The LAWS of GOD
Bertrand L. Comparet
Tonight I am going to talk to you about the laws of the kingdom of God. That is a subject which the churches have botched up, maybe more than most things, and nearly everything you were taught on this subject in the ordinary churches you can discount as being partly or wholly false, because of the way they have messed it up.
The Bible speaks of four kinds of divine law: the commandments, the judgments, the statutes, and the ordinances. And today's ministers, with rare exception, have no idea that there is any difference between these at all. The commandments are the major rules of conduct for the responsibility of man to his God.
The Ten Commandments in the twentieth chapter of Exodus, of course, are the outstanding examples of this: Thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not commit murder, thou shalt not commit adultery, and so forth. And contrary to what a good many of the churches teach, they are still in full effect.
Now the judgments: The use of that word is a bit misleading. Today we understand judgment to mean the decision of a court after it has heard the case, but, as used in the Bible, it is the rules by which a court is to decide the case. In other words, following the rules set up in what your King James Version calls judgments, a court will know how to decide the case. It is used sometimes in the Bible in the modern sense of the decision also, but from the point of view of Bible law, consider it as the rules by which a court decides a case; but not all cases.
The commandments need no rules of this sort; they are clear enough. But what the Bible classifies as judgments are the cases between man and his fellow man; it includes the laws in regard to property rights, master and servant, and that sort of thing.
Here is an example, in the twenty-first and twenty-second chapters of Exodus: "Now these are the judgments which thou shalt set before them. If thou buy an Hebrew servant, six years he shall serve: and in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing. If he came in by himself, he shall go out by himself; if he were married, then his wife shall go out with him."
Here is another: "And he that stealeth a man, and selleth him, or if he be found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death" - for kidnaping!
No threat of a slap on the wrist, and probation; but, for kidnaping, always the death sentence, even if the victim is rescued.
Here is another: "If a man shall steal an ox, or a sheep, and kill it, or sell it; he shall restore five oxen for an ox, and four sheep for a sheep... If the theft be certainly found in his hand alive, whether it be ox, or ass, or sheep; he shall restore double."
That takes all the fun out of theft, doesn't it? Why do people steal? They steal to make a profit. And if the result of stealing is that, at the very minimum, if you are caught with a stolen article and the owner gets back his original property, you still have to pay him back an amount equal to the value of what you took; and if you disposed of it, then you may have to pay back four to five times what you stole; there is no protit.
Likewise, there wasn't much thievery under those rules either. Now if you are wondering, how do you enforce that sort of thing? Suppose a thief just laughs in your face and says, "Well, I am broke; what are you going to do about it?" The law had something to do about it. He was simply sold into slavery, for enough to make the required restitution.
Now suppose that he would have to pay back $500.00. He would be put upon the auction block and the auctioneer would ask, "Who will bid $500.00 for a month of this man's services, as a slave?" If he is that sort, nobody could rely on him. "Well, who will bid $500.00 for three months of his services?" This shows you how scientific God's laws are: The man's own attitude determined his punishment. If he was really sorry, anxious to make good, maybe he would be a willing worker and maybe you would get a bid of $500.00 for three months of his time. But if he was sullen and defiant and obviously wasn't going to work except when you stood over him with a bull whip, it might take three years of his time to get a $500.00 bid.
In other words, he made his own punishment as severe as was needed. And the victim of the crime got his reimbursement. Now, the best thing we know how to do, if we find the criminal, usually, is just put him in jail. If we find the criminal, usually, he doesn't have anything to repay the victim with. When we put him in jail, that doesn't repay the victim; it is an expense on the public. And if, instead of that, we just put him on probation, he goes back to crime the next day.
But under God's law, there was a good solution to the situation.
You see, the professional sob-sisters were not drawing up God's laws. The third class of these laws, the statutes: These were general rules of conduct for the government of the nation as a whole, for general good order and prosperity. They were of less magnitude than the commandments, but they were the rules for the civilization that separated the people of Israel from all the other nations.
Living according to these statutes, the nation of Israel was to give a demonstration of what prosperity and peace and good order can come, from living under the rules of the laws of God. They covered the dietary laws, the agricultural laws, the social, and the financial laws.
For example, Leviticus 3 verse 17: "It shall be a perpetual statute for your generations throughout all your dwellings, that ye eat neither fat norblood." Well, it took us 3,500 years plus a doctor's bill to find out that the animal fats are the heaviest in cholesterol which builds up in your arteries, leading to hardening of the arteries and heart attacks. And if you cut out the animal fats, get the necessary fats and oils for your diet from vegetable oils, which are as they say primarily unsaturated fatty acids, you get whatever benefit there is from the oil and fat, but without the bad part of it.
Only Moses didn't charge anybody a fee, as a doctor, for giving this advice. As to the eating of blood, dietitians know that there are a number of very unfavorable factors there: certain diseases that are transmitted through eating of blood, besides other unwholesome chemical factors in blood as a food. Now this, as you can see, wasn't intended for your salvation or for your benefit in heaven afterward. If you didn't eat animal fats, it wasn't in heaven that you had a good, healthy heart, it was here in this life.
Here is another: Leviticus 10 verses 8 to 11: "And Yahweh spake unto Aaron [Moses' brother the high priest], saying, "Do not drink wine nor strong drink, thou, nor thy sons with thee, when ye go into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations: And that ye may put difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean; And that ye may teach the children of Israel all the statutes which Yahweh hath spoken unto them by the hand of Moses." There were to be no drunken priests on duty. Now the Bible did not forbid the priests to drink beer or wine; it was simply, that when they were to be on duty as such, they were to be clear headed; no drinking then. Their duties of course included not only service in the temple, offering the sacrifices, but also the instruction of the people in the laws of God; and there was to be no thickheaded, drunken, stumble-bum doing the instructing.
Now the fourth class: The ordinances were the rules which governed the religious rituals, the ceremonies, the religious holidays, and soon. Note now that this is a distinct, separate class - it has nothing to do with the general conduct of the people or the nation - these are strictly religious laws.
For example, in speaking of the Passover, Exodus l2 verses 42to45: "It is a night to be much observed unto Yahweh for bringing them out of the land of Egypt: this is the night of Yahweh to be observed of all the children of Israel in their generations. And Yahweh said unto Moses and Aaron, This is the ordinance of the passover: There shall no stranger eat thereof." The Passover was something between God and His people Israel; and while immigrants from other races could come in as merchants and travelers, and that sort of thing, nevertheless, they were not to say, We are now part of Israel and entitled to all of God's special protection. "But every man's servant that is bought for money, when thou hast circumcised him, then shall he eat thereof. A foreigner and a hired servant shall not eat thereof." Definitely, that was between the Israelite and his God.
Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread, another one: Exodus 13 verses 5 to 10: "And it shall be when Yahweh shall bring thee into the land of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, which he sware unto thy fathers to give thee, a land flowing with milk and honey, that thou shalt keep this service in this month. Seven days thou shalt eat unleavened bread, and in the seventh day shall be a feast to Yahweh. Unleavened bread shall be eaten seven days; and there shall no leavened bread be seen with thee, neither shall there be leaven seen with thee in all thy quarters. And thou shalt shew thy son in that day, saying, This is done because of that which Yahweh did unto me when I came forth out of Egypt. And it shall be so a sign unto thee upon thine hand, and for a memorial between thine eyes, that Yahweh's law may be in thy mouth: for with a strong hand hath Yahweh brought thee out of Egypt. Thou shalt therefore keep this ordinance in his season from year to year."
I suppose all of you know, in a general way, how most of our American law originated. We started with the Common Law of England, and that was not in the form of statutes passed by parliament, but it was the fact that the recognized customs of the people had been recognized as having the force of law by the courts. And since they kept a record of all the major cases that were decided, you had therefore the record of the British courts setting up what was called the Common Law. Now gradually, even in England, that was modified and added to, by statutes adopted by parliament. And over here, while we started with the basis of the English Common Law, the bulk of our law, now, is statutory.
A number of the states, California among them, have tried to organize the law, so that all statutes pertaining to a particular subject are found grouped together. You have for example your motor vehicle code; and you have the civil code of general regulations; you have the code of civil procedure, to govern the courts; you even have a separate evidence code, the rules of evidence to be received in court, and so on.
When Moses was given the law upon mount Sinai, it wasn't the origin of divine law, but it was what you might call a codifying of the law, reducing it to a systematic statement. The Bible recognizes that God's law was to some extent known earlier than that. Genesis 2 verses 16 and 17 records the first commandment:
"And Yahweh God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die."
In Genesis 26 verses 3 to 5, God says this to Isaac: "Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee; for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father" - now note this -"because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws."
So it shows that there was a good deal of divine law known before the time of Moses, although quite obviously not as well organized. Now, you know how, almost without exception, our so-called churches teach: "Well now, you are not under law, you are under grace; the law is all done away with."
It is interesting to ask one of these ministers, "Do you really mean that? that the law is all done away with?" He will reply, "O, yes, yes, surely!'' Then you can say, "Well now, by that you mean I am perfectly free, so far as divine law is concerned, I am perfectly free to commit as many murders and thefts and adulteries as I want to? because, if all the law is done away with, that was part of it."
Then watch your minister stammer around and try to figure out what he does mean, if anything. The trouble goes back to how they are instructed in the seminaries. They are taught: "These are your church doctrines -and if you are asked for something to support them, you can find a few words here and there in the Bible that can be given the appearance of supporting it. Why, you ought to be able to talk half an hour on any comma or semicolon in the Book."
They are not taught the Bible systematically, because church doctrine takes first place; the Bible tags along a poor second. This is what they base their mistake on:
Paul in two places said that Christ had done away with the ordinances, nailing them to His cross, and so on. Here are the two, and you note that they do not say that the law is done away with; only that portion of the law contained in the ordinances: the rituals, the ceremonies.
Ephesians 2 verses 14 and 15: "For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us. Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of [now note this] commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace" - only those commands that were in the ordinances.
Colossians 2 verses 13 and 14: ""And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Bloting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross."
When you limit Paul to what he actually said, and not to the large amount of territory some of the ministers want to take in on this thing, Paul is right. All these ordinances were symbolic of Jesus Christ, what He was going to do, what He was going to accomplish for us; they were to keep alive the memory, the understandmg, the hope, until He came. And, after He had come and performed these things, then you are supposed to put your attention to the reality, and not the mere symbol. The ordinance of the Passover, for example: that, by the death of the passover lamb, His blood being shed and put on your front door - public proclamation of your faith - by that you would be spared from death.
Well obviously that is symbolic of Christ, and in the Book of Hebrews the symbolism is explained. Now we don't go through the old ritual of the Passover. In the Old Testament, in giving the Passover, it says, "This is to be an ordinance for eternity." Now we no longer kill a lamb and put its blood on the outside of the front doors, as they did then, not because we are neglecting it, but because we have a different form of it. By the old Passover you proclaimed your faith, that at some time in the indefinite future, the Messiah Who had not yet come, would come and make the real sacrifice for you; that, by the shedding of His blood, your sins would be forgiven, and the death penalty which your sins had earned would not have to be paid by you, because it had been paid for you.
Now, after He had come and offered His life on the cross, we can't go through the old ritual of saying, Well, the One we are waiting for hasn't come yet; it is still in the future - that would be a rejection of Christ. So the form of the ceremony has been changed, and we have the Communion, the Lord's supper today, with the bread substituted for the flesh of the lamb, the wine substituted for the blood; yet still you have the essential meaning of the Passover.
It didn't take long for the symbolic meaning of all these ordinances to be completely lost. It is the sort of thing you would naturally expect when you set up a professional priesthood, with rituals to go through, when they can give them the air of a certain amount of magic hocus-pocus.
"Now you poor dumb laymen, you don't understand this, and you couldn't do any of this yourself, but now, if you come to me and pay me well, have me perform the magic ceremony that you can't understand, then I can get you the benefit of it." And when you want to put that over, when you want to increase your influence and importance, and so on, the only way you can do it is to cause the general laity to forget what the meaning of this is, and make a mystery out of it; and they speedily did so.
The history of organized religion has never been anything but the history of organized corruption, for that reason. You look over the books in your Bible: now aside from the merely historic ones, Ezra and Nehemiah, Kings and Chronicles [you will find some history in some of the others too, but those could have been written by any well informed agnostic or atheist; they are not stating doctrine; they are recording what happened], but you turn to those which contain "thus saith Yahweh," you will find, with the two exceptions of Jeremiah and Ezekiel, when God needed a man to go out and say "thus saith Yahweh," He had to go outside of the priesthood to find him.
So you find, today, the churches teaching their people that the law was all done away with. Go to a church social-supper, what do you have almost invariably? Baked ham. "You are of course supposed to violate the laws of God in order to show that you are under grace."
Jesus Christ had some rather critical comments to make on that, you know. Well, it is true that if a man lived up to all of the law -the moral law as well as the merely practical parts of it, like the dietary law, the agricultural law, financial laws - if he lived up to all of it, yes, he would live on the strength of that. It would take an awful lot of ingenuity to figure out how to commit a sin without violating some of the laws of God. But that wasn't the real object of the thing.
It is very true that Leviticus 18 verses 3 to 5 says, "After the doings of the land of Egypt, wherein ye dwelt, shall ye not do: and after the doings of the land of Canaan, whither I bring you, shall ye not do: neither shall ye walk in their ordinances. Ye shall do my judgments, and keep mine ordinances, to walk therein: I am Yahweh your God. Ye shall therefore keep my statutes, and my judgments: which if a man do, he shall live in them."
Of course, the great bulk of the law, ninety-eight percent of it, probably, had nothing to do with these moral phases of it. The dietary law pointed out which foods were wholesome, good for you, which were unwholesome and bad for your health. If you ate unwholesome food, you weren't going to have a stomach-ache in heaven after you died; you would get your ill health here in this life. If you violated the agricultural laws, you weren't going to have poor crops in heaven, later: you would have poor crops here and now, on this earth. And those things are every bit as true as they ever were. You weren't forfeiting your chance at salvation, if you were foolish enough to violate the dietary laws; that wasn't the object of them.
Here is what Jesus Christ said in the fifth chapter of Matthew, beginning with verse 17: "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Now when do heaven and earth pass away?
Well, it is not until after the millennium, the thousand year reign of Christ. Revelation 21 verse 1 is the first time where you find a statement that the first heaven and the first earth are passed away. So, not only all the time from Christ's lifetime down to now, but at least the next thousand years to come, the law is in effect. So He goes on, saying this, "Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven" [Matthew 5:19].
The laws of God are still in effect. Now nobody ever succeeded in living up to them fully, and in the Old Testament times, when you realized you had broken one of these laws, you took your animal sacrifice to the temple and were assured of God's forgiveness. And today, you don't offer an animal sacrifice, you pray to be forgiven, because the real sacrifice has been made for you, by Jesus Christ.
But these ministers who teach that the law is all done away with, and has no power today, you can see where they are going to wind up, even if they get their salvation. In fact, in Proverbs 28 verse 9, it says, "He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination."
So much for the general four categories of the law. Now let us take a little look at what they are, in some of these groups. The law of military training and military service: There is no pacifism whatever in the Bible; God not only authorized war, He expressly commanded it, in certain instances. For example, God commanded the literal extermination of the Amalekites. This is Exodus 17 verses 14 to 16 [and see also Deuteronomy 25 verses 17 and following]: "And Yahweh said unto Moses, Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua: for I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.
And Moses built an altar, and called the name of it Yahweh-nissi fYahweh is my banner]: For he said, Because Yahweh hath sworn that Yahweh will have war with Amalek from generation to generation." The Canaanites who lived in the land that the people of Israel were to occupy, they were commanded to be exterminated: not that we should simply, like we are doing in Viet-Nam, say, "We don't want to win the war; we just want to convince them that they should be reasonable."
Listen to this [this is Deuteronomy 7 verses 1 to 4]: "When Yahweh thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations before thee, the Hittites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Canaan ites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than thou; And when Yahweh thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them: Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son. For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of Yahweh be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly."
Wars of liberation, to drive out oppressive tyrants, were favored: Numbers 10 verse 9: "And if ye go to war in your land against the enemy that oppresseth you, then ye shall blow an alarm with the trumpets; and ye shall be remembered before Yahweh your God and ye shall be saved from your enemies." And these aggressors who made war against our people were not to be left in condition to keep on repeating it over and over again. The people had been warned, they were not themselves to be aggressors, attacking others who were peacefully inclined toward them; but, if any other nation made aggressive war on them, here was the rule: "When thou comest nigh unto a city to fight against it, then proclaim peace unto it. And it shall be, if it make thee answer of peace, and open its gates unto thee, then it shall be, that all the people that is found therein shall be tributaries unto thee, and they shall serve thee. And if it will make no peace with thee, but will make war against thee, then thou shalt besiege it: And when Yahweh thy God hath delivered it into thine hands, thou shalt smite every male thereof with the edge of the sword" [Deuteronomy 20 verses 10 to 13].
A little of that sort of thing in Viet-Nam would restore peace in a hurry.
Exodus 15 verse 3:' 'Yahweh is a man of war."
Psalm 144 verse 1: "Blessed by Yahweh my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight." One of the Psalms of David, you know; and you remember that David is the only man of whom God said, "This is a man after My Own heart." The rule was universal military training.
Numbers 26 verses 1 and 2: "And it came to pass after the plague, that Yahweh spake unto Moses and unto Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest, saying, Take the sum [and that is not merely the total, but it means the names, the registration] of all the congregation of the children of Israel, from twenty years old and upward, throughout their fathers' house, all that are able to go to war in Israel." So they were all registered for the draft, from the age of twenty. Has Christianity done away with all this sort of thing? Has it revealed that everything that God said before that time was a mistake, that has to be thrown out? No, of course not. Jesus Christ confirmed all this.
Luke 12 verse 51: "Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division." Mix us all up with our enemies in the United Nations, in one great, happy, satanic family? No; division, separation. "Come out from among them, and be ye separate..." It is a command from the beginning. [II Corinthians 6:17.]
Luke 22 verse 36 [Jesus speaking to His disciples]: "Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his script: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one."
Matthew 10 verse 34: "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword." You cannot have real Christianity, uncompromising resistance to satanic evil, without war, because the satanic organization of the earth isn't going to let you get away with it, without war. You have to do one of two things: you have to either desert your God and join Satan's forces, or you have to stand by your God and have war with Satan's - one or the other - there is no intermediate ground.
The Bible makes it very clear that God is not a pacifist, in the sense of today's pacifists, at all. Now does that mean that God doesn't like peace? No, not at all. He wants a true peace, which can only be had under His own rules. The kind of peace that the people of Czechoslovakia are getting today and the kind of peace that the people of China are getting today - that is not peace in the eyes of God.
In Leviticus 26, God says this: "If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them; . . . I will give peace in the land, and ye shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid: and I will rid evil beasts out of the land, neither shall the sword go through your land. And ye shall chase your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword. And five of you shall chase an hundred, and a hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight: and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword." Instead of which we turn our back on God, in order to get the votes of minority groups; and we have got over 35,000 American dead in South Viet-Nam, against an enemy that isn't even fifth rate.
It is hard to find anything in which we have not perverted the laws of God. Now take for example the laws of citizenship and eligibility for public office. Anybody from a country whose people are not of our race, whose civilization is not of our sort, whose ideals are not like ours at all, can come in here and after a relatively brief period be naturalized and given full citizenship, equal to someone born here. Now, that is completely contrary to God's law. You will find God's law explained in detail in Deuteronomy 23 verses 3 to 8. Those who are of the same race as ours, but not of Israel: Remember that there were descendants of Abraham by a number of sons, only one of whom was Isaac; those who are racially the same, although not of our Israel nations, they were not permitted citizenship until the third generation born in the land. By that time, they could have pretty well absorbed our way of looking on things.
But as to those who are racially not the same, they could not be admitted to citizenship even to the tenth generation. Aliens were not permitted to hold any public office.
Deuteronomy 17 verse 15: ". . . thou mayest not set a stranger over thee, which is not thy brother." Now that word "stranger" doesn't mean somebody to whom you have not been formally introduced; it is the Hebrew word "nokriy," which means a person of a different race. When any non-Israelite is able to gain public office, that is plainly stated in the Bible as being a curse upon us and a punishment for our wickedness.
Deuteronomy 28 verses 15 and 43 to 45: "But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of Yahweh thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee." Then He goes on to list a number of them, and you come to this [in Deuteronomy 15 verses 43-45]: "The stranger that is within thee shall get up above thee very high; and thou shalt come down very low. He shall lend to thee, and thou shalt not lend to him: he shall be the head, and thou shalt be the tail.. .because thou hearkenedst not unto the voice of Yahweh thy God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which he commanded thee."
The very fact that you can have this Negro Bradley running for mayor in Los Angeles [and with excellent prospect of getting it, apparently] shows to what an extent we have sunk in the eyes of God. Now you notice that this is something that is always promoted by those who like to call themselves "liberal" - and that also is taken up in the Bible. In the thirty-second chapter of Isaiah, he starts out talking about what it is going to be like in the kingdom of God, when all our present troubles are done away with, and we are living under the reign of God. And in Isaiah 32 verse 5, he says that then "...the vile [v-i-l-e] the vile person shall be no more called liberal..." He knew his liberals!
As to foreign policy: You hear stupid people always parroting, "O, you must love your enemies." You remember, the Bible is very careful to say "your enemy" and to distinguish between your enemy and God's enemy. If your fellow Israelite is your enemy, he is your enemy for one of two reasons. Either you actually have done something wrong to him, in which case you should make amends, or he mistakenly thinks you have done something wrong to him, in which case you should try to get him to understand that you didn't do it.
But now, God's enemy is a very different thing. You remember that on the break-up of Israel, on the death of Solomon, the northern kingdom went into idolatry immediately, and of course God naturally took away His favor from the northern kingdom of Israel on that account. A little while after that, one of the kings of Judah, who was making a half-hearted attempt to be good, sent military aid to help the king of Israel in some battle or other, and he was given this rebuke: "Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the Lord? therefore is wrath upon thee from before the Lord" [II Chronicles 19: 2]. When you help God's enemies, when you arrange yourself on their side, you yourself become the enemy of God and can expect to pay the penalty accordingly; and parroting, "love your enemy, love your enemy," isn't going to change the facts a bit. You don't fool God with catch phrases.
In Psalm 139, King David says this: "Do not I hate them, 0 Lord, that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee? I hate them with a perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies." Now did God look down His nose at David and say, 0, you are one of those awful hate mongers? No! Two places in the Bible, in Acts 13 verse 22 and in I Samuel 13 verse 14, you find God said this: "I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart..."If any of us could get that much approval, it would be something! Now, as to the economic laws governing business: Of course the strictest of honesty was required; no false measures, no false weights. You will find that in Deuteronomy 25 verses 13 to 16 and Leviticus 19 verses 35 to 36.
The labor laws have their foundation in the Bible. There must be no oppression of the workmen who work for you; servants they are called in the Bible, but most people employed today wouldn't take kindly to the use of that word. However, as used in the English language of three and a half centuries ago, one who was hired to do work for another could be classified as servant. There must be no oppression of them [Leviticus 25 verses 39 to 42 and verses 47 to 55] and wages must be paid when due. In those days, wages were paid daily. The average working man didn't have enough, that he could go along for a month or a week without pay, so wages had to be paid not later than sunset every day. [Deuteronomy 24 verses 14 to 15.]
On loans, no interest whatever could be charged, except from aliens. To your fellow Israelite, you could not charge any interest. Now today we say, Well, usury is anything above 42 percent a year. As the word usury is used in your King James Version, it means a trillionth of one percent a century, or anything above it. Anything whatsoever, anything that is paid for the use of money or thing of value is usury, in that sense. In other words, the borrower must pay back to you the principal of what he borrowed, but not interest. Now you were under no obligation to try to make the people of other races as prosperous as Israel. If they wanted to borrow from you to get some of your prosperity, it was fair enough that they pay you something for it, and you could charge interest to any non-Israelite. See Deuteronomy 23 verses 19 to 20; Leviticus 25 verses 35 to 38. They had mortgages in those days, and if a person became hard up and had to mortgage the family homestead, the farm, or had to sell it, he had the right of redemption. In other words, you could not lose the farm that was the source of the family's living, permanently.
Now a house within a walled city was in a little different classification. If you sold a house within a walled city, you had one year in which to redeem it; and if you didn't redeem it within a year, it was gone permanently. But the people within the city were not depending on that house, primarily, for their living. If you were a saddle maker or a silversmith, or whatnot, living in town doing your work, you could move to another house, someplace else, and do your work just as well. But as to the farm, which was the source of the family's living, every fiftieth year, the Jubilee year, whatever property had been sold or taken on mortgage foreclosure, if it had not been redeemed before that, it came back to its original owner without the payment of anything. That doesn't mean fifty years from the time you sold it, it was every fiftieth year on the calendar. If last year was the Jubilee year, you could mortgage or sell your property this year for fifty years. If next year was the Jubilee year, you could only mortgage it or sell it for the remainder of this year. When that time came, the property came back without payment of anything.
You remember what happened to the Roman empire? When they were a nation of sturdy, independent farmers, they became a powerful empire that ruled most of the known world. Then the inevitable happened. Farmers of course are subject to the vagaries of bad weather and insect plagues, and that sort of thing. They have a bad year, get no crop, and the average farmers don't have enough saved up to coast over another year, so they mortgage their farms and lose them in foreclosure or they have to sell them. They drift into town to become a landless city rabble: and there you have the beginning of the fall of the Roman empire - as you can find it described in great detail in Gibbon's "Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire."
That was not to happen to God's people Israel. Every seventh year, the year of release, the Israelites were freed from the burden of unpayable debts. Now it was the obligation of every man, who was in debt, to make every honest effort to pay off his debt. But it was bound to happen to many, that with all honesty and good faith, they just couldn't do it. You know how it is today, when a man owes some money: the creditor won't wait, he gets a judgment, then he levies an attachment on the man's wages, a garnishment on his wages, and gets him fired from his job. And whenever he gets a new job, the creditor again levies a garnishment on the wages, and gets him fired from that job also. That sort of thing couldn't be, under the rules of the kingdom of God. Whatever remained unpaid, after all fair and honest efforts were made to pay it, when the seventh year came around, was canceled. Then you got a fresh start.
Now God promised that if the nation would live up to that, if the creditors would recognize the release of debts on the seventh year, that God would send such prosperity, that they would not suffer any loss from not continuing to extract every penny from their debtors. It is something of course that just an individual, here or there, couldn't put into effect, probably. In other words, you are more or less the prisoner of the sort of social system you live under, or economic system. But if the nation would adopt it, we were promised prosperity, and we would have it. Then, after seven of these year-of-release periods, you came to the Jubilee year.
Now where you had sold your property, or lost it in foreclosure, no further proceedings could be taken to try to collect a deficiency judgment after that seventh year, but the property didn't automatically go back to you on the seventh year; it was only returned to you in the Jubilee year. In the agricultural laws, you had the rules which we violate constantly and pay the penalty. One of these rules was this: that when you plant trees, you cannot wait eagerly to grab the first apple or orange, or what have you, that the tree can produce. For the first three years, you are not permitted to allow any fruit to form on the tree at all; you have to go around and nip off every bud, so that no fruit forms. The fourth year, if you wish, you are permitted to let fruit form on the tree, but none of it is for you; every single bit of it has to be taken to the temple as an offering. The fifth year's crop, and thereafter, is your own.
It so happened that I had a chance to see this demonstrated. Most of you, I guess, know where Escondido is, about twenty miles north of San Diego. A friend of mine bought some land there, and planted on it an orange grove. And the very same year, his next door neighbor did likewise. On the same slope of the same hill, the same exposure to sunlight and to weather, the same soil - no difference except a wire fence separating the two properties - his neighbor also planted an orange grove, and at the very same time. It so happened that I was out there and I looked them over when the fifth year's crop was forming on the trees. On the neighbor's land, the trees were not particularly big or high, but the branches were thin and spindly. There were some oranges on them, not a great many; and under every one of these little, thin, spindly branches, there was a wooden prop - so that the branch wouldn't be broken by the weight of these oranges. Now my friend had obeyed God's law. For four years, no fruit was allowed to form, and here was his first crop, the fifth year, forming on the trees. His trees were pretty nearly double the size of his neighbor's, with thick strong branches. His crop was considerably more than double the number of oranges, and there wasn't a prop under one of these branches, and there wasn't one needed. At the end of that fifth year, my friend would have more profit, a more salable crop, than his neighbor had for the entire five - and from then on, pure velvet, because his trees were always going to be that much better than his neighbor's.
God doesn't bother arguing with you, why you should do these things. He tells you, this is the best way; do it. If you are curious enough to look into it, you will find out that there is a good reason for it. From the time this neighbor's trees were very little bigger than weeds, he was trying to coax every possible orange off of them, and the strength of the growing plants were being too much diverted into the production of fruit, and too little left for growing big, strong, sound wood. My friend followed God's law: not a bit of the strength of the growing plants was wasted on fruit; it all went into making sturdy trees; big, strong, healthy trees. Then when its proper growth period was completed, then let it bear fruit, and you will get fruit in abundance.
Another one of these agricultural laws is that your land must get its sabbath of rest, the same as you do. One year in seven the land must be allowed to lie fallow. You plant and harvest your crops for six years, and the next year you let it alone - and we are too greedy to do it.
Now you remember the dust bowl conditions of around 1932 or 1933, in there? Well, we followed our customary greed: we were constantly planting and re-planting the land, and you know the Bible: it says, if you do not follow these agricultural laws, God said, "I will make the sky like brass, and your rain shall be powder and dust" - and it was! They had to let the land alone or it would have blown away completely.
Why the one year of rest in seven? A plant has to get out of the soil two things: it has to get the humus, the nitrogen bearing remains of former plant life there, and it has to get minerals. You know how much you are reading now about what they call the hidden hunger: you eat plants grown on worn out soil, and they are lacking in vitamins, and especially they are lacking in minerals because they can't get them out of a worn out soil. A grain of sand is all mineral, and it isn't of any use to the plant, because that quartz is completely insoluble in water, and the plant can't get anything but what dissolves in water. Now there are bacteria that grow in the soil in great numbers, and as a by-product of their existence they produce certain acids, and these acids corrode away the surface of the sand grains, breaking them down into water-soluble salts which dissolve in the water. And the roots of the plant draw that water out of the ground and they get the minerals for a healthy plant. Now you can pour ammonium sulfate fertilizers on the land, in any amount you want, and sure, it is sort of a shot-in-the-arm to the plant - it makes it green the same way green paint would - but it doesn't make it healthy. You have to have those soluble minerals. For thousands of years we bred our food plants for heavy yield, meaning, that they feed heavily on the soil. At the end of six years you have, as you might say, overdrawn your bank account of soluble minerals in the soil. Whatever reserve was there, you have used up, and you are taking it out faster than the bacteria can replace it. Now if you will let it alone, the seventh year, not grow anything, the. bacteria continue working and you have one whole year's production of soluble mineral salts there, ready to start out with. Your bank account has replenished with a new deposit. So the eighth year, when you plant your crops, they have one whole year's production, in addition to the current year's production, and they draw a little bit on the one year's reserve that is there, and that will carry you through for six years. Then you start out with another year of rest.
A few years ago I saw some figures put out by someone who unquestionably knew nothing about divine law, on this, but he was just recording what the statistics showed. The Agriculture Department knew of course exactly what the yield had been per acre on those dust bowl areas, when they were planted to wheat, before the dust storms finally compelled giving the land its rest. Well, they had to allow the land to lie fallow for several years, and finally they began cautiously planting some areas, and he reported this: "The first year's crop they took off, after several years rest, the yield was as high as 400 percent what it had been before the dust storm period started." Now let us see what you can do by violating the laws of God. For most of our prairie states of the Midwest, we have pretty exact statistics on what the yield per acre of wheat and corn, and so on, has been, from the time they were first put under cultivation, and you do not get as high production per acre now, as you did 75 to 100 years ago; it has gone down.
But let us assume that you got a steady level of production. So you get a year's crop, we will say, as one unit. You get one unit for each of eight years; that is eight units. Now suppose you follow the law of God: you get one unit for each of the first six; then you skip the seventh, getting nothing; and in the eighth you get four units. Six and four are ten; as compared with eight, if you didn't give the land its rest.
We think we are too smart, when we are merely too greedy, to follow God's laws. But there is a good reason for all of God's laws, and if you follow them, they pay off.
As to the dietary laws: I read you one: Deuteronomy 12 verses 23 to 25, that you were not to eat fat of the meat, nor blood. Leviticus 7 verses 23 to 24 also discusses it. Another rule is that you are not to eat any kind of contaminated meat, meat that has been in contact with things that might put some sort of bacterial infection into it, or any other poisonous thing. Also read Leviticus 7 verse 19.
Now as to what meats are fit to eat, you are given the rule: You could eat the flesh of those animals which had acloven hoof and chewed the cud. Now a rabbit or hare chews the cud, but it has paws and not hoofs at all. A pig has cloven hoofs, but it does not chew the cud. Pork and rabbit are therefore forbidden; camel likewise. A camel chews the cud, I believe, but it does not have hoofs. Cattle with cloven hoofs, sheep with cloven hoofs, deer with cloven hoofs, are all permitted foods, because these animals, I believe, have the double stomach, and they chew the cud.
Why shouldn't you eat any of these other things? Aren't the rules arbitrary? No. You can disregard God's law, eat port and get trichinosis. There are hundreds of thousands of cases of it every year in the United States, much of it not diagnosed. You see, these are tiny little worms that are very small, almost microscopically small, and they work themselves all through the muscles of the meat, and each one settles down and chews out a little hollow where it settles down, and the body sort of walls it in with a membrane around it; and there they stay. They are thriving on the nourishment carried to them by the blood. So you eat the meat of an infected pig that isn't extremely well cooked. In your stomach the meat digests, and that means the sacks around these little worms also digest, setting them free. They burrow through the walls of your intestines into the blood vessels there, and they drift with the blood throughout your body, and wherever the idea occurs to them and they decide this is far enough, they burrow through the wall of the blood vessel into the muscles and set up housekeeping. If some of them do this in the liver, you have jaundice and maybe you are suspected of having cirrhosis of the liver. But without an autopsy, cutting up your liver to see, the doctors can't be sure; they can't know whether it is trichinosis or not. If they get into the heart muscle, you really have troubles, and so on. So many of these are not diagnosed. Rabbits are subject to a good many diseases such as tularaemia, which is often fatal.
Now, even if you cooked pork well enough that you kill all these trichinosis worms in the thing, that doesn't make it a wholesome food; there is too much else wrong with it. There are a number of other diseases you can get from pork; and even if the bacteria themselves are killed, remember that what it has done to the flesh of that diseased animal, the chemical condition that is set up there, which is causing the sickness of the animal, that is what you are taking into your body.
Fish: Any kind of fish with fins and scales is permissible as food. A lot of people in the south like to eat catfish. Catfish has fins, but it has no scales; it has just a skin. And the catfish is a carrion eater; it eats dead and rotting things that it finds in the water.
Now among the birds, there is a long list of forbidden birds. Of course the vulture and buzzard, and so on, carrion eaters, are forbidden. But also, in general, the carnivorous birds, the eagle, the hawk, and so on, are forbidden; as also among the four-footed animals. All the carnivorous animals are forbidden.
Some people like to eat bear meat, but of course it is strictly forbidden. These things are unwholesome. Snails, mice, lizards are also forbidden, but some people will eat anything. However, all these things are forbidden.
Eat no flesh of any animal that has died of disease. Now if you go out into the field and find the carcass of a cow that died of hoof-and-mouth disease, and you cut a steak off of it, and take it home and eat it, you are probably not going to lose your salvation; in fact, you may wind up in heaven a lot quicker. You are going to lose your health immediately and quite probably your life.
All of the laws which make up the practical group do not deal with your spiritual salvation; they deal with your practical life here and now. Why then did God do more than just make suggestions? Well, He said in substance, "I want a healthy nation to serve me; I don't want you filthy with trichinosis or these other diseases that you can get. Don't defile yourself with these things when you are going to be My people, My demonstration of what a nation should be. I have said that if you obey My laws, you will have good health, long life, peace, and prosperity. Now don't spoil the demonstration by making yourself sick, by violating the very laws that I have given you for your guidance." So these laws were enforced. In fact, in the Old Testament days, they were enforced even by the death penalty, because God wanted this nation to have a chance to show the world what obedience to His law would do. Anytime we are ready to get back on the ball and live up to the laws of God, we can get all the benefits of them.