Israel and the Land
"In that same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto
thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river,
the river Euphrates."—Genesis 15:18
There is only one nation on earth that has its boundaries decreed in the
Bible. That nation is Israel.
Genesis 15:18-21 declares that Israel’s ultimate boundaries are from the
River of Egypt to the Euphrates River. The exact territory designated is a
study in itself and is not the function of this article. We will content
ourselves here with identifying the minimum territory Israel will occupy before
the "time of trouble" is over, and incidentally deal with the
immigration of Russian Jews to the extent that that immigration is tied into the
"land issue" scriptures.
Micah 7:11 NIV speaks of our time as
"the day for extending your (Israel’s) boundaries." Verses 13 through
17 describe the "time of trouble." Verse 14, sandwiched in this
"time of trouble" setting, speaks of the Lord feeding (Hebrew, ruling)
over Israel in a territory that includes Bashan (the Golan Heights—Deut. 3:3,
4; Num. 21:23-25; Josh. 21:27) and Gilead. Gilead is a part of the East Bank of
the Jordan River. The current peace process in the Middle East is negotiating
the status of the Golan Heights and the West Bank.
If Israel is forced to compromise land for peace, Micah 7 indicates that
Israel will again acquire the Golan Heights, and not only the West Bank, but
the East Bank as well, before the Time of Trouble is over.
Zechariah 10:10, 11 speaks of an immigration of Jews from
Assyria and Egypt that is so large that it will fill the land of Gilead and
Lebanon. Joshua 13:5, 6 reveals that at least southern Lebanon belongs to
Israel by divine right. Israel already occupies a buffer zone in southern
Lebanon. An immigration from Assyria and Egypt will be so numerically great
that it will fill the land of Gilead (East Bank) and southern Lebanon. Literal
Assyria is Iraq. There are fewer than a thousand Jews in Iraq and Egypt. This
is hardly enough to fulfill Zech. 10:10. Micah 5:5-7 is an example that Assyria
is symbolic in other prophecies concerning Israel. Here Assyria invades Israel
just before Israel becomes a blesser nation (v. 7) and Assyria is repelled by
seven shepherds (the glorified church) and eight princes of men (the Ancient
Worthies.) This is evidently a parallel account of Gog’s invasion recorded in
Ezekiel 38 and 39. It is generally agreed that Gog and some of his associates
mentioned in Ezekiel 38:3-7 refers to Russia and the republics of the former
Soviet Union. Therefore the massive immigration from Assyria may be a reference
to the current wave of Jews from Russia and the other CIS republics.
Ezekiel 20:32-38 identifies the exodus from Egypt as a picture of the exodus
of Jews from all nations back to Israel at the end of the Gospel age. In this
picture Israel had to cross a sea and a river in order to enter the promised
land. The sea and the river (Hebrew, not Euphrates) in Zech. 10:11 seem to be
symbolic of removing the obstacles that prohibited the Jews from leaving the
former Soviet Union. With the fall of Communism the massive exodus began and
thus far numbers 470,000.
Isaiah 11:14-16 also speaks of the smiting of a sea and a river (Hebrew, not
Euphrates) in connection with a large immigration of Jews from Assyria to
Israel. Verse 14 also mentions a war in which Israel gains a decisive victory
over Edom, Moab and Ammon. These nations occupied territories that are now
within the Arab nation of Jordan on the East Bank of the Jordan River and the
Dead Sea. A war in which Israel defeats Jordan and occupies at least the
Gilead, Ammon, Moab and Edom portions of Jordan could spark a wave of
anti-Semitism that could precipitate a further massive exodus from the CIS.
In Ezekiel 38:14, 15 Gog is spoken of as coming from the "northern
parts." Jer. 16:14, 15; 31:7, 8; 23:8 and 3:18 all speak of the
regathering from all the nations, but additionally speak of an emigration
"out of the land of the north," which seems to be the land of Gog, or
the former Soviet republics. Jer. 3:14-18 reveals a trickle return which was
true from 1878 to the fall of Communism in 1990. Then there was a large exodus.
Remember Isaiah 11:14 showed that Israel would have a decisive victory over
Edom, Moab and Ammon. Zephaniah 2 has its setting during "the day of the
Lord’s anger" (v. 2). In Zeph. 2:8, 9 Moab and Ammon are made a
"perpetual destruction" and "the remnant of my people (Israel)
shall possess them."
In summary, certain scriptures indicate Israel will be in possession of the
Golan Heights and the East Bank of Jordan before Gog’s invasion. Other
scriptures indicate a future war between Israel and the Arab nations, at least
Jordan, in which the East Bank is taken by Israel. If Israel is forced to give
up land in the present peace negotiations she will regain that land plus the
East Bank in this future war. Further, there is to be such a massive exodus
from symbolic Assyria (Russia and the CIS) and symbolic Egypt that it will fill
southern Lebanon and part of the East Bank (land of Gilead.)
We have not identified symbolic Egypt because that it is generally
recognized to be the world. But what world? The Christian world. Where is the
greatest concentration of Jews in the Christian world? In the United States—over
Numerous scriptures do suggest that there will be a further
exodus of Israelis to the Holy Land after the invasion of Gog and Magog, and
perhaps many of these Western Jews will return at that time. However, the lands
we speak of—the Golan Heights and the West Bank—are apparently returned before
that prophetic invasion from the north.