Sabbath 28/7/35/120

Dear Friends,

One of the matters that seemed to raise serious concern at the feast was the fact of usury being forbidden to the people of God.  Usury falls into two categories.  One is specifically forbidden by God as a sin that prevents one from entering the Kingdom of God. The other is a classification that involves participation in the system of usury by paying usury to those who demand it. This category, whilst not prohibited by biblical law, is nevertheless seen as being one of sinning by participation in the financial system of this world. The prophets saw this as being problematic and Jeremiah neither paid nor took usury as we see below but the people cursed him for the fact.

The Bible forbids the taking of usury but the participation in the system paying usury is made almost impossible to avoid in the modern era.

The following texts are listed in the Law of God Vol. 1 under the Chapter Law and the Eighth Commandment.

One of the categories of those who are specified as being in the congregation of the Lord is the person who does not put his money out to usury, or reward, against the innocent (Ps. 15:5).
Psalm 15:5  He that putteth not out his money to usury, nor taketh reward against the innocent. He that doeth these things shall never be moved. (KJV)

It follows then that usury, or lending money at interest is not only prohibited but prevents an individual from entering the Kingdom of God.
Proverbs 28:8 He that by usury and unjust gain increaseth his substance, he shall gather it for him that will pity the poor. (KJV)

This often may not appear to be the case in day to day circumstances, but we are also dealing with the capacity to enter judgment and the first resurrection.

Jeremiah sees usury as a source of cursing.
Jeremiah 15:10  Woe is me, my mother, that thou hast borne me a man of strife and a man of contention to the whole earth! I have neither lent on usury, nor men have lent to me on usury; yet every one of them doth curse me. (KJV)

God condemns the “bloody city” for this sin.
Ezekiel 22:12  In thee have they taken gifts to shed blood; thou hast taken usury and increase, and thou hast greedily gained of thy neighbours by extortion, and hast forgotten me, saith the Lord GOD. (KJV)

God speaks of these distinctions also in Ezekiel 18:3-20. The soul that sins, it shall surely die. Usury is mentioned specifically here as disqualifying the person from eternal life (Ezek. 18:8-13). The concept of usury is tied to increase also and so it is forbidden to lend at interest. It disqualifies the elect from the first resurrection as it is theft.

At the time of Ezra and Nehemiah, the people were forced to mortgage their lands and houses to buy corn in the restoration. Nehemiah made the people who took land and repossessed it return it to its rightful owners, because lending money at interest, and especially in mortgage, is theft and will not be permitted in the Kingdom of God. Usury or lending money at interest is against God’s Law and must be stamped out.

Nehemiah 5:1-13 And there was a great cry of the people and of their wives against their brethren the Jews. 2 For there were that said, We, our sons, and our daughters, are many: therefore we take up corn for them, that we may eat, and live. 3 Some also there were that said, We have mortgaged our lands, vineyards, and houses, that we might buy corn, because of the dearth. 4 There were also that said, We have borrowed money for the king's tribute, and that upon our lands and vineyards. 5 Yet now our flesh is as the flesh of our brethren, our children as their children: and, lo, we bring into bondage our sons and our daughters to be servants, and some of our daughters are brought unto bondage already: neither is it in our power to redeem them; for other men have our lands and vineyards. 6 And I was very angry when I heard their cry and these words. 7 Then I consulted with myself, and I rebuked the nobles, and the rulers, and said unto them, Ye exact usury, every one of his brother. And I set a great assembly against them. 8 And I said unto them, We after our ability have redeemed our brethren the Jews, which were sold unto the heathen; and will ye even sell your brethren? or shall they be sold unto us? Then held they their peace, and found nothing to answer. 9 Also I said, It is not good that ye do: ought ye not to walk in the fear of our God because of the reproach of the heathen our enemies? 10 I likewise, and my brethren, and my servants, might exact of them money and corn: I pray you, let us leave off this usury. 11 Restore, I pray you, to them, even this day, their lands, their vineyards, their oliveyards, and their houses, also the hundredth part of the money, and of the corn, the wine, and the oil, that ye exact of them. 12 Then said they, We will restore them, and will require nothing of them; so will we do as thou sayest. Then I called the priests, and took an oath of them, that they should do according to this promise. 13 Also I shook my lap, and said, So God shake out every man from his house, and from his labour, that performeth not this promise, even thus be he shaken out, and emptied. And all the congregation said, Amen, and praised the LORD. And the people did according to this promise. (KJV)

The law is clear: money lent is not to be lent at interest. Thus usury is not to take any form either of money or of victuals, or assets in any form.
Exodus 22:25  If thou lend money to any of my people that is poor by thee, thou shalt not be to him as an usurer, neither shalt thou lay upon him usury. (KJV)

Deuteronomy 23:19-20 Thou shalt not lend upon usury to thy brother; usury of money, usury of victuals, usury of any thing that is lent upon usury: 20 Unto a stranger thou mayest lend upon usury; but unto thy brother thou shalt not lend upon usury: that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all that thou settest thine hand to in the land whither thou goest to possess it. (KJV)
But the lawyer said to Christ: “Who is my brother?” Salvation is now of the Gentiles. No person can lend at usury to another in the nation. All nations are now open to the Kingdom of God. The Samaritan and the Egyptian are brothers to the Jew by virtue of the faith.

Judah is not to lend to Ephraim; neither is Ephraim to lend to Manasseh. There will be no system of lending money at interest in the millennial system of God. Lending will be between nations for purposes of trade and assistance.

The comment by Christ in Matthew 25:27 and Luke 19:23 is not to be construed as condoning the taking of interest. The practice of usury and increase by interest is clearly prohibited by God through the law and the prophets. Christ was asking a rhetorical question. The answer was to the one who thought that the owner was a hard man and so he then buried the talent. Christ then said that he was a wicked and slothful servant; he should have put the money to the exchangers and Christ then could have received his own with usury. However, this practice is condemned by God. The comments are allegorical and they relate to the Kingdom of God and have nothing to do with money.

Lending money at interest is usury and God condemns the practice and the people who do it. In regard to money, people may charge a fee for a service and no more. Where it relates to the sum by way of interest (i.e. usury and theft), it is to be repaid under the laws of theft as a breach of the eighth commandment. Under the reign of Messiah every person lending anything and taking money by way of interest will be brought to judgment and made to repay according to the penalties associated with theft and dishonest gain.

It therefore follows that the Churches of God cannot take usury on pain of forfeiture of their place in the First Resurrection and no church in CCG is permitted to take usury.

Whilst people in CCG may be forced into paying usury by the world’s systems they should try and avoid usury if at all possible.

Wade Cox
Coordinator General