DIGEST OF THE DIVINE LAW #1
Howard Rand (1942)
The Bible contains precepts and commands which are the God-given authority for the direction and control of humanity. God speaks through various channels. Invariably He chose those through whom He conveyed to His people His commands and through whom He spoke to the people. These men, who were thus used by God to record and transmit His directions to the people for their guidance, were known of old as the priests of God and the prophets. The Bible is a continuous living book composed of numerous books of vast antiquity, and it sets forth four great bodies or sources of Divine Law, viz: The Commandments, the Statutes, the Judgments and the Ordinances, from which axe derived all our rights and duties.
As long as the children of Israel obeyed God’s laws, they prospered in all things but when they turned away from these laws dire trouble and defeat attended them until they finally came back under the Divine Laws, — our God being a forgiving God.
The source or foundation of all law, order and society rests upon authority. Our human lawgivers declare that all power is from the people and in the people, but how blind are these lawgivers, for the Bible tells us that “there is no power but of God.” Again in Isaiah 33:22, we read, “For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king; he will save us.” These statements are the underlying principles of all just governments. When the body of the citizenry realize this fact, then and then only will Satan and his kingdom be destroyed.
Human systems are outgrown. Our human lawgivers and rulers pass on and are succeeded by other humans, who in turn supersede the authority of their predecessors. Old laws are repealed and new ones imposed upon the people, and the vicious circle goes on.
It has been justly stated that all equable codes of jurisprudence are founded upon Biblical teaching, for as Blackstone says: “An enactment is not a law when it conflicts with the law of God.”
After thousands of years of struggle along the lines of reform, the world has failed to find any system of ethics which can compare with that which is taught in the Sermon on the Mount. Whenever we meet the Divine, and we meet the Divine element daily, we come to the tribunal from whence there is no appeal. When God speaks, man can only obey. The truth of a statement depends upon its own nature, but its authority depends upon its origin. That which comes from God, therefore, is, and forever will be, absolute, supreme and final in its authority.
In my experience as a lawyer, a judge and a soldier, I have found the operation of human laws inadequate; and I have become convinced that the Divine Laws, set forth in the Bible, meet every need of man.
General William George Shedden Dobbie, a God-fearing man and the hero of Malta, says: “At the end of everything it is God on whom we must rely.” Captain Eddie Rickenbacker tells us that he and his comrades, after the second day of their terrible ordeal, turned to the Bible and read therefrom morning and evening and Divine Providence answered their prayers for food and deliverance.
A more intimate knowledge of the Bible and the Divine Laws set forth therein becomes increasingly necessary for our preservation as individuals and as a nation, and it is indeed fortunate at this time when our need is so great, that Mr. Howard B. Rand has written this book expounding the Divine Laws to us. He is well qualified by long years of intelligent Bible study to give to the reader a clear interpretation of the Divine Laws, and a thoughtful reading of his book, I am sure, will richly repay the reader.
Joshua 1: 8 says: “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth, but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous and then thou shalt have good success.”
Col. James H. Hayes Rockefeller Flaza New York City December 29, 1942
Old and tried methods of administration are coming to judgment as the past political and economic methods of men give way to a planned economy. Civilization itself, as we have known it, is showing signs of disintegration. Men are striving to build a future economy based upon the present and past knowledge of things as they are and were, and are not taking into consideration certain principles of law, as fundamental in a perfect system of administration and political economy as nature’s laws are fundamental to the things to which they apply.
Because the very happiness of a people depends upon the system of law under which they are required to live it is well to consider the fundamental principles of the perfect administration and the true economy, for unless men know and conform with their requirements they may, in their desire to get away from the evils of the present system, bring upon us conditions far worse than those they are trying to escape.
From time to time Destiny Magazine has directed attention to the law of the Lord, which has resulted in many letters and requests for a digest of the Divine law. It is in answer to these requests that this book is written and while of necessity it must at best be but an outline of that law, yet it is to be hoped that sufficient has been given to set before the reader the fundamental principles which are incorporated in the law.
The opening chapters are devoted to a discussion of the scope of the law and the distinction between laws contained in the ritual and those essential for national administration. This is so for the reason that when dealing with the law of the Lord there is confusion in the minds of many (and especially Christians) who have been taught that they are not subject to the law and therefore the laws contained in Scripture are no longer essential or necessary for them to keep or observe. This is untrue, contrary to Biblical teaching and has caused considerable harm. Let it be always remembered, there are four great bodies of law set forth in the Bible. They are as follows:
Laws contained in Commandments.
Laws set forth in the Statutes.
Laws governing Judgments.
Laws contained in Ordinances.
In this treatise on the law the ordinances are only mentioned in relation to the rest of the law. Jesus Christ fulfilled the requirements of these ordinances. The distinction between them and the laws contained in commandments, statutes and judgments is set forth at length in the first two chapters because of the general confusion regarding this matter.
Unfortunately, when referring to the law, the average theologian intuitively and because of his previous training, thinks only of ordinances when he ought to think in terms of all the law and eliminate the ordinances only — for Jesus eliminated them for us.
When men come to a realization that the commandments apply to individual conduct, the statutes to national administration, and the judgments to decisions rendered under both the commandments and the statutes; then there will come an understanding of the law which will lay a foundation on which to build.
Now laws of administration never enforce themselves and so chapter three deals with the organization of the Kingdom, the purpose of which was to establish a government to administer the perfect law. And because, primarily, the law of the Lord is for the protection of the individual and the family, the importance of this is shown in chapter four, and there, too, will be found the laws governing the health of His people. It is shown also that when the individual is made subservient to the state such is a subversion of the law.
From the family we pass on in the next two chapters to the commandments which deal with the individual relationship to God and to our fellow men and then cover in the following chapter three important laws having to do with prosperity. The three systems of men: capitalism, socialism and communism, are shown as inadequate in bringing security to mankind while the God-given system is shown to bring the blessings of peace and prosperity when men are willing to adopt and abide by its principles. The place of money in the Kingdom and the system of taxation which will be equitable to all is also set forth.
The solution of the problems of capital and labor is given in chapter eight, which is a discussion of those Divine laws which, when put into operation, will bring peace to industry and will give to men — both management and labor — a just return from the production resulting from their joint efforts. Closely tied with this subject is the question of ownership and so in chapter nine property rights are discussed, for the Bible sanctions private ownership and the protection of a man in his possessions. The tendency today is to ignore the rights of private possessions and it can have only one ending: destruction of prosperity and ultimate ruin — unless certain fundamental principles of ownership are recognized and restored.
What is the purpose of government? This question is answered in chapter ten, where the history of the organization of governments is given. The evils of a government in business and business in control of government are shown to destroy the very purpose for which governments were originally organized by God. This chapter also covers the type and form of the coming perfection in government when there will be established a real and only true new order of the ages. And that new order will not be in conformity with the plans of those who today are striving to make the world safe for democracy.
Following in chapter eleven is set forth the equitable and just method of court procedure in the laws of jurisprudence. It is shown that both rich and poor are to fare alike before the law and the evil doer is truly penalized, while the righteous are rewarded.
What of the war? When aggressors attack our nation what shall our attitude be? These questions have perplexed many Christians and yet if they were acquainted with the law of the Lord they would know that they must defend their government against all aggression. The pacifist stand is against the law and is unscriptural, all of which is covered in the twelfth chapter, as well as the laws of war when His people are forced to defend their government and nation.
The closing chapter deals with the instruction of Jesus to His followers regarding citizenship in the Kingdom, their attitude towards the law and the way they can secure the blessing of peace. In this instruction of the King to His Cabinet there is detailed the requirements of citizenship in the Kingdom and the commandments for individuals to observe. This chapter ends with an outline of the conditions which will be extant in the coming new order when the judges will not judge according to the seeing of their eyes nor hear according to the hearing of their ears, but they will know the thoughts and intents of the hearts of those who stand before them for judgment. Not only is the law to be written into the hearts of His people but judgment is to be rendered in accord with the desire of the heart. Under the administration and rule of the administrators of that day, nothing will harm nor hurt throughout the entire land.
Our nation faces a political and economic crisis today. It is imperative that, as a people, we make the right choice in the type of law and form of administration which will be adopted by this nation. We shall not be able to continue in accord with the old order. Certain groups are already planning an economy of regimentation for our nation; but it will only intensify the suffering and want of the past and bring to our people all the evils that will result from such planning by a group of men who are failing to take into consideration the fundamental principles underlying the law of the Lord. They cannot successfully plan life and happiness apart from the full application of these laws. Their plans, brought to completion, would only result in misery, destitution, want and tyranny. But there is a solution and in this book the reader is presented with the key! It is — The Divine Law.
In this Digest of the Divine Law there is set forth the only possible solution which will prevent ultimate economic chaos and political oblivion. Such will face our nation if this people refuse to accept, as a nation, the administration of His commandments, statutes and judgments as the law of the land. Only in their administration can we have deliverance from tyranny and establish lasting peace between individuals; between management and labor; and between the government and its people.
What Moses said of these laws, when they were first given to our forefathers, most surely applies now: “See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil; In that I command thee this day to love the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the Lord thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it.” (Deut. 30:15-16.)
Today, as we move towards a land blessed by the Lord and the new order which will follow the present conflict, let us restore the law and receive the blessing.
Haverhill, Massachusetts December 1, 1942
The Divine Law
Perhaps more important to the human being than any other factor in life is his attitude toward Law; for all basic laws are divine in origin. As a matter of fact, man’s very existence depends upon the keeping of certain fundamental laws of life which, if violated, result in sudden death! There is only one source and origin of all basic laws and this is true whether they govern the material universe, the physical creation; or the spiritual, moral and economic life of man. That source is God — the fountain-head of all law and order—Who has already revealed to men His Laws which govern an orderly creation. To know and to keep those laws is to live; while to belittle or disregard them brings destitution and want, until death terminates a life of sorrow and suffering, the direct result of failure to keep and observe the laws of God.
In the words of the Psalmist, “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handiwork!” This is an acknowledgment of Divine Law manifested in the ordinances of heaven. The operation of the Law of the Lord, however, is not confined to the physical universe alone, for even the least and the smallest in creation is numbered, weighed, and measured in accordance with law. Jesus had this in mind when He said, “But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.”
Scientists may not always recognize the hand and power of Deity in the law and order evident in the field of investigation, but they do recognize that there exists a rigid law which they respect and keep, knowing that its violation brings penalties. In some cases such violation has resulted in the death of the careless experimenter.
Natural laws, so-called, govern the entire operation of the universe from the great heavenly bodies which roll in their circuits to the minutest atom and electron; and the effect has long been recognized as following the cause in orderly process because of the inexorable operation of these laws. This is understood fully by men who have familiarized themselves with God’s Laws of gravity, physics, mechanics, chemistry, mathematics and the many and varied multiplicities in the operation of these laws in their innumerable ramifications— all of which supports the thesis of law and order which the scientists have learned to respect and keep.
Scope of the Divine Law
Now recognized natural law does not cover the entire scope of the Divine Regulations which control, govern and preserve an orderly universe. God in His Providence has enacted other laws as well which, if kept, would usher in a Utopian Age — an Age bringing benefits to mankind beyond the fondest dreams of those who have longed for real peace and lasting happiness. These are necessarily laws of governmental administration.
An understanding of the perfect laws of administration, however, cannot be acquired by men through any process of experimentation — a method which was effective in bringing to light the existence of the physical laws of the universe. The brief fact is that it is impossible in this way to come to an un-derstanding of God’s Laws of justice, equity and moral conduct.
Man, himself the result of Divine creation in accordance with law, was given by Divine revelation the perfect law of life, the keeping of which would result in peace, happiness, prosperity. Violation of that law was destined to bring injustice, poverty, distress and war. Man may talk of freedom and liberty but there can be no liberty nor freedom apart from law! And when men refuse to observe and keep it the ensuing license results in violence and strife, with chaos as the ultimate end of that society which ignores the Divine Laws.
Man in a state of rebellion spiritually has so far refused to recognize or heed the way of life which would give him peace and bring prosperity in all of his endeavors.. In the very beginning God began to reveal His Laws unto men. The very first command of God to Adam became a rule of action, or law of life, unto man.
A Law unto Man
The positive law of life as given to our first parents in the Garden of Eden was to eat of the fruit of the trees in the Garden and live. The negative law was contained in the command to abstain from partaking of certain forbidden fruits with the warning that the violation of this command would be followed by death. Physical health and well-being depended upon man obeying the first, while the keeping of the second assured him life unending and continuous spiritual communion with God. Thus the Divine Command had become law unto man. But mankind — created in the image of God — was given the right of choice: in obedience — a blessing; in disobedience — a curse. The first would bring continuous health and life—the second, trouble and death. By act of will, man was now able to choose his course, for before him lay two roads — one the way of life, and the other the way of death.
Transgression of the Law
Many have asked the question, What is sin? The answer is simple. Sin is disobedience to the commands of God, a refusal to keep His Laws. John declared this when he said, “Sin is the transgression of the law.” (I John 3:4.)
Law, insofar as it regulates the conduct and action of men and nations, is a rule of action estabhshed by a recognized authority with power to enforce justice and direct duty. God is a recognized authority and He has full power to enforce His commands which must ultimately be observed, kept and obeyed; for the Divine Laws cannot be altered nor removed — they are a constant — and the passage of time has no effect upon them.
Enactments of Men
Human regulations, designated as law by men, are often but temporary acts of appeasement to counteract the result of the failure to keep and administer the Law of the Lord. By such means men have endeavored to meet their needs and to find a human solution for existing troubles which have in reality resulted from the breaking of Divine Law. Such man-made regulations undergo continual revision as time marches on! New generations come and changing conditions in the human experiment show the lack of foresight and wisdom in legislative enactments; for when the enactments of men are at variance with the Divine Law there can be only one result — trouble for men. This is true whenever men refuse to conform with the laws of God which govern the universe; or fail to observe and keep God’s moral, spiritual, and economic requirements—including the perfect laws of governmental administration.
Before considering the subject of Divine Law in its application to man, both individually and collectively, it is essential that we first settle satisfactorily the question of the entire scope and application of the Divine Laws, and man’s relationship to these laws. This becomes necessary because of the prevalence of a doctrinal teaching which has had a definite influence upon Christian men and women to such an extent that it has led some to ignore God’s injunction to observe and keep all His Laws. In thus ignoring the law such have failed to recognize the Divine plan of the operation of the Law of the Lord as it governs our physical well-being, economic security and national prosperity.
Perfection of the Law
The Psalmist, in speaking of the law, states, “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.” And although even this is said of the Law of the Lord, yet some ignore this declaration of the Psalmist, with its unmistakable clarity and meaning, and teach that they are free from the need of keeping His Laws. This doctrinal teaching is based on the assumption that because of Grace (the unmerited favor of God through His Son Jesus Christ), Christians have been exonerated from the need of keeping the law. If a man is free from keeping the law, however, he is at liberty then to violate that law and do so with impunity; and it would then follow that the gift of Grace becomes a license to be used as a cloak to cover sinning (for sin is the violation of the law), which is repugnant to all the teaching of the law and the direct commands of God as given in both the Old and the New Testaments.
Nowhere in Scripture is it stated that a Christian is free from the need of keeping the law. While the Word of God states that a Christian is not under bondage to the law, yet this freedom from bondage cannot in any sense be construed as a license to violate law. It is unfortunate that the gift of Grace has been used to perpetrate a doctrinal belief contrary to the clear teaching of the Bible. Violation of Divine Law is sin whether that law is violated by a Christian or a non-Christian, regardless of any doctrinal excuse that might be made for such violation.
Now the scope of the Divine Law embraces all the needs, activities and requirements of men and nations; limiting, guiding and directing them in all the things that should, and should not, be done. Christians are amiss in not knowing and understanding these laws.
A knowledge of the Law of the Lord would unfold for Christians a much clearer concept of God’s plans regarding His people than they have now. The possession of such information would open up before the Christian world the marvelous scope of that law in its entirety and in its application to the needs of men and nations. Such an understanding would once and for all settle the question that no one group of men, Christian or otherwise, are exempt from law observance. It would prove the absurdity of all the excuses given by men to justify their violation of the law; and would show that even to claim the right to ignore or violate Divine Law is, in itself, sin.
Definition of Sin
Sin, as defined in the dictionary, is wholly in accord with the Biblical definition of law violation. The dictionary states that sin is “Any want of conformity to or transgression of a rule of rectitude or duty, especially as made known through the conscience or the revealed Word of God: disagreement in thought, word, deed, or desire, whether by omission or commission, with the Divine Law.”
This necessity of law observance must first be established, for unless this is done many Christians will continue to ignore the Divine Laws to their own hurt — thinking that in so doing they are justified because of their acceptance of the teachings of an erroneous doctrine which has belittled the need of such law observance. No man in his right mind would be so foolish as to hold for one moment that the Divine Laws of the physical universe need not be observed. The sane and intelligent Christian recognizes that he must keep them or suffer the consequences resulting from their violation. Is a man, though Christian, justified in a deliberate violation of the requirements of law as laid down in the Ten Commandments? Would he in his violation be immune from the evils resulting from their violation? Certainly not! And what is true regarding these moral laws of God is also true regarding the Divine Laws of administration with their rules and regulations governing economics, jurisprudence and the health of His people. Men or nations violating these laws will find themselves subject to the operation of punitive clauses of the law and will suffer under the curses pronounced for their violation.
Law vs. Grace
Paul is very clear in his statements regarding all this, for evidently he had in mind those in his day who were teaching a doctrine of law violation paralleling that which is held by some Christians today. He said, “Sin (law violation) shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law (in bondage to it), but under Grace (free from the penalties having favor with God and able to keep that law through His Son Jesus Christ).” He continues, “What then? Shall we sin (that is, violate the law), because we are not under (the bondage of) the law, but under Grace? God forbid. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin (law violation) unto death, or of obedience (law observance) unto righteousness? “
The Apostle clearly states here that Grace does not give a license to anyone to violate law, for such violation he declares is sin. What advantage then has the Christian? Very much, for as John says, “If any man sin (that is, violate the law), we have an advocate with the father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” This being so, Paul could say, “Therefore being justified (escaping the penalty of the law through the righteousness of Jesus) by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Cause of Confusion
Perhaps the one great difficulty regarding the absolute need of observing Divine Law and which is responsible for much of the confusion regarding that law has been the failure to recognize the distinction between the laws contained in ordinances and those given in Commandments, Statutes and Judgments. The lack of a clearly defined definition of the Divine Law in each of its particular applications and especially concerning the operation of the ordinance’s is responsible for most of this confusion.
Laws and Ordinances
Our purpose in this Digest of the Divine Law is to set forth the operation of these Laws and to clarify for our readers the distinctions between 1) the laws which govern the activities and operations of men and nations, and 2) the ordinances or ritual. These ordinances had their place and purpose in the Divine plan fully revealed through Jesus Christ in His life, ministry, death and resurrection. As to the laws apart from the ordinances it will be shown that if we must obey some, then we are bound to keep them all! If we can, with impunity, violate some, then God has failed and the Bible has ceased to be an authority for the guidance of men and nations. But God has not failed and the authority of His Word still stands immutable in its teachings and law.
The New Covenant
The New Covenant so stressed by the teachings of Christianity is, according to the Bible, definitely associated with the keeping of the law. Jeremiah prophesied and Hebrews affirms, “I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts.” If then the Christian is not bound to keep the law, how can it be written into his heart? After the New Testament had been established Paul declared that he was dead to the law. What law? Certainly it could not be that law which was written into his heart as the result of the work of the Holy Spirit! Later Paul asks the question, Why serve the law which was added? This was the law unto which Paul declared he was dead, for that law which was added to the Commandments, Statutes and Judgments received by Israel at Mt. Sinai was none other than the ordinances which were given as the result of Israel’s sin when Aaron built the golden calf which they worshipped. These ordinances became a school-master to bring the people to Christ. Now that Christ has come, the schoolmaster is no more needed; nor is it necessary to be in bondage to the ritual, which law Paul declared he served no more.
The Added Ritual
“Confusion” is the only word which explains the condition existing in the minds of so many Christians regarding the law through the failure to recognize the ordinances as that law which was added. The ritual does not now have to be observed; but the Commandments, Statutes, and Judgments are still in operation and every man and nation will ultimately be compelled to observe and keep them. The day will yet come when God’s people will be compelled to recognize the operation of these Divine Laws. Ezekiel prophesies of that time and says, “They shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them.” (Ezekiel 37:24.) Let us familiarize ourselves with these Divine Laws which the nation will yet be compelled to observe, keep and obey. In that day, “The law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.” (Micah.4:2.)
A Need Today
As the result of God’s recognition of the needs of men there have been revealed to mankind rules and regulations, the keeping of which will bring prosperity and happiness to all men everywhere. Observance, with the resultant peace and good will, will yet characterize all national and international relationships.
It is this recognition on the part of men and nations of the Jehovah administration as set forth in the Divine Law which is essential. It is the crying need of a world full of trouble and strife!
LAW IS THE ESSENCE
It has been the continued and uninterrupted operation of the immutable laws of life that has made possible the existence of the human race. In fact, law is so essential to our very existence that life itself came into being as the result of the operation of law. But the operation of law is not confined to physical existence alone. Our very health and prosperity with every act and need of man, individually, socially and govern-mentally are all governed by law; and if we keep and observe these laws all their benefits will accrue unto us, while if we violate them there will follow inevitable retribution and suffering.
When men come to a full realization of these facts they will willingly apply themselves to understanding these laws so that in the knowledge of their operation and in obedience to them they may secure a blessing.
The many and varied problems of administration which have so troubled and perplexed mankind will find a solution in their observance.
Chaos in the physical, spiritual or economic life of man is evidence that there has been a failure to observe and keep the orderly laws of peace. A perusal of both past and present records of human history reveal chaotic conditions with mankind afflicted with crime, violence and war; while revolution, famine and disease have taken their toll of life. Such evil conditions can only exist where there has been a violation of the perfect laws of life, the keeping of which will bring results far from chaotic.
Creation is an orderly process, while chaos results from the failure of man to observe and keep the Divine Command which is the law of life and the way of peace. Life at its best, with all the blessings of peace, results from keeping the positive commands of God and refraining from violating the negative injunctions.
The laws of the Lord were made known unto man from the very beginning of human history. This was so or else man would have had no guide to prosperity and peace. All the evidence of history and every factor of life continually demonstrate that the keeping of perfect laws is the very essence of a happy and enduring existence. And so it behooves us, if we would have perfection in living, to know them!
In the Beginning . . .
The Bible states, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” A study of that creation reveals order and perfection with a minuteness of balance in accord with the so-called immutable laws of nature. The physical creation of the earth was followed by the creation of life; and finally, man. The same law operating in the physical realm is seen to operate in the instincts and habits so in evidence in the animal kingdom. Is it unreasonable to assume that man, a higher order of creation, is also subject to law, and to laws higher than those governing the instincts and habits of animal life?
God took man, whom He had created, and placed him in the garden, “And the Lord God commanded the man.” Thus the command of God became the law of life unto man. From the very beginning man became subject to the commands of God and this was a law unto him for God had-placed man high above the rest of creation in that man was made responsible for his acts, having been given the right of choice and the power to choose.
History of Law
It would be impossible to give a full and accurate account of the entire history of law as it applies to man, for to do so would necessitate the writing of the entire record of the human race involving the manifold phases of social activity, national affairs and international relationships. History, however, records the fact that the happiness, prosperity and contentment of a people is in a large measure the direct result of the type of law administered and the method of administration: a blessing for the people when the commands of God (which is the Divine law) are kept and administered; and a curse when the perfection of that law is violated and its administration ignored.
While the command of God became law unto men yet, in the violation of that command, men became subject to the disasters and troubles which have afflicted the human race from the day of man’s disobedience until now. The antediluvian civilization which arose after man was driven from the garden was no exception. During the years following the expulsion of man from the paradise of God there arose a civilization apart from God. Men were a law unto themselves and bound only by their good will to keep the commandments of God. The result was a complete failure to abide by the requirements of the law, which is clearly in evidence in the condemnation of that civilization, “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”
The deluge brought to an end this civilization of violence and crime. With the beginning of the new order human government was established, and to that government God issued the command, “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.” (Gen. 9:6.) Here we have the first evidence of the introduction of human government, for though man may know the law of the Lord, that law will not enforce itself! Therefore, it became necessary to delegate to human society the right of administration and judgment. Men were now enjoined to organize society and government and to curb violence. Under this command every earthly government has a right, nay it is a duty and command to bring to justice the murderer and subject him to the death penalty.
The Giving of the Law
Men have failed to recognize that from the very beginning of human history Divine Law has operated in the life of man. Because of this failure they have assumed that the law was first given to man at Mount Sinai. Nothing is further from the fact. God-fearing men have lived in accord with the principles of the law of the Lord centuries before the Mount Sinai experience of Israel and it is erroneous to attribute the knowledge of that law as coming to man through Moses. The revelation of Divine Law is from antiquity. Wherever men have been found, there also, for man’s guidance, was a knowledge of the commandments, statutes and laws of God. True, men ignored and forgot them but, nevertheless, God saw to it that in the beginning His laws were known unto men.
Scriptural Evidence of Antiquity
The oldest record in Scripture, in which we have the account of the experiences of Job (who lived a few hundred years after the Deluge) makes mention of the laws of the Lord which were being kept by Job. Abraham was keeping these same laws four hundred and thirty years before the organization of the Israel Kingdom at Mount Sinai. This is borne out in the information given to Isaac to whom the Lord said He was performing His oath which He had sworn to Abraham, giving as one of the reasons, “Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.” (Gen. 26:5.)
Moses Codified the Law
Thus Abraham observed the law long before Moses was born! Moses, however, had a task to perform and codified the laws of the Lord for Israel to administer at the time this people was organized into a Kingdom at Mount Sinai.
The Law vs. Ritual
Inasmuch as Abraham kept the commandments, statutes and law, then of what law is Paul speaking when he refers to the promises made to Abraham four hundred and thirty years before the law? (Gal. 3:17.) The passage is translated by Ferrar Fenton, “And I assert this —the ritual, beginning four hundred and thirty years after, could not cancel a settlement previously established by God, so as to abolish the promises.”
It was not the commandments, statutes and laws of the Lord which Abraham was keeping that Paul refers to as coming four hundred and thirty years after the promise, but it was the ritual or religious service which was established or added at Mount Sinai because of sin (Gal. 3:19). Here Israel received their system of national worship, which had to do with the ordinances by which atonement was made for sin.
Establishment of this distinction between the law contained in commandments, statutes and judgments and the ordinances may not seem important. However, due to the erroneous teaching of multitudes of Church leaders regarding the law and their acceptance of the false doctrine that Christians do not have to keep the law, it is necessary to define this distinction between the ritual (abolished in Christ) and the laws of administration which are still in operation.
Law is the very essence of life, for in the observance of the perfect Laws of God life is worth while. The keeping of these laws is essential to orderly conduct and their administration is necessary in bringing justice and establishing equity and peace. Without law, anarchy would reign and society would be in a state of lawlessness and political disorder under which no government could function.
Christians who advocate doing away with the law and who refuse to accept the operation of the principles of the commandments, statutes and judgments of the Lord as the law of life in the conduct of man individually, socially, economically and in the administration of national affairs are no different from the anarchist; for he also advocates the abolition of law. Christians holding such doctrines believe that they are above the need of keeping the law. Anarchism at its best stands for society made orderly by good manners, but where there is no law there is no standard of conduct or good manners and the end of such a society is but confusion and disorder. Anarchists are in rebellion against human government, but the Christians who refuse to observe and keep the laws of God are in rebellion against Divine rule and government. It is a serious charge, but nevertheless true. Peter declared that those who despise government are presumptuous and self-willed. (II Peter 2:10.) If God did establish a government and law upon earth it behooves every man, and certainly all Christians, to conform with the requirements or come under the condemnation of being presumptuous.
What is the sin of presumption? Under the kingdom laws of administration it is deliberately doing that which is known to be forbidden. “Ye shall have one law for him that sinneth (doeth) through ignorance. . . . But the soul that doeth ought presumptuously . . . reproacheth the Lord: and that soul shall be cut off from among his people. Because 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.” (Num. 15:29-31.)
Law Confirmed by Jesus
Lest there be those who refuse to respect the Divine Commands and Government in their daily living and life, by making the excuse that the New Testament doctrine has set them free from law observance, it is well to listen to these words of Jesus, “Whosoever shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say unto you, That except your righteousness (your keeping of the law) shall exceed the righteousness (law observance) of the Scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the Hngdom of heaven.” (Matt. 5:19-20.)
Here we have an interesting promise made to the Christian, for only those who accept Christ are eligible to position and power in the Kingdom. Greatness in the Kingdom will come to those who have kept, and taught others to keep, even the least of the laws. But condemnation and a place of obscurity are promised for those who are presumptuous and refuse to keep even the least of the laws. Furthermore, Jesus said His followers must keep the law better than that law was being kept by the Scribes and Pharisees.
Many passages in Scripture confirm all this, so let us not be anarchists and above all, Christian anarchists, for the essence of an orderly and happy existence is to observe all the rules and regulations as contained in the commandments, statutes and judgments of the Lord.
The Servant Nation
Once the fact is established that law observance is essential to orderly social relationships it becomes necessary to make known to men the laws that must be kept. But along with a knowledge of that law is the need of an effective instrument or organization through which the law may be administered for the benefit of all men. God recognized this need and, though His laws were known for centuries before Abraham’s day, God called Abraham and in this call chose a family through whom He proposed to work, making the descendants of this man a servant nation to become the administrators of Kingdom laws. Through them He would demonstrate to all nations the righteousness and perfection of His government and Kingdom. Moses had this thought in mind when he instructed Israel to keep the statutes and judgments of the Lord. He said, “Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.” (Deut. 4:6.)
Administration of Law Essential
No matter how just and perfect a law may be, the mere knowledge of its existence does not bring it into operation nor will that knowledge alone compel men to observe and obey its precepts. It is necessary that a nation adopt that law as the law of the land and through the acts of administration demonstrate the perfection of that law in operation. In the call of Abraham a race was chosen by God to whom was to be given the perfect laws and through whose administration He would demonstrate to the world the perfection of that law.
The Bible records the history of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and the Egyptian sojourn of Jacob’s twelve sons. While in Egypt they became a great nation. Then came the deliverance from Egyptian bondage under the leadership of Moses. Following the trek across the wilderness they arrived at the foot of Mount Sinai where they received a national charter from God and were enjoined to administer His commandments, statutes and judgments.
Following the Mount Sinai experience of this people there emerged from the wilderness a nation with a perfect system of administration and law which left so deep an impression upon this nation that it materially influenced all its acts and deeds for a thousand years!
The organization of this Kingdom at Mount Sinai, with the granting unto them of the power to administer law, is so far-reaching and full of significance for all mankind today that space must be devoted to a study of the organization itself— and the ultimate purpose of that Kingdom.
THE INDIVIDUAL AND
FAMILY AND HEALTH
It has already been shown that the knowledge of the perfect laws of life are absolutely essential to man, for without that knowledge men are unable to comply with the requirements of the law. It has been the lack of the keeping of these laws which has been responsible for sickness and prevented the establishment of peace and happiness with justice for all. We have also shown that no laws, not even the Divine commandments, statutes and judgments of the Lord, will enforce themselves. Therefore it became necessary that a kingdom be organized, the purpose of which would be to administer the laws of the Lord, and so the Kingdom of God was established upon earth for this purpose when Israel, organized into a Kingdom at Mount Sinai, accepted the responsibility of administering the Commandments, statutes and judgments of the Lord.
Consequence of Disobedience
In the process of time Israel departed from keeping and administering these laws and because of that departure were taken captive and carried away out of their own land. Centuries passed in a long period of national chastisement during which time Israel, under different names, moved from the land of their captors through Asia Minor, the Caspian Region, then Central and Southern Europe: finally arriving in the Isles north and west of Palestine. Here they grew into a nation, and with the United States of America, occupy an immense amount of territory; having become the nation, company of nations, and great people of prophecy.
Evidence which cannot be lightly set aside definitely establishes the Anglo-Saxon-Celtic peoples as modern Israel today! This makes them responsible for restoring the Jehovah administration in obedience to their Divine Constitution. Only in so doing will justice be established upon earth and victory be assured over all their enemies. The time has come for His people to return, restore, and again keep and administer all His commandments, statutes and judgments as the law of their land. Isaiah prophesies of this time when he says, “There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.” The sin of the House of Israel is her refusal to keep and administer His laws, and it is because of this refusal that peace has been taken from the earth and war, destitution, want and suffering afflict mankind. These afflictions will continuue until the Anglo-Saxon-Celtic peoples awaken to their responsibility and make restitution of their Divine constitution. In fact, the pressure upon modern Israel will become increasingly disastrous until we fulfill our obligation and keep the oath our forefathers made at Mount Sinai when they said, “All that the Lord hath spoken we will do.”
A Call to Repentance
Isaiah issues a challenge to modem Israel as he calls for those who know this message to “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.” (Isa. 58:1.) Our national transgression is the refusal to administer His laws and this has become sin unto us. We will yet be compelled to keep all that law, for only in that way can we have God’s blessing which will save our nation from destruction at the hand of the enemy who seeks our annihilation. Let us, therefore, study the laws of the Lord — which He required that we keep — in order that peace may come and happiness and contentment be assured to all!
In the approach to a study of the Divine Law as revealed through the instruction given Israel it must be recognized that Moses was dealing with men and women who knew the fundamental fact that there was a Divine Law. Moses reminded the people that Abraham had kept these laws and now that these same laws were to become the foundation of their national existence judgments were rendered by Moses in conformity with their requirements. The purpose of these judgments was to clarify the application of the law in the administration of the commandments, statutes and judgments of the Lord by His Kingdom nation.
Individual and Family Important
Of importance in approaching the digest of the Law is an understanding of the fundamental principle of Divine justice. Primarily, this rests in the protection of the rights of the individual and in the assurance of a happy and peaceful continuity of family life. This principle of placing the rights of the individual and family above all else is never lost sight of, even in matters pertaining to administration and the laws governing national existence.
The Kingdom of God exists solely for the purpose of protecting the individual in his right to justice, freedom and the pursuit of happiness: throwing around the family every safeguard to bring domestic tranquillity and peace.
Men have subverted these principles of justice through promulgating and practising the doctrine that the individual exists to support the state and the family to provide children for the future protection of the state and for the purpose of expanding its dominion. While the Divine Law provides defense for, the Kingdom that there might be national continuity, the purpose of that defense is to protect the individual and preserve the family. There is no valid reason for the existence of a government other than to assure individuals their rights and privileges and to protect the family that the children may have a right to inherit the blessings of peace and be surrounded by an environment of spiritual and national well-being.
Reason for Violence
When a nation departs from these fundamental principles, making the individual and family life secondary in importance to the functions of the state, oppression and tyranny follow, individual freedom passes, and family life suffers. This is followed by discontent among men while the injustice and violence engender hatred and brute force takes the place of law and order. All this leads to evil aggression with its lusts and destruction. Thus crimes committed against individual freedom and liberty, with family relationships made difficult, with war between nations — is but mute testimony of man’s failure to recognize, keep and administer the commandments, statutes and judgments of the Lord.
Protection of the Individual
Because protection for the individual and family is a fundamental principle of the Divine Law these laws in operation will bring justice, and peace, and establish domestic tranquillity. With the formation of the Kingdom at Mount Sinai the very first thing on the agenda after Israel had assembled to hear the promulgation of the laws which this nation was destined to administer was the giving of the Commandments dealing with the individual relationship to God, the individual’s personal conduct and his relationship to his fellow man. Following this are set forth the statutes and judgments. In all these laws, even in the laws pertaining to matters of state, the protection of the individual in all of his rights is never forgotten. This is because such protection for the individual is the only reason that can possibly justify the existence or continuity of any government.
When the laws of the Lord are mentioned man thinks only of the Ten Commandments. This is the usual extent of the average knowledge of the law, and this lack of the complete information concerning the matter is in a large measure due to the fact that theological teaching covers only the principles of man’s relationship to God and to his fellow man as set forth in these laws of moral conduct. Theology has not gone beyond this, and the reason is clear, for theologians by their very training and calling are in no position to handle the great body of law governing the conduct of statesmen, judges, lawyers, doctors, economists: in fact every profession that represents any phase of human conduct or governmental administration. It has been unfortunate that men have assumed and acted upon the assumption that it was the exclusive duty of theologians to present Biblical truths. Because this has been so men know something of the moral and spiritual teachings of the Bible, but its instruction regarding matters of administration and economics has been almost completely ignored. For this reason, and because of the need of the information which the Bible contains for times such as these, it is imperative that a knowledge of these perfect laws become known.
Codification of the Law
Deuteronomy is the codification of the law of the Lord by Moses, a system of laws which he admonished Israel to administer at all times. In this book there are no laws of ordinance or ritual. In chapter after chapter for over 600 verses there are set forth statutes and laws for individual, national and economic well-being. Fifteen verses only of this book cover the Ten Commandments, the perfect moral code which men have continually acknowledged.
The Great Commandment
When a lawyer asked Jesus Christ, “Master, which is the great commandment in the Law? ” Jesus replied, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” Then He added, ” And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” Jesus then said that on these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. The full meaning of this statement of Jesus clarifies as one studies the underlying principle of the law of the Lord. The burden of the message of the Prophets as well as the underlying principle of the entire law of the Lord is a love of God and of your fellow man.
The Golden Rule
Unless the law is being kept, men or nations are unable to keep the rule, “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.” When the law of the Lord becomes the law of the land, however, destructive competition will have passed. Then and only then will the Golden Rule be in full operation. In that day the jungle law of the “survival of the strongest” will give place to the law of assisting thy neighbor: when everyone will help his brother, thus instituting a competition of service instead of for selfish advantage as at present.
Christian and Jew
It is written, “Ye have caused many to stumble at the law.” The Christian condemns the Jew for failure to recognize Jesus as the Messiah. The Jews have reason to condemn the Christians for failing to believe the Scriptures in all they teach, including the need of keeping and observing all the law. If the Jew has been blind to the fulfillment of ancient Messianic prophecies, Christians have been just as blind to the truth of the Kingdom and its laws of administration.
Division of the Law
The law can be divided into three main clauses: 1) Those laws declaring, commanding or prohibiting something. 2) The orders or injunctions from the Lord, instructing or charging the individual or nation. 3) The decisions under the statutes and commandments.
The commandments, statutes and judgments of the Lord can be classified as those laws dealing with human conduct, personal responsibility and governmental accountability to God for the administration of the affairs of His Kingdom and the meting out of justice and equity to all.
The Laws of Health
Health of body and mind is so essential to the fulfillment of every task that before Israel came to Mount Sinai where they received the law it became necessary that the people be instructed in the matter of health that they might be free from disease and sickness. In the journey from Egypt they came to Marah where the water was bitter. This brought murmurings against Moses who cried unto the Lord and was shown a tree which when cast into the water made it sweet. At that time the Lord made for Israel a statute and an ordinance regarding the health of His people. This law became both a statute of administration in the nation and an ordinance in the ecclesiastical order of service for the nation.
And the Lord said, “If thou wilt diligently harken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the Lord that healeth thee.” (Ex. 15:26.) Later on, Moses reminds Israel that the “Lord thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations; And re-payeth them that hate him to their face, to destroy them: he will not be slack to him that hateth him, he will repay him to his face. Thou shalt therefore keep the commandments, and the statutes, and the judgments, which I command thee this day, to do them. . . . And the Lord will take away from thee all sickness, and will put none of the evil diseases of Egypt, which thou knowest, upon thee; but will lay them upon all them that hate thee.” (Deut. 7:15.)
Reason for Sickness
Wherever there is disease and sickness among His people as a nation they are refusing to keep and administer His laws. Multitudes continue to live in pain and suffering, while countless numbers have gone to untimely graves for national failure to keep and administer the law and individually observe the requirements for continued and uninterrupted health. Also, and importantly, there are many who have not been able to avail themselves of immunity from sickness because of ignorance of the law and its requirements.
Healing Available Today
Though the law of health was made a statute in the nation, assuring the removal of all sickness from the people when all His commandments and statutes are kept, yet the individual does not have to wait until the nation is righteous before the blessings of continued health are available. This is because healing and health were made an ordinance as well as a statute in the nation forever, and this statute and ordinance have never been abrogated. They are still operating for those who can claim their benefits through complying with the requirements.
We live in a strange world. Professing Christians seldom, if ever, search the Scriptures for guidance in their everyday activities and particularly is this true in the requirements for health. Certain fundamental laws are given in the Bible which, if kept, would give that health and vigor so characteristic of the life of Moses. Moses died at the age of one hundred and twenty years and the record states, “His eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated.” (Deut. 34:7.)
Clean and Unclean Animals
Man was a vegetarian in the years prior to the Deluge (Gen. 1:29). When Noah began to load the ark he was instructed to bring in seven pair each of the clean and one pair each of the unclean animals. This presupposes a knowledge of such classification long before similar instructions were given to Israel at Mount Sinai. After the Deluge, God added meat to the diet of man. “But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat.” (Gen. 9:3-4.)
Promise of Healing
When Israel in Egypt forgot God they experienced the diseases of the Egyptians. At Marah Israel received instruction as to how they might secure immunity from all sickness. While the keeping of the law will give immunity from disease yet for those who have violated its provision healing is promised. The Psalmist had this in mind when he said, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; Who healeth all thy diseases.” In both cases the conditions must be kept in order to secure both forgiveness and healing.
Thou Shalt Not
That which men consume will mean for them either health and life or sickness and death. When finally the full story is written it will be found that the diseases which afflict mankind are the direct result of eating the forbidden things. The “Thou shalt not” of the Commandments is no more binding than the “Thou shalt not eat any abominable thing?“
It was not necessary to instruct Israel in the type of herbs (vegetables) and fruit they could eat, for such instruction had already been given to man during the time he was a vegetarian. The rule was simple. Man could eat the vegetables bearing seed and the fruit of the trees yielding seed. God has provided a great variety of food without violating this rule. Fungi of all kinds such as mushrooms are forbidden (Gen. 1:29).
Abominable Things Forbidden
When Israel received the law regarding meat, God said, “Thou shalt not eat any abominable thing.” (Deut. 14:3.)
Simple rules are given for our instruction which are easy to remember. Of the four-footed animals only those that have the cloven hoof and also chew the cud are to be meat to eat. The pig is forbidden, for although it has the cloven hoof it does not chew the cud. Of the fish that live in the water all can be eaten which have both fins and scales. This excludes shell fish of all kinds including the lobster. Of the birds and fowls, any can be eaten which are not birds of prey, such as the eagle, vulture and hawk, etc. The eating of blood is strictly forbidden at all times. Veal is forbidden until the calf has been weaned. Thus there is no danger of eating this meat when the calf is too young. The detail of these laws will be found in Deuteronomy fourteen and Leviticus eleven.
Broth of Abominable Things
The four-footed animals that are lawful to eat all have the double digestive system. Through Isaiah the Lord said of our generation, “A people that provoketh me to anger continually to my face; that sacrificeth in gardens, and burneth incense upon altars of brick [established Church practice]; which remain among the graves, and lodge in the monuments [with burial places of their dead marked by monuments in their Churches], which eat swine’s flesh [Anglo-Saxons consume great quantities of such flesh], and broth of abominable things is in their vessels ” [clam chowders, oyster stews, etc.]. (Isa. 65:3-4.)
Diseases of Egypt
Examination of the mummies of Egypt has disclosed the fact that the Egyptians were subject to the diseases which afflict our nation today. God declared that the violation of His laws would bring upon us all the diseases of Egypt, also every other sickness and plague (Deut. 28:58-61). We have them all. The judgment as pronounced has come upon us. This is evidenced in the sickness and suffering for our failure to keep the law and obey the injunction, “Thou shalt not eat any abominable thing.”
Way of Life and Death
Men are resentful when there is interference with their appetites. Christians who would not think of violating any of the Ten Commandments will deliberately violate the laws of continued health. Later in life, when the inevitable happens, and health is gone, they blame God, though Moses said, “See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil; in that I command thee this day to love the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments that thou mayest live and multiply.” (Deut. 30:15-16.) Can God be blamed when men deliberately choose the way of death? Because the penalties for such law violation are deferred, in some cases until life has nearly run its full course, men harden their hearts and Christians cite New Testament passages to justify themselves in the sins they commit.
Paul told Timothy that meat was to be eaten, provided it was sanctified (that is, set apart) by the Word of God (I Tim. 4:4-5). The only Word of God for Timothy was the Old Testament wherein we have a list of meats set apart for man to eat.
Some cite Peter’s vision wherein he saw a sheet let down from heaven with all manner of four-footed animals and creeping things upon it to justify the eating of abominable things. Read that vision carefully (Acts 10:10-28) and note that Peter did not slay and eat. After he awoke, he knew no vision could set aside the plain teachings of Scripture. As he pondered the meaning of the vision there came men from Cornelius’ house inquiring for him. Peter himself then explains the vision, “God hath showed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.” To put any other interpretation to this vision than that given by Peter is to change the meaning of the Word of God.
Jesus said, “Not that which goes into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.” (Matt: 15-11.) This had nothing to do with the eating of forbidden foods. Jesus in answering the Pharisees who had complained that His disciples were eating with unwashed hands was showing that that kind of dirt did not defile.
Meat Offered Idols
Paul said, “I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean.” (Rom. 14:14.) The context and other utterances of Paul, clearly show he had reference to meat which had been offered to idols. “Whatsoever is sold in the shambles [market place], that eat, asking no question for conscience sake.” (I Cor. 10:25.) The forbidden meats were not sold in the market, but there were meats sold which had been offered to idols. Paul instructs the Christian not to inquire as to whether or not they had been so offered for from their point of view the idol was nothing. The New Testament in no way contradicts the Old Testament and when men recognize this they will begin to search the entire Book for all of its truth!
Healing in Atonement
The Psalm cited above, referring to the forgiving of iniquity and the healing of diseases makes healing a part of the atoning work of our Lord. It is not the purpose of God that any of His people should suffer. Sickness is the result of failure to comply with the laws of health. Healing is a gift of God through His Son Jesus Christ who made a demonstration of the Kingdom laws of healing and health in operation. He restored the lame, the halt and the blind to a state of physical perfection and healed all diseases. Isaiah prophesied of coming Kingdom blessings, the benefits of which Jesus so successfully demonstrated, “Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees. Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompense; he will come and save you. Then the eyes of the blind shall be open, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing.” (Isaiah 35:3-6.)
Ordinance in the Church
Healing is also an ordinance in the Church. James said, “Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the Church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.” (James 5:14-15.)
Seeking the Physicians
Nationally we refuse to keep and administer the law and pay a fearful price in crippled men and women with untold suffering, pain and death: while individually we seek the physicians instead of the Lord. An eloquent testimony of the results of such a course is given regarding Asa, king of Israel, “And Asa in the thirty and ninth year of his reign was diseased in his feet, until his disease was exceeding great: yet in his disease he sought not to the Lord, but to the physicians. And Asa slept with his fathers.” (II Chron. 16:12-13.)
Health being one of man’s most valuable assets —as evidenced in the fortunes continually spent by those who, having lost it, seek to regain its blessings again — has led us to deal first with the statute and ordinance received by Israel before they arrived at the foot of Mount Sinai.
Protection of the individual in his right to freedom and liberty is the essence of Divine justice. Liberty under the law, however, can never be construed as a license to do as one pleases, disregarding the rights of others. In the exercise of personal freedom the law of the Lord protects the rights of individuals, regulating the relationship between men to insure justice for all. But there can be no true liberty nor real and lasting freedom for man unless men recognize God and Him only. God must come first in the thoughts and hearts of His people. Thus it is that His laws embrace, first of all, man’s relationship to Him and afterwards man’s relationship to his neighbor.
The Greatest Commandment
When Jesus was asked which was the greatest of all the commandments, He said, “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength.” (Mark 12:30.) This same admonition had been given Israel by Moses (Deut. 6:4-5) and this instruction covered the requirements of the first half of the Ten Commandments.
Directly following His statement as to which was the first and greatest of the commandments, Jesus then said, “And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself ” (Matt. 22:39) wherein he quoted from a statement by Moses as recorded in Leviticus 19:18. This is the basic underlying principle of the last half of the Ten Commandments.
Love Fulfills the Law
Paul brings out the fact that the law will be kept if one truly loves his neighbor, saying, “For he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law, For 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. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” (Rom. 13:8-10.) Thus the love of one’s neighbor covers the requirements as set forth in the last half of the Ten Commandments, for one who truly loves will not violate any of these requirements.
Thou Shalt Not
There are ten “Thou shalt nots” listed in the Bible and known as the Ten Commandments, and though Church leaders often refer to these commandments by name yet very few truly comprehend the full scope and meaning of the application of this codification of moral conduct as it applies to the individual relationship to God and to each other. The observance of these commandments is so important to citizenship in His Kingdom that immediately following the organization of the Kingdom the Ten Commandments were promulgated to the people of Israel. Not only is their observance essential to citizenship in the Kingdom, but no man, not even a Christian, can violate their provision and be right with God.
Importance of Pentecost
Israel received the Ten Commandments at the time of the inauguration of the very first Pentecost, fifty days after the Passover and Exodus from Egypt. It was therefore fitting that centuries later, following the Passover crucifixion of Jesus Christ, fifty days from that crucifixion at Pentecost the Holy Spirit descended and the Church was born at Jerusalem. At that time the disciples were endued with power that would enable them and all who came after them, following in their footsteps, to keep and observe the requirements of the Ten Commandments in a heart relationship to God through His Son Jesus Christ. Thus Israel, at Mount Sinai, received the law and the Church at Jerusalem the power to keep that law!
The Ten Commandments
In these laws, the very first to be promulgated at Mount Sinai for Israel to keep and administer, is the admonition that God must be supreme in the life and activities of man. Idolatry and swearing are forbidden while one day in seven is to be kept holy.
Parents are to be honored and man must not commit violence or wrong his fellow man. Thus the commandments required reverence and worship of God as well as love for one’s neighbor. In brief these laws are as follows:
1) No other gods before Him.
2)Shalt not bow down to graven images.
3)Shalt not take God’s name vain.
4)Keep holy every seventh day. (Deceptive talk….it is THE 7th day that is holy – Keith Hunt)
5)Honor father and mother.
6)Shalt not kill.
7)Shalt not commit adultery.
8)Shalt not steal.
9)Shalt not bear false witness.
10) Shalt not covet.
Let us deal with each one of these Ten Commandments in the above order, for God requires that His people conform with them and observe all their requirements.
The First Commandment
Israel had assumed the responsibility of becoming God’s Kingdom and in His recognition and acceptance of their willingness to assume this responsibility God manifested Himself to the people at Mount Sinai. Following that manifestation the Lord addressed the people and said, “I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.” No man in Israel could question this statement. Now that the people had accepted the responsibility of the administration of His Kingdom laws, the rules of personal conduct were laid before His people and their relationship to God clearly defined. The very first commandment, after the willingness of the people to become His Kingdom had been accepted by God, defines their relationship to Him. “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” Ferrar Fenton renders this, “There shall be no other God to you, except Myself.”
Impossible to Serve God and Mammon
Jehovah, the God of Israel, is to be supreme in the life of His people. There can be no divided allegiance. “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one and love the other; or else he will hold to one and despise the other.” Jesus then declared, “Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”
Service to mammon is not the only way this first commandment can be broken. Whatever man places first or whatever is supreme in his life, that is the thing to which he renders service. It may be pride of power, or wealth, or glory. It may be the pleasures of life. God has declared that He shall come first, and whatever man places before Him breaks this commandment. This does not indicate that man cannot have interests in other things, but it does mean that all things must be secondary in his life to his service for God.
Must Not Forget God
Today mammon, and all that goes with the service to mammon, is supreme in the hearts of most men. The worship of mammon is found among people in every stratum of society. It is manifested among the laborers, the financiers, the industrialists, and even in the Church and among its leaders. The love of money and power has led men to violate all of God’s laws. In service to the god of greed the economic slavery of people today is worse than the Egyptian slavery of Israel of old. Men and women are compelled by financial taskmasters to serve gods of silver and gold in order that they may acquire the necessities of life.
Moses said, “Beware that thou forget not the Lord thy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his statutes, which I command thee this day.” (Deut. 8:11.) Then Moses reminds us that when we have eaten to our fill, and have built fine houses and multiplied our herds and increased our silver and our gold, not to forget the Lord, to serve Him. He tells us that we are not to say in our hearts that because of our prosperity, “My power and the might of my hand hath gotten me this wealth.” We are to remember, “The Lord thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth.”
Judgment for Disobedience
If we do forget the Lord, and walk after other gods, to serve and worship them, as a majority are now doing, Moses said, “I testify against you this day, that ye shall surely perish.” The reason is given, “Because ye would not be obedient unto the voice of the Lord your God.”
Here are judgments for disobedience, judgments that are now upon our land. Moses declared that when all these things come upon us, and we turn to the Lord and harken unto His voice, and do according to all His commandments, then the Lord will turn away our trouble from us. Prayer alone for deliverance is not enough. There must be a willingness and desire to restore God’s laws. God must become supreme in our individual and national life and action. The importance of all this cannot be overemphasized if as a people and nation we would have God’s blessings upon all our undertakings.
The Second Commandment
In the first commandment God declared that He only should be worshipped by His people. Then He said, “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.”
We know that the heathen custom of worshipping images was accompanied by revolting licentious acts and scenes. This fact accounts for the statement of visiting the iniquity of the fathers unto their children as a result of this sin; however, mercy will be shown to them that love Him, and keep His commandments. Thus iniquity follows those who hate Him, while mercy is shown to those who love Him.
Men are inclined to think that because they do not actually bow down before an image they are free from idolatry. This is not the case. To worship before an image is to recognize its power and authority and to accept its overlordship. This is true especially when service to this object of worship becomes the ambition and end of a man’s activities. As in the service of other gods, so here men set up idolatry whenever they place something above all else, even God, and it becomes an object of reverence in the place of God.
We could list a multitude of things that have been set before God and of the many superstitions men follow while their achievements are monumentalized and glorified above God. Perhaps heading the list is the idolatrous worship of the profit system, making money and wealth, represented in gold and silver —the image of adoration. Men often seek money for the love of it, even at the cost of honesty and virtue.
Recently a minister proclaimed from his pulpit that the objective of everyone (including himself) was money and stated that he would doubt the veracity of anyone who denied that this was so. This modern worship of gold originated at Babylon when the king set up the image, that is, a likeness of gold on the plain of Dura (Dan. 3:1). There he gathered together the princes, the governors, the captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counselors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces for the dedication of the new system which he was inaugurating. His demand was that they accept gold as their standard and make its possession their objective: or as the Bible says, bow down and worship it. From that day and forward men have been worshipping gold or its equivalent in the love of money which is the root of all evil. The security of life, the blessings of peace, the love and happiness between individuals have all been sacrificed upon the altar built to this image. Misery, suffering, war, destitution and want have been the gift to men from this god as men and nations have served and worshipped him. The iniquity of this service has certainly been visited upon the children from generation to generation.
The Burying of Gold
Judgment has been decreed upon this image of man’s adoration. The King of Babylon, 2,520 years previous to our generation, attended the birth of the gold standard, raising its image sixty cubits high in the air. Today we are witnessing the beginning of the funeral services. The burial process is under way as we continue to gather this metal from the four corners of the earth and inter it deep in the ground at Fort Knox. For men to continue to worship this image, or any other object of adoration, placing service to and desire for this image of their idolatry ahead of God can bring nothing else than the wrath of God upon such individual and nation. Already we are moving into the orbit of chastisement for the purpose of cleansing our people and nation of all the vestiges of such idolatry.
The Third Commandment
The first and second commandments require that man serve God, and Him only. God now deals with the reverence due Him at all times. He must be honored and His name must not be taken in vain. The third commandment is, “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.”
Taking His Name in Vain
What is meant by taking His name in vain? It means far more than is generally understood. To use that name unworthily, to pretend to believe in Him, using or acting in His name while inwardly denying His power; to pray in His name, yet not believing in prayer, is to take His name in vain. In fact any use of His name in word, act or deed, without sincerity of purpose, is taking His name in vain.
The following was the first case on which Moses had to pass judgment under this law. Two men fought together in the camp. One was the son of an Israelitish mother, whose father was an Egyptian. He blasphemed the name of the Lord, using that name in a derogatory manner. Moses put the man in jail until such a time when he should know how to punish him.
Cursing and Swearing
Later the Lord instructed Moses to take the man outside of the camp and stone him. Judgment is now rendered under this third commandment: “Whosoever curseth his God shall bear his sin. And he that blasphemeth the name of the Lord, he shall surely be put to death.”
Why of all names do men take in vain the name of God and of His Son Jesus Christ? What is the reason that they do not use instead of Jesus the Christ the name of some other historical character by which to swear, such as Socrates, Washington or Abraham Lincoln? The reason is clear. The devil knows, that Jesus the Christ is God the Son and is using evil men to drag His name in the mire as men use that name in their cursing and swearing. We suffer today because of such cursing and swearing. The volume of derogatory remarks rising to God from this land is perhaps greater than the volume of all the prayers of all His people. Need we wonder why our nation is in difficulties? Jeremiah places the responsibility when he says, “For because of swearing the land mourneth; the pleasant places of the wilderness are dried up.” (Jer. 23:10.)
Speaking Contemptuously of God
The followers of the school of modernism in their derogatory remarks regarding God and their belittling of the Saviour-hood of Jesus Christ blaspheme the name of God. They have offered indignities to God, brought His Word into reproach and speak contemptuously of the work of His Son. Thus many men in high places in the Church are guilty under the commandment and they, as well as every individual and the nation also, must needs turn to God in sincerity of purpose and reverence His name in all of its uses. God will not hold men guiltless for cursing Him while the judgment of death is pronounced upon those who blaspheme His name.
The Fourth Commandment
God has declared the relation of His people to Him and Him only, and that they reverence His name. He now sets forth the next requirement in the fourth commandment: “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.”
The Sabbath Day
Man is given six days to labor and do all his work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord. On this seventh day man is to cease from his labor. The Hebrew word Shabbath, translated sabbath, means cessation and by its very meaning designates a refraining from labor. Israel was not only to observe one day in seven, but every feast day was also to be a Sabbath. On these days all the people were to cease from their labors and even the animals were to have a day of rest. Today’s activities in the desecration of the Sabbath indicate how far we have departed from the observance of this day of rest.
God used His first rest era at the close of the creation period as a type and cites it as an example for Israel to follow. Reference was also made to the deliverance from Egypt, in commemoration of which God commanded Israel to keep the Sabbath day. The Passover was the first high day, or Sabbath, commemorating the deliverance.
Barometer of Spirituality
Setting aside one day in seven as holy unto the Lord was to be a sign between Israel and God forever. Those who failed to keep this law were to be put to death. Those who worked on that day were to be cut off from among His people. This judgment may seem severe, but let us remember the fulfillment of, or failure to keep, this law was a perfect barometer of the spirituality of His people. When the nation turns from its God the very first indication is recognized by their attitude towards the Sabbath day. It is interesting to note that in identically the same ratio as our nation sinks into a state of spiritual decadency so have we increased the desecration of the Sabbath day. Instead of a Holy Day it has become a holiday and because of this our entire nation suffers.
The Law of Sabbaths
The law of the Sabbath requires more than the observance of one day in seven. (NOTE AGAIN THE DECEPTIVE TALK …. “ONE DAY IN SEVEN” – THE COMMANDMENT SAYS NO SUCH THING – Keith Hunt). The cycle of sevens has a much wider scope. It is as follows: Six days to labor, the seventh to be holy; six years to plant and carry on economic activities, the seventh year to be a year of rest for the land, cessation of labor and a release from debt; seven weeks of years, or forty-nine years, of commercial activity with buying and selling of land followed by the Great Jubilee, or fiftieth year when, “Ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubilee unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family.” (Lev. 25:10.) Thus the land could not be alienated forever.
It has been the failure on the part of our nation to keep the whole law of the Sabbaths which is responsible for our economic difficulties and a land afflicted with poverty and destitution. We will later deal with these laws in more detail. The Lord has said, “If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.” (Isa. 58:13.)
Sabbath keeping, both in its weekly and yearly requirements, is a requisite to prosperity. Because we desecrate the Day, God cannot bless us with continued prosperity.
Before leaving this question of Sabbath observance it is necessary to deal with the question of which day inasmuch as some claim Saturday rather than Sunday should be observed as the day of rest. We are not concerned with the controversy over a day on which much has already been written by both groups in their endeavor to prove that the particular day which they keep is the only true observance of the law. The law requires that one day in seven be set aside as holy. In the spirit of this law both Jew and Christian are observing its requirements if, following the six days of labor, they rest on the seventh. For either to claim that they are keeping the direct sequel of days from creation is erroneous.
In order to keep one day in seven in a sequel of weeks from the time of creation it would first be necessary to locate Eden, the place of creation. If that place were located, then the moment man moved east or west of that location the continuity would be broken.
To illustrate. Let two men start from any given place, one going east and the other going west, each keeping one day in seven as they journey! Let them plan to meet when halfway around the earth. The two would be forty-eight hours apart in their observance of the one day in seven due to the fact that the one going west would have gained a day while the one going east would have lost a day, yet both would be right in their observance of the order of sabbaths: one every seven days in accord with the rising and setting sun. Terrestrial conditions are such that the circumference of the earth will not lend itself to a perfect weekly division for the man who travels. Thus these physical conditions nullify the claims of those who contend for a sequel of Sabbaths from a point of beginning as men scatter over the face of the earth. The law, however, of setting aside one day in seven as holy unto the Lord can be observed everywhere in spite of the fact that it has become necessary to estabhsh a time-line on either side of which the day changes.
Joshua’s long Day
A remarkable account of a long day is recorded by Joshua. The week in which this day occurred had seven twenty-four hour periods, but only six sunrises and sunsets as the long day was treated in the calendar of that week as two days. For those who claim that the sequel of Sabbaths must be reckoned back to creation we would like to ask just how are they to bridge this week? If they reckon the sequel of sevens by sunsets, Sunday becomes the seventh day as a result of one of the twenty-four hour periods of this week lacking a sunrise and sunset. These questions are raised merely to show the futility of the extravagant claims regarding the sequel of a day as the criterion of its observance as the Sabbath of rest.
It is the spirit of the law that must be kept. Under that law we labor six days, and rest the following or seventh day in the sequel of labor and rest, keeping the seventh day holy unto the Lord. Such observance can be kept everywhere and anywhere on earth, regardless of the time and place of creation.
The outward appearance profiteth nothing, for God seeth the heart. Through His Spirit He has poured out blessings upon the person, the work and the labor of those who have kept holy one day in seven as they have kept the law of labor and rest.
The Fifth Commandment
Next to the worship of God is the sanctity of the home and its protection. The first four commandments deal with man’s relation to God, the keeping of which would result in loving the Lord with all the heart, soul and mind and the fifth commandment is like unto these, for when men truly love the Lord they will honor their parents. The fifth commandment is as follows, “Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.” Here God makes length of life depend upon honoring one’s parents. It is the first of the commandments, the keeping of which brings a promise of length of life.
Tradition of Men
Jesus accused His generation of changing this law by their tradftions. He referred to this commandment. The Pharisees, however, were teaching (for their own financial gain) that if anyone should say to his father or mother, “What I might assist you with is consecrated to God,” then he need not assist his father or mother. Jesus then 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.”
The Christian Church today is as guilty for it teaches the traditional doctrines of the Church instead of preaching the need of keeping and observing all that is written in His Word. A nation whose people are keeping this fifth commandment will be blessed of God under the promise that it will be well with those who honor their father and mother.
Paul gives this warning to parents, “Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.” (Col. 3:21.)
The keeping of this fifth commandment not only will bring a blessing, but a knowledge of its requirement will instruct children in their responsibility. Modern home life is directly responsible for the lack of a knowledge of God’s word. The parents who complain of neglect must bear part of the responsibility for failure to have properly instructed their children in the way of the Lord.
A Closed Book
As a nation we have fallen far below the requirements in accordance with God’s laws. The Bible has been excluded from our institutions of education, or, where allowed, has been so improperly used that its teachings are nullified. The home has failed to teach its precepts. The Church has failed to supply that true instruction so essential for an understanding of His laws.
RELATIONSHIP TO OUR NEIGHBOR
A question often asked by those who, for the first time, have come to a realization of the national need of keeping the commandments, statutes and judgments of the Lord is, What can we do about it? It is of course impossible for any individual to put into operation the statutes of national administration; but we can, insofar as national violation of such laws are concerned, point out the righteousness of the law and protest its violation, thus calling attention to the penalties being exacted from us as a nation today for such violation. Essentially it is a work of witnessing: a voice in the wilderness, as it were, calling attention to the ways of righteousness, pointing out the need of a national restoration of the administration of all His laws in order to secure the blessings of peace and prosperity.
Individually we do not have to wait until the nation makes that restoration before complying with the law and coming under its benefits. Many of the requirements of the law can now be kept by individuals, such as the rules for health as well as the required attitude towards God and towards our fellow man. Thus while it is impossible to have the perfection of administration and peace promised as the result of the nation administering the commandments, statutes and judgments as the law of the land yet, insofar as the law applies to the individual, we can conform with its requirements. It is self-evident that the keeping of every requirement of the Ten Commandments brings its specific blessing and an inward spiritual peace. This, then, is the answer for those who — having heard of the need of keeping the law and of its national administration — voice the question as to what individuals can do about it!
Already we have shown what is required of man in his relationship to God. This relationship is set forth in the first half of the Ten Commandments. There can be no orderly society where these requirements are ignored, for unless men place God first, and recognize their proper relationship to Him, men are incapable of keeping a proper relationship to their neighbor. Immediately following the requirements governing man’s relationship to God the Lord sets forth the relationship of men — one to the other.
Domestic tranquillity is impossible in any community which ignores these laws. Thus, while the greatest of all commandments is to love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, the second is like unto it: “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”
The Sixth Commandment
No man can violate the last five commandments (beginning with the sixth) and love his neighbor as himself. The sixth commandment is, “Thou shalt not kill.”
But there will be men who will violate this law, for unless authority is vested in some organization with power to enforce its observance, society will suffer from the result of violence and crime. Because this is so, God authorized the establishment of governments, delegating to man the power to administer His laws and authorizing the bringing to justice of the individual who violates His commandments.
Individuals have no right to set up a standard of personal conduct! That has already been done by God through the Ten Commandments. It is equally true that no nation has a right to say what type of punishment shall be meted out to those who violate any of the commandments. The punishments have already been declared by the statutes and judgments of the Lord.
Capital Punishment Mandatory
The original statute, “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed,” was enlarged upon by a statute of judgment given to Israel at Mount Sinai. Here it is, “The congregation (i.e., the governmental assembly of Israel) shall judge between the slayer (the one who has taken life) and the revenger of blood (the executioner) . . . These things shall be for a statute of judgment unto you throughout your generations in all your dwellings. Whoso killeth any person, the murderer shall be put to death. . . . Moreover ye shall take no satisfaction for the life of a murderer which is guilty of death (not even the substitution of life imprisonment)…. So ye shall not pollute the land wherein ye are; for blood it defileth the land: and the land cannot be cleansed of the blood that is shed therein, but by the blood of him that shed it.” (Num. 35:24-33.)
Under this law every nation is justified in executing the murderer. This law makes such execution mandatory and the nation that refuses to carry out this law is guilty of failure to administer justice in the land. Such failure will result in a land filled with violence and crime.
In order to protect the man whose duty it is to execute the criminal, a judgment was rendered under this sixth commandment: “And the revenger of blood (the executioner) kill the slayer; he shall not be guilty of blood.” (Num. 35:27.)
Contrary to popular belief the Bible does not hold life cheaply. It is a serious thing to take life, and for the taking of life the murderer forfeits his life. But those who accidentally cause the death of another are confined in a city of refuge until the death of the High Priest. In some cases this might amount to life imprisonment. Such a law certainly produced respect for life and made a man careful of the life of his fellowman. This law in operation today would reduce automobile accidents to a minimum. A driver of a car would be as careful of the life of another’s husband, wife, daughter and son as he would be of his own loved ones, for none would want to forfeit his freedom.
Swiftness of Justice
It has been a fact of our history that when crime becomes intolerable the Anglo-Saxon mind unconsciously reverts to the ancient Israel laws of administration. This was in evidence in the early days of the west, in the organization of vigilant committees to deal with crime. The swiftness with which justice was executed soon restored law and order to a troubled community. This swiftness of justice was the method God inaugurated in the handling and punishment of the criminal. The case was tried and before sunset of the day following the verdict the murderer was dead. The man or woman who feels such swiftness of justice will not have a law-abiding effect fails in an understanding of human nature. A man desires to live, not to die. God knows this and therefore gave laws and judgments which would deter men from committing crimes. In the swiftness of judgment He said, “So shaft thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear.”
Certain cases would be difficult to decide so judgments were rendered. “Whoever assails a man and he dies; he shall be put to death. But if he did not lie in wait, but his stroke came from God, then you shall provide a place where he may fly. If, however, a man plans against his neighbour to murder him; then you shall take him from my altar to kill him.” (Ex. 21: 12-14, Ferror Fenton Translation.)
When two men strive together, if one be injured and is in bed and the one responsible is uninjured, then the uninjured shall pay for the loss of the injured man’s time and bear the expense necessary to effect a cure (Ex. 21:18-19).
If an ox gore a man or a woman the ox shall be killed and the owner be free except in the case where he knew the ox was vicious. If he had such knowledge the death penalty would be passed upon him, but in this case he could redeem his life by paying substantial damages.
When a thief is found breaking and entering at night and if killed it would not be murder (Ex. 22:2). If in the daytime the thief can redeem his blood and if he has nothing, then he can be sold for stealing. These and sundry other judgments were passed to guide in the matter of administration.
There would be cases where a murder has been committed and the perpetrator of the crime is not detected. In such cases the city in which the crime was committed, or if in the country the nearest city is to make atonement (Deut. 21: 1-9). Here we have community guilt established when the individual responsible for the crime is not detected and punished.
We cannot leave this subject without referring to the New Testament. Jesus made hatred of a brother without cause the equivalent to murder. Thus the inward desire to destroy another is murder in the sight of God.
Exclusion from the Holy City, which is emblematical of the coming new order, is pronounced upon “The fearful, and un-believing, and the abominable, and murderers, etc.” (Rev. 21:8).
The Seventh Commandment
Next to murder, God condemns the pollution of the life-stream of His people. Family life was to be guarded against all such corruption, therefore the seventh commandment is, “Thou shalt not commit adultery.”
A vigorous, prosperous, healthy nation depends upon healthy and virtuous family life and relationship. History has demonstrated again and again that when a people depart from the laws of decency and morality, that nation declines. The Bible is very clear in its instruction regarding proper relationships between the sexes, for ignorance of such matters is not treated in Scripture as a virtue.
Death for Adultery
Severe judgments are pronounced upon those who fail to keep these laws. Respect for womanhood, motherhood, and for the rights of one’s neighbor would prevent violation of this commandment. Death is the penalty pronounced for its violation. “The man that committeth adultery with another man’s wife . . . the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.” (Lev. 20:10.)
Jesus cites this commandment and rendered a judgment under it when He said, “But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” Under such judgment thousands become guilty, for in this statement Jesus has taken this commandment from the Table of Stone and written it upon the heart. Outwardly men can appear virtuous by force of circumstances, but the man whose heart is right will not think or desire to do evil. He will in thought and deed refrain from all evil, regardless of conditions and circumstances.
Very strict rules are given under the law governing sex relations and hygiene. Close marriages among blood relatives are absolutely forbidden. Death is pronounced for the crime of sodomy and for carnal relationship with beasts.
Betrothed damsels are treated, under the law, as though they are married; with the death penalty for the man who molests them. A problem, the mishandling of which has caused untold suffering, involves young people who have been compelled to marry. Under the law it was mandatory that they marry and it is stipulated as an atonement that the young man pay a sum of money to the girl’s father. In addition to this the law declares that the young man may not divorce her for any cause all the days of his life. Thus by his act he has made binding upon himself the need of keeping, supporting, and cherishing her to the end of life.
Adultery is the one ground under the law that Jesus stated was justification for divorce; He said, “Whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery.” (Matt. 5:32.) The reason for this is clear. According to the law of judgment, death was the penalty for adultery. Thus under the law the one who committed adultery is legally dead and whether actual death follows or not divorce was justifiable.
There are certain cults that teach against marriage. For men to follow such teachings is declared to be giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils (Tim. 4:1), for the Bible declares that marriage is honorable, but adulterers will God judge (Heb. 13:4).
Solomon said, “My son, keep my words, and lay up my commandments with thee. Keep my commandments, and live; and my law as the apple of thine eye. Bind them upon thy fingers, write them upon the table of thine heart. Say unto wisdom, Thou art my sister; and call understanding thy kinswoman: That they may keep thee from the strange woman, from the stranger which flattereth with her words.” He also said, “But whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding: he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul.”
The Eighth Commandment
Having given the commandments respecting life and virtue God proceeded to set forth man’s relationship to his neighbor’s goods. The violation of this eighth commandment is responsible for the commitment of more violence and has caused more suffering than perhaps the violation of any of the other laws. Violence and murder and in fact the whole category of crime can often be traced to the violation of this eighth command. This commandment is, “Thou shalt not steal.”
Condemnation under this law is passed upon a wide variety of activities in our modern business and financial life. Every phase of human activity that undertakes to secure something for nothing when such acquisition is a loss to others is stealing. Withholding the tithe is stealing from God, according to Malachi 3:8.
Judgments – for Stealing
The judgment for stealing varied with the type of goods stolen. It ranged from restoration and other penalties to even death. If oxen and sheep were stolen and found in the hand of the thief, he was to restore double. If, however, the thief had sold or killed them, then he was to restore five oxen and four sheep for the one ox and the one sheep which he had taken. While this law applied to an agricultural community it nevertheless sets forth a principle which can as readily be applied to a highly industrial civilization. The law of the Lord removes all profit from stealing and imposes severe penalties upon those who steal. When money is stolen, the thief must make double restoration.
In the case of kidnapping, or the stealing of a man or a woman, to sell them for ransom, the judgment required that the thief should surely be put to death.
A natural question that arises is, What shall be done with the thief who cannot make restitution? The Lord said, “If he have nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft.” That is, he must work out his indebtedness. If such a law were in operation today, many a financier and business magnate who through stock manipulations have taken millions from the needy would spend the balance of their lives working to restore double that which they had fleeced from their victims.
Under the law of the Lord, with two, four and even five times increase in restoration over that which was stolen and with double the money taken to be returned by the thief, many would-be thieves would fear to do wrong. Manipulation of finances and reorganizations for the purpose of squeezing out the small investor; in fact, all sharp practices by which much stolen wealth has been accumulated in the past would cease under the righteous administration of such laws.
There are certain border cases that would be difficult to decide and so, under the law, judgments have been rendered. Let us look at a few of these, for the Bible definitely blesses and protects private ownership.
If a man dig a pit and an ox or other animal of his neighbor falls into it the owner of the pit or well shall make good the loss. If one man’s ox shall hurt another’s so that he die, then the live ox is to be sold and the money divided and the dead ox is also to be divided. But if the ox was known to be vicious, and the owner failed to keep it confined, he must make good the ox his neighbor has lost and the dead ox will be his.
If a man cause a field to be eaten he is to make restitution, while if he lights a fire and it burns his neighbor’s goods he must make restoration of the goods destroyed. When a man delivers goods or money to his neighbor to be kept, if it be stolen out of his house and the thief is caught, then the thief must make double restoration; if the thief cannot be found then the judges must decide as to whether the man to whom the goods had been entrusted is himself guilty; and if the judges condemn him, he must make double restoration.
If a man deliver his stock to his neighbor to keep for him, if it die or be driven away, no man seeing, he must take an oath before the Lord that he did not put his hand unto his neighbor’s goods. If it be stolen from him he must make restitution to his neighbor, but if it be torn to pieces and he brings it for evidence he need not make good.
If a man borrow anything from his neighbor and it is hurt or dies or is damaged while in his hand, the owner not being present with it, it must be made good. But if the owner is with it, he shall not make it good for it is hired and the owner being present is responsible for its care. These judgments establish principles of law that are applicable in every age.
The Lord has said, “Ye shall not steal, neither deal falsely, neither lie one to another.”
The Ninth Commandment
Thus it is that the life, the wife and the possessions of his fellow men are to be respected by man. God now set forth the relationship of men towards the good name and reputation of their neighbors. The ninth commandment is, “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.”
There are many ways in which one can bear false witness regarding his neighbor. It can be accomplished by word, act or deed, for often a false report can be started about another by a lift of the eyebrow, the shake of the head or the shrug of the shoulder at the mention of a name. Many times, action can be a more powerful method of circulating a false report than even the spoken word.
The making of false oaths is forbidden as well as committing any fraud. “You shall not go with the powerful to do wrong; and you shall not plead for the powerful to make excuse for their wrongdoing. And you shall not turn away from the poor man when he pleads.” (Ex. 23:2.)
Examination of Witness
False witnessing in court proceedings was more readily detected under the Israel procedure than it is possible to detect it today. Each witness was examined separately and out of hearing of the others. This minimized the possibility of collaboration between witnesses as well as the opportunity to escape detection if testimony is falsified.
When the judges detect the possibility of falsification the case stops and the judges make a thorough investigation. If the testimony was found to be false, “Then shall ye do unto him as he had thought to have done unto his brother.” Whatever the judgment would have been, had the defendant been found guilty, the man who testified falsely would have to bear.
If it would have been death, then it meant death for him. If it were to be restitution, then the witness had to pay the equivalent of that restitution. This would result as the Lord said, “And those which remain shall hear, and fear, and shall henceforth commit no more any such evil among you.”
Bearing false testimony is greater in scope than testifying in court cases alone. The Lord said, “Thou shalt not raise a false report; put not thy hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness.”
Also, “Whoso privily slandereth his neighbour, him will I cut off.”
The Bible has much to say about those who harm their neighbors by gossip. “Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people.” It is of interest to note that the truth or falsity of the matter is not raised, for if you truly love your neighbor as yourself you will not privately bear witness to his harm, be the gossip true or false. God only knows the untold heartaches that have resulted from the violation of this commandment and which has resulted in much suffering. James had these facts in mind when he said, “The tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! “ (James 3:5.)
Many otherwise respectable people look down upon an unfortunate brother who may have violated some of the other laws, while they themselves are breaking this ninth commandment. Jesus warns, “But I say unto you, that every idle word that men speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.” The violation of His laws has brought forth the statement from God of swift witness in judgment against false swearers, and against those who 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.
The Tenth Commandment
The final and last commandment which Israel heard promulgated at Mount Sinai by the voice of God was, “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 anything that is thy neighbours.” Jesus also said, “Take heed, and beware of covetousness; for a man’s life consists not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.”
It is worth noting that this last commandment sums up the cause back of most of the violations of the rest of the commandments. Covetousness leads men to commit murder and adultery; it is the first cause leading man to steal the property of his neighbor and often is back of the giving of false testimony. The Lord has declared, “Woe to them that devise iniquity and work evil upon their beds! when the morning is light, they practice it, because it is in the power of their hand. And they covet fields, and take them by violence; and houses, and take them away; so they oppress a man and his house, even a man and his heritage.”
Reason for Violence
Violence and blood have filled the earth as the result of the breaking of this tenth commandment. The desire to acquire the possessions of others has resulted in destructive competition in business, which is itself war when carried on under the Babylonian system, leading to armed conflict between nations. The desire for commercial supremacy as nations strive to destroy competition is but coveting world markets, even to the point of instituting aggressive warfare in order to take that which is coveted. There will and can always be legitimate trade in the buying and selling of goods and the exchange of one’s increase, but, unfortunately, methods are such under the present system that men are not content to live and let live. Instead men covet power and wealth and in their desire to bring their plans to fruition have drenched the pages of history with blood.
God gave to men an inheritance in the land forever, but modern business and the Babylonian system of administration has denied men their God-given privilege. In a world order where foreclosure of mortgages, tax sales and interest charges can be imposed upon a people and used to acquire the property of one’s neighbor, at a greatly reduced value, such has served those who have coveted their neighbor’s possessions. Covetousness is the foundation of evil desires and lusts.
In these Ten Commandments God has set before His people what is required of them in their relationship to Him and to their fellow man. If these laws are kept (and they can only be kept by a people in whose heart they have been written) there will be peace and contentment in that community, with freedom from strife.
When the question is asked as to what we can do regarding the law, the answer is to keep that law insofar as it is possible for the individual to comply with its requirements. No individual can do less as he desires and works for the restoration of the Law of the Lord as the Law of the land.
We have given but a brief summary of the ten commandments, making reference to certain of the statutes and judgments which are for the purpose of forcing men to comply with the requirements of the commandments. Until our nation makes this enforcement part of their administrative activities only men of good will will strive to keep the requirements of the law.
While no honest man can deny the importance of the Ten Commandments yet they are no more important to the individual who desires to be right with God than are the God-given statutes to the nation that would have God’s blessings on all their undertakings in the righteous administration of equity and justice for all.
THREE IMPORTANT LAWS
Happiness, contentment and peace within a nation depends upon the operation of a just and equitable system of administration and economics. Unless a nation is blessed with perfection in laws covering the equitable distribution and exchange of labor and goods among its citizens, the people will be harassed through maladministration; while the affliction of poverty, misery and distress will be in evidence — even in the midst of plenty. Because of the ever present evidence of the existence of these evil conditions in our modem civilization, different schemes have been and are being advocated and proclaimed by men as the solution for our social problems.
Progress and Poverty
About fifty years ago Henry George wrote a book entitled Progress and Poverty in which, through the theory of the single tax he proposed to eliminate conditions causing industrial depressions, for with the increase of wealth he saw a corresponding increase in want. Much can be said in favor of his proposed plan, yet it falls short of the perfect God-given system of taxation which, when in operation, will attain all that Henry George advocated plus many other blessings that would be impossible of fulfillment by the institution of the single tax alone. This would be due to the fact that along with a perfect system of taxation the Lord has laid down laws governing the entire scope and operation of the perfect economic order. Henry George saw clearly the evils of the present economy and his statements regarding those evils is an indictment of the failure on the part of modern civilization to remedy these conditions and remove poverty from our midst.
Socialism proposes to change these conditions by state ownership and control of the means of production. It aims to secure the reconstruction of society, increase wealth and bring about a more equitable distribution of the products of labor through public collective management of all industries.
Communism is a social system in which there is community of goods. It calls for the abolition of all private property (by force of violence, if necessary) and the absolute control by the community in all matters pertaining to labor, religion and social relationships.
Capitalism is a system of competition that favors the. concentration of capital (resources or wealth employed in or available for production) in the hands of a few. Thus in these three systems of man there is in capitalism destructive competition with poverty in the midst of plenty; in socialism, state control and the destruction of private industry; in communism, community of goods and destruction of private ownership.
Failure of Capitalism
In operation, the system of capitalism has proved wanting and has been unable to establish an equitable distribution of wealth and bring prosperity and happiness to all men everywhere, while during its activity poverty has grown in the midst of plenty. Because this has been so, the advocates of socialism and communism have pointed to the failure of the capitalistic methods as reasons why their particular brand of social order should be established in its place. But the continuation of capitalism, the substitution of socialism, or the adoption of communism will not cure the economic ills of mankind.
The Perfect System
Perfection in any true economic structure that will bring to men real happiness in the labor of his hands must eliminate destructive competition and in the midst of plenty allow no poverty. It will not destroy private enterprise and industry nor will it deprive citizens of the right of ownership. There will be competition, but a competition in the doing of good and in the rendering of services. Private enterprise and industry will flourish in the hands of individuals who will consider themselves stewards accountable to God for the welfare and happiness of those in their employ who will share equitably in all profits. The security of private ownership will be established, and it will be protected with a manifest willingness and spirit on the part of each individual to share with others the things he possesses when it is necessary to do so.
Let us not lose sight of the importance of the family in the plans of God, for in the perfect economic structure the spirit of the happy family life will permeate the entire community. As there are members of the family who can accomplish more than others so will there be members of the community able and capable of accomplishing above others. But as in the family each has his or her own possessions, so in the community property rights will be respected. But no member of the perfect family will withhold from a brother or sister any possession in a time of need, nor will a real brother or sister take selfish advantage of this spirit of generosity. Thus will it be when the economic laws of the Lord are operating in a society that is in accord with the plans of God.
In this day of change, with the political, economic and religious systems of man coming to judgment, when the message of the kingdom and its perfect laws of social justice should “be being proclaimed,” most men, as well as our spiritual leaders, are ignorant of the fact that there exists in the plans of God a perfect economic system, recorded in the Book, the keeping of which laws will guarantee the elimination of all poverty, distress and want and promises the establishment of an administration that will bring to man all its benefits. After all, not even the perfect system will operate unless there is established perfection in administration and so the law of the Lord deals with this also.
Men have failed to recognize that after giving the Ten Commandments, the keeping of which provides perfection in moral relationships, God laid down the fundamentals of economic well-being. In the observance of these laws is the solution of all our economic troubles. But men and nations, instead of opening the Bible to discover the answers to their problems, follow a cycle of experimentation that history should long ago have taught them was but a treadmill of adversity.
Medium of Exchange Necessary
Under virgin conditions and in a primitive state men practised barter and exchanged their labor and goods for the labor and goods of others. As a nation increased its wealth, and commercial activities multiplied, a medium of exchange became necessary whereby purchasing power might be stored for future use. The volume of that medium of exchange would control the price of goods and because this is so there is only one equitable basis against which that medium should be issued and it is not gold! Under our system gold, an inflexible standard, has been selected, and because it has been accepted as the standard of commercial operation in order, therefore, to always keep a true balance, increase in labor and goods decreases prices while the reverse is true when there is a decrease in labor and goods’ prices increase. This trends towards poverty and distress for the many, while wealth has a tendency to gravitate into the hands of the few.
In barter, an increase of labor results in an increase of goods which could be exchanged for the increased wealth of others. Thus the industrious through labor could increase their wealth. Under a system which has gold for its standard of value, the increase of goods (the result of increased labor) may increase the poverty of the laborer through a sharp decline in values as the result of the inability of the medium of exchange to expand in the same ratio as the increase in goods. The vicious circle is completed by thus making the possession of gold more valuable than the possession of property.
Destruction of Goods
In order today to control prices, and keep a more equitable balance between goods and prices, instead of discarding the present arbitrary standard of value and adopting the Divine method, men decree the destruction of goods and the curtailment of production. Thus real wealth, the things men can use and eat, are destroyed to prevent inflation, the result of the inability of the present medium of exchange to expand with the increase in production. Inflation would never occur under the God-given system, for there the medium of exchange is wholly adequate to handle the abundance that God has provided through allowing men to discover the means for increasing the production of the farm and the factory.
Today, with the increase in wealth there is a corresponding increase in poverty with periodic depressions, and despite the fact that we are in a land capable of yielding in abundance we experience untold wealth on one hand and dire poverty and distress on the other.
In our national desire for continued monetary prosperity, and in order to save a system of exchange not based upon real wealth, true wealth is destroyed that the gold standard may continue to function that the few may be prosperous. What a travesty of intelligence to hold, when God abundantly increases our goods, that prosperity can be had only by destruction or curtailment of that increase.
Increased possessions should spell PROSPERITY with capital letters and it should never mean adversity. The very fact that it does not do so is a condemnation of the system that fails to give liberally to the laborer his or her share in that increase.
With food enough for all, thousands are on the verge of starvation; with enough to clothe all, many are underclad; with an abundance of fuel, thousands suffer with the cold. The reason for this is due to the failure of the system of exchange that has become wealth. That system, valueless in itself, yet, because of the fact that it can earn upon itself, has taken the place of true wealth which must be destroyed to sustain the present system of values which is wholly inadequate to meet the needs of life in such abundance as God is now willing to give unto men. The inflexibility of the interest-bearing gold standard prevents thousands from converting their labor into the necessities of life.
The cycle of poverty and depression operates as capitalism under our competitive system — throttled by an interest-bearing medium of exchange — increases poverty in the midst of plenty, causing the people to clamor for relief. Aggressive nations turn to war to ease domestic pressure and secure coveted markets for their production. Such relief is but temporary and the new problems that arise bring dictators to power, followed by the socialization of industry. The end of it all is the destruction of private ownership and ultimate chaos; all because of the refusal of the nations to discard an interest-bearing medium of exchange which is condemned by God, for under its operation the poor are oppressed.
Instead of turning for relief to our God-given system of economics and exchange we are trying to save the situation by a planned economy and through failure of distribution we call the unconsumed balance over-production. Actually there is no over-production but there is definitely under-consumption!
The Love of Money
What, then, is the difficulty? Paul put his finger on the besetting sin of the human race in its adherence to the Babylnian system of economics (which Jesus named ” Mammon,” declaring you cannot serve God and Mammon) when he said, “For the love of money is the root of all evil.” (I Tim. 6: 10.) This incarnate love leads to war while the desire for gold is a lust for power and the move to establish a controlled economy is for the purpose of perpetuating the present monetary system with all its attaining evils.
Establishment of Gold Standard
John in Revelation declares that all nations have partaken of the evils of Babylon the Great in the desire of men to posses wealth, power and authority as they strive to acquire gold or its equivalent. When the King of Babylon set up on the plain of Dura, in the Province of Babylon, the image (Ukeness) of gold this standard was established as the medium of commercial activity. The only dissenting voices in that great economic gathering were Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, three young Hebrews who knew the Israel standard and would not consent to accept this Babylonian system.
The rejection by these three of the demands of the King resulted in a fiery trial out of which they came forth victorious. Their experience was the forerunner of the experience of all those who throughout the ages have been unwilling to acquiesce in the demands made upon them by this system of Mammon. Business, under the present system — with its destructive competition — is war. The weak succumb under the attacks of the strong. Hundreds of millions from cradle to the grave have lived in fear of want and destitution; while millions of others have existed in abject poverty, with untold suffering and privation as the result of the failure of the system to supply in abundance the needs of life to all men everywhere.” (Study in Revelation, pages 274-5.)
The call has gone forth for God’s people to leave the system: ” Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” (Rev. 18:4.)
The Foundation of True Prosperity
It would be unjust to call upon Israel to leave the Babylonian methods of commerce if there was not another system already awaiting Israel’s adoption in this time of emergency. Now there is such a system and it was given to His people at Mount Sinai. Israel departed from its observance and in the adoption of the methods of Babylon acquired the economic evils of the heathen system.
The only foundation on which true prosperity can rest, with an unlimited expansion of industry and enterprise and an increase in production — without having a corresponding increase in poverty in the midst of plenty— is an adequate and equitable medium of exchange. This medium must be a perfect weight and measure regarding the value of goods.
Let us turn to the Israel laws and we find that God instructed His people as follows: ” 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.” (Deut. 25:15.)
Today, goods in the hands of the merchant are valued at a price, but as soon as the same goods pass into the hand of the purchaser their value has materially decreased. The same holds true regarding practically all production, regardless of the actual usable value of the goods themselves. These changing values tend to enrich the seller at the expense of the buyer. Because of these arbitrary variations in values it makes the possession of money to be more desirable than the possession of goods and is a contributing factor in increasing poverty in the midst of plenty.
The Lord instructed Israel, ” Thou shalt not have in thy bag divers weights, a great and a small.” (Deut. 25:13.) In laying down this law God condemns the modern system of finance. Think for a moment of the divers weights and measures in the bag of high finance. Because of our failure to establish a fixed standard of value in relation to gold and silver, rather than gold alone, the producer receives little for his labor.* Also, the consumer must pay dearly for that which the laborer has produced. It is a convenient sliding scale which is always in favor of the few against the many. Why should goods be of little value when in the possession of one, and so dear when required by another? It is clear from a study of the Israel system of exchange that a unit of value was established, fixed in its relation to goods, with silver part of the monetary system to increase volume with increase in goods.
In order to remedy economic conditions today, we must establish a unit of value and a standard of wealth that will stabilize prices. Let our national wealth in goods be backed by the necessary volume of money, increasing and decreasing with supply and demand, and prices will be stabilized. Thus goods, whether in the hand of the producer or consumer would have an inherent fixed value. The medium of exchange would increase with the increase in our national wealth. A true balance would thus be maintained in accord with Divine law. Instead of fluctuation in prices there would be a fluctuation in the volume of the medium of exchange. Increased production would mean increased purchasing power in the increase in the circularization of an increased medium of exchange.
With the institution of this Israel system the increased abundance from the farm and factory would see corresponding increase in the volume of money in circulation: with workmen able and ready to absorb the increased abundance through restitution of the Israel system of labor and wages. There would be no fear of inflation under such conditions nor would there be the evil of scarcity, bringing its inevitable destitution and want. Wealth would be in the reach of anyone who, through enterprise and industry, was willing to expend his labor in production. Today, with no adequate method of balancing gold against supply and demand, fluctuation in prices is inevitable. But when money can be made to expand with the increase in goods men can always produce at a profit, for prices will have become stabilized. The production of goods will then be as profitable as the mining of gold.
Along with the requirement that Israel possess a just system of weights and measures so that men may increase their labor and multiply their goods without a decline in values, a medium of exchange that will enable the farmer and factory worker to exchange their labor on an equitable basis, is God’s requirement that the medium of exchange shall bear no interest. “Thou shaft not lend upon usury to thy brother; usury of money, usury of victuals, usury of anything that is lent upon usury.” (Deut. 23:19.) There is one exception to this law and this applies to the stranger or those who refuse to keep the requirements of the law. Such were not to have an advantage over the Israelite by being exempt from paying interest while imposing interest on others. The exception is, “Unto the stranger thou mayest lend upon usury,” and remember that the stranger here is one who refuses to accept or abide by the Israel requirements.
The taking of interest impoverishes a people, perpetuates poverty and works hardship on not only individuals but communities and nations as well. It also changes the medium of exchange from representing values, making it wealth and its possession to be desired more than the possession of true wealth, the things men can use. Then, too, the enormous sums involved in interest charges alone have enslaved men and nations, making them pay tribute for the right to live. We have set aside God’s true blessings of increase for a few dollars in interest and instead of receiving a blessing are being cursed in all the work of our hands.
In his booklet, The Economic Law of the Lord, W. J. Cameron has this to say: “The creation of credit without the multiplication of debt is a masterpiece of Divine legislation. Another strange point is that this law which absolutely prohibits interest or the increase which is called usury, comes from the same Divine power which practices increase all the time! We make dead money artificially yield a paltry three or four or five per cent—not that money yields it, the borrower does. But God’s increase, did you ever count that? The Lord Christ once touched upon it; speaking of God’s interest which He pays to man, Jesus said that in some instances it was thirty-fold, some sixty, and some an hundredfold. And this is not 30, 60, or 100 per cent, but 3,000, 6,000 and 10,000. per cent. And because we reject the living system of 10,000 per cent increase for our dead system of 5 per cent here we are!
Need we wonder at Ezekiel’s condemnation of the whole system of taking usury? He said, “Thou hast taken usury and increase, and thou hast greedily gained of thy neighbors by extortion, and hast forgotten me, saith the Lord God.” (Ezekiel 22:12.)
But along with a just and equitable standard of value with a non-interest-bearing medium of exchange issued against this standard of value there also must be a definite and fixed relationship between that which man earns and the taxes he pays. Only thus can justice be done so that there will be no confiscation of wealth.
Taxes, always a problem and a troublesome question today, have become increasingly vexatious. But there is a solution of even this problem, for God has decreed how tax levies shall be made and the method of collection as well as the amount each citizen shall pay. To institute the Divine system of exchange without the Divine system of taxation there would still be privation and want through the confiscation of property under an unjust system of taxation.
Purpose of Government
Originally the purpose of government was to establish justice and equity, compelling the refractory to conform with laws that would insure peace. But governments cannot function without financial support, so each citizen contributes toward that support for the protection afforded him. That contribution became a financial assessment and today is called a tax levy. So long as a government carries out its legitimate purpose, protecting its peoples from aggression within and without, a nominal tax is sufficient for such purposes; but when a government becomes aggressive or departs from the fundamental principles of administration, an abuse of the right to tax (unless there are safeguards to prevent it) will follow.
Rewarding the Shiftless
Property, both real and personal, is today subject to taxation. Our present method of taxing property has no relationship whatever to the earning power of the individual who is compelled to meet these assessments. The fact is we penalize men for improving their property and increasing the wealth of the nation and reward those who destroy values and allow their property to deteriorate. Thus through taxation the government fines the thrifty and industrious and rewards the shiftless.
What is the remedy? It is a return to the Law of the Lord and its methods of taxation. Three principles must govern equitable taxation:
(1)Taxes must bear a definite relation to the income of the people and this relation must never be disturbed.
2nd) In order to conform with this first principle, taxes must be levied against income only; leaving all property, both real and personal, free from tax levies and thus not subject to confiscation. The government must live within its income as a matter of sound business policy and remove forever the right to alter the tax principle. Under such conditions, government income is increased only by increasing the income of the people.
Israel System of Taxation
The Israel system of taxation based upon the tithe complies with these principles. The tithe is a percentage of the income of the people and while the word tithe means a tenth of that income yet the returns are not limited to only a tenth of the income of the people. The fact is, the Bible sets forth three distinct tithes and when taken over a period of years amounts to about a fifth of a man’s income or increase.
Under the tithing system in Israel there were no tax levies made against property, either real or personal, but taxes were a percentage of a man’s earnings or increase.
When a man ceased to earn and failed to have any increase he paid no taxes! His possessions were free from confiscation and he could live and enjoy them though his earnings had ceased.
Today we tax the possessions of a man and when the day comes that he ceases to earn, or have any profitable increase from his possessions, and is thus unable to meet these tax levies, his property is confiscated and he may end his days on the poor farm. This we call “civilization.” But under the God-given system a man was protected in his holdings as old age approached and was free from fear of destitution and want.
Because of national failure to recognize and keep God’s laws of taxation we suffer with excessive levies against property and possessions (any levy against property itself is excessive) resulting in oppression and economic trouble. When the day comes that the nation keeps, the law, then the vexatious problem of taxation will be solved forever and the administrators will live within their income which will be a percentage of the earning and increase of the people. The people will then be able to pay all the tithes without hardship, for God will pour out a blessing of real prosperity upon the nation when they keep His laws. Meantime the individual must tithe his increase and use it in the service of the Lord. He is obliged to set aside a tenth of his income for this purpose and in order to be eligible for the blessings as set forth by Malachi the prophet (Malachi 3:10-18). Then when the nation observes the law the tenth will be increased to a fifth to include the tax levies for the support of the government.
In these three important laws a perfect monetary system based upon the value of goods, services and the increase of our national wealth with the outlawing of usury and the institution of a system of taxation which is not confiscatory of property, the foundation will have been laid for an economic structure which in operation will be par excellent. Nothing that the socialists can conceive nor the Communists desire can be compared to the institution of the God-given system which will out-capital capitalism in that all men will become capitalists and “sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid; for the mouth of the Lord of hosts hath spoken it.” In this statement is the assurance of food and drink, to replace the fear and want which is ever present with men under our present economy.
MANAGEMENT AND LABOR
When men are under subjugation to another’s will and command without adequate compensation for services rendered it is slavery no matter by what name such service may be called, for slavery is the involuntary servitude of one human being to another. Because this is so the amount of wages received for services rendered and the right to sell one’s services to whom one will is vital to the independence and standing of the laborer. Unless a laborer has freedom of choice and receives full and adequate return for his services and the goods he produces by the expenditure of either mental or physical activity, the scale inclines towards slavery rather than towards freedom and independence.
No question has been of such moment as the position of the laborer and the amount of wages due him. It has been the basis of class warfare and has led to strife and bloodshed. Men have resented classification and low wages and have organized to better their conditions. But it is impossible to make an equitable adjustment of wages which will be satisfactory to both employer and employee until certain fundamental changes are made in our economy.
Pressure upon Employer
Employers and employees are both under pressure today — the former endeavoring to remain in business; the latter to meet ever-increasing living costs —and to this end the one strives to conserve assets and the other to secure advances in wages. It has in this way become a conflict for survival on the part of each under the present order of things. The employer must pay tribute at the counter of the money exchangers in the form of interest and other charges in order to secure credit and continue in business. The money he needs to meet his payrolls and to purchase his stock is furnished by the money loaners to whom he must pay tribute. He finds himself a slave to a system which makes money (rather than goods) the criterion of wealth. Thus, regardless of what and how much he produces in quality or quantity it is of little avail to him in compensating the employee unless he can convert this wealth resulting from production into wealth represented by gold.
Control of Values
Labor, under an equitable system of compensation, should receive a just proportion of that which labor produces — either in that which is produced or its equivalent. But because that which he produces is controlled, not by its value and use but by the value of gold, both the employer and employee are unable to reap a full profit in an equitable return from their joint labors. This is because true wealth (the goods resulting from production) must be converted into a medium wholly inadequate to represent the value of production as has been shown. The control of the profits of management and the wages of labor are wholly apart from the interests of both, being in the hands of the money exchangers.
Vested financial interests have been able to remain aloof from most labor disputes, making both management and labor assume that their difficulties are the result of the greed of the laborer or the selfishness of the employer, when in fact both are the dupes and slaves of a financial system which reaps both ends and the middle; always tending to bankrupt the employer and withhold adequate compensation from the employee. Result: continued warfare between labor and management — each trying to save itself from the inevitable financial pressure from without by organizing against each other, both striving to control production, hours and wages, and blaming one another for their present plight.
Let us always remember that the objective and end for both the employer and the employee are one. Each needs the other and both desire to receive from production a profit for their labor which should be a fair proportion of the value of that which is produced as the result of true collaboration between management and labor. This cannot become a practical actuality until there is a radical change in the entire monetary system to bring it into conformity with the Biblical standard of weights and measures as shown in the previous chapter.
A Third Party
Management furnishes organization and brains for the production and sale of finished goods while labor furnishes the skill and necessary hours to turn raw material into finished products. But there is a third party in this combination who contributes nothing, either in brains or brawn, yet claims the lion’s share and the right to use the results accruing from the joint undertaking of management and labor in the marts of trade and over the gambling counters of international finance. Thus this third party trades in that for which it has never worked or labored, bringing all business and its transactions under tribute as the wealth of the system flows into its coffers. This third party controls finances and due to the fact that the value of our monetary system has no direct relation to the actual national wealth represented in production and goods, but instead rests upon a metallic basis and by the control of money and in demanding tribute for its use, a few are enriched at the expense of labor and management.
Labor needs the employer who in turn needs labor and its services, yet neither actually needs the financial leeches; though at present they control the medium of exchange through gold. Its use and possession can only be secured by paying tribute if one would acquire the raw material for production in order to later sell in the market the finished product.
Management must pay toll to the money exchangers in order to acquire the wherewithal to carry on their trade. Because of the exorbitant charges (and any percentage charged for the use of a medium that ought to represent goods and production is exorbitant) labor blames management and management blames labor for the lack of prosperity and the economic trend towards oppression.
This foregoing explanation has been necessary in order to show the direct cause of oppression and the reason why honest and sincere endeavor and enterprise does not always prosper. The solution of the problem of labor and wages is impossible until the monetary question has been properly adjusted to the equitable standard of a true economy.
For our nation, the solution lies in Congress taking over its constitutional right “to coin money, regulate the value thereof,” and set as the standard of the value of that medium of exchange the nation’s wealth in goods and possessions plus the increase from the labor of our citizens —and against all that wealth, to issue the coin of the realm. As this wealth increases there would be a corresponding increase in the medium of exchange, but the value and price of goods and possessions would remain constant.
Foundation for Security
Under such conditions, the non-producers who have lived so long on the labor and activities of others would be eliminated and would themselves have to go to work or starve. Employers would feel secure to produce, for production would be capital and wealth. Against that wealth would be issued a medium of exchange just as today it is issued against gold. Thus the production of serviceable goods would be the production of wealth and bring an increase in the circulation of money. Management would be freed from being harassed by interest-bearing bank loans and the ever present possibility of foreclosure by creditors who by manipulation and through refusal to extend credit and renew notes might seize equipment and stock worth thousands of dollars for a few cents on the dollar. The full value of possessions would always be assured just as now the holders of gold are assured of the full value of the yellow metal in their possession.
Now both labor and management are in servitude, slaves of a system and of those who control the money of a nation and who compel all to pay tribute if they would use the money of the realm. In collecting tribute for the financing of production, the producer is robbed of his profits and the laborer of his wages.
When business is freed from these modern hazards by the institution of a non-interest-bearing medium of exchange, issued against possessions and increase making the standard of wealth goods, then management and labor can unite in the production of wealth and share with each other in that production and thus institute such a cycle of prosperity as the world has never before experienced.
Law Against Oppression
Elimination of our present unjust system of taxation along with the institution of a non-interest-bearing medium of exchange based upon national wealth instead of gold would produce the means of adequately compensating all under the administration of the Divine law, both management and labor. When management is free to move without the fear of confiscation of their wealth the law says, “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.”
This law covers all classes, both the foreigner and the citizen within the nation. What, then, constitutes oppression? It is the failure to give a just return for services rendered. How is that return to be made? The Biblical standard was in kind, or its equivalent in value, being an equitable percentage from the increase resulting from that labor.
Under the new order there would be no incentive to horde the medium of exchange but men would conserve our natural resources as real wealth instead of destroying our most valuable possessions in order to buy and horde gold or its equivalent.
Our present civilization has been built upon unrighteousness. This is in the robbing of the poor through subjecting them to conditions of slavery in a system where it has been impossible to reap an adequate reward for services rendered, and through harassing the employer by the fear of confiscation because financial interests demand their pound of flesh. All this is evidenced in the fluctuation of prices and the production of industry on the shelves of cut-rate stores while the hammer of the auctioneer has been frequently used to dispose of possessions and goods at a fraction of their original value.
Judgment Upon the Oppressor
Jeremiah rightly declared woe unto those who build in unrighteousness: “That useth his neighbour’s service without wages and giveth him not for his work.” James declared that the hire of the laborer is kept back by fraud. The Lord through Malachi states that he will come in swift judgment “against those that oppress the hireling in his wages.”
Oppression of the laborer is the result of failure to give the laborer (management is part of labor in this instance and subject to oppression) a just proportion in return for the energy expended in production. Such injustice results from the fact that the value of a man’s labor has no relationship to the goods he produces. Regardless of a man’s contribution to the increase in goods, his services are paid for in a medium regulated by gold. Under these conditions, both management and labor cannot reap the benefits of what they do when the standard of wealth is gold and not goods.
Just Return Possible
When the three important laws with which we dealt in our last issue are in operation, buildings, machinery, equipment and all possessions will be free from taxation. Taxes will be a tithe of the increase accruing to management and labor. And as taxes are paid from one’s increase, so labor and management will receive a just return from the increase resulting from their combined efforts in production. Labor will cease to be a commodity to be purchased in an open market, for under the law of the Lord labor would become a co-partner and receive an equitable share in the increase with those who through management contribute their part to make that increase possible. Labor would thus be able to purchase that which it produces and thus remove the danger of overproduction, which does not exist in reality —it being, rather, underconsumption — because labor is not given sufficient to buy that which it produces.
Labor and Public Works
Solomon needed laborers to build the Temple at Jerusalem. There would, of course, be no return from this production other than the wages received. Men were sent into the forests of Lebanon to prepare timber for the Temple. Solomon raised a levy of men by conscription in Israel; 30,000 men were thus gathered and sent to the forests. This levy was divided into monthly shifts of 10,000 for each month: thus the men in each shift spent one month in the forest and two months at home.
Here is an interesting fact set forth in the handling of labor for public works. Four months out of the year these laborers worked for the state. Eight months out of each year the laborer was free to enjoy himself and his home. The return from the four months’ service was sufficient to insure his living during the entire twelve months.
With modern advancements in machinery and mass production methods plus the ingenuity of inventive genius, we should be able to do much better in the equitable distribution of profits when freed from the curse of the present economic evils. A few months each year should enable man to produce all that he would need during the balance of that year. This will be when we conform with the entire requirements of the law of the Lord. Not only will this be so, but during the six years an accumulation of production will be sufficient to carry through the seventh year, which seventh year will be a Sabbath of rest.
Periods of Rest
Vacations have been a problem for industry and only a few have been able to avail themselves of this privilege. But God is not interested in having his people make the accumulation of wealth the desire and end of life. The primary purpose of production in the plan of God is to supply men with the needs and comforts of life; but instead of doing this today, production has been made the means of enriching the few at the expense of the many.
Our foolishness in these matters has cost much, besides denying to our people the blessing of the periods of leisure provided under the law. We have substituted short vacations, grudgingly given to a few, for the blessings of the periods of leisure abundantly offered by God under the Divine economic system that would bring happiness and contentment to all His people.
Fixed and eternal is the fact that one day in seven is holy unto God. These were not to be days of pleasure. But during the year holidays were instituted at intervals when men were to cease from their labors. Three different periods were provided in each year, one in the spring, another in the summer, and the third in the fall. These were weeks during which His people were to enjoy themselves, “And thou shalt rejoice in thy feasts, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, and thy manservant, and thy maidservant, and the Levite, the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, that are within thy gates.” (Deut. 16:14.) All observed these vacation periods. The people were to remember God even in the midst of their vacation for in each period a day of Holy convocation was set aside to be observed as a Sabbath.
But this was not all. At the end of every six years an entire year (the seventh year) was a year of rest in which men were to cease from their labors. During this year they could devote the time to travel and pleasure. They must of course keep holy the Sabbath days of that seventh year.
At the close of seven weeks of years (49 years) an extra year, the 50th or Jubilee, was added to the vacation period. This was to be a period of real rejoicing and pleasure during which a proclamation of peace was to be issued.
We have ignored the laws of the Lord which, when in operation, would bring the blessing of peace, prosperity and real happiness. The permanent solution of the problem confronting management and labor, with the elimination of the financier, would end for all time the need of labor organizations. Men thus freed from having to pay tribute, with the institution of equitable laws under an economy of justice and equity, would deal righteously one with the other.
Then would come to pass the fulfillment of the Lord’s declaration made through the prophet Isaiah: “For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. . . . And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them. They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands. They shall not labour in vain, nor bring forth for trouble; for they are the seed of the blessed of the Lord, and their offspring with them. And it shall com to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear. The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent’s meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the Lord.” (Isa. 65:17-25).
No question is so important and vital to humanity in the establishment of an orderly and peaceful social system than a proper and equitable definition of property rights. Who owns what and why? Unless there is vested in the human race a right to own and have possessions there can be no such thing as stealing or covetousness. Any laws against such would be ridiculous; for a man cannot steal that which belongs to no one, nor can he covet that which is not another’s. Without ownership, a man can take and use anything he sees — until one stronger than he undertakes to possess it. Without property rights, properly defined and enforced, the world would be afflicted with chaos and violence.
By their very prohibitions the ten commandments presuppose definite inherent property rights vested in mankind as exemplified in the clauses “Thou shalt not steal” and “Thou shalt not covet.” Those who advocate the abolition of property rights seem not to realize that to attain such a state of affairs would abolish stealing and covetousness and reduce men to the level of animals, with the weak in fear of the strong.
Basis of Property Rights
Primarily, ownership and property rights begins with the family. No one can study the Bible without realizing the importance of family life in the perfect economy. Any plan that displaces the family or fails to accept it as the very center and life of an orderly system is destined to fail.
In accord with the original plan of God concerning man He said, “It is not good that the man should be alone. I will make him an help meet for him.” (Gen. 2:18.) That is, He would make a comforter to live with him. It is not popular in this day of so-called social equality to speak of property rights in the family relationship and yet when God is the head of the household and righteousness is the basis of all relationships, no wife will object to the expression of ownership in the statement “my wife ” nor will the offspring find fault when of them their parents say “our children”. Because of the right of ownership — one in the other — the Lord declared, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” (Gen. 2:24.)
The law of the Lord abounds with safeguards placed around the family, protecting the family, keeping it pure from pollution and punishing those who violate the sanctity of the home. No property rights are more rigidly guarded and protected than the rights of man and wife, with the death penalty pronounced upon adulterers.
Importance of Inheritance
In order that the family may have sustenance there must be an inheritance or possession in the land. Because we have failed to recognize this or to act upon God’s laws regarding the land, millions of people today are dispossessed of their possessions and are able to exist only by the sufferance of the nation. The loss of a job means starvation, for without a vested right in land the right to live and produce the needs of life is denied.
But the Bible declares the land is the Lord’s and all the people were to have an inheritance therein.
An Israelite could not sell his possessions so that his family would not have an inheritance in the land. Now an inheritance is the right by law to receive possessions or property which is one’s heritage or birthright. The Lord gave His people such an inheritance in the land and declared “The land shall not be sold for ever: for the land is mine.” (Lev. 25:23.) They could lease that land, but a definite time period was set after which the land must revert to the original family. The land could not be taken through tax levies for no tax was allowed to be levied against a man’s inheritance.
When Israel came into the land of Palestine to possess it that land was divided among the Tribes of Israel and each family received his inheritance under his father’s house and Tribe. The land being the Lord’s, the tithe of its increase was holy unto God.
Law of the Land
Moses had instructed the Children of Israel in accordance with the law of the Lord that they were to sow their fields and prune their vineyards and gather their fruit for six years. The seventh year was to be a Sabbath of rest in which year they were not to sow the land nor prune their vines or gather their fruit. That which grew of itself was not to be reaped nor were they to eat of it for it was to be a year of rest for the land. “And the land shall yield her fruit, and ye shall eat your fill, and dwell therein in safety.”
In this statement the Lord has promised that if His people would keep the law regarding the land there would be no insect devastation nor crop disease. Instead, there would be an abundant yield of all kinds from the land.
Use of the Surplus
But what shall the people do for the seventh year for food? This is also answered, for the Lord said, “And if ye shall say, What shall we eat on the seventh year? behold, we shall not sow, nor gather in our increase: Then I will command my blessing upon you in the sixth year, and it shall bring forth fruit for three years. And ye shall sow, the eighth year, and eat yet of the old fruit until the ninth year; until her fruits come in ye shall eat of the old store.”
Here, then, is God’s method for caring for the abundance in production by giving rest to the land and a year’s vacation to His people with their living provided from the over-production of the six years. Thus God’s abundance, in the keeping of the law, contributes to prosperity and blessing and does not impoverish a people. Instead of curtailing planting and instituting crop destruction, God shows how that over-production is to be used for the benefit of all.
The Year of Restoration
Seven sabbaths, or forty-nine years, were to be numbered and the fiftieth year was to be a Jubilee. This fiftieth year was to be hallowed or sanctified, that is, set apart. During this fiftieth year a proclamation should go out. In this year every man was to return unto his own possessions and to his own family while every man’s inheritance was restored unto him.
Cast in the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia is a part of the Jubilee call: “Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof.” On July 8th, 1776, this bell rang out: summoning the people to hear the reading of the Declaration of Independence. What a different story might have been told in the history of our country: a story of peace, liberty and real prosperity — had we but kept the law of the Jubilee!
Instead, we have had periodic depressions and financial difficulties — with a deeper dip in those depressions every fifty years. Our nation could have led the way by keeping the letter as well as the spirit of that law inscribed on our Liberty Bell and in so doing would have demonstrated to the whole world the blessing of keeping the Divine Commandments.
But instead of doing this, we elected to follow in the steps of the nations around us and fifty years after the critical days that followed the War of Independence the Liberty Bell, which had been rung every year on the anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, cracked and has not been rung since.
Leases and Redemption
Property sold during the fifty years preceding each Jubilee returned in the year of Jubilee to the family of inheritance. Because this was so the sale of property, or the possession of it by other than the family of inheritance, amounted to a lease. The longest term would be fifty years, with all leases expiring in the Jubilee year. The price of the lease would be in accord with the number of years left to run before the Jubilee or proclamation of liberty and restoration.
In the observance of this law the people would not oppress one another yet there was liberty of trade and even the sale of property within these set bounds. If a man was poor and sold his inheritance it could be redeemed before the Jubilee, either by a relative or by himself, by paying to the purchaser the value of the use of the property for the years yet remaining to the Jubilee. If the owner or his relatives were unable to thus redeem the land it reverted to him or his family as a matter of law at the Jubilee.
God has thus assured continued possession of the land by His people and through the operation of the law prevented a man from squandering his inheritance so that the family could not redeem it, or finally come into possession of it in the year of rejoicing.
Land Free from Taxation
It was impossible to dispossess men of their inheritance under the law of the Lord as no taxes were levied against land. Regardless of a man’s personal commitments he could not disinherit his family by being dispossessed of his land forever. Millions of people today have no inheritance in the land and are pauperized in a country where hundreds of thousands of acres of land lie idle and unused. Because taxes are levied against the land, instead of being levied against the increase from that land, men cannot afford to possess land. Through a system of debt that impoverishes the many and enriches the few the tendency has been to dispossess the many in our refusal to keep the law which states that “ye shall not therefore oppress one another ” and we penalize, through taxation, those who should inherit the land!
God placed a high value upon country property. It was from the land that the support of the family really came and in the protection of the family He assured them a continued possession or inheritance in the land. This fact will become evidenced as industry turns more and more to the products of the farm for furnishing raw material for manufacturing purposes. Land marks were forbidden to be removed so there might not be any confusion as to a man’s possessions.
It is interesting to note that the Lord did not place the same value on city property as he placed on property in the country. If a house in the city was sold, it could be redeemed within a year. After that it was unredeemable and did not return in the Jubilee. It became the property of the new owner forever. But houses in the country and villages were treated as the land, redeemable at any time and to be returned to the original owner at the Jubilee. The only exception to the rule regarding city-property was in the case of property belonging to the Levites. They were the administrators in the nation and could redeem their property in the city at any time and it returned to them in the Jubilee.
Protection of Property Rights
Following are a few of the sundry judgments estabhshing property rights, with compensation to the owner for their violation or for the destruction of his property. “If a man shall cause a field or a 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.” (Ex. 22:5.) The law of the Lord emphasizes restitution for trespasses and wrongs.
If a man kindle a fire that results in doing damage to his neighbor’s possessions he must make full and adequate restitution. If a man dig a pit and fails to cover it and damage results to his neighbor’s cattle he must make good the loss and pay full compensation for the animal killed. After paying his neighbor for his loss the dead cattle would be his.
While these judgments specifically apply to an agricultural community yet they are based upon fundamental principles of justice and law that can be applied in any age and to any type of industrial activity. The judgments as given are samples of the way the Law of the Lord is to be applied to specific cases. When this fact is fully recognized and understood we will cease to hear men make fight of the Law of the Lord because some particular judgment under that law in Moses’ time has no application today.
Nowhere in the Bible is there any indication that property rights are to ever be abolished. On the contrary, such rights are emphasized and safeguards are placed around that property to protect a man in his possessions. Liberty for the individual is non-existent apart from freedom of possession and the protection of personal holdings and property, with adequate compensation for its loss or destruction.
Land Has No Sale Value
Under the law of the Lord the land had no sale value in itself. The sale value was in the productiveness of the land. Because this was so, nothing could be gained by holding land for profit, for there was no profit in land except one labored and worked that it might bring forth an increase. When a man sold his inheritance, it was not the land which he sold but the right to the increase from that land. The sales value was based upon the yearly return from the land until the next Jubilee. Thus it was the yearly return which he sold and not the land. Thus the thrifty were not penalized while the shiftless were rewarded as is so often the case today. The thrifty paid a tithe from their abundance or increase and while the shiftless paid no tithe yet they also had no increase. Both were assured of their inheritance: free from the fear of losing it or having it taken from them by governmental levies, but the increase from that inheritance could only be secured by individual industry and enterprise. The owner of property and in possession of his heritage, under the law of the Lord, is blessed with security while today the ownership of property is a liability that may tax the resources of men to meet the levies made against his possessions.
Homes for All
God saw to it that provision was made for homes for all His people, forever, in His refusal to allow the land to be sold. It gave security to men and assured the industrious an opportunity to provide for their needs and increase their wealth. Because land is primarily the basis of man’s existence, while the inheritance of such sustains his right to property, yet for a government to make tax levies against that land impoverishes a nation and pauperizes its people. Abolition of property rights is not a Scriptural teaching though by our violation of God’s system of taxation and with governmental levies against property and land the abolition of property rights with the resulting loss of security, has become a fact in the life of millions of our citizens.
Assurance of Private Ownership
The Bible does not teach the doctrine of community of possession. God did not say that men were to sit under a community vine and fig tree when the perfection of Kingdom administration has been established in the earth, but He did say, “But they shall sit every man under bis own vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid” — not even the tax collector. In that day we are told that the houses will be private property, possessed by those who build them, for “They shall not build, and another inhabit” as so often happens today if not from the result of tax burdens, then from the inability to meet and pay usury charges.
Emphasis is placed upon the fact that in the perfection of the New Order of the Ages every man will enjoy his labor, “And mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands,” adding, “They shall not labour in vain, nor bring forth for trouble,” as so often is the case today under a system of exchange which tends to impoverish the laborer and increase the wealth of the rich.
A natural question which arises in this day and generation is, who will control or possess the great national wealth and resources such as the minerals in the mountains and the oil under ground? All this wealth belongs to the nation and in them all the people have an inheritance. Moses listed these national resources as follows:
1)The water, the rain and the sunshine from heaven.
2)The sea and the dew.
3) The natural production of field and forest, apart from man’s labor.
4) The oil and the minerals in the mountains and the hills.
He declared that God’s people had an inheritance in all this wealth and that these national resources are a national asset to be used for the benefit of all.
The administration of our national affairs in accord with the laws of the Lord would bring to the people the full benefits and blessings accruing from the developments and use of these resources. Unfortunately, this national wealth today has become the private property of financial combinations who through private ownership have acquired billions of dollars of wealth and holdings. Such are entitled to a return for their services in the development of such wealth but the people should have a vested interest in that which is a national asset. Private enterprise and industry should receive adequate compensation for the conversion of our natural resources into usable production, but into the national treasury should come adequate returns from these assets that all the people may have a share in our national wealth. Under such conditions financial interests will not be able to reap that which they have not planted nor gather where they have not sown.
This is not socialism nor communism but it is in accord with the law of the Lord and for the protection of the heritage of His people. We have allowed men to exploit and often destroy national wealth for selfish ends. By such methods they have amassed great fortunes out of the wealth God gave to the nation. With these fortunes, under our present system, power and control have come into the hands of the few to the detriment of the many. All this wealth of natural resources must be restored to the nation, but adequate remuneration will be earned by the workers, whether in management or labor, in the converting of national resources into usable wealth. But no one will be able to control that which belongs to the people to the detriment of national interests nor will private interests be able to hold as private property the real resources of wealth that belong to all the people.
All this will become possible through the passing of the inequitable and unjust system under which men labor today, for this Babylonian method of competition, with its monetary standard of wealth must give way to a just system of taxation and permanent ownership of property —with a perfected medium of exchange based upon our wealth in national assets and upon our production.
Of present conditions, the prophet Isaiah says, “He looked to see justice done, but found crime; and for kindness oppression. Alas! they add house to house, —wide farm to farm,— That alone they may dwell in the heart of the land! ” (Isa. 5:7-8.)
Thus does God condemn the large land holdings of the few which has taken from His people their heritage!
Why governments? The anarchist declares they are unnecessary, for he regards all governments as essentially tyrannical. It is a parallel attitude to that taken by the atheist towards Christianity and the Bible. Both anarchist and atheist are actuated in their beliefs by the shortcomings of men in their misrule and in their failure to recognize and understand truth. Such malcontents are therefore the product of the failure of men rather than the failure of principles which are fundamental and sound.
The dictionary defines government as “authoritative administration of the affairs of state.” It is, therefore, the control, direction and restraint exercised over man in his community life. If that restraint is in conformity with just and equitable laws, then only the criminally inclined will find fault and oppose such administration.
As government is an authoritative administration, from whence comes this authority which grants men the right to administer law and exercise power over his fellow man? One of the marked evidences that a Power greater than man is responsible for granting unto men the right to establish orderly government is that history demonstrates the inevitable retribution which follows the abuse or misuse of the power to govern. For there is as much of a responsibility resting upon the shoulders of those who are charged with the affairs of state — to administer the law with equity and justice — as rests upon the citizens of the state to keep and observe the law. Seldom, if ever, does the break-down of government begin with the people. Disrespect for the law and opposition to those who administer it is usually the result of people becoming aware of corruption and inefficiency in high places.
Because this is so, there is perhaps nothing so important to the peace, prosperity and happiness of a people than the type and form of government under which men live.
People under tyrannical governments suffer oppression and are subject to unjust laws and evil administration, regardless of the national resources and wealth of the nation. On the other hand, a people living under a benevolent government — the administrators of which have but one thought in mind: to administer the law for the benefit of all, that righteousness and justice might be established, refusing to favor any one group of citizens or manifest partiality towards any class among its people —will keep peace within its own borders and have a loyal citizenry ready at all times to defend the rights of such a government.
Nowhere has man been given authority to make law! Perfection in government requires that men function in an administrative capacity only, for when men depart from this function, and assume the right to make law, the result is confusion and the inability of men to keep all the laws — many of which rulings are outmoded almost as soon as they are enacted into law.
We have already shown that it is as essential for men to observe the God-given laws of moral conduct, economic well-being and community relationships as it is essential for men to observe the physical laws necessary to an orderly universe. Just as surely as men suffer in the work of their hands when they violate laws governing chemistry, physics or mechanics, so surely do people suffer when governments depart from laws fundamental to righteousness in administration.
Purpose of Government
Our forefathers expressed the real purpose of government when they wrote the preamble of our constitution. “We, the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this constitution of the United States of America.” While the desire was to give these blessings to our nation, the mere writing of a constitution, no matter how carefully drawn, would not, in itself, secure these blessings for a people, for they are the attributes of righteousness in administration.
It is impossible to establish justice unless those entrusted with the enforcement of law are just. It is impossible to have domestic tranquillity unless there be equitable taxation (which is not confiscation of property) and unless there is the proper distribution of the right to labor and possess wealth under a system of economics which would eliminate destitution and want, otherwise there will always be fear and an apprehension of the future. Certainly the general welfare cannot be promoted if one group of citizens is penalized in favor of another and more favored group. Thus the functioning of a righteous government is fundamentally administrative; that is, laws must be administered that are just to all, from the humblest to the greatest of all our citizens.
We cannot have the blessings of liberty for ourselves or for our posterity under a government which goes into business in competition with its own citizens. Governments in business and “business-controlling governments” destroy the very purpose of government!
Seeking the Kingdom
How, then, can the blessings of real peace, prosperity and happiness be secured which will assure liberty and guarantee freedom for all? Jesus answered this question when He said, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God (the gospel of which was preached by both John the Baptist and Jesus), and His righteousness (which is the perfection of the administration of the laws of that Kingdom); and all these things (the needs of life of which He had been speaking) will be added (that is, given) unto you.” (Matt. 6:33.)
This is a call to restore the administration which had been established over the Kingdom at the time it was organized at Mount Sinai. There God had given the laws of righteousness which His people were instructed to administer. This Divine Charter of National Administration recognizes the impossibility of establishing equity, justice and liberty until all His laws are kept. And while God never granted man (or any group of men) the right to make law, yet He has enjoined men to keep, observe and administer His laws.
Previous to the Deluge men had not the power to administer law. Each individual was duty bound to keep and observe the Divine Commands but there was no human organization to bring to judgment those who refused to observe and keep the law. The very conditions the anarchists would emulate did exist in the antediluvian period, for during that age there were no governments to restrain men. Each man settled for himself his individual conduct without fear of any earthly tribunal before which he could be brought to answer for his misdeeds. The biblical record gives the result of this freedom to exercise one’s will without human restraint, “The wickedness of man was great in the earth, and every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. . . . The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.” Men who despise governments, if they had their way, would restore the antediluvian evils of corruption and violence in their desire to destroy the administration of the law.
Organization of Governments
Following the account of the Deluge, we have the record of the original charter authorizing man to administer the law and bring to justice the criminal who violates its provisions. The terms of this ancient document have been preserved in Scripture for our instruction. It is mandatory for men to bring to justice those responsible for violence and murder. Because evil men would disegard the moral persuasion of God’s commandments, men were now charged with the following responsibility: “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed.” (Gen. 9:6.) This very command necessitated the organization of a governing body to administer the law and was responsible for the beginning of government.
The provision of this original charter of administration sets forth the one and only purpose of government, which is to prevent violence, and crime and to enforce the keeping of law and order. Nowhere do we find any record of an enlargement of this charter to include other than the power to administer law. Governments have departed from these requirements and have assumed rights never intended to be exercised by a governing body — with the result that there has been tyranny and oppression as evidenced in the records of history and in current governmental activities, and as shown by the evils of bureaucracies.
Governments were originally organized in accordance with the provisions of the Divine Charter, but history shows that, in the process of time, the authority which had been granted them to administer law was assumed to be a license which was used to oppress and dominate men. The right to govern was seized upon by aggressive men as a means of control — with the result that there came into being the spirit that might makes right and to the strong belongs the spoils! With this as a premise, there arose a civilization centering in the Euphratean Valley, the rulers of which demonstrated their philosophy of government by aggressive warfare against all those who opposed their methods or stood in the way of their ambitions.
Individual acts of violence and crime in the antediluvian days had now given way to the violence of aggressive governments. And due to the fact that governments had now become evil it was necessary, in the plans of God, to establish an administration of righteousness to oppose this aggression and whose purpose would be the ultimate destruction of government by violence. In order that this might be brought to pass God chose a man and his family through whom His plans were to be worked out. Abraham was called and to him and his seed was assigned the task of opposing evil aggression. To this race of people, in the providence of God, there was granted an enlargement of the original charter in that they were to ultimately come into world rule and destroy all governments responsible for maladministration.
Ultimate World Rule
In order that this world-wide program might see final fulfillment the seed of Abraham was organized into a Kingdom at Mount Sinai and given authority to administer God’s laws, which became the basis of their national life and the foundation of their governmental authority and constitution. Here, then, was organized a Kingdom by Jehovah, the God of Israel, and by virtue of that fact it is the Kingdom of God upon earth: the laws of which Kingdom will yet be enforced throughout all the earth in the ultimate world-wide administration of those laws by this Kingdom.
We have already touched upon the organization of this Kingdom, but let us again emphasize the purpose of that organization — to administer the law in righteousness, to establish equity and justice throughout the earth and to oppose all evil aggression —bringing to judgment evil men and ultimately destroying the power of those governments bent on evil aggression. This is the task to which the Kingdom of God, organized at Mount Sinai, is dedicated; and the citizens of that Kingdom, under Divine compulsion, will finally carry out all the provisions of the charter granting them national existence as His Kingdom people.
Type of Men Holding Office
Inasmuch as the object and purpose of the Kingdom is purely administrative, it is essential that the proper type of men be chosen for office or else there will be unrighteousness in administration. Such men must not be subject to the acceptance of bribes nor be in league with criminals. They must be in sympathy with the purpose of the Kingdom, keeping His laws and adhering to all the requirements for righteous administration. The rule to follow in choosing those who are to have the responsibility of administration is as follows: “Moreover, thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness.” (Exodus 18:21.)
For a while Israel was able to choose such men, but in the process of time the people departed from the observance of the law with the result that men of violence came to office and maladministration followed. Jesus referred to such evils in His day when He said the Kingdom suffered violence and the violent take it by force.
Because these conditions existed in a world governed in the most part by unregenerated men even in the midst of the Kingdom people, Jesus found it impossible to secure an honest hearing or sincere cooperation from the rulers of His time. Instead, they sought His life and were responsible for His death. But as a result of His life, ministry, death and resurrection men and women are now being prepared for the day when they will take over and administer the affairs of the Kingdom. Such will completely qualify for office and come into conformity with the requirements of Exodus 18:21 and will be above bribery, covetousness and all other temptations that now beset men. This is the group to whom God is going to entrust the administration of Kingdom affairs and the establishment of order and peace throughout the entire earth when His Son takes over the throne of His Father David and reigns over the House of Israel forever.
Government of Administration
What, then, will be the form of government that will be established over His people in the perfection of Kingdom administration? It will be a government that will function in accord with the Israel constitution and the members of that government will not exercise any legislative prerogatives in the making of law. Their task will be to administer the Divine law, for God alone is supreme in the making and giving of law. As Moses appealed at times for Divine guidance in cases not adequately covered in accord with the human concept of the revealed law and received judgments instructing him in the matters of administration so, also, Divine revelation will be forthcoming when necessary to enlarge the scope and application of the Divine laws.
Under the Divine law no legislative authority is vested in any county, state or nation which allows men to enact or create new laws.
Two Major Functions
Under the Divine Constitution the government has two major functions, executive and judicial. Executively the government administers the law, collects the taxes, establishes the financial and monetary system, provides for the national defense to secure the state against aggression within and without, carries on diplomatic relationships with other nations and is responsible for the making of treaties and covenants: all of which acts must be in accord with the Divine charter.
Judicially the government hears complaints, tries cases, and renders just, equitable and impartial judgment in all matters that come before it. It moves against the criminally inclined and brings to justice all those who violate the Divine law. It protects the family and a man in his possessions and punishes those who fail to respect the rights and goods of his fellow man. It instructs the people in the law and its righteousness that they may be law-abiding citizens.
Perfection in government, both in its executive and judicial functions, makes government the great arbitrator and adjuster of the affairs of men that they may conform with the law in their personal and business activities and live at peace one with another, That, and that alone, is the purpose of government. When a government fails to adhere to these principles it fails in the purpose for which governments were established.
King or President
The head, or executive holding the highest office of state, whether he sits upon a throne or is president of the nation, is instructed to write or copy all the law in a book and he shall keep it with him and read there in all the days of his life. The purpose being, “That he may learn to fear the Lord his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them: That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the midst of Israel.”
Not only was it necessary for the leaders of the people to study the law continually, but Moses commanded the priests — the sons of Levi (not the Aaronic order of priesthood) — who had charge of state affairs, as follows: “At the end of every seven years, in the solemnity of the year of release, in the feast of tabernacles, when all Israel is come to appear before the Lord thy God in the place which he shall choose, thou shalt read this law before all Israel in their hearing. Gather the people together, men, and women, and children, and thy stranger that is within thy gates, that they may hear, and that they may learn, and fear the Lord your God, and observe to do all the words of this law: And that their children, which have not known any thing, may hear, and learn to fear the Lord your God.” (Deut. 31:10-13.)
Governments must have revenue and in conformity with the Divine law it is required that the tithe be collected from all the people for this purpose. The law of tithes was covered in chapter VII. In addition to the tithe was the poll tax, collected annually and paid by all those numbered in Israel from twenty years old and upwards.
In paying the tithe, in returning unto Him a tenth of their increase, men acknowledged that all they had was from God! The Levites, who performed the functions of our modern civil sendee, were charged with the responsibility of collecting the tithe.
Now all the tithe does not belong to the church as is erroneously taught by some Christian leaders today, but only a tenth of the tithe was for ecclesiastical purposes.
The instruction to the tax collectors was as follows:
“When ye take of the children of Israel the tithe 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 . . . ye shall give thereof the Lord’s heave offering to Aaron the priest.” (Numbers 18:26-28.)
With the revision of our present complicated system of government to conform with the Israel standard of administration the cost of operation would be materially reduced, while there would be no need of expenditures for relief—as the poor and needy would be provided for under the Israel economy. This answers those who question the sufficiency of the revenue for governmental purposes under the system of tithes. When to the above is also added the fact that there will be no interest to pay, or bonded indebtedness that absorbs so much of the government revenue today, an intolerable burden will have been removed.
In chapter VII the need of a monetary system in which the medium of exchange represented by a unit of value was shown to be the God-given Israel system of exchange. The Divine economy provides for the recognition of this unit of value as the standard of wealth against which the medium of exchange should be issued. Because money has been regarded as wealth, rather than our goods, our present system has imposed a burden upon government and people from which there can be no escape until our nation returns to the standard of Divine economy under the direction of a government which conforms with all the requirements of the Law of the Lord.
Representative Form of Government
When Israel was organized into a Kingdom at Mount Sinai no one questioned the continuation of the position and leadership of Moses whom the people had elected to follow out of Egypt. But Moses needed assistance in the administration of the government, the enduring foundation of which was laid when he received the commandments, statutes and judgments of the Lord to be administered as the law of the Kingdom. A representative form of government was instituted and the rule by which these men were selected is set forth in Exodus 18 and is as follows: Able men and, men who feared God, men of truth, hating covetousness, were to be selected and placed as rulers over thousands, rulers over hundreds, rulers over fifties and rulers over tens. They were to judge and govern the people and only the cases too hard for them were to be appealed for final disposition before the national leaders. Government was to act definitely in an administrative and judicial capacity only.
Three Types of Government
So let us look for a moment at the three types of government represented in 1) autocracy, 2) democracy and 3) a republic and the combinations of these. Now autocracy is the absolute rulership of one man who holds full authority and power over his subjects. Democracy in its fullest sense is the the rule of the mob in which the political system is directly exercised or controlled by the people collectively; it is government by the people. A republic is a government in which the people elect representatives who are charged with the responsibility of administration and through whom they act; these representatives functioning independently of the people in matters of state, carrying out the affairs of government in accordance with the requirements of the law.
A democracy, therefore, is a form of government in rebellion against God, being a government by the people in which the final court of appeal is public opinion. The law of the Lord definitely points out that public opinion, or the voice of the majority, should in no way have a bearing or influence against the law or its righteous administration. His commandments, “Thou shalt not,” took precedence over every opinion, either private or public. His statutes, governing administration in the nation as well as the economic life and well-being of His people, were never intended to be subject to popular referendum or amendment. His judgments were to be kept more scrupulously than any judgment rendered in a court of law.
All this is confirmed by Moses, who said, “Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.” (Deut. 4:2.)
Moses codified the law of the Lord, it became Israel’s constitution, the people were admonished to adhere strictly to all of its requirements! The first demonstration of the democratic tendency in Israel and the manifestation of a desire to depart from these laws was made by the people when Moses was absent from the camp. The people assembled before Aaron and demanded that their voice be heard. Aaron acquiesced in their appeal. The Golden Calf was built and democracy, the rule of the people, was in full operation when Moses returned. The conversation which took place between Moses and Aaron is of real interest. Moses stood for the keeping of the law while Aaron gave the politician’s answer for acceding to the demands of the people in their desire for democratic rule, for he gave the people what they wanted.
Israel’s Form of Government
In following the history of Israel it is noted that every time the people departed from the strict observance of the laws of the Lord they adopted in part, or in whole, the principles of a government by the people and for the people, in opposition to the observance of God’s laws.
The type of government which God gave to Israel at Mount Sinai was neither an autocracy nor a democracy. It was a constitutional representative form of government with men placed in office to administer the law and assume responsibility for the affairs of state. Under their administration, Judges were appointed to office to hear cases and decide issues. Later on, in place of Moses and the Judges who followed him as leaders, a King came to office —but the type of government was still constitutional and representative.
United States Constitution
When the time came for the United States of America to adopt a constitution our forefathers modeled it after the perfect Israel system of administration. Whether this was done intentionally or not, God, in His providence, guided the framers of our constitution into drawing a document which led Gladstone to say after reading it, “It is the greatest piece of work ever struck off in a given time by the brain and purpose of man.”
However, in the adoption of our constitution, we failed to make mandatory the administration of the law given to Israel when at Mount Sinai there was organized the world’s first great Republic. Thus there was left in the hands of the people the power to enact legislation which made it possible for future generations to destroy the Republic. Because this was so, we have the reason for the failure in operation of what otherwise could have been the greatest of all governments since the time of Moses.
Quoting from Back to the Republic by Harry F. Atwood:
“Following the adoption of the Constitution and the founding of the Republic of the United States of America there began the first great era of progress govemmentally that the world has ever known. We began to solve problems and to secure privileges that had baffled philosophers and statesmen for ages. . . . We radiated over all the world the rays of light, of hope, of progress, of justice.”
The author failed to see that all this became possible in our emulation of the principles of government given to Israel at Mount Sinai.
Continuing, the author of the above book says, “Gradually, however, we began to modify our national government through the appointment of boards and commissions, and the creation of various governmental agencies that made it impossible for the government to function in accordance with the plan of the Constitution.”
In summing up the shortcomings of the various forms of government apart from a Republic, the same author has this to say, “Socialism is that phase of democracy which negates property rights. Anarchy is that phase of democracy which negates law. The initiative is that phase of democracy which makes it possible for the infuriated mob, under the leadership of the demagogue, to enact legislation. The referendum is that phase of democracy which assumes that the minority should rescind impulsively at a special election the deliberate action of the majority at a regular election. The judicial recall is that phase of democracy which makes it possible to take a case from the court room, where it may be decided in accordance with the law and evidence, to the street corners, where the agitators may appeal to passion and prejudice.”
Israel’s constitution guarded against all these evils by making it mandatory for the people to keep all the law and forbade them to make or enact laws. That Israel failed to keep the requirements of their constitution is evidenced in the perusal of her history. Because of this departure in turning away from the administration of the law of the Lord the following indictment of the nation for this national sin is recorded against them, “And they rejected his statutes, and his covenant that he made with their fathers, and his testimonies which he testified against them: and they followed vanity, and became vain. . . . And they left all the commandments of the Lord their God.” (II Kings 17:15-16.)
Vanity of Israel
Just what did Israel do when they became vain? They considered themselves just as capable of making laws for their guidance as God Himself. They, therefore, legislated laws to take the place of those which God gave them to administer. Omri was the greatest offender in this departure from keeping the law. We are told in I Kings 16:25 that “Omri wrought evil in the eyes of the Lord, and did worse than all that were before him.” Micah refers to this sin of Omri, and tells us that the people were following after what he had done, “For the statutes of Omri are kept.” (Micah 6:16.)
From the days of Omri and onward the House of Israel began to multiply their legislative enactments as they adopted the principles of and adhered to the democratic form of government. The day is coming when those who are charged with the affairs of state will be appointed to office because of ability and merit and who will continue in office, as the elders continued in office in Israel, so long as they enforce and administer the law of the Lord. This statement is made on the strength of the prophecy of Ezekiel: “I will save them out of all their dwelling places, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God . . . they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes to do them.” (Ezekiel 37:23-24.)
Representative Constitutional Government
When it is understood that the basis of the Israel organization is constitutional, with the law of the Lord as the law of the land, and regardless of whatever official title is borne by the leader of the nation, that his task will be to administer the commandments, statutes and judgments of the Lord in equity and justice, and, assisting him in that administration, representatives chosen from among the people for their virtue and integrity, then —and then only —will our nation be on the way to restoring righteousness in administration. Then will have been laid the foundation on which can be built an enduring and lasting government based upon the bed-rock of the commandments, statutes and judgments of the Lord operating as the law of the land.
Following the writing of what Gladstone called the greatest document produced by man must come the awakening of men to the realization of the need of restoring the administration of the law of the Lord. It must also be accepted and recognized that there is no right granted man that enables him to make laws, for governments were organized by God to function strictly in an administrative and judicial capacity and refrain from entering into business activities which, under the law, are assigned to the citizens of the Kingdom.
AND THE JUDICIARY
While God has delegated to men the right to administer His laws and has provided His people with a perfect constitution; yet, by virtue of the fact that the citizens of His Kangdom recognize the immediate sovereignty of God, the Kingdom itself is a Theocratic state. In that state the people are represented by those who are elected from among their numbers and authorized to supervise the affairs of state.
Now jurisprudence in that state can be defined as the philosophy of positive or Divine law and its administration. It is, therefore, the science by which the laws are reduced to a system and their principles analyzed and judicially applied under Divine guidance and direction. The judiciary is the department of government which administers the laws relating to civil and criminal cases and it pertains to courts and their proceedings and applies to the judges of the court considered collectively. It is this phase of Kingdom administration with which we are now to deal as we analyze the application of the law in the handling of cases: civil and criminal.
In an orderly procedure it is necessary that judges be appointed to hear complaints and try cases in conformity with the law. After Moses received the law it was necessary to reduce its administration to a system and analyze and apply that law. This work of administration became burdensome for Moses to handle alone and he recounts the conditions leading to the establishment of a governmental system and judiciary which relieved him of that burden. Moses said, “How can I myself alone bear your cumbrance, and your burden, and your strife?” Israel was then instructed by Moses: “Take you wise men, and understanding, and known among your tribes, and I will make them rulers over you.” The people answered and said, “The thing which thou hast spoken is good for us to do.” Because the people were favorable to the plan, Moses said: “So I took the chief of your tribes, wise men, and known, and made them heads over you, captains over thousands, and captains over hundreds, and captains over fifties, and captains over tens, and officers among your tribes. And I charged your judges at that time, saying, Hear the causes between your brethren, and judge righteously between every man and his brother, and the stranger that is with him.”
“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.” (Deut. 1:12-17).
Later, under the law, instruction was given regarding the setting up of local government and the appointment of judges. “Judges and officers shaft thou make in all thy gates (cities and villages), which the Lord thy God giveth thee, throughout thy tribes: and they shall judge the people with just judgment.” Ferrar Fenton translates this last, “To control you, and to govern the People with honest government.”
Moses’ charge to those responsible for judicial and administrative acts cannot be improved upon: even after these many years. Every officer of government and judge who will five up to these requirements will serve the people with honesty and uprightness. The charge is as follows: “Thou shalt not wrest judgment; thou shalt not respect persons, neither take a gift; for a gift doth blind the eyes of the wise, and pervert the words of the righteous. That which is altogether just shalt thou follow, that thou mayest live, and inherit the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.” (Deut. 16:19-20,)
Court of Appeals
A court of appeals was established to which cases could be taken and the judgments of this court were final (Deut. 17: 8-13). “According to the judgment which they shall tell thee, thou shalt do: thou shalt not decline from the sentence which they shall show thee, to the right hand, nor to the left.”
Death is decreed for the man who refuses to abide by the judgment rendered by this court of appeals.
Under what would be equivalent to our civil service the members of the Levitical order (those handling the affairs of state) were not subject to military service (Numbers 1:47). Their tenure of office was twenty-five years and the retirement age was fifty (Numbers 8:25). The services of the Levites were paid out of the tithe (Deut. 14:27-29).
The giving and taking of evidence is very important, for the testimony of witnesses in criminal cases will either free or convict a man; while in civil suits, it will either take his goods or restore to him his property.
Under modern criminal procedure a man, though innocent, can be convicted and, though guilty, be set free. The prosecution is determined to convict regardless of guilt and the defense to free regardless of whether the defendant be innocent or not. It is a test of skill between the two; with the defendant the victim, and justice a secondary issue.
Witnesses have been known to often perjure themselves and in some cases have even been drilled in giving testimony with this end in view. Each witness is assisted by listening to the testimony of those preceding him.
In case of minor offenses, men are given the alternative of paying a fine or going to jail. The wealthy pay their fines while a man without means goes to jail. Now the man with money escapes jail, not because he is innocent but because he possesses money. The poor man goes to jail, not because he is guilty but because he is poor and without funds. The hardship of confinement is experienced by the poor and freedom is gained for the wealthy — all of which is a travesty on real and equitable justice.
Even in civil cases the time and expense involved is often not worth the effort in undertaking to secure justice. Verdicts won may be far more costly than any loss sustained or injustice experienced. Court action is often merely a license to fight: with justice in the balance and often outweighed by methods of procedure.
Purpose of Trial
Rendering of true justice under the law of the Lord was the immediate purpose of every trial. With this end in view the judges examined the witnesses without the hindrances imposed in modern procedure when attorneys often fight to prevent the whole truth from being told. Thus, under the law, the procedure was such that it contributed to the maximum efficiency in the rendering of justice.
Examination of Witnesses
In the taking of testimony the witnesses were examined separately, and those who were to testify were not permitted to hear the testimony of the witnesses preceding them.
We have the record of the interesting trial of Susanna where this procedure disclosed the plot of those who, because she refused them, sought to have her executed. The account is given in the Apocrypha when two elders in Israel bore false witness against Susanna. They accused her before the court of having committed adultery with a young man and, because they were elders in Israel, their testimony was accepted against her without an examination: until a young man named Daniel interfered, and asked that the witnesses be properly examined.
The two elders who had borne false witness were then separated and each examined alone. Because they were unable to hear what each had to say their statements convicted them of evil desires and their own testimony resulted in freeing Susanna and bringing about their execution.
Now the Divine law requires that when false witnessing is detected, the case rests and the judges make diligent inquisition and, if it be found that the witness has testified falsely, then it shall be done to him as it would have been done to the one against whom he testified. The law states that the effect of such swift judgment against false witnessing would result in the people fearing to commit such evil (Deut. 19:16-21).
Under such conditions, there would be very few cases of perjury in our courts. In the first place, with the examination of witnesses out of hearing of all the other witnesses, the chances of detecting falsehood would be much greater than at present. And with the trial for perjury taking place immediately, falsehood would be detected and men would fear to perjure themselves, especially so if the punishment that would be meted out to the defendant, if guilty, must be borne by the one who perjures himself.
Number of Witnesses
Regarding the number of witnesses required for conviction, the law is clear, “One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established.” (Deut. 19:15.)
Treating Poor and Rich Alike
What about the punishment of those adjudged guilty of minor offenses for which, today, we impose a fine; or imprisonment when they are unable to pay the fine? This is not equitable and just, for the rich escape jail by means of wealth —while the poor man suffers confinement because of the inability to purchase freedom.
Under the Divine law: “If there be a controversy between men, and they come unto judgment, that the judges may judge them; then they shall justify the righteous, and condemn the wicked. And it shall be, if the wicked man be worthy to be beaten, that the judge shall cause him to lie down, and be beaten before his face, according to his fault, by a certain number. Forty stripes he may give him.” (Deut. 25:1-3.) This was the maximum number of stripes allowed under the law.
Where punishment was necessary the rich would suffer as much humiliation as the poor and the possession or lack of money would have no bearing as to the type of punishment inflicted. The judge would render a judgment for from one to forty stripes according as he deemed necessary in the case. Thus the law would administer justice to all regardless of wealth, position, or power.
Stealing human beings to hold them for ransom has been prevalent for centuries. God decreed, “If a man be found stealing any of his brethren . . . and maketh merchandise of him, or selleth him; then that thief shall die.” (Deut. 24:7.)
Our Federal Government has made the death penalty operative in the case of kidnapping and thus in this respect is conforming with the Divine command.
No provision is made under the Divine law for imprisonment for capital offense. The only cases where imprisonment is required is in the cases of accidental killing. Those who had accidentally killed another were to be confined in a city of refuge and remain there until the death of the High Priest. In some cases this might amount to life imprisonment. It certainly produced a respect for life that made a man careful of the life of his fellow man.
Such a law in operation would soon reduce accidents to a minimum, for no one wants to forfeit his freedom, and this would make all careful of the lives of others.
We spend enormous sums maintaining prisons, but under the Israel laws the following methods were used in punishment:
1) The death penalty for capital offenses.
2) Whipping, from one to forty stripes for minor offenses.
3) In case of stealing and destruction of another man’s property, restitution: to which must be added from one hundred to four hundred per cent as punishment.
4) Those who were financially unable to make restitution, or pay the fine, were compelled to contribute their work and labor until the debt had been fully paid.
5) Confinement in a city of refuge for accidental killing.
The death penalty was mandatory for murder, kidnapping, adultery, certain other immoral acts, blaspheming God, desecration of the Sabbath, idolatry and for the leader that undertook to turn the people from following the Lord and also for the stubborn and rebellious son who had become a perpetual soth and drunkard. Physical whipping was the punishment for all other offenses not subject to the death penalty.
At first those may seem like harsh judgments and yet, in operation, very few cases would come up for such judgment as men and women would fear to do such evils when certain, sure and swift punishment followed the committing of these crimes. Instead of having a land filled with violence and crime we would, under the operation of the Divine laws, have a land where men, their property and their rights would be respected; while the criminally inclined would soon be removed forever from society.
Judgments of the Lord
We cannot stress too strongly that in the judgments rendered as recorded by Moses we have principles of law set forth for our instruction. While the exact conditions under which these judgments have been rendered do not now exist, or have been so modified by advancements in civilization, yet the principle illustrated in the judgment is still operative. That principle is fundamental. In order to illustrate this point let us follow a few of the judgments, rendered under the law for our guidance, in their application to cases today.
If a man assails another so that he dies, he shall be put to death, but if he did not lie in wait, and death came as an accident, as they strove together, then the man was to flee to a city of refuge. Thus, if a man lay in wait for another, planning to kill him, it is murder, but if they fought with each other and one died, though not construed as murder, yet this accident compelled a man to flee to a city of refuge where he was confined until the death of the High Priest.
Whoever assaults or curses his father or mother shall die.
When a man assaults his neighbor with a stone or other instrument and he does not die, but is confined to his bed and finally recovers from all injuries, except the loss of time, he shall be completely compensated for the time lost, and the physician and all his expenses paid.
Punishment to Fit Crime
The law, “Life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe ” is a rule governing the administration of justice, demanding that the punishment fit the crime and that there be no excessive punishment in any case. If a hungry man steal a loaf of bread he should not be punished as would be the thief who robs his neighbor of his goods.
Jesus referred to this law and declared it was the law, but He counselled individuals not to conduct their personal relations, one with another, in accord with this rule of law governing the judges who must make the punishment fit the crime. Individuals can forgive and forget all manner of trespasses committed against them, but the judge cannot forgive and must administer the law in justice.
This is well illustrated by Jesus when he said, “But I say unto you (a counsel to the individual and not instruction to the government), that ye resist not evil.” Under this decision of our Lord no city, state or national government will allow an individual to take the law into his own hands. He must suffer wrong or else take his case to the judge. Even while two individuals are on the way to court there is yet time for them to forgive and forget, but the moment the case has been brought to the attention of the magistrate the judge has no alternative but to render just judgment. So we find our Lord counselling agreement with an adversary while the opportunity is at hand, for when the case is delivered to the judge he declares the guilty must pay to the last farthing (Matt. 5:25).
The Law Unchanged
Jesus never changed the law, “An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth, etc.,” but He did say that individuals were not to use this rule of administering justice in their dealings one with another. The observance of the provision of this law will prevent the infliction of punishment out of proportion to the crime committed.
If an ox kill a man or a woman, the ox shall be put to death, but if the owner was aware of the fact that the animal was vicious, then the owner would be guilty and subject to the death penalty. But a man could ransom his life in such a case by paying the fine the judge might impose upon him after which he would be free.
Under the principle of law involved in this decision modern industry would be compelled to place every possible safeguard around machinery and eliminate bad working conditions: dangerous to life. If failure to do so resulted in death, then the individuals responsible for such failure would forfeit their lives or pay exceptionally heavy fines. With this principle of law in operation a few judgments would make men realize that they had a responsibility to protect their fellow man.
In line with the above responsibility is the judgment rendered regarding the following: If a man opens a well, or digs a well, and does not cover it, and an ox fall into it and is killed he must pay the owner the full value of the ox.
Men are thus made responsible for the things they do that may bring harm and damage to others, even the things they refrain from doing when the doing of them will eliminate dangerous conditions. Under the operation of these laws there would be far less carelessness and men and women would be more thoughtful one of the other, especially when they become personally responsible for any damages following their careless acts.
The Financially Irresponsible
But what of the man who is financially irresponsible and unable to meet the conditions imposed upon him? Can he go about doing things that may damage others and escape the consequences because he has nothing? Such a condition of affairs exists today. Is it right that men shall escape responsibility, because of the lack of funds, to make good the losses sustained through their negligence or carelessness? No, under Divine law such a one must work out the fine and is sold into servitude until the debt is paid.
No man was allowed to hide behind the fact that because he owned nothing he would be free from punishment. Because of this law regarding servitude for the financially irresponsible the Divine laws cover what people have construed as a system of slavery. But the slavery under the law was the required servitude of those who, because of judgment, must work out their debts, and in certain cases such gained their freedom in the seventh year of release (Deut. 15:12).
One of the causes for discontent today with the method of handling cases is that when a thief is caught and punished the victim is often not reimbursed for the loss he has suffered. He may have the satisfaction of seeing the one responsible for his troubles punished, but unless his losses are made good there is really no justice for him. The law of the Lord requires that the thief make full restoration: and with from one hundred to four hundred per cent interest. Stealing was very unprofitable!
“If a man shall steal an ox, or a sheep, and kill it, or sell it; he shall restore five oxen for one ox, and four sheep for a sheep.” But if it be found in his hands alive he shall restore double. Men would hesitate to steal or take another man’s property with the possibility of such heavy liabilities if caught, for even though they may not be financially able to make that restoration they would face months and even years of servitude in order to pay the judgment.
The purpose of the law was to deter men from evil in that the severity of the punishment would make them hesitate to commit a crime. There would only have to be a few cases where men were brought to judgment before all men would see and fear to violate the law.
While the law required that individuals be punished for their evil doings, yet it also held cities responsible for crimes committed within their borders when those responsible for the crime were not apprehended and punished. The community had to make atonement for crimes in which the criminal had not been apprehended. This produced a civic consciousness of community responsibility and made for the strict enforcement of the law and the quick apprehension of the criminal (Deut. 21:1-9).
Protecting Property Rights
The law is definite regarding property rights, but those rights must be protected, so under the judgments of the Lord certain principles are established governing compensation for damages to and destruction of property. The equitable method on which judgment was based was restoration of his property to the owner with damages for depriving him of his possessions. In some case the restoration was to be 500 per cent.
If a man cause his neighbor’s field to be destroyed, out of the best of his own field and of the best of his own vineyard shall he make restoration. This principle applies to all property that might be destroyed by the carelessness or deliberate action of another.
Custodian of Property
A man might deliver unto his neighbor money or goods to be kept for him and while they are in the neighbor’s possession a thief might break in and steal. If the thief is found he will pay double, but if he is not found then the neighbor is brought before the judges and examined to see if he is free from guilt in the matter. Whom the judges condemn he must pay double to the one whose goods were lost.
This law prevented one from being careless regarding the goods entrusted to his keeping and made him diligent regarding apprehending the thief if they were stolen while in his custody.
When a man has delivered to his neighbor livestock to keep and it dies, or is hurt, or torn, but not in his sight, an oath is taken between the two that he has not put his hand upon his neighbor’s property. The owner is to then take what remains and no compensation is paid him. Proof must be presented, such as the slain animal, or the pieces of the animal if partly consumed. But if it has been stolen from him, then he must compensate the owner.
If a man borrow ought of his neighbor, and it be hurt, or die, the owner thereof not being with it, he shall make good, but if the owner is present with it, then it is the owner’s responsibility.
This judgment would apply to anything one might borrow, making the borrower responsible for its safe return unless the owner was with it, then it would be the owner’s responsibility.
“Whoso privily slandereth his neighbour, him will I cut off ” are the words of the Psalmist (Ps. 101:5), and in this statement the Psalmist expressed the prohibition of the law, “Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people.” (Lev. 19:16.)
Solomon declared, “Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer the strife ceaseth.” (Prov. 26:20.)
Let it be noted that this prohibition is against all talebearing, regardless of whether the subject detrimental to another be true or false.
Regarding false reports, the law states: “You shall not make a false oath. You shall not set your hand to commit fraud. You shall not be a false witness. . . . You shah not plead for the powerful to make excuse for their wrongdoing. And you shall not turn away from the poor man when he pleads. . . . You shall not pervert justice from the destitute when he pleads. . . . Keep far off from false pretence. You shall not kill the innocent, and the righteous, for I will not acquit the wicked. And you shall not receive bribes, for bribes blind open eyes, and pervert the words of the righteous . . . you shall not oppress a foreigner.” (Ex. 23:1-9, F. F. Trans.)
Under the law, men are required to go to the assistance of those who are in distress and to help save the property of even their enemies when that property is being endangered. Failure to help will cause the one thus refusing to become responsible for any damages resulting from that refusal. Such a situation would compel cooperation and make men realize that they are responsible for assisting others.
In the following judgment we can substitute any of the many modes of conveyance for the word ox and ass, for the principle involved is applicable at all times to the things that belong to another. “If thou meet thine enemy’s ox or his ass going astray, thou shalt surely bring it back to him again. If thou see the ass of him that hateth thee lying under his burden, and wouldest forebear to help him, thou shalt surely help with him.” (Ex. 23:4-5.)
A Man’s Word
Honesty in dealing one with another is imperative if there is to be peace and contentment in any community, for without faith in our fellow man, the result of equitable dealings and relationships, there can be no peace. The law says, “Ye shall not steal, neither deal falsely, neither he one to another.” (Lev. 19:11.)
A man’s word should be as good as his bond. God requires that when a man has given his word he must keep that word inviolate. Jesus emphasized the fact that all that was necessary between men in the pledging of their word was yes or no, for whatever exceeds this proceeds from evil. To promise, or declare with assurance — leading another to believe what one utters will be performed —binds a man in God’s sight to the performance of his word. Thus Jesus could say to individuals in their personal relationships, let your language be yes, yes; no, no.
But under the law in court proceeding, in taking an oath of confirmation, in dedication of possessions or services to the Lord, solemn attestations when required must be made and performed.
The law of vows was as follows, “When you vow a vow to your Ever-Living God, you shall not delay to pay it, for the Ever-Living your God will demand it from you; — and that would be a sin to you. But if you do not vow, it will be no sin. You must carefully perform the utterance of your lips; whatever you vow to your Ever-Living God, you must give whatever you have promised with your mouth.” (Deut. 23:22-24, F. F. Trans.)
Solomon emphasized the need of keeping our solemn promises to God when he said, “When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed. Better it is that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay. Suffer not thy mouth to cause thy flesh to sin; neither say thou before the angel, that it was an error: wherefore should God be angry at thy voice, and destroy the work of thine hands? “ (Ecc. 5:4-6.)
In listing those who will have no part in the coming new order of the ages when the Kingdom has been established in perfection upon earth, John, in Revelation, declares that all liars and those who practise depravity and falsehood will have no place there.
Temperate in All Things
Speaking of those who run in races Paul said, “Every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things.” He then said of the athletes that they were only seeking a corruptible crown, but we are seeking that which is incorruptible. So he says, “I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” (I Cor. 9:27.)
When listing the fruit of the Spirit such as love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance, Paul declares that against such there is no law (Gal. 5: 22-23). But what of those who refuse to be temperate? The following is a judgment of the Lord regarding the drunkard:
“When a man has a disobedient and rebellious son, who will not listen to the voice of his father or the voice of his mother, but disobeys them and will not listen to them, his father and mother shall take him and conduct him to the Magistrates of the town, and to the open court, and say to the Magistrates of the city, ‘This son of ours is disobedient and rebellious. He will not listen to our voice. He is depraved and drunken.'” (Deut. 21:18-21, F. F. Trans.)
Both the father and mother had to be in agreement, indicating that their son was absolutely depraved and a perpetual drunkard. The case had to be heard in open court where all the people of the community could be present at the hearing and who would know if the charges were true or false. The verdict was death for the unruly and drunken son.
Men in the priestly office, serving God, were forbidden to drink intoxicating beverages, even in moderation (Lev. 10:9). While Solomon said, “It is not for kings to drink wine, nor for princes strong drink: lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted.” (Prov. 31;4-5-)
Prohibition is the rule for those entrusted with the affairs of state and the judges before whom the people appear for just judgment as well as for those who serve in ecclesiastical office.
“Who hath woe? Who hath sorrow? Who hath contentions? Who hath babblings? Who hath wounds without cause? Who hath redness of eyes? They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine. Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth its colour in the cup, when it moveth itself right. At last it biteth like a serpent, and sting-eth like an adder.” (Prov. 23:29-32.)
Thus Solomon condemns the evils of drinking while the law definitely instructs in the need of temperance for all, prohibition for some and death for the depraved and drunkard.
Respect for Judges
Men are not to revile the judges nor curse the rulers of the people (Ex. 22:28). Due respect is to be shown unto them. When a case has been appealed to the highest tribunal and judgment made “And the man that will do presumptuously, and will not harken unto the priest that standeth to minister there before the Lord thy God, or unto the judge, even that man shall die: and thou shalt put away the evil from Israel.
“And all the people shall hear, and fear, and do no more presumptuously.”
“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. But the soul that doeth ought presumptuously (deliberately with knowledge and forethought), 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. Because 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.” (Numbers 15:29-31.)
David recognized the enormity of presumptuous sinning in the sight of God and he prayed, “Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression.” (Ps. 19:13.)
Thus the law defines two classes of sin, those committed through ignorance and those which are done deliberately — knowing that such is against His word, law and judgment. For the first class there is forgiveness, but for the second class there can be no atonement because the sinner has despised His word.
Jesus confirmed this when of the law He said, “Whosoever therefore, shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so (this is presumptuous), he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven (even though through the acceptance of Christ he may enter the kingdom); but whosoever shall do and teach them”, if in ignorance they fail Jesus is their righteousness), the same shall be called great in the kingdom.” (Matt. 5:18-19.)
Peter informs us that the Lord will deliver the righteous from temptation, reserving the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished. The chief of sinners, he says, are those who are presumptuous, despising government, the authority of the law and speak evil of dignities (II Peter 2:9-10).
Now the law of the Lord is the highest of authority and God will not hold a man guiltless who despises His government and refuses to keep and acknowledge the righteousness of His law.
Swiftness of Justice
When in Anglo-Saxon lands justice has fallen by the way and crime has increased — with lawless men in control — our people unconsciously revert to their ancient laws of justice with summary trial and quick executions. Such action soon restores law and order. The swiftness of justice strikes terror into the heart of the ungodly.
Under the law of the Lord men were brought immediately to trial upon being apprehended. When the trial ended, the very next day judgment was passed and the sentence was immediately carried out. If that sentence was death: then before sunset of that day the execution had taken place.
The swiftness of justice, the certainty of quick judgment in case of guilt and the immediate carrying out of the penalty imposed, kept crime at a minimum and evil men in fear of violating the law.
Here is a system of Divine jurisprudence that cannot be excelled. Establishment of the administration of the law of the Lord, with a judiciary sworn to carry out the requirements of that law, backed by an over-seeing Providence can have but one effect: establishment of righteousness with justice and judgment for all!
While we have covered only a few of the laws and their application, yet sufficient has been given regarding such to guide those who would study further that they might know and understand His system of jurisprudence.
The rulings of earthly tribunals under the law of the Lord extend into the heavenly and the power of a Mighty God will bring upon evil men and nations the curses of their evil doings. If by chance men escape punishment for their crimes in earthly tribunals they cannot, nor will they be able to long escape the court of Divine judgment. Hiding from men their evil ways will have only postponed the inevitable justice and judgment that is ultimately destined to overtake them.
Moses pronounces that God’s curses are upon the individuals who violate the law and instructs the Levites (those who administer national affairs) to declare them before the people. Then follows the list of evils which, committed, will bring the curse of God upon the individual (Deut. 27:15-26).
Following this Moses lists the blessings that would come upon the nation in its national life and activities if the law is administered in justice and equity and all its provisions are observed. Then he gives the national curses if the people refuse, as a nation, to keep and administer that law (Deut. 28). God is the Judge and He has executed judgment in accord with these pronunciations and today our nation is suffering under the punitive clauses of the law for refusing to do in accord with Moses’ instruction to our forefathers.