The sars-cov2 virus is a minuscule 120 nanometers in diameter. And its virulence and deadliness are far milder than those of many other pathogens. Yet this virus and the unreasonable reactions to it have done colossal damage to economies around the world. The reckless shutdowns, money printing, borrowing and spending have plunged the world into the worst recession since the Great Depression. It has severely disrupted markets and pushed numerous nations near to a tipping point.
How can massive economies be so fragile? How can such a tiny threat wreak such havoc? Because man-made economies are a house of cards: precarious and highly vulnerable to shock.
The Economy Israel Chose
When ancient Israel demanded the Prophet Samuel to give them a king like their neighboring countries had, it angered him. In considering the matter in prayer, however, Samuel found that God would allow Israel to reject His government—but not without a stern warning. God told Samuel to “protest solemnly” to the Israelites—to tell them they were making a huge mistake (1 Samuel 8:9).
In protesting, Samuel told them how their king would rule: He would recruit the most talented young people in the land for his own gain—filling positions in an ever expanding bureaucracy. He would draft the most able-bodied young men for the army—to be his “instruments of war” (verses 11-13). He would then apply burdensome property taxes, taking the best fields and vineyards from the citizenry (verse 14). He would introduce income tax and use the proceeds selfishly, giving it to his officers and his servants (verse 15). Even laborers would have to devote a portion of their time to the king’s services (verse 16).
In short, if they wanted a king like all other nations, they could have one—but they would end up being their king’s servants (verse 17).
Then, under the oppressive weight of big government, if the Israelites cried out to God, He would not hear them! (verse 18).
Even after this solemn protest from Samuel, Israel refused to heed God’s warning and instead chose for themselves a leader. They wanted to be just like other nations (verses 19-20).
With that in mind, we should not be surprised by the unbelievable size of government today—or by its remarkable inefficiency and waste. The United States is descended from ancient Israel. And its government, like every other administration on Earth, has many flaws. But we as a people must remember: We chose it to be this way.
Indeed, from history we learn that human government has spent much of its resources either on war or in preparing for war. Here in the United States, it was the cost for World War i that prompted Congress to introduce the income tax.
Yet even in times of peace, most human governments have not been able to curtail oppressive taxes, eliminate debt or even balance the budget. Our national debt has steeply risen for years, and the curve is getting steeper all the time. People’s expectations of the government to solve every problem keep rising, and government interventions are getting more expensive all the time. Thanks in part to his response to the 2008 financial crisis, President Barack Obama oversaw the national debt’s increase from $10 trillion to $20 trillion in eight years. In a single term, President Trump has helped it grow $7 trillion more—to $27 trillion.
It’s a sad picture, and this concerning the richest, most prosperous nation in man’s history. We could devote plenty more space to the dismal, debt-ridden economies of other nations.
Man’s system of government—not just in the U.S.—has forced upon our society exactly what the Prophet Samuel said it would: big government, endless war and oppressive taxes.
There are solutions to these worsening problems, but not the kind most people want to hear. God is about to revolutionize this world’s economy. When Jesus Christ returns to Earth, He will bring about economic reform that will finally make a difference. The Bible reveals the economic policies of God’s soon-coming Kingdom. These principles would bring about sweeping change even today, if only man would practice them.
A Clean Slate
Many prophecies describe the Great Tribulation and Day of the Lord to come upon the whole Earth just before Christ returns. The devastation of these end-time events is truly hard to fathom. Isaiah 24 says God will turn the Earth upside down, making it waste and empty (verses 1, 3). In verse 6, God says there will only be a “few men left.” (Obviously, this prophecy has not yet been fulfilled—nothing like this has ever happened before.) Jesus Himself, in the New Testament, said events would get so bad that if God didn’t intercede, man would become extinct! (Matthew 24:21-22).
This gives us a picture of the kind of world Jesus will return to—one utterly devastated by modern warfare and the resultant disease and famine.
In Zechariah 14, God describes the final climactic battle to take place around Jerusalem when Jesus returns. God says He will “gather all nations” at Jerusalem (verse 2). “Then shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle” (verse 3). Jesus Christ will forcefully subdue man’s final attempt to defy God. The Mount of Olives, verse 4 says, will split in two—another prophecy that has obviously not yet been fulfilled.
The last part of verse 14 says this about when this battle ends: “… and the wealth of all the heathen round about shall be gathered together, gold, and silver, and apparel, in great abundance.” The positive side to all the destruction is that in one swoop, God will wipe away all the complex, debt-ridden, inefficient, wasteful and selfish economic systems of man. He will then gather all available wealth and start anew.
Man will also, at long last, be freed from the bondage of Satan’s rule on Earth (2 Corinthians 4:4; Revelation 12:9). This will be the fresh start man needs to begin to understand how God’s economy will work.
Changing Man’s Nature
Of course, it will take much more than a fresh start to change man’s faulty systems of economics. Mankind will need to be re-educated according to God’s law.
James 4 describes this present world as it operates under the deceptive sway of Satan. “From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?” (verse 1). War is a primary contributor to escalating debt and crippling economies. And the root cause of all war is lust. “Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not” (verse 2). James stresses the fact that God wants us to have material goods and prosperity, but on His terms—not ours.
But since the days of Adam, mankind in general has rejected this proposition and instead sought after wealth and riches on his own terms—and as influenced by Satan the devil. “Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?” (verse 5). The way of this world is simply the way of get. It is natural for human nature to covet. The Apostle Paul attributed “the love of money” as a root cause of evil (1 Timothy 6:10). This competitive nature in man must change before economic reform will ever last.
Unsurprisingly, the great financial law in God’s Kingdom is found right within the Ten Commandments: “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s” (Exodus 20:17). God’s law prohibits covetous, selfish gain. It forbids the way of get. Breaking this commandment violates the basic principle of God’s way of life: the way of give. The give way will underpin the economic system of tomorrow.
When Jesus Christ returns to forcefully put down mankind’s final rebellious assault, that victory will also mark the end of all war. Micah 4:3 shows that man will convert all remaining war materials into farm equipment. This will radically change the world’s economy. No more defense spending. No more multimillion-dollar Marshall Plans to rebuild nations ruined by war. And no more massive debt to pass on to our children!
The Prophet Micah also wrote this about this millennial setting: “But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the Lord of hosts hath spoken it” (verse 4). God’s economy in the World Tomorrow will revolve around land ownership, just as it did in ancient Israel (1 Kings 4:25).
In many ways, this was the way it was in America’s history. Historian Paul Johnson notes this about American life in the 19th century: “Never in human history, before or since, has authority gone to such lengths to help the common people to become landowners” (A History of the American People). Back then there was so much land that, in some cases, the government gave it away. This helped develop communities and keep people spread out. It also kept most Americans busy developing their own raw land.
Not that life in early America was utopian, but regarding land ownership it was much closer to the way God will set up His society than anything else we see today. God never intended human beings to bunch up by the millions, one on top of another—none owning land—crammed into over-crowded, crime-infested, polluted cities. He wants all to have their own space on their own land so they can learn to beautify and maintain that little creation—like God does with His creation!
But that is not the way man’s society operates. While land is still plentiful in the United States, rising costs and excessive taxes make it far more difficult to get than it once was. Americans today are actually penalized for developing property: The more its value rises, the higher its taxes. At present, Americans pay about 2 percent of the property’s value every year in taxes.
Another form of property tax is the estate tax, commonly called the death tax. When a wealthy landowner or business owner dies, heirs may have to pay taxes as high as 60 percent on the estate, which is why so many family-owned businesses do not make it as far as the second generation. In fact, according to Martin Gross, only 30 percent do—and of those, a paltry 13 percent make it to the third generation.
This is not God’s way! Proverbs 13:22 says, “A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children’s children ….” Prior to Social Security, oppressive taxes and buying on high-interest time payments, most Americans secured their old age through savings, property ownership and family.
Today, however, government programs have helped free adults from their responsibility to their own children and grandchildren. Instead of encouraging adults to dream of retiring among family, the government through these selfish programs prods the elderly to “sell the farm” and spend the money on themselves. If that even means passing debt on to children, so be it—after all, that’s what the government does.
In the World Tomorrow, every family will own property. And God’s law will ensure that everyone’s property is well protected. The Eighth Commandment (“thou shalt not steal”) is the great law God instituted to protect all private property and possessions. No more property taxes or estate taxes. No more high-rise apartment complexes in polluted cities.
Every man will sit under his own vine and fig tree.
Honest Work and Honest Pay
Another godly economic principle is hard work. The Apostle Paul wrote that “if any would not work, neither should he eat” (2 Thessalonians 3:10). He also wrote, “Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth” (Ephesians 4:28).
In this age of stimulus bills, bailout checks, welfare programs, deficit budgeting, labor disputes, declining health and overindulgence in entertainment, it’s a wonder anything gets done. To be sure, many people work hard. But overall, especially among younger generations, we have seen a noticeable decline in work ethic.
God and Christ are not lazy. Both of them work! (John 5:17). And fruits of their labor reveal them to be hard workers. For human beings to ever realize our full potential, God wants us to understand the great meaning and purpose behind productive, efficient labor. Jesus said, “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much” (Luke 16:10). Before God will offer us life within His Family, He wants to see what we will do with what we have now, no matter how small it might seem. Actually, it is small when compared to God! “If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon [or money], who will commit to your trust the true riches?” (verse 11). If we haven’t learned to be wise stewards with the money and goods God has given us now, how will we ever be ready for the true riches of His Kingdom? (verse 12).
The Laws of Tithing
Of course, government operations do cost money, even in God’s society. That’s where the laws of tithing come in to play. In Leviticus 27:30, God commands, “And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord’s: it is holy unto the Lord.”
God’s universal tithing system is 10 percent. Everyone pays the same rate. Deuteronomy 14:22 says we are to pay the tithe—or tenth—on our increase. In this way, God’s tax neither soaks the rich or oppresses the less wealthy. It’s an across-the-board flat tax that encourages initiative and gives people incentive to produce.
In God’s income tax system, all tithes will be sent to headquarters (Deuteronomy 12:6) where one unified administration, under the direction of Jesus Christ, will use the money for the good of all mankind.
In man’s system, however, many people pay up to 40 percent of their earnings—just in income tax. To illustrate how astronomical that figure is, consider this: In 1913, when Congress ratified the 16th Amendment—which permanently established income tax—politicians debated about whether or not they should cap the tax at 10 percent. In the end, they dismissed the discussion, saying it was absurd to think taxes would ever rise above that level.
God’s tax—in stark contrast—will never rise.
Even in the World Tomorrow, some people will hit hard times. For them, God has a fail-safe welfare system to prevent them from descending into poverty. It’s described in Deuteronomy 15.
There will be some borrowing and lending in God’s society, but without interest, which means people will no longer make money on other people’s debts. Additionally, there will be a release from borrowed debt every seventh year (verses 1-2). Under this system, those who lend will know they may never receive their money back.
Why would God institute such a law? “To the end that there be no poor among you” (verse 4; see margin in King James). God’s welfare system eliminates poverty. Keep in mind, the principle of 2 Thessalonians 3:10 stands: If any man won’t work, he shouldn’t eat. God doesn’t give handouts to sluggards.
Notice how God keeps people from abusing His welfare system: “If there be among you a poor man of one of thy brethren within any of thy gates in thy land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not harden thine heart, nor shut thine hand from thy poor brother” (Deuteronomy 15:7). The poor and needy are to be dealt with on the local level, preferably within the family. That way it is easier to discern whether the individual in need really deserves welfare or if he is just being lazy.
In the World Tomorrow, these unusual cases will most likely involve people who need financial assistance to get back on their feet. In that case, God says, “[T]hou shalt open thine hand wide unto him, and shalt surely lend him sufficient for his need, in that which he wanteth” (verse 8). Compare this practical wisdom with the horrible inefficiency of gigantic bureaucracies doling out billions of dollars to millions of people who have no intention of ever finding a job.
“Thou shalt surely give him, and thine heart shall not be grieved when thou givest unto him: because that for this thing the Lord thy God shall bless thee in all thy works, and in all that thou puttest thine hand unto” (verse 10). That is how lenders will be rewarded. Instead of making money on borrowers paying off high-interest loans, God will reward them personally for living the way of give. It is as if the loans people give the poor are actually made to God. As Proverbs 19:17 says, “He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the Lord; and that which he hath given will he pay him again.” God will repay those unselfish loans many times over!
Overseeing All Things
This is a financial principle man has never yet followed. It really is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35). When man finally begins to realize this in the World Tomorrow after practicing on the individual level, what sweeping economic reform it will bring to all society!
“Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase” (Proverbs 3:9). The give way of life begins with tithing—giving the very best of our increase to God. Beyond that, it trickles down into every facet of living. “So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine” (verse 10). Live that way, and God will give back many times over!
God wants us—even now as we prepare for our future in His Family—to be as materially wealthy as we can handle—not to serve our own selves, but so we might honor Him in all our substance. He wants us to have these things to help prepare us for true riches!
David, in the Psalms, wrote about those riches. He asked God in Psalm 8:4, “What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?” He answered that question in verse 6: “Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet.” What purpose! The God who made all things (Psalm 24:1-2) wants to give all things to man!
Is it any wonder why God wants us to learn how to properly use material goods—to lead prosperous lives now? He wants to give us all material things later!