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The Resurgence Of Israel's Military In Bible Prophecy

News Image By Dr. David Reagan/Lamb & Lion Ministries December 11, 2023
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Israel is the major focus of End Time Bible prophecy. That's the reason that the re-establishment of the nation in the 20th Century was so important. That event signaled the fact that we are now living in the end of the end times.

Prophecies Concerning Israel

During the 20th Century, we were privileged to witness God beginning to fulfill in whole or in part seven prophecies regarding the Jewish people:

1) The regathering of the Jews from the four corners of the earth (Isaiah 11:10-12). Theodor Herzl's book, The Jewish State, published in 1896, helped motivate Jewish migration back to Israel. There were 40,000 Jews in Palestine in 1900. Today, there are over 7 million in the land of Israel.

2) The re-establishment of the state of Israel (Ezekiel 37:21-22). This prophecy was fulfilled on May 14, 1948, when the Israeli declaration of independence was proclaimed in Tel Aviv.

3) The reclamation of the land (Ezekiel 36:34-35). When the Jews started returning to the land just over 100 years ago, it was a malaria-infested swampland that had been denuded of all its forests. Today, it produces food in abundance and the forests have been replanted.

4) The revival of the Hebrew language (Zephaniah 3:9 and Jeremiah 31:23). When the Jews were scattered worldwide, they stopped speaking Hebrew. But in the 1800s, God raised up a Lithuanian Jew named Eliezer Ben-Yehuda to resurrect the language from the dead. Hebrew now predominates as one of the three official languages of Israel.

5) The re-occupation of the city of Jerusalem (Zechariah 8:4-8). When the Israeli War of Independence ended in 1949, the Old City of Jerusalem was under Jordanian occupation. The Israelis reclaimed the city during the Six-Day War on June 7, 1967.

6) The resurgence of the Israeli military (Zechariah 12:6). Even though Israel is one of the smallest nations, its military is considered one of the top ten in the world.

7) The re-focusing of world politics on the nation of Israel and its city of Jerusalem (Zechariah 12:2-3). Today world attention is focused on Israel and Jerusalem -- as has been abundantly evident in late 2023.


Military Power in Prophecy

From its humble beginnings in 1948, the Israeli military has become a highly professional and capable force.

The prophet Ezekiel referred to the revival of Israel in the last days as producing "an exceedingly great military force" (Ezekiel 37:10). Zechariah was more specific, prophesying that God would make "the clans of Judah like a firepot among pieces of wood and a flaming torch among sheaves" and enable them to "consume on the right hand and on the left" all their enemies (Zechariah 12:6, NASB). He proceeded to state that in the end times, the nation will be so strong that the "one who stumbles among them in that day will be like David, and the house of David will be like God, like the angel of Yahweh before them" (Zechariah 12:8).

Let's look now at the major conflicts of the past that offer evidence of the fulfillment of these prophecies.

The War of Independence (November 1947 - March 1949)

On November 29, 1947, the United Nations adopted a resolution providing for the ending of the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine, replacing British rule with a partition of the land that would result in the creation of two states, one Jewish and the other Arab.

Jews worldwide were elated, even though the territory they were offered was merely a portion of what they had been promised in the British Balfour Declaration of 1917. But the Arabs were outraged because they wanted all the land of Palestine. They immediately launched a civil war that continued right up to the day that the Jews issued their declaration of independence on May 14, 1948.

The surrounding Arab nations repeatedly warned that they would attack in mass if the Jews declared independence. For example, the Secretary General of the Arab League, Azzam Pasha, declared, "It will be a war of annihilation. It will be a momentous massacre in history that will be talked about like the massacres of the Mongols or the Crusades."

On the Jewish side, there was considerable concern that such boasting could become a reality. Thus, on the eve of the war, Yigael Yadin, the Chief of Staff of the Israeli forces, told David Ben-Gurion, the Jewish leader, "The best we can tell you is that we have a 50-50 chance."

The fears materialized within hours of the declaration of independence when five Arab armies (Egypt, Transjordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq) attacked the new nation. At the time, Israel had only 30,000 rag-tag fighters who were ill-trained and poorly equipped.


The Arab armies, particularly the Jordanians, were well-trained and equipped with aircraft, tanks, and modern artillery. Transjordan's army was even led by British officers under the command of General John Glubb.

President Harry Truman officially recognized the new state of Israel immediately, but his Administration refused to provide any aid under the naive assumption that it would help avert bloodshed. Britain openly supplied arms to the Arabs, while Israel had to smuggle surplus weapons from Eastern Europe.

But despite the overwhelming odds against them, the infant Jewish state prevailed, albeit at enormous cost. 6,377 Israelis were killed -- nearly one percent of the population (equivalent to an American loss today of 3.4 million!). In the end, Israelis controlled not only the territory allotted to them by the UN but also 60% of the area that had been proposed for an Arab state. The only key area that the Israelis were unable to conquer was the Old City of Jerusalem.

Overall, the war represented a miraculous victory for Israel.

In the first part of this fascinating look into the resurgence of Israel's military in Bible prophecy, we looked at how God miraculously defended Israel during Israel's War of Independence. Now we will explore God's tremendous victories during the Six Day War and the Yom Kippur War.

The Six Day War (June 1967)

Following years of tit-for-tat skirmishes, in the early 1960s Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser sought to align the Arab world under his leadership. His declared goal was to eradicate the Jewish state of Israel.

In 1965 Nasser asserted, "We shall not enter Palestine with its soil covered in sand; we shall enter it with its soil saturated in blood." A few months later, Nasser declared that he had two aims. "The immediate aim: perfection of Arab military might. The national aim: the eradication of Israel."

In May 1967, Nasser massed Egyptian troops on Israel's southern border. He then ordered UN troops positioned in the buffer zone between Israel and Egypt to leave. When the UN readily complied, Nasser announced:

"As of today, there no longer exists an international emergency force to protect Israel. We shall exercise patience no more. We shall not complain any more to the UN about Israel. The sole method we shall apply against Israel is total war, which will result in the extermination of Zionist existence."


The Syrian Defense Minister, Hafez Assad, affirmed Syria's enthusiasm "to enter into a battle of annihilation."

On May 22, Egypt blockaded the Straits of Tiran to all Israel shipping -- an overt act of war under international law. King Hussein of Jordan then signed a defense pact with Egypt on May 30, and President Abdur Rahman Aref of Iraq joined the bellicose rhetoric by declaring, "Our goal is clear -- to wipe Israel off the map."

A combined Arab army of 465,000 troops, 2,800 tanks, and 800 aircraft was poised to annihilate Israel.

The Israeli leaders decided it would be suicidal to wait for the attack, and so, on June 6th, the entire Israeli Air Force (except a mere 12 planes assigned to defend Israel's air space) launched a devastating attack on the Egyptian air force. By the end of the morning, they had virtually destroyed the Egyptian, Jordanian, and Syrian air forces. Unchallenged air superiority led to another miraculous Israeli victory after just six days of fighting.

Even as the Arab armies were being decimated, Jordan's King Hussein felt compelled to join the fighting. In response, Israel drove the Jordanian army across the Jordan River and recaptured the Old City of Jerusalem and the sacred Temple Mount.

Israeli paratroopers rushed to the Western Wall -- where no Jew had been allowed access for 18 years. Rabbi Shlomo Goren, the chief rabbi of the IDF (and later the chief rabbi of Israel) rushed to the wall, blew the shofar, and announced: "We have taken the City of God. We are entering the Messianic era for the Jewish people." He understood from prophecies in the Hebrew scriptures that when the Jews are back in the land and back in their capital city, the Messiah will come.

The Yom Kippur War (October 1973)

Excessive Israeli confidence in their invincibility led to a dire situation just six years later. On October 6 (Yom Kippur, the holiest day in Judaism), Egypt and Syria launched an all-out surprise attack against Israel.

Crossing the Suez Canal, the Egyptians quickly overran the Israeli outposts and drove deep into the Sinai. Simultaneously, Syria attacked the Golan Heights. Anwar Sadat, the President of Egypt, had fulfilled his promise to avenge the Arab humiliation suffered in 1967.

Just a few hours before the attack began, IDF Chief of Staff David Elazar recommended a preemptive air strike and immediate mobilization of the reserves. But Prime Minister Golda Meir overruled a first strike. She had been warned by Henry Kissinger that the United States would not support Israel if it struck first again.

Once again, as in all its previous wars, Israel faced overwhelming odds. On the Golan Heights, 180 Israeli tanks faced an onslaught of 1,400 Syrian tanks. Along the Suez Canal, fewer than 500 Israeli defenders with only 3 tanks were attacked by 600,000 Egyptian soldiers, backed by 2,000 tanks and 550 aircraft. Nine non-combatant Arab states provided aid and financial support to the Egyptian-Syrian war effort, while the Soviet Union provided military equipment and intelligence.

At great cost, Israel prevailed once again. Buoyed by massive military aid from America and brilliant military commanders, Israel turned back the initial Arab advances and recaptured the Golan Heights and the Sinai Peninsula. For example, under General Ariel Sharon, Israel won the greatest tank battle in history.

By October 15, the Egyptian tank force had been destroyed, and Sharon had crossed the Suez Canal. He quickly surrounded the Egyptian Third Army, immobilized it, and started marching toward Cairo.

Meanwhile, in the north, the Israeli forces had cleared the Golan Heights, recaptured Mount Hermon, and began driving toward Damascus.
By October 15th, Israeli forces were 25 miles from Damascus and 63 miles from Cairo when the Soviets demanded the UN to call for a cease-fire. Once again, Israel had prevailed when there seemed to be no hope.

Other Major Conflicts

Since 1967, Israel has contended with Palestinian and Islamic terrorism. Palestinian terrorists demonstrated their hatred at the 1972 Olympics in Berlin when 11 Israelis were brutally murdered. Palestinian hijacking, kidnapping, and bombing have continued to this day.

In 1976, while America was preparing to celebrate its Bicentennial, four terrorists hijacked an Air France flight from Tel Aviv to Paris and diverted it to Benghazi, Libya, and then Entebbe, Uganda. Israel attempted to free 106 hostages and crew through negotiation, but eventually was forced to resort to a daring rescue mission. Under the command of Lt. Col. Jonathan (Yoni) Netanyahu (brother of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu), a commando force flew to Uganda on a C-130 Hercules aircraft. 

They landed at Entebbe airport, surprised the Ugandan guards, and quickly established control. During the raid, all seven hijackers were killed. Sadly, four hostages were killed -- three from crossfire and one at the order of an enraged Idi Amin (an elderly woman had been taken to a local hospital prior to the raid).

Five Israeli commandos were wounded, and tragically Yoni Netanyahu was killed. But Israel had demonstrated its resolve and military prowess once again.

That resolve has been tested repeatedly. Intifadas ("uprising" in Arabic) incited by Yassar Arafat have been followed by attacks from Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon. Large and small skirmishes have pitted Israel against a nebulous and unscrupulous foe. But time and time again, although bloodied and grief-stricken, Israel has prevailed.

Conclusion

These and other Israeli conflicts of the past 75 years prove, beyond a doubt, that God has His hand on Israel, protecting the Jewish people from assault after assault, and enabling them to achieve miraculous victories -- all in fulfillment of Bible prophecies about Israel in the end times.

Nor can there be any doubt that God's supernatural protection will continue.

Right now, Israel is embroiled in yet another fight for its existence against radicalized Palestinian terrorists in Gaza. It could well prove to be the worst of all the wars Israel has experienced, especially if it blossoms into a regional conflagration. But Scripture tells us that Israel will overcome all these challenges to its existence -- because God promised that once He replanted them on their land, "they will not again be uprooted from their land" (Amos 9:15).

If this war turns out to be a fulfillment of the prophesied war of Psalm 83, then Israel will once again be overwhelmingly victorious, defeating all the Arab nations with whom it shares a common border. This will pave the way for the subsequent war of Gog and Magog, described in Ezekiel 38 and 39, when Russia, accompanied by certain Muslim nations, will come down against Israel and suffer supernatural destruction at the hands of the Lord.

Israel has some very difficult days ahead, but God has made some wonderful promises to them that they can rely on. In Psalm 121:4, He says, "Behold, He who keeps Israel will not slumber and will not sleep." In Isaiah, He promised Israel, "No weapon that is formed against you will succeed" (Isaiah 54:17).

America needs to pay attention to these promises of God. Only by standing with and blessing Israel can we hope to be blessed.

Learn more about the prophesied war of Psalm 83 and Israel's future prophetic wars in Bill Salus book & DVD series - Psalm 83 - The Missing Prophecy Revealed - available here.




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