This Oct 31 marks the 100th anniversary of the heroic victorious charge of the Australian Light Horse Brigade of between 500-800 horsemen against the entrenched Ottoman Turkish forces in Beer Sheva. The stakes were high: water was urgently necessary for the horses and the soldiers; the element of surprise in the attack required an out-right victory; the conquest of Jerusalem and of the Holy Land of Israel from the hands of the Islamic occupiers of the covenanted Promised Land to the children of Israel was an intervention by YHVH to break through a 1900-yr impasse of His righteous judgment of exile against His chosen people scattered among the nations. As has been stated by others: WW1 prepared the Land for the people; WW2 prepared the people for the Land.
It took the excruciating defeat with many casualties of the Allies, including the ANZAC, in Gallipoli, Turkey, in April 2015, to bring the British to Palestine, with the understanding that they needed to control this territory for their own geo-political interests once the “Great War” would be over. In what must have seemed like another suicide mission, the Australian Light Horse — both horses and riders – achieved nothing short of a resurrection victory that has catalyzed the strategy of the Lord of Hosts towards His soon coming victory over all those who oppose Him. The capture of Beer Sheva 100 years ago, the only city which the Turks built during their rule in the country, came on the 400th anniversary to the day of the Reformation, which opened up the Scriptures to the common man, and the truth of God concerning Israel as still being loved for the fathers’ sakes; and it came also after 400 years of Ottoman Islamic rule in Palestine.
In the sovereignty of God, the WW1 Palestine campaign was a turning point in the affairs of men and nations. With the victory of the British and ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) Allied Forces in the Land of Israel, the victorious parties determined the current make-up of the Middle East, with the fig tree (Israel) and the other trees (the surrounding Arabic nations, as well as other nations receiving statehood around the same time) receiving their own sovereignty and boundaries that have brought back nations specifically mentioned in the prophetic Scriptures, with their end-time implications. The Beer Sheva Charge (also known as the 3rd Gaza Battle, since the Turks and their German allies expected the battle there) and victory made possible the public proclamation of the historic Balfour Declaration two days later, on November 2, by the British government. This document stated the intent by the “Cyrus nation” Britain to help the Jewish people reestablish their ancient homeland. In the sovereign wisdom of God, He used Gentiles to help His people return to Israel, many sacrificing their lives in the process. (Learn much more by Kelvin Crombie in his excellent books and DVDs, https://www.heritageresources.com.au/ )
Mass Jewish immigration to Palestine (Israel) began in earnest in 1882. That is called the First Immigration (or “Ascent” in Hebrew: aliyah). The second wave of aliyah began in 1904, up to the start of the World War. These returns to Zion were primarily prompted by anti-semitic riots (pogroms), but the Father God of Israel was also stirring the hearts and minds of the Jewish people (and of some Bible-believing Christians to encourage them) to “go back home”. I don’t read in the history of any serious dispute arising between the Jewish returnees and the resident Arabs living in Palestine in those days. The Jews began to cultivate and to reclaim the desolate soil, which responded fruitfully to its “owners”.
However, once the Balfour Declaration spoke of a reestablished homeland for the Jewish people, the Islamic spirit rose up to say, “NO WAY! God is finished with you! And if we can’t have it, neither will you!” The conflict began openly in the 1920’s. It is interesting to consider that when Yeshua gave signs of His coming again to restore God’s Kingdom to Israel, He mentioned wars and rumors of wars; kingdom shall rise against kingdom. Ever since the Jewish return has been legally ratified by the Gentile nations – and especially since the State of Israel was realized in 1948 – these wars and kingdoms have only been growing and intensifying. Nations may come and go in their support of Israel’s existence and security, but YHVH God is going on as He sovereignly and righteously carries out His plan and purpose of redemption for His holy name’s sake – both for individuals from every people group, and also for the nation of Israel, and for the other nations.
Our congregation, Yeshua’s Inheritance, has been actively involved in this whole matter concerning the ANZAC since 2001. I had met Kelvin Crombie a year or two earlier, and learned of his avid interest and involvement with the “players” and with the annual commemoration in Beer Sheva every Oct. 31 at the British WW1 War Memorial Cemetery. Incredibly, both then, and even now, many locals know little or nothing about this annual event, which brings dignitaries from the Australian and New Zealand governments, Turkish military representatives (there is even a commemoration honoring the defeated Turkish soldiers at a special monument not far from the cemetery), the Mayor of Beer Sheva, and a rabbi and a Christian minister. (You can listen to a wonderful sermon and prayer by Murray Dixon, who understands the significance of the Beer Sheva Charge: http://nevereverthesame.com/sermons/the-battle-for-beer-sheba-murray-dixon )
This year’s event will see a peaceful ‘reenactment’ of the Charge, with about 100 horses and riders, some of them descendants of the Light Horse soldiers in that battle. There will also be a special event at Tel Beer Sheva, which the Kiwi Mounted Rifles captured from the Turks around midday, making possible the Aussie Light Horse charge in the later afternoon. The Prime Ministers of Australia, New Zealand, and Israel are scheduled to attend, as well as dignitaries from Britain, Germany, and Turkey. A new ANZAC Museum adjacent to the cemetery is to be dedicated that day. As a congregation, we will be accommodating a large number of those who have not been able to find a place to sleep!
We invited Kelvin to come and guide our congregation on a Western Negev tour in 2001, which traced the ANZAC movement towards their placement outside Beer Sheva, near Tel Beer Sheva, on that fateful Oct. 31. Each year we host many dear brothers and sisters from down under and from the UK — from the ends of the Earth and the isles of the sea — and have held several praise and worship events with them, both at our congregational home, and also at Tel Beer Sheva, and at the Negev Brigade Monument, which overlooks the city. (That monument remembers the victory of Israel over Egypt to take back Beer Sheva in the 1948-49 Independence War). The Lord opened the doors for us to make several trips to Australia, and also one to New Zealand, and it has been very refreshing to see how the Lord works in history. We are a part of His story, and we are still living in Bible days, as God is fulfilling His promises spoken long ago for this generation near the end of the age. It gives us living in the desert, in the city that Abraham named, something precious to hold onto: being a part of the redemption of Israel, as part of the aliyah from all the lands where the LORD scattered us in a greater deliverance than bringing us out of Egypt at the Passover. The battle is still engaged. Can the return of the Victor, the Lord Jesus Christ, be far off!?