Bill Clinton, George Bush, and Barack Obama all faced pressure from wealthy potential campaign donors to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, but Trump is listening to a voice they were not: evangelical Christians who appear to believe in the “Rapture.” Some, like vice president Mike Pence and secretary of state Mike Pompeo, hold posts inside his cabinet. For Rapture Christians, returning Jerusalem to the Jewish people is a key to the second coming of Christ.
Robert Jeffress, a pastor who preaches the Rapture, delivered the new embassy’s opening prayer. Jeffress has previously said that Mormons are heretics, Jews fated to hell, Islam promotes pedophilia, and homosexuals are filthy. He prayed, “We thank you everyday that you have given us a president who boldly stands on the right side of history, and more importantly on the right side of you, oh God, when it comes to Israel.”
Ahead of the embassy opening, over 63% of Americans opposed the move.
Belief in the Rapture, also known as millenarianism or eschatology, has multiple variations, but the core view is that there will an apocalyptic war, Jesus will return, and true Christians will be “raptured” or ascend to heaven, with the rest of the earth’s inhabitants punished. Rapture believers are split about the order of events, but they are united in the belief that only Christians will be saved.