by John Greene
Whether Christians should borrow, compounded by the misuse of today’s financial system has made modern financial matters a hot button topic for many. Disagreement is wide and varying. There is perhaps no other aspect of a nation or function of government that will affect the lives, prosperity and well being of a nation more than the economic system combined with monetary principles. A national economy is essentially the degree of freedom that people possess in material terms. While many prefer to simply consider the laws of the land that they live in as the final authority, there is plenty that can be learned by consulting scripture. This is especially important when you consider all the voices of the world that seek to sway your personal viewpoint to their advantage.
One viewpoint believes that Christians confuse themselves with Jews. (To learn more about this, read the article “Seeking a New Spirit.”) They see the Gospels and writings of first-century disciples as distinct and separate from the “books of the Jews,” what most Christians call the Old Testament [Old Covenant]. While many Christian denominations have conveniently distanced themselves from the Jewish composition of the Old Testament, they have done Christianity and themselves considerable harm in the process because they deny both accurate knowledge and the proper operation of the Holy Spirit. They deceive themselves because they deny the Will of YHWH that He has revealed to all that are interested!
“All Scripture is breathed by Elohim [‘God’] and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for setting straight, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of Elohim might be fitted, equipped for every good work. ” – 2 Timothy 3:16, ISR98
Usury is the expression that was used in “King James English” to describe the practice of taking interest for the loaning of money. In the days of King James, even with the influence of other religious forces on Christian thought, the meaning of usury was clear. One of the qualities of the person who is in fellowship with YHWH is found in Psalms 15:5 which says, “He who does not put out his money at usury, nor does he take a bribe against the innocent.” The background to this particular sin is YHWH’s prohibition of usury in the old nation of Israel, which extended to recent times in most cultures. Even in Britain, before the Bank of England was established through a Roman/Swiss alliance, usury was outlawed and punishable by secular law. Usury signified the loan or rent of money, even though European government and religion wrestled with creative ways to create income, just as they do today, including changing the meaning of usury. (“Millenniums of Human Exploitation“; “The Perverse Gods of Christmas“)
Numerous verses in the Bible explicitly forbid usury, so you would think a “Christian” or “Judeo-Christian” society would be up in arms about it. Not so, because the law of nations has redefined it. The author can only conclude the real answer is that not a single person in the world actually lives in a Christian society, especially when you try to refer to a specific nation. In addition, people prefer to blur the lines of “brotherhood” and any semblance of truth to meet their convenience. Disciples need to get past the fact that nations are not Christian unless they accurately follow Bible truth. This includes all government and authorities. Since the laws of most lands do not support and seek accurate Bible truth or its true Spirit, you know where you stand regarding the place you live. (“Disciple: Who Is To Help Those In Need?“; “Knowing Where You Stand on YHWH’s Threshing Floor“; “U.S. Bankruptcy and the Bible“)
The root of the meaning of usury is derived from the Hebrew word “neshek,” which means to take a bite out of someone or to extort, to obtain something by force, threat or other unfair means, especially relating to abuse of authority.
“If you lend money to any of My people who are poor among you, you shall not be like a moneylender to him; you shall not charge him interest.” – Exodus 22:25, NKJV
At least a few would say that this prohibition against interest-based lending only applied to the Jewish nation of old and not to the nations around them. YHWH’s people were well aware of the conduct of the nations around them and how they dealt with silver, gold and trading goods. The Jewish lender was allowed to loan with interest to an outsider, a foreigner. Yet, there is a deeper message in what YHWH is telling His people for the ages. (Leviticus 25:35-37) In addition, YHWH had His eyes firmly fixed on the poor because they were at a real disadvantage where money was concerned. To loan money to a brother while expecting interest in return was flying in the face of Elohim. YHWH wanted the nation of Israel to take care of one another because they were to love each other as brothers and to meet the needs of others generously. Even the poor foreign traveler was to be assisted. When YHWH’s nation followed His advice, His people were promised that they would prosper in all that they put their hands to. (Deuteronomy 23:19-20) Wouldn’t you like that kind of favor too? (“YHWH: the Help of Those Who Seek Him“; “The Grace of YHWH’s Vineyard“)
This approach to finance was also an assurance toward national and spiritual stability through the prevention of poverty and want, especially over the long term. What is the fastest way to make an enemy? Simply loan to a desperate man with interest, and watch the resentment flare as he struggles to pay you without the means to do so! If you really love a brother, you’d give him what he needed. You certainly wouldn’t do any more harm than loan whatever was required, to be returned without interest. (“Giving to Others While Trusting in YHWH for Your Needs“)
The nation of YHWH had other interesting principles that covered debt, even servitude to others. Deuteronomy 15:1-2 is quite explicit: “At the end of every seven years you make a release of debts. And this is the word of the release: Every creditor is to release what he has loaned to his neighbor, he does not require it of his neighbour or his brother, because it is called the release of YHWH.”
The counterpoint in the world today is that modern finance is so stingy, they rarely consider loaning to a person of moderate means, let alone the poor. When they do so, they use corrupt laws and usury on an unprecedented level. Christians have come to accept this as normal and good! Modern banking intentionally limits their exposure to lending. Why? Bankers don’t consider that they make enough money in the lending business, even with compound interest and the power of the fractional reserve. Instead they prefer to deal with the antics of bundling loans into securities, leveraging, insider deals, profiteering on Wall Street while aiding and abetting large corporations for their own benefit. This is a far cry from the humble banking community that existed in old Israel. (“News: Wall Street Greed Creates Hunger“; “News: Investment & the Black Horse of Famine“; “News: Hyperinflation & False Teaching“)
The reason that the nation of Israel was allowed to charge interest to foreigners around them is that this usury was designed to drive the foreigner from their homes in the event that Israel’s army had not already done so. YHWH recognized that usury imprisoned the borrower and could easily destroy him. History bears this truth out. Using the current reasoning in the modern banking system, everyone is a foreigner, so charging interest to everyone is game! Corporate banking and business have come to dominate and rule nations for their own benefit. Do you begin to get the idea of where you stand in the scheme of the world, especially when you are the borrower?
The real point is that usury tears down the borrower and ultimately the society that borrows. This was true in Israel and the same is true today! Usury among the Jews came into practice during the Babylonian captivity. The practice of mortgaging came from the land of mammon, Babylon. Today, the majority of people that buy homes or property have mortgages to fund that acquisition. Even when Jerusalem was being rebuilt, Nehemiah encountered the attempts of the wealthy to extort mortgages to rebuild the land. As governor, Nehemiah outlawed these financial practices in line with the Word of YHWH. (Nehemiah 5; “Destruction Is Satan’s Intent“)
The Prophet Ezekiel declared usury an “abominable thing” and put it in the same category as rape, murder, robbery and idolatry. (Ezekiel 18:19-13). Ezekiel compares usurious lending to extortion and murder for hire. Usury was one of the sins of the nation of Judah for which YHWH punished the people. (Ezekiel 22:12-22; “Living in an Apostate World“)
The idea behind a loan in Elohim’s eyes was not for profit. Knowing that loans were going to happen between people in a less than perfect world, Ezekiel proclaimed that one quality of a righteous man was to return what he took as security for a loan. (Ezekiel 18:7) Once again to the lender:
“Good will come to him who is generous and lends freely, who conducts his affairs with justice.” – Psalms 112:5, NKJV
“The wicked borrows and does not repay, but the righteous shows mercy and gives.” – Psalms 37:21, NKJV
While Psalms 37:21 is often used with the mindset that wicked borrow without repaying, there is a larger principle at work. The righteous man shows mercy and gives. There is a middle ground. Psalm 37:21 shows both sides of the matter, discouraging stinginess and taking advantage of one another. Taking the body of scripture into account, the righteous man is encouraged to lend at no cost or to GIVE. However, if a person must borrow and the agreement to do so is made, then the loan must be repaid. Honesty is demanded for both sides. However, this principle does not excuse abusive practices that amount to extortion. YHWH forbids such practices. As a disciple, you need to know better while rejecting abusive practices, whether lender or borrower. (“Understanding Sin“; “Choosing to Serve YHWH, Not Man“)
Knowing that we live in a real world that often seeks usury, Proverbs make an important statement about loans where security has been offered:
“Do not be one of those who shakes hands in a pledge, one of those who is surety for debts; if you have nothing with which to pay, why should he take away your bed from under you?” – Proverbs 22:26-27, NKJV
In fact, Proverbs 22:26 says that you should not be one that offers security for a loan? Why? Because, if you are unable to pay, you will lose the security or pledge that you offered for the loan. You are advised not to offer collateral for a loan! Then you have nothing to fear or lose.
Proverbs 17:18 warns against co-signing loans: “A man devoid of understanding shakes hands in a pledge, and becomes surety for his friend.” This means that anyone that co-signs a loan lacks judgment! That means you and me!
Proverbs 22:7 warns: “The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.” This is a warning not to borrow, especially from a non-believer. This is a warning not borrow outside of the authority of YHWH’s Law. Simply put, borrowing from the world makes you a slave to Satan. YHWH’s overarching concern about debt is it is always to be for the short-term. (“Approved: Lie Cheat & Steal“; “The Image & Mark of the Beast System“)
In Ezekiel 18, the prophet outlines that each individual is responsible for his or her own sin. He clearly states that the son does not bear the iniquity of the father and neither does the father bear the iniquity of the son. This principle demonstrates that anyone who is righteous will be accounted righteous and anyone who is wicked will reap wickedness. In the same way, debt is not to be carried from generation to generation or to span generations. In verses 10 to 13, Ezekiel outlines the abominations that the wicked are full of. Usury and taking profit through loans are abominations that the world revels in to the point that everyone simply takes it for granted. Can you imagine the corruption that bankers and investors are guilty of as they seek the creation of new wealth? The Word of YHWH is a consistent measuring stick, a standard that proves the corruption of the society that we live in today, as well as society through the ages. (“Understanding Sin“; “Being Set Apart Makes You Aware of Sin“)
The words of Yahshua [Jesus] support the same ideas of lending and giving: without the expectation of receiving back materially:
“Bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back. And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise. “But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High.” – Luke 6:28-35, NKJV
What Yahshua [Jesus] said here truly puts the world to shame. He doesn’t limit YHWH’s Way to personal life. This means in business and every other matter that you could envision. He expects His disciples to follow this prescription for life. For the modern world, this kind of spiritual life is unthinkable for most, a reversal of the lifestyle and thinking that they live now. (“YHWH’s Track of Righteousness“; “What Lifestyle Are You Pursuing?“; “Do You Live a Lifestyle of Greed?“)
How did first-century disciples live? “Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common.” – Acts 4:32, NKJV
This is the way most first century disciples lived and this is the model for disciples through the ages. They loved and took care of one another. Usury in any form was not on their mind, and was in fact forbidden. Profit was not on their minds. When disciples love one another, they will not hold back from brothers and sisters in need, from sharing what YHWH has given them.
While millions of Christians say that the Law Covenant has no power, the apostle Paul says: “Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” – Romans 3:20, NKJV
The Mosaic Law gives disciples of Messiah the knowledge of sin by defining sin in very concrete terms. (Romans 7:7) Usury and finances are part of that definition. YHWH clearly defines sin for all. Even so, the New Covenant through Yahshua [Jesus] Messiah in the power of the Holy Spirit [Sanctified, Set Apart Spirit] justifies trust in the Father through the atoning death of His Son. (“How to Receive the Holy Spirit“; “Listening to the Holy Spirit“; “Do You Take Sin For Granted?“; “The Real Power Behind Baptism“)
“Charge those who are rich in this present age not to be high-minded, nor to trust in the uncertainty of riches, but in the living Elohim, who gives us richly all for enjoyment, to do good, to be rich in good works,1 to be generous, ready to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, so that they lay hold on everlasting life.” – 1 Timothy 6:17-19, ISR98
Clearly, all disciples are to be abundant in good works, ready to give and willing to share, not for their own good, but for the good of others. This is not limited to a crisis, whether large or small. Instead, living this way applies to daily life. By living this way, a disciple may not enjoy financial gain, but they will reap a reward that surpasses anything the world has or could have through the abuses of others.
“By this we have known the love of YAHWEH, because that One laid down His life for us; and on behalf of the brethren we ought to lay down our lives. But whoever has worldly possessions, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his mercy from him, how is the love of YAHWEH in him? My little children, let us not love in word, or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.” – 1 John 3:16-18, HRB
Disciples love fellow brothers and sisters in the gathering of Messiah. A disciple does not shut off and harden his heart or his compassion. Lending money without interest is compassion and true expression of YHWH’s love. Giving to fellow servants of Messiah, without the expectation of repayment or reward, rings true through the Old Law and the Words of Yahshua [Jesus]. This is the love of YHWH that He lavishes on you! How different this is from the money lenders of the world! You can decide to harden your heart and to disobey YHWH if you choose, but you will be outside of His Will and will reap the harvest of that rebellion! Anyone that practices usury against their brothers, or unjust gain in any way, is part of the antichrist movement of the dark kingdom. (“The Reality of the Antichrist“; “The Empire Under the Beast“; “The Great Beast Seduction“)
“No one is able to serve two masters; for either he will hate the one, and he will love the other; or he will cleave to the one, and he will despise the other. You are not able to serve YAHWEH and wealth.” – Matthew 6:24, HRB
There came a time when Yahshua [Jesus] threw the moneychangers and vendors out of the temple. The priesthood and these bankers were involved in profiting from the exchange of common money to temple currency. The Law Covenant required the use of a half-shekel of gold, which was atonement money for Israel. (Ex. 30:12-16) These moneychangers exchanged foreign coins for a fee into coins that were acceptable within the temple. (Matthew 21:12; Mark 11:15; John 2:14-15)
The confrontation between moneychangers and Yahshua [Jesus] represents a new order in the thinking of all disciples. (2 Corinthians 4:7) Yahshua [Jesus] was taking the old way of life by force and abolishing it. (Mark 11:17; Isaiah 56:7; Jeremiah 7:11) Offering sacrifices in the temple was to be replaced by the atonement of the Messiah. (John 2:21) The Temple of the Mount was to be replaced with fellowship in Messiah. (1 Corinthians 3:16; 12:27) Yahshua [Jesus] and each disciple through Him became the tabernacle through His sacrifice. (Hebrews 9:11-10:18) In the same way that Yahshua [Jesus] stood against usury and abuse of authority in the Temple, disciples must stand against the same exploitation, not only in their own lives, but in the world. (“The Importance of Practical Repentance“; “News: The Ten Kingdoms of the New Order“; “Bible Prophecy and the Rise of the Corporation“)
Just as laws regulating usury in Israel and ancient Rome failed, these laws have failed in modern Rome banking, and notably in the United States. Babylon feasts on the flesh, sweat and labor of its slaves. As modern disciples, we should not miss the point of participating in usury and extortion. Usurious banking is in the mainstream, with a debt system that makes bankers wealthy in return for the borrower being enslaved in thought and deed.
“Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?” – Romans 6:16, NKJV
Enslaving your family to this system of mammon, a dark kingdom of unbelievers, ranging from credit cards to mortgages, results in the rich becoming richer and poor becoming poorer. By participating in these worldly devices, you support a Babylonish system of mammon, you enable the antichrist to use you.
You may feel trapped, but you can free yourself spiritually by renouncing the use of credit that enriches the power of Satan. This means walking away from it as much as humanly possible. (Revelation 18:11-14, 23) As a disciple of Messiah, you have been called out of this system to fulfill a deeper purpose and to operate with full trust in YHWH and His provision. (Matthew 6:31-32; 7:11; 2 Corinthians 9:8; Romans 8:28)
“Why then did you not put my money in the bank, that at my coming I might have collected it with interest?” – Luke 19:23, NKJV
“So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest.” – Matthew 25:27, NKJV
Despite all the Biblical evidence to the contrary, many demand that the system of this world is born of ‘God’ with the parables of Yahshua [Jesus] as the evidence. (Matthew 25:14-30) In the mind of the world, Messiah was using an illustration of normal transactions in the stream of business activity, in trading goods and services. The issue is not what you have, but how well you use what you are given in life. You are then given righteous authority based on your ability to handle that authority. (Luke 19:11-27; “The Role of Authority in Your Life“; “Disciples of Messiah & the Authority of Man“)
“And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities.” – Luke 19:17, NKJV
Yahshua [Jesus] was simply using life illustrations in His parables that the hearer could understand to make important spiritual statements. He was not discussing promiscuous and unrestrained investing in Wall Street with the idea of obscene profits. He was not condoning theft, usury or creative banking practices. He was speaking of investing in YHWH’s Kingdom! Yahshua [Jesus] was speaking of a divine harvest!
These parables have a profound meaning regarding the spiritual condition of disciples in Messiah, as well as the preparation for YHWH’s Kingdom. In context, they stress the importance of serving YHWH with trust and preparation instead of the festering doubt (Matthew 25:24-26) and resentment of the dark kingdom. (Matthew 25:1-13; 14-30) The hireling preacher, false teachers and those that claim to be disciples may try to extort your spiritual oil, deceiving you into relinquishing your precious resources for their selfish desires. (Ezekiel 34; see the article “The False Shepherd and the True Shepherd“; John 10:11-13; read in context John 9:30-10:42; see the article “Disciple of Messiah: You Are a Spiritual Watchman“) This is why spiritual discernment is needed as you grow in spiritual maturity through YHWH’s Word, prayer and the Holy Spirit; a requirement to ultimately win the race of faith and defeat the dark kingdom in your life. (“Discernment the World Doesn’t Have“)
In the parables, when the master divided his property among his servants, nobody received more than he could handle. Talents or minas represent any resource that the disciple has or is given. Disciples must use time, abilities and treasures diligently in order to serve Elohim completely in what must be done until He returns. (Matthew 28:18-20) The issue is not what you have, but how well you use what you have. The disciple is expected to invest wisely, but not in a system of mammon (2 Timothy 6:10) that descended through the kingdom of Rome from Babylon that is rooted in the antichrist. The world of man has inherited lies and abominations, now residing and reaping “the day of affliction.” (Luke 17:22-29; Proverbs 11:20, 17:15, 20:10, 23; Galatians 5:19-21; “Discernment: Having an Ear to Deeper Understanding“; “The Mission of the Messiah’s Disciple“)
As Zephaniah shouted the divine warning against YHWH’s idolatrous people, this ministry warns idolatrous people of the same today. (Zephaniah 1) The modern world that we know totters on the brink of judgment with billions of lives in balance. Yahshua [Jesus] warned:
“Enter in through the narrow gate. Because wide is the gate and spacious the road, put to death through destruction, and many, by their reason, agree to enter. For narrow is the gate and troublesome is the road, the one that leads to life, and few agree to obtain it.“ – Matthew 7:13-14. direct translation
We pray that you are one of those that enters through the narrow gate into YHWH’s Kingdom!
Deuteronomy 14:22-26 Tithe to rejoice before YHWH and to assist the poor and less blessed.
Deuteronomy 14:28-29 Tithes as a national function. Today’s understanding of tithe a myth & influenced by paganism.
Deuteronomy 15:1-11: Debts to be cancelled every 7 years.
Deuteronomy 15:6: Listening to YHWH and His Spirit will bring material rewards.
Deuteronomy 23:19-20: Command concerning interest for the Hebrew nation.
Exodus 22:25: Command regarding to loans to the needy.
Leviticus 25:36-37: Command concerning interest during time of need.
Ezekiel 18:8: A judgment about the righteous man regarding lending.
Ezekiel 18:13: A judgment about the wicked regarding lending.
Ezekiel 18:17: A judgment about the righteous regarding lending.
Ezekiel 22:12: A judgment about interest, unjust gain and extortion.
Nehemiah 5:7, 10-11: Hebrew law forbidding usury.
Psalms 15:5: The mark of a righteous man.
Psalms 37:4: Delight in YHWH and receive the desires of your heart.
Psalms 37:21: A judgment of opposites about the wicked and righteous.
Psalms 37:25: The righteous are not forsaken or need to beg bread.
Proverbs 11:15: A judgment about co-signing.
Proverbs 13:11: A judgment about dishonest gain.
Proverbs 17:8: A judgment concerning co-signing.
Proverbs 22:7: The borrower becomes the lender’s slave.
Proverbs 22:26-27: Co-signing for a debt.
Ecclesiastes 5:10: A judgment about the love of money.
Ecclesiastes 7:12: Wisdom, like money is a shelter, but not a superior one.
Isaiah 55:1-2: A spiritual invitation without money.
Micah 3:11: The mark of a wicked nation.
Zephaniah 1:18: Wealth will not save on judgment day.
Matthew 6:21: What is in your heart is where your treasure is.
Matthew 6:24: Words of Yahshua [Jesus] concerning a lifestyle of mammon.
Matthew 6:33: Seek first YHWH’s Kingdom and all things will be added.
Matthew 22:21: Render tax to Caesar and Elohim’s things to Elohim.
Mark 6:8: Instructions for outfitting personal ministry.
Luke 3:14: A command about money and false witness.
Luke 9:3: Instructions for outfitting personal ministry.
Luke 12:15: Life does not consist of possessions.
Luke 14:28: Using money wisely.
Luke 16:13: Words of Yahshua [Jesus] concerning a lifestyle of mammon.
Acts 3:4: Give not money, but healing and comfort.
Acts 4:34: Money to be used generously.
Acts 8:18: The Holy Spirit is not bought with money.
Philippians 4:19: YHWH will supply all your needs.
1 Timothy 3:3: A spiritually mature disciple is not a lover of money.
1 Timothy 6:10: A judgment concerning the love of money.
2 Timothy 3:2: A mark of the last days regarding money.
2 Corinthians 9:7: YHWH loves a cheerful giver.
2 Corinthians 9:8: YHWH provides abundance for every good deed.
Hebrews 13:5: Keep your lives free from the love of money.
Romans 13:7: Render all tax, custom and honor as it is due.
Romans 13:8: Owe nothing to anyone except for love.
1 Peter 5:2: Shepherds of YHWH’s Word are not greedy for money.