Weekly Update: Land, blessing and borders

editor - 3 July 2020

In the whole debate about “annexation” and sovereignty, we are challenged as Christians to think deeply about the calling of the Jewish people. And our own calling.

So much of the debate – whether it is legal for Israel to “annex” territory, whether it will create conflict etc – is missing the point.

God has called the Jewish people – “Israel” – to possess and settle the land. Why? In order to live exclusively, to ignore the rest of the world, and to dominate others? No, on the contrary! Their calling is to be a. a holy nation, and b. a blessing to all the nations. God will only fulfill His plan with this world that He loves so much and for which He has paid what is most precious to Him, if the nation of Israel is re-united with the land of Israel.

The Bible tells us that the return of the Jewish people to the land that after the destruction of the Temple became known as “Palestine” will be God’s way of blessing the world. We have witnessed that over the last 100 years. In the first instance, Israel has been a blessing to the Arab Palestinians. Just compare the human rights and economic prosperity of Israeli Arabs with those of the citizens of all countries in the Middle East. And through their trusteeship/administration of the land, in the borders given by God, all nations will be blessed – in the borders given by God to those nations. Just look at how much the Jewish people have blessed the nations over the centuries, and how much Israel is a blessing today.

So where does the church fit in? Did the church replace Israel as God’s chosen vehicle for blessing the nations? Did Israel’s calling to possess the land terminate when God created the church at Pentecost?

No. The church’s calling, of course, is not to possess land or to determine the borders of nations. Our citizenship is in heaven, we eagerly look for our Saviour to return from heaven (Philippians 3). Our job is to go out and tell the nations about who God is. Not some God of our own Western/Greek invention, but the God of the Bible – the God who revealed Himself as “the God of Israel” and continues to reveal Himself to the children of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob – and who has promised that one day the “time of the Gentiles” will be finished, and He will come in glory to reign over the nations from Jerusalem in the midst of Jacob, on the throne of His father David (Luke 1).

Should Israel “annex” the West Bank? It is not for us Gentiles to say. It is God who determines the borders of nations, including Israel’s. All we can say to Israel is: turn from all idolatry, govern the land well, and be a blessing to all people.

Read Johannes Gerloff’s article on Biblical borders (below). Is it possible that Israel’s decision in 1967 not to possess Judea and Samaria – however well-intentioned – was a mistake? Perhaps it is only by really taking responsibility for these territories that Israel can truly become what it is intended to be. The de facto occupation and military administration must come to an end. All agree on that. The question is what replaces it. Israeli sovereignty over the whole area would require Israel to give the Palestinians full autonomy, and the Palestinians to accept some form of autonomy less than full statehood.

But that all depends on the Palestinians – and the rest of us – accepting the unique calling of the Jewish people, and supporting them in it, instead of condemning them. – for our own sakes, not for the sake of Israel!

Shabbat shalom,

Andrew Tucker
Editor-in-Chief – Israel & Christians Today

The Jewish people are coming home

On May 10 the blood-red sea of Jewish history in Ukraine separated for Tatyana as she boarded an El Al plane along with 52 passengers, leaving two millennia of diaspora behind for her ancient homeland – Eretz Israel. Read more..

Biblical and/or legal borders?

What is “Eretz Israel”? Is the “West Bank” foreign territory for Israel? How and when does God say Israel may claim sovereignty over these territories?

Johannes Gerloff writes: “Obedience to the original commission of the Creator to “cultivate and preserve the land” (Genesis 2:15) and a life in accordance with his will emerge as decisive elements considering the borders of the Promised Land.” Read more..

Palestinians and Israelis will both gain from what is wrongly being labeled West Bank “annexation.” According to Prof. Avi Bell, “a Palestinian state and a peace agreement are possible but not inevitable outcomes, whether Israel applies its law to part of Area C or not. The Palestinians will have the same path to a state either way: They need to end their maximalism and 11-year boycott of negotiations, stop funding terrorism, accept the right of the Jewish people to their state and get ready for some hard compromises.” Read more..

The Mandate for Palestine provided a unique formula that was intended to lead to peace: a Jewish homeland, and respect for the civil and religious rights of all people. According to Dr. Matthijs de Blois, the terms of the Mandate are still valid today: Read more..

The Islamic Quartet

Political power struggles continue within the Sunni world. One growing power block – opposed to the nations allied with Saudi Arabia – is the Islamist Quartet: Turkey, Pakistan, Qatar and Malaysia: Read more..

Fatah-Hamas reconciliation to fight “annexation” 

Fatah and Hamas have decided to work together to fight Israel’s planned extension of sovereignty over parts of the West Bank. For them, it is a matter of life and death. “Any plan that does not guarantee the establishment of an independent Palestinian state within the 1967 borders and which does not result in the division of Jerusalem, will be a disaster for both peoples, both Israeli and Palestinian.” Read more..

Fire and explosion at Iranian nuclear facilities 

Recent explosions and fires in nuclear facilities near Tehran reveal a battle behind the scenes. Israel is likely to be involved. Read more..

“El Shadday” – Video teaching by Johannes Gerloff

Episode 30 in the series of teachings by Israeli-based Bible teacher and journalist Johannes Gerloff:

“El Shadday” is the name by which the living God revealed Himself to the fathers of Israel. What is the meaning of this unique name and what is its significance for us?


“Riders” – Video teaching by Rev. Willem J.J. Glashouwer

Rev. Willem Glashouwer helps us understand God’s prophetic word, and how prophecy is being fulfilled in our generation.

The disciples’ three questions in Matthew 24:3 were: When will all of this happen? What will be the sign of Your coming? What will be the sign of the end of the age? Jesus gives them His answers. In the book of Revelation, John sees apocalyptic riders. Four ghost-riders in the sky: white, red, black and ashen/pale.


Scripture for the week: Luke 1:26-38

26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”


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