The Biblical Examiner 
An Examination of Biblical Precepts Involved in Issues at Hand 


June 1997



 1) Leviticus 25:14-55 - The Inheritance
2) Bondage Vs. Freedom
3) God's Promise, God's Providence
4) Competent to Minister - Book Review


Leviticus 25

 The Inheritance

 Though this section develops the Old Testament laws concerning the Jubilee, there are several implications found in these laws that apply to all generations, especially the modern age. Because the implications of the Jubilee are ignored, we have today a horrendous "national debt" that will never be paid off unless there is a tremendous revival that changes our social order.

 This section establishes the ownership of the land and God’s requirements upon it, summed up in the Jubilee. The land could not be sold: It belonged to the Lord. The whole earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof (1 Cor 10:26), not just the small portion called Canaan. Therefore, the implications of the Jubilee apply to the whole earth. The Lord permits man to use the earth, and He establishes the conditions upon that use. When man violates those conditions, the land itself (and the "natural elements") declare war against man.

 At the end of Lev 18, a passage dealing with very practical moral laws concerning sex (including sodomy), we find this statement, vv. 24-30:

 Defile not ye yourselves in any of these things: for in all these the nations are defiled which I cast out before you: And the land is defiled: therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants. Ye shall therefore keep my statutes and my judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations; neither any of your own nation, nor any stranger that sojourneth among you: (For all these abominations have the men of the land done, which were before you, and the land is defiled;) That the land spue not you out also, when ye defile it, as it spued out the nations that were before you. For whosoever shall commit any of these abominations, even the souls that commit them shall be cut off from among their people. Therefore shall ye keep mine ordinance, that ye commit not any one of these abominable customs, which were committed before you, and that ye defile not yourselves therein: I am the LORD your God.

 The above is important enough that the Lord said it again, adding witchcraft (occultic practices) and Molech (state) worship to the list of evils that will cause a people to be spued out of the land the Lord permitted them to use, Lev 20. (Or cause them to be servants of oppressive powers in their own land, Neh 9:3ff.)

 Two parentheses: First, we might consider Rev 3:16, where God promises to spue out those who try to serve both Him and heathen gods around them. And second, Asa threw the seer into prison because the seer told him something from God's Word he did not want to hear, 2 Chron 16:10 - Many today, in the name of “grace,” cast the parts of God's Word from them they do not want to hear, parts that might hold them responsible and accountable.

 Leviticus 25:14, gives the reason for the Jubilee: ye shall not oppress one another. In other words, the Jubilee prevented any small group of people from dominating all the wealth of the society. The same point is made in v. 17, ye shall not therefore oppress one another. Fear of the Lord caused one to honour the sabbath year and the Jubilee year, v. 17. (Clearly, those who do not fear the Lord will not fear what man can do to them: They will have no conscience.)

 Jesus Loves the Little Children

 The point that stands out about this passage concerning the Jubilee is that even if the parents were unconcerned about the following generations, the Lord was not.

 The purpose of the Jubilee was to keep God's people frompressing one another, including the children. God's law prevented the parents from oppressing the children by selling them into the bondage of debt (national debt!). The fathers' sinful nature - unconcern for the following generations (i.e., covetousness - desire to consume what they had upon their own lusts) - was restrained by His law (they were not "saved" by the law, but sin was restrained): He forbad selling the land. The ones to whom the land returned were simply caretakers of the land for the Lord, Who owned the land.

 Oppress, 14, speaks against using the Jubilee to defraud others of what was lawfully theirs. “However, in Ezk 46:18 it is translated ‘to thrust them out of their inheritance.’” (TWOT, #873.)

 Moreover the prince shall not take of the people's inheritance by oppression, to thrust them out of their possession; but he shall give his sons inheritance out of his own possession: that my people be not scattered every man from his possession. (Ez 46:18.)

 Thus the one in authority could not use his authority to do wrong with the inheritance: God's law prohibited those in authority from using that authority to ill treat others, that is, to defraud them concerning the inheritance. The law against fraud is not limited to actions by unbelievers, though Paul tells us it should be: He spoke these words to the shame of the believers at Corinth:

 Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren. (1 Cor 6:8.)

 How is fraud (to keep back what is owed to someone, and the debt is determined by God's Word - just because someone claims something, does not mean it is owed to that person) defined? God's law alone defines fraud, 1 John 3:4 ("The rule of this purity can from no where else be taken but from the law of God, the transgression of which is called sin." Geneva. 1 John 3:4, the Mosaic law, #460. We might mention that sin is not the transgression of men's [even religious] traditions and church rules. See Gill, Online Bible. See also, Rom 7.)

 Parenthesis: Those who "sold" the land, for whatever reason, only sold the use of the land, vv. 14, 15. Furthermore, by the Jubilee being the second of a two year rest for the land, the returned land could well have required maintenance from those who had been using it for the past several years.

 A logical result of the current Antinomian spirit among Christians is the lack of desire to pass anything down to the children and grandchildren; however, they have no compulsion against passing down debt. Of course, because of the pagan climate in our society, what might be passed down in the way of material wealth would probably be consumed upon the receivers' own lusts.

 The "owners," or the fathers, refuse to pass the inheritance down according to God's law, for God's law cuts off finances to the ungodly heirs. Antinomianism permeates all levels of society: There is no hope till there is a revival and the desire to return to God's rules of living. And God's rules must override the natural inclinations that might require godly parents to support ungodly children.


 I knew a godly man who was extremely well known for his "spiritual" walk with the Lord over the years. The man had several children, and only one, as a grown adult, desired to walk with the Lord. The rest of the children, as adults, would only tolerate talk of the Lord. The father spent many sleepless nights and waking hours in deep concern over the ungodliness of the children. Yet the father supported the ungodly children with many thousands of dollars cash gifts, knowing that the children would only use the cash to pursue their own lustful desires. He clearly took the funds the Lord gave to him for the advancement of the Kingdom of God and he squandered them on the lust of the flesh through his ungodly children.

 Concerning the inheritance, Rushdoony said:

 Jesus as the eldest son and main heir made John, although only a cousin and not a brother, the eldest son and main heir in His stead and gave him the responsibility for Mary's support.

 This illustrates clearly a central aspect of Biblical family law and of Biblical inheritance: the main heir supported and cared for the parents, as need required it. Abraham lived with Isaac and Jacob, not with Ishmael, or with his sons by Keturah. Isaac lived with Jacob, not Esau, and Jacob lived under the care and supervision of Joseph and therefore gave to Joseph a double portion by adopting Joseph's two sons as his heirs on equal terms with all his other sons (Gen. 48:5, 6).

 The converse holds equally true: the child which supports and cares for the aged parents is the main or true heir. For parents or the civil law to rule otherwise is to work against godly order.

 Inheritance is not a question of pity or feeling but of godly order, and to set aside this principle is sinful.

 The question of inheritance and wills can best be understood if we examine the Biblical word for a will or testament: blessing. An inheritance is precisely that, a blessing, and for a parent to confer a blessing or the central blessing on an unbelieving child, or a rebellious and contemptuous child, is to bless evil. Although some portions of Biblical wills have the element of divine prophecy as well as testamentary disposition, it is important to note that they combine both blessings and curses, as witness Jacob's words to Reuben, Simeon, and Levi (Gen. 48:2-7). To cut off a child is a total curse.

 The general rule of inheritance was limited primogeniture, i.e., the oldest son, who had the duty of providing for the entire family in case of need, or of governing the clan, receiving a double portion. If there were two sons, the estate was divided into three portions, the younger son receiving one third. The parents had a duty to provide an inheritance, as far as their means afforded (II Cor. 12: 14). The father could not alienate a godly first-born son because of personal feelings, such as a dislike for the son's mother and a preference for a second wife (Deut. 21:15-17). Neither could he favor an ungodly son, an incorrigible delinquent, who deserved to die (Deut. 21:18-21). Where there was no son, the inheritance went to the daughter or daughters (Num. 27:1-11). If by reason of disobedience or unbelief, a man in effect had no son, then the daughter became the heir and son as it were. If there were neither sons nor daughters, the next of kin inherited (Num. 27:9-11). The son of a concubine could inherit, unless sent away or given a settlement (Gen. 21:10; 25:1-6). A maid could be her mistress' heir (Prov. 30:23), and a slave could also inherit (Gen. 15:1-4), since he was in a real sense a family member. Foreign bondmen could also be inherited (Lev. 25 :46) . The inheritance of one tribe could not be transferred to another, i.e., the land of one area could not be alienated (Num. 36: 1-12). A prince could give property to his sons as their inheritance, but not to a servant, lest this become a means of rewarding them to the detriment of his family (Ezek. 46:16, 17). If some land were given by a prince to a servant, it reverted at the year of liberty to the prince's sons. The prince could not confiscate the people's inheritance or land, i.e., the state could not seize property or confiscate it (Ezek. 46:18). (RJ Rushdoony, Institutes of Biblical Law , V. I, 180-181.)

 We should mention, moreover, that children of illicit affairs could not be legal heirs, Lev 20:20, 21.

 Isaiah laid his finger on the problem concerning those who refuse to follow the Word of God over their natural desires toward their children:

 Mark 7:6-13, He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death: But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free. And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother; Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.

 Rather than the ungodly, stubborn and rebellious son receiving the material blessings from his father, he was to receive death, Deut 21:18-21. However, though the parents were to lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, the parents did not take part in the stoning.

 The civil authority of the day was in the hands of the elders of each city, and the elders were the ones who put the wicked person to death; that was not the parents' responsibility. The power of the sword was placed in the hands of civil authority, not in the hands of the family, except in the case of the "blood avenger." (The parents' responsibility was to teach the child the Law-Word of God, and to do what was right in God's sight.)

 Our point is that if God held the parents accountable for cutting off their son's life (responsible to see that it was done) for rebellion, drunkenness and stubbornness, then how much does the same God hold modern parents' responsible for cutting off finances to their children who are drunkards, stubborn and/or are in rebellion against God?

 Wherever we open God's Word, we are confronted with the fact that the only hope for society is in the home: Until Christian parents will abide by the Word of God in their families over emotional attachments of all kinds, God cannot heal this land. The healing must start in the homes.

 Isa 33:14-17, The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings? He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil; He shall dwell on high: his place of defence shall be the munitions of rocks: bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure. Thine eyes shall see the king in his beauty: they shall behold the land that is very far off.

 We would certainly love to see the King in His beauty at work in our society, but He only works according to His Law-Word.

 (See also, Isa 3:14, 15; 5:7; 58:6; Jer 22:17; Eze 22:12; Am 5:11, 12; 8:4ff.; Mic 2:2ff.; Ja 5.)

 Vv. 15ff., the value of the servant who sold himself and of the land that had to be sold was determined by the time left before the jubilee:

 Was there 45 years left or only a year?

 The Lord's laws are just and perfect: They were meant to control man's sinful nature. This particular law controlled covetousness. Salvation, obviously, did not result from obedience to this law, but the law did prevent one class of people from oppressing another class of people.

 All men are created equal in the sense that all are given equal protection and responsibility before God according to His Law-Word.

 V. 18, the result of following these laws of the sabbath rest for man, animal and land, and for following the laws of liberty for man and land every 50 years, was promised safety in the land. A reason Israel was taken captive into Babylon was for not allowing the land to enjoy her Sabbaths.

 Faith and good Stewardship

 Vv. 19ff., the Lord answers the concern before it is really faced: He will bless abundantly the sixth year so the people can obey the sabbath year. Actually, food from the sixth year had to last two years: one year with no planting, and then another year waiting for the crop from that years planting. Then there was the 50th year when the land rested two years: V. 21, the Lord promised His faithful, obedient people enough increase in the 6th year of the Sabbath to last three years over the Jubilee. That would be a good crop, to say the least. Storage must also be accounted for, which the Lord does in Malachi 3.

 It certainly required faith and good stewardship to honor the Sabbath and the Jubilee.

 Today, the Sabbath and Jubilee law would still work, but only if Christians would be controlled by God's inward law against covetousness.

 Moreover, it would force people to discipline themselves to save and plan ahead, for there was no income 1 year out of seven and then 2 years in a row every fifty years.


Bondage Vs. Freedom

  Responsibility vs Irresponsibility

 [This pastor is the first to admit that the following is far easier to write about than it is to place into practice. However, it should give sound answers to very serious and hard questions.]

 Where does responsibility toward one's neighbour begin and end? Where does ones responsibility for one's children begin and end? Where does responsibility toward one's parents begin and end? Is responsibility toward our fellow man "unconditional?" What does God's Word say about the matter?

 Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) (Eph 6:2; Mark 5:10; Ex 20:12, &c.) Honour - "to honor [so uniformly A.V.], to have in honor, to rever, venerate;..." (Thayer, p 642.) Notice that honour is not implying unreserved support of another; rather honour simply holds them in reverence. We find elsewhere in God's Word the responsibilities to and the limits upon those responsibilities to family members.

 The fifth commandment encompasses all authority, containing God's laws concerning the responsibilities of both those under and those in authority, e.g., servant/master, child/parent. It also lays the foundation for our responsibility toward one's neighbour. Writing in 1765, Pastor James Durham commented concerning the fifth commandment:

 In the precept we are, 1st, To consider the object, father and mother. 2d, The duty, honour. 1st, Again, concerning the first, the duty that we owe to all relations, whether they be above us, inferior to us, or equal with us. This is clear from Christ's summing all the second table, and consequently this command with the rest, in that comprehensive general, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself; and therefore our neighbour in general must be the object of this command, as well as the rest, and so it taketh in all the duties of honour that every one oweth to another, whatever be their place. There is a duty of honour and respect for from every one to every one; and so, Eph. V. 22, it is pressed upon wives towards their husbands; and, I Peter, iii. 7. Upon husbands toward their wives, which must be comprehended here. Thus father and mother are here to be largely and synecdochically ("synecdochy, In rehetoric, a figure or troup by which the whole of a thing is put for a part, or a part for the whole; as the genus for the species, or the species for the genus, &c." Webster, 1828, ed.) Understood, one sort of relations being in a figurative manner put for all the rest. 2d, Under them are comprehended all superiors for place, in church or commonwealth, who in scripture get the title of fathers, as magistrates, supreme and subaltern (subordinate, Webster, 1828, ed.), ministers and all church-officers, teachers, overseers, and all in the place of fathers, I Cor. Iv. 15. Yea, they who are to be esteemed as such, for gifts of learning, wisdom, grace, and piety, Acts vii.2. or for their worldly means and outward estate, as Joseph was, Gen. xlv. 8. Or for their age, and the reverence due to them on that account, 2 Kings, ii. 12. ; in a word, any sort of eminency putteth one in the roll of fathers largely taken, though they be not properly such. 3rd, We are called in the first place to look to the duties of this relation, as it is domestic, such of a master over the servant, of a husband over the wife, &c. And then cometh the carriage of one towards another in general, and though most properly the duties of parents, mediate or immediate, over their children or nephews, be here pointed at, which is most literal, yet the former also included, all particulars of that kind being, by a figure, comprehended under one...

 If it be further asked, Why all superiors, yea, all neighbours, are spoken of as fathers and mothers? Answ. These reasons are obvious from the scope. It is, I. To shew that the duties of this command are mutual amongst all relations; it giveth superiors their due, yet so as that it teacheth them also how to carry toward their inferiors, that is, to be fathers to them; and that the relation necessarily implieth a mutual tie; therefore this command doth not only direct inferiors in their duty towards superiors, but also superiors in their duty towards inferiors. 2. They get this name to make their subjection to each other, and their mutual relations and duties the more sweet and kindly, when the subjection is to be given as by a son to a father, and when it is exacted and expected as by a father from a son; which consideration should be kindly motive to all mutual duties, and also an inducement to hide infirmities, and to construct tenderly of failings. (Mr. James Durham, the late minister of the gospel at Glasgow, THE LAW UNSEALED; OR, A PRACTICAL EXPOSITION OF THE TEN COMMANDMENTS. (ND) Printed by D. Schaw, Lawnmarket, 1802. To which are prefixed, the commendatory epistles of two famous English divines, Dr. John Owen (ND) and Mr Jenkyn, 1765. Pp 282, 283. I changed the old English spelling on many of the words.)

 Thus Durham rightly points out that all forms of subordinate/superior relationships are included in the fifth commandment: servants/masters, wives/husbands, children/parents, laymen/church leaders, citizens/civil authority, pupils/teachers, &c. The fifth commandment, being the first of the six dealing with man's relationship to his fellow man, presents the very basic foundation for the relationship of one individual with another - neighbor to neighbor - on all levels of society.

 Now the question arises: "Who is my neighbor," or "Who is my fellow man for whom God holds me responsible?" Desiring to justify his irresponsibility, a certain lawyer said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour? Christ's answer clearly told the man that he was responsible before God for those in need with whom Divine Providence brought him into contact. (Luke 10:25ff.) However, is the responsibility "unconditional," or unlimited?

 Christian Responsibility

 God establishes His will concerning proper responsibility toward the neighbour by giving His Word concerning the poor. One of the primary commands in the New Testament is to remember the poor (Ga 2:10), but we must return to the Old Testament for a proper understanding of one's responsibility toward those in need.

 And if thy brother be waxen poor, and fallen in decay with thee; then thou shalt relieve him: yea, though he be a stranger, or a sojourner; that he may live with thee. 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. 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. And if thy brother that dwelleth by thee be waxen poor, and be sold unto thee; thou shalt not compel him to serve as a bondservant: (Lev 25:35- 39.)

 Contained above are God's laws concerning the poor. V. 35 assumes that the normal way of life is debt free; however, there are times when, though not through sloth nor negligence, one comes into poverty. At that time, the person borrows money or sells his property. In addition, v. 35, shows that God's people must have concern for the stranger.

 John Gill (1696-1771) rightly commented on v. 35:

 And if thy brother be waxen poor, &c.] An Israelite, as Aben Ezra, be reduced to a low estate, through afflictions in body, or in family, or through losses in trade, or want of business, or through one providence or another:
and fallen in decay with thee; in his worldly substance: or "his hand wavers", or "fails" {p}; so that he cannot support himself and his family, has not a sufficiency, or it is not in the power of his hands to do it; and it is not owing to sloth and negligence, but to unavoidable want and necessity: then thou shalt relieve him; not merely by sympathizing with him, but by communicating to him, and distributing to his necessities; holding him up that he may not utterly fall, and strengthening his hands, that he may have a supply for his present wants:
[yea, though he be] a stranger or a sojourner; whether a proselyte of righteousness, who is circumcised, and in all things conforms to the true religion; or a proselyte of the gate, who takes it upon him not to worship idols, and eat things that die of themselves, as Jarchi notes:
that he may live with thee; continue in the land of Canaan, and not be obliged to quit it, and be laid under temptations of apostatizing from the true religion professed by him, and so far as he is come into it, which would bring a worse death than corporeal upon him; or that he may have a livelihood in some tolerable manner at least, and even live comfortably and cheerfully. (Online Bible.)

 The poor are thus defined as those reduced to a low estate through no fault of their own. They are not reduced by their own slothfulness and/or negligence. Their circumstances were unavoidable, for Divine Providence brought about the conditions in which they are found. (Ep 4:28 and Ja 1 and 2, along with other passages, imply that God leaves the poor among us to test our love for, i.e., obedience to, Him.)

 V. 36, the poor are specifically protected from usury - usury and interest are the same word. Lending to the poor ledeth unto the Lord, and the Lord will repay, with interest, Proverbs 19:17. Exodus 22:25 and Leviticus 25:36, 37, prohibit usury in the context of helping the poor among God's people: The poor are not to be loaned anything in their time of need with interest attached. Since 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.) is given on the bases of Exodus 22 and Leviticus 25, apparently usury was only forbidden when lending to the poor among God's people.

 In other words, those, even among God's people, who borrowed for "consumer goods" to make life "better" or so they could have "bigger and better" are lawfully subject to interest. They have no grounds to complain against high interest rates nor to complain against the "thieving" bankers and credit card companies with high interest rates. They borrowed money to serve their idol - covetousness, their desire for more, better and/or bigger. But the poor neighbour did not borrow because he was controlled by covetousness; rather, he borrowed because Providence placed him in his sad estate. (Cf., Pr 16:33.) Moreover, evidently the poor could not be required to repay, but the poor must be defined properly as those who are not in their situation through their own slothfulness and/or negligence.

 Observe Bonar's 1846 comments concerning Leviticus 25:35-46:

 Further: an Israelite must shew his brotherly feelings if (ver. 39-41) one of his countrymen be reduced so low in poverty as to be sold for debt, like the widow's two sons, 2 Kings iv. l. He must treat him as only a hired servant, and even in that case detain him no longer than the jubilee. The reason is very precious (ver. 42): "for they are my servants." The Lord will not leave any of His purchased ones to the cruelty of others. Woe to those who use a believer harshly! They touch the "apple of His eye." Have the workers of iniquity no knowledge? Why persecute ye Jesus? "The year of His redeemed " is near.
Once more: an Israelite may have slaves and bondmaids from the heathen, and these he may retain as slaves for ever. In this there lies a type. It is not that Moses, or the Lord speaking by Moses, sanctions slavery. He gives no right to one man over another's person, except where there is sin and crime to be punished, as in the case of criminals. But here the Lord wished to punish the Canaanites and other heathen nations, because of their heathenism; and of course the Lord has a right so to do. His decree, therefore, is this: that heathens shall be exposed to bondage, and Israel shall take them as their slaves. Slavery here is evidently altogether another thing from modern slavery; for—1. It proceeds on the Lord's permission and command. 2. It is the consequence of sin in the enslaved. 3. It was equivalent to perpetual imprisonment, a penalty inflicted for crime. And while it is a penalty paid by rebellious ones who cleaved to idols, it is so overruled as to exhibit in type the future exaltation of the sons of God in the time of the jubilee of earth. It shews "the liberty of the sons of God " (Rom. viii. 21), and their dominion... (Bonar, Leviticus, 464, 465. 1846.)

 Those bound by anything other than God's Law-Word are fair game for anything that comes along. They are already bound by - slaves to - the lust of the flesh, serving the idol of covetousness; they, by their heathen practices, exempt themselves from the protection of God's law. However, the heathen slave could convert to, serve and obey Israel's God as revealed through His Word, and he would no longer be considered and treated as a heathen.


 The above brings us to the heart of the matter: What about a neighbor who comes into poverty? What about children and/or parents who come into poverty? Where does duty and responsibility to one's fellow man start and stop?

 Concerning the release of the poor (De 15:1-6), Dr. Rushdoony says:

 Short term loans are alone permitted. No godly man has the right to mortgage his future indefinitely; his life belongs to God and cannot be forfeited to men. Thus, every kind of debt by believers, whether as charity or for business reasons, must be a short term debt. The sabbath is basically and essentially rest rather that worship, and basic to the sabbath rest is debt-free living. Long-term debts are clearly a violation of the sabbath, and many churches that profess to be devout sabbath-keepers are flagrant sabbath-breakers here. The normal life of the covenant man is to be debt free, to owe no man anything save the obligation of rendering tribute, honor, fear, and custom wherever due, and of rendering that love where is the fulfilling of the law (Rom. 13:7-8). If this and all other laws of God be kept, there will be "no poor" among the people of God. This is a firm and unqualified statement; it presupposes that the godly man can keep the law to that degree necessary to receive this blessing.
Fifth, the unbelieving are excluded from the charity required by this law, both the interest-free loans and the termination of the debt in the sabbatical year. The ungodly are already slaves to sin by nature; the true slave cannot be weaned from slavery, and it is foolishness to treat him as a free man. The godly are free men by nature; in times of distress, they need relief to regain their freedom. Freedom cannot be given to a man who loves slavery, and it is foolishness to attempt it by means of money. Regeneration is his only solution. Sixth, on citing their deliverance from Egypt, God reminds His people that the purpose of His law is to deliver man into freedom, even as He delivered them from slavery to freedom. The purpose of the laws governing interest, and the purpose of the whole law, is man's freedom under God. To speak of deliverance from the law is to speak of deliverance from freedom. The law cannot be freedom to the sinner, but rather a sentence of death for his failure to keep it. The law-breaker is a man in slavery to his sin, a man unable to live in terms of freedom. The law therefore is a continual indictment and a death sentence to him, in that it underscores his importance and his inability to rule himself: "what I hate, that I do" (Rom. 7:15). To the redeemed, however, the law is the way of freedom.... (RJ Rushdoony, Institutes of Biblical Law, I.479. This book is kept in print, and is available from Ross House Books, Box 67, Vallecito, CA 95251.)

 Clearly, money will not solve the problem for those captive to sin, i.e., covetousness. Whether saved or unsaved, covetousness leads to debt-slavery. When a person rejects God's laws of freedom (freedom from covetousness, in this case), underscoring his or her inability to rule self, he or she rejects the positive benefits of God's law. In other words, when people refuse to be self-controlled, they also reject assistance from others, charity. Can the godly finance the lack of self-control in others? Can one who through an intentional lack of self-control be kept from poverty, or will that one bring others to poverty with him or her? Can the godly finance idolatry (lack of self-control) in the lives of others? Notice the Spirit's instructions:

 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them. (Col 3:5-7.)

 Children of disobedience are not limited to the children of the devil; the Heavenly Father has many such children. (Cf. He 3:12, 19; 4:11-unbelief, disobedience, marg.) Thus God's Word prohibits supporting others in their idolatry. The Christian's first responsibility is to God as revealed through His Word. Accordingly, though the situations may be sad as we watch neighbours, close friends, fellow believers and/or loved ones (child, parent, brother, sister, &c.) drown in a sea of debt, if there is no effort on the part of the one involved in the idolatry to bring self under control, then he or she has placed him or her self beyond the help of the godly. That "captive" cannot be helped enough to prevent his or her own destruction.

 So where does responsibility enter in our relationship to our fellow man, e.g., neighbor, friend, loved one, &c.? Again, we refer to Dr Rushdoony:

 An important aspect of Biblical law is its doctrine of responsibility. In a law previously considered, Exodus 21:28-32, it was established that animals are responsible for their actions, and an ox goring a person was sentenced to death. Animals are clearly held to be accountable. But responsibility also rests with the owner of the ox: if the ox's previous behavior indicated that it was a dangerous animal, and the owner "hath not kept him in," then the owner is also responsible. Responsibility is thus not a one-way street. Both owner and animal have a responsibility. This being case law, the reference is to the ox, and to more than an ox, as St. Paul made clear with respect to the law concerning the muzzling of an ox treading out grain (Deut. 25:4; 1 Cor. 9:9; I Tim. 5:18).

 In terms of this, certain observations can be made. First, a parent is responsible for a child if nothing is done to curb, punish, or bring to judgment an irresponsible or delinquent child. If a man is responsible for the actions of an ox, he is certainly responsible for the actions of a delinquent son, if he "hath not kept him," if no attempt has been made to prevent the son from giving vent to his delinquency.
Second, the responsibility of the parent does not absolve the child of his responsibility. The goring ox is always guilty; the owner is only guilty if His negligence can be proven. The prior responsibility is always that of the acting party. The owner or parent can be an accessory to the crime only if he has been delinquent in his responsibility.
Third, transgression beyond a certain point ends responsibility. Thus, in the law of the delinquent son (Deut. 21:18-21), the parents' responsibility to provide for and protect their son ended with the son's delinquency; their duty and their moral responsibility then became denunciation of and separation from their son.
As previously noted, responsibility is not a one-way street. The responsibility ends when that child refuses to submit to the godly authority and discipline of the parents.
The same is true of the responsibility of children for their parents. Again, it is not a one-way street. To cite illustrations which will throw some light on this problem: A daughter assumed responsibility for her sick father when the brothers rejected their responsibility. As a devout Christian, she felt duty-bound to care for her father, who remained in her home as an invalid until death. During the more than ten years in her home, the father was a bed patient much of the time. Because he was only interested in the sons and grandsons who would carry on his name, he treated his daughter and her family as non-entities or at best as servants, with never a word of gratitude. He made out his will in favor of his sons and their sons, although his sons were both prosperous. He gave lavish gifts at holidays to his sons and their sons, and never a gift nor a thanks to his daughter and her family. Clearly, the daughter's interpretation of the law was faulty. As surely as an ungodly son must be cast out and turned over for judgment, so an ungodly father (for his conduct revealed him to be such) had no place in her home, having denied plainly any responsibility to it... Another instance: a mother felt duty-bound to use her meager funds to help her only child, an ungrateful man whose income was good and whose sense of responsibility was very bad. The mother limited herself severely to provide him the luxuries he demanded as necessary to maintain a pretended social position. Again, the relationship was lawless on both sides and required breaking....
Thus, we may say that, not only does transgression beyond a certain point end responsibility, but fourth, if responsibility is maintained beyond that point it becomes a robbery. Where a juvenile delinquent is tolerated or protected, or a lawless parent allowed to be an affront to the family's faith and authority, the other members of the family are robbed of their due. Unconditional honor and service are due to God alone, not to man. St. Paul's admonition is "Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due, custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour" (Rom. 13:7). No relationship between man and man can be absolutized. We have no absolute bond which ties us unconditionally to any man, either to obey or to love him. Marriage is dissolved by certain transgressions. The parent's duty to the child is nullified by his incorrigible conduct. The child's duty to the parent is limited by his prior obedience to God and the maintenance of God's law-order. In every human relationship, the only absolute is God's law, not man's relationship.
Fifth, not only does the absolutizing of a human relationship involve theft, in that the indulgence of a delinquent (i.e., disobedient to God's Word, ed.) family or society member is the robbing of another, but it also involves theft God-ward as well as man-ward. It is an infraction of God's order to indulge evil. It involves robbing one person of his due in order to reward or indulge another, and this means also the violation of God's order to continue man's disorder.
To repeat again, responsibility is not a one-way street. If the ox, an animal of limited intelligence, is accountable for his acts, then every man in his station is also responsible. In every relationship, there is responsibility on every side by every person....
But a world without responsibility is a world of the dead. (Ibid, 481-484.)

 Conditional Responsibility

 If an animal must be responsible according to God's Law-Word, how much more must a neighbour, child, parent and/or loved one? Delinquency (irresponsibility as defined in the terms of God's Word) on the part of the person forfeits others' responsibility toward that person. Thus a neighbour's "delinquency" forfeits one's responsibility to him; a child's "delinquency" forfeits other's responsibility toward that child; a parent's "delinquency" forfeit responsibility toward that parent. In fact, continued support of the delinquent person, neighbor or loved one, makes the supporting one a theft: he or she is robbing from other family members to support the delinquent one in his or her delinquency - the supporting person has become party to the "crime." Furthermore, one's relationship to the Lord - converted/unconverted - does not determine if that person can be robbed or not.

 One neighbor's responsibility toward another ends if the poor neighbor refuses to exercise reasonable self- discipline, clearly showing he is a slave to his covetousness, idolatry: More money will not solve his problem. A parent's responsibility toward a child ends if the child refuses to submit to the parents' godly discipline and authority: More money will not solve the problem. A child's responsibility toward a parent ends if the parent refuses to exercise some self-discipline and yield to the authority of God's Word: More money will not solve the problem.

 Unconditional acceptance, honor and service are due to God alone, and to give these things to delinquents sets others up as gods.

 We should note here the tremendous push to get every one to accept everyone else "unconditionally." Regardless of what that person might be involved in, e.g., Sodomy, we are being told everywhere that we must "unconditionally" accept and support that person in what that person has chosen to be or do. Such an idea is antichristian, and makes the ones accepting the rebellious partakers of the wrath of God which will come upon the rebellious.

 Where does responsibility toward the neighbor begin and end? Where does responsibility for children begin and end? Where does responsibility for parents begin and end? Where does responsibility for loved ones begin and end? Is responsibility toward our fellow man "unconditional?"

 No person is "unconditionally" responsible toward another. Every person, however, is "unconditionally" responsible toward God alone as revealed in His total Word. Our responsibility toward others must fit within our responsibility to follow the Word of God to the best of our God given ability, grace.

 But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God. (1 Cor 11:3.)


     Leviticus 25:18-22


 Wherefore ye shall do my statutes, and keep my judgments, and do them; and ye shall dwell in the land in safety. And the land shall yield her fruit, and ye shall eat your fill, and dwell therein in safety. And if ye shall say, What shall we eat the seventh year? behold, we shall not sow, nor gather in our increase: Then I will command my blessing upon you in the sixth year, and it shall bring forth fruit for three years. And ye shall sow the eighth year, and eat [yet] of old fruit until the ninth year; until her fruits come in ye shall eat [of] the old [store]. (Lev 25:18-22.)

 The above contains such a wonderful promise that I had to quote it all. No matter where one opens God’s Word, he is confronted with the if/then covenant. “If you will do this,” says the Lord, “Then I will do that.”

 Let us open with a couple comments:

 First, God can only command His blessings upon His people in terms of His Law-Word: As they do what is pleasing in His sight, He commands His blessings upon them.

 Second, God commands His blessings upon His people so they can expand His kingdom (influence) on earth. However, they misuse His blessings upon themselves.

 Andrew Bonar makes some excellent comments upon this section:

 Unbelief steps in, arising from human reason. The godly will not abuse the glorious ordinances of the Sabbatic year and the jubilee; but they may be tempted to unbelief. They may be ready to say, "what shall we eat?" Hence, our most gracious God anticipates such risings of distrust. Suspicion, an doubt, and fear, on the part of His own people are always most grievous to Him; and, therefore, he seeks to prevent them. How truly He knows our frame, our tendency to distrustful anxieties, is manifest in the words, "If ye say, What shall we eat?" It was this also which Jesus, dwelling among us in flesh, perceived too plainly when He said, "Seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind" (Luke xii. 29). (Leviticus, 454, 455.)

 Lev 25 follows many laws that had been given by the Lord God. Then this passage, vv. 18-22, follows the command to give the land a seventh year (Sabbath) rest unto the Lord, vv. 2ff.; it follows the command to give liberty throughout all the land every fiftieth year, the jubilee -- at which time men and property were set free; it follows the command that neither the buyer nor seller of property take advantage of the other, for everything was to be measured from and to the year of release, the jubilee.

 In other words, the Law-Word of God clearly spelled out what God's people were to do, and their natural fear was that if they did what was commanded of them by their God, then they would not have enough food and clothing to survive.

 As a parenthesis, note the very close connection between families and the land: The same command, the Jubilee, included both men and land. Clearly, modern society has forgotten man's close connection with real property; that close connection with real property has been replaced with a close connection with paper "wealth," e.g., stocks, bonds, paper issued by the FEDS. The extremely high prices (on paper) in the stock market must lead to disaster, or God's Word is not true. (Therefore, Christians beware.) The investments in the market are not in terms of real wealth, i.e., physical property that one can take possession of.

 Christ clearly referred to the Lev 25:18-22 law in Luke 12 (see also Mat 6) when He told His disciples that their primary concern was to advance and support God's kingdom (influence or dominion) upon earth. The natural fear of man, and thus God's people, is that if he does not lay up abundant treasures on earth, then he will not have enough. Certainly, there is nothing wrong with laying up treasures on earth as long as it is not done in unbelief that the Lord can and will take care of His own, and not done at the expense of proper support of God's kingdom. In fact, did not God's people have to set aside for the coming three years when they could not harvest a crop at the jubilee? The jubilee forced self-control and laying up (savings) for what was known to be ahead.

 Bonar continues:

 The Lord pledges His providence in their behalf; and surely this should be enough for every believing man; even as now also He says, "Your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of these things." Yet how often still is a man overcome by the fear of losing employment, place, support, friends, if he adhere to the Lord's cause! Oh, we little credit the Lord's faithfulness! How abundant is the promised provision, reaching over the three years of which they were in doubt even until the new fruits came in. May we not leave in His hands all our difficulties as to the manner of future provision, and His mode of operation? (Ibid, 455.)

 Divine Providence is defined as God working all things for the benefit of His people, Rom 8:28ff. The call here is for God's people to do what they are told in God's Law-Word, and depend upon the Lord to work out all things for them. They are not to fearfully lay up store for the future, fearful either that the Lord cannot or that He will not work things out. (As we said, they can lay up store, but it must not be from doubt that the Lord can and will take care of them, nor can it be at the expense of using what belongs to God, e.g., the tithe.)

 Bonar continues:

 The blessings of the Lord, not their industry, or skill, or foresight, was to be the source of all their safety and plenty. Nothing else is in sight, to sustain faith, but the assurance given that the Lord is able and willing--His heat is full of love to them, His holy arm full of strength for them. (Ibid.)

 Clearly, wealth comes from the Lord, even wealth given to the ungodly, for God owns everything. Without His strength, no one gains wealth, e.g., He can stop the heart at a moment's notice regardless of one's wealth or spiritual condition:

 And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of [mine] hand hath gotten me this wealth. 18 But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for [it is] he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as [it is] this day. (De 8:17.) For he seeth [that] wise men die, likewise the fool and the brutish person perish, and leave their wealth to others. (Ps 49:10.) Every man also to whom God hath given riches and wealth, and hath given him power to eat thereof, and to take his portion, and to rejoice in his labour; this [is] the gift of God. (Ec 5:19.) A man to whom God hath given riches, wealth, and honor, so that he wanteth nothing for his soul of all that he desireth, yet God giveth him not power to eat thereof, but a stranger eateth it: this [is] vanity, and it [is] an evil disease. (Ec 6:2.)

 "His heart is full of love to them, His holy arm full of strength for them." But His love will only feed and keep His people safely in the land as they follow v. 18. He never promised the old nation of Israel nor does He promise the new Israel, the church, to unconditionally supply their every need:

But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. (Php 4:19.)

 The above passage will not stand on its own apart from its context: It concludes the book of Philippians where precise instructions had been given to God's people how they were to live and act in every situation in which they found themselves, e.g., 1:27; 2:8, 15. In fact, it concludes a section where Paul presented the importance of contentment.

 It is thus a serious error, one that leads to destruction, to even think that the Lord promises to care for His own as His own go their own way contrary to God's Word.



Competent to Minister



by Martin and Deidre Bobgan

 The Bobgans have been on a journey since writing their first book, The psychological Way/The Spiritual Way. They have exposed the unbiblical roots of the psychological way and attempted to point people in the direction of the biblical way. Along the way they became involved in the biblical counseling movement, but later realized that aspects of the psychological way were gaining fertile ground there. Thus, they left that movement and continued their search for a more biblical way of ministering to suffering saints. What they found had been right in front of their eyes all along.

 The Reformation was a turrung point in church history with its strong stand for Sola Scnptura and the priesthood of all believers. Sola Scriptura means by Scripture alone, and the priesthood of all believers means that believers, guided by the Word and empowered by the Holy Spirit, are equipped and called to minister to one another in the Body of Christ. This book rests heavily on those two doctrines. It is a call forward to confidence in the efficacy of Scriptures and the knowledge that: All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works, 2 Tim 3:16,17.

 Competent to Minister: The Biblical Care of Souls calls Christians back to the Bible and to the biblically ordained ministries and mutual care in the Body of Christ that have effectively cared for souls for almost 2000 years. The book urges believers to use the Word empowered by the Spirit to minister to one another. Moreover it demonstrates that believers are competent to minister without specialized training classes in biblical counseling. Instead, their competency comes from the work of the Lord in their own lives. The book also includes practical examples of how every believer can be involved in the biblical care of souls.

 Competent to Minister: The Biblical Care of Souls 252 pages, soft bound, ISBN 0-941717-11-9, list price: $11.99.

Pastor Need.

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