1. This significant theme persists in recent translations of the beatitudes
and the psalms in which (Mt. 5:5) "the meek" is now translated as the humbled,
oppressed, down-trodden, dispossessed—for they shall inherit the earth! And "those
who hunger and thirst for justice; for they shall be satisfied".
Refer Geophilos, Autumn 2002, pages 44/5.
2. A significant part of the above is the affirmation of the Mosaic Law.
The terms "acceptable year of the Lord" and "year of the Lord's
favour" are interchangeable in this and other translations. The term clearly refers
to the Year of Jubilee as explicitly explained in Leviticus 25 v28. Leviticus 25. v23
encapsulates the principle for land tenure in words meaningful for those days and now.
"Your land must not be sold on a permanent basis, because you do not own it, it belongs
to God and you are like foreigners who are allowed to make use of it" (Good News Bible).
It specifies our relationship with the earth on which we live out our days. Land could be
leased but not permanently alienated, and reverted to the original family tribal holders
every 50 years—the Year of Jubilee.
The misperception that Luke 4:19 refers to Jesus’ own advent is clarified at 4:21.
Refer also to the New International Version p.1545. It arises because leasehold tenure
is comparatively uncommon and is enjoyed without fuss wherever it is in place. Substantial
parts of Masterton and Greytown are leased by Trust Lands Trusts with singular acceptance,
even modest pride. Many Local Bodies and Central Govt. have inherited harbour reclamations,
Hospital and Education Board leases etc regulated by the "Public Bodies Leases Act".
The Act is brief and usually only in the news because the 21 year rent reviews are an
anachronism under the impact of modern, rapid, inflation—mainly caused by [rising]
freehold land price! The same remarks apply to the endowment Melanesian Mission leases of the
Anglican Church on the most valuable residential sites in NZ. Likewise the big transport rigs
worth millions are leased by operators. Smart developers prefer Council leasehold land because
they can then invest more capital in the building.
Ahab rebelled against the Mosaic Law, "withdrew his neighbour's landmark and laid field
to field"³. This rejection of the Law divided Israel, and inspired the prophets
Isaiah, Amos, Micah and others to denounce it and the social consequences.
The two concepts of tenure traversed Europe. The Romans adopted privatisation, and despite whatever
else they contributed to civilisation, nevertheless disintegrated. In Northern Europe the feudal
concept vesting proprietorship in the king on behalf of all, with delegated fiefdoms, was eventually
abused in the Enclosure of the Common lands. The delegated baronial privilege is today fragmented and
sold as the "fee simple" i.e. a fief or holding on trust.
At Luke 4:18,19 above, Jesus declares his personal credentials and mission, specifying
the basic essential social prescription as a significant part of that. By citing
Isaiah's prophecy, his audience understood full well the significance of his affirming the Mosaic Law,
versus Ahab's rejection which had divided the nation—the land laws specifically. Likewise,
it would be no great surprise to Jesus that soon the incited mob would call for the release of Barabbas,
(a common thief), and to crucify Him, who would undermine the House of Privilege!
By affirming the principle with His authorityJesus saw that the underlying cause
of wealth disparity, injustice, and all the consequential problems of social values etc. would be addressed,
not the symptoms; that involuntary poverty would not be dependent on voluntary charity—an
added luxury for those involuntarily rich but demeaning for the involuntary poor. Social
justice would not depend on just being nice to each other4, nor even on
taxes, in the face of an adverse systemic flaw. By promising fulfilment of the law and
the prophets, he provided for application of the principle, in the right spirit rather than in the
letter of the law i.e. the issue was purpose not methodology. Not the Jubilee Year but Resource Rentals.
The later example in Acts of sharing and of holding all things in common might have
been appropriate for a small group in those days but would be impractical now for
the infrastructure of a big city, a vast country, airports, the radio spectrum,
natural monopolies, or for international trade. The issue now is to unselfishly
recognise the distinction between public and private property, each requiring its
own responsible stewardship, locally and in global trade; to reverse what has become
a sacrosanct industry! Not everything is for sale.
When we allow private property in what is really public property (resource rent)
we then have to condone making public property (taxes on wages and interest) out
of what should be private property. Law and morality should reinforce each other.
Giving the force of law to that which would be wrong as between individuals (theft
and misappropriation) brings the law into disrepute and contempt. This conflict
and the man-made authority of law over morality corrodes the rest of the social
This is not a forum to debate the theology of the Triune God. St. Paul did that.
It is not a platform to promote sectarian profiles. We are well-blessed in history with new
light. This is not an international movement seeking support of the Church.
It is a challenge to the Church to use the resources of an international
movement to fulfil its own Mission, or else ...
In the face of debt, inflation, poverty, inordinate wealth, injustice, our failure to
address the cause, specifically a significant part of Jesus' Mission Statement, makes
ritual and pageantry a second crucifixion—by His disciples.
3. Deut. 19:14. " Thou shalt not move thy neighbour's
landmark" (11th Commandment)
Deut. 27:17. "Cursed be he who removeth his neighbour's landmark"
4 Geophilos 02(2)p.30.
Dr. Michael Hudson, Wall Street Financial Analyst
Also refer to: