Christian Churches of God
Law and the Eighth Commandment
(Edition 2.5 19981010-19990525-20120430-20120804-20180220)
It is written: Thou shalt not steal. This paper explains the entire structure of the Law of God, as applied to its Commandment as explained by the prophets and the Testaments in compliance with the reading of the Law in the Sabbath years.
Law and the Eighth Commandment
It is written: Thou Shalt not Steal (Ex 20:15; Deut. 5:19).
Leviticus 19:11 Ye shall not steal, neither deal falsely, neither lie one to another. (KJV)
Property that is God owned
All things are ultimately God’s property. God has established laws that deal with the proper handling and disposal of His property. God had divided the creation up into categories concerning property we may use, and property we may not use. God had made the divisions based on a set of rules within which we must operate.
There are laws concerning the environment and what we may do with it; there are laws concerning the food chain and what we may eat of it; there are laws concerning the parts of the produce of the earth that we may eat and for those parts set aside for God’s purposes in the function of the creation.
First commandment and tithing
The entire creation centres on the One True God and hence the first commandment carries with it law regarding property, which God regards as His under the term Tithing (cf. the paper Tithing (No. 161)). Failure to tithe to the system God has set in place is theft.
Malachi 3:1-12 Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts. 2But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap: 3And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness. 4Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the LORD, as in the days of old, and as in former years. 5And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the LORD of hosts. 6For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed. 7Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the LORD of hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return? 8Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. 9Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. 10Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. 11And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts. 12And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the LORD of hosts. (KJV)
God set up a system that requires payment for the maintenance of His worship, for provision of the poor, and for the capacity of His people to participate in His ways on His Feasts and Sabbaths.
God’s sacrifices are to be unblemished as He regards a blemished offering as an abomination.
Deuteronomy 17:1-4 Thou shalt not sacrifice unto the LORD thy God any bullock, or sheep, wherein is blemish, or any evilfavouredness: for that is an abomination unto the LORD thy God. 2If there be found among you, within any of thy gates which the LORD thy God giveth thee, man or woman, that hath wrought wickedness in the sight of the LORD thy God, in transgressing his covenant, 3And hath gone and served other gods, and worshipped them, either the sun, or moon, or any of the host of heaven, which I have not commanded; 4And it be told thee, and thou hast heard of it, and enquired diligently, and, behold, it be true, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought in Israel: (KJV)
This requirement of a perfect sacrifice without spot or blemish pointed towards the elect and the ultimate destiny of all mankind.
As well as the price of the tithe, the price for the numbering of Israel is to be given and failure to do this is also theft.
Exodus 30:11-16 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 12When thou takest the sum of the children of Israel after their number, then shall they give every man a ransom for his soul unto the LORD, when thou numberest them; that there be no plague among them, when thou numberest them. 13 his they shall give, every one that passeth among them that are numbered, half a shekel after the shekel of the sanctuary: (a shekel is twenty gerahs:) an half shekel shall be the offering of the LORD. 14Every one that passeth among them that are numbered, from twenty years old and above, shall give an offering unto the LORD. 15The rich shall not give more, and the poor shall not give less than half a shekel, when they give an offering unto the LORD, to make an atonement for your souls. 16And thou shalt take the atonement money of the children of Israel, and shalt appoint it for the service of the tabernacle of the congregation; that it may be a memorial unto the children of Israel before the LORD, to make an atonement for your souls. (KJV)
This ransom was paid by Messiah, and that is why no man has now numbered Israel; neither does any man know the extent of the faith because salvation is now also of the Gentiles, and they are now able to become part of the Temple of God (1Cor. 3:17). There is a logical conclusion that, as Messiah bought for a price, we have no right to withhold ourselves from the Temple.
Those who serve the Temple have a right to eat of the Temple.
1Corinthians 9:9-14 For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen? 10Or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope. 11If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things? 12If others be partakers of this power over you, are not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ. 13Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? 14Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel. (KJV)
The reward, as we see from Malachi and from Proverbs, is fruitfulness.
Proverbs 3:9-10 Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: 10 So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine. (KJV)
Proverbs 11:24-26 There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty. 25The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself. 26He that withholdeth corn, the people shall curse him: but blessing shall be upon the head of him that selleth it. (KJV)
There are a number of obligations that go with blessings and a place in society.
The whole law of God is directed at mercy and righteousness. The service of the Temple is not meaningless speeches and tradition, but the implementation of justice and righteousness.
Matthew 23:23 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. (KJV)
The Temple under the order of Melchisedek received tithes from Levi. With the advent of Messiah, Levi made way for a new order of priesthood of which it was to become part. Levi paid tithes to Melichisedek (meaning My King is Righteousness) as an hereditary title of the prince of Salem or Urusalaim. This title was carried also as Adoni-Zedek meaning My Lord is Righteousness or Lord of Righteousness (Josh. 10:1). It is a prophecy concerning their inclusion in the new order and faith.
Hebrews 7:1-10 For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him; 2To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace; 3Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually. 4Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils. 5And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they come out of the loins of Abraham: 6But he whose descent is not counted from them received tithes of Abraham, and blessed him that had the promises. 7And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better. 8And here men that die receive tithes; but there he receiveth them, of whom it is witnessed that he liveth. 9And as I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, payed tithes in Abraham. 10 For he was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchisedec met him. (KJV)
This aspect is covered more fully in the paper Melchisedek (No. 128).
God demands that the ordinance of Deuteronomy 14:28 is kept and that the tithe of the third year is brought before the Lord.
Deuteronomy 14:28 At the end of three years thou shalt bring forth all the tithe of thine increase the same year, and shalt lay it up within thy gates: (KJV)
In the Third year of the cycle the normal Second Tithe is given to the priesthood (now the Church) for assistance to the poor over the seven year period. This is then the ‘tithe of the third year’. This is recorded in the Koran as the ‘poor-due’ or alms.
Amos also speaks of this. The daily sacrifice was eliminated with the destruction of the physical temple. At the completion of Ezekiel’s Temple only the morning sacrifice will be reintroduced. This sequence tells the story of the Temple and the progressive harvests. Amos here is speaking of the time until the destruction in 70 CE.
Amos 4:4 Come to Bethel, and transgress; at Gilgal multiply transgression; and bring your sacrifices every morning, and your tithes after three years: (KJV)
God says He has given Israel “cleanness of teeth” in their dwellings, yet they have not returned to Him. In other words, He inflicted them with famine and yet they still do not return to Him (cf. Amos 4:1-13). They who oppressed the poor and crushed the needy were driven to these lengths for their unrighteousness and they did not return to God. One seems to go with the other. If they rob God, they also seem to oppress His people and the poor and the fatherless.
We must be careful to make distinction between what is Caesar’s and what is God’s (Mat. 22:21; Mk. 12:17; Lk. 20:25). Thus all authority is from God and all are required to deal with the various powers as they are ordained of God.
Romans 13:1-10 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. 2Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. 3For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. 5Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. 6For this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. 7Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour. 8Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. 9For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 10Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. (KJV)
Those of the faith have a series of obligations in that they must render to God and the Ministry and to the authorities that which is their due.
The optimum system is by direct rule by the prophets of God as judges in Israel. The administrative monarchy was established as a secondary and more expensive system.
1Samuel 8:10-18 And Samuel told all the words of the LORD unto the people that asked of him a king. 11And he said, This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you: He will take your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen; and some shall run before his chariots. 12And he will appoint him captains over thousands, and captains over fifties; and will set them to ear his ground, and to reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war, and instruments of his chariots. 13And he will take your daughters to be confectionaries, and to be cooks, and to be bakers. 14And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your oliveyards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants. 15And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers, and to his servants. 16And he will take your menservants, and your maidservants, and your goodliest young men, and your asses, and put them to his work. 17He will take the tenth of your sheep: and ye shall be his servants. 18And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the LORD will not hear you in that day. (KJV)
The Lord will not hear Israel under this burden and it is to be paid.
Time is money or theft by withholding
Offerings and tithes are not to be withheld.
Exodus 22:29-30 Thou shalt not delay to offer the first of thy ripe fruits, and of thy liquors: the firstborn of thy sons shalt thou give unto me. 30Likewise shalt thou do with thine oxen, and with thy sheep: seven days it shall be with his dam; on the eighth day thou shalt give it me. (KJV)
On the eighth day all of Israel’s young are to be given to God: the young animals and the children in circumcision and dedication.
Deuteronomy 12:5-16 But unto the place which the LORD your God shall choose out of all your tribes to put his name there, even unto his habitation shall ye seek, and thither thou shalt come: 6And thither ye shall bring your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, and your tithes, and heave offerings of your hand, and your vows, and your freewill offerings, and the firstlings of your herds and of your flocks: 7And there ye shall eat before the LORD your God, and ye shall rejoice in all that ye put your hand unto, ye and your households, wherein the LORD thy God hath blessed thee. 8Ye shall not do after all the things that we do here this day, every man whatsoever is right in his own eyes. 9For ye are not as yet come to the rest and to the inheritance, which the LORD your God giveth you. 10But when ye go over Jordan, and dwell in the land which the LORD your God giveth you to inherit, and when he giveth you rest from all your enemies round about, so that ye dwell in safety; 11Then there shall be a place which the LORD your God shall choose to cause his name to dwell there; thither shall ye bring all that I command you; your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, your tithes, and the heave offering of your hand, and all your choice vows which ye vow unto the LORD: 12And ye shall rejoice before the LORD your God, ye, and your sons, and your daughters, and your menservants, and your maidservants, and the Levite that is within your gates; forasmuch as he hath no part nor inheritance with you. 13Take heed to thyself that thou offer not thy burnt offerings in every place that thou seest: 14But in the place which the LORD shall choose in one of thy tribes, there thou shalt offer thy burnt offerings, and there thou shalt do all that I command thee. 15Notwithstanding thou mayest kill and eat flesh in all thy gates, whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, according to the blessing of the LORD thy God which he hath given thee: the unclean and the clean may eat thereof, as of the roebuck, and as of the hart. 16Only ye shall not eat the blood; ye shall pour it upon the earth as water.
Exodus 23:17-19 Three times in the year all thy males shall appear before the Lord GOD. 18Thou shalt not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leavened bread; neither shall the fat of my sacrifice remain until the morning. 19The first of the firstfruits of thy land thou shalt bring into the house of the LORD thy God. Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother's milk. (KJV)
The failure to appear before the Lord on the three occasions, and with an offering, is rebellion and theft.
Exodus 34:19-20 All that openeth the matrix is mine; and every firstling among thy cattle, whether ox or sheep, that is male. 20But the firstling of an ass thou shalt redeem with a lamb: and if thou redeem him not, then shalt thou break his neck. All the firstborn of thy sons thou shalt redeem. And none shall appear before me empty. (KJV)
None shall appear before the Lord empty. Withholding oneself as part of Israel is also theft.
Exodus 34:23-26 Thrice in the year shall all your men children appear before the Lord GOD, the God of Israel. 24For I will cast out the nations before thee, and enlarge thy borders: neither shall any man desire thy land, when thou shalt go up to appear before the LORD thy God thrice in the year. 25Thou shalt not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leaven; neither shall the sacrifice of the feast of the passover be left unto the morning. 26The first of the firstfruits of thy land thou shalt bring unto the house of the LORD thy God. Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother's milk. (KJV)
Numbers 18:20-32 And the LORD spake unto Aaron, Thou shalt have no inheritance in their land, neither shalt thou have any part among them: I am thy part and thine inheritance among the children of Israel. 21And, behold, I have given the children of Levi all the tenth in Israel for an inheritance, for their service which they serve, even the service of the tabernacle of the congregation. 22Neither must the children of Israel henceforth come nigh the tabernacle of the congregation, lest they bear sin, and die. 23But the Levites shall do the service of the tabernacle of the congregation, and they shall bear their iniquity: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations, that among the children of Israel they have no inheritance. 24But the tithes of the children of Israel, which they offer as an heave offering unto the LORD, I have given to the Levites to inherit: therefore I have said unto them, Among the children of Israel they shall have no inheritance. 25And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 26Thus speak unto the Levites, and say unto them, When ye take of the children of Israel the tithes which I have given you from them for your inheritance, then ye shall offer up an heave offering of it for the LORD, even a tenth part of the tithe. 2And this your heave offering shall be reckoned unto you, as though it were the corn of the threshingfloor, and as the fulness of the winepress. 28Thus ye also shall offer an heave offering unto the LORD of all your tithes, which ye receive of the children of Israel; and ye shall give thereof the LORD'S heave offering to Aaron the priest. 29Out of all your gifts ye shall offer every heave offering of the LORD, of all the best thereof, even the hallowed part thereof out of it. 30Therefore thou shalt say unto them, When ye have heaved the best thereof from it, then it shall be counted unto the Levites as the increase of the threshingfloor, and as the increase of the winepress. 31And ye shall eat it in every place, ye and your households: for it is your reward for your service in the tabernacle of the congregation. 32And ye shall bear no sin by reason of it, when ye have heaved from it the best of it: neither shall ye pollute the holy things of the children of Israel, lest ye die. (KJV)
Offerings are to be of the best and are not to be polluted. Polluting another’s offering, or failing to provide a pure offering is theft or misappropriation. It is not simply malicious damage, as it appears, because the benefit or satisfaction of a pure offering has been stolen, as well as the offering being damaged.
Deuteronomy 14:22-29 Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by year. 23And thou shalt eat before the LORD thy God, in the place which he shall choose to place his name there, the tithe of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the firstlings of thy herds and of thy flocks; that thou mayest learn to fear the LORD thy God always. 24And if the way be too long for thee, so that thou art not able to carry it; or if the place be too far from thee, which the LORD thy God shall choose to set his name there, when the LORD thy God hath blessed thee: 25Then shalt thou turn it into money, and bind up the money in thine hand, and shalt go unto the place which the LORD thy God shall choose: 26And thou shalt bestow that money for whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul desireth: and thou shalt eat there before the LORD thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household, 27And the Levite that is within thy gates; thou shalt not forsake him; for he hath no part nor inheritance with thee. 28At the end of three years thou shalt bring forth all the tithe of thine increase the same year, and shalt lay it up within thy gates: 29And the Levite, (because he hath no part nor inheritance with thee,) and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, which are within thy gates, shall come, and shall eat and be satisfied; that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hand which thou doest. (KJV)
The second tithe is set aside for the enjoyment of the Festivals of God which are mandatory. If the sites are too far from home then the tithes may be converted to money and the necessary items purchased when we arrive. Nowadays people do not take produce; they take money instead and generally purchase their feast items at the sites. Thus the necessity for the poor to be fed is not as clearly seen. The funds, like the produce, must be collected on the evening before the Feasts, so that all may be given help before the Feast starts. Failure to give the offerings or help the poor and needy is also theft.
The withholding of tithes is theft. Where a person needs to redeem a tithe to use it for his own purpose, then the tithe redemption carries with it a penalty. If any tithes are redeemed the penalty is that the person redeeming or withholding has to add a fifth part to it. Thus a mandatory twenty percent is added to any tithes used for any purpose.
Time and the calendar
God has established a calendar in the heavens. It works to the phases of the moon, and is clearly identified from astronomical calculations and the New Moon. Failure to follow the calendar as it was originally (i.e. not Jewish Hillel calendar) is theft of time with God.
Failure to dedicate the Sabbath to God is theft of God’s time. Each person is expected to dedicate those days to the study of the Living God and His system. Every seven years at the Feast in the Sabbath Year, the Law is to be read and studied. Failure to observe all the Sabbaths and the Law is theft of God’s time and due worship. God requires all people to worship Him in spirit and in truth.
God has given people skills and wealth so that they may dedicate those skills and blessings to His greater glory. Failure to use the skills God has given us for His worship and His system is also theft.
Exodus 36:1-38 Then wrought Bezaleel and Aholiab, and every wise hearted man, in whom the LORD put wisdom and understanding to know how to work all manner of work for the service of the sanctuary, according to all that the LORD had commanded. 2And Moses called Bezaleel and Aholiab, and every wise hearted man, in whose heart the LORD had put wisdom, even every one whose heart stirred him up to come unto the work to do it: 3And they received of Moses all the offering, which the children of Israel had brought for the work of the service of the sanctuary, to make it withal. And they brought yet unto him free offerings every morning. 4And all the wise men, that wrought all the work of the sanctuary, came every man from his work which they made; 5And they spake unto Moses, saying, The people bring much more than enough for the service of the work, which the LORD commanded to make. 6And Moses gave commandment, and they caused it to be proclaimed throughout the camp, saying, Let neither man nor woman make any more work for the offering of the sanctuary. So the people were restrained from bringing. 7For the stuff they had was sufficient for all the work to make it, and too much. 8And every wise hearted man among them that wrought the work of the tabernacle made ten curtains of fine twined linen, and blue, and purple, and scarlet: with cherubims of cunning work made he them. 9The length of one curtain was twenty and eight cubits, and the breadth of one curtain four cubits: the curtains were all of one size. 10And he coupled the five curtains one unto another: and the other five curtains he coupled one unto another. 11And he made loops of blue on the edge of one curtain from the selvedge in the coupling: likewise he made in the uttermost side of another curtain, in the coupling of the second. 12Fifty loops made he in one curtain, and fifty loops made he in the edge of the curtain which was in the coupling of the second: the loops held one curtain to another. 13And he made fifty taches of gold, and coupled the curtains one unto another with the taches: so it became one tabernacle. 14And he made curtains of goats' hair for the tent over the tabernacle: eleven curtains he made them. 15The length of one curtain was thirty cubits, and four cubits was the breadth of one curtain: the eleven curtains were of one size. 16 And he coupled five curtains by themselves, and six curtains by themselves. 17And he made fifty loops upon the uttermost edge of the curtain in the coupling, and fifty loops made he upon the edge of the curtain which coupleth the second. 18And he made fifty taches of brass to couple the tent together, that it might be one. 19And he made a covering for the tent of rams' skins dyed red, and a covering of badgers' skins above that. 20 And he made boards for the tabernacle of shittim wood, standing up. 21 The length of a board was ten cubits, and the breadth of a board one cubit and a half. 22One board had two tenons, equally distant one from another: thus did he make for all the boards of the tabernacle. 23And he made boards for the tabernacle; twenty boards for the south side southward: 24And forty sockets of silver he made under the twenty boards; two sockets under one board for his two tenons, and two sockets under another board for his two tenons. 25And for the other side of the tabernacle, which is toward the north corner, he made twenty boards, 26And their forty sockets of silver; two sockets under one board, and two sockets under another board. 27And for the sides of the tabernacle westward he made six boards. 28And two boards made he for the corners of the tabernacle in the two sides. 29And they were coupled beneath, and coupled together at the head thereof, to one ring: thus he did to both of them in both the corners. 30And there were eight boards; and their sockets were sixteen sockets of silver, under every board two sockets. 31And he made bars of shittim wood; five for the boards of the one side of the tabernacle, 32And five bars for the boards of the other side of the tabernacle, and five bars for the boards of the tabernacle for the sides westward. 33And he made the middle bar to shoot through the boards from the one end to the other. 34And he overlaid the boards with gold, and made their rings of gold to be places for the bars, and overlaid the bars with gold. 35And he made a vail of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen: with cherubims made he it of cunning work. 36And he made thereunto four pillars of shittim wood, and overlaid them with gold: their hooks were of gold; and he cast for them four sockets of silver. 37And he made an hanging for the tabernacle door of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen, of needlework; 38And the five pillars of it with their hooks: and he overlaid their chapiters and their fillets with gold: but their five sockets were of brass. (KJV)
The Temple was made of things given willingly, and pointed towards a spiritual system where people would give willingly of themselves. The center of the Temple and system of worship was the Ark of the Covenant. This object pointed towards a new system where the Law of God would be placed inside the hearts of men so that they actually became the Ark. For this reason the Ark had to be removed and hidden (cf. the paper The Ark of the Covenant (No. 196)). It will be brought to mind no more.
Exodus 37:1-29 And Bezaleel made the ark of shittim wood: two cubits and a half was the length of it, and a cubit and a half the breadth of it, and a cubit and a half the height of it: 2And he overlaid it with pure gold within and without, and made a crown of gold to it round about. 3And he cast for it four rings of gold, to be set by the four corners of it; even two rings upon the one side of it, and two rings upon the other side of it. 4And he made staves of shittim wood, and overlaid them with gold. 5And he put the staves into the rings by the sides of the ark, to bear the ark. 6And he made the mercy seat of pure gold: two cubits and a half was the length thereof, and one cubit and a half the breadth thereof. 7And he made two cherubims of gold, beaten out of one piece made he them, on the two ends of the mercy seat; 8One cherub on the end on this side, and another cherub on the other end on that side: out of the mercy seat made he the cherubims on the two ends thereof. 9And the cherubims spread out their wings on high, and covered with their wings over the mercy seat, with their faces one to another; even to the mercy seatward were the faces of the cherubims. 10And he made the table of shittim wood: two cubits was the length thereof, and a cubit the breadth thereof, and a cubit and a half the height thereof: 11And he overlaid it with pure gold, and made thereunto a crown of gold round about. 12Also he made thereunto a border of an handbreadth round about; and made a crown of gold for the border thereof round about. 13And he cast for it four rings of gold, and put the rings upon the four corners that were in the four feet thereof. 14Over against the border were the rings, the places for the staves to bear the table. 15And he made the staves of shittim wood, and overlaid them with gold, to bear the table. 16And he made the vessels which were upon the table, his dishes, and his spoons, and his bowls, and his covers to cover withal, of pure gold. 17And he made the candlestick of pure gold: of beaten work made he the candlestick; his shaft, and his branch, his bowls, his knops, and his flowers, were of the same: 18And six branches going out of the sides thereof; three branches of the candlestick out of the one side thereof, and three branches of the candlestick out of the other side thereof: 19Three bowls made after the fashion of almonds in one branch, a knop and a flower; and three bowls made like almonds in another branch, a knop and a flower: so throughout the six branches going out of the candlestick. 20And in the candlestick were four bowls made like almonds, his knops, and his flowers: 21And a knop under two branches of the same, and a knop under two branches of the same, and a knop under two branches of the same, according to the six branches going out of it. 22Their knops and their branches were of the same: all of it was one beaten work of pure gold. 23And he made his seven lamps, and his snuffers, and his snuffdishes, of pure gold. 24Of a talent of pure gold made he it, and all the vessels thereof. 25And he made the incense altar of shittim wood: the length of it was a cubit, and the breadth of it a cubit; it was foursquare; and two cubits was the height of it; the horns thereof were of the same. 26And he overlaid it with pure gold, both the top of it, and the sides thereof round about, and the horns of it: also he made unto it a crown of gold round about. 27And he made two rings of gold for it under the crown thereof, by the two corners of it, upon the two sides thereof, to be places for the staves to bear it withal. 28And he made the staves of shittim wood, and overlaid them with gold. 29And he made the holy anointing oil, and the pure incense of sweet spices, according to the work of the apothecary. (KJV)
There is no such thing as the Mercy Seat. It is the Covering and the Covering has two Cherubs over it at the heart of the Temple and the throne of God. One of these anointed Covering Cherubs was Satan (cf. Isa. ch. 14; Ezek. ch. 28). The other appears to have been Michael as archangel, or Messiah as Yahovah-elohim (cf. Jude 9).
Exodus 38:1-31 And he made the altar of burnt offering of shittim wood: five cubits was the length thereof, and five cubits the breadth thereof; it was foursquare; and three cubits the height thereof. 2And he made the horns thereof on the four corners of it; the horns thereof were of the same: and he overlaid it with brass. 3And he made all the vessels of the altar, the pots, and the shovels, and the basons, and the fleshhooks, and the firepans: all the vessels thereof made he of brass. 4And he made for the altar a brasen grate of network under the compass thereof beneath unto the midst of it. 5And he cast four rings for the four ends of the grate of brass, to be places for the staves. 6And he made the staves of shittim wood, and overlaid them with brass. 7And he put the staves into the rings on the sides of the altar, to bear it withal; he made the altar hollow with boards. 8And he made the laver of brass, and the foot of it of brass, of the lookingglasses of the women assembling, which assembled at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. 9And he made the court: on the south side southward the hangings of the court were of fine twined linen, an hundred cubits: 10Their pillars were twenty, and their brasen sockets twenty; the hooks of the pillars and their fillets were of silver. 11And for the north side the hangings were an hundred cubits, their pillars were twenty, and their sockets of brass twenty; the hooks of the pillars and their fillets of silver. 12And for the west side were hangings of fifty cubits, their pillars ten, and their sockets ten; the hooks of the pillars and their fillets of silver. 13And for the east side eastward fifty cubits. 14The hangings of the one side of the gate were fifteen cubits; their pillars three, and their sockets three. 15And for the other side of the court gate, on this hand and that hand, were hangings of fifteen cubits; their pillars three, and their sockets three. 16All the hangings of the court round about were of fine twined linen. 17And the sockets for the pillars were of brass; the hooks of the pillars and their fillets of silver; and the overlaying of their chapiters of silver; and all the pillars of the court were filleted with silver. 18And the hanging for the gate of the court was needlework, of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen: and twenty cubits was the length, and the height in the breadth was five cubits, answerable to the hangings of the court. 19And their pillars were four, and their sockets of brass four; their hooks of silver, and the overlaying of their chapiters and their fillets of silver. 20And all the pins of the tabernacle, and of the court round about, were of brass. 21This is the sum of the tabernacle, even of the tabernacle of testimony, as it was counted, according to the commandment of Moses, for the service of the Levites, by the hand of Ithamar, son to Aaron the priest. 22And Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, made all that the LORD commanded Moses. 23And with him was Aholiab, son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, an engraver, and a cunning workman, and an embroiderer in blue, and in purple, and in scarlet, and fine linen. 24All the gold that was occupied for the work in all the work of the holy place, even the gold of the offering, was twenty and nine talents, and seven hundred and thirty shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary. 25And the silver of them that were numbered of the congregation was an hundred talents, and a thousand seven hundred and threescore and fifteen shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary: 26A bekah for every man, that is, half a shekel, after the shekel of the sanctuary, for every one that went to be numbered, from twenty years old and upward, for six hundred thousand and three thousand and five hundred and fifty men. 27And of the hundred talents of silver were cast the sockets of the sanctuary, and the sockets of the vail; an hundred sockets of the hundred talents, a talent for a socket. 28And of the thousand seven hundred seventy and five shekels he made hooks for the pillars, and overlaid their chapiters, and filleted them. 29And the brass of the offering was seventy talents, and two thousand and four hundred shekels. 30And therewith he made the sockets to the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and the brasen altar, and the brasen grate for it, and all the vessels of the altar, 31And the sockets of the court round about, and the sockets of the court gate, and all the pins of the tabernacle, and all the pins of the court round about. (KJV)
The tabernacle in the wilderness was made of the contributions or the offerings given at the numbering of Israel. These offerings pointed towards the church in the wilderness, and the fact that the Temple was made up of the number of the sons of God who had been ransomed by Messiah and placed within it.
The altar and artefacts were covered and the plates were made of beaten brass, using the mirrors of the women of the congregation. This also pointed towards the place of women in the Temple of God as sons of God in the wilderness. There were to be forty jubilees to typify the forty years in the wilderness. The leaders of both Judah and Ephraim, symbolised by Caleb and Joshua respectively, were set aside to enter the Promised Land at the end of the period.
Exodus 39:1-43 And of the blue, and purple, and scarlet, they made cloths of service, to do service in the holy place, and made the holy garments for Aaron; as the LORD commanded Moses. 2And he made the ephod of gold, blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen. 3And they did beat the gold into thin plates, and cut it into wires, to work it in the blue, and in the purple, and in the scarlet, and in the fine linen, with cunning work. 4They made shoulderpieces for it, to couple it together: by the two edges was it coupled together. 5And the curious girdle of his ephod, that was upon it, was of the same, according to the work thereof; of gold, blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen; as the LORD commanded Moses. 6And they wrought onyx stones inclosed in ouches of gold, graven, as signets are graven, with the names of the children of Israel. 7And he put them on the shoulders of the ephod, that they should be stones for a memorial to the children of Israel; as the LORD commanded Moses. 8And he made the breastplate of cunning work, like the work of the ephod; of gold, blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen. 9It was foursquare; they made the breastplate double: a span was the length thereof, and a span the breadth thereof, being doubled. 10And they set in it four rows of stones: the first row was a sardius, a topaz, and a carbuncle: this was the first row. 11And the second row, an emerald, a sapphire, and a diamond. 12And the third row, a ligure, an agate, and an amethyst. 13And the fourth row, a beryl, an onyx, and a jasper: they were inclosed in ouches of gold in their inclosings. 14And the stones were according to the names of the children of Israel, twelve, according to their names, like the engravings of a signet, every one with his name, according to the twelve tribes. 15And they made upon the breastplate chains at the ends, of wreathen work of pure gold. 16And they made two ouches of gold, and two gold rings; and put the two rings in the two ends of the breastplate. 17And they put the two wreathen chains of gold in the two rings on the ends of the breastplate. 18 And the two ends of the two wreathen chains they fastened in the two ouches, and put them on the shoulderpieces of the ephod, before it. 19And they made two rings of gold, and put them on the two ends of the breastplate, upon the border of it, which was on the side of the ephod inward. 20And they made two other golden rings, and put them on the two sides of the ephod underneath, toward the forepart of it, over against the other coupling thereof, above the curious girdle of the ephod. 21And they did bind the breastplate by his rings unto the rings of the ephod with a lace of blue, that it might be above the curious girdle of the ephod, and that the breastplate might not be loosed from the ephod; as the LORD commanded Moses. 22And he made the robe of the ephod of woven work, all of blue. 23And there was an hole in the midst of the robe, as the hole of an habergeon, with a band round about the hole, that it should not rend. 24And they made upon the hems of the robe pomegranates of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and twined linen. 25And they made bells of pure gold, and put the bells between the pomegranates upon the hem of the robe, round about between the pomegranates; 26A bell and a pomegranate, a bell and a pomegranate, round about the hem of the robe to minister in; as the LORD commanded Moses. 27And they made coats of fine linen of woven work for Aaron, and for his sons, 28And a mitre of fine linen, and goodly bonnets of fine linen, and linen breeches of fine twined linen, 29And a girdle of fine twined linen, and blue, and purple, and scarlet, of needlework; as the LORD commanded Moses. 30And they made the plate of the holy crown of pure gold, and wrote upon it a writing, like to the engravings of a signet, HOLINESS TO THE LORD. 31And they tied unto it a lace of blue, to fasten it on high upon the mitre; as the LORD commanded Moses. 32Thus was all the work of the tabernacle of the tent of the congregation finished: and the children of Israel did according to all that the LORD commanded Moses, so did they. 33And they brought the tabernacle unto Moses, the tent, and all his furniture, his taches, his boards, his bars, and his pillars, and his sockets, 34And the covering of rams' skins dyed red, and the covering of badgers' skins, and the vail of the covering, 35The ark of the testimony, and the staves thereof, and the mercy seat, 36The table, and all the vessels thereof, and the shewbread, 37The pure candlestick, with the lamps thereof, even with the lamps to be set in order, and all the vessels thereof, and the oil for light, 38And the golden altar, and the anointing oil, and the sweet incense, and the hanging for the tabernacle door, 39The brasen altar, and his grate of brass, his staves, and all his vessels, the laver and his foot, 40The hangings of the court, his pillars, and his sockets, and the hanging for the court gate, his cords, and his pins, and all the vessels of the service of the tabernacle, for the tent of the congregation, 41The cloths of service to do service in the holy place, and the holy garments for Aaron the priest, and his sons' garments, to minister in the priest's office. 42According to all that the LORD commanded Moses, so the children of Israel made all the work. 43And Moses did look upon all the work, and, behold, they had done it as the LORD had commanded, even so had they done it: and Moses blessed them. (KJV)
The priesthood was set under a High Priest, who stood for all the tribes of Israel, and on his breastplate was set the twelve stones, which are the twelve foundations set in four rows of three. These four divisions of three symbolise the quaternary division under the four living creatures. Two of these beings are the replacement elohim seen also in the cherubim of the lion and man-headed beings on the walls of Ezekiel’s Temple (Ezek. 41:19). The twelve foundation stones are the twelve heads of the twelve tribes in the City of God (cf. the paper The City of God (No. 180)). These stones are listed differently in Revelation 21:19-20. Inside the breastplate pouch of the High Priest are the Urim and the Thummim which are the two stones of the Oracles of God (cf. also the paper The Oracles of God (No. 184)). The tribes themselves are rearranged in the kingdom with different responsibilities and places. God allocates the places in the Kingdom of God and they are given to Christ to implement.
The creation – the earth and its fullness – is God’s possession. He has given man dominion over the creation and all that is in it to subjugate it, and to keep and protect it within God’s plan (Gen. 1:26-31; Ps. 24:1; 50:12; 1Cor. 10:26-28).
Exodus 9:29 And Moses said unto him, As soon as I am gone out of the city, I will spread abroad my hands unto the LORD; and the thunder shall cease, neither shall there be any more hail; that thou mayest know how that the earth is the LORD'S. (KJV)
The nations did not fear God and have not taken up their inheritance as yet (cf. Ex. 9:29-35; and the paper Moses and the Gods of Egypt (No. 105)).
Our destiny is to become gods or elohim, but according to God’s will and not by theft. This concept was the heart of the fall of Adam and Eve (Gen. 3:5). Mysticism, or seeking to grasp equality with God as God, is the same error made by Eve at the instigation of Satan. We are all predestined, chosen, called, justified and glorified (Rom. 8:29-30). We have put on the new man at the invitation of God, being renewed in knowledge. Such is freely given but cannot be obtained by theft. (Col. 3:10).
Acts 2:41-47 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. 42And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. 44And all that believed were together, and had all things common; 45And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. 46And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, 47Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved. (KJV)
The creature and the creation wait for the manifestation of the sons of God.
Romans 8:19-23 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. 20For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, 21Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. 23And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. (KJV)
The elect are not as they who corrupt the word of God but, in sincerity, in the sight of God speak in Christ (2Cor. 5:17). Most of the world – the many – have corrupted the word of God and have changed times and the law. They have removed the Testaments from their structure and attempted to steal the gift of eternal life which was freely given to those whom God has called according to His purpose.
God wants obedience more than sacrifice.
Exodus 19:5 Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: (KJV)
What does God require of us?
Deuteronomy 10:12-17 And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, 13To keep the commandments of the LORD, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good? 14Behold, the heaven and the heaven of heavens is the LORD'S thy God, the earth also, with all that therein is. 15Only the LORD had a delight in thy fathers to love them, and he chose their seed after them, even you above all people, as it is this day. 16Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked. 17For the LORD your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward: (KJV)
We are to keep His commandments, unaltered, and in their entirety.
Plants and animals
The cattle are the Lord’s but they are able to be used by man. The system that operates is designed to protect against damage (cf. Ex. 21:28-32 and the paper Law and the Sixth Commandment (No. 259)).
Theft occurs by withholding, as we have seen. This system extends from God to the priesthood to the authorities and all the creation including animals. It is written: Thou shalt not muzzle an ox while he treads the grain: and does God take care of oxen alone? (cf. Deut. 25:4; 1Cor. 9:9; 1Tim. 5:18).
He who fails to provide for his own, and especially for those of his own house, denies the faith and is worse than an infidel (1Tim. 5:8). All such neglect is theft.
Theft in relation to the food laws
The food laws are put in place for the maintenance of the individual, the food chain and the environment. The aspects of the food laws are covered in the papers The Food laws (No. 15) and Law and the Sixth Commandment (No. 259).
Eating unclean food is not only unwise in matters of health but also it is theft from the structure God has ordained in the planetary system. There is absolutely no doubt about the scientific basis and validity of the food laws. The clean animals eat from a food chain that we are instructed to preserve. The deterioration of the planet is the direct result of our theft from God and His creation by consumption of items we were not permitted to consume.
There are a series of laws relating to what we may take and what we may not kill in relation to the environment. The laws regarding what may be killed and what may not, such as those relating to animals and birds and their young, are covered in the Law and the Sixth Commandment (No. 259). Failure to observe the restrictions regarding nature and its young, the Sabbaths, and the long-term preservation of the environment is theft and has to be paid for by captivity. The land will have its Sabbaths in spite of man (see below).
In addition to the notion of a free environment under God’s Law there is the notion of property owned by the society. This notion of public property has two aspects.
Public property and common law
The first aspect is that of property owned by the crown for its own purposes. The second aspect is that of common property owned by the community at large, which is available to the community. This notion of common property is featured in the Bible under the listings as suburbs. These are lands within the cities of the Levites where animals can be grazed in common. This notion has always underpinned what is termed Common Law among our people. The appropriation by the Crown of lands which are rightfully those of the common people is theft, just as it is by individuals. Thus there must be acquisition of property on just terms. There must also be urban planning with common lands dividing areas of housing. That is what is understood as a true suburb in biblical terms.
The rights of the individual are very much tied up in the notion of private property. The right to ownership is vested in biblical law.
Property is usually divided into two forms: Real and Personal. The proprietary rights flow from direct ownership and operation of an enterprise or home.
The aspects are usually more easily seen, and theft usually involves a direct physical act and removal of a physical object. These aspects are tied up in the value of ownership and the loss of the item by replacement or assessed value of replacement.
The categories then move into tangible and intangible assets. The loss of intangible assets can relate to reputation, good will, quality of life, love and affection, creative and artistic rights and so on. These items are much harder to determine and value, yet it is often these very items that people see no harm in destroying by hate, slander and libel, and covetousness.
Right to ownership
Each person has a right to ownership expressed as the love of one another as we see above.
Romans 13:8-10 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. 9For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 10Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. (KJV)
Every man is to be safe and no man is to make them afraid (Lev. 26:6).
When the nation is established the rights of people to their inheritance are made by boundary and survey. Moving a boundary is theft.
Deuteronomy 19:14 Thou shalt not remove thy neighbour's landmark, which they of old time have set in thine inheritance, which thou shalt inherit in the land that the LORD thy God giveth thee to possess it. (KJV)
This activity draws the laws of restitution by means of the produce stolen, as the land is not transferred in perpetuity. This action draws a curse (Deut. 27:17; cf. Prov. 22:28; 23:10).
The removal of landmarks and entering the fields of the fatherless is theft, or an indication of an intention to steal. God will defend the fatherless; but the magistrates have responsibility to deal with such action under the law. Job accused God because these activities took place (Job 24:2); yet God sees and judges.
Limitations on ownership within the jubilee system
Leviticus 25:1-11 And the LORD spake unto Moses in mount Sinai, saying, 2Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye come into the land which I give you, then shall the land keep a sabbath unto the LORD. 3Six years thou shalt sow thy field, and six years thou shalt prune thy vineyard, and gather in the fruit thereof; 4But in the seventh year shall be a sabbath of rest unto the land, a sabbath for the LORD: thou shalt neither sow thy field, nor prune thy vineyard. 5That which groweth of its own accord of thy harvest thou shalt not reap, neither gather the grapes of thy vine undressed: for it is a year of rest unto the land. 6And the sabbath of the land shall be meat for you; for thee, and for thy servant, and for thy maid, and for thy hired servant, and for thy stranger that sojourneth with thee, 7And for thy cattle, and for the beast that are in thy land, shall all the increase thereof be meat. 8And thou shalt number seven sabbaths of years unto thee, seven times seven years; and the space of the seven sabbaths of years shall be unto thee forty and nine years. 9 hen shalt thou cause the trumpet of the jubile to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month, in the day of atonement shall ye make the trumpet sound throughout all your land. 10And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubile unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family. 11A jubile shall that fiftieth year be unto you: ye shall not sow, neither reap that which groweth of itself in it, nor gather the grapes in it of thy vine undressed. (KJV)
These are responsibilities concerning the ownership of the land which ultimately vests in God. With the use of the land there are also responsibilities.
Leviticus 25:23-28 The land shall not be sold for ever: for the land is mine; for ye are strangers and sojourners with me. 24And in all the land of your possession ye shall grant a redemption for the land. 25If thy brother be waxen poor, and hath sold away some of his possession, and if any of his kin come to redeem it, then shall he redeem that which his brother sold. 26And if the man have none to redeem it, and himself be able to redeem it; 27Then let him count the years of the sale thereof, and restore the overplus unto the man to whom he sold it; that he may return unto his possession. 28But if he be not able to restore it to him, then that which is sold shall remain in the hand of him that hath bought it until the year of jubile: and in the jubile it shall go out, and he shall return unto his possession. (KJV)
Land outside of a “walled” city is not to be held in perpetuity. There are also limitations on the structure of the land ownership; these vary with responsibilities.
Leviticus 25:29-34 And if a man sell a dwelling house in a walled city, then he may redeem it within a whole year after it is sold; within a full year may he redeem it. 30And if it be not redeemed within the space of a full year, then the house that is in the walled city shall be established for ever to him that bought it throughout his generations: it shall not go out in the jubile. 31But the houses of the villages which have no wall round about them shall be counted as the fields of the country: they may be redeemed, and they shall go out in the jubile. 32Notwithstanding the cities of the Levites, and the houses of the cities of their possession, may the Levites redeem at any time. 33And if a man purchase of the Levites, then the house that was sold, and the city of his possession, shall go out in the year of jubile: for the houses of the cities of the Levites are their possession among the children of Israel. 34But the field of the suburbs of their cities may not be sold; for it is their perpetual possession. (KJV)
The distinction in walled and unwalled cities makes a decision as to the capacity to be redeemed and be part of the jubilee restoration. Only the houses of walled towns may be sold in perpetuity. The cities of the Priests which appear to include the cities of refuge may not be sold in perpetuity but may be redeemed at any time by the priests. No land system outside of a walled town, or country villages or unwalled cities may be removed from the jubilee system. This distinction goes to the law regarding restoration and restitution and ownership. A person in a city selling in perpetuity may redeem their property within one year of sale. Otherwise it goes to ownership in perpetuity. No other real estate may be sold in perpetuity in fee simple.
The integrity of the person
Throughout the ages man has traded in men and also taken them as hired servants and indentured labour by contract. Footballers are a version of the indentured labour system, albeit an expensive one.
People often fall on hard times and suffer for that fact. There are several pieces of legislation that require us to protect the individual, and failure to exercise our responsibilities to each other is also a form of theft.
Leviticus 25:35-43 And if thy brother be waxen poor, and fallen in decay with thee; then thou shalt relieve him: yea, though he be a stranger, or a sojourner; that he may live with thee. 36Take thou no usury of him, or increase: but fear thy God; that thy brother may live with thee. 37 Thou shalt not give him thy money upon usury, nor lend him thy victuals for increase. 38 I am the LORD your God, which brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, to give you the land of Canaan, and to be your God. 39And if thy brother that dwelleth by thee be waxen poor, and be sold unto thee; thou shalt not compel him to serve as a bondservant: 40But as an hired servant, and as a sojourner, he shall be with thee, and shall serve thee unto the year of jubile: 41And then shall he depart from thee, both he and his children with him, and shall return unto his own family, and unto the possession of his fathers shall he return. 42For they are my servants, which I brought forth out of the land of Egypt: they shall not be sold as bondmen. 43Thou shalt not rule over him with rigour; but shalt fear thy God. (KJV)
No person within the nation can thus be a bondservant or be made to serve with rigour. That has a far reaching effect now that the Gentiles have been brought into the Kingdom of God. Those who refuse to be part of the nation and the church can be compelled under the law.
Leviticus 25:44-46 Both thy bondmen, and thy bondmaids, which thou shalt have, shall be of the heathen that are round about you; of them shall ye buy bondmen and bondmaids. 45Moreover of the children of the strangers that do sojourn among you, of them shall ye buy, and of their families that are with you, which they begat in your land: and they shall be your possession. 46And ye shall take them as an inheritance for your children after you, to inherit them for a possession; they shall be your bondmen for ever: but over your brethren the children of Israel, ye shall not rule one over another with rigour. (KJV)
This law is to demonstrate the decided advantage of citizenship within the nation of Israel.
Leviticus 25:47-55 And if a sojourner or stranger wax rich by thee, and thy brother that dwelleth by him wax poor, and sell himself unto the stranger or sojourner by thee, or to the stock of the stranger's family: 48After that he is sold he may be redeemed again; one of his brethren may redeem him: 49Either his uncle, or his uncle's son, may redeem him, or any that is nigh of kin unto him of his family may redeem him; or if he be able, he may redeem himself. 50And he shall reckon with him that bought him from the year that he was sold to him unto the year of jubile: and the price of his sale shall be according unto the number of years, according to the time of an hired servant shall it be with him. 51If there be yet many years behind, according unto them he shall give again the price of his redemption out of the money that he was bought for. 52And if there remain but few years unto the year of jubile, then he shall count with him, and according unto his years shall he give him again the price of his redemption. 53And as a yearly hired servant shall he be with him: and the other shall not rule with rigour over him in thy sight. 54And if he be not redeemed in these years, then he shall go out in the year of jubile, both he, and his children with him. 55For unto me the children of Israel are servants; they are my servants whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God. (KJV)
Failure to deal justly with the time and labour of those of Israel is theft. Thus there is a necessity for justice in the area of labour and industrial law that flows from these commandments. God, and not any man, owns Israel and so all of Israel, both native born and of the Gentiles in conversion, are the Lord’s possession and are not bond slaves. Nor can they be sold as bond slaves by any person or body in or of the nation.
This law will be restored in Israel and the Jubilee system will be restored according to the word of the Lord which God spoke through His servant Jeremiah (Jer. 32:6-44).
The Lamb has redeemed men to God and will guide them into His Holy Habitation, as we see from the Song to the Lord (Ex. 15:1-19).
Exodus 15:1-19 Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the LORD, and spake, saying, I will sing unto the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea. 2The LORD is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father's God, and I will exalt him. 3The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name. 4Pharaoh's chariots and his host hath he cast into the sea: his chosen captains also are drowned in the Red sea. 5The depths have covered them: they sank into the bottom as a stone. 6 Thy right hand, O LORD, is become glorious in power: thy right hand, O LORD, hath dashed in pieces the enemy. 7And in the greatness of thine excellency thou hast overthrown them that rose up against thee: thou sentest forth thy wrath, which consumed them as stubble. 8And with the blast of thy nostrils the waters were gathered together, the floods stood upright as an heap, and the depths were congealed in the heart of the sea. 9The enemy said, I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil; my lust shall be satisfied upon them; I will draw my sword, my hand shall destroy them. 10Thou didst blow with thy wind, the sea covered them: they sank as lead in the mighty waters. 11Who is like unto thee, O LORD, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders? 12Thou stretchedst out thy right hand, the earth swallowed them. 13 Thou in thy mercy hast led forth the people which thou hast redeemed: thou hast guided them in thy strength unto thy holy habitation. 14The people shall hear, and be afraid: sorrow shall take hold on the inhabitants of Palestina. 15Then the dukes of Edom shall be amazed; the mighty men of Moab, trembling shall take hold upon them; all the inhabitants of Canaan shall melt away. 16Fear and dread shall fall upon them; by the greatness of thine arm they shall be as still as a stone; till thy people pass over, O LORD, till the people pass over, which thou hast purchased. 17Thou shalt bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of thine inheritance, in the place, O LORD, which thou hast made for thee to dwell in, in the Sanctuary, O Lord, which thy hands have established. 18The LORD shall reign for ever and ever. 19For the horse of Pharaoh went in with his chariots and with his horsemen into the sea, and the LORD brought again the waters of the sea upon them; but the children of Israel went on dry land in the midst of the sea. (KJV)
And the Lord shall dwell among us who do not fall in the wilderness; “therefore, defile not the land wherein the Lord shall dwell” (Num. 35:34; 20:22-24).
We are not to fall short in the offerings of the Lord (Num. 15:1-12). If we have fallen short in ignorance, then atonement is to be made (Num. 15:17-28). However, none can redeem his brother, only Christ (Ps. 49:6-7).
Notion of equity
In all of the law there is a notion of equity in the tribe and by families; there is a responsibility of the people to the family and the nation.
It follows therefore, from the logic of Rights Based Theory that there can be no individual rights, only a Theory of Obligation. The society that maximises individual rights fails to maximise utility in the long run. Thus all biblical law is based on a theory of obligation to the family and to the nation and stems first and foremost from an obligation to God. In the same way, the society has obligation to the individual within it. Thus the entire system of equity is enshrined as a commanded obligation in the First and Second Great Commandments.
Damage to Persons and Property
Negligent damage of person
Exodus 21:18-19 And if men strive together, and one smite another with a stone, or with his fist, and he die not, but keepeth his bed: 19If he rise again, and walk abroad upon his staff, then shall he that smote him be quit: only he shall pay for the loss of his time, and shall cause him to be thoroughly healed. (KJV)
Damages here result from the combined or contributory negligence of both parties. There is no charge in assault, because of the contribution to the assault by both parties. Nevertheless, the injured party is to be restored for loss of time and health by the party that caused the injury.
Negligent damage of third parties is to be paid for according to damages as determined by the courts (Ex. 21:22). Payment for damages caused by animals or actions by a third party is covered in Exodus 21:28-33. Payment for the negligent loss of life is as determined by the courts, and may result in death.
Malicious damage of persons
Malicious damages go to various categories. They occur to wives (Deut. 22:13); and to women who are not betrothed (Deut. 22:28-29).
Kidnapping is punishable by death (Ex. 21:16).
Violence and theft are to be done to no man by those in authority (Lk. 3:14; cf. Isa. 17:14). Theft from parents is theft and akin to that of a destroyer (Prov. 28:24).
Negligent damage of property
Where damage occurs by negligence the matter must be made good. We should try to go further and make it better than it was. In the same way, if we are compelled to serve, render that service willingly (cf. Mat. 5:41; 27:32; Mk. 15:21).
Malicious damage of property
Deuteronomy 23:24-25 When thou comest into thy neighbour's vineyard, then thou mayest eat grapes thy fill at thine own pleasure; but thou shalt not put any in thy vessel. 25When thou comest into the standing corn of thy neighbour, then thou mayest pluck the ears with thine hand; but thou shalt not move a sickle unto thy neighbour's standing corn. (KJV)
No person can be restrained from eating standing grain in any field for hunger; however, no damage or harvesting is permitted. This is to be regarded as damages or theft if it is removed.
Damage by retention, fellowship, fraud or stealth
Damage by finding or retention of property, or from fellowship, or fraud, or stealth is treated as removal in robbery.
Leviticus 6:1-5 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 2If a soul sin, and commit a trespass against the LORD, and lie unto his neighbour in that which was delivered him to keep, or in fellowship, or in a thing taken away by violence, or hath deceived his neighbour; 3Or have found that which was lost, and lieth concerning it, and sweareth falsely; in any of all these that a man doeth, sinning therein: 4Then it shall be, because he hath sinned, and is guilty, that he shall restore that which he took violently away, or the thing which he hath deceitfully gotten, or that which was delivered him to keep, or the lost thing which he found, 5Or all that about which he hath sworn falsely; he shall even restore it in the principal, and shall add the fifth part more thereto, and give it unto him to whom it appertaineth, in the day of his trespass offering. (KJV)
The question of removal by fellowship goes to theft by position of trust. The law has a number of aspects that deal with such cases of theft. In all these above cases the property is to be restored, and a fifth part more is to be added to it. This is in addition to the cost of the offering to the priest.
The first and primary category under the eighth commandment is common theft. As we will see, there are many forms of theft. The first two forms of theft were expressed as commandments in their own right, namely theft of life in the sixth commandment, and theft of family in the seventh commandment. The eighth commandment is merely concerned with lesser forms of the concept of property, namely real and personal property. The tenth commandment includes wife with real and personal property which is not to be coveted.
Theft is of two characteristics. Theft for food is a condemnation on both the family and the society. It is nevertheless theft and is paid for in a number of ways, not the least of which is loss of reputation.
Proverbs 6:30-31 Men do not despise a thief, if he steal to satisfy his soul when he is hungry; 31But if he be found, he shall restore sevenfold; he shall give all the substance of his house. (KJV)
(cf. Prov. 13:11)
God gives wealth and so also no man should be left to starve.
Deuteronomy 8:17-18 And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth. 18But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day. (KJV)
Rehabilitation is the role of society in dealing with the thief (Eph. 4:28).
There is another category of theft which is stealing by finding. No person is to retain the property of another, even his enemy, as we have seen from the texts (Ex. 23:4-5; Deut. 22:1-4).
Theft by authority
There is to be no theft by authority or nepotism.
Ezekiel 46:18 Moreover the prince shall not take of the people's inheritance by oppression, to thrust them out of their possession; but he shall give his sons inheritance out of his own possession: that my people be not scattered every man from his possession. (KJV)
Thus acquisition must be on just terms and not interfere with the jubilee system, or be in respect of persons (cf. also Prov. 28:19). The Crown or State is not to acquire land for nepotistic or unnecessary reasons.
Acquisition on Just Terms is one of the most important factors in preserving a free and just society.
Theft by inequality under the law
There is to be no theft by inequality under the law.
Numbers 15:13-16 All that are born of the country shall do these things after this manner, in offering an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD. 14And if a stranger sojourn with you, or whosoever be among you in your generations, and will offer an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD; as ye do, so he shall do. 15One ordinance shall be both for you of the congregation, and also for the stranger that sojourneth with you, an ordinance for ever in your generations: as ye are, so shall the stranger be before the LORD. 16One law and one manner shall be for you, and for the stranger that sojourneth with you. (KJV)
Likewise there is one law for atonement.
Numbers 15:29-31 Ye shall have one law for him that sinneth through ignorance, both for him that is born among the children of Israel, and for the stranger that sojourneth among them. 30But the soul that doeth ought presumptuously, whether he be born in the land, or a stranger, the same reproacheth the LORD; and that soul shall be cut off from among his people. 31Because he hath despised the word of the LORD, and hath broken his commandment, that soul shall utterly be cut off; his iniquity shall be upon him. (KJV)
(cf. Deut. 28:63).
Thus theft in judgment by respect of persons is forbidden (cf. Prov. 18:5, 11).
Deuteronomy 1:17 Ye shall not respect persons in judgment; but ye shall hear the small as well as the great; ye shall not be afraid of the face of man; for the judgment is God's: and the cause that is too hard for you, bring it unto me, and I will hear it. (KJV)
(cf. Deut. 1:11-18).
Prevention of progressive tribal inequality
The inheritance laws we have seen develop under the fifth and sixth commandments protect the integrity of tribal and national wealth. We saw this in the laws under Numbers 27:1-11.
Right to transfer of ownership
In the same manner there is to be no respect of persons in inheritance. That also is theft, for the possessions of the fathers belong in the tribe according to the jubilee and not by favour (cf. Deut 21:15-17).
The rights of the firstborn of Israel and among the Patriarchs could be lost through sin, as we saw for example with Reuben. This activity pointed to the capacity of the elect to forfeit their positions in sin. The rights of the firstborn are centred on the capacity to provide continuity of responsibility in the family.
Stealing by weights and measures
The same standards are to be used in the house or business, and it is theft to use wrong weights and measures.
Leviticus 19:35-37 Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment, in meteyard, in weight, or in measure. 36Just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin, shall ye have: I am the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt. 37Therefore shall ye observe all my statutes, and all my judgments, and do them: I am the LORD. (KJV)
We are to give full measure in order to prolong life, as with the fifth commandment, for this also is equated to righteousness and the work of the Lord (cf. Mic. 6:10-11; Prov. 11:1; 16:11; 20:10, 23).
Deuteronomy 25:13-16 Thou shalt not have in thy bag divers weights, a great and a small. 14Thou shalt not have in thine house divers measures, a great and a small. 15But thou shalt have a perfect and just weight, a perfect and just measure shalt thou have: that thy days may be lengthened in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee. 16For all that do such things, and all that do unrighteously, are an abomination unto the LORD thy God. (KJV)
The standards of weights and measures are spoken of through the prophet Ezekiel.
Ezekiel 45:9-12 Thus saith the Lord GOD; Let it suffice you, O princes of Israel: remove violence and spoil, and execute judgment and justice, take away your exactions from my people, saith the Lord GOD. 10Ye shall have just balances, and a just ephah, and a just bath. 11The ephah and the bath shall be of one measure, that the bath may contain the tenth part of an homer, and the ephah the tenth part of an homer: the measure thereof shall be after the homer. 12And the shekel shall be twenty gerahs: twenty shekels, five and twenty shekels, fifteen shekels, shall be your maneh. (KJV)
Theft by slander and malice
Most people are not aware that slander and malice are theft and damage to the person. People think nothing of repeating slander about others and usually because they have chosen some particular side or another. False religion over the ages has been the source of more slander and malice than any other activity. Where people cannot refute the arguments they resort to slander, and where they are able, they murder. This is examined at length in the paper Law and the Ninth Commandment (No. 262).
Stealing a person’s good name is contrary to God’s Law and is theft in the worst form.
Unlawful retention of property, wages
It is contrary to God’s Law to withhold wages, or the property of the poor in the form of clothing and bedding. Fraud is likewise forbidden.
Exodus 22:26-27 If thou at all take thy neighbour's raiment to pledge, thou shalt deliver it unto him by that the sun goeth down: 27 For that is his covering only, it is his raiment for his skin: wherein shall he sleep? and it shall come to pass, when he crieth unto me, that I will hear; for I am gracious. (KJV)
Leviticus 19:13 Thou shalt not defraud thy neighbour, neither rob him: the wages of him that is hired shall not abide with thee all night until the morning. (KJV)
Deuteronomy 24:14-15 Thou shalt not oppress an hired servant that is poor and needy, whether he be of thy brethren, or of thy strangers that are in thy land within thy gates: 15At his day thou shalt give him his hire, neither shall the sun go down upon it; for he is poor, and setteth his heart upon it: lest he cry against thee unto the LORD, and it be sin unto thee. (KJV)
The payment of day hire is to be made that day. It is contrary to law to hold the wages on day hire overnight. Only employment by agreement can be on weekly or fortnightly basis. Payment of wages on a monthly basis is really a contractual agreement between parties.
These articles of law are clear and simple statements. They go to the heart of the law in love of neighbour. James, the brother of Jesus Christ has much to say about them.
James 5:1-6 Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. 2 Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten. 3Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days. 4Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth. 5Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter. 6Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you. (KJV)
The same theme is found in Paul.
1Timothy 5:18 For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward. (KJV)
(cf. Rom. 13:7).
God spoke also by Jeremiah:
Jeremiah 22:13 Woe unto him that buildeth his house by unrighteousness, and his chambers by wrong; that useth his neighbour's service without wages, and giveth him not for his work; (KJV)
God will act to deal with this misuse of power.
Malachi 3:5 And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the LORD of hosts. (KJV)
Messiah told of our wages which all will be given and which are all the same, namely salvation. Those who oppress the hireling and withhold wages unjustly will not be in the Kingdom of God (cf. Mat. 20:1-16).
In the same sense the households of the church must not withhold the wages of the ministry and those who labour for them. None of the faith is to go from house to house (Lk. 10:7; 1Tim. 5:17,18). Each is rewarded according to his labour (1Cor. 3:8). But those of the faith are to serve as an example to the others, and are to help and protect them.
Injustice as robbery
The taking of gifts in a position of judgment perverts the wise and creates injustice (Ex. 23:8; Lev. 19:15; Deut. 16:18-20). God rewards as justice is done (Ps. 137:8).
All injustice robs the party to which the injustice is done. This is examined in the paper Law and the Ninth Commandment (No. 262).
God will raise and restore the children of His people.
Joel 3:6-8 The children also of Judah and the children of Jerusalem have ye sold unto the Grecians, that ye might remove them far from their border. 7Behold, I will raise them out of the place whither ye have sold them, and will return your recompence upon your own head: 8And I will sell your sons and your daughters into the hand of the children of Judah, and they shall sell them to the Sabeans, to a people far off: for the LORD hath spoken it. (KJV)
All matters of judgment must be done in justice, firstly in the church and secondly in the nation (Mat. 18:7; 1Cor. 6:1-8). Failure to act in justice in the church is unrighteousness and theft.
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. 2For 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. 3Some also there were that said, We have mortgaged our lands, vineyards, and houses, that we might buy corn, because of the dearth. 4There were also that said, We have borrowed money for the king's tribute, and that upon our lands and vineyards. 5Yet 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. 6And I was very angry when I heard their cry and these words. 7Then 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. 8And 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. 9Also 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? 10I likewise, and my brethren, and my servants, might exact of them money and corn: I pray you, let us leave off this usury. 11Restore, 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. 12Then 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. 13Also 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. This 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: 20Unto 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.
Debts and release
Associated with the safeguard of the prohibitions against usury is the Sabbath year release of all debt.
Deuteronomy 15:19-23 All the firstling males that come of thy herd and of thy flock thou shalt sanctify unto the LORD thy God: thou shalt do no work with the firstling of thy bullock, nor shear the firstling of thy sheep. 20Thou shalt eat it before the LORD thy God year by year in the place which the LORD shall choose, thou and thy household. 21And if there be any blemish therein, as if it be lame, or blind, or have any ill blemish, thou shalt not sacrifice it unto the LORD thy God. 22Thou shalt eat it within thy gates: the unclean and the clean person shall eat it alike, as the roebuck, and as the hart. 23 Only thou shalt not eat the blood thereof; thou shalt pour it upon the ground as water. (KJV)
The entire system is designed to release the individual from debt and servitude every seven years. Failure to ensure this law is carried out is iniquity and undermines the freedom of the individual and the nation in God’s Law. The desire to remain in slavery is of itself a weakness of the individual in the system.
The whole concept is that freewill offerings of pure and unblemished animals operating within the household of God are the core of God’s calling and plan. Wild animals and blemished animals are not part of the firstlings and may be eaten within the gates. In other words, they are not to be part of the tithe offerings, which themselves symbolise the elect.
Stealing quality of life from widows, orphans and strangers
Ownership and proprietary rights go to expectations. Each person has the expectation of being allowed a reasonable quality of life. We have seen that Gentiles have a legitimate expectation of a place in Israel, as part of the plan of God. The Gentiles will learn to trust in us and the established authority of God under Messiah (cf. Gen. 39:20-23; 40:3,5; 42:16,19; Mat. 12:21; Rom. 15:12). This will occur by not abusing the power of God in dealing with the weak and the fatherless, the poor and the stranger.
We are not to oppress any of the strangers, or the widows, or the fatherless, or God will hear their cry and make the oppressors’ wives widows and their children fatherless from war (Ex. 22:21-24; 23:9). We will not vex the stranger but he shall live among us, and we shall love him as one of our own for we were strangers also in Egypt (Lev. 19:33, 34). The stranger also shall make atonement with us (Lev. 16:29) or be cut off (Lev. 17:8,9). Strangers shall be enrolled in the nation of Israel, for they were bought for a price by Messiah and salvation is now of the Gentiles. Thus their place is conditional, but cannot be stolen from them. However, they must be part of the nation and system (Lev. 22:10,11,15,18). Their abominations are prohibited among us, but we are to love them as ourselves (Lev. 18:26; Deut 10:17-22).
Stealing from the poor by pledge
We cannot take anything from the poor as a security against our loan that interferes with their well being, quality of life, or health, or their safety or livelihood.
Deuteronomy 24:6 No man shall take the nether or the upper millstone to pledge : for he taketh a man's life to pledge. (KJV)
Deuteronomy 24:10-14 When thou dost lend thy brother any thing, thou shalt not go into his house to fetch his pledge. 11Thou shalt stand abroad, and the man to whom thou dost lend shall bring out the pledge abroad unto thee. 12And if the man be poor, thou shalt not sleep with his pledge: 13In any case thou shalt deliver him the pledge again when the sun goeth down, that he may sleep in his own raiment, and bless thee: and it shall be righteousness unto thee before the LORD thy God. 14Thou shalt not oppress an hired servant that is poor and needy, whether he be of thy brethren, or of thy strangers that are in thy land within thy gates: (KJV)
Here we reiterate the prompt payment of the hired servant and the command not to oppress him.
Forced or uninvited entry by the lender to a household in recovery is prohibited. All action must be done according to law.
Care of the poor
The spirit of the law goes to care of the poor, rather than simply refraining from oppressing them.
The spirit of the law shows how God condemns the people who refrain from trade on the New Moons and Sabbaths, only to make merchandise of their brethren as soon as the New Moon or Sabbath is over. So it is in these end days. Israel is as a basket of summer fruit.
Amos 8:1-8 Thus hath the Lord GOD shewed unto me: and behold a basket of summer fruit. 2And he said, Amos, what seest thou? And I said, A basket of summer fruit. Then said the LORD unto me, The end is come upon my people of Israel; I will not again pass by them any more. 3And the songs of the temple shall be howlings in that day, saith the Lord GOD: there shall be many dead bodies in every place; they shall cast them forth with silence. 4Hear this, O ye that swallow up the needy, even to make the poor of the land to fail, 5Saying, When will the new moon be gone, that we may sell corn? and the sabbath, that we may set forth wheat, making the ephah small, and the shekel great, and falsifying the balances by deceit? 6That we may buy the poor for silver, and the needy for a pair of shoes; yea, and sell the refuse of the wheat? 7The LORD hath sworn by the excellency of Jacob, Surely I will never forget any of their works. 8Shall not the land tremble for this, and every one mourn that dwelleth therein? and it shall rise up wholly as a flood; and it shall be cast out and drowned, as by the flood of Egypt. (KJV)
(cf. Neh. 5:1-13)
In this view, the care of the poor is a distinct responsibility under the law.
Luke 6:30-34 Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again. 31And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. 32For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. 33And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. 34And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. (KJV)
If people have a need, one has an obligation to lend and not ask for its return. In the same way, the people who borrow have an obligation to restore and lend also where there is a need.
We are to love our enemies (Luke 6:35); and protect the runaway (Deut. 23:15-16). Those who have not oppressed the poor, or taken usury or increase will live (Ezek. 18:17; cf. Job 24:2-10; Prov. 22:22,23).
Restitution, Restoration and Rehabilitation
The purpose of all legislation falls under the categories of Prevention and then Restitution, or Restoration and Rehabilitation.
Ephesians 4:28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. (KJV)
There are, however, specific laws regarding the penalties and remedies involving theft.
Trespass is to be forgiven. Thus the underlying theme of the law is repentance.
Luke 17:4 And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him. (KJV)
The sins of ignorance are covered in Leviticus chapters 4 and 5. The purpose of the offerings was to form visible repentance and a fine in the matter at hand. Christ paid the penalties for sin and these could not be fully paid for by the blood of animals. In the last days the system will be set up, the sacrifices will be made and the penalties will again be enforced. This in no way limits the activities and sacrifice of Christ, but is by way of a fine and visible repentance only (cf. Num. 15:28). When that is done the sinner shall be forgiven.
For those who love much, much is forgiven: and those who love little, little is forgiven and the son of God has the power to forgive sins (Lk. 7:47-48). For blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin (Ps. 32:1-2; Rom. 4:7-8; Col. 2:13).
“The prayer of faith will save the sick and the Lord shall raise him up and if he has committed sins they shall be forgiven him” (Jas. 5:15). Sickness is thus distinct from sin. Thus all sin is forgiven for the namesake of God in Jesus Christ (1Jn. 2:12).
Thus he who withholds forgiveness on repentance commits theft, and inhibits the restoration, and steals from the life of the repentant individual and those around him.
The Lord’s Prayer is in part: “Father forgive us as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Forgiveness is conditional and a failure to forgive is both murder and theft, in breach of the sixth and the eighth commandments. It precludes the self-righteous from entering the Kingdom of God. With the self righteous the theft is of quality of life of those around them, and condition of forgiveness of the truly repentant. Through their ignorance they do not enter the Kingdom of God themselves and prevent others who might otherwise have entered in from doing so.
Theft of a man’s wife involves a series of penalties. Abimelech was to be punished even though he had not slept with Sarah, but had merely taken her, because Abraham said she was his sister. Although this statement was true it withheld other vital truth, and it nevertheless placed Abimelech in a position where both he and his nation could have been destroyed (cf. Gen. 20:3-7). The seventh commandment was thus in force at this time also and understood by the Gentiles. In spite of Abraham’s sins he was a prophet and God heard his prayers to Him. God had chosen him and set him apart and would deal with him in spite of those sins. Abraham was thus not justified by his own actions, but by the Grace of God alone (cf. Gen. 20:3-7, 14-18). He then blessed Abimelech as he cared for Abraham. God will preserve all nations through the faith as He did then (Isa. 2:4). God gave to us this ministry of reconciliation (2Cor. 5:18)
We have seen that any stealing by finding or unlawful retention, or removal and withholding by dishonesty is to be restored with a fifth of the value added to the item, and the cost of an offering to God through the priesthood added as well (cf. Lev. 6:1-5 above). Where something is removed and killed, or sold or disposed of in such manner then the value of the items is paid at a much higher rate of penalty. In the case of cattle he shall restore five for one; or the case of sheep he shall restore four for one. If it is found in his hand and still alive, he restores double. If he is caught breaking into property under the cover of darkness, he can be killed without penalty of homicide. If he is killed after sunrise, then the killer is to pay the penalty.
The thief is to make full restitution, or be sold into bondage for his theft. Negligence in damages through fire is also considered theft, requiring full restitution. Loss by withholding of another’s property while in safekeeping requires double repayment.
Exodus 22:1-15 If a man shall steal an ox, or a sheep, and kill it, or sell it; he shall restore five oxen for an ox, and four sheep for a sheep. 2If a thief be found breaking up, and be smitten that he die, there shall no blood be shed for him. 3If the sun be risen upon him, there shall be blood shed for him; for he should make full restitution; if he have nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft. 4If the theft be certainly found in his hand alive, whether it be ox, or ass, or sheep; he shall restore double. 5If a man shall cause a field or vineyard to be eaten, and shall put in his beast, and shall feed in another man's field; of the best of his own field, and of the best of his own vineyard, shall he make restitution. 6If fire break out, and catch in thorns, so that the stacks of corn, or the standing corn, or the field, be consumed therewith; he that kindled the fire shall surely make restitution. 7If a man shall deliver unto his neighbour money or stuff to keep, and it be stolen out of the man's house; if the thief be found, let him pay double. 8If the thief be not found, then the master of the house shall be brought unto the judges, to see whether he have put his hand unto his neighbour's goods. 9For all manner of trespass, whether it be for ox, for ass, for sheep, for raiment, or for any manner of lost thing, which another challengeth to be his, the cause of both parties shall come before the judges; and whom the judges shall condemn, he shall pay double unto his neighbour. 10If a man deliver unto his neighbour an ass, or an ox, or a sheep, or any beast, to keep; and it die, or be hurt, or driven away, no man seeing it: 11Then shall an oath of the LORD be between them both, that he hath not put his hand unto his neighbour's goods; and the owner of it shall accept thereof, and he shall not make it good. 12And if it be stolen from him, he shall make restitution unto the owner thereof. 13If it be torn in pieces, then let him bring it for witness, and he shall not make good that which was torn. 14And if a man borrow ought of his neighbour, and it be hurt, or die, the owner thereof being not with it, he shall surely make it good. 15But if the owner thereof be with it, he shall not make it good: if it be an hired thing, it came for his hire. (KJV)
The law regarding restoration of things killed whilst in our charge or borrowed goes to the question of restoration due to negligent acts. Thus the requirement to take due care of property delivered to one’s charge has another branch of the law. In modern terms, the person in charge of the item is responsible for its death or damage, and must make good the loss to the person in original and true ownership. However, if he was in charge and it was damaged by wild beasts, he must prove the fact, and then will be absolved of responsibility as it could have happened no matter who was in charge.
Setting aside by vows or obligation
Leviticus 27:1-34 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 2Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When a man shall make a singular vow, the persons shall be for the LORD by thy estimation. 3And thy estimation shall be of the male from twenty years old even unto sixty years old, even thy estimation shall be fifty shekels of silver, after the shekel of the sanctuary. 4And if it be a female, then thy estimation shall be thirty shekels. 5And if it be from five years old even unto twenty years old, then thy estimation shall be of the male twenty shekels, and for the female ten shekels. 6And if it be from a month old even unto five years old, then thy estimation shall be of the male five shekels of silver, and for the female thy estimation shall be three shekels of silver. 7And if it be from sixty years old and above; if it be a male, then thy estimation shall be fifteen shekels, and for the female ten shekels. 8 But if he be poorer than thy estimation, then he shall present himself before the priest, and the priest shall value him; according to his ability that vowed shall the priest value him. 9And if it be a beast, whereof men bring an offering unto the LORD, all that any man giveth of such unto the LORD shall be holy. 10He shall not alter it, nor change it, a good for a bad, or a bad for a good: and if he shall at all change beast for beast, then it and the exchange thereof shall be holy. 11And if it be any unclean beast, of which they do not offer a sacrifice unto the LORD, then he shall present the beast before the priest: 12And the priest shall value it, whether it be good or bad: as thou valuest it, who art the priest, so shall it be. 13But if he will at all redeem it, then he shall add a fifth part thereof unto thy estimation. 14And when a man shall sanctify his house to be holy unto the LORD, then the priest shall estimate it, whether it be good or bad: as the priest shall estimate it, so shall it stand. 15And if he that sanctified it will redeem his house, then he shall add the fifth part of the money of thy estimation unto it, and it shall be his. 16And if a man shall sanctify unto the LORD some part of a field of his possession, then thy estimation shall be according to the seed thereof: an homer of barley seed shall be valued at fifty shekels of silver. 17If he sanctify his field from the year of jubile, according to thy estimation it shall stand. 18But if he sanctify his field after the jubile, then the priest shall reckon unto him the money according to the years that remain, even unto the year of the jubile, and it shall be abated from thy estimation. 19And if he that sanctified the field will in any wise redeem it, then he shall add the fifth part of the money of thy estimation unto it, and it shall be assured to him. 20And if he will not redeem the field, or if he have sold the field to another man, it shall not be redeemed any more. 21But the field, when it goeth out in the jubile, shall be holy unto the LORD, as a field devoted; the possession thereof shall be the priest's. 22And if a man sanctify unto the LORD a field which he hath bought, which is not of the fields of his possession; 23Then the priest shall reckon unto him the worth of thy estimation, even unto the year of the jubile: and he shall give thine estimation in that day, as a holy thing unto the LORD. 24In the year of the jubile the field shall return unto him of whom it was bought, even to him to whom the possession of the land did belong. 25And all thy estimations shall be according to the shekel of the sanctuary: twenty gerahs shall be the shekel. 26Only the firstling of the beasts, which should be the LORD'S firstling, no man shall sanctify it; whether it be ox, or sheep: it is the LORD'S. 27And if it be of an unclean beast, then he shall redeem it according to thine estimation, and shall add a fifth part of it thereto: or if it be not redeemed, then it shall be sold according to thy estimation. 28Notwithstanding no devoted thing, that a man shall devote unto the LORD of all that he hath, both of man and beast, and of the field of his possession, shall be sold or redeemed: every devoted thing is most holy unto the LORD. 29None devoted, which shall be devoted of men, shall be redeemed; but shall surely be put to death. 30And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD'S: it is holy unto the LORD. 31And if a man will at all redeem ought of his tithes, he shall add thereto the fifth part thereof. 32And concerning the tithe of the herd, or of the flock, even of whatsoever passeth under the rod, the tenth shall be holy unto the LORD. 33He shall not search whether it be good or bad, neither shall he change it: and if he change it at all, then both it and the change thereof shall be holy; it shall not be redeemed. 34These are the commandments, which the LORD commanded Moses for the children of Israel in mount Sinai. (KJV)
The entire concept of the tithes and redemption is such that all that is dedicated to the Lord of clean animals cannot be redeemed, as it points towards the elect as the first fruits in the harvest. Redeeming the tithes is withholding, and is to incur the twenty per cent or one fifth penalty that is mandatory in withholding another’s property. For the tithe is God’s property.
Procedures and judicial order
All commandments carry the capacity to place in ward or detention pending judicial order (cf. Lev. 24:12; Num. 15:34; 1Kgs 22:27). No decision can be delayed unreasonably; justice must be swift.
There are to be levels of judges, so that all matters may be dealt with swiftly and at the appropriate level (Ex. 18:12-24). No man is to do to another that which he would not have men do to him (Mat. 7:12). Each man’s reward shall return upon his own head (Obadiah 15).
The Sabbath Year is a year of release and must be taken into account in all judicial orders, in contracts and in damages. All damages and prices must relate to the jubilee and the Sabbaths, and no awards can be made which run counter to the jubilee system (cf. also the paper Law and the Fourth Commandment (No. 256)).
Restoration by release
We are to restore all men at the Year of Release. We are not to make men slaves physically or financially by being in our servitude or in our debt (cf. Deut. 15:1-18 above).
In all the inheritance that the Lord has given us, the workers of the church or the appointed priesthood labour for us, and thus must be kept or sustained from out of the tithes and offerings of the faith. We are not to steal from those whom God has set apart to do His work.
Deuteronomy 18:1-8 The priests the Levites, and all the tribe of Levi, shall have no part nor inheritance with Israel: they shall eat the offerings of the LORD made by fire, and his inheritance. 2Therefore shall they have no inheritance among their brethren: the LORD is their inheritance, as he hath said unto them. 3And this shall be the priest's due from the people, from them that offer a sacrifice, whether it be ox or sheep; and they shall give unto the priest the shoulder, and the two cheeks, and the maw. 4The firstfruit also of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the first of the fleece of thy sheep, shalt thou give him. 5For the LORD thy God hath chosen him out of all thy tribes, to stand to minister in the name of the LORD, him and his sons for ever. 6And if a Levite come from any of thy gates out of all Israel, where he sojourned, and come with all the desire of his mind unto the place which the LORD shall choose; 7Then he shall minister in the name of the LORD his God, as all his brethren the Levites do, which stand there before the LORD. 8They shall have like portions to eat, beside that which cometh of the sale of his patrimony. (KJV)
The Levites were set apart and now the priesthood of Melchisedek is also set apart (cf. Heb. 7:1-8:13).
Numbers 1:47 But the Levites after the tribe of their fathers were not numbered among them. (KJV)
The priesthood is set aside for God, as the entire elect are God’s chosen priesthood.
Numbers 8:13-19 And thou shalt set the Levites before Aaron, and before his sons, and offer them for an offering unto the LORD. 14Thus shalt thou separate the Levites from among the children of Israel: and the Levites shall be mine. 15And after that shall the Levites go in to do the service of the tabernacle of the congregation: and thou shalt cleanse them, and offer them for an offering. 16For they are wholly given unto me from among the children of Israel; instead of such as open every womb, even instead of the firstborn of all the children of Israel, have I taken them unto me. 17For all the firstborn of the children of Israel are mine, both man and beast: on the day that I smote every firstborn in the land of Egypt I sanctified them for myself. 18And I have taken the Levites for all the firstborn of the children of Israel. 19And I have given the Levites as a gift to Aaron and to his sons from among the children of Israel, to do the service of the children of Israel in the tabernacle of the congregation, and to make an atonement for the children of Israel: that there be no plague among the children of Israel, when the children of Israel come nigh unto the sanctuary. (KJV)
The Levites pointed towards the church and they symbolised the entire nation of Israel as God’s firstborn. So now the church symbolises the firstborn of the nations and the salvation of the world.
Numbers 18:15-18 Every thing that openeth the matrix in all flesh, which they bring unto the LORD, whether it be of men or beasts, shall be thine: nevertheless the firstborn of man shalt thou surely redeem, and the firstling of unclean beasts shalt thou redeem. 16And those that are to be redeemed from a month old shalt thou redeem, according to thine estimation, for the money of five shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary, which is twenty gerahs. 17But the firstling of a cow, or the firstling of a sheep, or the firstling of a goat, thou shalt not redeem; they are holy: thou shalt sprinkle their blood upon the altar, and shalt burn their fat for an offering made by fire, for a sweet savour unto the LORD. 18And the flesh of them shall be thine, as the wave breast and as the right shoulder are thine. (KJV)
In all the laws of the offerings, we are to use that which is set aside for the Lord in the right manner, and we are not to misuse it before it is given to God. Withholding of the firstborn is theft, and so the elect who are all to become kings and priests cannot be withheld from God. Thus the blemished animals can be eaten, but only the unblemished can be set aside for God. This represents the fact that the elect have their robes made white in the blood of the lamb and are set aside to work for God under His Christ (cf. Deut. 15:19-23 above).
Deuteronomy 26:1-19 And it shall be, when thou art come in unto the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance, and possessest it, and dwellest therein; 2That thou shalt take of the first of all the fruit of the earth, which thou shalt bring of thy land that the LORD thy God giveth thee, and shalt put it in a basket, and shalt go unto the place which the LORD thy God shall choose to place his name there. 3And thou shalt go unto the priest that shall be in those days, and say unto him, I profess this day unto the LORD thy God, that I am come unto the country which the LORD sware unto our fathers for to give us. 4And the priest shall take the basket out of thine hand, and set it down before the altar of the LORD thy God. 5And thou shalt speak and say before the LORD thy God, A Syrian ready to perish was my father, and he went down into Egypt, and sojourned there with a few, and became there a nation, great, mighty, and populous: 6And the Egyptians evil entreated us, and afflicted us, and laid upon us hard bondage: 7And when we cried unto the LORD God of our fathers, the LORD heard our voice, and looked on our affliction, and our labour, and our oppression: 8And the LORD brought us forth out of Egypt with a mighty hand, and with an outstretched arm, and with great terribleness, and with signs, and with wonders: 9And he hath brought us into this place, and hath given us this land, even a land that floweth with milk and honey. 10And now, behold, I have brought the firstfruits of the land, which thou, O LORD, hast given me. And thou shalt set it before the LORD thy God, and worship before the LORD thy God: 11And thou shalt rejoice in every good thing which the LORD thy God hath given unto thee, and unto thine house, thou, and the Levite, and the stranger that is among you. 12When thou hast made an end of tithing all the tithes of thine increase the third year, which is the year of tithing, and hast given it unto the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, that they may eat within thy gates, and be filled; 13Then thou shalt say before the LORD thy God, I have brought away the hallowed things out of mine house, and also have given them unto the Levite, and unto the stranger, to the fatherless, and to the widow, according to all thy commandments which thou hast commanded me: I have not transgressed thy commandments, neither have I forgotten them: 14I have not eaten thereof in my mourning, neither have I taken away ought thereof for any unclean use, nor given ought thereof for the dead: but I have hearkened to the voice of the LORD my God, and have done according to all that thou hast commanded me. 15Look down from thy holy habitation, from heaven, and bless thy people Israel, and the land which thou hast given us, as thou swarest unto our fathers, a land that floweth with milk and honey. 16This day the LORD thy God hath commanded thee to do these statutes and judgments: thou shalt therefore keep and do them with all thine heart, and with all thy soul. 17Thou hast avouched the LORD this day to be thy God, and to walk in his ways, and to keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his judgments, and to hearken unto his voice: 18And the LORD hath avouched thee this day to be his peculiar people, as he hath promised thee, and that thou shouldest keep all his commandments; 19And to make thee high above all nations which he hath made, in praise, and in name, and in honour; and that thou mayest be an holy people unto the LORD thy God, as he hath spoken. (KJV)
Thus the tithes and the Feasts are therefore mandatory and look forward to the restoration. Failure to keep the Feasts and provide the tithes is theft, and precludes the individual from the first resurrection. Tithes and offerings also may not be used for the dead as was common in the funerary practice of the pagans in ancient days.
Compliance and freedom
Each of our people was bought with a price, thus we cannot become the slaves or servants of men (1Cor. 7:23). We are neither to be servants nor to make other people servants. We are commanded not to steal. Taking the liberty and birthright of others is simple theft, and precludes the thief from the Kingdom of God. Stand fast in the liberty which made us free and by obedience preserves our own freedom, and the freedom of others (Gal. 5:1).
Failure to comply: negligently or deliberately
Failure to comply with any judicial order relating to the commandments is potentially punishable by death. Each person is to ensure that all the law is maintained. The eighth commandment is no exception. Failure to deal with the property of another is negligence in the letter and spirit of the law.
Deuteronomy 22:1-4 Thou shalt not see thy brother's ox or his sheep go astray, and hide thyself from them: thou shalt in any case bring them again unto thy brother. 2And if thy brother be not nigh unto thee, or if thou know him not, then thou shalt bring it unto thine own house, and it shall be with thee until thy brother seek after it, and thou shalt restore it to him again. 3In like manner shalt thou do with his ass; and so shalt thou do with his raiment; and with all lost thing of thy brother's, which he hath lost, and thou hast found, shalt thou do likewise: thou mayest not hide thyself. 4Thou shalt not see thy brother's ass or his ox fall down by the way, and hide thyself from them: thou shalt surely help him to lift them up again. (KJV)
Likewise, the obligation exists to reveal a breach of the law (Deut. 22:24). Failure to disclose is consent to the offence and even to have pleasure in those that do them (Ps. 50:18; Rom. 1:32; 1Tim. 5:22). If any seek to make profit by false witness, then the same shall be done to them as would have been done to the person accused (Deut. 19:18,19). We must not withhold witness in a matter (Prov. 24:10-12) (cf. the paper Law and the Ninth Commandment (No. 262)).
No man is to do violence to another by breach of any commandment (Prov. 28:17; cf. Lk. 10:29-30). To conceal one’s own theft by dishonesty, and thus implicate another by fraud or entrapment, is the most malicious form of theft.
Christ said that the Pharisees tithed mint and cumin, but passed over judgment and the love of God. They had to do both of these things (Lk. 11:42).
Property laws and the eighth commandment are in place to protect the individual in society, and to protect the society from the individual. Property is not an end in itself; it is merely the means by which we ensure the well being of each other.
To get is not God’s way. To make and create, so that each individual is enriched by our presence on the planet is the thrust of the law and the prophets.
Summary of crime and punishment
Deuteronomy 24:7 If a man be found stealing any of his brethren of the children of Israel, and maketh merchandise of him, or selleth him; then that thief shall die; and thou shalt put evil away from among you. (KJV)
In this text, kidnapping is punishable by death; however, there is a larger concept in this text which carries on to the concept of making merchandise of each other. Hence, organisations that seek to make conscription and selling of other people part of the merchandise network are in breach of God’s Law, and the individuals involved must repent. No person can steal the quality of life of another and inherit the Kingdom of God.
The law of property is simply a physical aspect of a higher spiritual law. Stealing from man is simply stealing from God in another form. If we cannot be trusted in upholding physical things, how can we be trusted in spiritual matters? We must repent and learn to love one another, upholding the welfare of each other in freedom and purity.