• Debt, and The Jubilee Release

    NO LIBERTY WITHOUT LAW. PART FOUR DEBT, AND THE JUBILEE RELEASE. “The foxes have holes, and the birds have nests;but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.” (Matthew 8:20)
    Scriptural Realities
    In this so-called financially-wise generation, such laws as those of the Jubilee Release of which we wrote in our previous issue, would be considered as economic suicide untenable in Twentieth Century civilisation. What men have to learn and what Israel has to accept is that God’s Law does not depend upon men’s consent or recognition. Over the past two hundred years certain events, particularly within the field of economics, have puzzled economists who have noted the regularity of recurring cycles and who have studied the problem from many angles with the view to countering it. In brief, these ‘cycles’ are called the ‘financial high’ and the ‘financial low’ - the ‘high’ being noted as a time of affluence while the ‘low’ is associated with hard times when the economy is depressed and recession hits the people. Business cycles are now an established and accepted phenomenon which, according to Paul A. Samuelson of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is demonstrated when “national income, employment, and production fall. Prices and profits decline and men are thrown out of work. Eventually the bottom is reached and revival begins. The recovery may be slow or fast. It may be incomplete or it may be so strong as to lead to a new boom. The new prosperity may represent a long, sustained plateau of brisk demand, plentiful jobs, buoyant prices, and increased living standards; or it may represent a quick, inflationary flaring up of prices and speculation, to be followed by another disastrous slump”.
    Distinct economic ‘waves’ have been discovered by economists who, in their preliminary investigations, established the recurrence of these waves as occurring just over seven years while the trough period i.e., the ‘low’ in economics, recurs 3.51 years after the peak. In attempting to explain the phenomenon, Samuelson contends: “Whether these long waves are simply historical accidents due to chance gold discoveries, inventions and political wars, it is still too soon to say”. Accidents do not happen with such regularity from which one may deduce that there is some design in the patterns which may be either warnings or a call to remember.
    Apart from the seven year wave effect in economics, a Russian Professor at the Agricultural Academy and head of the Business Research Institute of Moscow, Nikolai D. Kondratieff, published a thesis in 1922 concerning what he called the ‘long wave’ in world economics. Analysing prices in Germany, France and the United States, trade in England and France and the production of coal, iron and other products throughout the world, Kondratieff came up with a fifty year recurring cycle. At the time of his thesis, two full waves had passed, the second being half completed in 1922. The first of these was noted as occurring in 1790, peaking in 1815 (twenty five years later) and then passing to the second which occurred in 1840. This ‘wave’ according to Kondratieff, peaked in 1866 to reach a low in 1890. The third ‘wave’ peaked in the years 1914-1920 from which period, Kondratieff contended a new low would follow.
    Kondratieff was ridiculed by the Marxists in Moscow and in 1930 was arrested as the alleged head of an illegal anti-government Peasant’s Labour Party and shipped to Siberia. However, the work done by this Russian is yet another confirmation of what Western economists have come to recognise as pure economic fact. Economic waves certainly do exist - waves which are also detectable in all facets of national life. To project Kondratieff’s work into the present day, one needs to look at life in general as it obtained in the Western world in 1920 - not only as it applied to finance, but as it revealed the system of ideas which developed after the war.
    Malcolm Cowley, in Exiles Return, provides a graphic picture of those times in which he itemises eight distinct philosophies as comprising the whole. These were: (1) the idea of salvation by the child; (2) the idea of self-expression; (3) the idea of paganism; (4) the idea of living for the moment; (5) the idea of liberty; (6) the idea of female equality; (7) the idea of psychological adjustment; and (8) the idea of changing place. It should be noted that these eight features were characteristic features of the thinking as it obtained in Kondratieff’s peak in 1920. Fifty years later the same thinking again manifests itself and is very real in the world of today.
    Cowley’s 1920 definition of ‘Salvation by Child’ was: “Each of us at birth has special potentials which are slowly crushed and destroyed by a standardised society and mechanical methods of teaching. If a new educational system can be introduced, one by which children ate encouraged to develop their own personalities, to blossom freely like flowers, then the world will be saved by this new, free generation”. In 1970, exactly fifty years later, Charles A. Reich in The Greening of America wrote: “School is intensely concerned with training students to stop thinking and start obeying. Any course that starts with a text-book and a teacher and ends with an examination runs this danger unless pains are taken to show students that they are supposed to think for themselves; in most school and college classes, on the other hand, thinking for oneself is actually penalised, and the student learns the value of repeating what he is told. Public school is ‘obedience school’; the student is taught to accept authority without question”. The ‘youth cult’ which emerged exactly fifty years after the idea in 1920 dominates the Western world today and should remind it that something is very definitely happening.
    The second of the eight features in 1920 - the ‘idea of self-expression’ - was defined as the attitude in which each man’s and each woman’s purpose in life was to express himself or herself regardless of the impact of this on others. Today’s expression ‘do your own thing’, born in 1970, tells its own story and needs no further elucidation.
    The ‘idea of paganism’ in 1920 held that the body was a temple in which there was nothing unclean, indeed, a shrine to be adorned for the ritual of life. This philosophy again emerged after fifty years in which the young people, far from opposing Christianity, have simply turned away from it replacing it with mysticism and various forms of Oriental religions. The remaining five features which dominated the thinking of the 1920’s - the ‘idea of liberty’, the ‘idea of living for the moment’, the ‘idea of female equality’, the ‘idea of psychological adjustment’ and the ‘idea of changing place’ needs very little elucidation as they all form an integral part of life as it was begun in 1970.
    These ‘waves’ which are very definitely fact and not fiction must have some message for the present generation. The point is what? Is it purely coincidental that the financial cycles discovered by economists recorded a seven year recurring event? “And at the end of every seven years there must be a cancelling of debts ....?” The long ‘waves’ of Kondratieff’s theory - the recurring cycle of fifty years - what does this mean? “And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land ....?” God is not mocked nor was His Law given in vain. Anglo-Saxondom today is being reminded of these vital features in the overall economy which God gave to His People as the source of their ‘wisdom and understanding in the sight of the nations’. God grant that His People might learn the lesson and respond to the urging of His Holy Spirit and embrace His Constitution which alone can bring peace, quietness and assurance for ever. The Cost of Democracy
    The recurring economic cycles which, whether men like it or not, appear to follow the Biblical sabbatical year and that of the fifty-year Jubilee, continue to pour out their warnings of the need for constructive change within the present system. Change is of course the order of the day and yet, while men accept and encourage this within the political sphere and speak of the need for change within that of modern economics, they yet steadfastly refuse to abandon the Babylonian system and embrace that prescribed by God. They go even further. They vigorously oppose any suggestion that God is even remotely involved with such mundane things as modern economics - graciously allowing Him existence within the Church and then on the Sabbath day alone. Over the past one hundred and fifty years the world has passed ever deeper into the web of economic destruction occasioned by its commitment to a system which is the very antithesis of that given by God at Sinai. Tragically the Church remains ominously silent and politicians wander aimlessly amid the rubble of monetary and fiscal policies. “There is none to guide her among all the sons whom she hath brought forth; neither is there any that taketh her by the hand of all the sons that she hath brought up” ( Isaiah 51:18). It is no religious cliche to contend that all the modern ills in Anglo-Saxondom derive from the nation’s departure from the Law of the Lord, nor is it intended as a lame apology to salve the human conscience - it is a political fact. One of the greatest dis-services perpetrated by the Christian Church is its persistent antinomianism - lawlessness - and the substitution of an undefined grace in place of God’s discipline. The world is currently reaping the harvest from this act with anarchy, revolution, chaos and confusion tearing humanity apart in history’s most prodigious wave of lawlessness. What man in general and ecclesiastics in particular have failed to appreciate is that grace is not the alternative to God’s Law - lawlessness is the only alternative, an undisciplined, do-it-yourself type of society which recognises the human conscience as its only yard-stick - a yard-stick which varies from the sublime to the ridiculous. Men, both ecclesiastical and lay, have persistently rejected the political Reality of God and, in an age crying out for change in all spheres, stubbornly adheres to the ‘traditions of men’ which will not allow God the luxury of self-expression, nor will they accept that this is what the Bible is all about.
    The Price of Democracy
    For some strange reason, man in general has demonstrated a peculiar reluctance to have God reign over them. This fact was tangibly demonstrated in Israel, God’s witness nation (Isaiah 43:10) which He formed to be a blessing to all the nations of the earth. Having been provided with countless demonstrations of God’s Reality evidenced in His Providence for them in all spheres of life, God’s Covenant People rejected His Sovereignty over them and opted for a democratic way of life in place of the theocratic rule. The cry of this separated, covenanted people to Samuel was: “.... make us a king to judge (govern) us like all the nations” (1 Samuel 8:5).
    It would serve a very useful purpose at this stage to note precisely how people were governed at that time, people with whom God’s Nation demanded alignment. From the Encyclopaedia Britannica one is able to piece together the principles evolved by man in pursuit of his mandate to have ‘dominion over the earth’ (Genesis 1:26). Nations and empires were built on a principle which centred generally on the development of a central government, a government created by the theory that the true lordship of the soil was vested in the state or the ruler on which the immediate occupant of the soil was dependent and to which a portion of the produce was due.
    Thus, at a very early age one finds land nationalisation with ownership claimed by the government or the state with individuals, in typical modern socialistic vein, working for and owing everything to the state. During the eras of expansion and the development of empires, the same principle became operative with the land of the vanquished nations simply confiscated and re-allocated to individuals who would perpetuate the primitive form of socialism as it then obtained. A Biblical confirmation of this practice is to be found in 2 Kings 17:24 where the account of the king of Assyria’s actions are recorded in which he placed ‘men from Babylon, and from Cuthah, and from Ava, and from Hamath, and from Sepharvaim, and placed them in the cities of Samaria instead of the children of Israel ....” From this, one is able to see the nature of Israel’s demand of Samuel to ‘make us a government like all the nations’. The Lord’s reply to this demand was: “Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me that I should not reign over them” (1 Samuel 8:6). From this, it is patently obvious that socialism, even in its earliest form, was diametrically opposed to the Theocracy and indeed, embodied principles of government which were the antithesis of those laid down by the Lord.
    Samuel was told to ‘Hearken unto the voice of the people’ and at the same time, the Lord metaphorically said: “Listen to the price you will pay for this exercise of democracy”. A word-picture was then provided of a state of society with which the modern development of Israel in Anglo-Saxondom is very familiar today. The Lord warned that when human government was desired by His people - whether monarchial or through elected representation - the result would be the creation of a state of society which would engender the greatest insecurity and the exploitation of the people by those in authority. There would be no safe-guards for the individual. The whole pattern of the free-enterprise system would be transformed into a state-run monopoly. The land, the inalienable inheritance of each individual guaranteed under the Divine Constitution (Leviticus 25:10;23), would be expropriated by government (1 Samuel 8:14); the ‘substance’ of the people would simply be ‘taken’ without consultation or negotiation (verse 15); the freedom of pursuance of the vocation of individual choice would be denied with all becoming cogs in a gigantic state machine (verse 16) - all this was the warning of the Lord as to the consequences of rejecting Him and His Sovereignty over the people and when one considers what God offered to His people (Leviticus 26:3-13) as the reward for keeping His Law as against the price paid for the rejection of the Law, the nation’s choice is not only ridiculous in the extreme, but stark tragedy.
    Government and Authoritarianism
    It will be noted that in His warning of the consequences attendant on their rejection of the Theocracy, the Lord indicated that the government or king would assume an authoritarian attitude - taking what it or he wanted without consideration of the people nor of their ability to meet the demands made. This, of course, has and is still happening and the people are undoubtedly becoming increasingly disenchanted with a system which is tyrannical in the extreme for it allows for no appeal nor does it tolerate any resistance. One is familiar with the farce which passes for democratic elections in the Western world just as one has become acquainted with the fact that once a representative is elected to parliament, he is no longer answerable to the electorate, but becomes part and parcel of the ‘prerogative’ exercised by the government machinery which is now the master instead of the servant of the people. The noted British jurist, Sir William Blackstone (1723-80) drew attention to this subject when defining the word ‘prerogative’ as this was associated with the power of the monarch. He said: “.... by the word prerogative we are to understand the character and power which the sovereign hath over and above all other persons, in right of his real dignity; and which, though part of the common law of the country, is out of its ordinary course”. This ‘prerogative’ or the so-called ‘divine right of kings’ is that to which the Lord pointed when warning of the consequences of democracy in opposition to the Theocracy. It is, of course, absolutely true that in the case of the British Crown, the prerogative has been gradually limited by a long series of enactments - the Magna Carta, the Confirmatio Cartarum, the Prerogativa Regis, the Petition of Right, the Habeas Corpus Act, the Bill of Rights and the Act of Settlement - but the prerogative exercised by government is still nonetheless prodigious. It is of interest to note here the historical and far-reaching effects of the prerogative utilised by the British government in its dealing with the British colonies in the 18th century. As one reviews this era, God’s warning in 1 Samuel 8 should be borne in mind as well as the fact that Britain is indeed the modern development of Ephraim, the Birthright tribe in Israel. In the middle of the 18th century, conflict was certainly the order of the day. In conjunction with the seven year war between France and Britain, a war was being fought on the Continent in which Austria, with its allies France, Russia and the German princes, attacked the new kingdom of Prussia with its sovereign, Frederick II. Britain joined Prussia and until peace was signed in 1763, found her treasury being depleted at an alarming rate. George Grenville became the British Prime Minister in that year and he immediately set about replenishing the treasury at the expense of the British Dominions claiming that, as the first minister in Britain, this was his right. Taxation at that time, was what may be termed as commodity taxation which went under a wide variety of names such as talliage, scuage, hydage, subsidies, aids, benevolences, tonnage and poundage, tolls, ship-money, tenths and fifteenths etc. All these were invoked by Grenville who saw however, that they would not suffice to fill the treasury and he then exercised an authoritarianism which had far-reaching effects. The mercantile system which had sprung up in Spain in the 16th century held that all colonies were to trade exclusively with the mother country - in that case, Spain itself to the exclusion of all others. Grenville applied this system to all colonial dominions acquired by Britain and through legitimate trade, was able to re-build the shattered finances of his country. This, however, was not achieved without certain resentment. Of all the British colonies, those in America were the most populous and important, their proximity to the Spanish colonies in the West Indies providing the basis for contraband trade. Grenville put a stop to this as much as lay in his power to do so. Obnoxious as was this authoritarian act, the colonists in America acknowledged the principle and accepted it without too much resistance. However, Grenville’s further impositions created the embers of revolution when he claimed the right of taxation without representation. The British Parliament, he maintained, was the supreme legislature and as such, parliament had the right to raise taxes in America to support the military forces needed for the defence of that land. Accordingly, the 1765 Act, imposing a stamp tax on the American colonies was initiated. As was to be expected, the colonists resisted this - a resistance which reverberated across the Atlantic to bring William Pitt and George Grenville into conflict. Grenville insisted on the ‘right’ of the British Prime Minister to enforce the stamp tax while Pitt on the other hand, declared that the British Parliament had absolutely no right to tax the Americans. He did, however, add that in his opinion, the British government had the right to ‘regulate’ and therefore to tax the commerce of America for the benefit of the British merchant and manufacturer. Arising out of these two points of view, the British government took a middle course by repealing the Stamp Act, but also passing a Declaratory Act in which the British Parliament was declared as the supreme power over the colonies in matters of taxation as well as in those of legislation. Scarcely had the measures relating to America been passed when George III dismissed the ministry giving William Pitt the responsibility of forming a new Government. In 1767, Pitt’s mind gave way under the stress of disease and he was replaced by Charles Townshend who immediately applied the Declaratory Act and imposed duties on tea and other articles of commerce entering the ports of America. In 1773 the Bostonians had their famous ‘tea party’ at which they threw ship-loads of tea into the harbour rather than pay the obnoxious duty. In the following year, the Boston Port Bill deprived Boston of its commercial rights while the Massachusetts Government Bill took away from the colony the ordinary political liberties of Englishmen. War became inevitable, the first skirmish being fought at Lexington in 1775. In 1776, the thirteen American colonies united and issued their Declaration of Independence. The point behind this brief review of history is to indicate that the warning words of the Lord were indeed a portrayal of things to come - things which could and would obtain even within God’s company of Israel nations. The authoritarianism, the taxation - these arose simply because God’s People continued in their national blindness not realising that they did not need such economic theories as propounded by such as Adam Smith in his Wealth of Nations - they had it made and ready to hand in the open Bible - the Law of the Lord. Oblivious to the remedy for the nation’s ills, William Pitt, just prior to his death, introduced tax on income - or income tax - as an extraordinary war measure. This tax was later repealed for two years, re-imposed for another thirteen years, repealed again for the next twenty-six years and then re-imposed and is still operating today. It is, of course, impossible, nor does it come within the scope of this article to provide all the details of income tax which varies from country to country. However, in general, it will be noted that taxes are levied on ownership of land, houses and buildings, on the occupation of the land and on income derived from trade, professions and vocations. There are, of course, many other aspects of individual life which too are taxed, but those mentioned above will suffice for the moment to indicate that modern taxation, in all its ramifications, is devouring on average, over thirty-five percent of an individual’s total income. (This was the figure some 20 years ago. Editor, F.D.) By Contrast - God’s Taxation
    Prior to considering the tax levied by the Lord, it is necessary to consider the indictment recorded in Malachi 3:8-9. “Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.” It should be noted that the indictment here is national for the ‘robbing’ of God is done by the ‘whole nation’ - a feature which is missed by so many today. The question naturally arises as to how a nation can rob God? It is simplicity itself. The ‘tithe’ of course, is God’s taxation - of which more presently - but what of the ‘offering’ which is also demanded of the Lord? The word ‘offering’ in this instance is derived from the Hebrew terumah which means lifted up on high and is used in the scriptural text as something presented to God Himself alone.
    God’s Covenant People today, by its involvement with the Babylonian system of economics, is robbing God of His witness to all the nations of the earth for His Promise, in response to national obedience to His economic Law is:- “.... prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it” (Malachi 3:10). The modern development of Israel in Anglo-Saxondom is indeed ‘cursed with a curse’ for instead of reflecting the faithfulness of God to His word and being a prosperous witness nation under the blessing of God, it is wallowing in the mire of Babylonian economics and getting deeper into it with each passing year. Anglo-Saxondom, as a company of nations, has ‘robbed God’ by its association with a system which is the very antithesis of that prescribed by Him.
    God’s system of taxation is limited to the tithe although a poll or head tax (Exodus 30:11-16) was levied on all males from the age of twenty and over. It is most strange that most Bible commentators fail to recognise the political significance of the tithe and by limiting it to the religious sphere have obscured a vital national machinery. It should be recalled that God was King in Israel (1 Samuel 8:7) and that from the time of the building of the Tabernacle, His Rule extended from this through the Levites. The Tabernacle, apart from being the ecclesiastical centre utilised on ceremonial feast days, was the everyday civil centre of the nation to which God’s taxes - the tithe and head tax - was brought to be received by the Levites who administered these under God for the maintenance of society in all its phases. The point to note is that the tithe belongs to neither church nor state, but to God and is to be administered by those who do God’s Work according to His Law.
    The Law of the tithe is to be found in three Books of the Pentateuch - Leviticus 27:30-33; Numbers 18:21-26 and Deuteronomy 14:22-27; 26:12,15. These are however, not the first mention of the tithe in Scripture for Abraham tithed (Genesis 14:20) and Jacob certainly knew of it long before Sinai (Genesis 28:20-22). Basically, the tithe is divided into three parts, the first of which is one tenth - the Lord’s tithe (Numbers 18:21-24) which went to the Levites (not the priests) who in turn rendered one tenth of this to the priests (Numbers 18:26-28). The function of the Levites was that of officers, judges, musicians and general custodians of the basic social functions within the nation which, it will be noted, was financed solely from the tithe. From this it is more than a little evident that the tithe places the basic control on society where it belongs - with the tithing people. Today, and under the authoritarian system, all social functions such as welfare and education have become the province of the state and are limited to what may be squeezed out of general revenue and are therefore of an uncertain and insecure nature. Under the Law of the Lord’s tithe - which is not a gift to God but a tax for the use of the earth - a society is created which is not dependent upon grudging state assistance, but upon the Lord’s blessing and faithfulness.
    The second tenth is found to be the tithe used at three annual feasts and is rather elastic in its application. This tithe could be taken to the sanctuary in the form of money and the tither could spend it on himself during the Passover, the Feast of Tabernacles and the Feast of weeks (Deuteronomy 12:6-7; 14:22-27). There was only one proviso to this tithe and that concerned the sharing of a portion with the Levites who too shared in the pleasure of the tither.
    The third tenth was designed to assist the poor and was to be used locally for not only the poor, but the widows, the orphans, the helpless and strangers who, through a wide variety of circumstances, were unable to help themselves. Tithing has, as history confirms, been in operation ever since it was first given as an integral part of Israel’s national Constitution at Sinai, although its function gradually devolved into an ecclesiastical one with the national importance fading into obscurity. One is able to follow the process through the many historical works available, one of which by Joseph Bingham, “The Antiquities of the Christian Church”, recording that “.... the ancients believed the law about tithes not to be merely a ceremonial or political command, but of moral and perpetual obligation”. Pictures of ‘tithe barns’ built in medieval England to house the tithe on produce paid by faithful farmers is another testimony to the continuing fact of the practised tithe. However, as the world burst into the time of the end, the tithe was abolished - some through an Act of Parliament and others through a gradual neglect. During the Reformation, Protestant circles revived it, but this too has fallen into disuse, although still maintained as a supplement to Church income. Modern Israel in Anglo-Saxondom. has indeed ‘robbed God’. Apart from robbing Him of a national witness among the nations of the earth, it has stripped Him of His jurisdiction and His government and care in all departments of life. That which was supported by His tithe is now supported (very meagrely) by the state - the education which was controlled and supported by His tithe, is now the prerogative of the state which permits a wide range of ungodly subjects to replace basic Godly teaching. A new social order was born when the tithe fell away - an order which is convulsed with disorder and which cries out for change. And a change is surely coming for a new world order, based on the Divine Law of the Lord will transform the world. Make no mistake here. The state, whether a human monarch or an elected representative body, cannot bring peace, order and prosperity. This alone is God’s Prerogative which when in operation, will surely bring full abundance of life to all the nations and families of the earth.
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