Herod and Shylock


or Cooking the Golden-Egg Goose

Gary North has a free course on reducing your debt. Part of the plan is an application of the 5-point Covenant structure. Basically, God calls a man, gives him a job to do, and returns at the end to assess the man’s work. North refers to the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:

“Jesus often used what I call pocketbook parables. People understand money. They are interested in money.

The parable of the talents teaches about personal responsibility and final judgment. It uses money to explain this. This parable reveals how God expects us to use our money. We are to expand it — meaning our influence — rather than waste it.

There are five principles governing this passage:

1. God is the owner.
2. He delegates administration to representatives.
3. Each representative adopts a plan of action.
4. The owner requires a final accounting.
5. There is a system of inheritance and disinheritance.

This structure reflects the five points of the biblical covenant model. (On this model, read Rev. Ray Sutton’s book, That You May Prosper [1987]. Download it for free here.)

1. The sovereignty of God
2. The delegated authority of man
3. The law of God
4. The judgment of God
5. The kingdom of God

Put more commonly:

1. Who’s in charge here?
2. To whom do I report?
3. What are the rules?
4. What do I get if I obey or disobey?
5. Does this outfit have a future?”

This correlation between Covenant and economics is crucial to understanding the Bible and its irrefutable dominion theology. The Bible repeatedly describes worship as commerce, “buying and selling.” [1]

Even more interesting is the correspondence which I believe exists between the 5-point Covenant model and the 7-point Creation model. [2] Human history in its entirety follows this “economic” pattern. Why did God allow these tragic, bloody millennia to begin in Eden? Because at His coming, He will receive back what He put into it—with interest.

Matthew 25 describes His coming in AD70, the end of the Old Covenant. He received all the saints into the place He had prepared for them, and slew all those who had murdered them. Just like Adam, Herod had seized the riches of kingdom rather than patiently receiving them as an inheritance. He had turned the Law into a self-serving tool and wilfully ignored the Spirit in which it was given. The abundance promised for faithfulness became scarcity.

The ascended martyr-church cried out for vengeance. The rich would weep and howl. [3] The words of Portia to Shylock spring to mind:

“Tarry, Jew. The law hath yet another hold on you… your wealth is forfeited to the state for having conspired against the life of one of its citizens. Your life lies at the mercy of him you conspired against.” [4]

Consequently, we see this pattern in the book of Revelation:

1. God is the owner.
2. He delegates administration to representatives.
3. Each representative adopts a plan of action.
4. The owner requires a final accounting.
5. There is a system of inheritance and disinheritance.

But this first century judgment was a type of the future judgment to come, the end of the New Covenant, at which Christ, the only truly faithful Adam, will hand the kingdom as abundant produce from Eden, full repayment with interest, to the Father. Then God will be all in all.

For those who support this misguided “Make Wealth History” campaign, money and economy are blessings from God to be received with gratitude and used with wisdom. The Bible is full of rich people who were faithful with their money.[5] That is why micro-loans are transforming third world countries that well-meaning foreign aid has weakened.

The West’s problem is not wealth but debt, which is the original sin multiplied into a culture. [6] Like Herod, we have sold the farm for trinkets. Jesus is very obviously taking the Land and giving it to those who will bring forth the fruit of the Kingdom.

[1] Follow the tag Worship as Commerce.
[2] See Lambs in Limbo. The significance is multiplied when we take into account that both the Creation Week, the Tabernacle and the Annual Festivals of Israel all follow this same pattern. All is sacred, but all is commerce. See The Go-Betweens. On Ray Sutton’s model, see A Jaw Dropping Book.
[3] See Fool’s Gold.
[4] Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice, Scene 3.
[5] See Charity, Not Revolution.
[6] See Building Cages Out of Freedom.

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2 Responses to “Herod and Shylock”

  • Byron Smith Says:

    this misguided “Make Wealth History” campaign
    Can you provide a link? I haven’t seen it.

    You are right that debt is a crippling disease in our society. And you’re also right that wealth per se is not the issue. But when amassing wealth is based on the destruction of God’s good world, or on the denial of rights to the poor, then the pursuit of wealth is indeed a root of all kinds of evil.

    Perhaps it is also useful to distinguish between different kinds of wealth. Money is not the only way to be wealthy. We ought to be rich in good deeds, and in community, and have a continual debt of love. If this is our wealth, let us all be millionaires!

  • Mike Bull Says:

    There is a Make Wealth History blog and it seems to be a common phrase – although I first heard it from you! I got the impression is was a campaign but it might just be a buzzword. Thank God.
    The idea that amassing wealth destroys the world and oppresses the poor is common in Scripture. It occurs when man seizes kingdom instead of waiting patiently for God’s timing. We look at our resources and think that’s all we have to play with. But based on the Bible, if we had been faithful with them, God has a way of making the cup run over in unforeseen ways. Wealth is not the problem at all. Solomon was faithful so God made his kingdom wealthy. Same goes for Protestant Christianity, but we have followed the path of Solomon, who also ended up using oppression to build his kingdom “earlier” than God intended.
    No, money is not the only way to be wealthy, but when the Bible says that righteousness exalts a nation, it is talking about prosperity and political clout. Europe had it and lost it. Britain had it and lost it. The US has it and is losing it. It seems the nation that faithfully invests by sending out missionaries ends up as a world power. The Christian’s refusal to pursue money ends up with greater wealth for all (Matt. 6:32-33). Like Christ, when we fall into the ground and die to ourselves, there is a greater harvest, and it is not just about winning souls. The gospel is holistic. To limit the harvest to pie-in-the-sky is gnosticism. Obama and his cronies might be well-intentioned, but they are wilfully ignorant of the history of socialism (ie. its blinding successes!) and will just end up spreading the poverty around.
    So, I am not disagreeing with you, just saying there is a bigger picture. I highly recommend David Chilton’s “Productive Christians in an Age of Guilt Manipulators” and also Ray Sutton’s “That You May Prosper”. Both are available free in PDF online, or as books for sale from http://www.americanvision.com
    Kind regards,