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"Did Jesus teach capitalism?"

Ancient History

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Jun 3, 2011, 1:46pm Top


I need help with “Did Jesus teach capitalism” book, by Zodhiates.

I never read the book, but recently reading KSB (Key Study Bible), editor of which was the same Zodhiates, I found a short comment concerning parable of Jesus Christ, written in Matthew 19.11-27

And on the bottom of the page was a small notice which said, that editor of KSB also wrote a book concerning this parable.

I do not want to buy the book yet, I cannot even find it in my local libraries, but first I would like to know, what he actually wrote about this parable of Christ?

Did he literally took this parable as is, and thought that Christ’ really teach capitalism in this parable, or he have some kind of spin on this issue?

Please, if anyone of you, who read his book concerning this parable of Christ, let me know, and please, write a short comment about what kind of meaning he put to it.

Did Zodhiates really praises capitalism in his book based on this parable of Christ, or he revealed a different meaning in his book about this saying of Jesus?

Thanks to all who will respond to me.



Jun 3, 2011, 4:36pm Top

Alex, while I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with capitalism, in my 12 years of Christian schooling I never heard of Jesus advocating any economic theory other than don't get attached to your riches. I'd be leery of anyone making that leap, but without looking at the book I couldn't form an opinion.

Jun 3, 2011, 10:51pm Top

Why not...Jesus was an anarcho-capitalist, after all :)

Edited: Jun 5, 2011, 12:02am Top

Matthew 19:24 And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God

I am an atheist but this Jesus guy was no capitalist in any shape or form.

A capitalist would not have performed the feeding of the 5000 without charging.

Jun 5, 2011, 2:31am Top

Thank you for your replies.

Thulean, you make a good point, indeed no capitalist will feed anyone for free, but Jesus did it twice, one time I think He fed 3k and another time 5k.

Above all, before Jesus said about how hard for rich man to reach the Kingdom of GOD, just before that, one man asked Jesus, “What I need to have eternal life”, Jesus answered, "If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven, and come, follow Me." (Matthew 19.21). So, what Jesus teaches here? Communism?

Of course Jesus not preached capitalism or anything like it, nor did He preach communism, imperialism or anything else what belongs to Earth societies. Actually He hated the way people conduct business on Earth, and often condemned it, and I don’t have any problem with that.

But the problem I have only with Zodhiates who wrote the book “Did Jesus teach capitalism”, and I have to get the true theme of his book, because I did wrote some comments concerning the parable of Christ written in Matthew 19.11-27, and now I have to write some comments concerning his book as well, because his book was indicated as reference for this parable in KSB.

And for me it’s hard to believe, that a man who actually edited this great KSB (the Bible have words references and explanation in Greek and Hebrew, and he perhaps edited the Greek part of it), would take such parable of Christ literally, and would praise capitalism referring to Christ as its supporter.

I am not against capitalism, but also believe that it can be improve, and be more humane, and less war like machine.

Anyway, I have to see the Zodhiates book in order to know his personal opinion about the parable, and I actually found through libraries catalogs two of his books in Princeton Theological Seminary, but it 40 miles away from my home.

Well, it seems that I have not much of choice, unless someone who had read the Zodhiates’ book will reveal to me what he actually wrote about the parable.

Pmackey, you also write, Jesus never advocated any of economic theories of human world, or any earthly policies or rules, and He not have to, because He brought to our world His Own policies, rules, ideals, and principals, and of His GOD Father, and teach us to it.

Concerning that Jesus was anarcho-capitalist, I doubt it very much, because the Heavenly Kingdom of GOD is very different from our societies, and in dimension of spiritual world, life is very different from our physical dimension, and all the principals and ideal of these two worlds, are all very different from one another.

And anarcho-capitalism, as purely earthly invention, cannot in any way fit in spiritual world by all means, because it foreign to the principals and ideals of GOD, and so everything earthly as well.

But the ideals and principals of Heaven can be implemented on Earth, and it only requires us to turn to our basic morality of our conscience, which implanted in us from our birth by GOD, as basic guide, to determined and recognize bad from good.

But also requires and our faith in GOD, and faith in His Laws, statutes, and commandments, and only then the principals and ideals of the Kingdom of GOD can be successfully implemented on Earth, in our lives.

So my point is, that anarcho-capitalism may very well fit on Earth, but absolutely foreign to Heaven, and because Jesus came from Heaven, from the Kingdom of His GOD, He is in no way could brought it on Earth, because in Heaven such a thing simply do not exist, and cannot exist.

Thank to all who responded to me


Jun 5, 2011, 3:40am Top

Mark 12:17 Give to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's.

Jesus knew how to separate the material from the spiritual.

Jun 5, 2011, 3:54am Top

indeed no capitalist will feed anyone for free

Where do you guys come up with such rubbish?!

Jun 5, 2011, 3:59am Top

"Above all, before Jesus said about how hard for rich man to reach the Kingdom of GOD, just before that, one man asked Jesus, “What I need to have eternal life”, Jesus answered, "If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven, and come, follow Me." (Matthew 19.21). So, what Jesus teaches here? Communism?"

Eh, no. Socialism. I think it could be argues that Jesus was Socialist. After all Mathew 7:12 tells us :

Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.

Jun 5, 2011, 8:24am Top

Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.

I read that and came to a different conclusion. Jesus was a libertarian. ; )

Jun 5, 2011, 11:04am Top

#9: Can't be. He initiated force against the money changers :)

Jun 5, 2011, 3:33pm Top

What? Libertarians can't use force? Oh, fudge!

Jun 5, 2011, 6:23pm Top

In KSB, Matthew 7.12 is written this way: “Therefore, you want people to treat you, so treat them, this is the Law and the prophets.”

So I assume it can be interpreted as follows: “If you want people to treat you good, so treat them also good.”

And it similar to it: “In the way you judge, you will be judged, and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.” Matthew 7.2.

Also: To Galatians 6.7 “Do not be deceived, GOD is not mocked, you reap whatever you sow.”

Jun 5, 2011, 6:38pm Top

>12 Alex2165: That are just variations on the Golden Rule or Tit-for-Tat.

>9 pmackey: In death, he acted like a typical libertarian: No longer master of the universe, it's all about crying for big daddy. No bail-out for him, though.

Jun 6, 2011, 6:52pm Top

Jesus, like the Founding Fathers, is whatever the reader would like to see...

Jun 7, 2011, 12:48am Top

Interested in having a look at your library Alex. Will you be entering some books?

Jun 7, 2011, 11:22am Top

I am not a Christian, nor am I a great friend of capitalism... but I do know a fair deal about both. If the composers of the New Testament are to be trusted (which is in and of itself a questionable idea, but one which most Christians would say is not up for debate), the version of Jesus that has been passed down to us is that of a man who taught humility and that there are things which are much more important than monetary gain.

In my mind, this question would not even exist were it not for the bizarre fusion of Christian conservatism and robber-baron economic "conservatism" that took place in the US in the 1980s.

Jun 7, 2011, 7:08pm Top

>16 Feicht:, In my mind, this question would not even exist were it not for the bizarre fusion of Christian conservatism and robber-baron economic "conservatism" that took place in the US in the 1980s.

Amen, Brother Feicht, amen.

Jun 7, 2011, 8:02pm Top

Well, there is that whole Calvinism thing. It's been around a bit longer.

Jun 7, 2011, 11:24pm Top


I have no library, but all my books I have before are long gone. Moving often from place to place I lost many of them, and no longer carry books with me, some of them I stored in my friend’s shack until I return from my trip. But when I return all my books were ruined, his shack leaks, and all my books were wet, and covered with mold.

Anyway, most my interest in books mostly in science-fiction, but I also like very much science without fiction. One of very interesting subject I would recommend to take a look at, is about certain events happen about 30 years ago.

The writing of a certain man “one who knows” as he called himself, his work named “Fire from the Sky”, which composed of number of different stories and true events (according to him). One particular short story really captivated me, called “The Battle of the Harvest Moon.”

Also, the website that posted his stories have many other interesting links you should not miss, therefore, I have a link on my website to his writings, so if for some reason you wouldn’t be able to access his site, you can do it from my website.

Originally his work was written in DOS, and it was a while ago when I found him first time and read his stories, but a couple of years ago I again access his site and was looking for some other stuff, and I noticed that his entire work was transformed into a different format, probably MS Word, and entire site looks a little bit different.

So, just type in any search engine “Fire from the Sky” and it should take you right there. If some problems occur, let me know, I will give you address of my site and from there you will access it.

Jun 8, 2011, 1:15am Top

Thank you Alex. I am sorry to hear about the loss of your books.

Just to clarify, when I asked about your library, I just meant any books you might have.

I look forward to examining that site you mentioned.

Jun 8, 2011, 7:30am Top

#16 Feicht: Or, indeed, the development of 'Christian Socialism' in the Ninteenth Century. Christ's ethos is surely a pietist ethos, interested in how we can follow the will of God. Property and worldly concerns may be, following his teaching, hindrances to true piety, and should ideally be rejected, but on the grounds of hinderance. He does not offer a blueprint for society - for him, the Torah and prophets do that. His concerns are closer to those of Aristotle's in the Nichomachian Ethics than those of Marx or Adam Smith - not 'how should we run society' but 'how may I lead a good life' (ideas of the good, of course, differ between them).

Jun 9, 2011, 2:19pm Top

Jesus actually did not try to change any of our societies by His teachings, and it was not His goal or purpose of His first coming at all.

Exception from this rule is only Jewish society, because they have been chosen by GOD as His priests and servants, and as a mid-point between GOD and the people of the Earth, and they have no any other choice. And you pointed correctly saying: “He does not offer a blueprint for society - for him, the Torah and prophets do that.”

But His teachings are designed to prepare people for the Society of GOD in His Heavenly Kingdom, and not change anything on Earth. Christ, during His mission on Earth addressed mostly individuals and the lowest levels of earthly societies, because they are not the actual builders of their societies, and submissive to those who have wealth and power, and they rule over them, and the wealthy and the powerful are the one’s who build their societies, according to their own desires and will.

Above all, Earth, for a time being, is given to Satan, according to Christ Himself, and Satan will rule the Earth only to a certain period of time, until he will be deposed with his angels, and the Kingdom of GOD will come on Earth in form of Jesus Christ.

And only then the ideals of GOD will be fully implements on Earth, and people no longer will try to build their societies according to GOD Father’s and Christ’ teachings, they, as you mentioned already tried but not succeeded, because for the humans it is impossible task, due to their corrupt and wicked nature.

But with descending of Christ and His Kingdom on Earth, His and His Father’s principal and ideals will be implemented automatically, no matter if some people want it or not.

You may say, that it will be dictatorial, from the point of view of the people of Earth, well, how many people on Earth praised and cherish dictatorial rules of their kings, governors, presidents, and prime ministers, since the dawn of humanity?

Did any of all of these rulers and their supporters, who are very little minority of entire populations of their countries (mostly no more than 5%) rule their subjects with decency, justice, fairness, and goodness, for the sake of their own people?

So I assume, that it will be only they, the rich, wealthy, and the powerful, who will not happy with the rule of Jesus Christ then He comes a second time to establish His Kingdom on Earth, because principals and ideals of Christ would not fit their own desires and goals, but for the majority of the population of Earth, the ideals and principals of Christ will be welcome and very beneficial.

And if someone would like to call it as Christian socialism, it would be OK, because socialism, even human one, very well designed and fit only for majority of the working class, in majority of which very few who are ambitious enough to be capitalist and create their own wealth by any cost, human or not. And the Kingdom of GOD actually and designed and exist on such principals, and serves well those who are not ambitious in their nature.

So you are right concerning individual will and choice to choose goodness for themselves and not for entire society.
I am sorry to make such lengthy discussion, I simply based my thoughts on the basis of your thoughts, and on the basis if that expressed my opinion concerning this subject.


Jun 10, 2011, 7:12am Top

Why do you keep upcasing "GOD"?

Jun 10, 2011, 9:28pm Top

Of course Jewish people have been chosen by their god. It is their tribal deity. I am sure the Babylonians are the chosen people of Ishtar or Tiamat.

Jun 12, 2011, 4:10am Top

>24 Thulean:: Yep, pretty much

Edited: Jun 18, 2011, 2:44pm Top

#16 I thought many of that group of Christians sealed that deal several years back when Christmas was on Sunday. Their churches stayed closed so people could stay home and open their presents.

Jul 30, 2011, 6:21pm Top

The contradictions in the gospels are many. In one place, Jesus condemns the steward who did not increase his master's capital, but buried it in the ground instead of investing it. Was this an endorsement of capitalism? Seemingly. Jesus also said, "Do not store up treasures for yourself," which would seem to convey the opposite.

I think you can find verses for both sides.

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