The purpose of this article is to demonstrate the importance of why we should remain separate from the unclean things of the commercial world. Our Father has made it clear that we cannot serve both Him and mammon (wealth, riches, money, etc.). When men are pursuing riches, or "a living," they will often times do whatever it takes to get what they "want." It is that pursuit that we must avoid.
Merchants are condemned in scripture, as will be seen, because their mode of commerce not only involves thievery and war, but it also creates a form of slavery for those who are "captured" by it. Governments regulate all business and corporations, because commerce is thievery. Governments regulate the commerce of the merchants, as well as their "customers," in an attempt to keep the theivery and slavery at a manageable level. That is why those who engage in such activity are "presumed" guilty until proven innocent, because they are guilty according to God's Law.
Capitalism is a license to steal; the government simply regulates who steals and how much. Most of the governmental codes, rules, regulations, ordinances, statutes, public policies, etc., are designed to regulate those partaking of the ways of the lex mercatoria, the Law Merchant. That law, as distinguished from God's Law, is a private law.
The law recognizes the fact that men will naturally overstate the value and qualities of the articles which they have to sell. Kimball v. Bangs, 141 Mass. 323, Morton. C.J. ; Mooney v. Miller, 102 id. 220; Gordon v. Butler, 105 U.S. 557, Southern Development Co. v. Silva, 125 id. 256.
The world continually encourages everyone to join with and obey the Law Merchant. It continually offers the benefits of the world. When you look to man for your benefits, a duty attaches to you and man becomes your lord, lording over you. The "bait and switch" of the crafty serpent is this: the resulting duty greatly outweighs the benefit received! They can only give you a portion of that which they take from you to begin with! So you end up with less, and you give them more power because they're keeping a large percentage of it. And remember, the beast has no power except that which it is given by its obedient servants.
However, by not partaking of the commercial benefits that the world offers, we are not submitting ourselves to those particular laws governing commercial activity. Therefore, those laws do not apply to those who are not engaged in their mode of commercial activity.
To make a clarification, if God blesses us with riches that's one thing, but if we chase after riches that's another. Our life is not to revolve around gain, but around Christ. Why chase things that are temporal which will be lost anyway? We are to pursue a relationship with God, letting our soul be after Him, and He will provide everything we need as we walk in His ways (Matthew 6:30, Luke 12:28, Philippians 4:19, Psalms 34:10).
The following passages will reveal how evil the pursuit of money, wealth, riches, credit, interest, borrowing, and benefits really are.
Rich men and money
Job 21:13, "They spend their days in wealth, and in a moment go down to the grave." Job 27:19-23, "The rich man shall lie down, but he shall not be gathered: he openeth his eyes, and he is not. Terrors take hold on him as waters, a tempest stealeth him away in the night. The east wind carrieth him away, and he departeth: and as a storm hurleth him out of his place. For God shall cast upon him, and not spare: he would fain flee out of his hand. Men shall clap their hands at him, and shall hiss him out of his place." Job 31:25,28, "If I rejoiced because my wealth was great, and because mine hand had gotten much; This also were an iniquity to be punished by the judge: for I should have denied the God that is above." Psalms 49:6-7, "They that trust in their wealth, and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches; None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him:" Psalms 52:5-7, "God shall likewise destroy thee for ever, he shall take thee away, and pluck thee out of thy dwelling place, and root thee out of the land of the living. Selah. The righteous also shall see, and fear, and shall laugh at him: Lo, this is the man that made not God his strength; but trusted in the abundance of his riches, and strengthened himself in his wickedness." Psalms 62:10, "Trust not in oppression, and become not vain in robbery: if riches increase, set not your heart upon them." Psalms 73:12, "Behold, these are the ungodly, who prosper in the world; they increase in riches." Proverbs 1:18-19, "And they lay wait for their own blood; they lurk privily for their own lives. So are the ways of every one that is greedy of gain; which taketh away the life of the owners thereof." Proverbs 3:13-14, "Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold." Proverbs 11:4, "Riches profit not in the day of wrath: but righteousness delivereth from death." Proverbs 11:28, "He that trusteth in his riches shall fall: but the righteous shall flourish as a branch." Proverbs 13:7, "There is that maketh himself rich, yet hath nothing: there is that maketh himself poor, yet hath great riches." Proverbs 14:20-21, "The poor is hated even of his own neighbour: but the rich hath many friends. He that despiseth his neighbour sinneth: but he that hath mercy on the poor, happy is he." Proverbs 15:6, "In the house of the righteous is much treasure: but in the revenues of the wicked is trouble." Proverbs 15:16, "Better is little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and trouble therewith." Proverbs 15:27, "He that is greedy of gain troubleth his own house; but he that hateth gifts shall live." Proverbs 16:8, "Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues without right." Proverbs 18:11, "The rich man's wealth is his strong city, and as an high wall in his own conceit." Proverbs 18:23, "The poor useth intreaties; but the rich answereth roughly." Proverbs 19:4, "Wealth maketh many friends; but the poor is separated from his neighbour." Proverbs 21:6, "The getting of treasures by a lying tongue is a vanity tossed to and fro of them that seek death." Proverbs 22:1, "A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold." Proverbs 22:7, "The rich ruleth over the poor," Proverbs 22:16, "He that oppresseth the poor to increase his riches, and he that giveth to the rich, shall surely come to want." Proverbs 23:4, "Labour not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom." Proverbs 28:6, "Better is the poor that walketh in his uprightness, than he that is perverse in his ways, though he be rich." Proverbs 28:11, "The rich man is wise in his own conceit; but the poor that hath understanding searcheth him out." Proverbs 28:20, "A faithful man shall abound with blessings: but he that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent." Proverbs 28:22, "He that hasteth to be rich hath an evil eye, and considereth not that poverty shall come upon him." Ecclesiastes 1:3, "What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun?" Ecclesiastes 2:11, "Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun." Ecclesiastes 3:9, "What profit hath he that worketh in that wherein he laboureth?" Ecclesiastes 5:16, "...and what profit hath he that hath laboured for the wind?" Ecclesiastes 7:12, "For wisdom is a defence, and money is a defence: but the excellency of knowledge is, that wisdom giveth life to them that have it." Isaiah 55:1-2, "Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness." Isaiah 56:11, "Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter." Jeremiah 5:26-27, "For among my people are found wicked men: they lay wait, as he that setteth snares; they set a trap, they catch men. As a cage is full of birds, so are their houses full of deceit: therefore they are become great, and waxen rich." Jeremiah 17:11, "As the partridge sitteth on eggs, and hatcheth them not; so he that getteth riches, and not by right, shall leave them in the midst of his days, and at his end shall be a fool." Jeremiah 48:7, "For because thou hast trusted in thy works and in thy treasures, thou shalt also be taken:" Jeremiah 49:4, "… for Ai is spoiled:...O backsliding daughter…that trusted in her treasures," Jeremiah 50:37, "...a sword is upon her treasures; and they shall be robbed." Jeremiah 51:13, "O thou that dwellest upon many waters, abundant in treasures, thine end is come, and the measure of thy covetousness." Ezekiel 28:4-10, "… thou hast gotten thee riches, and hast gotten gold and silver into thy treasures: By thy…traffick hast thou increased thy riches, and thine heart is lifted up because of thy riches: Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD;…I will bring strangers upon thee…and they shall draw their swords against the…They shall bring thee down to the pit, and thou shalt die… Wilt thou yet say before him that slayeth thee, I am God? but thou shalt be a man, and no God, in the hand of him that slayeth thee. Thou shalt die…by the hand of strangers: for I have spoken it, saith the Lord GOD." Hosea 13:15, "...he shall spoil the treasure of all pleasant vessels." Micah 3:11, "The heads thereof judge for reward, and the priests thereof teach for hire, and the prophets thereof divine for money: yet will they lean upon the LORD, and say, Is not the LORD among us? none evil can come upon us." Micah 6:12, "For the rich men thereof are full of violence, and the inhabitants thereof have spoken lies, and their tongue is deceitful in their mouth." Matthew 6:19-21, "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." Matthew 6:24, "No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon (riches)." Matthew 19:21, "Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me." Matthew 19:23-24, "Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God." Mark 4:19, "And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful." Mark 6:8, "And [Jesus] commanded them that they should take nothing for their journey, save a staff only; no scrip, no bread, no money in their purse:" (Luke 9:3). Mark 8:36-37, "For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" Mark 10:21, "Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me." Mark 10:23-25, "And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!…how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God." Mark 14:10-11, "And Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, went unto the chief priests, to betray him [Jesus] unto them. And when they heard it, they were glad, and promised to give him money. And he sought how he might conveniently betray him [Jesus]." Luke 6:24, "But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation." Luke 12:15, "And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth." Luke 12:20-21, "But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God." Luke 12:33, "Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth." Luke 18:22-23, "Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich." 1 Corinthians 10:24,33, "Let no man seek his own, but every man another's wealth. Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved." Philippians 1:21, "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." Philippians 3:7, "But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ." 1 Timothy 3:2-3, "A bishop then must be blameless…not greedy of filthy lucre." 1 Timothy 3:8, "Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre;" 1 Timothy 6:5-7,9-10, "Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself. But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows." 1 Timothy 6:17, "Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;" Titus 1:7, "For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;"
James 1:10-11, "But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away. For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth: so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways." James 2:6-7, "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?" James 5:1-2, "Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten. Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you." 1 Peter 5:2, "Feed the flock of God which is among you…not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;" Revelation 3:17, "Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:" Revelation 6:15-17, "And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?"
Interest (usury), Credit, Borrowing, and Debt
Exodus 22:25-27, "If thou lend money to any of my people that is poor by thee, thou shalt not be to him as an usurer, neither shalt thou lay upon him usury. If thou at all take thy neighbour's raiment to pledge, thou shalt deliver it unto him by that the sun goeth down: For that is his covering only, it is his raiment for his skin: wherein shall he sleep?" Leviticus 25:36-37, "Take thou no usury of him, or increase: but fear thy God; that thy brother may live with thee. Thou shalt not give him thy money upon usury, nor lend him thy victuals for increase." Deuteronomy 15:6; 28:12, "...thou shalt not borrow; " Deuteronomy 15:1-3, "At the end of every seven years thou shalt make a release…Every creditor that lendeth ought unto his neighbour shall release it; he shall not exact it of his neighbour, or of his brother; because it is called the LORD'S release. Of a foreigner thou mayest exact it again: but that which is thine with thy brother thine hand shall release;" Deuteronomy 23:19-20, "Thou shalt not lend upon usury to thy brother; usury of money, usury of victuals, usury of any thing that is lent upon usury: Unto a stranger thou mayest lend upon usury; but unto thy brother thou shalt not lend upon usury: that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all that thou settest thine hand to in the land whither thou goest to possess it." Deuteronomy 24:6, "No man shall take the nether or the upper millstone to pledge: for he taketh a man's life to pledge." 2 Kings 18:23,31, the people refused to stand as surety (pledges) or give a gift (present) to the king
Nehemiah 5:3-5, "…We have mortgaged our lands, vineyards, and houses, that we might buy corn, because of the dearth… We have borrowed money for the king's tribute, and that upon our lands and vineyards…and, lo, we bring into bondage our sons and our daughters to be servants, and some of our daughters are brought unto bondage already: neither is it in our power to redeem them; for other men have our lands and vineyards." Nehemiah 5:7,10-11, "…and I rebuked the nobles, and the rulers, and said unto them, Ye exact usury, every one of his brother. And I set a great assembly against them. 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 oliveyards, and their houses, also the hundredth part of the money, and of the corn, the wine, and the oil, that ye exact of them. Psalms 15:5, "He that putteth not out his money to usury, nor taketh reward against the innocent. He that doeth these things shall never be moved." Proverbs 6:1, "My son, if thou be surety for thy friend, if thou hast stricken thy hand with a stranger," Proverbs 11:15, "He that is surety for a stranger shall smart for it: and he that hateth suretiship is sure." Proverbs 22:7, "…the borrower is servant to the lender." Proverbs 22:26, "Be not thou one of them that strike hands, or of them that are sureties for debts." Proverbs 28:8, "He that by usury and unjust gain increaseth his substance, he shall gather it for him that will pity the poor." Isaiah 24:1-3, "Behold, the LORD maketh the earth empty, and maketh it waste, and turneth it upside down, and scattereth abroad the inhabitants thereof. And it shall be…as with the buyer, so with the seller; as with the lender, so with the borrower; as with the taker of usury, so with the giver of usury to him. The land shall be utterly emptied, and utterly spoiled: for the LORD hath spoken this word." Ezekiel 18:8,13, "He that hath not given forth upon usury, neither hath taken any increase, that hath withdrawn his hand from iniquity, hath executed true judgment between man and man, he that… Hath given forth upon usury, and hath taken increase: shall he then live? he shall not live: he hath done all these abominations; he shall surely die; his blood shall be upon him. Ezekiel 22:12-13, "In thee have they taken gifts to shed blood; thou hast taken usury and increase, and thou hast greedily gained of thy neighbours by extortion, and hast forgotten me, saith the Lord GOD. Behold, therefore I have smitten mine hand at thy dishonest gain which thou hast made, and at thy blood which hath been in the midst of thee." Romans 13:8, "Owe no man any thing,"
Merchants are Thieves and cause Violence
Genesis 37:28, "Then there passed by Midianites merchantmen; and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmeelites for twenty pieces of silver: and they brought Joseph into Egypt." (slavery). Isaiah 23:2,8,9,11, "Be still, ye inhabitants of the isle; thou whom the merchants of Zidon, that pass over the sea, have replenished. Who hath taken this counsel against Tyre, the crowning city, whose merchants are princes, whose traffickers are the honourable of the earth? The LORD of hosts hath purposed it, to stain the pride of all glory, and to bring into contempt all the honourable of the earth…the LORD hath given a commandment against the merchant city, to destroy the strong holds thereof. Isaiah 47:15, "Thus shall they be unto thee with whom thou hast laboured, even thy merchants, from thy youth: they shall wander every one to his quarter; none shall save thee." Ezekiel 17:4,11-12, "He cropped off the top of his young twigs, and carried it into a land of traffick; he set it in a city of merchants. Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Say now to the rebellious house." Ezekiel 27:12-36, "The merchants among the people shall hiss at thee; thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt be any more."
Ezekiel 28:16, "By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned:" Ezekiel 38:13, "Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof, shall say unto thee, Art thou come to take a spoil? hast thou gathered thy company to take a prey? to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to take a great spoil?" Hosea 12:7, "He is a merchant, the balances of deceit are in his hand: he loveth to oppress." Nahum 3:16-19, "Thou hast multiplied thy merchants above the stars of heaven: the cankerworm spoileth, and flieth away. Thy crowned are as the locusts…Thy shepherds slumber…There is no healing of thy bruise; thy wound is grievous: all that hear the bruit of thee shall clap the hands over thee: for upon whom hath not thy wickedness passed continually?" Zephaniah 1:11, "… for all the merchant people are cut down; all they that bear silver are cut off." Matthew 21:12-13, "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 unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves." (Mark 11:15-17, John 2:14-16). Revelation 18:3,11,15,23, "...the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies. And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more: The merchants of these things, which were made rich by her, shall stand afar off for the fear of her torment, weeping and wailing, for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived." Ecclesiasticus 26:29, "A merchant shall hardly keep himself from doing wrong; and an huckster shall not be freed from sin." Huckster:"An aggressive or haggling merchant, esp. one who uses questionable methods. A person engaged in advertising, esp. for the mass media. To peddle or sell. To sell or advertise in an aggressive, questionable way." (Websters Dictionary).
Instuction and Admonishon
Psalms 34:10, "The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the LORD shall not want any good thing."
Matthew 6:25-34, "Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof."
Luke 12:22-31, "And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on. The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment. Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls? And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit? If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest? Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith? And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things. But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you."
Matthew 10:9-10, "Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat." Luke 10:3-4, "Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves. Carry neither purse, nor scrip, nor shoes: and salute no man by the way." Luke 14:33, "So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple." Luke 22:35, "And he said unto them, When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye any thing? And they said, Nothing." Philippians 4:19, "But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus."
Hebrews 13:5, "Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."
Let's finish with a look at Acts 16:16-34. In this passage, there was a young female slave possessed with a demon, and our brother Paul expelled this demon. But when her master saw that the hope of their gain (profit, money, commerce) was gone, they dragged Paul and Silas into the market place (commercial court) to the "authorities." They were beaten and thrown into prison.
Our Father works in mysterious ways, for not only were the prisoners converted, but so was the jailer and his whole family!
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