6 Christian Leaders' Reactions to Trump Formally Recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's Capital

Dec 06, 2017 01:58 PM EST

After U.S. President Donald Trump announced that America is to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and declared his intention to move the U.S. embassy there from Tel Aviv, a number of evangelical leaders took to social media to praise the move.

"It is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel," said Trump on Wednesday. "This is a long overdue step to advance the peace process and to work towards a lasting agreement," he added. 

"Many presidents have said they want to do something, and they didn't do it. Whether it's through courage or they change their mind I can't tell you. But a lot of people have said we have to do something, and they didn't do it," he said.

The White House said the city's place as the capital was both a "historical reality" that dated back to the establishment of Israel in 1948, and a "current reality" as it was home to the parliament, supreme court and prime minister.

"The President is affirming a reality, a seven-decade-old fact," a senior White House official said.

While Palestinian officials condemned the move and declared the Mideast peace process "finished," several evangelical leaders praised the decision.

Paula White, senior pastor of New Destiny Christian Center, Apopka, Fla., and head of Trump's evangelical advisory board, applauded Trump for keeping his campaign promises.  

"Promise made. Promise kept. Once again, President Trump has shown the world what I have always known - he is a leader who is willing to do what is right however loud the voices are of the skeptics and the critics. Evangelicals are ecstatic, for Israel is to us a sacred place and the Jewish people are our dearest friends," she said, according to The Christian Post.

"The Jewish people," she continued, "have dedicated themselves to Jerusalem over millennia, taken pride in it, defended it with blood and treasure, and today we rejoice with them as our president has done the sensible thing - he has let the State of Israel choose for itself its own capital.

"Christians, the world over, are not surprised and we call the world to pray for the peace of Jerusalem - God's chosen city for God's chosen people."

Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council, said today is a "major milestone in America's historic relationship with Israel."

"Under the bold and courageous leadership of President Trump, America is finally putting American interests and the interests of our key allies first," he said. "America's foreign policy, as it pertains to Israel, is coming into alignment with this biblical truth: Jerusalem is the eternal and indivisible capital of the Jewish state."

Televangelist Pat Robertson also celebrated the announcement during an appearance on the "700 Club."

"In the Six Day War, Jews finally took sovereignty over Jerusalem, and it's absolutely crucial in terms of biblical prophecy that they maintain control over that," he said. "Remember, you go in favor of breaking up Jerusalem, you're gouging against the direct word of Jesus. God is not going to let anyone break that. It's going to be a major battle, it will be over Jerusalem."

Greg Laurie, senior pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship, Riverside, Calif., told the CP he's "grateful" for the U.S. administration's decision.

"Jerusalem is the nerve center of the world geographically," he said. "Jerusalem is the salvation center of the world spiritually. Jerusalem is the glory center of the world ultimately. Jerusalem is the city of the past, the present and the future. This city was the capital of Israel under King David. David's son Solomon built the first temple, and the Shekinah glory came. Jesus taught, was crucified and was resurrected there. When the Jews formed a nation on May 14, 1948, it was a modern-day miracle. And - to Christians - it was a day of fulfilled prophecy. Never has a nation been able to maintain its national identity after being scattered for hundreds of years - until Israel! God even uses Jerusalem as a picture of what we will see in Heaven in the 'New Jerusalem.'

"We are commanded in Scripture to 'pray for the peace of Jerusalem.' God says of the Jewish people, and in effect, the nation Israel, 'Whoever touches you touches the apple of his eye' (Zechariah 2:8 NLT). That's why we stand with the Jewish people and the nation Israel. We bless them and thank God for them. Jerusalem is their eternal capital. All of these are reasons why I am grateful for the U.S. administration's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital."

Pastor John Hagee, leader of Christians United for Israel, told Fox News President Trump "will be remembered for thousands of years for his act of courage to treat Israel like we already treat other nations."

Pastor Robert Jeffress of First Baptist Church in Dallas, also praised the president for his "courage" and argued that "Jerusalem is and should be recognized as the capital of Israel," according to Scripture. 

"It is David's capital, the site of the First and Second Temples, the focus of the historians' accounts, the Psalmists' songs and the prophets' visions. It is the place where Jesus, a Jew himself, was crucified, and where he was resurrected. It is the place where he will set foot again on earth at his second coming," he said.

"President Donald J. Trump has demonstrated true leadership today by recognizing Jerusalem as the legitimate capital of Israel. President Trump is a modern-day profile in courage, accomplishing what no other president has been willing to do.

"It took courage for President Harry S. Truman to recognize Israel as a nation in 1948, and it took courage for President Donald J. Trump to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel today. He is a blessing not only to our nation, but to Israel as well.

"Jerusalem has been the object of the affection of both Jews and Christians down through history and the touchstone of prophecy. But most importantly, God gave Jerusalem - and the rest of the Holy Land - to the Jewish people."