donald Trump to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is a critical moment in the history of Christianity.
Why? Despite the overwhelming opposition – and the mounting threats from anti-Israel nations – the fact is the decision by Trump is the fulfillment of Bible prophesy about Israel and Jerusalem. And while it might have taken a while, we know the God of the Christian world is not a respecter of persons. Time is in his hands and his time is his time.
What’s fascinating is that it took a most controversial figure like Trump to break the ice and do what could not have been done before. But then as Christians, we know God can use anyone, even someone as hated and unpopular like Trump.
As we speak here in Samoa today, we accept that the wave of opposition against the decision is rising. It is not going to get better, it’s only going to get worse, but then as Christians we shouldn’t be surprised at all.
On page 3 of the newspaper you are reading today, member countries of the United Nations have unanimously agreed to denounce President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
The resolution “affirms that any decisions and actions which purport to have altered the character, status or demographic composition of the holy city of Jerusalem have no legal effect, are null and void and must be rescinded”.
The vote was the single most popular story on the international media yesterday. On all the major international media groups, the condemnation of Trump and Israel came swift and fast.
But what about Samoa? As a nation that has recently declared itself a “Christian state”, where do we stand? What do we do?
Interesting that Samoa did not partake in the vote. Whether it was an accident or deliberate, it would be interesting to know. Suffice to say, if Samoa means what it proclaims as a Christian nation founded on the Almighty God of Israel, this is the time to make a stand.
We know Trump and Israel continue to remain steadfast.
“The attitude to Israel of many nations in the world, in all the continents, is changing outside of the U.N. walls, and will eventually filter into the U.N. as well — the house of lies,” reached Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.
That is a strong statement. Here therein lies the belief of a leader who will not back down from claiming what they know is rightfully theirs. The debate about Jerusalem is an old one and everyone has a theory.
But if we are to believe the Bible that has been given to us as the inspired word of God, Jerusalem belongs to Israel and it is where many prophesies in the Bible are being and will be fulfilled. Which means what is happening today is merely a part of the journey of Israel and the community of Christians.
Sure it’s unpopular, it is fraught with danger. But don’t Christians serve a God whose word promises that “if God is for us who can be against us?”
The point is let the anti-Israel and anti-Christian brigade do what they have to do, but as Christians in Samoa, we must continue to stand with Israel.
This is where God has called us.
Interestingly enough, according to an article reprinted earlier this week in this newspaper, even Muslims know that they “have no religious basis to rule Jerusalem”. The declaration was made by Mobarak Haidar, a renowned Pakistani historian and author of multiple books.
“After the ‘Conquest of Mecca’, Muslims were told to turn their faces toward Kaaba and away from Jerusalem. They have never faced their loyalty toward Jerusalem after that, for the last 1,400 years,” he wrote. “No Muslim ever went to pray in Jerusalem until it was conquered by the second caliph [Umar ibn Khattab in the 7th century] although there was no restriction on Muslims. Christians were masters of Jerusalem before Muslims conquered it. It is still a holy place for Christians. But Christians have no dispute over ownership of the city.
“Muslims of the world have no religious basis to rule Jerusalem. Most of the Muslims have never even wished to visit Jerusalem.”
There was another interesting article titled “Why recognizing Jerusalem as Israeli capital is right move” written by Sara Miller for the The San Diego Union-Tribune which was reprinted in this newspaper two days ago.
“Jerusalem has long been recognized as the capital of the Jewish state of Israel. It is the city “on the hill” that boasts more than 3,500 years of Jewish presence, the city that encapsulates Judaism’s most holy sites, where Jewish history is etched into the very fabric and foundation of Zion itself,” she wrote. “King David paced the halls of his Jerusalem fortress in the 10th century BCE and declared Jerusalem as his capital. The grave of Jesus Christ in Jerusalem is visited year-round, symbolizing the life of one who lived 2,000 years ago and changed the course of history.
“Furthermore, Jerusalem is the site of the First and Second Temples referenced in the Hebrew Bible and is a continual haven of sacred life for not only Jews but Muslims and Christians alike. Only under Israeli rule have the world’s major monotheistic faiths been able to worship in one place and in true freedom.”
Her conclusion is even more interesting.
“The magnitude of events that have taken place in Israel during this time are unparalleled: 50 years since the reunification of Jerusalem in 1967, the upcoming 70-year celebration of Israel’s rebirth in 1948, and finally, the assertion that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital, strengthening the ties between Israel and the United States. This courageous U.S. move is a lesson that we must not cower away from threats or bullying, and we must not worry that anti-Israel propaganda will once again attempt to cover the bright torch that we carry.”
As Christians – although we are miles and oceans away from Israel – we have a responsibility and an obligation to pick up the torch and continue to shine it – even in the face of criticisms and hatred.
Have a wonderful weekend Samoa, God bless!