Asset Forfeiture Laws  
(Thou shalt not covet.) 

   Background: More and more government agencies are using asset forfeiture laws to seize property. A small town police department seized a teenager's computer because there was a pornographic picture stored on the hard drive. The local big city newspaper heard of it and published this editorial cartoon.  (Child Protection Services seize children to get money.)

1 Thessalonians 5:22 reads "Abstain from all appearance of evil." If there there not been the "appearance of  evil" and a resulting suspicion that the police had coveted the computer, then there would have been no editorial cartoon and no embarrassing newspaper articles.

    Are asset forfeiture laws Biblical? Here are verses to consider:

   Deuteronomy 23:18 Thou shalt not bring the hire of a whore, or the price of a dog, (Bible slang for homosexual.) into the house of the LORD thy God for any vow: for even both these [are] abomination unto the LORD thy God.

    An application of this law is found in:

Matthew 27:3-7: Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders,(4) Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What [is that] to us? see thou [to that]. (5) And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself. (6) And the chief priests took the silver pieces, and said, It is not lawful for to put them into the treasury, because it is the price of blood. (7) And they took counsel, and bought with them the potter's field, to bury strangers in.

Asset forfeiture laws and Joshua 7

  1. But the children of Israel committed a trespass in the accursed thing: for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed thing: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against the children of Israel.
  2. And Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which [is] beside Bethaven, on the east side of Bethel, and spake unto them, saying, Go up and view the country. And the men went up and viewed Ai.
  3. And they returned to Joshua, and said unto him, Let not all the people go up; but let about two or three thousand men go up and smite Ai; and make not all the people to labour thither; for they [are but] few.
  4. So there went up thither of the people about three thousand men: and they fled before the men of Ai.
  5. And the men of Ai smote of them about thirty and six men: for they chased them [from] before the gate [even] unto Shebarim, and smote them in the going down: wherefore the hearts of the people melted, and became as water.
  6. And Joshua rent his clothes, and fell to the earth upon his face before the ark of the LORD until the eventide, he and the elders of Israel, and put dust upon their heads.
  7. And Joshua said, Alas, O Lord GOD, wherefore hast thou at all brought this people over Jordan, to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us? would to God we had been content, and dwelt on the other side Jordan!
  8. O Lord, what shall I say, when Israel turneth their backs before their enemies!
  9. For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land shall hear [of it], and shall environ us round, and cut off our name from the earth: and what wilt thou do unto thy great name?
  10. And the LORD said unto Joshua, Get thee up; wherefore liest thou thus upon thy face?
  11. Israel hath sinned, and they have also transgressed my covenant which I commanded them: for they have even taken of the accursed thing, and have also stolen, and dissembled also, and they have put it even among their own stuff.
  12. Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies, but turned their backs before their enemies, because they were accursed: neither will I be with you any more, except ye destroy the accursed from among you.
  13. Up, sanctify the people, and say, Sanctify yourselves against to morrow: for thus saith the LORD God of Israel, [There is] an accursed thing in the midst of thee, O Israel: thou canst not stand before thine enemies, until ye take away the accursed thing from among you.
  14. In the morning therefore ye shall be brought according to your tribes: and it shall be, that the tribe which the LORD taketh shall come according to the families thereof; and the family which the LORD shall take shall come by households; and the household which the LORD shall take shall come man by man.
  15. And it shall be, [that] he that is taken with the accursed thing shall be burnt with fire, he and all that he hath: because he hath transgressed the covenant of the LORD, and because he hath wrought folly in Israel.
  16. So Joshua rose up early in the morning, and brought Israel by their tribes; and the tribe of Judah was taken:
  17. And he brought the family of Judah; and he took the family of the Zarhites: and he brought the family of the Zarhites man by man; and Zabdi was taken:
  18. And he brought his household man by man; and Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, was taken.
  19. And Joshua said unto Achan, My son, give, I pray thee, glory to the LORD God of Israel, and make confession unto him; and tell me now what thou hast done; hide [it] not from me.
  20. And Achan answered Joshua, and said, Indeed I have sinned against the LORD God of Israel, and thus and thus have I done:
  21. When I saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, then I coveted them, and took them; and, behold, they [are] hid in the earth in the midst of my tent, and the silver under it.
  22. So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran unto the tent; and, behold, [it was] hid in his tent, and the silver under it.
  23. And they took them out of the midst of the tent, and brought them unto Joshua, and unto all the children of Israel, and laid them out before the LORD.
  24. And Joshua, and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, and the silver, and the garment, and the wedge of gold, and his sons, and his daughters, and his oxen, and his asses, and his sheep, and his tent, and all that he had: and they brought them unto the valley of Achor.
  25. And Joshua said, Why hast thou troubled us? the LORD shall trouble thee this day. And all Israel stoned him with stones, and burned them (the stuff) with fire, after they had stoned them with stones. (Deuteronomy 24:16 The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin.)
  26. And they raised over him (Achan) a great heap of stones unto this day. So the LORD turned from the fierceness of his anger. Wherefore the name of that place was called, The valley of Achor, unto this day.

    Achan's sin was coveting. A violation of "Thou shalt not covet."

Deuteronomy 13:13-17

  1. Certain men, the children of Belial, are gone out from among you, and have withdrawn the inhabitants of their city, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which ye have not known;
  2. Then shalt thou enquire, and make search, and ask diligently; and, behold, if it be truth, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought among you;
  3. Thou shalt surely smite the inhabitants of that city with the edge of the sword, destroying it utterly, and all that is therein, and the cattle thereof, with the edge of the sword.
  4. And thou shalt gather all the spoil of it into the midst of the street thereof, and shalt burn with fire the city, and all the spoil thereof every whit, for the LORD thy God: and it shall be an heap for ever; it shall not be built again.
  5. And there shall cleave nought of the cursed thing to thine hand: that the LORD may turn from the fierceness of his anger, and shew thee mercy, and have compassion upon thee, and multiply thee, as he hath sworn unto thy fathers;

Goods obtained via asset forfeiture laws are 'cursed things'

   The above verses speak of a raid on a city. Now, try to apply the thinking in these verses to a raid on a Crack House or House of Prostitution. If Moses were alive today would he say something like this?

  1. Certain men, felons, are gone out from among you, and have approached the inhabitants of their city, saying, we got drugs and whores. (Let us go and serve other gods.)
  2. Then shalt thou enquire, and make search, and ask diligently; and, behold, if it be truth, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought among you;
  3. Thou shalt surely get a court order and raid that place with a SWAT team, smite the inhabitants of that house and destroying it utterly, and all that is therein, and the drugs, the fancy pimp cars, everything in that place.
  4. And thou shalt gather all the spoil of it into a public place, and shalt burn with fire all the cursed stuff, and all the assets thereof every whit, and demolish the house, for the LORD thy God: and it shall be an heap for ever; it shall not be built again. (Deuteronomy 13:11
    And all Israel shall hear, and fear, and shall do no more any such wickedness as this is among you.)
  5. And there shall cleave nought of the cursed thing to thine hand: The police and government agencies can not claim the car, computer, money or anything else lest they become covetous like Achor. What is not burnable, the  money*, gold, silver etc. shall be given to charity. (Matthew 27:6 And the chief priests took the silver pieces, and said, It is not lawful for to put them into the treasury, because it is the price of blood. (7) And they took counsel, and bought with them the potter's field, to bury strangers in.) that the LORD may turn from the fierceness of his anger, and shew thee mercy, and have compassion upon thee, and multiply thee, as he hath sworn unto thy fathers;

    * Paper money is not 'burnable'. Later in this course you will learn some of the money system's dark secrets, then you will see that, if the police had burnt the drug dealer's paper money, that would only serve to unjustly enrich the banker. The explanation is somewhere else in this course.

    And since the police are forbidden to covet this money. (blood money - Matthew 27:7 price of a whore, price of a dog - Deuteronomy 23:18) The money can not be retained by the government agency, must be given to charity.

 

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Note: There is no question 55.

Question 56: If the Police did have a right to take possession of the computer, what should have been done with it?

  Used by the police to fight crime.

  Sold to raise money for the Police Dept.

  Sold and the proceeds donated to charity.

  Taken to the local High School, and following a short speech, publicly destroyed as an example to others.

  I don't agree with any of the above.