Extending Your Boundaries

November 20, 2000

The day for building your walls will come, the day for extending your boundaries. (Micah 7:11 NIV)

The Bible speaks of a day when Israel will gain even more land. In other articles (No More Malicious Neighbors, War On The Horizon) we have examined the circumstances that might lead to this. This time will we look at the geographic designations of those future boundaries. You may refer to the map below to locate the areas mentioned in these Scriptures.

Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes. For you will spread out to the right and to the left; your descendants will dispossess nations and settle in their desolate cities. (Isaiah 54:2-3 NIV)

This is a very specific directive given by the Lord to the people who have returned: "Spread out! Don't hold back! Possess even more land!"

I will signal for them and gather them in. Surely I will redeem them; they will be as numerous as before. Though I scatter them among the peoples, yet in distant lands they will remember me. They and their children will survive, and they will return. I will bring them back from Egypt and gather them from Assyria. I will bring them to Gilead and Lebanon, and there will not be room enough for them. (Zechariah 10:8-10 NIV)

This is one of the many promises of the Lord to return the Jewish people who had been dispersed to their own land. These have been partially fulfilled in the last century. But this one has a surprising twist -- look at where He is returning them to! Gilead (on the east bank) and Lebanon! This is land they do not currently possess.

In that day the Lord will reach out his hand a second time to reclaim the remnant that is left of his people from Assyria, from Lower Egypt, from Upper Egypt, from Cush, from Elam, from Babylonia, from Hamath and from the islands of the sea. He will raise a banner for the nations and gather the exiles of Israel; he will assemble the scattered people of Judah from the four quarters of the earth. Ephraim's jealousy will vanish, and Judah's enemies will be cut off; Ephraim will not be jealous of Judah, nor Judah hostile toward Ephraim. They will swoop down on the slopes of Philistia to the west; together they will plunder the people to the east. They will lay hands on Edom and Moab, and the Ammonites will be subject to them. (Isaiah 11:11-14 NIV)

This is yet another promise of regathering. We have seen this happen - the Lord has indeed reclaimed them for a second time. Examine the rest of those verses, and see at what the regathered Jews are going to do: "swoop down" on Gaza and "plunder" Jordan. Gaza is the stronghold of the Palestinian Authority, along the coast.

Shepherd your people with your staff, the flock of your inheritance, which lives by itself in a forest, in fertile pasturelands. Let them feed in Bashan and Gilead as in days long ago. (Micah 7:14 NIV)

Bashan is the region of today's Golan Heights, and Gilead is south of there, in the northwestern part of Jordan. These areas were originally allocated to the tribes of Manasseh and Gad.

People from the Negev will occupy the mountains of Esau, and people from the foothills will possess the land of the Philistines. They will occupy the fields of Ephraim and Samaria, and Benjamin will possess Gilead. This company of Israelite exiles who are in Canaan will possess the land as far as Zarephath; the exiles from Jerusalem who are in Sepharad will possess the towns of the Negev. (Obadiah 1:19-20 NIV)

This very specific prophecy outlines the areas that Israel will gain. They include the east bank of the Jordan, the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, and southern Lebanon. It's interesting that it deals with most of the areas that are contested now, and then some.

God has spoken from his sanctuary: "In triumph I will parcel out Shechem and measure off the Valley of Succoth. Gilead is mine, and Manasseh is mine; Ephraim is my helmet, Judah my scepter. Moab is my washbasin, upon Edom I toss my sandal; over Philistia I shout in triumph." (Psalms 60:6-8 NIV)

Here is a royal decree, spoken directly from the throne room of the Lord. Is there any doubt as to the final disposition of Nablus (Shechem), where Joseph's tomb is located? Nablus has been a hotspot of violence in the current uprising, and is the largest Arab town in the "West Bank." But God has already decided to "parcel it out." The Valley of Succoth is on the east bank, as is Gilead. Manasseh, Ephraim, and Judah comprise most of what is today called the West Bank.

Concerning the Ammonites: This is what the LORD says: "Has Israel no sons? Has she no heirs? Why then has Molech taken possession of Gad? Why do his people live in its towns? But the days are coming," declares the LORD, "when I will sound the battle cry against Rabbah of the Ammonites; it will become a mound of ruins, and its surrounding villages will be set on fire. Then Israel will drive out those who drove her out," says the LORD. (Jeremiah 49:1-2 NIV)

In this, we sense a bit of astonishment on the part of the Lord, inquiring as to why Israel has not yet taken possession of the territory on the east bank that was allocated to her. Rabbah was the capital city of the Ammonites, and it is now called Amman, Jordan.

But I will bring Israel back to his own pasture and he will graze on Carmel and Bashan; his appetite will be satisfied on the hills of Ephraim and Gilead. "In those days, at that time," declares the LORD, "search will be made for Israel's guilt, but there will be none, and for the sins of Judah, but none will be found, for I will forgive the remnant I spare." (Jeremiah 50:19-20 NIV)

Once again, the same regions are mentioned, as well as the forgiveness that the Lord has in store for Israel.

Given the weight of Biblical evidence cited here, there can be little doubt that Israel will expand her boundaries. Could that day be very soon?

The area in red is the modern state of Israel.

The area in brown is Jordan.

The area in teal is Syria.

The area in green is Lebanon.

The gray area to the east of the Sea of Galilee in Biblical Bashan is the Golan Heights.

The gray area along the Mediterranean coastline in Biblical Philistia is the Gaza Strip.

The gray area in Biblical Manasseh, Ephraim, Benjamin, and Judah is the "West Bank."

Bob Westbrook 11/20/00