When people think of a “capitalist” they think of an unethical, rich exploiter of others. But if the opposite of a “capitalist” is a “socialist,” then a Christian must be a “capitalist,” because a Christian cannot be a socialist. (See 1 Corinthians 6:10 – “thieves,” and “extortioners” “cannot inherit the Kingdom of God.”)
Let’s run through Zacharias’ prophecy in Luke 1 one more time (I don’t see how anyone can read this prophecy too many times!). After John the Baptist was born,
67 his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying,
68 “Blessed is the Lord God of Israel,
For He has visited and redeemed His people,
69 And has raised up a horn of salvation for us
In the house of His servant David,
We saw that the New Testament repeatedly claims that Jesus is this "horn of salvation," resurrected into the throne of David (Acts 2:29-36)
70 As He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets,
Who have been since the world began,
71 That we should be saved from our enemies
And from the hand of all who hate us,
We saw that the reference here (“enemies”) was not only to the occupation forces of the Roman Empire (which was historically supplanted by Christendom), but––to the surprise of the Jews who put Jesus to death––those Jews themselves, who became the enemies of those with the faith of Abraham.
72 To perform the mercy promised to our fathers
And to remember His holy covenant,
73 The oath which He swore to our father Abraham:
Even before apostate Israel was destroyed in A.D. 70, the New Testament writers made clear that it was the Body of Christ, the “new man” created out of believing Jews and Gentiles (Ephesians 2) who were the rightful heirs of the promises made “to Abraham and his seed.”
74 To grant us that we,
Being delivered from the hand of our enemies,
Might serve Him without fear,
Again, it turns out that the final reference here is to Christ’s enemies, those who murdered Him and persecuted His Church. The two references to “enemies” should not be interpreted the way the religious leaders of Jesus' day smugly interpreted them (destruction/suppression of non-Jews).
There is a much bigger picture here and throughout Scripture, and we’ll look at it today.
75 In holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life.
76 “And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Highest;
For you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways,
77 To give knowledge of salvation to His people
By the remission of their sins,
78 Through the tender mercy of our God,
With which the Dayspring from on high has visited us;
79 To give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death,
To guide our feet into the way of peace.”
We’ve been looking at the meaning of “salvation” in the Christmas narratives. Jesus’ name comes from the Hebrew word for “salvation,” yasha. We looked at a scholarly definition of the Hebrew word for salvation and compared it with the more popular definition of "I go to heaven when I die":
Yasha and its derivatives are used 353 times. The root meaning . . . is “make wide” or make sufficient: this root is in contrast to sarar, “narrow,” which means “be restricted” or “cause distress.” To move from distress to safety requires deliverance. [T]he majority of references to salvation speak of Yahweh granting deliverance from real enemies and outof real catastrophes. That which is wide connotes freedom from distress and the ability to pursue one’s own objectives. Thus salvation is not merely a momentary victory on the battlefield; it is also the safety and security necessary to maintain life unafraid of numerous dangers.
John E. Hartley, “yasha,” Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament. Vol 1, pp. 414-15
The Biblical definition of “salvation” is much bigger than that of the televangelists. Perhaps you’ve noticed that in the Christmas narratives (the first 2 chapters of Matthew and Luke) there is almost no mention whatsoever about "justification by faith" and going to heaven after death. The narratives are almost entirely political. And there is no indication that the political language of Christmas was meant to be interpreted “figuratively” or metaphorically. “Salvation” in the Christmas story (and as expounded in the New Testament history of the early church) turns out mainly to be salvation from those who persecuted the Christians. Zacharias’ son John the Baptist began his ministry with that theme:
7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath about to come? 8 Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, 9 and do not think to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. 10 And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” (Matthew 3)
The fiery “wrath about to come” came in A.D. 70 when Jerusalem was burned to the ground. But as Prof. Hartley notes in the definition of yasha above,
salvation is not merely a momentary victory on the battlefield; it is also the safety and security necessary to maintain life unafraid of numerous dangers.
In the Bible, Salvation is thus social and cultural more than individual. It is in fact global. It is not just “momentary victory,” but long-term stability. This point is often grasped, but not accurately. There are many passages in the New Testament which describe a momentary deliverance from persecution, but which are inaccurately placed in the category of long-term salvation in the afterlife, while many verses (particularly in the Old Testament) which do speak of long-term salvation (in this life) are ignored.
Let’s look at some more evidence that the first-century Christians experienced momentary deliverance from the tribulations and persecutions inflicted on her by her enemies. Paul reminded the Thessalonians:
14 For ye, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God which are in Judaea in Christ Jesus: for ye also suffered the same things of your own countrymen, even as they did of the Jews; 15 who both killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove out us, and pleased not God, and are contrary to all men; 16 forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they may be saved; to fill up their sins always: but the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost. (1 Thessalonians 2, referring to Jesus’ indictment in Matthew 23:31-32: Wherefore ye witness to yourselves, that ye are sons of them that slew the prophets. 32 Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers!)
Paul sent Timothy to Thessolonica,
our brother and God’s minister in the gospel of Christ, to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith; 3 that no man be moved by these afflictions; for yourselves know that hereunto we are appointed. 4 For verily, when we were with you, we told you beforehand that we are to suffer affliction; even as it came to pass, and ye know.
Paul had told the Thessalonians about the persecution and tribulation that was about to come, and it was already coming to pass. In his next letter, Paul promised them deliverance from their enemies:
“That Day” is the Day spoken of by Malachi (3-4), which spoke of and was inaugurated by John the Baptist, and was happening just as Jesus said it would: in their lifetime:
we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure, 5 which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer; 6 since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, 7 and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, 8 in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, 10 when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe, because our testimony among you was believed.
27 For the Son of Man is about to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works. 28 Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.” (Matthew 16)
This was a momentary deliverance promised to those who were then suffering, not a promise for the yet unborn thousands of years later, a promise which would have been no comfort to those who were then suffering.
The enemies of the Church were identified––as they had always been––as “wolves”:
Her princes in her midst are like wolves tearing the prey, to shed blood, to destroy people, and to get dishonest gain.
Her princes in her midst are roaring lions; Her judges are evening wolves That leave not a bone till morning.
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.
“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.
Go your way; behold, I send you out as lambs among wolves.
For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock.
But the wolves were destroyed and the Church delivered from these enemies.
The New Testament emphasizes this momentary deliverance, but the rest of the Bible also speaks of a long-term cultural salvation, beginning in the Garden of Eden. “Capitalism,” the absence of the initiation of force, is the natural state of unfallen humanity. The Bible repeatedly states that the human ideal is to dwell “safely,” without fear of the initiation of force by others. This long-term salvation is “capitalism.” Long-term salvation is the state of being able to “exercise dominion over the earth” (Gen. 1:26-28) and “serve the Lord without fear in holiness and righteousness” (Luke 1:74-75).
Prof. Hartley’s definition of “salvation” above is pretty much the definition of “capitalism” as propounded by advocates of capitalism. Of course, opponents of capitalism define the word as something quite different.
The name “capitalism” was coined by Karl Marx, a Satanic opponent of long-term social salvation on Christ's terms. Capitalists have adopted Marx’s term as their own (without accepting Marx’s content, of course). One of the most comprehensive defenses of "capitalism" is George Reisman’s treatise on Capitalism. It is a huge book, but easy reading, and full of insights. (Reisman studied with Ayn Rand and Ludwig von Mises, and translated some of Mises’ works into English.)
Here is how capitalism is defined by the greatest defenders of capitalism:
This definition will surprise many who attack capitalism. Ask a critic of capitalism to define “capitalism” and the critic’s definition will not even be close to this definition. Most definitions in mainstream economics texts or encyclopedias are not only inconsistent with this definition, they are nearly incomprehensible. They usually have something to do with corporations using the power of the State to gain an advantage over consumers and workers which could not be obtained by persuasion alone. In her essay “What is Capitalism?” Ayn Rand dissects these definitions, notably the entry from the Encyclopedia Britannica, and shows how they are not only self-contradictory, but subtly designed to advance a socialist agenda. They are not “neutral” or “objective.” I do not know a single self-described defender of capitalism who would disagree with the definition above. In fact, most would agree it gets to the very heart and soul of the dispute between capitalism and socialism. For the benefit of those who doubt, I would be happy to supply the quotations and footnotes from the writings of self-conscious defenders of capitalism to buttress my claim. The quotes would be many and lengthy. I would quote Ayn Rand, George Reisman, Milton Friedman, Ludwig von Mises, F.A. Hayek, and many other defenders of capitalism.
 Ayn Rand, Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, with additional articles by Nathaniel Branden, Alan Greenspan, and Robert Hessen, New York: Signet Books, 1967
 Milton Friedman, Capitalism and Freedom, University of Chicago Press, 1962. Friedman was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1976.
 Ludwig von Mises, Human Action, Yale University Press, 1949. See also the Mises Institute, http://www.mises.org/
 Friedrich A. Hayek, The Constitution of Liberty, University of Chicago Press, 1960. Hayek was a student of Mises, and was awarded the Nobel Prize in economics in 1974.
As an example, the Libertarian Party, a Party formed by a group of pro-capitalists, and unquestionably the political party most vigorously committed to capitalism, requires its members to sign this pledge in order to join the party:
I do not believe in or advocate the initiation of force as a means of achieving political or social goals.
That is the full extent of the Libertarian Party membership pledge. It is widely viewed as the sine qua non of capitalism. It is often referred to by defenders of capitalism as “the principle of non-aggression.”
 “Sine qua non” is Latin for “without which not,” meaning here, according to defenders of capitalism, without this commitment to non-aggression, you do not have capitalism. Period.
 A google.com search for “capitalism” and “non-aggression” will bring up hundreds of relevant pages.
To live in a “capitalist” society is therefore to live in a state of being “saved from our enemies” (Luke 1:71) and
74 that we,
Being delivered from the hand of our enemies,
Might serve Him without fear,
“Enemies” (in this broader sense of “being placed in a wide open space”) are those who seek to violate God’s commandments against us. “Enemies” are those who seek to steal our property, our liberty, or our life.
We have seen this several times in our quotation of Micah 4, the promise of living safely under your “Vine & Fig Tree.” Keep Prof. Hartley's definition of long-term salvation in mind:
That which is wide connotes freedom from distress and the ability to pursue one’s own objectives. Thus salvation is not merely a momentary victory on the battlefield; it is also the safety and security necessary to maintain life unafraid of numerous dangers.
Leviticus 25:18-19 Wherefore ye shall do my statutes, and keep my judgments, and do them; and ye shall dwell in the land in safety. And the land shall yield her fruit, and ye shall eat your fill, and dwell therein in safety.
Leviticus 26:5 And your threshing shall reach unto the vintage, and the vintage shall reach unto the sowing time: and ye shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely.
Deuteronomy 12:10 But when ye go over Jordan, and dwell in the land which the Lord your God giveth you to inherit, and when he giveth you rest from all your enemies round about, so that ye dwell in safety;
Deuteronomy 33:12 And of Benjamin he said, The beloved of the Lord shall dwell in safety by him; and the Lord shall cover him all the day long, and he shall dwell between his shoulders.
Deuteronomy 33:28 Israel then shall dwell in safety alone: the fountain of Jacob shall be upon a land of corn and wine; also his heavens shall drop down dew.
1 Samuel 12:11 And the Lord sent Jerubbaal, and Bedan, and Jephthah, and Samuel, and delivered you out of the hand of your enemies on every side, and ye dwelled safe.
Job 11:18 And thou shalt be secure, because there is hope; yea, thou shalt dig about thee, and thou shalt take thy rest in safety.
Psalm 4:8 I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, Lord, only makest me dwell in safety.
Psalm 16:9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope.
Psalm 78:53 And he led them on safely, so that they feared not: but the sea overwhelmed their enemies.
Proverbs 1:33 But whoso hearkeneth unto Me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.
Proverbs 3:23 Then shalt thou walk in thy way safely, and thy foot shall not stumble.
Proverbs 3:29 Devise not evil against thy neighbour, seeing he dwelleth securely by thee.
Proverbs 10:9 He that walketh uprightly walketh surely: but he that perverteth his ways shall be known.
Isaiah 14:30 And the firstborn of the poor shall feed, and the needy shall lie down in safety: and I will kill thy root with famine, and he shall slay thy remnant.
Isaiah 32:17-18 And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever. And my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places;
Jeremiah 23:6 In His days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is His Name whereby He shall be called, The Lord Our Righteousness.
Jeremiah 32:37 Behold, I will gather them out of all countries, whither I have driven them in Mine anger, and in My fury, and in great wrath; and I will bring them again unto this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely:
Jeremiah 33:16 In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely: and this is the name wherewith she shall be called, The Lord our righteousness.
Ezekiel 28:26 And they shall dwell safely therein, and shall build houses, and plant vineyards; yea, they shall dwell with confidence, when I have executed judgments upon all those that despise them round about them; and they shall know that I am the Lord their God.
Ezekiel 34:25 And I will make with them a covenant of peace, and will cause the evil beasts to cease out of the land: and they shall dwell safely in the wilderness, and sleep in the woods.
Ezekiel 34:27 And the tree of the field shall yield her fruit, and the earth shall yield her increase, and they shall be safe in their land, and shall know that I am the Lord, when I have broken the bands of their yoke, and delivered them out of the hand of those that served themselves of them.
Ezekiel 34:28 And they shall no more be a prey to the heathen, neither shall the beast of the land devour them; but they shall dwell safely, and none shall make them afraid.
Ezekiel 38:8 After many days thou shalt be visited: in the latter years thou shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israel, which have been always waste: but it is brought forth out of the nations, and they shall dwell safely all of them.
Ezekiel 39:26 After that they have borne their shame, and all their trespasses whereby they have trespassed against me, when they dwelt safely in their land, and none made them afraid.
Hosea 2:18 And in that day will I make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven, and with the creeping things of the ground: and I will break the bow and the sword and the battle out of the earth, and will make them to lie down safely.
Zechariah 14:11 And men shall dwell in it, and there shall be no more utter destruction; but Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited.
The opposite of “salvation,” of dwelling “safely,” is living under socialism:
Ezekiel 12:19 And say to the people of the land, “Thus says the Lord God to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the land of Israel: ‘They shall eat their bread with anxiety, and drink their water with dread, so that her land may be emptied of all who are in it, because of the violence of all those who dwell in it.’”
The socialist, who rejects the core principle of capitalism––non-aggression–– says,
“I will go up against a land of unwalled villages; I will go to a peaceful people, who dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates’— 12 to take plunder and to take booty, to stretch out your hand against the waste places that are again inhabited, and against a people gathered from the nations, who have acquired livestock and goods, who dwell in the midst of the land.” 13 Sheba, Dedan, the merchants of Tarshish, and all their young lions will say to you, “Have you come to take plunder? Have you gathered your army to take booty, to carry away silver and gold, to take away livestock and goods, to take great plunder?” Ezekiel 38:11-13
In order to establish a capitalist society, we must first desire a capitalist society. In order to be saved, we must want to be saved. Many people do not want holistic Biblical “salvation.” They prefer socialism. Most of us have been trained to prefer socialism, and most of us are ignorant about the very existence or possibility of a Biblical capitalist society.
“Socialism” used to be defined by economists of all stripes as “a command economy.” Economic decisions under socialism are not made voluntarily by free people, but by the commands of government, enforced by the police or military. The “free market” becomes “the black market,” and capitalists are sentenced to the Prison Camps. We don’t hear the phrase “command society” that often any more. Instead, we are being brainwashed. We are being held in darkness, deprived of the light, diverted away from the paths of peace (Luke 1:79). Here’s an example:
An economy where supply and price are regulated by the government rather than market forces. Government planners decide which goods and services are produced and how they are distributed. The former Soviet Union was an example of a command economy. Also called a centrally planned economy.
Not a bad definition.
Let’s see how “InvestorWords.com” defines “capitalism.” Let’s see if there is an appropriate emphasis on “non-aggression” or, in Biblical terms, "the way of peace." Let’s see if it says anything about a society where we have been delivered from those who would confiscate our property, our liberty or our life:
Economic system characterized by the following: private property ownership exists; individuals and companies are allowed to compete for their own economic gain; and free market forces determine the prices of goods and services. Such a system is based on the premise of separating the state and business activities. Capitalists believe that markets are efficient and should thus function without interference, and the role of the state is to regulate and protect.
invisible hand, socialism.
Even where the dry, academic language is accurate, this is a completely amoral definition. It is therefore unethical and unChristian. The conflict between socialism and capitalism is the biggest moral/social issue of our day, involving the theft of trillions, the liberty of billions and the murder of millions. A truly educational definition is evangelistic, in the sense that it leads us out of darkness and into the paths of peace. The definition above is dry and “neutral.” It does not fulfill its Godly responsibility. This is why nobody is energized and passionate about spreading “capitalism.”
Now let’s compare the dry, “neutral,” definition of capitalism with the evangelistic definition of “socialism”:
“Cooperation.” Isn’t that adorable.This is pure socialist propaganda. The author is an evangelist for socialism (though he would never think of himself that way). If words like “Gestapo,” “Gulag,” “KGB,” and “prison camp” are your idea of “cooperation,” then this definition is perfectly accurate.
And the opposite of (socialist) "cooperation" is (capitalist) "competition," a misleading contrast. Under the non-aggression axiom of capitalism, the way of peace, "competition" means the freedom for me to shop at the store of my choice. "Competition" is rooted in peaceful, voluntary, persuasion. Socialist "cooperation" is forced at the barrel of a gun.
This definition is designed in a subtle way to encourage support for socialism, and the definition of “capitalism” has been stripped of anything that might encourage emotional support for capitalism. And this, in a nutshell, is America’s entire educational system, as well as the mainstream media (TV, magazines, radio, Hollywood, music, etc.).
To say “I am not a capitalist” is to say “I support the use of government violence to get what I want.”
It is capitalism, not socialism, that is consistent with the Christmas promise, “Peace on earth.” Ayn Rand writes:
The overwhelming majority of mankind – the people who die on the battlefields or starve and perish among the ruins – do not want war. They never wanted it. Yet wars have kept erupting throughout the centuries, like a long trail of blood underscoring mankind’s history.
Men are afraid that war might come because they know, consciously or subconsciously, that they have never rejected the doctrine which causes wars, which has caused the wars of the past and can do it again – the doctrine that it is right or practical or necessary for men to achieve their goals by means of physical force (by initiating the use of force against other men) and that some sort of “good” can justify it. It is the doctrine that force is a proper or unavoidable part of human existence and human societies.
Observe one of the ugliest characteristics of today’s world: the mixture of frantic war preparations with hysterical peace propaganda, and the fact that both come from the same source—from the same political philosophy. The bankrupt, yet still dominant, political philosophy of our age is statism.
Observe the nature of today’s alleged peace movements. Professing love and concern for the survival of mankind, they keep screaming that the nuclear-weapons race should be stopped, that armed force should be abolished as a means of settling disputes among nations, and that war should be outlawed in the name of humanity. Yet these same peace movements do not oppose dictatorships; the political views of their members range through all shades of the statist spectrum, from welfare statism to socialism and fascism to communism. This means that they are opposed to the use of coercion by one nation against another, but not by the government of a nation against its own citizens; it means that they are opposed to the use of force against armed adversaries, but not against the disarmed.
Consider the plunder, the destruction, the starvation, the brutality, the slave-labor camps, the torture chambers, the wholesale slaughter perpetrated by dictatorships. Yet this is what today’s alleged peace-lovers are willing to advocate or tolerate . . . .
Ayn Rand, “The Roots of War,” in Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, pp. 35-36
Capitalists are a force for life and peace; socialists are a force for slavery and violence. During the 20th century, on average, non-capitalist governments killed more than 10,000 people per day. [This does not include abortions. There are approximately 137,000 babies killed each and every day, worldwide.] War makes up only about a third of that total. The rest are killed by pogroms, gulags, “the rule of law,” etc.
The Welfare State is far more deadly than The Warfare State.
Recall the questions found in the New England Primer, a school text book that completely dominated American schools around the time the U.S. Constitution was ratified:
“What offices does Christ execute as our Redeemer?”
“How does Christ execute the office of a prophet?”
“How does Christ execute the office of a priest?”
“How does Christ execute the office of a king?”
How Christ executes the office of a King, and orchestrates
The Christmas Conspiracy for Global Capitalism.