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


The Old City of Jerusalem (Etienne Valois)

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

12 hours ago

VIDEO: Prisons could be built with COVID-19 funds, Shelby endorses Katie Britt for Senate, Brooks battles with Swalwell as a new poll shows big lead and more on Alabama Politics This Week …

Radio talk show host Dale Jackson and political consultant Mecca Musick take you through Alabama’s biggest political stories, including:

— Will Alabama really use COVID-19 relief funds to build prisons?

— Does Katie Britt’s entering of the U.S. Senate race shake things up, or has U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) already won this race?

— Can U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) keep the more radical members of the Democratic Party at bay?

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Jackson and Musick are joined by former U.S. Attorney Jay Town to discuss the issues facing the state of Alabama this week.

Jackson closes the show with a “Parting Shot” directed at those who want to use the illegally acquired tax returns of the uber-wealthy to push for higher taxes. He argues the released returns show that we should implement a flat tax and do away with all deductions.

Dale Jackson is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts a talk show from 7-11 AM weekdays on WVNN and on Talk 99.5 from 10AM to noon.

15 hours ago

Auburn’s David Housel tackles more than sports in ‘From the Backbooth at Chappy’s’

When David Housel retired from Auburn University in 2006, after a legendary career as athletics director for the Tigers, it wasn’t long before his wife urged him to get busy again – and a deli on Glenn Avenue in Auburn was the beneficiary.

“Susan wanted me to do something to get out of the house,” Housel recalls. “I started going to Chappy’s to drink coffee, read the paper. Pretty soon, Kenny Howard would meet me there, and it just kind of grew from there.”

In short order, friends of Housel began to gather, first a few one day a week and then, just prior to the pandemic, 12-16 people nearly every day of the week.

They meet at Chappy’s, where a plaque commemorates Housel’s booth, and they talk – about sports, of course, but about pretty much anything that’s on their minds.

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Housel began to write essays about those mornings, posting them to Facebook. He’s now compiled more than 100 of those pieces into a new book, “From the Backbooth at Chappy’s: Stories of the South: Football, Politics, Religion, and More.” It’s officially released next week at a series of book signings at Chappy’s in the Auburn area from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. each day: Tuesday in Auburn, Wednesday in Montgomery and Thursday in Prattville.

“Consider this Housel unleashed,” the author says. “Most of the stuff I’ve written in my life has been about Auburn on an Auburn platform. Even after I retired, I was a representative of Auburn, even though I wasn’t working there. This is not an Auburn book. It’s about football, politics, religion and more.”

“From the Backbooth at Chappy’s,” with a foreword by Auburn graduate and acclaimed journalist Rheta Grimsley Johnson, evolved as Housel’s morning gatherings at Chappy’s evolved, though he began writing the essays fairly early in the process.

“When something is in your mind, in your heart, in your head, if you’re a writer, it just has to come out, and it just comes through your fingers,” Housel says. “Turns out people like to read it, so I got the Facebook page. I shared thoughts and essays and that kind of thing. It was not a planned thing.”

When COVID-19 came along, Housel decided to listen to a few folks who told him his musings would make a good book.

“I had been thinking a lot about it, and it was time to do it,” Housel says.

Housel has written six other books. Most have to do with Auburn sports history, but one, “From the Desk of David Housel,” is similar to “From the Backbooth at Chappy’s.”

“That one was primarily sports, but it had some other things in it,” Housel says. “This one is about the other stuff, but it has some sports in it.”

Though the three topics in his book’s title – football, politics and religion  – are often the subjects people are warned not to bring up if they want to keep the peace, Housel and his friends don’t shy away from any of them. Housel especially gravitates toward religious topics.

“I like the ones that I hope make people think,” he says of his essays. “The good Lord gave us a mind, and we’re supposed to use it. Too few people who call themselves Christians do what the Lord said and use their minds. … Faith has got to be built not on challenging God but questioning God. I think God likes that, because it shows we’re engaged and that we care.”

Now that the pandemic is ending, the Backbooth at Chappy’s events are slowly but surely returning to normal. On Mondays, Housel eats two eggs scrambled, lean bacon and a helium biscuit; on Tuesdays maybe a parfait with granola; on Wednesdays, it’s blueberry pancakes, and Fridays a waffle.

What remains constant is the conversation. And the writing.

“I’m still writing the Backbooth, and since the first of the year, I’ve written a couple I think are book-worthy,” Housel says. “I started out doing maybe one a week, but I’m old enough that I don’t have to meet a self-imposed deadline. When the spirit moves me, I write.”

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

16 hours ago

State Rep. Pringle pushes to ban critical race theory in public schools — ‘Woke culture indoctrination,’ ‘Needs to be stopped in its tracks’

Last week, Florida’s Board of Education banned so-called “critical race theory” from its public schools, and it is a move State Rep. Chris Pringle (R-Mobile) hopes to follow in Alabama.

Critical race theory, a belief that racism is ingrained in some of America’s sacred institutions, is widely panned by critics because it distorts and weaponizes history for political gain.

Friday, Pringle discussed his prefiled bill for the Alabama Legislature’s 2022 regular session to prohibit critical race theory from being taught in Alabama’s public schools.

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“It’s simply a bill that says in public education, you can’t teach or indoctrinate our children with critical race theory,” he said. “People are waking up all around the nation to how bad this stuff is. I mean, this is woke cancel culture gone completely amuck. They want to completely disregard our 14th and 15th Amendment rights, the Voting Rights Act, the Civil Rights Act. If you don’t agree with them — here’s what’s crazy: They want to send you to a reeducation camp. Think about that, a reeducation camp. Don’t they do that in China, Russia and North Korea?  That’s how bad this stuff is. Either you agree with them or you have to be sent off to a reeducation camp.”

“This is just indoctrination — the woke culture indoctrination of our children,” Pringle continued. “That’s all it is and it needs to be stopped in its tracks. I mean, our children need to learn history and we ought to open a frank discussion about history — the good, the bad. But this is not about good or bad. This is teaching our children that our nation is a bad nation, is an evil nation and is not the great country that we live in. We are the safest, freest people in the world and that’s what our children need to learn.”

“Do we have problems? Yeah,” he added. “Have we done bad things? Yeah. But we’re still the greatest nation in the history of the world.”

According to the Mobile County Republican lawmaker, the response to the effort thus far has been positive and supportive.

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and the University of South Alabama, the editor of Breitbart TV, a columnist for Mobile’s Lagniappe Weekly, and host of Mobile’s “The Jeff Poor Show” from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. on FM Talk 106.5.

20 hours ago

Why Sylacauga marble is known around the world

If you’ve ever visited the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. and stared up at the translucent marble ceiling, you’ve witnessed a piece of Alabama history. The ceiling is made of white marble mined in Talladega County’s Sylacauga (appropriately known as the Marble City).

In addition to lending its natural treasure to some of the nation’s most notable buildings, Sylacauga also holds the title for having the longest deposit of marble in the world. The bed of stone runs 32 miles long, a mile and a half wide, and more than 600 feet deep. The marble found in this quarry is especially desirable for two key characteristics: its purity and its durability. When paired together, these distinct qualities make Alabama marble some of the most desired in the world for large-scale buildings and monuments, as well as homes and sculptures.

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The History of Alabama Marble

sylacauga marble

The Sylacauga Quarry (Sylacauga Marble Festival/Facebook)

Marble is formed when limestone is subjected to extreme pressure and heat. In Sylacauga, the conditions are perfect for the formation of metamorphic marble. Sylacauga’s massive deposit was first discovered by Native Americans, but it wasn’t quarried until 1834, 20 years after army surgeon Dr. Edward Gantt stumbled upon the vein while passing through with General Andrew Jackson’s army.

In the years that followed Gantt’s discovery, Sylacauga’s marble business thrived. More quarries popped up, mining the marble for everything from funerary monuments to building projects to sculptures. By the 1960s, the use of the quarried marble shifted toward the utilitarian. Rather than being mined in huge chunks for building material, the marble was being ground down for use in products like cosmetics, diapers, magazine paper, fertilizer, fiberglass, toothpaste, and chewing gum. In 1969, marble was named Alabama’s state rock.

A Timeless Treasure

Sylacauga Quarry (Sylacauga Marble Festival/Facebook)

Today the charge for Alabama marble is being led by the Swindal family, who own Alabama Marble Mineral & Mining Co. (AM3). AM3’s 50-acre quarry in Sylacauga is the world’s only supplier and leading distributor of Alabama marble. Owner Roy Swindal’s goal is to reintroduce the world to Alabama marble, once again marketing it as a prized material for both commercial and consumer construction. According to the Alabama Department of Archives and History, around 30 million tons of marble have been pulled from the ground in Sylacauga since 1900. The Swindals hope to add to that number by continuing and improving upon the state’s tradition for many years to come.

Marble Mania

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Sculptor Enzo Torcoletti at the Sylacauga Marble Festival (Sylacauga Marble Festival/Facebook)

It’s only fitting that a town built on marble pay tribute to the stone that brought its success. For the past 13 years, the city has celebrated its marble mining heritage with the 12-day Magic of Marble Festival. The festival, typically held in April, features several activities and events that are all free and fun for the whole family. Festival participants can take a tour of operational quarries and visit the Gantts/IMERYS Observation Point that overlooks the town’s historic first quarry. The creative side of marble is put on display at Blue Bell Park, where 25 sculptors create original pieces made entirely of marble. On the final day of the festival, the finished pieces are displayed and sold at nearby B.B. Comer Library. Other activities include a 5K run and a scavenger hunt.

If you can’t wait for next year’s festival and you want to see Alabama’s famous white marble in action now, there are several locations around the state to see it put to good use. In Birmingham, try the John Hand Building, Wells Fargo headquarters, City Federal building, or the Chamber of Commerce. If you’re in Montgomery, don’t miss the “Head of Christ” sculpture at the Alabama Department of Archives and History. It was created by Italian sculptor Giuseppe Moretti, who also happens to be the artist behind Birmingham’s Vulcan.

(Courtesy of SoulGrown)

20 hours ago

The economics of paying ransom

The cyberattack on the Colonial Pipeline by the hacker group DarkSide disrupted gasoline supplies across the Southeast. The company caused a stir by paying a 75 Bitcoin ransom to DarkSide. America historically has been opposed to paying evildoers, as reflected in the slogan, “Millions for defense, but not one cent in tribute,” and President Jefferson sending the Navy and Marines to fight the Barbary Pirates.

Ransomware raises many economic issues. A first question is, do hackers ever give the data back if paid? DarkSide provided Colonial Pipeline a key to decrypt their data. According to Proofpoint, this is the norm: 70% of ransom payers got their data back, 20% never got their data back and 10% received a second ransom demand.

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From an economic perspective, this is not surprising. About two dozen groups, identifying themselves by name and known to insurance companies, carry out most of the sophisticated attacks. Insurers would never recommend payment in the future to a group which has reneged. The hackers must deliver as promised to make money.

Some have suggested making payment of ransom for cyberattacks illegal. If no one ever paid ransom, the hackers could not make money. Refusing to pay ransom though faces two significant economic challenges.

The first is time consistency. Kidnapping illustrates this concept. Before an event, the incentive exists to say, “We will never pay ransom.” If the bad guys believe this, they will never invest the time, effort and expense to stage a kidnapping. Once they hold hostages, however, our incentive changes; negotiating just this one time now makes sense. Our policy to never pay ransom is not credible.

Collective action poses the second challenge. Businesses collectively have an interest in not rewarding cybercrime, yet individual businesses suffer these attacks. A business which does not pay ransom benefits other businesses, creating the challenge. Why should Continental Pipeline suffer losses to make other businesses less likely to be attacked?

Why do businesses pay ransom? Reports mention several factors. A business may face a closure of unknown length and cost. Customers’ personal information will be sold if ransom is not paid, leading to fines and bad publicity. And the hackers might sell proprietary information to competitors.

Good economists know better than to second guess business managers’ decisions. Decisions to pay ransom often involve the business’ executives, its insurance carrier and tech security experts. They know the options and likely costs and should make a good decision, despite the pressure of a crisis.

Insurance companies and government regulations reduce organizations’ vulnerability to hackers, which is good. But what about channeling President Jefferson and going after the hackers? Most of the hacker groups operate in Russia, which provides Safe Haven as long as the hackers do not target Russian companies. Some law enforcement options may exist. Federal prosecutors apparently recovered most of the Bitcoins paid to DarkSide.

Crime is a very costly way to transfer wealth. Stolen merchandise typically sells for one-third (or less) of market value. A criminal might have to steal thousands in property to net $1,000. Ransomware appears much more wasteful than traditional theft. Consider just the value of the time Americans spent searching for gas during the disruption. Remember then that the ransom was about $4.4 million.

Cybercrime makes us poorer. The hackers and defenders at tech security companies are highly skilled computer programmers. But instead of making new apps or games, they are hacking or defending existing computer systems. Add to this the service disruption during cyberattacks, the reduced use of technology for fear of being hacked and the time spent on security training. The costs may be $1 trillion annually, or one percent of global GDP.

We must guard here against comparing the real world to an imagined utopia. We cannot costlessly protect our property from thieves or our computers from malware, or make people no longer willing to steal from others. Economics teaches that there are no perfect solutions in life, only tradeoffs. Vigilance, antivirus programs and backup are the tradeoffs we face with cybercrime.

Daniel Sutter is the Charles G. Koch Professor of Economics with the Manuel H. Johnson Center for Political Economy at Troy University and host of Econversations on TrojanVision. The opinions expressed in this column are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of Troy University.