It appears Donald Trump's latest decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital was reportedly made at the insistence of some key figures in the administration who base their reasoning on their understanding of Bible.
Trump, like presidents before him, had the option to delay this decision but chose to, as he promised during his campaign trail, “deliver” on his promises.
Of all the reactions that the announcement received, from cynical skepticism to righteous outrage, the elation of evangelical Christians among his voter base is what seems to matter most to Trump.
A 2014 PEW survey revealed that 82 percent of white evangelicals believe God gave the kingdom of Israel to the Jews, as opposed to 40 percent of American Jews. Many Christians ground their understanding in a particular Biblical text, 2 Chronicles 6:5-6, that quotes God as saying, "Since the day that I brought my people out of the land of Egypt, I chose no city in all the tribes of Israel in which to build a house, that my name might be there, and I chose no man as prince over my people Israel; but I have chosen Jerusalem that my name may be there and I have chosen David to be over my people Israel."
An end-time prophecy is also believed to be a driving force behind evangelical support for the announcement. According to that prophecy, recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital sets the stage for the second coming of Jesus when the remaining Jews will be left with the choice of either converting or eternal damnation.
Pro-Israel Christian pastors such as John Hagee, the leader of Christians United for Israel, were reportedly also allowed to meet with Trump and influence his decisions. Vice President Mike Pence also delivered the keynote address at Christians United for Israel this year, vowing his complete support in transferring the embassy. Reports suggest that Pence was especially eager to have the decision made before his trip to Israel later this month.
Saner figures in the administration such as Rex Tillerson had warned against the fallout that was sure to follow such a decision. Immediately after the decision was announced, the Palestinian president ordered his team to leave the U.S., citing a complete distrust of the U.S.' role in the peace process.
None of this matters to Trump, who is pandering to his base without any real understanding of what's at stake.