Did Israel’s War of Independence prove that God demands the nation exists?
Lamb & Lion Ministries conducts a number of Bible conferences in the Dallas, Texas area each year. Our June 2013 conference theme was Living on Borrowed Time (watch). We also hold a special banquet afterwards, and there is where I gave this all new presentation on the prophetic significance of the resurgence of Israeli military power since the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948.
The War of Independence (November 1947 – March 1949)
The prophet Ezekiel prophesied that the revival of Israel in the last days would produce an exceedingly great army. Zechariah was more specific. He prophesied that God would make the clans of Judah like a firepot among pieces of wood and a flaming torch among sheaves, enabling them to consume on the right hand and on the left all their enemies. He proceeded to state that in the end times that the nation would be so strong that the feeble among them would be like David against Goliath, and the house of David would be like the Angel of the Lord before them. Those are the prophecies about the resurgence of the Israeli military in the end times.
Let’s look at the evidence of the fulfillment of these prophecies.
Let’s begin with the War of Independence. That really started in November of 1947 and continued until March of 1949. On November 29, 1947, fifty years after Herzl said there would be a state of Israel, on this date the United Nations adopted a resolution providing for the end of the League of Nations Mandate in Palestine, replacing British rule with a partition of the land between the Arabs and the Jews. The Jews worldwide began to celebrate even though the piece of territory they were provided was miniscule compared to what they had been promised by the British in the Balfour Declaration in 1917. There was rejoicing in Israel. There was rejoicing all of the world.
But, the Arabs were outraged, because they wanted all of the land. They didn’t want just part of it. They wanted all of it, and they certainly did not want a Jewish state.
The result was the immediate launching of a civil war as the Arabs began to attack Jewish communities. This bloody conflict continued right up to the very day that the Jews issued their Declaration of Independence on May 14, 1948. As that epic day approached, the Arabs issued repeated warnings that they would launch an all-out war if the Jews tried to establish a nation. For example, the Secretary General of the Arab League, a man by the name of 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 Crusaders.”
On the Jewish side there was considerable concern that such boasting could become a reality. In fact, on the eve of the war, Yigael Yadin who was 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.”
Within hours of the Declaration of Independence on the afternoon of May 14, 1948, five Arab armies began invading the new nation of Israel. They consisted of Egypt coming from the south, Transjordan from the east, Syria from the northeast, Lebanon from the north, and Iraq from the far north. The Israeli forces consisted at most of 30,000 ragtag underground fighters who were ill-trained and poorly equipped. This army was almost laughable. The Israeli Defense Forces known as the IDF was not organized until after the invasion.
The Arab armies on the other hand, particularly the Jordanians, were well equipped and well trained. Egypt, Iraq and Syria had air forces. Egypt and Syria had tank forces. All of them had modern artillery. The troops of Transjordan were led by a British General by the name of John Glubb, better known as Glubb Pasha.
Although the United States had recognized the state of Israel immediately and given them great hope by doing so, the Truman Administration did not provide any aid whatsoever. Truman declared an arms embargo under the naive assumption that if they supplied arms there would be bloodshed, and he thought if we didn’t supply any arms and we just had an embargo there wouldn’t be any bloodshed. Well, there was going to be bloodshed, there was no doubt about that.
Meanwhile, the British gladly supplied the Arab forces while Israel had to smuggle in arms from Czechoslovakia. But, despite the overwhelming odds against them, the infant Jewish state prevailed.
The cost was enormous! There were 6,377 Israeli’s killed in the War of Independence, representing nearly 1% of the total population. There were only 650,000 people in Israel at that time. This would be equivalent to the United States today losing three million people in a war.
The Israelis ended up not only with the territory that had been allotted them by the United Nations, but they also ended up in control of 60% of the area that had been promised to the Arabs. The Arabs suffered much greater casualties as over 15,000 were killed during that war. They ended up with only 22% of the territory they had been promised by the United Nations. They would have been much better off to have accepted the United Nation division of the land. This is the reason that one of the greatest diplomats that Israel has ever produced, Abba Eban said once, “The Palestinians have never missed a chance to miss a chance.” They never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity. They just over and over and over have had many opportunities to establish their own state, and they just miss it every time.
The most important area that the Israeli’s were not able to conquer in the War of Independence was the Old City of Jerusalem, also called the Ancient City or the Walled City. The Jews were not able to conquer that area at the time. In fact, all the Jews were expelled from that area and they stayed expelled for a number of years thereafter.
In the fourth segment of our study on the end times sign of the the resurgence of the Israeli military, we’ll continue to look at their War of Independence, particularly at an amazing battle similar to the movie 300.