Kingdom Taxes to Fund Government--Part 3
Dec 24, 2008
It has been over 2,500 years since the Kingdom of God was an autonomous Kingdom on earth. The Babylonian captivity has gone on for so long that few know what it was like in those old days. In the interim, however, God has kept alive the principles of the Kingdom through His Word, both written and spoken, so that it can be re-constructed in the days to come.
Many argue that the Kingdom is already here, and that it began with Pentecost in Acts 2. That is a partial truth, certainly, but that view normally lacks the understanding that it has been a SAUL Kingdom, an imperfect kingdom that has persecuted DAVID over the centuries. A Pentecostal kingdom is indeed the Kingdom of God, but it is not the full manifestation of the Kingdom. There is an Age to come, which is the Tabernacles Age, during which time the full manifestation of the Kingdom will be come--though even then, it will not extend fully throughout the earth until the following Age.
Meanwhile, we are called to preach the Kingdom of God, so that we know what it is, where it is, and who are its citizens and rulers. Of necessity, such a word shows how different it is from the Babylonian-style kingdoms of the earth. In Babylon, many laws are unjust, rulers are corrupt, and the people demand the right of immorality. In God's Kingdom, the laws are just, rulers will be incorruptible and will judge with mercy (the mind of Christ), and no citizen will be an unbeliever who refuses to submit to the law of God.
Under these conditions, government may remain small, and the judges will not be overworked. There will be no need for a legislature, because man-made laws or interpretations of existing law merely create "traditions of men" that ultimately destroy or invalidate the law (Matt. 15:6). God will raise up a generation of judges (overcomers), who not only know the written law ("letter of the law"), but also know God's intent in writing each law. The law, then, will be administered correctly, and because the citizens will be believers, they will also be correctible.
In fact, as the people themselves learn the law, they will find less need to go before a judge to render a verdict. As time passes, the law will be written on the hearts of the people--that is, the proper understanding of the law will become a way of life, and they will be in agreement with it. Those who disagree and who do not want to refrain from injuring their neighbors or engaging in immorality will be free to live in another country where immorality is lawful and injustice is built into the system.
Insofar as the economy is concerned, there would always be an adequate supply of money that increases as the gross domestic product (GDP) increases. It would not be based upon the supply of any single commodity, such as gold or silver, but upon all things of value in the nation. Thus, wealth would flow to all producers, not merely to those mining or owning gold or silver. Because every family would have a land inheritance as well, poverty and homelessness would be reduced to insignificance. Welfare (aid to the poor) would be taken out of the hands of government and placed back into private hands where it belongs.
It used to be this way in early America. But in the Great Depression of the 1930's, the Babylonian banking system destroyed the monetary system, throwing millions of people out of work, and creating a huge class of unemployed and poor people. The private charities were overwhelmed, and so the government stepped in to take the responsibility. Government then borrowed more money from the Fed, put us all into unpayable debt, and grabbed more power with every new responsibility. In other words, the big mistake the government made by passing the Federal Reserve Act was compounded by more mistakes caused by the earlier mistake.
In God's law, charity was encouraged at the private level under the principle of "love your neighbor as yourself" (Lev. 19:18). But beyond that, farmers were told to leave the edges ("corners") of their fields uncut for the poor and the aliens. The law of "gleanings" is given in Lev. 19:9, 10,
" (9) Now when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very corners of your field, neither shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest. (10) Nor shall you glean your vineyard, nor shall you gather the fallen fruit of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the needy and for the stranger; I am the Lord your God."
Furthermore, we learn from Deut. 24:19, 20,
" (19) When you reap your harvest in your field and have forgotten a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it; it shall be for the alien, for the orphan, and for the widow, in order that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. (20) When you beat your olive tree, you shall not go over the boughs again; it shall be for the alien, for the orphan, and for the widow."
The land owner is not required to do the work of gathering food to give to the poor; it is the responsibility of the poor to do the work to gather food. Yet the food must be made available to them. This includes widows, orphans, and foreigners living in the land. Of course, those who are disabled and who cannot gather the gleanings are given provision through alms (gifts) or other help either from private parties or organizations designed for that purpose.
Scripture makes charity functions a responsibility of the private sector, rather than government. This keeps taxes low and empowers the people, rather than the government. The problem today is that people usually want the government to have less power (or authority), but more responsibility when they need help. It does not work that way. Authority and responsibility go in equal measures.
In the New Testament we find that the early Church congregations believed it was their responsibility to assist widows and orphans and the poor. James 2:15-17 says,
" (15) If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, (16) and one of you says to them, 'Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,' and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? (17) Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself."
James goes further in 1:27,
"This is pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father, to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world."
Visiting the widows and orphans is not just a matter of seeing and talking to them. It is investigating their needs in order to be of help. That is the meaning of "visitation" in Scripture, as in "the day of your visitation" (Isaiah 10:3; Luke 19:44). The day of visitation is the time when God comes down as a Judge to investigate the complaint to see if it is true. If so, He does something about it. So also is it when we "visit" the widows and orphans. If they are truly in need, we do what we can to alleviate the situation.
In all things, love is the key. Upon love hang the entire law and the prophets, Jesus said in Matt. 22:40. Paul echoes this in Rom. 13:8, saying, "he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law." This is because the law requires us to love our neighbor. All of God's laws are based upon love. This principle is nowhere more evident than in the welfare laws of the Bible, where God shows His concern for those less fortunate. He promises to bless and prosper those who follow His welfare laws. Deut. 24:19 says, "in order that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands."
This is the final part of a series titled "Kingdom Taxes to Fund Government." To view all parts, click the link below.
Dr. Stephen Jones