Over the past couple of days I have been watching a good American documentary which is called “Zeitgeist-moving forward”. The documentary claims (if it is true) that the world socio-political and economical systems that are playing out today are a fabricated scene, pre-organized by a handful of rich and powerful people. It is a type of communism where several dictators reign together instead of just one. Could you please analyze the current political systems from a Biblical perspective; democratic vs. dictatorship, capitalism vs. communism, the positive and negative aspects. Thank you very much and may the Lord help you.
At the beginning of the film, there is a person’s voice describing how he learned how to play “Monopoly” with his grandmother. The person played with such an intense manner that grandmother was left with nothing. After the game was over, grandmother’s words of wisdom were, “now you have to put all of your winnings back in the box and put the game up.” The voice in the background says, “Do you need to understand what is the most important thing?”.
Who establishes the rules of the game?
This thought led me to think about a letter written by the great king, Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon which is included on the pages of the Holy Scriptures. He had a dream one night and was shown a very tall tree in the midst of the earth.
The tree grew and became strong, and its top reached to heaven, and it was visible to the end of the whole earth. Its leaves were beautiful and its fruit abundant, and in it was food for all. The beasts of the field found shade under it, and the birds of the heavens lived in its branches, and all flesh was fed from it. “I saw in the visions of my head as I lay in bed, and behold, a watcher, a holy one, came down from heaven. He proclaimed aloud and said thus: ‘Chop down the tree and lop off its branches, strip off its leaves and scatter its fruit. Let the beasts flee from under it and the birds from its branches. But leave the stump of its roots in the earth, bound with a band of iron and bronze, amid the tender grass of the field. Let him be wet with the dew of heaven. Let his portion be with the beasts in the grass of the earth. Let his mind be changed from a man’s, and let a beast’s mind be given to him; and let seven periods of time pass over him. (Dan 4:11-16)
The dream ends with verse 17:
The sentence is by the decree of the watchers, the decision by the word of the holy ones, to the end that the living may know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will and sets over it the lowliest of men.’
By reading this passage, you begin to see who establishes the rules of the game and puts things up at the end even if some of the players in the game do not want to obey the rules.
Nebuchadnezzar received the interpretation of this dream via Daniel who said:
Then Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, was dismayed for a while, and his thoughts alarmed him. The king answered and said, “Belteshazzar, let not the dream or the interpretation alarm you.” Belteshazzar answered and said, “My lord, may the dream be for those who hate you and its interpretation for your enemies! The tree you saw, which grew and became strong, so that its top reached to heaven, and it was visible to the end of the whole earth, whose leaves were beautiful and its fruit abundant, and in which was food for all, under which beasts of the field found shade, and in whose branches the birds of the heavens lived– it is you, O king, who have grown and become strong. Your greatness has grown and reaches to heaven, and your dominion to the ends of the earth. And because the king saw a watcher, a holy one, coming down from heaven and saying, ‘Chop down the tree and destroy it, but leave the stump of its roots in the earth, bound with a band of iron and bronze, in the tender grass of the field, and let him be wet with the dew of heaven, and let his portion be with the beasts of the field, till seven periods of time pass over him,’ this is the interpretation, O king: It is a decree of the Most High, which has come upon my lord the king, that you shall be driven from among men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. You shall be made to eat grass like an ox, and you shall be wet with the dew of heaven, and seven periods of time shall pass over you, till you know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will. And as it was commanded to leave the stump of the roots of the tree, your kingdom shall be confirmed for you from the time that you know that Heaven rules. Therefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable to you: break off your sins by practicing righteousness, and your iniquities by showing mercy to the oppressed, that there may perhaps be a lengthening of your prosperity.” (Dan 4:19-27)
It would have been good for King Neb. To pay attention to the advice that Daniel gave to him; to humble himself, to put an end to his sin, to live in righteousness, to have mercy on the poor so that he could prolong his happiness. Unfortunately, things did not happen that way for him. Twelve months quickly went by and one day as he was walking on his roof top in Babylon, he said the following: “Is not this great Babylon, which I have built by my mighty power as a royal residence and for the glory of my majesty?” Everything changed at this point. The One who established the rules of the games intervened and decided that the pieces needed to be put back in the box and the box put up.
and you shall be driven from among men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. And you shall be made to eat grass like an ox, and seven periods of time shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will.” Immediately the word was fulfilled against Nebuchadnezzar. He was driven from among men and ate grass like an ox, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven till his hair grew as long as eagles’ feathers, and his nails were like birds’ claws. (Dan 4:32-33)
As you can see, everything changed very, very quickly. His time for repentance ran out and he had to pay the price. He had to learn the hard way who governs this universe.
At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives forever, for his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation; all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?” (Dan 4:34-35)
We often hear that bankers, communist leaders, Masons etc. are the ones who run the world and everything happens according to their plans. That sounds nice but it is not true. We need to learn from King Neb.’s case that God is the One who is in control of this earth. This great king of that day came to the following conclusions:
- God lives forever (people are mortal, no matter how much power they have)
- His dominion is everlasting (the kingdoms of this world come and go; who ever would have thought that the USSR would have fallen? It crumbled from within)
- God’s kingdom endures from generation to generation
- All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing (no matter how great they think that they are in their own eyes)
- He does according to His will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth
- None can stay His hand (no one can stop His plans no matter what)
- None can say to Him, “What have you done?” (as in showing Him that He has done something wrong and giving Him a better way)
In view of the differences between capitalism – communism
A person’s attitude toward private property is the main difference between these two systems. Communism is condemned by God, categorically because in communism, the authorities come and confiscate a person’s private property under the facade that they will cause equality among the people. They are stealing from one to give to another. A good society cannot be based on stealing and plundering.
My daughter told me a story about how an American teacher, in a very original way, showed his students the essence of socialism. One day he gave a test to the students, graded their tests, and returned them to the students with their actual grades on them. Then, he took up all of the tests and averaged them out. Once he found the average of all the tests, he gave all the students the same grade. The students who had not studied for the test were very happy about this method because their grades improved greatly. The students who studied hard and did well on the test were very upset. What were the results of all of this? Those who were good students did not want to put for effort to study in the future because either way, they were going to get a lower grade than what they deserved. Those who did not study as hard before the exam, they quit studying all together because they assumed that they would be rewarded because of the hard work of the smarter students who prepared for the tests. Guess what happened next? After the next test and the ones following it, the average grade dropped so low that no one passed. This is a lesson to be learned and it has been learned by the nations that fell into socialism and paid a heavy price because of it in the form of poverty. God teaches us to respect and protect the right to private property, even if that person is your enemy. Here are a few examples:
“You shall not steal. (Exo 20:15)
“If you meet your enemy’s ox or his donkey going astray, you shall bring it back to him. If you see the donkey of one who hates you lying down under its burden, you shall refrain from leaving him with it; you shall rescue it with him. (Exo 23:4-5)
The animal of your enemy is his private property and if you find him in need of help with his private property, do not pass him by but instead help him.
May the Lord help us to pay attention to the times in which we live so that we can recognize the hand of God, being obedient to Him, pleasing Him in all that we do.
Translation by: Erik Brewer