How to put Trump’s U.S. embassy move to Jerusalem in historical and biblical perspective


The Old City of Jerusalem (Etienne Valois)

 

 

 

 

 

Listen to the 10 min audio

Read the transcript:

TOM LAMPRECHT:  Harry, I want to take you back to last Wednesday. President Donald Trump allowed a 1995 law that was passed by Congress requiring the relocation of the United States embassy in Israel to move to Jerusalem.

Now, this was passed back in 1995, yet presidents were given a loophole that allowed successive presidents – Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama – the option to issue waivers every six months to delay the embassy move.

Donald Trump, last Wednesday, said, “The time has finally come. We’re moving the embassy.” He was praised by Benjamin Netanyahu, but he was condemned by many other world leaders. Harry, your thoughts? How important is this?

Historical and Scriptural Context

DR. REEDER: Let’s go back, Tom, and set this in historical context. Jerusalem is, historically, what was called a Jebusite city in the Bible. It is one that was conquered by David and became his seat of rule.

From that Jebusite city, just up the side of the spur of the hill where it was originally located, was a place that had become very important in the life of the people of Israel. First of all, it was the spot where Abraham had brought Isaac.

That same place became the threshing floor of Araunah, where David secured that as a place to build the Temple. This became known as the Mount Zion, which became precious in the sight of the lives of God’s people.

Thus, the quote, “Compact city of Jerusalem with its walls,” had been built in the days of David and then, in the days of Solomon, the temple had been placed there.

Therefore, you can read the psalms and you can read the accounts of the scripture of how Israel had become identified with it because not only was the Temple there, the house of David had built the palace, Solomon’s portico was established there and, most importantly, the Holy of Holies, which became the dwelling place of the Lord by His divine appointment where his Shekinah Glory had dwelt in that place, the Temple became the spot of teaching and worship and the gathering of God’s people.

The fulfillment of the Old Testament promises are not only located in Jerusalem, but located there most profoundly through the fact that it was there that Christ came and cleansed the Temple twice, and it is there that He came and died on the cross at Mount Calvary and, from outside of Jerusalem, on the Mount of Olives, is where He ascended into Heaven so it becomes the focal point of the atoning work of God in the covenant of grace.

It becomes not only a place where the Old Testament people of God revere and identify with, but it becomes that point of fulfillment and, therefore, the expansion of the grace of God to all the nation from the redeeming work of Jesus Christ, there, in Jerusalem.

Therefore, it becomes a very pointed and precious place. Now, fast forward: Israel, of course, is dispersed from Jerusalem in the days of the Roman Empire and maintains dispersed pretty much throughout all the nations as fulfillment of prophecy.

And then, interestingly – and many would see this, also, as a fulfillment of the prophecy – the nation of Israel is reestablished after World War II. Now, Jerusalem becomes a point of conflict again as an Israeli State is established. But, as it is established, the Balfour Declaration is interpreted and fulfilled in a way that I think it was not designed by the United Nations.

And, under the leadership of Britain, the Balfour Declaration is eviscerated in that the land over the Jordan River – which was to be the place of what, today, is called the Palestinians – was taken and made, more or less, an English protectorate, almost, and now known as the Nation Jordan, which left the Palestinian people with no place to go and became an issue there in the land of Israel as the Palestinians are left there and the Israeli State is begun.

And then you have the War of 1967 in which the Israeli State which was established is attacked and they repelled the attack by the various Arab nations and, in so doing, they take control of the City of Jerusalem.

They later establish it as their capital and declare it to be their capital. And then, in 1987, the United States affirmed its support of Israel to declare the city of Jerusalem as its capital.

And then, in 1995, the United States affirms that its embassy is to go in Jerusalem but, yet, they prolong its establishment and, as you have already mentioned, declare that it is up to the president to determine when, and if and how – in light of the various peace discussions – yet, every president runs on the campaign promise that Jerusalem is to be the capital of Israel and the embassy of the United States is to go there.

Trump’s Position

Now, President Trump said, “Look, this use of Jerusalem as an item of negotiation has utterly failed. Let’s quit doing it. Let’s go ahead and do what I was instructed to do so my report is not going to be on the reason why I’m not going to do it but, on the contrary, I am going to do it.

Now, the question is how is everybody going to respond to it? Some branches of the evangelical churches see this as another step in the fulfillment of prophecy. Other Christians, such as myself, just see it as an instrument of United States foreign policy, which actually may strengthen the peace negotiations by placing the United States embassy there.

President Trump is being opposed by the British prime minister and the German prime minister. That doesn’t hold a lot of weight with me because I believe it is British failure to carry out the Balfour Declaration that has created this problem.

The entire, what today is, Jordan should actually be the Palestinian State, but it was a make-believe kingdom that was put together under British control in 1948 instead of doing what was supposed to have been done, which was to make that the place for the Palestinians to have their own state with a full territory and in the location in which most of their people had resided throughout the years. Instead, it made them a people without a location because of the British decision.

It’s going to be interesting to see. The prediction is this may create another Intifada and renewed terrorist attacks in Jerusalem and around Jerusalem, although the Israeli government welcomed this as an appropriate step of what’s been promised.

Processing as Evangelicals

As evangelicals, whether you see this as a fulfillment of end-time prophecy or you see it as simply knowledgeable foreign policy in supporting a nation – that every nation ought to have the right to declare its own capital within the borders that it controls – it’s very clear from the Bible that we, as evangelicals, should pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

And, for me, that means two things:

  1. That this step may open up even further opportunities for sharing the Gospel, which is the gospel of peace that, when men and women are reconciled to God, they can become reconciled to each other.
  2. As well as negotiated peace because you and I, as evangelicals, must remember that many of our brothers and sisters in Christ are Palestinians. They are trying to wade their way through this. The Palestinian Christian population is under intense persecution and I’m praying that, somehow, this may actually help them. I’m not sure, but I want to pray in that direction.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ came to us through the nation of Israel and I believe God has made a promise in the Book of Romans that the Gospel is going to go back to this nation of Israel.

I do not look for the Temple to be rebuilt, I do not look for the sacrifice system, I do not look for the priesthood to be reestablished as some of my Christian brothers do, but I do look for the fulfillment of all of those in Jesus Christ establishing the Gospel.

I do look for that to go back to the Jewish people with promised success as the Gospel goes to the Jew first and also to the Gentile.

TOM LAMPRECHT:  Harry, we are out of time for today. On Tuesday’s edition of Today in Perspective, I’d like to revisit with you the Masterpiece Cake Shop oral argument, which took place last week.

DR. REEDER: Yes, the oral argument started and it continues to be under advisement of the Supreme Court. Let’s take a few moments to look at what has now been revealed since our last program.

Dr. Harry L. Reeder III is the Senior Pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.

This podcast was transcribed by Jessica Havin. Jessica is editorial assistant for Yellowhammer News. Jessica has transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and her work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller.

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8 hours ago

AUDIO: ‘The University of Alabama showed great courage in its defense of open debate and free speech’ — J. Pepper Bryars

Earlier this week J. Pepper Bryars, editor of Yellowhammer News, appeared on WYDE’s “The Ford Faction” to discuss a speech that was scheduled to be given by a “race realist” this Thursday at the University of Alabama.

“The University of Alabama showed great courage in its defense of open debate and free speech through its willingness to allow this speaker on campus,” Bryars said, adding that “the only cure for hate speech is more speech.”

The details:

— An obscure student group invited self-described “race realist” (aka: a racist) Jared Taylor to deliver a lecture on campus.

— The university initially approved the event because the group had followed the required process, although administration officials made clear Taylor’s message ran contrary to the school’s values.

— Eventually, however, the student group was found to be in violation of key requirements (having a faculty advisory, etc.), and after officials gave the students time to come into alignment, the group failed so the invitation was rescinded.

“Had the group met the requirements and followed the process like any other, Alabama was prepared to allow its students to hear the racist arguments this man makes, and that’s a great thing,” Bryars said. “Because the only way our society can refute such claims is to know of their existence and how to properly dispose of them … like the garbage they are.”

LISTEN NOW:

@jpepperbryars is the editor of Yellowhammer News and the author of American Warfighter

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9 hours ago

Alabama man charged after hunters find remains of missing woman

An Alabama man has been charged with murder after hunters found the skeletal remains of a missing woman.

News outlets report that 58-year-old Kenny Darity of Montgomery is charged in the strangling death of Christina Bloss.

Darity was arrested and charged Tuesday, and bond was set at $150,000. Jail records on Wednesday did not show whether he is represented by an attorney.

Bloss was reported missing Feb. 28, 2017, in Montgomery County. Authorities now think she had been killed 10 days earlier.
A Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department captain, George Beaudry, says Darity and Bloss were acquaintances.

Hunters found her remains Thursday in Lowndes County, which is just west of Montgomery County.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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9 hours ago

Michael Knowles featured at Alabama Policy Institute’s 19th annual dinner event in Mobile

On Tuesday, the Alabama Policy Institute held its 19th annual Mobile dinner event in the airplane hangar at the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park.

“I cannot think of a better place to discuss freedom and liberty than at the U.S.S. Battleship Memorial Park and Aircraft Pavilion, a place that holds so many reminders of the sacrifices that thousands of Americans have paid to guarantee our freedom and liberty,” Caleb Crosby, President and CEO of API, told Yellowhammer News.

The “Evening with the Alabama Policy Institute” included keynote speaker, Michael Knowles.

Knowles is a talk show host and former managing editor of The Daily Wire, who is most well-known for his best-selling (and blank) book Reasons To Vote For Democrats: A Comprehensive Guide.

Part of a generation of young-ish conservatives that includes the Wire’s, Ben Shapiro, Knowles spends much of his time traveling to universities and rebutting their brand of “illiberal liberalism,” as Frank Bruni of the New York Times has called it.

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“I feel that here we’re in a safe space,” Knowles opened his speech last night, mirroring Crosby’s sentiment by ironically appropriating the campus buzzword.

“We’re definitely in a safe space because there are lots of guns and battleships. This is the perfect safe space for conservatives to be on tax day.”

Knowles’s speech before API and guests was as much about making the case for conservatism and for President Trump as about rebutting progressivism.

He began by reminding everyone in the room of all the good that the Trump presidency has accomplished: tax cuts, deregulation, originalist judges.

“Now you might be having déjà vu,” he said, “because I could have given that exact same [list] in 1981.”

Pointing out similarities between Reagan was Knowles’s primary way of arguing that Trump has governed as a conservative. In some ways, it also seemed to be his way of coaxing those never-Trump conservatives to embrace the president, or at least to encourage those conservatives supportive of — but still apprehensive — about him.

“Take the victories that we can get today,” Knowles said.

His chief point was that politics is about the now.

“Politics changes all the time,” he said. “There are different circumstances. There are different public policy challenges. There are different public policy prescriptions. There are timeless principles. And of course the hope, is that we conservatives can maintain the bedrock of timeless principles that we can apply to new circumstances and new challenges and make America great again, again.”

“Political victories are never permanent,” Knowles continued. “Political successes are never permanent. That’s why you always need to be making America great again. It’s because otherwise, it’s going to revert to its natural state of decay and destruction.”

@jeremywbeaman is a contributing writer for Yellowhammer News

10 hours ago

Why the Alabama Legislature holds the power — and a breakdown of interesting open seats

Our antiquated 1901 Constitution was designed to give inordinate power to the Legislature. During the Wallace years, the King of Alabama politics, George Wallace, usurped this power and controlled the Legislature from the Executive Branch of Government. Over the last couple of decades the Legislature has wrestled this power back and pretty much excluded the Governor from their bailiwick. Governors Bob Riley and Robert Bentley were ostracized and pretty much ignored. Their proposed budgets were instantaneously tossed into the nearest trashcan.

Legislative power is derived from controlling the state’s purse strings. Thus the old adage, “Those who have the gold set the rules.” The Legislature has gotten like Congress in that incumbents are difficult to defeat. Therefore, the interest will be on the open Senate and House seats. Most of the Montgomery Special Interest money will be focused on these Legislative races.

Speaking of Montgomery, two open and most interesting Senate seats in the state will be in the Montgomery/River Region. One is currently in progress. Montgomery City Councilman, David Burkette, Representative John Knight and Councilman Fred Bell are pursuing the Democratic seat vacated by Senator Quinton Ross when he left to become President of Alabama State University. Burkette has already bested Knight and Bell in a Special Election last month. A rebound race is set for June 5.

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The Republican Senate seat in the River Region held by Senator Dick Brewbaker is up for grabs. This seat was expected to attract numerous well-known aspirants. However, when the dust settled at the qualifying deadline two relatively unknown candidates were the only ones to qualify. Will Barfoot and Ronda Walker are pitted against each other in a race that is considered a tossup.

The Etowah County/Gadsden area was considered one of the most Democratic areas of the state for generations. However, in recent years it has become one of the most Republican. State Representative, Mack Butler, should be favored as a Republican. Although, polling indicates that veteran Democratic Representative, Craig Ford, could make this a competitive race in the Fall. He is running as an Independent.  

Veteran State Senator Harri Ann Smith has represented the Wiregrass/Dothan area admirably for over two decades. She has been elected several times as an Independent. However, she has decided not to seek reelection. Her exit leaves State Representative Donnie Chesteen in the catbird seat to capture the seat.

Republican State Senator Paul Bussman, who represents Cullman and northwest Alabama, is a maverick and very independent. This independence makes him powerful. He will be reelected easily.

State Representative David Sessions is predicted to win the seat of Senator Bill Hightower who is running for Governor.

Most of the state Senate’s most powerful members are unopposed or have token opposition. Included in this list of incumbent State Senators are veteran Senate leader and Rules Chairman, Jabo Waggoner, R-Vestavia, Senate President, Del Marsh, R-Calhoun, Senate Majority Leader, Greg Reed, R-Jasper, veteran Senator Jimmy Holley, R-Coffee, as well as Senate leaders Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, Cam Ward, R-Alabaster, Clay Scofield, R-Marshall, Clyde Chambliss, R-Autauga, Steve Livingston, R-Scottsboro, Tom Whatley, R-Lee, and Shay Shelnutt, R-Gardendale. The Senate leadership will remain intact, as will the House leadership.

Almost all of the House leaders are unopposed or have token opposition. This prominent list includes: Speaker Mac McCutcheon, R-Madison, Budget Chairmen, Steve Clouse, R-Ozark, Bill Poole, R-Tuscaloosa, Speaker Pro-tem, Victor Gaston, R- Mobile, Rules Chairman, Mike Jones, R-Covington.

In addition, there are numerous Veteran lawmakers, who will be reelected, including Lynn Greer, Mike Ball, Jim Carnes, Howard Sanderford, Kerry Rich, and Jimmy Martin; as well as rising leaders: Nathaniel Ledbetter, Kyle South, Connie Rowe, Tim Wadsworth, April Weaver, Paul Lee, Terri Collins, Danny Garrett, Dickie Drake, Chris Pringle, Randall Shedd, Allen Farley, Becky Nordgren, Mike Holmes, David Standridge, Dimitri Polizos, Reed Ingram and Chris Sells.

Even though there are 22 open House seats and 10 open Senate Seats, the leadership of both Chambers will remain the same.

There are some competitive House seats that will be interesting. In the Pike/Dale County Seat 89, Pike Probate Judge Wes Allen is pitted against Troy City Council President Marcus Paramore. Tracy Estes is favored to replace retiring Mike Millican in Marion County. Alfa is going all out for Estes. David Wheeler is expected to capture the open House seat in Vestavia.

See you next week.

Steve Flowers is Alabama’s leading political columnist. His weekly column appears in over 60 Alabama newspapers. He served 16 years in the state legislature. Steve may be reached at www.steveflowers.us.

 

10 hours ago

Alabama aging death row: Is executing old or infirm inmates cruel?

Vernon Madison has spent decades on Alabama’s death row. Now 67, Madison has suffered from strokes and dementia and his lawyers say he no longer recalls the crime that put him there: the 1985 killing of a police officer.

His speech is slurred, he suffers from confusion, and once thought he was near release and talked of moving to Florida, according to his lawyers. This fall, the U.S. Supreme Court is set to review the claims by Madison’s defense team that executing someone in his condition would violate the Constitution’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

“Killing a fragile man suffering from dementia is unnecessary and cruel,” Madison’s attorney, Bryan Stevenson of the Equal Justice Initiative, said in January, when the justices stayed Madison’s execution the night he was to receive a lethal injection.

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The U.S. death row population is aging, and that leaves courts increasingly likely to grapple with questions of when it becomes unconstitutionally cruel to put someone to death who is mentally frail — or whose medical conditions could complicate the execution procedure.

“That is going to be an increasing issue in carrying out the American death penalty,” said Robert Dunham, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center in Washington. “We are reaching a stage, as death row inmates age, we’ll see this more frequently.”

About 2,800 people are on death row in prisons nationwide, and about 1,200 of them over age 50, the non-profit group said. An Associated Press review of the group’s data shows the median age of an executed inmate in the U.S. rose from 34 to 46 between 1983 and 2017 — a fact observers attribute to appeals taking longer — sometimes decades.

One of the oldest, 83-year-old Walter Leroy Moody, is scheduled to be executed Thursday in Alabama for the 1989 package bomb killing of a federal judge. If the sentence is carried out, Moody would be the oldest person and the first octogenarian put to death since U.S. executions resumed in the 1970s, Dunham said.

“Many of these defendants have done terrible things. People are torn between wanting to punish severely and the belief it is beneath us as a nation to kill a frail person who is already dying. It’s a challenge to our morality and our sense of humanity,” Dunham said.

Kent Scheidegger, legal director of the pro-death penalty Criminal Justice Legal Foundation, supports steps to reduce the time between an inmate’s sentencing and execution.

“There is no constitutional issue from age alone, though dementia does, of course, become more common with age. The underlying question about what kind and degree of mental illness will prevent an execution is not new. It is ancient.”

Justice Stephen G. Breyer, writing in Madison’s case, noted the growing number of aging prisoners on death row and said, “Given this trend, we may face ever more instances of state efforts to execute prisoners suffering the diseases and infirmities of old age.”

Age by itself isn’t the issue, but rather the illnesses more common with old age.

Take Alva Campbell, 69. He died last month in an Ohio prison of natural causes after his 2017 lethal injection procedure was halted when a usable vein couldn’t be found. Alabama similarly aborted last month’s execution of Doyle Lee Hamm, 61, who has battled lymphoma. His lawyer said Hamm had at least 11 puncture wounds from attempts to find a vein.

“It was precisely Doyle’s old age and illness that raised all the problems. The state of Alabama was not prepared,” Hamm’s attorney, Bernard Harcourt, wrote in an email.

Yet 75-year-old Tommy Arthur, who had argued that his cardiovascular disease would complicate execution, was put to death without obvious incident last year in Alabama.

Madison was convicted of killing Mobile police officer Julius Schulte.

Schulte responded to a missing child report on April 18, 1985. Arriving at a home, he found the child had returned but Madison and his girlfriend were embroiled in a domestic dispute. According to court records, Schulte interacted briefly with Madison, telling him to “just to go on and let things cool down.” According to prosecutors, Madison left but then crept up behind Schulte as he sat in his police car, shooting him twice in the head.

The Supreme Court has ruled inmates must have a rational understanding of why they’re being executed, faculties which Madison’s lawyers say he doesn’t possess.

His attorneys argue strokes have left Madison frequently disoriented with no independent memory of his crime. They also say he is legally blind, cannot walk independently and has urinary incontinence from his brain damage.

The state’s lawyers counter that Madison was found competent at a 2016 hearing, hasn’t presented new evidence and is aware he received the death sentence — even if he doesn’t remember killing Schulte.

“What happened to my dad was cruel and unusual punishment,” said Schulte’s son, Michael. “He was shot twice in the head while he was trying to help somebody.”

Schulte, 59, has suffered health problems of his own, including a stroke and heart attack. Yet he said Madison’s protracted legal fight has been hard on his family and doesn’t “do my dad justice.”

Said Schulte: “Somebody needs to make a decision. Either we are going to have the death penalty or we’re not.”

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)