It was in 2004, during the Bush-Kerry Presidential race that I discerned a difference in the spiritual realm in the US, and about that race for the White House in particular. I asked the Father what it was and He said this: "It is the spirit of socialism. It can be delayed, but it won't be stopped." I asked where it came from and He replied. "Europe", to which I asked why: "There are some in this nation who think the US should be like Europe, but that's not what I called this nation to be."
His reply caused me to wonder, "Is God, and the kingdom of heaven's laws in particular, set up as capitalist, socialist, communist, or something in between?"
Here are definitions of Capitalism, Socialism, and Communism:
Capitalism: An economic and political system in which a country's trade and industry is controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state. Antonym (opposite): Communism
Socialism: An economic and political system that advocates production, distribution, and exchange of goods and services should be owned or regulated by the government.
Communism: A system where all property is public and all people work and are given things by the government based on their needs.
Is God a capitalist? The 10 Commandments
It is widely understood from ancient times the 613 laws of Moses are summarized by 10 Commandments, and those 10 are divided into 2 categories; God and man.
The first 4 deal with God: Have no other God but me, you will make no idols, you will not make a vain use of the Lord's name, you will not work on the Sabbath.
The last 6 are centered around the family: You will honor your father and mother, you will not murder, you will not steal, you will not commit adultery, you will not lie, you will not covet/lust after your neighbor's possessions. (Exodus 20:3-17)
Look behind those 10 Commandments. They are built upon the foundation of a family that loves God.
Go deeper still and you see that at least 2 deal directly with personal ownership of property and possessions: You will not steal, you will not lust for/covet your neighbor's possessions. But even that is deeper, for this is the complete verse 17 which outlines what 'lust for/covet' means:
"You will not lust after your neighbor's house, you will not lust after your neighbor's wife, nor his male nor female employees, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor's."
These reveal personal and individual ownership and management. The neighbor owns and/or manages his own home, family, employees, livestock and (therefore) land. At least half of the 6 commands that deal with how man treats man are capitalist, meaning individual ownership and responsibility for what they own, and the command to not interfere with how your neighbor manages what he owns and operates.
The Parable of the Talents: Matthew 25:14-30
When Jesus says "The kingdom of heaven is like", He is talking about laws of the 'nation' of heaven and laws that are unique to the Kingdom of heaven, set up by the King.
Each kingdom has its own set of laws. For instance, in Matthew 12:26 Jesus said Satan has a kingdom, what we call 'hell', a place ruled by laws that are the perversion of all that is God, and is therefore a place of torment rather than peace, love, and security. But the laws of the kingdom of Satan are unique to his kingdom - he set it up that way, he is the king so that is his responsibilty.
Therefore, when Jesus starts a parable saying, "The kingdom of heaven is like", we know He is talking about the laws of the Kingdom of heaven that govern that Kingdom.
We've seen the 10 Commandments are structured around the home, family, personal ownership and the responsibility to manage properly, coupled with the command not to interfere with a neighbor's ownership and management of his own. Let's go deeper by looking at a revelation of God's kingdom's economic laws:
The parable of the bags of money (Talents, a unit of money back then)
"The kingdom of heaven is like a man going on a journey who called his employees and entrusted his money to them. To one he gave 5 bags of gold, to another 2 bags, and to another 1 bag, each according to his ability. Then he left on his journey. The man who had received 5 bags of gold went immediately and bought and sold with his money, and increased it to 5 bags more. The man with 2 bags did the same, gaining 2 more. But the man who had received 1 bag went and dug a hole and hid his boss's money there.
After a long time the boss returned and settled accounts with them. The man who had received 5 bags brought that and the 5 more saying, 'Boss, you entrusted me with 5 bags and see, I have gained 5 more.' The boss replied, 'Well done, you've been good and faithful! Come and share in my rewards.'
The man with 2 bags of gold also came and replied, 'I have taken your 2 bags and made 2 more', to which the boss replied, 'Well done, you've been good and faithful! Come and share in my rewards.'
Then the man who had received 1 bag of gold came and said, 'Boss, I know you are a hard man, harvesting where you haven't planted and gathering where you haven't scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and buried your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.'
His boss replied, 'You wicked and lazy man! You say I harvest where I haven't sown and gather where I haven't scattered seed? Well then, you should have at least put my money in the bank to gain interest! Take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has 10 bags. For whoever has, will be given more, in abundance. Whoever doesn't have, that which he has will be taken away. Throw this worthless employee outside into the darkness, where there is crying and suffering.;"
This parable is all about capitalism, and Jesus said from that start, 'The kingdom of heaven is like this'. Consider the economic structure of the kingdom:
There is a boss, meaning he owns a company, who has employees of various abilities. He rewards each employee according to his ability, entrusting them with stewardship of some part of the business. 2 of the 3 men work hard buying and selling in the marketplace to double their money, and are rewarded and promoted for their hard work.
The wicked and lazy man, who spoke wrongly of the boss (claimed he was dishonest by stealing other people's harvests), was fired after a reasonable time, having failed to fulfill the company requirements for his position. The boss would have kept him on if he had done even the minimum of putting the money in the bank to gather interest. But because he didn't show up for work but was off doing other things, he was fired and suffered the crying and anguish that goes with poverty and laziness - all of his own doing.
The laws of the kingdom of heaven Jesus teaches, include personal ownership, management, being given responsibility based on ability, being rewarded by promotion for integrity and good and hard work, and the suffering of consequences for the mismanagement of money, time, and responsibility. This parable is consistent with the foundation of the 10 Commandments. (For more on this parable and other Biblical economic teachings see my 'Balanced Biblical Prosperity' series)
The reason this subject is important, both in the US and much of the world, is that a battle is going on about the degree to which government should be involved in money and property, and the world is about to change significantly in the next couple years, which is why I'm sharing this now, so people can be discerning and wise about the spiritual principles and battle that is raging.
But what about how the early church sharing all things common? What about ancient Israel's national bankruptcy that happened every 7 and 50 years? Is the kingdom 100% capitalist, or is there more to the ways of God in these things...stay tuned, next week.