IMCF INTERNATIONAL NEWS
The World According to Marcos
YESHUA'S WELFARE SUPERPOWER
By Marcos Fernandes, IMCF Journalist
Recent email circulations and social network bombardments have ‘exposed’ cancers in the American, and by implication, the Anglophone world’s, economies. The right-wing pundits who ‘expose’ these supposed burdens on the various Western economies should be identified for what they are: proficient liars. In particular, a circular email from American-Israeli politician, Paul Eidelberg, contrasts images of modern ‘Hiroshima’ (which were in fact images of Yokohama) against run-down districts in Detroit.
To quote (with original layout, and original spelling and grammar errors):
"What has caused more long term destruction of a once thriving city ? The A-bomb or Government welfare programs and unregulated multiculturalism created to buy the votes of those who want someone to take care of them? Japan does not have a welfare system.Work for it or do without."
Whether or not Mr. Eidelberg was personally responsible for the creation and solicitation of this email, his signature reveals his approval. Unfortunately for him, Japan, only recently overshadowed by China as the 2ndmost powerful economy on this planet, does indeed have a welfare system (and China, as a communist nation, is fundamentally socialist). My nation of residence, Australia, also has a successful economy, being one of very few in the West to ride the global financial crisis without much impact, and it also has one of the most successful welfare programs in the world.
My main contention with this email is the inherent racism and Satanic attitude towards the welfare of our fellow human beings. The belief that portrays welfare, in the form of social security, as an inherently evil creation is a disturbing trend within the Christian world, especially the Messianic movement. But before enunciating on this issue, let’s have a look at Japan’s welfare system.
Japan’s Welfare Superpower
I have borrowed the term ‘Welfare Superpower’ from Professor Niall Fergusson’s documentary series ‘The Ascent of Money’. It is a brilliant documentary about the role that money and high finance have played in the history of the world, and how the situation leading to the Global Financial Crisis came to be. As such, I have referenced his work here.
One of the first systems of welfare became the foundation for modern insurance. With its genesis in the minds of two Scots clergymen, who sought to create a widow’s fund that would look after the wives and children of deceased clergy, private insurance seeks to protect one’s assets and health for a certain premium. When a subscriber asks the insurance fund to subsidise or finance their claim, the fund draws from its investment profits to fulfil its obligations. This leaves the insurance pool safe to accumulate in value.
Its downfall was made clear in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Prof. Ferguson interviews the disaffected citizens of New Orleans who had become victim to the negative side of private insurance. It was not the hurricane that destroyed New Orleans, but the insurance no-go zone quickly drafted in its aftermath. Tens of thousands of people, whose homes were privately insured, never received the insurance payout that they were obliged to receive according to the stipulations of their contracts.Showing us the failure of private ventures to protect us financially in the wake of disaster, Prof. Fergusson then shows us the development of the modern Japanese welfare state. In the aftermath of WW2, the Japanese realised that private insurance schemes could not deliver for the widespread destruction caused by the war.
The Japanese looked to the British welfare system that was reformed under William Beveridge. They perfected it for their own needs, and named their welfare system ‘Beveridge for the Japanese’. As well as nationalising their healthcare and education system, which have become world-renowned, their welfare system insured the Japanese against any cause of poverty, including and not limited to: sickness and injury, disability, death,childbirth, large families, old age, unemployment.Since the introduction of this welfare system, the quality of life for the Japanese people has skyrocketed, and this welfare scheme also saw the heady rise of Japan to become the 2nd largest economy in the world by 1968, to have only recently been supplanted by China to that position.
Compare and contrast: The United States, with its huge territory, larger labour force and global military and cultural dominance has been, for most of the latter half of the 20th Century, the only nation more powerful in economic terms than Japan, which has a much smaller home land, smaller labour force and no significant military presence. Japan has only recently been supplanted by China, which itself also has geographical and strategic situations much like that of the United States (large labour force, potential 200 million military age men, large mineral and resource rich land).Japan certainly does have a welfare system, and in some respects it is a modern reminiscence of ancient Israel under King Solomon.
Solomon’s Welfare Superpower
The Torah is replete with instructions to look after the poor of the land. Foreigners, widows, orphans, the unemployed, the sick and injured, the burdened, the struggling and the poor in general are given the right to quality of life according to the Sinai Torah. According to Yeshua’s Torah, the provisions to look after the disaffected are amplified beyond even the visions of Isaiah the prophet! Ya’akov (James, the brother of our Lord and Saviour) even stated that ‘Pure religion is to look after the widows, orphans and poor’. It is our religious duty, as Messianic believers, Christians, Jews,and human beings, to look after the disaffected. To do otherwise is in contradiction with the will of God.
According to G. J. Wightman (1990) of the University of Melbourne, in his paper The Myth of Solomon, the archaeological evidence shows that King Solomon’s reign did not seem to leave behind a significant military defence scheme throughout the land of Israel. According to the Bible, King David was believed to have the most powerful military force in the Middle East, but under Solomon this was systematically dismantled. The archaeological remains allude to mass construction projects of public administration and economic buildings, the enlargement of towns and cities, and only towards the end of his reign is there any evidence of fortification work in the north to counter a rising Aramaeanthreat.
King Solomon’s economic policies saw an enlargement of a public sector that would have dealt with the growing economic opportunities for Israel, as she is strategically located in the Levant. Israel’s various trade agreements with the Phoenician peoples of the area as well as her location between the larger empires of the day saw immeasurable wealth drawn into her through tariffs, taxation, trade agreements and hegemonic diplomacy. The mineral wealth of the nations flowed through Israel!
Biblical sources indicate that Israel saw a Golden Age under the reign of Solomon, who is known as ‘the Wise’. But, as well as the construction of the Temple, and the expansion of Israel’s cities and towns, the new opportunities for wealth had filtered down to the levels of personal prosperity. It is true that there is scant archaeological evidence of this immense wealth. It is also true that the Kingdom of Israel was scoured by the Assyrians and Babylonians, not to mention the civil war that tore Israel apart beforehand.
However, Solomon the Wise saw the people of Israel into prosperity, which indicates that there would have been more systems beyond the Torah stipulations to look after the poor. In other words, the presence of public sector buildings indicates that a rudimentary, ancient form of welfare system would have been in place (not to mention government administration in its various forms). And, while I admit this is my speculative extraction from the Biblical text and archaeological evidence, it would stand to reason that for Solomon the Wise to earn his name among the common people, and to distinguish his reign from that of his father David, the influx of wealth would have filtered down to the poorest of the land.Would this have led to Israel’s collapse? No. Despite the taxation burdens that Solomon had placed on trade—which led to much resentment in the Levant—it was Solomon’s death and the political power plays between Jeroboam and Rehoboam that saw the division of the Kingdom.
The Welfare Rollback
The endemic problem with Japan’s welfare state is‘stagflation’: low, or stagnant, economic growth coupled with high inflation. Prof. Ferguson takes the example of Milton Friedman’s systematic austerity measures in Chile during the Pinochet regime as a historical example of ‘rolling back the welfare state’. It was the first such program instituted in the world, and many nations have followed suit when they began to suffer stagflation.
In a nutshell, Friedman restated the equation MV = PQ. In other words, as the money supply increases so does price value. Rolling back government expenses is the first strategy employed by national economic rationalists. First on the list of rollbacks is usually welfare programs and public sector administration.
The negative side of Friedman’s austerity measures is that they do not answer the problem of poverty. Rolling back government institutions is supposed to create an environment that fosters liberalised trade and increases the wealth opportunities for citizens of the nation. However, it can only benefit anyone who has a job, house and/or other investments. Its benefits do not filter down to the poorer margins of society who are sick, injured, have experienced major material impairment through the death of a family member, have lost their possessions, and are disaffected in any way, shape or form.
So, the question remains: if the welfare superpower has shown weaknesses, and the supposed answer to those weaknesses does not solvethe original problem of poverty, then what will?
An American, not Christian, Issue
America’s welfare problem takes on another facet altogether. A common misconception among the Christian Right (who, in America, are the key recipients of social security welfare programs) is that welfare is inherently evil, and must be dismantled completely in order for the nation to be ‘godly’.Another ‘Christian’ misconception is that welfare, along with socialism, must be inherently demonic.
There are practical reasons for America to clean up its expenditures and roll back the public sector. A systematic overhaul and reform of its welfare system would possibly benefit both the disaffected as well as the government.Trimming unnecessary expenses is an excellent way to make more money available for more important programs. America is burdened by close to $50 trillion in social security and welfare funding. Divided equally amongst America’s 300 million citizens, a single person should receive just over $166000 per annum.
Not even here in Australia, with its successful welfare programs, nationalised healthcare and guaranteed minimum wage, is such a proportion of funds available for social security. No working American, except for the best-paid professionals, as well as the elite plutocrats of American society, would see the better half of $166 000 in one year. Average American full time working class wages can be as low as $20 000 per annum. There have been cases where airline pilots were earning under $16 000 per annum. If the US government decided to give its welfare payments purely as $80 000 per annum(approximately double America’s GDP p/capita) to every man, woman and child who was an American citizen, it would slash its national welfare bill in half.
Intelligent spending in appropriate welfare programs that help students through college and university, that helps those without a job find employment, that looks after the disaffected in society with cheap housing, accessible goods and services, and the provision of universal free education and health care would be the penultimate of Biblical expressions. However, instead of employing positive and constructive energy to achieve national and global economic revival, the American Christian Right waxes unintelligibly about the strains of welfare, targeting ethnic minorities with racially charged vehemence, and disparaging the disaffected members of society, despite the fact that the American Christian Right are the prime recipients of welfare. Why don’t these people, who despise the economic burden of welfare, instead begin another fund or charity to help lift local welfare recipients from their need?
Why doesn’t the American Christian Right, instead of paying a Biblically-illegal tithe every Sunday, give that income to the poor, the widow and the disaffected? At least then they would be fulfilling the words of Ya’akov when he says ‘pure religion is to look after the poor, the widow and the disaffected’, and not funding the sexual perversions and greed of errant ministers. A great place to begin lifting America’s fiscal burdens would be an introduction of taxation to America’s religiously motivated corporations (known in other countries as churches).
My main concern is the insidious and infectious nature of American political issues in foreign religious practice. In other words, the American political religion has exported its contentious issues into othernations (in this case, its welfare concerns), not only through the cultural mediums of television and cinema, but primarily through the Christian churches,including those of the Messianic Movement.
We Should Know Better
The reason I am often very critical, if not harsh, towards the broader Messianic Movement in general, is simply because we, as the ambassadors and standard bearers of God, as those claiming to be restoring the truth of God to the world, should know better than to be engaged in the political machinations of this world. I often associate the movement with the negative aspects of Christianity, specifically the American religion that has exported itself to the world (which has also left its indelible mark on Judaism, and anyone who has read Daniel Gordis’ (2009) book Saving Israel: How The Jewish People Can Win a War That May Never End will understand the disturbing truth of this statement) and which has significantly affected Messianic Judaism at the grassroots level.
Mr. Eidelberg’s letter, widely circulated amongst Messianics, is a populist piece designed to further the profligation of political mythologies based on warped truths, and twisted to suit an audience usually too engrossed in its self-worth to understand the deeper issues concerning welfare and the American deficit. That it was well received within the Messianic movement only shows that the movement has engaged with spiritual rot and perverse beliefs. This is attributed in part to Messianics trading the truth for a form of legalism that makes family and friends in Chabad-Lubavitch look like schoolboys playing dress-up. When you have traded the grace of G-d for the legalism of tradition, legalism that was codified after Nazarene Judaism was outlawed, you disconnect from the spiritual power of HaShem and search for something to fill that void. Usually, that void is filled with an involvement in, and advocation of, this world’s politics.
What many people fail to grasp is the universalism of religious practice, its ability to cross artificial political and cultural barriers and form fraternal and economic bonds between people. Used positively,it has the potential to bring about the new economic, cultural and intellectual world order, with global peace and prosperity at its forefront. But, should things remain as they are, then religion will continue to be a poisonous cancer, a road block to the very things it has the potential to accomplish.There is no other potential force in the world that could be as powerful as a universal religious order, free of legalism and religiosity, but full of faith in the authentic destiny of mankind.
The Messianic movement is the only religious ideology that has the potential to achieve this, in intellectual and cultural terms, because of its acknowledgement of the role of the ancient Israelite religion in the development of every major modern religion, including and especially those of the East.
This—coupled with the truth of HaShem, divorced from the trappings of modern Babylonian paganism and its intellectual offshoots in Protestantism, and taken away from the traditions that remove the Spirit of Grace from Torah and replace it with man’s debates and legalistic rulings—has the power to usher a genuine return of the Spirit back to Earth. Instead of grasping this, the Messianic movement has become embroiled in political gambits, Jewish racism, legalism, Gentiles pretending to be Jewish, and other abominations.Why has the Messianic movement engaged with beliefs about welfare that are straight from the Satanic Bible? Why are we so obsessed about looking after the self, about deigning to hand out ‘rations’ to those in need out of pity and disgust? Better to let them die than be a ‘burden’ on the economy? Did you know that the ‘rations’, not the ‘wages’, of sin is death?
What breaks my heart more than anything is to see the squandered opportunity that is the Messianic movement, as it fumbles at playing religion, caught in its identity crisis between Christianity and Judaism,caught up in its own self-righteousness instead of the righteousness of Yeshua,and caught up in poisonous political power plays.
Yeshua’s Welfare Superpower: The Secret is the Sabbath
Yeshua’s humane economy will lift humanity to new heights. We have seen preludes of it in King Solomon’s Israel, and in the nation of Japan. The Torah gives stipulations regarding the welfare of our fellow human beings, and as Messianic believers we should be upholding these stipulations above any concerned with ritualistic observance. After all, did not HaShem say through Isaiah ‘I desire that you look after the poor and the destitute more than sacrifices’?
Yeshua gives many hints at what a proper Messianic politico-economic system should look like. It is a humane economy, whose focus is on the dignity and welfare of human beings above all else. It is based on Yeshua’s mystery of the Sabbath. Did He not say, ‘The Sabbath was meant for man, not man for the Sabbath’? The institution or system was designed for the welfare and dignity of humanity. Humanity does not work for, and is not enslaved to, the institution or system.
The joy and pleasure of the Sabbath is in the rest from the drudgery and depravity of this evil age. There are immense blessings from HaShem when you rest and spend time with Him as part of your family. The Sabbath was not created to become a ritualistic observance devoid of any humanness or wellbeing towards others, as Yeshua clearly demonstrates in healing the sick man on the Sabbath.
Yeshua, in His embodiment as the Living Torah, upholds humanity as His primary concern. Why did the prophets say that when he would first come, there would not be a poor or sick person in all of Israel? Why did Israel flourish in wealth during the earlier half of the 1st century? Such was the wealth of Judea that poverty was virtually non-existent during Yeshua’s time on this Earth.
Yeshua’s global welfare superpower will look after the poor and destitute that our society loathes in giving a helping hand. These people will be given a chance to flourish under Messiah’s reign. Messiah will also take revenge against those who despise the vulnerable of society: the poor, the sick, the needy, the foreigner, the unborn, the young and the old. Messiah’s rage will also spread to the likes of American-Israeli politicians who solicit lies and half-truths to garner political advantages and score cheap points. Messianic believers the world over should not take part in spreading the lies and fabrications of political megalomaniacs.
“Is this not the fast that I have chosen:
To loose the bonds of wickedness,
To undo the heavy burdens,
To let the oppressed go free,
And that you break every yoke?
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
And that you bring to your house the poor
who are cast out;
When you see the naked, that you cover him,
And not hide yourself from your own flesh?
Then your light shall break forth like the morning,
Your healing shall spring forth speedily,
And your righteousness shall go before you;
The glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
You shall cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’
“If you take away the yoke from your midst,
The pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,
If you extend your soul to the hungry
And satisfy the afflicted soul,
Then your light shall dawn in the darkness,
And your darkness shall be as the noonday.
The Lord will guide you continually,
And satisfy your soul in drought,
And strengthen your bones;
You shall be like a watered garden,
And like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.
Those from among you
Shall build the old waste places;
You shall raise up the
foundations of many generations;
And you shall be called the Repairer of the
Breach,The Restorer of Streets to Dwell In.”
~ Isaiah 58:6-12.
"And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying,
“Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away…He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death…But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life."
~ Selections from the Revelation of Yeshua HaMashiach 21.
Ferguson, N. 2005, Colossus:The Rise and Fall of the American Empire, Penguin Books, USA.
Ferguson, N. 2008, TheAscent of Money, Chimerica Media (for BBC) UK.
Gordis, D. 2009, Saving Israel: How The Jewish People Can Win a War That May Never End, John Wiley& Sons, New Jersey.
Wightman, G. J. Feb. - May, 1990, ‘The Myth of Solomon’, in Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, No.
277/278, pp. 5-22.
Bible selections taken from Thomas Nelson’s (1979) NKJV Bible.