I recently moved to a property in rural Nova Scotia that used to be a farm, with a river running through it and a woodlot out back. To either side of me there’s nothing but thick forest. Even if I used a megaphone to call out, my nearest neighbour would only hear me if the wind were blowing in the right direction.
The expansiveness and remoteness of the land is exciting and soothing at the same time. Deer come right up to my window and stare in at me while I’m working. It used to be a much larger farm that got cut back to 22 acres, and that’s what I sit on now – 22 acres of rolling fields, hedged in to the east and west by thousands of acres of forest.
I mention all this because, in the eyes of the world, I don’t legally own this land. I’m renting the property from someone who just purchased it and likely holds a mortgage on it. But even if that person bought it outright and owes nothing on it, taxes still need to be paid to make good on the ownership. If the taxes don’t get paid, the land and everything on it is eventually forfeited to the state.
The land could also be wrested from the person through expropriation – that is, the state could take it all, paying the person only the assessed or “fair market” value of the land and chattels. This happens more often than the general public realizes. Under a state of emergency, expropriation can take place within 24 hours, and Nova Scotia is currently under a state of emergency due to the ‘pandemic’.
So while the new owner holds title to the land and everything on it, the state could end that ownership by sundown today. Does that mean the state owns the land?
It does, as long as the state doesn’t lose it in a war or by annexation. If, for instance, the US invaded from the south or Russia from the north or China from the west, the property would become the victor’s.
So here’s what we have so far: I, as the tenant, don’t own the land; the person who ‘owns’ it doesn’t own the land (as she could lose it through non-payment of taxes or expropriation); and the state itself doesn’t own the land, since the state could lose it through war.
So who actually does own the land? Does anyone own it?
God, of course, owns the land. He owns everything in creation, including this 22-acre former farm and everything on it. As his daughter, I am his inheritor. Inheritor’s rights mean that I own everything that God owns, which is everything in creation.
So who owns this land?
I do. On a spiritual level, I own it because God owns it. All of God’s children – his inheritors – co-own all of creation with God. Jesus is the first among us to claim his inheritance, and we now share it with him.
So this land is my land. That land is also my land. As far as the eye can see – up to and including and beyond the farthest star – it’s all mine. But it’s also all yours, if you’re a born-again follower of Jesus, because being a born-again follower of Jesus makes you a child of God, and therefore God’s inheritor.
In which case, all of creation is your inheritance as much as all of creation is my inheritance.
So I guess, on a spiritual level, you and I both own the land I currently sit on.
Jesus said that those who purposely die to this world to follow him will get houses and land aplenty in this life, and in the world to come, eternal life.
So who owns this land?
God, and all his children.
Verily I say unto you, there is no man that has left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s,
But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.Mark 1:29-30
But big proviso here – just because we own all of creation together doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t follow the laws of the world while we’re still in human form. God put the world under the authority of Satan and gave him laws to institute – including laws of land ownership – so we’re duty-bound to adhere to those laws for the rest of our time on Earth.
Remember when Jesus was coming back to his house in Capernaum, and a state official requested tribute money from him and the disciples? Jesus asked Peter:
What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers?
Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free.
Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shallt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee.Matthew 17:24-27
From scripture, we know that everything that is God’s is ours, which is everything in creation. But Jesus – the Messiah himself – scrupulously adhered to the laws of the land by paying tribute, even though he openly stated that, on the spiritual level, he did not owe it. When these conflicts occur between what is ours by spiritual inheritance and what the world demands of us by local and state laws, God will always intervene to provide for us. And when God provides, he does so miraculously, as we see by the gold coin in the fish’s mouth.
If you’re genuinely a follower of Jesus, you know exactly what I mean when I say that God will intervene and provide for his children miraculously, because you live those miracles every day.
That, too, is an inheritance of God’s children.