Copyright 1994 - 2018 Bill's Bible Basics
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Published On :
February 18, 2010
Last Updated :
December 9, 2013
Pervasive Corruption and Oppression In Israelite Society, Oppression Of The Poor By The Corrupt Israelite Priesthood, Greedy Scribes And Pharisees Devoured Widows' Houses, Jesus Vindicated The Poor Widows, Oppressed By The Rich, Proper Attitude Towards The Poor And The Needy, The Royal Law: Thou Shalt Love, Corporate America Versus Joe Normal, A Shameful American Double Standard, No One Can Live On Borrowed Time And Borrowed Credit Forever, Adam And Eve In The Garden of Eden, Beware Of Enticement And Temptation, Credit Lines And The Danger Of Living Beyond Our Financial Means, Accepting Personal Responsibility For Our Actions And Decisions, The Machinations Of International Monetary Fund And World Bank, The Borrower Is Servant To The Lender, Economic Slavery Is Real In Our Modern Times, My Personal Financial Practices
As we discovered earlier in this series, the corruption and oppression which pervaded ancient Israelite society was not limited to just one area. The political leaders were guilty; the bankers and moneychangers were guilty; common everyday people were guilty; and the religious hierarchy -- meaning the priests themselves -- were guilty. It would seem that everyone was out to make a profit and acquire dishonest gain at someone else's expense; even neighbor with neighbor, and one family member with another. No doubt there were probably some decent and honest people in the bunch, but overall, we are given a rather dark picture of the situation by those Prophets of old.
Through crafty and dishonest financial practices -- such as charging interest when they weren't supposed to, as well as paying substandard wages to hired laborers -- together with making laws which benefitted the wealthy and the powerful while at the same time negating the rights of others, the widow, the fatherless, the stranger, the poor and the needy were simply oppressed more and more. The sad thing is, this oppressive situation came to be viewed as normal. The people became so hardened in their hearts that they did not even care. Perhaps the biggest tragedy is that the very people who were supposed to represent the Lord and be a spiritual beacon to the Israelites, -- that is, the priesthood -- were guilty of these crimes just like everyone else. This becomes evident by verses such as the following:
"For, behold, I have made thee this day a defenced city, and an iron pillar, and brasen walls against the whole land, against the kings of Judah, against the princes thereof, AGAINST THE PRIESTS THEREOF, and against the people of the land."
Jeremiah 1:18, KJV
"The priests said not, Where is the LORD? and they that handle the law [Mosaic Law] knew me not: the pastors also transgressed against me, and the prophets prophesied by Baal, and walked after things that do not profit . . . As the thief is ashamed when he is found, so is the house of Israel ashamed; they, their kings, their princes, and their priests, and their prophets,"
Jeremiah 2:8, 26, KJV
"The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?"
Jeremiah 5:31, KJV
Despite the warnings which the Lord gave to the Israelites by way of His true Prophets in the Old Testament, there was no true, long-lasting repentance; tragically, not even by the priesthood. It becomes evident by the following verses that the very same kind of oppression against the poor and the needy continued -- even during the time of Christ -- which is exactly why Jesus did not hesitate to expose their selfishness and cruelty. In these verses, the Lord condemns the greed of the Scribes and the Pharisees who used the Law to financially abuse the widows of Israel:
"Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers . . . Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for YE DEVOUR WIDOWS' HOUSES, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation."
Matthew 23:1-4, 14, KJV
"And he said unto them in his doctrine, Beware of the scribes, which love to go in long clothing, and love salutations in the marketplaces, And the chief seats in the synagogues, and the uppermost rooms at feasts: WHICH DEVOUR WIDOWS' HOUSES, and for a pretence make long prayers: these shall receive greater damnation."
Mark 12:38-40, KJV
"And he said, Woe unto you also, ye lawyers [teachers of the Mosaic Law]! for ye lade men with burdens grievous to be borne, and ye yourselves touch not the burdens with one of your fingers."
Luke 11:46, KJV
"Beware of the scribes, which desire to walk in long robes, and love greetings in the markets, and the highest seats in the synagogues, and the chief rooms at feasts; WHICH DEVOUR WIDOWS' HOUSES, and for a shew make long prayers: the same shall receive greater damnation. And he looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury. And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites. And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all: For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had."
Luke 20:46-21:4, KJV
I find it rather interesting that the very people which the Jewish priesthood financially abused -- the poor widows -- were the same people who Jesus chose to vindicate in the previous story. In the following verses, the Apostle James likewise points out that the people who have been despised, financially oppressed and abused, and even sued in court by the rich who try to suck every penny out of them, are in fact not only rich in faith, but are also the true heirs of God's wonderful Kingdom:
"Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him? But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats? Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called? If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well:"
James 2:5-8, KJV
Tragically, as we saw earlier in this series, such dishonest practices continue to happen in our current time as well all around the world, as the rich become richer, and the poor become yet poorer, as they are oppressed by the rich and the elite who refuse to pay them a decent living wage. How much longer can this situation continue? To reiterate, the verses which follow demonstrate the compassion for the poor and the needy that God demands of all of us, beginning with national governments which possess the means to lighten the burden of the afflicted:
"Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world."
James 1:27, KJV
"What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone."
James 2:14-17, KJV
"But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel . . . If any man or woman that believeth have widows, let them relieve them, and let not the church be charged; that it may relieve them that are widows indeed."
1 Timothy 5:8, 16, KJV
"Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow."
Isaiah 1:16-17, KJV
"For if ye throughly amend your ways and your doings; if ye throughly execute judgment between a man and his neighbour; If ye oppress not the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and shed not innocent blood in this place, neither walk after other gods to your hurt: Then will I cause you to dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers, for ever and ever."
Jeremiah 7:5-7, KJV
"Thus saith the LORD; Go down to the house of the king of Judah, and speak there this word, And say, Hear the word of the LORD, O king of Judah, that sittest upon the throne of David, thou, and thy servants, and thy people that enter in by these gates: Thus saith the LORD; Execute ye judgment and righteousness, and deliver the spoiled out of the hand of the oppressor: and do no wrong, do no violence to the stranger, the fatherless, nor the widow, neither shed innocent blood in this place."
Jeremiah 22:1-3, KJV
"Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Execute true judgment, and shew mercy and compassions every man to his brother: And oppress not the widow, nor the fatherless, the stranger, nor the poor; and let none of you imagine evil against his brother in your heart."
Zechariah 7:9-10, KJV
"Sing unto God, sing praises to his name: extol him that rideth upon the heavens by his name JAH, and rejoice before him. A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, is God in his holy habitation. God setteth the solitary in families: he bringeth out those which are bound with chains: but the rebellious dwell in a dry land."
Psalms 68:4-6, KJV
"Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the LORD his God: Which made heaven, and earth, the sea, and all that therein is: which keepeth truth for ever: Which executeth judgment for the oppressed: which giveth food to the hungry. The LORD looseth the prisoners: The LORD openeth the eyes of the blind: the LORD raiseth them that are bowed down: the LORD loveth the righteous: The LORD preserveth the strangers; he relieveth the fatherless and widow: but the way of the wicked he turneth upside down."
Psalms 146:5-9, KJV
"When the ear heard me, then it blessed me; and when the eye saw me, it gave witness to me: Because I delivered the poor that cried, and the fatherless, and him that had none to help him. The blessing of him that was ready to perish came upon me: and I caused the widow's heart to sing for joy. I put on righteousness, and it clothed me: my judgment was as a robe and a diadem. I was eyes to the blind, and feet was I to the lame. I was a father to the poor: and the cause which I knew not I searched out. And I brake the jaws of the wicked, and plucked the spoil out of his teeth."
Job 29:11-17, KJV
"If I have withheld the poor from their desire, or have caused the eyes of the widow to fail; Or have eaten my morsel myself alone, and the fatherless hath not eaten thereof; (For from my youth he was brought up with me, as with a father, and I have guided her from my mother's womb;) If I have seen any perish for want of clothing, or any poor without covering; If his loins have not blessed me, and if he were not warmed with the fleece of my sheep; If I have lifted up my hand against the fatherless, when I saw my help in the gate: Then let mine arm fall from my shoulder blade, and mine arm be broken from the bone. For destruction from God was a terror to me, and by reason of his highness I could not endure. If I have made gold my hope, or have said to the fine gold, Thou art my confidence; If I rejoiced because my wealth was great, and because mine hand had gotten much; If I beheld the sun when it shined, or the moon walking in brightness; And my heart hath been secretly enticed, or my mouth hath kissed my hand: This also were an iniquity to be punished by the judge: for I should have denied the God that is above. If I rejoiced at the destruction of him that hated me, or lifted up myself when evil found him: Neither have I suffered my mouth to sin by wishing a curse to his soul. If the men of my tabernacle said not, Oh that we had of his flesh! we cannot be satisfied. The stranger did not lodge in the street: but I opened my doors to the traveller."
Job 31:16-32, KJV
As the Apostle James wisely wrote, what it all comes down to is striving to live our lives in accordance with God's Royal Law, which is "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." If we truly abide by this sacred rule, we will not do anything which will harm him in any way. We most certainly will not try to swindle him out of his hard-earned money by engaging in dishonest practices. We will not lay upon him heavy tax burdens which he cannot possibly bare. We will pay him fair and decent wages for his work. We will not pass laws which make him powerless before courts and corporations. We will offer him generous assistance when he happens to fall under hard times, and we will not expect anything in return beyond what was actually lent. In short, we will treat him in the same exact way that we would expect to be treated if we were in his position.
Sadly, as we have clearly seen, this is not the way that the modern world operates. Corporate America has a stranglehold on the American public, and their political puppets in the nation's capital bow to their every whim. Furthermore, the national economy is controlled and manipulated by an entity which is not even a real federal agency, which has no real federal oversight, and which has been controlled by Jews for literally decades. Of course, I'm referring to the so-called Federal Reserve, which is actually a privately-held entity that is controlled by powerful bankers. America's economic pulse is completely in their hands. Conduct your own serious research if you doubt any of these statements.
Let there be no doubts regarding the political favoritism that occurs in Washington, D.C. In recent times we have all been witnesses to the fact that when the excessive greed of Big Bankers and Big Business -- the automobile industry for one -- was shamefully exposed, instead of being punished for their sin of avarice, they were rewarded with huge financial bail-outs totaling billions of dollars. Yet if little people such as you and I miss paying our rent for a month, or don't pay our utility bills on time, or miss a car payment, uh-oh, watch out! Where is the equality? Where is the justice in such actions? Are all men truly created equal, or is it just a national motto that slick politicians like to spout off in order to harness the sense of patriotism of their gullible constituents? This American double standard is shameful!
While I have targeted the rich and the elite in this series, and pointed out their sins against the common working man, at the same time, we need to be fair about this. Having said that, it is important that we all recognize that regardless of who we are, or where we live, or what our economic status may be, the bottom line is that absolutely no one can live on borrowed time and on borrowed credit forever; because eventually, those pipers will come knocking, and will demand payment in full. If and when that happens, what will we do?
To our own shame, living on borrowed time and on borrowed credit is precisely what a lot of Americans have done for decades now. Furthermore, people in other countries do the exact same thing. It seems that this desire to always want more, and not being satisfied with what we already have, is a part of our sinful human nature. Isn't that precisely what resulted in the rebellion and downfall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden so long ago? Think about this a moment. Adam and Eve were the most perfect couple who lived in the most perfect place on Earth. Despite that fact, they were not satisfied, and they desired more. When an opportunity presented itself for them to grab more than what they really needed, they yielded to temptation. That vile serpent Satan poisoned Eve's mind, and deceived her, and we have suffered the consequences of her foolish decision ever since then. Consider the following verses:
"Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat."
Genesis 3:1-6, KJV
"But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ."
2 Corinthians 11:3, KJV
"Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression."
1 Timothy 2:11-14, KJV
"Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous."
Romans 5:12-19, KJV
Ironically, the powerful tactic of enticement and temptation is exactly the same strategy that is used by the privileged class and the money-hungry merchants of the world to keep the oppressed working class and the poor under their thumb as well. The way that they accomplish this is by enticing people with nice things which dazzle the eye; with luxury items that perhaps people do not really need, such as a late-model car, or a 52" plasma television set, and similar items. Realizing that many people can't afford these things, they offer them a line of credit so that they can transform their desires into reality. In short, these crafty bankers and merchants tempt people to live beyond their means. But what many people don't realize, is that while that credit may initially seem like a blessing -- because it results in instant gratification -- it is the interest on that line of credit that may eventually bring them to financial ruin if they are not careful.
Furthermore, once one sees how easy it can be to borrow money from a bank -- assuming, of course, that they have some form of collateral -- or to start using credit cards and such, it can easily become an uncontrollable addiction, as a lot of people have sadly found out, but only too late. Before long, one has accumulated so much debt through different loans and lines of credit, and the interest which has accrued on them, that they have dug themselves into a financial hole out of which they will never be able to pull themselves. The end result is personal bankruptcy, emotional trauma, hardship, and embarrassment.
As tragic as it is, is it really any wonder that in recent times some people have lost their homes, their life savings and even more? While I truly feel sorry for those people who find themselves in such dire situations, and while it may be difficult for certain people to hear, we must be honest with ourselves and admit that we cannot always blame our problems on the government, or on Big Business greed, or even on Wall Street. At some point, personal responsibility has to enter the picture, and we must all choose to live within our means, and not overextend ourselves financially. We must also learn to accept the consequences of the decisions that we have made throughout our lives, including our financial decisions. The buck has been passed around so much, that it is totally worn out now, and we need to stop trying to blame others for our personal mistakes and failures.
In the larger world picture, the aforementioned tactics have likewise resulted in some poor nations of the world becoming indebted to the rich nations; and more specifically, becoming heavily indebted to global financial institutions such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Some of these poor countries desired to emulate the richer industrialized nations, and so the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank made it possible for them to do so by extending lines of credit to them. But then, when these poorer countries found themselves unable to pay back their loans, and much less the interest on those loans, these organizations made even more stringent demands on them.
In other words, these countries were forced to adopt certain fiscal policies which these powerful organizations demanded of them, if they expected to remain financially afloat. In certain cases, some of these financial agreements undermined their national sovereignty. As a result, now, years later, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank basically run entire countries by controlling their national economy. But this should really come as no surprise to us. After all, the Bible plainly warns us in the Book of Proverbs regarding what happens when one decides to borrow money. Consider the following verse and take heed:
"The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender."
Proverbs 22:7, KJV
Please don't ever forget that verse. The truth of the matter is that the very minute that you borrow money from someone, or from some financial institution such as a bank or a credit agency, you have indebted yourself to them. You have in fact surrendered a small degree of your personal liberty, and made yourself their servant, to do as they demand, if and when you overextend yourself, or fail financially altogether. And the more that you borrow money from them, the more you transform yourself into their slave. So while Southern slavery may have been abolished decades ago, and while whips, balls and chains may be a thing of the past, I can assure you that economic slavery is very much with us today all around the world, both on a personal level, as well as on an international level. It existed millennia ago, and it continues to exist today.
It might interest you to know that in my personal life, I have always strived to live within my means. As strange as it will probably seem to some of you, until four years ago, I never even owned a single plastic card, and I am not exactly a Spring chicken anymore. The only reason why I finally got one -- it is actually a debit card that was offered to me by my bank, and not a real credit card -- was so that I could make online payments for items that are related to the BBB ministry, such as purchasing necessary software, paying for annual domain name registrations, etc. I occasionally use it for personal necessities as well.
As many of you will know, unlike a credit card, a debit card is only worth as much money as one actually has in their bank account at any given time. Thus, when a purchase is made, the amount is deducted -- or debited -- from the account. In my particular case, my savings are a rather meager amount, and just barely cover utility bills for a few months. But insofar as actual credit cards are concerned, it is my personal view that purchasing something based on future financial prospects and projected income is just plain foolishness, because one never knows when something might go wrong, and projections may prove to be inaccurate. It is playing financial roulette.
I live a rather tight, frugal, budgetary life; but to me, it is worth it; because living in this manner spares me some of the many headaches and worries which plague those people who are enticed by things, and who have adopted the bad habit of overextending their credit cards. My primary financial rule of thumb has long been that if I have the money in hand to purchase something, then I will do so. On the other hand, if I want something bad enough, but I don't have the money, then I will simply exercise the necessary discipline and save up the money -- no matter how long it may take me -- until I do have enough to purchase the item in question. It is safe, it is simple, and it works. Of course, living by this financial rule obviously teaches one a lot of patience, and it helps one to better appreciate the item when it is finally gotten.
The closest that I personally have ever come to credit, is when I purchased a living room set, and then a stereo combo, a number of decades ago using a payment system that is called "layaway". However, technically-speaking, "layaway" really is not the same as purchasing something on credit, because one cannot even take the item home until after he has made all of the payments, or installments. Believe me; not being able to take the item home immediately does motivate a person to make those payments as quickly as possible.
At any rate, I believe that the financial discipline which I have practiced in my personal life is really the only safe way to operate if one truly wants to have peace of mind. As a result of living in this fashion, there is not a lot of financial pressure in my life. I don't owe anyone anything, and that is just the way that I like it. I do not have a sword hanging over my head. I don't have the IRS knocking at my door. I don't have collection agencies hounding me on the telephone. I don't have banks coming after me. I don't have people threatening to take me to court. How about you?
Please go to part five for the conclusion of this series.
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