anzac school art competition2

anzac call book

What is even more significant in the progress of biblical prophecy than the military victory is the timing of the Beersheba accomplishment both biblically and geopolitically.

In the synagogues, a few days before on the Sabbath, God’s covenant to Abraham (Gen 12-17) had been read.

I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after you. I will give to you and to your descendants after you, the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.” Genesis 17:7-8

This reminded the Jews of God’s eternal covenant to the people and the land. Now they were moving one step closer to its fulfillment. God’s timing is perfect!

Meanwhile, back in England, plans were also underway. Following the successes in the Sinai and the deadlock on the Western Front, the British government had been considering for some time how the captured lands would be administered once the war ended. They dismissed allowing France to occupy Palestine, did not want to make the area a British colony and could not leave it to the locals to maintain order as this would result in chaos. The Turkish rulers had subdued all the inhabitants under their control and they were ill-equipped to govern themselves. The Ottoman Empire was now crumbling and the capture of Beersheba would be yet another nail in the coffin for the “sick man of Europe” as the Ottoman Empire was being called.

Since the early 1880s Jews had been returning to Palestine because of pogroms (ethnic cleansing) in Russia and other places that forced them to look for another home. Unfortunately, many of these were carried out in the name of Christ, against the “Christ-killers”. Through waves of persecution, the refugees joined others in Palestine who had remained in the land under various rulers, or migrated back centuries earlier, many coming at the time of the Spanish Inquisition. The total population of Western Palestine at the time of the beginning of Jewish colonisation was between 300,000 and 400,000 of which 34,000 were Jews, 65,000 were nomadic Bedouin, and about 55,000 were Christian. Only about 200,000 Muslims were living in all of Western Palestine in 1882. 1

timing 1In the face of rising anti-Semitism, the first Zionist council held in 1897 in Vienna had seen the need for a Jewish homeland. Its founder, Theodor Herzl had begun speaking to political leaders about this. He had commandeered Walter Rothschild who had discussed it with some British politicians. Edmond Rothschild and other benefactors had begun funding the buying of tracts of land from the Turks (at exorbitant prices) for the Jewish refugees returning to Palestine to have a place to live and work. In addition, William Hechler, a chaplain to the British Embassy in Vienna, began to see from the Scriptures that this was God’s plan. Other pastors were also starting to get this revelation. With Germany aligning with Turkey in the war, Britain was basically the only hope for the Jews to gain a homeland. By 1917, Chaim Weizmann was the unofficial Zionist spokesman and had been heavily lobbying the British government for a solution that would give a Jewish homeland in their biblical territory under a British protectorate.

There was a very small window of opportunity where many leading figures in the British parliament were pro-Zionist, Bible-believing Christians, or at least sympathetic to biblical concepts. Two of these were a lay preacher, David Lloyd George, who had become Prime Minister in December 1916, and Arthur Balfour, his Foreign Minister.

On October 31, 1917, the British War Cabinet met and decided that if the Holy Land could be liberated, part of Palestine would be given to the Jewish people to return to, which would then form a buffer under Britain to maintain and develop the land, which had been neglected during the Turkish Ottoman period.

On the same day as the troops conquered Beersheba militarily, the British War Cabinet decided to give the Jewish people a homeland in part of Palestine.

Lord Balfour wrote a letter to Lord Rothschild on November 2nd, which stated:

‘His Majesty’s Government views with favour the establishment in Palestine of a National Home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of that object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done, which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of the existing non-Jewish Communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country’.2

Kelvin Crombie’s extensive geo-political research into the archives of the British government revealed this extraordinary timing. On the very same day as the troops conquered Beersheba militarily, the political stage was also set for Biblical prophecy to unfold with the return of the Jews from the ends of the earth back to the land of their forefathers (Deut 30:1-6). Could this be the “destiny as yet not understood by mortal man”3 that Churchill had in mind?

Protestant Reformation

timing 2Not only that, but the same day was also the 400th anniversary of Luther hammering his 95 theses on the door of the church at Wittenberg which is considered to be the beginning of the Protestant reformation. Israel stayed 400 years in Egypt, now the 400-year Ottoman Turkish reign was about to come to an end.

What a monumental day it was! Are not all these ‘coincidences’ something that only God could set up? We are approaching the 100th anniversary of this great occasion. What an opportunity for the church and the nation to get on board and begin a new reformation. The Reformation turned the world upside down and brought the Word of God into the hands of the average person. The power of the Word of God transformed the lives of the nation and the world and its principles began to transform the way nations were governed and children were educated. Western civilisation arose from the truth of this Word and set people free as it brought a message of salvation from sin and the hope of eternal life for the world.

timing 3Today, having rejected the Word of God as the foundation of a nation, the Western world is in a spiritual desert, spiralling into a moral sink hole as the church has failed to shine the light of God into the darkness. The Western church has compromised itself into oblivion with sexual scandals that have hurt not only the victims and their families but also the heart of God. We desperately need to clean up our lives and reflect the purity of God. Jesus is still the living water that can quench the thirst of a generation growing up to think God is fiction. The truth of Luther’s ‘Sola Scriptura’ (God’s Word alone as our point of reference) needs to be restored and lived out by a new generation of spiritual Light Horse men and women. At the turn of the last century thousands of men filled the exhibition building in Melbourne to pray and cry out for God to pour out His Spirit for revival. We urgently need to re-dig the wells of our forefathers in the faith.

It is not necessarily large numbers that bring the breakthrough; it is the committed few with the courage to take on the enemy that can turn the tide of history. Can we find 800 young (or older) spiritual warriors in Australia and New Zealand who will again be radical enough disciples of Jesus to breach the strongholds Satan has built in our nations and break open our cities and towns for Jesus? Will this army also arise to bring the spiritual breakthrough for Israel to come into her destiny as our forefathers did in the physical realm?

Endnotes:

  1. Peters, J., From Time Immemorial - The origins of the Arab-Jewish Conflict over Palestine, J.Kap Publishing, USA, 1984, 244
  2. Crombie, K., Anzacs, Empires and Israel’s Restoration, Vocational Educational and Training Pub, 2000, 181
  3. Crombie, K., Gallipoli, the Road to Jerusalem, Heritage Resources, 2014, xii

Pictures:

  1. Gate of Sachsenhausen Concentration camp, Oranienburg (Berlin), Germany – Jill Curry
  2. Painting of Luther, 1570 Cranach d.J., Luther Haus, Wittenberg, Germany – Jill Curry
  3. Declaration at Wittenberg, outside the doors of the renovated Castle Church – Jill Curry