He will protect his people

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16. Verse 12 Thus saith the LORD; Though they be quiet, and likewise many, yet thus shall they be cut down, when he shall pass through. Though I have afflicted thee, I will afflict thee no more. Who is quiet? It is Britain that is quiet. They have fought World War One and World War Two and conquered the German foe, and they imagined they could have their way in everything. They did not account for God, and what he intended for Palestine. When it uses the expression “I have afflicted thee” it has the Holocaust in mind. It is Israel he is talking about. And it promised they will be spared events like that in the future. Britain is the one to be cut down. It puts the timing in the frame. We are dealing with Post War Britain.

But we have not finished with the period between. Now we will show The League of Nations set up by Woodrow Wilson and all parties at Paris gave Britain the right to govern Palestine. This position was confirmed by the United Nations organization after the second conflict, and Dr Clive Evatt the Australian Diplomat was involved in arranging this and the vote in the United Nations for an Israeli state.

Break the yolk
Verse 13 For now will I break his yoke from off thee, and will burst thy bonds in sunder. Let me tell of the events leading up to the Jewish State emerging in May 1948. In spring of 1941 in Egypt, crowds cheered in support of the Africa Korps as it smashed through the Western Desert aiming for the Suez Canal.

In June 1942 the German forces invaded the Soviet Union and at the same time drove the British army to within sixty miles of Alexandria. The Axis Powers were in control of Greece, Yugoslavia and Crete and were poised to dominate the whole Mediterranean Basin blocking supply routes to Southern Russia and obstructing communications with the Western and Eastern theaters of the conflict.

On July 30th 1942 Roosevelt agreed to open another front against the Axis Powers, and North Africa was to be the principal objective with landings in Morocco and Algeria. America entered the Middle East Arena trapping the Afrika Korps between themselves and the British 8th army. Surrender of the Afrika Korps was achieved in May 1943.

Harry S. Truman honored his pledge to seek independence for Syria and other Middle Eastern countries. He saw America as a nation with a destiny to export independence movements around the world. “God has created us and brought us to our present position and power…for some great purpose. It is given to us to defend the spiritual values…against the vast forces that seek to destroy them.”
In June 1945 just three weeks after V-E Day the French, backing down on its pledge to respect Syrian independence, refused to remove its garrisons from the country. When protests broke out in three cities they responded with Artillery and Warplanes.

The Syrians accused America of working against the smaller nations and supporting with weapons the occupiers. Truman warned de Gaulle of intervention, and de Gaulle backed down, and under pressure from the United Nations Security Council agreed to remove all troops. The world expected America to retire to the isolationist policy of World War One, but they began campaigning for the end of all colonial occupation.

Truman had an inbred distaste for imperialism and he did not intend to return Libya to Italy. Stalin demanded a mandate over Tripolitania, so Truman agreed to put Libya under United Nations control and checking. This was done in December 1951.

The US and Britain according to post war agreements began in 1945 to pull troops from Iran. The Soviets refused. Stalin was poised to sever American access to Iranian oil reserves and threaten the petroleum fields of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Kuwait. A cold war was developing between East and West. Truman protested occupation of Iran, and set about to remove the Soviets from the Persian Gulf. In 1946 America pressed the United Nations censure of the Soviets and threatened to send the American Fleet to the area. In April Stalin backed down. Some of the first shots in the cold war had been fired. Truman sent the sixth Fleet to patrol the Mediterranean.

Stalin was anxious to secure a naval presence in the Mediterranean, and having been denied Libya, they amassed troops on the Turkish border. He demanded joint protection of the Dardanelles. The US State and War Departments agreed if Greece and turkey fall to the Soviets they will control the Middle East and all the oil reserves. It became obvious that two ways of life were emerging, the autocratic rule of the Soviets, or the freedom of independent countries. Truman had to convince the American people that Democracy was a struggle worth the fight.

A Wicked Counselor

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15. Verse 11 There is one come out of thee, that imagineth evil against the LORD, a wicked counsellor. We need to be reminded of the players in this drama. The young Winston Churchill supported the Jewish return to the land in company with Lloyd George in the first conflict, and as Prime minister in the government through the second conflict. At the end of the Second World War he was removed from office by a Labor swing against the austerity of the war period with significant results.

Who then is the wicked counselor of this verse? I put it to you that it is Clement Atlee. This man took control of the British Parliament after the Second World War from Winston Churchill who presided over the fall of Germany the second time.

Having at first promised to encourage and promote the Jewish national home, Great Britain reneged, and fought to prevent settling that state. From the time the Turk was removed, Britain made no significant move to realize their plan to establish a home for the Jewish people. It took the ravages of the second war to do this. And then when the time came Clement Atlee took control and invoked the findings of the 1939 White paper.

If that were not damning enough, the government of Clement Atlee treated the remnant that survived the extermination camps with callous cruelty.

Unmoved by the plight of hundreds of thousands of ravaged people, Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin doggedly claimed the blockade and imprisoning of emaciated and tormented Jews was acceptable. He sent thousands back to the horror house from which they had fled, and where two-thirds of their family members had been destroyed.
When Britain’s abuse resulted in global anger and disgust, Whitehall abandoned the mandate it had been given in sacred trust, throwing the issue of a Jewish State back into the plenum of the United Nations.

As Britain prepared to remove its forces, it openly aided the Arabs in their preparations to wipe out the Jewish presence as soon as the army had left. England’s treachery towards the Jews was complete.
And this made God angry and jealous enough to take away the Empire. What they were doing was challenging God’s right to give the land to whomever he will. No one should get in the way of that.

If we say: God cannot interfere in the affairs of men to change the balance of power like this, then we are compelled to answer if he is obliged to stand by while men do anything they want to do. He sits in his holy temple and watches men destroy one another mercilessly, forcing their will on everyone as if the victims have no rights at all. But then, who gave the individual his Bill of Rights? The creator spelled out everyone’s rights when he made them, and one of those rights is to live on the earth free of threat or force. If the British Empire change this to mean “provided it does not interfere with the empires prosperity” and go about enforcing restrictions for the empire, then God can say, “enough is enough.”

And if God gives the land of Palestine to the Jews, and takes it away from the Philistines to do it, then who is the one who is going to protest about that and survive? We have the record of what happened the first time they tried to prevent it.

You often hear the snide remark, that what the American’s plan is annihilation of Biblical proportions, implying that God is the one who invented Mass Destruction. What we do is small in comparison with the destruction spoken of in the Bible. I put it to you: the way the empire ended was nothing like the force used to establish it. And if they assemble an army to prevent him, God will deal with that threat with whatever is required. That makes perfect sense.


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14. Verse 10 For while they be folden together as thorns, and while they are drunken as drunkards, they shall be devoured as stubble fully dry. When we speak of thorns we are not confused about the image. The thorns prick us and prevent us, and this is what Britain experienced.

When were they “folden” together as thorns? When they could not extract themselves from agreements made with Feisal and Hussein. These were the same thorns that stuck in the side of Israel. Many times in scripture we are told of the thorns that would aggravate Israel in the end days. “Prickling briers” is one description given to them. Lawrence of Arabia made commitments on behalf of the British to his allies among the Arab and Bedouin people against the Turk that bound the hands of the politicians.

The soldiers had a right to be happy. The war was over and they had won the battle. The drunkenness was a celebration of final victory. But there was more to come.

It is obvious from the record of events the British were willing to betray the Jews and the Arabs, in their own interests. The draw card was oil, and the Arabs have the best prospects for that. As it worked out, oil was important to the British and they put it to good use when the Second World War eventually came.

They were drunk with their victory, and they gave Transjordan to Hussein making him a king. They intended to give Syria to Feisal’s but gave him Iraq in the end. The Arab’s felt betrayed by the presence of the Jews in Palestine and wanted the British to withdraw so they could expel them.

Jan Smuts, the South African Statesman proposed a series of mandates where the League of Nations would assign territories to countries who would prepare them for self-rule. These countries proposed for this treatment were Armenia, Syria, Mesopotamia, Palestine and Arabia. The British were concerned to keep the French away from the Suez Canal, and the Soviets out of the Middle East.

Woodrow Wilson, the US President was not interested in supporting European style Colonies. Amid turmoil after World War One Woodrow Wilson tried unsuccessfully to introduce change in the Middle East. The Armenian question was resolved by Mustafa Kemal, who oppressed the minorities as the Turks had always done. The Ottoman Empire was gone, but Turkey remained as a sovereign State.

Lloyd George the British Prime Minister was accused by the French representative Clemenceau of betrayal, while Lloyd George resented Wilson for failing to take control of the Armenian situation.

In April 1920 at San Remo the delegates settled the British mandate over Palestine and Mesopotamia (now called Iraq) and the French mandate over Syria. Feisal’s forces were soon expelled. Greece, France and Italy received territories in southern Anatolia. Mustafa Kemal refused to accept the San Remo resolutions and drove all foreign troops from Anatolia. In co-operation with the Soviets he crushed Kurdish separatists and the massacres continued.

The British and French were intimidated by the Turkish ferocity and the Soviets proximity to the Dardanelles, so they sued for peace. A treaty was signed on the 24th of July 1923 in Lausanne in Switzerland. As a result the Turkish Republic arose out of the defeated Ottoman Empire.

In 1923 a coalition of tribes, led by Abd al-Aziz ibd Saud conquered the holy cities of Mecca and Medina and ousted the Hashemites. He declared himself king over a new country called Saudi Arabia. With the help of American missionary doctors and a strong link forged with commercial interests, he managed to bring health relief and prosperity to his people. The Americans found oil and the rest is history.

What can you do?

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13. Verse 9 What do ye imagine against the LORD? he will make an utter end: affliction shall not rise up the second time. The question is: what do we think we can do that God does not want us to do?

It is easy to say it is all about Nineveh and leave it at that. But what we are learning here is what God is doing in our world in our own lifetime. We do not want to ignore this. But where is the proof we are dealing with end-day events? And what do we say to all the people who tell us: “this is not what Nahum is talking about, because he is talking about events in his day.”

We say: it is what Nahum is talking about, and the proof is yet to come. It calls the people in the prophecy Assyria and the city is Nineveh. Consider: if we were writing the story six hundred years before Christ, and we wanted to refer to the Empire who supervised the return of the Jew to the land after two thousand years absence, what would we call them?

It would have to be someone who the people of the time of Nahum could recognize. It could not be too exact. He is telling the future after all. If it is the largest Empire in the world at the return, then use the largest Empire of the day six hundred years BC and its capital city, and let readers work it out.

It is telling us God is the one behind all the things going on in our world. He brought an end to the Turkish rule over Palestine. He dried up that river so they retreated to Turkey, no longer to be a world power but the sick man of Europe. The victory of the British in Bashan over the Turk was known of God before it happened. The march of the expeditionary forces under Allenby starting with the fall of Beersheba, by the miraculous victory of the Australian Light Horse, and then went through Carmel and Lebanon to Damascus, just as Nahum tells us. This was all made possible by God. Bashan is Syrian territory today. It extended from Gilead in the south to Hermon in the north, and Golan was one of the cities of refuge.

What we have here is a description of events in the land of Palestine that enabled Israel to return. What then specifically is God’s complaint against the British? They took the victory over the Turk and the victory over Germany in the First World War, and then tried to prevent the occupation by Jews in the territory that God gave them. Despite the fact they made promises to the Jews that they would promote their return to Palestine.

They made promises to the Arabs as well, and the two were in conflict. We can see where God might get a little jealous over that, and be ready to deal with the British for their behavior. It was all to make way for the return. To then prevent it, or limit it, or frustrate it, has to put them in the firing line, for God will now do to the British what he did to the Turk.

It goes deeper than that. The British were given the Empire to allow it to do this job. Imagine how God would respond to them when they try to stop it because of treaties and pacts they have with God’s enemies. He will take the Empire away.

The Empire took three hundred years to build. It was brought to nothing in thirty years. We are saying the end of the empire was over the land of Israel? The British will laugh at that. They will refuse to accept it. But the empire is gone, and Israel survives, and the empire began to unravel with the loss of “the Jewel in the Crown” which was India in 1947, the same time as Israel was born.

Who has to trust God? He is going to be a refuge to Israel when they face their foe. The verse tells them to trust him. Even though it looks unlikely they will succeed, he will not let them be overrun.

Consistent with the acrostic poem the Jews were to remember for two thousand six hundred years, they would read a message that tells them to just trust that it will all work out.

The Jews will be going into hostile territory and claiming it for themselves when they take Palestine back. It is a bold move, and everyone has the right to hesitate about the strategy. Remember, Britain was given the mandate. The League of Nations knew of the Balfour Declaration to promote a return to the land. The British were to make it happen. But because of contracts with the Arabs, some in Britain wanted to renege. God was not going to let them do it.

Again we need to make the point that Nineveh did not imagine to do anything to God that he did not want them to do. So we look for the correct application here.

And it is a question to the British Parliament. What do we intend to do to prevent God from returning Israel to the land? With what he has already done in subduing the Ottoman Empire, bringing Britain to her knees is not so hard. He will not have to take a few goes at it to get it right.

Who can stand?

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12. Verse 6 Who can stand before his indignation? and who can abide in the fierceness of his anger? his fury is poured out like fire, and the rocks are thrown down by him. If we say it is wrong for God to direct disasters toward men on earth who are just trying to live out their lives in peace, then we say with Nahum, we need to make sure we do not stand in his way. He has shown patience in many things man has done, but there are some things he will not allow.

The Ottoman power could not stand before him. They were shamefully thrown out of their possession and sent back from where they came. The point is the British, who were responsible for the Turkish demise, cannot stand either. If they plan to betray the one who gave them their power and victory, then they too will fall.

God will protect.
7 The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him. Isaiah refers to places where the servants of God take refuge. When it is going wrong for his enemies the servants need to hide. They go into the cave or as they did in the days of Noah into the ark of safety.

The question is asked: “who can stand” but the point is he is a protector of his people, and anyone who stands in the way of that is going to fall. If God is protecting something, then those who prevent him put themselves in the path of a furious storm.
And yet God can preserve his people in exile for two thousand years, and bring them back to their land to occupy it in the last days. You can say I draw too much from just a few words, but this is the point. Nahum is a short prophecy. Not one word is wasted. Everything God tells us through this prophet is packed with information.

Who will stop him?
8 But with an overrunning flood he will make an utter end of the place thereof, and darkness shall pursue his enemies. They will not know what hit them. They will squeal as if this should not happen to them. They will claim they have every right to make an honest living. They will justify it in law. But they crossed the line. They stood in the path of the train.

We draw attention to the end of the acrostic. It finishes on “kaph” which is partway through the alphabet. Israel will assume that wherever they are the Nahum story is not finished. The Jews may not realize this, but they were supposed to recite this poem for two thousand six hundred years from Nahum to our day. This would comfort the people with the idea that they will be delivered, and the people who try to prevent them from returning to the land will lose their Empire.

Lawrence of Arabia

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11. Lawrence of Arabia was a most unlikely candidate for hero worship for he was five foot four inches tall with a weak high-pitched voice, but with a drive to self-promote, for “he craved to be noticed and remembered.”

He attached himself to Feisal with a plan to achieve Arab independence, and to keep the French out of Syria. He manipulated Feisal and betrayed him in the end.

In military terms he did manage to capture the Seaport of Aqaba with Bedouin forces, but apart from this success his military and diplomatic efforts were unremarkable. However the Americans, who make heroes out of anyone, chose him as “the most interesting Britain alive” and he became the focus of the “sensational” press with enriched versions of his exploits. He is reported as saying “On the whole I prefer lies to truth, particularly when they concern me.” He went on to say, “history is a series of accepted lies.” This is reflected in his own accounts in “The Seven Pillars of Wisdom” written in 1922 that only records the highlights and none of the setbacks of his adventures. He morphed into the myth of Lawrence of Arabia, a larger than life representation of the all American Hero. When Lawrence saw what the film maker Lowell Thomas had created with his “Lawrence of Arabia” he reported “he has invented some silly phantom thing, a sort of matinee idol in fancy dress, that does silly things and is dubbed “romantic.”

The Light Horse had travelled eighty miles in twenty hours from Jaffa to take the Turks by surprise. The British failed to surround Nazareth so Otto Liman Von Sanders the German Field Marshall managed to escape. This angered Chauvel, as this was the prize he wanted to secure with his surprise approach.

He took Jenin and chased Kemal over the Jordan at the bridge known as Jacob’s Daughters. He held the plain from Haifa to Besain. On the 25th of September 1918 he took Amman and captured six thousand soldiers coming from Maan on the Hejez Rail link.
On the 31st of October Chauvel surrounded Damascus, and sent four hundred light horse into the city on the 1st of October, to take control away from the Turkish Rulers. The Turks retreated to Aleppo but were eventually made to flee inside the Turkish borders. An Armistice was signed with the Turks in Mudros on the 31st of October 1918.

General Sir Harry Chauvel and his horsemen, with bayonet, sword and rifle, had the biggest impact on the defeat of the Ottoman Empire. The success of the diggers under General Sir John Monash’s army in Europe, and the defeat of two German armies at the battle of Amiens that led to the end of the war, it is reasonable to say the Australian contribution in the First World War was decisive. We draw attention to this: not to glorify war or praise any part of the armed forces, but to show the plans men make to work their will rarely work out the way they want.

It was the third battle for Gaza, after the breakthrough at Beersheba that was the key to the Middle East victory. The thrust over Jordan directed by Allenby failed, and it was four and a half months later that Chauvel led his offensive up the Mediterranean Coast that became the only successful drive to finish the Turk.

The impression we get from Rolland Perry’s account of these events is: the chance encounter, the right decision amidst the myriad of wrong ones, the boldness of the victor and the demoralized enemy are the most significant factors in the outcome. All these go to make up the most momentous events in history, and the unlikely result of a home for the Jew in the land of Palestine. We can read what we like into it, but do not ignore the obvious.

As birds flying

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10. You will recognize this extract. It is part of this story. I now need to show two verses in Isaiah that are important in setting the time frame of the events we are dealing with here. The first is Isaiah 31:4 “For thus hath the LORD spoken unto me, Like as the lion and the young lion roaring on his prey, when a multitude of shepherds is called forth against him, he will not be afraid of their voice, nor abase himself for the noise of them: so shall the LORD of hosts come down to fight for mount Zion, and for the hill thereof.” Australia is one of the young lions of the British Commonwealth who helped the Old Lion secure the victory over the occupant of Jerusalem. The second is Isaiah 31:5 “As birds flying, so will the LORD of hosts defend Jerusalem; defending also he will deliver it; and passing over he will preserve it.” The flying machines were introduced in the First World War and played a vital role in the victory over the Turks. They were as birds flying, and they spotted the enemy positions and gave the intelligence necessary to secure Jerusalem and defend it. The Australian Light Horse not only delivered the city but they passed over and defended it, for the Turks had in mind taking it back. British spotter planes played a significant part in the campaign once air superiority was achieved.

You may say these words could not possibly refer to these events, but this is because we are not used to having prophecy fulfilled before our eyes. To those who know scripture it is no surprise. This is what prophecy is. It is telling the story before it happens.
The British Battle for Beersheba was a turning point in the war against the Ottoman Empire. After this the Desert Mounted Corps rode fast northwards with the aim of crossing the hill chain which ends in Carmel then descending into the plain of Esdraelon. With the armies marching through their pastures the shepherds would mourn, and with fighting in the pass, Carmel would wither.

We opened this digression with the verse from Zechariah that said: “He rebuketh the sea, and maketh it dry, and drieth up all the rivers: Bashan languisheth, and Carmel, and the flower of Lebanon languisheth.” And we spent much time explaining how the river Euphrates dried up, but it is the progress of the Light Horse that gets special mention here. It was the area in Syria where the Light horse emerged after it went through Carmel and through the hills of Lebanon.

Carmel was a mountain promontory north of Israel in Asher territory, known today as Haifa. It abounded in rich pastures, olives and vines. It reaches out by a bold headland far into the Mediterranean, forming the south side of the Bay of Acre.

Chauvel crossed the Jordan in support of Allenby’s attempt to take Amman. They took Es Salt but had to withdraw. The Turks held Amman, but the Light Horse managed to secure Es Salt on the 4th of May 1918.

On the 21st of March 1918 they received news of a breakthrough on the Western Front by the German Forces that crushed British hopes. The British came to look to the Middle East as the only place where they might have some success.

It was not until the 15th of August 1918 the Allies won a huge battle on the Western Front at Amiens. It was devised by Monash the Australian General and the men under his command. This was a major event and rolled on toward the surrender of the German forces in Europe.

Allenby pretended to make his Head Quarters in Jerusalem and convinced the Turk the British push would be over the Jordan toward Damascus. This was not the plan, because Chauvel, without the Turks knowledge made his Head Quarters in Jaffa. He moved north through the Mus Mus pass. The Turks hoped to prevent them there but the Light Horse was too swift, moving through in the dead of night. He took El Afule by bombs dropping from the planes. The Light Horse emerged on the plane of Esdraelon near Meggido and made his base close to Lejjun.

It is time to tell of Lawrence of Arabia who played a significant role in the fortunes of Britain at this time. He would have us believe it was much more significant than the part Australia played. The Light Horse story is not known as much as Lawrence’s story is known, but from God’s view the Light Horse was much more important in bringing about the end of the Ottoman Empire.

The Australian Light Horse

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9. The Light Horse regiment led the assault. They were one of the young lions in the British campaign. I want to tell their story here because it is fascinating. They were defeated by the Turks at Gallipoli in such a way the scars of this event were seared into the national psyche. They saw their mates massacred by machine gun fire in an uneven battle for the cliffs of the Nek against Mustafa Kemal who held the high ground. These men were plucked from Anzac Cove and sent to the deserts of Egypt to a different battlefield against the same enemy.

Lieutenant General Harry Chauvel commanded the Australian Light Horse regiment arriving in the African continent on the 18th of December 1915. It was to be another eight months before he saw any success against Turkish forces. He took Romani, having taken back Katia and Oghratina that had been lost by the British Infantry forces. The Turks retreated to El Arish. On the 20th of August 1916 he overran El Arish and Magdhaba, having circled the towns and secured the surrender of the Turkish personnel. The men of the Light horse regiment had a reputation for fearless, even reckless fighting, and the Turks were in awe of their presence. They were large men and the horses were huge compared with the Arabian horses they were used to. The Light Horse were always outnumbered and outgunned but managed by speed and skill to find the enemies weakness. Water was always a serious factor in every battle, and Chauvel managed to work this resource to his benefit.

The Light Horse followed the victory at El Arish with another on the eighth of January 1917 and gained a reputation for meticulous planning and thorough implementation so the captured areas were secure from counter attack. Radio communication from the spotter planes introduced in January 1917 increased their prospects. The British forces enjoyed air superiority over their own territory and tracked the enemy forces dropping messages to the following forces. The Light Horse could move swiftly to prevent the Turk from setting up their defensive lines.

Lawrence and Feisal contributed to the Turkish woes with their nagging style of guerrilla warfare. They targeted Turkish Rail and managed to prevent movements of defensive troops the leaders relied on to keep control of the area. British Infantry involving Indian and Scottish forces played a significant part in the push against the Turkish, but it was always the speed and surprise of the Light Horse that turned the battle for the British.

General Edmund Allenby came to rely on Chauvel for planning, leadership and deceit of the enemy. It was a feature of the tactics to mislead the Turks and their German advisers into believing they would do one thing, and then surprise them with another. This element of surprise always won the day.

The British failed to secure Gaza on the 26th of March 1917 when it was in their power to take it. They failed the next try on the 19th of April 1917 because the enemy managed to increase the defenders. It was not until the British made out they were going to attack Gaza a third time and took Beersheba, that the battle turn once more for the British.

The battle for Beersheba was one of the most significant events in the campaign, and as it turns out during the First World War. This was because of the follow-on effect it had in the fortunes of Britain. They managed to convince the Turks they were going for Gaza but the plan was always to take Beersheba. However the charge was kept back until there was only twenty minutes of useful light left on the afternoon of the 31st of October 1917. The Light horse had to get to Beersheba to the wells there, and they had to do it before the German advisers detonated the charges that destroyed the wells and deprived them of water. Eight hundred men rode into the guns of the Turks. The Turks knew they were there, but did not believe they would charge. When it happened it was so swift and unbelievable they failed to adjust the guns sights and fired over the heads of the advancing troops.

The German soldier assigned to detonate the charges on the wells managed it on only two of the seventeen wells, meaning the Light Horse achieved both goals of taking the city and securing the water. On the 2nd of November 1917 they could take Gaza. This was the same day Lord Balfour wrote to Baron Rothschild a letter known as the Balfour Declaration, claiming the British Government looked with favor on settling a home in Palestine for the Israeli people.
Taking Gaza opened the way for General Allenby to enter Jerusalem on the 9th of December 1917 releasing this city from Turkish control after four hundred years of occupation.

The Australian Light Horse was stationed in Western Sydney and a memorial sculpture has been erected showing a red pole for each member of the Beersheba charge in columns of horses lining the M7 Motorway. Everyone who passes through this district is reminded of this remarkable event in the Australian Armed forces history.

The Cedars

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8. The reference to “thy cedars” sets the time. We know the history of Lebanon’s cedars. They are mentioned many times in scripture. These words refer to the events of 1914-1918 when Lieutenant General Sir Harry Chauvel marched his mounted troops through Lebanon to take up their positions in the Syrian territory of Bashan. And this led to the fall of Damascus. But there is much more to this story that we must tell.

The cedar was used for constructing temples, palaces, and boats for thousands of years. The export of cedarwood to Egypt was an important cause in the growth of Phoenician prosperity, and provided capital to launch the more ambitious enterprises in international trading, navigation, and arts and crafts. The Phoenicians and the Egyptians were not alone in using the cedar. The Assyrians, Nebuchadnezzar, the Romans, King David, Kings of Babylonia, Herod the Great, and the Turks in the Ottoman Empire all exploited the cedars. During the War of 1914-1918, most of the remaining stands of Cedar Trees were destroyed for railroad fuel. As a result, the extent of the cedars in Lebanon, after a history spanning thousands of years has been reduced to almost zero.

So mention of cedars here is to set the time that we are talking about. We said in the introduction to this story that it concerns the sixth vial mentioned in the book of Revelation. The British forces marched through this territory from 1916 to 1918 to finish the drying up of the Euphrates that facilitated the Jewish return to the land of Palestine. The sixth vial was to dry up the river Euphrates or Turkish power.

The Bcharre cedars, also known as Arz el-Rab [the cedars of the Lord] is the most famous stand of cedars in Lebanon. It comprises only seven hectares, and contains the oldest and largest specimens of Cedrus libani, reported to be over two thousand years old.

There is scant cedar reproduction. Mistakenly, the literature often suggests that it is the very last remnant of cedar forest in Lebanon. Bcharre cedars have been nominated as a World Heritage area by the Society for the Protection of Nature in Lebanon.

The Bechar valley or plain of Megiddo was where much of the fighting of 1918 occurred, and the trees stand as a testimony to this battle. Verse 2 “Howl, fir tree; for the cedar is fallen; because the mighty are spoiled: howl, O ye oaks of Bashan; for the forest of the vintage is come down.”

Whatever it is that happens the trees mourn, the lofty trees are brought low, the pasture of the shepherds is gone, and the luxurious Jordan jungle is wiped out.

The oaks of Bashan are to be concerned with the loss of dense forest. Various species of this wide-spreading tree are found in the Levant. This is the plateau and heights of Jebal Druze of Transjordan extending from South Syria to the hills of Gilead, or the Tabor oaks of the Cisjordan Highlands.

Note the cedars are destroyed and the cypress and oak, not being destroyed are called on to wail. These words confirm the time. Until 1914 the area we are discussing was under populated and underutilized.

It is necessary to show the Cedar trees have almost disappeared. Carmel was overrun by the invading forces. The area was the field of shepherds and now it is a battlefield. Verse 3 “There is a voice of the howling of the shepherds; for their glory is spoiled: a voice of the roaring of young lions; for the pride of Jordan is spoiled.”

The pride of Jordan is the dense foliage on either side of the river undisturbed for thousands of years, but now changed by populating the area. Once again we have a pointer to the time we are talking about. This is end day. Destroying the rivers vegetation and wildlife is a signal the old era is ended, and a new one has arrived.

Cedars grow in the mountain region of Lebanon at a height of three to six thousand five hundred feet and can reach one hundred and thirty foot tall with a trunk diameter of eight foot. The young trees have a conical shape and spread out as they mature with the branches extending horizontally.

The Turks used them for fuel in their steam engines and sleepers for their rail tracks. The Cedars all but disappeared forever during the World War One Campaign.

Mustafa Kemal arrived in Aleppo on 26 August 1918 long after his Galipoli success, and continued south to his headquarters in Nablus. The Seventh Army was holding the central sector of the front lines. At the beginning of the Battle of Megiddo, the Eighth Army was holding the coastal flank but fell apart, and Liman Pasha ordered the Seventh Army to withdraw to the north. This would prevent the British from enveloping them against the Jordan River. Mustafa was the first president of the Republic of Turkey after the defeat of the Ottoman Empire.

The Ottoman Empire

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7. In the book of Revelation it says in chapter 16 verse 12 “And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared.” I need to say again the water is still there as it has always been, so it is a metaphor for the power that occupied that area. I have no plan of proving that it is speaking of Turkey and the Ottoman Empire, because you will react against that approach. I am just going to make the claim it refers to Turkey and continue to show what happened when the Ottoman Empire dried up. The capitol of the Ottoman Empire was Constantinople, now known as Istanbul. This is a matter of modern history. The drying process began in the 1914-1918 war.

Consider the empire before the drying up began and what it was like when the drying was complete. Woodrow Wilson, the US President of the United States at the time declared war on the Austro-Hungarian Empire in December 1917 but would not declare war on Turkey. American missionaries were involved in schools in the Turkish territory. Their failure to declare war on Turkey reduced American influence in the Middle East. They pushed to end the war on Turkey before the Turks were made to abandon the land of Palestine and retract to their own borders. This was a mistake on the part of the US because God wanted the Turks out.

In late spring of 1917, in response to reports of resentment over German attitudes in Istanbul, and of Turkey’s wish to follow an independent foreign policy, the American Henry Morganthau undertook to mediate Turkey’s withdrawal from the war. It involved Turkey preserving control over the Anatolia and the Straits. This meant they would keep Palestine, because they had not been removed from that territory as yet. This was unacceptable to the Jews for the first step toward fulfilling the dream to make a home in Palestine for the Jews, was removing the Turk from the land.

The Sykes-Picot agreement laid claim for Britain over the vast territory from the Jordan River to the Persian Gulf. France was to control Syria and Mosul, and Russia and Italy staked Eastern and Southern Anatolia. Not only would the Ottoman Empire end, but Turkey would disappear as well according to this plan. We should note that American policy now meant that Turkey remained, and while the empire dried up, the country still exists.

I am not going to take you to the history books but to the Bible, and we will follow the events from there. We would be more impressed if we discovered this old book speaking about modern events. The Bible has been around for hundreds even thousands of years in its present form, and if it speaks plainly about current events, it must be presenting prophecy. Prophecy is a term that means speaking of things before they happen. And we know only God can do that. If man could do it he would be predicting the result of the horse race or the Lotto draw. We know he cannot do that for if he could, there would not be a gambling industry.

To tell the story properly we turn first to Zechariah Chapter 11 Verse 1 “Open thy doors, O Lebanon, that the fire may devour thy cedars.”
It calls on Lebanon and the forests to cooperate and make a way for the passage of an army. The area was heavily forested and under populated. It was covered with cedars and Cyprus and was also an area for shepherds and flocks. By opening its doors, Lebanon will be visited with disaster.

The question is: are the trees literal of figurative? Note the word “destroyed” occurs three times in verses 2-3. Note also the trees are assigned human responses, which suggests it is a metaphor.

The first three verses of the chapter is poetry. Verses four to sixteen is “prose” and the last verse is poetry again. Opening the doors is a function of boundaries. It involves dividing the external and internal space. Lebanon had the option to include or exclude, and they let them in. Opening the doors would spell disaster for Lebanon.