How do we know that God protects the nation of Israel?
We know from several standpoints:
1. Biblical Promises
First, the God of Israel promises protection for His chosen people:
I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses (despises, dishonors, treats with contempt) you (Gen 12.3)
Whoever assails you will fall … no weapon that is formed against you will prosper (Isa 54.15,17)
I will be a wall of fire around her … he who touches you, touches the apple (pupil) of the LORD’s eye (Zech 2.5,8)
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you (Isa 41.10)
Those who strive with you (Israel) shall perish (Isa 41.11)
2. Historic Examples of Israel’s Protection
Secondly, there are well-known examples of God’s intervention on behalf of His people:
- When the Egyptian army pursued the Israelites during the Exodus, God slowed them by removing their chariot wheels, and drowned them as the parted waters returned (Exod 14.19-31)
- In the fifth century BC a number of Jews were still in Babylon under Persian rule. God used a brave Jewess, Queen Esther, to prevent the killing of Jews, both young and old (see the book of Esther)
- God promised Joshua that, when the Israelite armies marched around Jericho seven times, blew their trumpets and shouted loudly, then Jericho would be given into their hands. When they did this the city walls fell flat (Joshua chapter 6)
- When five kings went up with their armies and made war against the men of Gibeon, the LORD said to Joshua “do not fear them, for I have delivered them into your hand”. The armies fled, struck down by large hailstones. And “the sun stood still” (didn’t set) until Israel had revenge on their enemies (Joshua 10.1-15)
3. Long-term Verification of God’s Protection
Despite some 2,500 years of scattering and persecution, the people of Israel (generically, the Jews) have survived. Furious attempts to annihilate this people have all failed. From the Babylonians to Queen Isabella to Hitler, their plans to totally exterminate the Jews failed. When King Louis XIV of France asked Blaise Pascal, the great Christian philosopher to give him proof of God, Pascal answered, ‘Why the Jews, your Majesty, the Jews!‘ The fact that the Jews have survived whilst many other nations have disappeared points to their protection over the ages.
In fact, in recent years God has actually restored the nation of Israel and blessed her. In just 100 years the Jewish population of Israel has risen an amazing 7,700 percent through mass Jewish immigration, or aliyah.
Protection is Sometimes Conditional
Of course, when the nation of Israel walked away from their God and Protector these promises seemed not to apply and Israel was scattered throughout the nations for some 2,500 years. The scenario is similar today. Most of the 8 million inhabitants of Israel do not recognize Yeshua (Jesus) as their promised Messiah. So, according to prophecy, in the near future is seems Israel will go through a time of great trouble (Mat 24.15-28). It will be a time of the refining of Israel until they recognize their true Messiah.
Recent Examples of God’s Protection
There are recent examples of God’s miraculous protection of Israel:
1948-49: When the Jewish State was born in May 1948, five Arab armies (Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq) immediately invaded Israel. Arab rulers thought they were heading towards an easy victory; they had no difficulty obtaining all the arms they needed and even British RAF planes flew with Egyptian squadrons over the Israel-Egypt border, link. Israel was thought to be virtually defenseless, link. But they were wrong. The Arab armies suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of a combination of Jewish militias (there was no formal Israel Defense Force or IDF). Reasons have been advanced for the Arab defeat, such as inter-Arab political rivalries:
The rivalries were a major problem because they resulted in poor command, lack of transparency, and ultimately, failure [Sami Moubayed, Syrian political analyst]
It is claimed Arab leaders fought against each other for land and glory. Was this the hand of God? A similar scenario will occur in the imminent Gog-Magog War. The God of Israel says:
“I will call for a sword against Gog throughout all My mountains,” says the Lord God. “Every man’s sword will be against his brother” (Ezek 38.21)
1967: In the Six-Day War of June 5–10, 1967, the armies of Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon (and later Iraq) again attacked Israel. Their goal was “to wipe Israel off the map”. The Arab armies had huge superiority in armour, aircraft and troops. For instance, Egypt had around 100,000 troops and 900–950 tanks in the Sinai, and the Israeli Air Force could pit only two hundred aircraft against six hundred Arab planes (which included many Soviet MiG fighters).
In the light of this, Israel resolved to make a preemptive strike aimed at destroying the Arab air forces on the ground, link. After the war Israel held the Sinai, the Golan Heights, Gaza, the West Bank and, for the first time in 2,500 years, all of Jerusalem. As in the 1948-49 war, this rapid military defeat of the Arab armies is attributed in part to the lack of coordination among Arab states, link. Others e.g. Bible scholars, see the defeat as God preparing the way for Christ’s millennial rule from Jerusalem.
1973: On October 6, 1973, hoping to win back territory lost to Israel in 1967, Egyptian and Syrian forces launched a coordinated attack against Israel on Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar. For Jews, Yom Kippur or ‘Day of Atonement’ is a solemn time of rest, prayer and fasting – a time of sincere reflection on the state of one’s relationship or ‘at-one-ment’ with God, link. So this attack came at a time when Israel was “resting” and looking to God.
With the element of surprise to their advantage, Egyptian forces successfully crossed the Suez Canal, suffering only a fraction of the anticipated casualties, while Syrian forces were able to launch their offensive against Israeli positions and break through to the Golan Heights. But despite the surprise and consequent heavy losses, Israel, with urgent US help, once again defeated the attack, link. It seems the God of Israel once more helped Israel, this time when they were unprepared.
Did God Protect Israel against ISIS? Early December 2016 a strange storm cloud (dust and rain) put a barrier between Israel and ISIS. Reports say the storm stopped on the border of Syria and was ‘unable’ to enter Israel’s Golan Heights area.
Many believe God intervened on behalf of Israel to prevent ISIS from entering Israel, link.
Future Example of God’s Protection
The imminent Gog-Magog War against Israel will demonstrate to the world that God still protects His people Israel. When Russian-led Islamic armies come against Israel from the north, God promises to help Israel in Sodom and Gomorrah fashion:
I will call for a sword against Gog throughout all My mountains, says the Lord God. Every man’s sword will be against his brother … I will rain down on his troops flooding rain, great hailstones, fire and brimstone (Ezek 38.21-22)