The Significance Of Jubilee – With Stephen McDowell: What is the year of Jubilee? How could it affect us? What could it mean for you? What does it mean for a nation? Why are private property rights important? What is the measuring line for your life? Tune in to hear this insightful interview!
Air Date: 08/23/2022
Guest: Stephen McDowell
On-air Personalities: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton
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Faith and the Culture
You find your way to the intersection of faith and the culture. Thanks for joining us today on WallBuilders Live.
I’m Rick Green, America’s Constitution coach and a former Texas legislator. Here with David Barton, America’s premier historian and our founder at WallBuilders, and Tim Barton, national speaker and pastor and president of WallBuilders. All three of us, you can learn more at our website, wallbuilderslive.com.
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A Special Guest
Alright, David and Tim, we got Stephen McDowell back with us a little later in the program, sort of in-house expert, outhouse expert. Did I just put Steven in an outhouse? I don’t know. Anyway, great friend of the program and of WallBuilders for many years, and we’re going to get him on to help us out with a question that the audience asked.
And of course, David, man, you and Stephen have been doing this, goodness, he told me the other day that he knew you before you even started WallBuilders. So was that in the 1920s? What year was that again?
Well, I was thinking it was back right after World War I, but I wasn’t sure. So if you got the 20s, that’s probably about right. That’s probably right.
No, you guys have been doing a lot of great stuff together for a long time, and we really enjoyed having him at Patriot Academy this year. But a great question that came from our last program with him. We’ve done a lot of different topics with him, the Ten Commandments to Biblical economics, you name it.
But, one of our listeners was reading a book by him that we haven’t covered in quite a while, called Stewarding the Earth, and basically said knowing the biblical concepts of the Sabbatical year and the year of Jubilee as it deals with debt. If we as a nation were able to institute those concepts today, would our economy survive? The concepts are fantastic and very appealing, but would we be able to transition to this biblical economic plan or would it completely crush our economy?
And of course, I love this. She said, “Thanks gentlemen, for all that you do. I learned so much listening to all of you. It’s because of you that I took a hard look at my worldview and realized it was conflicting. So I’ve been on a journey to straighten it out and it’s been wonderful. Thank you. Have a blessed day.”
So she’s got a great question for us before we bring Steven in to talk about it, just a little bit about what the Jubilee year is?
And by the way, before we get that, can I say that’s some of the best news I ever hear is when people are starting to focus on biblical world view. There’s a thing that Barna calls ‘syncretism’, where that so many Christians now are taking a little bit of everything and just making with syncretism; it’s a lot of the secular worldview and a lot of progressive worldview and a lot of Christian worldview and a lot of Republican or Democrat or whatever worldview, we kind of mesh everything together.
And instead of having a standard where we say, okay, the Bible is the measuring line against which I measure everything, it’s the measuring line against which I measure entertainment or education or anything else, we have the syncretism. And just the fact that she said, look, it’s really made me rethink my biblical world view, what I look at, what I know, how I look at things, that will be the ultimate solution to getting America completely turned around. It’s not even getting biblical policies back. Because you can have biblical policies and not think right about it, which means they won’t last nearly as long as they should.
So actually, getting people to think the right way is going to have huge impact. And commentary, I think that was a great, great, great comment by her that she’s looking at worldview and that’s just terrific.
Could it Work in America?
Yeah, it’s actually listeners doing the biblical, historical, constitutional perspective exactly what we’re asking them to do. So really encouraging.
And answer the question real quick: the overview that the year of Jubilee was on the 50th year, things were returned and restored, and if you had taken out loans or you had debt, it was forgiven. If you had sold land in certain scenarios, it was returned to you. But what’s also significant about this is we talk about some of the Old Testament application for us today and the question, could we apply that?
Could that work in America today we did this? Well, you have to keep in mind the context of even some of these things that happened in the Old Testament to who they’re happening, to, where they’re happening, what God is saying, who he’s saying it to.
And God is talking to Israelites specifically, and the year of Jubilee specifically applied to the nation of Israel. And so God had told them from the very beginning when they go into the Promised Land, this land is yours, and you get this land, it’s to you and your descendants always because God had given them a promise that this land was for you and your descendants always. If you had to sell land along the way, the year of Jubilee, that land was returned to you. And so you are maintaining the thing that God had promised to you, you were able to fulfill and go forward where God led you, what God had called you to do, etcetera.
It’s a little different scenario when you talk about the nation of America that you don’t really see the same kind of covenant that God has not told us in America that this land is for you for always, for you and your descendants, every generation, forever, the immigration. There’s definitely application we can take along the way. And this is why it’s a great question.
Even when God gave specific commands to a specific people group that might not apply to us the same way, there are still principles that God was using to teach those things or the reason God was giving that law in the first place. We can take the principle of what God was promoting, maybe what we would deduce God was trying to accomplish with that, and we can still apply that same principle and it can be very beneficial because God’s ways work. God’s ways certainly are the best.
But this is why we’re also very grateful to have Steven McDowell come on the program so he can dive into this a little bit more because he’s also done a lot of writing about this. And guys, we certainly could have a conversation and dig into this and point to several verses and get some application. But fortunately, we don’t have to do that by ourselves because we have our good friend Steven McDowell who can dive into this and give us a deeper explanation.
Stay with us, folks, our special guest today is Stephen McDowell from Providence Foundation. You’re listening to WallBuilders Live.
Hey, guys, it’s Tim Barton. And I want to let pastors and ministry leaders know about an opportunity coming up actually in the very near future. September 1st in the Dallas area in Texas, we are hosting a pastors’ conference. And traditionally we’ve hosted pastors’ conference, in fact, for decades we have. And we would take pastors to Washington DC, we would give them a special private after hours tour of the capital where pastors could go and firsthand and see some of the spiritual foundation of the nation, some of the pastors involved in shaping the nation. And we give them an opportunity to hear from congressmen and senators who were themselves Bible believing Christians fighting to make a difference in God’s kingdom there in DC.
But now we’re going to bring pastors to our collection in Texas. We know that God’s allowed us to amass this amazing collection of original documents that show the Christian heritage of the nation. We want to let pastors see that first hand and still talk to congressmen and senators and find out what’s going on in the nation for pastors and ministry leaders. If you want to find out more information, go to wallbuilder.com, you can click on the Initiative tab, go down to ‘Pastors Briefing’, click on that. And if you are a pastor and ministry leader, we encourage you to sign up and come join us in Dallas September 1st for our Pastors’ Briefing. We hope to see you there.
Welcome back to WallBuilders Live. Thanks for staying with us today. Always good to have Stephen McDowell with us. Stephen’s back with us today. And first thing I got to say, man, thank you, thank you for coming to Patriot Academy a couple of weeks ago at the Texas capital.
Outstanding presentation! And I mean, the students, I think it was like, I don’t know, half the room had hands up were ready to ask you more questions when we ran out of time. I just so appreciate you coming in. It was such good teaching on biblical economics and just exactly for such a time as this. So thanks for coming in for that bro.
What Does the Bible Say?
Well, thanks for inviting me. I love what you’re doing. And we certainly need to train the young folks of how to apply biblical truth to all of life because it’s the future of our nation depends upon it.
Amen. Amen. No doubt about it. And of course, you’re doing that not just here in the US, but around the world. We got you back today because we had a listener question. We’ll get to that in just a second. But you were telling me off air you just got back from Columbia, had a great training there. Tell us a little bit about that.
Well, I was in four different cities in Colombia, South America. I went primarily to teach on biblical economics to about 150 leaders from nine different Latin American nations. And of course, they are facing a battle against the socialists who are taking over country after country.
And a number of people are aware, hey, we’ve got to provide alternative truth to stand up against these lies; so they are very eager to learn, what does the Bible say about economics because that is how we’re going to bring about universal flourishing in our nations when we apply those principles.
How hard is that with, and I’m actually asking this out of ignorance because I don’t know with these nations, if they don’t have a biblical foundation, how willing are they to hear that? Or do they? Or do some of these nations actually have maybe even a stronger, typical foundation than what we’re seeing sometimes in some places across America?
What have you seen there if you’re starting from scratch? Or are you starting from scratch? Or do you feel like they’ve got some grasp of the Bible is truth and here’s why we should listen?
Well, of course, their whole foundation is different than America. America’s founded on biblical Christianity, a product of the Protestant Reformation centuries ago. So we have that foundation that produced the most free and prosperous nation in history. They have a foundation rooted in Roman Catholicism which embraces some truth, but it definitely does not emphasize biblical truth and principles and God’s principles for life. So they didn’t have that.
But what they do have in the last, especially 20 or 30 years, a massive outpouring of God’s spirit. Literally, hundreds of millions of people have been birthed into the Kingdom of God. Like in Columbia, about 20% of the population, 10 million people are now Bible-believing Christians, renewed Christians where 30 years ago there’s just tens of thousands perhaps…
So, there’s fertile soil?
Yeah, they’re being converted. And many of them are saying, hey, we recognize our mission is not just to convert men, but to transform society. So they’re eager to learn. So they have a bigger hill to climb than we do. But there’s a lot of people there that are getting prepared and realize it’s a long term battle, not just a short fix.
That’s exciting. Love it. Love it. Love it. Now, if we get our own Congress to be willing to listen to some of your training, actually, there are some members of Congress that do follow you and read your stuff and been taught by you and David for a long time.
Let me run this question by you and see what you think. This is from Sheila. She said,
“I have a question. Let me back up first by saying I’m reading Stewarding The Earth by Stephen McDowell. It’s a really great read, very fascinating.
“But it has generated some questions. Knowing the biblical concepts of the Sabbatical Year and the Year of Jubilee as it deals with debt, if we as a nation were able to institute those concepts today, would our economy survive? The concepts are fantastic and very appealing. But would we be able to transition to this biblical economic plan? Or would it completely crush our economy?
“Thanks, gentlemen, for all you do. I learned so much listening to all of you. It’s because of you that I took a hard look at my worldview and realized that it was conflicting. So I’ve been on a journey to straighten it out, and it’s been wonderful. Thank you. Have a blessed day. Sincerely, Sheila from Lexington, North Carolina.”
Sheila, thank you so much for listening. Thank you for being fertile ground, being willing to learn, being willing to apply these things and adjust our world view to the truth, to the plumb line, which is God’s word. Stephen, a lot of people hungry, and it generates good questions. So what do you think? The whole idea of the Sabbatical Year and you’re a Jubilee, how would we do something like that dealing with debt in our economy?
Applying the Word
Well, just kind of as a general statement regarding this. We see God’s Word works. We just need to learn how to apply it correctly.
And when we apply it, we get the good fruit. Now, the jubilee year, every 50 years, theoretically, though, it’s not really known if Israel really ever did it, but theoretically, in every 50 years, original land returned to the original owners.
Because remember, when God gave birth to the nation of Israel, he gave every family a plot of land that was theirs, private property that they were to plant and use and be productive on. Of course, the Levites weren’t given land, they were given townhomes, because they had a specific different function.
So every 50 years, the land reverted back to the original family, which assured every family retain private property rights. And this is important because Israel, important for us today, because private property rights are really probably the most fundamental right, God-given right that we must preserve and protect if we want to live free, if we want to flourish. Because private property gives us the power to be productive and that’s our mission, is to produce needed goods and services, and it gives us power to accomplish all the things God has told us to do.
So God provided a way that suppose one generation had to squander away the land, that God said, well, I want to make sure the family is preserved so it goes back to them. Of course, debts were forgiven in the jubilee year. And so when loans were given out, it was always taken into account, when is the jubilee year going to come about? And we will only loan so much money at certain interest rates based upon when that came about.
But again, this is a way to eliminate debt, because the debtor is enslaved to the lender. So, God wants us to live debt free. In the Old Testament Israel, seven years was the maximum length you could have a loan. According to Paul, the New Testament, the New Testament goal is to be in debt to no one. So that’s the best way to run your personal economic life with no debt, but it’s also the best way to run the nation.
And of course, as we all know, we’ve tallied over $30 trillion debt, mostly in the last 40 years, which is destroying our economy. The main reason we’ve have inflation today is because we amassed a huge debt, rapidly under COVID, which produces inflation as we created new money out of nothing.
So the principles apply, and we can apply them to our society by preserving private property, by trying to live debt free personally and as the nation. And we might not implement it the same way that Old Testament Israel did, but I think we can implement those policies economically and it will be good for us.
It’s interesting the way you describe the jubilee year. I never thought about that, that they would have factored that into their loan, just like we factor in the length of a T-bill or whatever, I mean, you get different interest rates depending on how long your loan is going to be or how long you’re going to loan the money, whichever side you’re on that.
And they would have obviously done that. How do you differentiate between Levitical law that we don’t apply anymore when it comes to some of these economic issues? Do the economic issues, are there some of those that also fit for them but changed with Christ coming and with how we live today?
Well, the moral law of God is summarized in the Ten Commandments applies to all men and all nations because it was set before Israel went into effect, before God gave the law to Moses and the children of Israel, it applies to everyone.
New Covenant Nation
Now, what some have called the Holiness Code is specific case laws that God gave to Israel that set them apart as a physical nation. And of course, in the New Covenant, God’s people are no longer physical nations, but a spiritual nation. So the New Covenant nation, spiritual nation, it supersedes the physical nation.
So those laws that deal with setting Israel part as a physical nation are not applicable or they’re not binding to us, even though there are principles and those laws we can use and utilize. So that’s the general concept that many Christian scholars.
Yeah, that’s kind of like some of the food issues that we’re not sinning if we don’t follow some of those Levitical food issues, but boy, our body sure is better off if we do, right; it’s kind of like that. It still has a principle with a reward or consequence.
That’s right. Yeah, exactly right. You’re right. That’s application. Of course, the New Testament tells us that, presents that to that application. But the moral law and the concept of no debt, that’s a principle that’s applicable. The concept of private property is applicable. The concept of individual enterprise, we benefit from the food of our labor is taught in the New and Old Testament. The concept of the free market where we get an idea from God to fulfill our calling, produce and needed good or service to mankind, offer it in the marketplace to others so that they might benefit and society at large will be elevated. These are all principles in the scripture, both Old and New Testament that we should apply today in our lives in the nation.
Let me throw one more out at you in our final few minutes together. This is so unfair because I think we did a whole program on this topic years ago. But the idea of unjust weights and measures and our money supply today and getting off the gold standard and with the rapid inflation, how would you describe that and how we might fix it and get back to just weights and measures for our economic system?
Well, of course, the whole reason we have money today is because it makes trade a lot easier. Weights and measures are how they used to measure out the gold and silver. That’s historically been used as money because it meets the five characteristics of money. And so, coins came into being, so it would make it easy; you don’t have to carry weight scales around with you and weigh it out, you can have this coin and you realize it’s an ounce of silver, ounce of gold, or whatever it’s defined by.
And so what the problem has come in the US. When we’ve abandoned honest money, when we established the Federal Reserve Board, which is a national bank, we went off the gold standard, went off the silver standard. And now the way we create more money is easy. The Fed, in essence, decides they have different mechanisms to do it.
But the government simply says, we want more money. So they either turn on the printing presses and they put some new blip, new zeros on their screen and began to cause more money to circulate through the economy. When you introduce more money into the economy, it produces rising prices because you have more money bidding on the same amount of goods and services so it pushes the prices up.
Under COVID, those two years of COVID, we created about 4 trillion new dollars. Now, that’s over and above, just the regular deficit spending about a trillion a year. So you got 4 trillion new dollars introduced into the money supply, that’s a huge amount of money. Even productivity was slacking because a lot of businesses had to shut down. So you have a whole lot more money that are bidding on the same amount of goods, and services. Well, guess what? Our prices are going to go up.
So inflation isn’t rising prices. Inflation is a false expansion of the money supply by ignorant or evil leaders. And we’ve had ignorant or evil leaders for, we’ve been doing this for decades and decades, especially the last four decades is when our deficit is amassed immensely and it could have all been stopped. The problem is nobody talks about it. Hardly, you don’t hear anybody saying, well, here’s the problem we created too much money. And if you don’t know what causes it, how are you going to have a solution?
Democrats just pass this Reducing Inflation Act or whatever they call it; it’s only going to cost more because you’re creating how much money was…
Yeah, they’re dumping another $800 billion on the market. I know, you’re right. And you talked about the bidding, having all that extra trillions to bid on the same products. And like you said, it’s actually fewer products because of the productivity going down and paying people to stay home and all the crazy things we did.
I guess the last president we had that actually had an economics degree was Ronald Reagan. I mean, here’s a guy that studied economics before Keynes came along, and so he still understood basic supply side and basic economics. That’s been a long time ago and there’s been very few leaders stand up and explain what you just explained.
But there it is, biblical. It’s basic common sense in many ways and begins with us knowing these things and then electing leaders that reflected as well. Stephen, I wish we had more time and there’s so much we love to learn from you. One place we can go to do that is Providencefoundation.com, Providencefoundation.com. You can get Stephen’s materials there. Book him to speak, bring him in. Always enjoy it, man, look forward to the next time.
I enjoyed talking with you, Rick. Keep up the good work.
Alright, brother. Stay with us, folks, we’ll be right back with David and Tim Barton.
The Courageous Leaders Collection
Hi, friends, this is Tim Barton of WallBuilders. This is a time when most Americans don’t know much about American history or even heroes of the faith. And I know oftentimes we, parents, we’re trying to find good content for our kids to read.
And if you remember back to the Bible, to the book of Hebrews, it has the faith Hall of Fame where they outline the leaders of faith that had gone before them. Well, this is something that as Americans, we really want to go back and outline some of these heroes, not just of American history, but heroes of Christianity in our faith as well.
I want to let you know about some biographical sketches we have available on our website. One is called The Courageous Leaders Collection. And this collection includes people like Abigail Adams, Abraham Lincoln, Francis Scott Key, George Washington Carver, Susanna Wesley, even the Wright brothers.
There’s a second collection called Heroes of History. In this collection, you’ll read about people like Benjamin Franklin or Christopher Columbus, Daniel Boone, George Washington, Harriet Tubman; friends, the list goes on and on. This is a great collection for your young person to have and read and it’s a providential view of American and Christian history. This is available at www.wallbuilders.com. That’s www.wallbuilders.com.
Welcome back to WallBuilders Live. Thanks to Stephen for joining us today. Back with David and Tim now. And guys, of course, it would be very difficult to implement a Jubilee year and especially the 50 year cycle.
But very interesting, I never thought about that, that they actually factored those things in when they were loaning the money. It makes perfect sense. I just never calculated that in my mind.
What is the Point?
Yeah, and it’s really significant. And Tim had it early on. But what comes out of this is look for principles. You may not be able to match it step by step, because, again, Israel is a nation that you don’t have private property per se.
The land belongs to the nation, as opposed elsewhere, where you have the private property. So the way God set it up, that land will always belong to the nation of Israel or stay in the nation. But the principles of economics and Steve has some great books on this, whether you look at even some of the taxation systems that God set up. Why did He do that?
What was He after or looking for? And it’s the same with Jubilee. Why would God do that?
And it’s to keep you out of debt. It’s to keep you from having perpetual debt.
And as he pointed out, you didn’t have a loan for longer than seven years. The concept of the borrow being servant to the lender. All this is about freedom and being able to maintain that freedom and being able to maintain property. And so the principles are really key. And I thought Stephen really hit them well.
And going to those core principles, you can’t necessarily match the exact application, the way he told Israel to do it, but you can match the principle and you can apply that principle. And that works any nation, anywhere, any point in time, and you get the heart and the essence of what God is wanting for His people, not only in Israel, but elsewhere. It’s great principle-driven stuff.
And let me back up and point out too just in case anybody did not make the connection. Dad, when you pointed out that in Israel they don’t have private property, you were referring to the land, that individuals couldn’t have land and then it was theirs and the perpetuity, they could do what they want, sell it and etc. The land is what you’re referring to because certainly, they did a possession of goods and private property that exist.
The Significance Of Jubilee – With Stephen McDowell
But this is where, as you’re mentioning, that even though we take the principle and we apply the principal, and there’s so many things America and even our lives, our families, our marriages would benefit from if we would apply biblical principles. At times, the letter of the law in the Old Testament is not the thing that should be done specifically in our life or sometimes even the law or the government, etc.
But it’s the principle that we certainly want to always uphold as we go forward. And so grateful for Steve McDowell coming on and helping unfold and explain more of that principle.
Alright, friends, well, that’s all the time that we’ve got today. Thanks again to Stephen McDowell for joining us. Be sure to check out Providence Foundation. Lots of great materials and information there, just like at WallBuilders. And we love teaming up with Stephen. And so I appreciate them coming to the Patriot Academy Leadership Congress at the Texas capital just a few weeks ago.
As I mentioned earlier in the program with Stephen, it was just incredible foundational truths that most people don’t get. You got to remember, the education system has been totally taken over by Marxists that do not love America. They do not love the Constitution or the Declaration. They’re doing everything they can to destroy those things.
And so we have to take it upon ourselves to get educated and to educate the people in our lives, our friends and family, people in our church, people in our neighborhoods. That’s why we have the Constitution classes. That’s why we give all this stuff away. That’s why we train people to be coaches for free. I mean, all of that is to help restore the foundational principles of our country.
And when you donate to WallBuilders Live, when you take one of our classes, when you share one of our classes, you are helping to do that as well. We appreciate you being a part of the team. And thank you for listening today to WallBuilders Live.
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