The Stumblingblock of their Iniquity
Wrongheaded People see Silver as Evil
Silver Stock Report
by Jason Hommel, April 9, 2008
Some Christians just don't know any better and
have not yet done the study (which means they are spiritually
immature), while others have been lied to (which means they are
deceived). But thankfully, those who continually seek truth ought to
be able to change their minds (which is what repent means) when presented
with what the scriptures really say; and this article is for those who
seek to understand some of the more perplexing Bible verses which seem to
be against silver and gold. I present this article as a means for
Husbands and Wives to go over together, so that they can come to an
agreement with regards to family finances, and to help understand the
great spiritual blessings of taking dominion over God's creation and
provision of honest weights and measures of silver and gold. My wife
has also had to come to grips with my job that I do in the "monetary
world", and has had difficulty understanding how what I do lines up with
I will start with one of the most difficult verses that people often ask me about:
After my wife heard my explanation once, she had a joyful burst of insight, and wisely summarized, "Their misunderstanding of what gold and silver are supposed to be used for has led them to be slaves to our current monetary system!"
For the longest time, I had difficulty understanding the last part of this verse, where it says "because it is the stumbling block of their iniquity". I wrongly thought it was saying that silver and gold were somehow evil, because it seems to describe the metals as a "stumblingblock" of their sin, like it caused people to sin. I knew it was not saying this, because it does not say that anywhere else in the Bible, and the Bible wants us to use honest weights and measures in commerce, and so on. But I was simply at a loss to explain it, and I put it off until later. I'm excited that I finally figured out that perplexing verse, after nearly ten years of seeking.
First of all, a stumblingblock is not evil, it's only mis-perceived as evil. Here's an example: Jesus dying for our sins is described as a stumblingblock.
To the Jews, Jesus is like a boogyman, or an evil or misguided
false prophet that they don't understand, maybe because they were
never taught by their Rabbis that Jesus fulfilled over 300 prophecies from
the Hebrew Bible, and here are two links if you would like to investigate
The stumblingblock cannot be blamed. But people do tend to blame the rock upon which they trip. In Psychology, they call this the "fundamental attribution error", whereby people who trip on a rock, blame the rock. But when people see another person trip on a rock, they say the other person is clumsy.
So, the verse in Ezekiel is saying that some people will blame silver and gold for their own troubles; but their own sinful perspective, their own iniquity, is what makes silver and gold into evil things for them, because they are blind to the truth. The ultimate expression and final fulfillment of this wongful view that is held by the majority of the world will come in the form of the prophecy of Revelation 13, about the mark of the beast, the 666.
But God's created provision of .999 fine silver and gold, which are the opposite of the 666 system, cannot be evil. Inanimate objects cannot sin, nor do anything wrong; they don't do anything.
Only people can sin, or make mistakes, or "miss the mark", or go into debt. (Those are other definitions of "sin".) Interestingly, people who are in debt are the least capable of appreciating silver, because they cannot see how they can afford to hold onto a "useless" luxury item when there is debt that needs to be repaid!
According to world experts, there is about $50 trillion of debt in the world, and only $5 trillion of gold, and probably only about $0.1 trillion worth of silver. Therefore, it would be foolish to try to sell gold and silver today to pay down debt, or other people's debts. If you have gold and silver, do not spend them to give money to people who are in financial trouble and who are in debt; because there is not enough gold in the world to pay down debts today.
I finally understood this verse in Ezekiel due to seeing the overall wrongheaded perspective of the occasional person who emails me with their claim that silver and gold are evil, or that owning silver and gold are evil actions. Almost everything they have to say about silver and economics is totally wrong, and they also misunderstand other verses that I will cover, below.
I finally also realized that Ezekiel's prophecy is not only applicable for the future 7 year tribulation, or "Day of the Lord". Many prophetic events happen recurringly, partially, throughout man's history. For example, in the book of Judges, the people went from freedom, to being put under tribute and paying taxes to foreign powers, about every 40 years.
For me, while I had trouble understanding that part about how silver could be a "stumblingblock", it was much easier to put a time and a place to this prophecy, which I long ago was able to place during the coming and future 7 year tribulation, after the rapture, during this time will come the 666 mark of the beast of Revelation 13. I wrote about my view of that in 2001:
Gold and Silver in Bible Prophecy 12-01
There is a recurring theme that happens to men as described in this verse from Ezekiel. After men reject gold and silver and all the basic economic laws of honesty and freedom that they embody and teach, poverty tends to follow. We saw that in the U.S. during the great depression of the 1930's, when gold was outlawed in the U.S. in 1934, and taxes were high, and trade was restricted. We saw it recently this year in Zimbabwe, when private property was confiscated, and when merchants were not allowed to charge free market prices for their goods.
People who have memorized all the institutional lies about silver and gold, and made them a part of their own belief system, have the worst trouble. They who accept without questioning what they are taught in business and economics classes in college believe all the lies told to justify the current system of paper money, and therefore may feel that silver is evil, that silver leads to poverty, that silver is the embodiment of all that could be wrong and primitive with an economic system, because everything they think about silver is wrong.
They wrongly think:
And the wrong views continue, such that they ultimately think there is no way we could ever return to using silver as money, despite the fact that the fundamental nature of silver is money, and despite the fact that money is at least three things:
1. a store of value
We are using silver as money when we use it as a store of value; simply by putting into a safe, and not doing anything at all with it. That's using silver as money; as a store of value. It is much more important to use silver as a store of value than anything else right now. Why spend it, when others will not appreciate it? Sure it's great if you offer silver to others, but don't feel guilty if others won't accept it, we have no command by the Lord to put this stumbling block into the way of sinners who can't appreciate it.
I'm also coming to realize more and more that money and debt are two entirely different things; only one is property, the other is a promise.
But there are a group of people who think that because silver is money, it can be borrowed and lent, just like regular money, with nothing wrong about that; but they are woefully wrong, and their folly will be exposed. This includes Jeff Christian, President of the CPM group, who claims he helped pioneer futures contracts in silver. This includes Jon Nadler, who worked hard to develop and market products for Kitco and the Perth Mint.
While I'm clarifying Ezekiel, I feel I should clarify several other common verses that are bought up by Christians who have wrong views about silver and gold, and who forget that our commission is to set the captives free and to proclaim liberty throughout the land so that we may be fruitful and multiply and to take dominion over God's creation.
The only Biblical way to store wealth is in some form of property, such as silver, gold, land, food, or other goods, or investments with other people, and we are not called to invest in and support frauds such as paper money.
The following are scriptures that Christians often mis-interpret, as if saving gold and silver are bad. (What follows is my clarification.)
Some think that money is the root of all evil, and if gold is money, then gold must be evil. But the verse does not say that, it says the "love" of money is the root of all evil. And that is translated wrong, it does not say "love", it's really speaking of the "lust/greed/averice" of money. It is the lust, or covetousness, of money that is the root of all evil. It is when men are willing to break all of God's other laws to get money because of unchecked greed, that the greed for money is the root of all evil. After all, greed, or coveteousness is a violation of the last commandment:
Furthermore, I have outlined how the use of paper money has led to the violation of each one of the ten commandments.
But the appreciation of money, the use of money, is not evil, if it is used to create fruitfulness; but can be evil if you are paying other people to violate the commandments.
Here is another often misunderstood verse:
Some think Matt 6:19 means that we, as Christians, can't store money for the future, despite other clear verses that show that to be a virtue, such as Matthew 25, Dueteronomy 28:8, Proverbs 21:20, Proverbs 6:6-8, and Proverbs 30:24-25.
It is good to store up money to further the gospel kingdom; as ministry and service costs money.
Jesus also warns against storing money in a location where thieves are known to break in and steal--this would include banks, which are institutions of theft. Banks are the modern day "money lenders" in the Temple whose tables Jesus overturned, the modern thieves, because they only keep a fraction of deposits on hand. The Federal Reserve is stealing value from people who hold paper money or bonds in banks through inflation. (Hint: Do not store your precious metals in a safety deposit box in a bank. Why store it in the viper's den, where theives are known to break in and steal, or where laws can change and they can assess or tax or steal the contents of such a box in the future?)
Buying gold or silver is a way to store up treasures in heaven, since buying gold is an act of righteousness and obedience and dominion, and is a rejection of false weights and measures, and is a rejection of usury. Neither moth nor rust affect silver and gold.
Here is another often misunderstood verse:
Some think this means that Christians should live in poverty. Not so. There were rich disciples.
Christians are called to be able to relieve the poverty of others, and that takes wealth. How can you have extra to give to others, unless you have extra to give, or more than enough for yourself? (2 Corinthians 8 speaks on this, the giving of one's abundance, or surplus.)
The whole point of free trade and capitalism is to be able to trade away the surplus of your production. Matt 6:1-4 is about giving alms for the poor. I believe that to "serve mammon, or money" means making money your master instead of making God your master. We are called to master our money, to make our money serve us, instead, and take dominion, once again.
I believe Matt 6:24 is warning about how you must have a right view of money; that the wrong view puts money in front of God, the right view puts God first, us second, and money third.
Furthermore, consider those who are in debt. All who are in debt are serving a different master, they are serving their present and past selves as they seek to repay the money they borrowed and spent in the past, rather than serve the God of the past, present and future, and they enslave their future selves as they go into debt.
And how can you give to others while you are in debt? To do so means that you take away from what is due to your lender.
Next, the parable of the Talents is often also misunderstood as being "against owning gold" since the evil servant burried a gold bar; but, in fact, it is the clearest example of how we are to take dominion and be fruitful and multiply while the master is away.
Some just think it's wrong to store wealth in the form of gold. However, gold and silver are the only things you can use as money that you can weigh out and measure. An unjust weight and measure, such as the dollar, remains an abomination.
Why is the evil servant evil? First of all, the talent was not his money, it was his master's money! His master was sowing with him, giving him money to be wisely invested. A "talant" was 66-90 pounds of precious metal. It was a large amount of money. The master, representing Jesus, acted as a capitalist, who was investing his money in the man's ability to invest money. (Like an investor who buys a silver stock fund, that in turn, invests in stocks.) But the evil servant did not respect his master's capitalist ways; and he made a false accusation, he said the master reaped where he did not sow. But the master was sowing into the man, rather than into the ground! So, in a sense, the evil servant valued himself as less than dust, because his false accusation implied that it would be better to sow into the ground than into himself!
The silver or gold became a stumbling block to him, because his heart thinking wrong things.
The capitalist who invests with men is not doing an evil thing as the evil servant accused. The evil servant represents a man who despises capitalism, the foundation of which is private property. He despised his master's ways, and he was covetous of his master's potential gain. But meanwhile, as one of his master's servants, he was consuming some of his master's wealth, just to live! He was lazy and didn't want to work for anyone else's benefit, but felt no guilt about taking benefits from others.
But all work, to be profitable, must be to the benefit of other men!
So, the story does not condemn storing gold, the story is an overwhelming support of all the many principles of Biblical Capitalism, which is different than the so-called capitalism we have today that is dominated by moneylending and fraudulent weights and measures!
Some people wrongly think that Matthew 25:14-28 justifies usury, because the master says to the evil servant: "you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest."
But this is not a justification of usury, it is a condemnation. Clearly, the master could have deposited his money with the usurers himself; he didn't need a servant to do that for him. But the master clearly wanted to try to get a better return than with the usurers, and expected that to be possible, which is why he trusted his servant, instead. Also, that would teach and test his servant about the nature of productivity. He even expected his most lazy servant, to whom he entrusted the least money, to do better than the local usurers.
The comparison of the evil servant to the usurers does not justify usury. It is a way to highlight the comparable evil of the evil servant. For example, if a man had a wife who cheated on him by sleeping with someone else for free, and then, to highlight the evil of that, her husband bitingly remarked that she should at least have charged the man like an honest harlot would, that's no justification of the practice of harlotry, and the man is clearly not saying he simply wanted his wife to get paid! But rather, it is assumed that harlotry is bad in such an example, otherwise, the comparison and excoriation makes no sense.
It would make no sense to say to the evil servant that he "should have at least put the money into a stock that went up ten times," because that's very hard to do. To show the evil servant his own evil, the comparison has to be to something that is actually evil, such as depositing money with the usurers.
Some ask about Mark 10:17-29; Jesus told a man to give away all his money to the poor.
Mark 10:17-27 leads many people to think that if you are rich, then you can't get into heaven. But Jesus never said that. Note the last part in the next verse:
It seems to me that Peter was looking for a pat on the back. Peter was saying that he and all the disciples had done exactly what Jesus was asking the rich man to do. Peter was probably expecting Jesus to say something like, "Yes, Peter, and that's exactly why I will give you eternal life, well done."
But Jesus didn't say that, either. Jesus' response is rather a correction, not a confirmation that Peter understood anything significant. Jesus says plainly that real, tangible, physical wealth will come to all who leave it all behind to follow Jesus, and that the real wealth comes now, in this world, a hundreds times as much!
It is far harder to believe Jesus's last statement, that you will get 100 times more than you leave behind if you follow him. It is much easier to "condemn the wealthy for being wealthy," which is not the lesson at all, and is a misunderstanding.
Jesus's concluding remarks prove that having money does not exclude one from heaven, since it is a result of pursuing the kingdom of heaven.
In fact, in Matthew 25:14-30, the earlier parable of the talents, echoed in Luke 19:12-26, Jesus makes it clear that having money and managing it well is to be rewarded with authority over cities.
We are to be faithful and wise with money, to be rewarded with both worldly and spiritual blessings as Luke says in Chapter 16.
So, perhaps the real question is, "Why did Jesus tell that particular man in Mark 10 to give up his money?" And perhaps another question is, "Why didn't Jesus tell all other rich men to give up their money, such as Joseph of Arametheia, who burried the body of Jesus after his death?" And why didn't the disciples, once they became apostles, teach that people who wanted to become Christians had to give all their wealth to the poor?
Here is a possible explanation for why that particular man had to give away his wealth. It looks to me like it was conditional for that one man. According to the law, theives had to pay back stolen money:
We do not know the source of the man's money in Mark 10. As
others have noted, the man was "self-righteous", boastful, probably a
liar, claiming to follow all the commandments. I claim I'm
responsible for breaking all 10 of them daily, merely in using paper
money, as I did here:
But if the man's money was tainted money, earned unjustly from the poor, then Jesus was telling the man to obey the law, and to get rid of it by giving it back to the poor. I think it was probably a situational case, and the further details of the case are revealed in how the man presented himself to Jesus, as a righteous man.
Here are more condemnations of the "self-righteous man". Matthew 9:9-13 "I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners".
The man who said he followed all the commandments
was defintely a liar, since the Bible testifies that all men are
sinners. Even Psychologists add a specific question to their
tests to determine if people are liars. They simply ask, "Have you
ever lied?" If the person says, "No", then they know that the person
is a liar.
Gold and silver do not rust, they do not "canker". How then can such rust be a witness, and against whom? This is a witness against the moneylenders, who lend out gold in our day, to depress the price and control the market, to prop up the false value of their currencies. The current economic system, which is so far away from true Biblical Capitalism, is filled with ways that the "hire of the laborors" is "kept back by fraud", including the following:
1. Paying wages every 2 weeks, instead of the "daily wage" of Lev
For James 5 to actually be a condemnation there has to be a way to pay wages righteously. Wages are supposed to be paid in full, with payment in full, and not promises to pay, and the only things that can be used for payment in full are an honest weight and measure of silver and gold. So, once again, upon full examination, we see that it is impossible for James to be condemning gold and silver; he is supporting the honesty of using silver and gold in commerce, and James is condeming usury and wage withholding.
The paper dollar itself today is a defaulted and broken promise to pay a distorted measure of silver or gold.
Thus, the advice to "buy gold refined in the fire" is a very appropriate, literal and spiritual message for Jesus to give to the Church of our age that is "rich" with so many things, but has so little real silver and gold, and is so lukewarm. Buying literal physical gold is a spiritual action, that carries with it the full embodiment of so much of Bible Prophecy, and Biblical Law about the importance of honest weights and measures.
So, what are the rich called to do? Are the rich called to give all their money away? No.
When preaching, the disciples were told to not bring any money with them when preaching. This assumes they have money to take, and it would make it impossible for them to give money away.
So, what are the rich men, who are righteous, called to do? Communicate. Preach. Help people.
We are called to communicate, to share the good
news, to do good deeds; to preach, to inspire, to help. I hope I