In Nehemiah 5:6-7, we read, “I was very angry when I heard their outcry and these words. I took counsel with myself, and I brought charges against the nobles and the officials. I said to them, “You are exacting interest, each from his brother.” And I held a great assembly against them”.
You know, there are fifty or more refences to usury in the Holy Scriptures, and while it is such an ingrained practice in the Israel world today, it has been a prime reason why it has created such poverty and why there has been such a transfer of wealth to the lords of finance. Think on this, if $1.00 was lent at the outset of the formation of the Federal Reserve Bank in America, it would take tens of thousands to repay, even at modest interest rates. One party may pay it back during that interval but another will borrow, thus it is out there collecting interest. Here is another good example. In Canada, some of the great projects were financed through interest free investments by the national Bank of Canada in the mid-twentieth century, projects like the St Lawrence Seaway and many airports. But, in 1974, the Canadian Government ended debt-free money, despite, as one journalist wrote, “prior to 1974, there was no run-away inflation”. In fact, as he said, and many of our readers can attest through their own experience, “in the 1970s, a home could be purchased in Canada for under $20,000”. Not so today, the house I bought in Vancouver in 1973 for $30,000 would resell today in excess of 1.4 million. That’s interest, readers, is there any doubt why God forbid it. By the same token, Canada’s national debt was $18 billion, I don’t have the figures for provincial debt at the time but how about the 2016 government debt figure of $1.2 trillion. Again, that’s interest and as the figure grows, governments take more and more income to feed this monster.
It was in the mid-eighties that The Association of the Covenant People was seemingly doomed to collapse; we had no money, no premises and little hope. Still, we had Jim Read, a modest man, God-directed I think, who took over the reins and refused to let us go down. With a small board behind him, he repaired our finances, located offices, re-instated our magazine, became our radio voice and as the new president, conducted meetings and conferences with speakers from the Israel world. I mention Jim because he was also such an inspiration to me and after becoming involved, I had the pleasure of co-writing a couple of articles with him. One that he inspired touches on the evil of usury and you might be interested in part of what he wrote in his article.
He began by quoting from a 1953 message from a great wartime leader and the then new president of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower. In his inaugural address, Eisenhower not only looked at the future potential of his nation but at the great challenges facing them. He said, “the forces of good and evil are massed and armed and opposed as rarely before in history.” He went on to say that the time had been reached “when man’s power to achieve good or to inflict evil surpasses the highest hopes and the sharpest fears of all ages.” Then, he went on to impart sage advice and called upon Americans to, among other things, renew their faith in their country and in the watchfulness of a Divine Providence.
Jim wrote, “Much good has been achieved over the half-century since President Eisenhower’s words but sadly it seems that evil has surpassed even the sharpest fears. And worst of all, the majority of Israelites have fallen into Satan’s trap and ignored the watchfulness of the Divine Providence. And it has evolved to the point where, as the prophet Isaiah said, “evil has been called good and good evil.” Even though more and more Israelites around the world are being awakened to their identity, it is a sad fact that most, including most Christians, have been deluded about the real course of world events.
When David wrote, “the borrower is servant to the lender,” I doubt even he could have foreseen the bondage upon true Israel today. In just a half century, we have gone from incredible wealth to staggering debt, and all sectors of the economy, government, corporations and individuals, have fallen prey. And those who have stripped us of our wealth are changing the very make-up of our nations and leading us away from our loving Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ”. Looking back those 64 years ago, we can easily spot the downward spiral”. That’s interest.
Ah! The Overcomers Doctrine. Several times over the years we have been scolded for not embracing 1 Corinthians 15:23, that is, “each in his own order”. Only in the Israel Truth movement, although, I suspect that most of our readers have never heard of it. But, some of the leading teachers in the movement do ascribe to it and likely teach it to their followers. We think of it as false doctrine and refuse to embrace it. Ten years ago, your editor replied to a query from Toronto and perhaps it is time to set out the Association’s position once more.
Our Lord has assured us that the humblest person who puts his trust in Him ‘is passed from death unto life’ (John 5:24);
There is little doubt that this is another one of those contentious doctrines that seems to be growing in the Israel Truth movement, although not to any degree that I can see in conventional Churchdom. There are variations to the doctrine but some of our pastors believe that the rulers and those destined to reign will be first in the Kingdom and over the course of the Millennium the dead in Christ will progressively be resurrected to the Kingdom. But, here’s the rub! 1 Thessalonians 4:15 clearly states the living in Christ will not precede the dead in Christ. Moffat writes, “For we tell you, as the Lord has told us, that we the living, who survive till the Lord comes, are by no means to take precedence of those who have fallen asleep.” Knox says, “those of us who are still alive to greet the Lord’s coming will not reach the goal before those who have gone to their rest.” This being so, if the dead in Christ took, say, 500 years to come into the Kingdom, as the Overcomer’s doctrine might suggest, where does this put the living in Christ? No, as I read 1 Corinthians 15, particularly those verses leading up to verse 23, Paul’s reference to each relates to two groups, (1) Christ the firstfruits and (2) all of the dead in Christ, which coincides with 1 Thessalonians 4:16, “and the dead in Christ shall rise first.” I wrote a scenario in the booklet, “The Hidden Message of John 21,” that I distributed to readers quite some time ago and if you still have your copy, you may want to review it. If you don’t have a copy, ask us for one and it shall be sent to you without charge. Anyway, many think that an instant resurrection and translation will be too administratively challenging but I have confidence that God is up to any challenge. How about you? So, now, who then are the “overcomers?” Well, I don’t think there could be a better reply than that given by The National Message a half-century ago. I quote from their small article entitled, “Who are the Overcomers” which begins, ‘Overcomers’ are highly commended in Revelation. They ‘shall not be hurt of the second death’ (2:11): they shall sit with Christ (3: 21). Many imagine that this must refer to a higher class of Christian; to one who lives a peculiarly holy life. Yet, that is not the Bible view. John defines his term in his Epistle General: ‘Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?’ (1 John 5: 5. ‘Ye have overcome . . . because greater is He that is in you’ (1 John 4:4). ‘Ye [‘young men’-young in the faith?] have overcome the wicked one’ (1 John 2:13). Elsewhere, in Revelation 12: 11, he says: ‘They overcame him (Satan) by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony.’ Christians are thus described as overcomers because they partake of the Saviour’s own victory and are sharers with Him of His triumph, and not on account of any supposed merit of their own (John 16:33; Row. 8:37). To overcome means to overcome evil and death. That is why those who fail to overcome are consumed in ‘the second death’ (Rev. 2: 11). The second death hath no power on such as live in Christ (Rev. 20:6). Our Lord has assured us that the humblest person who puts his trust in Him ‘is passed from death unto life’ (John 5:24); he must therefore escape the second death and receive the overcomer’s reward.”
I suspect that nothing that is said above will change the minds of those who pursue this doctrine but my suggestion is “let’s not get argumentative, but just wait, and we shall learn what God intends in the not too distant future when Jesus returns.”