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.

SchoolFest sets the stage for Alabama children

The following is the latest installment of the Alabama Power Foundation’s annual report, highlighting the people and groups spreading good across Alabama with the foundation’s support.

 

Plato said art imitates life. Oscar Wilde said it was the other way around. It’s an argument that continues. However, one art form brings us face to face with the connection between art and life, perhaps better than any other: theater. It’s here people act out stories, hoping their audience forgets for a moment that it’s all make-believe. Were it not for the SchoolFest program of the Alabama Shakespeare Festival (ASF), many Alabama children might never be exposed to the magic of theater.

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Every year, 40,000 students attend SchoolFest in Montgomery. From the professional actors to the costume and set design, the productions are the same as those presented to other ASF audiences. Thanks to grants from the Alabama Power Foundation and others, ticket prices are discounted and many schools attend for free, exposing students from all walks of life to art.

For some, it’s an experience they’ll never forget. For others, like Emily Prim, it’s life-changing. Prim is assistant wardrobe supervisor at ASF. She remembers distinctly when the “theater bug” bit her. “I was in seventh grade at St. James School in Montgomery. We had a field trip to SchoolFest, where we saw ‘James and the Giant Peach.’ I remember it so well, because there was a Ferris wheel on stage that was the peach, and I thought that was so cool. I was sorta thinking about theater, because of shows we had done in school and stuff, but when I came to see ‘James’ here, it made me start thinking that this is something I could do after I graduate,” Prim said.

Prim’s experience is what ASF is all about. Executive Director Todd Schmidt put it this way: “It’s really a bedrock of our mission at ASF, which is to create communities through transformative theatrical experiences. It’s a lot of kids’ first introduction to theater. It’s important to do that, especially in this time of continued cuts in arts funding.”

Shakespeare Festival’s SchoolFest puts the arts at center stage for Alabama students from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

Just in the past year, students have seen productions of “The Sound of Music,” “Romeo and Juliet,” “Our Town,” “Steel Magnolias” and “Four Little Girls: Birmingham 1963.” The latter featured 24 students from Montgomery Public Schools in the cast. Schmidt chooses shows that are appropriate for audiences of all ages. SchoolFest builds many of these productions around school curricula.

“We put our programming out to schools, and then they select what they think is relevant to what they’re doing and what they want their kids to be exposed to,” Schmidt said.

What started decades ago as productions appropriate for students has continued to expand. In addition to SchoolFest, ASF offers educational programs. There are theater classes for adults and children, and summer theater camps for students. ASF has hosted a series of conversations that are tied – at least in part – to the shows. U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell spoke alongside a cast member from “Four Little Girls: Birmingham 1963.”

“These are not about our productions, but they focus on themes of the productions,” Schmidt said. “There’s one coming up that talks about women dealing with glass ceilings, working in fields normally dominated by men, which ties somewhat into the production of ‘Steel Magnolias’ and a new production, ‘Into the Breeches.’”

Lonny Harrison, director of theater at St. James School in Montgomery, has been bringing students to see productions at ASF for 21 years. “We have some students who, up to the point they’ve hit SchoolFest, have never seen a live production outside of a school play. This definitely helps get them more into the arts.

It seems like kids respond differently to every show, but whether it’s something that’s the most amazing thing to them, or something that makes them think more critically, it at least makes them think about it. When we left ‘Romeo and Juliet’ the other day, kids were saying, ‘Let’s do some Shakespeare!’ I had to tell them, ‘Small steps.’”

Harrison has a long history with SchoolFest. He saw stage productions at ASF when he was in school. His experience echoes that of many Alabamians. Were you to poll the state, you’d likely be amazed at the number of people of all ages who’ve shared the marvel of live performance in a theater at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival.

In Alabama, it’s a generational thing. When it comes to the art imitating life vs. life imitating art question, perhaps Shakespeare got it right when, in the second act of “As You Like It,” the character Jaques said, “All the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances, and one man in his time plays many parts.”

The parts being played by the men and women of the Alabama Shakespeare Festival are a rich and vital service to the people of our state. These are the people who transform our children, who show them a new and lively way to understand stories, and life – its comedies and tragedies. These are the “players” who expand the minds of our young people, and show them a world that lives within their own ability to imagine.

For more information on the Alabama Power Foundation and its annual report, visit here.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

4 hours ago

Aderholt’s advice for Alabama’s 2020 U.S. Senate candidates: ‘Make it very clear that they’re supportive of the president’

Although it is still the early going of the 2020 U.S. Senate Republican primary election campaign, U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Haleyville) has some advice for the handful of candidates seeking the GOP nod.

When asked what he saw as important to him and his constituents in Alabama’s fourth congressional district, he said it was support for President Donald Trump.

In the 2016 presidential election, Trump dominated Aderholt’s district by winning more than 80% of the vote and was the only district in the country to break the 80% threshold.

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“They’ve clearly got to make sure that they make it very clear that they’re supportive of the president,” Aderholt said. “I mean, this president has as much support of any since I have been in office. I have never seen a president that has the support this president has. He has, everywhere I go, people are very optimistic that they are very positive about what he is doing. And they’re optimistic about the future. So I would first of all — they need to let their constituents, future constituents that are voters, know that they’re someone who would stand with the president.”

“As someone who is in another branch of government, we always want to make sure we don’t do just exactly like the executive or the president wants to do regardless of who it is,” he continued. “The Founding Fathers wanted the different branches to be a watchdog on each other. But, as I have seen from this president, the things that he is doing is consistent with what the voters want and what has been good for America. I’m fully supportive of this president. I think they need to communicate they’re supporting the president. I think that is probably the biggest thing right now. Alabama is a very pro-life state, and I think they need to communicate that, which again is consistent with the president’s message.”

Aderholt also suggested the Senate candidates should be supportive of Trump’s efforts to renegotiate NAFTA.

“I am also getting the feedback that the Mexican-Canadian trade agreement that the president is trying to negotiate — to redo NAFTA, people are very supportive of that,” Aderholt added. “But again, the president has been very supportive of these issues. What the president is doing, I’m very supportive of. I don’t see any issue as far as supporting what the president’s issue is.”

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University, the editor of Breitbart TV and host of “The Jeff Poor Show” from 2-5 p.m. on WVNN in Huntsville.

4 hours ago

Georgia-based Colonial sues contractor over Alabama spill

Georgia-based Colonial Pipeline Co. has sued an Alabama contractor over a spill that threatened gasoline supplies along the East Coast three years ago.

The pipeline operator contends faulty work by the Birmingham-based Ceco Pipeline Services caused a crack that spilled at least 250,000 gallons of gasoline in rural Shelby County in September 2016.

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The spill shut down a major pipeline for weeks, tightening gasoline supplies along the Eastern Seaboard.

The pipeline carries fuel from Houston to metropolitan New York.

With headquarters near Atlanta in Alpharetta, Colonial Pipeline filed the federal lawsuit Friday seeking an unspecified amount of money.

Ceco Pipeline Services has not filed a response in court, and general manager Luke Hotze declined comment Monday, citing the lawsuit.

Hired to replace coatings that protect the pipeline’s exterior, the contractor failed to adequately replace dirt around the pipeline after maintenance work, the suit said.

The failure left a void beneath the pipe, which bent as it sagged.

The bend caused cracks that led to the breach, according to the suit.

The failure cost Colonial Pipeline lost income, plus money spent on repairs and cleanup, the lawsuit said without specifying an amount.

The lawsuit said Colonial Pipeline transports an average of 100 million gallons (378 million liters) of refined petroleum products daily through a system that includes more than 5,500 miles (8,850 kilometers) of pipeline.
(Associated Press, copyright 2019)

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‘School choice’ also means ‘tax choice’ in Alabama

It’s back-to-school season and for some parents, this is a happy time.

But for those whose children are stuck in underperforming schools, or schools where they are bullied or are in danger, this is a heartbreaking time, especially if they cannot afford to move or go to private school.

“There was fighting every day. People wanted to shoot me, kill me, and everything,” said Calvin Coleman in a speech about his experiences at his Mobile public high school.

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Did you know that you, or your company, can help students like Calvin by donating a portion of what you already owe in state income taxes to a program that funds scholarships for low-income families in Alabama?

“When my son Carlos was in the fifth grade, he was constantly bullied and I wanted to desperately put him into a private school,” wrote Nyenya Webster of Montgomery in Alabama Daily News. Every day was a struggle, she added. “I was at a loss as to what to do to help my son.”

Then Webster learned about the tax-credit scholarship program created in 2013 by the Alabama Accountability Act that serves roughly 4,000 low-income, mostly minority Alabama students.

She applied, and Carlos received a scholarship to attend Success Unlimited Academy in Montgomery.

“Success Unlimited has been a lifesaver for my son,” Webster wrote. “He … is now considering college. My son never talked about going to college before Success.”

For those who want to help other Alabama families break the cycle of poverty through education, it’s a no-brainer.

“For a donor, it doesn’t cost them anything,” said Warren Callaway, executive director of Scholarships For Kids, one of the scholarship granting organizations funded by the program.

That’s because a tax credit is different from a charitable contribution. When you make a charitable contribution to a non-profit organization, you deduct a portion of that on your income tax. However, a tax credit allows you to take a dollar for dollar reduction in your state income tax.

“Basically, donors are redirecting some of their state income tax liability to a [scholarship granting organization],” Callaway said. “So, if you give $100 to us, you can reduce your state income tax by $100.”

Who benefits from the donation?

“The average household income for these students is under $30,000 so these are families that would have no other way of choosing the school that is best for their child,” said Ryan Cantrell, director of state strategy and political affairs for the American Federation for Children, during an interview of the 1819 podcast.

Higher-income families have always had school choice, Cantrell said, but “it’s the low-income families who get stuck with no options in under-performing schools or schools that don’t work for their child.”

There are $30 million in tax credits available and, so far, only about a third have been claimed, according to the Department of Revenue’s My Alabama Taxes website.

Here’s how you can reserve your tax credit before the December 31, 2019, deadline:

Step 1: Estimate how much income tax you or your business will owe Alabama next year by checking how much you paid last year. Individuals and corporations can donate up to 50 percent of their tax bill, and while individuals are limited to $50,000, corporations are unlimited.

Step 2: Visit the My Alabama Taxes website and follow instructions for reserving an Alabama Accountability Act tax credit.

Step 3: Send a check to one of the seven scholarship granting organizations in Alabama within 30 days.

Step 4: When you do your taxes next year, fill out an Alabama Department of Revenue Schedule AATC form to reduce your income tax bill by the amount you donated.

For more help, individuals may call the Alabama Department of Revenue at 334-353-0602 or 334-353-9770, and corporations may call 334-242-1200.

You’re already going to have to write a check for your state income taxes. Why not control where some of that money goes, especially when it has the power to change lives?

“It was a relief that nobody would understand,” said mother-of-five Alleane West in an Alabama Opportunity Scholarship video about the program’s impact on her family. “You know, you’re a single mom with boys trying to not make them a statistic.”

Watch:

Rachel Blackmon Bryars is a senior fellow at the Alabama Policy Institute. Connect with her at rachel@alabamapolicy.org or on Instagram @RachelBlackmonBryars.

5 hours ago

Ivey to toll detractors: ‘Nobody wants to pay for anything — We just always want the benefits’; Calls for other ‘reasonable solutions’

On Monday, the political battle over the proposed tolling for the new I-10 Mobile Bayway Bridge escalated when Lt. Governor Will Ainsworth came out in opposition to the toll. Following in Ainsworth’s footsteps and coming out against the proposal as well was another heavy-hitter, State Senate President Pro-Tem Del Marsh.

Tuesday, Gov. Kay Ivey, who has insisted on the necessity of the project and warned that “cost of doing nothing” was too high, offered a response to detractors.

Ivey indicated to Matt Murphy and Andrea Lindenberg, co-hosts of Birmingham radio Talk 99.5’s “The Matt & Aunie Show,” that a reaction to a toll was to be expected. She also said she would listen to alternatives at the Alabama Toll Road, Bridge and Tunnel Authority meeting scheduled for October 7.

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“Nobody wants to pay for anything,” she said. “We just always want the benefits. If somebody has got a better idea of what the toll should be or if we should never toll. That’s the reason I’m hosting the October 7 meeting at the State Capitol for the Toll Bridge and Road Authority – so people can put reasonable solutions on the table. How do we pay for the bridge?”

“Everybody would be for not having to have a toll,” Ivey added. “I just haven’t found that option yet. It’s the reason we’re hosting this meeting with state legislators, congressional delegation, constitutional officers have all been invited to come and be specific and offer some reasonable solutions of how we can pay for the bridge without using a toll or a lower toll.”

Earlier this year, the Alabama legislature raised the state’s gas tax, part of the Rebuild Alabama Act. That had some questioning the timing of the toll coming on the heels of a gas tax increase. According to Ivey, gas tax revenue alone would hardly cover the cost of the bridge.

“When we paid the gas tax, we only did 10 cents,” she said. “It’s a lot of money for some folks, but 10 cents only brings in $320 million annually for roads and bridges across the state. The bridge itself costs $2.1 billion … the gas tax is for statewide projects, not just one project.”

When asked about the timing of her awareness of a toll for the project, Ivey did not offer a specific time. However, she did mention a specific each-way price tag of $2.25, which varied from the $6 each-way toll in many reports.

“They’ve been talking about this bridge for 20-something-odd years for the environmental impact,” Ivey said. “I don’t know when exactly I heard the proposal but $2.25 one-way doesn’t seem too unreasonable.”

According to the governor’s office, the $2.25 Ivey cited referred to the average for the frequent user. The $2.25 cost would be the average price for five days a week for four weeks with the purchase of the proposed frequent user pass at a cost of $90 per month. Also, with the proposed pass, crossing the bridge would unlimited, and the $2.25 average could vary depending on how many times a pass holder crosses in a given month.

When asked about the prospects of additional toll projects throughout the state, Ivey told Talk 99.5 she was unaware of any.

“I’m not aware of any, and the toll roads we do have are on private property as far as I know now there are no other plans for a toll road on state or federal highways,” she said.

When asked about those suggesting U.S. Highway 280 in Birmingham or other roads being tolled, Ivey decried it as “misinformation.”

“So much misinformation out there is intentional,” Ivey said. “It’s just unconscionable for folks to be considering such information. It’s easy to verify what you hear before you spout it. I just encourage everybody to look on the big side of prosperity and let’s build the bridge so we can strengthen commerce and strengthen public safety, and keep our state productive.”

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University, the editor of Breitbart TV and host of “The Jeff Poor Show” from 2-5 p.m. on WVNN in Huntsville.