The Israeli Army and the Bus Station


Some while ago, on a very windy and dreary day, I took my car to the garage for a normal service. It would take a whole morning. There was no waiting room. So I took my umbrella and book bag and walked to the Jerusalem Central Bus Station. My plan was to study Hebrew and drink some coffee until the car was ready. On the way, the severe wind broke my umbrella. I arrived at the station wet and cold.

The Meaning of So Many Soldiers

It was a Sunday morning and the large station was filled with soldiers going back to their bases from weekend passes. They were tall and short, male and female, light skinned and dark. Wall to wall soldiers in every coffee shop and cafeteria. All carried their weapons, usually M-16’s but other weapons as well. The Israel Defense Force is a large Army. Israel practices universal conscription. It has one of the most powerful armies in the world. I found a good seat at a coffee shop, ordered my cappuccino and sat down to study Hebrew.

It was then that I began to perceive an amazing, almost mystical impression, in looking at all these soldiers. It is hard to convey what I felt. A whole bus station filled with armed Israeli soldiers! What did it mean? I was struck with the sense of the supernatural. This reality is not of mere human accomplishment. Israel must defend herself in the midst of a sea of hostility. That she exists is a miracle, and that this powerful army exists is also a miracle. I reflect on my daughter, Simcha, who was also an armed soldier in this army. In America we ask if many guns cause greater loss or if such armament is protection. In Israel, there is no debate. The armed soldiers produce an amazing security. There is hardly ever an incident of a soldier hurting fellow Israelis with his weapon. They are well trained. I thought of the holocaust where six million of our people died. We were defenseless, but no more. I sat in awe!

The Army Itself is not Enough to Save Us

Yet I well know that Israel’s strong Army, first trained by a Christian Zionist, Major Orde Wingate, is not the final answer. Indeed, for someone who is well aware of the issues of God, Yeshua, and the Last Days, this army is only a temporary instrument of Israel’s safety. Indeed, the Bible tells me of a frightful time when human arms will fail and only the intervention of Yeshua will save.

I originally wrote the following paragraph in the Spring of 2005, when we were in the midst of a painful situation.  The immediate situations affecting Israel have changed, at least partly because of the decisions taken at that time, but bear with me, as I venture to suggest that the principles remain exactly the same …

The Knesset, the Israeli Parliament, has just voted to refuse a referendum on the pull out from Gaza. This is a withdrawal from part of the extended boundaries God promised to Israel in the Bible. Jewish religious Zionists are stunned and depressed. Their frustration is enormous. A million plus Palestinians will be released from Israeli control. The cost in military protection for the Israeli settlements of 8,000 people seems, to the Sharon government, to be no longer defensible. The military has its limits. It is becoming apparent that Israel’s military might is insufficient to solve all the problems. Can Israel continue to rule over 3 million Arabs who do not want to be ruled?  What can Israel do? She can kill them all in a reverse holocaust. She can go to war against her neighbors and make them accept the transfer of 3 million Palestinians. She can continue to rule over them and keep the status quo.  None of these solutions seem feasible or moral. Lastly, she can disengage from the Palestinian areas and let them do as they please. This is the decision of the Sharon government. However, part of that decision is also to include the major settlement blocks of Jews in the pre-’67 West Bank as part of Israel. While this may work for a time, the Bible indicates that it will not be a permanent solution. Ultimately reconciliation through Yeshua the Messiah alone will fully solve the problem.

For any Israeli, this was a very sad situation. It is difficult for us not to see Israel as including the land from the Jordan to the Mediterranean Sea. As an Israeli, I deeply shared this sense. This total land mass is like New Jersey in size. Yet, most Israelis were resigned to this as the only solution.

Conditions to Attain the Promise

Most forget that the Bible says the attainment of the full borders promised in the Bible is contingent upon Israel’s covenant obedience (Deuteronomy 19:18,19).  This is so explicitly stated, that I wonder why Jewish religious Zionists and Christian Zionists do not see the reason why we are thwarted in obtaining the promises. We will someday obtain these borders. However, in the present, most Israelis are a lawless and immoral people. Adultery, fornication, homosexuality, divorce, abortion and dishonesty here are like those in the worst nations in the West.

So there is the mark of the supernatural in Israel’s existence, in the amazing sight of the Army at the Bus Station, but there is so much more to see beyond this. Israel needs to embrace Yeshua, turning as a nation back to God and His Torah. This will bring Israel’s full deliverance.

Scripture indicates that the present return in unbelief is preparation for the great move of God where our people repent and embrace Yeshua and His Kingdom (Zechariah 12:10, Ezekiel 36). We in the Israeli Messianic Jewish movement are those who prepare the way for that great turning. Our growing numbers make it possible that Israel will turn to Yeshua.

I was filled with wonder at all of this. It was soon time to leave the station. I purchased a new umbrella hoping for better weather outside. It was not to be. The driving rain and wind continued. I navigated the streams of water and puddles and carefully angled the umbrella so it would not catch a gust of wind and be turned inside out. Soon I was a few steps from the door of the garage. I began to congratulate myself for making it with the umbrella intact. Just than a gust of wind hit the umbrella in the direction I had pointed it (the safest direction). It was so strong it snapped the umbrella in two. I stepped through the door in the nick of time. So also with regard to Israel: we will attain our security and deliverance just when it will be absolutely necessary. I had made it inside the shop, relatively dry. So Israel will survive, and we will make it to the time of our deliverance.