Jerusalem Day is approaching. But what is the celebration about? Why is it such a big deal in Israel? We are examining those questions and more. In fact, we’re in the middle of a series of posts featuring:
- Israel’s Greatest Hour of Danger – what led up to the Six Day War
- Six Days that Changed Israel’s Future – events of the war
- Superpowers Face Off – US and Russian involvement in the Six Day War
- Six Days of Miracles – God’s victorious hand in Israel’s victory
- Biblical Significance of the Six Day War
- Aftermath of the Six Day War
Today we will focus on the miracles God performed on Israel’s behalf during the war. If you have missed the previous posts, just click on the links above.
Throughout history, God’s miracles have been commonplace in Israel’s battles. Consider how God brought the unconquerable walls of Jericho down in Joshua’s first conquest after leading the people into the Promised Land. (Read the story in Joshua 6.) Or, how about Gideon’s victory over the Midianites after God trimmed his forces from 32,000 to 300, and left them with only trumpets and smashed jars as weapons! (Judges 7) Even Israel’s rebirth and immediate survival was a miracle. Despite having been dispersed all over the world, Jewish ethnicity and culture survived, and the infant nation staved off the attack of large Arab forces from multiple nations without a military! Miraculous!
The Six Day War had its fair share of miracles as well. It seems God is intent on proving to the Jews (and to the world) that He, and only He, is able to sustain His chosen land and His chosen people! Here are just a few of the miracles from the 1967 Six Day War:
Day 1 (June 5)
As Israeli planes headed for Egypt in the war’s first hours, a Jordanian radar facility detected the large number of aircraft and encoded a message, warning Egypt’s defense minister that enemy aircraft were headed his way. However, the Egyptians failed to notify the Jordanians that their coding frequencies had been changed the previous day! So, though Egypt had ample anti-aircraft ammunition to destroy the attacking forces, no order was given to do so. The lack of warning provided Israel with the element of surprise necessary to allow the Israeli Air Force to obliterate six Egyptian airfields, wiping out half of the Egyptian air force. Israeli air superiority gained on the first day of battle dramatically hampered enemy combat abilities.
Coincidence? I don’t think so! God’s hand was at work from the beginning!
Day 2 (June 6)
Following the first very intense 24 hours of war, pilots were weary and IAF planes were low on ammunition and fuel. A perfect opportunity for a counterattack by the extensive and more-than-capable Arab forces, right? Instead, directives from Egyptian leaders were incoherent and disorganized, and at times, non-existent. Could it be that God confused the enemy, just as He did in 1 Samuel 14:20, 2 Chronicles 20:22-23 and Joshua 10:10?
Not only were counterattacks non-existent, Israeli ground troops advanced in the Sinai to find that, for no apparent reason, Egyptian forces had abandoned bases and destroyed or left their equipment. It soon became clear that the powerful Egyptian military was hastily abandoning their outposts, giving tremendous advantage to the much smaller Israeli forces. Well-equipped, well-trained, well-seasoned military forces don’t just abandon the mission!
Day 3 (June 7)
June 7 was a critical day in the war, and God was at His miracle-working best! Nations around the world were calling upon Israel to accept the ceasefire proposed by Jordan’s
King Hussein. However, before the ceasefire could be finalized, King Hussein himself was not willing to comply with the terms he initiated! The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will. (Proverbs 21:1)
Failure to reach a ceasefire agreement allowed the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) to complete operations that annihilated enemy military infrastructure, and brought the Old City of Jerusalem under Israeli control! Reunification of Jerusalem was successful because the king of Jordan’s heart was turned by the Lord!
Day 4 (June 8)
The Lord was not yet done showing His might on behalf of Israel! Hebron, the resting place of Hebrew Patriarchs and Matriarchs, is a holy city. Following Israel’s re-birth, a large population of Jews filled Hebron and its 58 synagogues. However, in the 1960’s synagogues were burned to the ground and Jews were banned from residing in that holy city. The IDF expected a difficult battle in re-taking Hebron. However, when they arrived, they found white sheets hanging from windows throughout the city. Arabs were surrendering the last bastion of the West Bank! Israel now had full control of the entire region without having to send limited troops into difficult battles!
When God says the land belongs to Israel, He means the land belongs to Israel! True, territory is once again disputed today, but the title deed still belongs to God’s chosen people!
Day 5 (June 9)
On the Golan Heights, the IDF was badly out-manned, and had a steep uphill battle (see diagram to the left) against a large, heavily entrenched Syrian army. After suffering significant casualties, Israeli Commander Musa Klein and his platoon of 25 men continued upwards. At one point, the unit charged a Syrian position protected by bunkers, trenches, anti-tank missiles, machine guns and mortars. The IDF soldiers were sitting ducks!
Ironically, rather than command his men to annihilate the small band of approaching Israeli troops, the Syrian captain assigned to the position instructed his men to hold fire until the Israelis reached the rows of double wire surrounding the position. In swift order, though, the Israelis were beyond the barrier and it was too late. Commander Klein’s 25 men of valor overwhelmed the larger Syrian force and continued up the Golan Heights!
Day 6 (June 10)
To invade the Golan Heights was an incredibly daunting task. The 75,000 Syrian forces and their munitions were so large and so entrenched that they were virtually impervious to attack. Yet, by God’s grace, 7 hours of incredibly heavy fighting on June 9 had yielded Israeli strongholds in northern and central Golan. Nonetheless, another day of fierce fighting against much larger and much better equipped Syrian forces laid ahead.
But miraculously, the Syrians experienced sudden panic, and before the Israelis even approached Syrian positions, they retreated and fled in chaos! Weaponry and supplies were left behind, and suddenly, mountaintops previously used to murder Jews in the Galilee were now in the hands of the Israelis!
What brought about the panic and the chaos? The Commander of the Heavenly Hosts was doing His thing! Though fierce in their fighting, the IDF was a small military force, with only a tiny fraction of the weaponry, equipment and ammunition that the Arab forces possessed. As if fighting Egypt, Syria and Jordan were not enough, those nations were backed by many other Arab nations as well. Yet, on that day, the final offensive was complete, and a ceasefire was signed.
For six days Israel fought for her very existence. For six days God showed Himself faithful! Israel survived and God gets the glory! These are only a few of the miracles that happened during the Six Day War.
The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob still stands on the side of Israel. We can be absolutely certain that, though Israel may face consequences of their rebellion against God, God will never allow them to be annihilated.
Tomorrow we will see that God’s Word applies not only to Israel during the Six Day War, but to Israel today and in the future. Join us for that…but meanwhile, if you have not shared your congratulatory remarks for Israel’s 50th anniversary of Jerusalem Day (which commemorates the reunification of Jerusalem), please do so!