|BIBLE STUDY SERIES #122, 123 and 124|
20 March, 1994
By Douglas C. Nesbit, B.A.
We have been following God's Great Plan for the restoration of His Creation, as recorded in Genesis and Exodus, the first two Books of the Bible. Presently, we are taking up each of the Ten Commandments in turn, as delivered to Moses by The Almighty God on Mount Sinai, and written on stone tablets to be taken by him, down to the tribes of the Children of Israel gathered at the foot of the mountain. These Commandments are recorded in Exodus 20, and today, we have arrived at the Eighth Commandment, which we find in verse 15. Like the Sixth, Seventh and Ninth, it is a very short commandment, which states:
15. Thou shalt not steal.
The New Bible Commentary, under the heading "The sanctity of property (xx.15)", notes that "this law assumes the right to own personal property. To steal implies not only direct theft, but also the acquisition of property by taking advantage of another's ignorance or weakness. See Dt. v. 19n."
When we turn to the indicated passage, Deuteronomy 5:19, we find the Commandment as repeated by Moses to the next generation of Israelites, before their entry to the Promised Land, in the words "Neither shalt thou steal."
There is here no concept of community ownership, or communism, for ownership is manifestly by individual people. If by volunteering to contribute to a common purpose, an individual might be said to hold an interest in some wider project, that project is still proportionally the property of each individual thus combined in purpose, and such ownership must never be by coercion of others whether by individual or governmental decree. Indeed, we find in the case of land ownership, that certain property rights must revert to the previous owner at stated times, which are designated as years of Jubilee, even though the land may have been sold during the intervening years.
The New Bible Commentary (Revised) merely states "The right to own private property is to be respected, and the penalties for theft are given (Ex. 21:16; 22:1)."
Thus we have to seek other Biblical passages in order to define and amplify the concepts indicated in this commandment. In one example, Exodus 21:16, it says "And he that stealeth a man, and selleth him, or if he be found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death." Here, the commandment against stealing is seen to extend to kidnapping, which might have been for the purpose of selling the captive elsewhere as a slave in order to obtain either money or some other consideration. That law may also apply to cases where a ransom is demanded as extortion from the person's family, which amounts to selling him back to his family in exchange for money or some other demand. It is noteworthy that, if a person be found doing this, the penalty is "he shall surely be put to death."
In the other example mentioned, Exodus 22:1, we see "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. Thus the penalties vary according to the severity of the crime in the sight of God.
Though some penalties may at first sight appear harsh, these penalties must be respected, consistent, of course, with the right of the one who is victimised to forgive. This is because the full evil ramifications of the crime, down through the concourse of subsequent history, are only open to the omniscience of the all-seeing God, The Creator, Himself, and thus the penalties are those which are, in His knowledge, required in order to properly and sufficiently remedy the situation caused by the thief.
Keil and Delitzsch explain that, like the previous law against adultery, a law which was designed to protect the family and likewise the nation, and to preserve "the propagation and multiplication" of both family and nation, the Eighth Commandment would establish that "property was to be equally inviolable." Keil and Delitzsch continue: "The command 'Thou shalt not steal,' prohibited not only the secret or open removal of another person's property, but injury done to it, or fraudulent retention of it, through carelessness or indifference (chapter xxi.33, xxii.13, xxiii.4,5; Deut. xxii 1-4)."
If we examine the examples quoted by Keil and Delitzsch, we find in Exodus 21:33, "And if a man shall open a pit, or if a man shall dig a pit, and not cover it, and an ox or an ass fall therein; The owner of the pit shall make it good, and give money unto the owner of them; and the dead beast shall be his." While the specific Biblical wording quoted in this example relates to an ox or an ass, the principle is obviously applicable to a much wider range of circumstances in our own day.
The example taken from Exodus 22:13 relates to the disappearance of one man's possession if left in the care of another. Certain circumstances may be due to negligence, and restitution is appropriate. In others, evidence may be accepted as proof of innocence. Thus, we see that Old Testament Laws are eminently sensible, logical and just.
Stealing can also apply to almost anything which may belong to an individual; even to a person's good name and reputation.
We might consider one aspect of the Law against stealing, which is particularly needful at the present time. Stealing is specified where any person or group of people lend money or any other valuables to other people on condition that a greater amount be returned than was originally loaned. This matter of charging even the slightest amount of interest on a loan to one's fellow Israelites is strictly forbidden by the Law code of Almighty God, as we shall be examining in greater detail on a forthcoming programme. However, as it does fall under the heading of stealing, let us look briefly at the matter.
We might, at first, ask ourselves why charging interest on a loan is stated to be wrong in the Law System of The Almighty God. "How can we call it stealing?", we might ask. "Surely", we might say, "it is normal investment practice to charge interest? I do it myself," we might add, "when I receive interest on my government bonds. Everybody does it"
However, the reason God calls it stealing will, by now, have at least begun to dawn on great numbers of our citizenry.
This false and sinful system has become a fearsome burden upon the governments of the world. In our own time, a fraudulent financial fiction has been cultivated and it now pervades all nations. The underlying false assumption in this Babylonian system of finance is that only a small group of people are financial wizards, morally incorruptable, peculiarly talented and educated in monetary matters, and that everyone else must permit this group to hold the world's monopoly on the creation of money. The corollary is that only they are allowed to be solvent.
According to this fraudulent system, the governments of whole nations must constantly return, year by year, cap-in-hand, so to speak, to ask this privileged group to make yet greater and greater loans to meet the unpayable interest on the former loans that are assembled and called the national debt.
This fraud is based on a totally fictitious assertion to the effect that only international bankers have a supply of, or can create, money, and that they alone must possess the monopoly on the loaning of the same. The result is a financial game of musical chairs in which the victims struggle to obtain the needed credits in order to meet interest service-charges on ever larger debts or failing to find a chair, to declare bankruptcy.
We even close whole military bases and hospital wings across our land, accept orders by government ministers to "tighten our belts" and pay mounting taxes, force small businesses to bankruptcy, flood the labour market with keen but jobless graduates and cut off welfare recipients if necessary, all in order to maintain this fraud.
However the bubble is about to burst. It is becoming more and more self-evident as we contemplate the mathematical impossibility of ever reaching solvency by digging ourselves continuously further and further into our financial hole. It is impossible ever to climb out of debt-obligations if the only permissible source of money to repay interest is further debt-sourced loan money.
Once the process has been initiated, as it was with the founding of the Bank of England three-hundred years ago in 1694, a nation is like a fish on an inexorable hook. It may flounder about, trying to leap out of the water, and through exhausting expenditure of frantic energy applied to taxation, whip up great splashes of froth by way of government debate, but all such activities are to no avail. Mathematically there is only one answer. What is required is the extraction of the hooked bait of the debt-interest system from the mouth, not useless attempts to extract money from the citizenry through taxes, lost industries, lost services or going again to the same poisoned bait of debt money.
We need debt-free creation of our money; our means of exchanging goods and services. Sovereign governments of the world have every right to create their own national money supply as a debt-free facilitator of exchange. Exactly the same amounts of cash as are presently placed in circulation by borrowing could, and should, be created and spent - not as debt, but as national credit, in order to allow all the things physically possible to our peoples to proceed. It will come eventually, for the mathematics of interest on loaned money will eventually, in the near future, totally strangle our financial life from us, and we will be forced to bow to the laws of Almighty God, which were given to our forefathers at Mount Sinai for our national well being.
"Thou shalt not steal" is God's order to the financial world in this present hour. If earthquake or other natural disasters strike critical financial centres of the earth, a domino effect can, through computer crash, tumble the whole fraudulent system in one hour. That, indeed, might describe the prophesied end of Babylon the Great. In Luke 16:9, Jesus Christ advised His followers to "make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness", or, in other words, to use our financial resources, presently debt-based though they be, while there is yet time, before all fraudulently based values are wiped away. Let the wise understand. This is for our generation. We shall continue our studies on our next programme.
27 March, 1994
By Douglas C. Nesbit, B.A.
Week by week we are taking up, in sequence, a series of Bible Studies which examine the Great Plan by which Almighty God is steadily drawing His Creation towards the perfection of His Kingdom. This series has brought us from the call of Abram down to The Exodus, and the formation of a national entity through which it has pleased Almighty God to work in accomplishing that task. We now find ourselves, with the Children of Israel, at the foot of Mount Sinai where the tribes of Israel await the return of Moses from the summit of that mount.
In Exodus 20, we find recorded the well-known listing of the Ten Commandments, which form our immediate focus of interest, and, during the last eight weeks, we have examined each of a number of these, taking them up one at a time on our weekly programme. Thus far we have noted that the first group of five relate to our duty towards The Almighty God or to those who stand as His representatives to their children. In the second set of five Commandments, we read those which order our duties towards our fellow man.
As New Bible Commentary headings pertaining to this second set of five Commandments show us, these relate to "The sanctity of human life," "The sanctity of marriage," "The sanctity of property," "The sanctity of our neighbour's good name," and a law "Against covetousness." We have now reached the Ninth of these Commandments, recorded in Exodus 20:16, and a remarkably important one it turns out to be. The Ninth Commandment states:
16. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
In Deuteronomy 5:20, almost identical words were repeated by Moses to the next generation of Israelites as they prepared to enter the Promised Land, saying "Neither shalt thou bear false witness against thy neighbour."
The New Bible Commentary note says of this Commandment, which pertains to the sanctity of our neighbour's good name: "'Thy neighbour' includes all fellow men. Defamation of another's character is prohibited, not only formally in a court of law, but by any false statement whatever." The New Bible Commentary (Revised) adds a statement to the effect that the penalties are given in Deuteronomy 19:16-21.
Keil and Delitzsch point out that the wording in Exodus means "'Thou shalt not answer as a false witness against thy neighbour,' i.e. give false testimony against him." They point out that in Deuteronomy, the wording means "one who says what is vain, worthless, unfounded... From this it is evident, that not only is lying prohibited, but false and unfounded evidence in general; and not only evidence before a judge, but false evidence of every kind, by which, (according to the context) the life, married relation, or property of a neighbour might be endangered..."
There are various aspects to this law, then, because there are various ways in which a false witness may be given. It can apply in the case of an absolute lie wherein witnesses are in court to testify against an accused. Even before the codification of The Law at Mount Sinai, we find a Biblical example of this in the case of Joseph in Potiphar's house, in Genesis 39:7-20. Joseph refused the advances of Potiphar's wife, and by her false witness, he was placed in prison for twelve years.
Other Biblical examples can be cited. In I Kings 21, we find that King Ahab, who reigned in Samaria over the Ten-tribed nation of Israel, had a neighbour, called Naboth the Jezreelite, who owned a choice vineyard next to King Ahab's palace. The King desired to have it, but Naboth refused his offer to purchase the plot in question. When the offer to purchase was refused, Ahab's wife, Jezebel, took a hand. She wrote letters in Ahab's name, sealed with his seal, to the elders and to the nobles of the city saying "Proclaim a fast, and set Naboth on high among the people: And set two men, sons of Belial, before him, to bear witness against him, saying, Thou didst blaspheme God and the king. And then carry him out, and stone him, that he may die." This was done, and Elijah was sent by God to confront Ahab in Naboth's confiscated vineyard, concerning this great sin.
During the trial of Our Lord before the Sanhedrin, as we see in Mark 14:55-59, St. Mark records an incident wherein lying witnesses were sought:
55. And the chief priests and all the council sought for witness against Jesus to put him to death; and found none.
56. For many bare false witness against him, but their witness agreed not together.
57. And there arose certain, and bare false witness against him, saying,
58. We heard him say, I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands.
59. But neither so did their witness agree together.
If you are interested to find out why that witness was false, carefully compare their words with those of Jesus in John 2:18-22.
Stephen was stoned at the testimony of false witnesses delivered in Acts 6:9-15, while St. Paul, himself, was thus accused in Acts 25:7.
False witness can apply in matters of intimate gossip between two people about some third party. It can apply in the area of slanted or one-sided news-reporting in all forms of the mass-media; taking the form of barely legal slander on a radio programme, for example, or of carefully phrased words conveying an impression which verges upon libel in a book.
Sometimes while a person is shown on the T.V. news, speaking in the background, a news commentator substitutes a shortened commentary to squeeze the item to the requisite ten-second clip. The broadcast editor's filtered statement opens the door to distortion of the position presented rather than allowing the person to speak for himself. One would be foolish to insist that all reporters can on every occasion present a fully-balanced, truthful substitute.
A false report is gendered when fantasy or fiction is used day after day, in escapist episodes or serious drama on screen and television, to plant a distorted concept of right and wrong in the minds of viewers concerning certain issues of race, religion, history or culture which if truth be known, runs directly counter to Scriptural injunction. Often such distortions arise where a Satanic egalitarian philosophy is used to divert God's people from the exclusive service to which The Almighty has called them.
Indeed, in Genesis 3:1-5, the story of the Garden of Eden, we find the serpent lying to Eve by questioning God's word regarding the forbidden fruit, stating "Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil." In that connection, in John 8:44, Jesus stated of the devil, "He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it."
The result of such distortions in plays and films, then, will often be that those who seek to uphold God's directives for the nation will be seen as reprehensible characters worthy of disdain or worse. Such practices build to the condition wherein politicians, sensing the public mood, will introduce legislation which runs counter to God's expressed will for His Israel people.
A false report is created in cases where one part of a story is given, but not the rest of the truth which would have materially altered the impression of guilt or innocence imparted to the hearer, or where the insertion of one falsehood in an otherwise truthful report throws the impression of guilt upon an innocent party.
In simple terms, for example, suppose someone we call A is reported as having struck someone called B. Our view of A's guilt might be revised if the report had included the omitted fact that B had first struck A a number of times without provocation. The same situation may occur where whole nations have contested their rights over many years. Without all the facts, an entirely false impression may be conveyed.
Nations may be sent to war against other nations on the basis of entirely false, or mis-leading, slanted news reports, concertedly conveyed by a media catering to powers with a private agenda. Even the United Nations is not immune. Should war result from such slanted news, those whose false reports created the situation break the Ninth Commandment, and would be guilty of murder just as much as if they had done the deed with their own hands.
A false report can, indeed, be found wherever Satan seeks to upset relationships displeasing to himself between one person and another, or between a person and his God.
Let us bring the matter to a personal level. Have you ever been shocked to discover that someone is telling outright lies concerning you, and that those lies are being picked up and believed by others? Perhaps you have had the experience of being entirely mis-understood, and of motives completely foreign to your character being ascribed to you. It is far easier to make such unfounded allegations than it is for the innocent party to locate evidence which will prove their innocence.
Occasionally false witnesses make reference to our British-Israel-World Federation. Those who have thus spoken break the Ninth Commandment.
Our studies will continue on our next programme with an examination of the Tenth Commandment.
3 April, 1994
By Douglas C. Nesbit, B.A.
Our present series of Bible Studies is designed to examine the Great Plan whereby The Almighty God is moving to re-constitute His Creation to a more perfect order. God has chosen to work through his human creation by bringing into being, of one selected line, that which descends through Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the whole nation of Israel, and therein to provide, in the person of Jesus Christ, the focal point of His mighty purpose. That tribal people, having been extracted from generations of bondage experience in the land of Egypt through The Exodus, is, as we approach today's study, presently being constituted God's holy nation at Mount Sinai.
Over the course of the last nine weeks, we have been examining, in turn, each of the first nine of The Ten Commandments, the basic Law Code which this people is to receive, and follow, and today, we have reached the Tenth Commandment. It ought not to be assumed that these Ten Commandments complete the whole, for there will follow many subsequent amplifying details, as further Judgments and Ordinances will follow. This is as we should expect when the whole national life of this gathering of Tribes is being reformed as an holy people, a kingdom of priests, in fact, towards the rest of humanity by Yahweh, the God of their forefathers.
The last of these Ten Commandments is found in Exodus 20:17, and it reads:
17. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's.
In Deuteronomy 5:21, we find the same law, as it was repeated by Moses to a subsequent generation of Israelites as they prepared to enter The Promised Land, and here, we read the parallel passage:
Neither shalt thou desire thy neighbour's wife, neither shalt thou covet thy neighbour's house, his field, or his manservant, or his maidservant, his ox, or his ass, or any thing that is thy neighbour's.
The New Bible Commentary bears the following note in explanation of this Law which, it renders briefly as "Against covetousness." It says: "The last commandment lies at the root of the previous four. Man is responsible to God not only for his actions but also for his thoughts, and observance of this will save him from the breach of those others. Thus the word of Christ (Mt. v.27, 28) was only, as He Himself said, a fulfilment of the ancient divine law." The words of Christ to which that reference points form part of the great Sermon on the Mount, and were as follows: "Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart."
That statement by Our Lord Himself puts a real cutting edge upon the words of the Law, for it takes away any potential argument which otherwise might be used as an excuse by a person who seeks to abide by the letter of the Law as a legalist while allowing the spirit thereof to be ignored in seeking apparent legal loop-holes or excuses for deviance. Covetousness is the dangerous, selfish mind-set which precedes and plans the manner by which to accomplish all the illegal activities that can follow it.
The New Bible Commentary (Revised) puts the matter of this Tenth Commandment thus: "Man's inward state, his thoughts and desires, are not hidden from God and come under His law. This lies at the root of the five commandments that precede." The Companion Bible makes the point that this Law addresses, first, the generality of a man's house, then the particulars, "wife, servant, maid (human), Ox and ass (animal)," and then closes with the more sweeping generality, "anything that is thy neighbour's."
Keeping in mind that this law is for those who, as Israelites, are formed nationally in a commitment to this Law Code of Yahweh, the God of Israel, we might ask some further questions. That last extention to this Tenth Commandment, "anything that is thy neighbour's", may extend much further than the obvious which may at once be comprehended. What things belong to "thy neighbour", which we might possibly "covet"?
Is this to be confined to physical, temporary possession of some objects or would it extend to one's good name? Does it merely treat of one's immediate household, or does it extend to the ability to dwell in safety throughout the whole of an Israelite land, which one enjoys in partnership as one moves about the countryside? Does it mean merely that one may preserve books on one's personal bookshelf of which others disapprove if one can first get them across the border past the "politically correct" censors, or does it extend to preservation of one's national Biblical heritage as Israelites, and the associated cultural norms? Does it mean that one may dispose of one's immediate possessions as one desires, or does it include the right to be governed by one's own fellow Israelites unimpeded by cross-currents of multicult? If we even begin to ask these questions, the scene of application of this Law can be viewed as stretching far afield from what we might at first have grasped.
Perhaps, as we raise these questions, we can the better appreciate the genius of the summation of the law given by Jesus in Matthew 19:19 and 22:39, the essence of which is similarly recorded in Mark 12:31, Luke 10:27, Romans 13:9, Galatians 5:14 and James 2:8: "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."
Describing the nature of man, Proverbs 23:7, says "For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he." If a person wishes to make a study on the subject of covetousness, I might suggest that a very good way to begin would be to take a complete concordance such as Young's or Strong's, and, in it, look up all the Biblical references which incorporate the word "heart". A number of these deal with the matter of dissimulation and covetousness in one form or another.
In Matthew 15:7-9, when speaking to those who had set aside the commandment of God to keep their own traditions, Christ said "Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." He continued in verses 19-20: "For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man..."
In Luke 12:15, upon being requested to speak for one of the company regarding a certain inheritance which had not been shared, Jesus, said "Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth." He then related the parable of the rich man whose land had provided abundance, and who decided to replace his barns with greater, but who was destined to die that night, and was not rich toward God. In verse 34, He concluded with the words "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."
In Mark 8:34-37, we find a similar thrust in Christ's words which conclude "For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?"
These warnings ought to be especially noted and understood by those high in the present Babylonian financial system, who lust for dominance in the whole financial and economic world. Does this Law not apply to the mega-bankers who loan cash which they create themselves by the stroke of a pen or a few computer key-strokes out of nothing, but who demand more than they loan to service the debt, and clutch mortgaged farms or properties and force banckruptcies upon the weak and the poor when interest payments cannot be met?
And what are we to say of those national leaders who make for themselves a lavish lifestyle using the funds meant to assist their peoples? We find an answer in Revelation 18 which prophesies the fall of the Babylonian system in one catastrophic hour, and we read of the lamentation of the kings and merchants of the earth at this sudden collapse. The law also applies to the small as to the great, The prophecy even mentions the jewellers, the cosmetics and fashion trade, the musicians or entertainment industry, the craftsmen or labour unions, the millers of grain and all who trade by shipping. It describes the whole of modern commerce.
In Revelation 18:4, God's people are told to "Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues." We, of the British-Israel-World Federation hold that the generally Anglo-Celto-Saxon and kindred peoples are the literal descendants of the anciently deported tribes of Northern Israel, and that it is specifically to such tribal descendants that this injunction is directed in these last days.
Jeremiah 31:33-34, a passage quoted in Hebrews 8:10-12, says: "But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more."
May this great revelation and renewal come to pass soon. May God's people understand the full ramifications of the Tenth Commandment, "Thou shalt not covet..." We shall continue our Bible Studies on our next programme.
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