MONEY–USURY–THE TITHE


            “The love of money is the root of all evil.” So said the Apostle Paul in a letter to Timothy. This being so you would think that evangelical Christians, who claim they believe the Bible, would recognize the significance of money and people’s attitudes concerning it and would therefore have a well thought out doctrine concerning this”filthy lucre” and would regularly expound it to the people. This is not the case however, for most preaching concerning money is centered around tithing (giving ten percent of your “income” to your church) giving free will offerings, and not being a tightwad.

            Jesus said, “You cannot serve God and mammon.” Unfortunately mammon is not your everyday household word; in fact it is not even an English word but is a transliteration of the Greek word mammonas. So what does it mean? Most dictionaries define it as wealth or gain, usually with the connotation of greed. However if one will check the contexts in which it was used by Jesus it will be readily apparent that that wasn’t exactly what He had in mind. The word appears in two passages in the New Testament and in both cases it was used by Jesus. The first is in the Sermon on the Mount and the other is in Luke’s gospel, in the parable of the unjust steward. It is used once in the Sermon on the Mount and several times in the passage in Luke. In both cases however Jesus said, “Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” In His sermon He goes on to say that we should not be concerned about what we shall eat of drink or put on. In this instance then He is saying that we must choose to either serve God or the necessities of life. In the passage in Luke He said, “If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?” Webster’s New World Dictionary of the American Language suggests that mammon means to trust in that which is made secure or deposited. This fits the context in which it is use in Luke for the word “riches” does not appear in the original Greek but was added by the King James translators to give clarity. They could have translated it as “who will commit to your trusts that which is true or real,” meaning that which can really be depended on. In this instance then, when He says “Ye cannot serve God and mammon” Jesus is saying that you must choose between trusting God or trusting in the security that you think money can provide.

            While the word money may not fully define the word mammon it is nevertheless what it means. For while to one person mammon may be the necessities of life, to another it may be investments, stocks and bonds i.e. financial security, and yet to still others it may be great wealth with all the power and prestige that accompanies it. Whatever the case may be it boils down to money for it takes money to get any of the above. So then you cannot serve God and money, you must make a choice. This then gives us considerable insight into Paul’s statement that “the love of money is the root of all evil” for it is between these two that we must choose.

            The Apostle Paul suggests that we should be content if w have food and clothing and Jesus tells us that if we will truly serve God these necessities will be added to us. And therein is the problem, for many that would be very pious Christians want more in this life than the bear necessities and thus they end up trying to serve two masters, God and money. Jesus told one fellow that said he wanted to follow Him that “the foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man have not where to lay his head..” If you truly follow Jesus you may have to sleep in the park; you know, Gethsemane.

            We see then that money is a subject worthy of our consideration and discussion. Meyer Amschel Bauer said, “Give me control of a nation’s money and I care not who makes its laws.” Mr. Bauer was born in Frankfort-on-the-Main, Germany in 1743, the son of one Amschel Moses Bauer. Amschel Moses Bauer was a Jewish goldsmith who after wandering in eastern Europe finally settled in Frankfort-am-Main in 1750. He opened a shop, or counting house, in the Judenstrasse district and placed over the door as his sign of business a red shield. He died when his son, Meyer Amschel, was only 13, but not before he had taught him all the rudimentary principles of the money-lending business. A few years after his father’s death Meyer was employed by th Oppenheimer Bank as a clerk. He soon proved his natural ability at banking and was rewarded with a junior partnership. Later he returned to Frankfort and secured control and ownership of his father’s old business which still displayed the red shield over the door. Meyer Amschel Bauer decided to adopt red shield as the new family name. Red shield in German is roth schild and thus the House of Rothschild was born.

            Mayer Amschel Rothschild had five sons: Amschel Meyer, Salomon, Nathan Meyer, Karl and James. They all were trained to become captains of high finance and were then sent to different countries of Europe to establish banks. Amschel Meyer succeeded his father, Meyer Amschel, in Frankfort, Salomon established a bank in Vienna, Nathan in Great Britain, Karl in Naples, Italy, and James in Paris, France. They succeeded in establishing an international banking system that is wealthy and powerful to this day. It was the House of Rothschild that financed John D. Rockefeller in his oil explorations and enabled him to become “the richest man in the world.” After making a mint in oil we find that the Rockefellers took an interest in the banking, that is, money lending business, and the twentieth century finds the Rockefellers in control of the international banking house called Chase Manhattan. This banking house, which is headquartered in New York City, has branches around the world, including Red Square in Moscow, and until recently had David Rockefeller, grandson of John D. As its chairman of the board.

            Now that you have had this little history lesson on banking you may be asking, “What has all this got to do with heresies in the church world?” That being a sensible question let us see if we can’t find an answer. We have already pointed out that the Rothschilds were of Jewish decent. John D. was the first Rockefeller. Before him the name was Rockenfeller, which was only the last of several spellings and pronunciations before it became Rockefeller. With each change it became more “American” and less Jewish. Changing their names to make them sound native to whatever country they have settled in is a common practice among Jews the world over. The point is that the Rothschilds and Rockefellers are both of Jewish descent and both families engaged in the practice of usury, i.e. lending money at interest. Now for a brief review of Jewish history. Not a history of the Jewish people in general but of their leaders. It should be noted here that the general populace of any nation or people rarely know what their leaders are really up to.

            Starting our history at the time of Christ, we know from the New Testament that it was the Jewish leaders that plotted the death of Christ, incited the mob to clamor for it and pressured Pilate until they got their way. They then persuaded Pilate to put a guard at the tomb so that His disciples couldn’t steal His body and claim that He had risen. After it was discovered that He had risen they paid the guards at the tomb to say that they had fallen asleep and His body was stolen from the cave before they awoke. This plotting by the Jewish Sanhedrin, against Christianity persisted throughout the Apostolic age. When the Apostles began to preach the Gospel and tell of the risen Christ they were arrested, beaten, imprisoned and instructed not to preach anymore in His name. Throughout the New Testament narrative we find that “The Synagogue of Satan” was at work to stamp out Christianity. Since this insidious warfare against Christ had not ended with the close of New Testament times, is there any reason to believe that it has ever stopped.

            Now there is one other aspect of these early Jewish leaders that should be noted; money seemed to appeal to them. Ask almost anyone what the Scriptures tell us happened to Jesus three days after He was crucified and they will tell you that He arose from the dead. But ask what took place in His life three days before His crucifixion and the answer will not be so easily arrived at. On this occasion He entered the temple in Jerusalem and drove out the money changers and those that bought and sold. The Scriptures tell us that they were selling animals, apparently to be used as sacrifices in their religious rituals. Extra-Biblical historians tell us that the money changers were there to provide the people, who came to worship , with Jewish money in exchange for their Roman money as the priests taught them that only Jewish money was fit for worship. They of course, made a nice profit with each transaction. Since the priests were in charge of the temple it is reasonable to expect that they shared in whatever profits were realized. When Jesus cleansed the temple He got into their pocketbooks. It is obvious that these priests were not serving God for they were out to kill his Son. Which simply means that they served mammon, and when Jesus cleansed the temple He was attacking their god. If they had not already determined to destroy Him this act fixed their resolve. Three days later He was arrested.

             Jesus would not have His people in bondage to these greedy money changers and yet today we find nearly all of the professed church subservient to their modern day counterparts, the international bankers. The practice of usury was unquestionably condemned in the Old Testament. The Psalmist David asked, “Lord who shall abide in thy tabernacle? Who shall dwell in thy holy hill?” One of the answers was, “He that putteth not out his money to usury.” There are many other prohibitions against this practice in the Old Testament but they are too numerous to mention. Jeremiah the prophet proclaimed that not only had he not lent upon usury but neither had men lent to him upon usury, and when Jesus cleansed the temple He drove out not only the money changers and the sellers but those who were doing business with them. The Apostle Paul told Timothy “neither be partaker of other men’s sins” and yet the churches continually build their edifices by borrowing money from these very ones who would eliminate the very name of Christ from the earth and then pay them interest to boot. The Scripture says that “The rich ruleth over the poor and the borrower is servant to the lender,” but people professing to love Christ, are in debt for practically everything they possess. It is not enough that “Christians” borrow money knowing that the Bible warns against it but they pay interest also. And as if that wasn’t bad enough they borrow it from the very ones that are nothing other than the forces of Antichrist.

            It may appear to you that your banker or loan company is not an international bank, but rest assured of this, the large banks are to bosses and the smaller banks must abide by their policies. Further, while your banker may not be a Jewish money-lender you might be amazed to find out just how many local bankers know, understand and subscribe to their aims and goals.

            There are those who will argue that the New Testament contains no prohibition against the practice of usury. But it is a vain argument. Neither does the New Testament contain any prohibition against rape, arson, or treason but that certainly does not in any way justify them.

            Usury, just like gambling, is an unsound financial practice. Let us illustrate. Gold, because of its scarcity and indestructibility is an ideal substance to be used as a medium of exchange. But it has certain limitations; there is a limited quantity of it. With paper money if the supply runs short then more is simply printed. But paper money has its shortcomings too. It is anything but indestructible and the economic system that utilizes it is just as vulnerable as its medium of exchange; it is built upon the sand and when the storms come the civilization that has thrived on it will crumble. But it is this system of paper money that facilitates an increase in the money supply that is so necessary to the practice of lending money at interest. If the money supply is fixed then interest is impossible. For instance, if there were only ten dollars in existence and you borrowed it on a one year note at 10% interest, when the note comes due, regardless of how fruitful your efforts, you will not be able to pay the eleven dollars due because there are still just ten dollars in existence. But with a paper money system more money will be printed, then loaned into circulation, enabling you to get the eleventh dollar and to repay your loan. The problem is that the more of anything there is the less value men put upon it, and so it is with paper money, the more that is printed the less value it has; the less it will buy. Continue this process long enough and sooner or later the paper becomes worthless and the whole system collapses. Usury then is an unsound concept and as such is contrary to the principles of Christ, for Christ is truth and truth is sound and that which is not sound is a lie and would never be sanctioned by Christ.

            The organized church was well aware of the evils of lending money at interest, until the fifteenth century. Until that time usury was universally opposed by the church. Then an agrarian society began to give way to an industrialized society. The expansion of industry required capital for its growth. Of course, the growth of industry meant a chance for a higher standard of living for all, churchmen included. To obtain the necessary capital for industrial growth the payment of interest was required, for those who had the money would not lend or invest it unless they could do so at a profit. Businessmen threw off ecclesiastical restraints and the church yielded. By some transparent theological jugglery the church decided that usury was all right after all, whereby lending money at interest was sanctioned and capital for industrial expansion was made available, the standard of living for the common man began to rise, and the church had found a way to have the best of two worlds. Hopefully nobody, God in particular, would notice their greedy little compromise.

            By 1500 the old prohibition against usury was universally ignored. Some other significant changes accompanied the practice of usury. Lawyers and businessmen began to replace churchmen in the administration of government; the secularization of society took place as law recaptured its Roman imperial traditions and prestige. The regulation of life by canon law gave way as secular courts extended their jurisdiction and episcopal courts declined.

 W hile the organized church of that day was far from perfect and th Pope was himself called Antichrist by the protestant reformers, the transfer of power from ecclesiastical courts to secular ones opened the door for the true forces of Antichrist to begin to wrap their diabolical tentacles around the lifeline of th entire world. For with the approval of the practice of usury the church allowed itself to be brought into bondage to forces and people that have no allegiance whatsoever to the Christ of Calvary but are in fact the archenemies of Christianity. The borrower (the church) became servant to the lender (the forces of Antichrist).

            The organized church was actually ripe for the picking by the forces of Antichrist for it had centuries before already looked upon filthy lucre as its best friend and most needed asset. The church decided to collect tithes. During the first seven centuries of the church the tithe was practically unknown. The advent of Karl the Great changed all that. Karl, who had conquered a great portion of western Europe, was crowned Emperor by Pope Leo III in 800 A.D. At this time there was no such thing as separation of church and state, and the Emperor as head of state was over the church also. Up until this time the tithe was only the traditional and customary rent paid for the use of lands. Karl was the first to make the payment of tithes obligatory as he tried to make the payment of them binding on the lands he conquered. This tenth was used for the support of the church and this is what brought about a change in the conception of it. It was only after the institution of tithes that they were identified with the tithe of the Old Testament. In time they were made compulsory throughout all Christian countries.

            The tithe is, of course, not mandatory in Christendom today but many preach it as a requirement for those who profess the name of Christ. The basis for the doctrine of tithing varies from group to group and often from preacher to preacher and the ”reasonings” are too varied to be outlined here. We must then take a look at what the Scriptures teach concerning tithing. The origin of the tithe is lost to us in antiquity. It is most likely of Oriental origin and seems to have preceded Abraham. Abraham’s giving of tithes to Melchizedek is the first mention of them in Scripture. Abraham was returned “from the slaughter of Chedorlaomer, and of the kings that were with him.” These kings had taken Abraham’s nephew Lot captive when they had defeated the Kings of Sodom and Gomorrah in battle. Upon his victorious return Abraham was met by Melchizedek king of Salem who was priest of the most high God. To him Abraham gave a tenth of the spoils. Whether Abraham ever paid tithes at any other time the Scriptures do not say. There is nothing here to suggest systematic storehouse tithing.

            There are two economic systems portrayed in Scripture, one in the Old Testament and one in the New. The one in the Old Testament is, of course, tithing. Tithing was a part of the law given by Moses. In this system the Hebrews were to take, every three years, one tenth of their increase to the temple. Here the tithes were received by the Levites. This was to be used for the Levites’ support and also for aid to the underprivileged, The Levites were to give one tenth of the tithe to the priests. The priests were not required to tithe. There is no record in Scripture that God ever authorized anybody to collect tithes but the Levites.

            The New Testament system was quite different. The first New Testament church had all things common. Those that had houses or lands sold them and brought the money to the apostles “and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.” The members of the church, at the direction of the apostles, chose seven men to see to the daily ministration.

            This was not some wild ill-considered plan but was a system instituted by Spirit filled, Spirit led men. Further they were doing exactly what Christ had instructed them to do while He was still on earth with them. His instruction, as it was recorded by Dr. Luke, was “Sell that ye have, and give alms, provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

            Neither of the above systems is what is generally practiced in Christendom today. In churches where tithing is preached and practiced they will usually have a system similar to the following. The congregation elects an administrative board. This board is chaired by the pastor, the district superintendent, or perhaps one of its own members elected to the post. The tithes and offerings collected by the church are dispersed at the direction of this board. The board also sets the pastor’s salary and determines which of his expenses they will pay. Little, if any, of this money is used for the support of the fatherless, widows, and strangers as was the case of the Old Testament tithe. In no case is this tithe collected by Levites. As for the New Testament system of having all things common, it is certainly not practiced in the churches today. Most professed Christians would not be willing to participate and should they endeavor to use this system they would, for the most part, not be spiritual enough to make it work. The fact is that no economic system practiced today conforms to any system described in Scripture and all claims that the Scripture is our guide in this mater are without foundation.

            “Ye are not your own, for ye are bought with a price.” This being true everything I have also belongs to the Lord, including all my money, and is His to used as He sees fit. I am simply a steward over it and as such will use all my money, not just ten percent, as His spirit directs. And that is just the problem, for as has already been stated, people are afraid of a Spirit led religion and the thought that all my money is subject to His direction is too much for most people to truly consider. It is much easier to just give Him ten percent and then exercise my own control over the rest.

            “The love of money is the root of all evil “ and it has certainly been the downfall of the organized churches. “Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord” is the watchword and marching orders of the church of Jesus Christ. The power of money is the power of the forces of evil and the power of the Spirit is the power of the just, but all too often the mingling of the two has been attempted which brings reproach to the cause of Christ and confusion to those involved. The “church” knowing not the power of the Spirit has attempted to operate on the power of money and in so doing has rendered itself incapable of doing anything for Christ. Good news is that, through it all, God has had a chosen few that have quietly gone about the business of serving Him and in so doing have been a witness to a lost world and a thorn in the side of an apostate church. To God e the glory.

            Having discussed money and how it relates to the church it is in order that we take a look at the other side of the coin – a lack of money or poverty. Mark in his gospel tells us that

 

Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much. And there came a poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them,

Verily I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: for all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.

 

            It is of note that Jesus made a point of bringing this to his disciples’ attention. He obviously did so because He knew that this was foreign to their thinking. They were like most people today, they equated the accumulation of wealth with success and respectability. When the rich young ruler came to Jesus and wanted to know what he could do to inherit eternal life Jesus told him that if he wanted to be perfect to take what he had and sell it, give the money to the poor and come and follow me. The young man went away sorrowful because he had great riches. Jesus upon seeing this said, “Verily I say unto you That a rich man shall hardly enter the kingdom of heaven.” Upon hearing this his disciples were amazed and wondered who then can be saved. From this we can see what their thinking and attitude was toward wealth and poverty and it was this thinking and attitude that Jesus was trying to correct. The Teacher was preparing His pupils to preach truth to a lost world after He was gone.

            There is really only one possible attitude that a compromising, backslidden church, that has succumbed to the love of money, could take toward poverty and that is the attitude that is so much in evidence today; they look down their nose at it. We have people preaching the “gospel” of prosperity and even going so far as to beseech the Almighty to cast out the demon of poverty. While this expressed doctrine is largely the property of the charismatic and Pentecostal churches the attitude is very much in evidence elsewhere and you can expect to find it in any denomination or congregation.

            Job lost all that he had. God had said that he was a perfect man that he feared God and avoided evil. As such he had every right and reason to expect to be comforted by his friends, family and those of like precious faith. But those “friends” who came to comfort, he found to be miserable comforters and physicians of no value. They were sure that adversity had come upon him because of his faults. It simply was beyond their comprehension that anyone who was serving God could come to such a state.

            God in His providence has preserved the book of Job for us because He knew we would need it. But it must have been reserved for the comfort of future Jobs for it certainly hasn’t done those that should be comforters any good and they are legion. Nor has it enlightened the church. This too is a malady that has come to us from the middle ages or perhaps more accurately from our attempts to extricate ourselves from them. Martin Luther was a proponent of the work ethic, which was to his credit. He evidently looked with scorn upon those monks who made a career of begging and thought people should go to work. But as is so often the case with people who labor to correct a social or spiritual malady, he went to the other extreme; he expected that if people would go to work that poverty or financial failures would not be a problem they would have to face. That warped attitude has carried over until today.

            The New Testament church had all things common and took care of its own. The Old Testament church paid tithes to the Levites who in turn paid the priests and took care of the unfortunate. Today the churches use their money to pay interest on the loans they have obtained to build grand edifices and fancy new parsonages while their poor members live on food stamps, aid from the trustee, social insecurity and other forms of government aid. That aid always has strings attached and robs the recipients of their sovereign independence and self respect while extending the tentacles of an antichrist government .

            Abraham Lincoln reportedly said that “God surely must love the poor people for He made enough of them.” But the organized churches of today surely take a different view of them. Oh, who is if that could deny, that the love of money is indeed, the root of all evil?

 

 

            I have been asked recently why I have not written anything new lately. My response has been that I have written everything I know. With this in mind I went looking for something on money and economics and could find nothing. I looked through my website and my latest book and found nothing. I finally found the above article on page 38 of An Indictment, a book I wrote and published back in 1994. It occurred to me that if I found it that difficult to find this article, others might too. I then decided to add it to www.JimCaniff.com. I hope you will find it interesting, helpful, and profitable. God bless.

 

            Also I am planning a new article shortly. One that I trust will be helpful, necessary and enlightening. I hope you will find it so. It will be prophetic.