Theft: Commentary and Cases of Conscience. A Listing Excerpted From
THE INSTITUTES OF BIBLICAL LAW by Rousas John Rushdoony


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Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. (Hebrews 13:5)

Covetousness is the besetting sin of mankind. We covet what belongs to God's and what belongs to our fellow man. The First Table of The Decalogue deals with man's covetousness toward God, and the Second Table deals with man's covetousness toward his neighbor. Notice the treatment of theft being given here only deals, generally, with the Second Table. Little is said about the First Table. Violations of the First Table are, of course, the leading sins of the individual, the Church, the State, and of the corporate bodies in all the other spheres of society. For a introduction to both individual and corporate responsibility and faithfulness to God see An Introduction to Covenanted Reformation

The Eighth Commandment Thou shalt not steal. (Exodus 20:15)
As the holiness of God sets him against uncleanness, in the command Thou shalt not commit adultery; so the justice of God sets him against rapine and robbery, in the command, Thou shalt not steal. The thing forbidden in this commandment, is meddling with another man's property. The civil lawyers define furtum [furtiveness], stealth or theft to be the laying hands unjustly on that which is another's; the invading another's right.
I. The causes of theft.
[1] The internal causes are,
(1) Unbelief. A man has a high distrust of God's providence. Can God furnish a table in the wilderness? (Psalm 78:19). Can God spread a table for me? says the unbeliever. No, he cannot. Therefore he is resolved he will spread a table for himself, but it shall be at other men's cost, and both first and second course shall be served in with stolen goods.
(2) Covetousness. The Greek word for covetousness signifies "an immoderate desire of getting;" which is the root of theft. A man covets more than his own, and this itch of covetousness makes him scratch what he can from another. Achan's covetous humour made him steal the wedge of gold, a wedge which cleaved asunder his soul from God. (Joshua 7:21).
[2] The external cause of theft is Satan's solicitation. Judas was a thief. (John 12:6). How came he to be a thief? Satan entered into him. (John 13:27). The devil is the great master-thief, he robbed us of our coat of innocence, and he persuades men to take up his trade; he tells men how bravely they shall live by thieving, and how they may catch an estate. As Eve listened to the serpent's voice, so do they. As birds of prey, they live upon spoil and plunder. -- Thomas Watson on the Eighth Commandment

For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. (1 Timothy 6:10)

The Ten Commandments not only safeguard the right of private property, but are also additional evidence that the right is divinely ordained. -- C. Gregg Singer, "Calvinism and Economic Thought and Practice" in John Calvin: His Roots and Fruits, p. 46

The magistracy is ordained by God
With regard to the function of magistrates, the Lord has not only declared that he approves and is pleased with it, but, moreover has strongly recommended it to us by the very honourable titles which he has conferred upon it. To mention a few. When those who bear the office of magistrate are called gods, let no one suppose that there is little weight in that appellation. It is thereby intimated that they have a commission from God, that they are invested with divine authority and, in fact, represent the person of God, as whose substitutes they in a manner act. This is not a quibble of mine, but is the interpretation of Christ. "If Scriptures" says He, "called them gods to whom the word of God came." What is this but that the business was committed to them by Gods to serve him in their office, and (as Moses and Jehoshaphat said to the judges whom they were appointing over each of the cities of Judah), to exercise judgment, not for man, but for God? To the same effect Wisdom affirms, by the mouth of Solomon, By me kings reigns and princes decree Justice. By me princes rule, and nobles, even all the judges of the earth, (Proverbs 8:15,16). For it is just as if it had been said, that it is not owing to human perverseness that supreme power on earth is lodged in kings and other governors, but by Divine Providence, and the holy decree of Him to whom it has seemed good so to govern the affairs of men, since he is present, and also presides in enacting laws and exercising judicial equity. This Paul also plainly teaches when he enumerates offices of rule among the gifts of God, which, distributed variously, according to the measure of grace, ought to be employed by the servants of Christ for the edification of the Church, (Romans 12: 8). In that place, however, he is properly speaking of the senate of grave men who were appointed in the primitive Church to take charge of public discipline. This office, in the Epistle to the Corinthians he calls "kuberneseis," governments, (1 Corinthians 12:28). Still, as we see that civil power has the same end in view, there can be no doubt that he is recommending every kind of just government.
He speaks much more clearly when he comes to a proper discussion of the subject. For he says that there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God; that rulers are the ministers of God, not a terror to good works, but to the evil, (Romans 13:1,3). To this we may add the examples of saints, some of whom held the offices of kings, as David, Josiah, and Hezekiah; others of governors, as Joseph and Daniel; others of civil magistrates among a free people, as Moses, Joshua and the Judges. Their functions were expressly approved by the Lord. Wherefore no man can doubt that civil authority is in the sight of God, not only sacred and lawful, but the most sacred and by far the most honourable, of all stations in mortal life. [Emphasis added. Current events ((September 11)), evidence that "all stations in mortal life" includes the Evangelist and the Gospel Minister]. -- John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion (Beveridge translation), IV:20:4

But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust. (1 Timothy 1:8-11)
One of the besetting sins of mankind is to use the law to oppress and steal from his fellowman. Frederic Bastiat unfolds this sin in, The Law.

When justice is taken away, what are kingdoms but a vast banditry. -- Augustine in City of God, IV. iv (MPL [Migne, J.P., Patrologiae cursus completus, series Latina], 41. 115; tr. NPNF [A Select Library of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, second series, II. 66]

Ideas have consequences. The decline of American society is a result of the "intimate relationship between theological liberalism on the one hand and political, social, and economic liberalism on the other." (C. Gregg Singer, A Theological Interpretation of American History),

Reform of society is dependent upon reform of "The Church Effeminate." (John W. Robbins, The Church Effeminate), The church must repent and must do restitution to God and to mankind for its theft of Christ's Crown and Covenant.

Each year, some 30 million Americans are defrauded of more than $50 billion, according to a 2011 report by the Financial Fraud Research Center, a joint project of the Stanford Center on Longevity and the FINRA Investor Education Foundation. -- Mitch Lipka in "Devious by Design: Spotting the Telltale Signs of Shady Deals, Scams, and Fraudulent Investment Offers," in USAA Magazine, Spring 2014, volume 50, number 1



The Eighth Commandment

  1. "But the urge to dominion does not disappear simply because the church does not speak of it. Instead, it reappears as an ugly and sinful struggle for power in the church; rightful dominion being neglected or denied, sinful dominion begins then to emerge. The life of the church becomes then an ugly struggle over meaningless trifles in which the sole purpose is sinful power and dominion. All too often this sinful urge to dominion is masked with hypocritical meekness. (450)

  2. "It is very necessary therefore to recognize that the urge to dominion is God-given and is basic to the nature of man. An aspect of this dominion is property. (450)

  3. "The Scripture, however, places property in the hands of the family, not the state. It gives property to man as an aspect of his dominion, as a part of his godly subduing of the earth. (451)

  4. "If the doctrine of dominion in and under God [Christ's Crown and Covenant], is weakened, then all the law is weakened also. (451)

  5. "The eighth commandment, one of the two shortest, declares simply, Thou shalt not steal. (Exodus 20:15; Deuteronomy 5:19). Theft or stealing is taking another man's property by coercion, fraud, or without his uncoerced consent. Cheating, harming property, or destroying its value is also theft. It is not necessary for the robbed to know of the theft for it to be a sin. Thus, to ride a train or bus without paying one's fare is theft, even though the transportation company is unaware of the act. (452)

  6. "Theft can be accomplished in a number of ways. First, in simple theft the thief robs the victim directly. Second, in complex, but still direct theft, the thief robs the victim as part of a group of thieves. In such a case, a man may not be directly involved in the act of theft, but he is a party to it all the same as a knowing party in the corporate group of thieves. Third, theft can be accomplished by indirect and legal means, i.e., by passing a law which steals from the rich, the poor, or the middle-classes, for the benefit of a particular group. The state then becomes the agency whereby theft is accomplished, and a pseudo-moral cover is given by legal enactment. (452)

  7. "Theft is not only the expropriation, legally or illegally, of another man's property against his will or by fraud, but also the destruction of property, or the value of property, by any willful act or by accident. Thus, to destroy a man's house by arson is theft, but it is also theft if the house is burned down by carelessness. To damage a man's automobile is to rob him of its value; in this area, restitution has been made more or less mandatory by the insurance laws of various states. Because inflation weakens or destroys the values of paper currencies, inflation too is very definitely a form of theft. (452, 453)

  8. "Fraud too is clearly theft. A man may willingly purchase an item under the impression that it is what it is represented to be, but fraud on the part of the seller makes it clearly theft. To sell a man watered milk is theft; pure food and drug laws, however much abused today, are still valid laws in terms of Scripture. However, a corrupt people begets a corrupt state, which then cannot enforce even the best of laws without corruption. (453)

  9. "Necessity does not justify theft; necessity cannot give man any priority over God's law. However, some Roman Catholic thinkers, following the Greek natural law tradition, have given moral countenance to theft in times of necessity:
    Thus one in danger of death from want of food, or suffering any form of extreme necessity, may lawfully take from another as much as is required to meet his present distress even though the possessor's opposition be entirely clear. Neither, therefore, would he be bound to restitution if his fortunes subsequently were notably bettered, supposing that what he had converted to his own use was perishable. The reason is that individual ownership of the goods of this world, though according to the natural law, yields to the stronger and more sacred right conferred by natural law upon every man to avail himself of such things as are necessary for his own preservation. (Joseph F. Delany, "Theft," in The Catholic Encyclopedia, XIV, 564f., 1913 edition.)

    "Such a perspective gives man's life priority over God's law. (453)

  10. "It is said that, under the influence of Pharisaism and the interpretations of lawyers, 'it was not considered a crime to steal from a salmonella or another thief.' (J. Coucher, "Crimes and Punishments," in James Hastings, editor, A Dictionary of the Bible, I, 522). In this concept of the law, the 'rights' of 'covenant' man were deemed to be greater than those of lesser man. In either case, whether with respect to Delany or the Pharisees, the error is in giving man priority over God's law. Such a position in effect nullifies the law. (453)

  11. "Thus far, our definition of theft is incomplete. It must be added that theft is one form of violation of God's fundamental order. Theft is therefore more than an offense against another person; it is an offense against God. God requires us to respect the life, marriage, and property of our neighbor and enemy, not because our neighbor or enemy is not possibly evil, and not because our own needs are not great, but because His law-order takes priority over the conditions of man. Neither the nature of our neighbor's character, which may be evil, nor our own need, which may be great, can justify theft. The sovereignty of God requires the priority of His law-word. (453, 454)

  12. "Park recognizes that this commandment 'is the protection which the diligent and prudent have against the idle and careless.' All the same, he adds, 'Thinking men strive toward an application of this commandment which will ensure that the products of industry will be fairly divided, that the rules may ensure that each man shall have his fair share of the good things of this life.' (J. Edgar Park, "Exodus," in Interpreter's Bible, I, 987). Park, as one of these 'thinking men' does not define every man's 'fair share.' It is that which each man earns? Or is it a 'fair share' in terms of the non-Biblical principle of equality? A new principle of justice has replaced God: it is 'thinking men!' (454)

  13. "Thus, Scripture gives no ground for violating God's law-order: men are required to work within it for their own welfare and prosperity. To defy or despise God's order is to incur God's judgment; it also brings a sorry return on man's act. (454)

  14. "God's order clearly includes private property. It also clearly approves of godly wealth. The Hebrew words translated as wealth have also the meanings of strength, resources, goods, and prosperity. According to Proverbs 13:11, Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished: but he that gathereth by labour shall increase. The warning of Scripture is against the proud who forget God in their wealth, not against the fact of wealth (Deuteronomy 8:17,18). God blesses His saints with prosperity and wealth, as witness Job, Abraham, David, Solomon, and others. One of the possible blessings on obedience to the law is wealth (Psalm 112:3). It is arrogant and ungodly wealth which is condemned (James 5:1-6). . . . Wealth is an aspect of God's blessing of His faithful ones: The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it. (Proverbs 10:22). The godly pursuit of property and wealth is thus fully legitimate. (455)

  15. "As we have seen in Proverbs 13:11, the means for gaining wealth is labor. This is again emphasized in the New Testament, St. Paul declaring, Let him that stole, steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. (Ephesians 4:28). The Berkeley Version renders this as follows: The thief must steal no more, but rather toil to earn a living with his own hands, so he may have something to give the person in need. Very clearly, work and stealing are opposed to one another as differing approaches to property. Equally clearly, an obligation of all who work is not only self-support but also charity to those in need. (455)

  16. "Theft as a short-cut to the possession of property seeks not only to by-pass work as the means to wealth but also to deny the validity of God's law-order. In terms of Scripture, wealth can be acquired by labor, inheritance, or gift. A thieving order will oppose all three means of acquisition. A thieving order will concern itself with charity at the price of God's law. (455)

  17. "It is easy for those who advocate changes damaging to private property to document the evils and the sins of great corporations, wealthy men, and of social orders in which these predominate, but it is at least equally easy to document the sins of the poor as of the wealthy, to cite the evils of a worker as of a capitalist, and to call attention to the depravity of the reformers. Because a man is evil, rich or poor makes no difference to God's law: he must still be dealt with under the law. When our neighbor is a thief, we acquire no right to rob him of anything he may have. The corrective to theft is not theft. Yet we are told that 'The direction of justice, then, emerges wherever adjustments and changes take place in favor of the relatively powerless by a change in the distribution or dispersion of the social power of property, a change in the distribution of the control of property.' (Bruce Morgan, Christians, the Church, and Property). This is humanism again: it is the exaltation of man's need above God's law. And man as a sinner is hardly to be trusted when it comes to defining his 'needs:' too often, man defines his covetousness as his need. How often has sinful man admitted to his need for judgment? There is no law where every man is his own law-maker and court. (455, 456)

  18. "The relationship of work to charity has been cited. True charity and love towards one's neighbor is the fulfilling of the law (Romans 13:8-10). In terms of this Calvin wrote of the eighth commandment,
    Since charity is the end of the Law, we must seek the definition of theft from thence. This, then, is the rule of charity, that everyone's rights should be safely preserved, and that none should do to another what he would not have done to himself. It follows, therefore, that not only are those thieves who secretly steal the property of others, but those also who seek for gain from the loss of others, accumulate wealth by unlawful practices, and are more devoted to their private advantage than to equity. Thus, rapine is comprehended under the head of theft, since there is no difference between a man's robbing his neighbour by fraud or force. (Calvin, Commentary on the Four Last Books of Moses in the Form of a Harmony, III)

    "The basic charity is thus to live in faithfulness to the law with respect to our neighbors and enemies, respecting their God-given immunities under the law. To minister to their distress by gifts is also an important aspect of the law, but in neither case can man separate or oppose charity and law. (456)

  19. "Calvin further defined charity as against theft in these words:
    Moreover, let us communicate to the necessities, and according to our ability alleviate the poverty, of those whom we perceive to be pressed by any embarrassment of their circumstances. Lastly, let every man examine what obligations his duty lays him under to others, and let him faithfully discharge the duties which he owes them. For this reason the people should honour their governors, patiently submit to their authority, obey their laws and mandates, and resist nothing, to which they can submit themselves consistently with the Divine will. On the other hand, let governors take care of their people, preserve the public peace, protect the good, punish the wicked, and administer all things in such a manner, as becomes those who must render an account of their office to God the supreme Judge. Let the ministers of churches faithfully devote themselves to the ministry of the word, and let them never adulterate the doctrine of salvation, but deliver it pure and uncontaminated to the people of God. Let them teach, not only by their doctrine, but by the example of their lives; in a word, let them preside as good shepherds over the sheep. Let the people, on their part, receive them as the messengers and apostles of God, render to them that honour to which the supreme Master has exalted them, and furnish them with the necessaries of life. Let parents undertake the support, government, and instruction of their children, as committed by God to their care; nor let them exasperate their minds and alienate their affections from them by cruelty, but cherish and embrace them with lenity and indulgence becoming their character. And that obedience is due to them from their children has been before observed. Let juniors revere old age, since the Lord has designed that age to be honourable. Let old men, by their prudence and superior experience, guide the imbecility of youth; not teasing them with sharp and clamorous invectives, but tempering severity with mildness and affability. (Calvin, Institutes, II, Chapter VIII)

    "Calvin further listed duties of workers and masters, and every class of men. For men to withhold work, duty, honor, or due service is to steal. 'In this manner, I say, let every man consider what duties he owes to his neighbours, according to the relations he sustains; and those duties let him discharge.' The law speaks with reference to all men:

    Moreover, our attention should always be directed to the Legislator; to remind us that this law is ordained for our hearts as much as for our hands, in order that men may study both to protect the property and to promote the interests of others. (Calvin, Institutes, II, Chapter VIII)

    "The laws against theft thus protect not only God's order but all who are honest and law-abiding, and they protect even the dishonest from lawless punishment. (456, 457)

  20. "Why then do men attack this law and the doctrine of property which the law affirms? A century ago, in his general survey of the law, Wines noted, 'There are two principal sources of political, as of personal power, knowledge and property.' (E.C. Wines, Commentaries on the Laws of the Ancient Hebrews). This is the heart of the matter: property is a form of power, and wherever power is claimed for the state, there private property will be under attack. (457)

  21. "The attack on private property can take two basic forms. First, by or denying God's law, powerful individuals can despise the property rights' of weaker individuals. The Social Darwinism which prevailed in the United States and elsewhere after 1860 led to 'robber barons' who used their power to trample law underfoot. These men justified their lawlessness by appealing to evolution and 'the struggle for survival.' The Social Darwinists held that 'the cultural and the biological progress of advanced peoples is assured so long as ""the law of competition"" is allowed to operate freely and, in respect to the human species, to assume the form of a ""struggle for existence"" which only ""the strongest"" survive.' (Joseph J. Spengler, "Evolution in American Economics, 1800-1946," in Stow Persons, editor, Evolutionary Thought in America). The Social Darwinists had no real interest in private property; their concern was to use the theory of evolution as a guide for society. It became a tool for justifying massive theft. (457, 458)

  22. "Property for these evolutionists is simply a tool whereby the state shapes man and the world. As a result, property is again under lawless attack, first from individuals and corporations, now from the state. Since property is a form of power, the totalitarian state seeks to control or to seize private property in order to prevent the people from having any power independently of the state. (458)

  23. "But private property is a power which God entrusts to man as a stewardship, because it is God's intention that man should have and exercise power unto the end that the earth be subdued and man's dominion over the earth under God be established. God gives to the state its due power in its domain. Private property is a power given to man to be used under God and to His glory. (458)

  24. "A serious and major error which has infected Christian and non-Christian thought alike is that sin can be forgiven. By sin is here meant the principle of sin (Genesis 3:5), man's defiance of God and his insistence on being his own god. Sin as this principle of independence and autonomy cannot be forgiven. (458)

  25. "A particular sin or sins can be forgiven; sin as a principle, original sin, cannot be forgiven: it must be eradicated. The saving work of Jesus Christ involved a new creation, (if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, 2 Corinthians 5:17), restitution, the perfect keeping of the law as our federal head, and forgiveness of the particular sins of His people. Forgiveness and restitution are inseparable. We are to forgive our brother, i.e., a fellow believer, sevenfold times (Luke 17:4), but this forgiveness always requires repentance and restitution. There are two aspects to forgiveness, the religious or God-ward aspect, and then the social and criminal aspect. Sin always is an offense against God, and therefore there must always be a theological aspect to every sin, i.e., some kind of settlement or judgment of man for his violation of God's order. But sin also involves other men, or the earth, and particular sins have particular requirements of restitution. To return to the fact that, where sin is forgiven, the reference is not to sin in principle but to a particular act. The references to forgiveness in the law (Leviticus cc. 4,5 [Leviticus 4 and Leviticus 5]; Numbers 15:28, etc.), have reference to particular acts of sin. Jesus Christ pronounced the forgiveness of sins to those in the covenant of faith, i.e., of particular sins by the redeemed (Matthew 9:2,5; Mark 2:5,9; Mark 3:28; Mark 4:12; Luke 5:20,23; Luke 7:47,48; Romans 4:7; Colossians 2:13; James 5:15; 1 John 2:12, etc.). For sin in itself, man must die, rather than be forgiven; we die in Christ as sinners who live in terms of the principle of sin, and we arise in Him as a new creation. Against sin as a principle, the penalty is death; for sin as a particular act, forgiveness is possible with repentance and restitution. With this in mind, we can understand why, with respect to criminal law, the death penalty was mandatory for incorrigible criminals. By their repeated crimes, such persons make apparent that crime is their way of life, their principle, as it were. Similarly, restitution requires in other cases the death of the guilty party as the necessary counterpart to the death of the innocent person, the victim. (458, 459)

  26. "Restitution must calculate not only the present and future value of a thing stolen, but also the specialized skills involved in its replacement. (460)

  27. "Fourth, certain acts, whether deliberate or accidental, incur a liability which requires restitution, for to damage another man's property is to rob him of a measure of its value:
    If a man shall cause a field or vineyard to be eaten, and shall put in his beast, and shall feed in another man's field; of the best of his own field, and of the best of his own vineyard, shall he make restitution.
    If fire break out, and catch in thorns, so that the stacks of corn, or the standing corn, or the field, be consumed therewith; he that kindled the fire shall surely make restitution
    (Exodus 22:5,6).

    "The restitution in all such cases depends on the nature of the act; if fruit trees or vines are damaged, then future production is damaged, and the liability is in proportion thereto. Criminal law no longer has more than survivals of the principle of restitution; civil suit must now be filed by an offended party to recover damages, and then without regard to the Biblical principle. (460, 461)

  28. "Seduction is not only an offense against the seventh commandment, but also against the eighth, in that it involves robbing a girl of her virginity (Exodus 22:16,17). Compensation or restitution meant that 'he shall pay money according to the dowry of virgins.' Significantly, the word translated pay is in Hebrew weigh; money was then by weight, a weight of a shekel of silver or gold. (461)

  29. "Restitution is cited in Scripture as an aspect of atonement. The law of the Passover, the great atonement of the Old Testament era, involved also the requirement of restitution. The sinful Egyptians, because they had defrauded Israel and had sought to kill Israel, were required to make restitution. As the Berkeley Version renders Exodus 12:35, 'And in agreement with the instructions of Moses they asked the Egyptians for silver and golden articles, also for clothing.' It was not enough for God to right the order by destroying Egypt with ten plagues; Israel had to enriched by means of restitution (Exodus 12:36). A similar incident occurred earlier in Egypt to Abraham. Pharaoh's order was such that a man had no protection against seizure of his wife together with his own murder except deception (Genesis 12:11-13). There is no condemnation of Abraham for trying to stay alive: rather, God judged Pharaoh strongly (Genesis 12:17), and brought Abraham out greatly enriched by way of restitution (Genesis 12:16; 13:2). God similarly intervened to judge Abimelech (Genesis 20:3-6), even though Abimelech could plead his own integrity; nonetheless, because he headed a lawless order, God held Abimelech responsible, and restitution ensued (Genesis 20:14-18). In both instances, there is not the slightest hint of any condemnation of Abraham, every indication of God's judgment on monarchs for maintaining lawless orders in which Abraham dared not move honestly and openly. (461, 462)

  30. "In all these cases, there is not only judgment by God against the offender but also restitution to the offended. Restitution thus is closely linked to atonement, to justice, and to salvation. Only heresies which limit salvation to a new relationship with eternity fail to see the practical consequences of God's salvation; Calvin called attention to the social consequences of redemption. Commenting on Isaiah 2:4, he noted,
    Since, therefore, men are naturally led away by their evil passions, to disturb society, Isaiah here promises the correction of this evil; for, as the gospel is the doctrine of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18), which removes the enmity between us and God, so it brings men into peace and harmony with each other. The meaning amounts to this, that Christ's people will be meek, and, laying aside fierceness, will be devoted to the pursuit of peace. This has been improperly limited by some commentators to the time when Christ was born; because at that time, after the battle of Actium, the temple of Janus was closed, as appears from the histories. I readily admit that the universal peace which existed throughout the Roman empire, at the birth of Christ, was a token of that eternal peace which we enjoy in Christ. But the Prophet's meaning was different. He meant that Christ makes such a reconciliation between God and men, that a comfortable state of peace exists among themselves, by putting an end to destructive wars. For if Christ be taken away, not only are we estranged from God, but we incessantly carry on open war with him, which is justly thrown back on our own heads; and the consequence is, that everything in the world is in disorder. (John Calvin, Commentary on the Book of the Prophet Isaiah)

    "There will be thus a reign of peace on earth, to the measure that God's word reigns among men, although the perfect fulfillment of this prophecy, Calvin held, 'in its full extent, must not be looked for on earth'." (John Calvin, Commentary on the Book of the Prophet Isaiah), (462, 463)

  31. "Salvation is inseparable from restitution, because God's redemption of man and of the world is its restoration to its original position under Him and to His glory. Man's work of restitution for the sin of Adam, for his own original sin as it has worked to mar the earth, is to recognize that, as a new creation in Christ, he must make the earth a new creation under Christ. The work of Christ in man is this work of restitution. (463)

  32. "The forgiven man is the man who makes restitution. Forgiveness is in Scripture a juridical term. It has reference to a court of law. Since restitution is in Biblical law at all times basic to forgiveness, to re-establishment into citizenship, the word forgiveness always implies restitution in Scripture. When forgiveness is separated from law and made a matter of feeling, the end result is sentimentalism. Many modern theologians and Christians insist on an unconditional forgiveness for all men, irrespective of repentance and restitution. Such a position is simply a subsidy to and an acceptance of evil as evil. It is antinomianism. (463)

  33. "Biblical law, however, asserts the liability of the bystander. Thus, Deuteronomy 22:1-4, declares,
    Thou shalt not see thy brother's ox nor his sheep go astray, and hide thyself from them; thou shalt in any case bring them again unto thy brother.
    And if thy brother be not nigh unto thee, or if thou know him not, then thou shalt bring it unto thine own house, and it shall be with thee, until thy brother seek after it, and thou shalt restore it to him again.
    In like manner shalt thou do with his ass; and so shalt thou do with his raiment; and with all lost things of thy brother's, which he hath lost, and thou hast found, shalt thou do likewise: thou gayest not hide thyself.
    Thou shalt not see thy brother's ass or his ox fall down by the way, and hide thyself from them: thou shalt surely help him to lift them up again.

    "Here again we have case law, giving a minimal case in order to illustrate a general principle. We cannot rob a man of his property by our neglect; we must act as good neighbors even to our enemies and to strangers. Lost or strayed animals, property, or clothing must be protected and held in ward with every public effort at immediate restoration. (464)

  34. "If the bystander has an obligation to render aid 'with all lost things' of another man, he has an even more pressing obligation to help rescue the man. Thus, this principle of responsibility appears in Deuteronomy 22:24. A woman assaulted in a city is presumed to have given consent if she does not raise a cry, the origin of the hue and cry common law. At her cry, every man within sound of her voice has a duty to render immediate aid; failure to do so was regarded as a fearful abomination which polluted the land and, figuratively, darkened the sun. The horror felt at such an offense is reflected in the rabbinic tradition:
    Our Rabbis taught, on account of four things is the sun in eclipse: On Account of an Ab Beth din (the vice-president of the Sanhedrin), who died and was not mourned fittingly; on account of a betrothed maiden who cried out aloud in the city and there was none to save her; on account of sodomy, and on account of two brothers whose blood was shed at the same time. And on account of four things are the luminaries (the moon and the stars), in eclipse: On account of those who perpetrate forgeries, on account of those who give false witness; on account of those who rear small cattle in the land of Israel (Animals that cannot be prevented from ravaging the fields of others); and on account of those who cut down good trees. (Sukkah 29a; in Seder Mo'ed, The Baylonian Talmud, III, 130 f.)
    "It is significant that this offense is rated as worse than giving false witness; the false witness misrepresents the truth; the non-interfering bystander becomes an accomplice to the crime by his refusal to render aid. Asaph said of those who were indifferent to the need to render aid,
    When thou sawest a thief, then thou consentedst with him; and has been partaker with adulterers (Psalm 50:18).

    "Quite properly, the marginal references cite Romans 1:32 and I Timothy 5:22. In the latter passage, those who consent to the hasty ordination of novices in the faith, or by their silence give consent, are 'partakers of other men's sins.' It is not unreasonable to assume that the penalty for the inactive bystander was like that of the false witness. The penalty of the crime applied to the false witness (Deuteronomy 19:18,19); the inactive bystander is also a kind of witness, and one who consents to the crime by his failure to act. The inactive bystander is thus an accomplice, an accessory to the crime, and liable to the penalty for the crime. (464, 465)

  35. "Delitzsch's comment on Proverbs 28:17 is very fitting here also:
    Grace cannot come into the place of justice till justice has been fully recognized. Human sympathy, human forbearance, under the false title of grace, do not stand in contrast to this justice. (Franz Dedlitzsch, Biblical Commentary on the Proverbs of Solomon), (465)

  36. "The Biblical law thus makes clear the liability of the bystander; it states, in fact, that he cannot be a bystander. An older decision of an American court stated the matter briefly:the law 'requires the doing of good at all times.' (Moore v. Strickling (1899) 46 W.Va. 515, 33 SE 274, 50 LRA 279, 282; in Clark, Biblical Law). The police power of the citizenry rests in Deuteronomy 22:1-4,24. When a neighbor's property went astray or was lost, or when a man or woman raised a cry of distress, every man had a duty to answer that cry and enforce the law. All citizens have the right of arrest to this day in the United States as a result of this Biblical heritage. (466)

  37. "American law has become contradictory since the old common law has been superseded by statute law. . . . Warnick's comments are to the point:
    It is not a crime in any state -- as it is under common law and quite generally in Europe -- for a citizen to fail to disclose commission of a felony to police on his own initiative. But by act of Congress such 'misprision of a felony' is a crime in the United States if it is a federal felony that goes unreported. A layman's view of this is that if you saw a store robbery and went your quiet way you'd be on the right side of the law if not your conscience. But if you saw a mail robbery and didn't call the cops you would have committed a federal felony.
    What has brought all of this to the fore again is, of course, the resurgence of crime and mob violence in America; the downgrading of the police to the point where fewer people even want to be police; and the shocking apathy of many people toward 'becoming involved' in crimes. . . .
    If the law does not require you to call the cops when the store is robbed or someone is brutally beaten; if you are liable to false arrest charges even when acting most reasonably on your own; if you may not be protected against injury or liability when obeying an officer, then you are privileged to take a position -- even against your own feelings -- that society itself isn't really serious about controlling crime. Society in this case is the legislatures and the courts.
    Why isn't 'misprision of a felony' a state offense as it is a federal offense? Legislatures can restore the common law principle that made it so. (Dorothy Brant Warnick, "The Police Powers of Private Citizens," in The American Legion Magazine, June, 1967, p. 17)

    "The civil legal situation may be an equivocal one; the Biblical legal requirement is not. Misprision, i.e., the concealment of a crime, is a serious offense. The inactive bystander is a party to the crime. The parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:29-37), was firmly based on Biblical law. (466, 467)

  38. "In the parable of the Good Samaritan, the priest and the Levite avoided the victim and passed by on the other side. The religious leaders claimed to obey the law; they tithed mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over the judgment and the love of God. (Luke 11: 42). It was an easy matter to tithe mint; it sometimes required moral courage to help a victim; in the case of the victim Jesus described, not even courage was required, only assistance in terms of the law to a victim abandoned by the criminals. The religious leaders kept the law only when it cost them little or nothing to do so. Jesus confounded them from the law. (467)

  39. "It is thus a serious error to reduce the parable of the Good Samaritan to the level of feeling alone, or to a matter of charity; these things are subordinate to the law in this case. Those who despise the law are also without charity. They profess to love the law, but they choose I simple matters for obedience and despise the things which are difficult. Too many churchmen today reduce the law to simple rules about the Sabbath and adultery and by-pass or violate the rest of the law with impunity. This is Pharisaism. (467)

  40. "A greatly misunderstood law is Leviticus 19:35-37 concerning honesty in measurements:
    Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment, in mete-yard, in weights, or in measure.
    Just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin shall ye have; I am the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt.
    Therefore shall ye observe all my statutes, and all my judgments, and do them: I am the LORD.

    "The word judgment here refers to all that follows; mete-yard was a measure of length or surface, i.e., yard, cubit, foot, and the like; weight had reference to the talent, shekel, and other weights of money; measure refers to measures of capacity, the homer, ephah, hin, etc.; balances means scales and weights, ephah, and hin cites again the forms of measurement already listed. (George Bush, Notes, Critical and Practical on the Book of Leviticus)

  41. "That weights means money has long been known. Fairbairn's Bible Encyclopedia, like others, discusses the shekel under the classification of 'Weights.' The Bible speaks of money as a weight. For example, we are told that David gave to Oman for the place six hundred shekels of gold by weight. (1 Chronicles 21:25). Opinions differ as to the exact nature of the talent, menah, shekel, bekah, zuza (Reba), and gerah, but Bonar's table of weights is perhaps as good as any. (Horatius Bonar, "Weights," in Fairbairn's Bible Encyclopedia). The shekel was probably half an ounce, avoirdupois weight. (468)

  42. "Bonar has been referred to deliberately, because he is also the author of a commentary on Leviticus. In commenting on Leviticus 19:35-37, he devotes three pages to a basically evangelistic homily. In two sentences, he refers to the specific point of the text to say: In markets, in trade, in their shops -- in meting out land with the yard and cubit, or weighting articles in the balance, or trying the capacity of solids. The balances and its weights, the ephah, and its subdivision the hin, must be strictly exact. (Bonar, Leviticus), (468)

  43. "It is possible to speak of the studied irrelevance of much preaching and comment on Scripture. A law of central importance to the monetary and economic morality of a nation is treated casually or not at all. The Biblical materialism of the Jews prevented them from being so irrelevant. The Talmud thus noted,
    Raba said: Why did the Divine Law mention the exodus from Egypt in connection with interest, fringes and weights? The Holy One, blessed be He, declared, 'It is I who distinguished in Egypt between the first-born and one who is not a first-born; even so, it is I who will exact vengeance from him who ascribes his money to a Gentile and lends it to an Israelite on interest, or who steeps his weights in salt, or who (attaches to his garment threads dyed with), vegetable blue and maintains that it is (real) blue.' (Baba Mezi's 61b: in Seder Nezekin, I, 366 f.)

    "The point here is that the first-born or elect of God are those who abide by His law. Those who have outwardly enjoyed the privileges of the covenant and a covenant culture but who deny its laws are the subject of especial vengeance from the Covenant God. (468, 469)

  44. "C.D. Ginsburg also referred to this aspect of the law and cited its enforcement during the time of the second Temple:
    It will be seen that the Lawgiver uses here exactly the same phrase with regard to meting out right measure which he used in connection with the administration of justice in verse 15. He, therefore, who declares that a false measure is a legal measure is, according to this law, as much a corrupt judge, and defrauds the people by false judgment, as he who in the court of justice willfully passes a wrong sentence. Owing to the fact that men who would otherwise disdain the idea of imposition often discard their scruples in the matter of weights and measures, the Bible frequently brands these dealings as wicked, and an abomination to the Lord, whilst it designates the right measure as coming from God himself (Deut. xxv. 13,15 [Deuteronomy 25:13,15]; Ezek. xlv. 10,12 [Ezekiel 45:12,12]; Hosea xii. 8 [Hosea 12:8]; Amos viii. 5 [Amos 8:5]; Micah vi. 10 [Micha 6:10], 1.1[Micha 1:1]; Prov. xi. 1 [Proverbs 11:1], xvi. 11 [Proverbs 16:11], xx. 10,23 [Proverbs 20:10,23]). According to the authorities, during the second Temple, he who gives false weight or measure, like the corrupt judge, is guilty of the following five things. He (1) defiles the land; (2) profanes the name of God; (3) causes the Shekinah to depart; (4) makes Israel perish by the sword, and (5) to go into captivity. Hence they declared that 'the sin of illegal weights and measures is greater than that of incest, and is equivalent to the sin of denying that God redeemed Israel out of Egypt.' They appointed public overseers to inspect the weights and measures all over the country; they prohibited weights to be made of iron, lead, or other metal liable to become lighter by wear or rust, and ordered them to be made of polished rock, of glass, &c., and enacted the severest punishment for fraud. (C.D. Ginsburg, "Leviticus," in Ellicott, I, 429), (469)

  45. "This law has therefore a number of very important implications. First, the old Latin and modern laissez-faire principle, caveat emptor, let the buyer beware, is not Biblical. Dishonest merchandising is as serious a matter as dishonest judges and courts. At this point, the modern liberals have been closer to Biblical requirements than conservatives have been. The supposed evolutionary law of the jungle is not Biblical morality. On the other hand, the liberal principle, 'let the seller beware,' is not Biblical either. The law cannot encourage irresponsibility on the part of either buyer or seller. Laissez-faire countenanced irresponsibility by the seller; liberalism and socialism encourage irresponsibility by the buyer. Honest goods are necessary, but also honest payments. The state, as the ministry of justice, does have a duty to maintain justice in the market-place, but it cannot confuse justice with charity. True, the state as the policeman can be corrupt; in fact, if the society as a whole is corrupt, the state will also be corrupt. In a healthy and godly society, the state will function successfully to restrain the minority of evil-doers. The key to the situation is not the state but the religious health of the society. The law specifically states that false weights and measures are unrighteousness in judgment, or injustices in matters calling for justice. Since justice is the ministry of the state, these are matters for the state to adjudge. (469, 470)

  46. "Second, mete-yards are measures of length or surface, of yards, feet, inches, cubits, meters, and the like, including acres, as we have noted. Justice requires the maintaining of strict standards in these matters, and the penalizing of those who defraud by means of false measures. Frauds in this area involve frauds in land transactions, in goods and materials, and in a variety of ways basic to commerce. (470)

  47. "Third, fraud in weights is essentially fraudulent money. Very obviously, Biblical money was by weight, a weight of silver or of gold, and every form of coinage in later times was by weight. Earlier, money was not by minting or coining, but was a piece of silver or gold of a specific weight. The gold coinage of the United States followed the Biblical pattern by establishing itself with reference to weight, the ounce, .900 fineness, or fractions of an ounce. (470)

  48. "Fractional reserve banking, unbacked or partially backed paper money, and inflation of money by debt and credit, is thus a violation of this law. Isaiah, in listing the charges in God's bill of indictment against Jerusalem, declared that Thy silver is become dross, thy wine mixed with water (Isaiah 1:22). The reference is to false weights, silver replaced with baser metals, or heavily alloyed with them, and to false measures, a quart of wine made into a gallon by mixture with water. (470)

  49. "Thus the law clearly requires the condemnation of all fraudulent money. The law of the guilty bystander thus clearly condemns all ministers, priests, and teachers who do not declare the sentence of the law against fraudulent money. Their silence means a guilt comparable to that of corrupt judges or of counterfeiters, in that they counterfeit God's word by their silence or by false interpretations. (470)

  50. "As surely as a false yardstick or a false cup measure defrauds a man, just as surely a false money defrauds a man. Even worse, dishonest money introduces a false weight into every monetary transaction in a society, so that radical corruption and injustice prevail. If in every business transaction in any society a basic fraud prevails in the form of (470) dishonest and counterfeit money, then the entire society is polluted, honest men are robbed, and thieves prevail. This is precisely what monetary fraud and inflation perpetrate, the triumph of thieves over godly men. Silence in the face of such radical corruption is an inexcusable ignorance and an evil. Ginsburg (supra) cited the texts condemning false weights. They are declared to be an 'abomination' to the Lord, as witness Solomon's declaration:
    Divers weights, and divers measures, both of them are alike abomination to the LORD (Proverbs 20:10).
    Divers weights are an abomination unto the LORD; and a false balance is not good (Proverbs 20:23).

    "In Ezekiel 45:9-12, God specified the exact ratio of the shekel to its lesser and greater weights as well as dealing with balances and measures of capacity. The lack of justice here God through Ezekiel termed violence and spoil as well as 'exactions.' (470, 471)

  51. "Fourth, measures here in this law refers to measures of capacity, and the law required strict honesty here as elsewhere. Liquid and dry measures alike are covered by this law. We have noted Isaiah's condemnation of watered wine; a gallon of wine which has been watered may provide an accurate gallon, but it is still dishonest because its contents have been mixed with water. Fruit watered shortly prior to marketing gives a dishonest weight and lesser flavor. Cows given salted feed in order to make them drink heavily and increase their weight represent fraud, as do forms of trucking cows to the sales yard which will dehydrate them and reduce their weight. Fraud thus extends beyond the scales or the bushel basket. (471)

  52. "Fifth, just balances refers to what is today called weights. Honest scales are basic to just commerce, and the regulation of scales is thus basic to the ministry of justice. The poor in particular are victimized by dishonest balances (Amos 8:4-8). They are least able to protect themselves and suffer the most from the consequences. (471)

  53. "Sixth, the consequences of violations of this law are apparent in the land itself, which will cast out the people. Even as the Nile floods Egypt, so judgment shall sweep over the people (Amos 8:8). The law is emphatic on the relationship of this law to life: Thou shalt not have in thy bag, divers weights, a great and a small. Thou shalt not have in thine house divers measures, a great and a small. But 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 (Deuteronomy 25:13-15). This statement has been well noted by Luther, who observed that:
    A just weight and just measure should be preserved in the community, so that a poor person and one's neighbor are not cheated. This also has general validity for all exchanges of all contracts, that the seller give just and equable wares for the money of the buyer. Here greed knows unbelievable injustices and tricks in changing, cheapening, imitating, and adulterating merchandise; therefore it is no small part of the concern of government to have an eye here to the common good. (Luther, Deuteronomy)

    "Luther is clearly right. The commandment, Thou shalt not steal, plainly forbids 'changing, cheapening, imitating, and adulterating merchandise,' and such fraud or theft is 'no small part of the concern of government.' But the culminating point is too often neglected, the promise of life for obedience to this law, as well as the fifth commandment. Conversely, life is denied to those who violate this law; a land given to theft faces judgment and death. In other words, God shortens the life of the nation that condones short-changing and defrauding, by fraudulent money, scales, and other measures. (471, 472)

  54. "Calvin said, of Leviticus 19:35,
    Now, if the laws of buying and selling are corrupted, human society is in a manner dissolved; so that he who cheats by false weights and measures, differs little from him who utters false coin; and consequently one, who, whether as a buyer or seller, has falsified the standard measures of wine, or corn, or anything else, is accounted criminal. (Calvin, Commentaries on the Four Last Books of Moses, III, 120)

    "The reformers, like the earlier church fathers, were not silent with respect to this law. (472)

  55. "In evaluating this law, it is important to set it in the context of the. legal tradition of the modern era, in order to understand the basic conflict of principles. The legal tradition can be divided into three basic positions. First a principle of the older liberalism and more recent conservatism joins the concepts of laissez-faire and self interest. Non-interference by the state in economic affairs is required, and it is held that the self-interest of all individuals adds up to the public good. Caveat emptor reigns, and no attempt is made to enforce this Levitical law. This position clearly posits the rule of the individual as well as his ultimacy in the social order. The self-interest of the individual leads to the greatest good of the greatest number of people. (472)

  56. "Second, the new liberalism as well as socialism affirms the rule of the state. The self-interest of the state leads to the greatest good, because the state has the welfare of all the people at heart. Legislation is therefore necessary to enforce honest weights and measures. (472)

  57. "In the first, there is no protection for men and society from the sin and rapacity of men; in the second social order, there is no defense for men against the power and depravity of the state. (472, 473)

  58. "Third, Biblical law declares the rule of God and His law. God's self-interest is alone the true foundation of law and order. God as all-holy, righteous, and just, does most wisely decree and govern all things. Only as men are redeemed and submit, by grace and/or by compulsion to God's law-order can there be justice. If God's law is not respected, then neither men's self-interest nor the state's self-interest can preserve the social order. Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it. (Psalm 127:1), (473)

  59. "In commenting on Exodus 22:25, Calvin stated:
    The question here is not as to usury, as some have falsely thought, as if He commanded us to lend gratuitously, and without any hope of gain; but, since in lending, private advantage is most generally sought, and therefore we neglect the poor, and only lend our money to the rich, from whom we expect some compensation, Christ reminds us that, if we seek to acquire the favour of the rich, we afford in this way no proof of our charity or mercy; and hence He proposes another sort of liberality, which is plainly gratuitous, in giving assistance to the poor, not only because our loan is a perilous one, but because they cannot make a return in kind. (Calvin, Commentary on the Four Last Books of Moses, III)

    "The point Calvin then made boldly, breaking with the entire tradition stemming from Aristotle which held all interest to be an evil, was that interest is not in itself evil. Calvin had no liking for interest, or for money-lending. He was conscious of the weight of prejudice against it, and he stated that he would prefer a world without it, 'but I do not dare to pronounce upon so important a point more than God's words convey.' (Calvin, Commentary on the Four Last Books of Moses, III)

    I have, then, admonished men that the fact itself is simply to be considered, that all unjust gains are ever displeasing to God, whatever colour we endeavor to give it. But if we would form an equitable judgment, reason does not suffer us to admit that all usury is to be condemned without exception. . . . If the debtor have protracted the time by false pretenses to the loss and inconvenience of his creditor, will it be consistent that he should reap advantage (Calvin, Commentary on the Four Last Books of Moses, III). (474, 475)

  60. "It is commendable when a rich man lends to poor fellow believers, but; this is an act of voluntary charity, whereas the law, as the wording of Leviticus makes clear, requires this charity as mandatory towards employees. No rich believer has the ability to lend to every needy fellow believer. He does have the ability to help those whom he employs. His responsibility here is to advance them loans without interest, against their wages, and to give emergency loans in times of crisis. The prohibition against interest is thus limited to a specific type of case, and it involves more than a mere prohibition, in that an active duty towards these under our authority is required. (477)

  61. "Third, while charity is clearly the purpose of this law, charity is not confused here with a gift, a loss, or foolishness. A pledge or security can be, although it need not be, required. As Gary North points out, this forbids fractional reserve banking, in that the security cannot be used to negotiate a second loan, in that it is held by the lender during the day. The pledge requirement was a protection against irresponsibility on the part of the poor worker. If the poor worker were a trustworthy man, the employer would not require the pledge. The pledge or security was thus insurance against failure to repay, or to work out the loan. The charity in this case is thus a gift of the interest, not of the loan. (477)

  62. "The indictments of usury in the prophets are indictments of loans to workmen at interest, to seize their small holdings of land. In Psalm 15:5, such usury is coupled with taking reward against the innocent, i.e., bribe-taking. In Proverbs 28:8, we are told that He that augmenteth his substance by interest and increase, gathereth it for him that hath pity on the poor, i.e., the man who charges interest to his poor employees who are believers will be judged finally by God, and his wealth given to those who take pity on their poor brethren. Jeremiah faced the hostility of men who enslaved their fellow believers rather than helping them (Jeremiah 15:10). Ezekiel referred to the same kind of oppression (Ezekiel 22:12; 18:13). Nehemiah required a return to the Biblical law (Nehum 5:1-13). (477, 478)

  63. "Jesus referred to the same kind of loan without interest in passing, in Luke 6:34, 35. His approval of interest on commercial loans is clearly apparent in Luke 19:23, and Matthew 25:27. (478)

  64. "Unger's summary statement is thus clearly in the main correct:
    The Israelites not being commercial people, money was not often loaned for the purpose of business, but rather to aid the struggling poor. This last is the only kind of interest forbidden in the law, and the avoiding of this is sometimes given among the characteristics of the godly man (Psalm 15:5; Jeremiah 15:10; compo Provo 28:8).
    The practice of mortgaging lands, sometimes at exorbitant interest, grew up among the Jews during the captivity, in direct violation of the law (Leviticus 25:36; Ezekiel 18:8,13,17); and Nehemiah exacted an oath to insure its discontinuance (Nehum 5:3-13). Jesus denounced all extortion, and promulgated a new law of love and forbearance (Luke 6:30,35). The taking of usury in the sense of a reasonable rate of interest for the use of money employed in trade is different, and is nowhere forbidden; and is referred to in the New Testament as a perfectly understood and allowable practice (Matthew 25:27; Luke 19:23). (Unger's Bible Dictionary, p. 1129)

    "There is no ground for calling our Lord's statements 'a new law of love and forbearance,' when it is no more than a summation of the law of the Old Testament. (478)

  65. "Short term loans are alone permitted. No godly man has the right to mortgage his future indefinitely; his life belongs to God and cannot be forfeited to men. Thus, every kind of debt by believers, whether as charity or for business reasons, must be a short term debt. The sabbath is basically and essentially rest rather than worship, and basic to the sabbath rest is debt-free living. Long-term debts are clearly a violation of the sabbath, and many churches that profess to be devout sabbath-keepers are flagrant sabbath-breakers here. The normal life of the covenant man is to be debt free, to owe no man anything save the obligation of rendering tribute, honor, fear, and custom wherever due, and of rendering that love which is the fulfilling of the law (Romans 13:7-8). If this and all other laws of God be kept, there will be 'no poor' among the people of God. This is a firm and unqualified statement; it presupposes that the godly man can keep the law to that degree necessary to receive this blessing. (479)

  66. "Fifth, the unbelieving are excluded from the charity required by this law, both the interest-free loans and the termination of the debt. in the sabbatical year. The ungodly are already slaves to sin by nature; the true slave cannot be weaned from slavery, and it is foolishness to treat him as a free man. The godly are free men by nature; in times of distress, they need relief to regain their freedom. Freedom cannot be given to a man who loves slavery, and it is foolishness to attempt it by means of money. Regeneration is his only solution. (479)

  67. "Sixth, on citing their deliverance from Egypt, God reminds His people that the purpose of His law is to deliver man into freedom, even as He delivered them from slavery to freedom. The purpose of the laws governing interest, and the purpose of the whole law, is man's freedom under God. To speak of deliverance from the law is to speak of deliverance from freedom. The law cannot be freedom to the sinner, but rather a sentence of death for his failure to keep it. The law-breaker is a man in slavery to his sin, a man unable to live in terms of freedom. The law therefore is a continual indictment and a death sentence to him, in that it underscores his impotence and his inability to rule himself: 'what I hate, that I do' (Romans 7:15). To the redeemed, however, the law is the way of freedom. (479)

  68. "Even a poor man's home has a sanctity which a editor cannot challenge. A man's house is his castle. The source of is principle is Deuteronomy 24:10-13. The dignity of the borrower cannot be infringed by the man making the loan, whether with or without interest. The horror for degrading pawns is expressed in Job 24:9,10. (480)

  69. "Eighth, failure to restore a pledge or pawn when repayment is made robbery, and it is linked to pagan worship, adultery, theft, and murder, as is also exacting usury of a poor fellow believer. This appears clearly Ezekiel 18:10-13:
    If he beget a son that is a robber, a shedder of blood, and that doeth anyone of these things, and that doeth not any of these duties, but even hath eaten upon the mountains, and defiled his neighbor's wife, hath wronged the poor and needy, hath taken by robbery, hath not restored the pledge, and hath lifted up his eyes to the idols, hath committed abomination, hath given forth upon interest, and hath taken increase: shall he then live? He shall not live: he hath done all these abominations; he shall surely die; his blood shall be upon him.

    "Ezekiel had in mind here the coming fall of Jerusalem, but he still cited God's basic judgment on all who fail to restore a pawn. (480, 481)

  70. "The law here has been subjected to extensive attack by socialism and every form of totalitarianism. Statism assumes that its law rather A than God's regenerating power is the principle of freedom. As a result, it legislates against Biblical law. Modern "civil liberty" and "civil rights" legislation requires an equalizing of all men, so that an employer cannot hire or favor his fellow believers in distinction from unbelievers. The end result is the enslavement to the state of all men; the need for charity remains, but the state now makes itself the source of charity and the judge as to who shall receive it. An impersonal and political test replaces the test of faith. (481)

  71. "An important aspect of Biblical law is its doctrine of responsibility. In a law previously considered, Exodus 21:28-32, it was established that animals are responsible for their actions, and an ox goring a person was sentenced to death. Animals are clearly held to be accountable. But responsibility also rests with the owner of the ox: if the ox's previous behavior indicated that it was a dangerous animal, and the owner 'hath not kept him in,' then the owner is also responsible. Responsibility is thus not a one-way street. Both owner and animal have a responsibility. This being case law, the reference is to the ox, and to more than an ox, as St. Paul made clear with respect to the law concerning the muzzling of an ox treading out grain (Deuteronomy 25:4; 1 Corinthians 9:9; 1 Timothy 5:18). (481)

  72. "In terms of this, certain observations can be made. First, a parent is responsible for a child if nothing is done to curb, punish, or bring to judgment an irresponsible or delinquent child. If a man is responsible for the actions of an ox, he is certainly responsible for the actions of a delinquent son, if he hath not kept him, if no attempt has been made to prevent the son from giving vent to his delinquency. (481)

  73. "Second, the responsibility of the parent does not absolve the child of his responsibility. The goring ox is always guilty; the owner is only guilty if his negligence can be proven. The prior responsibility is always that of the acting party. The owner or parent can be an accessory to the crime only if he has been delinquent in his responsibility. (481)

  74. "Third, transgression beyond a certain point ends responsibility. Thus, in the law of the delinquent son (Deuteronomy 21:18-21), the parents' responsibility to provide for and protect their son ended with the son's delinquency; their duty and their moral responsibility then became denunciation of and separation from their son. (481)

  75. "As previously noted, responsibility is not a one-way street. The responsibility of parents for a child ends when that child refuses to submit to the godly authority and discipline of the parents. (481, 482)

  76. "The same is true of the responsibility of children for their parents. Again, it is not a one-way street. . . . Another illustration: a mother, a militant liberal or modernist in religion, made her home with her daughter and son-in-law, both devout, orthodox believers. The mother regarded the family's faith, church, and family worship with contempt, belittled it to her grandchildren and daily ridiculed her daughter for her "ignorant, reactionary" faith. Having denied openly the authority of her son-in-law, and having denied the faith of the family, she had forfeited any right to its care and protection. The family's patient suffering was not godly. Because responsibility is a two-way street, the mother had the duty to respect the family's faith, her son-in-law's authority, and her daughter's devotion. (482)

  77. "Thus, we may say that, not only does transgression beyond a certain point end responsibility, but fourth, if responsibility is maintained beyond that point it becomes a robbery. Where a juvenile delinquent is tolerated or protected, or a lawless parent allowed to be an affront to the family's faith and authority, the other members of the family are robbed of their due. Unconditional honor and service are due to God alone, not to man. St. Paul's admonition is Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due, custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour. (Romans 13:7). No relationship between man and man can be absolutized. We have no absolute bond which ties us unconditionally to any man, either to obey or to love him. Marriage is dissolved by certain transgressions. The parent's duty to the child is nullified by his incorrigible conduct. The child's duty to the parent is limited by his prior obedience to God and the maintenance of God's law-order. In every human relationship, the only absolute is God's law, not man's relationship. (483)

  78. "Fifth, not only does the absolutizing of a human relationship involve theft, in that the indulgence of a delinquent family or society member is the robbing of another, but it also involves theft God-ward as well as man-ward. It is an infraction of God's order to indulge evil. It involves robbing one person of his due in order to reward or indulge another, and this means also the violation of God's order to continue man's disorder. (483)

  79. "To repeat again, responsibility is not a one-way street. If the ox, an animal of limited intelligence, is accountable for his acts, then every man in his station is also responsible. In every relationship, there is responsibility on every side by every person. (483)

  80. "Modern man is hostile to responsibility; he replaces responsibility with sensitivity, sensitivity being defined as awareness of humanity. Thus, a rebellious nun of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Sisters defies authority and declares, 'These men (church officials), have no right to make a judgment when they don't know us.' (Terrence Shea, "A Community Divided. Dissent Nuns now Face a Bigger Split -- With Rome Itself," The National Observer, Monday, November 17, 1969, p. 14). This nun had entered an order requiring authority but had refused to submit to it. Her freedom to leave and establish her own way of life was not in question. She denied the principle of any responsibility beyond that which she owed to herself. . . . It is a world, therefore, without responsibility. But a world without responsibility is a world of the dead. (483, 484)

  81. "Von Rad's observation on Deuteronomy 5:19 is even more explicit:
    It is today regarded as certain that the prohibition of stealing referred originally to the kidnapping of a free person (Exodus 21:16; Deuteronomy 24:7). (Gerhard von Rad, Deuteronomy, A Commentary, p. 59)

    There is more than a little merit to this conclusion. Commandments six through ten are concerned with man's relationship to man; they are personal. The eighth commandment can thus be expanded to read. 'Thou shalt not steal another man's freedom by forcibly enslaving his person or his property.' The purpose of man's existence is that man should exercise dominion over the earth in terms of God's calling. This duty involves the restoration of a broken order by means of restitution. To kidnap a man and enslave him is to rob him of his freedom. A believer is not to be a slave (1 Corinthians 7:23; Galatians 5:1). Some men are slaves by nature; slavery was voluntary, and a dissatisfied slave could leave, and he could not be compelled to return, and other men were forbidden to deliver him to his master (Deuteronomy 23:15,16). This implied some liberty on the part of slaves, and a duty of just treatment by their masters. Ben Sirach confirms this, speaking of both the duty of the master to correct and discipline his slaves, and also to be just towards them, and to avoid defrauding them of their liberty (Ecclesiasticus 42:1,5; 7:21; 33:24-28). This is also confirmed by St. Paul: Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven (Colossians 4:1). (484, 485)

  82. "Kidnapping was punished by death. Its purpose was usually to sell a person as a slave in another country, where forcible slavery was the rule. In any case, whatever the purpose of kidnapping, this theft of a man's freedom was punished by death. The law specifically calls the kidnapper a thief:
    And he that stealeth a man, and selleth him, or if he be found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death (Exodus 21:16).
    If a man be found stealing any of his brethren of the children of Israel, and maketh merchandise of him, or selleth him; then that thief shall die; and thou shalt put evil away from among you
    (Deuteronomy 24:7). (485)

  83. "Third, the death penalty is mandatory for kidnapping. No discretion is allowed the court. To rob a man of his freedom requires death. The law does not have reference to wartime captives, however. (486)

  84. "Fourth, Deuteronomy 24:7 forbids stealing a man by anyone who maketh merchandise of him, or selleth him. The ARV mg reading is 'chattel' for 'merchandise,' and Young's Literal Translation reads hath tyrannized over him. The meaning is cruelty, or cruel dealing; it refers to a depersonalized, brutal treatment of a man. Man must be treated as a man at all times; the penalties he suffers must be deserved penalties as a man, not penalties intended to degrade or destroy him as a man. The woman war captive had very specific rights under the law (Deuteronomy 21:10-14); this relationship is strictly circumscribed by law as are all other relationships. (486)

  85. "To return to the interpretation of theft as, essentially, the robbing of a man's freedom: false weights and measures, fraudulent money, and the destruction, impairment or theft of property all diminish or destroy a man's freedom. Property is basic to man's freedom. A tyrannical state always limits a man's use of his property, taxes it, or confiscates that property as an effective means of enslaving a man without necessarily touching his person. The interpretation of Noth nd von Rad, I instead of altering the traditional interpretations of the eighth commandment rather reinforce them, in that theft is seen as more than the lawless seizure or destruction of property: it is at the same time an assault on man's freedom. (486)

  86. "Neither the state nor any individual has any right to transgress this law. (487)

  87. "The state does transgress this law not only by acts of confiscation, manipulation of money, and by taxation, but also by any and every undercutting of Biblical faith and education. State supported and controlled education is theft, not only in its taxation plan, but also by virtue of its destruction of public character, so that a godly society is turned into a thieves' market. The 1860's in the United States saw a decline of Christian faith, a rise of statist education, and the birth of social Darwinism. On Wall Street, Drew, Fiske, Gould and other men manipulated the market and corporations with radical contempt for morality. All the same, there was then still enough Biblical morality in the people at large to make possible some surprising evidences of public character. (487)

  88. "This loss of public character robs every godly man of considerable peace and security. This theft is chargeable against the state and its anti-Christian schools. (487)

  89. "The same lawless siege-living condition again prevails. By their destruction of godly education and of Biblical law, the nations have robbed their people of freedom, and the people, by their apostasy, have denied themselves freedom. The psalmist long ago observed, of those who attempt to build up a city and to safeguard it without God, that,
    Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain (Psalm 127:1). (488)

  90. "To return again to the definition of theft as the stealing of freedom, the implication is clearly that property is freedom. A man is free if his person and his possessions are under his control. To the degree that his person is free, and to the degree that he has property free of hindrances, to that degree a man is free. The old word freeman has as one of its older meanings the member of a corporation, a property owner. The same is true of the word freeholder. The restriction of suffrage to property owners had as its basis in part the restriction of the vote to freemen. (488)

  91. Thou shalt not remove thy neighbour's land mark, which they of old time have set in thine inheritance, which thou shalt inherit in the land that the Lord thy God giveth thee to possess it (Deuteronomy 19:14). The law is cited also in Deuteronomy 27:17, Proverbs 22:28; 23:10; Job 24:2. (488)

  92. "This law appears also in other ancient law codes. In Rome, removal of the landmarks was punishable by death. According to Calvin,
    . . . for that everyone's property may be secure, it is necessary that the land-marks set up for the division of fields should remain untouched, as if they were sacred. He who fraudulently removes a landmark is already convicted by this very act, because he disturbs the lawful owner in his quiet possession of the land; whilst he who advances further the boundaries of his own land to his neighbour's loss, doubles the crime by the deceptive concealment of his theft. Whence also we gather that not only are those thieves, who actually carry away their neighbour's property, who take his money out of his chest, or who pillage his cellars and granaries, but also those who unjustly possess themselves of his land. (Calvin, Commentaries on the Four Last Books of Moses, III, 121.)

    "Calvin's point is a valid one: the deceit of the act makes it a double crime. It is both theft and false witness. Because the law is a unit, the violation of one law is a violation of the whole law. As St. James summarized it, For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. (James 2:10). Thus, this crime involves violation of the eighth and ninth commandments, and also the tenth, coveting our neighbor's land. Crimes against the land can also involve the fourth commandment, the sabbath law, and the sixth, Thou shalt not kill. (488)

  93. "The land laws required a sabbath rest for the land (Exodus 23:10-11; Leviticus 25:1-11). The true meaning of the sabbath is rest, rather than worship, and a rest due to the land itself for the revitalizing of the earth. To deny a sabbath to the land is to defraud the land and to rob it of its due. Bonar commented on this law that 'It has been well said that by the weekly Sabbath they owned that they themselves belonged to Jehovah, and by this seventh-year Sabbath they professed that the land was His, and they His tenants.' (Bonar, Leviticus, p. 446), (489,490)

  94. "At the heart of the land law is the declaration, The land shall not be sold for ever: for the land is mine; for ye are strangers and sojourners with me. (Leviticus 25:23). This law sounds especially strange in modern ears, for farm land has become, especially in North America, an area for speculative buying and selling, and the changes of ownership in some areas are very many. In most of the world, land has been and is still regarded as an inalienable family possession. Perhaps the most important resistance to communism and the communist empire has come, not from foreign countries, but from the long-suffering and stubbornly resisting peasants. The sale of land, and the confiscation of land, these are things the peasant refuses to accept: land is an inheritance which cannot be alienated. The peasant parties of the various European countries have been responsible groups and their leaders superior politicians and statesmen. Significantly, the International Peasant Union, with its stubborn resistance to the Soviet Empire, has as its emblem a green flag, the color of budding crops and of hope. (Henry C. Wolfe, "Peasants vs. Communism," Christian Economics, vol. XXI, no. 21, November 11, 1969, pp. 1,3), (490)

  95. "It is important therefore to analyze carefully the meaning, of Leviticus 25:23-28, and then its significance for our times. First, the general rule is that the land shall not be sold forever, or literally, to annihilation, i.e., so as to vanish away from, or be for ever lost to, the seller. (Keil and Delitzsch, The Pentateuch, II, 461). Sales were in effect leases, because no man had the right to alienate the Lord's land. (490)

  96. "Just as obviously, God does intend that land laws give a stability to society. The absence of any land and property tax in Biblical law very definitely protects enduring ownership, whereas modern tax laws destroy ownership. To cite an example, in one city, a lovely area of very superior homes, from ten to twenty rooms, some of stone construction, became, in about 25 years, so heavily taxed, that the homes either had to be torn down to make way for apartments, or sold for use as dormitories. The ownership of these homes was made prohibitive to impossible by means of taxes. (492)

  97. "In another area, taxes led to the deterioration of the area, as people moved out and homes were made into multiple dwellings. Taxes then went down, and others moved in, so that a 90 percent change in population occurred in less than ten years. People who had built there, expecting to remain for life, lost heavily. Taxation of property is a means of destroying property and is a form of robbery. (492)

  98. "Taxation makes for the speculative use of land, and it destroys the stability of communities. There is a marked hostility today to the development and preservation of communities by religious and ethnic groups, and such hostility leads to the destruction of property. The destruction of the Boston West End Italian community by urban re-development and 'slum clearance' has been ably described by H.J. Gans. A family centered society, extensively policing and disciplining itself, was broken up by a 'slum clearance' project, because the area was coveted by planners. Both the taxing power, and the eminent domain exercised, are anti-Biblical. (For an account of the Boston West End, see Herbert J. Gans, The Urban Villagers). (492)

  99. "Eminent domain is a divine right. It belongs to God alone. The 'right' of the state to eminent domain has no place in Biblical law. (See R.J. Rushdoony, The Politics of Guilt and Pity, chapter on "Eminent Domain."). The state has a duty to protect man and his property, but not to tax or to confiscate it. (492)

  100. "To summarize the Biblical tax laws in relationship to the ownership of land, the basic tax was the poll or head tax (Exodus 30:11-16), which had to be the same for all men. It was paid by men only, all men of age twenty and over. This tax was collected by the civil authority for the maintenance of the civil order, to provide all men with a covering or atonement of civil justice.
    "The tithe met the general religious and social needs of the community, education, welfare, and the like.
    "There was thus no land tax or property tax. Since he earth is the LORD'S and the fullness thereof (Exodus 9:29, etc.), a land tax usurps God's rights and is unlawful. The purpose of Biblical law with reference to land is to ensure the security of man in his property; a property tax of any kind is a denial of this God-ordained security. (492, 493)

  101. "Obviously then, a very real and material fulfillment is the only valid meaning here. Very generally, then, this meaning is as follows: First, the earth is the property of Jesus Christ, because He is the messianic King, the very Son of God as well as the royal Son of David.
    "Second, this King has the right of eminent domain and can do as He pleases with His property. He can turn out the ungodly and give the kingdom to those who obey Him. As Jesus declared, Therefore I say unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruit thereof. (Matthew 21:43). The purpose of His coming is to dispossess the present world leadership and to give His domain to His people. (495)

  102. "Third, this means that the people of God must expect His kingdom, enforce its laws, and be faithful to the creation mandate to subdue the earth and to exercise dominion over it (Genesis 1:26-28). (495)

  103. "Fourth, 'Through the Messiah, God will dethrone all enemies.' (William F. Arndt, The Gospel According to St. Luke p. 60). This plainly means total victory. The Magnificat clearly prophesies the total victory of Jesus Christ and the uprooting of the kingdom of man. The ungodly will be openly confounded and turned out, and the people of God equally openly brought to power and victory. Israel, the covenant people of God, shall be established in full power. (494,495)

  104. "Fifth,the law, Thou shalt not steal, means also that man cannot rob God of His prerogatives, nor of His property. God casts the thieves out of His vineyard (Matthew 21:33-44), and grinds to powder His enemies. (495)

  105. "The virgin birth therefore is the confirmation of God's law and an emphatic assertion of God's property rights over man and the earth. This miracle sounds the note of victory and restoration. (495)

  106. "According to Leviticus 19:13, Thou shalt not defraud thy neighbour, neither rob him: the wages of him that is hired shall not abide with thee all night until morning. Ginsburg noted,
    Here oppression by fraud and oppression by violence are forbidden. It is probably in allusion to this passage that John the Baptist warned the soldiers who came to him: And he said to them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely: and be content with your wage (Luke 3:14).
    "From the declaration in the next clause, which forbids the retention of the wages over night, it is evident that the day labourer is here spoken of, as he is dependent upon his wages for the support of himself and his family; the Law protects him by enjoining that the earnings of the hireling should be promptly paid. This benign care {or the labourer, and the denunciation against any attempt to defraud him, are again and again repeated in the Scriptures (Deuteronomy 24:14,15; Jeremiah 22:13; Malachi 3:5; James 5:4). Hence the humane interpretation which obtained of this law during the second Temple: "He who treats a hireling with harshness sins as grievously as if he hath taken away life, and transgresses five precepts. (C.D. Ginsburg, "Leviticus," in Ellicott, I, 423)

    "According to Clarkson, the law requires 'integrity in daily transactions' and honesty:

    Ye shall not steal, neither deal falsely. (Leviticus 19:11). Thou shalt not defraud thy neighbour, neither rob him. (Leviticus 19:13; see vers. 35,36 [Leviticus 19:35,36]). Nothing could be more explicit than this, nothing more comprehensive in suggestion. No member of the Hebrew commonwealth could (1) deliberately appropriate what he knew was not his own, or (2) rob his neighbour in the act of trading, or (3) deal falsely or unrighteously in any transaction or in any relation, without consciously breaking the Law and coming under the displeasure of Jehovah. The words of the Law are clear and strong, going straight to the understanding and to the conscience. Every man amongst them must have known, as everyone amongst us knows well, that dishonesty is sin in the sight of God. (W. Clarkson, in Spence and Exell, The Pulpit Commentary, Leviticus p. 300)

    "Calvin stated that the force of this law is to prohibit 'all unjust oppression,' any seizure of the goods of another. (Calvin: Commentary on the Four Last Books of Moses, III, 112). Frederic Gardiner stated that Leviticus 19:13 'deals with faults of power, the conversion of might into right.' The particulars mentioned are oppression (comp. xxv. 17-43 [Leviiticus 25:17-43]), robbing, and undue retention of wages. The last is spoken of more at length (Deut. xxiv. 14,15 [Deuteronomy 24:14,15]. Compo James v. 4). (Frederic Gardiner, "Leviticus," in John Peter Lange, Exodus-Leviticus, p. 150), (496)

  107. "Gardiner brings us to the heart of this law. We have here a variation of the law against theft which is particularly directed against abuses of power, against oppression. Wages are to be paid promptly, at the specified and contracted time. In antiquity, payment was by the day; this meant that payment had to be made at the end of the working day, not the next morning. Failure to pay at the required time was thus a criminal act: it was theft. (497)

  108. "This point is an important one. Many of the goals sought by modern liberals are a part of the Mosaic law, but with a significant difference. Biblical law required the just treatment of the laborer; it forbad fraud in foods, measures, money, and drugs. It required soil conservation, and much else, but not by administrative agencies. The criminal law forbad murder and theft, and all harmful drugs and foods were forbidden as destructive of life; fraudulent foods and goods were theft, and so on. In modern society, these offenses are too often the jurisdiction of arbitrary administrative agencies, as are labor problems, with the result that the criminal law is subverted and the very purpose of this law, the prevention of oppression, nullified. Moreover, because civil statute law has replaced Biblical law, men can be harmed and their lives shortened by dangerous drugs and sprays, and no crime exists unless a statute covers the specific offense. The combination of statute law and administrative law has created oppression, whereas the common law of Scripture gives man a principle of justice and a basis for a public understanding of law. (497)

  109. "It is possible to defraud our neighbor by a variety of ways. His property can be alienated by expropriation, injury, restrictive legislation, and a variety of other means. A man's property, moreover, includes more than his land, home, material possessions, and money. A man has a property also in his ideas and inventions. Patents thus have a long history in Western culture as an outgrowth of the law against theft. The fact that patent laws have sometimes been very poor during that long history does not nullify their necessity. One of the reasons for the progress of Western civilization has been patent laws, whereby men could develop an invention and prevent the theft of their ingenuity. The Plant Patent Act of 1930 brought great progress to plant breeding and to nurserymen, in that it protected their investments of time and money. (Ken and Pat Kraft, Fruits for the Home Garden, p. 22). The present erosion of patent laws by judicial and administrative interpretations is a major threat to future progress. (497)

  110. "Copyright laws have a complicated history, which is not our concern here, but they too rest on the premise that a man has a property right in his written works. (497)

  111. "The Berkeley Version translates the first clause of this law, 'Neither use extortion toward your neighbor,' and the Torah translation reads it as 'You shall not coerce your neighbor.' The reference is to any kind of oppression, legal or illegal, whereby another man is deprived of his property and possessions. Legal and illegal extortion tend to go hand in hand. When men are given to lawlessness, their society will also be lawless, as will be their laws and courts. In legal extortion or fraud, men use the agency of the state or its courts to conduct their robberies. Laws which discriminate against the poor because they are poor, or against the rich because they are rich, are laws of extortion. Laws which seek to equalize men's incomes are laws of extortion. (498)

  112. "The basic intention of this law, since it deals with 'the faults of power,' is to legislate against the various forms of legalized robbery which so often accompany the control of the state by one class or another. The references to this law in Scripture are many. To cite a few, Proverbs 22:22,23 declares,
    Rob not the poor, because he is poor: neither oppress the afflicted in the gate;
    For the LORD will plead their cause, and spoil the soul of those that spoiled them.

    "Again, in Proverbs 28:24, reference is made to the oppression of parents by children who twist the law or the courts to their advantage: Whoso robbeth his father or his mother, and saith, It is no transgression; the same is the companion of a destroyer. The guilt is compounded by the technical legitimacy which enables the thief to say, It is no transgression. The judgment of God upon the pious extortioners is death: This is the portion of them that spoil us, and the lot of them that rob us. (Isaiah 17:14). The extortioners and oppressors create a social order which will ultimately destroy them also; he that getteth riches, and not by right, shall leave them in the midst of his days, and at his end shall be a fool. (Jeremiah 17:11), (498)

  113. "These latter statements give us an insight into the dimensions of Biblical law. Modern civil law foresees only civil enforcement. Biblical law requires civil enforcement and declares the certainty of ultimate divine judgment in history for failure to enforce His laws. Biblical criminal law is thus essentially religious law, and it has in mind two courts, the God-ordained courts of the social order, and the Supreme Court of Almighty God. (498)

  114. "Ehrlich's comment is to the point:
    It is difficult to compare Biblical sins with statutory crimes since in the former all are based on moral and spiritual values whereas in the latter only that is a crime which fits into the structure of the statute sought to be enforced. (J.W. Ehrlich, The Holy Bible and The Law, p. 92)

    "Precisely. Biblical law is the word of God; it therefore represents an ultimate order which is written into the texture of all creation and into the heart of man. Hence, a jury system is valid in terms of Biblical law, since the decision is in terms of a fundamental law which all men know, whether they acknowledge it or not. Civil statutes represent only the will of the state, not an objective and absolute moral order. Statutory law creates lawlessness, because society is then no longer governed by in absolute standard of justice but rather by the fiat will of the state. Like fiat money, fiat law lacks substance, and it quickly destroys itself, and all who rely on it. It is a form of fraud, and a major form. (498, 499)

  115. "Eminent domain is an assertion of sovereignty, and in Scripture is ascribed to God alone. Because of His right of eminent domain, God brought judgment upon Egypt (Exodus 9:29). Because of His right of eminent domain, God moreover gave the law of the domain to Israel and declared it to be for all the earth and to all people, for all the earth is mine (Exodus 19:5). This affirmation is again stated in Deuteronomy 10:12-14:
    And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD, thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul,
    To keep the commandments of the LORD, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good? Behold, the heaven and the heaven of heavens is the LORD'S thy God, the earth also, with all that therein is.

    "This fact of God's eminent domain is celebrated in Scripture as the ground for the confidence of His people (Psalm 24:1; Psalm 50:12; 1 Corinthians 10:26,28, etc.). The eminent domain of the state was not recognized in Israel, as the incident of Naboth's vineyard makes clear (1 Kings 20), (499) although it is prophesied as one of the consequences of apostasy from God the King (1 Samuel 8:14). It is specifically forbidden in Ezekiel 46:18. (499, 500)

  116. "The origins of eminent domain are in pagan kingship. The term, eminent domain, may originate in Grotius in 1625. Since then, it has had a significant development. More important, the concept did not originate with Grotius, and it became significant in Christendom only as natural law thinking was developed. Because the philosophy of natural law locates the ultimate law within nature, it therefore locates the sovereign power within nature also, with the result that sovereignty is ascribed to a temporal power. 'Sovereignty ('majesty,' 'supremacy,' etc.), in the theory of Natural Law, not only means a particular form or quality of political authority; it also means political authority itself, in its own essential substance.' (Otto Gierke, Natural Law and the Theory of Society 1500 to 1800) (500)

  117. "First, the natural right of the state to eminent domain has been presupposed and the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution has been over-ruled in terms of it. There is no express delegation of eminent domain to the federal government in the Constitution, which means that it was prohibited to it, if the Tenth Amendment has any meaning. But a prior right, a law of nature, is assumed, after Grotius, which grants to every state a supposed right which no law or constitution can alter. Thus, although the U.S. Constitution does not grant eminent domain to the federal government, and although the act of cession of the District of Columbia to the federal government specifically required 'that the property rights of the inhabitants should remain unaffected,' this provision was held to have no application because of an absolute right on the part of the state. Second, this absolute right to eminent domain is derived from 'the right of sovereignty.' Again, this is an amazing assumption, in that the U.S. Constitution at no time uses the word 'sovereignty,' and, in fact, avoids it. The Puritan tradition reserved the word properly to God, and the separation of the United States from King George III made them especially hostile to any political revival of the concept of sovereignty. There is thus no 'right of sovereignty' envisioned in the U.S. Constitution of 1787-1791. (501)

  118. "In terms of this claim to sovereignty and to eminent domain, no constitution and no law has validity, in that all legislation can be set aside by means of an assertion of a prior sovereign power in the state. No legislation can give citizens any immunity against a state wherein the courts maintain a doctrine of eminent domain, whereby every law is subject to rejection wherever the sovereign power of the state so decrees. (502)

  119. "Quite logically, the federal income tax legislation calls what the taxpayer is allowed to keep an 'exemption' by the state, i.e., an act of grace. All a man's property and income, his artistic and commercial products, are, in terms of this claim to sovereignty and eminent domain, the property of the state, or at the least under the control and use of the state. (502)

  120. "Only as the sovereign power and saving grace of the triune God are asserted and accepted can the claims of the state to be the source of sovereignty and grace be undercut and nullified. (502)

  121. "Not surprisingly, the assertion of the sovereignty of the state, a humanistic concept, let in the 18th and 19th centuries to a counter assertion, the sovereignty of the individual, again a humanistic principle. (502)

  122. "As against the natural law philosophies, Biblical law declares the sovereignty of the triune God and His sole right to eminent domain. All property is held in trust under and in stewardship to God the King. No institution can exercise any prerogative of God unless specifically delegated to do so, within the specified area of God's law. The state thus is the ministry of justice, not the original property owner or the sovereign lord over the land. Accordingly, the state has no right of eminent domain. (504)

  123. "The several laws on labor are as follows:
    Thou shalt not defraud thy neighbour, neither rob him: the wages of him that is hired shall not abide with thee all night until the morning (Leviticus 19:13).
    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:
    At his day thou shalt give him his hire, neither shall the sun go down upon it; for he is poor, and setteth his heart upon it: lest he cry against thee unto the LORD, and it be sin unto thee
    (Deuteronomy 24:14,15).

    "The first two of these laws forbids fraud and oppression with respect to workmen. Prompt payment of wages is required. The rabbinic interpretation of this law during the second Temple era stated: 'He who treats a hireling with harshness sins as grievously as if he hath taken away life, and transgresses five precepts.' (C.D. Ginsburg, in Ellicott, I, 423). This law thus clearly requires, first, that all who are employers, all who are in a superior position, use that power with kindliness, thoughtfulness, and mercy. Offenses against labor are made criminal offenses. Instead of administrative law, criminal law governs labor relations. Failure to pay due wages is fraud or theft, and to be prosecuted as such. (504, 505)

  124. "Second, God declares that His own supreme court is the proper court of appeals for labor. This is clearly a promise of judgment against thieves among employers and a thieving state which does not prosecute theft. (505)

  125. "The strong sense of horror against the abuse of power by employers is apparent in Biblical declarations, and in Ben Sirach, who wrote, 'he that defraudeth the labourer of his hire is a bloodshedder' (Ecclesiastes 34:22). The word of the Lord through Jeremiah was one of judgment concerning such men: Woe unto him that buildeth his house by unrighteousness, and his chambers by wrong; that useth his neighbour's services without wages, and giveth him not for his work. (Jeremiah 22:13). The word through Malachi is similar:
    And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the LORD of hosts (Malachi 3:5).

    "The same note reappears in the New Testament:

    Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth (James 5:4).

    "The reference in these texts is to failure to pay, short-changing on wages, or delay in payment of wages. Delay in payment then and now was and is a means of fraud. Thus, one small company which rendered material and services to a major corporation, rejoicing in its biggest single contract, over a million dollars, was not paid for almost a year. The interest on borrowed money to pay due obligations almost wiped out the small company; the larger company had used this strategy of failure to pay with several companies all at one time in order to accumulate capital without interest; they had rightly reckoned that, long before charges entered against them ever came to trial, they would repay and end the case against them without further ado. (505)

  126. "Third, while the intent of the law is to promote the godly use of power, the honest treatment of workmen is not a favor to them but an obligation. St. Paul summarized the principle of the law succinctly: Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt (Romans 4:4), rendered by the Berkeley Version as Now, to a workman wages are not credited as a favor, but as an obligation. Work done for us or by us is a debt which must be promptly paid as per contract, or it is theft and to be prosecuted as such. (505, 506)

  127. "Fourth, the property owner is the sole governor of his property, and, provided he deals honestly with his workmen, can do as he pleases with his own. Thus, in the parable of the householder who hired men at different hours of the day, some in the morning, others at the third, sixth, and ninth hours, yet paid them all the same wages, the Lord declared,. Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good? (Matthew 20:15). The master had said to each, Whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive (Matthew 20:7), and if some worked only one hour but received a full day's wages, no injustice was done to those who worked all day and received a full day's wages. The owner is in debt to the extent of the labor performed; control of his money and property, however, does not thereby pass to the workman. (506)

  128. "Fifth, a principle with respect to pay is established in Deuteronomy 25:4 Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn or grain. This, of course, is the classic example of case law, a general principle of law illustrated by a minimal case. If the ox deserves his pay, his food, how much more so man? Therefore, the workman is worthy of his meat (Matthew 10:10), or the labourer is worthy of his hire. (Luke 10:7). As St. Paul summarized it, in speaking of the pay of pastors,
    Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.
    For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward
    (1 Timothy 5:17,18).

    "This is an extremely important law, and its understanding is of central importance. On its economic side, a correlation is asserted between the work done and the pay received. Because work is a debt contracted by an employer, the extent of that debt depends on the nature and extent of the services. An ox gets his feed and his care; a laborer is worthy of his hire; the nature of the services determines the extent of the debt. Thus, a ditch-digger does not command the pay of an engineer; the debt contracted for his services is an obviously lower one in virtually any market-place or society. There can be no equality of pay because there is no equality of debt. There can be no "fair price" for a particular kind of service, because the value of the service varies in the nature of the debt it contracts in terms of the need for the service. (506)

  129. "On the non-economic side, it is clear that, while economics are not by-passed, the relationship of master and workman is not reduced to economics alone. The ox is not 'muzzled;' but the ox is also trained by the master and cared for by him. The apostles and ministers have more than an economic relationship to those whom they serve; the relationship is definitely not one of charity, but it is not merely economic. The law calls the workman 'thy neighbor,' indicating a social relationship as well as an economic one. The relationship of worker and employer cannot be reduced to the bare bones of economics, neither can it defy economics. Between the two, there is a vast world of personal relationships. The relationship of Japanese capital and labor has been called paternalistic and feudal, but it is an economically sound relationship and yet personal. Western humanism has depersonalized and atomized relationships with unhappy results. A variety of institutions and organizations now intrude into the relationship: statist administrative agencies, labor guilds and unions, and manufacturer's organizations. On top of that business has systematically depersonalized itself and widened the gap. (506, 507)

  130. "The correlation between the nature of work and pay for that work is again asserted by St. Paul in I Corinthians 3:8 [1 Corinthians 3:8], and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour; or, in the Berkeley Version, each will receive his own pay in agreement with his particular labor. It is asserted with respect to the ministers who served the Corinthian church, a non-economic ministry and yet with an economic principle appealed to by St. Paul. At no point is this economic principle abandoned, therefore, nor at any point is the fact of a personal relationship by-passed. The pressing question with respect to labor relations is the right to strike. Does a moral right to strike exist? Hazlitt has raised questions with respect to it. (Henry Hazlitt, Economics in One Lesson). Read has denied that such a moral right exists: 'No person, nor any combination of persons, has a moral right to force themselves -- at their price -- on any employer, or to forcibly preclude his hiring others.' (Leonard E. Read, The Coming Aristocracy). As Read further states,
    To say that one believes in the right to strike is comparable to saying that one endorses monopoly power to exclude business competitors; it is saying, in effect, that government-like control is preferable to voluntary exchange between buyers and sellers, each of whom is free to accept or reject the other's best offer. In other I words, to sanction a right to strike is to declare that might makes! right-which is to reject the only foundation upon which civilization can stand.
    Lying deep at the root of the strike is the persistent notion that an employee has a right to continue an engagement once he has begun it, as if the engagement were his own piece of property. A job is but an exchange affair, having existence only during the life of the exchange. It ceases to exist the moment either party quits or the contract ends. The right to a job that has been quit is no more valid than the right to a job that has never been held. (Leonard E. Read, The Coming Aristocracy)

    "Interference by the state into economics has led to the rise of monopolies, monopolies in business and in labor. The areas of monopoly are, exclusively the areas of statist interference. (507, 508)

  131. "To cite one example: after World War II, a garment manufacturer built a plant in a community of retired people living on pensions. Inflation was forcing many wives and widows to look for work in a community with little employment opportunities. The manufacturer used political associations to make himself immune to various codes and inspections; he paid the minimum wage, had women lining up for jobs, and had ensured against union interference, so that no attempt was made to unionize his plant. Union members cited this as a classic case of a sweat-shop, geared to out-compete other manufacturers; for them, it "proved" the necessity for unionism. The manufacturer, however, was bankrupt and out of business in a very few years. Paying very poor wages, he could only employ those who could not get jobs I elsewhere. Morale was low, and workmanship very poor. Although using quality materials, his products were sub-standard and were soon turned down by all good retailers. If he trained a good employee, that employee moved on to a better job. Thus, an attempt to use politics and misfortune to take advantage of workers ended in a major financial disaster. (508)

  132. "But let us examine the same problem morally. The attempt to use violence to force an employer to pay a desired non-economic wage is clearly robbery. It is a demand that either the employer rob himself or his customers, which can mean pricing himself out of the market. True, many employers are evil men, and many workmen are evil men also. Neither has the right to rob the other. If neither is violating a criminal law, there is no right on the part of either to call in the state. No individual has the right to attempt by force to convert or regenerate another man. (508)

  133. "The false premise of contemporary policies is that by means of statist action utopia can be made a reality in a short time. Most people define utopia, moreover, in terms of what they want. Thus, the major U.S. business corporations, around 1900, were unable to withstand the competition of smaller rivals, and a marked decentralization was under way. Legislation on a national scale against 'monopolies' actually make monopolies possible, and it saved the day for 'big business.' (Gabriel Kilko, The Triumph of Conservatism, A Reinterpretation of American History, 1900-1916). This concentration of economic power has been furthered by union monopolies. Supposedly, by these moves towards stabilization of the economic scene, utopia and prosperity are assured. In reality, stagnation and decay are guaranteed as the stabilization increases. Economic progress is not stabilization but a process of growth and destruction, competition and advance. Morally, no man can be converted by force, and 'conversion by violence' leads only to deeper divisions in a society, and to more unresolved conflicts. No more than frosting on a cake of mud will make it a pastry, will force resolve the problems of man and convert men into saints. (508, 509)

  134. "The law, as its instrument, requires force, and force can be used legitimately where men violate the criminal law, where they steal, kill, and the like. The law can govern men's behavior where justice is violated, but it cannot change the heart of man. Even more, the law cannot be used to deprive a property owner of his property rights. We may agree that a man is evil, or that he is unpleasant to deal with, but unless that man violates the law, we cannot touch him. The law must allow us to recover property from a thief, but it cannot legitimately allow us to steal from that thief. When business and labor use the law I to steal from the consumer, or from one another, they are denying the rule of law in favor of the rule of might, of violence, for might apart from right is violence. Theft is theft, whether it be stealing from the rich, the poor, or the middle classes. The premise of pro-business legislation is this: It is right to steal for the sake of business, since business is good for the country. The premise of pro-labor legislation is: It is right to steal for the sake of labor, since the working man is poor, and also because he has many votes. The word of God is very clear: Thou shalt not steal. (509)

  135. "A labor association may call itself Christian, but if it accepts the basic premises of unionism, it becomes morally compromised. Thus, the 'Principles and Practices of the Christian Labor Association of Canada' equates equalitarian principles with Scripture. Its second principle reads,
    Discrimination in employment because of color, creed, race or national origin conflicts with the Biblical principle of equality of all human beings before God and the law of love toward all men.

    "All men are not equal before God; the facts of heaven and hell, election and reprobation, make clear that they are not equal. Moreover, an employer has a property right to prefer whom he will in terms of 'color, creed, race or national origin.' A Japanese Christian church in Los Angeles has the right to call a Christian Japanese pastor. A Swedish or a Negro employer has a right to hire whom he will, in terms of what is most congenial to his purposes. (509, 510)

  136. "The fifth principle reads,
    Creational resources may not be exploited for personal gain or the enrichment of a group or a community, but must be developed for use in the service of all mankind.

    "This is simply socialism, theft made into a principle of operation. Not a word in all Scripture gives any ground for such a statement. (510)

  137. "The fact that a worker is poor gives him no more right to steal than an employer's power gives him a right to defraud. Theft is not a privilege or right pertaining to any class of men.

  138. "Every crime is an offense against God's law order, but certain acts are in particular singled out as especially offensive. One of these is the failure to tithe, which is described as robbing God (Malachi 3:8-12). (510)

  139. "Before analyzing the implications of that fact, let us review the basic laws in this area. First, the basic civil tax in Scripture, the only tax, is the poll or head tax, paid by every man twenty years of age and older (Exodus 30:11-16). The same tax was assessed on all men: The rich shall not give more, and the poor shall not give less (Exodus 30:15). All have the same stake in justice and therefore pay the same tax. (510)

  140. "Second, no man is allowed to tax his own future by means of debt. The length of a debt is limited to six years (Deuteronomy 15:1-4). No man has a right to mortgage his future, since his life belongs to God. (510)

  141. "Third, the tithe is required of all men (Leviticus 27:30-32; 1 Corinthians 9:12-14; Numbers 18:21-28; Malachi 3:8-12; Proverbs 3:9-10; Proverbs 11:24f; Matthew 23:23; Hebrews 7:1-8). The regular tithe, ten percent of one's income (Deuteronomy 14:22), was then tithed to the priests, who received ten percent of the tithe (Numbers 18:21-28). Thus, the church tithe was a fraction of the total tithe. The poor tithe, paid every other year (Deuteronomy 14:28; Amos 4:4), alternated with the rejoicing tithe (Deuteronomy 14:22-26), on each six-year cycle out of seven. Thus, the combined poor tithe and religious tithe, averaged out to about 15 percent per year; some say 18 percent. Some of the regular tithe went for levitical services to worship, and to music; much of it went to general social financing, i.e., to godly education and a number of other related services. (511)

  142. "If this be true, when then is the failure to tithe held to be robbing God? The answer is very clear: without the tithe, a totalitarian state progressively develops to play god over society. With the tithe the rule of society is restored to God through His ordained tax. A variety of agencies are created by the tithe to minister to the needs of godly society and to provide the needed social financing. The tithe belongs to neither church nor state: it belongs to God and is to be given by God's people to those who will administer it under God. Its social consequences have been ably described by Ewing:
    If we were living in a theocracy, with the Divine constitution, the tithe would cover everything, but at present we are living under man-made governments and man-made governments collect their own taxes. But the tithe still belongs to God. Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's. (Matthew 22:21; Mark 12:11; Luke 20:25; Romans 13:1-8). The extra tax exacted by governments of our day is the penalty we pay for not accepting God's rule over us nationally. Israel was told of this very thing when she demanded a king, to become like other nations, that he would misappropriate the tithe. (1 Samuel 8:11-18), (Curtis Clair Ewing, The Law of Tithing [sic] in Scripture, p. 9), (511)

  143. "In view of the radical implications of the tithe for society, the failure of the church to teach its importance and meaning constitutes a form of robbing God as surely as does the failure to pay the tithe. (511)

  144. "Another form of robbery against God is the failure to provide for gleaning. According to Leviticus 19:9-11, total harvesting is prohibited; the poor and stranger are to gain some harvest from the corners of the field or trees. Here again God has provided a means of social welfare whereby the state is by-passed. (511)

  145. "Modern urban gleaning includes the work of Goodwill Industries. Even more, it once included all garbage and trash collections by private parties. Paper was bought and re-processed for use; rags were important for a variety of uses, garbage for hog feed, or for compost, metals for scrap, old bottles for re-use, and so on. Private enterprise made profitable use of trash, whereas today most cities, having made trash collections a socialist monopoly, have mountains of expensively collected trash accumulating and creating major problems. Not too many years! ago, trash collection was a business many immigrants entered as poor men and sometimes left as prosperous citizens. (511)

  146. "Failure to observe the sabbath years with respect to the land means not only robbing the earth of its rest, but robbing God. Noth rightly observed, 'The Sabbatical year and the Year of Jubilee have each in a special way the same theme -- the restitutio in integrum or restoration to an original state.' (Martin Noth, Leviticus). Restoration is God's purpose and man is summoned to fulfill, not to impede it. All restoration looks ahead to the times of jubilee. The times of jubilee were once basic to Western man's hope and resounded in his song. However misguided, many Civil War soldiers sang songs looking to jubilee, in the belief that their struggle brought it closer. The jubilee is referred to in 'Marching Through Georgia,' 'Kingdom Coming,' and other songs of the period. (Irwin Silber (editor), Soldier Songs and Home-Front Ballads of the Civil War (512)

  147. "Turning again to the tithe, how the early church understood the tithe is important, in that it is clear that they saw it as a binding law the purpose of which was broader than the church. Thus, The Apostolic Constitution says of the clergy,
    Let him use those tenths and first-fruits, which are given according to the command of God, as a man of God; as also let him dispense in a right manner the free-will offerings which are brought in on account of the poor, to the orphans, the widows, the afflicted, and strangers in distress, as having that God for the examiner of his accounts who has committed the disposition to him. Distribute to all those in want with righteousness, and yourselves use the things which belong to the Lord, but do not abuse them. . . . ("The Apostolic Constitutions," II, sec. iv; Ante-Nicene Christian Library, vol. XVII, p. 55), (512)

    "The Apostolic Constitutions made the bishop and clergy the dispensers of the tithes. ("The Apostolic Constitutions," VIII, sec. iv; p. 243). With this, we cannot entirely agree. However, the important fact is the functions covered by the tithe and gifts in a time of oppression and persecution, and the fact that the tithe was seen as a basic, continuing law. (Irenaeus, Against Heresies, IV, xviii; Ante-Nicene Library, V, pp. 431-436), (512)

  148. "A pseudo-Augustinian sermon stated that refusing to tithe is simply theft:
    Whoever will not give the tithe appropriates property that does not belong to him. If the poor die of hunger, he is guilty of their murder and will have to answer before God's judgment seat as a murderer; he has taken that which God has set aside for the poor and kept it for himself. (Lukas Vischer, Tithing in the Early Church), (512)

  149. "Another such sermon stated:
    Our ancestors had more than they needed because they gave God tithes and paid their taxes to the Emperor. However, since we do not wish to share the tithes with God, everything will soon be taken from us. The tax collector takes everything which Christ does not receive. (Lukas Vischer, p. 21), (512)

    "With Charlemagne the tithes were made mandatory for all citizens. The Council of Seville, A.D. 590, had passed a canon ruling that, 'If anyone does not tithe everything, let the curse which God inflicted upon Cain for not rightly tithing be heaped upon him.' (Ewing, p. 6). The state, however, had not yet recognized the social centrality of the tithe. The existence of the tithe made possible the development of religious orders and foundations which undertook to provide hospitals and medical care, education, welfare, patronage to religious art and music, and a variety of other services. (512)

  150. "The tithe has functioned where both church and state recognize the principle of the tithe. Joseph Bingham, The Antiquities of the Christian Church, V, Chapt. v, I, 190). Since it is a tithe to the Lord, it cannot be restricted to the church or controlled by the state, although both have a right to make it mandatory. The tithe is to the Lord. Thus, in the days of Elisha, a man from Baal-shalisha brought his tithe to Elisha and his school rather than to the priests (2 Kings 4:42). In so doing, he was exercising his right to give to that which served the Lord best, rather than to an official but apostate priesthood. (513)

  151. "The decline of tithing in the 19th and 20th centuries led to a variety of devices for raising funds for churches, Protestant and Catholic, and to a decline in Christian social financing. The result was a shift of power to the state, and also the growth of taxation to remedy the lack of social financing. Without the restoration of the tithe, there can be no restoration of Christian social order, nor can power be restored to the Christian man under God. (513)

  152. "In 'reviving' tithing, the modern church has personalized the framework. It has referred the promises of Malachi 3:8-12 to the individual: they clearly refer to a national blessing. The tithe creates a radically different social order, and hence a blessing to the nation is spoken of, both as a consequence of tithing, and as a result of God's favor. Moreover, the modern church calls for tithing to the church, an erroneous view which cuts off education, health, welfare, and much else from the tithe. 'Medieval' culture saw all these things as a function of the tithe, and when existing orders failed to minister God's gifts properly, new orders arose to receive and administer them. (513)

  153. "The modern social order robs God by stripping virtually every area from His jurisdiction, from His ordained government and care. Within a generation after the abolition of the legally required tithe in the United States, the state supported and controlled schools came into existence. Because revivalism and antinomianism led to the decline of the tithe (denounced as 'legalism' and bondage to law), by the beginning of the 20th century welfare came to be a statist function. A new social order came with the abandonment of the tithe, and the rapid increase of taxes ensued, or statist double and triple tithes and more, to further that new order. Foundations, once an instrument of the Christian tithe, became humanistic social agencies with statist ideals. The City of God was progressively replaced with the City of Man. The effective lord of an order is always the essential taxing and tax-collecting power. If the church collects the tax, the church rules society; if the state collects the tax, the state rules society. If, however, the people of God administer the tithe to godly agencies, then God's rule prevails in that social order. In the modern world, the operative god is the state. (514)

  154. "A final note: even during the Maccabean period, in spite of the social turmoil, the poor tithe provided for widows and orphans on a regular basis. 'Then the high priest told him that there was. . . money laid up for the relief of widows and fatherless children' (2 Maccabees 3:10); the total amount available was 400 talents of silver, and 200 talents of gold. (514)

  155. "A concordance will quickly reveal that many references to prisons appear in the Bible, but none in the law itself. Prisons were a part of Egyptian life and law (Genesis 39:20-23; Genesis 40:3,5; Genesis 42:16,19), but not of Israel under the law. During the wilderness journey, there are two references to confinement, 'in ward' (Leviticus 24:12; Numbers 15:34), pending a hearing, but there is no reference to imprisonment as a punishment. According to Unger, 'imprisonment was not directed by the law,' and 'we hear of none till the time of the kings, when the prison appears as an appendage to the palace, or a special part of it (1 Kings 22:27.' (Unger's Bible Dictionary, "Prison"). According to Kennedy and Barclay, 'Imprisonment, in the modern sense of strict confinement under guard, had no recognized place as a punishment for criminals under the older Hebrew legislation. The first mention of such, with apparently legal sanction, is in the post-exilic passage Ezra 7:26.' (A.R.S. Kennedy and R.A. Barclay, "Prison," in James Hastings, editor, revised edition by Frederick C. Grant and H.H. Rowley, Dictionary of the Bible). The reference in Ezra 7:26 is part of a proclamation of Artaxerxes and thus has reference to Persian rather than Biblical law. (515, 515)

  156. "The prison appears in Biblical law only as a place of custody, pending trial. There is no direct reference to prisons. The methods of dealing with criminals was basically threefold: First, capital punishment was required for capital offenses, and for incorrigible criminals. Second, for all other offenses, restitution was the law; where an order of law had been violated, restoration was the basic function of the courts. Emphatically, in Biblical law the goal is not punishment but restoration, not the infliction of certain penalties on criminals but the restoration of godly order. The center of attention is thus not the criminal but the righteous man and the total godly order. Third, where criminals were unable to make restitution, bond-service was mandatory in order to work out the required restitution. (515)

  157. "In Leviticus 18:24-30, there is a strong summons to righteousness coupled with a warning. Sin is a defilement of man and of the land: it destroys or upsets God's order, and its consequences is God's judgment. Man must therefore keep the law lest the land spue him out for his abominations and iniquities. Justice builds up and exalts a land; it is a restoration and a construction, whereas iniquity destroys a land and creates a moral vacuum that cries for judgment. (515)

  158. "Western civilization began as an unhappy compromise between the Biblical standard of restitution and a Greco-Roman and pagan criminology which, while having elements of restitution, leaned heavily towards punishment. The prison thus had a place in Christendom, as an ugly, bastard compromise. It was not only a place of custody, but also a place for torture and punishment, a place to hold men for ransom or for elimination from a threatening position in the state. The prison was an accepted and illegitimate part of the social order. Thus, it could be stated that, into the 18th century,
    It must be borne in mind that all this time the prisons were primarily places of detention, not of punishment. The bulk of those committed to their safe keeping were accused persons awaiting trial in due process of law, or debtors; and of these again by far the most numerous class were the impecunious and the unfortunate, whom a mistaken system locked up and deprived of all means of paying their liabilities. Now and again an offender was sentenced to be imprisoned in default of payment of fine, or to pass the intervals between certain periods of disgraceful exposure on the pillory. Imprisonment has as yet no regular place in the code of penalties, and the jail was only the temporary lodging of culprits duly tried and sentenced according to law. The punishment most in favour in these ruthless times was death. (Major Arthur Griffiths, "Prison Discipline," in The Encyclopaedia [sic] Britannica, Ninth Edition, 1892), (515, 516)

  159. "The rise of humanism led to a number of radical changes. Humanism was an intellectual movement among a self-appointed elite, and this elite was notoriously contemptuous of the poorer members of society. As a result, an already severe law-structure, dominated by an aristocracy, gave way to a more severe one in which the answer to almost every offense was the death penalty. (516)

  160. "Colonial needs later led, in England, to another solution, deportation. Criminals were deported in great numbers, especially to Australia, both as a means of colonization and also as a punishment. (516)

  161. "The next alternative was the prison system, and a major movement resulted in a demand for both more humane treatment in prisons, and the punishment of imprisonment as the solution to the problem of crime. It came to be believed that imprisonment could have a saving effect on man, that punishment in the form of a loss of liberty would lead to reformation. (516)

  162. "Punishment next gave way, in the humanist ideology, to rehabilitation, and prisons began to be converted into rehabilitation centers. Thus, in California, one class of prisons is known as a 'correctional facility.' The 'old doctrine. . . that the purpose of the criminal law is to exact from the criminal a retributive suffering proportionate to the heinousness of the offense' has given way to 'the effort. . . to combine deterrence and public protection with restoration of the offender to a more self-sustaining role in the community.' (James V. Bennett, "the Sentence and Treatment of Offenders," in The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, vol. 339, January, 1962, p. 142. Crime and the American Penal System). This opinion reveals certain basic errors. First, criminal law is invested with a religious and messianic role, a duty to save criminals. This is asking of the law more than law can deliver. Second, it misinterprets history. Retribution is seen as exacting suffering; this was true of humanistic law, but not of Biblical law, wherein retribution or vengeance is the prerogative of God and His instruments and involves giving justice where justice is due (Luke 18:1-8). Third, this opinion is individualistic, not social, and it concentrates on the person of the criminal, not the victim. Thus, Bennett notes, 'The current trend in the disposition of offenders is unmistakably toward individualized penal treatment administered within the framework of a flexible criminal code.' (Bennett). Salvation is personal, and the law now concerns itself with saving the person of the criminal. (516, 517)

  163. "This personal frame of reference has led to the newer emphasis on mental health, on psychiatric treatment as the answer to criminality. (517)

  164. "Humanism thus has come full circle. It began by replacing restitution with the prison system. It concludes now by restoring restitution, by requiring that society make restitution to the criminal for its supposed neglect. Because of its environmentalism, humanism blames a lack in the environment for a man's crimes. This means that society must atone for that lack by restitution. Both criminology and welfarism rest on this humanistic doctrine of restitution. Restitution must thus be made to all who are criminals, perverts, or lazy, to all who will not work, or who are failures, to all who give birth to illegitimate children, and to all who in any way are sub-standard. Restitution has once again become the social standard, but it is a humanistic restitution which works in total opposition to God's order. (517)

  165. "Humanistic restitution is anti-law in that it is fundamentally hostile to any concept of absolute law. Absolute law is replaced with the absolute person. The result is the end of any law-order, and its replacement with a lawyer-order. The difference between the two is a great one. (517)

  166. "The Puritans of the Massachusetts Bay Colony were fearful of the tendencies of English society towards a lawyer-order, and they began by banning a professional, paid lawyer-class. Every man had an obligation to know the law by means of the Bible. The jury system was developed in America to a far-reaching power on the premise of a Biblical law order in which every citizen knows the law. The requirement that jury members be believers was not a church requirement but a state requirement: the law order required men knowledgeable in Biblical law. The jury system was strong as long as the law was the common law of Scripture, not an esoteric doctrine open only to a professional class. There was room, after the distrust of the early years, for lawyers in America. In fact, America saw the rise of several generations of great lawyers who dominated national life and politics and gave powerful expression to national aspirations. These lawyers were nurtured in the same Biblical law-word as the people; however much both lawyers and people drifted from that faith, they continued to share certain basic premises. The lawyers thus could find a well-nigh universal response to their formulations of issues because they evoked a common faith in a common law. When lawyers turned instead to positive law (statist law), and statute law (in place of Biblical law), they cut themselves off from the people and became steadily a by-word for deceit because they were beyond the comprehension of the people with their esoteric, humanistic law. A lawyer-society had replaced a law-society. (517, 518)

  167. "In a lawyer order, the social cement has eroded, and the commonly accepted ties which bind men and facilitate communication are gone. An artificial body of statutes, lacking in social roots and having been rationally conceived, replace the old order, and the lawyer becomes the interpreter of these esoteric laws. In a Christian law order, "ignorance of the law is no excuse," because the law is an open book to all, since it is Biblical in nature and represents a common faith and order. In humanistic lawyer orders, ignorance of the law is unavoidable, because thousands of statute laws, having no basis in any ultimate moral order, are regularly passed. Not only is ignorance of these laws unavoidable for the laymen, but also for the lawyer, who must become a specialist in a particular area of law and then engage in continuing research in order to keep up with its esoteric intricacies. (518)

  168. "The lawyer order, being alien to law, becomes a social order managed by social scientists. Since environment rather than sin is blamed for crime, treatment of the offenders and restitution to them becomes the order of the day. . . . These facts are not surprising. A prison holds in enforced community a large number of incorrigible criminals who deserve death, and a number of offenders who should be required to work out restitution. To keep such a collection of people from evil would require more guards than most prisons can afford. Instead of dealing with the root problem, the departure from the Biblical principle of restitution, humanistic reformers compound the evil. As radical legal positivists, they deny any absolute concept of justice and concern themselves instead with the individual, the person of the criminal. Humanistic restitution then functions to give every possible advantage to the criminal. (518, 519)

  169. "It must be stressed again that this is environmentalistic restitution. For environmentalism, evil is in the environment, not in the sinner; therefore, the environment must be penalized and restitution made to the sinning individual. (520)

  170. "The result of such opinions is a growing inability of society to cope with crime. (521)

  171. "Without God's moral absolutes, man becomes eventually unable to cope with evil. Instead of fighting it, he seeks a compromise with it. According to one sociologist, compromise is society's best hope.
    Should state and federal authorities attempt to negotiate with the Cosa Nostra, just as our State Department negotiates with hostile foreign powers? Such diplomacy might well serve the interest of noncriminals, suggests Dr. Donald R. Cressey, professor of sociology at UC Santa Barbara.
    'A little cold-blooded appeasement is not necessarily a bad thing, especially when our side is losing,' he writes. He states that some form of negotiation (or accommodation or communication), by state and federal officials-such as is carried on by local officials, often in a haphazard and corrupt fashion-might lessen the danger that organized criminals will achieve a monopoly on democratic processes in the United States. ("News From the Academy," in the Kingsburg, California, Recorder, Thursday, Dec. 18, 1969, p. 8)

    "Such appeasement already existed illegally, even as the professor wrote. Thus, according to reliable federal and other sources, it was held that 'La Cosa Nostra spends $2 billion annually to corrupt public officials all the way up from the county sheriffs and courthouse right on into the Supreme Court.' (Victor Riesel, "Web of Mafia Control," Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, Sunday, Dec. 21, 1969, p. B-7), (521)

  172. "The direction of any godless system of justice is only downward; it is, to use Van Til's phrase, integration into the void. (522)

  173. "According to Leviticus 18:24-30, every departure from God's law is a defilement of men and a defilement of the land: it is the basic pollution of all things. The modern prison system is an important aspect of the defilement of our times. (522)

  174. "According to the Westminster Shorter Catechism, the question of acquiring wealth is directly related to the eighth commandment:
    Q. 73. Which is the eighth commandment?
    A. The eighth commandment is, Thou shalt not steal.
    Q. 74. What is required in the eighth commandment?
    A. The eighth commandment requireth the lawful procuring and furthering the wealth and outward estate of ourselves and others.
    Q. 75. What is forbidden in the eighth commandment?
    A. The eighth commandment forbiddeth whatsoever doth or may unjustly hinder our own or our neighbour's wealth or outward estate.

    "Answer 75 had in mind the love of pleasure, drunkenness, gluttony, laziness, and theft and cited Proverbs 21:17; 22:20; 28:19, and Ephesians 4:28, Alexander Whyte saw this commandment as covering 'all matters connected with the earning, saving, spending, inheriting and bequeathing of money and property.' (Alexander Whyte, A Commentary on the Shorter Catechism), Whyte added,

    All a man's possessions, go back to the beginning of them, go down to the bottom of them, will always be found to represent so much self-denial, labour, industry. Obscure as may be the origin, history, and growth of this or that particular estate, yet it must in its beginning have been due to some man's obedience to the Creator's law of labour and reward. 'Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it.' This is the original charter of the right of property. (Whyte, p. 145f)

    "Whyte further added, 'Akin to the habit of industry is the sister habit of frugality and forethought.' (Whyte, p. 146), (522)

  175. "Capitalization is the accumulation of wealth, the conversion of work, savings, and forethought into tangible working assets. No progress is possible without some measure of capitalization. It is a serious error to assume that socialism and communism are opposed to capitalization or to capitalism; their opposition is simply to private capitalism, but their dedicated policy is to state capitalism. For the state to plan any program of progress, public works, or conquest, work, frugality, and forethought are necessary. The work is exacted from the people by force; the frugality or savings is again forced out of the people by means of wage controls, compulsory savings and bond-buying programs, and slave labor, the forethought is provided by the state planners. (522, 553)

  176. "State capitalism is seriously defective for a number of reasons. Most notably, first of all, it represents theft. The private capital of the people is expropriated, as well as their work and savings. It is thus a radically dishonest capitalization. (523)

  177. "Second, forethought is divorced from work and frugality, that is, the planners are not the ones who provide the work and the sacrifice. As a result, the planners have no brake of immediate consequences imposed upon them. They can be prodigal in their waste of manpower and capital without bankruptcy, in that the state compels the continuance of their non-economic and wasteful planning. The consequence is that, wherever planning is separated from work and savings, instead of capitalization, the result is decapitalization. Socialism is thus by nature imperialistic, in that it must periodically seize or annex a fresh territory in order to have fresh capital to gut by expropriation. State capitalism is thus an agency of decapitalization. (523)

  178. "Private capital is acquired basically in three ways, excluding private theft as an illegal and immoral means. These three ways are by work, inheritance, and gift. Private capital must then be utilized by planning, and the loss is the planner's loss, so that there is an incentive to efficiency in private capital, even where received by gift or by inheritance, which is lacking in state capitalism. The immediacy of consequences, the direct liability of the private capitalist to loss, makes private capital more responsible even where the private capitalist is a thief. Where criminal syndicates like the Mafia enter into business, they do so with a ruthless eye towards profits and efficiency which is lacking in state capitalism. (523)

  179. "Lawful wealth is that wealth which comes to man as he abides by God's law and applies work, thrift, and forethought to his activities. Lawful wealth is a covenant promise; hence the warning by Moses in Deuteronomy 8:11-20, culminating in vs. 18 [Deuteronomy 8:18], with the statement, But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is to this day. Man must not say in his heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth (vs. 17 [Deuteronomy 8:17]). Wright's comment on this is good:
    The pride is most terrible and insidious because it flouts the plainest of facts, by asserting the virtual deity of self: My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth (vs. 17 [Deuteronomy 8:17]). Yet Israel must remember that the wealth is by God's power, not her own, and it is given in accord with his covenanted promises, not in payment for what the nation deserves (vs. 18 [Deuteronomy 8:18]). This is one of the strongest and most powerful passages in the Bible on this characteristic and distressing problem of human life. Wealth here is not by natural right; it is God's gift. Yet man must beware of the terrible and self-destructive temptation to deify himself which comes with it.' (G. Ernest Wright, "Deuteronomy," Interpreter's Bible, II, 389)

    "True wealth, godly wealth is a product of covenant blessings on work, thrift, and foresight; it is inseparably connected with the law. The commandments are given that ye may live, and multiply, and go in and possess the land. (Deuteronomy 8:1), (523, 524)

  180. "Scripture distinguishes throughout between godly wealth and ungodly wealth. Wealth in itself therefore is not a sign of God's favor; it can be a witness to theft and fraud. Wealth can be, however, a sign of God's favor and an evidence of covenantal blessings where accompanied by lawful means and godly faith. (524)

  181. "To return to the matter of capitalization, capitalization in a society requires a background of faith and character. In every era of history, capitalization is a product of the Puritan disposition, of the willingness to forego present pleasures to accumulate some wealth for future purposes. Where there is no character, there is no capitalization but rather decapitalization, the steady depletion of wealth. Society becomes consumption centered rather than productive, and it begins to decapitalize the centuries-rich inheritance which surrounds it. (524)

  182. "Thus, decapitalization is preceded always by a breakdown of faith and character. Where men feel that private happiness is man's purpose and goal rather than serving and glorifying God, and finding joy in Him, where men feel that life owes them something rather than seeing themselves as debtors to God, and where men feel called to fulfill themselves apart from God rather than in Him, there society is in rapid process of decapitalization. (524)

  183. "To return now to Deuteronomy 8:1,18, the purpose of wealth is the establishment of God's covenant; its goal is that man prosper in his task of possessing the earth, subduing it and exercising dominion over it. The means to lawful wealth is the covenant law, the law of God. Capitalization is thus a radical and total task. Man must seek to subdue the earth and gain wealth as a means of restitution and restoration, as means of establishing God's dominion in every realm. Wherever godly men establish their superior productivity and gain wealth, they thereby glorify God. Wealth in itself is good, and a blessing of the Lord. It is trust in wealth rather than God which Scripture condemns (Psalm 49:6,7). We are told that, When Rehoboam had established the kingdom, and had strengthened himself, he forsook the law of the LORD, and all Israel with him. (2 Chronicles 12:1). The rich man's wealth is his strong city, and as a high wall in his own conceit (Proverbs 18:11; cf. Proberbs 10:15; BV, The rich man's wealth is his strong city and as a high wall -- so he thinks.), (524, 525)

  184. "Godly wealth is basic to God's purposes for the earth. It is a vital link in the task of restoration.
    Benjamin Franklin, in his Memoirs, mentions a merchant named Denham, who failed in his business at Bristol, compounded with his creditors, and went to America. In a few years he accumulated a plentiful fortune, returned to England in the same ship with Franklin, called his creditors together to an entertainment, and paid the full remainder of his debts, with interest up to the time of settlement. (John Whitecross, The Shorter Catechism Illustrated from Christian Biography and History)

    "Personal restitution is godly, but much more is required. Man must restore the earth, must make it truly and fully God's kingdom, the domain in which His law-word is taught, obeyed, and honored. Man must gain wealth and use it to the glory of God, but, to gain lawful wealth, man must know and obey the law. Godly wealth is to be acquired, held, and used in good conscience; it is a happy result of the covenant of God. (525)

  185. "Many commentators refer the sins of this law to Leviticus 6:2,3, but this is clearly a separate law, although closely related. It would appear that Numbers 5:5-10 refers to sins of negligence and inadvertence, as does Leviticus 5:14-16, whereas Leviticus 6:1-7 refers to minor offenses of a deliberate nature involving property:
    And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
    If a soul sin, and commit a trespass against the LORD, and lie unto his neighbour in that which was delivered him to keep, or in fellowship, or in a thing taken away by violence, or hath deceived his neighbour;
    Or have found that which was lost, and lieth concerning it, and sweareth falsely; in any of all these that a man doeth, sinning therein:
    Then it shall be, because he hath sinned, and is guilty, that he shall restore that which he took violently away, or the thing which he hath deceitfully gotten, or that which was delivered him to keep, or the lost thing which he found,
    Or all that about which he hath sworn falsely; he shall even restore it in the principal, and shall add the fifth part more thereto, and give it unto him to whom it appertaineth, in the day of his trespass offering.
    And he shall bring his trespass offering unto the LORD, a ram without blemish out of the flock, with thy estimating, for a trespass offering, unto the priest:
    And the priest shall make an atonement for him before the LORD: and it shall be forgiven him for any thing of all that he hat done in trespassing therein
    (Leviticus 6:1-7).

    "Although such offenses are called violence, Noth points out that in the Hebrew 'the context scarcely suggests a forcible robbery or a regular theft, but rather some deceptive way of appropriating someone else's property.' (Martin Noth, Leviticus: A Commentary), (527)

  186. "In all three of these laws, certain common legal principles appear. The first is clearly the fact that restitution must be made to God. In Exodus 22:1-14 the basic laws of restitution are given, but these laws have no reference to a trespass offering to the Lord, as we find in Leviticus 5:14-16; 6:1-7, and Numbers 5:5-10, nor to a sin offering. The general laws of sacrifice assumed such offerings. Why then is it specifically cited in the case of these laws? The very fact of the minor character of these offenses, inadvertence in two cases and petty offenses in the other, gives us the clue. Marsh has observed of Numbers 5:5-10, that, 'While there could be a sin against God alone, any sin against man was also reckoned a sin against God, so that a guilt offering had to be made.' (John Marsh, "Numbers," Interpreter's Bible, II, 166). Ginsburg stated it even more plainly, with reference to Leviticus 6:1-7:
    It will be seen that the trespass against God is, strictly speaking, a violation of the rights of a neighbour's property. As fraud and plunder are most subversive of social life, a crime of this sort is described as an insult to God, who is the founder and sovereign ruler of his people. (C.D. Ginsburg, "Leviticus," in Ellicott, I, 356)

    "The law permits no one to forget that the slightest offense is also an offense against God; by requiring in these cases a restitution to God, as well as a restoration of the damaged or misappropriated property, the total jurisdiction of God is asserted as well as the fact that the slightest breach of order is a breach of God's order. At every point, God's order must be restored. (527, 528)

  187. "Second, in greater offenses, restitution involves double or fivefold return, here, only 20 percent. In every case, the same principle is at work, which in part certainly involves also the removal of all profit from sin. 'The law of the Lord removes all profit from stealing and imposes severe penalties upon those who steal.' (H.B. Rand, Digest of the Divine Law, p. 73). Apart from the law of restitution, crime does very commonly pay. An English professional criminal, asked about the risks involved in his thefts, his prison sentences, and the likelihood of an eight-year prison term when next caught, replied:
    I don't want to do eight years, no -- but if I have to I have to, and that's all there is to it. If you're a criminal, what's the alternative to the risk of going to prison? Coal-miners don't spend their time worrying about the risk they might get killed by a fall at the coal-face either. Prison's an occupational risk, that's all-and one I'm quite prepared to take. I'll willingly gamble away a third of my life in prison, so long as I can live the way I want for the other two-thirds. After all, it's my life, and that's how I feel about it. The alternative -the prospect of vegetating the rest of my life away in a steady job, catching the 8:13 to work in the morning, and the 5:50 back again at night, all for ten or fifteen quid a week-now that really does terrify me, far more than the thought of a few years in the nick. (Tony Parker and Robert Allerton, The Courage of His Convictions)

    "This criminal's position was a logical amoral conclusion. The profit in theft far outweighed the penalty for him. Modern humanistic law does tend to make crime profitable while at the same time lessening its significance in terms of the moral law. Saxon law dealt brutally with criminals. According to Sir William Blackstone,

    Our ancient Saxon laws nominally punished theft with death, if above the value of twelve pence; but the criminal was permitted to redeem his life by a pecuniary ransom; as, among their ancestors the Germans, by a stated number of cattle: But in the ninth year of Henry the First, this power of redemption was taken away, and all persons guilty of larceny above the value of twelve pence were directed to be hanged; which law continues in force to this day. (cited in J.W. Ehrlich, The Holy Bible and The Law)

    "Capital punishment for larceny continued in English law into the reign of George IV, at which time the law was altered. In such a perspective, the law seeks to repress crime by imposing heavy and disproportionate penalties. This is contrary to the Biblical law where restoration is primary, not repression. Both capital punishment and restitution in Biblical law are in terms of justice, not repression; the professional criminal or murderer is executed in order to eliminate iniquity and restore order, and restitution is made for other crimes to reestablish that godly and working social order which is necessary to God's creation mandate. Neither hanging a thief, nor imposing a disproportionate ransom or fine on him, constitutes justice. (528, 529)

  188. "A third factor is very important also. The requirement of restitution in little things is a God-given law which makes for better relations with neighbors. The modern tendency is to 'overlook' little things, as though it constitutes nobility to do so. Thus, if a woman drops and breaks a platter belonging to her neighbor, the modern tendency is to 'forgive and forget.' The Biblical principle is to restore a sum equivalent to the platter, or the same kind if available, plus a fifth of its value as compensation. Such restitution replaces annoyance with neighborly love, for love is the fulfilling of the law. (Romans 13:10). Much of the petty annoyances between friends and neighbors would be eliminated by observance of this law. By means of this law, God is clearly aware of the necessity for governing the minor problem which are so often the main factors in our lives. (528)

  189. "A fourth aspect of this law is confession. Making restitution to a neighbor is a form of confession, of course. When the neighbor is dead or has migrated, and no kinsman is left to whom restitution can be made, confession is made to God through the priest. Numbers 5:5-10, 'emphatically insists on confession, and finally enacts also, that if the individual against whom the trespass was committed has no Goel (kinsman), the compensation money shall, together with the ram to be offered, devolve to the Lord, i.e., be paid to the priest.' (G.F. Oehler, Theology of the Old Testament). There is thus a place for confession in the law. True confession does not create a mediating institution: it simply upholds the sovereignty of God's law and the necessary fact of restitution. (529, 530)

  190. "True confession is restitution. Forgiveness is a juridical term in the Bible and means that charges are dropped because satisfaction has been rendered. Forgiveness thus means 'satisfaction' or restitution. Confession is worthless, and forgiveness invalid, where restitution has not been made. (530)

  191. "The law repeatedly speaks of various groups of peoples whose rights are more readily or easily endangered. Two important such laws are the following:
    Thou shalt neither vex a stranger, nor oppress him: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.
    Ye shall not afflict any widow, or fatherless child.
    If thou afflict them in any wise, and they cry at all unto me, I will surely hear their cry;
    And my wrath shall wax hot and I will kill you with the sword; and your wives shall be widows, and your children fatherless
    (Exodus 22:21-24).
    And if a stranger sojourn with thee in your land, ye shall not vex him.
    But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God
    (Leviticus 19:33,34). (530)

  192. "Third, it must be noted that violations of this law are serious in God's sight. This law against oppression is placed in Exodus immediately after laws against seduction, idolatry, and witchcraft (Exodus 22:16-20). As Rawlinson noted,
    The juxtaposition of laws against oppression with three crimes of the deepest dye seems intended to indicate that oppression is among the sins which are most hateful in God's sight. The lawgiver, however, does not say that it is to be punished capitally, nor, indeed, does he affix to it any legal penalty. Instead of so doing, he declares that God Himself will punish it with the sword. (verse 24 [Exodus 22:24]). Three classes of persons particularly liable to be oppressed are selected for mention -- (1) strangers, i.e., foreigners; (2) widows; and (3) orphans. (George Rawlinson, "Exodus," in Ellicott)

    "Such oppression is serious, because it indicates that, to all practical intent no law exists. True law gives a common protection to all those who are law-abiding; where the weak are unable to get such protection, no law exists. If the law discriminates against the weak because they are weak, and the strong because they are strong, then it ceases to be law and is an instrument of oppression. True law discriminates against those who are wrong-doers by seeking to enforce restitution and/or death against them, and is in favor of the law-abiding, in that it protects them in their lives and properties, and compels restitution for offenses against them. If the lives and properties of foreigners, widows, and orphans are not protected by the civil order, then that order has become lawless. (532)

  193. "No penalties are affixed to these laws, Rawlinson to the contrary, not because there are none, but because the law already provides them: restitution for theft, death for rape, and so on. The particular form of oppression calls for its particular penalty. (532, 533)

  194. "Fourth, widows and orphans are included in this law together with strangers as helpless classes of peoples. In a very real sense, none of these, nor anyone else in society has any rights as such: what they do have is a common law which protects all men who are law-abiding and exacts penalties of all who are criminals. (T. Robert Ingram, " 'Right' and 'Rights'," in The Presbyterian Journal, Jan. 26, 1970, p. 9f). Thus, we use the title 'The Rights of Strangers, Widows, and Orphans' in order to point to the fact that the only true right of any person is the law of God. The point of the legislation at hand is to declare the inclusiveness of that law: it is the refuge of foreigners and of helpless peoples. Where there is no right, there are no rights; without God's law, no rights exist. Volumes of legislation can confer no justice where no sense of right exists. (533)

  195. "Fifth, an order without justice is subject then to the judgment of God. Rylaarsdam has observed, in comparing this law with the code of Hammurabi, 'What is uniquely stressed here is the immediate and dynamic role the God of Israel plays in this concern for and accomplishment of justice. He is directly related to the historical process and has not, like an absentee, entrusted his work to an agent, such as Hammurabi, who can play an independent role.' (Rylaarsdam, 1007). This point is emphatically made in Biblical law, and, on many occasions. Thus, according to Deuteronomy' 10:17-19,
    For the LORD your God is God of gods, and LORD of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward:
    He doth execute the judgment of the fatherless and widow, and loveth the stranger, in giving him food and raiment.
    Love ye therefore the stranger: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.

    "Of this last sentence, Rashi's comment was appropriate: 'The blemish which is upon thyself thou shalt not notice in thy neighbour.' (cited by C.H. Waller, in "Deuteronomy," Elliott, II, 36), (533)

  196. "Where the courts are lawless, the Supreme Court of God must be appealed to: I will surely hear their cry. (Exodus 22:23). We must not confuse the suffering of the afflicted with their concern for justice; the afflicted may be as disinterested in justice as their oppressors, and as ready to persecute and oppress if given the opportunity. There must therefore be an appeal, not only for deliverance, but for justice. Where there is no appeal for justice, there is no interest in justice. (533)

  197. "Injustice by courts and judges is a major form of robbery in much of history. The thieves that men must deal with are all too often on both sides of the bench. The law declares,
    And thou shalt take no gift: for the gift blindeth the wise, and perverteth the words of the righteous (Exodus 23:8).
    Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment; thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honour the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour (Leviticus 19:15).
    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
    (Deuteronomy 16:19,20).

    "Calvin's comment on these laws is very much to the point:

    This kind of theft is the worst of all, when judges are corrupted either by bribes, or by affection, and thus ruin the fortunes which they ought to protect: for, since their tribunal is as it were a sacred asylum, to which those who are unjustly oppressed may fly, nothing can be more unseemly than that they should there fall amongst robbers. Judges are appointed to repress all wrongs and offenses; if therefore they shew favour to the wicked, they are harbourers of thieves; than which there is no more deadly pest. And besides, since their authority excludes every other remedy, they are themselves like robbers with arms in their hands. The greater, therefore, their power of injury is, and the greater the damage committed by their unjust sentences, the more diligently are they to be beware of iniquity; and thus it was necessary to keep them in the path of duty by special instructions, lest they should conceal and encourage thievery by their patronage. Now, as avarice is the root of all evils, when it thus lays hold of the mind of judges, no integrity can continue to exist. (Calvin, Commentaries on the Four Last Books of Moses, III, 136f)

    "The judge must not favor either the rich or the poor. In Exodus 23:3,6, the judge is forbidden to countenance a poor man in his cause, or to wrest the judgment of the poor in his cause. Luther, in his comment on Deuteronomy 16:18-20, observed:

    Moreover, He lays down this rule to these judges and officers: they are to judge justly, that is, according to the Law of god and not according to their own understanding. Then He forbids corrupt feelings; they are not to leave the Law behind and be led and motivated by the consideration of persons and bribes. These two things tend to distort and misdirect all justice, and therefore he here adds this aphorism: Bribes blind the eyes of the wise and subvert the cause of the righteous. (v. 19 [Deuteronomy 5:19]). Partiality towards persons includes such things as these: fear of persons great, mighty, or wealthy; love of relatives; regard for friends; contempt for the lowly; sympathy toward those stricken by calamity; and fear of peril to one's own life, reputation, and property. Bribes, however, include gain, advantage, ambition, and the insatiable and boundless gulf of greed. Therefore in Exodus 18:21 Jethro advises Moses to choose men who are without greed, that is, birds that are as rare as a black swan. (Luther, Deuteronomy, p. 163), (534, 535)

  198. "There is a point of especial importance in these laws; where bribery is involved, the offense is the judge's, not the briber's. The word for bribe or bribery is in Hebrew kopher, redemption. The reference thus is to a payment for redemption. The judge who accepts a bribe is granting a false or undeserved redemption or salvation to a man who should be judged. (535)

  199. "As we have seen, a 1969 report indicated that bribery by the Cosa Nostra of public officials in the United States is $2 billion a year. The crimes of this criminal syndicate are real and many and require judgment, but, with respect to bribery, the offense in terms of Biblical law is not theirs but the judges'. In every social order, there will be some lawbreakers; no perfect society is possible this side of heaven. In no social order, therefore, will judges be free from temptation, if not bribery, then at least to favoritism. The sin of bribery is thus cited in Scripture as the offense, not of the giver, but of the taker. (535)

  200. "By taking a bribe, the public official or judge thereby makes a thief of himself, and a thieves' domain of his office. The most deadly and dangerous thieves are those who operate within the law and especially' as the officers of the law. As Calvin rightly saw, 'This kind of theft. is the worst of all.' The whole social order is then converted into an instrument of evil. (535)

  201. "According to Exodus 23:8, a bribe blinds the wise judge, but it is a one sided blinding, i.e., it blinds him to justice. The requirement of Deuteronomy 16:19, thou shalt not respect persons, is in Hebrew literally, Thou shalt not recognize faces. The judge thus must be blind to the persons in the case, and must see the issues involved. The bribe exactly reverses this: the judge is then blind to the issues and sees only the persons. (535)

  202. "Since the judge or civil officer must continually deal with evil, and commonly faces some lawbreaker in matters brought before him, the reality of attempts to blind justice is always before him: it is a condition of his office. The offense therefore is his offense; it is a demonstration of the fact that he is on the wrong side of the bench, sitting as a judge rather than facing arraignment as a lawbreaker. (535)

  203. "The golden rule is often cited, and properly so, as a summation of the law: 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. (Matthew 7:12). To observe the law in relationship to our neighbor, recognizing his right to life, home, property, and reputation, is to love him, and to do to him as we would have others do unto us. Not only is this a fundamental principle of Scripture, but its reverse is equally fundamental. As Obadiah stated it, as thou has done, it shall be done unto thee: thy reward shall return upon thine own head. (Obadiah 15; cf. Judges 1:17; Psalm 137:8; Ezekiel 35:15; Joel 3:7,8), (536)

  204. "What have corrupt judges done, and what is their penalty? Josephus, reported on the penalty: 'If any judge takes bribes, his punishment is death: he that overlooks one that offers him a petition, and this when he is able to relieve him, he is a guilty person.' (Favius Josephus, Against Apion, II, 27; in William Whiston, The Works of Favius Josephus). Why this penalty? If a judge accepts a $50 bribe, why should he die for it, and the bribe giver suffer no penalty? The point at issue is more than $50: it is the life of the society. Is the society dedicated to furthering justice in terms of God's law order, or is it a thieves' order and court? Every corrupt official of state, and especially the judge, is guilty of using his office to destroy the foundations of social order, to kill godly society, and to replace it with a society of polite and legal thieves and murderers. Hence, the principle inherent in the golden rule, 'as thou has done, it shall be done unto thee,' requires his death. First and last, the major form of treason to any civil order is to destroy it as a representative of justice. Injustice therefore is not only robbery but murder. It robs individuals and murders the social order. (536)

  205. "In the King James Version we read that the bribe perverteth the words of the righteous (Exodus 23:8; Deuteronomy 16:19); the Torah renders this, that bribes upset the pleas of the just. The Berkeley Version of Exodus 23:8 reads that a bribe or present thwarts a just man's testimony or subverts the cause of the innocent. (Deuteronomy 16:19). The bribe blinds the judge's eyes to the issues of justice and closes his ears to its pleas. The essence of a just order in court is that the cry for justice be heard. All the procedural care of a court of law has as its function to sift out truth from error and perjury and to listen with sensitivity and care for the truth. The bribe thus destroys the basic communication required to maintain a law order. To receive a bribe is as serious therefore as to cut off a man's air. Just as the man strangles without air, so the social order dies without justice. Calvin was right: 'This kind of theft is the worst of all.' It is also perhaps the most prevalent. (536)

  206. "An important point with respect to this law is that it is civil law. The impersonality required of the civil courts is markedly different from the personalism of decisions in other realms. In the family, judgments can be more lenient and more severe, depending upon the situation. The family must live with the offending member; it may be more severe if it feels he is hopeless, or more lenient if it feels the offender has learned his lesson. In the church, because believers are members of one another, the same is true. They are not to resort to the impersonality of the civil courts unless the member refuses to accept the church's discipline. In that case, he is a heathen and a publican and is dealt with impersonally (Matthew 18:7). Family and church justice is personal, and, in a sense, partial, respecting persons, although still just. In the state, where persons of varying backgrounds confront one another, impersonality and impartiality must be the rule of justice. Family and ecclesiastical justice, being personal, can be concerned with rehabilitation; civil justice must be tied to restitution only, the principle of justice. Where the state assumes a parental role, or a pastoral role, it not only usurps the jurisdictions of family and church, but also forsakes the impersonal justice it must administer. The state then becomes a class agency, or an instrument of a race or some dominant group. If it substitutes rehabilitation or punishment for restitution, it penalizes the injured party in favor of the criminal. (537)

  207. "Within the family, an impersonal justice is fatal. For husband and wife to deal with one another impersonally is to destroy their relationship, which must be one of justice surely, but also of mutual forbearance. Every area of personal relationships is similar. But traffic laws cannot be personal, and marital laws cannot be impersonal. When ecclesiastical discipline becomes impersonal, it means, practically, excommunication. The counsel to Christians to avoid the courts against one another (1 Corinthians 6:1-10), in part presupposes this requirement of justice tempered with forbearance in personal relationships. (537)

  208. "The eighth commandment reads very simply, Thou shalt not steal (Exodus 20:15); of this, there is little question: theft is forbidden, and clearly so. It is necessary to ask, to whom does this law apply? The usual answer by churchmen is, Why, to all men, of course, and this answer is faulty. The commandment applies to all men and to their institutions, corporations, and forms of government. Failure to extend the law to its full jurisdiction has been productive of more than a little evil. (537)

  209. "At the root of this error is the unhappy fact that most churchmen treat the commandments as simple matters of morality, not as law. The Mosaic law is indeed a moral code, but it is inescapably law as well. To deny to the Mosaic legislation its force as law is to surrender the world to the devil. (537, 538)

  210. "In one of the most incisive studies of the law, Frederick Nymeyer, who titled his study "Essays Against Organized Sanctimony and Legalized Coercion," wrote in criticism of the ideas of Dr. Bruins Slot, stating:
    Everything stands or falls on this simple question: does a government have more authority than its citizens? If so, it must have got that authority from some greater source than the citizens. The only greater sources are God or Satan. Satan is never considered by Calvinists to be the source of governments; (governments are manifestations of the "common grace" of God!). Therefore Hitler had a 'peculiar inherent authority' directly from God! Now we can realize how De Standaard came to follow the course it did during World War II. (Frederick Nymeyer, Progressive Calvinism, I, 331 f.), (538)

  211. In too many churchmen we find the exemption of the state from the law, and from judgment in terms of the law. The roots of this position go back to pagan divinization of the state. [see Rushdoony, Christianity and the State]. Practically, where men exempt the state from the law of God, they make it an instrument of Satan.
    The law is the law for everyone. If the citizen has no moral right to steal, neither does the state. If the citizen cannot expropriate his neighbor's property, neither can the state. "Thou shalt not steal" applies to corporations, governments, and men equally. It forbids socialism, communism, [fascism], inflation, bad checks, and every other form of theft. It forbids false advertising, and dishonest processing and adulteration of foods. It forbids featherbedding by workers' associations, and it forbids the cheating of workers. All men, their institutions, corporations, and forms of government, are equally under the law of God. The reduction of the Ten Commandments to the status of a moral code only [from that of a Biblical criminal code], is the destruction of the law.
    If all authority is not under God, then, instead of a universe, we have a multiverse; instead of one Creator and Law-giver, we have many gods acting as creators and law-givers in their realms. If all authority comes from God, then all authority is plainly under God's law-word, and entirely subject to it. 'Thou shalt not steal' cannot then be restricted to the individual man, but must be applied to every area of life. . . .
    In the 20th century, educators have spoken of the university at times as a multiversity, having room for a variety of ideas and faiths. The teaching of witchcraft, astrology [Astrology is being considered as a college major in California state colleges. (September 2003)], and related concepts by some schools is related to this concept of the multiversity. High schools in a major city have introduced yoga and palmistry. If the world is a multiverse, then all things are permissible except a sovereign God and a universal law-order. Hence our polytheistic world is tolerant of almost every kind of belief except orthodox Christianity. A universal law-order and a sovereign God rule out the possibility of a polytheistic multiverse. But, because the sovereign and triune God of Scripture rules, there is no multiverse, but rather a universe and a unified law-order.
    The law, "Thou shalt not steal," applies therefore not only to the state but to the church as well. Where the church does not faithfully teach the whole counsel of God, His entire law-word, it is then plainly guilty of theft. It is robbing the people and the social order of its vital nerve; it is undercutting all authority when it limits the law on which all authority rests.
    As Nymeyer has observed "What gold is to money, the law of God is to liberty." (Frederick Nymeyer, Progressive Calvinism (South Holland, IL: Libertarian Press, 1957), III, 209). Without the law of God, men, unions, corporations, and states feel free to be a law unto themselves, to play god. Failure to teach the law of God is thus to pave the way for tyranny.
    James Madison said of God's law:
    We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future of all of our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind for self-government; upon the capacity of each of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God. -- James Madison, "The father of our Constitution"
    From Rousas John Rushdoony, The Institutes of Biblical Law, pp. 539-541

  212. "The law is the law for everyone. If the citizen has no moral right to steal, neither does the state. If the citizen cannot expropriate his neighbor's property, neither can the state. Thou shalt not steal applies to corporations, governments, and men equally. It forbids socialism, communism, inflation, bad checks, and every other form of theft. It forbids false advertising, and dishonest processing and adulteration of foods. It forbids featherbedding by workers' associations, and it forbids the cheating of workers. All men, their institutions, corporations, and forms of government are equally under the law of God. The reduction of the Ten Commandments to the status of a moral code only is the destruction of the law. (540)

  213. "If all authority is not under God, then, instead of a universe, we have a multiverse; instead of one Creator and Law-giver, we have many gods acting as creators and law-givers in their realms. If all authority comes from God, then all authority is plainly under God's law-word and entirely subject to it. 'Thou shalt not steal' cannot then be restricted to the individual man but must be applied to every area of life. (540)

  214. "The concept of a multiverse has become prominent in the 20th century, and, with it, the consequences of polytheism. Pre-Christian paganism, being evolutionary, was also polytheistic: the world has seen multiple origins and hence had multiple gods. (540)

  215. "In the 20th century, educators have spoken of the university at times as a multiversity, having room for a variety of ideas and faiths. The teaching of witchcraft, astrology, and related concepts by some schools is related to this concept of the multiversity. High schools in a major city have introduced yoga and palmistry. If the world is a multiverse, then all things are permissible except a sovereign God and a universal law-order. Hence our polytheistic world is tolerant of almost every kind of belief except orthodox Christianity. A universal law-order and a sovereign God rule out the possibility of a polytheistic multiverse. But, because the sovereign and triune God of Scripture rules, there is no multiverse but rather a universe and a unified law-order. (540)

  216. "The law, Thou shalt not steal, applies therefore not only to the state but to the church as well. Where the church does not faithfully teach the whole counsel of God, His entire law-word, it is then plainly guilty of theft. It is robbing the people and the social order of its vital nerve; it is undercutting all authority when it limits the law on which all authority rests. (540)

  217. "As Nymeyer has observed, 'What gold is to money, the law of God (540) is to liberty.' (Frederick Nymeyer, Progressive Calvinism). Without the law of God, men, unions, corporations, and states feel free to be a law unto themselves, to play god. Failure to teach the law of God is thus to pave the way for tyranny. (541)

  218. "James Madison said of God's law:
    We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future of all of our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind for self-government; upon the capacity of each of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God. -- James Madison, "The father of our Constitution" (541)



The Tenth Commandment

Thus, what is clearly condemned by the tenth commandment is every attempt to gain by fraud, coercion, or deceit that which belongs to our neighbor. On this principle, alienation of affection suits were once a part of the law of the land. Their abuse by a lawless age led to their abolition, but the principle is sound. A person who works systematically to alienate the affections of a husband or wife in order to gain him or her for himself, sometimes together with his monetary assets, is guilty of violating this law.
This law thus forbids the expropriation by fraud or deceit of that which belongs to our neighbor. The tenth commandment therefore does sum up commandments six through nine and gives them an additional perspective. The other commandments deal with obviously illegal acts, i.e., clear-cut violations of law. The tenth commandment can be broken within these laws. To cite a Biblical example. David committed adultery with Bathsheba, a clearly illegal act. His subsequent acts were technically within the law: Uriah was put in the forefront of the battle and orders were so issued as to insure Uriah's death in battle. It was not technically murder, but it was clearly a conspiracy to kill, with David and Joab both guilty of murder.
Thus, a variety of laws in Western civilization are based on this principle of the fraudulent use of the law to defraud or to harm. Many of these laws legislate against the conspiracy aspect of fraud. They legislate against the covetous seizure of our neighbor's possessions by evil although sometimes legal means. The law against dishonest gain is thus a very important one, and the tenth commandment, instead of being a vague appendage to the law, is basic to it.
This law against dishonest gain is directed by God, not merely to the individual, but to the state and all institutions. The state can be and! often is as guilty as art any individuals, and the state is often used as the legal means whereby others are defrauded of their possessions. The law against evil covetousness is thus an especially needed one in the 20th century. -- Rousas John Rushdoony in Institutes of Biblical Law

  1. "The tenth commandment is one of the longer statements of principle in the Decalogue. In its two versions, it reads:
    Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's (Exodus 20:17).
    Neither shalt thou desire thy neighbour's wife, neither shalt thou covet thy neighbour's house, his field, or his manservant, nor his maidservant, his ox, or his ass, or any thing that is thy neighbour's (Deuteronomy 5:21). (632)

    "The meaning of this law depends on the meaning of covet. The rest of the law deals with the actions of men; does the law in this case deal with man's emotions instead, or have we misunderstood the meaning of covet? Noth has pointed out that covet in fact does mean much more than the emotion of coveting.

    The commandment in v. 17 is formulated with a verb which is rendered covet. But it describes not merely the emotion of coveting but also includes the attempt to attach something to one self illegally. The commandment therefore deals with all possible undertakings which involve gaining power over the goods and possessions of a neighbour, whether through theft or through all kinds of dishonest machinations. The first object to be named is the neighbour's house. The term house can in a narrow and special sense describe the dwelling-place, primarily the built house but also in every case the tent-'house' of the nomad; it can, however, also be used in a more or less wide or transferred sense to mean, for instance, the family, or to sum up everything which is included in the house. (Martin Noth, Exodus)

    "Thus, when Exodus begins by forbidding coveting a neighbor's house, by house it means, as it then goes on to specify, the wife, the servants, animals, and all other possessions of our neighbor. First, the general term house is used, and then specific aspects of the 'house' are described. In Deuteronomy, the citations are apparently all of specifics, including the house. (632, 633)

  2. "Von Rad wrote of covet in equally telling terms:
    If in the last commandment the translation of the verb as covet were correct, it would be the only case in which the decalogue deals not with an action, but with an inner impulse, hence with a sin of intention. But the corresponding Hebrew word (hamad) has two meanings, both to covet and to take. It includes, outward malpractices, meaning seizing for oneself (Joshua 7:21; Micah 2:2, etc.). (Gerhard Von Rad, Deuteronomy, A Commentary), (633)

    "When Jesus cited the tenth commandment in Mark 10:19, He clearly cited it in terms of a sin of action, and the Greek text uses the word aposteresis, to defraud of a thing, and it is translated in the King James Version as defraud. (633)

  3. "The observations of Noth and Von Rad represent no novelty in interpretation. Clearly, our Lord gave it the same meaning, and, just as clearly, this was known by Christian scholars in earlier eras. Thus, the great Anglican scholar of the 17th century, Dr. Isaac Barrow, writing on the tenth commandment, observed:
    This law is comprehensive and recapitulatory, as it were, of rest concerning our neighbour, prescribing universal justice toward him (whence St. Mark, it seems, meaneth to render it in one word, by . . . deprive not, or bereave not your neighbour of any thing Mark x. 19), and this not only in outward deed and dealing, but in inward thought and desire, the spring whence they do issue forth. . . . (Isaac Barrow, Works).

  4. "Adam Clarke was also aware of the meaning of covet, and declared:
    Thou shalt not covet, ver. 17 . . . lo tachemod -- the word. . . chamad, signifies an earnest and strong desire after a matter, which all the affections are concentrated and fixed, whether thing be good or bad. This is what we commonly term covetousness, which word is taken both in a good and bad sense. So when Scripture says, that covetousness is idolatry: yet it also says, covet earnestly the best things; so we find that this disposition is sinful or holy, according to the object on which it is fixed. In this command, the covetousness which is placed on forbidden objects, is that which is prohibited and condemned. To covet in this sense, is intensely to long after, in order to enjoy as property, the person, or thing, coveted. He breaks this command, who by any means endeavours to deprive a man of his house, or farm, by some underhand and clandestine bargain with the original landlord; what is called in some countries, taking a man's house and farm over his head. He breaks it also, who lusts after his neighbour's wife, and endeavours to ingratiate himself into her affections, by striving to lessen her husband in her esteem: -- and he breaks it, who endeavours to possess himself of the servants, cattle &c. of another, in any clandestine or unjustifiable way. This is a most excellent moral precept, the observance of which will prevent all public crimes: for he who feels the force of the law which prohibits the inordinate desire of any thing that is the property of another, can never make a breach in the peace of society by an act of wrong to any of even its feeblest members. (Adam Clarke, Discourse on Various Subjects, II, 36f.), (633, 634)

  5. "Habakkuk 2:9 gives us an example of the fact that Scripture made a distinction between good and evil covetousness. The meaning of the passage appears as both the King James and Berkeley Versions are examined:
    Woe to him that coveteth an evil covetousness to his house, that he may set his nest on high, that he may be delivered from the power of evil! (KJV).
    Woe to him who acquires an evil gain for his house, in order to set his seat on high, to be out of the reach of calamity!
    (BV).

    "Covetousness is here equated with gain; it is evil covetousness or gain which is condemned. Honest gain and godly covetousness are clearly not condemned. (634)

  6. "St. Paul, in I Corinthians 12:31 [1 Corinthians 12:31], used the word covet in its good sense: But covet earnestly the best gifts; the Berkeley Version renders 'covet' as 'aim hard for,' work earnestly and zealously for the best gifts. (634)

  7. "Thus, what is clearly condemned by the tenth commandment is every attempt to gain by fraud, coercion, or deceit that which belongs to our neighbor. On this principle, alienation of affection suits were once a part of the law of the land. Their abuse by a lawless age led to their abolition, but the principle is sound. A person who works systematically to alienate the affections of a husband or wife in order to gain him or her for himself, sometimes together with his monetary assets, is guilty of violating this law. (634)

  8. "This law thus forbids the expropriation by fraud or deceit of that which belongs to our neighbor. The tenth commandment therefore does sum up commandments six through nine and gives them an additional perspective. The other commandments deal with obviously illegal acts, i.e., clear-cut violations of law. The tenth commandment can be broken within these laws. To cite a Biblical example. David committed adultery with Bathsheba, a clearly illegal act. His subsequent acts were technically within the law: Uriah was put in the forefront of the battle and orders were so issued as to insure Uriah's death in battle. It was not technically murder, but it was clearly a conspiracy to kill, with David and Joab both guilty of murder. (634, 635)

  9. "Thus, a variety of laws in Western civilization are based on this principle of the fraudulent use of the law to defraud or to harm. Many of these laws legislate against the conspiracy aspect of fraud. They legislate against the covetous seizure of our neighbor's possessions by evil although sometimes legal means. The law against dishonest gain is thus a very important one, and the tenth commandment, instead of being a vague appendage to the law, is basic to it. (635)

  10. "This law against dishonest gain is directed by God, not merely to the individual, but to the state and all institutions. The state can be and! often is as guilty as art any individuals, and the state is often used as the legal means whereby others are defrauded of their possessions. The law against evil covetousness is thus an especially needed one in the 20th century. The pietism which earlier undercut this law has now become a pervasive social attitude. (635)

  11. "Pietism emphasizes the heart, the attitudes of man, and underrates the importance of man's actions. Its roots are in the pagan, Greek, and Stoic deprecation of matter as against spirit. The goal in these philosophies was to be passionless. The true philosopher was above feeling grief for material things: his house could burn down, his wife and children die, and he sought to be unconcerned. Only those things which are of the mind or spirit supposedly concerned him. (635)

  12. "The influence of these philosophies on the church made all coveting evil. Man was supposed to be without desire in order to be holy. To I be ambitious was evil, because it represented desire with respect to material things. Shakespeare and Fletcher reflected this in their play, Henry VIII, in which Cardinal Wolsey says,
    Mark but my fall, and that that ruined me.
    Cromwell, I charge thee, fling away ambition:
    By that sin fell the angels; how can man, then,
    The image of his Maker, hope to win by it?
    Love thyself last: cherish those hearts that hate thee. (Act III, sec. II).

    "Such a philosophy meant that ambition had no Christian legitimacy, and that desire for better things was always a sin. As a result, the only legitimate ambition and desire was that which renounced Christianity for humanism. Pietism led Christianity, both before and after the Reformation, into false paths of feeling as against a wholeness of life. (635, 636)

  13. "Pietism, in origin pagan and humanistic, re-infected humanism in the modern era. As a result, liberals who have no real love of Negroes, Indians, and others, flit from cause to cause by working up a flood of feeling as the real solution to all problems. The result of such pietistic emotionalism is no real advance in anyone's cause but only an emotional bath for the humanistic pietists. (636)

  14. "In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus applied some of the laws of Scripture to the heart of man, i.e., declared that the law has not only a requirement to make of man's actions but also of man's heart. God, being total in His sovereignty, issues a total law. (636)

  15. "Some of the implications of the law as stated in the Sermon on the Mount are not within the scope of civil law (Matthew 5:21,22,27,28). To hate our brother, or to look with lust at a woman, are offenses which God can judge, but the courts can judge only if some action ensues in terms of those feelings. (636)

  16. "Some of the implications of the law, as they ensue in action, are covered by the tenth commandment. We have cited alienation of affection suits. (636)

  17. "Even more common are those actions, technically within the law, which violate the spirit of the law, actions whereby man expropriates the property of others by abuse of the letter of the law. The law must be 'confirmed,' i.e., put into force in all its implications, not a barren legalism which uses the law to break the law. This is clearly required in Deuteronomy 27:26:
    Cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of this law, to do them. And all the people shall say, Amen. (636)

  18. "Moffatt's translation:
    A curse on the man who will not give effect to the words of this law! And all the people shall answer, So be it. (636)

  19. "To cite an example of this, the law requires payment of debts; failure to pay is a form of theft as well as perjury. The lender does need protection in business loans, because many people are 'deadbeats' and all too ready to defraud their creditors. However, contracts are now usually dishonest because of the many clauses which, while designed to protect against defrauders, become tools to defraud the unwise and the ignorant. The 'fine print' of contracts today may include such things as waiver of defenses, contingency liability, written notification, confession of judgment, liability waivers, and pre-existing health condition clauses, all of which penalize the individual as against the company. In a world of limited liability many of these contracts re-introduce an illegitimate form of unlimited liability. The Christian must favor unlimited liability, but not in this one-sided way. Both parties to a contract should be governed by its conditions. (636, 637)

  20. "In an analysis of such contracts, Jean Carper wrote:
    Reluctant to sell the house they had lived in 35 years, a couple in an Eastern state signed a contract for $2,500 to have it renovated. Unfortunately, three weeks later, their contractor died of a heart attack, and the work was never begun.
    Soon afterward, the couple received notice from a finance company demanding monthly payments to fulfill the contract of $2,500. The couple wrote explaining the situation, made no payments, and thought no more about it. Two months later the sheriff served papers notifying them that the finance company had foreclosed on the house and would put it up for auction-unless they produced the cash to cover the contract, plus legal fees. They sought help in every direction, but could not raise the money. Thus, incredibly -- to pay for a job never done -- their house was auctioned off. Worth perhaps $30,000, it was sold to an officer of the finance company for $20,000.
    In another state, a 56-year-old widow bought automobile insurance from a company recommended by her insurance agent. Her policy was canceled a year later with no explanation. Then, nearly three years later, she received a letter from a lawyer ordering her to pay the state $291.49 because she was liable for claims against this now-defunct company that had once insured her car. Out of her meager earnings, she was forced to pay a little every month until the entire amount was paid off.
    How are such things possible? The explanation is: 'fine print.' It appears on installment contracts, insurance policies, credit cards on almost any legal document you sign. And as many have discovered, its potentiality for disaster cannot be underestimated. (Jean Carper, "Before You Sign -- Read the Fine Print," in Family Weekly, supplement to the Santa Ana, California, Register, April 12, 1970, p. 13), (637)

    "In the first case, the couple had signed a contract with a waiver of defense, unaware of its meaning. In the second case, according to Miss Carper, the widow had signed with a company having a contingency liability, which 'in effect makes the policy holder a part owner of the company and responsible for its debts.' (Carper). Miss Carper cites many other similar examples of contracts which defraud the unwary. (637)

  21. "These contracts have a common characteristic: the legal terminology involves liabilities of which the signer is not aware. For the average person with a credit card, loan, or debt, a lawyer would be necessary to explain the traps and pitfalls in such contracts. These people, however, are precisely the ones who cannot afford a lawyer. Thus, the very people who need the supervision of a legal counselor are the ones who have no practical access to one. (637, 638)

  22. "Another aspect of the contracts appears from the above illustrations. The state is clearly involved in both, as are the courts. The business of the state courts is increasingly the business of the state, and of powerful creditors against helpless and foolish people. When, under pressure, the state bans one form of extortion by statute, it leaves loopholes for several more. The legal reforms of a couple of generations, designed to 'protect' the small American, the 'little people,' have only left such persons more vulnerable. Moreover, the federal government has paved the way for easier credit and thus more exploitation. Thus, the federal government has boasted of making housing more readily available by means of easy credit restrictions, but the 30- and 35-year notes have led to shoddy construction, a multitude of frauds, and a deeply rooted exploitation of the people. The reforms of a state which denies God are no more to be trusted than the reforms of a man with a gun in his hand, robbing us of our money. (638)

  23. "The character of the courts, judges, and legal system cannot be long maintained if the character of the people is delinquent and degenerate. Courts and judges do not exist in a vacuum: they are a part of the faith, culture, and moral standards of the people at large, of the nation of which they are a part. It is the principle of the revolutionist that a deep moral cleavage does exist, that the establishment is in nature and essence evil, and the people innocent and good. This revolutionary principle undergirds almost all radicalism and conservatism, and it leads to the mentality which ascribes all ills to conspiracies and virtually none to man's fallen nature. The orthodox Christian denies that a moral cleavage exists between the establishment and the people; instead, the moral cleavage is between all unregenerate men, great and small, and the redeemed of God. This moral cleavage cannot be bridged by revolution but only by regeneration. A resort to arms is thus not the answer. When Christians have resorted to arms in the past, it has usually been in self'" defense, not as an instrument of regeneration. (639)

  24. "The tenth commandment forbids dishonest use of the law to defraud our neighbor. A society which is established on a dishonest principle, on a lawless, anti-God foundation, will inevitably make civil covetousness a way of life, and its principle of gaining wealth will increasingly become expropriation. (639)

  25. "Deuteronomy 27:26 requires us to put the law into force. This forbids us to obey the law by mere negation. We cannot be 'brokenfield runners,' evading by deft footwork all violations of the law. There is no holiness in such a course. A curse is pronounced upon all who do not put the law into force, who fail to give effect to, or "confirm" the law, by obeying it in the fullest sense of the word. The law is to be obeyed from the heart. (639)

  26. "Romans 7:7 and 13:9, the word covet appears, a translation of a Greek word for desire, to set one's heart upon, to long for. The word 'covet' in these verses has reference to seeking things forbidden, but the sense of 'covet' is good or bad in terms of its context. The law in Deuteronomy 5:21 condemns coveting, desiring or taking by force what is not rightfully ours. (640)

  27. "If all desiring and taking by force or by law what is our neighbor's is strictly against God's law, it follows that the organization of such covetousness into a system is the creation of an anti-God society. A welfare economy-socialism, communism, or any form of social order which takes from one group to give to another is thus lawlessness organized into a system. (640)

  28. "In such a society, this lawless seizure can lay hold of what belongs to our neighbor by asking the state to serve as our instrument of seizure; to covet by law is no less a sin. (640)

  29. "One of the common justifications for such a covetous society is that it is supposedly morally necessary to war against special privilege. The term special privilege is one of the most abused as well as most dangerous of names. It brings up visions of exploitation and abuse, and it creates a prejudiced situation wherever it is used. The term is one which has done no small damage; a common insult from the left, it has been extensively picked up and used by the right. If a thing is called 'special privilege,' it is sufficient in most cases to arouse hostility to it. (640)

  30. "The truth is that no society has ever existed without special privileges, nor is it likely that any will. Special privileges can be good or bad, depending on the situation. A president has special privilege, a wife and a husband have special privileges with each other; special privileges are an inescapable part of life. (640)

  31. "A third form of society, Biblical in character, is family oriented. The state is limited to a ministry of justice, and free enterprise and individual initiative are given the freedom to develop. The state is then barred from all respect of persons in processes of law. Every channel of state is then concerned with justice, not special privilege. Families, organizations, and employers are then free to give special privileges as they see fit. (643)

  32. "The right to give special privileges is a basic aspect of freedom, and of private property. If the individual's freedom to confer special privileges is denied, then freedom and private property are denied. (643)

  33. "The hard-working are rewarded by being granted something more than their due compensation as an act of gratitude, or to create incentive. (643)

  34. "The hostility to the family in socialistic states is due to the fact that the family is a special-privilege-oriented group. The family will be both harder on its members than society will be, and more generous. In a family-oriented society, churches, organization, and communities tend to be dominated by a family-motivated morality and will be personalistic. Special privileges will then become routine. Conant has made clear his hostility to the family as an 'aristocratic,' i.e., special privilege, institution. For him, it is alien to democracy. (James Bryant Conant, Education in a Divided World, The Function of the Public Schools in our Unique Society). For Conant and others, the state school is an agency to further democracy and to limit the family's power. The attitude of the grape-pickers in the parable was a covetous one; it involved a desire to prevent others from receiving what was lawfully theirs. It was an attack on 'special privilege.' Every such attack is an attempt to coerce lawlessly in order to apportion privilege in terms of our own desires. (644)

  35. "Every law which seeks to legislate apart from God's law is a case of lawless coercion. Examples of such laws are many. Turner gives a telling illustration:
    Two people could have walked down any U.S. street in 1930 -- One with a bottle of whiskey under his arm and one with a bar of gold in his pocket, and the one with the whiskey would have been a criminal whereas the one with the bar of gold would have been considered a good law abiding citizen. If the same thing happened in any U.S. city in 1970, the one with the whiskey would be the law abiding citizen and the one with the gold bar would be the criminal. (W.W. Turner, The Amazing Story of the British Sovereign), (644)

    "Such laws further lawlessness, in that they violate the fundamental principle of Biblical law, that all judgments and all legislation rest on the righteousness of God rather than the will of man and the policies of state. (644)

  36. "As we have noted, Von Rad has shown that the word covet 'has two meanings, both to covet and to take.' (Von Rad, Deuteronomy, p. 59), (644, 645)

  37. "This commandment, as law, is concerned with the acts of men, illegal and immoral seizures of what is properly our neighbor's. It grounds this lawless variety of action in the intent of man, his mind. The immoral act begins with a lawless thought, and the two are inseparable. (645)

  38. "Guilty men (and guilty women), want to reduce others to their level. This is an important aspect of their philosophy and behavior. (645)

  39. "The law of God links the mind and body of man to law, and it ties man's law-keeping to his covenant-keeping with God. (646)

  40. "Because Judea had been so extensively Hellenized during the intertestamental period, part of the Sermon on the Mount was given to a rejection of dualism in the name of the law. The tie between the mind of man and murder and adultery was cited by Jesus as illustrative of this fact (Matthew 5:21-28). On another occasion, He declared, that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man. (Matthew 15:11). Explaining this to the uncomprehending disciples, He added, those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: these are the things which defile a man. (Matthew 15:18-20), (646,647)

  41. "The lawless thought is thus not merely an inconsequential fact: it is a first step in the unified life of man, and that first step either culminates in a lawless act or is retracted by another step into covenant-keeping. Our thoughts have an ultimate effect on our neighbor. (647)

  42. "The tenth commandment thus presupposes and embodies an important philosophy of man and the law. (647)

  43. "As we have seen, covet means both to desire and to take. We are forbidden unlawful desire and seizure of our neighbor's wife, his house, field, servants, his livestock, or anything that is our neighbor's. In Ephesians 5:5, St. Paul calls such covetousness a form of idolatry. In evil covetousness, a man takes a lawless course and redefines it as a justifiable one. Men are ever prone to justify their every act. Justification is a necessary cover for man, and as a result men will work to justify the most flagrant offenses. (647)

  44. "Abraham Ruef, in describing the course of action which led him to the central position of power and corruption in San Francisco's politics at the beginning of the twentieth century, justified his position by describing the foolishness of democracy. Ruef graduated from the University of California and the University of California law school with exceptional honors. 'His first political convention, he tells us in his Confessions, showed him that representative government was a farce.' From an organizer of a club for civic reform, he immediately turned to being an 'errand boy' for powerful and corrupt political bosses. (Franklin Hichborn, "The System," as Uncovered by the San Francisco Graft Prosecution), (647)

  45. "The principle involved in such actions was well stated by someone in speaking to this writer some years ago. He vindicated political corruption, declaring, 'When the people are larcenous, they deserve to be taken, and somebody will.' We are not, however, justified in robbing a thief because he is a thief. The cure for public corruption is not more corruption. (647)

  46. "Ruef's career illustrated well the operation of an ancient political structure, known as far back as the days of Abraham in Nuzi documents, which Hichborn calls 'the system.' 'The system' is the organization of corruption and graft into a form of political order. Labor, business, and civil government unite to form a system of entrenched theft and covetousness which exploits the people. 'The system,' however, rests on the fact of the already existing corruption of the people. Where 'the system' exists, reform is much talked about but never or rarely ever desired, because every man has a vested interest in loose law enforcement, in corruption, and in perpetuating evil. (See Ovid Demaris, The Captive City, Lincoln Steffens, The Shame of the Cities, Walter Bean, Boss Ruef's San Francisco, and Frank Gibney, The Operators. The important study is Hichborn's.), (648)

  47. "A group of wealthy men, headed by Rudolph Spreckels and James D. Phelan, instituted the investigation which led to a partial exposure of 'the system.' The 'reform' demanded by many earlier became unpopular when its ramifications began to appear, and Spreckels and Phelan were the targets of hostility. Hostility to Phelan reached even Washington, D. C., to prevent him from receiving a cabinet appointment in the Wilson Administration. (Hichborn, p. 456). Ruef's morality had been wrong, but his judgment sound in this respect: the people did not want honest government. Every honest man is a threat to a thief, and a man of integrity is an offense to a liar, because honesty and integrity are a standing indictment to evil-doers. (648)

  48. "The liar, the thief, the adulterer, and the covetous man refuse to change, and the best of incentives are not enough to reform them. An amusing episode in the life of the painter Breugel illustrates this fact. Of Breugel we are told that,
    As long as he lived in Antwerp, he kept house with a servant girl. He would have married her but for the fact that, having a marked distaste for the truth, she was in the habit of lying, a thing he greatly disliked. He made an agreement or contract with her to the effect that he would procure a stick and cut a notch in it for every lie she told, for which purpose he deliberately chose a fairly long one. Should the stick become covered in notches in the course of time the marriage would be off and there would be no further question of it. And indeed this came to pass after a short time. (F. Grossmann, Breugel, The Paintings)

    "The sinner, instead of changing, seeks to remake the world in his own image. The result is coercion, covetousness. The covetous man strikes out at the honesty or happiness of others. Jesus characterized this attitude in these words: Is thine eye evil, because I am good? (Matthew 20:15). Moffatt renders it, Have you a grudge because I am generous? (648)

  49. "It is the privilege of God the Creator to make and remake man and the world. Unto man God gives the opportunity to share in that remaking by means of work and the law. the God-ordained means of establishing dominion and bringing all things into captivity to Christ. The wickedly covetous man steps outside this lawful path and seeks by lawless means to remake his life and world; hence his assault on his neighbor's property, home, and wife. (649)

  50. "Thus, the covetous man has his 'system' too; he seeks a state of affairs where by lawless means the consequences of law are obtained. He wants a society to further his lawlessness and yet to protect him in it. Just as the political 'system' is the organization of corruption and graft into a form of political order, so the personal 'system' is the use of covetousness and lawlessness as the means to a new form of personal and social order. Instead of order, the result is moral anarchism and social collapse. (649)

  51. "The names for the society whereby men can covet everything that is their neighbor's may vary: socialism, communism, a welfare economy, rugged individualism, fascism, and national socialism are a few of the names common to history. Their goal is the same: under a facade of morality, a system is created to seize what is properly our neighbor's. Not surprisingly, such a system shows a general decline in morality. Theft, murder, adultery, and false witness all increase, because man is a unity. If he can legalize and 'justify' seizing his neighbor's wealth or property, he will then legalize and justify taking his neighbor's wife. (649)

  52. "The more self-righteous his profession of morality becomes, the wider the gap between profession and performance grows. Thus, the 20th century has seen a widespread advocacy of reverence for life, the abolition of the death penalty, and a proliferation of peace movements. At the same time, it has also seen these same leaders create a world of massive pollution and destruction of life, more murders than before, savage world wars and national wars, prison camps, massive torture, enslavement, and murder, and all this while professing the noblest morality. (649)

  53. "Add to this the movements legalizing abortion. Congressman John G. Schmitz reported,
    Here in Congress, legislation has been introduced in both House and Senate to allow the killing of unborn children throughout the United States, and to remove the Federal personal income tax for all children after the second. Testimony before the House Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce revealed a bill is pending in the Florida State Legislature which would legalize the killing of old people ("euthanasia"), and that a bill in the Hawaii State Legislature would compel the sterilization of all women after they have their second child. Such legislation heralds the coming of a new Nazism to our land. (John G. Schmitz, "Government Against Life," Weekly News Report, Aug. 19, 1970)

    "In the words of St. Paul, Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools (Romans 1:22). Professing themselves to be lovers of life and mankind, they revealed themselves as haters and murderers of men. (649, 650)

SOURCE: Quoted material and footnotes are from Rousas John Rushdoony, Volume 1, INSTITUTES OF BIBLICAL LAW, 890 pages, ISBN: 0875524109. Available through Exodus Books, pp. 450-650. Used by permission.


See also: The sovereignty of god, The doctrine of man (human nature, total depravity), Covetousness, greed, and selfishness, Theft, stealing and fraud: property rights and freedom, Justice, judgment, god's final judgment, the great white throne judgment, the day of the lord, The sermon on the mount, The covenant faithfulness of god, Trusting god, Covenant theology and the ordinance of covenanting, Individual responsibility for corporate faithfulness and sanctification, An introduction to covenanted reformation, Freedom: a gift of the grace of god, Christian liberty, Freedom with responsibility to god, Selection of covenant heads for positions of leadership, Corporate faithfulness and sanctification, Reform of the church, Politics, Idolatry, syncretism, Spiritual adultery (spiritual whoredom/harlotry), Bribery, Conspiracy and corruption, organized crime, Sexual relationship, The ten commandments (women), Secret societies, ungodly alliances, voluntary associations, The courts, the law base, and the judicial system, Bible magistracy turns back the wrath of god, Ethics, computer ethics, cyberethics, Casuistry, cases of conscience, conscience, The westminster confession of faith (1647, westminster standards) and related works, the westminster assembly,, The larger catechism, The shorter catechism, Creeds, confessions and catechisms, Politics and economics, Biblical economics, Meltdown 2008: The greatest depression in history, Reform, state sovereignty, and corporate immunity: reform of corporations, Healthcare reform, The decline of american society, irrationality, Male role and responsibility, gender equality, suffrage, reproductive rights, and the decline of american society, A partial timeline of us history showing how liberalization in the church and liberalization in the state, has been paralleled by advances in the feminist movement, and the overall decline of american society, God's deliverance of nations, and so forth, and so on.
TCRB5: 949


Bibliography and Resources

The Ten Commandments: The Moral Law
http://www.lettermen2.com/bcrr2cha.html#tcmdnts

*Watson, Thomas (1620-1686), The Ten Commandments, ISBN: 0851516815. A Christian classic. Considered to be among the ten greatest books in the English language. Available on the Puritan Hard Drive.
"In this book Watson continues his exposition of the Shorter Catechism drawn up by the Westminster Assembly. Watson was one of the most popular preachers in London during the Puritan era . . . The series of three volumes, of which this is the second (the BODY OF DIVINITY is first and THE LORD'S PRAYER third), makes an ideal introduction to Puritan literature. There are few matters about which the Puritans differ more from present-day Christians than in their assessment of the importance of the Ten Commandments. The Commandments, they held, are the first thing in Christianity which the natural man needs to be taught and they should be the daily concern of the Christian to the last. In this book Watson examines the moral law as a whole as well as bringing out the meaning and force of each particular commandment. In view of the important function of the law in Christian life and evangelism, this is a most valuable volume." -- Publisher
"Excellent study. Highly recommended for personal and group study. The need for understanding the Law of God is always of great importance for the Christian. Watson is an excellent expositor of it." -- GCB
"The most famous commentary on the Ten Commandments was by Lancelot Andrews (1555-1626), a huge folio. . . ." -- Jay P. Green, Sr.
The Ten Commandments, Thomas Watson
http://www.iclnet.org/pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-watson-10cm.html
Westminster Shorter Catechism Project
"Click on any of the individual questions below to get the answer and Biblical references, as well as links to works by John Flavel, Thomas Watson, Thomas Boston, James Fisher, and John Whitecross, and others."
http://www.shortercatechism.com/

*Rutherford, Samuel (1600-1661), Lex, Rex, or the Law and the Prince, ISBN: 0873779517. A Christian classic. Available on the Puritan Hard Drive. Available on Reformation Bookshelf CD #10, #25.
Lex, rex is Latin for "law is king."
"LEX, REX is 'the great political text of the Covenanters.' (Johnston citing Innes in Treasury of the Scottish Covenant, p. 305). 'Rutherford was the first to formulate the great constitutional principle Lex est Rex -- the law is King . . . much of the doctrine has become the constitutional inheritance of all countries in modern times.' (Idem.)
"Gilmour writes [in SAMUEL RUTHERFORD], 'that, as regards religious fervor, scholastic subtlety of intellect, and intensity of ecclesiastical conviction, Samuel Rutherford is the most distinctively representative Scotsman in the first half of the seventeenth century'." -- Publisher
"Without a doubt one of the greatest books on political philosophy ever written. Rutherford here has penned a great Christian charter of liberty against all forms of civil tyranny -- vindicating the Scriptural duty to resist tyrants as an act of loyalty to God." -- Publisher
"That resistance to lawful authority -- even when that authority so called has, in point of fact, set at nought all law -- is in no instance to be vindicated, will be held by those only who are the devotees of arbitrary power and passive obedience. The principles of Mr. Rutherford's LEX, REX, however obnoxious they may be to such men, are substantially the principles on which all government is founded, and without which the civil magistrate would become a curse rather than a blessing to a country. They are the very principles which lie at the basis of the British Constitution, and by whose tenure the House of Brunswick does at this very moment hold possession of the throne of these realms." -- Rev. Robert Burns, D.D., in his Preliminary Dissertation to WODROW'S CHURCH HISTORY
"Though Rutherford is affectionately remembered in our day for his Letters, or for laying the foundations of constitutional government (against the divine right of kings), in his unsurpassed LEX, REX, his Free Disputation should not be overlooked for it contains the same searing insights as Lex, Rex. In fact, this book should probably be known as Rutherford's 'politically incorrect' companion volume to LEX, REX. A sort of sequel aimed at driving pluralists and antinomians insane. Written against 'the Belgick Arminians, Socinians, and other Authors contending for lawlesse liberty, or licentious Tolerations of Sects and Heresies,' Rutherford explains the undiluted Biblical solution to moral relativism, especially as it is expressed in ecclesiastical and civil pluralism! (Corporate pluralism being a violation of the first commandment and an affront to the holy God of Scripture)." -- Publisher
"This [THE DUE RIGHT OF PRESBYTERIES OR A PEACEABLE PLEA FOR THE GOVERNMENT OF THE CHURCH OF SCOTLAND . . . ], could be considered the LEX, REX of church government -- another exceedingly rare masterpiece of Presbyterianism! Characterized by Walker as sweeping 'over a wider field than most'." -- Publisher
A HIND LET LOOSE by Alexander Shields is sometimes referred to as 'Lex, Rex volume two.'
Lex, Rex, or The Law and the Prince, Samuel Rutherford
"Rutherford is to be praised for his teaching that the king is subject to the law of God. The Bible has nothing but condemnation for those who frame mischief by a law and declares rhetorically, Shall the throne of iniquity have fellowship with thee? (Ps. 94:20 [Psalm 94:20]). Deuteronomy 17 is the classic passage in defense of Lex, Rex, wherein the king is charged to read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the Lord his God, to keep all the words of this law. (Deut. 17:19 [Deuteronomy 17:19])
LEX, REX.
Rutherford, Samuel (1600-1661), Lex, rex: The law and the Prince, a Dispute for the Just Prerogative of King and People . . . (1843)
http://archive.org/details/lexrexlawandpri00ruthgoog
The Covenant Between God and Kings, from A DEFENSE OF LIBERTY
http://www.constitution.org/vct/vindiciae1a.htm

*Singer, C. Gregg (1910-1999), A Theological Interpretation of American History, 1994 edition, 354 pages (Greenville, SC: A Press, 1994, 1981, 1975, 1974, 1964), ISBN: 0875524265 9780875524269. A Christian classic.
This book portrays "the influence of theology and the changing doctrines in the life of the church on the pattern of American political, constitutional, social and economic development.
"The author shows that the decline of constitutional government in this country is the result of the departure from historical Christian faith and the resulting rise of alien political philosophies. Particularly does he emphasize the intimate relationship between theological liberalism on the one hand and political, social, and economic liberalism on the other. This theological liberalism has been a major agent in the decline of the Constitution in the political life of the people and in the appearance of a highly centralized government." -- Publisher
"There is between the democratic philosophy and theological liberalism a basic affinity which has placed them in the same camp in many major political struggles.
"This condition exists because theological liberalism shares the basic postulates of the democratic philosophy. . . .
"Theological liberalism at heart has been a continuing protest against Calvinism, particularly against its insistence on the Sovereignty of God and the Total Depravity of the race. These two Biblical doctrines have often proved to be a stumbling block to theologians within the church as well as to the unbelieving world.
"The result of theological liberalism has been the movement away from constitutionalism and away from liberty, and a movement toward collectivistic society and totalitarian regime." -- C. Gregg Singer, A Theological Interpretation of American History, p. 290
See also: John Knox, the Scottish Covenanters, and the Westminster Assembly (tape 3 of 5), in a series of addresses History Notes on Presbyterianism, Reformation, and Theology by Dr. C. Gregg Singer on SermonAudion.com
http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=12607114250

*North, Gary, Conspiracy in Philadelphia: The Origins of the U.S. Constitution, an e-book.
"In addition to primary sources, North relies on the work of the most well respected members of the historical community -- Bailyn, Wood, Mcdonald, Gaustad, Boller, Koch, Adair, and Rakove to name a few.
"The thesis of the book is that the key US Founders -- the ones who pushed through the ideas upon which America declared independence and then constructed the Constitution -- were secret theological unitarians, whose heterodox religious creed inspired them to found American government upon the notion of religious neutrality, and consequently break the tradition of covenanting with the Triune Christian God. His book focuses on Article VI Clause 3 of the US Constitution (no religious tests) as the device for achieving secular government.
"From what I have researched, North is correct in his essential claim. Other scholars have noted something similar. For instance, in this post I noted Thomas Pangle and Cushing Stout, whose work North cites, concluding that there is a connection between the US Constitution's benign approach to religion and the key Founders' enlightened and benign personal religious creed. Indeed, one could argue, as does Dr. Gregg Frazer, that the Founders' unitarianism or theistic rationalism was the political theology of the American Founding.
"Ideas have consequences and it was these heterodox unitarian ideas, not orthodox Christianity, that drove the US Founding's approach to religion and government. However, such heterodoxy or heresy wasn't a popular creed, but rather was disproportionately believed in by the elite Whigs. Whatever the religion of a majority of the US population (either nominal Protestant Christianity, which itself can tend towards Deism, or orthodox Protestant Christianity), orthodox Churches held a great deal of institutional power. With such power, they had to essentially consent to the elite Whig's new plan on government. And they did. But not all of them, for instance, the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America (Covenanters) to whom North dedicates his book. From the very beginning they smelled a rat in Philadelphia. "So the notion that there was a secret coup, a bait and switch as Michael Zuckert put it, to sell a Christian audience non-authentically Christian ideas is not new. James Renwick Willson was one of those covenanters who in 1832 made arguments very similar to North's. And he was burned in effigy for this sermon which called all of the Presidents from Washington to Jackson infidels and not more than unitarians. I think Willson got at the truth, but did so by shattering a sacred cow -- a social myth. The kernel of truth that David Barton et al. have is that many folks in the 19th Century did believe in the Christian America social myth as a cultural prejudice. And many of their bogus, unconfirmed quotations source back to 19th Century places that pushed this social myth.
"Now the non-respectable has become the respectable and secular scholars more or less agree with the claims of James Renwick Willson and Gary North that America didn't have an authentically orthodox Christian Founding. . . ." -- Jonathan Rowe, June 8, 2008 (http://www.positiveliberty.com/2008/06/gary-norths-ebook.html).
Download a copy at:
Conspiracy in Philadelphia: The Origins of the U.S. Constitution
http://www.demischools.org/philadelphia.pdf
Conspiracy in Philadelphia, an article by Gary North
http://www.lewrockwell.com/north/north291.html

*Von Mises, Ludwig, Liberty and Property, ISBN: 9781579703783 157970378X.
"Originally delivered as a lecture at Princeton University, October 1958, at the 9th meeting of the Mont Pelerin Society." Includes bibliographical references.

Rothbard, Murray N., What has Government Done to our Money, ISBN: 0945466102 9780945466109.
"Rothbard's most famous monetary essay. It has appeared in multiple editions and influenced two generations of economists, investors, and businessmen. After presenting the basics of money and banking theory, he traces the decline of the dollar from the 18th Century to the present, and provides lucid critiques of central banking, New Deal monetary policy, Nixonian fiat money, and fixed exchange rates. He also provides a blueprint for a return to a 100 percent reserve gold standard." -- Publisher

*Matthews, Steven T., The Fed, Fiat Currency, and Feckless Keynesian Economics
The creation of the Fed [The Federal Reserve -- compiler], is "the most tragic blunder ever committed by Congress. The day it [the Federal Reserve Act of 1913] was passed, old America died and a new era began. A new institution was born that was to cause, or greatly contribute to, the unprecedented economic instability in the decades to come." -- Hans F. Sennholz in Money and Freedom, quoted in End the Fed, p. 23
The Fed, Fiat Currency, and Feckless Keynesian Economics, Steven T. Matthews
http://www.trinityfoundation.org/journal.php?id=316

Rushdoony, Rousas John (1916-2001), The Trouble With Social Security, an article
"Economically, the system is cruelly unfair. Thus, if a man pays in $75,000 to social security between the ages of 18 and 65, the likelihood of getting his money back is poor. His life expectancy after 65 makes it unlikely that he will get back all or half the amount he paid in for 47 years. If he dies, his widow's benefits again are too small to add up to any significant return on his 'investment.' The combined amount paid in by the employer and employee adds up to a very considerable sum, and the returns on it are small. The only real gainer from social security is the federal government, In 1969, Edward J. Van Allen, in THE TROUBLE WITH SOCIAL SECURITY, pointed out that a young worker who began paying into social security at age 18 and retired at 65 would have to live to be 111 years old to break even. If any insurance company or pension plan gave as poor returns, or misused funds as does Social Security, the managers thereof would quickly find themselves in prison!" -- R.J. Rushdoony

*Galbraith, James, The Predator State: How Conservatives Abandoned the Free Market and why Liberals Should too, 240 pages, ISBN: 141656683X 9781416566830
"Shows how to break the spell that conservatives have cast over the minds of liberals (and everyone else), for many years." -- Joseph E. Stiglitz, Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences (2001)
"The cult of the free market has dominated economic policy-talk since the Reagan revolution of nearly thirty years ago. Tax cuts and small government, monetarism, balanced budgets, deregulation, and free trade are the core elements of this dogma, a dogma so successful that even many liberals accept it. But a funny thing happened on the bridge to the twenty-first century. While liberals continue to bow before the free-market altar, conservatives in the style of George W. Bush have abandoned it altogether. That is why principled conservatives -- the Reagan true believers -- long ago abandoned Bush.
"Enter James K. Galbraith, the iconoclastic economist. In this riveting book, Galbraith first dissects the stale remains of Reaganism and shows how Bush and company had no choice except to dump them into the trash. He then explores the true nature of the Bush regime: a 'corporate republic,' bringing the methods and mentality of big business to public life; a coalition of lobbies, doing the bidding of clients in the oil, mining, military, pharmaceutical, agribusiness, insurance, and media industries; and a predator state, intent not on reducing government but rather on diverting public cash into private hands. In plain English, the Republican Party has been hijacked by political leaders who long since stopped caring if reality conformed to their message.
"Galbraith follows with an impertinent question: if conservatives no longer take free markets seriously, why should liberals? Why keep liberal thought in the straitjacket of pay-as-you-go, of assigning inflation control to the Federal Reserve, of attempting to 'make markets work'? Why not build a new economic policy based on what is really happening in this country?
"The real economy is not a free-market economy. It is a complex combination of private and public institutions, including Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, higher education, the housing finance system, and a vast federal research establishment. The real problems and challenges -- inequality, climate change, the infrastructure deficit, the subprime crisis, and the future of the dollar -- are problems that cannot be solved by incantations about the market. They will be solved only with planning, with standards and other policies that transcend and even transform markets.
"A timely, provocative work whose message will endure beyond this election season, THE PREDATOR STATE will appeal to the broad audience of thoughtful Americans who wish to understand the forces at work in our economy and culture and who seek to live in a nation that is both prosperous and progressive." -- Publisher
"James Galbraith has written an extremely challenging book. Although its principal target is conservative economics, it is no less critical of conventional liberalism. Galbraith correctly recognizes that today both approaches are intellectually bankrupt and incapable of addressing the nation's pressing economic problems. I hope The Predator State stimulates needed debate among both liberals and conservatives on the mistakes both sides have made that have gotten us to where we are now." -- Bruce Bartlett, author of IMPOSTOR: HOW GEORGE W. BUSH BANKRUPTED AMERICA AND BETRAYED THE REAGAN LEGACY

*Hightower, Jim, Thieves in High Places: They've Stolen our Country -- And its Time to Take it Back, ISBN: 0670031410 9780670031412.
"Hightower defines 'Kleptocrat Nation' as 'a body of people ruled by thieves . . . a government characterized by the practice of transferring money and power from the many to the few . . . [and] a ruling class of moneyed elites that usurps liberty, justice, sovereignty, and other, democratic rights from the people.' His catalogue of corporate greed and governmental complicity is breathtaking in scope, and though he admits that the fusion of business and government is not new, he persuasively states that 'never have so few done so much for so few.' Unfortunately, Hightower's serious message is delivered in such a 'down home' style, it may lose its impact on the more brainy among us. Also, one wishes there were more documentation for the copious examples and facts in the book. Still, Hightower's call to action is sincere, and his descriptions of the triumphs of average people over corporate power might give some fledgling activists some hope. THIEVES IN HIGH PLACES urges Americans to reclaim control of our government -- Hightower thinks we can with community organization and grass-roots movements. However, judging from his description of the current power structure, we are going to need all the help we can get." -- Silvana Trop
"While he covers much that is available in the public domain, he covers in a comprehensive way the whole set of misdeeds perpetrated by Walmart on its employees and those who make its products. You will come away wanting to do something about the behavior of the world's largest corporation after reading it. That alone is worth the price of the book." -- Reader's Comment

Black, William K., The Best way to rob a Bank is to own one: How Corporate Executives and Politicians Looted the S&L Industry, ISBN: 0292706383 9780292706385 9780292721395 0292721390.
"The catastrophic collapse of companies such as Enron, WorldCom, ImClone, and Tyco left angry investors, employees, reporters, and government investigators demanding to know how the CEOs deceived everyone into believing their companies were spectacularly successful when in fact they were massively insolvent. Why did the nation's top accounting firms give such companies clean audit reports? Where were the regulators and whistle blowers who should expose fraudulent CEOs before they loot their companies for hundreds of millions of dollars?
"In this expert insider's account of the savings and loan debacle of the 1980s, William Black lays bare the strategies that corrupt CEOs and CFOs -- in collusion with those who have regulatory oversight of their industries -- use to defraud companies for their personal gain. Recounting the investigations he conducted as Director of Litigation for the Federal Home Loan Bank Board, Black fully reveals how Charles Keating and hundreds of other S&L owners took advantage of a weak regulatory environment to perpetrate accounting fraud on a massive scale. He also authoritatively links the S&L crash to the business failures of the early 2000s, showing how CEOs then and now are using the same tactics to defeat regulatory restraints and commit the same types of destructive fraud.
"Black uses the latest advances in criminology and economics to develop a theory of why 'control fraud' -- looting a company for personal profit -- tends to occur in waves that make financial markets deeply inefficient. He also explains how to prevent such waves. Throughout the book, Black drives home the larger point that control fraud is a major, ongoing threat in business that requires active, independent regulators to contain it. His book is a wake-up call for everyone who believes that market forces alone will keep companies and their owners honest." -- Publisher
"Take it from someone who was toiling down in the trenches chasing the bad guys, this book is a first hand account of how the Reagan administration and Speaker Wright fiddled while the savings and loan crisis burned. It explains how, and why, the government for years did not try to stop the corporate criminals who went on one of the largest financial crime sprees in the history of the United States. This is an important work, not only for its historic value in explaining this particular outbreak of white collar crime in the savings and loan industry, but also because it carefully lays out the patterns of control fraud that will continue to recur in different corporate venues as long as people are willing to steal and lie to try and gain an economic advantage. This should be required reading for every financial regulator in the United States. Alan Greenspan, who recently argued that personal reputation in business practices should be more important than enforcing rules, should read it twice (or as many times as it takes until Mr. Greenspan can remember why he trusted Charles Keating)." -- Reader's Comment

"Conservatism is a political philosophy that professes to be practical and grounded in reality -- not in ideological or utopian dream worlds -- yet it cannot furnish a coherent answer to a very practical question: What is the proper punishment for a thief? Even ignoring the big questions -- What is the ideal government? Is there an ideal government? Is any government justified? What is the proper relationship between church and state? -- conservatism cannot answer a small question. If conservatism cannot offer a justified answer to a small question, it probably cannot answer larger questions." -- John W. Robbins in Conservatism: An Autopsy

"According to the FBI, securities fraud includes false information on a company's financial statement and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings; lying to corporate auditors; insider trading; stock manipulation schemes, and embezzlement by stockbrokers.
"Securities regulators and other prominent groups estimate civil securities fraud totals approximately $40 billion per year. . . .
"Securities fraud is becoming more complex as the industry develops more complicated investment vehicles. In addition, white collar criminals are expanding the scope of their fraud and are looking outside the United States for new markets, new investors, and banking secrecy havens to hide unjust enrichment. . . .
"Any investor can become a victim, but persons aged fifty years or older are most often victimized, whether as direct purchasers in securities or indirect purchasers through pension funds. Not only do investors lose but so can creditors, taxing authorities, and employees.
"Potential perpetrators of securities fraud within a publicly-traded firm include any dishonest official within the company who has access to the payroll or financial reports that can be manipulated to: overstate assets, overstate revenues, understate costs, understate liabilities." -- Securities Fraud

Ponzi Scheme
"A Ponzi scheme is a fraudulent investment operation where the operator, an individual or organization, pays returns to its investors from new capital paid to the operators by new investors, rather than from profit earned by the operator. Operators of Ponzi schemes usually entice new investors by offering higher returns than other investments, in the form of short-term returns that are either abnormally high or unusually consistent. The perpetuation of the high returns requires an ever-increasing flow of money from new investors to sustain the scheme."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ponzi_scheme

Devious by Design: Spotting the Telltale Signs of Shady Deals, Scams, and Fraudulent Investment Offers
"Each year, some 30 million Americans are defrauded of more than $50 billion, according to a 2011 report by the Financial Fraud Research Center, a joint project of the Stanford Center on Longevity and the FINRA Investor Education Foundation." -- Mitch Lipka in "Devious by Design: Spotting the Telltale Signs of Shady Deals, Scams, and Fraudulent Investment Offers," in USAA Magazine, Spring 2014, volume 50, number 1.
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) is now the only Self-Regulatory Organization in the United States for the financial industry. FINRA operates BrokerCheck where investors may view online the disciplinary record of their stock broker or prospective stock broker. However, see: FINRA Criticism.
The "Devious by Design . . ." article offers basic information and lists warning signs for uninformed investors.
Not knowing the expected rate of return for an particular investment is one of the greatest weaknesses of the investor. This leaves them vulnerable to fraud by unscrupulous advisers who promise unrealistic high rates of return. These promises are often a sign of a typical Ponzi scheme. Such schemes have been extensively reported in the television series American Greed: Scams, Schemes, and Broken Dreams.
Devious by Design: Spotting the Telltale Signs of Shady Deals, Scams, and Fraudulent Investment Offers
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pace/usaa_2014spring/#/18

CNBC's American Greed: Scams, Schemes, and Broken Dreams
Archives for Seasons 1 through Season 4.
www.americangreed.cnbc.com

*Callahan, David, The Cheating Culture: Why More Americans are Doing Wrong to get Ahead, updated with a new afterword, 366 pages, ISBN: 0156030055 9780156030052.
"While there have always been those who cut corners, the author shows that cheating on every level -- from the highly publicized corporate scandals to Little League fraud -- has risen dramatically in the last two decades. Why all the cheating? Why now? Callahan pins the blame on the dog-eat-dog economic climate of the past two decades. An unfettered market and unprecedented economic inequality have corroded our values, he argues -- and ultimately threaten the level playing field so central to American democracy itself. Through revealing interviews and extensive data, he takes us on a gripping tour of cheating in America and offers a powerful argument for why it matters.
"David Callahan is cofounder and director of research at the public policy center Demos. The author of five books, he has published articles in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and USA Today, and has been a frequent commentator on CNN, MSNBC, and NPR. He received a Ph.D. in politics from Princeton University and lives in New York City." -- Publisher
"I recommend that this book be read together with John Perkins, CONFESSIONS OF AN ECONOMIC HIT MAN and William Greider's, THE SOUL OF CAPITALISM: OPENING PATHS TO A MORAL ECONOMY. As a preamble, I would note that a Nobel Prize was given in the late 1990's to a man that demonstrates that trust lowers the cost of doing business. Morality matters -- immorality imposes a pervasive sustained, insidious, long-term, and ultimately fatal cost on any community, any Republic, and that is the core message of this book that most reviewers seem to be missing.
"Any student of national security can tell you that one of the most important sources of national power is the population, followed by the economy, natural resources, and then the more traditional sources of national power: diplomacy, military, law enforcement, and government policies generally.
"What this author makes clear is that our population has become a cheating population, one that cheats in school, cheats their employer, and cheats their clients (lawyers, accountants, doctors, all cheating). Such a population is literally undermining national security by creating false values, and undermining true values. Some simple examples: an estimated $250 Billion a year in individual tax avoidance; an estimated $600 Billion a year in theft from employers; an estimated $250 Billion a year in legalized corporate tax avoidance and investor fraud; and an additional $250 Billion a year in legalized theft form the individual taxpayers through Congressional support for unnecessary and ill-advised 'subsidies' for agriculture, fishing, and forestry, as well as waivers of environmental standards that ultimately result in long-term external diseconomies . . .
"At root, the author observes that pervasive cheating ensues from the perception by the majority that 'everyone does it' and that the rules are not being enforced -- that 'the system' lacks legitimacy. In other countries, illegitimacy might lead to revolution, a revolt of the masses. In the USA, still a very rich country, the poor are cheating on the margins while the rich are looting the country, and we are not yet at a 'tipping point' [This book was written before the Meltdown of 2008. -- compiler], such as a new Great Depression might inspire. . . .
"Cheating diminishes trust and reduces value. America has become corrupt across all the professions, within Congress, within the media, within the political level of government (the civil service remains a bastion of propriety).
"What price freedom? What price the Republic? You may or may not choose to agree with this author's diagnosis and prescription, but in my view, he gets to the heart of the matter. It's about integrity. We've lost it. [Callahan's solutions come from a liberal, humanistic position, nevertheless the bulk of the book is an extensive analysis of cheating in society that is well documented -- 32 pages of endnotes -- and should be enlightening to most readers. -- compiler]
"See also, with reviews: THE BATTLE FOR THE SOUL OF CAPITALISM: HOW THE FINANCIAL SYSTEM UNDERMINDED SOCIAL IDEALS, DAMAGED TRUST IN THE MARKETS, ROBBED INVESTORS OF TRILLIONS -- AND WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT; THE FIFTY-YEAR WOUND: HOW AMERICA'S COLD WAR VICTORY HAS SHAPED OUR WORLD; THE GLOBAL CLASS WAR: HOW AMERICA'S BIPARTISAN ELITE LOST OUR FUTURE -- AND WHAT IT WILL TAKE TO WIN IT BACK; WAR ON THE MIDDLE CLASS: HOW THE GOVERNMENT, BIG BUSINESS, AND SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS ARE WAGING WAR ON THE AMERICAN DREAM AND HOW TO FIGHT BACK; THE WORKING POOR: INVISIBLE IN AMERICA; and OFF THE BOOKS: THE UNDERGROUND ECONOMY OF THE URBAN POOR." -- Reader's Comment

Computer Crime and Corporate Crime
http://www.lettermen2.com/ccrime.html

State Sovereignty and Corporate Immunity: Reform of Corporations
http://www.lettermen2.com/bcrr9cha.html#7

*Brown, E. Richard, Rockefeller Medicine Men: Medicine and Capitalism in America, ISBN: 0520038177 9780520038172.
This book is as relevant today (2015) as it was in 1979. The players are still the same: foundations, corporations, and government. If anything the political-economic process of healthcare reform is even more complex today.
"This book explains how controlled the medicine industry is, how it became that way, and why America has the highest costs in the world for less than adequate medical care." -- Reader's Comment
"Historical epidemiological evidence overwhelmingly supports the conclusion that medical science has played a relatively small role in reducing morbidity and mortality." (p. 219)
"Medical science rescued the medical profession, in particular the practitioners, from the widespread lack of confidence in their effectiveness." (p. 77)
Capitalists and corporate managers "embraced scientific medicine as an ideological weapon in their struggle to formulate a new culture appropriate to and supportive of industrial capitalism." (p. 10)
"For members of the corporate class, technological medicine has legitimized their economic and political dominance by diverting attention from the consequences of their control -- that is, from such 'social costs' as class inequalities, domination based on race or sex, occupational hazards, and environmental degradation. For the medical profession, the knowledge generated by medical science and the techniques of medical technology provided the basis for physicians' claims to a monopoly of authority over the practice of medicine." (p. 239)
"As medical science won public and professional credibility, it also solved the second and fundamentally more serious problem facing the profession in the nineteenth century: competition. . . . The overall impact of scientific medicine within the profession was to legitimize control by elite practitioners and medical school faculty." (p. 80)
"Health care could be more effective in improving health if its research and action were directed at environmental conditions in about the same proportion that those conditions contribute to sickness and death." (p. 240)
"If you have read and 'got' anything by Noam Chomsky, or Howard Zinn, you will 'get' this book.
"After being award an MBA from Stanford (hence, I can confidently say I very well understand the 'business' of medicine), and practicing medicine for 20 years in both the public and private sector, I have come to the conclusion that Mr. Brown's thesis is on the money. -- Reader's Comment

*Richman, Sheldon, Richard M. Ebeling (introduction), Walter E. Williams, Your Money or Your Life: Why we Must Abolish the Income Tax, ISBN: 0964044781 9780964044784.
"Sheldon Richman's concise and informative book, YOUR MONEY OR YOUR LIFE, explains how the income tax is one of the greatest threats to the liberty of the American people ever devised. By making our employers surrogate federal tax collectors, most Americans don't feel the pain because they really don't know what they're losing. But even worse, as Richman points out, by having access to our paychecks, the government can tap into an almost limitless pool of money to expand its size and scope. We need to scrap the income tax and replace it with a tax on consumption." -- Reader's Comment
Consider this the essential argument of the anti-income tax movement." -- Reader's Comment

*Calvin, John (1509-1564), Calvin's Commentary on Isaiah, 4 books, published in 2 volumes in CALVIN'S COMMENTARIES (vols. 7, 8). Spine titles: CALVIN'S COMMENTARIES, VOLUME VII: ISAIAH 1-32; CALVIN'S COMMENTARIES, VOLUME VIII: ISAIAH 33-66. A Christian classic.
Several factors combine to make CALVIN'S COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH particularly significant.

C. Gregg Singer states, in the Mt. Olive Tape Library series of lectures:
I have a study ready for public -- well, not ready for publication, but hopefully someday, on Calvin's use of Augustine [apparently never published -- compiler]. There are at least 400 references to Augustine in John Calvin. Anybody who says that Calvin got his theology of the top of his head knows no Calvin. Calvin knew Augustine probably better than anybody else, including Luther. Calvin went back to all the Early Western Fathers. I would say that next to Augustine, his theology is based upon Bernard of Clairvaux and Anselm, and he had a higher respect for Saint Thomas Aquinas than many people are willing to admit. But he is in the Western theological tradition.
Charles Hodge, in his SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY of three volumes, very often refers to Calvinism as Augustinianism, and you can see why. . . . [Charles Hodge], declares that you might as well call Calvinism revived and revitalized Augustinianism.
Calvin's work is in four books, with a Scripture Index and a General Index. The Baker publication prints the four books in two volumes.
Calvin, Jean (John, 1509-1564), Commentary on the Book of the Prophet Isaiah (1850), vol. 1 of 4.
http://archive.org/details/commentaryonboo01calv
Calvin, Commentary on the Book of the Prophet Isaiah (1850), vol. 2 of 4.
http://archive.org/details/9thcommentaryonbo02calv
Calvin, Commentary on the Book of the Prophet Isaiah (1850), vol. 3 of 4.
http://archive.org/details/commentaryonbook03calv
Calvin, Commentary on the Book of the Prophet Isaiah (1850), vol. 4 of 4.
http://archive.org/details/commentaryonboo04calv
Commentary on Isaiah -- Volume 1, John Calvin
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/calvin/calcom13.html

*Robbins, John W. (1949-2008, editor), Christ and Civilization, ISBN: 1891777246 9781891777240.
"A new 48-page booklet. Includes a complete listing (in an additional 16 pages), of the books currently available from The Trinity Foundation."
Christ and Civilization
http://www.trinityfoundation.org/PDF/200a-ChristandCivilization.pdf

*Bunyan, John (1628-1688), and Robert Philip (1791-1858), The Greatness of the Soul: and The Unspeakableness of the Loss Thereof; No way to Heaven but by Jesus Christ; The Strait Gate. Alternate title: THE GREATNESS OF THE SOUL, AND UNSPEAKABLENESS OF THE LOSS THEREOF: WITH THE CAUSES OF THE LOSING IT: FIRST PREACHED AT PINNERS HALL, AND NOW ENLARGED, AND PUBLISHED FOR GOOD. A Christian classic. Considered to be among the ten greatest books in the English language. Available (THE WORKS OF JOHN BUNYAN), on the Puritan Hard Drive.
"In the 1660s, Charles II, King of England, asked John Owen (1616-1683), why he went to hear the preaching of an uneducated tinker. [John Bunyan -- compiler]. Looking the King in the eye, Owen answered, 'May it please your Majesty, could I possess the tinker's ability for preaching, I would willingly relinquish all my learning'." -- Andrew Thomson, John Owen, Prince of Puritans
Owen would not have been surprised to learn that Bunyan's most influential work, PILGRIM'S PROGRESS, would be translated into more languages over the next 400 years than any book except the Bible.
The Greatness of the Soul: and The Unspeakableness of the Loss Thereof; No way to Heaven but by Jesus Christ; The Strait Gate
http://archive.org/details/greatnessofsoulu00bunyuoft
Pilgrim's Page: A John Bunyan Archive
This is the complete set of THE WORKS OF JOHN BUNYAN, George Offor edition, the edition reprinted by The Banner of Truth. It is free online, and is downloadable in the following formats: HTML, RTF, TEXT, and PDF.
http://www.mountzion.org/bunyan.html

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