Was Jesus a Communist?

Was Jesus a Communist? LIVE Q&A with David Guzik - January 26, 2023

Was Jesus a Communist?

What Is Communism? Four quick points…

  • No private ownership of property; everything is held collectively by the people.
  • The state, the government, holds, plans, spends, distributes builds in the name of the collective, the people.
  • Every person works according to their ability, every person receives according to their need.
  • Workers aren’t exploited by owners who only care about profits.

Comparing this understanding of Communism, Jesus was not a communist.

1. Jesus would oppose Communism because He affirmed the Old Testament, which clearly affirms the right of private property, especially in the command to not steal (Exodus 20:15).

Matthew 5:17–19

Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

The New Testament also condemns theft, which implies the right to private property:

Ephesians 4:28

Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need.

2. Jesus would oppose Communism because the Bible – which carries the message of Jesus – tells us that the family is the main economic unit for society, not the state.

  • The whole law of Moses distributed land according to family and was held in trust by the family – not the state.
  • 1 Timothy 5:8 is a remarkably strong statement, part of the instructions for the support of widows where Paul stated that widows should not receive the financial support of the church if they had family that could support them.

1 Timothy 5:8

But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his own household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

3. Jesus would oppose Communism because the message of the Bible is of radical generosity and sharing among believers – but voluntary, free-will giving. There’s a big difference between koinonia (community, sharing) and Communism, and one of the differences is coercion.

4. Jesus would oppose Communism because the amount of state power and coercion and force necessary for a planned economy goes against the Biblical principle of freedom, of liberty.

  • The proclamation of liberty is a huge idea in the scriptures.
  • It’s for freedom that Christ set us free.
  • There’s a legitimate debate to have among Christians about the balance between freedom and security or freedom and equality – but the totalitarian state required to make Communism work is, in my opinion, far out of bounds in this debate.
  • There’s a reason why Communist states have been atheistic and have been violent, persistent persecutors of Christianity (and other religions).

5. Jesus would oppose Communism because it is built on envy, or quickly degenerates into envy – the anger, bitterness, hatred because someone else has more than I have. Envy is a terrible sin, and contentment is a true Christian virtue.

Matthew 27:18

For he knew that they had handed Him over because of envy.

Romans 1:29

…being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife…

Romans 13:13

Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy.

Philippians 4:11

I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content.

1 Timothy 6:8

And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.

6. Jesus would oppose Communism because of its terrible history.

If you love people – if you love humanity – you should hate Communism. In the 20th century, some researchers say that Communist states (the Soviet Union and its satellite states, Communist China, North Korea, Cambodia, Vietnam, Cuba, and such) were responsible for the deaths of up to 100 million people. Nothing – certainly no government – has murdered its own people as Communism has. All this murder didn’t make for paradise on earth, but for nations that were giant terror camps or prison camps.

What kind of economic system would Jesus approve of? Some quick thoughts (there is, no doubt, much more to say) on the kind of economy Jesus would approve:

  • An economy that affirmed the basic economic unit of the family.
  • An economy biased towards freedom, more than state control and coercion or the control of monopolies and cartels.
  • A productive economy, that lifted families and individuals out of abject poverty.
  • An economy of opportunity, where hard work was genuinely rewarded and corruption, bribes, and dishonesty were punished.
  • An economy that encouraged generosity.

Is it edifying to use the gift of tongues in our private prayer time, even without interpretation?

If we have the gift of tongues, how does using this gift in our private prayer time edify us? Privately there is no interpretation, as opposed to the proper use in public, where God calls for an interpreter?

That’s a great question. What is the edification or benefit in using the gift of tongues if there’s no interpretation and it can’t be understood? 1 Corinthians 14:2 explains that the person who speaks in an unknown tongue speaks unto God and not unto man. Even if a tongue is interpreted in a congregational setting, that word is still directed to God and not to man. Whether it’s a prayer, a praise, an intercession, or a declaration of honor and glory to God, the bottom line is that it’s addressed to God and not to man.

Here’s the benefit of speaking in tongues or praying in tongues. It’s the Holy Spirit’s ability to pray in us and through us, beyond the limits of our ability to articulate or understand.  It is one form by which the Spirit intercedes through us, as the Bible mentions.

If somebody comes to me and asks me to lay hands on them and pray for them to receive the gift of tongues, I always ask them, “Why do you want that gift?” Sometimes people want the gift of tongues to prove something. They want to prove something to themselves or to somebody else. That’s not a good reason to seek the gift of tongues.

I ask them, “Have you ever felt limited in your ability to pray, to praise, or to intercede? Have you ever felt that there’s more in your heart than you can articulate? Do you feel limited in your ability to communicate with God?” Sometimes people answer, “No, I’ve never really felt that way.” I then say, “Well, when you do, then let’s pray and see if God would give you the gift of tongues.” If they do say yes, then I say, “Let me pray for you, and let’s see if God would give you that gift.”

The gift of tongues is unique among the spiritual gifts, in that it edifies the individual by enabling them to pray, praise, or to speak to God in a way that goes beyond the individual’s understanding.

When is it appropriate to call someone a false teacher?

If a person teaches something we believe to be wrong, we have to use some gradation. For example, there are many people in the body of Christ who would disagree with what I said above concerning the gift of tongues. They are people whom I would otherwise respect, yet they might say, “David, you’re a false teacher for teaching that. The gift of tongues has passed away. You’re false for teaching that. Therefore, David Guzik, you are a false teacher.”

Now, of course, I would disagree with them. Maybe I could turn around and say, “No, you’re a false teacher, because you believe that the gifts of the Spirit passed away with the Apostles. You’re a Cessationist, you’re the false teacher.” In situations like that, where there is legitimate disagreement among believers, I don’t believe there is much profit in pointing fingers and making accusations of someone being a false teacher – even though we would say they are teaching some false things or that they’re wrong.

No, I think that we should reserve the title of “false teacher” for people who teach things that are seriously wrong. There are errors that are dangerous and serious. Now, some people would say that what I believe about the gift of tongues is dangerous. Look, if you want to call me a false teacher, go right ahead. My conscience is clear before God and I think my understanding of the Scriptures is clear before God as well.

But I would say that we should reserve the title of “false teacher” for more serious errors. I would reserve the next category of “heretic” for someone who teaches things, that if a person believes them, they will not go to heaven. It’s a heavy thing to call somebody a heretic.

That’s how I order it in my mind. I would say there’s wrong teaching: you’re not a false teacher, but you teach some things wrongly. Then there’s being a false teacher, which is obviously a step more serious. Then the final category would be a heretic, someone who they are teaching errors so serious that for someone to believe those errors, their soul is in peril.

How do you view 2 Chronicles 19:2 with the New Testament teaching on loving your enemies (Matthew 5:43-48?)

2 Chronicles 19:2 – And Jehu the son of Hanani the seer went out to meet him, and said to King Jehoshaphat, “Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the Lord? Therefore the wrath of the Lord is upon you.

I would say that we’re talking about a different category here. Jehoshaphat was a king. Jehu would become the next king over the northern kingdom of Israel. Both of these were wicked men. I often say that the kingdom of Israel, the northern ten tribes, never had a good king. They had one king who was almost good. Jehu was the king who was almost good. But he wasn’t good.

This story deals with leaders in a society who are being used by God as instruments of judgment. The Books of Kings and Chronicles both tell us that God raised up Jehu to be His instrument of judgment against Jehoshaphat. I know this bothers us sometimes, and I understand why it bothers us. We’re uncomfortable with it. I would not believe anybody who came to me today and said that they personally as an individual – not as a police officer, judge, or some other office of authority – were appointed by God to be an instrument of judgment against another person. But these weren’t just guys off the street. These were kings and high government officials. They were people who were called to be God’s instruments for righteousness and justice.

Now, it is unrighteous for a judge to let the guilty go free. It is right for a judge to punish the wicked, in proper portion and with proper assessment of the crime and the law. Of course, it has to be done properly. But a judge who refuses to punish the wicked is a wicked judge.

So, I would just put this story in the context of God’s judgments. Again, we’re not talking about a guy off the street; we would be talking about our modern equivalents of a police officer, a judge, or a district attorney. When God has appointed a person to execute His judgment, but that person holds back from executing God’s judgment, they are doing evil before the Lord. No, they should have a hatred of that sin. They should have God’s zeal to punish it. Jehu was that man of zeal, but later on he went off the rails in his own way.

How does one deal appropriately with spiritual warfare?

How does one deal appropriately with spiritual warfare? It seems like the more I get involved in ministry, the more severe and frequent these attacks are becoming.

I can sympathize with you, and many others can as well. For many people, it seems that once they get serious about living for the Lord and serving Him, they notice a surge of spiritual opposition against them. Now, if you understand Satan’s strategy, he sees a person who can do damage to his kingdom. He sees a person who can be used of the Lord to do some significant things. Therefore, it would make sense for Satan to push back against that person as hard as he could.

Now, something else we know about Satan is that he’s not God. He is a finite being. That means that Satan has limited resources. Now, if you have unlimited resources, you can push against people all day long; you don’t have to take one resource from one place to put it another place. No, you can do whatever you want. But Satan has limited resources. He’s not God.

Therefore, I would say this is a general principle. God helping us, in the strength of Jesus Christ, with His armor upon us, when we display to the demonic realm that we will not be shaken from our standing which God has given us to stand in, then the demons will lessen their attacks. They will put their resources someplace else because they have limited resources. It would be unusual for them to put their resources into something that didn’t really benefit their cause.

Get people to pray for you. I’ll try to remember to pray for you later today. Stand strong in the steadfastness of the Lord. Be strong in the Lord and the power of His might, equipped with the full armor of God, as described in Ephesians 6. Stand. When it’s established before the devil and all his agents that you will stand, I think something happens in the spiritual realm. Satan will lessen his attack because there’s something that shows him it won’t work. Again, I can’t say that that’s some kind of absolute spiritual law, but I don’t shy away from saying it’s certainly a general principle which I have seen and experienced.

Why did Jonathan have to die?

All I can do is speculate on it, but I’m happy to do so. Jonathan would have been the successor to Saul. Even if Jonathan had lived, I believe he would have refused the crown. I say this because earlier in his life, he took the robe and the crown off himself, and put it on David. But even if he had lived and set aside the crown, it would have caused great chaos to have the crown prince of Israel refuse the throne. God just knew it was better to bring Jonathan home to glory. To avoid that mess, caused not by Jonathan but by others in Israel, is why God took Jonathan home gloriously. Jonathan died as a great man, as a brave man, and as a loyal man in battle, defending the cause of God.

Why does Saul know who David is in 1 Samuel 16 (playing the harp), but in 1 Samuel 17 he does not (fighting Goliath)?

I’ve heard a couple explanations about this. But sometimes real life isn’t as neat and understandable as the records that come out of it. You ask, “How could that happen?” Well, things just happen in real life. But let me give you two possible explanations. It’s possible that when David played for King Saul, and Saul didn’t really know who he was, David could have been hidden behind a curtain. Any meeting he had with Saul face to face could have been very fleeting. Saul was also somewhat disturbed at the time. To me, it’s not crazy to think that even though David was in Saul’s presence, and in some degree of contact with him, he wouldn’t have been remembered by the king. Saul had a lot going on and was disturbed.

Here’s another explanation. When Saul asked, “Who is this young man?” in 1 Samuel 17, he was asking about his family as much as anything else. Remember that part of the promise Saul had made for the man who killed Goliath, was to be given the king’s daughter in marriage. It’s a big deal to marry into the royal family. Saul very likely could have been asking, “I’ve seen this guy before, but I don’t know a lot about him. What family does he come from? Who is this guy? Give me more background because I just promised my daughter in marriage to him.”

Are trials always meant to test our faith in God, or are some merely allowed by God to happen because of our broken world?

Are all trials and tribulations a test of faith from God, or are some of the hardships endured just part of the broken world we live in (and God merely allows for them to happen)?

I would say that a hardship doesn’t have to be expressly from the hand of God to test us. Yet God will still use every hardship to train us, even things that come to us as simply a result of our fallen world. Now, when I say that, I’m not trying to imply that such a hardship could come to a believer without God’s knowledge or approval. You yourself mention that God allows it to happen. Even in the allowing, God has a purpose.

So, there are some things that God directly and obviously does. There are other things that God allows to happen, and you could say that God is still behind it. Of course He is, because there’s nothing that happens in the entire universe unless God wants it to happen. We get that. That’s just what it means to be God. Nothing happens in the entire universe unless God wants it to happen. It doesn’t mean that God does everything directly by His hand, but at the very least He has allowed it. And there’s purpose behind even the things He allows. Now, maybe we can’t understand the purpose. Maybe we can’t discern it. But there’s something that God wants to do in it. Maybe it’s just to show Himself faithful in the little things that seem to be purposeless. God wants to show us something in it.

​I am a divorced woman who hasn’t been to church in 20 years because of my guilt. Do you think God can still use me in a church? I am a Christian and I used to be very active in my church.

Your question touches me very deeply. I can assure you that Jesus Christ wants to free you from this guilt. Now, I know nothing of the circumstances of your divorce. Absolutely nothing. Let’s pretend for a moment that you were completely at fault, and completely to blame for the divorce. You broke the bonds of marriage, you wanted to break it up, it was all your fault, and there was no reason for what you did. Even if that is the case, there is still forgiveness for the repentant sinner.

I think it’s probably likely that you weren’t entirely at fault. And I’m not here to judge that one way or another. Most likely you sinned in some ways, and in some ways, you were sinned against. Take all of that guilt and whatever shame you feel and bring it to Jesus. Recognize that He died on the cross to free you from that guilt and that shame.

I want you to know that when Jesus Christ died on the cross, He paid for your sins, and He paid for all your sins. All of them. There are no sins that He did not pay for. So, if Jesus paid for all your sins, then what sins still hang over your head? I would say, none of them. Remember this promise from 1 John 1:9 – If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. I want you to go to 1 John 1:9. Read it, memorize it, and say it to yourself ten times a day. If we confess our sin, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

If you can confess your sin on a YouTube chat today, I imagine that you’ve already confessed your sin to God. If for some reason you haven’t, then just do it. Just be honest, don’t hold anything back. Tell God every sin possible associated in the matter and receive the beautiful cleansing and forgiveness that Jesus Christ can bring.

I can’t speak for the church that you might go to. But if I was pastoring a church, I’d be happy to have you serve in some capacity. People who have repented of sin that they committed twenty years ago, and have lived lives honoring to the Lord, are more than welcome to serve and to honor God. That’s what I would encourage you with. God bless you, dear sister.

What should you do with a worn-out Bible that is falling apart and missing pages?

What should you do with a worn-out Bible that is falling apart and missing pages? I know people that fret about what to do with such a Bible.

This is a bit of a tough question because we do want to be respectful of the Bible. But we don’t want to be superstitious. The pages, ink, and binding of this Bible in my hands are not magical. And the word contained in the Bible is not magical, but it is spiritually powerful. It’s living, active, and sharper than any two-edged sword. But that’s not the book itself.

Since the Bible gives us no firm direction on this, do according to your conscience. If your conscience tells you, “I can’t use it anymore, because too many pages are missing. I’m just going to leave it on a shelf and let it sit,” that’s fine. I have heard of people who bury Bibles. They want to give it sort of a respect. They treat it like something living, like a body. They’re not going to burn it or throw it in the trash. They choose to bury it. I’ve heard of people who do that.

But I also know of people who have an old New Testament that’s battered and worn and has done at service, and they just toss it. They would just say, “Look, I’m not going to be superstitious about the cover and the pages and the ink. It’s the word of God that has power, that is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword.”

Obviously, it’s something that bothering you, so pray about it. I would give you those three options. Leave it on a shelf, bury it, or you could toss it. But again, be persuaded in your own conscience. Because the Scriptures themselves don’t tell us what to do with the ink and paper and cover of the Bible.