Volume 12, Number 1, July-August 2008

Treasures In Heaven

by John E. Robinson

(This author is no relation to the late John Robinson who once edited the Worldwide News and In Transition.)

 

In Matthew 6:20 we are admonished to lay up treasures in heaven where our investments will be safe from theft or other loss. I believe all of us need to seek out a practical application of this instruction, because everyone has financial decisions to make, regardless of our economic standing. In America we have had a tremendous period of prosperity in the last 70 years. This is a relatively long time span to have a financial upswing.

In the first part of the 20th century, we experienced a brief period of prosperity, which was followed by the Great Depression, beginning with a stock market collapse in 1929. Then in 1933 President Roosevelt came up with a solution he called the New Deal. In the World Book Encyclopedia, it says he borrowed vast amounts of money to finance this New Deal. Today that debt is still with us, and growing at an unbelievable rate. But if the road to economic freedom is as simple as borrowing money without repaying it, then why didn’t my dad tell me about that? What the encyclopedia doesn’t tell us is, whom Roosevelt borrowed the money from and what he put up for collateral. To me these seem like pretty major issues, since the borrower is servant to the lender (Prv 22:7).

Some time ago, I was in my local bank and I asked the manager of the bank a tongue in cheek question. I asked her how secure our money is, since a bankrupt government backs it. She gave me a thoughtful smile and responded, “Well it’s been that way as long as anyone can remember.” Then she said, “But if people couldn’t get their money they would raise a lot of commotion.” Somehow, I wasn’t comforted by her response.

Where does our nation’s borrowed money come from? Most of it comes from the Federal Reserve. Who owns the Federal Reserve? According to Alan Greenspan, it is nominally owned by private banks. Where do they get their money? According to Alan Greenspan, it is “fiat” money, which means that it’s not backed by anything tangible. It’s somewhat like play money that you would use in a Monopoly game. What is the motivation of these lenders? According to Alan Greenspan they have a “shabby little secret” whereby they can accomplish a hidden confiscation of wealth. I got this information from a six page article entitled “Gold and Economic Freedom” that Greenspan wrote back in 1966 before he was involved with the Federal Reserve. It’s found in a book by Ayn Rand entitled Capitalism—The Unknown Ideal.

You have heard the old expression that cheaters never win, and that’s true in the long run; but sometimes in the short run they do very well. And though seventy years is a long period of financial prosperity, it is a pretty short period in the time span of the rise and fall of nations.

So how does all this affect us? Basically we live in a fantasy world financed by our nine trillion dollar debt to the international bankers. If we were to face financial accountability today, our standard of living would be reduced very drastically to say the least. This may explain why so few people understand or even care to understand these issues. Most of us would prefer to live in our fantasy world. Some would say that we know the economy will collapse someday but we might as well enjoy it while we have it. That is a little bit like saying, “Well I know this ice is thin, but we might as well enjoy the skating party while it lasts.” Or you might even compare it to saying, “We know that one end of the big building we live in is on fire, but we’re not going to fight it or leave until it begins to affect where we live.”

The atmosphere that goes with our economic situation is not conducive to righteousness. It is somewhat like doing business with the mafia. There are some advantages, but someday it is bound to catch up with us, or our children or our grandchildren. Sodom and Gomorrah were blessed with great prosperity. That is what persuaded Lot to settle there. (Gen. 13:10, 11) But the way they handled or mishandled their prosperity led to their sexual perversion and later annihilation. Actually, there were four basic sins that led to their downfall all of which America happens to share today (Ezekiel 16).

    Pride

    Fullness of bread

    Idleness

    Failure to help the poor

Most people would agree that America has a problem with the first three of the sins listed in Ezekiel, but some would argue that we have done many benevolent works in the last 70 years. Yes, I suppose we have been very generous with our borrowed money, but anyone can write a hot check, especially if they never intend to balance their checkbook. I am persuaded that we will be visited by the Divine Auditor someday and America will be found weighed in the balance and found lacking.

In Luke 19:22, 23, Yahshua compared loaning money on interest with reaping where you have not sown and gathering where you have not strewn. In the book of Proverbs it is called unjust gain.

But what is happening today is actually much worse than what the Bible describes. In those cases, it appears that the person actually had something of real value to loan, upon which interest was collected. Whereas, today, the banking system can make money from nothing, loan it out at interest, and then collect that interest from someone who has to do real work to earn the money to repay it. Alan Greenspan calls it “a hidden confiscation of wealth”.

How did this get started?

The American Peoples’ Encyclopedia says in their article on banking, “With the revival of trade in the 11th and 12th centuries, Europe set out to learn again the practice of banking. Money changing and lending had been shifted to the Jews because of the attitude of the church, but now the Italians began to emulate these people … (pages 3-14)

So what was the attitude of the church? According to Compton’s Pictured Encyclopedia, “banking was once frowned upon because the taking of money on interest was considered immoral, and some nations forbid their citizens to engage in it.” (page 51)

In Deut. 23:20 Yahvah allowed interest to be charged to foreigners. Historically many Jews have probably used scriptures like this to justify loaning money to non Jews/Christians, not realizing that some of those people might be the very elect of God. Conversely, today many Christians justify loaning money to non-Christians, Jews, etc., without realizing that some of these people may be the very elect of God. Deuteronomy 14:21 says that Israel was not allowed to eat anything that died of itself, but they could give it or sell it to the strangers/foreigners. But to make that a colossal business venture like banking has become would be very questionable to say the least.

John Calvin was one of the first theologians to teach that it was okay to charge a “reasonable” amount of interest. This was a convenient position for him to take because he was from a wealthy family. But one of the reasons his teaching caught on so well was that he lived during the infancy of the industrial revolution, where the leaders thought they needed commercial banking to make any headway.

One of the effects of the industrial revolution was the disintegration of the family. When men began to leave home in order to work in the factories 60-70 hours a week, women were left with greater domestic burdens and children were seen as burdens instead of assets or blessings. Today, our children are routinely shuffled off to day care centers while grandpa and grandma have been moved to the nursing home, all in the name of progress. Another sign that something is amiss can be found in the fact that many of us live in relative luxury while multitudes don’t even have adequate water for drinking or bathing.

In 1828, President Andrew Jackson said to a group of investment bankers trying to persuade him to renew their charter, “You are a den of vipers. I intend to rout you out and by the Eternal God I will rout you out. If the people only understood the rank injustice of our money and banking system, there would be a revolution before morning.”

But over the years, the elected leaders fought less, and the bankers gained more control. Today, our global economy is heavily dependent on the banking system and the fiat money created it creates. Ultimately, it seems that some group of people will prevent anyone from buying or selling without a certain “mark of the beast” (Rev 13:17).

As we have accepted the industrialized version of agriculture in our society we are beginning to lose control of our food supply which leaves our personal and national security at tremendous risk. As we yield control to the international corporations, our soil is becoming depleted. Additionally, our minds and bodies are being diminished due to the lack of proper nourishment which leaves us unable to function rationally.

Am I suggesting we return to an agrarian society? Obviously, we are a long way from that presently, and moving further away every day. But when Yahshua returns, men will beat there swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Today, our swords and spears are billion dollar war machines, and, I have heard this said many times, war is good for the economy. It is true that military conflicts do frequently result in governments utilizing deficit spending in order to finance them and this may give the economy a boost in the short run. But, my oh my, what a price there will be to pay in the long run.

Someone once said, “To have what you want is luxury—to be able to do without is power.” We have lots of luxury in our society today but very little power. Actually, it’s our insatiable desires that allow other people or nations to have power over us. If the average consumer weren’t obsessed with obtaining the lowest price (at any cost) then Wal-Mart wouldn’t have been able to get a stranglehold on the retail market today. Not many people in positions of power can resist feathering there own nest, but our government is ruled by it’s own people ( to some extent) and we tend to vote for policies that are convenient for ourselves in the short run but destroy us in the long run.

What is the solution to our problem? In a nutshell it is this. Let’s not labor for the meat that perishes, but, rather, let us labor for the meat that endures forever—and teach others to do the same. Will that solve our monetary problems? In a word, “yes.”“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matt 6:33).        &

 

What Happened to Our Government?

This is the first of several articles we hope to run on secular governments and economic systems.

Throughout the 1500s through the 1700s, there were “Protestants” who protested the rule of the Roman Catholic Church and kings who claimed to rule by “Divine Right”. They believed that government should be minimized and that individuals should be responsible to their creator and to each other. These Protestant Christians often believed it was their job to understand the Bible and implement its principles in the church and civil government. Life got much better. In the later 1800s, Christians began to take the approach of “pietism”—that civil government was only for the unrighteous and “good Christians” should stay out of it.

Even today, many Christians do not want to be involved in secular governments. They believe that Christians should just pray for good leaders to be in power. But God has promised not to answer those prayers. Please read on.

There was a time when “public servants” represented the people and had very limited power. Now, the people have allowed the civil governments to become so strong that they fear them—but people, including Christians, would rather have the strong civil government than risk what might happen if we tried to curtail its powers. Instead of having the judges and representatives that God said would be best, and letting God be our king, we have opted for a president-king, and a lot of other little kings in the form of government agencies, local governments, etc. Notice what happens when people ask for a king:

So Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who asked him for a king. 11 And he said, “This will be the behavior of the king who will reign over you: He will take your sons and appoint them for his own chariots and to be his horsemen, and some will run before his chariots. 12 He will appoint captains over his thousands and captains over his fifties, will set some to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and some to make his weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. 13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers, cooks, and bakers. 14 And he will take the best of your fields, your vineyards, and your olive groves, and give them to his servants. 15 He will take a tenth of your grain and your vintage, and give it to his officers and servants. 16 And he will take your male servants, your female servants, your finest young men, and your donkeys, and put them to his work. 17 He will take a tenth of your sheep. And you will be his servants. 18 And you will cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, and the Lord will not hear you in that day” (1Sam 8:10-17)

Now, some will say, this doesn’t apply to me because I don’t vote. If our constitution eliminated the office of president if too few people voted in the presidential election, not voting might accomplish something. But as it is, if all but one person in the country became a non-voting Christian, that person could still vote for himself and become president. 100 million people could not remove him by “non-voting”. Non-voting simply says, “I want whoever all the other voters elect”. The practical truth of the matter is that if all of the present non-voters would expend their collective energies to locate, encourage and vote for righteous people, they could change the nation. In our present system, the only peaceful way to oppose a president who rules like a king is to vote for leaders who are against such excesses.

Certainly some candidates will promise one thing and do something else when elected; and others may gain power thru vote fraud. God will judge these secret evils committed by the people who misuse their enormous responsibilities (Rom 2:16). But do the people who do not use their one vote to help elect a more Godly leader think they will be able to escape responsibility for actions?. (Matt 25:24-29).           —NSE

 

 
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