The Power of the Church: Private Property Rights

The Church uses spiritual power and private property rights to advance the Kingdom. The 25th chapter of Matthew lays out the two fold application of the police power of the church. Verses 1-13 are the parable of the Ten Virgins. Ten virgins prepare to meet the bridegroom at night with lamps. Five of them are wise enough to take extra oil with them. The five foolish ones do not. The oil symbolizes the Holy Spirit and specifically the anointing.  The Lamps symbolize the preaching of the Word of God under the anointing of the Holy Spirit. The extra oil symbolizes the individual person’s relationship to God. Only those who have cultivated their own personal relationship with God and having received their own anointing from God will be ready to meet Christ at His Coming. Verse 14-30 contains the second parable, called the Parable of the Talents, described a master distributing his private property to His servants. The servants then exercise the delegated private property rights in the marketplace. The Master is Christ, but neither his delegation nor His servants exercise of it  involves the use of His divine police power but of private property rights. Verse 31-46 contain the third and last section which describes the scene at the Final Judgment where people are separated between the sheep and goats and judged on whether they use their private property rights to help the vulnerable.

Using private property rights to advance God’s Kingdom
The church is called to use her property rights to assist those who are in need in a sustainable way. In the parable of the Talents, different individuals were assigned resources at  a level they could sustainably develop that would both provide for their own needs, advance God’s kingdom, and care for others.

In the Parable of the Talents, God – specifically Christ – as the Master of the Household of God gave private property to His servants. They received according to their ability and were to go into the marketplace. It should be apparent that the Master has police power as He was able to cast the unprofitable servant “into outer darkness.” He had both power and authority to  send His servants to the marketplace with swords to conquer His enemies. He does not do so. He also did not send them to Ceasar to play the harlot to gain special favors from the household of Ceasar. He send them into the marketplace to manage what He delivered to them using  the delegated private property rights to engage in commerce to increase the wealth they had been given.

For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey. Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two. But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money.

After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them. And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them. His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.

His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
(Mat 25:14-30)

The first two servants were skilled servants. They could actually run  businesses and successfully used those skills as merchants in the marketplace to double the wealth they had been given. The third guy was not skilled. He was also lazy. While he did not have the skills to succeed in the marketplace as a business person, he could have deposited the money in  the bank and allowed the bankers to grow his investment.

The third servant was also wicked in  that he was only concerned about his own hide and not the welfare of the Master who had entrusted him with these resources. Contrast his words “I was afraid.” with the words of the first two servants “Lord, thou deliveredst unto me… talents: behold, I have gained beside them… talents more. ” Their focus on the Lord. The two faithful servants were like the five wise virgins. They had cultivated a personal relationship with their Master and were willing to take risk to advance their Masters interests in the marketplace.  The third servant was like the foolish virgins who did not cultivate their own relationship with the Master and sat on his masters wealth.

 

Notice that there is no scenario where the Master returned to find his servants having faithfully  tried but failed. This would seem odd as we see such in  the world quite frequently. It is common for people to try their best and be faithful but fail due to a number  of factors beyond their control. This passage assumes success. The Lord Jesus had previously given the parable of the Ten Virgins. The righteous are those who have cultivated a personal relationship to the Holy Spirit and received anointing from God.  With this comes wisdom and power to do what the Lord wants. In Revelation 5:6 Christ  is revealed as “Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.” The Seven Spirits of God that Christ has is a reference to the Holy Spirit. The connection to the Seven Eyes is a reference to 2 Chronicles 16:9 “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect [Completely Devoted] toward him. Herein thou hast done foolishly: therefore from henceforth thou shalt have wars. ” Those who have cultivated a relationship with the Holy Spirit will have complete devotion  to the Lord. For such God will look out for you for your good. The eyes of the Lord also carries a deeper meaning. In the Standard Interpretation of quantum mechanics, physical reality exists as information defined by a wave function which collapses into material reality when an observer conducts a measurement on the wave function. The eyes of the Lord conduct such measurements to manifest the hidden realities ordained by His Word into the physical realm.

In the words of Don Moen

Oh, God will make a way
Where there seems to be no way
He works in ways we cannot see
He will make a way for me

How this private property is to be used
One insight as to how we are to use our private property rights is found in the fact that the Lord’s parable echoes Deuteronomy 8:18 “But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day. ”   The purpose of the dispensation of the power to get wealth is to provide the means to administer the covenant. Deuteronomy was written in the context of the Mosaic Covenant. The Lord Jesus, in the parable of the Talents, sought its application in  the New Testament Church. Wealth was given so that the gospel might go forth.

 

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