That ‘Chunk of Dirt’ They Call Home
In an open letter that ran in 2002 on the opinion page of the Fox News website, someone suggested—tongue in cheek—that Israel relocate to the Baja Peninsula in Mexico. Highlighting the benefits of wonderful beaches, a larger land mass, and no terrorists, he asked, “You [Israel] think God cares about what chunk of dirt you call home?”1
Actually, God does care. As the executor of a covenant promising a specific land to Abraham and his descendants forever (Gen. 15:7; Jer. 7:7), God explicitly spelled out the borders in Scripture, repeatedly underscoring that the “chunk of dirt” in the Middle East is the homeland of the Jewish people (Gen. 15:18–21).
Moses declared, “If any of you are driven out to the farthest parts under heaven, from there the Lᴏʀᴅ your God will gather you, and…bring you to the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it” (Dt. 30:4–5). The consistent, compelling precedent of history underscores this truth.
Every prophetic book of the Old Testament except Jonah speaks of a future, permanent return to the land of Israel that will be so spectacular the Exodus from Egypt will pale by comparison:
It shall no more be said, “The Lᴏʀᴅ lives who brought up the children of Israel from the land of Egypt,” but, “The Lᴏʀᴅ lives who brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north and from all the lands where He had driven them.” For I will bring them back into their land which I gave to their fathers (Jer. 16:14–15).
The prophet Ezekiel said, “Thus says the Lord Gᴏᴅ: ‘I will gather you from the peoples, assemble you from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel’” (Ezek. 11:17).
The prophet Jeremiah declared,
“For behold, the days are coming ,” says the Lᴏʀᴅ, “that I will bring back from captivity My people Israel and Judah ,” says the Lᴏʀᴅ. “And I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it” (Jer. 30:3).
Although spoken at the beginning of the Babylonian Captivity in 586 B.C., the context of Jeremiah’s prophecy indicates that its fulfillment goes far beyond the return from Babylon. It speaks of a final return from “all nations where I have scattered you…in the latter days” (vv. 11, 24).
Israel’s homecoming is certain, though incremental.2 According to Jeremiah, outside forces will influence the final return: “‘Behold, I will send for many fishermen,’ says the Lᴏʀᴅ, ‘and they shall fish them; and afterward I will send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain and every hill, and out of the holes of the rocks’” (16:16).
It is significant that in the early 1800s the “baying hounds of anti-Semitism” added urgency to the modern Zionist movement.3 Wrote Barbara W. Tuchman: “Always it was pushing, pushing the Jews, some toward nationalism and Palestine, others toward escapism and assimilation.”4
Ezekiel’s vision of the valley of dry bones reaffirms a two-stage return. The bodies that come to life where only dry bones had been (Ezek. 37:1–14) imply an initial return and restoration in unbelief: “there was no breath in them” (v. 8). God then promises, “I will put My Spirit in you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land” (v. 14).
In the second half of the vision, “breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great army” (v. 10).
Surely I will take the children of Israel from among the nations, wherever they have gone, and will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land. Then they shall dwell in the land that I have given to Jacob My servant, where your fathers dwelt; they shall dwell there, they, their children, and their children’s children, forever (vv. 21, 25).
The prophet Isaiah told the Israelites that after an initial, partial regathering to their homeland in unbelief, God will “set His hand again the second time to…assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth” (Isa. 11:11–12). The modern State of Israel is only a preview of that final regathering.
God’s promise is unambiguous. The land of Israel belongs to the Jewish people, and He does not intend for them to abandon it for another geographic location, no matter how attractive it may be—including the Baja Peninsula.
- Ken Layne, “How ‘Bout Relocating Israel to Mexico?” April 2, 2002 <foxnews.com/story/0,2933,49353,00.html>.
- Thomas Ice, “Modern Israel’s Right to the Land,” Pre-Trib Research Center <http://ldolphin.org/landrights.html>.
- Barbara W. Tuchman, Bible and Sword: England and Palestine From the Bronze Age to Balfour (New York: Ballantine Books, 1956), 226–227.
- Ibid, 227.