The borders of Israel are the subject of heated international debate, but a look at prophetic literature shows a clear and surprising picture: the Messianic age will feature an Israel that encompasses the entire world. Haters of Israel can interpret this in a negative light, but the truth is a utopian vision of universal brotherhood.
The borders of Israel cannot be described in absolute terms because they have changed frequently. Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh, head of the Gal Eini religious Zionist movement, taught that there were actually three different sets of borders described in the Bible and one that came later in history. The final set of borders is described in prophetic teachings.
- The borders promised to Abraham in the book of Genesis, which extended from the river of Egypt to the Euphrates (Genesis 15:18-21). This was much larger than any of the other descriptions in the Bible.
- The borders described in the Bible before the Israelites entered the land (Numbers 34:6).
- The borders established by conquest after six years of battle by those who entered the Holy Land with Joshua (Joshua 13).
- The borders of those Jews who returned from the Babylonian exile, which were substantially smaller than before the exile.
Rabbi Avraham Arieh Trugman, director of Ohr Chadash Torah Institute, explained to Breaking Israel News that these changes are because Israel’s borders are not firmly established or part of a political or military process. Israel’s borders are part of a spiritual process, even in modern times.
“Israel’s borders are flexible because our merit to be here is dependent on our actions and our relationship with God,” he said. “In the last 68 years of modern Israel’s history, the border has changed many times, describing a developing relationship.”
The final borders of Israel are described in the Pesikta Rabbati, a collection of homilies and midrash (oral teachings) compiled by Torah sages in the ninth century CE. Unlike the previous four descriptions of the borders of Israel, the final prophetic description does not describe geographic boundaries specific to Israel, but a unifying global spiritual process.
“In the future the land of Israel will spread [and encompass] all the lands [of the earth]. The entire Temple Mount will become like the Holy of Holies, all of Jerusalem will become like the Temple Mount, all of Israel will become like Jerusalem, and all of the world will become like Israel.”
Rabbi Yitzhak Batzri, a noted Kabbalist from Jerusalem, explained this prophecy to Breaking Israel News.
“This prophecy can easily be misunderstood to be racist, as if the Jews are supposed to conquer the world. But it is actually the opposite. The world will become one, united. Jews and non-Jews will join together in serving God, and contrary to what has happened throughout history, the non-Jews will help Israel to serve God.
“Just as the Temple expands to include all of Israel, the Jews will all become as priests, helping them to serve God. This will elevate the Jewish people, making all of Israel like Jerusalem, and the nations like Israel.”
Rabbi Trugman agreed with this explanation. “In the times of the moshiach (Messiah), the borders will change again and the whole world will turn into Israel, meaning the entire world will become holy and serve one God like Israel is holy and serves one God,” he told Breaking Israel News.
Rabbi Trugman expanded on the idea, explaining how this process will be a reversal of the history of the Jewish exile.
“We were brought together in Israel, but because of our sins, we went into exile and spread around the world. That spread Torah and holiness out into the world. We are told, paradoxically, that we have to come back into Israel in the geula (redemption) because moshiach has to emanate out from Israel,” he explained. “Theoretically, in exile, we were in a better position to spread the Torah and the holiness when we were spread out among the nations.”
The seeming contradiction, he said, is a tikkun (fixing) in Kabbalistic mystical terms.
“The holiness has to become concentrated in Israel when the Jews bring it back to Israel, and then spread out into the world in a fixed redemptive manner,” the rabbi explained.
Since we see that Israel’s borders are not only outlined in the Bible but also in prophecy, any decisions pertaining to them have spiritual implications. Making Israel smaller is not only a political recipe for failure and more conflict, it is a pushing the world further away from Messiah.