A new Israeli TV series making international media waves is called ‘Valley of Tears’ (in Hebrew, שְׁעַת נְעִילָה / Sha’at Ne’ila – a poetic reference to the final Yom Kippur prayer which traditionally influences one’s physical and spiritual destiny for the coming year). The series focuses on the 1973 Yom Kippur War’s Golan Heights (northern front) battle. The most expensive television series in Israel to date, each episode involved an outlay of over one million dollars.
Called the Ramadan or October War by the Arab world, the Yom Kippur War began with strategic thrusts by the Syrian and Egyptian armies which had been carefully cloaked in deception (see Proverbs 24:6). These sneak attacks were timed to fall on the Jewish people’s holiest day of the year (the Day of Atonement). Hostilities were initiated by a combination of massive artillery barrages and devastating aerial bombing.
Clash of the titans
At the outset of the war, Israel was overwhelmed 10 to 1 on the Golan and 11 to 1 in the Sinai. On the Egyptian front approximately 200,000 Egyptian troops charged against 18,000 Israeli soldiers. Over 2,400 Egyptian tanks hurled themselves at 300 Israeli tanks, while 2,300 Egyptian artillery pieces faced off against 90 Israeli artillery pieces. In the north on the Golan Heights, 45,000 Syrian soldiers confronted 6,000 Israeli forces, approximately 2,000 Syrian tanks faced 188 IDF tanks, and 655 Syrian artillery pieces came against 60 Israeli artillery pieces.
At exactly 1400 hours on October 6, 1973, 250 Egyptian aircraft overflew the Suez Canal on their way to attack Israeli airbases, command centers, artillery positions, radar installations and anti-aircraft batteries. More than 2,000 Egyptian artillery cannons fired some 10,500 shells and bombs at Israeli targets for 53 long minutes, at the rate of 175 shells per minute (Abouseada, Hamdy Sobhy (1980. The Crossing of the Suez Canal, October 6, 1973 (The Ramadan War) (PDF). USAWC strategy research project. U.S. Army War College. p. 9.). Similar Syrian moves involved 100 jet fighters striking targets on the Golan, as well as a 50 minute long creeping artillery barrage against Israeli tanks, APCs and bases.
These maneuvers were based on classic Soviet military doctrine – a brief but intense barrage along a broad front by all available artillery, aircraft, mortars and tanks (“Antiarmor Operations on the Golan Heights, October 1973;” Major George E. Knapp; U.S. Army Command and General Staff College Press Fort Leavenworth, Kansas 1992).
What’s the goal of an artillery barrage?
A barrage is the aiming of massed, sustained artillery fire at a series of points along a line. It is intended to suppress enemy movement and actions. When an attacking force lays down an earth-shaking blanket of explosion, the defending army cannot see, cannot hear, cannot discern, cannot react. The defenders are blinded, confused and panicked. It is at that point when invading commandos, massed armored forces and regular infantry break through.
These tactics have been used throughout military history. Some trenchant examples would include:
- WWII – Allied assault on the Italian Gustav line (1944). 2,000 artillery fired 174,000 shells in 24 hours
- WWI – Battle of the Somme, France (1916). 1,537 British artillery fired 1.5 million shells in 4 days
- WWII – Battle of Seelow Heights [Schlacht um die Seelower Höhen] (April 1945). Over 9,000 Russian cannons and rockets fired along a front 18.5 miles long (13.7 km). That is equivalent to one artillery piece every 11 feet (3.3 m). Over 500,000 shells were fired in the first 30 minutes of battle – the largest artillery bombardment in history. It opened the road to Berlin and led to the total collapse of the Nazi regime.
- Operation Desert Storm, Kuwait/Iraq – (1991) – The eight-day artillery barrage preceding the one-hundred-hour coordinated air strike and ground assault that repelled Iraqi forces from Kuwait. This was part of a developing U.S. military doctrine called ‘Rapid Dominance’ or ‘Shock and Awe’
Job and the artillery barrages of Satan
In the Scroll of Job, we are allowed to look into the world of the spirit and observe a discussion between YHVH and Satan:
- YHVH said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil.” Then Satan answered YHVH, “Does Job fear God for nothing? Have You not made a fence around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But reach out with Your hand now and touch all that he has. He will certainly curse You to Your face” (Job 1:8-11)
Job was an unusual man, blameless and upright, fearing God and turning away from evil. He would even regularly sacrifice sin offerings for his grown children in case any one of them “had sinned and cursed God in their hearts” (Job 1:5).
Yet Satan (who continually cursed God is his heart) believed that he could get Job to do the same – to curse God or at least to blame Him (see Job 1:22; 2:5, 10). He attempted to do this by bringing stunning tragedy into Job’s life – by destroying his possessions, his privileges and his family. These destructive attacks cascaded down like an artillery barrage, one quickly following the other. Yet still Job did not curse or blame God. Even when the permitted attacks moved to include painful and debilitating disease, Job did not curse God, but he did “curse the day of his birth” (Job 3:1).
The rising toll of ‘mini-catastrophes’ in 2020 has convinced some that this year could be designated “The Year of Job.” Of course, most of us have not experienced the intensities that Job experienced. But the crescendoing litany of social, economic and medical blows (like a massive artillery barrage) has caused many of us to wonder how to respond. Some indeed have cursed God, others have cursed the year 2020 itself, and others still have spoken evil against their own governing leaders.
The goal of an artillery barrage is “to suppress our movement and action.” If this present darkness – this ongoing satanic barrage – is robbing our ability to see, to hear, to discern and to react in godly ways; if this artillery barrage is making us blind, confused and panicked – then it’s a good time to recognize the fact that we are at war. We really are confronting a demonic ‘artillery barrage.’ Those whistling sounds and the crump of ‘shells’ landing close by are not due to an overactive imagination. We’re on the battlefield, and it would be a wise move to stay awake!
The divine comb
Six years ago, during a season of elections in Israel, Rachel was deeply grieved at the nasty polarization that was taking place in Israel, even between followers of Messiah Yeshua. As she was praying about that, she received a vision of a comb and she felt that the Lord saying to her, “I am combing humanity.” The Scriptures talk about God threshing the hearts of individuals and nations (Matthew 3:12; Micah 4:12-13; Isaiah 27:12; 28:27-28, etc.). The City of Jerusalem’s Temple Mount was originally a threshing floor (1 Chronicles 21), and it is in Jerusalem of the End of Days that YHVH will thresh the nations in judgment (Isaiah 41:15; Micah 4:12-13, etc.).
The events of 2020, this rising tally of Job-like blows, are part of God’s divine combing of the hearts of humanity. Will we curse and blame God (the advice of Job’s wife), or will we humble our own hearts and seek His face in these trials? As the world becomes even more polarized, will we be able to hold fast to God, His heart, His perspectives, His character, His ways and His love?
Obsessing in the light
The rapid machine-gun fire of fears and ‘bad news’ oozes out of our iPhones and computer screens on a daily basis. Our hearts are weighed down by the artillery barrage of bad news. Some of us are being driven crazy by gnawing uncertainties. We’re obsessing in the light of our TV’s (see our oh-so-relevant music video ‘All Hands on Deck’). We need to turn to a better light: “YHVH is my light and my salvation! Whom then shall I fear?” (Psalm 27:1). Let’s press forward to seek the Lord while He may be found (Isaiah 55:6-13; Hosea 6:3). Let’s continue to seek Yeshua’s face and worship Him. God will restore peace and clarity to our troubled minds. He will grant us new vision and strategies to press forward on the battlefield.
Truth is sweeter than fiction
The Western world was raised on a belief that there are unchanging biblical truths, and that a life worth living must be based on those truths. “Therefore, everyone who hears these words of Mine, and acts on them, will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock” (Matthew 7:24). Messiah Yeshua says that our faithfulness to God’s word (even in times of trial) is what opens our spiritual eyes and ears. As a result, we’ll be able to know what is real and true, and then we’ll be able to walk in God’s freedom: “If you continue in My word, then you are truly My disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31-32).
We live in a culture which is rapidly abandoning God and His truth. Most of the information overload coming at us is no longer truth-based but is ‘Op-Ed’ – based on opinions and editorial perspectives. ‘The News’ used to mean real facts; today it describes a cholent, a bouillabaisse of truth mixed with lies. Let’s renew our heart-commitment to clear thinking and truth speaking. But let’s not be surprised at the probable result – we may find ourselves swimming against the stream:
- For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of mere men, but as what it really is, the word of God, which also is at work in you who believe (1 Thessalonians 2:13)
- But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29)
- “Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men” (Mark 7:8)
- But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s purposes, but men’s” (Matthew 16:23)
How should we then pray?
- Pray for an awakening regarding the nature and strategies of spiritual warfare which we are all facing
- Pray for the spirit of humility, grace and supplications to be poured out on all who follow Yeshua
- Pray for an infusion of courage for all who love and speak the truth
- Pray for the raising up of the Ezekiel 37 prophetic army among the Jewish people
Your prayers and support hold up our arms and are the very practical enablement of God to us in the work He has called us to do.
In Messiah Yeshua,
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