As we turn towards our faiths this Christmas and Hanukkah in an attempt to make sense of the year that was, economist Professor Michael Hudson says we have been interpreting the bible incorrectly. And he has written an entire book about it. Rather than sex and sin, both Christianity and Judaism is preoccupied with debt. As it turns out, Jesus was a socialist activist who paid the ultimate price fighting for the reinstatement of regular debt jubilees. In fact, the rulers of classical antiquity who cancelled their subjects’ debts were overthrown with disturbing frequency and tended not to live that long…

As many people turn towards their Christian and Jewish faiths this Christmas and Hanukkah in an attempt to make sense of the year that was, at least one economist says we have been reading the bible in an anachronistic way.

In fact he has written an entire book on the topic. In ‘…And Forgive them their Debts: Credit and Redemption’ (available this spring on Amazon), Professor Michael Hudson makes the argument that far from being about sex, the bible is actually about economics, and debt in particular.

“The Christianity we know today is not the Christianity of Jesus,” says Professor Hudson.

Indeed the Judaism that we know today is not the Judaism of Jesus either.

The economist told Renegade Inc the Lord’s Prayer, ‘forgive us our sins even as we forgive all who are indebted to us’, refers specifically to debt.

“Most religious leaders say that Christianity is all about sin, not debt,” he says. “But actually, the word for sin and debt is the same in almost every language.”

“‘Schuld’, in German, means ‘debt’ as well as ‘offense’ or, ‘sin’. It’s ‘devoir’ in French. It had the same duality in meaning in the Babylonian language of Akkadian.”

Professor Michael Hudson has achieved near complete consensus with the assyriologists & biblical scholars that the Bible is preoccupied with debt, not sin.

The idea harks back to the concept of ‘wergeld’, which existed in parts of Europe and Babylonia, and set the value of a human life based on their rank, paid as compensation to the family of someone who has been injured or killed.

“The payment – the Schuld or obligation – expiates you of the injury caused by the offense,” Dr Hudson said.

 The Ten Commandments were about debt

People tend to think of the Commandment ‘do not covet your neighbour’s wife’ in purely sexual terms but actually, the economist says it refers specifically to creditors who would force the wives and daughters of debtors into sex slavery as collateral for unpaid debt.

The Ten Commandments are largely about how to deal with debt in Near Eastern ancient economies.

“This goes all the way back to Sumer in the third millennium,” he said.

Similarly, the Commandment ‘thou shalt not steal’ refers to usury and exploitation by threat for debts owing.

The economist says Jesus was crucified for his views on debt. Crucifixion being a punishment reserved especially for political dissidents.

“To understand the crucifixion of Jesus is to understand it was his punishment for his economic views,” says Professor Hudson. “He was a threat to the creditors.”

Jesus Christ was a socialist activist for the continuity of regular debt jubilees that were considered essential to the wellbeing of ancient economies.

A ‘clean slate’ referred not to forgiveness of sins, but of debt.

Governments can forgive debt. The bible says so.

In Sumer and Babylonia, whenever a new ruler would come to power, the first thing they would do was proclaim a “clean slate”, forgiving the population’s personal debt in what was known as a ‘debt jubilee’.

The alternative would have been for those who couldn’t pay to fall into bondage to their creditors. Governments would have lost thee availability of such debtors to fight in its armies.

But classical antiquity’s rulers who cancelled their subjects’ debts tended to be overthrown with disturbing frequency – from the Greek ‘tyrants’ of the 7th century BC who overthrew the aristocracies of Sparta and Corinth, to Sparta’s Kings Agis and Cleomenes in the 3rd century BC who sought to cancel Spartan debts, to Roman politicians advocating debt relief and land redistribution, Julius Caesar among them.

Jesus’ first reported sermon in Luke 4 documents his announcement that he had come to revive the enforcement of the Jubilee Year. The term “gospel” (or ‘good news’) was used specifically to refer to debt cancellation which became the major political fight of the imperial Roman epoch, pitting Jesus against the pro-creditor Pharisees, (a political party and social movement that became the foundation for Rabbinic Judaism around 167 BC).

Jesus died for our debt

Professor Hudson says Jesus Christ paid the ultimate price for his activism.

The Pharisees, Hillel (the founder of Rabbinical Judaism) and the creditors who backed them decided that Jesus’ growing popularity was a threat to their authority and wealth.

“They said ‘we’ve got to get rid of this guy and rewrite Judaism and make it about sex instead of a class war’, which is really what the whole Old Testament is about,” Professor Hudson said.

“That was where Christianity got perverted. Christianity turned so anti-Jesus, it was the equivalent of the American Tea Party, applauding wealth and even greed, Ayn-Rand style.”

The economist says that Christianity was reshaped by Saint Paul, followed by the “African” school of Cyril of Alexandria and St Augustine.

“Over the last 1000 years the Catholic Church has been saying it’s noble to be poor. But Jesus never said it was good to be poor. What he said was that rich people are greedy and corrupt. That’s what Socrates was saying, as well as Aristotle and the Stoic Roman philosophers, the biblical prophets in Isaiah.”

Neither did Jesus say that it was good to be poor because it made you noble.

What Jesus did say is that say if you have money, you should share it with other people.

“But that’s not what Evangelical Christianity is all about today,” says Professor Hudson. “American Fundamentalist Christians say don’t share a penny. King Jesus is going to make you rich. Don’t tax millionaires. Jesus may help me win the lottery. Tax poor people whom the Lord has left behind – no doubt for their sins. There’s nothing about the Jubilee Year here.”

As it turns out, Jesus was a socialist activist who fought for the reinstatement of the debt jubilee.

What would Jesus do?

To understand how to fix today’s economy, Hudson says that the Bible’s answers were practical for their time.

“When you have a massive build up of debt that can’t be paid, either you wipe out the debt and start-over like Germany did during ‘the 1947 Miracle‘ when the Allies forgave all its debts except for minimum balances, or you let the creditors foreclose as Obama did in America after the 2008 crisis and 10 million American families lost their homes to foreclosure,” he said.

“If you leave this wealth in place then it’s going to stifle society with debt deflation.

“Today’s world believes in the sanctity of debt. But from Sumer and Babylonia through the Bible, it was debt cancellations that were sacred.”

The economist recommends replacing income tax with land, monopoly and natural resource tax, banning absentee ownership, and empowering the government to distribute land to the population.

“If you want to be like Jesus then you become political and you realise that this is the same fight that has been going on for thousands of years, across civilisation – the attempt of society to cope with the fact that debts grow faster than the ability to pay,” he says.

… And Forgive them their Debts: Credit and Redemption’ will be available for purchase just in time for Easter on Amazon.

Claire Connelly

Claire Connelly

Claire Connelly is the lead writer of Renegade Inc. An award-winning freelance journalist, speaker, and founder of subscription journalism experiment, Hello Humans.

Specialising in economics, technology and policy, Connelly is working on her first book due out in 2018.

With more than a decade of experience under her belt, Claire has written for leading publications including The Australian Financial Review, The Saturday Paper, ABC, SBS, Crikey, New Matilda, VICE & others. She is the co-host of The Week In Start-Ups Australia, and features regularly as a commentator on TV and radio shows including Radio National's Download This Show, ABC's The Drum, Ten's The Project, and more.
Claire Connelly

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66 thoughts on “He died for our debts, not our sins

  1. New to actually reading the Bible myself, but I could not agree more with this. Matthew 21:12-13 & Matthew 23 tell me that he allowed himself to be murdered for interrupting the Central Banksters’ (Money Changers) currency manipulation and for publicly humiliating the PTB (scribes & pharisees). The whole ‘died for sins’ nonsense is just that, nonsense. The Bible DOES NOT tell me that. And I feel it is used by frauds to excuse their unrighteous lifestyles since they ‘believe’ those sins are already absolved.

    1. Every book of the Old Testament says in terms that someone has to die for our sins, and every book of the New says Jesus died for his people’s sins, so I’m not sure how you can be reading the Bible and not seeing that.

    2. I would keep reading. It is very clearly about forgiveness of sins (be them debts to other men, sexual sins, relational sins, etc.) and not aimed at economics. Here’s a recommendation: John 8:33-34 – 33 They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?” 34 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.
      A little earlier on in the chapter it’s clear again. The scribes and pharisees bring a woman to Jesus who was caught cheating on her husband. Jesus writes something on the ground (probably sins of the accusers) and all of the accusers leave. Then, “10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’ 11 ‘No one, sir,’ she said. ‘Then neither do I condemn you,’ Jesus declared. ‘Go now and leave your life of sin.'” A debt was forgiven, but not a financial one.

    1. You mean the interpretation written by John post-Paul?

      Hudson addressed what happens to Christianity after Paul.

      I suppose a good argument can be made that after Jesus, Christianity needed to become more like Rabbinical Judaism to propagate.

    2. You got to read in full context. Reading one part and forgetting other parts is a sign of hypocrisy. Jesus say that he can himself do nothing. I hear and judge but the my judgement is just, for I seek not my will but him who has sent me. John 5:30

  2. If economics is heavily a
    1. Religion or cult
    2. Amoral (there is no code of ethics)
    3. Overreaching
    4. Pushes false doctrine (measured economic quantities are dynamic not in equilibrium.)

    A claim to reinterpret a religion by an economist should not be automatically swallowed.

    If one wants to look at it one should be quite careful. With more care than you would take with your money when an economists is involved.

    And, a claim that debt and sin are the same word in many languages is ambiguous.

    1. Dr Hudson has very credible historian chops as well….a specialist in historic monetary systems and their psycho-social context, so I would accept his professional view here. What are your professional credentials?

      1. He’s right about the understanding of the word “debt” being so closely related to “sin.” The Bible occasionally uses debt as a metaphor for sin. But to go back and say it’s all about financial debt makes me question his intellect and motives. Read through John 8, and it’s obvious that financial freedom was not Jesus’ main focus.

  3. Sivio Gesell has already solved the problem of the debt due to the compound interest what was recognised by Irving Fisher, and John Maynard Keynes wrote the General Theory just not to acknowledge his right.

  4. Jesus Christ came down to earth to teach you how to live. Jesus said everything I have done you can do and more now what do you think I’m a moron like you would make out of that? Well he didn’t come down here to die for your debts he came down here to die for your sins because God cannot look upon sin and so because he did die for you you have any chance a slim one I’ll be in with him in eternity and the way you’re going you ain’t getting there

  5. 27Indeed, no one can enter a strong man’s house to steal his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man. Then he can plunder his house. 28Truly I tell you, the sons of men will be forgiven all sins and blasphemies, as many as they utter. 29But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of eternal sin.”…

    sin is a debt that could only be paid by a sinless Lamb of God perfect and without blemish. Not that debt couldn’t have a twofold meaning as soteria and love in the english a fourfold meaning but yes it is all about sin. Peter I fear you go astray. God bless agape philio.

  6. I’d love to see debate on this subject between Michael Hudson, David Graeber and Jordan Peterson.. That would be facinating

  7. the relation of the ten commandments to debt is reaching – and also giving specific examples to justify a universal equivalency, which doesn’t follow logically.

    based on the brief summary here, my guess is that the book will have a few sensible parallels between the Bible and debt economics but the majority of the content will be reckless extrapolation and false equivalencies

    1. Hi Mark,
      Professor Hudson has for 20 years headed a group out of Harvard University, the International Scholars Conference on Ancient Near Eastern Economies. He has been associated with Harvard University’s Peabody Museum for over thirty years, specialising in Babylonian economic archeology.

      He is President of The Institute for the Study of Long-Term Economic Trends (ISLET), a research organisation specialising in domestic and international finance, national income and balance-sheet accounting with regard to real estate, and the economic history of the ancient Near East. He is a Wall Street Financial Analyst, Distinguished Research Professor of Economics at the University of Missouri, Kansas City and author of J is Junk Economics (2017), Killing the Host (2015), The Bubble and Beyond (2012), Super-Imperialism: The Economic Strategy of American Empire (1968 & 2003), Trade, Development and Foreign Debt (1992 & 2009) and of The Myth of Aid (1971), amongst many others.

      He also graduated from the University of Chicago (B.A., 1959) and New York University (MA, 1965, PhD, 1968) and worked as a balance of payment economist in Chase Manhattan Bank (1964-1968). He was assistant professor of economics at the New School for Social Research 1969-1972, and 1980-90s worked for various governmental and non-governmental organisations as an economic consultant.

      Kind regards,


      1. The finest example if Jesus bringing the new law is the principle of subrogation, where you are not the debtor, but the surety, with the unalienable right to be subrogated to the Creditor, effectively, standing in the shoes of the credits, called the subrogor, and the Surety – you – standing in the shoes of the Creditor called a Subrogee. If anything this entire web page just told you that Jesus invented Subrogation used in every single state and federal and supreme court in Roman Civil law and English Chancery……i would say you better read Henry Gibson 1907 Section 963-965, to see how Subrogation Substitution and Exoneration truly work in doctrine.

  8. Global Money Market Money Changers… Same Bullshit Exchange Rates as existed in the Temple in Jerusalem…Quote Ref: … “Because Jews came from all over the civilized world to worship in Jerusalem, they obviously didn’t carry Tyrian coins. This problem was solved by setting up tables in the Temple courtyard with clerks called “moneychangers” (liter ally, “tablers”) who would exchange Temple currency for foreign moneys. By the time of Christ this “convenience” apparently grew into a racket for bilking, with large profits being reaped at the expense of visiting worshipers. It was this practice, along with the selling of sacrificial animals for profit, that enraged Jesus to the point of driving everybody out of the holy grounds, charging them with making the Temple ” ‘a den of robbers'” (Matt. 21:13, R.S.V.).'”

  9. I commented a week ago but I don’t see my comment here. Did you not like my previous comment, or did you not receive it? Thanks for your time and consideration.

  10. What is fascinating perspective. Of course we all know that he threw over the money changers table and was killed for it. And we all know that the Bible says anything more than 5% interest is usury. It seems that the Bible has been misinterpreted this entire time. Elizabeth Cady Stanton said that the Father the Son and the Holy Ghost was really the father mother and child. And that the Bible had been mis
    interpreted to be more sexist.

  11. The author may have some truths by quoting some of the rabbinic laws, that stated the 7th year was debt freedom or clean slate. However, to say that Christ didn’t die for our Debt To SIN, is not only reaching it’s participating in the athletic event called the long jump or better yet the triple jump.

    Christ’s specifically said in Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord”.

    Christ often used parables to speak. Parables are earthly stories with heavenly meaning. Christ related all that was going on in the Roman empire to the word of God in a spiritual way. Being free from the debt of usury and loans are great, but without Jesus as your saviour you are still a slave to sin. Sin is defined as transgression of the law of God. 1 John 3:4
    Galatians 5:19-21 states
    “Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God”
    So where does your soul spend eternity? In hell, free from creditors?

    God in heaven saw that people kept sinning. So he sent his son Christ to be the propitiation.
    1 John 2:2 states, “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world”.

    Asks yourself, people who are really saved by Christ and read the bible and follow his teachings don’t participate in sin as lifestyle. That includes POEONAGE. This county was supposed to be founded on “Christian”principles. To close, Jesus wanted us to be free from monetary debt and free from being slaves to sin ( Greed, hatred, working on the Sabbath, Idolatry, fornication, lust, dishonor to or parents, lying, stealing and killing). If all people followed these laws, ESPECIALLY those in the seats of power in the US. We wouldn’t be 1.5 trillion dollars in debt. I don’t need to be an economist to figure that one out.
    Controversial topics sell books, bonus, also when your referring to the hottest selling book in the world, the bible. Nice try.

    1. Jesus christ knew NOTHING of the ‘Bible” and or the “Word of God’? it was written years after his death.. a collection of interpretations by individuals who like you had view points… so to say that Jesus spoke in Parable about the word of god? Jesus spoke in stories, verbal traditions were common in those days and people could understand metaphorical references and ‘stories’…. I think the author here like any other author has a take on the ‘verses’ used in scripture, that is refreshing, new and opens up all new windows of understanding… Kinda like Jesus did with his parables…. so stop quoting and using your definitions of terms, and the ‘scriptures’ you seem to know so well and learn…. OPEN YOUR MIND and sit with these alternative interpretations and see what new perspectives you understand…. how easy it is for christians to sit comfortably in their perfectly coiffed comfort zones of definition and interpretation of ‘words’, which came from languages we no longer use and therefore cannot assume the meanings of to categorically as IF we have it and someone else certainly does not…

    2. Hi Mia.
      To quote a book of mythology in reply to an article of this calibre is less effective than pitching matches at the Sun. But! I won’t let it stop me from getting in on it. Galatians 5 is a favorite of mine, so I’ll bookend your girthy quote with the essence of the chapter. “Walk by the Spirit.” I.E. be led by the invisible, yet powerful conviction of conscience that we are born bearing. Attributing moral compass to an extraterrestrial being is slighting one of man’s more “human” traits. Worth noting too are the scores of humans, both documented in the annals of history and living, that have found a path to loving kindness without the convoluted “instruction” laid forth in a narrative. I have found “The Wind in The Willows” to be exemplary in its morality and divinity. But I can’t quote Mr. Mole or Toad and expect to be taken seriously in the mental colosseum of internet banter. (That’s my own rant, not immutable fact as outlined in Poseidon 2:21 or Woden 5:16 or Toad Hall 1:33 or any other work of fiction. For fiction is by its very nature a ruse.)

      Since I’ve evaded the topic of Ms. Connelly’s eloquently succinct article in favor of Bible study I should talk about Paul of Taursus’ aforementioned fifth chapter. Verse 16 ff ” But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.”

      And verse 22 ff “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”

      By repetion on both sides of the punishment aspect of your religion that you selected to quote, Paul of Taursus informs the reader that he/she cannot harbor both the Spirit and the desires of the flesh in unison because they’re in opposition to one another. An effort to do so would render one without the capacity to do what one wills. The suggested action then is to simply walk by the spirit and one won’t be able to give into the luring depravity of such heinous behavior as “idolatry (the cross), socery (conjuring favor from an invisible Man), or jealousy (using the investigation of a journalist as pulpit for cherry picking ‘handy’ quotes in defense of an immortal). Whew.

      Loved your article, Claire. It was and is food for thought.

    3. Well said, Mia.

      The Bible (both Old and New Testaments) does refer to financial debt but is chiefly about our relationship with God. Jesus explained this in his teaching and became the ultimate payment to settle our debt with our Creator.

      Prof Hudson does the Bible a gross disservice by suggesting that it and Jesus’s teaching are all about economics. To suggest that Jesus was executed for attempting to reinstate the Year of Jubilee, is without support from the texts. The ‘accusation sign’ above his head simply read “King of the Jews”. None of the court discussion referred to anything about debt cancellation or creditors. It makes me question whether the good professor actually read the texts that he is attempting to redefine.

      Interestingly enough, the Scottish version of the Lord’s prayer says: “forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors” although it is clearly understood within the broader meaning of debt that includes sin.

      Whereas I would agree that there has been a certain amount of reinterpretation of Scripture over the millennia and redefinitions by vested interests, to suggest that it is _not_ about sin, ie, the spoiling of our relationship with God and the consequences of that and what God does to rectify the situation, is tantamount to heresy and completely without textual support.

      It would be far better to highlight the Bible’s teachings on debt and financial matters and God’s provisions for the poor. These are aspects that deserve being brought out and a modern economic system built on biblical principles would be worth constructing.

    4. Mia ,
      You are looking at this article and discribing its wrong take and ommision about the moral side of debt forgiveness, but you quoted Romans 6:23 ?
      I see two main things in that quote . “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life ) the wages of sin are debts to God and or man, and the gift is (Free) release from debt or ( the jubilee ) also called the Grace of God! “The law came by moses but grace and truth…by Jesus christ.” Jn.1:17

      I don’t know but it seems that everyone comes from some family relation. They were for better or worse cared for ,fed clothed nurtured loved and educated as their parents or who ever saw fit, Christian or Jew or whatever be the case and God is not blind to these souls lives!
      My point is that Jesus was a family man but one of the kingdom from on high but the people in the world came from below that kingdom. The rule of man was given over to Jesus, but up to that point the law of moses ( of death) was in full force but after him the law of grace was in force!
      So he did usher in a jubilee of debt forgiveness . It was a force play. one had to go out and the other in! Isa. 61 is what Jesus read in the synogog according to Lk chapt.4:21 today this is fulfilled in your ears! His kingdom will have no end …Lk.1:33; Isa.9:7; Mt.6:10; and it will be on earth and all the laws will be kept all the economic laws as well as the ethical and moral laws .
      Those who do not conform will be cast out into darkness and there will be weeping and wailing and nashing of teeth! The richman and Lazarus syndrome if you will!
      The fact that an economist sees only the economic model is not surprising. In fact Mr. Hudson, reinforces the truth of Gods economic principals and precepts and there application in securing a wide range of heavenly blessings in this very age, as I’m sure he is seeing it, and as I see it will have in the world to come!

      The fact the Jesus died for our debts toward God and man is at least partially established by a world class economist, to me is absolutely amazing !

  12. He did not die for our debt ,he was killed because he was an agent for ET discloser ,and the bible is not a book about debt its a book about the Alien presence here on Earth ,The person who wrote this article is spreading ignorance because she has obviously never heard of the material from the dead sea scrolls !

  13. I believe, only a person who worships money and is absolutely immersed in a paradigm of money would come to this conclusion. I personally find it ironic, in that Jesus warns against being run by things of this world, and that’s exactly the opposite message the author came to.
    Go to YouTube and watch Tim Keller’s video called ‘Counterfeit Gods’.
    There is something solid there about the teachings of Christ. Theres a message in that video that would be useful to Christians and non-believers alike.

  14. Copy to the Pope, he needs to read this……
    It makes sense at so many levels, I won’t bother you , but it’s obvious….the mix of Jews, money, debt, bussines, interest, Zionism….etc.
    and of course each generation changes the meaning of the message……to support the ” new ideas”.
    Great work……..

  15. The article describes a book that apparently attempts to irresponsibly overreach in finding support for an overstated universal premise that the bible is all about, and only about, economics and debt.

    My experience is that when people make sweeping generalizations and overstate conclusions and say things in sensational ways they sound like Donald Trump and their goal is to get attention and drum up controversy and in this case money.

    Some may be impressed with and inclined to believe a Harvard Historian, just like they are impressed with a Billionaire president of the United States. I would hope we are wise enough to realize that position and education and power have absolutely no correlation to, truth, intellectual honesty, civility, humility, and spiritual insight and wisdom.

    Learning can be used to go down just about any rabbit hole a person decides to champion. The premise of this book is quite obviously overstated and too sweeping. Anyone reading this article as it describes the book can only assume that the author dove into the bible looking for evidence of one thing and found some evidence and then wrestled the whole rest of the bible to fit his theory.

    It does not reflect well on Harvard that this research is being marketed in this way. If it turns out that the book is much more conservative and all of this sensationalism is just to drum up interest it is unfortunate that this approach is allowed to contribute to the body of internet myth, by throwing out grand overstatements which obviously can have no ultimate support. The book, to maintain credibility, will have to back off and qualify and explain away until the ultimate conclusion is that some of the bible is about debt and some is about sin and some is about lust and sex and repentance and getting into the kingdom of God and loving your neighbor as yourself, etc. etc.

    Most importantly and centrally the bible is about the actual belief that Jesus Christ took upon Himself all of the misdeeds, bad thoughts, bad actions and pains and sicknesses and suffering of human kind. Only those who have gone to Jesus Christ and felt the supernatural feeling of having a savior lift their burden or who have been in deep physical, emotional or spiritual pain and had the savior step in and remove that pain or provide strength to endure trials and suffering or shield them from challenges that were beyond their capacity, can really comment on who Jesus Christ is and what the Bible is about. If you have not had those experiences all you can really say is….I don’t get it. And you are right. A person must experience the power and love and healing ability of Jesus Christ to understand Him and the Bible.

    The primary purpose of the New Testament is to convert people to Jesus Christ as the Son of God and the savior of the world by teaching them who Jesus Christ is and how to align ones heart and mind humbly with Him and His commandments so as to qualify for the witness of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit brings the witness (directly to a persons heart by overwhelming feelings of peace and joy that can not be rationalized away) that Jesus Christ is a real person who has the power to forgive sin and relieve pain and suffering. Everyone who has experienced this knows that these feelings are from an outside source and that that source is Jesus Christ.

    The Holy Spirit communicates with great force directly to the soul, bypassing the five senses and going directly to the heart and mind. If you want to feel it you have to do the same thing as anyone who wants to have success in anything. You have to put away your unwillingness to try something new and your pride and belief in your own wisdom and knowledge and put away your impatience and your desire to see the end from the beginning without taking the journey. You have to simply start talking to God about Jesus Christ and asking questions and reading the Bible and attempting to be obedient to everything that you know that He has taught and suggested to be important to happiness. You have to work at being a disciple and He will reward you with great insights and direction and communications directly to your spirit in proportion to the degree with which you humbly and diligently seek to follow Him. And eventually if you take the appropriate steps you will experience complete and total cleansing and you will understand what a “Fresh Start” really is.

    That’s no different than the basic steps to be successful at a new job or anything else. Imagine all the parents that wish their know-it-all teenager would follow the steps above in trying to follow them and gain the rewards of being a good obedient child. If you aren’t connecting with God you are probably acting like a spiritual “teenager” thinking you know everything and everything ought to come easy to you with no effort and being undisciplined and unwilling to put in the work to get the results and looking for short cuts and ways that your ideas are superior to God’s ideas.

    Anyone who has not connected with Jesus Christ is missing a piece of the right approach. Those who read the Bible and pray and humble themselves will be guided to the right approach. Some are farther off than others and have to adjust their attitudes and thinking more than others to get into a position to qualify for communications from the Holy Spirit, but the way is open to everyone.

    The ultimate success in studying the bible is obtaining the knowledge that Jesus Christ lived and died and was resurrected and that those who come to him and follow him and keep his commandments will obtain from him daily enabling power to overcome and deal gracefully with the challenges of mortality and a fallen world, including peace and joy in this life and in the life to come. The Holy Spirit has not ceased to operate daily in giving modern individuals this knowledge and testimony in ways custom tailored to their needs.

    Unfortunately after having said all of this I must admit that the Bible has been hacked away at over the centuries in a way that has obscured this central message. If you want the message in its purity read the Book of Mormon.

  16. David Graeber’s Debt: The First 5,000 Years, provides more extensive context for what Jesus was about. People need to educate themselves so they can see a millennia long pattern. Since the invention of methods for keeping track of debts (initially pub tabs!), society has been enslaved by greedy providers of goods and loans.

  17. Walter Wink is a Christian theologian with a similar take on Jesus Christ. In his book Engaging the Powers he offers a fuller understanding of some of Jesus’ teachings, for example the bit about if someone sues you and takes your shirt, give them your cloak as well. This was a common debt situation at the time, where if you owed someone they could take you to court to take your possessions, including the clothes on your back but not to the point of your last bit of clothing – your cloak, which doubled as a blanket to stay warm at night. If you hand over your cloak as well, your nakedness is a dishonor but not on you, it’s on the person who left you in that state. So it’s really a clever nonviolent political action, pointing out the cruelty of the debt system.

    1. Thanks John for mentioning Walter Wink. I read his work many years ago and found that his insights were helpful in opening up the enonomic implications of Jesus’ teaching without reducing everything Jesus did or taught to economics. I also think there is a lot material pointing to jubilee principles in gospels, and Ched Myers certainly advocates for this. However, I follow Jesus as the one who addresses life in a holistic way, so that all facets of human wellbeing and the wellbeing of all living things are concerns. I have always had this dimension to my personal faith and to my preaching, educational and pastoral work.

    1. Hi Andrew,

      Forgive the delayed response, I have been on leave. Evidence of debt jubilees has been uncovered in ancient documents including the Dead Sea Scrolls discovered in the Qumran. Provisions for debt jubilees exist also in the Code of Hammurabi (written by the sixth King of the First Babylonian Dynasty, reigning from 1792 BC to 1750 BC). The ‘code’ is one of the earliest documented evidence of contract law and dealt with how wages were to be paid, terms of transactions, liabilities for destruction, theft, damage etc. It also deals with debt.

      The 48th provision in the code reads: “If any one owe a debt for a loan, and a storm prostrates the grain, or the harvest fail, or the grain does not growth for lack of water, in that year he need not give his creditor any grain, he washes his debt-tablet in water and pays no rent for this year.” In a nutshell, the Code ruled that debt jubilees would be issued in instances of natural disaster, drought, flood, famine or war, where merchants farmers etc. In instance where debtors were unable to fulfil their debts, it was against the interests both of the government and the health of the economy for increasing numbers of people to find themselves in ‘permanent slavery’ in debtors prisons.

      Debt jubilees are not foreign concepts, even in the modern age. A jubilee was enacted in 1819 in America when agricultural prices plummeted. A significant portion of Europe had their debts written-off in the 1930s as the world abandoned the Gold Standard for fiat currencies. Germany had most of its debt forgiven after WWII in a bid by the European Community and the US to revive Germany’s economy. During the Great Depression, President Roosevelt enacted significant debt forgiveness for gold clauses in debt contracts, which research tends to suggest benefited both debtors and creditors.

      And of course, governments in the US and UK enacted significant debt jubilees as part of the banking bailouts during the Global Financial Crisis, even though almost every cent went towards profit margins and CEO bonuses. Pity they couldn’t extend the same generosity to the people who lost their homes and businesses directly because of their banks’ dodgy derivatives trading.

      I have included some links for your reference below. We’ll be dealing more with this topic during the year. Hope you’ll come back for more. In the meantime, Anthropologist, Professor David Graeber’s book, ‘Debt: The first 5000 years’ is an fascinating read and an excellent reference if you’re after further examples of detailed documented evidence: And of course Professor Hudson’s book goes over this in detail and will be available for sale in Easter.

      We’ll be talking to both Professor Graeber and Hudson about their research on debt and the origins of money also, so stay tuned for that.

      Happy 2018.

      Kind regards,



      1. This is an excellent article. Here’s another key fact: In 33 AD, when Jesus took a whip and drove the money changers from the Temple, calling them “Thieves!”, every member of the Roman Senate was a usurer. This is really why he was crucified a few days later. Crucifixion was the Roman punishment for sedition. But, in the 3rd Century AD (Bishop Iranaeus of Lyon) and 4th Century AD (the Council of Nicaea), the story was changed to blame Jesus death on the Jews (Blasphemy, at that time, was punished by stoning to death) to sell the newly formed religion to the masses. This is the root cause of anti-Semitism and leads directly to forced conversion, torture, inquisitions, expulsions, property theft, pogroms, and the Holocaust.

        Observations on: I. The Answer of M L’Abbé de Vertot to the late Earl Stanhope’s Inquiry concerning the Senate of Ancient Rome, dated December 1719; II. A Dissertation upon the Constitution of the Roman Senate, by a Gentleman, published in 1743; III. A Treatise on the Roman Senate, by Dr. Conyers Middleton, published in 1747; IV. An Essay on the Roman Senate, by Dr. Thomas Chapman, published in 1750; by Mr. Hooke, published in 1758, specifically “Observations of Dr. Middleton’s Treatise and Dr. Chapman’s Essay on the Roman Senate,” p. 189.

  18. Nailed it! Great article! I’ve been trying to tell people this truth for years, but this is the first time I’ve ever seen anyone else mention it. It’s pretty obvious in the writings of the Bible (Gospels and even Revelation) that Jesus was against capitalism and tried to change it. Religion and the elite capitalists world controllers have indoctrinated people for a long time. The elite only needed to indoctrinate our long past ancestors, then it was passed forward generation after generation by our own indoctrinated parents, schools, peers, media, etc. It takes stepping back from capitalism to free up our ‘time’ from all the ‘distractor factors’ in order to free the mind enough to really see the deep root problems caused directly by capitalism.

    You might be interested in reading some of my work. I’m not much of a writer but I try to explain things the best I can in my writings. I have a hard time writing what is so clear in my head, I can speak about it much better to a good listener. We can end capitalism with the proposed system, Life’s Optimal Virtuous Economy (LOVE). This simple system will end poverty and inequality bringing abundance and prosperity to everyone. Anyway, here’s some of my writings if you are interested. Thanks for the article, I will definitely check out the book.

    1. Also, I’d like to add that it may very well be the case that the Gospels are actually ‘prophecy’ instead of history. There is a very deep and inside explanation, too long to write here. Imagine how bad the Christians of today would feel if they themselves are the ones to persecute Jesus because they have been mislead, fooled and indoctrinated by religion to reject him in the flesh, trained to believe Jesus is the so-called Anti-Christ. I know it all sounds crazy or ridiculous but there’s much information and proof that this may very well be the case.

  19. The only problem with saying that Paul rewrote Jesus is that many of Paul’s letter’s were written before the gospels of co-currently with them… The texts that are considered the Scriptures, especially the ones that are being pitted against one another, the synoptic gospels and Paul, have always been recognized as authoritative by the church. In other words, to see these texts in opposition to one another would be contrary to the way that have been read from the beginning. This argument; consequently, probably has more to do with the reader than the text. None of this is to say that Jesus was not for debt forgiveness. Jesus was all about human flourishing and people being restored to right relationships with one another, their work & and creation(fair pay), their creator, and themselves.

  20. “the attempt of society to cope with the fact that debts grow faster than the ability to pay,”

    In modern finance, debts circulate as money and trade at par with US dollars. Debt becomes the ability to pay, for finance firms. They’ve figured out how to create as much money as they wish, and redefine inflation as wealth creation. Does Hudson understand how finance relaxes the traditional economic constraints on budgets and money printing?

    1. I venture that he would.
      Jesus took action at the temple . 2000 years later the total Earth Assets (GDP) are at approx 70 trillion dollars, total Earth Debt at 240 trillion. And interest rates can’t ever go up again like this. ‘Extend and Pretend’ or Debt Jubilee and QE for the people.

  21. the Bible. Revelation 22:18-19 says, “For I testify unto everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book, if anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; And if anyone takes away from the words of this book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, and from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.”

  22. Was it deliberate? The last line of the article is like a punchline: ‘ … And Forgive them their Debts: Credit and Redemption’ will be available for purchase just in time for Easter on Amazon.

  23. Good read except for the “socialist Jesus” part. Give more power to the government to allocate resources? How can such an intelligent observation not see that the government is literally owned by corporations and the Vatican? I think the professor should read up of the legelse and how the Magna Carta is still very much alive. Here’s a great research piece for those interested…..

  24. Great article. One important point I did not see ~~

    The last words of Christ at the cross were “Tetelestai,” a term that means PAID IN FULL.

  25. because we sinned, that is the debt we owed. we deserved to die because of that debt, but Jesus took our place so that debt would be paid.

  26. Lovely article. And, part of the Jewish forgiveness structure of which Jesus was a part, included sin offerings. Offerings of animals were made in place of a life debt owed to the person you sinned against. I agree and you are correct that both Judaism and Christianity focus on debts owed. And Christ came to pay the life that we all owe for sin. We now owe Christ that life debt. This is one of the paradoxes our faith. this is a gift freely given by Christ on our behalf. As a result, are price is paid, and yet we remain sinful. As Martin Luther once wrote, we are both Sinner and Saint. When we send as you so eloquently state, we oh life debt to those we sin against I need to repent daily, all the while Christ pays that debt. This does not free us to condemn others. our sin continues to condemn us although Christ’s gift is to pay our sin debt. And an amazing gift it is, thanks be to God.

  27. This is probably nearer the truth ,whatever that is, we can never really know much about the historical Jesus for lack of contemporary evidence. We do have is the gospels and not just the Biblical ones, there were other gnostic gospels that tend to be neglected because the early Christian fathers and later Catholic church declared them heretic. So there were more than one view of Jesus prevailing in the first centuries after his death.
    Gnostic teachings, like the Gospel of Thomas, don’t say anything about Jesus dying for our sins either. The Gnostic view was that he was teaching was inner spiritual enlightenment, not an overtly outward religious one, it was a mix of Greek /Judaic spiritual ideas. My belief is that he was mainly a spiritual leader,but more earthly money/debt issues would certainly have been part of the problem he saw. No doubt he had views on that but one must be careful using the gospels as fact on to what Jesus said. These were written well after his death and written by those who had political agendas and wanted to portray Jesus in a certain light. These anonymous scribes wanted a Jesus that spoke for them.

    1. What an extraordinary variety of replies are here: quite a generosity of spirit generally too. So something good is coming out of this brilliant stuff. And about time too since our money systems are killing people and preventing saving people and turning all of us against one another. As a young man I was transformed by a classic evangelical conversion. But once I began to come to terms with both “God” and the world, I have spent the rest of my 87 years as an activist priest and theologian. As such I had a remarkable experience of being near the centre of New Zealand’s forbidding nuclear warships to enter New Zealand waters. I convened the first of the New Zealand “Peace Squadrons” which blockaded New Zealand ports against such warships symbolically from 1975 and legally from 1985. I’m writing about it now. I was always convinced that economic systems were somehow at the heart of all this military violence and other so-called “sins” and now in the third millennium we are at last getting at the real issues. For a more personal statement go to

  28. Forgiving debt is good, under some condition, but we shouldn’t confuse myth and history.

    The notion that there is any reality behind religious texts is naive, if not absurd.

    Don’t search for rhyme or reason in religious mythology.

    All religions are created equal, and there are thousands of equally fictional scriptures.

    Whether the source is Judaic, or Islamic, or Buddhist, or Hindu, or Christian, or any other religion, all stories about Jehovah, Mary Magdalene, the Judges, Solomon, the conquest of Canaan, Abraham, the crucifixion, the Exodus, Saul, David, Joshua, Adam, Eve, Muhammad, Jacob, Moses, Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, Zeus, or Osiris are fictional.”

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