The Bible offers sound advice on almost all issues pertaining to life. If people followed these percepts, the world would be a much better place. Consider, for instance, the number of families ripped apart by property disputes. Brothers not talking to brothers, children not talking to parents…it’s tragic. The courts are clogged with property cases and people have been waiting for judgement for years, which is crazy when you consider that the Judge of all Creation pronounced His verdict on these issues thousands of years ago. Here’s a sampling:
What is the proper order of succession to inheritance?
According to the Bible, God meant for inheritance to be patrilineal. In other words, the father bequeaths only to his male descendants, thereby ensuring the property stays in the family line. Numbers 36:8-9 affirms that God meant for people to inherit the property of their ancestors so that property would not pass from one tribe to another. Instead, each tribe would continue to possess its own property.
Illustration: My grandfather Martin Peres had five children (two sons and three daughters). The daughters married into other families and took their husband’s names (Menezes, D’Souza, Barretto). The elder son Victor Peres never married and therefore has no children. The younger son Jeffery Peres has two children, a son and a daughter. Now, when Victor makes his will, he should bequeath his share of the ancestral property to Jeffery. But what if for some reason Jeffery happens to pass away before Victor? Can Victor bequeath his share to his sisters? The answer is No. According to the Bible, Victor should then bequeath his share to Jeffery’s son, because he carries the family name Peres. Each tribe should continue to possess its own property. Peres property should stay with Peres, D’Souza property with D’Souza, Menezes property with Menezes, and Barretto property with the Barrettos.
But what if a man has no sons to whom he can bequeath his inheritance to?
Good question. Although daughters were to have no part in their father’s inheritance (because when they married they would become stakeholders in their husband’s estate), there are some exceptions. According to the Bible, whenever a man dies without leaving a son, his daughter is to inherit his property. If he has no daughter, his brothers are to inherit it. If he has no brothers, his father’s brothers are to inherit it. If he has no brothers or uncles, then his nearest relative is to inherit it and hold it as his own property. (Numbers 27.8-11)
What if a man has two sons? How should he divide his property among them?
When the man decides how he is going to divide his property among his children, he is not to show partiality. He is to give a double share of his possessions to his first son. A man must acknowledge his first son and give him the share he is legally entitled to. (Deuteronomy 21:16-17)
Illustration: I have two sons. When i get ready to divide my inheritance between my boys, I must ensure my elder son Moshe gets a double portion. How do I do that? I must first divide my inheritance into three equal portions. One portion goes to Moshe and the second goes to Aharon. Now, there is one portion still remaining. I must give that portion to Moshe so that he will have a double portion.
Does the logic seem a little unfair? To secular minds it might. Fact is I do love both my sons, but Moshe is the beginning of my strength and the first one to answer to my name. He will be the head of the family when I am gone and would be expected to watch out for his brother too. If Moshe had a sister and if her husband treated her badly, he would be expected to take her under his wing and provide for her as well. The Bible says to whomsoever much is given, of him will much be required (Luke 12:48). God did not bestow more to firstborns so that they could squander it all away. He did it so that they could use it to fulfill their duty as head of the family.
But what if the firstborn is irresponsible and refuses to fulfill his duty? Well, frankly speaking, what people do with the money entrusted to them is their concern. It is between them and their Creator. God entrusted firstborns with more and they are accountable to Him alone. God decides how much each one should get. Take what is yours and go your way. (Matthew 20:14).
Yes, there are people who consciously delight in doing wrong. But there are countless others who yearn to do the right thing. They only need someone to explain to them what the right thing is. This article is a very small effort to decipher and demystify certain Biblical codes that will help you to handle your property properly. In fact, how you react to what is written here can also tell you a lot about yourself. If you cannot find rest in the Word of God, it is very unlikely that you will find rest any where else. Why? Because like the rich young man who loved his riches too much to follow Jesus, you also love money and the things of this world more than you love God and His commands.
Some people think the Bible is outdated and does not make sense. Well, truthfully, there are a lot of things in this world that don’t make any sense. But when people try to put their own spin on things (mostly to benefit themselves), they start wars. It is up to each of us to decide what road we are going to take. We always have at least two choices. It’s either God’s way or the highway.
If you choose the highway, prepare to burn bridges, lose sleep and burn a ton of money chasing lawyers and dates in courthouses. If you choose God’s way, peace, happiness and prosperity will be your constant companions.
Personally, I’d much rather go with the Chief Architect. God did not make rules for us to understand them, He made rules so that we could obey them. And if that’s how God wants it, then that’s how it should be.