The Ten Commandments

You Shall Not Steal

an article based on a sermon

by Jon Bowles*

given 18 August 2007

(Audio of original sermon)

As we grow up, we come to a time in life where we move from childhood across to adulthood. I remember in my own case a particular incident that happened when I was about 12. I was with my father, who was a haulage contractor; and we went into this particular building where he had some business to attend, and a board meeting was going on. All the men there seemed to know my father, and they greeted him heartily and welcomed him in. There was much backslapping all around. After we left, my father’s demeanor changed. He said, “Ah, yes. As soon as our backs are turned, out will come the knives, the knives will go in, and they will be planning how to rob, who to rob, and how much they can get out of them.”

He was sharing with me just what this world is really like. I thought, this is a different world from the one I’m inhabiting. Suddenly I moved from a childish world into the real world where backstabbing, deception, and robbery go on.

Mr. Armstrong does not mince words on page 323 of his book Mystery of the Ages, as follows:

“In God’s kingdom, commands of his will be obeyed. They’ll become the standard for regulating commerce, business, finance, and the entire economic structure of the world.

“And all will be on the giving basis. Christ said: ’Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again’ (Luke 6:38).

“The giving standard will be followed in God’s rule on this earth – not the grasping, conniving, striving, deceitful, clandestine, furtive, scurrilous, devious, cheating, and lying chicanery that is commonplace in today’s business world.

Reading this, one thinks that Mr. Armstrong has had some experience with this kind of world! It is true, as he says, you do find grasping, conniving, striving, deceitful, clandestine, furtive, scurrilous, devious, cheating, and lying chicanery” in the world today.

In this article we will look at the Eighth Commandment, “You shall not steal.” It is a very clear and simple commandment. What we need to do, though, is try, as we have done throughout this series on the commandments, to get to the principle, the attitude, the lifestyle, the mind of God who actually gave this commandment, because this commandment has to be written on the very heart itself. We have to be converted from a human mind to the mind of God in this specific area of stealing.

The areas we will cover are:

The Spirit of the Law

Matthew 19:16 And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?

In other words, “What can I do that is good? If I do what is good, that will then force God to give me eternal life.” What was he trying to do? He was trying to get eternal life.

Matthew 19:17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.

Christ was pointing out that if you are calling Him good, and He really is good, you are pointing out that He is God. But He was also pointing out that if you want to be good, you have to go to God for that. You cannot be good enough using mere human strength.

Matthew 19:18-19 He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal,1 Thou shalt not bear false witness, (19) Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

Notice Christ says “Do not steal” in verse 18. Part of what he is talking about includes not stealing.

Matthew 19:20-21 The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? (21) Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.

Christ was saying that this young man in particular, had a problem. To solve that problem, this particular young man needed to sell all that he had, give it to the poor, and follow Him. Christ may even have been offering him the opportunity to replace Judas Iscariot eventually. Who was Judas? He was a thief. He had the mindset of a thief, a mindset that was grabbing and grasping.

John 12:6 This he [Judas] said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein.

The rich young man did not take what Christ offered him. “He went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions” (Matthew 19:22). In the future, in the resurrection, it may well be that he will see Matthias in the position that was offered to him as one of the kings over Israel.

But this young man had a similar mindset to Judas, so some drastic action was needed. This is why Christ pointed out that only God is truly good. The young man had been amassing as much wealth as he could. His way was the way of get; and Christ told him to learn instead a different Way. That Way is God's Way – to give, to learn to go away from self. It was these two ways – the way of give and the way of get – that Christ was contrasting.

Ephesians 3 and 4 looks at the spirit of the law in many different areas, including this area of stealing. This passage of scripture is particularly important to take note of as it clearly shows the difference between the basic law “You shall not steal” and the spirit of that law.

Ephesians 3:17-19 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love [Greek word, “agape”], (18) May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height [to get to the core of what the subject is all about]; (19) And to know the love [agape] of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.

Christ told the rich young man, “Who are you calling good? There is none good but One, God.” Paul is talking here about how “ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.

Ephesians 3:20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us...

Through that power that works in us, we are able to have that goodness which is given to us from God the Father. It is not ladled out like on a spoon, but given by the love of God shed abroad in our hearts by the very Spirit of God (Romans 5:5).

Ephesians 4:13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.

We just read “that you might be filled with all the fullness of God.” We also come to the “fullness of Christ.” We have the same kind of mind that He had.

Ephesians 4:17-18 This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, (18) Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:

Paul is addressing the subject of the two ways – the way of give and the way of get. These scriptures are the background leading up to the specific verse concerning the spirit of the law regarding stealing.

Ephesians 4:19-23 Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. (20) But ye have not so learned Christ; (21) If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: (22) That ye put off concerning the former conversation [conduct] the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; (23) And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;

This is how such righteousness comes. It has to be “renewed in the spirit of your mind.”

Ephesians 4:24-28 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. (25) Wherefore putting away lying, [instead of lying, what do you do?] speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. (26) Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: (27) Neither give place to the devil. (28) Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.

First of all, you stop stealing. Secondly, you go out and work so that you have something to give. Take the example of the “Great Train Robbery” in 1963, where 2.6 million pounds were stolen from the Royal Mail traveling post office train. Think of the planning, the work, the energy that went into that heist. It was the largest robbery in the history of the U. K. up to that time. Names like “Ronnie Biggs” (one of the robbers) live on in British history even now. But what were the robbers working for? They were working to get.

Take the Brinks Mat gold bullion robbery of 1983, another famous robbery in the U. K. Again, think of the planning, the effort, the energy, and the work involved. Ephesians 4:28 is saying “Do not work to get,” because that is what stealing is, working to grab for yourself, to bring it all in for yourself. “Working with his hands the thing which is good” Working is good, but it is so “that you may have something to give to him that needeth.”

If there is anything you take from this article, let it be this: Stealing is working to get. God works to give. This is what God does. He works, and He works very hard. Why does He work? He works to give.

Some people work and amass a fortune and then give it all away. You see this in the world, because, quite frankly, what are they going to do with it, just sit there with it until they die? There is a certain attraction in being able to give it away. Other people amass a fortune and give a certain amount away and then dismiss it and say: “I’ve done my bit, and that’s the end of it.” There is a lot more to giving than that.

I Corinthians 12:31 But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet show I unto you a more excellent way.

This love of God shed abroad in our hearts by God’s Holy Spirit is what is required to overcome stealing, to overcome a stealing attitude, to have the right “spirit of the law” in this area.

I Corinthians 13:1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity [agape], I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

I Corinthians 13:3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

You can work hard, amass your “goods” and bestow it all to feed the poor; but if there is no agape, it profits you nothing. It is of no real value.

Again, stealing is working to get; but God works to give. You can see from scripture how God gives, but God also corrects. Several times a week, practically every week, I get emails from people asking for money. I could easily give away every penny the Church has brought in to fulfill these requests. But that is not the agape of God. It is not a case of working so that you have something, therefore you can give it. You have to give wisely. You have to give in such a way to “him that needs” that it does not damage the person.

In many cases giving money would cause more damage than it would actually do good. I have to battle with these kinds of decisions. I have to ask myself often, “Am I getting the right balance in this? Am I giving where necessary and withholding where necessary?” I must make sure that the balance is there.

As parents we know this. The child comes to us and asks for something. We do not immediately give, discharging our duties as parents, though this is what is happening in today’s society.

You can feed the poor and yet do it in such a way that it does not convey the outgoing character of God. What is the outgoing character of God? I Corinthians 13:4-7 Charity [the outgoing character of God] suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, (5) Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; (6) [The outgoing character of God...] Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; (7) Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. (8) Charity [the outgoing character of God] never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.

We need to change from being a thief who works to get to working the way God works, to give. All of us, and I mean all of us, in our minds, are working to get if we are not careful. If we are plugged into Satan’s broadcast, we will have that attitude of mind.

II Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

The spirit of God is a spirit of love, yes; but it is also a spirit of a sound mind. Giving must be done in the right way, for the benefit of the ones we are giving to, so that they themselves can have the same kind of character of God. We need to learn this balance in life to understand the spirit of the law. We are not to negate from that spirit of the law, which is an outgoing nature. But that outgoing nature does not just hand over money. It makes sure that the handing over of money, or whatever kind of help it is, is done in the right way with the spirit of love and a sound mind for the benefit of the ones we are helping.

In the case of our children, it is probably not money they need from us, but our time. We then work so as to have time to spend with our children. Stealing does not have to involve money specifically. Are we “stealing” from our children’s time?

A Creator’s Mind

I John 4:8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love [agape].

This agape, this outgoing nature, is the character of God. God is this outgoing nature. It is repeated in verse 16. “ And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us [has God in us is the literal translation]. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.

This is what Christ was telling the rich young ruler. There is none good but one, God. We need to be dwelling in a body that is walking the way that God would walk were He here.

Speaking to the pagans, in Acts 17 Paul gives a very simple and telling description of the “unknown God.” Acts 17:23-24 For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you [He is the One I am going to talk to you about]. (24) God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;

This Being is above everything. He is the Creator of all that exists.

Acts 17:25 Neither is worshiped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;

God does not need anything! How can such a Being, therefore, steal? Impossible! He owns everything. Just as it is impossible for God to lie, because His word defines reality, it is impossible for God to steal, because He owns everything. “He giveth to all life, and breath, and all things” This is the heart and core of who God is. This Being who defines Himself as “love,” “agape,” outgoing, owns everything. The flow can only come from Him out. How can it come from something else in, except in praise and worship towards Him?

Acts 14:13 Then the priest of Jupiter, which was before their city, brought oxen and garlands unto the gates, and would have done sacrifice [to Paul and Barnabas after witnessing the healing of the crippled man] with the people.

Acts 14:15-18 And saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein: (16) Who in times past suffered [allowed] all nations to walk in their own ways. (17) Nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness. (18) And with these sayings scarce restrained they the people, that they had not done sacrifice unto them.

Paul went to the very basis of who God is. God’s mind is the mind of a Creator and this mind of the Creator is one that speaks and it is. Does He need anything? Is there anything that He has to grab for Himself, anything that He has to steal? Impossible! The flow is from Him out. Again, stealing is working to get; but God works to give.

Look at the creation we live in. Look at the energy, the effort, the mind that has gone into it. Consider the molecules, the atomic structure, the cell, the DNA. We now understand that DNA uncoils and then forms a three-dimensional block that transfers information out of it. Amazing! Imagine the work, the effort, the thinking that went into that.

Look at the “Great Train Robbery” or the “Brinks Mat Robbery” – the effort, the mindset, and everything else that went into that. What were they doing? They were working to get hold of and grab for themselves. But the mind of a Creator is working to do what? To give out to everything He has made. To give out to you and to me in this physical life that we have, so that we can live in this world and be in awe of it.

How long has it taken to come up with what we see around us now? Christ said that He was going to go away and prepare a place for us (John 14:2). What has He been doing for 2,000 years? Yes, preparing a place for us. But what? I look at the natural world and see, as Mr. Armstrong said, “the grasping, conniving, striving, deceitful, clandestine, furtive, scurrilous, devious, cheating, and lying chicanery.” There is going to have to be a switch, a change in the natural world. This change has to be programmed properly. It has to be just right. I wonder if this is what He has been doing for 2,000 years.

Christ and the Father have worked, and they have worked to give. If we want, as Paul talks about, the mind of Christ, the mind of God, to be filled with the fullness of God, what is it that we have to do? “Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth” (Ephesians 4:28). Why? Because this is the mind of the Creator.

Revelation 21:1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. At this time, all those who were “not found written in the book of life” (Revelation 20:15) have been destroyed. These verses are far into the future.

Revelation 21:7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.

The mindset of a thief is not just someone who robs the Brinks Mat warehouse or the Royal Post mail train. It is someone who has a mind that works to get, and every single one of us have had that mindset. He who overcomes the mind that works to get and, instead, has the same mind as the Creator – a mind that works just as hard and harder, but does it to give – shall “inherit all things.” Everything! Because this Being owns everything. He speaks, and it is. However, He is not going to give that kind of power to just anybody. “And I will be his God, and he shall be my son.” If we are going to be a son or daughter of our Creator, we must have the same outgoing frame of mind developed now in order to have that power at that time.

I Chronicles 29:10 Wherefore David blessed the Eternal2 before all the congregation: and David said, Blessed be thou, Eternal God of Israel our father, for ever and ever.

I Chronicles 29:13-16 Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name. (14) But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? for all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee. (15) For we are strangers before thee, and sojourners, as were all our fathers: our days on the earth are as a shadow, and there is none abiding. (16) O Eternal our God, all this store that we have prepared to build thee an house for thine holy name cometh of thine hand, and is all thine own.

David is saying, “All we have done is taken what You have given to us and just given it back to You. We are not really doing anything.” Whatever we give back to God is being given back to this Being who gives “all things.”

There is a way of looking at theft that we need to bear in mind. Proverbs 30:7-9 Two things have I required of thee; deny me them not before I die:(8) Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient [my allowance] for me: (9) Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the Eternal? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.

If we steal, we “take the name of God in vain.” Why? What does God stand for? God stands for being outgoing. He stands for giving. If we are stealing, we are working in the opposite direction. We are taking that name in vain. We are grabbing for ourselves, which is the antithesis of the mind of God.

The spirit of the law of the Eighth Commandment is that stealing is working to get, and God works to give. Working to give is the mind of the Creator. His word creates. He will literally give us “all things.” It says in Philippians 3:21 that we will be made like unto his (Christ’s) glorious body, the working whereby all things are subdued to him (Philippians 3:21). He subdues all things to Himself. Whatever He says is.

Wealth

Let us have a look at the subject of working the way God works in order to give to others – in order to be outgoing, rather than stealing – working to get and grab for yourself like you would if you were robbing the Royal Mail train or the Brinks Mat warehouse. This mindset of give can be seen in the various laws on the subject of wealth in the Old Testament. There we can see how the Eighth Commandment is magnified.

Deuteronomy 14:28 At the end of three years thou shalt bring forth all the tithe of thine increase [third tithe] the same year, and shalt lay it up within thy gates:

Applied in the Church today, if there is a need that you have within your family or extended family, you should put that family need first. This is the way it was always taught in the Church in the case of third tithe. It makes it easier, as far as distribution, for third tithe to be handed in.

Deuteronomy 14:29 And the Levite, (because he hath no part nor inheritance with thee,) and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, which are within thy gates, shall come, and shall eat and be satisfied; that the Eternal thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hand which thou doest.

It is not a case of working to grab everything for yourself. It is a case of working to give. It is specific within the law to take a tenth of your money, put it to one side every third and sixth year in a seven-year cycle, and use that money to be able to give.

Deuteronomy 15:1-4 At the end of every seven years thou shalt make a release. (2) And this is the manner of the release: Every creditor that lendeth ought [anything] unto his neighbour shall release it; he shall not exact [extract] it of his neighbour, or of his brother; because it is called the Eternal’s release. (3) Of a foreigner thou mayest exact [extract] it again: but that which is thine with thy brother thine hand shall release; (4) Save when [to the end that] there shall be no poor among you; for the Eternal shall greatly bless thee in the land which the Eternal thy God giveth thee for an inheritance to possess it:

The aim is to make sure that people are not poor anymore, that the entire society is brought to a point where everyone has sufficient.

Deuteronomy 15:5 Only if thou carefully hearken unto the voice of the Eternal thy God, to observe to do all these commandments which I command thee this day.

Remember who is giving these commands, the One who became Jesus Christ. Between the cherubim above the Mercy Seat, it was His voice that came forth giving these commands to Moses.

Deuteronomy 15:6-8 For the Eternal thy God blesseth thee, as he promised thee: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, but thou shalt not borrow; and thou shalt reign over many nations, but they shall not reign over thee. (7) If there be among you a poor man of one of thy brethren within any of thy gates in thy land which the Eternal thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not harden thine heart, nor shut thine hand from thy poor brother: (8) But thou shalt open thine hand wide unto him, and shalt surely lend him sufficient for his need, in that which he wanteth.

We read in Deuteronomy 14:28-29 that if someone is desperately in need, he can come “to the door,” so that the third tithe can be given to him. Today, the person would normally come to the Church for third-tithe assistance.

Deuteronomy 15:9-11 Beware that there be not a thought in thy wicked heart, saying, The seventh year, the year of release, is at hand; and thine eye be evil against thy poor brother, and thou givest him nought; and he cry unto the Eternal against thee, and it be sin unto thee. (10) Thou shalt surely give him, and thine heart shall not be grieved when thou givest unto him: because that for this thing the Eternal thy God shall bless thee in all thy works, and in all that thou puttest thine hand unto. (11) For the poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land.

As I said, I get requests for money all the time; and I have to determine the need. The Internet makes it very easy for those in the Third World to flood your in-box with requests. But more than that, in those emails they try to develop a rapport with you. I must be very careful. The bottom line is, if I do perceive a genuine need within the Church, I am duty bound to fulfill it. It then goes on...“Of a foreigner thou mayest exact it again: but that which is thine with thy brother thine hand shall release” as far as the seventh year is concerned.

We can see within these laws the mindset of our Creator, the One who became Jesus Christ. We need to ask ourselves, “Is my mind really working like that? Is my mind going in the same direction? Am I working to give in the way it is being expressed in these verses?”

Deuteronomy 24:6 No man shall take the nether [mill] or the upper millstone to pledge: for he taketh a man’s life to pledge.

You do not pledge someone’s livelihood. If someone is a computer programmer, for example, you do not take away their laptop. If someone is an electrician, you do not take away their tools. This is the application of this particular law.

Deuteronomy 24:10-12 When thou dost lend thy brother any thing, thou shalt not go into his house to fetch his pledge. (11) Thou shalt stand abroad [outside], and the man to whom thou dost lend shall bring out the pledge abroad unto thee. (12) And if the man be poor, thou shalt not sleep with his pledge.

Bailiffs (someone in the UK who is given the power to collect a debt on behalf of someone else) take note! This is not the way it works in today’s society. But today's ways are not the Ways of God!

Deuteronomy 24:13-15 In any case thou shalt deliver him the pledge again when the sun goeth down, that he may sleep in his own raiment, and bless thee: and it shall be righteousness unto thee before the Eternal thy God. (14) Thou shalt not oppress an hired servant that is poor and needy, whether he be of thy brethren, or of thy strangers that are in thy land within thy gates: (15) At his day thou shalt give him his hire, neither shall the sun go down upon it; for he is poor, and setteth his heart upon it: lest he cry against thee unto the Eternal, and it be sin unto thee.

Does this happen today? Employers do steal from employees. They withhold. Big supermarkets buy produce, then stop the payment to the producers. Yet they sell it up front, put the money in the bank and gain the interest off of it. This is condemned in God’s law. We must understand these principles, learn this way, learn this mindset now, because we are going to have to apply these principles in the world tomorrow. We must learn to work to give, not work to get. This is the difference between a God Being and a thief.

Deuteronomy 24:19 When thou cuttest down thine harvest in thy field, and hast forgot a sheaf in the field, thou shalt not go again to fetch it: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow: that the Eternal thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hands.

When we read through these verses, read through God’s laws, we find His loving, outgoing nature. People today work to get, work for profit, work to grab as much as they can. There is a saying, “Whoever has the biggest pile at the end wins.” That is the world. You work, you grab, you steal; and whoever has the biggest mound at the end when they die is the winner. That is the game of life of this world.

A friend related the account of a woman she knew who lived by “five-year plans.” The first plan was to have a particular business, so the husband worked day and night and attained a successful business. The next plan was to have a particular house, so the husband worked day and night and succeeded in attaining the house. Then the plan was for a bigger house, which they attained, thanks to the hard work of the husband. Finally, her five-year plan was to move to Australia and a make success of it there; but when they arrived, she took one look at the place and said, “Right. We’re going home.” On the way home the husband died, and she was left with nothing.

We put all this effort and energy into our plans, working to get and grab for ourselves; and yet at the end of the day, what do we have? We die and leave it all behind. But if we have the mind of God, if we overcome and turn from the mindset of grabbing and getting for self and work hard to give, we will be the very sons and daughters of God. That is what we are going to be doing as creators, working hard to give. We will “plant the heavens.” What does that mean? I do not know the specifics; but I can guarantee it is working to give, as we shall go on and see.

I Timothy 5:8 But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel [worse than if he had never believed at all].

It is essential that we provide for our family. Working to give starts within our own home with our own family. But it goes beyond our own nuclear family. I Timothy 5:16 If any man or woman that believeth have widows, let them relieve them, and let not the church be charged; that it may relieve them that are widows indeed.

I Timothy 5 is talking about a certain group of widows that the Church was looking after. Paul is saying that if the widows have family, the family is responsible for them first. The Church should not be charged with that. As far as wealth and God’s law is concerned and working to give as opposed to working to get, it starts within the home and our extended family as well.

II Thessalonians 3:6 Now we command you, brethren, in the name of [by the authority of] our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother [not those in the world] that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.

This command is coming from the mind of Christ Himself that has been given to Paul to explain this particular principle. “Not after the tradition” is not talking about spiritual traditions, as we can see by the context. II Thessalonians 3:7-8 For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you; (8) Neither did we eat any man’s bread for nought... [referring to scrounging off of people]

As I say, in administering third tithe, the Church has to be careful that we do not merely give money to the first person who asks for it. There are more things to consider if we are to administer third tithe God's Way:

..but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you:

Paul and his companions did not scrounge off people. They worked and paid their way.

II Thessalonians 3:9-10 Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us. (10) For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.

Paul set the example. It is essential that we not only work but encourage others to work as well. This is the principle. “Six days shall you labour and do all your work and in the seventh, rest” (Exodus 20:9-10).

II Thessalonians 3:11-12 For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. (12) Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.

Paul is laying down the command and using his own example to show that he worked, that he had his own money –“not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us.”

There are various suppositions as to why Paul would have had to work, rather than using the tithes of the Church. Until the temple was destroyed, people tithed to the Levitical priesthood. The chances are that the Church members were also tithing to the Levitical priesthood at this time. Any additional funds that Paul would have needed would probably have had to come over and above as an offering.

Paul later explains in Hebrews 7: 8-17 about a “change in the law.” It is not a change in the law of tithing. It is a change in the law of whom to tithe to. You tithe to someone who is under the Melchisedec Priesthood, under the High Priest, Jesus Christ, someone who is subject to and submissive to that High Priest.

Malachi 3:8-10 Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. (9) Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. (10) Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Eternal of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.

We can steal from God in tithes and offerings, and we need to make sure in this area that we are not doing this. The first tenth of our increase is God’s. If we use the tithe in any other way, we are stealing from God.

The Land

If there is anything that teaches us how God works to give, it is the land. Ecclesiastes 5:9 Moreover the profit of the earth is for all: the king himself is served by the field. [Even the King is served from the land.]

Luke 6:38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again. [Giving is a living law.]

Until about 15 years ago, we had animals on our land. We had a pile of manure from those animals that had built up over the years, and we have been using it for the past 15 years, shoveling it into the wheelbarrow, out to where the broad beans are planted. With beans you dig a trench, put manure in the bottom and bottom feed the beans. With cabbage, you top feed them, putting the manure on the surface. With tomatoes you make liquid manure and pour it all over the actual plant and, of course, wash your tomatoes afterwards.

Without manure this year, our beans have not done well. We did obtain some manure and added grass clippings and fish meal and other things, but it was not like the compost that we had previously. The land does teach us how God works. If you give to it, it will give back. If you withhold from it, it will "bite" you. It is the same with an animal. If you feed it properly, it will thrive. If you keep the animal underfed, it will get sick and die.

I remember seeing some calves of a year old that had been on the mother all that time. When they went to the mother to suckle, the mother’s back legs were literally lifted off the ground because the calves were so big. Compared to other calves of exactly the same age that were fed on the bucket, they were twice the size. It was how the animals were fed that made the difference.

Exodus 23:10-11 And six years thou shalt sow thy land, and shalt gather in the fruits thereof: (11) But the seventh year thou shalt let it rest and lie still; that the poor of thy people may eat: and what they leave the beasts of the field shall eat. In like manner thou shalt deal with thy vineyard, and with thy oliveyard.

This command is one of the statutes and judgments given right after the Ten Commandments of Exodus 20 were given. The Sabbatical Year was a means a giving back to the land so the soil has what it needs to produce.

Deuteronomy 23:24 When thou comest into thy neighbour’s vineyard, then thou mayest eat grapes thy fill at thine own pleasure; but thou shalt not put any in thy vessel.

It does not stop you from going to your neighbor’s vineyard and helping yourself. Scrumping apples (English term for taking fruit from a garden or orchard) is not illegal in God’s law – that is, scrumping apples to eat on the spot. “But thou shalt not put any in thy vessel.” You do not scrump apples and put them in a big bag to take home. Scrumping is illegal in the U. K., though I believe it is still legal in South Africa. The Boers went to the scriptures, read this verse; and scrumping became legal by law, as long as you did not put the fruit in a bag and carry it away.

Deuteronomy 23:25 When thou comest into the standing corn of thy neighbour, then thou mayest pluck the ears with thine hand; but thou shalt not move a sickle unto thy neighbour’s standing corn.

If you are desperate to eat, you can go to your neighbor’s field, pluck ears with your hands, and put them in a bag, take them away and grind them up so that you have something to eat. But you do not harvest using any kind of implement. Do we see the mind of God? This is the mind of God that we will apply in the Millennium. It is a mind that is outgoing. You work to give. If someone needs food, they can go and help themselves, within the law of God.

Deuteronomy 24:19-20 When thou cuttest down thine harvest in thy field, and hast forgot a sheaf in the field, thou shalt not go again to fetch it: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow: that the Eternal thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hands. (20) When thou beatest thine olive tree, thou shalt not go over the boughs again [you do it once]: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow.

Notice what is left is there for the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow; but they must work to get it. They must glean it, as can be seen in the story of Ruth (Ruth 2).

Deuteronomy 24:21-22 When thou gatherest the grapes of thy vineyard, thou shalt not glean it afterward: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow. (22) And thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in the land of Egypt: therefore I command thee to do this thing.

Again, what is the mindset? A thief works to grab, to make his pile; and whoever has the biggest pile at the end of the day wins. That is the mind of a thief. But the mind of God is that you work so that you have something to give, and you find this mindset expressed all through the law of God.

Yet today, in our grasping, conniving, striving, deceitful, clandestine, furtive, scurrilous, devious, cheating, and lying society that Mr. Armstrong referred to, what do we find? Notice a recent article from the Telegraph, entitled “Condemned Cells”:

Bees cannot survive in a place where only one crop grows. Neither can other pollinators. Except for the few weeks a year when that plant is in bloom, there is nothing for them to eat...

The lifestyle of the average modern honey bee in America, living on the road in overcrowded hives stacked up in juggernauts, short on fresh air and subject to overheating, fed on corn or sucrose syrups and protein supplements to keep them going between nectar-rich crops, treated with miticides, moving relentlessly from one crop to the next - isn’t this a profoundly unnatural way for a bee to live? Isn’t this enough to stress them out and compromise their immune systems?”

We wonder why we have problems, why our ways turn around and bite us. Of course, our ways will turn around and bite us. It is not the way of God. It is not the mind of God. If you take anything from this article, take this: A thief works to get. God works to give. God’s way, God’s mind – working to give – must be in our heart. Working to give is the spiritual application of the Eighth Commandment.

You find this mindset throughout the law. Leviticus 25:1-5 And the Eternal spake unto Moses in mount Sinai, saying, (2) Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye come into the land which I give you, then shall the land keep a sabbath unto the Eternal. (3) Six years thou shalt sow thy field, and six years thou shalt prune thy vineyard, and gather in the fruit thereof; (4) But in the seventh year shall be a sabbath of rest unto the land, a sabbath for the Eternal: thou shalt neither sow thy field, nor prune thy vineyard. (5) That which groweth of its own accord of thy harvest thou shalt not reap, neither gather the grapes of thy vine undressed: for it is a year of rest unto the land.

In other words, you do not reap the grapes and use them in the normal, commercial sense, bring them into your barns, and make wine out of them. Eating the actual grapes is fine, though.

Leviticus 25:6-10 And the sabbath of the land shall be meat for you; for thee, and for thy servant, and for thy maid, and for thy hired servant, and for thy stranger that sojourneth with thee, (7) And for thy cattle, and for the beast that are in thy land, shall all the increase thereof be meat. (8) And thou shalt number seven sabbaths of years unto thee, seven times seven years; and the space of the seven sabbaths of years shall be unto thee forty and nine years. (9) Then shalt thou cause the trumpet of the jubilee to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month, in the day of atonement shall ye make the trumpet sound throughout all your land. (10) And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubilee unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family.

In the Sabbatical Year all debts are forgiven and no harvesting is done. The other six years provide the corn and wine needed. If you see vintages of wine in the world tomorrow, it will go for six years. Then there will be nothing, and then again six years, and then nothing. On it will go until the 49th year, when there will be nothing. Then the 50th year there will be nothing as well, and then you will start again.

Do we see the attitude of mind in these verses? It is working; but it is working to give back to the land, to give to the poor, to make sure that those who are in need have what they need. It is a giving mind, a giving law. Giving is the character, the expression of God’s mind.

In looking at these laws, we are looking at the mind of the One who became Jesus Christ, who will be King in the future. He does not change. These same basic laws that we have read about will be applied in Israel in the world tomorrow. Israel, as the model nation, will then be reflecting this mind of working to give, not the mind of “grasping, conniving, striving, deceitful, clandestine, furtive, scurrilous, devious, cheating, and lying chicanery” that we find in the world. We need to learn this totally different mindset today if we are indeed to be the teachers God will use in that new world.

The land is eventually going to spew Israel out because of the way in which the land has been treated and the way in which the animals have been treated. You do not feed cows on sheep offal! You do not feed cows on chicken manure as their protein! Such things are absurd! Such things come from a mindset that is working to get, to grab as much profit as they possibly can pump out of the land. They pour chemicals on the land to pump the profit out. It is a totally wrong approach. The Creator’s way that we must learn, His mind, is that you work to give.

In 1902, Albert Howard was knighted by Queen Victoria for his research into composting in Lehore, India. According to his accounts, there would be cattle on one side of the fence that had foot and mouth disease, but cattle on his side of the fence would rub noses with them and not get it. Why? He was composting. His idea was to feed the soil. But that way of doing things was swept away. Why? Because the war effort in World War I demanded nitrogen munitions. What do you do with the factories making nitrogen munitions at the end of a war? You produce nitrogen fertilizer. That is a mindset of working to get, not working to give.

Government

We have recently had a breather in the financial markets. There was a rally in the stock markets. It was due to the U. S. Federal Reserve making the decision to give cheap loans. How did the Reserve start giving cheap loans? What does the Federal Reserve do? It controls the money supply. It actually prints the notes. It has to have something to back the notes; but it in fact does not have anything backing the notes.

Jim Sinclair, an investment analyst whose specialty is precious metals, no doubt due to the fact that his family is involved in exploration of precious metals in Zambia, in a recent article entitled “Adding Fuel To A Fire That Is Already Out Of Control,” writes:

Adding financial liquidity to the marketplace is happening both in Europe and in the US even though it’s being denied. This is nothing less than MONETARY INFLATION which by economic law translates into price inflation.

The definition of inflation is “too much money chasing too few goods.” If you push money into the economy, you generate inflation. What happens is that the price of goods rises to balance the money supply.

Adding liquidity is like pouring gasoline on a bonfire. It is proof that central banks will burn down the barn to avoid a derivative crisis. The barn is their respective currencies.

What is a derivative? Water, for example, is a derivative of hydrogen and oxygen. Salt is a derivative of sodium and chloride. In other words, a derivative is what makes something up. In the case of a financial institution, a derivative is a piece of paper that you have supposedly something to back it up. It might be a derivative of gold, for example, so you are selling futures of the gold market. A derivative can also be a share, a piece of paper that represents part of a company.

“It is proof that central banks will burn down the barn to avoid a derivative crisis.”

In other words, central banks will add liquidity to avoid the stock market from going belly up.

“The barn is their respective currencies.

Who does this take away from, then? When you have inflation, what happens to the currency? If your dollar will buy so much gold and then tomorrow it will buy half as much gold, you have, therefore, devalued the dollar by half.

The US dollar has nowhere to go because if you think that a credit derivative failure is containable to any location - or at all - I will sell you the Brooklyn Bridge cheap.

In other words, “You can buy this piece of paper that says you’ve now got the Brooklyn Bridge.” That is a derivative.

All that can be gained by blasting in huge amounts of international liquidity is a temporary slowdown of failures. Adding liquidity anywhere adds liquidity everywhere in a global financial world.

So what is actually happening? If you have the Federal Reserve pumping money in to quell this problem with stocks and shares, which are the derivatives, and it fuels inflation, and you have a dollar that was worth so much gold that is now only worth half the amount of gold (the value of the dollar is cut in half), where has the value been taken from? It has been taken from the small saver. It is exploiting the poor. It is grinding the face of the poor (Isaiah 3:15).

Looking at this subject of stealing, the biggest thieves of all are governments. Why? Because they do not maintain their currencies. And who are the ones owning the stocks and shares trying desperately to keep them profitable? All the big investment companies, all the bigwigs who are associated with the governments. They are thieves.

John 10:1 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.

Christ is the Door, the Living Word of God. God makes the rules, not some big financial bank somewhere. God makes the rules in financial areas, “not the grasping, conniving, striving, deceitful, clandestine, furtive, scurrilous, devious, cheating, and lying chicanery” that you find in government financial dealings.

John 10:7 Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.

Christ is the Door, the Living Word of God. He specified how things should be working, and people disregard it to their peril.

John 10:8 All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them.

Christ’s time is not yet. This verse is not referring to people B.C. “All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers” refers to this government now. It means those involved in the financial dealings we see today are thieves and robbers. Christ’s time will come in the world tomorrow. We, the sheep in God’s Church, do not set our lifestyle based on this world’s standards. We set our lifestyle based on the “Door of the sheep,” the One who actually shows us the way to walk, the way of life, the mind and character of Almighty God.

John 10:9-10 I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. (10) The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

God’s way is an abundant, happy way that will in the future extend over the entire earth and eventually out into the universe. All things will be put under God’s government, His way of life. That government is not the mindset of a thief, which is out to get as much as possible, but the mindset of God who works to give.

John 10:11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.

This is the mind of the Creator that is outgoing. How can a Being who owns everything behave in a grasping, greedy way? Impossible! He could hold it all to Himself, but He does not. He is outgoing. The flow is not incoming, because He owns it all. He has worked hard to produce this beautiful world that we find ourselves in. God wants children who have the same kind of mindset, who work to give.

Is the financial system that God gave to Israel going to be the same in the world tomorrow? Perhaps not, but the same mind will be extant, the same principles will apply. The chances are that it will be the same as we find in Leviticus 27:16. “And if a man shall sanctify unto the Eternal some part of a field of his possession, then thy estimation shall be according to the seed thereof [the seed that the land produces]: an homer of barley seed shall be valued at fifty shekels of silver.”

Here is the benchmark. People who are “grasping, conniving, striving, deceitful, clandestine, furtive, scurrilous, devious, cheating, and lying” will not be flooding dollars on the market, devaluing the savings of the average person, robbing and grinding the face of the poor. Why? Because the “Door to the Sheepfold” says that the land that produces “an homer of barley seed will be valued at 50 shekels.” Why 50? Because you cannot sell the land forever. This is the rental, and the rental will only be until the Jubilee (50 years).

This law is tying the price of the land to the actual currency. What does that do? It actually makes people increase the fertility of their land, because if you increase the fertility of your land, you double the number of shekels you have. For example, if at the start it takes an acre to produce an homer of barley seed, and you continue year-by-year to increase the fertility of the soil so that 10 years down the road it only takes half an acre, you have doubled the value of that acre to 100 shekels. Where before you would have sold your acre for 50 shekels, now you can sell it for 100 shekels, because you have increased the fertility of the land. What happens is that the entire society is building the fertility of the land, and the result is you have a land flowing with milk and honey.

Leviticus 27:16 is an amazing law, as are all of God’s laws. It is coming from a mindset of a Creator who works to give. Again, thieves work to get. God and His children work to give.

Isaiah 65:21-22 And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them. (22) They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands.

People in the Millennium will not be giving their wealth to those who are “grasping, conniving, striving, deceitful, clandestine, furtive, scurrilous, devious, cheating, and lying” people the thieves. All those people, who came before the King of Kings, will be swept away. But there has to be another group of people during in the Millennium ruling under this King. If we do not have the same mindset as this King, we will not be there with Him. It is those who overcome that will inherit all things. If there is one law that exemplifies the way of give and the way of get, it is the Eighth Commandment, “You shall not steal.”

Isaiah 65:23 They shall not labour in vain, nor bring forth for trouble; for they are the seed of the blessed of the Eternal, and their offspring with them.

Isaiah 66 talks about where these individuals are coming from, and it is talking about the Church today. Unfortunately, the Church today has lost its roots. It has lost sight of where the foundation needs to be, and we need to get back on that foundation again.

Isaiah 51:16 And I have put my words in thy mouth, and I have covered thee in the shadow of mine hand, that I may plant the heavens, and lay the foundations of the earth, and say unto Zion, Thou art my people.

We are certainly doing our best to remind Zion, “You are my people” now. But as regards “laying the foundations of the earth,” not only does that refer to our work during the Millennium, but it has even been speculated that if the place of safety is indeed Petra, our job once there, will be to get that area ready for Israel as a staging post. Even at that time we will be “working to give”. It will thus be the beginning, the precursor, to the very Kingdom of God.

What then happens? Then it is physical Israel's turn to learn this way of working to give rather than working to get. They will turn away from – the “grasping, conniving, striving, deceitful, clandestine, furtive, scurrilous, devious, cheating, and lying chicanery” that we have in the world today. Israel will then becomes the model nation, and as that model nation it will be able to give and express that way to the rest of the world so that they will in turn be able to come into the commonwealth of Israel. The whole earth then will be working to give for the time of the Great White Throne Judgment. Eventually all mankind -- as born Sons of God -- will be working to give so that the heavens can be planted, taking that giving way of life out to the very universe itself.

The Eighth Commandment, “You shall not steal” is a very simple commandment; but there is a lot more behind it, as we have seen. The crucial point to remember is: Thieves work to get, but God works to give!


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Transcribed in article form by KA. Edited by JB.
1
Emphasis ours throughout.
2
“LORD” replaced with “Eternal” our edit throughout