DIGEST OF DIVINE LAW
by Howard Rand (1942)
THREE IMPORTANT LAWS
Happiness, contentment and peace within a nation depends upon the operation of a just and equitable system of administration and economics. Unless a nation is blessed with perfection in laws covering the equitable distribution and exchange of labor and goods among its citizens, the people will be harassed through maladministration; while the affliction of poverty, misery and distress will be in evidence — even in the midst of plenty. Because of the ever present evidence of the existence of these evil conditions in our modem civilization, different schemes have been and are being advocated and proclaimed by men as the solution for our social problems.
Progress and Poverty
About fifty years ago Henry George wrote a book entitled Progress and Poverty in which, through the theory of the single tax he proposed to eliminate conditions causing industrial depressions, for with the increase of wealth he saw a corresponding increase in want. Much can be said in favor of his proposed plan, yet it falls short of the perfect God-given system of taxation which, when in operation, will attain all that Henry George advocated plus many other blessings that would be impossible of fulfillment by the institution of the single tax alone. This would be due to the fact that along with a perfect system of taxation the Lord has laid down laws governing the entire scope and operation of the perfect economic order. Henry George saw clearly the evils of the present economy and his statements regarding those evils is an indictment of the failure on the part of modern civilization to remedy these conditions and remove poverty from our midst.
Socialism proposes to change these conditions by state ownership and control of the means of production. It aims to secure the reconstruction of society, increase wealth and bring about a more equitable distribution of the products of labor through public collective management of all industries.
Communism is a social system in which there is community of goods. It calls for the abolition of all private property (by force of violence, if necessary) and the absolute control by the community in all matters pertaining to labor, religion and social relationships.
Capitalism is a system of competition that favors the. concentration of capital (resources or wealth employed in or available for production) in the hands of a few. Thus in these three systems of man there is in capitalism destructive competition with poverty in the midst of plenty; in socialism, state control and the destruction of private industry; in communism, community of goods and destruction of private ownership.
Failure of Capitalism
In operation, the system of capitalism has proved wanting and has been unable to establish an equitable distribution of wealth and bring prosperity and happiness to all men everywhere, while during its activity poverty has grown in the midst of plenty. Because this has been so, the advocates of socialism and communism have pointed to the failure of the capitalistic methods as reasons why their particular brand of social order should be established in its place. But the continuation of capitalism, the substitution of socialism, or the adoption of communism will not cure the economic ills of mankind.
The Perfect System
Perfection in any true economic structure that will bring to men real happiness in the labor of his hands must eliminate destructive competition and in the midst of plenty allow no poverty. It will not destroy private enterprise and industry nor will it deprive citizens of the right of ownership. There will be competition, but a competition in the doing of good and in the rendering of services. Private enterprise and industry will flourish in the hands of individuals who will consider themselves stewards accountable to God for the welfare and happiness of those in their employ who will share equitably in all profits. The security of private ownership will be established, and it will be protected with a manifest willingness and spirit on the part of each individual to share with others the things he possesses when it is necessary to do so.
Let us not lose sight of the importance of the family in the plans of God, for in the perfect economic structure the spirit of the happy family life will permeate the entire community. As there are members of the family who can accomplish more than others so will there be members of the community able and capable of accomplishing above others. But as in the family each has his or her own possessions, so in the community property rights will be respected. But no member of the perfect family will withhold from a brother or sister any possession in a time of need, nor will a real brother or sister take selfish advantage of this spirit of generosity. Thus will it be when the economic laws of the Lord are operating in a society that is in accord with the plans of God.
In this day of change, with the political, economic and religious systems of man coming to judgment, when the message of the kingdom and its perfect laws of social justice should "be being proclaimed," most men, as well as our spiritual leaders, are ignorant of the fact that there exists in the plans of God a perfect economic system, recorded in the Book, the keeping of which laws will guarantee the elimination of all poverty, distress and want and promises the establishment of an administration that will bring to man all its benefits. After all, not even the perfect system will operate unless there is established perfection in administration and so the law of the Lord deals with this also.
Men have failed to recognize that after giving the Ten Commandments, the keeping of which provides perfection in moral relationships, God laid down the fundamentals of economic well-being. In the observance of these laws is the solution of all our economic troubles. But men and nations, instead of opening the Bible to discover the answers to their problems, follow a cycle of experimentation that history should long ago have taught them was but a treadmill of adversity.
Medium of Exchange Necessary
Under virgin conditions and in a primitive state men practised barter and exchanged their labor and goods for the labor and goods of others. As a nation increased its wealth, and commercial activities multiplied, a medium of exchange became necessary whereby purchasing power might be stored for future use. The volume of that medium of exchange would control the price of goods and because this is so there is only one equitable basis against which that medium should be issued and it is not gold! Under our system gold, an inflexible standard, has been selected, and because it has been accepted as the standard of commercial operation in order, therefore, to always keep a true balance, increase in labor and goods decreases prices while the reverse is true when there is a decrease in labor and goods' prices increase. This trends towards poverty and distress for the many, while wealth has a tendency to gravitate into the hands of the few.
In barter, an increase of labor results in an increase of goods which could be exchanged for the increased wealth of others. Thus the industrious through labor could increase their wealth. Under a system which has gold for its standard of value, the increase of goods (the result of increased labor) may increase the poverty of the laborer through a sharp decline in values as the result of the inability of the medium of exchange to expand in the same ratio as the increase in goods. The vicious circle is completed by thus making the possession of gold more valuable than the possession of property.
Destruction of Goods
In order today to control prices, and keep a more equitable balance between goods and prices, instead of discarding the present arbitrary standard of value and adopting the Divine method, men decree the destruction of goods and the curtailment of production. Thus real wealth, the things men can use and eat, are destroyed to prevent inflation, the result of the inability of the present medium of exchange to expand with the increase in production. Inflation would never occur under the God-given system, for there the medium of exchange is wholly adequate to handle the abundance that God has provided through allowing men to discover the means for increasing the production of the farm and the factory.
Today, with the increase in wealth there is a corresponding increase in poverty with periodic depressions, and despite the fact that we are in a land capable of yielding in abundance we experience untold wealth on one hand and dire poverty and distress on the other.
In our national desire for continued monetary prosperity, and in order to save a system of exchange not based upon real wealth, true wealth is destroyed that the gold standard may continue to function that the few may be prosperous. What a travesty of intelligence to hold, when God abundantly increases our goods, that prosperity can be had only by destruction or curtailment of that increase.
Increased possessions should spell PROSPERITY with capital letters and it should never mean adversity. The very fact that it does not do so is a condemnation of the system that fails to give liberally to the laborer his or her share in that increase.
With food enough for all, thousands are on the verge of starvation; with enough to clothe all, many are underclad; with an abundance of fuel, thousands suffer with the cold. The reason for this is due to the failure of the system of exchange that has become wealth. That system, valueless in itself, yet, because of the fact that it can earn upon itself, has taken the place of true wealth which must be destroyed to sustain the present system of values which is wholly inadequate to meet the needs of life in such abundance as God is now willing to give unto men. The inflexibility of the interest-bearing gold standard prevents thousands from converting their labor into the necessities of life.
The cycle of poverty and depression operates as capitalism under our competitive system — throttled by an interest-bearing medium of exchange — increases poverty in the midst of plenty, causing the people to clamor for relief. Aggressive nations turn to war to ease domestic pressure and secure coveted markets for their production. Such relief is but temporary and the new problems that arise bring dictators to power, followed by the socialization of industry. The end of it all is the destruction of private ownership and ultimate chaos; all because of the refusal of the nations to discard an interest-bearing medium of exchange which is condemned by God, for under its operation the poor are oppressed.
Instead of turning for relief to our God-given system of economics and exchange we are trying to save the situation by a planned economy and through failure of distribution we call the unconsumed balance over-production. Actually there is no over-production but there is definitely under-consumption!
The Love of Money
What, then, is the difficulty? Paul put his finger on the besetting sin of the human race in its adherence to the Babylnian system of economics (which Jesus named " Mammon," declaring you cannot serve God and Mammon) when he said, "For the love of money is the root of all evil." (I Tim. 6: 10.) This incarnate love leads to war while the desire for gold is a lust for power and the move to establish a controlled economy is for the purpose of perpetuating the present monetary system with all its attaining evils.
Establishment of Gold Standard
John in Revelation declares that all nations have partaken of the evils of Babylon the Great in the desire of men to posses wealth, power and authority as they strive to acquire gold or its equivalent. When the King of Babylon set up on the plain of Dura, in the Province of Babylon, the image (Ukeness) of gold this standard was established as the medium of commercial activity. The only dissenting voices in that great economic gathering were Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, three young Hebrews who knew the Israel standard and would not consent to accept this Babylonian system.
The rejection by these three of the demands of the King resulted in a fiery trial out of which they came forth victorious. Their experience was the forerunner of the experience of all those who throughout the ages have been unwilling to acquiesce in the demands made upon them by this system of Mammon. Business, under the present system — with its destructive competition — is war. The weak succumb under the attacks of the strong. Hundreds of millions from cradle to the grave have lived in fear of want and destitution; while millions of others have existed in abject poverty, with untold suffering and privation as the result of the failure of the system to supply in abundance the needs of life to all men everywhere." (Study in Revelation, pages 274-5.)
The call has gone forth for God's people to leave the system: " Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues." (Rev. 18:4.)
The Foundation of True Prosperity
It would be unjust to call upon Israel to leave the Babylonian methods of commerce if there was not another system already awaiting Israel's adoption in this time of emergency. Now there is such a system and it was given to His people at Mount Sinai. Israel departed from its observance and in the adoption of the methods of Babylon acquired the economic evils of the heathen system.
The only foundation on which true prosperity can rest, with an unlimited expansion of industry and enterprise and an increase in production — without having a corresponding increase in poverty in the midst of plenty— is an adequate and equitable medium of exchange. This medium must be a perfect weight and measure regarding the value of goods.
Let us turn to the Israel laws and we find that God instructed His people as follows: " Thou shalt have a perfect and just weight, a perfect and just measure shalt thou have: that thy days may be lengthened in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee." (Deut. 25:15.)
Today, goods in the hands of the merchant are valued at a price, but as soon as the same goods pass into the hand of the purchaser their value has materially decreased. The same holds true regarding practically all production, regardless of the actual usable value of the goods themselves. These changing values tend to enrich the seller at the expense of the buyer. Because of these arbitrary variations in values it makes the possession of money to be more desirable than the possession of goods and is a contributing factor in increasing poverty in the midst of plenty.
The Lord instructed Israel, " Thou shalt not have in thy bag divers weights, a great and a small." (Deut. 25:13.) In laying down this law God condemns the modern system of finance. Think for a moment of the divers weights and measures in the bag of high finance. Because of our failure to establish a fixed standard of value in relation to gold and silver, rather than gold alone, the producer receives little for his labor.* Also, the consumer must pay dearly for that which the laborer has produced. It is a convenient sliding scale which is always in favor of the few against the many. Why should goods be of little value when in the possession of one, and so dear when required by another? It is clear from a study of the Israel system of exchange that a unit of value was established, fixed in its relation to goods, with silver part of the monetary system to increase volume with increase in goods.
In order to remedy economic conditions today, we must establish a unit of value and a standard of wealth that will stabilize prices. Let our national wealth in goods be backed by the necessary volume of money, increasing and decreasing with supply and demand, and prices will be stabilized. Thus goods, whether in the hand of the producer or consumer would have an inherent fixed value. The medium of exchange would increase with the increase in our national wealth. A true balance would thus be maintained in accord with Divine law. Instead of fluctuation in prices there would be a fluctuation in the volume of the medium of exchange. Increased production would mean increased purchasing power in the increase in the circularization of an increased medium of exchange.
With the institution of this Israel system the increased abundance from the farm and factory would see corresponding increase in the volume of money in circulation: with workmen able and ready to absorb the increased abundance through restitution of the Israel system of labor and wages. There would be no fear of inflation under such conditions nor would there be the evil of scarcity, bringing its inevitable destitution and want. Wealth would be in the reach of anyone who, through enterprise and industry, was willing to expend his labor in production. Today, with no adequate method of balancing gold against supply and demand, fluctuation in prices is inevitable. But when money can be made to expand with the increase in goods men can always produce at a profit, for prices will have become stabilized. The production of goods will then be as profitable as the mining of gold.
Along with the requirement that Israel possess a just system of weights and measures so that men may increase their labor and multiply their goods without a decline in values, a medium of exchange that will enable the farmer and factory worker to exchange their labor on an equitable basis, is God's requirement that the medium of exchange shall bear no interest. "Thou shaft not lend upon usury to thy brother; usury of money, usury of victuals, usury of anything that is lent upon usury." (Deut. 23:19.) There is one exception to this law and this applies to the stranger or those who refuse to keep the requirements of the law. Such were not to have an advantage over the Israelite by being exempt from paying interest while imposing interest on others. The exception is, "Unto the stranger thou mayest lend upon usury," and remember that the stranger here is one who refuses to accept or abide by the Israel requirements.
The taking of interest impoverishes a people, perpetuates poverty and works hardship on not only individuals but communities and nations as well. It also changes the medium of exchange from representing values, making it wealth and its possession to be desired more than the possession of true wealth, the things men can use. Then, too, the enormous sums involved in interest charges alone have enslaved men and nations, making them pay tribute for the right to live. We have set aside God's true blessings of increase for a few dollars in interest and instead of receiving a blessing are being cursed in all the work of our hands.
In his booklet, The Economic Law of the Lord, W. J. Cameron has this to say: "The creation of credit without the multiplication of debt is a masterpiece of Divine legislation. Another strange point is that this law which absolutely prohibits interest or the increase which is called usury, comes from the same Divine power which practices increase all the time! We make dead money artificially yield a paltry three or four or five per cent—not that money yields it, the borrower does. But God's increase, did you ever count that? The Lord Christ once touched upon it; speaking of God's interest which He pays to man, Jesus said that in some instances it was thirty-fold, some sixty, and some an hundredfold. And this is not 30, 60, or 100 per cent, but 3,000, 6,000 and 10,000. per cent. And because we reject the living system of 10,000 per cent increase for our dead system of 5 per cent here we are!
Need we wonder at Ezekiel's condemnation of the whole system of taking usury? He said, "Thou hast taken usury and increase, and thou hast greedily gained of thy neighbors by extortion, and hast forgotten me, saith the Lord God." (Ezekiel 22:12.)
But along with a just and equitable standard of value with a non-interest-bearing medium of exchange issued against this standard of value there also must be a definite and fixed relationship between that which man earns and the taxes he pays. Only thus can justice be done so that there will be no confiscation of wealth.
Taxes, always a problem and a troublesome question today, have become increasingly vexatious. But there is a solution of even this problem, for God has decreed how tax levies shall be made and the method of collection as well as the amount each citizen shall pay. To institute the Divine system of exchange without the Divine system of taxation there would still be privation and want through the confiscation of property under an unjust system of taxation.
Purpose of Government
Originally the purpose of government was to establish justice and equity, compelling the refractory to conform with laws that would insure peace. But governments cannot function without financial support, so each citizen contributes toward that support for the protection afforded him. That contribution became a financial assessment and today is called a tax levy. So long as a government carries out its legitimate purpose, protecting its peoples from aggression within and without, a nominal tax is sufficient for such purposes; but when a government becomes aggressive or departs from the fundamental principles of administration, an abuse of the right to tax (unless there are safeguards to prevent it) will follow.
Rewarding the Shiftless
Property, both real and personal, is today subject to taxation. Our present method of taxing property has no relationship whatever to the earning power of the individual who is compelled to meet these assessments. The fact is we penalize men for improving their property and increasing the wealth of the nation and reward those who destroy values and allow their property to deteriorate. Thus through taxation the government fines the thrifty and industrious and rewards the shiftless.
What is the remedy? It is a return to the Law of the Lord and its methods of taxation. Three principles must govern equitable taxation:
(1)Taxes must bear a definite relation to the income of the people and this relation must never be disturbed.
2nd) In order to conform with this first principle, taxes must be levied against income only; leaving all property, both real and personal, free from tax levies and thus not subject to confiscation. The government must live within its income as a matter of sound business policy and remove forever the right to alter the tax principle. Under such conditions, government income is increased only by increasing the income of the people.
Israel System of Taxation
The Israel system of taxation based upon the tithe complies with these principles. The tithe is a percentage of the income of the people and while the word tithe means a tenth of that income yet the returns are not limited to only a tenth of the income of the people. The fact is, the Bible sets forth three distinct tithes and when taken over a period of years amounts to about a fifth of a man's income or increase.
Under the tithing system in Israel there were no tax levies made against property, either real or personal, but taxes were a percentage of a man's earnings or increase.
When a man ceased to earn and failed to have any increase he paid no taxes! His possessions were free from confiscation and he could live and enjoy them though his earnings had ceased.
Today we tax the possessions of a man and when the day comes that he ceases to earn, or have any profitable increase from his possessions, and is thus unable to meet these tax levies, his property is confiscated and he may end his days on the poor farm. This we call "civilization." But under the God-given system a man was protected in his holdings as old age approached and was free from fear of destitution and want.
Because of national failure to recognize and keep God's laws of taxation we suffer with excessive levies against property and possessions (any levy against property itself is excessive) resulting in oppression and economic trouble. When the day comes that the nation keeps, the law, then the vexatious problem of taxation will be solved forever and the administrators will live within their income which will be a percentage of the earning and increase of the people. The people will then be able to pay all the tithes without hardship, for God will pour out a blessing of real prosperity upon the nation when they keep His laws. Meantime the individual must tithe his increase and use it in the service of the Lord. He is obliged to set aside a tenth of his income for this purpose and in order to be eligible for the blessings as set forth by Malachi the prophet (Malachi 3:10-18). Then when the nation observes the law the tenth will be increased to a fifth to include the tax levies for the support of the government.
In these three important laws a perfect monetary system based upon the value of goods, services and the increase of our national wealth with the outlawing of usury and the institution of a system of taxation which is not confiscatory of property, the foundation will have been laid for an economic structure which in operation will be par excellent. Nothing that the socialists can conceive nor the Communists desire can be compared to the institution of the God-given system which will out-capital capitalism in that all men will become capitalists and "sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid; for the mouth of the Lord of hosts hath spoken it." In this statement is the assurance of food and drink, to replace the fear and want which is ever present with men under our present economy.
THE TITHE TAX
THE BASIC TITHE TAX WAS 10 PERCENT ON PROFIT. DEDUCTIONS COULD BE MADE FOR EXPENSES FOR THE JOB. NOW THE HEART WAS TO BE RIGHT, SO NO FUDGING OF BOOKS WOULD HAPPEN. MILLIONAIRES AND BILLIONAIRES WOULD PAY 10 PERCENT OF PROFITS, NO OFF-SHORE HIDINGS WOULD BE ALLOWED.
THE POOOR AND NEEDY WERE SUPPORTED BY A TITHE TAX, BUT ONLY IN THE THIRD YEAR OF A SYCLE OF 7 YEARS - THE THIRD YEAR AND SIXTH YEARS, 7TH YEAR NO POOR TAX TAKEN, AND THE CYCLE STARTED OVER AGAIN. THE 50TH YEAR ALL LAND WENT BACK TO THE ORIGINAL OWNER, IF HE HAD TO SELL IT BECAUSE OF DIFFICULTIES.
THE FESTIVAL TITHE TAX WAS FOR A PEOPLE WHO HAD ONLY ONE PLACE TO ATTEND FOR THE FEASTS OF THE LORD - NAMELY JERUSALEM.
THIS DOES NOT APPLY UNDER THE NEW COVENANT, WHERE GOD'S FEAST CAN BE OBSERVED ANYWHERE, AS I PROVE IN STUDIES ON MY WEBSITE. BUT THOSE WITH PLENTY HAD TO HELP THOSE WITH LITTLE TO ATTEND AND ENJOY THE PHYSICAL BLESSINGS OF THE FEASTS.
THYE CORNERS OF THE FIELDS WERE NOT TO BE HARVESTED, SO THE POOR COULD HARVEST THOSE AREAS FOR THEMSELVES.
WE HAVE SEEN NO USURY WAS ALLOWED ON LENDING TO ISRAELITES.
AND WE HAVE THE OVERALL PRINCIPLE THAT ISRAELITES HELPED EACH OTHER.....LOVING YOUR NEIBOR PRINCIPLE.
WE HAVE ALSO SEEN THE LAWS OF RESTITUTION FOR THOSE WHO WERE STOLEN FROM.
THE PRINCIPLE OF GOD'S LAWS WOULD SUCH THAT YOU WENT BEYOND THE WRITTEN LAW AND INTO THE SPIRIT OF THE LAW. JESUS SAID THAT WHEN YOU HAD DONE ALL THAT WAS COMMANDED OF YOU, SAY "I AM AN UNPROFITABLE SERVANT, IT DID ONLY WHAT WAS MY DUTY OR COMMANDED OF ME."
WE ARE TO LIVE THE EXTRA MILE, GO THE EXTRA MILE, AND NOT BE PAID, GOD KNOWING THE HEART WOULD REWARD YOU.
IT IS LIVING WITH COMMON LOGICAL SENSE IF YOU LOVE GOD AND YOUR FELLOW MAN.
JESUS ALSO ADDED CONCERNING HIS WORK OF THE GOSPEL AND SERVING PEOPLE, THAT WHERE YOUR TREASURE IS THERE WILL BE YOUR HEART ALSO.