Beersheba and God’s Purposes

Paul Daley (author of Beersheba, mentioned in an earlier post) wrote an interesting historical account of the Beersheba charge in today’s Guardian, which includes the following observation:

The charge, coincidentally, narrowly preceded the British war cabinet’s proclamation of the Balfour declaration in support of a Jewish state in Palestine. Such was the alignment of these pivotal moments in Middle East – and global – history that some evangelists and Christian Zionists have claimed that the light horsemen were somehow doing “God’s work” in re-establishing a Jewish homeland, as biblically prophesied.

This has always seemed utterly fanciful to me. While some horsemen certainly knew of the places they were traversing (Nazareth, Jerusalem, Bethlehem) from the Bible, there was nothing to suggest in the hundreds of letters and diaries I’ve read that any saw themselves as actively doing God’s work.


I find Daley’s view expressed in the above quote is extremely naïve.

It doesn’t surprise me that the participants would have no idea of what role they may have been playing in God’s purposes and their ignorance of it can’t be offered as evidence of the claim’s lack of validity. Man’s knowledge and complicity aren’t determining factors of truth.

Mankind increasingly sees history in political and cultural terms, driven only by man’s decisions and actions, that the future is in our own hands, governed by our own choices. Any thought of God or any Divine intentions are mostly ignored or ridiculed.

Even many who acknowledge God’s reality tend to sideline Him, making God more of a spectator than someone with an active interest in His creation. They overlook the possibility that he may actual have a very defined purpose in mind for this world and its inhabitants, and that man’s actions will not and can not change that ultimate purpose. Instead, God is more than capable of using any of mankind’s actions (including the evils of war) to move towards His purposes being realised.



As I wrote elsewhere:.

God did not cause or ordain those acts, but He was more than able to USE those acts to further His purposes. He is more than willing to give mankind over to the consequences of our own choices, and will even give us a helping hand in achieving or obtaining what we’ve chosen in place of Him. (refer Romans 1:24-32 and 2 Thess 2:11-12)

What mankind meant for evil, God could turn around for His good, to move a few steps towards the fulfilment of His eternal plans.



For my New Zealander friends, the NZ part of the ANZACs can not be forgotten. They played a pivotal role in making the Light Horse charge possible, wiping out the machine guns that could have cut the charging horses and men apart before they reached their destination.

WWI – the main event. The Middle East campaign centenary (Beersheba)

31 October 2017 is the centenary of the charge of the Australian Light Horse at Beersheba. An event that seems to have been pushed aside in historical memory and yet it could be one of the most important military victories in WWI.
The defeat of the Ottoman troops in Beersheba set in motion events that led to the freeing of Palestine from centuries of Ottoman (Islamic) control and paved the path for events a little over three decades later: the re-establishment of Israel in the land promised by God.

See this post from 2015


Australian Light Horse Statue – Beersheba

Shavuot (Pentecost) and Transition to the New Covenant

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them

God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it. Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear.

Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2)



Fifty days after the first Passover (on the first Pentecost) God first gave His commandments to His people Israel through His prophet Moses.

Fifty days after the Passover when Jesus was crucified, God first poured out His Spirit upon His people, those trusting in Jesus.

“The days are coming,” declares the Lord,
“when I will make a new covenant
with the people of Israel
and with the people of Judah.

It will not be like the covenant
I made with their ancestors
when I took them by the hand
to lead them out of Egypt,
because they broke my covenant,
though I was a husband to them,
declares the Lord.

“This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel
after that time,” declares the Lord.
“I will put my law in their minds
and write it on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people. (Jer 31)



He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. (2 Cor: 3)

As a Jew, I can support Palestine! Article by Olivier Melnick

Depending on which side of the Middle East fence you are on, Palestine and the Palestinians can be defined in very different ways. Of course, your understanding and supporting of the Arab/Israeli conflict will vary greatly based on which definition you adhere to.

One of the major reasons why there is so much strife in the region is because of the lack of clarity in these definitions as well as the amount of historical inaccuracy supporting them. Modern day Palestinians and their supporters often speak of “historic Palestine” in an attempt at validating its existence prior to that of the Jewish people. But was there such a thing as a historic Palestine and if there was, how could it be defined?

See complete article here:

Anzacs and WWI: part 5, What Was God Doing?

I started my recent exploration of WWI because I wanted to find out why it happened. The political reason for WWII seemed clear: to put an end to Hitler’s ambitions and the atrocities he was committing in his pursuit of them. But the reason behind WWI doesn’t seem so clear cut.

WWI medal trio. 1914-15 Star; British War medal, Victory Medal.

WWI medal trio.
1914-15 Star; British War medal, Victory Medal.

While there were many possible contributing factors that led to the start of war in 1914, none of them alone seems to be significant enough to initiate and perpetuate the slaughter of the next 4 years.

While historians investigate the political and social triggers for war, as a Christian I think it’s important to look beyond those things and consider whether God merely sat idly aside as a passive observer while the people of the world gathered to blow each other apart and when the blood, mud and dust settled, redraw the boundaries of countless nations.

In other words, did God play any part in the war? If so, what part did He play?

Being neither a Calvinist nor a Moslem, I don’t believe that God pre-ordained all of the death and destruction. Mankind wasn’t driven along an unavoidable predestined path to war. War came about through choices, freely made by sinful mankind. The extent of man’s sin was displayed in the horrific acts committed and the resulting conditions arising from those acts; some of which I’ve described quite graphically in an earlier post.

God did not cause or ordain those acts, but He was more than able to USE those acts to further His purposes. He is more than willing to give mankind over to the consequences of our own choices, and will even give us a helping hand in achieving or obtaining what we’ve chosen in place of Him. (refer Romans 1:24-32 and 2 Thess 2:11-12)

What mankind meant for evil, God could turn around for His good, to move a few steps towards the fulfilment of His eternal plans.

From my reading of WWI – most of the emphasis seems to be on the Western Front. Anything else seems to be treated as peripheral to the “real war”. The Anzacs are a bit of a thorn in the side of that view of history because Australia and New Zealand insist on highlighting those “peripheral” campaigns, such as Gallipoli and Palestine, in which they played a part.

Australian Light Horse memorial, depicting Battle at Beersheba

Australian Light Horse memorial, depicting Battle at Beersheba

I’m beginning to think that those “peripheral” campaigns were really the main event – leading to the downfall of the Ottoman Empire and the freeing of the Holy Land from centuries of Muslim control and setting up the political foundations for the establishment of present day Israel only three decades later.
The Western Front remained as a stalemate for almost the whole period of the war, and yet when the Middle East was freed from Ottoman rule, the armistice came (about a month after the fall of Damascus and the end of Turkish rule).

In seeing the Middle East as the main event in God’s purposes, I need to consider how the Western Front fits into everything and two possibilities have come to mind. Firstly, it helped set up the conditions for WWII and the holocaust (which played another part in the establishment of Israel) . Secondly, Britain’s involvement alongside France, defending French territory, also eased the path for Britain to remain in control in Palestine from the time General Allenby entered Jerusalem up until Israel became a sovereign state in 1948. Under other circumstances the French would most likely have objected to Britain’s control in that region and the resulting tensions could have complicated the later move to give Jews a homeland in their Promised Land.

While western Christians today are often focused on the state of their own nations and seem to think God’s attention is similarly fixed on them (particularly in America), the reality revealed through scripture is different. Throughout biblical prophecy, the only nation on earth that has a promise to be a part of God’s Kingdom is Israel. During the 20th Century both World Wars led to political changes that made the return of Israel to the world map possible, taking us another step or two closer to Jesus’ return to rule over the nations as Israel’s King.

Now it shall come to pass in the latter days
That the mountain of the Lord’s house
Shall be established on the top of the mountains,
And shall be exalted above the hills;
And all nations shall flow to it.

Many people shall come and say,
“Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
To the house of the God of Jacob;
He will teach us His ways,
And we shall walk in His paths.”
For out of Zion shall go forth the law,
And the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

He shall judge between the nations,
And rebuke many people;
They shall beat their swords into plowshares,
And their spears into pruning hooks;
Nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
Neither shall they learn war anymore.

Anzacs and WWI: part 4, Gallipoli, the Road to Jerusalem

This week I received a DVD related to my recent study of WWI.

Gallipoli the Road to Jerusalem is a documentary made by Kelvin Crombie, based on his book of the same name. Last night I watched the first part which was a condensed history starting with God’s covenant with Abraham through to the Gallipoli campaign of 1915.

gallipoliI suspect some people would wonder what kind of historical account could be relevant to those two seemingly unconnected events.
Most simply it could be described as a history of Israel’s relationship to the Promised Land.
The book of Genesis reveals that the land was promised to Abraham and his descendants as an everlasting possession, but how does the Gallipoli campaign fit into that story?

Crombie sees Gallipoli as part of an ongoing preparation for the re-establishment of Israel as a nation in the land promised to them by God.

Gallipoli was the first major involvement of Anzac forces in battle. One of the worst battles they faced was a failed attack at a site called the Nek. Waves of soldiers were ordered to climb from their trenches to charge the Turkish trenches. They were mown down almost immediately. The event is portrayed in the Peter Weir film Gallipoli.

05_theNekLThose involved were from Light Horse brigades, separated from their horses, they’d been sent to Gallipoli to serve as infantrymen, to make up the numbers, replacing the thousands killed and wounded in the first few months of the campaign. Despite the high casualties suffered at the Nek, some survived, were reunited with their horses and were later involved in battles that ended centuries of Islamic rule, in Palestine.

Some of the survivors from the Nek were with General Allenby as he walked into Jerusalem to take control of the city in December 1917.

Also involved at Gallipoli were the Zion Mule Corps, who have been described as “the first regular Jewish fighting force – with a distinctively Jewish emblem and flag – to take active part in a war since the defeat of the Bar Kochba Revolt 2000 years ago.” 1





Illustration of medal depicting the Battle of the Nek from here:

What About Israel, by Bill Randles.

What About Israel, by Bill Randles.

The epistle to the Romans is often said to be the perfect rendering of the gospel, because the epistle wasn’t written to correct a specific heresy as many of the others were. I have always believed this to be true and have stated it many times, but now I have been shown that I was wrong on that point.

Romans is indeed the best and most complete rendering of the workings of the gospel that I know of in scripture. But the epistle was written to address an error that had crept into the church in Rome, and which would eventually make its way into almost all of the churches.

That error is called “Replacement Theology”, the false teaching that the church of Jesus Christ is the new Israel of God, and that other than coming into the church as individuals, God has no ultimate plan for the physical children of Israel.

See full article (the first of a series) here:

Also see my own article: