Communism and the Bible

We had a discussion today about the Bible and Kingship. It is well known that Jesus was one of the most well known and earliest Communists. This is seen throughout his teachings of giving to the poor and needy and also the teachings against hoarding wealth. Jesus taught people to give their riches to the poor, to lay on banquets for those who can’t possibly pay you back, teaching that it is better to share the wealth rather than store it, for wealth does not last and wealth is not recognised in Heaven. Good deeds are recognised. Love is recognised. Caring for your fellow human beings is recognised. Wealth, fame, fortune are things only remembered on earth because these speak to the material world. Yet as a King, Jesus was not recognised. It is said that they were expecting a military type leader to lead the Jews against Roman occupation. It is also said that Jesus was not recognised as a King because he bore no riches, no granduer, nor was even someone that was considerably handsome to look at. In other words he was very average, very everyday person, to be considered a King. In the bible we need to look back to see where the first King came from

1 Samuel ch 8 vs 4 -5 So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah. They said to him, “ “You are old, and your sons do not follow your ways; now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have.”

It is here, it seems, that a new chapter in Israel came into being. It would seem to me that before this there were, in Israel’s history, leaders of the people, leaders who while either feeling inclined by themselves or by God, led the people without excessive wealth. It’s interesting to see what God says about this through Samuel:

Samuel Ch 8 vs 6 – 9 But when they said, “Give us a king to lead us,” this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the Lord. And the Lord told him: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king.  As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you. Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will claim as his rights.”

God does not see the people innocently asking for a king. Instead they see them rejecting him as their king. God was already their king with God’s personally appointed Samuel as their leader, so they were rejecting the idea of a leader, and instead wanted a flesh and blood king.

Samuel Ch 8 vs 10 – 18 Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking him for a king.He said, “This is what the king who will reign over you will claim as his rights: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots. Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants. He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants. Your male and female servants and the best of your cattle and donkeys he will take for his own use. He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves. When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.”

Herein lies the problem and this was already seen by God. Kings of royalty are not the same as leaders. Royalty see the people as servants. Leaders, at least i think in theory, see the people as their equals. While a leader may lean upon the public for financial aide while he goes about his duties FOR the people, i don’t feel it was ever meant to be beyond one’s needs. In other words a leader was not there to exploit the people that he leads. This of course does not stand up nowadays. It would appear that almost all of those who rule over a people or nation are excessively wealthy by default (when compared with the average person of that nation). When we look back on a leader like Moses, it doesn’t appear that Moses was excessively rich. It is true he spent his childhood and much of his young life in Egyptian royalty, but he does not appear to be a wealthy leader. King’s seem to be a different matter. So, it would seem that from leadership, the Israelities leaped into Kingship…

Samuel Ch 8 vs 19 – 22  But the people refused to listen to Samuel. “No!” they said. “We want a king over us. Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles.”  When Samuel heard all that the people said, he repeated it before the Lord.  The Lord answered, “Listen to them and give them a king.

After leadership came Kingship and when Jesus arrived, the need for Kingship in the traditional sense was gone. The people needed a leader. By this stage the Romans had taken over and there was no King that the Jews could call their own. Jesus reintroduced leadership, thus breaking away from an imperialist based system and getting back to a community based system. From here the early Christians, following Christ’s teachings seem to have adopted a communal ideology…

“Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common.…There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold and laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need” (Acts 4:32–35 ESV).

Sadly nowadays even Christianity has turned to capitalism despite Christianity’s roots. So it seems that the struggle of man in his spirituality is having faith that the Lord will provide even against the odds. It is very easy to be faithless in a society where money is King, not God.

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