I always liked John Kasich.

He seemed like a decent member of Congress.

And his big re-election as governor of Ohio in November was impressive.

BUT – and you knew that was coming – I would definitely write him off as a presidential contender in 2016.

I knew he was soft on amnesty and illegal immigration generally, but then I saw his defense of Obamacare – on biblical grounds!

Whoa!

In several interviews last week, he cited Matthew 25:42-43:

  • “Now, if you ever read Matthew 25, I think, ‘I wanna feed the hungry and clothe the naked.'”

  • “Now, I don’t know whether you ever read Matthew 25, but I commend it to you, the end of it, about do you feed the homeless and do you clothe the poor.”

These comments came in response to specific questions about Obamacare.

This is not something new with Kasich, either. It has been his position for some time.

He first rolled it out in 2013 when he began pushing the Republican-controlled Ohio General Assembly to expand Medicaid:

  • Discussing the expansion with reporters in June 2013, Kasich said he had told a lawmaker, “When you die and get to the, get to the, uh, to the meeting with St. Peter, he’s probably not gonna ask you much about what you did about keeping government small, but he’s going to ask you what you did for the poor.”

  • Answering a question about Obamacare at a campaign event last October, Kasich said, “When ya get to see St. Peter he’s not gonna ask, ‘Did you balance the budget?’ He’s going to say, whether he’s Peter or whether he’s Jacob, ‘What’d you do for the least of those?'”

Actually, what Kasich is suggesting here is that somehow individuals can fulfill their obligation for obedience to Jesus’ commandments through government action.

Is that what Jesus was suggesting?

Of course not. Jesus wasn’t lobbying Caesar to take care of the poor. He was commanding His followers to do it with their own sacrifices and their own compassion.

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Kasich’s citation of Matthew 25 is even more shocking for another reason. The passage includes the Parable of the Talents, in which Jesus talks about the obligation of servants to their master. It does end with a wealth redistributionist message, but not from rich to poor. It’s from poor to rich in the case of the unprofitable servant in verses 26-30:

“His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed:

“Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.

“Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.

“For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.

“And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Now, do I suggest Jesus wants to take from the poor and give to the rich? No. I think the message is spiritual, not political. And that’s where Kasich makes his first mistake.

But there’s an even more profound error Kasich makes in citing Matthew 25 as an edict for governments to redistribute wealth and take care of the poor. That’s simply not what Jesus is saying here. He’s talking about how nations will be judged on the basis of how they treat “the brethren.” Who are “the brethren”?

In every instance in the Bible, the brethren are the Jews, Israel, His people.

This judgment that Jesus is making is not about socialized medicine as a substitute for individual compassion and charity. It is about nations being judged favorably or unfavorably on the how they treat Israel in its time of tribulation.

Color John Kasich confused. Not only is he misunderstanding the Bible’s economic prescriptions, he’s also clueless about the Israel-centric nature of Jesus’ message.

To learn more about this, I heartily recommend a new book by Joel Richardson called, “When a Jew Rules the World.”

Maybe someone can get Kasich a copy right away.

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