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by Ricardo Lee
Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2003 at 4:18 PM
Bush foreign policy guided by Conservative Israeli Likud Party: What does the Bible say about totalitarian capitalism and economic justice?
Micah 6:12 - Her rich men are violent; her people are liars, and their tongues speak deceitfully.
Jeremiah 22:17 - "But your eyes and your heart are set only on dishonest gain, on shedding innocent blood and on oppression and extortion."
Ezekiel 45:9 - The Sovereign LORD declares, “Enough, O princes of Israel! Give up your violence and oppression, do what is just and right, and stop dispossessing my people.”
Amos 2:7 – They trample on the heads of the poor as upon the dust of the ground and deny justice to the oppressed.
Deuteronomy. 28:33 - A nation whom you have not known shall eat the fruit of your land and the produce of your labor, and you shall be only oppressed and crushed continually.
Job 35:9 - "Men cry out under a load of oppression; they plead for relief from the arm of the powerful.
James 5:1-6 - Go now, rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. 2Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten. 3Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire.
The World economic system is one of economic enslavement:
Ephesians 6:12 - For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
1 Corinthians 7:21 - Were you a slave when you were called? Don't let it trouble you - although if you can gain your freedom, do so.
John 19:6-18 - As soon as the chief priests and their officials saw him, they shouted, "Crucify! Crucify!" But Pilate answered, "You take him and crucify him. As for me, I find no basis for a charge against him." The Jews insisted, "We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God." When Pilate heard this, he was even more afraid, and he went back inside the palace. "Where do you come from?" he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer. "Do you refuse to speak to me?" Pilate said. "Don't you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?" Jesus answered, "You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin." From then on, Pilate tried to set Jesus free, but the Jews kept shouting, "If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar. Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar." When Pilate heard this, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judge's seat at a place known as the Stone Pavement (which in Aramaic is Gabbatha). It was the day of Preparation of Passover Week, about the sixth hour. "Here is your king," Pilate said to the Jews. But they shouted, "Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!" "Shall I crucify your king?" Pilate asked. "We have no king but Caesar," the chief priests answered. Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified. So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). Here they crucified him, and with him two others--one on each side and Jesus in the middle.
Proverbs 31:9 - Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy."
The classic Christmas carol, “Oh Night Divine!” contains the lyrics:
And in his Name all oppression shall cease
Christ... is the Lord
James 2:5-6 - Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? 6But you have insulted the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones dragging you into court?
In the Hebrew Scriptures, aka Old Testament, the Lord rebukes the rich Israeli ruling class.
As a chosen man of God, Solomon lamented in the book of Ecclesiastes about all the power being rested in the hands of a few:
Ecclesiastes 4:1 - Again I (Solomon) looked and saw all the oppression that was taking place under the sun: I saw the tears of the oppressed, and they have no comforter; power was on the side of their oppressors.
Bank’s economic oppression
Contrary to popular misconception, the Bible does not prohibit the charging of interest; it is usury, or excessive interest, that is condemned. Synonyms of the word usury include: usurp, excessive interest, avarice, bloodsucking, thievery. The following scripture speaks of the dastardly financial dealings of the ungodly Israelites in Jerusalem in Biblical days, which is virtually identical to the way modern-day banks deal with us today. As the saying goes, “The more things change, the more they remain the same.”
Ezekiel 22:12 - In you they accept bribes to shed blood; you take usury and excessive interest and make unjust gain from your neighbors by extortion. And you have forgotten me, declares the Sovereign LORD.
Conversely, the Hebrew scriptures directs financial institutions how they should lend money:
Ezekiel 18:17 - He withholds his hand from sin and does not lend at usury or excessive interest. He keeps my laws and follows my decrees.
Millions of Americans are inundated with tens of thousands of dollars of credit card debt, often at 18- 22-percent interest; which effectively makes them economic slaves to the mega-banks. These banks are part of the ruthless World Bank and International Monetary Fund that the Bible talks about in the last days.
2 Timothy 3:1-2 - But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money.
Nehemiah 5:10-11 - I and my brothers and my men are also lending the people money and grain. But let the exacting of usury stop! 11Give back to them immediately their fields, vineyards, olive groves and houses, and also the usury you are charging them--the hundredth part of the money, grain, new wine and oil."
Psalm 15:5 - He who lends his money without usury and does not accept a bribe against the innocent will never be shaken.
Proverbs 28:6 - Better a poor man whose walk is blameless than a rich man whose ways are perverse.
Nehemiah 5:7 - I pondered them in my mind and then accused the nobles and officials. I told them, "You are exacting usury from your own countrymen!" So I called together a large meeting to deal with them.
The Bible commands us to have mercy on those who are working their hardest to try to pay off a debt, not crush them with excessive interest and penalty fees.
Matthew 18:26-35 - "The servant fell on his knees before him. 'Be patient with me,' he begged, 'and I will pay back everything.' 27The servant's master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go. 28"But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii. He grabbed him and began to choke him. 'Pay back what you owe me!' he demanded. 29"His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, 'Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.' 30"But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31When the other servants saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed and went and told their master everything that had happened. 32"Then the master called the servant in. 'You wicked servant,' he said, 'I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33Shouldn't you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?' 34In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. 35"This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart."
Satan tempted Jesus by offering him all the wealth of this world.
Matthew 4:8-10 - Again, the devil took him up onto an exceedingly high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world, and their glory; 9and he said to him, “All these things will I give you if you will fall down and worship me.” 10Then Jesus responded, “Away with you, Satan: for it is written, You shall worship the LORD thy God, and him only shall you serve.” Then the devil left Jesus, and angels came to minister unto him.
Time and again the Bible refers to pride as a snare of the devil – instructing us to always be humble. Pride is the wrong estimation of yourself. Humility is the correct estimation of yourself.
Philippians 2:3 - Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.
Mark 10:43 - Whoever desires to become great among you must be your servant.
Proverbs 11:2 - 2When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.
Proverbs 16:18 - Pride cometh before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.
Proverbs 22:1 - A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.
Over-ambition, Wealth acquisition
Mark 8:36 - For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
Ecclesiastes 4:4 - And I saw that all labor and all achievement spring from man's envy of his neighbor. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.
God’s law says the best way to get is to give! Being generous with their money, time, and effort is the only way a true Christian can comport themselves.
Luke 6:38 - Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that you mete out it shall be measured back unto you.
Proverbs 8:13 - The fear of the LORD is to hate evil; pride, arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.
Contrary to popular misconception, money is not the root of all evil, but the love of money is:
1 Tim. 6:9-10 - Those who determine to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men into destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
Deuteronomy. 8:17 - You may say to yourself, My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me. But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth.
Revelation 3:17-18 - You say, 'I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' But you do not realize that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked. 18I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; white garments, that you may be clothed; that the shame of your nakedness not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with salve, that you may see.
Well-to-do are commanded to be generous and grateful to God for their financial blessings.
Matthew 25:44-46 - "They also will answer, 'LORD, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?' 45"He will reply, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.' 46"Then they will go away to everlasting punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."
Those who have been financially blessed owe the glory to God. Ultimately, all money is owned by God; we are just temporary stewards of it. God obligates the financially endowed to afford the poor an opportunity to share in their wealth.
Proverbs 28:27 - He who gives to the poor will lack nothing, but he who hides his eyes to them has many curses.
Proverbs 14:31 - He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.
Luke 16:13 - "No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money."
Jesus admonished a rich young ruler as follows:
Luke 18:22 - "You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me."
Proverbs 13:18 - He who ignores discipline comes to poverty and shame, but whoever heeds correction is honored.
As a matter of fact, Christians obtaining wealth is actually good provided that it results in the subsequent blessing of the kingdom of God.
2 Corinthians. 9:11 - You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.
1 John 3:17 - Whosoever has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no compassion on him, how can the love of God abide in him?
1 Tim. 6:17-18 - Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.
The Lord condemned the nation of Israel for not sowing their money into the church, and promises that if they do, blessings would abound.
Malachi 3:9-10 - Would a man rob God? You have robbed me in tithes and offerings. You are under a curse--the whole nation of you--because you have robbed me. 10Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the LORD Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the windows of heaven and pour out for you such a blessing that there will not be room enough to contain it.
Use our money for education and health care, not for bombs to murder people.
Hosea 4:6 - My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge. "Because you have rejected knowledge, I also reject you as my priests; because you have ignored the law of your God, I also will ignore your children.
John 8:32 - Jesus said, “And you shall know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Give a man a fish and he eats for a day; teach him how to fish and he eats for a lifetime. The best way to help the poor is to educate them and give them job opportunities, not merely give them handouts, which they will quickly consume and then be just as poor as they were.
Deuteronomy. 6:5-7 - Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. 6These words that I command you today shall be in your heart. 7Teach them diligently to your children, talk about them when you sit down in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you awake.
Psalm 94:12-13 - Blessed is the man you discipline, O LORD, the man you teach from your law; 13you grant him relief from days of trouble, until the pit is dug for the wicked.
Bible requires a work ethic
God’s law requires all able-bodied and able-minded to work, not go on welfare:
2 Thessalonians. 3:8-10 - 8We did not eat anyone’s bread free of charge, but labored all day and night, that we might not be a burden to any of you, 9not because we do not have authority, but to make ourselves an example of how you should follow us. 10This we commanded you, that if anyone will not work, neither shall they eat.
Proverbs 10:4 - Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth.
Proverbs 20:13 - Do not love sleep or you will grow poor; stay awake and you will have food to spare.
Proverbs 23:21 - For drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags.
Proverbs 6:9-11 - How long will you slumber, O sluggard? when will you arise from your sleep? 10A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep– 11So shall poverty come on you like a prowler.
Deuteronomy. 10:18 - The LORD defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the alien, giving him food and clothing.
Ephesians 4:28 - He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.
Vengeance comes via the Lord, God will recompense the rich oppressors.
Deuteronomy 26:7 - Then we cried out to the LORD, the God of our fathers, and the LORD heard our voice and saw our misery, toil and oppression.
Romans 12:19 - Vengeance is mine; I will recompense, says the LORD.
Isaiah 19:20 - It will be a sign and witness to the LORD Almighty in the land of Egypt. when they cry out to the Lord because of their oppressors, he will send them a savior and defender, and he will rescue them.
This savior was Jesus.
Judges 6:9 - I snatched you from the power of Egypt and from the hand of all your oppressors. I drove them from before you and gave you their land.
Isaiah 49:26 - I will make your oppressors eat their own flesh; they will be drunk on their own blood, as with wine. Then all mankind will know that I, the LORD, am your savior, your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob."
Zephaniah 3:1 - Woe to the city of oppressors, rebellious and defiled!
Psalm 12:5 - "Because of the oppression of the weak and the groaning of the needy, I will now arise," says the Lord. "I will protect them from those who malign them."
Psalm 72:14 - He will rescue them from oppression and violence, for precious is their blood in his sight.
Psalm 119:134 - Redeem me from the oppression of men, that I may obey your precepts.
Jeremiah 6:6 - This is what the Lord Almighty says: "Cut down the trees and build siege ramps against Jerusalem. This city must be punished; it is filled with oppression.
Could this mean that the United States is about to be punished in the same way? It’s interesting how history repeats itself!
Acts 7:34 - I have indeed seen the oppression of my people in Egypt. I have heard their groaning and have come down to set them free. Now come, I will send you back to Egypt.'
Proverbs 11:4 - Wealth is worthless in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death.
Luke 12:48 - From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.
Woe to the Rich who disobey God’s commands; for it will be difficult for them to get to heaven. For those who have hoarded riches for themselves to the utter disregard of others and have not heeded God’s word, the Bible says calamity will come upon them.
Mark 10:23, 25 - Jesus said to his disciples, "How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!" 25It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."
And this scripture written 2,000 years ago is every bit as applicable to modern-day rich oppressors as it was in Israel back then.
This scripture seems to apply very well to President George Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld, and Bush Foreign Policy Advisors Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, and Lewis Libby who all have strong ties to the Likud Party of Israel, the party of Ariel Sharon and Benjamin Netanyahu. This same group also controls the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and major oil companies of the world. They consistently support military actions and the ruthless crushing of defenseless oil-rich countries for the simple purpose of egocentric imperialism and obsessive wealth control and accumulation.
James 5:1-6 - Come now, you rich people, weep and wail for the miseries that shall come upon you. 2Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten. 3Your gold and silver is corroded; and their corrosion shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh like fire. You have heaped up treasure in the last days. 4Behold, the wages of the laborers who have reaped down your fields, which you have withheld by fraud, cry out – and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the LORD of Sabaoth. 5You have lived in wanton indulgence, luxury, and pleasure on the earth; you have fattened your hearts, as in a day of slaughter. 6You have condemned and murdered innocent men, who were not resisting you.
Luke 16:22-26 - And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham's side: the rich man also died, and was buried; 23And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and see Abraham from afar, and Lazarus in his bosom. 24And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. 25But Abraham said, Son, remember that you received good things in your lifetime, and likewise Lazarus bad things: but now he is comforted, and you are tormented. 26And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.'
1 Corinthians 12:25 - Let there be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other.
So if the Bible supports any type of “welfare,” it should help the working poor more than anyone else. Neither of the two dominant political parties in the United States seem particularly concerned with the plight of the working class; the Republicans spend too much time sympathizing with the rich oppressors while the Democrats support too much governmental dependency which forbids people to work and be productive like the Bible commands.
Admonishment to Employers
The Bible commands not only that all work to the best of their ability, but also that they be justly compensated for their labor.
I Timothy 5:18 - The laborer is worthy of his wages.
Proverbs 22:22 - Do not exploit the poor because they are poor and do not crush the needy in court.
Middle- and lower-class working people are being financially crushed by financial institutions more than ever with exorbitant interest rates, penalty fees, and many other forms of financial oppression.
What is the solution to bridge this divide?
People of all religions, races and economic strata have to begin to adhere to all Biblical principles more earnestly, not selectively choose only certain principles that they feel benefit themselves, their race, and their social class. The principles set out in the Old Testament (Hebrew Scriptures) are very similar to the principles of the New Testament, so any Jew heeding the Hebrew Scriptures would not significantly differ from a Christian heeding the New Testament. The problem is: disobedience. Until they do this, they are living with unrepentant sin, and are risking God’s eternal condemnation.
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