THE JUBILEE IS A CREATURE OF THE LAW

insanitybytes22 has a fascinating post, “Jubilee Theonomy”. Here is how it starts.

“Jubilee theonomy,” I totally snagged that from Pastor Wilson, a timely phrase indeed because I was just thinking of writing about jubilee and what I call the Great Divide between alleged liberals and conservatives.

Jubilee for those who don’t know is, “a special year of remission of sins and universal pardon. In the Book of Leviticus, a Jubilee year  is mentioned to occur every fiftieth year, during which slaves and prisoners would be freed, debts would be forgiven and the mercies of God would be particularly manifest.”

Now in my way of thinking we are living in perpetual jubilee, Jesus Christ is our jubilee. As prisoners we have been set free, no longer slaves to fear, our debts forgiven, and the mercies of God are now particularly manifest. Praise the Lord! (continued here)

For the most part, is joyous, but as human beings are wont to do she expresses her disappointment. Where does that come from? The Jubilee is a creature of the Law. Because we cannot obey it, the Law condemns us. That is, because we are incapable of obeying the Law, the Jubilee was great in theory, but a failure in practice.

The Law — the Jubilee — is about government. We can idolize government. What does the worship of government involve? In the United States we have this dream that we can create a system of government that leads to a Utopian world. However, even as ‘s post suggests, the Law is not broken. We are.

Let’s carefully examine this paragraph from ‘s post.

Why then do we not relate to one another in this same spirit? Why are we still taking hostages, making wage slaves out of people, and burdening them with excessive debt? Why are we living in one of the wealthiest countries in the world and yet the top 3% hold all the wealth? Why do we as conservative Christians so often dismiss the poor as lazy, ignore the cries of women who have been abused, and mock those who try to speak of racism? (from here)

Hostages? Slaves. Even if being born again instantaneously transformed Christians into perfectly moral creatures, not all people are Christians. Lots of people, the majority, still see the world as us versus them. Us has always enslaved them. The desire for dominance seems to be a feature of the natural man.

Hoarding wealth? Owning and managing wealth is a gift/skill. Some people just don’t have the capacity or the self-discipline. Put any wealth into their hands, and it is soon wasted. Some do have the capacity to manage wealth. Those that do too often scheme to gain advantages with the help of politicians. When they succeed in working with politicians (that is, engage in crony capitalism) they are able to amass prodigious wealth because the power of government helps them to stifle their competitors.

Do conservative Christians UNFAIRLY dismiss the poor as lazy, ignore the cries of women who have been abused, and mock those who try to speak of racism? Note that added word, “UNFAIRLY”. Note also that not all people who claim to be conservative Christians are both conservative and Christians. Neither can we guarantee the saintliness of poor. In fact, not all women who cry about being abused have been. Some people even stoop to use the charge of racism as a weapon against their political opponents.

So what is it then that conservative Christians are doing that is wrong? Conservatism involves limited government. Conservatives insist that government exists to protect our God-given rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; but we live in a society that is predominantly Socialist in character. Conservative Christians are fighting an uphill battle. Look at our supposed leader. Donald Trump? Is he either a Christian or a Conservative? All I know is that I am still shocked by what he has accomplished. That says a lot for the power of prayer, I think. Whose prayer? Conservative Christians alone? Who knows?

What about social justice? If government is just about protecting our God-given rights, then charity is supposed to be a private matter. Then it becomes the responsibility of each of us to impartially love our neighbor. Then it becomes the responsibility of each of us to behave as did that Good Samaritan whose example Jesus spoke of. Do conservative Christians fail at this point? Of course. We all do.

Consider then how ends her post.

The undeniable truth to me is that far too often the theonomy of the conservative heart is built around pride, prejudice, and privilege. Jubilee for me and not for thee. (from here)

There is a subtle bit of self-deceit to which we are all are prey. Therefore, before we accuse, we need to rephrase our accusations as questions. Therefore, consider this question.

Whose heart is built around pride, prejudice, and privilege? Who does not perceive Jubilee theonomy as something for me and not for thee?

We all tend to have unrealistic expectations. We all think others can do more. We forget others have their own expectations and problems. We forget we don’t share the same priorities. All our hearts are full of “ME”.

What will happen between Jesus’ First and Second Coming? There are lots of theories about what Revelation predicts. Will we humans manage to create a perfectly Christian world? There was a time some Christians hoped for that, but few now see much evidence that supports such a theory. Once many Christians believed things would just keep getting better, but that seems to have collapsed under the evidence provided by two world wars. Even now we sit at the threshold of a third world war.

Still, many secularists hold to a theory of inevitable progress. It is after all, all that they have in this life. If man — if we — cannot save ourselves, and God is not real, then what is left? Since secularists control the mass media, they tend to infect us with their false hopes. To maintain a proper perspective, we need to remember our hope is in Jesus Christ. We need to keep our eyes on Him.

So what about ‘s concern? Are conservative Christians or any kind of Christians doing all they can do? Perhaps I err, but I think that is for our Lord to decide. Remember His words to Peter?

John 21:20-23 New King James Version (NKJV)

20 Then Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following, who also had leaned on His breast at the supper, and said, “Lord, who is the one who betrays You?” 21 Peter, seeing him, said to Jesus, “But Lord, what about this man?”

22 Jesus said to him, “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.”

23 Then this saying went out among the brethren that this disciple would not die. Yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but, “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you?”

Why did Peter ask Jesus that question? What would he have done if Jesus had given him an answer? Any good? Was Peter fit to judge what Jesus had chosen for John?

We each can only spread the Gospel. How our fellow Christians choose to follow Jesus, because He is the One who gives each of us a new heart, is not something we can change. We each can only follow our Lord as best we can.

80 thoughts on “THE JUBILEE IS A CREATURE OF THE LAW

    1. @tsalmon
      Shut up? On my own blog? That was not nice.

      The Bible contains a fairly clear definition of stewardship. That is, God is fairly clear. We just don’t want to listen.

      Ecclesiastes 7:29 New King James Version (NKJV)
      29 Truly, this only I have found:
      That God made man upright,
      But they have sought out many schemes.”

      We have our schemes — our systems for making everything just right. Yet because our schemes ignore God’s wisdom, only seem right in our own eyes, they don’t work.

      Or put another way, wouldn’t government and laws that encouraged industrious bounty while still coming something closer to sharing God’s bounty be better stewardship?

      When government protects our rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, we produce a generous bounty. That is all government can do. It up to each of us to be generous with what we produce.

      What happens when government starts taking what we have produced and becomes generous with “God’s bounty”? Politicians start using God’s bounty to buy votes. Government then ceases to protect our rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and God’s bounty evaporates.

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  1. Tom,

    I think you are confusing the vice of foolhardiness with prudence, courage and charity. Prudence doesn’t mean risking all your hard earned money on one one risky bet, but it doesn’t mean being greedy or gluttonous either. Charity doesn’t mean giving away all your money to the poor so that you become a burden on your community, but it also doesn’t mean hoarding it all in a mattress either. Courage doesn’t mean running headlong into danger seeking selfish thrills, but it also doesn’t mean hiding from danger when others count on you to help them.

    I know, you are going to say that, in the long run, we should help others where they are at, and I agree. A dollar spent on diplomacy means two dollars (and a lot of misery) that we don’t have to spend later on bullets. A dollar spent on foriegn aid and private aid abroad is two dollars we don’t have to spend on economic refugees at our own front door. It’s a strategic win-win.

    However, when someone’s house is on fire it’s a little late to install a fire suppression system.

    When Jesus asks us what we did when He was necked, hungry, and in prison, you know as well as I that He doesn’t expected us to answer, “I gave You a stern lecture on personal responsibility and told You that I gave at the office”.

    I think we’ve come full circle again, and have come to an impasse so I’ll shut up for a while. You should know, that if it were not for my high regard for your integrity and intelligence and that of your followers here, these discussions would not be the least bit interesting or fruitful, at least to me. You change my my mind more than perhaps you realize. For example, after I began to really try to understand your point of view on “identity politics” I realized that you are to a good extent right.

    I’ll leave you with one other observation. As you know one of my greatest conceits (other than presuming to write my opinions here) is distance running. At 20 miles or so when I’m tired and my feet hurt and I would be inclined to curse my slowness and my old bones, what often comes over me and keeps me going is an overwhelming sense of gratitude. I am grateful for blood rushing through my veins, the brisk wind and sunshine on my face, the smell of salt air pumping through my lungs, and the gift of movement on two good legs pushing me another mile through time and distance to no where in particular, but just for the joy of it.

    It does not belong to us, none of it. Not our health or our talents or even our hard work. Not our bodies, not our families, not our communities or countries or the whole world. It is all on loan from God. In the end, we will be measured for how we virtuously try to share it all with each other and how we serve each other in love and compassion, and yes, also prudence. That is the way that we glorify God and show our gratitude for this wonder of beauty and ugliness, of life and death, of mercy and cruelty, of sin and redemption that is God’s gift to us. We give it back to Him with love and joy. If there is not mostly gratitude and joy in this, then I think we may doing it wrong. But who am I to judge?

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    1. @tsalmon

      It does not belong to us, none of it. Not our health or our talents or even our hard work. Not our bodies, not our families, not our communities or countries or the whole world. It is all on loan from God. In the end, we will be measured for how we virtuously try to share it all with each other and how we serve each other in love and compassion, and yes, also prudence. That is the way that we glorify God and show our gratitude for this wonder of beauty and ugliness, of life and death, of mercy and cruelty, of sin and redemption that is God’s gift to us. We give it back to Him with love and joy. If there is not mostly gratitude and joy in this, then I think we may doing it wrong. But who am I to judge?

      I don’t disagree with any of this. Where we differ is in the concept of stewardship. When “we give it back to Him with love and joy”, it is meaningless unless we give back to Him that over which He has made us stewards. If we give back what belongs to someone else, we are simply thieves.

      Why is the border wall an issue? The principle reason is the welfare state. So long as poor people can come here for government handouts, they will. So long as we are willing to put Americans on the public dole and give the jobs they should be doing to aliens willing to accept much less pay, we will have jobs for illegal aliens that Americans won’t do.

      Since anyone who is willing can see why we need to protect our borders, there is nothing noble about opposing Trump’s wall, fighting for chain migration, or supporting immigration lotteries. Because it is such a precious gift, God will, I think, judge those who refuse protect the integrity of our constitutional republic.

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      1. Sorry, since we found agreement, at least in part, that it all belongs to God, I think that you might explore “stewardship”.

        Who gets material stewardship of what is actually God’s, it seems obvious to me, is mostly a matter of law and government – property rights and responsibilities, contract rights and responsibilities, labor and management rights and responsibilities, immigration rights and responsibilities. I think you would agree therefore that how we fashion those laws and our government will invariably engender either good or bad stewardship results in God’s eyes. Because we both agree that God wants us to steward with love and compassion (or in other words govern what are solely “His” gifts with love and compassion) how can the creation of a government and laws that walls out the desperate refugee family and encourages massive inequality in the distribution of God’s gifts really be good stewardship? Or put another way, wouldn’t government and laws that encouraged industrious bounty while still coming something closer to sharing God’s bounty be better stewardship?

        Now I really will shut us.😬

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  2. @anon

    “Since you called him a race baiter above, I’ll call you on that now.
    Can you give examples of him actually race baiting?”

    You seem to misunderstand the term “race baiting”. It is not “race baiting” if it is not as subtle as a dog whistle.

    I’m willing to admit that the left essentially race baits when they play the identity politics race card a little too heavy handedly. Surely you aren’t that deaf to the race baiting siren song from Trump and the Right?

    Start with Trump’s birtherism against the first black president. Then keep screaming “build a giant beautiful wall” to keep out those brown barbarians until that race baiting rage starts sinking in.

    You’ll find plenty of examples after that if you keep following Trump’s endless incitements to hatred and greivance against “the other”. His dog whistles can be heard around the world.

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      1. An excerpt from the above:
        I guess some of the examples above might have gotten kind of far from what people would usually call a “dog whistle”, but I feel like there’s an important dog-whistle-related common thread in all of these cases.

        In particular, I worry there’s a certain narrative, which is catnip for the media: Many public figures are secretly virulently racist and sexist. If their secret is not discovered, they will gain power and use their racism and sexism to harm women and minorities. Many of their otherwise boring statements are actually part of a code revealing this secret, and so very interesting. Also, gaffes are royal roads to the unconscious which must be analyzed obsessively. By being very diligent and sophisticated, journalists can heroically ferret out which politicians have this secret racism, and reveal it to a grateful world.

        There’s an old joke about a man who walks into a bar. The bar patrons are holding a weird ritual. One of them will say a number, like “twenty-seven”, and the others of them will break into laughter. He asks the bartender what’s going on. The bartender explains that they all come here so often that they’ve memorized all of each other’s jokes, and instead of telling them explicitly, they just give each a number, say the number, and laugh appropriately. The man is intrigued, so he shouts “Two thousand!”. The other patrons laugh uproariously. “Why did they laugh more at mine than any of the others?” he asks the bartender. The bartender answers “They’d never heard that one before!”

        In the same way, although dog whistles do exist, the dog whistle narrative has gone so far that it’s become detached from any meaningful referent. It went from people saying racist things, to people saying things that implied they were racist, to people saying the kind of things that sound like things that could imply they are racist even though nobody believes that they are actually implying that. Saying things that sound like dog whistles has itself become the crime worthy of condemnation, with little interest in whether they imply anything about the speaker or not.

        Against this narrative, I propose a different one – politicians’ beliefs and plans are best predicted by what they say their beliefs and plans are, or possibly what beliefs and plans they’ve supported in the past, or by anything other than treating their words as a secret code and trying to use them to infer that their real beliefs and plans are diametrically opposite the beliefs and plans they keep insisting that they hold and have practiced for their entire lives.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. @anon

          Not disagreeing so much as clarifying.

          Like “identity politics”, race baiting and dog whistling , those being whistled to (and sometimes even those doing the whistling) don’t see ourselves as white supremacists or demagogues. Just as we are all sinners, we are all bigots to some extent or another. We all have our defensive prejudices. Just as we are susceptible to rationalizing away that it is really isn’t selfish sinfulness that is motivating our actions, we possess an almost endless fount of reasons why our reasons for doing something bigoted is really because of something else.

          The diabolic nature of race baiting is that we hear the dog whistle not for what it is (race baiting), but for some reasonable and innocent objectives that always have enough truth to them so that we fool even ourselves.

          The surest way to determine what the real intensions going on here are is to more completely imagine the “the others’ shoe on our own foot.

          For example, if your own family were fleeing war, famine and cruelty, how would you feel about something so monumentally useless, but incredibly symbolic, as a giant wall to keep your family’s particular color and ethnicity out while welcoming Norwegians?

          Yes, there are practical considerations, but Jesus tells us that He presents Himself in the stranger who comes to us in desperate need. Before we get to those practical considerations, don’t you think that we must start by seeing Him in the other by seeing the other as ourselves? I believe that it is only then that He can redeem us through love?

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          1. @tsalmon

            Has it occurred to you that you are demonstrating bigotry? You have Trump judged and convict and without a shred of evidence.

            The fact is that the most advanced and materially prosperous countries in the world are white and Christian. Are we supposed to stop being that way because it’s racist?

            Because a bunch of greedy people want cheap labor and a bunch of treacherous politicians want voters whose votes they can buy, the leaders those prosperous, white, Christian nations have left their borders unprotected. Who is crossing over those borders illegally? Rich, white Christians?

            2001

            Since we are dog-whistling racists who don’t even know when we are being racists, whatever joke has the number 2001 must be a racist dog-whistling joke.

            We put up walls for security reasons. We put gates in walls for our friends and for those we want to be our friends.

            Is everyone welcome into your home? Do you have locks on the doors? Is your heart bleeding so profusely your home is a soup kitchen and sleeping quarters for anyone who wants to walk into it? Then stop the repeating silly, emotional, drivel about Trump’s wall.

            We cannot let anyone wants to come into our country come into our country. Even if they say they just want to work here, we still may not want them here. We have the right and the responsibility to say no. That wall will just make saying no more meaningful.

            Like

  3. Tom,

    Who’s changing the subject? I thought the whole purpose of commenting on this post was was to discuss the intersection of morality (and particularly Christian religious morality) and politics.

    It is not just that Trump is vice ridden. We are all vice ridden to one extent or another. If we look close enough, we will see the flaws and cracks in every leader. The difference with Trump is that he unabashedly glorifies the selfishness of infidelity and greed. You keep whining about how the mostly decent public school teachers are corrupting our children and yet you happily applaud the Corruptor in Chief?

    Integrity as the essence of leadership doesn’t mean we expect perfection of virtue, but it does mean that we at least expect some sort of hero in that endless struggle who at least understands the concept of honor and virtue, and at least who does not deify vice.

    I find Pence a little smarmy in his self righteousness, but sure, ya, I will take him in a flash over Trump.

    Like

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