ולא תונו אישׁ את־עמיתו ויראת מאלהיך כי אני יהוה אלהיכם׃
ועשׂיתם את־חקתי ואת־משׁפטי תשׁמרו ועשׂיתם אתם וישׁבתם על־הארץ לבטח׃
Thus you are not to take advantage of each other, but you are to fear your God; for I am Adonai your God. " 'Rather, you are to keep my regulations and rulings and act accordingly. If you do, you will live securely in the land. (Lev 25:17-18 CJB)
THE ECONOMIC SYSTEM OF THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN.
A COUNTDOWN TO GODLINESS.
Counting the omer is a countdown to godliness. Some people divide the seven weeks into seven main virtues, which are again divided into seven facets of that virtue. Here is how it works:
1. Chesed : Overflowing Loving kindness
2. G’vurah: Judgment, Justice, Rigor
3. Tiferet: Compassion, Beauty, Balance
4. Netzakh: Victory, Efficiency, Prevailing
5. Hod: Glory, Splendor
6. Y’sod: Foundation, Intimacy, Generativity
7. Malkhut: Majesty, God’s Earthly Realm
FROM FIRST FRUIT (16TH of Nissan/Resurrevtion Day) TO SHAVUOT
It makes sense. The message Yeshua gave us was, "Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand."
This message reflects Yochanan the Immerser's words, as well as those in Isaiah’s prophecy, "Prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight!" (Mat 4:17; Mat 3:2; Mat 3:3; Isa 40:3)
With this message along with that of waiting for the Comforter (Acts 1:4), the time between the Resurrection on the 16th of Nissan and Shavuot 49 days later, represents a time of learning to live in “sincerity and truth” (1 Cor 5:8). This transformation into righteousness does not happen by Yeshua waving a magic wand that makes us all good again, but it happens by us learning and applying the lifestyle of the Torah, and in our case, learning and applying the teachings of Yeshua concerning the Torah in our lives.
HASHEM’S ECONOMIC SYSTEM
The parasha readings during the time of the counting of the omer gives us a lot of material for reflection and cleansing.
THE LITMUS TEST OF RELIGIOUS SPIRITUALITY
After we have been taught in the former parashiot about ritual and ceremonial holiness/set-apartness, we are now taught about financial holiness/set-apartness. HaShem is concerned with how we eat, live, and work, but He is also concerned about how we handle money. Money really hits where it hurts and I would dare say, the handling of money reveals much more about one’s spirituality than any other religious observance.
Leviticus 25 teaches us about sabbatical years and jubilee. These things were all about business, income, and compassion for the less-fortunate. Sabbatical years and jubilees were good news for the poor, and if I were to say this in Hebrew, I would not use הודעה תובה/oda’a Tova for the expression “good news”, but בשורה/ Besora, which has to do with the Good News of the coming of the Kingdom of God on earth.
BUT IT TAKES FAITH TO OBEY.
Sad to say, HaShem's economic system as outlined in Leviticus 25 was never totally adopted by Israel. It even caused Judea to go in exile for 70 years. For seventy Sabbatical years the Children of Israel had not obeyed the commandment to let the Land fallow every seven years, so HaShem sent the people away so the land could enjoy her Shabbats. (2. Chron 36:21; Jer 25:11)
Until this day, I do not know any politician who would be voted in were he to impose, not only that people take off all the 70 shabbats of the year, but that every seven years, farmers would not sow their fields (Lev 25:4-7), and that all banks would forgive debts while not even allowing them to refuse a loan on the fifth year, knowing that the debt would probably be cancelled before full payment. I don't know that businesses would agree to forgive debts; I don’t think that they would like to pay their employees nightly. Also, what real estate company would return the land that he bought from someone who sold it to them due to financial duress? (Lev 25). It is all basically bad for business, but it shows us what importance HaShem gives to business. I heard a rabbi teach that if you were to properly follow the laws of tithing, sabbatical years, and jubilee, you could never get too rich.
Just as it takes faith to stop working on Saturday (especially if you work in retail), it takes faith for the farmer to not sow his field for one year. It means that on the sixth year, he must save for the seventh year, he must have seedcorn left to sow at the end of the sabbatical year, and something to eat on the eighth. It also meant that every fifty years, he needed to save all that plus for one more year as the jubilee year followed the sabbatical year.
THE ECONOMIC SYSTEM OF THE KINGDOM
Leviticus 25 starts with the commandments concerning the sabbatical years, and then continues on with the care of the poor. At the end of the chapter, the poor can be rescued regardless of the year, through the means of the kinsman Redeemer.
In the millennia that man has governed the earth applying different economic systems and models, none of these systems and models have ever succeeded in providing even basic necessities to everybody. There has always been disparity between rich and poor, as well as people who live in poverty, poverty not caused by natural causes, but by the selfish political and economical systems of man. My question is,Why don't we try it HaShem's way, using HaShem’s system?
What I see in the economic system of Leviticus 25 is a system where every once in a while the whole economic system reboots thus providing a way for the poor to catch up. In this system, the rich never get too rich so he forgets God, and the poor never gets too poor so He curses his creator.
[God,] I have asked two things of you; don't deny them to me as long as I live --keep falsehood and futility far from me, and give me neither poverty nor wealth. Yes, provide just the food I need today; for if I have too much, I might deny you and say, "Who is Adonai?" And if I am poor, I might steal and thus profane the name of my God. (Pro 30:7-9 CJB)
IT’S NOT AN INDIVIDUAL RACE; IT’S A TEAM ACCOMPLISHMENT!
The economy of the Kingdom of Heaven is not like a race where some people just make it to prosperity while leaving others behind, but a race where those ahead take the time to let the others catch up, and even help them. Here is a scene from the movie “An Officer and A Gentleman” that illustrates it.
Someone showed me a picture one day of a wolf pack on the move. The structure of their pack was that the old and the weak were in front, the middle group was the most populous, while the strong ones brought up the rear. That created a protected pack where no one was left behind. If the wolf understands it, why don't we?
THE LAW OF THE LAND IN THE KINGDOM OF GOD
When Yeshua comes, He will impose that we live by the ways of the sabbatical years and the jubilee. It will be the law of the Land. We will finally learn that a man’s life does not consist in what he owns." (Luk 12:15 CJB)
And like Jim Elliot said,
“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” Jim Elliot
We will then follow Yeshua’s exhortation,
Don't work for the food which passes away, but for the food that stays on into eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. (John 6:27 CJB)
If we lived by the economic principles of leviticus 25 today, we would experience a foretaste of the Kingdom of God right here and now!
MAY WE BRING THE KINGDOM OF GOD ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN TODAY BY LIVING ACCORDING TO ITS RULES.
R' Gavriel Lumbroso