THE LAW OF USURY

The Law of Usury is one of the few laws that was given to ancient Israel, that required the death penalty for its violation.  God calls taking usury (interest) on something loaned an abomination, which is one of the most detestable things that can be done. Through the prophet Ezekiel God says,  "Is one worthy of life that loans for usury? . . ..That person shall die and it shall be his own fault." Lending property or money for interest hardly seems worthy of the death, but God says  that it is. On the surface, the law of usury seems harsh and unfair, but is it?

A DIFFICULT QUESTION FOR THE CHRISTIAN

Current theological thinking on usury  by  many  Bible   scholars  seems to indicate that charging excessive interest on a loan is wrong.  However, a careful study of  this  issue shows   that  in  the cases  where  usury  is  prohibited,   the prohibition  is  against  the charging of ANY  interest  at  all, excessive  or  not.  This fact leaves Christians with  a  very difficult question to answer,  especially if they are in the banking or money lending  business.  In fact,  if one expects to  buy or sell anything in this society, it is almost  impossible to  escape  paying interest or being associated in some way  with the business of paying or receiving interest.

The following questions must be answered by Christians:

This study will examine this subject and the scriptures that pertain to usury in detail, in order  to  gain an  understanding of this law in both a physical and a spiritual context.

USURY

The laws contained in the Bible cover  the entire  spectrum of human behavior from birth to death; every activity that humans can engage in is covered either specifically or in principle. God's laws, precepts, and principles are  empirical  and  do  not  depend on human  acceptance  or approval for them to function.  When these laws are  obeyed,  the end result is good. Moreover, when they are disobeyed,  the end result is evil,  and penalties are exacted upon the lawbreaker  as well as society as a whole.  The law of usury is a highly misunderstood law that offers tremendous  benefits  for obedience  or the death  penalty  for  disobedience. Moreover, the principles of this law affect every society on earth.

DEATH TO THOSE WHO VIOLATE THE LAW OF USURY

In Ezekiel  chapter 18, the prophet delivers an  indictment and a stern warning from God to the people of Israel concerning their national  and  personal  sins. This warning message was  given to Ezekiel  who was a captive with  the  nation  of Judah about 127 years after  the ten-tribe   nation  of Israel  had  been  taken  into captivity by a foreign power. Because Ezekiel  was being  held captive along with the nation of Judah,  this warning never  reached  Israel at that time; therefore, this can be seen as a prophetic warning for today.

In Ezekiel, the introduction to the subject of usury shows the seriousness of violating this law:

"Behold,  all souls are mine;  as the soul of the father,  so also   the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sins, it shall die" (Ezk.18:4 KJV).                       

This  verse  says  that a sinner will die.  Here, the English word 'die' is translated from the Hebrew word 'mut' which means 'to die', 'to kill', or 'to have one executed'. The use of this word  indicates that this death sentence is a part of the condemnation on those who are judged worthy of eternal death.

Through the writer to the Hebrews, God says,   "And as it is appointed to men once to die, but after  this  the judgment" (Heb.9:27 KJV).  At this judgment  all those  who  are  not found worthy of eternal life  will  die  the second death from which there is no return.

Revelation 20:11-15 KJV

"And  I saw a great white throne,  and him that sat on  it,  from whose  face  the earth and the heaven fled away;  and  there  was found  no place for them.  And I saw the dead,  small and  great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life:  and the dead were judged out of  those  things which were written in the books,  according  to their works.   And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were  judged every man according to their works.  And  death  and hell were cast into the lake of fire.   This is the second death. And  whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire."

Revelation 21:5-8 KJV

"And he that sat upon the throne said,  Behold, I make all things new.   And he said to me, Write:  for these words are true and faithful. And he said to me, It is done.  I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.   I will give to him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.  He that  overcomes shall inherit all things;  and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers,  and whoremongers,  and sorcerers,  and idolaters, and all  liars,  shall  have their part in the lake which burns  with fire and brimstone: which is the second death."

BUT IF A MAN IS JUST

Ezekiel 18:5-9 shows that there is a lifestyle  that will lead to eternal life instead of death:

"But  if  a man is just,  and does that which is lawful and  right, And has not eaten upon the mountains,  neither has lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, neither has defiled his neighbor's  wife,  neither has come near to a  menstruous  woman,  And  has  not oppressed any,  but has RESTORED TO THE DEBTOR  HIS PLEDGE,  has spoiled none by violence, has given his bread to the hungry, and has covered the naked with a garment;  He that has not given  forth upon USURY,  neither taken any increases,  that  has withdrawn  his hand from iniquity,  has executed  true  judgment between man and man,   Has walked in my statutes, and has kept my judgments, to deal truly; he is just, he shall surely live, says the Lord God" (KJV).

The Living  Bible  Paraphrased translates these verses as follows:

"And has not gone out to the mountains  to feast  before the idols of Israel and worship them, and does not commit  adultery,  nor  lie with a woman during the time  of  her menstruation,. . .  and is no robber, but gives food to the hungry and clothes to those in need, and grants LOANS  WITHOUT INTEREST, and stays away from sin,  and is honest and fair when judging others, and obeys my laws—that man is just, says the Lord,  and he shall surely live" (vs. 6-9).

Ezekiel  lists a number of positive  things that  are   just and right for a person to do that will lead to eternal life.  Notice  the reference to the law of usury in verse 7: "but has restored to the debtor his pledge." This refers to a merciful creditor who  does  not keep the things that are given to him as a pledge by  the  poor debtor. See also Ex.22:25-26.

Ezekiel 18:10-13 KJV

"If he fathers  a son who is violent, who sheds blood, and does to a brother any of these, and even if he does not any of these, but has eaten on the mountains, and has defiled his neighbors wife; he has oppressed the poor and needy and been a thief, and has not returned the pledge; and has lifted up his eyes to the idols; he has committed abomination, or he has loaned on interest and has taken increase; shall he also live? he shall not live; he has done all these abominations; he shall surly die; his blood shall be on him."

God says that the person that does these abominable things shall die,  and it shall be  his  own  fault. However, the one who has the opposite attitude and performs good deeds will live.

Ezekiel 18:16-17 Paraphrased

"And has not oppressed a man; nor has withheld the pledge. . . and has given his bread to the hungry, and he has covered the naked with clothes; and has not held back his generosity to the poor; and has not received interest and increase; this man has done my judgments, he has walked in my statute—he shall not die for the lawlessness of his father. He shall surely live."

Clearly the good things mentioned above are things that God wants his people to do out of  love and compassion for their fellow man. Notice also that these things are done in compliance with God's judgments and statutes.

Ezekiel 22:6-12 KJV

"Behold,  the princes of Israel,  every one were in you  to  their    power  to  shed blood.  In you have they set light by father  and mother:  in  the midst of you have they dealt by oppression  with the  stranger:  in  you have they vexed the  fatherless  and  the  widow.  You have despised my holy things,  and have profaned  my sabbaths.  In you are men that carry tales to shed blood:  and in you they eat upon the mountains: in the midst of you they commit lewdness.   In you they have discovered their fathers' nakedness: in you  they have humbled her that was set apart for  pollution.  And one has committed abomination with his neighbor's wife; and another has lewdly defiled his daughter-in-law;  and another  in you  has humbled his sister,  his father's daughter.  In you have they  taken  gifts  to  shed blood;  you  have taken  USURY  AND INCREASE,   and  have  greedily  gained  of  your  neighbors   by extortion, and have forgotten me, says the Lord God."

USURY IS A CAPITAL CRIME

It  is easy to understand  why  the  death penalty  should be administered to those who blaspheme God, murder,  rape, or kidnap another person. The death penalty  for  adultery  is  even understandable.    But  the  lending  of property  or  money  for interest hardly seems worthy of the death penalty to most people. And  yet,  the  Creator of all that exists says that usury  is  a capital crime and that those who commit it shall be put to death.

On  the surface  the law of usury may seem harsh and unfair.  However, this  law reveals the great love,  concern,  and compassion that God the Father and Jesus Christ have for each individual.

TO WHOM IS THE BIBLE WRITTEN?

The  Bible  was  written almost totally to and for  the  physical and  spiritual nation of Israel as they existed anciently and  as they  exist today.  The Bible only speaks  to  other peoples and nations as they affect and interact with Israel.  The truth  is that God is only dealing with  humanity  through physical (national) Israel and spiritual Israel (the elect children of God). Therefore,  we  must  view God's  laws,  statutes,  judgments,  and  ordinances  as  they  pertain to physical  and  spiritual  Israel and  as  they  pertain to the plan of God that  is  being completed through them for humanity.

When  God  offered  to  make  a covenant  with  the Israelites in Exodus 19:5-6, he offered to make them a nation of priests and a holy people.   After Israel accepted the terms and conditions of the covenant that God offered them, God gave them laws, precepts, and  principles to live by.   Later he told  them that no other nation had laws as great or as  good  as the ones he gave to them.

Deuteronomy 4:5-8 KJV

"Behold,  I [Moses] have taught you statutes and judgments,  even as  the Lord my God commanded me,  that you should do so  in  the land  whither you go to possess it.   Keep therefore and do them; for  this is your wisdom and your understanding in the  sight  of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this  great nation is a wise and understanding people.  For  what nation is there so great,  who has God so near to them,  as the Lord our God is in all things that we call upon him for? And what nation  is  there so great,  that has statutes and  judgments  so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?"

But why did he give these laws to this people only? Why didn't he  give them to all mankind at the same time?   The reason is that God has been using Israel as an example for all of humanity  as  a witness and a teaching device.  He  gave  them  a perfect set of laws by which to govern their behavior.  If  they had  obeyed these laws,  they would have been blessed beyond  anything any other nation that lived outside of these laws could remotely hope for (Deut.28:1-14).  

THE DEFINITION OF USURY

Because the law of usury was given to Israel so that they could be an example of righteous behavior, it is important for the elect of God to understand this law. Therefore, in order to clarify each scripture containing the English words 'usury'  and  'increase', it is necessary to understand the Hebrew and Greek words from which they were translated:

Usury

The primary Hebrew word that has been translated into the English word 'usury' is 'nashak', which means 'bite.' The  derivatives are 'neshek', which means 'interest', and 'nashak', which is a denominative verb that means 'to lend for interest'.

Nashak (bite)

Whenever  the  verb 'to  bite' occurs in  its  literal  physical sense  in the Bible,  it has a snake or serpent as  its subject. In  one case,  men (false prophets) are the 'biters' (Mic.3:5).

Neshek (interest)

The  relationship  of  this  noun to the  basic  verb 'bite'  is sustained by its Ugaritic usage (Ugaritic, a Semitic  language closely  related  to Phoenician and Hebrew): the  verb 'bite'  (of a serpent), the noun 'bit' (interest' ).

Nashak (usury)

The denominative verb is favored  as the correct sense with some translators using 'bite' and others using 'lend  upon usury' or 'lend upon/for  interest'.

Increase

The Hebrew word, 'marbit', which means 'multitude', 'greatness', 'larger part', 'increase' or 'interest', and the Hebrew word 'tarbit' which means 'increase', 'usury' or 'interest', and the Greek word 'tokos' which means 'interest on money loaned' are translated into the English word 'interest.'

Marbit

'Marbit' is the  principle form of the root 'raba', and it appears five times in the  Old  Testament.  Its initial occurrence is in  Leviticus  25:37  in  connection with nesek (usury) and  tarbit  (increase.).

Tarbit

'Tarbit' is a  feminine noun developed from the  root  'raba.'   It appears four times in Ezekiel.   In all cases it appears with the masculine noun 'nesek.'   The association with nesek ('usury'), which  is derived from  the  verb  'to  bite'  suggests  oppressive expensive interest.

Tokos

'Tokos' is from the base word 'tikto', which means 'interest on money that is loaned as a product' (i.e., usury).

WHAT USURY IS NOT

The Hebrew and Greek language leave no room for doubt as to the meaning of the  word usury as it is used in the Bible.   It means 'something to be returned  with the thing that is loaned'.

Most  of the past and current thinking defines usury as excessive interest or an  interest that is above and  beyond  just or legal limits.  Although  this  may  be  the  legal definition  of usury today,  it is not the definition of the biblical law  of usury. The biblical principal of usury has  almost nothing to do with excessive  interest; it has a far  more profound meaning for humanity

THE YEAR OF RELEASE, LAND REST,AND THE JUBILEE

The Year  of Release, the Land Rest, and the Jubilee are just as misunderstood by most professing Christians as the subject of usury. These  three periods of time have great physical,  spiritual,  and prophetic  meanings attached to them, and they are extremely  important to  the fulfillment of  the plan that God has for humanity. Moreover, they have a very direct impact on the meaning of the law of usury.

In Exodus 12:2 God instructs the Israelites: "This shall be to you the beginning of months:  it shall be the first month of  the year  to you." See also Deut.16:1. This particular month of  Abib also began Israel's first year as a nation and it was to be  used  as  a starting point from which to calculate  all  the events that God commanded Israel to observe.

THE YEAR OF RELEASE

Every  seventh  year  all  debts were commanded  to  be  released   (except for those of foreigners). This meant that everyone  who was   indebted  to  another  person  could  have  a  fresh  start economically. It meant that a person,  because of  circumstance or poor judgment, had the opportunity to get rid of economical or physical bondage and put his energy into benefiting himself or his family.

Deuteronomy 15:1-5 KJV

"At the end of every seven years you shall make a  release.   And this  is  the manner of the release:  Every creditor  that  lends ought to his neighbor shall release it;   he shall not exact it of  his neighbor,  or of his brother;  because  it is called  the Lord's release.   Of a foreigner you may exact it again: but that which  is yours with your brother your hand shall  release; Save when there shall be no poor among you; for the Lord shall greatly bless  you  in the land which the Lord your God gives you for  an inheritance  to possess it:   Only if you carefully hearken  to the  voice  of  the Lord your God,  to observe to  do  all  these commandments which I command you this day."

Notice the provision in verse 4, which states that when there are no more poor people in Israel, the law of usury is to be suspended. This provision will be discussed in detail later in this study.

LOAN DURATION

In  his wisdom, God covers the entire spectrum of  the  lending process.  Understanding  human nature far better than  the  most astute  psychologist,  God understands the mental  and  physical burden that the borrower is under.  King Solomon was inspired to write: "The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is servant to  the  lender" (Psa.22:7 KJV).  God also understands  the greed, power,  and  oppression factors of one who lends for the wrong reasons. Therefore, he placed limitations on the length of time a  person could be held responsible to pay a debt back;  this length  of time was seven years, and was a great benefit to the lender and the borrower alike.

Although some might disagree with the year of release because they think it is unfair to the lender, it is important to remember  that God repeatedly  promises tremendous blessings for those who will obey him, and even more blessings if a person obeys with a right attitude.

Deuteronomy 15:7-11 KJV Paraphrased

"If  there is  among  you a poor man of  one  of  your  brethren   within  any  of your gates in your land which the Lord  your  God   gives  you,  you shall not harden your heart,  nor shut your hand  from  your poor brother:  But you shall open your hand wide to him, and shall surely lend him sufficient for his need, in that which he  wants. Beware, do not have wicked thoughts in your  heart,  saying,  the seventh year, the year of release, is close at hand;  and your eye be evil against your  poor  brother,  and   you  give him nothing;  and he complains to the Lord about you,  and it becomes a sin to you.  You shall surely give to him,  and your heart shall  not be grieved when you give to him:   because you give to him,  the Lord your God shall bless you in all your  works, and in all that you put your hand to.  For the poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore I command you, saying, you shall open your hand wide to your brother,  to your poor, and to your needy, in your land."

The law says to lend to the poor; moreover, the law says to lend enough for their immediate needs and beyond.  God commands those who follow his way of life to  be more than generous with what they loan to a poor person.

God  also tells the lender not to worry about getting paid  back because of the year of release. He reminds the lender that if he does not lend, it will count as sin to him, but if he does lend to the poor, he will receive blessings for compliance.

GENEROSITY IS COMMANDED

When  it comes to the needs of the poor and unfortunate,  God did not suggest that the Israelites be generous.  He  commanded  them to be generous or be  punished for disobedience:

"Beware that there be not a thought in your wicked heart, saying, The seventh year,  the year of release,  is at hand; and your eye  be evil against your poor brother,  and you give him nought;  and he cry to  the Lord against you, and it be sin to you" (Deut.15:9 KJV).

ECONOMIC SLAVERY

All   people  want to prosper  and  live   happy,   abundant,  and  successful  lives.   Although  this is the dream  of  most people,   the  reality  is  that things do not always go the  way we would  like them   to,  especially  in the area of  economic  desires. Most of the time desires can be coped  with rationally,  but  needs for survival are quite another matter. When  a person's  basic  needs  are  not met,   all other things seem  to take a lesser position.  The year of  release guaranteed that perpetual monetary  slavery would not exist in Israel.

THE LAND REST

Every   seventh  year  the  land  was  to  rest  from   intensive agricultural production.  Today, most organic farmers and gardeners well understand the benefits of such a land rest. Because the Israelites were basically an agrarian society,  the land rest had a profound and dramatic impact upon their economy. In the seventh year, there would be no major profits from the land; therefore, it  would  be very  difficult for a person to pay back a debt during this  land rest, which is one reason God canceled these debts.

THE JUBILEE

The  Jubilee  Year, which occurred every fiftieth year, ensured  that  economic equilibrium would be maintained in the nation.  All indebtedness was to be released,  and all lands were to be returned  to their original owners, which  allowed the economy to be brought back  into balance. By the observance of these three laws, the nation of Israel would always  have  a balanced  economy  with a relatively  debt  free population, which would create the environment for prosperity to flourish.

WHY LEND SOMETHING?

Why  do  we lend something to another person?  There seem  to  be   two basic reasons for lending—personal gain and charity.

Personal Gain

To  lend  something  where  there  is  an  expectation  of a return of whatever was loaned plus something added to it is for personal gain. Whatever the gain that is desired,  this gain constitutes a benefit to the person  doing the lending.

Charity

To lend something because of an outgoing concern for another's well-being with no motive for gain above the return of the thing lent is done for charity.

The first type of lending is a purely selfish act and the second type is an unselfish act. Of course there can be a blend of both attitudes.

LENDING TO THE POOR BROTHER, STRANGER , OR SOJOURNER

Leviticus 25:35-38 KJV

"And  if your brother becomes poor,  and falls in decay with  you [cannot  maintain himself with you];  then you shall relieve him: yes,  though he be a stranger,  or a sojourner;  that he may live with you.   Take you no usury of him,  or increase: but fear your God;  that your brother may live with you. You shall not give him your money upon usury,  nor lend him your victuals for increase.  I am the  Lord your God,  which brought you forth out of the  land  of Egypt, to give you the land of Canaan, and to be your God."

In order to gain a clear understanding of this text,  we need to know  who the brother, stranger, and sojourner are.

BROTHER

The Hebrew word 'ah'  means 'brother', 'relative', 'fellow countryman',  or  'a friend'.  In this  verse the inference  is  that of a fellow countryman who  is  considered  a friend or brother.

STRANGER

The Hebrew word 'ger' means 'an alien', 'sojourner' or 'stranger'.  'Ger' refers to someone who did not enjoy the rights usually possessed by a resident.  The 'ger' in Israel was largely regarded  as a proselyte.   He had to be present for the  solemn reading of the law (Deut.31:12),  and a circumcised 'ger' could keep the Passover.  The Israelites were not to oppress them and were to love them as they loved themselves (Lev.19:34).

The 'stranger' in Leviticus should not be  confused  with  the 'stranger'  mentioned in Deuteronomy 23:20, because the status of  these individuals was quite different before God. This will  be explained later in this study.

SOJOURNER

The Hebrew word 'toshab' means a 'sojourner'—the temporary  landless wage earner who was sometimes referred to as a hired servant.  This  is in contrast to the term 'ger', which refers  to the permanent resident alien.   The 'toshab' could not take  the Passover  and his children could be sold as slaves.  Although  he shared some of the same privileges as the 'ger',  his freedom  was not as great.

In Leviticus 25:35-38, the law concerning lending specifically refers to the poor of Israel. This  text is, in part, a summary  of the law  and it shows  a strict prohibition against lending money or food for interest to a poor relative or countryman. This prohibition also included those who  were proselytes and those who were under the authority  or within the service of an Israelite.

But,  why  is the Creator so concerned about  debt and borrowing?  Is there  some logical reason why he placed such stringent rules  on the lending of property or money to another person? God  is extremely  concerned about our welfare and the law of usury shows his tremendous love, concern, and compassion for humanity.

AN ATTITUDE

The parable of the wicked servant who would not forgive the debts of one who owed him is an excellent example of an attitude that displeases God.

Matthew 18:23-35 KJV

"Therefore  is the kingdom of heaven likened to a certain king, which would take account of his servants.  And when he had  begun to reckon,  one was brought to him, which owed him ten thousand talents.   But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold,  and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and  payment  to be made.  The servant therefore fell  down,  and worshiped him,  saying,  Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay you  all.  Then  the lord of that  servant  was  moved  with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.

"But  the  same  servant went out,  and found one of  his  fellow servants,  which owed him an hundred pence:  and he laid hands on him,  and took him by the throat,  saying,  Pay me what you  owe. And  his fellowservant fell down at his feet,  and besought him, saying,  Have patience with me,  and I will pay you all.   And he would not:  but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.

"So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very   sorry,  and  came and told to their lord all that  was  done.   Then his lord,  after that he had called him,  said to him, O you   wicked servant, I forgave you all that debt,  because you   desired [besought] me: Should not you also have had compassion   on your fellowservant, even as I had pity on you? And his lord   was wroth [angry],  and delivered him to the tormentors,  till he   should  pay all  that was due to him.  So  likewise  shall  my heavenly Father do also to you, if you from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses."

LENDING TO AND COLLECTING FROM A FOREIGNER OR A STRANGER

Deuteronomy 15:1-3 KJV

"At the end of every seven years you shall make a  release.   And   this  is  the  manner of the release:  Every creditor who lends  any   thing to his neighbor shall release it;  he shall not exact it of his  neighbor,  or his brother;  because it is called the  Lord's release.   Of a foreigner you may exact it again:  but that which is yours with your brother your hand shall release."

Deuteronomy 23:19-20 KJV

"You  shall  not  lend upon usury to  your  brother;  usury  of   money,  usury  of victuals, usury of any thing that is lent upon   usury: To  a stranger you may lend upon usury;  but to your brother you shall not lend upon usury: that the Lord your God may bless  you in all that you set your hand to in the  land  whither you go to possess it."

This is an example of lending to foreigners and  strangers. But why did God allow the Israelites to exact  interest from these people and not from an Israelite?  It is  apparent  from  the scriptures that, if a foreigner or stranger obeyed God,  he  could and  would receive many of the blessings that the Israelites received. One of these blessings was that he could not be charged  interest on  a loan of necessity.  This blessing came directly because  of his obedience to and submission to the law of God.  But those who were neither of  the  nation  of  Israel nor under  the  authority  of  an Israelite could not partake of this blessing, because this blessing came from obedience to the laws, precepts, and  principles of God.

Citing  their  deliverance from Egypt, Moses reminds the Israelites, "And you shall  remember that you were a bondman in the land of Egypt,  and the Lord  your God   redeemed  you: therefore I command you this thing  today"  (Deut.15:15 KJV).

Moses reminds the Israelites that the purpose of God's  law is to deliver people from slavery into freedom, just as God delivered them from Egyptian slavery  to  freedom.  The purpose of  the  law governing interest (and  the  purpose of the whole law)  is to bring individual and national freedom under God's care and rule.

Loans for Charitable Reasons

Should  a  person keep lending to someone who will not  repay  or   refuses to work?  God says that if a man will not support his  family,   he  is  worse than an infidel:

"But if any provide not  for  his   own, and especially for those of his own house, he has denied the faith,  and  is  worse  than an infidel" (1.Tim.5:8 KJV).

The principle here is that a person who is capable of earning his own  way and  does not,  should not be given assistance until his attitude changes.   The scriptures are abundant with examples of what God thinks of a lazy person,  and what the end result of physical and spiritual  laziness  is.  But  there are those  who,  because  of circumstances and real emergencies, cannot provide for  themselves or their  families. These are the people who are  worthy  of loans being given without interest or outright gifts, if their situation warrants it.

Some  could say that an unscrupulous person could use the law  of usury  to take advantage of the lender, which is absolutely right.  The  lender can be taken advantage of by  the  dishonest borrower. However,  we  must  remember  that  the  third  party involved  in  the transaction between the lender and borrower  is the Sovereign God who knows the thoughts,  intentions,  and motivations  of all people.  God inspired the Psalmist to  write: "The wicked borrows,  and pays not again; but the righteous shows  mercy, and gives" (Psa.37:21 KJV).

Just because a person is poor does not cancel his  responsibility to  pay  back what he owes if it is at all within his power to do so.

FORGIVENESS OF FRAUD

1.Corinthians 6:6-9 KJV

"But  brother  goes  to law with brother,  and  that  before  the unbelievers.  Now  therefore there is utterly a fault among  you, because  you go to law one with another.  Why do you  not rather take  wrong?  why  do  you  rather not suffer  yourselves  to  be defrauded?  No, you do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren. Know you not  that the  unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? . . ."

God wanted Israel to prosper and to be an example to  the other nations around them.  He wanted to show, through the example of  the  Israelites, that obedience to his  laws, precepts,  and principles would bring tremendous blessings.  During the reign  of  King  Solomon, Israel prospered and reached the zenith of physical wealth as a nation.  The people were very happy  and prosperous as long as they were in obedience to God.

THE PLEDGE OR LOAN COLLATERAL

Deuteronomy 24:10-13 KJV

"When  you do lend your brother any thing,  you shall not go into   his house to fetch his pledge.  You shall stand abroad,  and  the   man  to  whom you do lend shall bring out the pledge abroad  to   you. And if the man be poor, you shall not sleep with his pledge: In  any case you shall deliver him the pledge again when the  sun goes down, that he might sleep in his own raiment, and bless you: and it shall be righteousness to you before the Lord your God."

The  context of these scriptures is equity and fairness in a specific situation.  This text gives instructions to the lender  who is for some reason, concerned that the borrower will not repay him or return what is loaned.  Therefore,   he holds a valuable of the borrower  until whatever is loaned is paid back or  replaced.  The  lender is not allowed to enter the borrower's home to  procure  the pledge.  This insures the privacy of the borrower and prevents  a   multitude  of  other  problems that could arise from a concerned lender  being allowed to wander around the  borrower's   home. Moreover, when a lender follows these instructions (the letter of  the law), God counts it as righteousness to him.

Exodus 22:25-27

"If you lend money to any of my people with you that is poor, you shall not be to him as a creditor (usurer); neither shall you lay upon him interest (usury). If you take your neighbor's garment to  pledge,  you  shall restore it to him before the  sun  goes down:  for  that is his only covering,  it is his garment for his skin;  wherein shall he sleep? and it shall come to pass, when he cries to me, that I will hear; for I am gracious." (American  Revised Version 1901).

In this situation, the borrower is so poor that his only valuable possessions are the clothes on his back.  If all a  person has are the clothes on his back, he is very poor. In fact, he is  destitute  by  all civilized  standards. Because  of  this situation,  the  lender is even prevented from keeping the pledge overnight.  Here, God imposes upon the lender the Godly  attribute of  kindness  and  mercy. Moreover, God  says that, when the  lender  obeys  the injunction, it will be counted as a righteous act by him.

While  charity  is clearly intended in verses 25-27,  charity should  not be confused with a gift. Although it is  not  required,   a security pledge can be taken and held during the day to ensure that the borrower will not use it to  negotiate a second loan.  If  the borrower was trustworthy, no pledge would be required.  The  pledge or security was insurance  against failure to repay  or to work out the loan.  The charity in  this case  is not requiring the borrower to pay  interest on the loan.

Things Not to Be Taken as a Pledge

In the Books of Deuteronomy and Job there are references to situations where the taking  of a security pledge constitutes a sinful attitude on the part of  the lender.

"No  man  shall take the nether [mill] or the upper millstone  to   pledge: for he takes a man's life to pledge"  (Deut.24:6 KJV).

Here, we see that it is wrong to take a pledge of anything that someone is using to sustain their life or make their living.

"You  shall not pervert the judgment of the stranger,  nor of the   fatherless; nor take a widow's raiment to pledge" (Deut.24:17 KJV).

Eliphaz  accuses  Job of a sinful practice  by saying,

"Is not your  wickedness   great?  and  your lawlessness infinite?  For you  have  taken  a pledge from your brother for nothing,  and stripped the naked [the poor] of their clothing" (Job 22:5-6 KJV).

Speaking of the wicked Job says,

"They drive away the ass of the fatherless,  they  take the widow's ox for a pledge. . . They pluck the fatherless from the breast, and take a pledge of the poor" (Job 24:3, 9 KJV).

Clearly these  scriptures show that it is wrong to take certain things as a security pledge or to take advantage of those who are fallen into misfortune.

THE CHARITABLE LOAN

It is easy  to understand the implications of the usury prohibition concerning a  charitable loan, because the  lender faces  a sure  loss on his loan.  He bears the risks associated with loans to the impoverished because he is unable to charge interest and gets his goods returned in the future,  and future goods are  less valuable than goods in the present.   Moreover, the lender must forfeit the use of his goods over time without any compensation. Additionally, during inflationary times, the lender also forfeits purchasing power if it was a loan of money.  Therefore the lender bears several costs of the loan.  The lender clearly suffers a loss for the sake of a needy brother. This  loss is required by God  but it will be balanced by  other benefits to the lender.

If one perceives things in a purely physical sense and discounts  the influence of God,  the lender is truly the  loser.  However, one who lives under God's rule cannot  discount his involvement in the charitable loan, because God promises to  return  more than what is given away:

"You  shall  therefore keep the commandments,  and the  statutes,   and  the  judgments, which I command you this day,  to do  them.   Wherefore  it  shall  come  to pass,  if  you hearken  to  these judgments,  and keep,  and do them,  that the Lord your God shall   keep to you the covenant and the mercy which he swore to your fathers:   And  he  will love you,  and bless you,  and  multiply   you:  he will also bless the fruit of your womb,  and the   fruit of your  land,  your corn,  and your wine,  and  your  oil,  the   increase of your kine [cattle], and the flocks of your sheep, in the land which he swore to your fathers to give you.  You shall be blessed above all people:  there shall not be male or  female barren among you, or among your cattle" (Deut.7:11-14 KJV).

"He  that has pity upon the poor lends to the  Lord;  and  that   which he has given will he [God] pay him again" (Pro.19:17 KJV).

"He  is  ever merciful, and lends; and his seed is blessed" (Psa.37:26 KJV).

"A good man shows favor,  and   lends;  he will guide his affairs   with discretion" (Psa.112:5 KJV).

"Give to him that asks you, and from him that would borrow of you turn not you away" (Matt.5:42 KJV).

"For  if  you love them that love you,  what thank [reward]  have you?  for sinners also love those that love them.  And if you  do good  to  them that do good to you,  what thank  have you?   for sinners  also do even the same.  And if you lend to them of  whom you hope to receive,  what thank have you?  for sinners also lend to sinners,  to receive as much again. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and you shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind  to the unthankful and the evil.  Be you therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful" (Lk.6:32-36 KJV).

God says it is more blessed to give than to receive, because it shows that  one  has been blessed with an abundance so that one is able to lend to another, and that one has an attitude of love and self-sacrifice,  which  is an attribute of God.

LENDING FOR GREED

The fifth chapter of Nehemiah shows that many of  the poor Jews  had  borrowed  money to buy food because of a  drought  and   tribute (tax) payments to the king.  These people were  in  such dire  circumstances  that  they even mortgaged  their  lands  and   sold  their  children  into  slavery to buy food  and  pay  taxes (Nehe.5:1-5).

When  Nehemiah heard  of  this tragic state  of  events, he became very angry  and  condemned  the lenders  for  the  hardness  of their hearts and made them promise to  return the pledges to the debtors.

Nehemiah 5:7-13 KJV

"Then I consulted with myself,  and I rebuked the nobles, and the rulers,  and  said to them, You exact usury,  every one of his brother.   And  I set a great assembly against them.  And I said to them,  We after our ability have redeemed our brethren the Jews,  which were sold to the heathen;  and will you even  sell your  brethren?   or shall they be sold to us?  Then held they their peace, and found nothing to answer.

"Also I said,  It is not good that you do:  ought you not to walk in the fear of our God because of the reproach of the heathen our enemies?   I likewise,  and my brethren,  and my servants, might exact of them money and corn:   I pray you, let us leave off this usury.  Restore, I pray you, to them, even this day, their lands, their  vineyards,  their olive-yards,  and their houses, also the hundredth part of the money,  and of the corn,  the wine, and the oil, that you exact of them.

"Then said they,  We will restore them,  and will require nothing of them; so will we do as you say. Then I called the priests, and took  an  oath of them,  that they should do  according  to this promise.   Also I shook my lap,  and said, So God shake out every man  from his house, and from his labor,  that performs not this promise,  even thus be he shaken out,  and emptied.   And all the congregation said, Amen, and praised the Lord. And the people did according to this promise."

Jeremiah also reprimands his brethren for their  persecution  of him,  and  points to  his innocence of the crime  of  usury:

"Woe is me,  my mother, that you have born me a man of strife and a  man of contention to the whole earth!  I have neither lent  on   usury,  nor have men lent to me on usury;  yet every one of  them   does curse me" (Jer.15:10 KJV).

Other Mentions of Usury

"He that puts not out his money to usury, nor takes reward against the  innocent.  He  that does these things shall never  be  moved [waver, slip or fall]" (Psa.15:5 KJV).

"He  that by usury and unjust gain increases  his  substance,  he   shall gather it for him that will pity the poor" (Pro.28:8).

INVESTMENTS AND ASSET MANAGEMENT

Lending money at a reasonable  rate  of   interest  for  the purpose of business or trade is  different from  lending to the poor and needy  and it is  not  forbidden.  This  kind  of lending is referred to in the New Testament  as  a   perfectly understood and allowable practice.

In  Luke 19:12-23, there is a parable in which servants are  given charge  over certain amounts of money; some were given more  and some  were  given  less.  The point of the parable is  that  each person should use what God has given them to  produce profits  for him.  And those who produce nothing will be punished for their lack of effort. Notice what the master says to the servant with the poor attitude in reference to usury:  

"You knew that I was an austere man,  taking up that I laid not down, and reaping that I  did not sow:  Wherefore then gave not you my money  into  the bank, that at my coming I might have received mine own with usury [interest]?" (vs.22-23).

It seems that verse 23  sanctions usury and indeed it does sanction the act of making a profit  by wisely investing money in a profit  making venture.

Matthew 25:27 shows the same account of this parable, which clarifies that the collecting of usury is condoned for the purpose of making money.  Moreover, the taking of interest in a purely commercial investment  situation is nowhere forbidden in the Bible.

Investments  should never  be considered  an act of selfish lending.  Investments are purely a business function, which are made  purely for  gain of one type or another.  There must be a benefit for the lender or there would not be an incentive to make the investment.

THE MONEYCHANGERS AND PROFIT

Moneychangers were in the business  of  foreign  currency  exchange at the temple in Jerusalem. This situation came about, in part, because of an incorrect understanding and  perversion of a number of scriptures concerning the payment of the census and temple tax, offerings in currency,  and the second and third tithe. During the annual observances and commanded assemblies, Jerusalem was flooded with visiting Israelites and Jews. Because of a belief that only Jewish coins could be offered to God at the temple, the various coins from many lands were converted to the proper coinage by the moneychangers who performed this service at a profit:

"And  Jesus  went into the temple of God,  and cast out all  them   that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables   of the moneychangers,  and the seats of them that sold doves,    And said  to them,  It is written,  My house shall be called    the house of prayer; but you have made it a den of thieves" (Matt.21:12-13 KJV).

What  was  their  crime?   Profiting  from  foreign exchange  transactions is an old and perfectly legitimate profession.  Why, did Jesus act the way he did toward these moneychangers?   The reason almost certainly lies in the location of  their  tables in the outer court of  the temple. It was not the profit making nature of money changing that Jesus was concerned about, it was where the business was being transacted and the manner in which it was being performed that was wrong.

"It  is  written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but you have made it a den of thieves" (Matt.21:13 KJV).

Making a Profit is Not Wrong

In  the parable of the talents (Matt.25:14-30), Jesus teaches his disciples a very important lesson about spiritual growth by using a  physical thing (money) as an example. He mentions the existing practice  of  exchanging one currency for another for  a  profit,  which was purely a business  deal and  had nothing to do with making a loan.  Moreover, Jesus  did  not condemn this practice. The lesson he teaches to those  who  are called  to  his  service is that they must be doing his business while  he  is in heaven.   And if one  is  timid  about stepping  out  and using  his  particular God-given  talent to do a work for God, that servant should put  that  talent under the direction of another person, so that he will still be able to be a profitable servant.

Luke 19:11-28 is basically the same parable with the same general theme  about being a diligent servant and increasing the    gifts God has given. The King James Version uses the word   usury, but other  versions use the word interest.  However,  the    original Greek word used is 'tokos', which means 'interest on   money loaned'  (as produce).  In no way can the word 'tokos' be   used to  infer anything but a gain above what is originally   being submitted in the transaction.

From the biblical perspective there is nothing wrong with making a profit from lending goods or money. However, there is clearly something wrong with profiting from those whom  God considers worthy of compassionate treatment.

THE SPIRIT OF THE LAW

Jesus  taught  the same exact thing about usury to his disciples that he had taught as the Creator God to the ancient Israelites. The only difference was  that, as the Messiah, he explained the law's true intent and purpose and magnified it as the prophet Isaiah said he would:  

"The  Lord is  well pleased for his [Christ's] righteousness' sake;  he will magnify the law, and make it honorable" (Isa.42:21 KJV).

Notice this magnification of the law of usury in Luke 6:33-36:

"And  if  you  do good to them which do good to  you  what  thank [reward] have you?  for sinners also do even the same. And if you lend  to them of whom you hope to receive,  what thank have  you?  for sinners also lend to sinners,  to receive as much again.  But love  your enemies,  and do good,  and lend,  hoping for  nothing again;  and  your  reward will be great, and you  shall  be  the children  of the Highest:  for he is kind to the unthankful and to the evil.  Be you therefore merciful,  as your Father is  also merciful."

Jesus shows how the  royal law   of   love applies to the law of lending (usury): "You shall love your neighbor  as yourself"  (Matt.22:39 KJV).

Jesus shows what kind of  attitude one should have and what kind of example one  should  be.  He says to  be merciful  just like God the Father is merciful.  This is what the law of usury is  about; it is about being concerned, kind, compassionate, and merciful to those who are less fortunate  than yourself.  The  law of usury is encompassed within the royal law of love.

God  the  Father  and Jesus Christ are  the  personification  and perfection  of love.  The violation of the usury law demands  the death  penalty  because it violates the principal of love. And those who lack this Godly attribute cannot inherit eternal life. Those who will become eternal must have this attribute to become like God, because we will be like him in the resurrection.

"Beloved,  now are we the sons of God, and it does not yet appear what  we shall be:  but we know that,  when he shall  appear,  we shall be like him. . ." (1.Jn.3:2 KJV).

Love Made Perfect

"And  we  have  known and believed the love that God has  to  us.   God is love;  and he that dwells in love dwells in God,  and  God   in  him.  Herein  is  our love made perfect,  that  we may  have boldness in the day of judgment:  because as he is,  so are we in   this world.  There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear: because fear has torment. He that fears is not made perfect in love. We love him, because he first loved us.  If a man say, I love God, and hates his brother, he is a liar: for he that loves not his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not  seen?  And this commandment have we from him,  That he who loves God love his brother also" (1.Jn.4:16-21)

THE SEPARATION OF THE SHEEP AND THE GOATS

Matthew 25:31-46

"When  the Son of man shall come in his glory,  and all the  holy angels with him,  then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And  before him shall be gathered all nations:  and  heshall separate them one from another,  as a shepherd divides his  sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.

"Then shall the King say to them on his right hand,  Come,  you blessed  of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:  For I was hungry,  and you gave  me meat:   I was thirsty,  and you gave me drink:  I was a stranger, and you took me in: Naked,  and you clothed me:  I was sick, and you  visited me:  I was in prison,  and you came to  me.   Then shall  the righteous answer him,  saying,  Lord,  when saw we you hungry,  and fed you? or thirsty, and gave you drink? When saw we you a stranger,  and took you in? or naked, and clothed you?   Or when saw we you sick,  or in prison,  and came to you?  And the King  shall  answer and say to them,  Verily I  say  to  you, Inasmuch  as  you have done it to one of the least of these  my brethren, you have done it to me.

"Then shall he say also to them on the left hand,  Depart  from me,  you  cursed,  into everlasting fire,  prepared for the devil and his angels:  For I was hungry, and you gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and you gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and you took me not in: naked,  and you clothed me not:  sick, and in prison, and you visited me not.  Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord,  when  saw we you hungry,  or athirst,  or a  stranger,  or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister to you? Then shall he answer them,  saying, Verily I say to you, Inasmuch as you  did it not to one of the least of these,  you did it not  to me.  And these shall go away into everlasting    punishment:  but the righteous into life eternal."

In  this  parable of the separation of the sheep and  the  goats   (i.e.,  the  righteous  and the unrighteous),   Christ illustrates  the royal law of love.   He shows  that  doing  good  showing kindness  to  other humans  is  the  same  as   showing  kindness  to him.  The bottom line  is  that Christ   equated  kindness  toward  those in need  as  righteousness  and unkindness as evil. Moreover, kindness will be rewarded, and unkind- ness will be punished.

BUSINESS AND CHARITY

A Christian  must understand the distinctions between  business and charity.    Business involves making a profit for the investor.  Charity  involves  the  transfer  of  scarce  economic resources  to another with no thought of it being returned (Matt.10:8;  Lk.6:35). Business  is not charity,  and charity is not  business.  Charity should  be carefully administered in a business-like manner with honest accounting and budgeting.

No one should call themselves a Christian and  a steward of God's word  if one seals off business from charity  in  an  absolute   manner. Businesses  are supposed to earn profits, if they are to be successful.  However,  ruthless  competition that is utterly devoid of  mercy  is condemned by God's word.  The fact that Jesus told a rich young man to sell all of his goods and give everything   to the poor does not stand as the requirement for every  steward.

God may command a person to give up all that he  has in order to follow him, but this does  not imply  that God is sanctioning economic equity among all people or continued economic ruin because of the inability of another person to cope with the  challenges of life. God does not want the elect to be  morally ruthless in business, nor does he want them to be  morally  wasteful  in charity.

Some  say  that  a  Christian cannot  borrow  because  of  Paul's teaching in Romans 13:8:   "Owe no man any thing, but to love one  another:   for  he  that loves another has  fulfilled  the law." However, by reading the beginning of this chapter, it is apparent that the context of this chapter is being in subjection to civil  officials  and  civil  tax laws.   The  New Testament  in Modern Speech translates the first  part  of  this verse as:   "Leave no debt unpaid except the standing debt of mutual  love. . ."  This seems to be the more accurate  translation, because it parallels and supports other scriptures  that speak of paying one's debts. Paul simply states that it is important to pay debts.

THE ROYAL LAW OF LOVE

"For  this,  You shall not commit adultery,  You shall not  kill,   You  shall  not  steal,  You shall not bear  false  witness,  You   shall  not covet;  and if there be any other commandment, it  is   briefly  comprehended  in this saying,  namely,  You  shall  love   your neighbor as yourself" (Rom.13:9 KJV).

"Give  to  him that asks you,  and from him that would borrow  of   you turn not you away" (Matt.5:42 KJV).

CHRISTIANS AND FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS

Is a Christian allowed to borrow money or anything else at interest? Yes,  a Christian may borrow at interest.  However,  the  problem   arises  when  one borrows too much and places himself in debt to the  point of being a slave to the lender.  Although this is  not  a study about how to conduct one's financial  affairs,  it  is  a good practice when purchasing anything, to  obtain  total  ownership at the outset of the transaction.   This  releases one from any future obligations  and  burdens  of  payment. One  must realize that banks are in business to  make  a   profit.  They  are not charitable organizations;  therefore,  they  have no mercy on those who cannot repay their debt.

Some  professing  Christian  groups who have a  legalistic view of Biblical law have  come  to believe that  a  Christian  should  not participate in the existing financial systems of this world  and that  having a checking or an interest-bearing account in one  of these  institutions is sin.  Although there is no doubt that this world's current banking and monetary systems  are not operated in a godly manner, from the biblical perspective, there  is  no  sin attached to participating in this world's financial system or borrowing money  from  a lending  institution. But,  for a  Christian  to  find  it necessary  to  borrow  from  a secular source  because  of  acute necessity or poverty is a condemnation upon those who profess  to be Christians, because  God's law requires those of the brotherhood to care for their own.

Having  a checking or interest-bearing account in no way violates the  biblical  law of usury.  Of course,  if one  has  individual concerns  about  the privacy of his financial  matters  and  does   not wish to be associated with a   financial institution that is  his business.

THE POOR

Some people think that most poor people are  poor  because  of   some  fault  of their own, which could very well be  true  in some cases.   However, many people are poor, because of circumstances beyond  their  control,  such  as  the  death  of  the  provider,   injury,  physical defects, job loss, or disabilities. These and many other circumstances beyond one's  control  can cause a person to be poor  or to fall into poverty.  A person in such  a  state must not to be shunned or scorned,  but  should  be helped so that he can overcome his particular situation. The apostle  John  echoed God's desire for his spiritual children when he said:   

"Beloved, I  wish  above all things that you may prosper and be in  health, even as your soul prospers" (3.Jn.v2).

THE LAW OF USURY TODAY?

Does the  law of usury apply today?  For  the  answer  to this question one must  answer  a foundational  question  about the law in general and  whether  or   not one called to be a child of God  must obey the laws of God.

If  one  admits  that the Father's elect children are a part  of  spiritual  Israel   (Heb.8:8-10; 1.Pet.2:25), and that God's law is spiritual as well as physical (Rom.7:12-14),   it  follows that a  law that  is  not specifically  canceled or suspended by God or physical circumstances (e.g., destruction of the temple has suspended the sacrificial system) is still in force and should be obeyed. See our studies about the law of God and its application today.

Deuteronomy  15:4  states that the law of usury will be in  force for  Israelites  until there are no more poor among  them.  Are there still physical and spiritual Israelites that are poor? Yes, there are!

When  a  contention  arose among the disciples  about  what  they considered  a  waste of valuable ointment that a  woman  anointed Jesus with,  he says,: "For the poor always you have with you; but me  you have not always" (Jn.12:8 KJV).   Because Jesus said the poor will always be with us, will this law ever be canceled? It will be canceled,  but before its cancellation the whole world will go through some very traumatic events spoken of in the books of Daniel and Revelation.

THE CHRISTIAN POSITION ON USURY

True Christians are aliens, strangers, and sojourners in this world.  A true Christian  is not of this world  or its systems—economic,  political, or otherwise.  The elect are of the Family and Kingdom God and must be separate  from  this  world's corruptness.

"Can two walk together, except they be  agreed?" (Am.3:3).  Can the elect of God enter into the corrupt practices of  today's society and take advantage of the poor?  No! If one wants to please God the Father and Jesus Christ, this is not acceptable. Therefore, one cannot make a  loan to a poor brother in Christ and attach interest  to it.  It  would  be  far  better to make a gift  of  the  loan if possible.

For  a true Christian to loan money at interest to a poor person or  a   person  in  need is breaking the royal law of love and   the  law  of usury in both the letter and the spirit of the law. The  law  of usury  was not written for a  society devoid of God's law.  It was written for a society of kings, priests and  a holy people who have love and  compassion  and   exhibit the very attributes of God.

THE LAW OF USURY TO BECOME OBSOLETE

When there is no longer a  need  for a law, it becomes obsolete. This is what was referred to  in Deuteronomy  15:4:  "Except  when  there are no more  poor  among you."  There will no longer be a need for the law of usury when all of  humanity have had their opportunity for salvation and the Kingdom of God rules over humans who have been made into spirit-beings:

"And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away;  and there was no more sea. And I  John  saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying,  Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men,  and he will dwell with them,  and they shall be his people,  and God himself shall be with them,  and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain:   for the former things are passed  away.  And he that sat upon the throne said,  Behold,  I make all things new.  And he said to me,  Write:  for these words are true and faithful.  And he said to me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.   I will give to him that is athirst of  the fountain of the water of life freely.  He that  overcomes shall inherit all things;  and I will be his God, and he shall be my son" (Rev.21:1-7). For details concerning this climactic event see our study about the Festival of the Eighth Day.

CONCLUSION

It  should be obvious from this short  study  into  the  law  of   usury  that the  God family  is extremely  concerned about  all of  humanity—rich or poor. Moreover, our heavenly Father is mostly concerned about  our spiritual well-being.  Physical  objects  are secondary; they are as temporary as we are. The things of concern  are those that can be taken into eternity.  And these things are spiritual in nature; they are the godly character, attitude, and love that come through obedience to God's law and the precepts and principles  that surround this law.

The law of usury is actually about building the godly character trait of concern and  love  for others. Moreover, God makes the following promise to those who build this godly character:

"For as it  is written,  Eye has not seen,  nor ear heard,  neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love him" (1.Cor.2:9; Isa.64:4).

God the Father offers  everlasting,  abundant life and more to those who love,  respect, and obey him.  The choice is  yours. Choose life!

By B.L. Cocherell, file b4w9