By Christine Darg, Jerusalem Channel
Text photos by Jerusalem Channel Correspondent Bob O’Dell with additional information by other contributors
In the Internet screenshot above, a very somber Donald J. Trump looked up at the world’s most important and contested real estate, the Temple Mount, this afternoon as Western Wall rabbis orientated the President to the contested landscape.
We could only hope and pray that the Presence of the Lord Who never leaves this place would overshadow and direct the President’s mind, his heart and his mouth.
Also in the screenshot above is Trump’s Orthodox Jewish daughter Ivanka, dressed beautifully for the occasion, and in far left is her Jewish husband Jared Kushner.
I was disappointed that the Trump train on its first overseas trip started first in Saudi Arabia, making Jerusalem like a whistle stop on the way to the Vatican. But as the Saudi portion unfolded, I could see the wisdom and strategy. Although Jerusalem is destined by God to become the worship capital of the world, the Arabs were being given by Trump first priority. Did he intuitively realize that they have suffered from a spirit of rejection ever since Ishmael and his mother Hagar were evicted from Abraham’s tent? It was good for Trump to affirm his affection and concern for these Biblical people, the Arabs, whom I’ve loved with an intense love ever since the Lord first opened my heart to the Arabs decades ago when we first moved to Jerusalem.
And what a riveting, opulent show it was in Saudi Arabia! Trumpian style, with all of the gold and grandeur.
Saudi Arabia would be a hard act for Israel to follow, and the Tel Aviv airport welcome ceremony was reportedly upgraded to try to compete.
Funny that the leaders of the Mideast are vying for Trump’s attention while at home he has been so despised through an unprecedented campaign of hostility, dishonest press and endless trumped up charges.
But Jerusalem of Gold is a different kind of gold from Saudi Arabia.
This is the glitz of heaven, if I can dare to put it that way, because Jerusalem is an earthly reflection of the Jerusalem That Is Above, where every street is paved in gold.
Nobody who is half-way spiritual can visit Jerusalem and not sense the Divine Presence.
In fact, the Divine Presence is more precious than gold, and it cannot be imitated.
That is why I am distressed by the mantra about “the three great Abrahamic religious” that came out of the mouth today of Israeli President Reuven Rivlin at the airport welcoming ceremony. Yes, Judaism, Christianity and Islam (in that order) are Abrahamic faiths– Abraham is the father of faith– but Jews, Christians and Muslims do not, as Rivlin stated, all worship the same God. The truth is, Jews and Christians worship the God of Israel, who is not the entity behind Islam.
Watchmen all of the world who deeply pray for the peace of Jerusalem are praying intently over this historic and but potentially dangerous journey. Americans know that the consequences can be very severe for the United States if Trump goes against God’s Word according to Genesis 12: 3.
Bible prophecy is speeding up exponentially!
I experienced a kind of holy fear for the President as he arrived, according to news reports, with the ambitious attitude of “Let’s Make a Deal.” Jerusalem is not just any “deal.” God says THIS IS the deal– in his Word in Zechariah 12: 3 concerning Jerusalem,: “On that day I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock.”
God says all nations who try to move Jerusalem will rupture themselves.
And the fact that Israel’s celebrations of Jerusalem’s 50th reunification began this week magnifies (negatively or positively) any action or statement by Trump.
Riyadh was opulent to Trump’s taste but Jerusalem is not just any city. Jerusalem is the City of the Great King, and God’s Presence is palpable. Pray with me that Trump’s heart will be like “a stream of water directed by the LORD who guides it wherever he pleases.” (Proverbs 21: 1)
Pray for wisdom upon PM Netanyahu as never before. Pray also for Mahmood Abbas who was at Trump’s summit in Saudi Arabia. When we pray, God is big enough to direct every leader’s heart for the sake of oppressed souls and setting captives free. May we bind blind ambition in the Name of Jesus of Nazareth “for he who touches you, touches the apple of His eye.” (Zechariah 2:8)
What about his promise to move the US embassy to Israel’s capital? And with the next stop being the Vatican, is Trump preparing the way, is he laying down train tracks that will lead away from Jerusalem to Rome? These are questions that need to be asked, and hopefully his many evangelical advisors are warning the president not to be like the forerunner of the false prophet who will amalgamate all religions into one.
The weekly prayer alert from Martin and Norma Sarvis is very informative for scheduling and for ongoing prayer: President Trump met with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin in the President’s residence. It is the place where all visiting dignitaries come first, where they are greeted by our President with the words, “Baruch haba!—‘Welcome! Blessed is your coming!’” He was met earlier at the airport by Prime Minister Netanyahu, President Rivlin, members of the Cabinet and other dignitaries. He is the first U.S. President to include Israel in his maiden journey abroad after taking office. Within the hour, he was driven to the Kotel (the Western/Wailing Wall), where he will become the first sitting American President to visit that holy site. From there he will visit the tomb of the Holy Sepulcher—both of these within the Old City of Jerusalem, whose liberation 50 years ago is being celebrated this week. Later in the evening, President Trump and his wife Melania, daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner will go to the King David hotel where they will be residing during their visit, and meet with the Israeli prime minister. Later in the evening the President and his wife will dine with the Netanyahu’s. Tomorrow morning the Mr. Trump will fly by helicopter to Bethlehem in the West Bank for a meeting with Palestinian Authority President Abbas. Then it is back to Jerusalem to visit the Holocaust Museum Yad Vashem. Lastly, he will give a speech in the Israel Museum before departing for Rome and the Vatican tomorrow afternoon at 4:00.
This visit is being viewed in different ways and with different emotions here in Israel. Among many, there is a cautious hopefulness. After eight years of a U.S. President whom most Israelis sensed to be unfriendly to us (not to mention openly hostile towards our prime minister), President Trump seems to genuinely care about Israel and its leaders. The last president began his first trip abroad by, in his first speech in Cairo, sharply lecturing Israel, sternly informing her of what would from henceforth be considered acceptable and unacceptable in her behavior. Nor would Mr. Obama mention “Islamic” or “Islamist” in connection with terror, with which Israel is faced every day. President Trump, two days ago in his first speech abroad, also to an Arab audience, spoke of the necessity of “honestly confronting the crisis of Islamist extremism and the Islamist terror groups it inspires. And it means standing against the murder of innocent Muslims, the oppression of women, the persecution of Jews, and the slaughter of Christians.” And in the speech, he made mention of Israel and his coming visit with Prime Minister Netanyahu. Furthermore, from the beginning the President has emphasized that his plans regarding Israel are without a motive of imposing anything on the Jewish state, rather to offer friendship and assistance on behalf of the U.S. in any way possible.
On the other hand, some in Israel are uneasy—for example, when they see the $110 billion defense purchase (plus over $350, billion more during the next ten years) signed in Riyadh earlier this week. For all the fact that this is meant to shore up the Saudi’s against arch-enemy Iran, and create jobs Israel is well aware that under other circumstances, Arabia has no love lost for Israel, in fact, supplied troops against her 70 years ago, and still considers her an enemy. And among the right-wing government members who at first had the idea that Mr. Trump was not bothered by the Jewish “settlements” in Judea and Samaria, that a “two state” solution was not high on his agenda, and that the U.S. Embassy would certainly be moved to Jerusalem within a few months of his assuming the presidency—some are now alarmed that the President does not have the embassy at the top of his agenda at all, and in fact, will be delivering a speech tomorrow afternoon which he hopes will activate yet another “peace process” with the Palestinians—perhaps which will include pressure on Netanyahu to once again freeze settlements.
Believers in Jerusalem are fervently praying over this important visitation. In groups, large and small about the city (and throughout Israel). Some happened to be positioned in locations very close to some of the stops along the President’s itinerary visit. We are grateful for your joining with us—both for the visit and during its aftermath.
“Let’s put things into perspective here. Trump’s visit to the Western Wall speaks volumes as to how Trump personally sees Jerusalem as belonging to Israel. The international community, with exception of Russia, does not recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. No sitting president has visited the Western wall because the United States does not recognize Israeli ownership of Jerusalem which Israel liberated after the Six-Day War. But it appears that Donald Trump does because he went there to pray.
There was a lot of controversy about who should accompany Trump to the holy site, but as someone who has made that pilgrimage to the City of the Great King, Jerusalem, I can tell you how sacred that first trip to the Western wall is. So, let’s give him some space and allow the president to experience the Western Wall how he wants, not as political theater.
Trump did cancel his visit to the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem according to the Lebanon-based Almayadeen newspaper. The report said Trump canceled his visit because of the presence of an exhibit placed outside the Church expressing solidarity with Palestinian prisoners serving sentences in Israeli jails. This move is being praised by many as pro-Israel.
There are a lot of unknowns facing the Jewish State, but one thing is certain, Israel is under God’s divine providence and always will be. It is our job to pray for the peace of Jerusalem and all of Israel.”