Pulpit Today Sermons
How the Bible Affirms Israel’s Borders
And Why it’s Important for Christians to Understand This
Robert D Pace
It happens all the time and in different ways: Hamas launches rockets into the land of Israel. Suicide bombers walk into Israel’s marketplaces. Deadly assaults continually claim Israeli lives. Uprisings foment toward the Jews worshiping at their Temple Mount. And it’s all aimed at showing the world that the Biblical land of Israel does not belong to the Jewish seed of Abraham. But what does the Bible say about this?
For the duration of this message I want to speak on the subject, How the Bible Affirms Israel’s Borders and Why this is Important for Christians to Understand. I will read my text momentarily, but I must first state this: the mandates that God sets forth in Scripture are important no matter what they are! And there are always consequences when people violate these mandates. While it is beneficial for national leaders and the general populace to support God’s mandates, it is imperative that Christians support them!
As Bible believers, God has placed a doctrinal responsibility upon Christians to acknowledge and affirm his determinations. And of the many tenets God has set forth in Scripture, he especially wants us to affirm his covenant objectives toward the Jews and their homeland. So with that said, let’s investigate the property rights of the Jewish people.
The Bible’s first mention of Israel is found in Genesis 12:1—3, and this is a good place to start our study:
The LORD had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. (2) “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. (3) [Here is God’s first harbinger concerning his people] I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.
How many here believe what God says in verse 3 that reads, “I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse”? [Wait for response] I trust that you do believe that, and that’s because God meant those words! It always works for our benefit when we love what God loves and support what he supports—especially regarding Israel’s land rights. (I’ll illustrate the importance of this later.)
At issue today—as has been for thousands of years—is the worldwide dispute regarding the rightful owners of the land that was once occupied by the ancient Canaanites, Jebusites, Perizzites, and Hittites—people that have long since disappeared. So who owns this property today? Do Christians, Muslims, Arabs, Palestinians, or is this territory part of the international community of nations?
God loves every person, tribe, and nation that he created. But while he loves the Palestinians in Gaza and the Arabs in the West Bank, the property that God bequeathed to Abraham in Genesis 12, belongs only to the Jewish people and no one else. The Bible is clear and certain about this, and if Christians are going to maintain a Biblical worldview, we must accept God’s proclamation about it.
Despite this, I have found, even among Christians, that many people disagree that the Jews own the property that the Bible has assigned to them. The question is, why is this so? Why has the world viciously challenged the rights of the Jewish people to their claim upon the Land of Abraham? There is an answer! It is because this is a spiritual battle that emanates from Satan himself!
Throughout the ages, Satan and his demonic forces have sought to lay claim to the one piece of real estate on Earth that God has etched his Name upon. Thus, the powers of darkness are literally inciting Israel’s enemies to launch missiles against them, falsely claim that the land of Abraham does not belong to the Jewish people, and threaten the welfare of Jews around the world. These are issues that will run hot until Christ himself settles the matter at his Second Coming.
It is my hope that by the end of this message everyone here will understand God’s holy determination for the land of Israel regarding who it belongs to.
(Transition) So how does the Bible affirm that the Jews are rightful heirs to the land they occupy, and even land beyond their jurisdiction today? There are three ways that the Bible makes this clear. First,
How the Bible Affirms the Jews are the Rightful Heirs of their Property
1. As Creator and Owner of this planet, God has sovereignly assigned the borders of Israel to the Jewish people.
One of the Bible’s clearest references to God’s ownership of this world is in Psalm 24 when it says, “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it.” That’s cogent, concise, and clear. As the creator of this planet, God is free to make autocratic decisions. Let me illustrate why this is so.
“In the beginning,” and out of nothing, God created the dirt, the rocks, the oceans, and all that is—even the celestial bodies! In other words, God didn’t borrow from anyone when he made the universe. He acted autocratically! It was his work, created for his glory! Thus, everything in Creation is at God’s divine disposal. He is free to make any decision he so desires!
Here is what Genesis 17:7—8 says about this:
I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you. (8) The whole land of Canaan, where you now reside as a foreigner, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God.
Here is what Moses is saying: it is the Lord himself—authorized by himself—that sovereignly etched Israel’s borders. Four thousand years ago, God assigned the Israelis a parcel of property unlike any other on the globe. The Bible repeatedly calls it the “Holy Land” (Psalm 78:54; Ezekiel 48:12; Zechariah 2:12). It’s a phrase indicating the sacredness of the land, and the fact that it belongs to God. One purpose includes bequeathing it to the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. That’s what Genesis 15:18 means when God said to Abraham: “Unto thy seed have I given this land.” And this is no obscure citation because the Bible discloses 55 references to the Israelis possessing this territory of the Middle East.
When you combine the Scriptures that outline Israel’s borders you discover they stretch from the Euphrates River in the North to the River of Egypt in the South and from the Jordan River in the East to the Mediterranean Sea in the West (Genesis 15:18; 32:28; Numbers 34:1–12; Joshua 15:20; 47).
(Map of Abraham’s Borders) At this point, Israel’s borders are about equal to the size of New Jersey. And yet the world insists that the Jews must surrender more real estate to the Palestinians if they want peace to reign in the Middle East. But folks, we must not listen to the opinions of the United Nations or any other organization of the world regarding this issue. If we want the blessing of God upon us we have to embrace God’s decrees.
(Transition) So, our first point shows that the Biblical borders given to Abraham have been arbitrarily determined by the Creator of the world. Now let’s move to the next point.
2. The second way God attests to Israel’s Biblically sanctioned borders is by his incomparable acts toward Israel and the Jews. Here’s what God told Moses as Israel was trekking through the desert toward Canaan:
Exodus 34:10—11 says: “Then the LORD said: “I am making a covenant with you. Before all your people I will do wonders never before done in any nation in all the world. The people you live among will see how awesome is the work that I, the LORD, will do for you. (11) Obey what I command you today. I will drive out before you the Amorites, Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites.”
Deuteronomy 4:32—35 says: “Ask now about the former days, long before your time, from the day God created human beings on the earth; ask from one end of the heavens to the other. Has anything so great as this ever happened, or has anything like it ever been heard of? (33) Has any other people heard the voice of God a speaking out of fire, as you have, and lived? (34) Has any god ever tried to take for himself one nation out of another nation, by testings, by signs and wonders, by war, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, or by great and awesome deeds, like all the things the Lord your God did for you in Egypt before your very eyes? (35) You were shown these things so that you might know that the Lord is God; besides him there is no other.
No other nation in history has seen God’s supernatural display toward them as the Israelis have experienced. None! The United States and other nations can testify that God’s hand has worked for them, but only Israel has experienced God’s dramatic and incomparable intervention!
I want to mention a few supernatural events Israel has experienced and let’s see if any other nation can compare. And the events I’ll mention will only pertain to Israel’s rights to their Promised Land:
I’ll start by mentioning how God inflicted supernatural plagues against Pharaoh and Egypt when he wouldn’t release the Jews. And as they started their journey toward the Promised Land the Lord parted the Red Sea.
And of course, there were the miracles God granted to Israel during their 40-year wandering through the wilderness: manna, water, and the gigantic cloud by day and pillar of fire by night.
Then, as the Israelites crossed the border into Canaan, God parted the Jordan River as the priests stepped into it with the Ark of the Covenant.
Once they entered the Promised Land, God supernaturally toppled the walls of Jericho. (The Nephilim had built the walls, thus only angels could topple them!)
Next, God halted the sun for Joshua to win a war against five kings of the “ites.”
And we should not discount the supernatural aspect of Bible prophecy. Each time a prophecy comes to pass, it testifies to Israel’s divine placement upon the map of human history. And thus far, scores of prophecies have come to pass—all affirming Israel’s providential placement upon this planet.
And this last one I’ll mention is one of the greatest wonders of all: the Old Testament prophets said that because of disobedience Israel would lose its status as a nation and the Jews would be scattered out to the world. But then, after many years, God would regather them to their native land. All this transpired according to the Holy Spirit’s prophetic forecasting. In 70 AD the Romans invaded the Holy Land, killed 1.6 million Jews, and they were scattered to 133 nations of the world. But then, in accordance with Bible prophecy, at the turn of the 20th Century, the Jews started remigrating by the millions to their homeland. The fulfillment of Bible prophecy affirms that the Land of Israel belongs to the Jews! Praise God!
Is it becoming clearer that God has etched the borders of Israel and that they belong to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob?
(Transition) Now let’s move to the third way God attests to the Jews’ rights to Abraham’s borders.
3. Nations have experienced divine retribution that have injured Israel, and this will continue happening until Christ returns. In other words, God is protecting his property!
I want to briefly show you how God’s retribution has afflicted nations that have harmed Israel:
From the time Abraham began claiming his boundaries 4000 years ago, he and his descendants have fought Philistines, Arabs, Persians, and every neighbor that surrounded them. And the Old Testament shows what happened to nations that impugned Israel. God dealt severely with them! Some nations even totally disappeared from the globe!
Then, when you move to the New Testament, you see that in the first and second centuries the Romans invaded Israel and killed over 1,680,000 Jews. Although God’s patience lingered for three centuries, in 476 AD God totally extinguished the Roman Empire! The Romans found out, first hand, that Genesis 12:3 is true when it says: “I will bless those that bless you and curse those that curse you.”
And notice what happened to the British Empire. For decades, Britain watched over Israel. But in the mid-1900s it abandoned its care for the Israelis. At one time the Brits could boast that, “The sun never sets on the British Empire.” But that boast has ended! Today, a Muslim mayor governs London!
(Transition) So you see, God’s protection of the boundaries of Israel proves that his Word is true and that the Jews are the rightful heirs of its property.
Israel’s Future Enemies
But let’s look to the future. Bible prophecy shows that there will be a huge battle for the property rights of Israel’s land in the last days. The prophet Zechariah prophesied it in Zechariah 12:1—5 when he shows that a coalition of nations will suffer severe consequences after seeking Israel’s harm:
The Lord, who stretches out the heavens, who lays the foundation of the earth, and who forms the human spirit within a person, declares: (2) “I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that sends all the surrounding peoples reeling. Judah will be besieged as well as Jerusalem. (3) On that day, when all the nations of the earth are gathered against her, I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations. All who try to move it will injure themselves. (4) On that day I will strike every horse with panic and its rider with madness,” declares the Lord. “I will keep a watchful eye over Judah, but I will blind all the horses of the nations. (5) Then the clans of Judah will say in their hearts, ‘The people of Jerusalem are strong, because the Lord Almighty is their God.’
(Explanation) Zechariah is painting his picture of the Battle of Gog and Magog. This battle is mentioned many times in the Old Testament (Ezekiel 38–39, Jeremiah 23 & 30, Psalm 83, Isaiah 29, Joel 2, Haggai 2, and Amos 3). Zechariah’s vision shows the nations converging upon Israel to displace it like a stone that burdens the land. But their efforts don’t injure the stone; it injures those that assail it.The Battle of Gog and Magog will secure Israel into its borders unlike any battle of human history!
We need to understand something. Since 1948, God has given Israel a place of permanence in their homeland and they will never again be uprooted. Never! Rocket fire, terrorism, or warfare will never expel them. They will remain in their homeland despite being a cauldron of controversy at the Endtime. But the nations better beware! Numbers 24:9 says, God “crouches as a lion” against Israel’s enemies.
In recent years, the United Nations has vigorously pursued a plan for the Palestinians to become an autonomous nation within the Biblically etched borders of Israel. I believe this proposal will come to pass in the not too distant future! This two-State solution demands that the Israelis surrender the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem, territory that encompasses the ancient regions of Judea and Samaria where Christ, the Prophets, and the Apostles ministered. Known as the “Land for Peace” doctrine, it comes with the pledge that Israel will have peace with its neighboring States as it surrenders land. But there is no way this “Land for Peace” doctrine will assuage the Arabs’ “ancient hostility” toward the Jews (Ezekiel 35:5). The antagonism and hatred toward the Jews will continue until Jesus returns!
Here is what Christians must remember: God has warned the world against “dividing his land” (Joel 3:2). The God who created 196,940,400 square miles of earth’s surface has sanctified a mere 12,000 square miles of landmass and called it the “Holy Land.” That means God has settled the issue! He has eternally etched the borders of Israel and the borders of Israel are non-negotiable! God has given the land of Abraham to the Jews forever!
I want to close by restating that grand promise from God to Abraham in our opening text: ‘I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you” (Genesis 12:3).