HEAVENS ECONOMY AND THE GREAT WEALTH TRANSFER PROPHECY
I am writing this paper to present my understanding of the great transfer of wealth prophecy that has been circulating through the body of Christ for a number of years. Included are my thoughts on the validity of the prophecy and my understanding of its implications, including an examination of the socio-economic influences of the New Testament era and the ongoing Judaic understanding of wealth and prosperity. I am also including a decisively different view of taking dominion as identified in Genesis 1:18. My research has led me to startling Jewish view of the original order of creation that I personally think deserves merit. This section begins on page 29 and is some of the best material I came across, as it is corrective to some of our faulty assumptions, in my opinion. If you are only going to focus on one portion of this paper, I advise you to read this section. The Jewish examination will include an understanding of God’s promises to teach Jewish people how to be wealth earners and how God inspires the Jewish people and other groups to acquire wealth.
By tracing the historical development of the wealth platforms that have influenced the modern world, we will develop a better understanding of how to move forward in the creation of wealth and in our understanding of the rules of wealth. I am also including two examples of men who apply the ideas of wealth creation from a Kingdom perspective as proof cases for wealth creation and business implementation. I have asked Paul Diaz and Nate Furlong to include their personal testimonies and ideas, as they have achieved relative success on the mountain of business and the incorporation of prophecy into their business models. Their recommendations are invaluable for those who aspire to conquer the mountain of finance, and their understanding far supersedes my own experience and understanding.
As I sat pondering what to write after being asked to answer how I personally define the great transfer of wealth prophecy and do I believe in the prophetic word, I found myself being overwhelmed with contradictory thoughts and emotions. I am a solid believer in the prophetic. Many of the major personal decisions I have made in life have been the direct result of prophetic words. This includes marriage and ministry decisions. Prophetic words have influenced regional shifts and where we live. Prophesy is a big part of my life and my wife’s life. I do balance prophecy with the need to judge prophetic words and to take some words and let them simmer over time to see if they produce what they said would happen. The problem with time and prophecy is that it can delay the validity of the word or our need to reject the word if it is deemed to be incorrect or misguided. That’s why the questions that were posed can create conflict in my internal concepts of truth and the supernatural.
WEALTH TRANSFER AND EXCHATOLOGY
The line of reasoning I have taken is to ask further questions that are connected to the wealth transfer concept, beginning with the inclusion of Isaiah 60:11 as a proof text for the prophecy’s validity. The hermeneutical problem that exists with the application of the text is that it is a specific prophecy about Israel that has been historically applied to the age that follows the ending of “this present evil age,” when Jesus establishes His eternal Kingdom that will never end. Isaiah reads, therefore your gates shall be open continually; they shall not be shut day or night, that men may bring to you the wealth of the Gentiles, and their kings in procession.
Without going into a full exegetical study of the verse and the passage (chapter) it is associated with, it is enough to say that our general approach to eschatology will influence our outcome on the prophecy and its application. My suspicion is the prophecy in Isaiah is necessary for a new and expanded view of Israel and the Jewish people that is heterodox in most evangelical circles. This is especially true in Charismatic expressions, where Israel’s primary purpose has been seen in the conveyance of the Messiah and then as a historical example of a people rejecting their importance until the Messiah returns, as God grafts in the Gentiles into His salvific family tree. The need to reassess the Jewish people’s purpose and place in salvations history is predicated on the Preterist view of eschatology that sees Israel suffering the wrath of God in 70AD, when Jerusalem fell to the conquering Roman Empire.
Entertaining a Preterist view, including Partial-Preterism, would necessitate a reevaluation, adding in a component of blessing and prosperity where prophecies are concerned, as 70AD has become a ad hoc prophetic reset. By making the reevaluation, the church can be seen as the replacement of Israel for the fulfillment of God’s promises to Israel, thereby transferring the acquired wealth to gentile conversion and the increase of wealth they bring to the church as they obey the principle of the tithe and offerings. In Preterism, the prophetic words that applied to Israel ended in 70AD. The typical Christian approach to the church’s wealth empowerment has been restricted to the vast numbers of gentiles who have become Christians, as the evangelistic success has depleted the ranks of Hell, while enlarging the wealth of Heaven. In this view, people are the point of importance, not earthly treasure exclusively, which is contrary to the original meaning of the passage cited in Isaiah.
The value of people over treasure runs contrary to the vast number of Commentaries, Bible Encyclopedia’s and Dictionaries and professional journals that address the subject. The wealth of the nations in Isaiah 60:5, 11 are specifically related to the Jewish people’s enemies that have been conquered as a direct act of YHVH and are providing homage. The Preterist view of replacement provisions do not apply.
However, in the prophetic community, there is more than ample evidence of God using portions of Scripture that had an original intent that differed from the final outcome of understanding. We call this reapplied understanding of prophetic passages the Pesharim method of interpretation. It was used during the writing of the New Testament period and can be used to justify limited new understandings of Scripture in prophetic developments. Joel’s prophecy about foreign invaders who spoke a language that was not known in Joel 2 became the prophetic base for the inclusion of the gift of tongues in Acts 2.
C. Peter Wagner popularized the prophetic understanding of a supernatural transference of wealth, where God would without equivocation deliver wealth to members and organizations in the Kingdom of God with labor or effort, thus the great transfer of wealth. Examples like the Hebrew wealth that was taken from Egypt during the Exodus are cited as examples along with an increase in supernaturally inspired business models and ideas that create wealth for Christians. I will demonstrate later that this word began to be popularized in 1992, but its beginning was earlier according to Wagner in an article I will cite from The Elijah List circa 1992. I summarily dismiss all ideas that lead to overt or tacit replacement systems of theology that sees the church as the only fulfillment of God’s unique promises made to the Jewish people. Taking this position requires me to reject ideas that do not see God returning to fulfill that which is waiting to be fulfilled for the people of the land of Israel.
THE GREAT TRANSFER OF WEALTH DEFINED
For great wealth to be transferred supernaturally, it cannot be initiated by human means or circumstances. It must be a valid transference without external manipulation, human ingenuity or person appeal. It has to be a supernatural transfer of wealth, not dissimilar to Philip’s geographic transportation as he left the Ethiopian convoy in Acts 8:26-40. My definition of wealth transfer does not include wealth creation or wealth repossession. Those are other avenues of money management.
As I take into consideration how we define the great transference of wealth as a prophecy based on C Peter Wagner’s original assertions and understanding, I have to say that I am inclined to walk away from the prophetic word, at least on a partial basis. At a minimum, we need to redefine what we mean when we are talking about supernatural transference and restrict our understanding to God inspiring people to become successful in their business endeavors as they labor with the rules of finances that have been firmly established in whatever culture they operate in as money makers.
In Deuteronomy 8:18, God told the Jewish people (And) you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day. According to this word, the transference of wealth happens through education and blessing, inspired and otherwise. I personally think that this is the proper basis for attempting to see the creation of wealth over waiting for wealth to simply appear without effort. In my opinion, this is a sanitized version of the socialist agenda that embraces wealth distribution for equality and acceptability for a Christian worldview. I find it threatening to the capitalist system of wealth creation that has allowed an unprecedented expansion of prosperity among every nation that has embraced its ideological nuances.
JEWS AS BLESSED PEOPLE
AMERICAN JEWS AND WEALTH HOW DID IT HAPPEN
World economics are changing. The attitudes of people living in the world are changing. As attitude and economics collide, there are some very dangerous precedents that are emerging among the masses. Bernie Sanders, an avowed Socialist, came close to earning the coveted nomination for the Presidency of the United States of America under the guise of the Democratic Party. Although he did not win the nomination, his views of America becoming a socialist state are not confined to Sanders, as there is a growing group of Americans who see socialism as not just viable, to them, socialism is preferable.
The flocking toward the Pied Pipers of socialism is happening despite the sheer horrors and death tolls that socialism has produced within the past one hundred and fifty years. The combined death tolls of China and the Soviets alone account for 130 Million people who were citizens of the respective governments. This doesn’t include the German peoples who died under the Nazi’s version of socialism or the Latin, Asian or other Eastern European populations that were subjectedto the carnage known as socialism. The recent crown jewel of socialism in the 21st Century is Venezuela, which has become a catastrophic disaster, and yet, the rumblings for change that includes wealth distribution and not wealth accrual continues to be heard among the nations, and in America through the Democratic Party.
ASIAN RESPECT FOR JEWS
Forbes Israel reports that Jewish people make up 11.6% of the Billionaires in the world, yet the entire Jewish population of the planet is only 0.2% according to Forbes Israel. That means that of the existing 1,426 Millionaires, 165 are Jewish. That is disproportionate number. We also see that about 25% of the world’s richest are Jewish, and of the 10 richest Jews, eight are Americans and the other two are Russian. America’s third richest man is Oracle’s CEO Larry Ellison. His company controls one half of the market share of the world data base management system. Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York City is the second richest Jewish person. Sheldon Adelson of Las Vegas Casino fame is number three.
Jewish history is fascinating. The twelve Jewish Tribes created the Kingdom of Judah and Israel in 1030BC. The ten Israeli Tribes were conquered by the Assyrian Empire in 722BC, with Judah falling to the Babylonians in 586BC. 2,500 years afterward, Jewish people reestablished the State of Israel in 1947/48. 2018 saw a new benchmark achieved in Jewish population as Israel finally surpassed America as possessing the largest Jewish population. There are now over six million Jews in Israel with five and a half million Jews living in America. The world Jewish population is around 13.8 million, which is still lower than the 1939 high mark of eighteen million Jews that were alive prior to WWII.
Historically the Jewish people have suffered multiple hollocausts and have born the blame for many nations internal problems. The Jewish Anti-Defamation League recently found that 31% Europenas blame Jews for the European economic downturn. It is a chilling reminder that anti-Semitism and fanatical blame shifting still exists. Almost twentyfive percent of Americans blame Jews for equal downturns in American economics. Surprisingly, Jewish people have found a new ally for their race. It exists in the East Asian nations primarily, where Jews are revered and respected. Modern Chinese people both respect and admire the Jewish people. The majority of Chinese people see Jews as being smart and industrious, with a penchant for making money.
The positivity in outlook continues to rise as China adopts a Free Market system of economics. Chinese business people are looking for role models to emulate, and the Jewish success in business and economics make them easy targets. This is exemplified in when China’s former envoy to Israle, Zhao Jun, told the Israeli media following an address to the Kinneset that “you might not know this, but we in China greatly admire you and your Jewish mind.” Many people in the west are ignorant to the reality that China has been a safe haven for Jews fleeing persecution in the west. It happened in the 1800’s and again following WWII.
Chinese prosperity has produced a sub-market in self-help books. Many of these books focus on Jewish culture and draw on the Talmud for business tips. Talmudic books on success rival The Art of Business and Sun Tzu. China is not the only Asian nation to express admiration for the Jews.
Taiwan has a hotel that emulates the Talmud, going do far as providing copies of the Talmud in every room like Bibles in American hotels. As recently as 2011, South Korea has made the Talmud required reading for it’s school aged children. Astoundingly, more Koreans own copies of the Talmud than Jews. Koreans want their children to achiev the same levels of success that Jws have. The Talmud has even become a bestseller in South Korea. Although it a steriotype, South Koreans in general view Jewish people as extremely intelligent who appeared out of nowhere to become captains of industry, Nobel Peace Prize winners and media chieftains.
THE HATED EIGHT ACCORDING TO OXFAM
Serving the world’s needs for charity synchronization, Oxfam, a conglomeration of numerous international charities has concluded that the income disparity between rich and poor is feeding political discontent worldwide, as the poor do not want to exist with an income for the 99%. Their conclusion is based on how the gap between rich and poor continues to grow around the globe, even as a rise in dissent with politics and government escalates. The charity revised their estimates of the number of men who possessed one half of all the wealth in the world to eight men, down from sixty-two people based on new economic data gained since 2017.
When we look at world finances, we see that eight men possess the same amount of wealth as one half of the world’s total population. Under the right conditions, this inequity can prove to be dangerous to modern societies, according to a study that was presented to the World Economic Forum in Davos Switzerland January 23-26, 2018. The eight wealthiest men are from Mexico (one), Spain (one) and America (six). The men include Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Fashion House Inditex founder Amancio Garcia, American financier Warren Buffett, Business magnate Carlos Slim Helu, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, FaceBook founder Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Ellison of Oracle and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
The Trump phenomenon combines with Brexit to help us see how the people in significant countries are unwilling to sit idyll, tolerating the status quo that creates a sense of helplessness. And this rising population of the discontent is in the richest of nations, not in third world nations. Oxfam sees the inequity as obscene when a little more than a handful of men control so much wealth while 1 in 10 people in the world survives on two dollars or less a day. It is their assertion inequality has ensnared hundreds of millions in scarcity and is threatening to rupture democracy while deflating societies.
Oxfam has called for an increase in tax rates that target the wealthy corporations and people, and a call to lower corporate tax rates, ending global completion. The commitment to socialism is profound in the organization. They also want mandatory public registries for lobbyists and stronger rules to end conflicts of interest between governmental workers and businesses.
RELIGION AND WEALTH WHERE DOES THE MONEY COME FROM
Biblical economics is a tricky subject. The Bible addresses money more than any other issue, but the biblical authors did not develop a concise theory of economics. This lack of advanced theorization is germane to the era, as there were no precise the methods of economics that were developed by any ancient civilization that we know of. However this does not mean that the ancients did not understand economic theory or application. Nor did the ancient biblical cultures like in isolated vacuums, independent of influence or exchange of thoughts and concepts among the cultural thinkers. To understand biblical economics, you need to look at Hebraic, Hindi, Spartan, Grecian and Roman cultures, as each one influenced their respective cultures. Other cultures like the Egyptian’s and the Mesopotamian’s could be examined, but they are reserved for a later examination.
In the course Heaven’s Economy and the Great Transfer of Wealth, I was introduced to Harold Eberle’s ideas about his theory that capitalism emerged from ancient Judaism. I liked a lot of what Eberle had to say, but some of his conclusions are somewhat faulty historically. There are overlaps between the biblical concepts of economics and capitalism, but there are equally large disparities.
Biblical Judaism didn’t practice capitalism. There system was monarchial, not laisse faire. They didn’t use a universal interest/debt system, investiture opportunities, etc. They did value land ownership, but they also had socialist tendencies like the required care for the poor, widowed and indigent. These are all good things within constraint, but that wouldn’t qualify as Capitalism. If anything, the Jubilee Year is more like socialism or communistic philosophy, over Capitalism. At least that’s my conclusion after doing considerable outside research as I tried to get a handle on what he and some of our other writers are trying to convey. My determination in the distortion in finances is based on the need to reinsert the value of the Jewish people in an apocalyptic world view that saw the Jewish people judged in 70ad with the return of Christ being a past event with some vague possibilities for additional gains.
PEW RESEARCH AND RELIGIOUS WEALTH
The analysis of the Pew Research Center focused on the potential monetary earnings of various American religious groups. The study concluded that certain religious groups earned far more mare than other religious bodies. The Jewish and Hindu communities topped the list, followed by the Episcopalians. It would be simplistic and naïve to assume that theearning capacities were based exclusively on faith matters or blessings from their Deity or deities as in the case of the Hindus. The common theme that binds income and faith isn’t worship; it’s education. Higher levels of education lead to the path of higher earnings. The 2014 research collected data that shows that 44% of all Jewish households earn $100K or more, which is the highest earning rates in the country. Jews are followed by the Hindi (36%) and Episcopalians (35%). I appreciate how the research distinguished the subsets of Christianity, as the blanket approach is unwieldy based on the size of the group. Of the groups examined, all three have high representatives in the $50K-$99K category. Approximately 70% of the three highest educated groups have per capita household incomes more than $50K or more.
Interestingly, I found an article that equated religion and wealth. It assessed the top three wealthiest religious groups in America. They are Jews, Hindis, and Episcopalians. The Pew Research Center conducted a recent study on how wealth and faith correlate. In it, they found that there is a connection between certain religions and wealth, positively and negatively. The data demonstrates that 44% of Jewish Americans have household incomes higher than $100K. It is the highest rate of any religion in America. The next highest religion is Hindus at 36%, followed by Episcopalians at 35%.
The three religious groups also have about 70% of their members in the $50K or above economic stratum. We must ask, what are the commonalities among the three groups. An earlier Pew research study in 2012 found that the common thread that ties the three together isn’t faith, it’s education. 58% of Jewish Americans hold college degrees, with 28% having post-graduate degrees. This contrasts with 29% and 10% for the general American population. The Hindi community in America has even higher rates of college education with 85% holding a college degree and 57% with at least some post-graduate levels of education. As Hindis is a relative newcomer in immigration, their earning potential has been restricted to lower expressions, but that should change over the years. In the study Presbyterians, Evangelicals, Methodists, agnostics, and atheists share in a high percentage of household incomes more than $100K. Each of these groups boast 25% or better of the $100K club.
The next lowest group was the Baptists, Mormons, and the Pentecostals, whose educational levels and income levels ere roughly 25% each. The lowest level was the Jehovah Witnesses who came in at 20%. Their aversion to education and money acquisition is notable. It is interesting to see how the lower the appreciation for education and the pursuit of careers in financially stable fields were made up of the Baptists, Mormons, Pentecostals and JW’s, whereas the Jews, Hindis, and Episcopalians who value education dominate the upper ends of the spectrum. This is going to make its way into further writings.
The Pew research also shows us that roughly 20% of Catholics, Mormons, and Muslims are in plus $100K households, which is consistent with all American families. The Jehovah Witness faith possesses the lowest per capita income of all religious expressions. Only 4% of all JW’s are in the $100K bracket, while about 50% are in the less than $30K income bracket. The JW’s are joined by the NBC (National Baptist Convention) and the Church of God in Christ, The two Black church groups are historical and exist at the lower per capita income level, with about one half of their members earning less than $30K annually.
The higher wealth accumulation among the Jewish, Hindu and Episcopalians should not take us by surprise, as all three groups are the highest educated of the religious communities that are found in America. A 2012 Pew study shows us that 58% of all Jewish Americans are graduates from University, with 28% holding post-graduate degrees. When the Jewish rate of higher education is compared to the rest of Americans combined, we see that the general population has a rate of 29% and 10% University and post-grad educations. Hindus possess the highest rates of education among their community, with a staggering 85% holding a University degree and 57% holding post-graduate degrees. Atheists and Agnostics are also better educated than most other Americans, with a 43% University graduation rate for Atheists and a 42% for Agnostics. This compares to just 25% for Catholics and Protestants in general.
The late Pop icon Prince was the rare exception among JW’s, as he accumulated a vast fortune, although he was atypical among JW’s, as he held no University degree. The Artist Known as Prince was typical of the Jehovah’s Witness community, with 63% of their population only holding a High School education. Prince’s wealth was made exclusively in the entertainment industry.
JEWISH PRESENCE IN ALL SPHERES OF INFLUENCE
There are many Jewish Americans who act just like Lauder by funneling money to Israel while continuing to influence American politics. Israeli’s are like most migrant groups in America. They have beneficiaries who receive their aid and assistance at home. Approximately 2/3’s of all donations to Jewish hospitals, charities and foundations finds its origin in American dollars. When new migrants arrive in Israel, they receive monetary assistance. The agencies that helpimmigrants is mainly made up of US dollars. Much of the land that is purchased for settlements in Israel comes from US donations. Haredi Yeshiva students receive about $295.00 from the Israeli government and an additional $885.00 from American donors while studying. The Jewish Encyclopaedia identifies some 5.6 million American Jews live in the US who are citizens, with an other 500K Israelis. Most Jewish people in America live in populous cities like New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and Boston.
Pew has found that Jews make up the richest religious group in America, with 46% of the Jewish population earning more than $100K compared to 19% with other Americans in general. Pew also found that 70% of Jewish people have a standard of living while reporting that 60% of the rest of the population has a same standard of living.
ENTERTAINMENT AND MEDIA PRESENCE
25% of America’s 400 Billionaires are Jews. Forbes reports that around 1/3 of all venture capital funds are in Jewish hands. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, Google’s Sergey Brin, and Page are Jewish. Ben Shalom Bernanke who serves as the chairman of the Federal Reserve, is Jewish, as was Alan Greenspan and the Fed’s founder Paul Warburg. Jewish people can be found on Wall Street, in Congress, Hollywood, Silicon Valley, TV and the press.
JEWISH PRESENCE IN CITIES AND TOWNS
The ability to create wealth in America, one of the wealthiest nations on the planet, has allowed the Jewish population to succeed remarkably financially from the founding of the country to modern times. The initial Jewish community in 1776 was only a couple thousand people, with most of them being Marrano’s who escaped Spanish rule or were exiled to the colonies in America. In the mid 1800’s, around 200K Jews immigrated to the US from Central Europe and Germany. Most were established Reformed Jews who saw themselves as German or American by identification. These immigrants established small businesses and businesses that would become powerhouses like Goldman Sachs Lehman Brothers.
1882 saw another wave of immigration as Czarist Russia had a failed attempt at an industrial revolution, which left the nation teetering on the verge of implosion. Over the course of 45 years, 2 million Jews left Russia and Ukraine, Poland, Lithuania, Belarus, and Romania for the US. The migration was massive, as the Jewish population had been 25% of the nations populations, 15% of the Jewish people in the world, and ten times the number of Jews who immigrated to Palestine during those years.
The US housed the world’s largest Jewish population. 1924 saw another mass immigration, although it wasn’t to the US. It was to Israel, as the US government had installed rigorous laws to stop the flow of Jewish immigrants and other nationalities in the US. Jewish people who made it to America arrived in extreme poverty and were forced to work as manual laborers before WWI. Significant marketplaces were blocked to Jewish people by the anti-Semitic auto industrialist Henry Ford. Many of the immigrants lived in impoverished crime laden neighborhoods that became known as Ghettoes. The communities saw the rise of the Jewish and American Italian Mafia with men like Meyer Lansky. The European Jewish immigrants brought socialism with them, and they became enmeshed in the organization of labor unions, organizing laborers, protests, and strikes.
Many of labor unions were founded by Jews. Hard work and resolute determination led to prosperity and quicker escapes from poverty than most immigrant populations, as about 20% of the Jewish men had achieved entries into professions by the 1030’s, which was twice the average of the rest of the US population.
The aftermath of WWII saw a reduction in anti-Semitic attitudes, and in 1964 the civil Rights Act did away with anti-Semitic practices and laws. By 1957, ¾ of the Jewish population were white collar laborers compared to 35% of all white people in the US. By 1970, 87% of Jewish men were in clerical trades, and they earned more than the national average wage. The virtual link to the Ghetto poverty of the past is the support welfare policies and support of the Democratic Party. Societal integration followed the acquisition of wealth. Suburbs displaced slums and Yiddish disappeared. American culture and clothing, dating practices and shopping trends of the non-Jewish elite became the norm. Many Jews abandoned their faith, and the practice of marrying outside of the Jewish community has become widespread. One third of all Jewish marriages in America are to non-Jewish partners.
FRUIT FROM THE VALUE OF EDUCATION
Looking at the Jewish immigrants alongside the other immigrant populations who were arriving in the US by the millions is a fascinating study. Millions of Italians, Russians, Chinese, and others made the trek to the US. The Jewish population excelled. Why? The answer is found in the educational disciplines. Hillel, the Jewish American Educational Organization,estimates that 9% to 33% of students American Universities are Jewish. Judaism’s high view of education has helped Jews in the US. This has coupled well with the sharp business acumen of the Jewish community. The prejudicial blockades to Jews enabled them to to innovate in the creation of work opportunities.
As an example, on the contrary, the Irish immigrants came from a class of people who were land laborers initially, who did not see education as high value or opportunity. This led to skilled labor positions and areas like fire-fighting and police force positions. When Jews were initially blocked from banking, they created investment banks where their skills could find a place to exist. The wide-open Cinematic industry that was created in the 1930’s became a place of opportunity for Jews that continues to be dominated by Jews. High-tech has seen the same dynamic.
CONSEQUENCES OF HARDSHIP AS A PEOPLE
The persecution and forced mobilization of the Jewish people to escape the specter of oppression created the world’s first culture to undergo globalization. The more the Jews were persecuted, the more ingrown and protective the Jewish people became. They were forced to network and help each other to survive. Once the Jewish people landed in America, the land of almost equal opportunity, growth and security followed.
The rendered aid and assistance allowed impoverished Jews to study. A Jew could arrive in America with only a few dollars and start selling low cost items on the streets like pencils. As capital is acquired, Other more expensive items and products can be bought and sold for profit, while also studying and networking. As families were established and grew, everyone was expected to contribute to the common good of the family. Older children helped the younger one’s study.
As children became adults, they continued to share in the expenses of the education of their younger siblings until everyone was established in a vocation. Survival has based the ability to excel. The work ethic and educational opportunities helped the population advance as a community. As discrimination lessened, the Jewish people in America learned that capitalism and not socialism was better for their community. The networking skills, entrepreneurialism and the ability to see opportunity gave the Jewish people an advantage in market capitalism.
I need to comment on another aspect of financial favor and Jews. Jewish success in finances is not a genetic or religious attribution; it is a cultural opportunity. American Jews landed in a nation with a stable and robust infrastructure and advanced economic system. Israeli Jews have not expressed the same ingenuity and abilities. When forced to create a national infrastructure and industrial base, Jews in Israel are no different than other people in different nations. The American system of genius opportunity and dream fulfillment has served the Jewish community, which in turn has aided in the survival of Jews in Israel.
WEALTH AND RELIGION: IS JUDAISM SUPERIOR
DEMOCRATS VIEW SOCIALISM MORE FAVORABILY THAN CAPITALISM
The reason why I believe that an examination of economics like this is important is found in the current cultural battle that is being fought in America. If the leftist’s win the battle, America as we know it will be lost. A recent Gallop Poll has produced interesting data on the divide between conservatives and liberals politically. For the past decade, Gallop has been measuring the favorability rating of socialism and capitalism. They have consistently found that Democrats have a favorable view of socialism as an economic model, with Republicans favoring capitalism. On August 13th, 2018 Gallop released their latest findings. For the first time in the ten years that they have been watching the acceptability of socialism among Americans, Democrats are expressing a more positive view of socialism over capitalism. The polls show that from the election of President Barak Obama, Democratic support of socialism has remained in the positive.
The acceptability of socialism has grown from 53% to 57% positivity. The high point of the acceptability of socialism was in 2016, the year Bernie Sanders ran against Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination as an unabashed Socialist. The difference between 2016 and 2018 is the drop-in acceptability of capitalism among Democrats, as the new reality is that only 47% of polled Democrats see capitalism as a positive economic platform, which is the lowest rate of response to the questions posed by Gallop. The Republicans who were polled remain positive about capitalism and wary of socialism, with only minor changes from 2010 to the current polling data.
SOCIALISM AND CAPITALISM FAVORABILITY VIEW BY PARTY 2018
|Positive view of capitalism||Positive view of socialism|
The results of the graph were from an interview that was conducted July 30 – August 5, 2018. The results are important, as they demonstrate the growing influence of socialist ideas among the younger Democrats following Sanders defeat. The survey seems to demonstrate that the accusation that the Democratic Party is becoming more socialist is true. Alexandria Ocasio – Cortex victory for New York’s 14th Congressional District over a long-term Democratic Official highlight this new truth. There were also numerous socialist candidates who lost their Primary bids during the August 7th voting period that covered multiple States, which casts some doubt on the overall acceptance of the socialist agenda for Democrats nationwide.
LESS THAN ½ OF AMERICAN YOUNG PEOPLE VIEW CAPITALISM FAVORABLY
Gallop has surveyed America on this subject four times over the past decade with no definitions of meaning for socialism or capitalism. The survey asks about favorability as the lone criteria. The differences between the two Parties isn’t surprising, but the ten-percentage point about socialism’s acceptability among Democrats is surprising. 18-29-year-old Americans see socialism as a better model (51%) over capitalism (45%). The past two years have seen a 12-point decline for capitalism’s acceptability among the age group. When 2010 is contrasted with 2018, a 23% decline has occurred. Those are alarming figures, especially when coupled with the static acceptance of socialism from 2010 to 2018, 51% or no change. The old adage that says if you the conservative and young have no heart, while the liberal and old have no brain seems to materialize in the study, as older Americans are more inclined to favor capitalism over socialism.
GALLOPS VIEWS OF CAPITALISM AND SOCIALISM BY AGE
|Positive view of capitalism||Positive view of socialism|
AMERICANS LOVE SMALL BUSINESSES AND ENTREPRENEURS
Gallops survey included socialism/capitalism favorability/disapproval in five additional areas, which were big business, small business, entrepreneurs, the Federal Government and free enterprise. Americans have consistently shown high favorability marks over the years for small businesses, entrepreneurs and free enterprise. Americans have a considerably lower view of big business federal Government. In general, the American public has its least favorable views with the federal government and socialism. Let me know define the various economic systems.
SOCIALISM AND MARKET SOCIALISM
Socialism in its purest expression is a form of government where a government controls a significant percentage of industry and controls the benefits of the sector while taxing the nation’s population to finance those benefits. Some see socialism as a reasonable and equitable system, as it becomes the government’s responsibility to create and manage the commercial enterprises of the nation, therefore eliminating the risk factor of its people. Socialism sets rules and regulatory practices that businesses operate under to exist. In America we see these regulatory agencies appear as the EPA, FTC, and OSHA.
When the government builds bridges, roads and essential infrastructure needs, that is an expression of socialism that contribute to the well-being of the nation. Governmentally controlled schools are socialism in action. Social Security and Welfare is socialism applied to the needs of the needy and for the needs of the retired. Public Airports, managing flight lanes and providing air traffic control by the government is socialism.
One of the main problems with socialism in its various forms is that when the government controls production and distribution of significant portions of commercial enterprise, the cost becomes onerous as the revenue collection from taxes does not equal the price for services provided eventually. Cost overruns are the proverbial can that continues to be kicked down the road. The government is then forced to decrease the rations and goods it had provided to its citizens when the funds that are necessary for the maintenance of the system become scarce or non-existent.
England’s denial of parental rights for medical care with terminally ill children over costs versus life serves as an example of how societies can become heartless under socialistic forms of social medicine where a one payer system is in operation. The government has the last say in the distribution of medical care. Another danger is when the government begins to borrow money to pay for the cost overruns. Eventually, the credit lines expire. Greece is an excellent example of a nation capitulating on its debt obligations because of an excessive dependence on credit that is used to pay out benefits.
Communism is a form of government that takes the ideas of socialism and applies them to virtually every stratum of society. Government controls every aspect of the industry and manages all benefits of commerce. All domestic production is received by the government who then determines who benefits from the laborer’s productivity. It is an economic system that manages the economy by deliberation and control through the government and not the individual.
Communist based philosophies are a combination of economics and politics. The result is a classless society where production and distribution of merchandise benefit the collective and never the individual outside of the collective. One main difference between socialism and communism is their aimed conclusion. Socialism usually desires to have individuals influence the economic health of the system, whereas communism restricts the ability to control the economy to a much smaller group of people. The group is usually seen as the Politburo.
CAPITALISM AND MARKET SOCIALISM
Capitalism is a system of finance that is based on free-market competitiveness. It is a system that is driven by profit and gain for individuals and businesses. Typically, capitalism is a superior system then socialism or communism. In a capitalist society, everyone who lives within its structure can exploit its ability to accumulate wealth. Nations that use capitalism as their commercial system utilize private ownership of businesses, co-ops, corporations and other arrangements for financial gain to be engineered. Private property can be owned by individuals and consumers can choosebetween as many providers of services and products as the economy can provide profitably. The economy usually operates freely from significant governmental intervention and restrictions in naked capitalism. In capitalism, businesses are generally privately owned and exist solely for profit. Product distribution, income, production of goods and pricing of assets and investments are determined by the strength, weakness or volatility of the market. The labor, land, and capital are owned, operated and traded by corporations and individuals. The only real limitations a genuinely capitalistic system enforces is the effort of work coupled with understanding the markets and product placement and occasionally luck.
Most forms of socialism see capitalism as a component that can serve the state as it becomes a part of the ideal state. To a socialist, capitalism is okay if it is controlled by a centralized governmental planned system for limited growth and risk. The Obama Administrations regulatory actions are an excellent example of this type of philosophy in action. Forms of socialism exist in capitalistic states like America. The American system of commerce and finance is not an entirely free market. Commerce and commercial enterprise are heavily regulated by our government and by international powers through transnational agreements, accords, and treaties. Modern America is a blend of capitalism and socialism. Capital socialism or market socialism is a system of economics that combines the public, social ownership of businesses and cooperatives for the laborers to function as a society. China uses a socialist market system, Germany utilizes a social market economy.
DEMOCRATIC SOCIALISM AND CAPITALISM
In James Madison’s Federalist 51, Madison proffered the idea that the government needs to operate under a separation of powers. America’s founders realized that municipal entities possess an inherent place of importance in society and that the only real role that government has in the community is to protect the people’s fundamental rights that are germane to everyone in the nation. It operates as a contract between the governed and the system of government.
Democratic socialism will inevitably conflict with the Declaration of Independence, as American society is based on the individual’s right to pursue life, liberty, and happiness. These are unalienable rights that have been bestowed upon people by their creator, in the opinion of America’s founders. The statement is based on the Judeo-Christian ethic of the value of people. Initially, happiness did not exist in the document’s draft. It was added as a replacement for the pursuit of property.
Socialism and democratic socialism are very similar philosophically. Democratic socialism always turns into the state ran system known as communism. Democratic socialism is the bridge that links socialism and communism, while capitalism is dismantled, and free markets are ended. Socialism in its pristine form and democratic socialism never work over time. Socialism is dangerous to democracy and republics. In America, we enjoy the rights of liberty and self-governance. These are the bedrock foundations for a free society. The inherent problem of socialism is that it does not value entrepreneurialism and the right for the ownership of private property.
James Madison perceived that to protect and preserve liberty; you had to have a government that was limited in its power to impose itself on the people, yet powerful enough to protect individual rights. His vision also saw the need to have equal but separate branches of government that limits the investiture of power into an individual or the government, therefore avoiding socialism and communism at one extreme and a complete democracy that devolves into mob rule at the other end of the political spectrum. A government that focuses on the people, by the people, and for the people is a balancing act that is supposed to stop the ambition of governance. When our fathers framed our system of governance, they tried to strike a balance between the need of a governing body that administrates the affairs of the people, while constraining itself from the overarching rule and dictatorial imposition upon the people being governed.
We have a great need in America today. It is the need to educate the citizens of our nation about the implicit problems of socialism and communism. The Democratic Parties flirtation with socialism is appalling and must be stopped. The democratic socialist platform of Bernie Sanders and people like Ocasio-Cortez needs to be drowned out by the voices of the freedom loving citizens of our republic, or the government that we love runs the risk of extinction. This must not happen. We the people must rise to the challenge of our day and protect the constitutional republic that has provided us with the freedoms that allow us to be a free people. As a society, we need to relearn the love for the privilege of economics and freedom of religion. We need to recommit ourselves to the right to bear arms and the right to assemble and speak freely. Our constitutional rights are being assailed, yet they must be preserved, even if it manifests in a few misguided souls who want to buck the system and become socialists like Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez, as abhorrent as their philosophy may be when it is adequately examined.
ECONOMIC THEORY AND THE BIBLICAL IDEALS OF THE ANCIENT JEWS IN THE BIBLE
There is a fascinating new field of study in economics that is long overdue. It is seen in Jewish scholasticism and an attempt to examine the relationship between capitalism, socialism, and Judaism. The initial studies have concluded that there are five axioms that can be presented about Jewish economic theories that have emerged over the millennia from Abraham to the current Jewish people. As in all opinions, the ideas are not comprehensive, but they do present a parsimonious compilation of standard values that create a harmonic philosophy of Jewish economics.
- PARTICIPATION IN THE CREATIVE PROCESS AS WORK AMONG AN INCOMPLETE CREATION
Work is not worship in Jewish thought. This assertion is contrary to many well-meaning Christians belief in our day and age, but it not a true statement. Jewish wisdom grants us a differing view, which is a perception that has its roots in the Garden’s Fall and humanity’s call to take dominion. The top priority of ancient Jewish thought on economic matters begins with a belief that humanity was designed by God to be participants in the divine process of creation. Judaism advances the idea that God created an incomplete world, giving people the responsibility to aid in the perfection of the world by taking dominion of the earth’s natural resources, laboring with God, and by becoming innovative as we look for solutions for the world’s problems and people. Judaic theology interprets humanity’s carrying the divine image to mean that God is the creator of the universe, while people are the creators of the world.
Jewish economics primary tenet is based on Genesis’ proclamation that man is created in the imagio dei, or divine image, which gives us the ability to continue the work of creation. I have emphasized my previous statement to draw attention to its implications in our theological constructs. The biblical passage found in Genesis 1:26-28 advances this thought. Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over [g]all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
Humanities ability to take dominion isn’t found in regaining lost authority or abrogated power. In the eyes of the Jewish perspective, dominion is seen in cooperating with YHWH in continuing creation until the creative process ends. Midrashic wisdom declares that “All that was created during the six days that God created the world still requires work” (Genesis Rabba 11:6). The assumption that we can derive from the Talmud is that humanity received the essence of the divine so that humans could partner with God in the creative act that is put on display through our participation in our labor or work (Babylonian Talmud Shabbat 10a).
We need to embrace the concept that work is not worship in Jewish thought. Work is partnering with God to continue the creative process of creation that is yet to be completed. The Midrash borrows the inclusion of the Genesis injunction when it points out the story of Rabbi Akiva who presented a General with grain and bread and asked what his preference was to eat (Tanhuma Tazriah 19). The point was made that in Judaic faith, work and creative activity combine with innovation for the divine imaging to see. If the General chose the bread, he cheated himself of the joy that work produces as we can take pride in our labor. The correct answer to the riddle is to choose the grain and then turn it into bread, as the process of creating grain into bread works in the imagio dei.
LIMITATIONS TO EVERY CHRISTIAN AS A MINISTER
Ed Silvoso has presented us with the idea that every Christian is a minister, and labor is worship. This error is seen in Silvoso’s assertion that every Christian is a minister and their labor is worship. I agree with Silvoso on the ministry front, but I do think it would be better to change the wording and emphasis. I think it is better to say that every Christian has the capability to minister. Everyone who names the name of Christ does not act ministerially, nor is everyone equipped in equal fashion. This is an essential consideration in the equation. I think that it is ironic that we are addressing these issues while conversely discussing the death of Billy Graham, the quintessential evangelist who rose above the amoral systems of this world to take the message of Jesus Christ to more people than anyone in the history of the church.
As I have stated, I do have an issue with the statement that labor is worship. Labor can include worship, but labor is not worship. Labor is a duty. This lines up with the Jewish idea that we participate with God in creation. We are admonished to work, or we will not eat (2 Thessalonians 3:10). Jesus said that the laborer is worthy to be hired (Luke 10:7). Paul repeats this edict in 1 Timothy 5:18, which is based on the Law in Leviticus 19:13 and Deuteronomy 24:15. We are all encouraged to do whatever it is that we do as if it is unto the Lord (Colossians 3:23). Paul’s exhortation includes labor, but it applies to multiple aspects of our lives. Using Occam’s Razor as a philosophical assertion doesn’t always work, which is what Silvoso tries to do with his thoughts. It creates problems of continuity and credibility.
I contend that humanity is still fulfilling the original mandate to take dominion and subjugate the earth and its biosphere. What changed in the Garden wasn’t the mandate, it was religious allegiance, as satan (sic) became the god of this world. Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians that satan (sic) is the deceiver in whom the god of this age did blind the minds of the unbelieving, that there doth not shine forth to them the enlightening of the good news of the glory of the Christ, who is the image of God. But I fear that somehow your pure and undivided devotion to Christ will be corrupted, just as Eve was deceived by the cunning ways of the serpent (2 Corinthians 4:4; 11:3, Young & NLT). satan (sic) rules this present evil age as the god of the age. Technically he does have dominion through his minions, those who worship him outright or through allegiance in the systems of this world that he dominates, but this is a secondary application and is not a primary injunction or mandate.
- PROTECTION OF PRIVATE PROPERTY
Jewish wisdom and religious literature acknowledge humanity’s ability to be creative, but the potential for domination of the world can only take place when people can enjoy the fruit of their labor. Dominion’s expansive reach is based on people’s enjoyment of labor’s reward. The motivation behind humanity’s ability to complete the Genesis mandate is the granting of uncompromised protection of private property and possession acquisition. The right to own cars and land, appliances and electronics, furniture and food all fall under the purview of private property ownership. Jewish economics is not compatible with communism’s maxim of faith and economics of communal ownership of property. Engles contribution to the Communist Manifesto was based on social conditions and was not reflective of his Jewish background. Jewish economics second tenet in Jewish economic theory relates to private property rights. Judaic thought views private property as a quality of life essential that must be protected at all cost. Two of the Mosaic Commandments found in the Decalogue deal with property and its safeguarding. “You shall not steal,” combines with “you shall not covet anything that belongs to your neighbor.” These are the seventh and eight Commands.
Rabbinic teaching accepts the Noetic Flood as a direct consequence of violating the right of private property. Robbery includes thievery, but it is more expansive, as it also provides theft by unethical business practices and deception. The Mosaic law included prohibitions against using false weights when measuring products in a transaction. The second commandment addresses being restricted from coveting other people’s possessions, even when there is no illegal acquiring of actual property. Punishment for violating the right of private property was extreme in Jewish tradition.
It is certainly not unreasonable to exrapolate a church truth from Judaism’s tenet’s of economics, as we encourage Apostles and Prophets, Evangelists and Pastor/Teachers should present a case for the believer’s place among the metrons that exist during their lifetime and in their spheres of influence. Church leaders are blessed by the Jewish idea that we can possess our possessions. We need to teach others about this joy in participating in God’s creativity. History has demonstrated that when the church or ecclesia asserts itself as a gathering place for governance and militaristic advancement, nations change for the betterment of their people. When the church remains stationary or indifferent toward the cultural assumptions that are being advanced, the people that are found within the governmental structures of the nations that house the church suffer. In the modern era, there are not any better examples of this truth than the Jewish experience and that which enveloped Nazi Germany.
- WEALTH ACCUMULATION
Talmudic wisdom teaches that refusing to profit from your effort by amassing treasure is perilous conduct that leads to insanity. Maimonides has an unusually harsh statement against laziness that can be found in his writings. He stated in Mishneh Torah Laws of Oaths and Vow 8:13 that “whomsoever has in his heart that he shall indulge in the study of Torah and do no work but rather be sustained from charity, defames the Lord’s name, cheapens the Torah, extinguishes the light of faith, causes himself ill, and removes himself from the world to come.” The statement takes aim at people who choose religious learning over working and is an echo of the Pauline injunction that says, “he who doesn’t work doesn’t eat (2 Thessalonians 3:10).”
Jewish economics third tenet of Jewish economics says that accumulating wealth is virtuous and is not a vice or sinful. The succession of priorities is seen as humanity can engage in God’s creativity, man shall not be denied the right to possess property as a reward for labor and people are blessed with the accumulation of wealth as a result of honest work. Talmudic wisdom says in Berachot 8a, Avot 4:1 that “he who benefits from his labor is greater than one who fears Heaven.” The Torah demonstrates that industrious and honorable labor continuously rewards people with increased wealth. Torah is very descriptive of the riches of the patriarchal wealth of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Honestly accumulated wealth shows the world that partnering with God is a good thing and signals how skill and effort combine and honor God. A wealthy person who has been successful in business lifts the physical world as it expresses the divine. Jesus does temper this Jewish concept of wealth, at least in the raw trust that can be placed in wealth when Jesus spoke the Parable of the barn and the farmer in Luke 12:16-21. Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. 17 And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do since I have no room to store my crops?’ 18 So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.”’ 20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’ 21 “So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”
Jewish acceptance of the virtue of wealth accretion does not assert that Judaism is not concerned about the difficulty of the underprivileged. Everyone in Jewish society is required to help the deprived people in the community as we give benevolent assistance. Giving gifts as an obligation is called Tzedakah. It is preferred, focused on income redistribution, which works to enhance the idea that private property ownership can be used for more than individual accrual in some expressions. True redistributing wealth seeks to eliminate income disparities as income discrepancies are unfair or immoral in socialism, which isn’t the Jewish economic understanding, historically.
Churchmen should rightly assert influence in the building of wealth and innovation within the sphere of business to better the plight of humanity through proper distribution of materialistic acquisitions and for the financing of the churches many particular mandates that exist within itself as a corporate entity. It fits for the community of believers to assert their worldview in the arena of education, thereby toppling the heathen and atheistic influences that have ensconced themselves within the modern world of educational ideology.
If conservative methodologies are not embraced within the realm of religion, an insipid form of faith that is void of a proper relationship with God will be the inevitable result. Voiding relationship must not happen. The pillar of the family needs to find a proper mooring within the restrictions of Holy Writ. The biblical understanding of family includes the everyday definition of how families are to act, and what constitutes a family within the norms of society. The proper exercise of Judeo/Christian ideas and constraints upon the civil aspects of government lead to the proper use and restraint of the military components that should exist for the defense of the nation that the military serves. This thought process also applies to the realm of the arts, entertainment, and the media. When the voices of the believing ekklesia are muted, these realms will be used for the advancement of evil. When the church is unleashed, those who hold to Jesus as Savior can exercise their creativity properly.
Men who advocate the Seven Mountain Mandate like the late C Peter Wagner are to be applauded. Their candor and boldness in seeing the darkness that is attempting to curtail the Western way of living, and not vilified, regardless of a doctrinal acceptance or rejection of the offices of Prophets and Apostles within the current churches configuration. The argument for exerting influence needs to be embraced by the church in general and within the conservative branch of the church in particular.
- CARING FOR THE NEEDY
Jewish economics fourth tenet of Jewish economics is seen in the posit that Judaism has an obligation to take care of the needy through charitable gifts. A compassionate provision for poverty-stricken people is a Jewish theme that did not exist with the pre-Christian Greco- Roman cultures. The lack of sympathy for the indigent among the Mediterranean World was alarming to the Jews. Torah makes mention of the commandment to give Tzedakah, or charity, which literally can be translated as justice in parashat Re’eh: “You should not harden your heart or shut your hand from your needy brother (Deuteronomy 15:7-8).” People are to do more than create, innovate, work, accumulate wealth and uplift the substantive world. We are to find satisfaction in emulating god’s nature of benevolence, as we care for the needy, extending grace and mercy.
To appreciate Judaic charity, we need to see that charitable behavior is regulated by two different types of commands in Judaism. We see the commandments that fall under the jurisdiction of man to God. Then there are the commands that exist under the caption of man to man. Dietary laws are commandments that are the man to God. They are ethical values. Business dealings are commands that are man to man. They are legal values. Charity goes to the man to God category of commands. It is a moral principle, not a legal one.
Brokenness over the blight of world poverty and contentedness in sharing from our excess should be the outcome of an effective approach to money. I love Sunday Adeleja’s desire to eliminate world hunger that he expresses in Money Won’t Make You Rich and on his blog, but I retreat into the reality of Jesus statement about the pervasiveness of poverty in this present evil age. At this stage in world history elimination of poverty by Christians is an extremely complicated idea, as a huge swath of the world’s population is under Islamic rule, and Islam allows poverty as a needed virtue. Hinduism has an even more embracing concept of poverty, as they see poverty as steps in your reincarnation process, so they tend to be appalled at attempts to end poverty. Both cultures are either sublimely or overtly hostile to Christianity. If sin and demonic philosophies prevail, living conditions like poverty that lead to bondage and horror will continue. We live in a bubble in America that shields us from revenge killings, mutilations and serious oppression of people. I’m going to stop. I am depressing myself.
- GOVERNMENTAL LIMITATIONS
Jewish economics fifth tenet of Jewish economics is seen in the posit that all forms of political structures are ultimately ineffective and incomplete. Political structures can also be dangerous when they function without the fear of the Lord as an underlying assumption. Jewish economics also asserts that governments carry an inherent risk as they grow and in concentrated power. Jewish economists point out that the Torah issues a warning about the potential for governments to succumb to the evil nature of those who control governments bureaucratic functions. The Bible shows us this danger in 1 Samuel as it records the biblical warning against the humanistic government. This was during the time that the Israelites called for the installation of a king, which they wanted so that they would be like the rest of the nations:
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 (1 Samuel 8:11—18).
Modern Judaism and Israelism concede the importance of governmental structures. It is acknowledged that governments possess a critical role in modern society, as they render assistance in the organizational functions of all cultures. The dangerous nature of governments emerges when assuming a disproportionately large part in the apportionment of the capital resources that are in a society’s possession. Governments are assigned the task of creating comprehensive strategies for the implementation of the nation’s economy.
When the governmental structure becomes too elaborate and abusive, the public faces the hazard of increasing measures of oppressive behaviors that can be undertaken to accomplish the nation’s business and the cost of doing business. The abuse occurs typically from excessive taxation or heavy-handed intervention of the country by the government. Additional violations can include suppression of free thought, economic warfare, political oppression and excessive governmental regulations of businesses and public functions. The abuse occurs typically from excessive taxation or heavy-handed intervention of the country by the government. Additional violations can include suppression of free thought, economic warfare, political oppression and excessive governmental regulations of businesses and publicfunctions.
THIS PRESENT EVIL AGE
Those who are not allied with Jesus continue to exist under the rulership of the evil one who is the de facto ruler until Jesus returns. Jesus acknowledged this aspect of the devil’s position in this present evil age when Jesus called the devil “the prince of this world” (John 12:31; 16:11). Jesus description of the dispensation that humans are currently confined is defined as this present evil age. The name satan (sic) means ‘adversary’ As the god of this age he is the supreme ruler from the fall forward of unredeemed humanity. Jesus said this about him, He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies (John 8:44). All sin in the world is modeled on the devil’s activities, as He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning (1 John 3:8). Scripture describes the devil as he who leads the whole world astray (Revelation 12:9).
Taking dominion is a right and proper thing to do. However, dominion only happens in the sphere of spiritual warfare as we depose the powers and principalities that we struggle against that influence humans in authority. I don’t think Dominion is a realistic goal for the church to aspire too as the church is currently organized. When the church positions itself to respond and react by a mandate to dominate, we became the recipients of Roman Catholicism, and varying Orthodox camps, which tend to snuff out the flames of exuberant participation among the laity and settles for a middling existence of mediocrity in the matters of faith. The net result is marginalized believers who exist within a corrupted system. I will retreat into my futurist hope for a blessed forthcoming Kingdom hope when Jesus returns, lest we repeat histories lessons over and over again.
What happened wasn’t a ceding of authority. The Fall was a change in allegiance, as the devil became the god of this world. The authority of worship is what was usurped or ceded at the Fall. Worship was the basis for the offer of dominion over the nations of the earth during the Wilderness temptation. Had Jesus acquiesced and worshipped the devil, the second Adam would have suffered the same fate as the first, at least that’s my opinion. One of my other thoughts that I have had about Dominionism is, what do we do with Jesus statements to Herod that the Kingdom He establishes is not of this world, meaning it isn’t a regular human government? I believe that when Jesus made the distinction between Pilate’s world and the Kingdom Jesus was establishing,
Jesus was warning the church about the dangers of a blended approach to church and governance. When the two Kingdoms blend, the church winds up becoming the influenced rather than existing as the influencer of society. That has always been the problem of Christians attempting to dominate society. The corruptive influences of the god of this world can subtly strip the church of its proper place in society.
INFLUENCE IS THE POINT
I’m not opposed to the idea of dominion, as long as it is properly framed in influencing the systems of the world. With that said, I think it would be wise to remember that when Jesus was questioned about His potential influence in the Kingdoms of this world by Pontius Pilate, Jesus response was that His Kingdom is not of this world. When the church develops an overt desire to rule the Kingdom of this world, we run the risk of falling into the trap that the enemy originally laid out before Jesus in the wilderness temptation where he offered Jesus all the Kingdoms of this world if He would only worship him. Power corrupts, and absolute power has the power to corrupt absolutely. Let’s look at the wilderness temptation and the subsequent events that led up to the power encounter between the enemy of our soul and Jesus. The focus will be on the third temptation, as it is germane to the conversation of dominion over governmental structures and the people of this world.
Let me also comment on the premise that the devil was ceded the authority to take dominion by Adam in the Garden. I do not accept that premise. The mandate or command to fill the earth, in my opinion, humanity has continued to follow the mandate to take dominion from the Garden forward. Dominion, as presented in Genesis One, included ruling over the fish of the sea, the aviary Kingdom, the Bovine species, and every creeping thing that creeps over the earth specifically. The call to walk in dominion over the created world was a generic command that was given to the race and was not confinedto the language or structure of religion. As the creation story continues to unfold, humanity has indeed exerted dominion over the various species that have existed on the earth with humanity.
This includes mastery over the seedbearing trees and other means of produce bearing plant life. Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth. 29 And God said, “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food. 30 Also, to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there islife, I have given every green herb for food”; and it was so. 31 Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day (Genesis 1:26-31).”
THE NEED FOR RELIABLITY IN THE CLAIMS OF WEALTH AND PRESTIGE IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
Returning to Silvoso, we also see some error in Silvoso’s assertions about the wealth and positions that were held by people who were Paul’s entourage or sphere of influence in the New Testament record. When we start with an inadequate summation concerning the status of biblical figures, we will wind up with stilted views of economic factors and the biblical record. There is an assertion that Luke is a medical doctor. That is probably true. However, he was perhaps also a retired Naval Commander who was also a skilled member of the Roman legal community who was assigned as Paul’s Attorney.
Mark is seen as an unemployed millionaire, as Ed Silvoso suggested that Acts 12:12-17 shows that mark’s mother Mary had a large house as many met to pray for Peter’s release from prison. When Peter knocked at the gate, Rhoda, a maidservant, answered. Poor people did not have servants, and their homes did not have gates.
This theory doesn’t accept that Mark became employed by Paul as his amanuensis, and sometime traveling companion. The Bible does not indicate the level of wealth that Mark’s parents possessed, let alone identifying them as millionaires. Nor does Scripture state that Lydia was a wealthy wholesaler of expensive fabric, or that Dorcas was a wealthy designer and manufacturer of inner garments (Acts 9:36-42). To make these assertions is to take great liberty in reading into the text, which is a hermeneutical faux pas.
Aquilla AND Priscilla were business people and tent makers, after these things Paul departed from Athens and went to Corinth. 2 And he found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla (because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to depart from Rome); and he came to them. 3 So, because he was of the same trade, he stayed with them and worked; for by occupation they were tentmakers. 4 And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded both Jews and Greeks (Acts 18:1-4). They also became leaders in the church as Elders. When Paul met Priscilla and Aquilla, they were refuges, living as displaced Jews who had been expelled from Rome. Although we do not know what their wealth status was prior to their settling in Corinth, we can assume that if history is correct, they would have their money confiscated by the Roman government prior to the purge, which happened on numerous occasions in this era. Rome was notorious for allowing non-Romans to establish enclaves in the city of Rome, establish businesses, gain wealth, only to have it confiscated by the government as the group was expelled from the community. Paul became a tent maker, but that assignment was a temporary job. Paul was always willing to work to support his ministry endeavors, but his end goal was for the ministry to help his financial needs.
Erastus was a city treasurer who knew Paul, or at least his amanuensis when the Letter to the Romans was written (Romans 16:23). Finally, Theophilus. Theophilus may have been a high-ranking government official. However, this was also a generic greeting for Roman Officials, like Judges, Politicians, or Emperors (Acts 1:1). Many interpreters and Commentators assume that Paul’s letter was being addressed to the Roman dignitaries who would be presiding over Paul’s trial.
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AMONG THE HEBREWS, GREEKS AND ROMAN ANCIENT CULTURES
ECONOMICS IN GENERAL
In this section, we are going to examine the development of economic theory and practice among the ancient cultures of Israel, Greece, Rome and some Indian influence. It is essential to explore the advancements that these separate cultures achieved, as archaeology and documentation suggest that they did not exist in isolated bubbles. The shared ideas and values led to multiple disciplines being developed and practices to be formulated. Our study will be restricted to the area of economics. Instead, they exchanged thoughts, practices, philosophies and they established trade practices and routes among themselves. Our word for economics is Greek in origin. It is the huikos (oikos), which is rooted in the management of a household. Aristotelian economics merged out of discussions based on the managing of familieseffectively. Aristotle saw managing principles serving in two areas of the home, in chrematistics and economics. Chrematistics is concerned with the acquisition of wealth through labor exchange and making money. Economics was a function of product consumption for Aristotle.
Managing the functionality of exchange has two components, the natural element and the unnatural elements of trade. The natural functionof trade is seen as the satisfying personal wants. Unnatural exchange focuses on the gains that exceed basic need. There are also two separate types of uses in Aristotle’s economics. The proper application of application is restricted to a personal value that is derived from the use of the item at a personal level. Unnatural use has the property the science of supply.
AGRARIAN EXAMPLES OF TRADE AND ECONOMICS
I can grow tomatoes in my garden. Once they are harvested, I can either eat them or exchange them for something else I may need through barter or by selling my tomatoes. By satisfying another’s need for tomatoes I have fulfilled the supply side of economics, and I have profited by my labor. When I eat my produce, I am practicing natural elements of production and personal valuation. When I sell or exchange my food, I am practicing chrematistics and applying value in exchange economics. Chrematistics is what Adam Smith advocated as the basis for the acquisition of wealth for nations and the people who make up a society. Chrematistics centers on the natural consumption of things that we find personally satisfying and are more willing to work to acquire and then create an extra product to use as a measure of exchange for additional items for consumption. The art of the transaction is where material excesses allow us to unnaturally make more than what is necessary for the satisfaction of our basic needs. Excessive acquisition can be greed motivated, but it is also a vehicle for security and expansion of influence.
ECONOMY AND THE HEBRAIC MINDSET
Jewish thought and financial practices began around 2500 BC, which is where many scholars trace the modern ideas of Western Civilization started. Hebrew culture belongs to the civilizations of antiquity. When we observe modern thought in a backward looking linear graph, it is hard to discount the Jewish contributions to the contemporary world. History indeeddemonstrates that some of the critical elements of capitalism existed in the ancient Hebrew societies like the valuation of private property, Ancient Judaism had some of the characteristics of modern capitalism like an appreciation for private property, market exchange, the division of labor trades, and the utilization of currency. These are some of the commonalities that ancient Israel innovated, and the ancients celebrated. It was the philosophic ruminations of the critical thinkers who cemented thoughts and theories of social order in religious and secular writings.
Primitive Hebraic economic theories were simplistic, which was reflective of their society in general. A public philosophy of economics as a separate field of study was never developed. Political life, economics, philosophy, and ethics all blended into a mish-mashed field, with religious ideology providing the binding element for the various areas of study. The priestly orders controlled the economic life of the nation. The sacrificial system of the Jewish faith emphasized agricultural endeavors as a priority. However, the Jewish people possessed a basic understanding of interest, taxes, property, agriculture and other matters.
Priests controlled economic life. They gave importance to agriculture. The Hebrews had definite ideas on subjects such as interest, agriculture, property, taxation, architecture, language, poetry, linguistics, foreign trade, and treaties, etc.
The cornerstone of ancient Jewish economics was based on the Sabbath practice. The weekly day of rest from labor allowed all the people to enjoy the fruit of their labor and to pursue interests that were not work related. The slaves and servants as household laborers were equal to the masters of the house. Women were equal to men in Sabbath rest. Life, living and rest were synonymous concepts to the Hebrews. When Judaism introduced the idea of the weekend, which included a day for worship and a day to relax, it had no parallel in the ancient civilizations of Rome, Greece or any other known expression of ancient culture.
The ancient Greeks gave us many things like philosophy, nautical expansion, and political systems. But it would be the Greco-economic observations that would become one of their first contributions to modern thought. The economic theories of the Greeks came by happenstance, as a formal theory never fully materialized. We can only piece together the philosopher’s observations of economics as they were applied to the lifestyles of the elite, as the Greeks gave little credence to the constraints of the slave class. The lack of opportunity to freely choose societal position and means inhibited the advancement of economic theories. Greece was no different than most of the ancient civilizations of the past, as they were based on systems of caste instead of individual value. Because of the constraints of their time, the Greeks didn’t offer much to the development of economic theory.
PLATONIC ECONOMIC THEORY (427-347 BC)
Plato is the first of the ancient philosophers to give notice to the field of economics and its impact on society, although his student Aristotle eclipsed his contributions. Aristotelian economics elevated theoretical concepts of finances into the strata of a science.
Plato was an early Greek philosopher who was a disciple of Socrates. Born in Athens to a wealthy family, he taught philosophy and mathematics at the school he founded that was known only as The Academy. Plato’s works on The Republic and The Laws are where we are introduced to his views on economics. In Plato’s world, economics belonged to the fields of study that examined politics and ethics.
ARISTOTOLE AND ECONOMICS
While studying philosophy in College, I became an admirer of Aristotle, as one of my professors was a former Jesuit Priest who was an avid student of Aristotle. As a student of Plato, Aristotle took Plato’s concepts and moved them forward. Aristotle is known as the first analytical economist and the father of the application of science to economics. There were considerable differences in thoughts and conclusions between master and pupil, as Aristotle was no parrot to Plato. There were takes on ideas and outright rejection of significant tenets of philosophy including private property issues, communism, the place of the state and the beginning assumptions of a City-State.
Perhaps the most significant differences are results of their different approaches to critical thinking. Aristotle was an inductive practitioner while Plato was a practitioner of deductive analysis. The platonic thought was considered a radical departure, which cast into a liberal bent, while Aristotle was conservative in his approach to the art of philosophizing. We consider Aristotelian thought to be logical and scientific, with low levels of imaginative speculation, which is why his main ideas are found encased in Politics and Ethics. This led Aristotle to think in more concrete terms as he rejected the idea of an ethereal of thought. Alexander the Great would sit at the feet of Aristotle. Although Aristotle never produced a significant study on economics that led to a treatise, it was his ideas that profoundly influenced the Middle Ages economic developments through Thomas Aquinas interpretations of Aristotelian ideology. Aristotle’s imprint can be seenin his views about usury, standard pricing, and private property as theologians and burgeoning economists began to emerge in the Age of Enlightenment.
ROMAN CULTURE AND ECONOMICS
Rome’s contributions to the modern theories of economics are scant. The main areas of interest in Roman thought werejurisprudence and the application of politics. Although the Romans were action oriented, identified as warriors and politicians, they were influenced by the deep-thinking philosophers of Greece. The three fields that contributed to Roman economic theory were philosophers, jurists, and agrarian contributors. The highest latitude for free thinking in Roman culture was granted to the arena of jurisprudence, which is why the bulk of economic thought originated in law deliberations. The primary philosophers who commented on economics rejected usury while praising agricultural areas. Pliny, Cicero, and Seneca were the main contributors. Additional writings were proffered by Varro, Columella, and Cato. Like many ancient cultures, agrarian pursuits were highly valued.
FAIR AND STANDARD PRICING IN ISRAEL AND INDIA WITH SOLOMON
The Hindi and Hebrew cultures held other similarities, as both created laws that protected the consumer against false weights, measures and the pollution of produce that was meant for consumption. Hebrew law strictly forbade these practices of deceit in business practices. The creation of business monopolies and speculative investments were also not allowed to be practiced in the field of business. Increasing fair market pricing to manipulate the economy was also strongly discouraged.
From the Solomonic time forward, profits could not be earned more than 16 2/3% among retailers. You were also prevented from exporting food products and grain during times of war, famine or scarcity. Hoarding product was also against the law. Jewish laws of economics included competitive pricing, correct weights and balances, and profitability that was reasonable and not extortive.
TAXATION AND ISRAEL
The Jewish economy did not have an elaborate system of taxation. There are those who say that taxes did not exist, but that is an over-simplification. The Jewish economy did have taxes, but the taxation system was extremely restricted in its application. Public works projects like roadways, bridges and other utilities used conscripted labor, while taxes were received when you traveled on roads. A toll tax was charged to every adult male for the construction and upkeep of the Temples. Widows, fatherless children, and helpless people were cared for through charitable giving, and the corner sections of every field were kept for the poor to glean.
FAIR WAGES FOR WORKERS IN ISRAEL
Wage earners and employers in ancient Israel did not have labor problems as we do in modern times with unions and other regulatory machinations. Hebraic culture embraced the beauty of labor, equating it with the creative side of expressing the imagio dei, however as I said before, the agricultural sectors were at the top of the economic system. If you were a wage earner, you earned a prevailing wage that was by the fair pricing practices of the community. Jewish labor laws did not emphasize regulations that established the relationship between the employed and the employers. Just economics and merciful expressions were the standard rules of comportment. You were paid based on performance.
VALUE ASSESSMENT AND PLATO
Plato was not an advocate of supply side economics, as he saw the value of a product as stationary. The valuation of the product should not change based on shortages or excessive production. The commodity had an inherent quality and a fixed value. It was considered to be wrong to ask for more than the fixed price of an item.
VALUE ASSESSMENT AND ROME
Rome assigned a value to be assessed through utilization and need of product over the equal amount for exchange. It was possible for items to carry a higher price than their value based on supply and demand.
INTEREST AND JUDAISM
In money matters, investment is essential, but Mosaic Law restricted disallowed the charging of high interest rates (usury). The term interest was not a used term among the Jewish Prophets, and the injunction against usury only applied to Jews doing business with Jews. A Jewish person could always lend money to non-Jews with interest, which is what allowed the Jewish community to fill a void in the development of European culture and banking systems. The Catholic Church would not allow Christians to charge Christians higher rates of interest, but Jews were allowed to do so by the Papal system in Rome.
The biblical reason for not allowing the poor to borrow money with interest was an act of care, as people in poverty often borrow to satisfy basic needs for survival and consumption. The reign of Solomon changed the biblical understanding, as people were allowed to lend with small rates of interest under his rule. Loans were secured with a pledge, although the promise had elaborate rules and restrictions. Hebraic notions of lending were similar to the ancient Hindi system of loansand economics.
INTEREST AND THE GREEKS
Platonic thought prevented the collection of interest for loans initially, but Plato eventually allowed the group of interest if payments were late and due dates were missed. Plato saw interest as a penalty and not a privilege.
ARISTOTLE AND INTEREST
Aristotle’s views on interest were like Plato. He saw the concept of interest as an act of injustice, as it was the poor who needed to borrow to survive. He could not conceive of money being able to recreate itself like seed and produce, so in his mind, interest was an unnatural act of multiplication.
INTERST AND ROMAN VIEW OF MONEY
When Rome was in its infancy, bartering was the primary means of exchanging items for consumption, but as the civilization advanced, money in the form of coins became the standard of exchange. Not all philosophers liked the use of coins and some preferred remaining on the barter system, but that proved to be backward thinking. As the jurists began to advocate the use of money forcefully, money eventually prevailed. Money was treated as a commodity whose value could fluctuate based on supply and need. Rome like Israel, condemned usury and lending money, although they practiced money lending and the charging of interest. The Roman disgust of usury and interest was feigned, as both were practiced, with the rate of interest in Rome fluctuating between 4-8% on the exchange rate.
AGRARIAN TRADE AND CRAFTS AMONG ISRAEL
During the Golden Age of ancient Israel, corn and grain were the typical items that were sold at market. There were artisans and craftspeople, including the wives, concubines and female slaves of the household who spun wool and flax. Commercial enterprise began to expand and even flourish under Solomon’s reign. Business enterprise thrived under King Solomon’s reign. Trade routes were opened and augmented as Solomon traveled to multiple nations and lands, which included India.
AGRARIAN LEGAL CONCERNS AMONG THE HEBREWS
As we have seen, the Jewish people gave the most significant weight to the field of agriculture. The Hebrews said that even though trading provides greater profit, there may be a loss in a moment, which is why you should never hesitate to buy land. Agriculture was the top profession. The agrarian focus did not escape the Prophets and Lawgivers. Their attention was on the agricultural community and its relationship with the people of the land. The focus on the lands inherent wealth production and connection to life is the likely reason the Jewish people did not pursue manufacturing enterprise or extensive mercantile businesses on a large scale.
AGRICULTURE AND GREEK CULTURE
Grecian culture held the agrarian trades in the highest esteem. Farming was the apex of the production of valuable commodities.
AGRICULTURE AND ROMANS
Romans were like most cultures, they valued farmers, knowing the need we have for food. Rome was always looking for ways to improve their production in agricultural, which was the primary industry in Rome. Roman farms were generally small, averaging around 200 acres. Cato recorded that a farm consisting of 62 acres of vines and 150 acres of Olive Trees was standard. Other writers encouraged growing diverse crops and breeding stock.
As uncomfortable as the subject of slavery and economics in our modern western world, slavery has been a fact of economic stability and advancement for millennia, dating back to the earliest records of humanity living in civilized societies. Assyria, Babylon, Israel, Greece, Egypt and Rome all practiced slavery, as did all known ancient cultures. In European history, the Slavic people today bear the Germanic name for slave or Slav in their collective name.
During the Middle Ages Europeans employed slavery, but it was localized and not en masse, but as European expansionism happened concurrently with Enlightenment, slavery became a recovered practice among Europeans and their Colonies. The top six modern western nations that utilized slavery to become super-powers in their eras were/are 1) America, 2) Britain, 3) France, 4) Netherlands, 5) Portugal and 6) Spain. It is worth noting that English Quakers began expelling members who owned slaves in 1774 and in 1776 the Pennsylvania Quakers freed all of their slaves. In the modern Christian era, the Muslim world has been the largest community to use slaves, with the practice continuing to this day. I am pointing out the history of slavery to establish that it is a significant point to consider when evaluating ancient and modern economic systems. In our case, we are simply looking at the ancient practice of slavery as it pertains to the biblical record.
JUBILEE AND THE SEVENTH YEAR AND SLAVERY AMONG THE JEWS
When God established the seventh-year abatement and the Year of Jubilees for debt release, He set the Jewish system of economics apart from the rest of the ancient and modern world. The debt, labor and land relief program was unique. The seventh-year clause required the Jewish people to release indentured servants (slaves) after seven years of service. Lands had to be allowed to go fallow during the seventh year of cultivation to preserve the fertility of the earth. Debt cancellation was also required in the seventh year, which placed a hard cap on loans. There were no 10, 15, 20 or 30-year mortgages available.
Jubilee was also a unique economic institution among the Hebrews. On the fiftieth year (Jubilee), any land that had been sold to another person had to be returned the original owner or his family. The property was the primary form of wealth in Israel. The consequence of Jubilee was the Jewish people were prevented from concentrating wealth among a few money makers and wealth attainers. Small farms and ranches could not be permanently absorbed by the owners of larger estates and enterprises. The Seventh Year and Jubilee prevented an inequality of wealth acquisition and served as a fore-runner to socialistic ideas.
SLAVES AND ARISTOTLE
Like interest, Aristotle’s views of slavery were like Plato’s. Neither man could see society functioning without a slave class, although Aristotle did divide slaves into two classifications, natural and unnatural. If you were a natural slave, you were an inferior human being. If you were an unnatural slave, you were enslaved as a consequence of being captured during the war. Natural slaves were legal slaves.
SLAVERY AND LABOR PRACTICES OF ROME
Rome did not like slave labor. It was their observation that slaves did not exert maximum effort and precision in craftsmanship. There was no incentive to excel among the slaves. Rome used slave labor, but the government expected a blended workforce that would make of free people who were employed through hire and wage and slave labor. The more laborious and more skill intensive jobs needed to be filled by hired personnel. Slaves were used for the more menial tasks and undesirable assignments.
MONEY AND THE HEBREWS
Once coins began to mint and were circulated among the nations, the Jewish people kept in step with their contemporaries. Coins dating to the Davidic Empire have been discovered by archaeologists. The functionality of coins supplanted the necessary trade of produce. Money appeared in the form of bullion and stamped coins.
MONEY AND THE GREEKS
In Plato’s society, it was acknowledged that money was central to the success of the community, as money allows for the most natural exchange of items that are necessary for life. Plato did not enable ordinary men to use silver or gold or any other precious metal by the standard population for that matter in the exchange of product in his economy. In Plato’s society, common coinage minted from baser metals needed to be used for the payment transactions of labor, wages, andtrade. Plato desired that the state use a common Hellenistic denomination for visitors, ambassadors, travelers and other needed monetary exchanges.
ARISTOTLE AND MONEY
When Aristotle turned his attention to money, his insights and theories were direct and straightforward, as he sought to explain what money is composed of and how money functions. Aristotle expanded the Platonic explanation of moneybeing restricted to serving as a medium for the exchange of like value. By delving into the necessity of money, Aristotle projected the worth of money to exist beyond trade and catapulted the discussion into measures of value and the value of the stored commodity. The sliding scale of differing values between products can change based on need and supply, which is what determines value measurements focus. Value becomes based on desire, not equality of exchange. Returning to the tomato, if I am the only one at the Farmer’s Market with tomatoes and everyone else has apples, my tomatoes may become more valuable than apples based of lack, not equal value. In a standard market, an apple may equal a plant, unless supply and demand grow unequal. That is what drives market economics. Plato’s communistic society would always restrict the value of equality. Aristotle saw life and money differently. He saw the valuation of money as a function of politics and legislation, not exchange. Barter and money can purchase whatever the market can bear.
PLATO WEALTH AND POVERTY
Plato was a critic of both wealth and poverty. He saw both extremes of the economic spectrum as evil. It was Plato’s view that excessive riches would make you careless and lethargic and poverty breeds inefficiency of life. In Platonic theory, abundant wealth and happiness are antithetical and cannot coexist. He saw the spending of money without a form of justice attached to the expenditure as improper, which was his observation of the rich. It is impossible for the wealthy to always connect social justice to expenses that are supercilious.
The limitations of wealth are what prompted Plato toward his belief that there was an ideal arrangement of property in the City-State. Property as possession was restricted to farmers and artisans. Rulers and administrative personnel could not enjoy the rights and privileges of ownership of land. Plato rightly observed that cities are mainly divided into two quadrants, the rich and the poor, and he saw these two parts of the city as existing in a perpetual state of conflict. Plato also saw slavery as an essential component for civilization to survive. The Laws indicates that slaves should be treated liberally, granting them measures of rights and freedom within the society. People who were defeated in war and who became prisoners were the foundation of the slave culture. In Plato’s City-State, one third of the population should be comprised of slaves, with the slaves serving in the economic functions of the city.
PRIVATE PROPERTY POSSESSION AND ISRAEL
Ancient Israel saw land as the primary expression of property. Your wealth was measured by the size of your land holdings, the number of slaves you owned, your talents (coins), precious metals, gold and silver acquisitions among other items of possession. When you owned land, you owned all the resources the area could produce above or below ground level.
Laws were meticulous in controlling the inheritance of land and possessions. The first in line for inheriting land was the first-born son. The first-born would receive the most significant portion with the rest of the family receiving smaller increments. In the absence of sons, a daughter would receive the inheritance until an eligible male was produced in the family line. The land would always remain in the family’s possession.
ARISTOTLE AND PRIVATE PROPERTY
Plato and Aristotle differed widely on private property, as Plato saw property as belonging to the public, whereas Aristotle advocated for personal possession of the property. Aristotle concluded that public ownership is never cared for as expertlyas private property. Interestingly, when we visited the former Soviet Union and Ukraine, we saw this first hand. Public buildings and roadways were substandard. Materials were inferior. No one cared about quality control until the Iron Curtain fell and the people were given property and dwellings that became their personal property.
Aristotle advocated private ownership over public ownership based on five principles. He saw peace, practice, progress, philanthropy, and pleasure as the primary motivations for private property upkeep. Private property leads to social harmony, as citizens see turmoil as a threat to what they own, unlike communism which considers the need for overriding the possession. In publicly owned property, there is an ongoing risk that people’s work is not equally compensated based on wage reimbursement. Equality between age and effort is the great leveler of one worker laboring less and receiving an even portion for substandard efforts.
The ownership of private property also leads to higher productivity among the citizenry of a state. Part of production is related to the desire to be self-seeking in labor and advancement. When we are focused on our well-being, we tend to stay out of another people’s business and focus on our household’s betterment. As we focus on the protection of what is ours, we tend to work better with others, enabling them to advance as their promotion can be personally beneficial. This principle also promotes charity and free sharing of resources and intellectual properties among a nation’s citizens. Aristotle was an opponent of limiting the amount of wealth a person could possess in a culture. He believed that ceilings should only be applied to the size of the community, not the possessions that a city could stockpile.
By advocating population control, Aristotle also moved for the restriction of poverty. When communities are kept in check, everyone can find a functional role and be compensated accordingly. When cities grow, the poor are overlooked and ignored. Excessive deprivation was the root of criminal activity and political revolution in Aristotle’s City-State. When we own property, we are more prone to serve as guardians of our communities, accepting the responsibility of making the society work for everyone’s betterment.
PRIVATE PROPERTY AND ROME
Rome’s approach to private property helped to develop future economic theories. Communal ownership of property was rejected by Rome. The laws of Rome determined that individuals possess the right to own property and to enjoy its acquisition. You could have property and toy could dispose of your property freely. Sparta restricted property rights. When Rome embraced the right to possess property, they paved the way for the eventual institution of capitalism by Calvin and other economists.
GREEK CULTURE AND THE BEGINNING OF THE STATE
For an organized community of people to provide for the needs of the people, supplies need to be offered, andcommodities have to be gathered to satisfy the desires of the population. That is the primary function of a a state. In Plato’s thinking, the state begins with economics. Plato once proclaimed that “a state rises out of the needs of humanity. No one is self-sufficient. All of us have many wants.” People and associations or businesses that aid in the collection of the commodities are what we define as the state. Plato had an idea of an ideal state. The ideal state would be made up of who classes of citizens, those who rule and those who are ruled. Rulers are made up of Kings and warriors. The ruled is comprised of the artisans and the workers, which includes the slave-class.
In Plato’s Republic, the rulers needed to be set apart from the commoners during early childhood. The children will be trained in philosophy and in the art of making war. Alexander the Great was the quintessential example of this warrior ruler. The ruling caste was responsible for the protection of the state from all outside hostile forces and all internal malevolent conspirators. Thirty was the age of responsibility. Once you hit thirty, you were required to pass an examination. The exam would determine who would be eligible to aspire to the throne of the philosopher-king. Those who could not pass the exam would receive assignments in the administration.
THE FIVE FORMS OF PLATOS GREEK GOVERNMENT
1) Aristocracy where the elite rules society
2) Timocracy or military rule
3) Oligarchy where a few representatives rule the people
4) Rule of the wealthy
5) Democracy or rule by the people
In Plato’s world, both girls and boys were to receive equal educational opportunities. Plato’s equal education has become the basis of the modern western world’s view of education.
THE STATE AND ARISTOTOLE
Aristotle saw the state as originating from the need that people must be organized as units for protection, and that the state concept is just an expansion of a family’s household. Houses exist to provide security, nurture, need satisfaction and provision of the desires of family members. Cities are collections of homes and states are collections of cities, with all units expressing common goals and natural expressions based on proximity. Aristotle understood that people are social creatures by nature, which is why people band together into societies. A state should never aspire to be more than a pureprovider for the good of its citizens as they attempt to better themselves. It is out of this line of reasoning that Aristotle drew his conclusions that economics and politics are the real basis of the state’s existence.
Aristotle envisioned a two-tiered state ideally composed of the ruled and the rulers. Rulers were made up of politicians, military personnel, administrative people and religious leaders. The ruled were composed of laborers, farmers, andartisans. In Aristotle’s world, rulers transitioned through progressive advancements as they aged. Rulers soldiered when they were young, politicians when they were middle-aged and religious leaders during the twilight years.
REGULATING COMMERCE AND ENTERPRISE
Roman politics were used to regulate commerce and to impose the needs of the state upon the industries that were contained within the Empire. As with most governments, fines were imposed for failing to meet the legal standards of the trades. Penalties were also levied against farmers who would store their produce to drive up the price of their product. Governmental authorities would conduct inspections of businesses and farms for safety, standards and compliance reasons. If a product were deemed inferior of fraudulent, the items would be confiscated and destroyed.
THE IDEAL POPULATION
Plato also analyzed the problems that variously sized populations create when you are organizing a society. The state’s ideal size was determined by the right combination of people and skillsets, as labor was divided into properly sized units that served the community. Care for the population was at the heart of Plato’s calculations for the creation of stable economies. He determined that the right size for the perfect City-State was made up of 5040 men. The number was basedon the opportunities for community activities and familiarity with each citizen by everyone in the city to reach self-reliance. He believed that the number would create a perfect blend of talent for maximum efficiency of working toward equilibrium and balance in the society. Whenever the population would decline, Plato suggested incentivizing population growth, and if the city continued to grow beyond 5040, a new town needed to be colonized.
PLATO COMMUNISM AND SOCIALISM AS IDEALS
One of Plato’s most controversial and misunderstood ideas is found in his philosophical thoughts on communism. The City-State was supposed to make up collectively owned property that was distributed by need, not desire. Platonic viewadvocated communism to end the inherent evils that caste systems possess and devolve into over-time. This peculiarity of Plato’s theory of economics was supposed to bring the class conflict to an end. His version of socialism could not create a correct form of modern communism, as his system did not embrace true equality of opportunity. The City-State possessed two distinct classes of people, the rulers and the ruled. One was made up of a warrior aristocracy, and the other was comprised of the artisans and workers.
LABOR DIVISION AND PLATO
The main contribution Plato made to economics was in the arena of the division of labor. The division of labor is seen as society being divided into productive roles that benefit the community. Plato placed the origin of the state squarely on the back of organized labor. The social order’s essential function is to provide the crucial needs of the people that are found in food, shelter, and clothing.
The City-State has to include weavers, farmers, cobblers, and builders. Butchers and electricians needed to be found in the city. People are responsible for fulfilling the work that is allotted to them by skill and by assignment. When everyone does their assigned tasks, commodities will be abundant, easily attained and of superior quality. However, Plato’s idea of a divided labor force did not go far enough theoretically. Trades were not reduced to various tasks, and there was a lack of application of the concept to the broader market forces that are always working among labor intensive activities.
Plato’s division of labor is vastly different than Adam Smith’s concepts on the same subject. The cost factor of labors division is determined by skill and talent for Plato, while Smith saw the division of labor as the determination for the differences in ability and talent. In Plato’s theory, it is the force of labor that is the determining factor for the market, while Smith saw the market as the determinative force for the division of labor. To Plato, society is the benefactor of labors division, while Smith saw the benefit of divided labor as benefiting the employer. The two platforms stand in contrast to one another.
LABOR DIVISION AND ROME
Roman economic debate emphasized the division of labor. The romans saw labor being divided into skills and needs based functions as advantageous to the Empire. The division of labor expanded under Rome’s tutelage, eventually encompassing philosophy of regional divisions that became more labor intense and more productive by narrowing the focus of the labor force.
THE NATURAL ORDER OF THINGS
Roman theory gave rise to Smith’s Physiocrats. Physiocratic thought places a specific value on things that can better your society over a competing nation. This idea grew out of the Roman distinction between natural and human law. The differences between the two laws profoundly influenced the development of medieval thought and eventual Keynesian economics. Jusivale law was a specific form of legislation that only applied to Roman citizens. It’s similar to American citizens traveling to Hawaii and finding out that local Hawaiians have an added financial advantage, as they are given an Obama discount on most of their purchases. Jusgentium law applied to the nationals who were connected to Rome, but where legal citizenship was not available. These were natural laws that used to all people, but only Romans had access to the highest body of jurisprudence. These were the laws appealed to when he was arrested outside of the Jewish Temple for inciting a riot based on blasphemy charges.
CONCLUDING THOUGHTS ON ANCIENT CULTURE AND ECONOMICS
Priests and Prophets dominated Hebrew life. Life was simple, although law, religion, philosophy, and economy were essential to the life of the people. Education was heavily influenced by religion and philosophy. The contributions the Hebrews made to modern society and the western world incalculable.
Though their economic ideas were simple and scattered, they had a greater power to influence the minds of people. According to Eric Roll, “the views of the Hebrews may appear extremely primitive to modern economics, their power to influence men’s minds is not necessarily inferior to that of many refined and scientific theories.”
The western world is indebted to Plato and his contributions to philosophical thought. We are also better for his application of intellect to economic matters, although his contributions were undoubtedly buttressed by the era where he lived. By developing the practice of labor division, ease of productivity and increase of production were advanced.
PENTECOSTALISMS IMPACT ON AFRICA AND SOCIAL AGENCIES ANSWERING THE QUESTION ABOUT THE NEED TO GENERATE WEALTH
An undervalued aspect of economy and globalism is the impact modern Pentecostalism has had on the impoverished African economy. Pentecostalism’s influence in other areas of the world’s economies is similarly encouraging like Central and South America, Eurasia, and the Pacific Rim. South Korea’s booming economy is in part due to the Korean Pentecostal Christians embracing of capitalism as an economic matrix. As much as the stereotypical Pentecostal Missionary evokes images of a Bible thumping tongue talking wild eyed fanatic in the jungles, Pentecostals are in tune with the needs of social justice, educational needs and poverty alleviation. Although the results are evocative, there is research that says Pentecostalism leads the way in the charge for social justice worldwide, and that it is the spearhead of the world’s largest social movement ever.
The Pentecostal participation in social transformation and care led to the coining of a new term, Progressive Pentecostalism. The nomenclature is an attempt to define the Spirit filled churches position in developing world as conservative in doctrine and practices, yet cutting edge in societal concerns like drug addiction, mental illness, crime, corruption, poverty and hunger. The broader understanding dispels the idea that Pentecostal missionaries are more concerned about salvation than the societies where they are embedded. The “progressive” label is more fitted in the missional world than in the first world participants, although the concerns for social transformation remain somewhat universal.
Scholars who happen to be Pentecostal like my life-long friend and hall mate in Bible College Amos Young of Fuller Seminary, Craig Keener, Luke Geraty or others are becoming voices in the fields of Christian studies. Part of the reason why these scholars are gaining a voice and a seat at the academic table is the interest in the growth rate of Pentecostalism and its eventual impact on the societies it establishes itself among. It would be foolish to ignore the impact of a 600 million strong community that adheres to a common faith, and that has only been in formal existence from the late 1800’s forward. 80% of the churches in the developing world that have functional social programs to help the poor and indigenous people are Pentecostal.
It has been five years since the release of Pentecostalism and Development: Churches, NGO’s and Social Change in Africa, edited and compiled by London School of Economic, Dena Freeman. The book makes a case that points to Pentecostalism’s profound impact on the war on poverty in Africa than argued that Pentecostalism possibly has done more for development and poverty alleviation than all international aid organizations combined.
An interesting sidelight to this phenomenon is seen in what has been dubbed as the Prosperity Gospel message, which is almost exclusively Pentecostal. The prosperity message has been frowned upon by much of Christianity and has been relegated to the idea of theory that only works in a vacuum like western society and the laisse faire approach to economics. I repeatedly heard that the Prosperity Gospel would not work in third world environments, yet the studies are contradictory to that viewpoint. When members of churches who live in substandard conditions hear a message that says that they can prosper, it seems to be a driving force that gives the listeners faith to believe that they can overcome their circumstances and achieve a good life. As they begin working toward new goals, the message becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Pentecostalism’s doctrinal view on the dignity of humans is also a liberating force for many. When women hear that the are valuable in God’s eyes and are granted equality in Christ where there is no male or female, dignity is imparted. The granting of honor also applies to the poor, as the Pentecostal view of humanity as we believe that we were originally created in the imagio deo, which grants rights that apply politics, and on a personal level.
20 TOP TWENTY AMERICAN BILLIONAIRES 2018
I am including a list of the top twenty richest people in America and their religious affiliation or influence if there is one. This examination lets us see the power of the Jewish way of wealth acquisition. I have also added a list of the top 50 richest Americans from the last century. Comparing them is interesting, as it shows some commonalities in wealth creation, but it also demonstrates some of the new ventures that are producing tremendous wealth rapidly. I have also included a list of the top fifty wealth gainers in America from the last century for comparison. By observing the differences, we can pull out interesting ideas, including the fact that there are some products that are always necessary and there are always new opportunities.
1) Bill Gates 89 Billion 62 years, Microsoft; 2) Jeff Bezos 81.5 Billion, 54 years, Amazon; 3) Warren Buffett 78 Billion, 87 years, Berkshire Hathaway (avowed agnostic); 4) Mark Zuckerberg 71 Billion, 34 years, Facebook (Jewish); 5) Larry Ellison 59 Billion, 73 years, Software (1/2 Jewish, non-practicing); 6) Charles Koch 48.5 Billion, 82 years, Koch Industries; 7) David Koch 48.5 Billion, 78 years, Koch Industries; 8) Michael Bloomberg 46.8 Billion, 76 years, Bloomberg LP (Jewish); 9) Larry Page 44.6 Billion, 45 years, Google (Jewish); 10) Sergey Brin 43.5 Billion, 44 years, Google (Jewish); 11) Jim Walton 38,4 Billion, 70 years, Wal-Mart; 12) Robson Walton 38,3 Billion, 73 years, Wal-Mart; 13) Alice Walton 38.2 Billion, 68 years, Wal-Mart; 14# Sheldon Adelson 35.4 Billion, 84 years, Casinos (Jewish); 15# Steve Ballmer 33.6 Billion, 62 years, Microsoft; 16) Jacqueline Mars 25.5 Billion, 78years, Candy, Pet Food; 17) John Mars 25.5 Billion, 82years, Candy, Pet Food; 18) Phil Knight 25.2 Billion, 80 years, Nike; 19) Michael Dell 23.2 Billion, 53 years, Dell Computers (Jewish); 20) George Soros 23 Billion, 87 years, Hedge Funds (Jewish).
20th Centuries Most Profitable Businessmen
- Samuel (Sam) M. Walton Wal-Mart – Food & Personal Service; 2) Walter (Walt) E. Disney Walt Disney – Entertainment; 2) William (Bill) H. Gates III Microsoft – Technology; 3) Henry Ford, Ford Motor – Automobiles; 4) John P. Morgan J.P. Morgan Chase – Financial Services; 5) Alfred P. Sloan Jr. General Motors – Automobiles; 6) John F. Welch Jr. General Electric; 7) Raymond A. Kroc McDonald’s – Fast Food; 8) William R. Hewlett Hewlett-Packard – Automobiles; 9) David Packard Hewlett-Packard – Technology; 10) Andrew S. Grove Intel – Technology; 11) Milton S. Hershey The Hershey Co. – Food (Candy); 12) John D. Rockefeller Sr. Standard Oil – Oil & Gas; 13) Thomas J. Watson Jr. IBM – Technology; 14) Henry R. Luce Time-Life Publications – Information; 15) Will K. Kellogg, Kellogg – Food; 16) Warren E. Buffett Berkshire Hathaway – Finances17) Harland Sanders Kentucky Fried Chicken – Fast Food; 18) William C. Procter Procter & Gamble – Products & Personal Service; 19) Thomas J. Watson Sr. IBM – Technology; 20) Asa G. Candler Coca-Cola – Beverages & Personal Service; 21) Estee Lauder Estee Lauder – Cosmetics; 22) Henry J. Heinz H.J. Heinz – Food & Personal Service; 23) Daniel F. Gerber Jr. Gerber Products – Food (Baby) & Personal Service; 24) James L. Kraft Kraft Foods – Food & Personal Service; 25) Steven P. Jobs Apple Computer – Technology; 26)John T. Dorrance Campbell Soup – Food & Personal Service; 27) Leon L. Bean LL Bean – Clothier; 28) William Levitt, Levitt & Sons – Real Estate & Building; 29) Howard Schultz Starbucks – Beverages; 30) Michael Dell, Dell Computer – Technology; 31) Robert W. Johnson Jr. Johnson & Johnson – Medicine & Personal Service; 32) James E. Casey United Parcel Service – Delivery; 33) Herbert D. Kelleher Southwest Airlines – Air Transportation; 34) George Eastman, Eastman Kodak – Technology; 35) Philip H. Knight Nike – Clothier; 36) James O. McKinsey McKinsey & Co. – Finances Management & Consulting Firm; 37) Charles R. Schwab Charles Schwab – Finances; 38) Frederick W. Smith Federal Express – Delivery; 39) William Wrigley Jr. Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co. – Food & Personal Service; 40) Gordon E. Moore Intel – Technology; 42) Robert (Ted) E. Turner, Turner Broadcasting – Media; 43) J. Willard Marriott Jr. Marriott Int’l. – Hotel; 44) James E. Burke Johnson & Johnson; 45) David Sarnoff RCA – Technology; 46) William E. Boeing Boeing – Air Transportation; 47) Walter A. Haas Sr. Levi Strauss – Clothier; 48) Henry J. Kaiser Kaiser Industries – Medical; 49) Walter A. Haas Jr. Levi Strauss – Clothier; 50) Clarence Birdseye Bird’s Eye Foods – Food & Personal Service.
LIVE BY ABUNDANCE NOT SCARCITY A PERSONAL TESTIMONY OF WEALTH CREATION BY PAUL DIAZ
The next entry is a personal testimony concerning business and prosperity. Let me introduce to my friend, Paul Diaz. I am a Husband, father, son, friend, and business owner. All of these have blended together to be who I am. However, each has had its journey, some with great success and some with painful failures. On a personal note, I was adopted as an infant and raised by a Catholic family that desperately wanted children. I grew up with one brother, who was also adopted. We grew up in a lower middle-class community in Michigan. I went to Catholic School from grades 1-12. It was all I knew.
Growing up, I was always hustling to make money. It’s not that we had lack in our lives, I was just motivated to make money. I would shovel snow, mow lawns, do odd jobs, and I had a paper route. These little jobs taught me the thrill of getting a customer to say “Yes” to my proposal. This thrill has propelled me to where I am today. Fast forward to age 52; I own two successful businesses as a supplier to the Automotive industry. The path to where I am today has been a journey of extreme highs and extreme lows.
Grade school and high school were easy. I was popular, was voted most outgoing, most dependable and most school spirit (though this one I have tried to shake). I was student council president, played football, baseball, ran track, was involved in the school play, participated in civic events as a volunteer, was the top fundraiser at the high school, and had a girlfriend. In general, I trusted people and saw the good in them. It was easy for me to make friends.
I went on to study engineering at the University of Michigan. This is where I shifted from the good catholic boy (façade) to Animal House partier. I gave it my all. I had ground to make up after being in the parochial system my whole life. While in college I worked in construction for a few years for a company and then realized “I could do this myself and make a lot more money!”
College was HARD for me compared to high school. After freshman year, I had a whopping 2.3 cumulative GPA. That locked me in to my career path. It would be too hard to transfer into another program at a different school. I had to hunker down and finish at Michigan. I hadn’t had many dates or a girlfriend in college. I always wanted another girlfriend, but my campus was slim pickings. Then in a sophomore year, I met a girl that would become my wife. Life couldn’t have been better. We became serious after a year of dating, and I proposed to her, and she accepted. I had locked it in. Or so I thought. She always acted into the relationship, but always seemed to have one leg in and one leg on a banana peel on the outside. There were a few near misses that I chalked up to her being very attractive which brought on many suitors despite my well-established position with her.
As time wore on, the relationship in college started to wear down, to the point I was going to break up. Then we went on a vacation over Labor Day in Canada which proved to define the future path of my life. I had already done college engineering internships in Indiana and planned to return after the holiday. She was going to move there with me. Then about the beginning of August, we discovered she was pregnant. Oh boy, panic mode. The sad part is, this was the second time she was pregnant. One year earlier she became pregnant, and instead of talking to our parents, we had an abortion. That event scarred us for life and brought shame inside of us. We never disclosed this to anyone except a few friends.
Instead of owning up to our situation and talking to our parents, we decided to get married and elope in Indiana. This time, I thought I would make it right and have our baby and get married, with Little or no guidance from any mature adults. It “seemed” like the right thing to do, being Catholic and all.
We moved back to Michigan and had our son. Life was joyful but hard and scary. I was hired as a junior engineer and was thrilled. I made enough to survive, pay rent, eat and finish college. It took me another three years to finish college working full time as a junior engineer. Money was slim, so I decided to get back in to construction on the side and built decks and fences. I negotiated a plan with my apartment complex to replace balconies for $300 per balcony. A bargain for them and a blessing for us.
We were surviving, but I was very busy. I feared not being able to support my family. Being adopted and not knowing my birth family, my birth name or identity made me work harder to make sure my son would always have his father and mother. But, I learned that my wife had cheated on my before moving to Indiana in June. I let it go. Then she cheated on me again with a family member of hers that was unrelated by blood, but weird nonetheless. This broke my heart. I was really in a bad, wounded place.
I had been talking with a friend of mine that met a lovely young woman, and they got married a few years before we did. His wife was a “born again” Christian. One of those Jesus Freak weirdos. We would often talk about the Lord, but I thought I knew enough already after having gone to Catholic school all of my life. But the things he would casually state about Jesus had me baffled. A few times I attempted to read the Bible, but it was confusing to me. I had a hunger for the Lord since I was a little boy when I went to Mass and followed the Stations of the Cross. I recall praying earnestly for God’s presence. I took the sacraments seriously. But NOBODY ever told me about salvation. I was lost and didn’t even know it.
I thought getting saved was some cosmic event that transcended earthly events. Even my friend didn’t ask me if I wanted to pray to become a Christian. Shortly after that, another friend of mine from high school that was in their home churchtold me all I had to do was believe, repent, pray and follow. I said, “I need to start going to church first.” He said “why not right now? Do you wash in the sink before you take a shower?” To have someone trying to logic the illogical with an engineer is futile, but what he said made sense. And right at that moment, I took the plunge and became a believer. It was refreshing, and I felt free. Instantly, it felt like I was out in outer space looking down on myself from a whole new perspective. I was so excited and went and told my wife. She was Presbyterian and had a remedial understanding of faith, but I don’t think she was saved then either.
After the initial excitement, I thought this would only last a few days, then it would be back to normal. Instead, I was greatly encouraged by the Holy Spirit and my friends. My friend told me that what the Lord begins he would take to completion. Now any Scripture I read was like lifegiving food. I was so excited to meet the Lord and realize he thought of me.
Later that week, when meeting with my friend and his wife and her dad, we were praying. I wanted a word from the Lord. This NEVER happened in the Catholic Church. While we were praying her dad said the Lord said: “Know that I am with you, and I love you.” This single word guided me for many years to come. Just KNOWING that God knew who I was and loved me felt so amazing and comforting that I was confident he would never leave me.
I soon found a local church and established my new church family. Nobody from my past was believers, and they could not relate to me. As a new, young dad, the married men in the church took me under their wing and stepped in to guide me and show me how to be a father. To this day, they are some of my best friends. How lucky can a young man be to have older believers to surround and guide him?
I soon graduated from college, but the marriage was not solid. My wife was filled with mischief, but I tried desperately to hold us together, so my son would have a mom and dad. After college, I took a position selling microprocessors and thought I had arrived. I loved that technology. One of the men at church, who became my mentor, has a wildly successful business as a sales representative selling semiconductors and electronics. I watched him and learned about professional business. I desperately wanted to have my own business. I knew that building decks, while it made more money than my engineering job, would destroy my body eventually, so I put that business model on hold and waited for my chance.
After only a short time selling semiconductors, I was plucked away by a professional recruiter to work for a very Japanese large automotive supplier in the USA as their Manager of Technical Sales and Marketing. For me, it was a huge pay increase. I was so thankful but had almost zero professional sales experience and even less experience working for a supplier. I was a Christian for a few years now and trusted in the Lord daily. I remember saying that as a manager, I was not paid to complain and be the problem, but rather I was paid to solve problems.
Working in a vacuum of learning how to be in sales, I just put my head down and followed my mentor’s lead. I quickly established new business and got the attention of the management. Life was great. I loved working for the Japanese. I was growing their business, travelling to Japan and being groomed for the future. I would have dinners and meetings with CEO’s, Presidents, Directors, Managers, business leaders. I had relationships all over the Japanese supply base and in Japan.
Then they sold our sales and engineering office to our sister company in Tennessee which was the location of our factory, and I reported to American management. My bubble popped. They did not want to grow the business but rather manage what came over from Japan. It was a painful gearshift, and I was very unhappy in the new role and relationship.
In 1995, my mentor proposed that we import computer memory from Taiwan. He knew the industry and saw a big demand in that market. I reached out to a business colleague in Taiwan, and he connected me to some suppliers there that produced computer memory. We were in business, and I started Diversified Electronics LLC. That business model hit the ground hard because the profits were thin, and the price of computer memory would drop so fast that by the time my shipments arrived from Taiwan, the market prices were at my cost. We then shifted to importing CD-R’s. I had a few customers, but none large enough to quit my job. I ended up selling off my stock and exiting the business.
BEST LESSONS LEARNED IN BUSINESS
Most of the lessons you learn in business are from losing money. I lost money on these deals. I have found the best lessons learned came from losing money. Those sting the most. The lessons I learned were:
- Know your market. I did not, and I had to learn.
- YOU are the best salesman for your business. I set up a business to business website in 1995 just after Al Gore invented the internet (that’s a joke I took from my pastor). The internet was a whole new medium of selling that gained some business, but it proved risky because you never knew who was on the other end of the email or phone.
- Know what you are good at and what you’re not good at and hire someone who is.
- Move the product quickly
- Sell business to business vs. selling to people. I learned this business lesson from two people that defrauded me and received my product but did not pay me. One even sent a counterfeit check. Large established businesses, onthe other hand, have a legal and accounting obligation to pay you.
During this time, if was to be, it was up to me. I recall going to church and complaining that so many people needed continual prayer for trivial matters. I didn’t need to do that. I could do it myself. I was not going to lean on someone to solve my problems. I was above them. I prayed about my business ventures but didn’t rely on the Lord. I believe God gifts and talents everyone uniquely. We can either discover these talents and gifts and glide along with ease, or we can stumble along. It’s like me trying to play a professional sport. I could do a few plays, and it would be really hard for me, but a truly gifted athlete performs day after day within his talent-sphere, and makes plays.
During this time, my marriage was doing better, and we built or first home. My wife and I were so happy. We had two more sons. What else could a family want? After five years working for the Japanese company, I had all I could take from the American management and decided to jump ship. I was recruited by an American company that made sensors for the automotive industry as a sales manager. Not possessing a baseline of what other sales people did, I put my head down and quickly became the top salesman and was promoted to Director of Worldwide sales.
When I started at the American company, I took over the GM account. The colleague that trained me on the new accounttook me to our factory floor, and we looked at all of the production lines for GM. Then I pointed over to the corner of the factory floor, and there were some old production lines with two older workers. I asked, “what do they do” and he said,“they make service parts.” The next thing he said stuck in my mind and was the foundational premise used to start my businesses.
He said “automotive suppliers want to make high volumes of parts. Lower volumes of parts like service parts, just don’t fit our business model. The company that can figure out how to make lower volume production parts and supplies them to the OEM car makers will have a very successful business. It’s a problem that if solved, will make someone rich.” And with that nugget-thought, my future was born, as auto makers are required to manufacture five years of after-market products when a line is ran in any given year. Once a new line is set up for the next year’s model, it is extremely costly to re-manufacture after-once the initial run expires.
After only one year in the new house, something changed. My wife became detached. I knew something was up. I never entirely trusted her as she had cheated with that family member again. After that event that took place a few years earlier, I swore I would NEVER let that happen again. I watched her closely, but by this time she was such a convincing liar and deceiver that I thought I was going crazy. As she would disappear on Tuesdays to go to “pottery class,” I knew something was up. The relationship continued to decline, and she detached. Meanwhile, we had a great home, children and my income kept going up.
After five years at the American company, and I had enough of working for someone else. I was on vacation in Mexico with my family and was at Xel-Ha in the Yucatan overlooking the shimmering beautiful blue lagoon and the Caribbean Sea and thinking I wanted to get out of the rat race and start a business. I came home and went to work with a distributor of the sensor company. I learned many new things about the aftermarket, but mostly studied the business model of the owner. He was about my age and was on Crain’s LIST OF 40 under 40. This guy made a ton of money selling lower volume service and aftermarket parts. Something clicked inside and it all made sense.
He and I initially set up a partnership, but after it got rolling his personality and character made me decide to terminate it. I continued to consult with him for six months and then decided to take the plunge and go full time into my own business in low to medium volume supply of parts. I would keep consulting with him part time, asked for my old sensor company, picked up a Chinese company to represent with a retainer, and picked up representing a US company making a security product for automobiles. I had it set in place, and it would make enough money monthly until my commissions exceeded my monthly retainers. My initial business was a sole proprietorship with no partners. More on that later.
I remember starting the business and on the first day, sitting in my library at home and telling myself that “I was a business owner. I was no longer an employee.” I had to say this to change my thinking and change my thinking from the comfort of a paycheck to the possibility of profits, big profits. In the summer of 2003, two weeks after starting the business with NO guarantees of success, boom, my marriage exploded. I finally caught my wife in adultery. A mutual friend confided that my wife had been cheating for three years with the family member, to whom she is now married.
A few days before discovering my wife’s infidelity, I made a friend whom I had only briefly met at a praise and worship gathering previously. He was a surgeon from South Africa that was very prophetic. He surgically guided me thru separating myself from my wife emotionally, spiritually and mentally. God showed him at our first meeting that my marriage was about to be revealed very clearly. That night of prophetic prayer blew open everything and paved the way for my new life.
In September 2003, I filed for divorce. I gave her a chance all throughout the divorce to repent, leave him and return to the marriage right up until the end. She was locked onto him and rejected the marriage. I lost everything financially we ever gained. In February 2004, I took what little I had and bought a home before the divorce was final, so I had a place to live with my three boys. Our divorce was final in March 2004. I was devastated. I kept cursing myself and saying “Paul? How could you let this happen? Again???” I was hard on myself.
During the divorce, my prophetic words were given to me. A few are below that defined my path forward:
- My surgeon friend had a vision of a brick house built on a poor foundation being blown to pieces. But God entered and was building it back on a new foundation, brick by brick. At first, I thought it was a word about how my marriage would be restored. But I came to realize that the house was me and the Lord was about to rebuild me. He’s a good builder.
- Every month when having to pay exorbitant alimony to someone who destroyed the marriage, I was naturally very angry. Living alone and being alone for the first time in my adult life, I would walk around in the house, which doubled as my office, and where I would frequently have conversations with the Lord. On one of the many tirade days that I had to pay my ex-wife, the Lord stopped me and said, “Paul, let it go. I am going to replace everything that was stolen from you and build your business seven times seven what was lost.” Not being one to argue with the Lord, I tucked that one in the front of the line of conversations. He reminded me of my faithfulness in giving, even when I had negative income. He honored my character and my heart to serve the kingdom.
- The Lord would frequently remind me, “Know that I am with you, and I love you.” That’s all it took to lift me up sometimes. Just knowing he was in my corner while I put my world in order, but this time, he was my partner.
Later in 2004, my mother passed away, and I had open heart surgery to repair a congenital heart valve defect. I was alone for the first time in my life. At this point, I had nothing to lose. I was broken, alone, exhausted, beaten, angry, sad, hurt and defeated. This was the low point in my old life where “if it was to be, it was up to me.” My self-reliance began to evaporate. I had to rely on the Lord. I would have to become one of those people that always needed prayer. My business faltered, I had to make new friends, and my parents were getting old and could not help me.
I packed all the bad into 2004 and made declarations in 2005 to walk thru my life with the Lord going forward. I felt new. I had a fixed heart. I had my boys 50% of the time, and I knew that the people in my life were not cheating on me. It was time to mend the wounds. By May 2004, I was desperate with my business. I had not won any new business since starting in July 2003. I was working hard, but with no success. Then in desperation, I cried out in prayer the Lord from my desk at home and said “Lord, if I don’t get business soon, I will have to get a job! And I cannot make enough money at a job to support my home with the boys, child support, and alimony! You HAVE to deliver on your promises!”
In June 2004, I was awarded my first project. It was a small one, but I figured it would go on average pay for $200 each month toward my mortgage. Then at the end of June, I was awarded a HUGE project with GM. This was crazy. When I look back on it in 2018 and still have this business project, it could ONLY have been the LORD delivering on his promise to give me that business project. I was underprepared, lacked technical knowledge in welding stainless steel, did not have a relationship with the supplier in China, did not have a relationship with the guy who I would partner with on that project and worst of all was running out of money from the line of credit my parents made available to me.
TURNING POINT OF SUCCESS
I was embarrassed. God promised me something, and I panicked. My faith did not look backwards or forward, it only saw the moment. However, God had started putting things in motion months before these projects were awarded. It took time for him to deliver with people making the decisions. It taught me to rely on him even more. This is where my new life revealed the order of hard work. Previously, “if it was to be, it was up to me, and God bless me along the way.” Now the proper order became “Let’s talk about the future Lord, I hear from you, follow that plan, and when it is revealed, I will work my brains out to make that plan happen.”
I often run into mailbox Christians that wait around for something to happen to solve all of their problems. What I learned is that if you pray and keep praying WITH the Lord about your plans, it’s a lot easier for him to make things happen because you are already in motion. I love the proverb “if a man does not work, he should not eat” because I turn it inside out with a promise and say, “if a many will work, he must be fed!” Proverbs also tell us “not to muzzle the Ox, while he is treading out the grain” and “a worker is worth his wage.” It amazed me how the God of the universe, which he created, slows down to answer our prayers, spend time with us and provide for us in light of our relative size of the world. That he answers prayer to the level of specificity and detail and timing is humbling.
In September 2004, I made a list of goals, prayed on it and forgot about it. Those goals included success for my business, my children to get saved and to meet a godly woman. At this point, I did not believe there were any godly women in the world except for the godly wives of my two friends from church. They were the prototypes for great wives, mothers, andwomen.
I was truly not looking to get into a relationship after just getting divorced. I was determined not to have a rebound relationship and not to have a woman serve as a Florence Nightingale to take care of me. I had to work out my wounds with the Lord, which I did deliberately.
However, In January 2005, I met a lovely young woman online. She was single, never married mom of one lovelydaughter. She was a champion survivor and Christian. She was as kooky as I was about the Holy Spirit. But why now Lord? Why so soon? I am still on the mend. I was cautious about moving too fast, but the relationship was so easy and moved along effortlessly. It seemed like I was in opposite-world compared to my previous marriage. After five months of seeing each other, I introduced her to my boys. By September 2005, we were engaged in Paris. We married in March 2006. She’s awesome and truly my better half. Her godly character is full of grace. The grace she exhibits towards me leads me to humility, especially when I am not playing nice. Much better than butting heads as in my past.
My business kept growing, and I won a lot of new business. All the while giving thanks and walking with God. When I go after a project, I always pray to win it. I lay hands on the computer before I send the quote and ask God to award this project to us. This sincerity has plowed the way for the business we have won since 2004, and it continues to produce for me in 2018 and win more and more, because I am walking with God in the business. Thankfulness and giving are the two key factors that drive its success.
In 2007, an opportunity to sell directly to GM opened from my other business relationships. I represented a company forGM and quickly gained them a large project. It was a long shot, but God was on our side. But what is even better is from the initial project, I picked up another group of parts to supply to GM which led me to form a partnership with two previous colleagues. That business today is the fulfillment of the prophecy about having the replacement of what was lostseven times.
There have been numerous times where I have been in an existential jam in my business, where I could not figure out a solution as an engineer nor as a business owner. It’s at those times that I finally get to the end of myself and ask God to solve the problem, and he did and does continually. It was 2008, and my customer told me that on the large original project with GM, that they wanted to change the design. I thought we might be able to develop the product, but I was not sure. The salesman in me, for fear of losing all of the business, told the customer we could implement the design change for savings to the customer. I won’t go into details except to say it involved molding plastic over a metal tube. When it came time to provide prototype parts, the factory in China had problems making parts. They could not get a reliable part produced from the tooling. My best guy was at the plant consistently trying to solve the problem.
My customer was getting frustrated, and I was facing the loss of the entire project. I hopped on a plane for China to see what could be done. Meanwhile, I prayed before liftoff, “Lord, I have no idea how to solve this problem. It is way beyond my experience, skills, and knowledge. You must provide a solution. You are in this with me. You have to deliver.” And off I went to China.
I arrived and was picked up at the airport and whisked off on a four-hour drive to the factory. Along the way, there were no positive responses from my best guy or from the factory representative. I was about an hour out of the factory, and I received a call on my mobile phone. It was from a guy from Germany that had been dispatched to meet me at the factory on behalf of the customer. He worked for the plastic supplier that was chosen by my customer. I had to use their plastic. We spent three torturous days on the shop floor in 102 degrees heat next to a smoking Hold Injection Molding Presstrying to figure out a solution.
At the conclusion, this gentleman dispatched from the customer concluded, that the design proposed by the customer was not possible to manufacture! I was exonerated. There is no way I could have come to that conclusion and presented it in a way that the customer would accept the position that their design was flawed. God delivered. Another example of God bailing us out. I make electric motors for exterior mirrors. My largest customer was getting complaints that their mirrors sold to a customer in Canada was getting failures, and my electric motors were failing. I won’t go into the engineering details other than to say the mirror glass would move to the right, then to the left and get stuck. It would not move after that. We have a clutching mechanism in the motors that prevents the motors from grinding the glass continually in either direction and burning out the motors.
Upon meeting with the customer and reviewing my parts, I spent weeks trying to solve this urgent issue with the factory in China with no success. Once again, I prayed “Lord, I have no idea what is causing the problem and have no idea how to solve it. You have to bail me out.” Off I go to China again. Two days of meetings at the factory and no results. The customer is getting frustrated back in the USA. On the way to dinner, I pray again for the solution. As we are talking about the issue with engineers from the plant, I have a memory of the page from my physics book about normal force vectors and apply that to the clutch. I explained the idea in my head to the engineers, and that solved the problem! It is with such specificity and clarity that the Holy Spirit will move on our behalf.
I could have probably solved both problems over time, burning a lot more resources and with a possible outcome of losing business. But because the Holy Spirit intervened with supernatural knowledge or action, it was an immediate solution. Along the way, my wife and I began attending a church where miracles happen, and we see and believe the Holy Spirit move regularly. We don’t take it for granted, but rather we expect healing and miracles and intervention to happen like it is a commonplace and normal. Our pastors pray with us for our family and business frequently. Especially when we have big problems to solve. The covering of such prayer is invaluable in business and family matters.
Recently, out of nowhere, prayed on a Monday morning, “Lord, make this week the biggest week of my business.” Didn’t know where that came from, and kind of forgot about it. It was a thought that was pushed in my head from nowhere. Wednesday night of that week, I received a call from my biggest customer who said, “we have been awarded a huge mirror project, and we want to work with you to select the best motors for the mirror.”
Remember that second huge project I won in 2004? It ends in 2019 due to a design change. I stand to lose a third of my income in June 2019. Panic and anxiety have gripped me since learning of this in mid-2017 trying to figure out how to replace that business we will lose. Well, the project for the new mirrors will more than replace the lost income from the 2004 project!!!
How could I have orchestrated such an event on my own? It goes back to prayer and believing that what you pray, God starts setting in motion. We don’t see it always because He has to work on other players in the solution. But when it comes together, we usually think that we only react at the result of the event. I have come to trust that the Lord is at work with us and will present the solution when it is ready. The result He brings is just the tip of the iceberg.
LONG TERM IMPLICATIONS
It’s not all fun and games and ice cream cones. Along the way in business, you are dealing with people. Buyers that don’t want to play nice. Supplier quality engineers that want to rip you apart, factories that do not deliver on time or have quality problems. Employees that don’t deliver. Disappointment after disappointment. So how do you deal with these issues?
The multiple solutions are the godly grace my wife shows me, which settles me and taught me to tolerate and deal the issue, and I also counsel with my pastor very honestly when I am frustrated. He prays with us and often gives us concreteadvice that is not intuitive, but the Holy Spirit laid it on him prophetically.
Most challenging of all is having partners. I have two businesses, one with partners and one without partners. The one with partners is sticky, messy, painful and unbalanced. I highly recommend never, ever, ever getting into business with a partner. If you must have partners, below are good guidelines. This is based on not being unequally yoked with unbelievers. I must add that being a believer does not mean the person will make a good partner. One of my partners is a believer, and one is not, he just doesn’t always believe the same way all the time.
- If you must have a partner, hold 51% or more of the voting. Do whatever you can to not break this rule. What seems like kittens and puppies, in the beginning, can end up being cats and dogs that bite down the road. If you are putting in your money, time and expertise on the line in the business, you want to have a majority vote in the company.
- Another option if you need to bring in a partner is that the first offer should be a profit-sharing partner, but not an equity sharing or not a voting privilege partner. This way you make all decisions and reward the profit-sharing partner for their contribution.
- Never get into a business where there is not a single majority shareholder. When you have three or more owners, nobody has the majority say, and it becomes a democracy and mob rule. This is where I made a mistake.
- If you cannot be 51% or more owner, cannot get the partner to only be a profit sharing partner and there are more than two partners, of which there is not a single majority shareholder, then put in as little as possible to gain partnership of 10% including voting rights. But know that if you have less than 50%, you have no real say in the direction of the company.
Situations have arisen in the past where my other two partners, to whom I split off 60% of my company to them, rose up against me. We were all friends at one point. Little did I know a divisive insurrection had mounted. I came home from China to get blasted by one of the partners I will call Napoleon. Just kidding. He is a problem, however. I pivoted, aghast, over to the other partner to say, “can you believe this guy?” Only to have him say yes and that he would rather have him as a partner instead of me. I was shocked, hurt and betrayed by both partners. It was the second most painful event in my life next to my divorce.
I immediately sought counsel with my pastor and some of the older men at church to gain understanding, wisdom and to talk me off the ledge. I was devastated. I thought my partners and I were on the same team. I was wrong. That event set of a whole new interface between me and them that exists today. In counseling with my pastor, he said to go in makingpeace and move on. Eat some crow for whatever its worth to keep the relationship going. It was hard to swallow, and to this day, I now realize it was the right thing to do to keep the business going. There was and is a lot of money at stake annually.
A few years later, thru much pain and misery on my end, playing by the rules, they again rose up against me. This time just like before, they had no good explanation, except that my difficult associate was not happy with me having my own business in addition to the partnership. They tried to force me out. After meeting with my pastor and praying, he advised to tell them in very strong language that I was going nowhere. I would like to have a good relationship with them and have friendships like we did not the beginning, but if they cannot have that, then all we would be is partners. I said my piece and held tight. They could not move me, and that advice was paramount to keep order.
However, the saying “people of integrity expect to be believed, and when they’re wrong, they let time prove them right” has come full circle. My antagonistic has morphed into a dysfunctional beast, and my other partner has finally admitted such. All of the partnership issues have flowed from the negative partner who is only a 20% partner. He withholds information and is controlling. He causes problems with staff and abuses his position. How does one deal with this case? Do you retreat and get walked on by your partners? Fight back when you’re outnumbered? Complain and look like a crying victim when the other partners are looking for blood and signs of weakness to vindicate their positions? No. The solution is prayer, soul searching and counsel with your pastor and trusted friends and advisors.
Recently, I asked my problem partner to copy me on all communication with the customer. I have asked for this information multiple times over the years since I handle sales. His response was “Not happening.” I was in shock. I immediately wanted to blister him, but I know I would fall into his game of aggression. So I prayed. A lot. God showed me how in Judo and Jujitsu, the aggressor’s energy toward you is used against them. In business, we must use theirs over confidence and against those that use a strength that they do not possess.
The solution the Holy Spirit showed me was instead of fighting him to communicate with me, which he just won’t do, I instead hold the key to his world by controlling the amount of business brought into the company. I can bury him into submission and still profit. If my motives are good, then this a sound approach. I don’t need to get all the informationand control everything as he does, my partnership operating agreement ensures I profit at everybody’s effort. Who am I to get in his way of control if he wants to do all the work? The end game is to profit from the company. He profits just like I do in the end.
It is important to prayer for the behavior and structure of your company and realize your strengths and use them wisely. It is also important to understand your weaknesses and find resources to improve or hire people who can do it better. You must put ego aside, and this is the biggest lesson of all that I have learned thru dialogues with the Holy Spirit. The results of this plan are still being realized, but at least it brings peace while the business entity can continue. The steps and process to create and grow a successful business include integration of education, such as my engineering degree, faith, but putting it in action thru prayer, a solid business model, and being a generous giver. It’s a judo move. Thanks, Holy Spirit.
I have wondered where the gumption and motivation to start a business from nothing came from, and at the worst possible moment of my life. I firmly believe that this is one of the gifts and talents the Lord instilled in me for business. Others have different gifts. Having identified this and then moving in this area has been one of the most satisfying parts of my life. It just comes naturally to me now. Nobody told me along the way “you can’t do that,” so I did it anyways out of ignorance, and it worked out. But honestly, I should have been blown out many times. When I look back over the business, there are many instances which should have killed the business, but instead, God’s provision and partnership kept us out of trouble. The easiest way to run a business is to seek counsel from other godly and experienced people around you, but most of all, get to the end of yourself as soon as possible on all your personal needs and take it to God. Be smart enough to be quiet and listen until God speaks in His still small voice or when He hits you over the head with inspiration. It might take a while but be patient, He will respond.
There have been great benefits to having business with good cashflow and profit. First, I can bless my local church with my tithe. This is the mechanism which drives my success. Second, I have used my travels in China to smuggle Bibles across the border from Hong Kong into southern China. We carried heavy backpacks and boxes manually across the border unloaded and reloaded with Bibles back and forth for days. I have met some incredible believers in the process. Also, having experience in business and finances allow me to help the body of Christ and other philanthropic needs.
WISDOM APPLIED TO PHILANTROPY
I have had to learn to throttle some of the needs because there is more need than I have money, but I help where I canwhen I can. I learned from a wise friend that you must learn the difference between people that are looking for a leg up vs. those looking for the next leg up. That led to several painful lessons.
The key theme of my business is “Live by Abundance, not scarcity” from John 10:10, that Jesus came to give life, and give it more abundantly. You must believe that there are unlimited opportunities in business and God’s provision. His resources are unlimited, and we have the right to access those resources. God is my provider, NOT GM, NOT customers. We have what we have because God was there along the way.
TRANSITIONED FROM CHURCH MINISTRY TO MARKETPLACE MINISTRY
In my opinion, the call to be a Marketplace Minister is one of the highest callings a person can receive. It’s often misconstrued as a second-rate calling or a thing that you can do instead of ministry, but the call to the marketplace ministry is a call to full-time ministry.
I’ve now had the privilege of owning 5 businesses in my short 33 years of life. My most successful business was started both out of want and necessity. I had stepped down from a managerial role at my place of employment to take on a more active role as a church employee. After being in that role for a short time, our membership fell off dramatically and my pay had to be cut to help the church survive. My pregnant wife and I were often left praying for provision and guidance, watching our bank account drop to single digits multiple times. God always provided, and we always had just enough, but our cash flow wasn’t enough to live on, so I left my place of managerial employment and went out to start my own business.
The move was both freeing and terrifying, it’s as if a part of me that had been dormant came alive at the possibilities of building a business venture while the other part screamed at me to find “steady work.” I embarked on a steady 7 day a week work schedule and bounced back and forth between trying to make a business fly and working at the church, often working a 10 to 12-hour day followed by a church event, which rolled right in to my next 10 to 12-hour work day. This critical point in my life was when I began to see God’s hand in business. I didn’t know exactly how to grow a business, so I just kept praying and dedicating it to God. I would search for other professionals online and go have coffee or a meal. God often seemed to bless that conversation and it would turn into a discussion about business. Soon I was busy working 40-60 hours a week, not including maintenance, accounting and billing.
After three years of doing this, full-blown burn out kicked in. I started under performing in both my business and at the church, and I knew something had to change. I began taking a day off and re-evaluating my ambitions, goals, and desires. My business was growing steadily, but it was time to reach for another level. I was so torn between what I defined as a “call to ministry” or a “call to the marketplace” that I spent months fasting and praying for an answer. That answer came in the form of a man named Brian. Brian introduced me to a completely new concept I had never, in 28 years of being in church, heard. The concept was that by being in the marketplace, I could simultaneously fulfill my call to ministry, pastoral and business. My mind was blown, and I began to devour every ounce of teaching I could find on the subject.
As the following weeks passed, I became more and more alive in my calling to the marketplace. It’s as if all the striving I had done, all the “stirring up passion” I had done, suddenly melted itself away in to a fiery, ultra-solid, deep love relationship with Jesus. It’s like I had finally married the King. Embracing this part of my calling can only be likened to what happens when you move from dating your girlfriend, to having a solid, loving relationship with your wife. I became reborn in my passionate pursuit of Jesus, although that passion looked much different than the artful expressions of worship I had previously used to dote on the Lord. I began to worship through my work. I worshiped through my conversation. I worshiped through servicing my clients and treating people well. For the first time in my life, I had experienced the type of worship and ministry I was created to express, and it felt wonderful.
I have a Kingdom business. I mean that I have dedicated my business to God and the guiding principles, business plan and employment strategies within it all purposely point to Jesus. We use Scripture to solve complicated problems and I often ask pastors for advice on what to do to get to the next level. God is over, around and through everything we do. This merging of both the church minister and the marketplace minister is what I believe we are supposed to become. On the spiritual side, I have regular intercessors who pray for me and my business. On the practical, I have opened my business to the prophetic and the most amazing things have happened because of it. There have been more than a few occasions where I will ponder a problem and a prophetic individual I have invited in to my life will call and say, “Hey, I had a dream about you last night and in that dream” more often than not, that prophetic person gave me an answer I believe to be straight from the heart of God.
My wife also introduced me to an idea that has moved me from stagnant to active many times. I like to call it “the blessing principle.” Instead of praying for an answer about which direction we should take our business, I often ask God to give us supernatural favor if the path we’re selecting is the correct one. When you pray that pray, some doors fly wide open while others slam abruptly shut!
I often see that church ministers and marketplace ministers seem to stand in opposition of each other. One always seems to be undervaluing the other while forgetting that both were created by God to fulfill a specific purpose. The marketplace minister isn’t just meant to make money for the church (although I believe in tithing), it’s also meant to be a ministry of its own. Similarly, I see marketplace ministers falling in to the trap of thinking they can build a ministry off of the “Hebrew translation of a word,” even though they’ve never studied Hebrew and don’t really understand the language. There’s a marriage to be had.
In my own business, I acknowledge that the church needs our money, our support and our knowledge of business while we need the church minister’s biblical insight and knowledge of historical facts to both draw in to a close relationship with Jesus and understand deep theological topics. A proper understanding of theology, in my opinion, can make or break a Christian and one of the only ways to do that is to study under an individual who devotes their life to understanding its nuances.
In summary, I believe that marketplace ministers have some of the best opportunities to affect real world change by meeting non-Christian people where they are. The marketplace is where the love of God that’s been worked deep in to your heart gets an opportunity to express itself to a world that desperately needs Him. While I have prayed for more non-Christians during a few years of owning a business than I have the entirety of my life, I recognize that the ministry portion happens in many more ways than just praying for people. It happens through my smiles, through my friendship, through my service and through my care to the people who choose to use my business. I’ve been able to employ people to give them and their families a better livelihood and we have been able to benefit other people’s businesses through connections I have formed. I’ve done all this while walking hand in hand with Jesus, allowing Him to guide me to each new step.
SUNDAY ADELEJA AND KINGDOM PRINCIPLES OF ECONOMICS
As we begin the next section of our examination of wealth and the mountain of business, we are going to look at advice that Pastor Sunday Adeleja gives in his books and on his blog about wealth creation and management. The bold emphasized words are actual topics that Adeleja addresses. Money Won’t Make You Rich. When I first saw Sunday Adeleja on our reading list, I was surprised, as Sunday’s views at first blush seem to run contrary to the idea of a massive supernatural transfer of wealth. Sunday doesn’t see money as a commodity that will somehow mystically begin appearing on our front lawns as Manna did for the former Hebrew slaves during the wilderness wanderings. That’s why Sunday’s observation of the Kingdom Principle that USUALLY, RICHES DO NOT COME SUDDENLY is so profound. Wealth accrual requires work. Don’t get me wrong, when it comes to the acquisition of wealth, Sunday believes that God can and does releasing blessings on people to acquire significant amounts of money, but he sees the ability to transfer wealth as a MASTERING OF THE LAWS OF MONEY, which is a law of finances (Kingdom Principles) to Sunday.
According to Sunday, we need to apply ourselves to learning the way money functions and then use it to increase itself through the working of the principles that apply naturally to the field of finances. In this view, money isn’t the result of a miracle; it is the product of labor. Money has to be earned or created through ingenuity and application of money matters on the mountain of finances. Wealth is transferred through work, not the miraculous. Money can be acquired miraculously, but that is typically the exception and not the norm. It’s like Manna. In individual seasons of desperation, God can and often do respond supernaturally to the needs of His children, but then the day of entry into the promised land takes place. As much want the promised land to be a place of ease, it isn’t.
Money can be like the promised land. It requires work and warfare to settle and to advance. This is also why Sunday encourages his followers to DON’T WAIT FOR MIRACLES. Under most circumstances, we are to be the miracle, or at least the doorway for prosperity to flow through as we learn how to earn money. Sunday sees that sitting in a seat in church waiting for a miracle provision to appear in our bank accounts as contrary to natural law, which is where he squarely places money.
One of his main frustrations comes from seeing believers in developing countries doing nothing more than exercising faith as they wait for money to appear. He sees one of his duties as teaching people how to create wealth, following the principles of wealth. He understands playing the Lottery as being synonymous with waiting for the prophecy of wealth transference to be fulfilled. He says both categories of people, lottery players and waiting on the Lord are the same, as both are wanting to win their wealth, not create their wealth. Sunday believes that WE NEED TO WORK TO MAKE MONEY AND BE READY FOR IT WHEN IT COMES. This is a good Kingdom Principle that follows the biblical principle of us making our plans, and God bless our plans.
All this plays into Sunday’s belief that MONEY IS A GOOD SERVANT, BUT A BAD MASTER. When we wait for money without working to change our circumstances as the Mountain of Business looms, money has become our master, not our servant. When money masters us through fear and frustration, our earning capacity is diminished. This has been the bane of many Christians.
I remember the last big Ponzi scheme that burned through the church in the early 2000’s. A lot of people I knew invested significant amounts of money based on the advice of pastor’s and Christian leaders who promised huge returns that were not realistic. People thought a transfer of wealth was happening. The only wealth that took place was the money that the schemers received who were the organizers of the fraud.
Earning wealth is far more effective than attempting to roll the dice and hit it big, which leads me to another one of Sunday’s Kingdom Principles, STABILITY, PEACE OF MIND AND JOY IN THE FAMILY ARE FAR MORE IMPORTANT THAN MONEY. This is the arena of real wealth. Family and peace, not the hectic nature of fearing money. Know the kind of real wealth. It is found in the intangibles, not in money. Wealth and finances are fleeting, however, if you know that god has spoken to about being rich and you understand its burden and purpose of Kingdom expansion, do what the rich do all the time.
TRUE MILLIONAIRES KNOW HOW TO EXPLORE THE TIME, TALENT AND RESOURCES OF OTHERS TO THE MAXIMUM. There is great wisdom in this advice in this Kingdom Principle that transcends the topic of money. Study the habits and practices of those who have succeeded on the Mountain of Influence you are attempting to conquer. When Sunday tells us that KNOWLEDGE OF THE LAW OF MONEY IS THE KEY DEMAND FOR WEALTH, he is giving us sound advice. Did I say that I believe that studying the laws of finances is key to transferring wealth from darkness into the Kingdom of our Christ? The logical follow up to the need to explore is the need to be mentored by other people who have found success in economics. That’s why Sunday says that TO OBTAIN THIS KNOWLEDGE, FIND MENTORS, COACHES, TEACHERS, AND PARTNERS FOR WEALTH to be attained. Knowledge is power. Great knowledge creates great power.
I remember when Dick Mills prophesied over me when I was about two years old in the Lord. He told me God had shown him that I was being given the unique ability to read the Word and understand it in ways that people spend their lifetime trying to achieve. He continued by telling me what the impact would be as I diligently applied myself to following Jesus. I could have taken his prophesy and sat back waiting for it to manifest, or I could work with the word to create a platform for its fulfillment. I chose the latter and became a lifelong learned from the Word. Whether in the Word and the Mountain of Religion or money and the Mountain of Business, study produces fruitfulness. This is exemplified in Sunday’s Kingdom Principle that THE PROCESS OF PRODUCTION IS MORE BENEFICIAL THAN THE PROFIT WE RECEIVE IN THE END. Hard work and diligence to the tasks at hand work. Finally, follow
Sunday Adelaja is a fantastic servant of the Lord. His insights into life and business are fascinating, as they were formulated in the “wild west” atmosphere of post-Communist Ukraine. Clara and I had the good pleasure to visit Ukrainein the early days following the nation’s liberation from the Soviet Union. As the people grappled with the transition into a new way of doing life apart from totalitarianism, business opportunities were everywhere, as a huge void was left in the society. People had choices to make, and money was available to be made. For those who are interested, Sunday has an ongoing blog that addresses a wide range of topics, including his insights on money and business.
Sunday’s warning to PURSUE RIGHTEOUSNESS, CONTENTMENT, AND INTEGRITY. DEDICATE YOURSELF TO ATTAINING THESE VIRTUES AND GOD WILL FIND IT EASIER TO TRUST YOU WITH WEALTH AND MONEY BECAUSE YOUR HEART IS RIGHT is sound biblical advice that will do anyone heeds the admonition well in life.
Sunday’s BASIC LAWS OF LIFE AND MONEY are exemplary. The observation that GOD MADE US TO LIVE BY LAWS, NOT BY MIRACLES OR MYSTERIES IS AN INTENTIONAL OBSERVATION. As a proponent of the supernatural, I also have to say that I tell people that they should never be positioned to need a miracle. When we need the supernatural, it means that in most cases we are in trouble and up against a wall that is obstructing our progress. It may be a boring Kingdom Principle, but it is a good one.
I’m like a lot of my fellow cohorts as I find myself deficient in saving money. My experience tells me that money is more comfortable to spend than it is to save, bur Sunday tells that THE FIRST THING TO DO WITH MONEY IS TO SAVE. I need to reconsider this Kingdom Principle. The Principle that exemplifies knowledge as the real source of wealth over income is also profound. Income determines the limitations of how you live. Education opens up wealth beyond income if you are willing to implement the risks good knowledge presents to us in investing. INCOME DOES NOT DETERMINE WEALTH; KNOWLEDGE DOES true.
Setting aside Sunday’s disdain for Ponzi schemes and word of faith preachers who he categorizes as gaining wealth from their audience without imparting necessary skills to increase the wealth they are promised for sowing seed in to the soil, Sunday’s admonition to not steal from God is essential. When Sunday says that we should never take what is not ours, DON’T STEAL. PAY YOUR TITHES AND TAXES. FOR A SECURE FUTURE, PAY ALL YOUR DEBTS. Great advice, especially in the aspect of paying our tithes. If there is a significant weakness in Wagner and Silvoso’s approach to Kingdom finances, it is their shift away from the need to spend our tithe to God. We don’t tithe to businesses.
We tithe to our storehouse. Shawn Bolz is guilty of the same sin of encouraging people to be restrictive in the giving of tithes to their church. I find this to be troubling, and it has the potential of returning the church to the same sorry state that the Jewish people found themselves in when God had Malachi prophesy to them about bringing the tithe into the storehouse. I suspect that some of these voices who encourage reassessing the tithe are based on gaining a platform that transcends their local church and the need to expand their ministries by getting people to tithe to them and the ministriesthey represent, and not to their local churches. If that is the case, they are no better than the TV preachers Sunday Adelaja condemns for offering returns that cannot be produced.
There are DANGERS OF THE LOVE OF MONEY, but those dangers do not negate the biblical message of becoming faithful with our giving and tithing. I recognize that there can be danger in a person attending a church and tithing so much that the church doesn’t know what to with the windfall, but that danger is easily mitigated by the creation of oversight that regulates the spending of the money. That’s how great churches have been built that massive releaseamounts of money into world missions, church planting and other Kingdom activities that exist beyond the churches physical address in a community.
Sunday’s Kingdom PRINCIPLES FOR GREATNESS are worth noting. WHEN WE LEARN TO INVEST OUR TALENTS WE ARE ENTRUSTED WITH MORE, THE REWARD OF BEING TRUSTWORTHY IS MORE TRUST, THE STEWARD WHO BURIES HIS TALENT(S) LOSES WHAT HE HAS, AND HE WILL SEE IT GIVEN TO ANOTHER, LIFE IS BASED ON LAWS, AND UNDERSTANDING THE LAWS OF MONEY WILL BRING GREATNESS (WEALTH).
TRUTHS FROM THE PARABLE OF THE TALENTS also contains excellent Kingdom Principles by Sunday. The parable includes truths about investing and the wise implementation of the use of money. When the church regains the value of money, we can become a force in helping to eliminate poverty and discrimination. When we look for ways to bless others, we gain. When we hoard, we lose. Proper investitures create multiplication of finances. That’s the secret of Wall Street.
TITHING AND THE BLESSING OF SUPPORT
“Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘in what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings. 9 You are cursed with a curse, for you have robbed Me, even this whole nation. 10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and try Me now in this,” says the Lord of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven
And pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.
11 “And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, so that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground, nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field,” says the Lord of hosts; 12 “and all nations will call you blessed, for you will be a delightful land,” says the Lord of hosts… “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone. 24 Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!.. He who isfaithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much. 11 Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? 12 And if you have not been faithful in what is another man’s, who will give you what is your own? 13 “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”
Martin Luther once said that a Christian must be converted three times: the first time for his mind; the second time for his heart; and the third time for his wallet, and of the three the most difficult conversion is of the wallet. Which leads us to ask the question, whose insurance program are we submitted to, the Lord’s insurance system or the world’s? Your “home” represents the environment you live in, and insuring its durability depends on whether it’s built according to the Lord’s system or the world’s. Jesus is teaching here on stewardship and money management.
When Jesus says that the children of this world are wiser than the children of light (Luke 16:8) He doesn’t mean they are smarter. Wisdom and intelligence are not the same thing; wisdom is what you do with what you know. The world recognizes that people in its system are primarily concerned with themselves, so they take care of “number one” first. It isn’t even considered selfish; just logical. But for people who have a relationship with the Lord (the real “Number One”) it is inconsistent to be grateful for salvation but still preoccupied with looking out for yourself.
Jesus said that the children of the world are wiser than the children of light because they always operate on their system’s principle—I’ve got to look out for myself. The children of light have been given a principle by Father God: If you obey Me, I will always look out for you. Yet many people also think they need to watch out for themselves just in case God slips up. The study helps us to look at: 1) God’s Order: Being in alignment with God’s order; 2) God’s Time: Tithing is timeless; 3) God’s Deliverance: The tithe drives back the power of the curse; and 4) God’s Order: Being in alignment with God’s order.
Jesus punctuates this by saying (v. 10) He who is full of faith is to properly manage the least. Jesus is referring to the least amount that we offer to God, the tithe. the tithe. The tithe is ten percent. If we manage the least, we will also be a good steward in the way he manages the much that remains, the ninety percent. Being unjust means you’re not in alignment with God’s order. Money has nothing to do with salvation. But money is a real issue in all our lives. It’s ludicrous to suppose that God would be relevant to life and not teach us how to manage our money. God is very practical.
Money is not the fundamental issue in this teaching. The fundamental issue here is your relationship to God. The objective of this message is to see people released in God’s order and the fulfillment of His covenant work in that part of your life. You don’t buy salvation, but having come to Christ, we make decisions. Just as we come into right alignment with God under the canopy of His protection when we receive Jesus Christ as Savior, there’s a canopy of His provision and covenant that involves the issues of this life, of which money is a fundamental part. If you’re not justified here, or “unjust” in this, then you’re not under the canopy, and you can only do as well as you can make it work for yourself.
The same would be true if you didn’t come under the covenant of salvation. If you don’t depend on Christ as Savior, you’re left with trying to be your own Savior (which you can’t). If you try to figure out how to manage money on your own, without coming under God’s covenant, you’ll find eventually it doesn’t work.
What constitutes and releases the true riches?
How much money you make isn’t the issue. There are people who make a lot of money and don’t acknowledge God, but their money doesn’t make them happy. Money isn’t the answer to anybody’s problems. Peace, confidence in life and fulfilling relationships, those are the true riches. True riches (Luke v. 11) have to do with being an effective person in prayer, an effective parent, and a contributor to reconciliation and peace in your relationships and your society. Do you think there’s any deposit of Christ’s true riches that are going to be manifested in your presence if you haven’t come to terms with the fundamentals of covenant? Jesus is saying that you block the release of things when you are not in alignment. Verses 12 and 13 underscore this.
FAITH FINANCES AND FIRST AND TEN
The term “First and Ten” is not only a football term. Old Testament Jews, from their first fruits, gave ten percent as an offering to the Lord. This was the tithe. The principle of tithing actually predates Moses and the Law by several hundred years. In Genesis 14:18-20 we read that Abraham (then known as Abram) gave one-tenth to the priest Melchizadek, Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High. 19 And he blessed him and said: “Blessed be Abram of God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth; 20 and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand.” And he gave him a tithe of all.
We also read that Jacob gave one-tenth to God (Genesis 28:22), And this stone which I have set as a pillar shall be God’s house, and of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to You. However, it wasn’t until the time of Moses that this practice was written into the Law. In Leviticus 27:30, we read that the tithe belongs to the Lord, And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord’s. It is holy to the Lord, and Malachi 3:8 tells us that withholding the tithe is the equivalent to robbing God.
As Christians, we are under Grace, not bound by the Law, but the principle of the first fruits and proportional giving remain (Proverbs 3:9, 1 Corinthians 16:2). There is nothing in the New Testament that would have us believe otherwise. Even the Lord Jesus said that the practice of tithing should be followed (Matthew 23:23). Admittedly, there is not much direct teaching in the New Testament concerning the tithe. One reason may be because the Lord wants a love relationship with us, not just a legal obligation from us. However, that surely does not mean we should do less in a love relationship than they did in the Old Testament under the Law.
Larry Burkett, a well-known Christian financial teacher and counselor said, “The way you handle money is an outside indicator of an inside spiritual condition.” Tithing is a reminder to you, of the intent of your heart, and the place of importance He has in your life. The money and time you give to Jesus are the best indicators of how much you love Him. You need that first and ten to continue the drive to “press on toward the goal to win” (Philippians 3:14).
GODS TIME AND THE TIMELESSNESS OF THE TITHE
It is absolutely wrong to say that tithing isn’t in the New Testament. To begin with, tithing doesn’t have to do with the Law. Tithing was enfolded in the Law because tithing is timeless—it is pre-Law and post-Law. By the Law, we mean the Law of Moses, the era of the schooling to prepare people to be brought to Christ.
The principle of the tithe was established in Abraham (Genesis 14). Abraham acknowledged that everything he had came from the One who made it all, and he paid tithes to a priest named Melchizadek, mentioned in Hebrews in the New Testament as a specific representative in type of Jesus Himself. Abraham, in principle, prophetically, acknowledged the Lordship of Christ through tithing before there was any Law. Now Jesus is here to fulfill the Law and to complete it.
In Matthew 23, Jesus has no kind words for the Pharisees, who were small-minded religious purists. In verse 23, He sets in contrast two things about them: You don’t show justice, mercy or the goodness of God to people, and yet you will demand from your wife a tithe of the spices she picks from the garden in order to satisfy the Law, while you neglect the “weightier matters” of people who are needy and hurting. Jesus tells the Pharisees they ought to be dealing with these bigger issues, and then He adds: and don’t leave the other undone.
Jesus reinforces the timeless principle of tithing. Jesus has ushered into the New Testament, the new covenant, the order of the tithe. The tithe isn’t a legal demand to earn God’s pleasure or buy His salvation, but the Lord calls us to it, and by our obedience, allows for a covenant release.
What is your financial discipleship in the light of God’s word?
1. Do you recognize the tithe is a means of releasing God’s blessing in many areas of your life?
The tithe doesn’t just release financial blessings. When you come under the covenant of giving, just like when you come under the covenant of healing, or of praise and worship, a new dimension of blessing is released in your life.
2. Do you understand that the tithe is non-negotiable?
Is it a practice for the New Testament believer? It was a systematic procedure in the early Church to bring their giving on the first day of the week (1 Corinthians 16:2). You may not be paid every week, so you can’t tithe every week, but you tithe regularly and bring it when you gather with believers.
3. Can the percentage be redefined?
The tithe is the Lord’s (Leviticus 27:30), and that means ten percent is the Lord’s. The word tithe means ten percent. The tithe isn’t yours to negotiate with. You can’t tithe twenty percent of your income; you are tithing ten and giving ten. Nor can you arbitrarily change it to less.
4. If God doesn’t need it, why does He require it?
Because we need the test of our faith, and the growth in trusting the Father, and He actually does need it for the corporate churches ministry management.
5. Is the tithe something that is yours to distribute however you want?
Scripturally the answer is no. It is important to sort out in your mind what is tithing and what isn’t, in light of the Word of God. It can sound legalistic, but technically, tithing isn’t giving; the tithe, ten percent, is the Lord’s share in the covenant. We get ninety percent. That’s a good deal, especially because the Lord says He’ll not only make up that ten percent, He’ll see to it that we prosper.
6. What about giving to the needy?
Helping a needy person is a joyous thing to do, but it doesn’t come out of your tithe. Jesus said, The poor you will always have with you; whenever you can, help them (Matthew 26:11). He left it up to our sense of mercy to care for people. Proverbs 19:17 says that he who gives to the poor, lends to the Lord. That tells us it isn’t part of the tithe, or God wouldn’t have called it a loan. And when a loan is repaid, it is with interest. God pays very high interest.
7. Where do you bring the tithe?
The Bible says into the storehouse. You bring it to the church you go to, where you get your spiritual food, where your home base is in Christ.
GODS DELIVERANCE AND THE RELEASE FROM THE CURSE
The most complete passage in the Bible on tithing is in Malachi 3:8-12. Reading the Book of Malachi is like reading today’s newspaper, there are problems of child abuse, mixed up ideas about marriage, divorce; people are tired of being godly, and durable values are going down the drain. Those who know the Lord have begun to complain about having to give.
The tithe makes a way to rebuke or drive back (v. 11) the corrosive, devouring power of the curse (v. 9). The “curse” isn’t something God puts on you to get even. “Cursed” means that you try to manage for yourself. If you’ve got a purse or a pocket with holes in it; things drain out fast. “If it’s not one thing, it’s another,” and then, it’s not just the problem of money—it’s all the pain, irritation, anguish, stress and strife over money that messes up homes and families.
God doesn’t need our money, nor is He threatening us. When you don’t tithe, you don’t come under the covenantprogram, and the covenant is His blessing. Take the following quiz and see whether or not your “home” is well insured. Growth in giving has to do with recognizing you’ve got a Father, and He’s going to take care of you.
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