October 31st 1917
2 Samuel 5:20, “So David went to Baal Perazim, and David defeated them there; and he said, “The LORD has broken through my enemies before me, like a breakthrough of water.”
The date, October 31st remains in the history books as “the last great cavalry, and the finest in history” as 800 heroic men and their courageous horses created a legend by achieving a near impossible military victory.
But in the hearts and minds of those open to the ways of God, it was an amazing spiritual breakthrough, an opening of closed gates. Isaiah14:24 declares, “The LORD of hosts has sworn: ‘As I have planned, so shall it be, and as I have purposed, so shall it stand’.” And the purpose of God was to bring His people back to their Homeland.
Tim Hall is one of Australia’s leading evangelists. Together with his wife Jacque, they have ministered extensively throughout the world. ICEJ Australia is honoured to have Tim serve as a Board Director. Tim’s great uncle, Major General George James Rankin (DSO and Bar), was second in command of those 800 men that broke through the buttress of the Ottoman Empire and released the Land of Israel to await its rightful inhabitants. In his book ‘Power Evangelism’, Tim speaks of the inspiration he received from the life and career of Major Rankin:
After an extraordinary military career, he retired from the army as a Major General. He then began a very colourful career as a politician. His fame came from one of Australia’s military achievements at Beersheba during World War One in the then Palestine. After enlisting in the 4th Light Horse Battalion George left Rochester Victoria, taking three of his own horses. The ‘Walers’ were a hardy, powerful Australian breed that had amazing strength and resilience. After time in Egypt the light horsemen, without their horses, were shipped to Gallipoli. There they suffered appalling losses especially at the battle of the Nek. He was wounded but proved to be a most impressive soldier.
By 1917 he was a Major and significantly involved in the battles that saw the Ottoman Empire defeated and dismantled. Amazingly, the Australian Light Horsemen, now with their horses, would face and defeat the same Turks that they had faced at Gallipoli. It was here, at the famous charge at Beersheba, that he won his first Distinguished Service Order. The citation for the award makes me immensely proud to be his relative. Here is the wording: Major George James Rankin, D5O and Bar, 4th Australian Light Horse Regiment “As second in Command of the 4th Australian Light Horsemen Regiment, he displayed great gallantry and judgement in the organization of the Regiment during the attack in BEERSHEBA on 31st October 1917 and the re-organization of the unit and consolidation of the position after the attack. Throughout all the operations he, by his personal bravery, and great coolness, considerably influenced all ranks by the splendid example set by him. Recommended for the DSO.”
His second distinguished service order was won at the taking of Damascus. Here is the citation for this medal: Major George James Rankin, DSO, 4th Light Horse Regiment “For great gallantry, dash and initiative during operations, from El Kuneitra to Damascus. On the 30th September 1918, when his regiment acted as advance guard from Sasa to Kaukab, owing to his rapid movements, they captured 340 prisoners, one field gun, and eight machine guns. Kaukab was strongly held by the enemy, and when this officer was ordered to make a frontal attack, his leadership was excellent, and his regiment seized all objectives, capturing nine officers, over 70 other ranks, and eight machine guns. In this action the enemy’s cavalry were driven in disorder towards Damascus: On the morning of the 1st October, 1918, when ordered to seize Military Barracks in Damascus, he showed great skill and manoeuvring his troops in such a manner that he was largely instrumental in capturing the whole enemy garrison in Damascus, numbering over 11,000.” Major George James Rankin was a soldier of soldiers.
Paul reminds Timothy in 2 Tim.1:7, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” And throughout the scriptures we are exhorted to be ‘of good courage’, to ‘fear not’. Our ANZAC soldiers were examples of the attributes vital to all engaged in any kind of battle. Through Yeshua the Messiah, we are followers of the LORD of Armies and are required to stand against the principalities and powers that assail our lives, our families, and our culture as we are reminded in Ephesians 6:12-23, “Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armour so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.”
Tim continues about his soldier uncle:
I love to read the description of him as a man of “great gallantry, dash and initiative.” I would like to be remembered one day for these qualities. He was described as a man of “personal bravery, and great coolness,’ and one who “considerably influenced all ranks by his splendid example.” What a testimony. I would like to achieve all of these qualities in my ministry for Christ. These are characteristics that should be woven into our Christian walk.
Even though they weren’t even recognised as citizens in their own country, more than 1000 indigenous soldiers managed to sign up to serve with Australian forces in World War I with many taking part in the battle for Beersheba, as well as later battles that saw the Holy Land freed to await its rightful inhabitants.
Honouring Indigenous soldiers, Tzemach, Galilee, Israel.
The return of the scattered Jewish people was set in motion that momentous day of October 31, 1917, and the amazing victories that the Jewish people have attained since, confirm God’s Hand over His people and His Land