The First Law of Economics
When nations on earth refuse to recognize God as the Creator, their governments assume ownership of that which God has created. The Kingdom of God, on the other hand, recognizes God as the Creator, and so its government recognizes His ownership of all that He has created.
This is perhaps the most fundamental truth of the universe—recognizing the validity of Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Out of this truth comes all valid law. Any law that does not proceed from this truth is fatally flawed.
When God divided up the land of Canaan for the families of each tribe, He removed from most of the land its speculative value. He did this by telling them that they had no right to buy and sell land, except houses built in urban areas (Lev. 25:29). Lev. 25:23, 24 says,
23 The land, moreover, shall not be sold permanently, for the land is Mine; for you are but aliens and sojourners with Me. 24 Thus for every piece of property, you are to provide for the redemption of the land.
As Creator, God held the right of eminent domain. This means that the people’s privilege of land ownership was conditional upon their obedience to the law of God. The people were but “sojourners” with God. They were living on someone else’s land, and so they did not have unlimited freedom to use the land as they pleased. For the same reason, they were not free to worship other gods or to prefer the laws of those other gods.
For this reason, when Israel failed to recognize God’s right as Creator and Land-owner, He took them to the Divine Court and sold them into servitude to various other nations, according to the provisions of the law. Finally, in the great captivity to Babylon, Jeremiah explains the legal basis of this sale. Jer. 27:5-7 says,
5 I [God] have made the earth, the men and the beasts which are on the face of the earth by My great power and by My outstretched arm, and I will give it to the one who is pleasing in My sight. 6 And now I have given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnez-zar king of Babylon, My servant, and I have given him also the wild animals of the field to serve him. 7 And all the nations shall serve him, and his son, and his grandson . . .
God then commanded the people to submit to the divine ruling and admit their guilt. However, they refused, because they thought God was pleased with their religious rituals in the temple and did not believe that God would judge them. So they refused to believe the prophecies of Jeremiah and only made matters worse for themselves.
The point is that the divine judgments upon nations as well as upon individuals is based upon His rights as the Creator. It is imperative, then, that all men recognize God as Creator and submit to His laws. Man has no right to disagree with God or to legislate His own laws that define morality in a contradictory manner.
The land laws of the Bible are the basic economic laws for a Kingdom nation. Included in God’s land ownership is His ownership of all mineral rights. We see this plainly in Haggai 2:8,
8 The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine, declares the Lord of hosts.
God’s ownership is also seen in the law of the tithe. Whenever man derives income from God’s labor (creation), he must give God a tenth of it for the support of Kingdom government. This includes farming, ranching, mining, fishing, and lumbering. The tithe is not based upon one’s own labor, but upon God’s desire to see a return on His own labor. The tithe is also an important recognition of God as the Creator and Owner of all that He has created.
God owns the land, and man is His steward. While we may talk of our personal ownership of land, we must keep in mind that we mean ownership under God. Our ownership is limited by God’s rights. We do not own the land per se; we own only our labor—that is, our improvements or that which we have built on God’s land. God owns His own labor, and man owns his own labor.
Every citizen of a Kingdom nation that is ruled by biblical law is supposed to “own” a piece of land as his inheritance. This is clearly seen in God’s command to Joshua to divide the land of Canaan among all the families of Israel and the “mixed multitude” among them who had joined themselves to the Covenant (Ex. 12:38; Num. 11:4; Isaiah 56:6).
The land is not to be taxed or taken away by government, because government did not create the land. Only God Himself can disenfranchise the people as a whole if they continually violate His law.
Land ownership is a basic property right in the Kingdom of God. That is, it is a God-given privilege, because it is granted by God and can be removed by God alone. But in the relationship between government and citizens, land ownership is a right, not a privilege.
Privileges can be revoked by the one granting them. Rights cannot be revoked. Land ownership is a privilege given by God, but a right to be protected by government.
One’s land inheritance is the common man's “golden parachute,” because he always owns something of value and can return to the land if he loses a job in the city.
If he loses the land through poverty or by court order (to pay for a crime/sin), it must always return to him or his heirs in the Year of Jubilee. It is the divine “reset button.” The loss is not permanent as long as the Covenant remains. There is always another day to start over with a clean slate.
In Micah 4 we see a prophecy that the “mountain” (that is, the KINGDOM) of the Lord will be established at some point in the future. Daniel called it the “stone” kingdom (Dan. 2:35). In the coming “stone kingdom” every family will have its own land inheritance as a basic right. So in Micah 4:4 we read,
4 And each of them will sit under his vine and under his fig tree, with no one to make them afraid, for the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken.
The impact of this law upon a nation's economy is enormous. The first law, of course, is God’s right to own all that He created—including man. The second law is derived from it—man’s right to inherit land under God and to be its steward. God remains sovereign; man is given authority. As long as man does not usurp God’s sovereignty, he enjoys all privileges of citizenship in the Kingdom of God.