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September 2017
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September 24th, 2017

Blood and Money
A Biblical View of Stewardship
&
Foundation for Economic Thinking
 
  Economics: Temporal Redemption

Book 1 in the Blood & Money Economic Stewardship Series

 
 -by Wayne C. Sedlak, ICHR
 
 Copyright ©2013 A&D Net Enterprises, Ltd.
 
 

1. Information and World View.

 A true story is told of a factory supervisor who needed a machine repaired that was vital to the ongoing production process of his factory. None of his engineers knew how the machine was to be fixed so he hired a specialist to come to the plant and repair it. The specialist took one look at the machine, took a hammer and tapped it twice in one particular spot. The machine then started up right away. The specialist then wrote up a bill for $250-. The supervisor was enraged. “ What! You were here for a mere 5 minutes. What’s more, all you did was tap the machine. The amount is outrageous. I demand a detailed billing to justify this kind of expense.” The next morning, the supervisor was surprised to find a bill from the specialist waiting for him on his desk. It read as follows: “Charge for tapping the machine…$1-. Charge for KNOWING WHERE to tap the machine…$249- Total charges: $250-”   Lesson: Sound information and the wise administration in its use is not free nor it is cheap. In fact, it commands a premium and directs the flow of resources, including the use of our most valuable resource, time.

                                                        

Economics is not just about making money. It is a world-view. The term “world view” refers to the way a person looks at the world. It consists of the ideas that form the core of his being…the issues that, right or wrong, will determine the way he REALLY thinks and acts about the world around him. In short, a man’s world view is about the way he believes. To see this, we shall engage in a bit of a digression right at the outset. 

 

Alan Greenspan, Chairman of the Federal Reserve System, once made this statement as he spoke at the Economic Club in New York City in 1988, "I guess I should warn you, if I turn out to be particularly clear, you probably have misunderstood what I said." (William Lutz, DOUBLESPEAK. New York: Harper Perennial, HarperCollins Publishers, 1989.)

 

As author William Lutz put it, Mr. Greenspan's “doublespeak” does not seem to have hurt his career. "Doublespeak" is a term which has been used to describe a pretense of communication. There are no "potholes" in Tucson, Arizona, there are simply "pavement deficiencies." There is no such thing as an "invasion" the pentagon tells us, there are "pre-dawn vertical insertions." No one engages now in the act of "smelling" it is now an "organoleptic analysis". And in some hospitals, patients do not "die". There is only a "negative patient care outcome." Recently, an automatic teller machine [ATM] was not "robbed". There was only an "unauthorized withdrawal".

 

Doublespeak is a language which pretends to communicate information but which really does not. However, doublespeak may be humorous to some but many others are from an older school of thinking, foreign to this generation, where a man's word is indicative of his character and where anything like doublespeak is not appreciated either as a joke, much less as something serious. You see, it is an approach to life. Old-timers aren’t the only ones who appreciate the fact that information guides resources and resources are valuable to their owners. If the information is faulty, misleading, or just “takes the edge off an issue“, then the resources may very well become misguided in their use, often leading to loss. For example, businessmen are trained to watch prices as an information system in the economy. Stock prices, bond prices, interest on loans, consumer goods prices, prices at the wholesale and retail levels of buying and selling are all seen to be information indicators for the savvy businessman who sees those prices as the result of the pressures of demand and supply. That is true…unless something else is capable of distorting the information of the market far beyond the power of normal demand and supply. But what if prices indicate “false demand”? In other words, what if prices, as an information system, can so distort the economic picture so as to cause even savvy businessmen to act in a manner contrary to what they would do IF the prices were not distorted from interference? That is something we will deal with later in the series…more specifically, we will deal with inflation which, in the words of one enemy of freedom, “inflation…captures all the laws of economics ON THE SIDE OF DESTRUCTION.” We will also see what both Moses and Isaiah knew about inflation.

 

Another lesson in doublespeak: How many times do we hear how the federal budget has been “slashed“, giving people a false sense of security, when in fact, the ‘slash’ in the budget only indicated a decrease in proposed increases? Information is not free and it is not neutral. It always conveys ideas… and ideas have consequences. Ideas direct the flow of resources. If the information is bad, then the resources are likely to be misdirected, resulting in unwise investments, overstocked inventories, misguided production, and both unwitting and willful mismanagement. Sounds very much like the economy of today. Could it be that the information we depend upon is distorted? Indeed, if businessmen become cynical of the market and their seeming inability to read it safely and correctly, then the temptation to be unscrupulous will become a dominant trait in the market, because that’s the way they perceive things to be…”deceitful”. In addition, many will sense something is terribly wrong with the market and figure that taking inordinate risks, financially and legally, is the only option they‘ve been given.

 

Incidentally, as with anything, information is subject to the laws of demand and supply too. In an age where deceit, competing “theories”, false claims and misguided information is rampant, the man who is known for the truth and the wisdom of his insights may command a competitive premium. 

 

A man's word is indicative of his character. A man's tongue “flaps at the end of his heart.” [Psalm 39:3; 45:1; Proverbs 10:20; 16:1; 17:20; Isaiah 32:4; Jeremiah 9:8; Acts 2:26; James 1:26; 3:3-10.] In Scripture, man's world view does not simply consist of his opinions formed over a period of time, but world view is character which, in turn, marks what is dearest to the man. After all, a man’s actions show his commitments to issues and opinions worth (to him) the time and resources expended upon them. In 1696 Isaac Newton, the famous scientist, was elected a member of the House of Commons in England. He kept his position in the House for several years but never spoke a word. During a House discussion on a particular matter Newton rose and the whole House suddenly fell silent in order to hear the man who had changed the scientific and mathematical world. On that occasion, as the whole House waited breathlessly for the great man to finally speak, Newton, embarrassed at this point, merely asked that the nearby window be closed because of a cold draft.

 

Isaac NewtonWhat was it about Newton that caused such a reaction? Newton’s genius had produced an information system called the calculus. In addition, Newton’s information system had discovered scientific laws unknown to man prior to this. In short, Newton’s word was sure…it was so valuable that men of authority and prominence remained silent merely to hear anything he had to say. Man is made in God’s image and is distinguished, like God, by his word - his information system and world view. Newton changed the world by his word…written, researched, taught to others, and ultimately, communicated to the world at large for many generations to come.

 

One example comes to mind. In Newton’s day, it was common for men of genius and ability to posit mathematical problems to the European scientific community in order that the problem might find a solution. One such problem had been circulating throughout Europe for months baffling the world’s greatest scientific minds. It remained unsolved until a friend of Newton brought the problem to his attention. Newton, as usual, had been unaware of it. Newton worked it out that afternoon and it was submitted anonymously to the scholarly world in Europe. When Liebnitz, the famous mathematician, read the anonymously presented solution, he remarked “I recognize the paw of the lion.” Everyone knew it to be Newton’s work. This is a history that, in one form or another, would be repeated for problem after problem. Newton’s research and discoveries changed the world. Why? Not only were they truthful, they were presented in a way usable to society, the scientific community in particular. The information from that man could be depended upon. Science, the world over, has achieved great developments by being founded upon his calculus and his laws of optics, his laws of momentum, his laws of gravity, his laws of planetary motion and…and….and…. So great was his impact that, later, Voltaire, the great literary figure, visited Westminster Abbey where Newton was buried and, upon seeing his place of burial, remarked admiringly that England honored a mathematician as other nations honored kings.[1] Alexander Pope wrote one of the world’s most famous couplets when he wrote of Newton,
 


Nature and nature’s laws lay hid in Night;
God said, ‘Let Newton be’ and all was Light
             

 

 
Can you see that a sound information system is vital to the direction of resources? The flow of ideas needs direction and skill to manage them. A poor information system only misdirects and mismanages. We live in an age that is DESPERATE to find sound thinking. If course, the sheer volume of information, good and bad, makes finding such “soundness” difficult. How do we know a thing is true?

God has given His word so man might have a standard upon which to base his world view. However, unlike other religions, God’s word is written in a practical manner and designed to handle the problems of life. It is written in historical context, for the most part, thus identifying God’s direct involvement…and Will… with the issues man faces daily. Indeed, Newton himself believed the Bible to be God’s holy word, the ultimate standard for mankind, and wrote over a million words about theology and Scripture, far more than he wrote about math and science. In other words, God’s word is the standard for all information. Newton knew that. In fact, the Age of Newton, unlike a later Age of Darwin, took its scientific and mathematical world view from the Bible, especially due to the influence of the Protestant Reformation just a few generations before. Men such as Robert Boyle (physics, chemistry), Anton van Leeuwenhoek (biology), Sir Christopher Wren (architect, mathematician, and astronomer), Blaise Pascal (mathematics and physics), Christian Huygens (physics, astronomy), Edmund Halley (astronomy) and many others were men who used a Christian world view. The amazing success and progress of both science and mathematics was due, in part, to the Christian world view. The multitude of towering giants in the scientific world of that era is a testimony to the practical success of the standard they were using. (The same is true today, but for another reason.)

 

It is not from the fringe of our opinions that our character originates. There are opinions concerning the world which we are willing to negotiate, even opinions with which we are willing to part. But there is an inner core of belief tied closely with our character, which reflects the very depth of the man. The Bible references it to be located in the very soul of man, so closely associated with his soul that the word is often used to reflect the innermost longing of the Psalmist, for example.   It reflects a man's values, those subjective values, and by that I mean, his personal values and priorities, which is his estimation of the nature and quality of life, of what life really is (in his opinion). However, due to the nature of the curse, ECONOMIC life so pressures a man that it brings out of him his core values and beliefs because economics brings all the factors into play that extract from a man his inner core. In short, economics:

 
  •  brings the intensity of market PRESSURE to bear
  •  upon man’s ability to decide (which is always a struggle),
  •  thus testing the quality of his discernments in the decision making process 
  •  which decisions he makes with the best information he has available (though often of poor quality),
  •  causing him to expend valuable and limited resources (the poorer he is the less able he will be to sustain any losses)
  •  toward an unknown future market (most of his information involves a knowledge of past movements in the economy)
  •  and, often, to do so in the shortest period of time
  •  in the face of severe opposition (competition)
  •  so as to give up the least amount of his resources
  •  while gaining the most from his customers,
  •  while satisfying their demands well (measured in terms of profitability),
  •  which is measured in what is perceived as the most valuable commodity society can use as a standard (money).

 This commodity, called money, has such a grip upon the soul of men, that the prospect of gaining it by any means can, by itself, distort the man’s discernments, causing him to falsify even the clearest data in favor of mere desire and in the face of clear warnings and dangers.
 

This is precisely the issue given to us in the 90th Psalm.
Thou turnest man to destruction; and sayest, Return, ye children of men.

For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.

Thou carriest them away as with a flood; they are as a sleep: in the morning they are like grass which groweth up.

In the morning it flourisheth, and groweth up; in the evening it is cut down, and withereth.

For we are consumed by thine anger, and by thy wrath are we troubled.

 

 Man is consumed by the trials that God’s curse, given in Genesis 3, brings upon us all. There, it is called “thorns and thistles.” The earth will fail to produce well for man. Weariness, disease, failure, hunger, thirst, sin, pain and sorrow are all part of man’s lot in life…additionally including, of course, death. These are here collectively referenced as “thine anger”, “thy wrath”. All of these consume man, thus driving mankind to seek ECONOMIC solutions. Many seek their economic solution in sinful behavior, a plunder ethic that by one means or another secures their neighbor’s substance through deceit and theft. It was once the case that the Church taught economic truths so that the people could discern sound ethic…based upon discerned, MATURE information coming from the pulpits. For example, at the height of the Reformation, the Heidelberg Catechism was written by two ministers, Casper Olevianus and Zacharius Ursinus, so as to teach the people of Heidelberg mature truths about ethic, as expounded from God’s word, which could guide them in life‘s decisions and matters of faith. For example, Question # 110 asks “ What does God forbid in the eighth Commandment?” The answer, though concise, is quite revealing:
 

God forbids not only such theft and robbery as are punished by the magistrate, but God views as theft also all wicked tricks and devices, whereby we seek to get our neighbor’s goods, whether by force or by deceit, such as unjust weights, ells, measures, goods, coins, usury, or by any means forbidden of God; also all covetousness and the misuse and waste of His gifts.

 

Notice how “unjust weights” is included in the description. Such weights were scales and weights used in trade. This would specifically condemn inflationary thinking, theory, and practice. Maybe that is the reason Mr. Greenspan can’t speak so clearly. Maybe “doublespeak” is the only language he can speak so as to NOT sound like a thief. After all, Mr. Greenspan is the one man in America who determines what rate of inflation will result tomorrow from the policies pursued today. He is also the man to whose statements the business sector reacts, thus buying or selling stocks, bonds, real estate, consumer goods…in short, the economy goes into a tail-spin or soars, in part, on his public statements.

 

Information is vital to man’s being. It is the raw material upon which man governs his decision-making. It is a primary means whereby man influences other men. Information must be of the very best in order for it to be an effective and safe guide for man to use. 

 
 
2. Economics and the Purpose of Sound Governance
 

So, how will sound information be disseminated? God has called the Church to be "a pillar and ground of the truth". [1 Timothy 3:15.Upon the foundation of God’s word, the Church will become the primary culture carrier to affect the rest of the culture carriers - media, education, law, science, mathematics, philosophy, entertainment, language studies, literary pursuits, research, music and the arts, charity and benevolence, patronage, and history (heritage). The Church is to erect culture (“pillar“) by instructing the other governments God has ordained: family, church, civil government, the individual (conscience), voluntary association, and business. These governments are called to be redemptive. It is that with which economics is primarily concerned

 

No, there is NO thought here of somehow replacing Christ’s atoning work once accomplished on Calvary over 2000 years ago. Christ alone redeemed those who believe on Him by a justifying faith in His righteousness, which was His obedience all of His earthly (temporal) life to His Heavenly Father even unto death and His subsequent resurrection from the grave. However, one of the FRUITS of His righteousness was the creation of the Church, with its mandate to teach all nations. She teaches the nations by training the governments of those nations and they, in turn, use such training to create effective culture carriers. It should be noted here that, contrary to the mentality which sees “government” as ONLY that found in the exercise of power by kings, presidents, parliaments, judges, congresses, governors, police, military and the like…“government” in God’s eyes is far more extensive but also far more decentralized and diverse in authority and the exercise of power.

 

Those governments, ordained by God and having DERIVED AUTHORITY only, are the following:

 

1. The individual’s conscience is the governing seat of the man’s will, for good or bad. The Church calls each of us to our individual responsibility as stewards of God to use our talents, opportunities and resources in a manner which glorifies the Lord as directed according to His holy precepts. The result of such preaching and teaching is the mature use of the individual’s calling which is designed to enhance and strengthen the other governments in their rightful responsibilities/callings. Redemption here is an application of sound stewardship for himself and for his neighbor. This is the reason for calling. For example, Paul instructs us individually that we are “redeeming the times for the days are evil.” Notice, we redeem! He counsels us further, “Whether you eat or drink, do all to the glory of God.” EVERYTHING IS DESIGNED to bring glory to God, even our “eating and drinking”. The first and eighth Psalm summarizes the duty of man and mankind, respectively. 

 

Psalm 1

1     Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

2     But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

3     And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

4     The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.

5     Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.

6     For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.

 
Psalm 8
 

1     O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens.

2     Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.

3     When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained;

4     What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?

5     For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.

6     Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet:

7     All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field;

8     The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas.

9     O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!


 

2. The Church governs through the application of the word of God which she is called to expound with expertise, in season or out of season. The Church does so by instructing the other governments so that they mature over time as they study God’s word and its applications. This instruction includes teaching “herself”, in that, the churches pressure each other so as to push maturity and outreach. God keeps the churches “divided” (meaning, “not under one roof“) for their protection and the protection of the integrity and preservation of the Scriptures with which they are charged to maintain. Freedom is thus also protected, as not any single church ministry can gain mastery over them all. Ethic is protected side-by -side with the Gospel. As a result, it is impossible for mankind to completely corrupt the Church or to destroy the truth entirely.

 
 

Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians…

We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers; Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ…

And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost:  So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia.  For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing. For they themselves show of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God…(I Thessalonians 1: 1-9).

 

But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. (I Timothy 3:5)

 

3. The civil government is called by God and instructed by the Church as to how it may govern society justly, both as to law as well as to sanctions imposed. The civil authority is a servant of the one true, Triune God (Romans 13) of Scripture, as is clearly testified in Romans 13:1 ff., not just “any ‘ole deity ’out there’”. Civil government is not a private plaything. It is designed by the Triune God as a blessing to keep order and maintain justice. It is charged to be a “terror” (criminal prosecution) to criminals, an adjudicator of evils done (civil suit adjudication), and a defender against foreign attack or domestic uprising. Civil government is charged to maintain domestic peace without oppression. 

 
 

Take you wise men, and understanding, and known among your tribes, and I will make them rulers over you. 14And ye answered me, and said, The thing which thou hast spoken is good for us to do. 15So I took the chief of your tribes, wise men, and known, and made them heads over you, officers over thousands, and officers over hundreds, and officers over fifties, and officers over tens, and officers among your tribes. 16And I charged your judges at that time, saying, Hear the causes between your brethren, and judge righteously between every man and his brother, and the stranger that is with him. 17Ye shall not respect persons in judgment; but ye shall hear the small as well as the great; ye shall not be afraid of the face of man; for the judgment is God’s: and the cause that is too hard for you, bring it unto me, and I will hear it. (Deuteronomy 1:13-17)

 

1Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. 2Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. 3For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: 4For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. 5Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. (Romans 13: 1-5)

 

1 Timothy 2- This chapter has baffled many in the church when it speaks of the duties of the civil magistrate (v.1-4), the family authority (v. 9-15), and links them both with salvation in Christ. The answer is simple. The primary purpose of all government (civil, family, church, business, conscience and association/charity) is to apply the work of righteousness so that God’s goodness is made visible (“Know ye not that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repent.”) So, when this passage speaks of God “who would have all men to be saved and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” it is NOT saying they will be saved. It is teaching that the governments are to represent the justice, goodness, righteousness, equity and wisdom of God for mankind to see and experience and that Christ’s death was designed to call forth the means (through His Church) whereby these governments are taught their rightful callings. Civil government, then family government is found in this chapter. The very next chapter introduces the church government. Chapters 4-6 deal with the individual’s heart (conscience), charity inside and outside of the church, and business respectively .

 

The civil authority is salvitic in that it saves society and individuals from criminal acts. The family is salvitic in that it saves society from corruption by nurturing calling, ethics, justice, wisdom and love in its children and giving stability to society in the form of the family structure.[2] The church is salvitic in that it teaches all the other governments sound principles and calls them to account. The individual’s conscience is salvitic in that he is called to represent Christ as a “royal priest” (Christian- I Peter 2:1-9), represent Christ as a husband (Ephesians 5) or represent the Church as a wife (Ephesians 5). Children are to represent their parents…and God…in their obedience if they wish to “live long in the land the Lord has given to them.”

 

1I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; 2For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. 3For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; 4Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. 5For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; 6Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. 7Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity. 8I will therefore that men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting. (1Tim.2:1-8)

 

9In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with braided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; 10But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works. 11Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. 12But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. 13For Adam was first formed, then Eve. 14And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. 15Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety. (1Tim. 2:9-15).

 

There is yet another function of civil government. When the higher power of a nation becomes oppressive, the lesser authorities are then called by God to interpose themselves between the oppression and the people. Men were redeemed from oppression by the interposition of the lesser magistrate in Scripture (Moses in Exodus 2:11; Gideon in Judges, David in 1 Samuel, Jonathon in 1 Samuel, and the heroism of individuals such as Jael against Sisera and Jehoiada the priest against Athaliah, the cruel queen and daughter of Jezebel), a point not lost to our American and English forbearers. It was this very doctrine of the interposition of the lesser magistrate that allowed our Continental Congress to Declare Independence. Individuals such as Hannah and Elizabeth blessed God for personally redeeming them from the evils of barrenness or childlessness. The only hope of the Psalmist is redemption from oppressors, repeatedly stated    (cf. Psalms 3, 5, 7, 9). Indeed, Hannah blessed God (1Sam. 2) for redeeming her from her ‘adversary’ (Peninnah who is called a ‘satan’ in 1Sam. 1:6).

 

4. The family is the foundation of societal organization and, as a government, is the first government known to children (normally). It is designed to bring Christian order and training into the society. It is designed to begin the process of economy in the varied activities - and nurturing- of the husband and wife toward each other, and of parents toward their children. This is the foundation of their well-being. The family is also the primary trainer as well as nurturer of all members of the family, particularly the children, having received from the Church the principles of sound living and faith. The family is the primary caregiver, charity giver. The family, as a government, has successfully provided care for FAR MORE helpless individuals than any other government… children. The family also helps to fashion the calling of its particular members, using the instruction of the Church.

 

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates. (Deuteronomy 6: 5-10)

 

5. Voluntary Association is an organization designed for any one of several reasons. It can deal with charity and benevolence such as the YMCA or non-profit charity organizations. It can engage in other facets involving the culture carriers such as professional groups, research institutes, educational organizations of many types, and a host of others. Some of these may not properly fall under the other governments except with difficulty or danger to their integrity or freedoms, so they have an authority of their own. Some can be placed under a family or business authority in some cases. In the laws of God, the poor laws were incorporated into the economy and behavior of the people, thus becoming a part of their moral behavior, as is seen in the book of Ruth and Proverbs.

 
 

So she gleaned in the field until even, and beat out that she had gleaned: and it was about an ephah of barley.  And she took it up, and went into the city: and her mother in law saw what she had gleaned: and she brought forth, and gave to her that she had reserved after she was sufficed.  And her mother in law said unto her, Where hast thou gleaned to day? and where wroughtest thou? Blessed be he that did take knowledge of thee. And she showed her mother in law with whom she had wrought, and said, the man’s name with whom I wrought to day is Boaz.  And Naomi said unto her daughter in law, Blessed be he of the LORD, who hath not left off his kindness to the living and to the dead. And Naomi said unto her, The man is near of kin unto us, one of our next kinsmen.  And Ruth the Moabitess said, He said unto me also, Thou shalt keep fast by my young men, until they have ended all my harvest.  And Naomi said unto Ruth her daughter in law, It is good, my daughter, that thou go out with his maidens, that they meet thee not in any other field.   So she kept fast by the maidens of Boaz to glean unto the end of barley harvest and of wheat harvest; and dwelt with her mother in law.

(Ruth 2: 17-23) (This gleaning is under the authority of business.)

 

She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night. She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.  She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy. (Proverbs 31:18-20) (This charity is under the authority of the home to a great extent.)

 

“…out of Machir came down governors, and out of Zebulun they that handle the pen of the writer.” (Judges 5) 

 

Apparently, the men of these tribes were producing scholarship on a scale not found elsewhere. A similar thing occurred in both New England and Virginia during the pre-revolutionary colonial period in American history and at Cambridge, England during the 1600’s. In both cases, voluntary associations helped bring forth writing which shook the world, not just Revolutionary America and Puritan England before it. It would be hard to imagine that the cause of such success was some sort of genetic superiority in America, England, Machir or Zebulon. The answer must come through voluntary association, providing fraternal training and the development of mastery under some type of association of writers (here, in the tribe of Zebulun) and schools of thought (here, in Machir) of political science (“think tanks”, research associations, professional groups, or actual schools). Elsewhere in Scripture, the “schools of the prophets” operated as voluntary associations, nowhere shown to be dependent upon the synagogues or Temple structure.

 

6. Business is an authority that has a power of its own. It can be subsumed under the family or even with Voluntary Association. However, it is unfortunately, heavily regulated and controlled by civil government, having almost no real independent authority of its own. It is the particular issue with which we are to deal in this series.

 

We say that the Church is called. She, in turn, teaches the other governments their respective callings. Proverbs tells us, “Seest thou a man diligent in his business. He shall stand before kings. He shall not stand before ordinary men.” Business is designed for the governance of righteousness. Using money as a tool, the businessman can provide for the ongoing profitability of his services and products. Such profitability is a testimony that he has exercised good stewardship in serving his neighbor. But, income allows individuals to protect themselves, to some extent, from the severities of the curse God has instituted. With sufficient money, each person or family can make provision for necessity with respect to food, shelter, insurance, health care, education, medicine, tools, and so many other things that deliver us from many of the evils of the world in which we live. Money was designed by God TO MITIGATE TEMPORALLY (in time and space) THE IMPACT OF THE CURSE! In addition, it makes possible a higher standard of living. This is redemptive in that it allows man to “redeem some of the impact of evil and calamity, potential or otherwise.” It should be noted here that that was exactly the meaning used in the law of God. Men were redeemed from poverty (Ruth). Men were redeemed from oppression (Numbers 35; Deut. 17/19), from the effects of disease (Lev. 13-14) and hunger (Lev.27; Numbers 35; Deut. 16) by the Levitical system of charity and benevolence. 

 

3. Economics and Redemption

 

Redemption from the curse is ultimately accomplished by Christ’s ministry and work on Calvary. But, He mediates for His Church to teach the nations HOW to live so as to prosper and please God. God promises to raise up men of genius who will train the Church and society to think in terms of “paradigm shifts”, not just temporary “fixes”. The Scriptures repeatedly stress economics as a means of TEMPORALLY mitigating the curse:

 

Genesis 1: 26-31- Man is made to exercise a righteous dominion over all the earth through obedience to the Lord’s precepts.

 

26And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 27So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. 28And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

29And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. 30And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to everything that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.

31And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

 
 

Genesis 2: 4-25- In this chapter, God lays out the economic essentials, the factors of production - land, labor, capital, and calling (entrepreneurship). God establishes the first division of labor (an helpmeet for Adam in his calling). God sets aside the Garden for man’s first labors (opportunity and market economy). God establishes assets with which Adam is to work. The two forms of capital (money- stones/precious metals and labor) are established. Adam’s risk is seen in his calling and entrepreneurship which are called forth in the test of the trees - testing which information system Adam would use, his own or God’s. Adam’s testing is also perceived in his calling to develop the Garden and guard it from attack. 

 

4These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens, 5And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground. 6But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground. 7And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

8And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. 9And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. 10And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads. 11The name of the first is Pison: that is it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold; 12And the gold of that land is good: there is bdellium and the onyx stone. 13And the name of the second river is Gihon: the same is it that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia. 14And the name of the third river is Hiddekel: that is it which goeth toward the east of Assyria. And the fourth river is Euphrates. 15And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the Garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.

16And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: 17But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

18And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. 19And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature that was the name thereof. 20And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.

21And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; 22And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. 23And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. 24Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. 25And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

 
 

Leviticus 27- In Leviticus, men are called to institute gifts for distribution by the Levites for those in Israel who faced distress. (Note how unclean animals in v.11 can be a useful gift for charity. That is an indicator that the gifts here are not going to the sacrificial system or tabernacle or temple, system). One good example of this system adapted by the early church is the Acts 4-5 distribution of things “in common.”

 

1And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 2Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When a man shall make a singular vow, the persons shall be for the LORD by thy estimation. 3And thy estimation shall be of the male from twenty years old even unto sixty years old, even thy estimation shall be fifty shekels of silver, after the shekel of the sanctuary. 4And if it be a female, then thy estimation shall be thirty shekels. 5And if it be from five years old even unto twenty years old, then thy estimation shall be of the male twenty shekels, and for the female ten shekels. 6And if it be from a month old even unto five years old, then thy estimation shall be of the male five shekels of silver, and for the female thy estimation shall be three shekels of silver. 7And if it be from sixty years old and above; if it be a male, then thy estimation shall be fifteen shekels, and for the female ten shekels. 8But if he be poorer than thy estimation, then he shall present himself before the priest, and the priest shall value him; according to his ability that vowed shall the priest value him. 9And if it be a beast, whereof men bring an offering unto the LORD, all that any man giveth of such unto the LORD shall be holy. 10He shall not alter it, nor change it, a good for a bad, or a bad for a good: and if he shall at all change beast for beast, then it and the exchange thereof shall be holy. 11And if it be any unclean beast, of which they do not offer a sacrifice unto the LORD, then he shall present the beast before the priest: 12And the priest shall value it, whether it be good or bad: as thou valuest it, who art the priest, so shall it be. 13But if he will at all redeem it, then he shall add a fifth part thereof unto thy estimation.14And when a man shall sanctify his house to be holy unto the LORD, then the priest shall estimate it, whether it be good or bad: as the priest shall estimate it, so shall it stand. 15And if he that sanctified it will redeem his house, then he shall add the fifth part of the money of thy estimation unto it, and it shall be his. 16And if a man shall sanctify unto the LORD some part of a field of his possession, then thy estimation shall be according to the seed thereof: an homer of barley seed shall be valued at fifty shekels of silver. 17If he sanctify his field from the year of jubilee, according to thy estimation it shall stand. 18But if he sanctify his field after the jubilee, then the priest shall reckon unto him the money according to the years that remain, even unto the year of the jubilee, and it shall be abated from thy estimation. 19And if he that sanctified the field will in any wise redeem it, then he shall add the fifth part of the money of thy estimation unto it, and it shall be assured to him. 20And if he will not redeem the field, or if he have sold the field to another man, it shall not be redeemed any more. 21But the field, when it goeth out in the jubilee, shall be holy unto the LORD, as a field devoted; the possession thereof shall be the priest’s. 22And if a man sanctify unto the LORD a field which he hath bought, which is not of the fields of his possession; 23Then the priest shall reckon unto him the worth of thy estimation, even unto the year of the jubilee: and he shall give thine estimation in that day, as a holy thing unto the LORD. 24In the year of the jubilee the field shall return unto him of whom it was bought, even to him to whom the possession of the land did belong. 25And all thy estimations shall be according to the shekel of the sanctuary: twenty gerahs shall be the shekel.

26Only the firstling of the beasts, which should be the LORD’S firstling, no man shall sanctify it; whether it be ox, or sheep: it is the LORD’S. 27And if it be of an unclean beast, then he shall redeem it according to thine estimation, and shall add a fifth part of it thereto: or if it be not redeemed, then it shall be sold according to thy estimation.

 

Acts 4- This passage applies the charitable gifting to the church as applied to the old Levitical system. The Church would hold and administer the gifts, through its deaconal ministries-created in Acts 5, for all in distress in the Church (holding “in common”). Note how the Scriotrues relate to us the fact that the man hwo provided the leadership for the action that saved the lives of many in the Church at Jerusalem, was a Levite…one who would have been familiar with and trained in the principles of the genius of the Old Testament Levitical charity system.

 

32And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common. 33And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all. 34Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, 35And laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need. 36And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus, 37Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.

 

Deuteronomy 28- God’s peculiar blessings for an entire culture/nation comes when that country is obedient to the holy precepts of God. (These are not claims that every obedient person can make to receive from the Lord. They are the movements God brings to the whole culture.)

 

1And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth: 2And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God. 3Blessed shalt thou be in the city, and blessed shalt thou be in the field. 4Blessed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy ground, and the fruit of thy cattle, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep. 5Blessed shall be thy basket and thy store. 6Blessed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and blessed shalt thou be when thou goest out. 7The LORD shall cause thine enemies that rise up against thee to be smitten before thy face: they shall come out against thee one way, and flee before thee seven ways. 8The LORD shall command the blessing upon thee in thy storehouses, and in all that thou settest thine hand unto; and he shall bless thee in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee. 9The LORD shall establish thee an holy people unto himself, as he hath sworn unto thee, if thou shalt keep the commandments of the LORD thy God, and walk in his ways. 10And all people of the earth shall see that thou art called by the name of the LORD; and they shall be afraid of thee. 11And the LORD shall make thee plenteous in goods, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy ground, in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers to give thee. 12The LORD shall open unto thee his good treasure, the heaven to give the rain unto thy land in his season, and to bless all the work of thine hand: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, and thou shalt not borrow. 13And the LORD shall make thee the head, and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; if that thou hearken unto the commandments of the LORD thy God, which I command thee this day, to observe and to do them: 14And thou shalt not go aside from any of the words which I command thee…

 

Psalm 1 - referenced earlier, speaks of how God prospers the man who wisely honors the Lord and delights in his laws.

 

Psalm 73 - Here, the Psalmist cannot understand how the ungodly can be blessed. But, he learns that their economic “blessings” are really their undoing because the primary purpose of economy and assets is NOT prosperity but redemption. Those who use their assets ONLY for themselves and ONLY unto themselves, stop short of the redemptive purposes of GOD who would have the wealth of individuals go to themselves AND the culture, as God specifies in His laws (and only in the way He specifies). In other words, wealth can destroy a person, if used improperly. (In the home, “spoiled children” are just that…’spoiled’ from productive and charitable concerns by wealth.)

 

Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart.

But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped.

For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

For there are no bands in their death: but their strength is firm.

They are not in trouble as other men; neither are they plagued like other men.

Therefore pride compasseth them about as a chain; violence covereth them as a garment.

Their eyes stand out with fatness: they have more than heart could wish.

They are corrupt, and speak wickedly concerning oppression: they speak loftily.

They set their mouth against the heavens, and their tongue walketh through the earth.

10Therefore his people return hither: and waters of a full cup are wrung out to them.

11And they say, How doth God know? and is there knowledge in the most High?

12Behold, these are the ungodly, who prosper in the world; they increase in riches.

13Verily I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency.

14For all the day long have I been plagued, and chastened every morning.

15If I say, I will speak thus; behold, I should offend against the generation of thy children.

16When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me;

17Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end.

18Surely thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castedst them down into destruction.

19How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment! they are utterly consumed with terrors.

 
 

Psalm 90: 10-17 - This Psalm repeatedly teaches that man is consumed economically by God’s curse and God calls man to repent (“return”) so as to pursue ethical conduct that He can bless (economically and spiritually).

 

10The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.

11Who knoweth the power of thine anger? even according to thy fear, so is thy wrath.

12So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.

13Return, O LORD, how long? and let it repent thee concerning thy servants.

14O satisfy us early with thy mercy; that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.

15Make us glad according to the days wherein thou hast afflicted us, and the years wherein we have seen evil.

16Let thy work appear unto thy servants, and thy glory unto their children.

17And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it.

 

Proverbs 6- Here Solomon details a sound work ethic which includes the following elements: 1. Wise self-governance/vision, 2. Planning, 3. Working in a timely manner (time management), 4. Consistency in patient endeavor over time, 5. Smart and skilled work (which would include for man the use of tools and technology), 6. Hard work (but still smart work ethic), 7. Reaping in due time and measure as opposed to trying to get gain hastily, 8. Assumption of risk, 9. Seizing opportunity while it lasts, 10. Investment of labor and resources, 11. Goal/profit orientation, 12. Individual responsibility taken for actions rendered.

 

6Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: 7Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, 8Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest. 9How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep? 10Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: 11So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man.

 

I Thessalonians 4: 10-12- The New Testament commends in summary form what is given in detailed principles in the Old Testament. The New Testament does not have to repeat what is already specified there. It only has to endorse. It does so here, among other places. The Christian is expected to be redemptive and to be so in his work ethic. 

 

10And indeed ye do it toward all the brethren which are in all Macedonia: but we beseech you, brethren, that ye increase more and more; 11And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you; 12That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.

 
 

God’s word deals extensively with issues relating to “redemption”. Below a few examples as to how redemption was viewed in the law of God. Below is a list of items/events or people who were redeemed temporally from some evil. Note the fact that the redemption involved is not dealing with eternal salvation, which is probably the only use most faithful churches know to expound upon in today’s pulpits. Here is a SMALL taste of the vast number of “redemption” applications in Scripture. Each reference lists: 1) the Scripture, 2) an explanation and finally, 3) the Lesson pertaining to redemption.

 
Gen.48:14-20
 

Lesson 1: Jacob speaks of being redeemed by the angel of the Lord (Christ) who redeemed him from the various evils he faced throughout life. He calls upon the Angel of the Lord to bless the two sons of Joseph, a prerogative given only the Lord elsewhere. Note: redemption is applied to being delivered from evil IN THIS LIFE. This is not a doctrine being preached or taught in the modern churches.

 

“And Israel stretched out his right hand, and laid it upon Ephraim’s head, who was the younger, and his left hand upon Manasseh’s head, guiding his hands wittingly; for Manasseh was the firstborn. 15And he blessed Joseph, and said, God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk, the God which fed me all my life long unto this day, 16The Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; and let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth. 17And when Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand upon the head of Ephraim, it displeased him: and he held up his father’s hand, to remove it from Ephraim’s head unto Manasseh’s head. 18And Joseph said unto his father, Not so, my father: for this is the firstborn; put thy right hand upon his head. 19And his father refused, and said, I know it, my son, I know it: he also shall become a people, and he also shall be great: but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his seed shall become a multitude of nations. 20And he blessed them that day, saying, In thee shall Israel bless, saying, God make thee as Ephraim and as Manasseh: and he set Ephraim before Manasseh.”

 
Exodus 15: 10-14
 

Lesson 2:  Moses speaks here of redemption from the hosts of pharaoh and his army who were drowned in the Red Sea. By so doing, God delivered His people from bondage and oppression. Notice how there is a price to be paid for redemption. That should be evident from the fact that redemption means “to buy back.“ The price for Israel’s redemption is the destruction of the Egyptian host.The ‘price’ for such redemption is payment in terms of the loss of Egypt.

 

Thou didst blow with thy wind, the sea covered them: they sank as lead in the mighty waters. 11Who is like unto thee, O LORD, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders? 12Thou stretchedst out thy right hand, the earth swallowed them. 13Thou in thy mercy hast led forth the people which thou hast redeemed: thou hast guided them in thy strength unto thy holy habitation. 14The people shall hear, and be afraid: sorrow shall take hold on the inhabitants of Palestine.

 
Exodus 21:2-11
 

Lesson 3: In this context, a woman is being redeemed from indentured servitude. Redemption from poverty was designed to train the culture to protect the process, instilling them within the legal structure, that allows the broken, the impoverished, the indebted, and the lowly to move out of poverty from a labor-intensive position (without resorting to civil government to take charge of the votes…uh, poor). The redemption laws were designed to teach all nations the principles that allow for the development of an entrepreneurial spirit instead of a transgenerational “slave mentality”. Slavery – or servitude- is an inescapable principle of a sin-laden world. As a result, there will always be those with a slave mentality. And there will always be those who will respond to instruction from the church to “better” themselves.

 

2If thou buy an Hebrew servant, six years he shall serve: and in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing. 3If he came in by himself, he shall go out by himself: if he were married, then his wife shall go out with him. 4If his master have given him a wife, and she have born him sons or daughters; the wife and her children shall be her master’s, and he shall go out by himself. 5And if the servant shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free: 6Then his master shall bring him unto the judges; he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an awl; and he shall serve him forever. 7And if a man sell his daughter to be a maidservant, she shall not go out as the menservants do. 8If she please not her master, who hath betrothed her to himself, then shall he let her be redeemed: to sell her unto a strange nation he shall have no power, seeing he hath dealt deceitfully with her. 9And if he have betrothed her unto his son, he shall deal with her after the manner of daughters. 10If he take him another wife; her food, her raiment, and her duty of marriage, shall he not diminish. 11And if he do not these three unto her, then shall she go out free without money.

 
Leviticus 25:8-17
 

Lesson 4: Redemption is conceptually used here (without the use of the term). The issue of being released from oppression (debt oppression or other), which results in the disenfranchisement of one’s possession of land, is redemptive. In addition, these laws were established with respect to the Jubilee laws that dealt, historically, with the promise of those Israelites that would participate in the conquest of the land. In addition, the Canaanite ethic was one of oppression and lawlessness. God hates oppression. He calls society to protect against it.

 

And thou shalt number seven sabbaths of years unto thee, seven times seven years; and the space of the seven sabbaths of years shall be unto thee forty and nine years. 9Then shalt thou cause the trumpet of the jubilee to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month, in the Day of Atonement shall ye make the trumpet sound throughout all your land. 10And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubilee unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family. 11A jubilee shall that fiftieth year be unto you: ye shall not sow, neither reap that which groweth of itself in it, nor gather the grapes in it of thy vine undressed. 12For it is the jubilee; it shall be holy unto you: ye shall eat the increase thereof out of the field. 13In the year of this jubilee ye shall return every man unto his possession. 14And if thou sell ought unto thy neighbor, or buyest ought of thy neighbor’s hand, ye shall not oppress one another: 15According to the number of years after the jubilee thou shalt buy of thy neighbor, and according unto the number of years of the fruits he shall sell unto thee: 16According to the multitude of years thou shalt increase the price thereof, and according to the fewness of years thou shalt diminish the price of it: for according to the number of the years of the fruits doth he sell unto thee. 17Ye shall not therefore oppress one another; but thou shalt fear thy God: for I am the LORD your God.

(Same passage)

 

Lesson 5: The Founding fathers of this country were wise as to this application of redemption. It is for this reason that verse 10 was inscribed on the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, in 1751. The reason for this was the fact that the preaching of Rev. George Whitefield had brought such extraordinary changes to Philadelphia. Crime dropped to nearly zero.

 

Franklin reported that serious discussion concerning theology had replaced the cursing and lewdness in the taverns. He reported that on every street, one could hear hymns being sung in the homes instead of the incessant family feuding. Charity and educational concerns had grown up in the city. Gangs had disappeared. Prostitution and the occult were driven underground. More to the point, the colonists knew that the Mercantilist socialism of England and most of the European powers of the day, (as with all socialistic systems) makes slaves of its people, creating debt bondage and statism, with its rise of an elite over the common people. Redemption was a release from bondage of all kinds due to sin, oppression, and the curse. Here, the Jubilee principle links economic bondage with sin and dishonesty (buying and selling ‘oppression’ in the text is fraud and dishonesty, coupled with slavery).

 

And thou shalt number seven sabbaths of years unto thee, seven times seven years; and the space of the seven sabbaths of years shall be unto thee forty and nine years. 9Then shalt thou cause the trumpet of the jubilee to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month, in the Day of Atonement shall ye make the trumpet sound throughout all your land. 10And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubilee unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family. 11A jubilee shall that fiftieth year be unto you: ye shall not sow, neither reap that which groweth of itself in it, nor gather the grapes in it of thy vine undressed. 12For it is the jubilee; it shall be holy unto you: ye shall eat the increase thereof out of the field. 13In the year of this jubilee ye shall return every man unto his possession. 14And if thou sell ought unto thy neighbor, or buyest ought of thy neighbor’s hand, ye shall not oppress one another: 15According to the number of years after the jubilee thou shalt buy of thy neighbor, and according unto the number of years of the fruits he shall sell unto thee: 16According to the multitude of years thou shalt increase the price thereof, and according to the fewness of years thou shalt diminish the price of it: for according to the number of the years of the fruits doth he sell unto thee. 17Ye shall not therefore oppress one another; but thou shalt fear thy God: for I am the LORD your God.

 
Leviticus 25: 23-28
 

Lesson 6: The passage here allows for redemption of property. God owns the land, making its use sacred. God calls society to create means for redeeming property lost to the family inheritance due to debt, fraud or oppression. It should be noted that the poor man sold his property, the property of his inheritance, due to debt, when it would, presumably, have been sold as a foreclosure. Such oppression is linked to the usury laws that condemn interest payments IN LOANS TO POOR BRETHREN, ONLY. Other interest loans are acceptable to the Lord (cf. Deuteronomy 23: 19-20).

 

9Thou shalt not lend upon usury to thy brother; usury of money, usury of victuals, usury of any thing that is lent upon usury: 20Unto a stranger thou mayest lend upon usury; but unto thy brother thou shalt not lend upon usury: that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all that thou settest thine hand to in the land whither thou goest to possess it.

 
 

These redemption laws in Leviticus created a vehicle of law that would allow for the redemption of the property without defrauding the new owner. He would have had use of this land only until the time of redemption when- and if- exercised, and would have known of this at the time of sale, perhaps at prices the equivalent of rental/leasing of lands and homes. The redemption laws, however, were not designed to defraud any owner, original or otherwise.

 

This is the very opposite of the doctrine of “eminent domain“, the legal doctrine prevalent in Western civilization since Roman times allowing for the state to seize a person’s property (with or without compensation) due to some real or imagined necessity.

 

The land shall not be sold for ever: for the land is mine; for ye are strangers and sojourners with me. 24And in all the land of your possession ye shall grant a redemption for the land. 25If thy brother be waxen poor, and hath sold away some of his possession, and if any of his kin come to redeem it, then shall he redeem that which his brother sold. 26And if the man have none to redeem it, and himself be able to redeem it; 27Then let him count the years of the sale thereof, and restore the overplus unto the man to whom he sold it; that he may return unto his possession. 28But if he be not able to restore it to him, then that which is sold shall remain in the hand of him that hath bought it until the year of jubilee: and in the jubilee it shall go out, and he shall return unto his possession. 29And if a man sell a dwelling house in a walled city, then he may redeem it within a whole year after it is sold; within a full year may he redeem it. 30And if it be not redeemed within the space of a full year, then the house that is in the walled city shall be established for ever to him that bought it throughout his generations: it shall not go out in the jubilee.

 
Leviticus 25: 32-34
 

Lesson 8: The Levites were the Old Testament ministry (today’s pastors and teachers in the church for sole income). Because of the special danger their calling entails, the laws allowed special consideration for them. They were to have their own lands, never to be taken from them, as a “fall back “ for income if the ministry fails or they fail in it. Our manse tax laws and church provisions are historically tied to these laws and come from a generation that better understood the job - and jeopardy of the job- the ministry faces. God repeatedly includes the Levites as potential poor, because so many of them, and their ministerial counterparts of today, face jeopardy in the offenses they create IF THEY ARE DOING THEIR JOB. So many ministers do not do their job because they KNOW the dangers inherent in preaching and teaching God’s word. So they “take the edge off” the message.

 32Notwithstanding the cities of the Levites, and the houses of the cities of their possession, may the Levites redeem at any time. 33And if a man purchase of the Levites, then the house that was sold, and the city of his possession, shall go out in the year of jubilee: for the houses of the cities of the Levites are their possession among the children of Israel. 34But the field of the suburbs of their cities may not be sold; for it is their perpetual possession.

 
 
 
4. Economics and Calling
 

In 1906, the great German historian and sociologist, Max Weber, wrote a book that hit the economic and historian’s world like a bombshell. It still creates controversy. It was called The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. In it, Weber explained that unlike other philosophies, Christianity uniquely contributed to the rise of capitalism[3] by providing it with an informational system which wisely directed men in economic pursuits. Its doctrines crippled mysticism (being contradicted by the doctrine of justification by faith) leaving the door open to rational thought and personal responsibility, humanism (being contradicted by the doctrine of God’s Sovereignty) leaving the door open to divine precept instead of a shallow, man centered approach to life and markets, corruption (being contradicted by the doctrine of the grace of God’s law) leaving the door open to honesty, thrift, charity, and servant hood as a basis for economic endeavor, poor work ethic and no vision (being contradicted by the doctrine of the royal priesthood) leaving the door open for transgenerational building of wealth, inheritance, and culture carriers, and sterile economic progress as seen in the Middle Ages (being contradicted by the doctrine of calling) leaving the door open to, what became known as the Commercial Revolution in Europe’s history, arising right out of the Protestant Reformation and in precisely those countries affected by its theology.

 

Now: What is calling? Calling is to do that which would be left undone if you do not do it. Historically that is what is has meant. Let’s repeat that. Calling is to do that which will be left undone if you do not do it.[4]

 

One example should suffice. George Washington Carver was one of the most prolific inventors in history. Being the son of slaves, he lost his mother during the time of the civil war. He grew up in the post civil war economy. The southern way of life had been shattered by the war and he became instrumental in its revitalization. The southern economy was dependent upon the traditional crops, cotton and tobacco. These were crops which seriously depleted the soil of its minerals, leading to a vicious cycle of (some) prosperity, followed by intensive debt accumulation, and finally, labor intensive impoverishment.  

 

Having taught his students at the Tuskegee Department of Agricultural Research that they could build an agricultural program out of virtually nothing by using swamp muck and the organic waste of compost piles, he went on to accomplish the same kind of work for the southern economy.[5] By emphasizing the planting of the lowly peanut and sweet potato, he used crops that enriched the soil, not those that depleted it. He thus introduced greater diversification for marketing products. But, his genius built upon this to an extent no one could envision. Knowing that the new products would be popular, Carver knew there would be a surplus of peanuts and sweet potatoes (good economist). So, he developed products from the peanuts and sweet potatoes, putting them in even higher demand, instead of surplus. From peanuts, he developed over 300 different products including dyes, soaps, cheese, and milk substitutes.[6] From sweet potatoes, he developed 118 products. [7] He developed synthetic marble and other products from simple wood shavings and over 75 products from pecans.

 

George Washington Carver was a devout Christian. The reason that is significant is that he was one who believed that the Triune God of Scripture was Lord over creation. So there was order and meaning to the universe and discovery is linked to the premise that God’s curse upon the world must be redeemed from its attendant evils unto truly glorious solutions. More to the point. The harder a problem is to solve in this cursed world, the greater the solution once discerned and the more far-reaching it will be in terms of impact and progress in society. It also meant that God had a purpose for everything, however humble it may be. Dr. Carver believed that every Christian had a calling from God. His natural humility in character taught him to look for God’s glory in the humblest of things. 

 

Has the Church done her job? Is she fulfilling her calling? On again and off again throughout history she has. But, is she doing it today in the twentieth century? Is she doing it in terms of a return to a redemptive economics? At the very most, the Christian Church today in America is irrelevant, though there are a few exceptions here and there. At her worst, she has left a legacy of confusion that is extremely dangerous. She has done two things at once: she has repudiated her calling unto righteousness, (and it must be insisted that that word be used, for it is not just morality, it is righteousness that is at stake) and she has replaced righteousness with values which are foreign to the God she is called to represent.

 

One example here is in order. This is an example of dangerous misinformation parading as sound ethic. A pastor, a man whom many would want by their side if a loved one had passed away and a man, known personally to the author, was counseling a family on an occasion. He was an orthodox man, no doubt. He was always there for his people. When there was need, he was there. During this counseling session he gave some advice that most people would probably have no problem accepting. Later, another pastor talked to him. He had been describing the counseling situation in which he had helped to put a family back together financially. Some of the problems which the family faced had torn their lives apart. He had inherited the problem, and he had counseled the family concerning sin and righteousness. He told his other pastor friend how he had counseled and he was shocked because he was now accused of having helped to put one family back together only to stress another. He had counseled this family to go back into the system, to participate in such things as student loans from the government, government grants, food stamps and federal mortgage programs. In short, to participate in benefits via the public sector. He thought nothing of such recommendations. He helped them, he thought, to re-manage their entire lives by participation in that system.

 

What was wrong with that counsel? Though done out of ignorance, it was a heinous act of treason in violation of the law of God. Pulpits are to instruct the other governments from a depth of application. If they do not do so according to God‘s holy order, they leave a legacy of confusion. He had what may be called a redistributive mentality, instead of a biblical one. In trying to save one family, he helped to stress some unknown taxpayer(s) and their families. Of course, he didn’t think that was an issue because, he believed, the rich pay most of the taxes anyway. By such thinking, he erred even more grievously. The Scriptures disallow bias against or for the wealthy or the poor. His duty to God and his neighbor was NOT to justify theft, in any form. To plunder the wealthy, just because they are wealthy, is envy. To do so using governmental power is “framing mischief with a law.” It perverts judgment and teaches society that it is sometimes upright to plunder others. In addition, he taught that charity is not a voluntary ethic. It is coercive and is a higher standard than any of God’s precepts. In other words, man lives first by bread alone, and then by every word from God’s mouth. So, church (this pastor’s official duties in counseling) and state combined to act coercively to pervert justice, and the “crime” was this: someone has too much money, and churchmen such as this pastor believe such wealthy individuals should be coercively relieved of as much of it as is possible. As a side note, the assumption was wrong. Most of our taxes are paid by the middle and lower classes, precisely those who can’t afford to lose such monies without stress to themselves and their families.

 

He had not recognized the fact that he had helped participate in a coercive system which teaches our society to benefit from the mentality made famous by Robin Hood: “Take from the haves and give to the have nots.” From a human standpoint, it seemed like an humanitarian ethic. From the standpoint of God, it is “Take!” i.e. “theft”. His counsel struck at the heart of a cardinal doctrine, which, in turn, is the very heart of theology: redemption.

 

5. Blood and Money…and Redemption

 

What does the word "redeem" mean? What does "redemption" reference? The blood of Christ was shed to “buy back” what was lost to sin. The Hebrew word pâdâh means to ransom, to buy it back. It is an interesting term and it was a monetary term used by the Hebrew people. God specifically used that term throughout the Old Testament to teach buying back what had been lost to servitude or debt or other hardships. Christ repeatedly (in over half of His parables) referenced, in one way or another, stewardship and money to illustrate spiritual loss and gain.

 

Why did Christ use the same topics over and over unless He really meant to give it import, namely, good stewardship and money? Yet the Christian Church, unlike her Lord, has had a terrible time when it comes to economic life and understanding. When we understand how the “life of the flesh is in the blood”, we can understand better how Christ made payment in blood in exchange for life, redemption! There is an ethic which flows right out of that theology and it is embedded throughout the laws of God, and yet many of the clergy do not understand that redemption is a world view, as applied to the practical side of life as well as the eternal assurance therein. To understand redemption truly from God’s word is to understand money.

 

Money is designed to represent life.When, for example, a man earns money for, say, 40 hours of work, if someone steals it, 40 hours of life has been stolen. Granted, it can be recovered. But, if the loss keeps on reoccurring, then immeasurable hardship sets in and, usually, irreparable damage. In other words, the only way in which a person can “save” fleeting time (time which is here and then gone) is by converting it into money and assets. To have it stolen or lost is to lose the time and life expended, which is what money represents. It is likened to hemorrhaging. A little bleeding is recoverable. A lot of bleeding is an unmitigated disaster and could mean the life of the victim. Time = Life = Blood.

 

With this understanding, how terribly evil and misleading is the (socialist) doctrine that making money is “greedy”, “exploitative”, “using people”, and a host of such notions. Equally misleading is the notion that money is ONLY something designed to help us buy things we like or need. That’s pragmatic. Money is designed to redeem life from the curse…in part. Money will be directed by calling, which in turn will follow a sound information system so as to guide its use unto productive stewardship. It is the duty of the Church to teach the various governments (remember, this includes man’s conscience) how to train and protect those under their authority so that their resources (and lives) are protected as sacred, and such stewardship trained into individuals so as to redeem the life of man from much of the strength of the curse. Note, in God’s order of things, a person’s private property is SACRED and must be used well and may disposed of only in ways provided by God Himself such as loaning, gifting, patronage, inheritance or sale.

 

Note the following:

 

Psalm 90:1, 3-12

1 Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations.

3 Thou turnest man to destruction; and sayest, Return, ye children of men.

Lord Thou hast been our dwelling place now generations; thou turnest man and the calamity; thou sayest to him, Repent, and the children repented.

4 For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.

5 Thou carriest them away as with a flood; they are as a sleep: in the morning they are like grass which groweth up.

6 In the morning it flourisheth, and groweth up; in the evening it is cut down, and withereth.

God turns them to the world around, and stresses the minute and says, Repent. It is his character that he is addressing.

7 For we are consumed by thine anger, and by thy wrath are we troubled.

8 Thou hast set our iniquities before thee, our secret sins in the light of thy countenance.

9 For all our days are passed away in thy wrath: we spend our years as a tale that is told.

However, we are consumed by thine anger and by thine anger we are troubled; for all our days are passed away in thine anger and spent our years as a tale that is told. Therefore: What? Does he say, Go to heaven? No. Is that where the Psalmist goes?

10 The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.

11 Who knoweth the power of thine anger? even according to thy fear, so is thy wrath.

12 So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.

 

The Psalmist says, “So teach us to number our days and to apply ourselves unto wisdom. We are warned to “number our days.” Thus, time, a valuable commodity, is a scarce one. It is here now and then…gone. To repeat the refrain, “Time is a scarce commodity.” We are to apply our hearts unto wisdom in its use. We are commanded to use it wisely, and not squander it. Other religions teach that time is expendable. If you lose it here, there are other lifetimes after this one where we can get back what we lose now in this lifetime. No so the Christian faith. We are sobered by God Himself that we have a limited amount of this precious commodity given to us. We are also sobered that we are consumed by God‘s wrath, driving us to produce or perish. 

 

Man, from the very beginning, is being consumed by the withering blast of what theologians have referred to as "the curse." As we have already noted, it is the stress upon life, even unto death, introduced by the Fall of man into sin. We note the fact that all men, whether they are Christians or not, feel the stresses of life. We all feel that stress, we feel it in our bodies, we feel it in the aging process, and we feel it in our health. Time is an ongoing pressure.

 

So what does man do? Man seeks advantage in life. Such advantage is what economic endeavor is all about. The entrepreneur, the risk-taker, is a person who achieves advantage through the market. Is that not what a wise man is supposed to do? Man seeks advantage to hedge and protect himself and others and to store up against the consuming, draining power of "the curse." As a result man seeks advantage and he should seek advantage for his life is on the line. So, as a man feels the stress of the world around him over time from the withering blast of God, man seeks and experiments to gain advantage, to enhance his position in life and thereby enhance his quality of life.

 

Where a man's subjective values lie, meaning his priorities and his personal world view,  that is where his treasured world view is to be found"where a man's heart is, there is his treasure also", Christ said. [Matthew 6:21; Luke 21:34.] That is called “subjective valuation.”

 

Every person values according to his subjective world view, meaning, what he believes and thinks is important is how he values a thing irrespective of how others value a thing. Thus, if he doesn’t like broccoli, then he won’t voluntarily exchange for it unless it is valuable to others who have what he wants. But, by itself, broccoli commands no value to him, whatever its nutritional worth. 

 

What he believes is important is where, often, he will act in the market to seek advantage. This is important for market exchange. If the man who has - but does not value broccoli - likes the carrots owned by another who does value broccoli, he will exchange with him if they both want to trade. Now, who got cheated? Neither did, as long as they followed Biblical mandates for exchange: 1. Not coerced; 2. Not misrepresented; 3. If a minor is involved then under parental guidance; 4. Not lawless biblically (for example, pornography); 5. Not illegal (as long as its legality is agreeable to biblical precepts. For example, Bibles in many countries are illegal.); 6. Contractually agreed upon and specified by word or in writing. 7. Subject to Numbers 30.

 

Whether it is important or not is irrelevant, for that is a man’s treasure. If he treasures Bibles, he may do what he can to get a Bible, or distribute them or minister with them or support those that do. If a man treasures pornography, that is where his heart is to be found. He will seek it out, pay for it, disseminate it. Revel in it. Sell it to others. Enjoy it and defend its use. The market is a mirror reflection of the values society holds at any given time. It is used by God as a witness for or against a culture. It ultimately testifies of the system of values society holds.

 

All men seek advantage because of the stress, the withering blast, the stressful effects of life itself. So mankind experiments for advantage so as to gain what he considers valuable. As a result, money becomes the commodity of advantage, the greatest commodity of advantage, the commodity which the renowned economist, Dr. Hans Sennholz references as "the life-blood of the economy." Note the terminology: "the life-blood of the economy". Man looks for that one advantageous commodity which gives him the greatest advantage in giving him the ability to get gain according as he values life. 

 

Money stores up time in a usable form so as to get gain, and buy back life in tangible, usable form for increased quality of life. Such quality presumably adds years to his life by being wise in its choices, instead of debilitating and foolishly destructive. The commodity that is in highest demand by others is the one the wise man will seek to gain. For example, if I do not like beets, but I know everyone in the community really likes beets and will exchange to get them, they take on value for me because they enable me to get other goods or services that I do value. Money is the commodity of greatest advantage in securing the most things in life I really value/need, helping me to offset the stress of the curse, such as food, shelter, home, cars, insurance, medical care, position and authority, education, power and…and…and…

 

The wisdom in securing a job, vocation, skill, or other service a person performs so as to get the one commodity of advantage depends upon many factors. Training, skills, insights, knowledge of people and things are all helpful. But the real issue is wisdom to gain advantage over the curse. Whatever lawfully achieves that is success and contributes to a prospered life. How you help others to achieve advantage over the curse is the market’s secret to prosperity. It is also the key to redemption (temporal redemption, not eternal salvation).

_________________________________________________________________
 

A message for the sake of clarity: Salvation in the Bible is presented in clear terms. Only a justifying faith in Jesus Christ without any merits of our own can save a person from the wrath of an Holy God. Nothing concerning redemption in this or any other book is to be understood as contradicting that central doctrine. The author is a devoted Christian who believes that justification by faith alone in the shed blood of Christ is the heart of the historic Gospel “once delivered to the saints.”

 

Redemption is presented in the Old Testament, both for redeeming Israel out of bondage in Egypt:

 

And what one nation in the earth is like thy people Israel, whom God went to redeem to be his own people, to make thee a name of greatness and terribleness, by driving out nations from before thy people, whom thou hast redeemed out of Egypt? - I Chron. 17: 21

 

God also redeemed His people in personal salvation (Hab. 2: 4, cf. Romans 1: 17) by a justifying faith in Him. The New Testament applied this same justifying faith to salvation as well, citing the Old Testament in its proof texts. Only justification can redeem before the Judgment Seat of God and be applied eternally.

_________________________________________________________________
 

From an economic standpoint, money redeems in many ways. Scriptures address issues concerning the multiple ways in which money serves man unto a redemptive end. Understanding this will help people immeasurably improve discernment as they approach their professions, investments, child training, threat of joblessness, inflation and a host of other needed areas for discernment. After all, what all of us need is the discernment as to how our families, our churches, our businesses, our charitable concerns, our country, and its culture carriers can be redeemed from the curse and sin. 

 

Ultimately, money is a concept built within us, designed to redeem from the exigencies and pressures of what the Bible calls the “curse.” That being the case, money is used in Scripture to point to the work of… what else?... Redemption in the saving work of Jesus Christ. If the concept of money and wealth creation do not lead ultimately to the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the rise of His Kingdom in the hearts of people around the world, then wealth formation will prove futile, and life meaningless!

______________________________________________________________________
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
                                                                
 

[1] Asimov, Isaac. Asimov’s Biographical Encyclopedia of Science and Technology. Doubleday and Company, Inc., Garden City, N.Y. p. 141.

[2] It really isn’t surprising that new studies just released publicly to the national press have found that children placed in day care on a regular basis are more likely to demonstrate instability and emotional disabilities. Nothing replaces the home and family. Man cannot do well in “collectives” where family is lost. At the other end of the spectrum, man cannot live in chaos for long. The family is a gift of God designed to bring order to life. It is therefore imperative that the home be ordered in a Christian manner…or chaos can ensue and corruption mature in the hearts of children. It is equally imperative that the family be honored and defended as a legitimate government and its jurisdiction protected.

[3] The term “capitalism” is an invention of socialist thinkers of the 19th and 20th centuries, such as Thorstein Veblin, John Maynard Keynes, Karl Marx and Frederick Engels. These men were inveterate enemies of a free market system preferring to characterize “the profit system of free enterprise” as something other than upright and emphasizing “greed’ instead of seeing stewardship and reciprocity in exchange of value and services rendered. By using the term “capitalism” they negatively prejudiced the issue of a free market system with its laws of human action. They were using biased terminology to characterize the market is nothing more than some cheap “moneyism” to characterize the actions of a free market. The actual term was ostensibly to mean refer to the formation of “capital”, though the most people simply think in terms of some perversion of greed and money accumulation.

[4] To the author’s knowledge, the first modern economist to use this definition is Dr. Gary North who, despite the reaction some have to his controversial theology, is a brilliant economist in his own right.

[5] Asimov, Isaac. Asimov’s Biographical Encyclopedia of Science and Technology, 1972 edition, p.526

[6] Ibid. p. 526
[7] Ibid. p.526


 
 


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