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 Israels 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 (Israels) 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 HeightsDeut. 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 Gogs 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 Lords 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 Gogs 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 Statesover five million.
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 ofthe Golan Heights and the West Bankare apparently returned before that prophetic invasion from the north.