Israel’s Future Borders

Summary

The current land disputes with Israel over the so-called “occupied territories” will be relatively short-lived. Bible prophecy points to a soon-coming age (the Millennium) when the people of Israel (Abraham’s descendants, the Jews) live at peace within the boundaries promised unconditionally to Abraham. Those boundaries span from the River Jordan in the east to the Mediterranean in the west, and embrace the disputed territories of the West Bank and Gaza. It is interesting to observe that the boundaries given to Moses as he was about to divide up Canaan for the twelve tribes (Numbers 34) correlate well with the Millennial boundaries given in Ezekiel 47.

Biblical Borders: The Future Borders of Israel According to the Bible

See also Israel’s Borders in International Law

The current borders of Israel are disputed by the international community, from the UN to the Arab leadership. But these parties insist on ignoring the true legal position, link. Even the US, Israel’s greatest ally makes misleading statements:

We believe the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines [Barack Obama, 2011]

Obama gave US support for a future Palestinian state based on borders that existed before the 1967 Middle East war. Thankfully, Israel’s border disputes will be short-lived. When this age ends and the 1,000 year ‘Millennial Age’ of earth begins, Israel’s borders will be firmly established by the God of Israel. In fact, Israel’s future borders are already clearly written in Bible prophecy (if only the world would read it).

The Promised Land: Israel’s Biblical Title Deeds

God promised that He would give all the land of Canaan to Abraham and his descendants. He made a covenant with Abraham:

To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt (traditionally taken as the Nile) as far as the great river, the River Euphrates (Gen 15.18)
I will fix your boundary from the Red Sea to the sea of the Philistines (Gaza coast), and from the wilderness to the River Euphrates (Exod 23.31)

Despite Israel’s future disobedience, this promise was unconditional in that the land was to be theirs forever; no strings attached:

I will give to you and to your descendants … all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession (Gen 17.8)

borders of Israel

Fig.1: The 12 Tribes of Israel. Image: Biblical Maps. Enlarge

Where was Canaan, this “Promised Land”? Where did the twelve tribes of Israel settle? They settled mainly in the area currently referred to as Israel, including the West Bank, Gaza and the Golan Heights, although the tribes of Benjamin, Gad, Reuben and part of Manasseh settled east of the Jordan (Fig.1). So there we have it: Abraham’s descendants, Isaac, Jacob and the twelve tribes of Israel are promised their own land, their own piece of real estate in the region we now call Israel.

Location of Israel’s Future Borders

Let’s try and identify the biblical geographic boundaries. As the Israelites conquered more territory the term ‘Canaan’ was gradually applied to all the lands west of the Jordan valley, and there are references to Canaanites living in the valleys and plains of this region (Num 13.29)(Josh 11.3)(Judg 1.27). In time the LORD gave more detail of the geographical boundaries. For example, in Num 34.1-12 we find the boundaries given to Moses as he was about to divide up Canaan for the twelve tribes. These are:

  • Western: the Mediterranean Sea
  • Eastern: from Kadesh-barnea, via Zin and the salt sea to Zedad and Hamath in the north
  • Southern: from Kadesh Barnea to the Brook of Egypt (probably not the Nile)
  • Northern: from the Mediterranean Sea (Mount Hor) to Hamath to Zedad

The boundaries defined in Numbers 34 are shown in Fig.2 and in Ezek 47.13-20 we find more boundary detail which confirm these boundaries. It is clearly stated that the Jordan is the eastern boundary (v18) and the western boundary (the Mediterranean Sea) goes north as far as ‘opposite Hamath’ (v20). The southern boundary is defined by a ‘brook’ in Num 34.5 and Ezek 47.19 and by a ‘river’ in Gen 15.18. Note that this is most likely not the Nile, link, link.

The significant point here is that many understand Ezek 47 (in fact, Ezek 40-48) to describe Millennial Israel. And it is interesting to see how the Old Testament boundaries in Num 34 align closely with Israel’s future borders in Ezek 47.

borders of Israel

Fig.2: Israel’s past and future borders. Image: Emmanuelm [CC-BY-3.0], Wikimedia Commons

Future (equal) land Division

Historically, the tribes occupied only some of this land and, as already mentioned, in addition occupied some land east of the Jordan (see also Israel’s History). Under Moses, the land was divided according to the size of each tribe (Josh 13) and so resulted in very unequal division e.g. the tribe of Manasseh took a large share. In contrast, Ezek 47 and 48 state that the land in Millennial Israel will be divided equally between the tribes, and in an east-west way (parallel sections):

The Sovereign Lord said, “These are the boundaries of the land that is to be divided among the twelve tribes … I solemnly promised your ancestors that I would give them possession of this land; now divide it equally among you. (Ezek 47.13-14)

So each tribe will have one portion, starting with Dan in the north and ending with Gad in the south, and all sections run east-west, Fig.3. There are several important points to note here.

Fig.3: Future equal land division between the 12 tribes of Israel. ENLARGE

borders of Israel

Fig.4: Future land allocation around Jerusalem according to Ezekiel 45,48 (sizes in cubits). The Holy Place denotes outer and inner courts, temple and altar. ENLARGE

The LORD’s Temple

Firstly, there will be a portion of land between the section for the tribe of Judah and the section for the tribe of Benjamin that is “set apart for the LORD” (Ezek 45.1-5, 48.8-22). Why? Recall that one day soon, in the Millennial age, the law will emanate from Zion (Mic 4.2). In the Old Testament, Zion came to mean Jerusalem, and the temple area in particular. This indicates that Christ will rule from some future temple and it’s surrounding area. In fact, Messianic Jews expect such a temple to be built in the near future, and we find a graphic description of such a temple in Ezek 40-48.

So the land “set apart” must include a holy place for the LORD’s temple or sanctuary. It’s precise dimensions are given in Ezek 45.1-5 and it is in the center of this special section of land (see Fig.4). It is the place of Christ’s throne on earth – a glorious place in the midst of the children of Israel. This is the place described as “THE LORD IS THERE” (Ezek 48.35).

Son of man, this is the place of My throne and the place of the soles of My feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel forever (Ezek 43.7)
The glory of Lebanon will come to you, the juniper, the box tree and the cypress together, to beautify the place of My sanctuary; And I shall make the place of My feet glorious (Isa 60.13)

Israeli-Palestinian Problem Solved

We should also ask, “What of the non-Jewish population – those who currently war against the Jews?” In the coming age this conflict is resolved by the LORD. Israel is instructed by God to treat “the stranger” (non-Jews) as one of themselves and let them live in the land:

“… and for the strangers who dwell among you and who bear children among you. They shall be to you as native-born among the children of Israel; they shall have an inheritance with you among the tribes of Israel. And it shall be that in whatever tribe the stranger dwells, there you shall give him his inheritance,” says the Lord God (Ezek 47.22-23)

This of course is nothing new. Thousands of years ago God instructed Moses to tell the people of Israel how they should treat foreigners (non-Jews). They were commanded to love “strangers” and to let them live normal lives amongst them (Deut 10.19):

When a stranger resides with you in your land, you shall do him no wrong … (he) … shall be to you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself (Lev 19.33,34)

So under the new (Millennial) borders of Israel, God repeats this instruction via the prophet Ezekiel. During an interview in 1989, Arial Sharon was asked: “Do you think of Arabs as your friends, neighbours, your enemies?” He replied:

From my childhood, I have believed Jews and Arabs can live together, and I believe now they should live together. All the rights to this country, to the land of Israel – especially Judea and Samaria – are Jewish … but everyone who lives in the country should have all the rights of the country”. [Ariel Sharon, TIME, April 1989]

Unfortunately, as long as Arab countries refuse to recognize Israel and continue to attack her, such peaceful cohabitation is impossible. But it will happen in the Millennial age under Christ’s rule.

A Border Discrepancy?

At first sight it appears that there is some discrepancy in the northern boundary, since initially God told Abraham this boundary would be the River Euphrates, much further to the north (Gen 15.18). The kingdoms of David and Solomon did indeed stretch from the river of Egypt on the Sinai peninsula (not the Nile), across the Syrian Desert to Tiphsah on the Euphrates, but the Euphrates boundary is absent from Num 34 and Ezek 47.

A possible explanation is that God is giving boundaries for two time periods. At the Second Coming of Christ, link, there will be significant geological changes in the Middle East (Zech 14.4,10)(Isa 11.15,16) and one of these is the drying up of the Euphrates (Rev 16.12). So whilst the Euphrates served as a boundary for David and Solomon, it virtually ceases to be a landmark in the Millennium.

Comparison with Today’s Borders

It is interesting to compare the future biblical borders and land division with the current situation in Israel. Clearly, the future borders include both the Gaza strip and the West Bank! They also include significant parts of present-day Syria i.e. up to Hamath, and probably all of Lebanon. Are the politicians listening?


22 comments

  1. The prophecy you so beautifully quote “And I will give unto thee (O Abraham), the land wherein thou art a stranger, ALL THE LAND OF CANAAN (Palestine), for an ever-lasting possession, and I will be their God GENESIS 17:8. Also GENESIS 13:15 and EXODUS 32:13. Poor Abraham (pbuh) did not receive a single square foot of land FREE! (b) “And he (God Almighty) gave him (Abraham) NO inheritance in it, NO, NOT SO MUCH TO SET HIS FOOT UPON; but he (God) promised that he would ,give it to him for a possession . . .” ACTS 7:5

    1. You can own land without even setting foot in it. It was left to Abraham’s descendants (as stated in Gen 17.8) like David and Solomon to actually live in the land. And today Abraham’s descendants (the twelve tribes of Israel) are returning to the promised land as prophecy says. There has been over 7400% increase in Jews in ‘Canaan’ since 1900.

  2. we know not the “time” nor the “season” not even the “son” only the “Father” knows. occupy til i come he says,,,dont be surprised if you find yourself here when the “man of sedition” arrives,,otherwise who would those be that is said to,,be brought up before him to be tortured and put to death for not accepting him as the messiah

    1. dalyma ….WRONG….you have succumbed to the “scribes” of whom Jesus warned us to “beware”. Turkey Day…..if you’re American you think of “Thanksgiving” because Turkey Day is a euphemism for Thanksgiving. The Jews have language euphemisms too. Jesus quoted a Jewish euphemism, twice. “Of that day and hour no man knoweth” is not to be taken literally no more than Thanksgiving is a day for literal turkeys (not a good day to be killed and eaten for any turkey). Of that day and hour no man knoweth is a Jewish euphemism for “Rosh Hashanah”. Jesus told us (through a euphemism) that his return would be on Rosh Hashanah…some year. That holiday can fall on either of 2 days because it is determined by sighting the new moon. And no one knew which day until the moon was sighted. It’s not regular because the moon is on a 27 1/2 day cycle so it could be the 27 or 28th day. No one knew until it happened. BUT the rapture WILL happen on Rosh Hashanah….some year.

  3. Dear brethren, please also not that the GREAT sign spoken about in Revelation took place in the heavens directly above Jerusalem on the 23rd September 2017. We have also had the blood moon tetrad taking place ON God’s Holy feast days! And so many other signs, including the solar eclipse that just happened across USA and another to take place 7 years from now that will make a large CROSS over USA! There are to be 7 years of Tribulation before Jesus Christ steps foot in Jerusalem to take His throne. The Antichrist has now been revealed and those of us who are eagerly awaiting His Coming in the clouds to catch up His READY bride to meet Him in the air – the Resurrection of the dead preceding the Rapture of those who are yet alive – are ALL on the edge of our seats!!! There is no doubt as far as we can see that the Return of Jesus Christ to collect His READY bride is IMMINENT! We are told over and over again to KEEP WATCH! I am sounding the ALARM!!! Jesus is about to Come to get His READY bride! The Antichrist will try and destroy God’s children with the mark of the beast – that looks to be DNA changing RFID chip to go in the forehead or right hand according to the book of Revelation and just as we see has already started taking place!!! KEEP WATCH! And GET READY! SURRENDER ALL TO JESUS CHRIST NOW NOW NOW!!! God bless & keep & save ALL His children, bring us all to repentance and safely Home.AMEN! & I pray for His creatures too! In Jesus I pray all my prayers. AMEN🙏✝✡🕊💘💔💞💖💛❇️🙌🕊💛🌈 HalleluYah! AMEN! Humble servant of YHWH Almighty God, Creator of the Universe, the God of Israel, in Jesus Christ. 🙏✝God sent His only Begotten Son that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have Everlasting Life. ~ John 3:16. PLEASE ALL BELIEVE IN JESUS CHRIST WHO DIED ONCE FOR ALL FOR THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS! AMEN! DO NOT TAKE THE MARK OF THE BEAST OR YOU WILL PERISH! FOLLOW JESUS EVEN UNTO DEATH & AND ENTER INTO LIFE EVERLASTING WHERE THERE ARE NOT WORDS TO DESCRIBE THE JOY WE WILL FEEL! I LOVE YOU ALL IN JESUS! JUST COME HOME! AMEN!

    1. Amen!
      Marantha!
      One day, very soon Christ Jesus will rule and reign from Jerusalem
      In Christ
      Mellany McKenzie

    2. “The Antichrist has now been revealed and those of us who are eagerly awaiting”. May I ask who has been declared the anti Christ?

  4. Jesus clearly states that when the fig tree / Israel puts forth new shoots – Israel was born again in one day in 1948, just as it is Written – THAT generation would not pass until all things be fulfilled. A generation according to God’s Word is three score years and ten, 70 years. 1948 + 70 = 2018!!!

    We are clearly told that TIME would be CUT SHORT or no flesh would survive – we only have to look at how many weapons of mass destruction are on this earth to see why! Jesus rose from the grave BEFORE dawn of the THIRD DAY. A day is as a thousand years – see book of Peter for a witness, study to find the others – so He will not wait until the END of the third day, or the middle of it but BEFORE DAWN of the third millienium from when He came to earth – at the end of the fourth Millenium from Adam. If you consider that God starts His 24 hour day from sunset to sunset and His 12 hour day from 6am – Jesus died on the Cross at the 9th hour – then 5778 is surely passed the sunset of the day! And into the start of the night portion of the 7th day, 7th Millenium! Amazing! Exciting! Is Jesus about to Come to Resurrect the dead and Rapture His READY bride elect – 5 wise, 5 foolish, not all of His bride will be READY! GET READY! Jesus is about to Come for His bride!!! God bless you all and bring all His children safely Home in Jesus Christ. AMEN🙏✝✡🕊💘💔💞💖💛❇️🙌🕊💛🌈 His humble servant. Gabrielle Mary+X

  5. He will return at an hour you think not.
    All we can do is watch bible prophecy play out and keep a sharp eye on Israel and Jerusalem especially.

    1. I agree that he returns at a time we can’t know. I disagree that all we can do is watch bible prophecy play out. Numerous scriptures talk about praying for Israel & Jerusalem (such as Isaiah 62:6-7).

      Furthermore, the significant sign of Jesus coming is the gospel being preached to all nations (Matt 24:14) and as followers of Jesus he gave us a command to proclaim the Gospel to all nations in the famous great commission in Matthew 28:18-20 (note not a suggestion but a command and if we love Jesus we will obey his commands-John 14:15, 23, 15:16). We are meant to hasten the day (2 Peter 3:12). When Jesus told his disciples that they would not know the times he also said that they would be his witnesses. Every believer will stand before the judgement seat of Christ (2 Cor 5:10, 1 Cor 3:10-14, Romans 14:10-12) and give account for what we did to advance the gospel to all nations. Start praying fervently that the Lord of the harvest would send out (ekballo in Greek ) laborers into the harvest field (Matt 9:37-38) so that our beloved bridegroom, the Great King, the Lord of heaven and Earth, who will come to judge the world and make all things right can return.

  6. Jeremiah 51

    1This is what the Lord says:
    “See, I will stir up the spirit of a destroyer
    against Babylon and the people of Leb Kamai

    2 I will send foreigners to Babylon
    to winnow her and to devastate her land;
    they will oppose her on every side
    in the day of her disaster.

    How right God is.
    Babylon (modern Iraq) was known as a Garden (Hanging Gardens) in antiquity.
    Because of their treatment of Israel, they were destroyed by God.
    To this day, Syrians live in a desert without proper agriculture.

    Indeed it has become a den of jackals. To. This. Day. (Sic).

  7. Personally, I believe that we are AT PRESENT living in the Millenium. CHRIST IS REIGNING NOW – and has been for the past 2,000 years or more.

    1. Hi Noel – When Christ returns as King He will rule the whole earth from Jerusalem for 1000 years (Zech 14.9)(Rev 20.4,6). If we are now in the Millennium, where is He?

  8. Please keep in mind that this is the Hebrew year 5777 – that is, according to the Hebrews, 5777 years since creation – NOT 6017 years as our modern calendar would have us believe.

    In other words if we as believers think that the “Second Coming” of Jesus should be 4,000 from creation plus 2,000 since the First Advent (to make 6,000 years of a working week [6 days]) and then a Millenium (1,000 years = 1 Sabbath Day) of Jesus reigning – then the “Second Coming” would have to had taken place around about the year 2,000 AD. Clearly it didn’t.

    Perhaps we have to wait ANOTHER 233 years BEFORE the 6,000 years are complete. (6,000 -5777 =233). THINK ABOUT IT.

    1. Thank you for your comments. Yes, we accept we are in the year 5777. But the 4000 years and 2000 years are very nominal figures and not accurate to tens of years. So Christ’s exact return date is not given in scripture and no one knows it except the Father. Yes – we believe in a nominal 6000 years of human government plus 1000 years of kingdom rule making a complete 7000 years on this earth. But again, exact dates are not given or possible!
      Kind regards
      Geoff

    2. If we are in the Millennium, the Rapture would have been long time ago. Our bodies should have been changed and mortality swallowed by immortality…Hmmmm…Why some of us are still dying?

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