Masada is a mountain-top retreat fortified by Herod as a place of escape and refuge, in the event of revolt, located by the Dead Sea. He provided enough food to last for years and built cisterns to trap rainwater. Years after Herod’s death in 4 B.C., about 1,000 Jewish Zealots had retreated to Masada prior to and following the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. By 73 A.D. the Romans had built a ramp up to the top of the seemingly impenetrable mountain using thousands of Jewish prisoners of war. When they got to Masada, they found that the people had committed suicide. The men had killed their wives and children rather than have them be slaughtered, raped or become slaves, and then drew lots as to who would kill the men. The last man then fell on his own sword.
The Yom Kippur War of 1973 was a surprise attack on two fronts by Egypt and Syria. On the border with Syria is a memorial to the Israeli 77th Tank Brigade who “held the gap” against overwhelming odds. The Israelis had about 180 tanks versus some 1400 Syrian tanks. They fought for days without sleep or relief. The Syrians wanted to regain the Golan Heights which they lost during the Six Day War of 1967. But the Israelis held. Simultaneously, along the Suez Canal, lesss than 500 Israeli defenders were attacked by 80,000 Egyptians.
In the Yom Kippur War, Israel was almost overwhelmed. A total of 2,688 Israeli soldiers were killed. It was the holiest day of the year and they were caught by surprise. Prime Minister Golda Meir asked President Nixon for military goods, which the United States provided. It is rumored that she told Nixon that Israel’s back was against the wall, and she was prepared to use nuclear force against their enemies. This possibly would have resulted in the annihilation of Israel as well.
All of these historic events show us the mindset of the Israelis today. Like the 77th Tank Brigade, they cannot lose. If they lose, the Arabs will annihilate the Jewish people as they have frequently promised. If Prime Minister Meir did, in fact, threaten the use of nuclear weapons, it reflects the mindset of the Jews on Masada. They will not be murdered, raped or made slaves again.
While remembering this history, I recalled Zechariah 14:2:
“For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity.”
Knowing the mindset of the Israelis, how could this happen? Why would they set aside their nuclear and military power? I think the answer is found in Daniel 8:23-25:
“a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences (subtlety, fraud), shall stand up. And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall . . . cause craft (deceit) to prosper in his hand;”
Apparently this person will be a great politician who will arrange for peace in Israel. And, I assume, Israel will then relinquish control of their military and nuclear capabilities. It is possible that this arrangement would include the building of the Temple. But this person is deceitful and Jerusalem will fall. This will be the final event, apparently, because the Prophet Zechariah then describes the Return of the Lord in defense of Israel in what must be the Final Battle.
The Apostle Paul, while discussing the Day of the Lord, said, “For when they shall say, ‘Peace and safety’ then sudden destruction cometh upon them.” (I Thessalonians 5:3) Perhaps Paul was referring to the Israelis who will be deceived by the “man of sin.”
This understandable Israeli mindset is yet another piece that fits within the End Time puzzle. Israel is back in the Land; many rabbis are looking for the Messiah; and, Israel will only set aside their defense to a really slick politician, of which there are many. But this one will have supernatural power that is not his own.
In the words of J. R. Church, “Keep looking up!” And may the Lord return soon!