Monday, December 21, 2009

Old Testament Extension

The 20th century Arab-Israeli conflict is a historic repetition of the 20th Chapter of the Old Testament’s book of 1st kings. In 1 Kings 20, Syria and her allies gathered against Israel the same way modern-day Syria and her allies (the Arabs) joined forces against Israel with a mission to wipe them out. In both cases the seemingly disadvantaged Israel (with lower number of military) won. In both cases, the enemies regrouped and re-strategized but were defeated again and again. This is strange especially when we note that the same Arab coalition fought and defeated USSR-a world power within ten years. Why are they powerless against Israel for over sixty years now?

I call this the Microsoft “Bible” because the recent Arab-Israeli war as reported by Microsoft Encarta-(A secular Encyclopaedia owned by Microsoft Corporation) has striking similarity to the Bibles narrative of Israel-Syria conflict about 2500 years earlier. Who says history does not repeat itself? In fact as I was reading from the Encyclopaedia, it was as if I was reading from the Bible’s Old Testament. This write up will strengthen your faith in the Bible, as well as answer the question: What do you do when surrounded by enemies more powerful than you are?
Lets read from the two “Bibles”

The Old Testament Bible
Syria, has been an enemy of Israel right from Old Testament times. They always terrified the Israelites by forming allies with other powerful nations. However, during King David’s time, the Syrians were subdued and became servants to David. This was because David was totally submitted to God1. Below is an account of a war they engaged with Israel during Ahab’s time and how they were constantly defeated. This account is from 1 Kings 20:1-end, CEV

“King Benhadad of Syria called his army together. He was joined by thirty-two other kings with their horses and chariots, and together they marched to Samaria(the then capital of Israel) and attacked….

At that very moment, a prophet ran up to Ahab (King of Israel) and said, "You can see that Benhadad's army is very strong. But the LORD has promised to help you defeat them today. Then you will know that the LORD is in control….

“The young soldiers led Israel's troops into battle, and each of them attacked and killed an enemy soldier. The rest of the Syrian army turned and ran, and the Israelites went after them. Benhadad and some others escaped on horses, but Ahab and his soldiers followed them and captured their horses and chariots. Ahab and Israel's army crushed the Syrians. Later, the prophet went back and warned Ahab, "Benhadad will attack you again next spring. Build up your troops and make sure you have some good plans."

“Meanwhile, Benhadad's officials went to him and explained: Israel's gods are mountain gods. We fought Israel's army in the hills, and that's why they defeated us. But if we fight them on flat land, there's no way we can lose. Here's what you should do. First, get rid of those thirty-two kings and put army commanders in their places. Then get more soldiers, horses, and chariots, so your army will be as strong as it was before. We'll fight Israel's army on flat land and wipe them out. Benhadad agreed and did what they suggested. In the spring, Benhadad got his army together, and they marched to the town of Aphek to attack Israel.

The Israelites also prepared to fight. They marched out to meet the Syrians, and the two armies camped across from each other. The Syrians covered the whole area, but the Israelites looked like two little flocks of goats. The prophet went to Ahab and said, "The Syrians think the LORD is a god of the hills and not of the valleys. So he has promised to help you defeat their powerful army. Then you will know that the LORD is in control." For seven days the two armies stayed in their camps, facing each other. Then on the seventh day the fighting broke out, and before sunset the Israelites had killed one hundred thousand Syrian troops. The rest of the Syrian army ran back to Aphek, but the town wall fell and crushed twenty-seven thousand of them. Benhadad also escaped to Aphek and hid in the back room of a house.

The Microsoft “Bible”
The Arab-Israeli Conflict is a conflict between Arabs and Jews in the Middle East over the land of historic Israel and Palestine. The conflict has led to several wars, beginning in 1948, among Arab nations and the state of Israel. The Arab League (an Organization of Arabian countries) was formed in 1945 to prevent Israel from becoming a nation in their native land. When Israel was finally declared a nation in 1948, the Arabs descended on them that same year with the goal of aborting the embryonic nation. Writing under the topic: "Arab-Israeli Conflict", the Microsoft Encarta tells the story of the 20th century Israel and their historic enemies-the Syrians. Though abridged, the account below is copied verbatim (without modification) from Encarta. Read on

“In the Arab-Israeli War of 1948-1949 Arab forces (including the armies of Syria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, and Iraq as well as Palestinian guerrillas) had expected an easy victory over the small and isolated Jewish state, but despite heavy casualties Israel won. Israel also increased the land under its control far beyond what it had been given by the partition plan. ... The demoralized Arab world was unwilling to accept the Israeli victory, and shortly after the war the Arabs began to regroup for more fighting. …

In the mid-1950s the Egyptian government began to support Palestinian guerrilla raids into Israel from the Gaza Strip. Egypt also refused to allow Israeli ships to use the Suez Canal and in 1951 blockaded the Strait of Tiran (Israel’s access to the Red Sea), which Israel regarded as an act of war. In June 1956 Egypt nationalized the Suez Canal, which had been jointly owned by Britain and France. In late October, Israel invaded the Gaza Strip and Sinai Peninsula, defeating Egyptian forces there

The six-day war and the 1973 war
In 1967 Egypt, Syria, and Jordan massed their armies on Israel’s borders, and several Arab states called for war. Assuming the Arabs would attack, Israel struck first, in June 1967, and caught the Arabs by surprise. In the Six-Day War that followed, Israel demolished the armies and air forces of Egypt, Syria, and Jordan. It also gained control of the West Bank, the Sinai Peninsula and Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights region of southwestern Syria, and all of Jerusalem.

The Arab states continued to call for the destruction of Israel, while Israel for its part, refused to consider withdrawing from the territories it had occupied except in the context of a comprehensive peace plan. The Arabs increasingly threw their support behind the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), a political body that had been formed in 1964 to create a Palestinian state. …

Egyptian president Anwar al-Sadat reconstructed the Egyptian army in the early 1970s. Syria also prepared for war and received weapons from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). Israel, in turn, fortified its forward positions and was supplied with weapons by the United States. The Arabs attacked in October 1973 on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish year, and caught Israel by surprise. Egypt and Syria pushed across the armistice lines established after the Six-Day War, which had kept Egyptian troops west of the Suez Canal and Syrian troops northeast of the Golan Heights. The Arab advances greatly restored Arab confidence. Israel, however, quickly recovered from the surprise and again pushed into Arab territory, surrounding or destroying the bulk of the Egyptian and Syrian forces

The camp David’s accord
In 1979, following Camp David's Accord(framework for peace in Middle East signed by US president, Jimmy Carter), Syria maintained its warlike posture and demanded the unconditional surrender of the Golan Heights, and the PLO continued its terrorist assaults on Israel. In 1982 Israel tried to wipe out the PLO by attacking its bases in Lebanon, which had been plunged into its own civil war in 1975. The assault on the PLO, which Israel called Operation Peace for Galilee, quickly escalated into ground battles in Lebanon and full-scale engagements between the Israeli and Syrian air forces. After a siege on Beirut the PLO leadership evacuated from Lebanon and relocated to Tunisia. Arabs were frustrated that Israel had occupied an Arab capital with little intervention from the rest of the world, and the Palestinians of the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip felt more isolated and abandoned than ever. Israel withdrew from most of Lebanon by 1985, though it continued to maintain a self-declared security zone inside Lebanon along the Israeli border until 2000.2

Israel's Many Disadvantages
Israel is disadvantaged in so many ways. Below are some of them
1. Trapped and Isolated: Above is the map showing Israel(white) sandwiched between her enemies(light green) and a water body (blue). This setting reminds me the saying of someone ‘caught between the devil and the deep blue sea’. In this position, the option of escape to a refugee camp in a neighboring nation is ruled out. A particular archive article written 1n 1948 said:
“The first week or two after May 15(1948) were the really decisive ones in this war, when the Israelis were very poorly armed. Their secret weapon then was the battle cry of Eyn brerah (There is no alternative!)… Egypt, Lebanon, and Syria declared a blockade against Israel, confiscated freight destined for Israeli ports, and detained Jewish passengers. Foreign ships and planes refused to run the risk of attack, and for a time Israel was isolated until ships under the Israeli flag or under Israeli charter began to operate and until an Israeli air force could clear the skies for commercial transport. But immigration continued unabated, and ships landed at whatever port they could.”3.
2. Tender and Vulnerable: think about baby Moses in a basket escaping the sword of a ferocious Pharaoh and ending in the palace of his enemy. Now picture baby Jesus, tender and vulnerable, yet king Herod with a homicidal mandate is after his life. You get the picture? Juxtapose it with Israel’s situation- a people that have just been reborn as a nation after 1, 878 years of dispersal, and powerful enemy nations with genocidal instincts, are after there existence. Like pharaoh, like Herod, like the Arabs-the devil specializes on exploiting vulnerable moments.
3. Trooper Inadequacy: The 2004 estimate of countries and their number of military personnel4 revealed that Israel has only 168,300 military personnel and the combined military personnel of the allies are 1,128,500 (Syria- 307,600, Egypt- 468,500, Jordan- 100,500, Lebanon- 72,100, Iraq- 179,800) excluding the thousands of Palestinian Guerrillas. Reporting the ‘six-day war,’ Wikipaedia (an online Encyclopaedia), listed the nations above as Israel’s opponents and added that “…The Arab states of Iran, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Morocco and Algeria also contributed troops and arms”5. So Israel was contending with ten nations

What Do You Do When Surrounded by Enemies Stronger than You?

The victory that Israel had is unexplainable by the science of modern warfare. Therefore, lets look outside of the Pentagon and our Defense Academies as we answer the question: what do you do when you are tender and vulnerable yet surrounded by enemies that are more powerful than you? Here is the answer

Enter into Covenant with God: The major reason the Israelites had constant victory is because of their covenant with God through Abraham. The entire Bible is a document that reveals the details of the two major covenants God cut with man: Old Testament and New Testament (Testament is a synonym for covenant). Both represents covenants made between God and the Jews through Abraham and God and the Church through Christ respectively. Therefore, every time we read the Bible, we are looking at the details, contents, benefits, dynamics, and obligations of God’s covenant with man. In the Old Testament, for instance, the prophet Isaiah reads part of the promises of that covenant, “But the LORD has promised to fight on our side and to rescue our children from those strong and violent enemies6. Joshua told the Israelites, “Any one of you can defeat a thousand enemy soldiers, because the LORD God fights for you, just as he promised.”7 That is the major reason the Jews are victorious-it is in the covenant pact

But note that the Old Testament is just a shadow of the New Testament8. Though God has not cast out the Jews9, He has entered a better covenant established upon better promises10 with the Church. This Covenant was made through Jesus Christ. America at inception, stands as an example of a nation that entered a covenant with God through this new way and in less than four centuries after its creation the United States became the most powerful nation on earth. To overcome strong enemies therefore, enter into a covenant with God through Jesus Christ the mediator of the better covenant11. That is your victory route in Africa where the combined forces of ancestral curses, poverty, sicknesses and demonic spirits encompass you. Imagine what an Old covenant can do for Israel in the 21st century.

Proper Preparation: The Prophet told Ahab the king, "Benhadad will attack you again next spring. Build up your troops and make sure you have some good plans."12. Divine guidance and assistance does not take away the place of planning. The present Israelites always fortifies themselves with weapons from America and plan their attacks. However, unlike the Jews who are still meddling with the shadows (physical battles) our own warfare are not physical wars13 that is fought with bombs and riffles. The Bible admonishes us to

“Put on all the armor that God gives, so you can defend yourself against the devil's tricks. We are not fighting against humans. We are fighting against forces and authorities and against rulers of darkness and powers in the spiritual world. So put on all the armor that God gives. Then when that evil day comes, you will be able to defend yourself. And when the battle is over, you will still be standing firm.“14
The armour we need is listed in the succeeding verses (Ephesians 6:12-18). The best way to contain the tide of Islam therefore is on our knees. While the Jews are destroying the physical Muslims (Arabs are 90% Muslims) by the force of the Old covenant, we can be disarming the spirit behind Islam. (Join our Prayer Network: Click here)

3. Acknowledge God: one secret the Israelites have is their knowledge that God alone (not man) can deliver them. This is the only verse missing in Encarta. The Old Testament version completes the story, telling us the part God plays through the prophets. Israel may get weapons from America but they know very well that America is not their deliverer. For though America is a superpower yet in their deification of science, terrorists brought down the symbols of their strength(the Towers and Pentagon). How can you ever think America who cannot even protect themselves from terrorists living thousands of miles away deliver Israel surrounded by enemies. Remember America backed Southern Vietnam for 13 years and were still defeated in the Vietnam war. So its not the American factor, it is God
David said
“It is better to trust the LORD for protection than to trust anyone else, including strong leaders. Nations surrounded me, but I got rid of them by the power of the LORD. They attacked from all sides, but I got rid of them by the power of the LORD. They swarmed around like bees, but by the power of the LORD, I got rid of them and their fiery sting. Their attacks were so fierce that I nearly fell, but the LORD helped me. My power and my strength come from the LORD, and he has saved me”15
Unfortunately, many believers today attribute their successes and achievements to their father or boss, or to the fact that they are from a particular geographic zone of specially blessed people. It is human nature to think our certificates gave us the job or promotion, our beauty gave us the husband, our skills gave us the wealth etc; those things may have contributed, but God gave us the victory. The horse is prepared against the day of battle but victory is of the Lord16

Finally, the Microsoft “Bible” has strengthened my faith in the Bible. It has authenticated those Bible’s stories that used to sound like fairy tales. If Microsoft (the Information Technology capital of the world) can report that a one-nation Israel defeated the over ten nations Arabs, then its no longer difficult to belief Samson’s exploits in the Bible17. It is now easier to believe that hundred men can defeat ten thousand enemy soldiers18. Please tell them: Tell atheistic scientists that Bible stories are not ‘Jewish fables’ as they had postulated; tell the Jews that they will always win wars but will never win peace until they accept Jesus-the Prince of Peace; tell the Islamic Arabs that the Jews of Isaac’s(not Ishmael’s) lineage are progenitors of the covenant19 and that Jesus Christ (not Mohammed) is the one and only promised seed from Abraham20. Above all introduce them to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Please share this message with as many as possible: The Covenant Works
1. 2 Samuel 8:6
2. Cohen, Shaul. "Arab-Israeli Conflict." Microsoft® Encarta® 2009 [DVD]. Redmond,
3. 1948: Israel; Collier's Year Book
6. Isaiah 49:25
7. Joshua 23:10
8. Hebrews 10:1
9. Romans 11:1-2
10. Hebrews 8:6
11. Hebrews 7:22
12. 1 Kings 20:22
13. 2 Corinthians 10:4
14. Ephesians 6:11-13
15. Psalms 118:8-11
16. Proverbs 21:31
17. Judges 14, 15 and 16
18. Leviticus 26:8
19. Hebrews 11:18
20. Galatians 3:16
All scriptures from the Contemporary English Version (CEV)

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