Franklin Graham Talks Jesus Christ's Return, Fulfillment of Prophecy as Jerusalem Embassy Opens
The Rev. Franklin Graham has made note of prophecy surrounding the return of Jesus Christ as Christians and Jews mark the 70th anniversary of the establishment of Israel and the U.S. embassy's official opening in Jerusalem.
"[Seventy] years ago today, the State of Israel was established. In fulfillment of prophecy, God brought the nation into being, and He is sustaining them for the day when the Lord Jesus Christ Himself will return and establish His throne in Jerusalem as Scripture tells us," Graham wrote on Facebook Monday.
"I believe it is significant that the United States has formally recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and is moving our embassy there," he added, referring to the U.S. government's major decision that was announced last year, with the ceremony taking place on Monday.
"This has been promised by past U.S. presidents and administrations, but it had never become a reality, until now," wrote the evangelist, who is president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
Several big-name evangelical preachers and megachurch pastors have all commented on the link between biblical prophecy and the opening of the U.S. embassy.
John C. Hagee, senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in Texas and founder of Christians United for Israel, delivered the closing benediction at the Jerusalem benediction.
"Jerusalem is the city of God. Jerusalem is the heartbeat of Israel. Jerusalem is where Abraham placed his son on the altar on the Temple Mount and became the father of many nations," he said on Monday.
"Jerusalem is where Jeremiah and Isaiah penned principles of righteousness that became the moral foundations of Western Civilization. Jerusalem is where Messiah will come and establish a kingdom that will never end," Hagee added.
"We thank you, O Lord, for President Donald Trump's courage in acknowledging to the world a truth established 3,000 years ago that Jerusalem is and always shall be the eternal capital of the Jewish people."
The opening of the U.S. embassy, seen as highly controversial in the Muslim world, led to violent protests, with over 60 Palestinians killed and another 2,400 injured during violent protests in the Gaza Strip where an estimated 35,000 protested Israel's 70th anniversary, calling the creation of the Jewish state a "catastrophe." Protesters have been burning tires, setting kites on fire, and throwing Molotov cocktails at IDF forces.
U.S. deputy press secretary Raj Shah said that terrorist group Hamas, not Israeli forces, are to blame for the deaths.
"We believe that Hamas is responsible for these tragic deaths, that their rather cynical exploitation of the situation is what's leading to these deaths, and we want them to stop," Shah said.
Pastors such as Greg Laurie of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Irvine and Riverside, California, also defended Trump's decision to move the U.S. embassy to Israel's capital.
"Jerusalem always has been, and always will be, the capital of this great nation (Israel). The Lord gave it to King David, and now it's about time we (the U.S.) moved our embassy there," Laurie said in a short Facebook video on Monday.
The prophetical significance of the move was also hailed by Judge Jeanine Pirro, a Fox News opinion host, who compared Trump to the Bible's King Cyrus.
"Donald Trump recognized history. He, like King Cyrus before him, fulfilled the biblical prophecy of the gods worshiped by Jews, Christians and, yes, Muslims, that Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the Jewish state and that the Jewish people deserve a righteous, free and sovereign Israel," Pirro wrote in an op-ed in Fox News published on Sunday.