THE BIBLE & ECONOMIC RIGHTS

This is a controversial topic I know (largely because many have been taught that there are only 2 positions, when both of those positions are far worse than a 3rd position that has been tried many times in history and succeeded far better than any of the 13 forms of socialism or capitalism). The Bible, science and morality all line up on certain principles and it’s very clear and unambiguous. When human governments’ laws violate those, we should protest and have a duty to do so.

 All human philosophies have blind spots and suffer from the tyranny of ignorance. This is true of the conservatives and liberals as well. Conservatives rightly argue that it’s wrong to give free things to people who aren’t willing to work. Liberals rightly argue that we must ensure a basic living standard for all. BOTH of these are not just biblical, they are fundamental and objective and indisputable morality and precisely because of that, they are for the best good of all. It is also wrong and unbiblical to ignore the injustices of the past (look at what the Israelis asked the Egyptians for when they escaped from Egypt). 

 Please read this carefully. Conservatives, focus especially on how governments were REQUIRED by God to ensure equal ownership of natural resources. Even pagan govts were called wicked if they didn’t ensure a basic living standards and even major conservative icons like Reagan agree on this.  Liberals, keep strongly in mind the concepts that after natural resources are shared equitably, it is immoral to ask people to take what they are earning for their kids and dreams and give it to people who aren’t working, etc. PEOPLE MAY BE SINCERE AND TRYING TO FOLLOW TRUTH THEY KNOW, BUT IT IS NOT POSSIBLE TO CLAIM TO BE MORAL, TO FOLLOW BIBLICAL PRINCIPLES IN POLITICS/ECONOMICS, ETC, AND IGNORE EITHER OF THESE. PERIOD. THEY BOTH MUST BE ACCEPTED AND UNIFIED.

Proverbs 29:7 says, “The godly care about the rights of the poor; the wicked don’t care at all.”

Because of this and ~2,000 other verses on economics and many more on other human rights in the Bible, Christians pioneered most of the human rights campaigns in history, including economic rights of the poor. The campaigns for economic rights (Jubilee2000 which became ONE which succeeded with the Millenium Development Goals) have helped 1.3 billion people escape poverty in just the last 23 years and many still are heavily involved in that. But, some of the “ungodly” (which doesn’t equal wicked) are now admirably caring more about the structural rights of the poor than political conservatives do (but conservatives are individually more generous than liberals).

The Baptist theologian and pastor Raushenbusch wrote, “History is never antiquated, because humanity is always fundamentally the same. It is always hungry for bread, sweaty with labor, struggling to wrest from nature and hostile men enough to feed its children. The welfare of the mass is always at odds with the selfish force of the strong. The exodus of the Roman plebeians and the Pennsylvania coal strike, the agrarian agitation of the Gracchi and the rising of the Russian peasants, – it is all the same tragic human life. And in all history it would be hard to find any chapter so profoundly instructive, and dignified by such sublime passion and ability, as that in which the prophets took the leading part.” from “Christianity and the Social Crisis” by Walter Raushenbusch


What are these rights of the poor that the Bible speaks of anyway? What economic rights does the Bible delineate? There are many of them…at least 13 on economics alone that I’ve counted. Some deal with government responsibilities, some with church responsibilities and some with individual responsibilities.  This is important since there are some problems in society that are so structural that they require government involvement and it is impossible for individuals or churches to resolve them  on their own. This is a critical blindspot that political conservatives have (a liberal blindspot would be ignoring the truth that if adults are healthy, they should not be given free food, health care, etc. unless they work). 

John Newton wrote the song Amazing Grace which we love to sing. But, we forget that he and Wilberforce and the Quakers worked directly with the government to end the economic injustice of slavery. This was not something that could be accomplished at the individual or church level. It could only be solved at the government level. In the same way, there are some economic injustices that can only be solved at the governmental level (one being that unjust economics instituted by governments has been siphoning off ~$700 billion from the poor every year for decades).

The Bible economic system was in VERY simple form this (more details below and confirmations of why it was important from some secular sources):
1) EQUITABLE FOUNDATION-SHARE NATURE: God created all natural resources and He gave explicit instructions to Israel that all land/natural resources must be shared equitably among all people. This was permanent. Land could be leased but would always return to the original family after some years (the only exception to this was cit property. This gave each family enough resources to prove for its needs and be self-supporting and some capital to follow their dreams. Even to foreign government, God demanded that they provide all their citizens a minimum basic standard of living.

Even the conservative icon Ronald Reagan agreed, “Certainly no thinking American would dispute the idea that there should be an economic floor beneath which no citizen of this land should be allowed to live http://www.livedash.com/transcript/reagan/5916/HISTP/Wednesday_February_9_2011/559426/

People ranging from Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson to atheists like Voltaire and Rosseau to Chinese sages like Confucius and Mencius agree that this biblical concept of sharing all land/nature is the rational, just and ethical foundation for economics.

2)
FREE MARKET: Once there is an equitable free nation, then people can work and prosper depending on how hard they work, their creativity, supply/demand, etc. God demanded that trade be fair (and called those who violated this wicked).  Proverbs 31 shows an industrious woman engaging in free market activities admirably and there are many other places where industry and hard work are rewarded with wealth and honor.

3) MINIMIZE INCOME GAPS: While wealth is not a sin if gained honestly and people who work hard deserve to enjoy it and be rewarded, wealth must never be an idol. There are quite a few things that are a higher priority than wealth and we must keep these priorities in order if we want to have national security and avoid much higher levels of crime, instability, insecurity, terrorism, murder and war.

The Bible had many principles that minimized the income gap (banning the charging of interest, laws on gleaning and instructions to be generous to those in trouble as we would to God, tithe given to poor, etc.) and this was for the good of all.  One of my favorite writers, Ellen White, wrote:
“The Lord would place a check upon the inordinate love of property and power. Great evils would result from the continued accumulation of wealth by one class, and the poverty and degradation of another. Without some restraint the power of the wealthy would become a monopoly, and the poor, though in every respect fully as worthy in God’s sight, would be regarded and treated as inferior to their more prosperous brethren. The sense of this oppression would arouse the passions of the poorer class. There would be a feeling of despair and desperation which would tend to demoralize society and open the door to crimes of every description. The regulations that God established were designed to promote social equality. The provisions of the sabbatical year and the jubilee would, in a great measure, set right that which during the interval had gone wrong in the social and political economy of the nation.

These regulations were designed to bless the rich no less than the poor. They would restrain avarice and a disposition for self-exaltation, and would cultivate a noble spirit of benevolence; and by fostering good will and confidence between all classes, they would promote social order, the stability of government. We are all woven together in the great web of humanity, and whatever we can do to benefit and uplift others will reflect in blessing upon ourselves. The law of mutual dependence runs through all classes of society. The poor are not more dependent upon the rich than are the rich upon the poor. While the one class ask a share in the blessings which God has bestowed upon their wealthier neighbors, the other need the faithful service, the strength of brain and bone and muscle, that are the capital of the poor.” Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 534


Ellen White hit the nail right on the head and now very hard research confirms it. Robert Kennedy put it simply,
“I believe that, as long as there is plenty, poverty is evil.”

Watch this link on how big differences in income harm society:

http://www.ted.com/talks/richard_wilkinson.html

Let’s look at some principles on what God said governments are responsible to do, and not just the Israeli government but even secular ones like Sodom, Gomorrah and Babylon and then later churches and individuals.

THE BIBLICAL DUTY OF GOVERNMENTS TO ENSURE ECONOMIC JUSTICE FOR THE POOR
Many people say that the government should stay out of charity and helping the poor. But look at these verses and remember that this was in the time of the monarchy where the king collected the taxes and distributed them. The king was the government of the time. So, these principles apply to other governments as well. Note the red parts especially:

The Lord comes forward to pronounce judgment on the elders and rulers of his people: “You have ruined Israel, my vineyard. Your houses are filled with things stolen from the poor. How dare you crush my people, grinding the faces of the poor into the dust?”, demands the Lord, the Lord of Heavens Armies. Isaiah 3: 14, 15

So, the leaders were guilty of grinding the poor through some kind of stealing from them. This would most likely be extortionist taxes or things of that nature, possibly injustice in the courts.

Psalms 72 says, “1 Give your love of justice to the king, O God, and righteousness to the kings son.2 Help him judge your people in the right way; let the poor always be treated fairly.3 May the mountains yield prosperity for all, and may the hills be fruitful.4 Help him to defend the poor, to rescue the children of the needy, and to crush their oppressors….12 He will rescue the poor when they cry to him; he will help the oppressed, who have no one to defend them.13 He feels pity for the weak and the needy, and he will rescue them.14 He will redeem them from oppression and violence, for their lives are precious to him.”

The king’s job here was to defend, help and rescue the poor and rescue the children of the needy and crush their oppressors. Their lives are precious to him and a godly king and government should help those who are in need.

Jeremiah 22:15 “But a beautiful cedar palace does not make a great king! Your father, Josiah, also had plenty to eat and drink. But he was just and right in all his dealings. That is why God blessed him.16 He gave justice and help to the poor and needy, and everything went well for him. Isn’t that what it means to know me?”, says the Lord. 17 “But you! You have eyes only for greed and dishonesty! You murder the innocent, oppress the poor, and reign ruthlessly.

Here a godly king is compared to an evil king. Note that the godly king gave justice AND help to the poor. Justice is definitely a government function and it’s associated with helping the poor which also must be understood as a government function. These 2 concepts, justice and helping the needy are both part of a government’s function in the Bible. And they were not only the responsibility of Israel. God also expected other nations to help the poor. If they didn’t, it was sin.
“Sodom’s sins were pride, gluttony, and laziness, while the poor and needy suffered outside her door.“ Ezekiel 16:49

“King Nebuchadnezzar, please accept my advice. Stop sinning and do what is right. Break from your wicked past and be merciful to the poor. Perhaps then you will continue to prosper.” Daniel 4:27

Again Proverbs 29:7 says, “The godly care about the rights of the poor; the wicked don’t care at all.” The Bible is very clear that this applies to individuals, churches as most agree. But, it also is very clear that it applies to governments. Godly governments are ones that take care of the needy.

13 BIBLICAL ECONOMIC PRINCIPLES & INTELLECTUALS WHO AGREE WITH THEM

1.      GOD OWNS EVERYTHING, PEOPLE ARE CARETAKERS & STEWARDS OF GOD’S RESOURCES

2.      EVERY PERSON HAS A RIGHT TO LAND (and/or natural resources)

3.      JUBILEE SYSTEM (land can’t be permanently sold. It returns to original owners after 49 years, except if it’s in a city. Land and property in cities can be sold permanently.)

4.      CHARGING INTEREST IS EVIL (especially to the poor or relatives)

5.      CANCEL DEBTS EVERY 7 YEARS

6.      TRADE FAIRLY

7.      PAY FAIR WAGES

8.      CHARGE FAIR TAXES (maximum 1-2%) AND RENT

9.      SHARE & BE GENEROUS TO THE POOR

10.  BE INDEPENDENT—DON’T SUPPORT DEPENDENCY

11.  GIVE TITHES AND OFFERINGS

12.  AFTER TITHE, TAKE CARE OF YOUR FAMILY NEEDS (before sharing)

13.  SPIRITUAL LEADERS DESERVE FAIR PAY

 

 

=============================================================

1. GOD OWNS EVERYTHING, PEOPLE ARE CARETAKERS & STEWARDS OF GOD’S RESOURCES

===============================================================

       Psalms 24:1 The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to him.

The Mennonite church has a very good approach to this idea of stewardship.  It’s at: http://www.mennonitechurch.ca/about/cof/art.21.htm and they rightly connect the Jubilee economic principles to the Sabbath.

We acknowledge that God as Creator is owner of all things. In the Old Testament, the Sabbath year and the Jubilee year were practical expressions of the belief that the land is God’s and the people of Israel belong to God.8 Jesus, at the beginning of his ministry, announced the year of the Lord’s favor, often identified with Jubilee. Through Jesus, the poor heard good news, captives were released, the blind saw, and the oppressed went free.9 The first church in Jerusalem put Jubilee into practice by preaching the gospel, healing the sick, and sharing possessions. Other early churches shared financially with those in need.10


====================================================

2. EVERY PERSON/FAMILY HAS A RIGHT TO LAND (and/or natural resources)

====================================================

 Ecclesiastes 5:9 “9Moreover the profit of the earth is for all: the king himself is served by the field.”
      
Isaiah 5:8 Destruction is certain for you who buy up property so others have no place to live. Your homes are built on great estates so you can be alone in the land.
”You must distribute the land among the clans by sacred lot and in proportion to their size. A larger portion of land will be allotted to each of the larger clans, and a smaller portion will be allotted to each of the smaller clans. The decision of the sacred lot is final. In this way, the portions of land will be divided among your ancestral tribes.” Numbers 33:54

 “Divide the land within these boundaries among the tribes of Israel. 22 Distribute the land as an allotment for yourselves and for the foreigners who have joined you and are raising their families among you. They will be like native-born Israelites to you and will receive an allotment among the tribes. 23 These foreigners are to be given land within the territory of the tribe with whom they now live. I, the Sovereign LORD, have spoken!” Ezekiel 47:21-23
 “These towns will come from the property of the people of Israel. The larger tribes will give more towns to the Levites, while the smaller tribes will give fewer. Each tribe will give property in proportion to the size of its landNumbers 35:8


ABRAHAM LINCOLN: “The land, the earth, God gave to man for his home, sustenance and support, should never be the possession of any man, corporation, society or unfriendly government, any more than the air or water — if as much. An individual or company, or enterprise, acquiring land should hold no more than is required for their home and sustenance…, and never more than they have in actual use in the prudent management of their legitimate business, and this much should not be permitted when it creates an exclusive monopoly. All that is not so used should be held for the free use of every family to make homesteads and to hold them so long as they are so occupied….But when slavery is over and settled, men should never rest content while oppression, wrongs and iniquities are enforced against them.”  Abraham Lincoln

THOMAS JEFFERSON (1743-1826), author of the Declaration of Independence and with Ben Franklin the most inventive and intellectual of the Founding Fathers, wrote, “The earth is given as a common stock for men to labor and to live on… Wherever in any country there are idle lands and unemployed poor, it is clear that the laws of property have been so far extended as to violate natural right. Everyone may have land to labor for himself, if he chooses; or, preferring the exercise of any other industry, may exact for it such compensation as not only to afford a comfortable subsistence, but wherewith to provide for a cessation from labor in old age.” (Notes on Virginia, 1791)

JEAN JACQUES ROSSEAU (1712-1778): “You are undone if you once forget that the fruits of the earth belong to us all, and the earth itself to no one.” (Voltaire spoke similarly)

VOLTAIRE: “The fruits of the earth are a common heritage of all, to which each man has equal right.”

CONFUCIUS (BC 551-479), Chinese philosopher: “When the Great Way prevailed, natural resources were fully used for the benefit of all and not appropriated for selfish ends… This was the Age of the Great Commonwealth of peace and prosperity.”


WILLIAM BLACKSTONE (1732-1780), British judge: “The earth, therefore, and all things therein, are the general property of all mankind from the immediate gift of the Creator.”

 

HERBERT SPENCER (1820-1910), British philosopher and more famous than Marx at the time: “Equity does not permit property in land… The world is God’s bequest to mankind. All men are joint heirs to it.”

 

MAX HIRSCH (1877-1968), banker, investor, and author: “Abolish special privileges and Government interference in industry. Give to all equal natural opportunities, equal rights to the inexhaustible storehouse of Nature and wealth will distribute itself in exact accordance with justice.”

HORACE GREELY “Whenever the ownership of the soil is so engrossed by a small part of the community that the far larger part are compelled to pay whatever the few may see fit to exact for the privilege of occupying and cultivating the Earth, there is something very much like slavery.”

M. MORTIMER ADLER (a philosopher of politics and economics): “I slowly came to realize that political democracy cannot flourish under all economic conditions.  Democracy requires an economic system which supports the political ideals of liberty and equality for all.  Men cannot exercise freedom in the political sphere when they are deprived of it in the economic sphere.”

===============================================================

3. JUBILEE SYSTEM (land can’t be permanently sold. It returns to original owners after 49 years, except if it’s in a city. Land and property in cities can be sold permanently.)

===============================================================

(Read the whole chapter) “13In the Year of Jubilee each of you must return to the lands that belonged to your ancestors.  “23 The land must never be sold on a permanent basis, for the land belongs to me. You are only foreigners and tenant farmers working for me. 24 “With every purchase of land you must grant the seller the right to buy it back. 28 …In the jubilee year{every 50th year}, the land must be returned to the original owners so they can return to their family land.”  Leviticus 25 (the rest of the chapter explains that property in towns can be bought and sold permanently, except for the property of the Levites which they can always buy back).
“None of the territorial land may pass from tribe to tribe, for all the land given to each tribe must remain within the tribe to which it was first allotted…9 No grant of land may pass from one tribe to another; each tribe of
Israel must keep its allotted portion of land.” Numbers 36:7,9
Ezekiel 45:9 “For this is what the Sovereign LORD says: Enough, you princes of Israel! Stop all your violence and oppression and do what is just and right. Quit robbing and cheating my people out of their land! Stop expelling them from their homes!

 1 Kings 21:  When Ahab demanded that Naboth give him his land, Naboth replied, “The Lord forbid that I should give you the inheritance of my ancestors!” Under the laws of Omri/Baal, this was blasphemy against Baal and the king. Naboth and his heirs were executed and Ahab then took possession of it.  But there was an immediate and severe denunciation of this by the fierce prophet Elijah.  Elijah pronounced God’s sentence of death on Ahab, Jezebel and his whole dynasty for this crime:
1 Kings
21:19 “Say to him, ‘This is what the LORD says: Have you not murdered a man and seized his property?’ Then say to him, ‘This is what the LORD says: In the place where dogs licked up Naboth’s blood, dogs will lick up your blood-yes, yours!'”


In I Kg 22 and 2 Kg 9.7-10, the prophecy was fulfilled and Ahab’s dynasty was completely destroyed. The right to land based on the Jubilee was a crucial issue to God in this case. So important that through his prophet he pronounced a sentence of death because the King was violating the system of land and property that God had set up.

ANDREW CARNEGIE (1835-1919), the steel magnate: “The most comfortable, but also the most unproductive way for a capitalist to increase his fortune, is to put all monies in sites and await that point in time when a society, hungering for land, has to pay his price.”

 

ADAM MONROE: “No human being can live without using land. As long as some people must pay others for the right to use land, there will be poverty. Once all persons have an equal right to use land, poverty cannot exist. Nature is generous, she is the author of love and life, but her gifts must be allowed to flow freely throughout all of society; they must not be held for ransom. If they are, what will flow throughout society will be the opposite of life: pollution, anger, violence, hatred, suffering, confusion, war and death.” Adam Jon Monroe, Jr. Editor of “The Georgist News”

DOUGLAS MACARTHUR (1880-1964): Inspired by Henry George’s reform proposals, MacArthur saw to it that during his military governorship of Japan following the Second World War that land rent reform was incorporated in the writing of the Japanese Constitution. The new constitution reversed the portion of agricultural commodities collected as rent between owners (whose portion dropped to one-third of the total), and the tenants farmers who actually did the work (who were then able to retain two-thirds of what they produced).

 

Read more on this topic at: http://www.landreform.org/reading0.htm and especially on the Jubilee at:

http://www.landreform.org/wp9.htm

 

=======================================

4. CHARGING INTEREST IS EVIL (to poor or relatives)

=======================================

Psalm 15:5 Those who do not charge interest on the money they lend, and who refuse to accept bribes to testify against the innocent. Such people will stand firm forever.
Nehemiah 5:7 “You are oppressing your own relatives by charging them interest when they borrow money!” …You are selling them back into slavery again. How often must we redeem them?” And they had nothing to say in their defense. 9Then I pressed further, “What you are doing is not right!

WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?:  The charging of interest is amajor way that the rich become richer and the poor become poorer.  It also enables a person to make money by doing nothing which is very likely the reason that the Bible prohibits it.
Islamic banks have found a way to follow this better than Christians sadly.

From: www.islamvision.org/EvilsofInterest.asp

See also: http://www.ied.info/books/ed/debt.html#_Toc35644544 to understand the problem of debt traps and interest.  This whole book is brilliant at showing how economic systems of the present are designed to keep billions in economic slavery and siphon off the product of their work to the rich, a terrible form of theft


===========================

5. CANCEL DEBTS EVERY 7 YEARS

===========================

Deuteronomy 15:1 “1At the end of every seven years you must cancel debts. 2 This is how it is to be done: Every creditor shall cancel the loan he has made to his fellow Israelite. He shall not require payment from his fellow Israelite or brother, because the LORD’s time for canceling debts has been proclaimed.3 Be careful not to harbor this wicked thought: “The seventh year, the year for canceling debts, is near,” so that you do not show ill will toward your needy brother and give him nothing. He may then appeal to the LORD against you, and you will be found guilty of sin.” (NIV)

 

WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?:  Debts and especially interest cause the rich to get richer and the poor to get poorer very fast.  These extremes cause much instability in society.  This is why debts should be cancelled every 7 years.

See this link for why we should do this: http://www.ied.info/books/ed/debt.html#_Toc35644544

There are compelling reasons for paying attention to this potential for catastrophe as, every debt crisis in history since Solon of Athens has ended in inflation, bankruptcy or war, and there is no cause to believe we’ve solved this one, even if it has been postponed.(George, Fate Worse Than Debt, p. 196.)

 

In the 1800s, the United States defaulted on much of its development debt. An honest accounting would find the developed world owing the developing world for the destruction of their social wealth, the earlier enslavement of their labor, and the long term underpayment for their labor and resources.

 

Rutherford B. Hayes (19th U.S. President), from his personal diary, year not provided (between 1881-1891) December 4 Sunday. In church it occurred to me that it is time for the public to hear that the giant evil and danger in this country, the danger which transcends all others, is the vast wealth owned or controlled by a few persons. Money is power. In Congress, in state legislatures, in city councils, in the courts, in the political conventions, in the press, in the pulpit, in the circles of the educated and the talented, its influence is growing greater and greater. Excessive wealth in the hands of the few means extreme poverty, ignorance, vice, and wretchedness as the lot of the many

 

 

=============

6. TRADE FAIRLY

=============

Leviticus 19:35 “Do not use dishonest standards when measuring length, weight or quantity. 36Use honest scales and honest weights, an honest ephah and an honest hin. I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt.

Amos 8:4 Hear this, you who trample the needy and do away with the poor of the land… skimping the measure, boosting the price and cheating with dishonest scales, 6 buying the poor with silver and the needy for a pair of sandals, selling even the sweepings with the wheat.

 

WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?:
“The secret to siphoning away others’ wealth is the low-paid labor in the poor nations and high profits and high wages in the rich societies that have dominated global trade for centuries. Arjun Makhijani calculates that, through an imbalance of currency values, equally-productive labor in the world’s defeated, dependent nations were paid 20% that of the developed world, a 5-to-1 differential.(Arjun Makhijani, From Global Capitalism to Economic Justice (New York: Apex Press, 1992).)  Later currency collapses in the developing world may have doubled that differential to 10-to-1.
See:
http://www.ied.info/books/ed/externaltrade.html

=================

7. PAY FAIR WAGES

=================

       James 5:4 “For listen! Hear the cries of the field workers whom you have cheated of their pay. The wages you held back cry out against you. The cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty.”  (see also Malachi 3:5)

       Jeremiah 21:13 “Woe to him who builds his palace by unrighteousness, his upper rooms by injustice,  making his countrymen work for nothing,  not paying them for their labor….17 “your eyes and your heart  are set only on dishonest gain,  on shedding innocent blood  and on oppression and extortion.”

 

WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?: If fair wages are paid, then extreme inequalities will end and so will poverty because everyone will have enough to pay for what they need.  There are several kinds of slavery…and one of them is economic.  If a person doesn’t have economic freedom, then it is very likely that he will be forced or oppressed by someone else.

 

Leo Tolstoy wrote, “The essence of all slavery consists in taking the produce of another’s labor by force. It is immaterial whether this force be founded upon ownership of the slave or ownership of the money that he must get to live.”

 

See: http://www.ied.info/books/ed/externaltrade.html#_Toc35644427

As we have learned, in direct trades between countries, wealth accumulation advantage compounds in step with the pay differential for equally-productive labor. If the pay differential is 5, the difference in wealth accumulation advantage is 25-to-1. If the pay differential is 10, the wealth accumulation advantage is 100-to-1…If the pay differential is 60 (the pay differential between Russia and the victorious America [23-cents an hour against $14 an hour]), the wealth accumulation advantage is 3,600-to-1…Place a trader between those two unequally-paid nations to claim all surplus value both through outright underpaying in hard currency or through paying in soft currency and selling in hard currency, capitalize those profits by 10-to-20 times, and you have accumulated capital through capitalized value.11�

 

==========================================

8. CHARGE FAIR TAXES (maximum 1-2%) AND RENT

==========================================

Amos 5:11 “You trample the poor and steal what little they have through taxes and unfair rent…14Do what is good and run from evil–that you may live! ”

Ezekiel 45: 13″This is the tax you must give to the prince: one bushel of wheat or barley for every sixty[h] you harvest, 14one percent of your olive oil,[i] 15and one sheep for every two hundred in your flocks in Israel.

WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?: Unfair taxes can be another way for the rich to oppress the poor and siphon off their wealth.  When governments are within their proper limits, they shouldn’t need to have more than 1-2% taxes.  This can easily be provided and more by taxing only those who use natural resources.  No other tax is necessary or fair.  This kind of tax system will enable everyone who is willing to work to take care of their basic needs.  When governments become bloated and corrupted, then you need higher taxes.  But, this is not right or necessary.  It is very possible to operate a nation well according to God’s tax principles.

 

===============================================

9. DON’T HOARD/SHARE & BE GENEROUS TO THE POOR

===============================================

 

Deut. 15:7″But if there are any poor people in your towns…, do not be hard-hearted or tightfisted toward them. 8Instead, be generous and lend them whatever they need. If you refuse to make the loan and the needy person cries out to the LORD, you will be considered guilty of sin. 10Give freely without begrudging it, and the LORD your God will bless you in everything you do.

 Leviticus 19:9 ”When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. 10Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the alien. I am the LORD your God.

 2 Corinthians 8:13Of course, I don’t mean you should give so much that you suffer from having too little. I only mean that there should be some equality. 14Right now you have plenty and can help them. Then at some other time they can share with you when you need it. In this way, everyone’s needs will be met.

 “There is another serious problem I have seen under the sun. Hoarding riches harms the saver.” Ecclesiastes 5:13

  “Then he told them a story: “A rich man had a fertile farm that produced fine crops. He said to himself, ‘What should I do? I don’t have room for all my crops.’ Then he said, ‘I know! I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I’ll have room enough to store all my wheat and other goods. 19 And I’ll sit back and say to myself, “My friend, you have enough stored away for years to come. Now take it easy! Eat, drink, and be merry!”’  20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get everything you worked for?’

 21 “Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.” Luke 12:16-21

 

WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?:  Emergencies and disasters happen.  People need 2nd chances at becoming independent and self-sufficient.  If they do become self-sufficient, this will benefit the whole community, not just those who are helped.  Sharing with each other, especially the land and it’s resources with everyone working diligently will create something similar to the Age of Great Harmony that Confucius and Mencius in China talked about.

http://www.noogenesis.com/Confucius/harmony.html

When Confucius was sad about the state of the world he said in reply to a question as to why he was “overcome with sighs”: 

Confucius’ Great Harmony
When the
Great Way prevailed, the world community was equally shared by all. The worthy and able were chosen as office-holders. Mutual confidence was fostered and good neighborliness cultivated. Therefore people did not regard as parents only their own parents, nor did they treat children only their own children. Provision was made for the aged till their death, the adults were given employment, and the young enabled to grow up. Old widows and widowers, the orphaned, the old and childless, as well as the sick and the disabled were all well taken care of. Men had their proper roles and women their homes. While they hated to see wealth lying about on the ground, they did not necessarily keep it for their own use. While they hated not to exert their effort, they did not necessarily devote it to their own ends. Thus evil schemings were repressed, and robbers, thieves and other lawless elements failed to arise, so that outer doors did not have to be shut. This was called the age of Great Harmony (Ta Tung)

…Now the Great Way has fallen into obscurity, . . . Each one separately loves his own parents; each looks upon his own children only as his children. People take the wealth of natural resources and the fruits of their own labors as their own. . . . Castle walls and outer defenses, moats and ditches, are made strong and secure. . . .”

Excerpt only of his full reply. Hsiao, Kung-chuan (trans. F. W. Mote). A History of Chinese Political Thought. Vol. 1: From the Beginnings to the Sixth Century A.D. Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey, 1979, p. 125.

Noted Confucius: “To implement my principle is nothing more than being honest and just.”

==============================================

10.  BE INDEPENDENT—DON’T SUPPORT DEPENDENCY

==============================================

2 Thes. 3:10 “Even while we were with you, we gave you this rule: ‘Whoever does not work should not eat.’”

1 Thessalonians 4:11 Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, 12so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.

 

WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?:  When you create dependency in people, you are making them able to avoid the use of their skills and talents and you are causing them to be a drain on others and very likely the church.  If there are emergencies or unusual situations like orphans or widows or natural disasters, then help in any way possible is critical and necessary.  But, enabling someone to be lazy by getting handouts for free is directly against the Bible principles listed above.  A person who refuses to work should not be given food by those who work diligently.  We are to assist people to become independent and self-sufficient, NEVER dependent on us and our money.

 

A missionary in Africa, pastor David Wilkinson, stresses self-reliance this way:
“The Bible teaches that the person who is not willing to work should not eat, he says: ‘If you have 150 people who you feed on a daily basis, and you don’t have them lift a finger, you are disobedient to the Bible.’”

 

============================

11. GIVE TITHES AND OFFERINGS

============================

Malachi 3:8-12 “10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.”

 

WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?:  This is the recognition that God created everything and is the due that he asks of those who believe in Him and honor Him.  Many great businessmen were and are faithful tithe payers.  Some include: Woolworth, J.C. Penny, Hershey, Rockefeller, Colgate and many others.

 

New York Times best selling author Robert Allen shared his insights on money live on a radio show, The Mike Litman Show.  There were 7 skills (see them at: http://www.joshhinds.com/mlitman_articles/litman_rallen.html). 

 

The final skill was “SHARE YOUR MONEY”.  He said, “You’ve got to share your money. Frankly, for me, I pay my sharing first. Out of every dollar I get in, and out of every net profit that I get in, I pay 10% right off the top. It’s the first money that I spend and then I live on the rest and I save the next 10%, then I spend the rest on taxes and shelter and cars and whatever else.”

 

 

In Israel, tithe was used mostly for 3 things (the tithe in Israel may have been larger than 10%…with offerings it may have reached up to 25% of their income…but God promised that he would bless them if they followed this): To support priests, for religious festivals, for the poor/widow/orphans, etc.

 

==========================================================

12. AFTER TITHE, TAKE CARE OF YOUR FAMILY NEEDS (before sharing)

==========================================================

  1 Timothy 5:8If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

 

WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?: This verse brings out the point that after paying tithe, believers next most important responsibility is to take care of their own families. After that, we can share with others in need…then later we can pay for our wants and other basic things.

 

=====================================

13. SPIRITUAL LEADERS DESERVE FAIR PAY

=====================================

 1 Corinthians 9:3 This is my answer to those who question my authority as an apostle.[b] 4Don’t we have the right to live in your homes and share your meals?

WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?:  Everyone needs to make money to pay for basic expenses.  Money represents the value of your work and spiritual work is extremely valuable both for this life and for eternity (1 Timothy 4:8) and so it should be rewarded.  A pastor (like a King) must not hoard things and be luxurious.  But, he deserves to be paid decently for his work so that he can support his family. Spiritual leaders are some of the most important leaders in history because they were the main people responsible for educating people about how to live life, handle relationships problems, supporting the development of science, counsel people in trouble, act as peace makers and so much more. Their value to society is inestimable.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Experiencing how God’s truth energizes life!