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June 24th, 2017

Allenby—Angel of the Lord?

I’m reading through Warren Carroll’s six-volume history of Christendom, and I’ve just got to where the Moslems captured Jerusalem  in 1187 after defeating the crusaders at the battle of Hattin. Carroll notes that the Holy City was not  recovered for 730 years, until 1917, in a world in which few Western Christians attached that much significance to its fate.

But General Edmund Allenby, the British commander who captured Jerusalem from the Turks did realise the importance of his victory. In recognition of the fact that Our Lord had entered Jerusalem on a donkey, Allenby dismounted from his horse and walked into the city. Allenby was one of the very few really successful British commanders during World War I.

My late cousin Edward, usually well-informed on rather abstruse topics, once assured me that the Turks, who up till then had resisted the invasion of Palestine quite vigorously, made no serious attempt to defend Jerusalem because Allenby’s name—which they pronounced Allah En Bia, or something similar—means “the Angel of God” in Arabic, and there is a biblical prophecy, I think in Revelation or possibly Daniel, that “the angel of the Lord shall enter the Holy City”.

It must be more than half a century since Edward told me about this, and I’ve always meant to do some research with a view to confirming the truth or otherwise of this story. I’m now getting around to it.

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                                                                            General Allenby

From an evangelical Protestant site called Sunset Jerusalem I gather that  Allenby, whom it descrlbes as a devoted Christian, was concerned about the damage he might cause to the holy places in the process of capturing Jerusalem.  While reading his Bible he was struck by Isaiah 31:5: “As birds flying, so will the Lord of Hosts defend Jerusalem, defending also he will deliver it; and passing over he will preserve it.”   It struck Allenby that the Turks had very few planes, and many of them had never even seen one. He therefore got together as many aircraft as he could, and ordered the pilots to fly over the city, dropping leaflets which read, in Arabic:“Surrender the city today, Allenby.”  Now, according to this website, Allenby’s Arab interpreter wrote the name Allenby as “Alla Bay”, meaning Son of God. So it would seem that Edward may have been on to something.

There is a slightly different account on a similar site, from which  I also gather that the name Allenby had a mystical significance in Arabic. This says that when read from left to right in Western style, the name is “Allah Nabi” which means “prophet of God”. When read from right to left in Arabic style it means, “Son of God.” In Turkish the name means, “Scourge of God”.

Well, make of all that what you will.  It’s not entirely consistent, but at the very least it seems to me to confirm a supernatural element in the capture of Jerusalem just a century ago. If any readers of this blog can add  further information, I’d be really grateful if they would get in touch. Maybe some evangelical Protestants are inclined to read a bit  too much into biblical prophecy, but my cousin Edward was a good Catholic.

 

 

 

 

 

On December 10, 1917 Allenby asked God how can we take this city and not destroy it. The Lord spoke to him out of Isaiah 31:5 As birds flying, so will the Lord of hosts defend Jerusalem; defending also he will deliver it; and passing over he will preserve it. This was the battle strategy that was given to him by God. The British general began to ask God, “What does this mean?” God gave him inspiration. In 1917 there were not very many airplanes in the world. Allenby got and idea and said I know how to fulfill the proprhecy of Isaiah 31:5. I’ll get every airplane I can get my hands on in all of the middle-east. I’ll bring them in and fly them in close formation over Jerusalem. At that time the Turks and the Arabs had not seen many airplanes, many had never seen an airplane at all. Allenby had them fill up the planes with leaflets. He wrote on the leaflets in Arabic “Surrender the city today, Allenby.” The Arab interpreter did not write the name right on the leaflet and wrote Alla Bay, which means Son of God to Moslems.

On December 10, 1917 Allenby asked God how can we take this city and not destroy it. The Lord spoke to him out of Isaiah 31:5 As birds flying, so will the Lord of hosts defend Jerusalem; defending also he will deliver it; and passing over he will preserve it. This was the battle strategy that was given to him by God. The British general began to ask God, “What does this mean?” God gave him inspiration. In 1917 there were not very many airplanes in the world. Allenby got and idea and said I know how to fulfill the proprhecy of Isaiah 31:5. I’ll get every airplane I can get my hands on in all of the middle-east. I’ll bring them in and fly them in close formation over Jerusalem. At that time the Turks and the Arabs had not seen many airplanes, many had never seen an airplane at all. Allenby had them fill up the planes with leaflets. He wrote on the leaflets in Arabic “Surrender the city today, Allenby.” The Arab interpreter did not write the name right on the leaflet and wrote Alla Bay, which means Son of God to Moslems.

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