Mr Julius Malema, lately the leader of the “Economic Freedom Fighters” (EFF) is quoted as speaking as follows on the subject of land.
Occupy it, it belongs to you, it is your land, it is the land of your forefathers… I’m asking politely for the land to be returned, but if they don’t return it, I cannot guarantee what will happen next”.
For those not blessed with the art of subtlety, this is a threat of genocide on account of the ownership of land. Mr Malema seems to say that the land properly belongs to his people (a somewhat fluid concept), and not to those in whose hands it currently is.
Mr Malema is wrong. He is completely wrong.
Surely the best claim to be the owner of land is when Almighty God gives you the land. Who is going to argue with that. And God Almighty gave the land of Israel to the ancient Israleites, so you would think that they were the undisputed owners. And you would be wrong, because God said this to them:
The land shall not be sold for ever: for the land is mine; for ye are strangers and sojourners with me.
Even in Israel, the land did not belong to the Israelites. Their land belonged not to themselves, but to Almighty God. When he says “the land is mine”, then it means that it is his.
As the rightful owner of the land, God insisted for his people that the land return to its distribution by tribe and family every 50 years:
And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubile unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family.
…In the year of this jubile ye shall return every man unto his possession.
Consider the history of South Africa: which of the empires and tyrannies ruled for more than 50 years? Perhaps they would have endured if they had paid attention to the law of God.
You may think this applied in the past to the people of Israel only, and you would be wrong. The Psalms say this:
The earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.
It’s the whole world. He owns it all. He didn’t sell it to you.
It’s not your land. It’s not the scheming Mr Malema’s land, nor the land of his covetous followers. It’s not the ANC’s land. It’s not the majority’s land. The land did not belong to the Zulus when they fled to it from the terror, nor to the Sothos when they drove them back, nor to the Dutch when they settled the southern tip, nor to the English when they spread out towards East London, nor to the Xhosas when they met them there, neither to the French when they settled a very small number of persecuted Christians far away from the bloodbath they were planning, nor to the Boers when they fought for their republics, neither to the British Empire when they briefly steamrollered over the Boers to get the gold [and diamonds], neither to the Nationalist Party when they proclaimed it a land apart for themselves and others white enough to join in, and neither to the ANC nor their voters when they declared themselves the owners of all, and their government as the benefactors of men with the superior skin tones. The land belongs to none of these.
Who does the land belong to?
- To the original inhabitants?
- To the current inhabitants?
- To those who take it by war?
- To those who retake it by treachery?
- To those who demand it by intimidation?
Not to any of these. The land belongs to God. Any arrangement you make that ignores his ownership and ignores his law is doomed to failure. Even if it does succeed and you gain the land and more than you hope for, you will still fail:
For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
Meanwhile, the meek obtain what they hope for in Jesus Christ, and those whose hope is in this world will lose everything:
For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.