Rabbi’s Reflections – Sunday, November 15, 2020

Shavuah Tov,

Daily Bread, reading plan by Lars Enarson (https://www.thewatchman.org/)

Sun 15-Nov-2020 28th of Cheshvan, 5781

Ge 25:19-26:5 Jdg 16 Ps 39 Mt 27:32-66 (Ro 10)

Make Yeshua Your Financial Advisor

by Dr. and Senator Raymond Finney

INTRODUCTION: We all need money to live. We spend a major portion of our lives earning money– and, then, we want even more. We may make money an idol (Mammon). We may spend more time pursuing money than we spend with our families. We may think more about making money than we spend thinking about God. We may covet the amount of money others have. 

YESHUA’S NAMES AND TITLES: Yeshua has many names and titles in the Bible, some of which are: The Messiah (The Christ) • Lamb of God • Son of God • Son of Man • Son of David • The Word • The Light of the World • The Bread of Life • The New Adam (The Second Adam) • King of the Jews • King of kings • Lord of lords • Rabbi/ Rabboni • Teacher • Master • Savior • I Am (argued by Thomas Aquinas) • Paraclete (John 14:16 quotes Yeshua as saying He would send another Paraclete– that is, the Holy Spirit) • Prophet • Alpha and Omega • Numerous titles in the Book of Revelation • Et cetera. A list of Biblical names for Yeshua has been compiled: https://truthinreality.com/2017/06/30/one-hundred-names-of-jesus/  .

For the purpose of this RR, I suggest another title for Yeshua, a title not found in the Bible: “Financial Advisor.” Today’s RR will contain be the best “financial” advice anyone can ever receive. I discuss a worthy goal in dealing with your earthly riches, which is: Make Yeshua your “financial” advisor, earning eternal wealth from Him.

WHAT IS A FINANCIAL ADVISOR? “Financial advisor (adviser)” and “financial consultant” are modern terms for a person who might have been called stockbroker, broker, account executive, or registered representative in the past. A financial advisor provides information or outlines strategies on ways his/ her clients can accumulate wealth and financial security.

ARE ECONOMIC STORM CLOUDS IN YOUR FUTURE? Yes! Grim financial news is reported almost daily, and this news will surely worsen.
• The United States is deeply in debt. Our multi-trillion dollar ($27-trillion) debt exceeds our gross national domestic product (GDP), and this federal debt does not even include state, county, and city debts as well as personal debts.
• The European Union (EU) is also in debt. Presently, total debt of all EU nations nears 11-trillion euros (nearly 11-trillion €). See the EU individual members’ debt and accumulating debt clock at: https://www.smava.de/european-debt-clock/  .

• Jacob (James) predicted such financial distress for the last days (Jacob [James] 5:1-3): Come now, you rich, weep and wail over the miseries that are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted and your clothes have become moth-eaten. Your gold and your silver have rusted and their rust will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have stored up treasure in the last days. 

• James’ description parallels the grinding poverty most people must suffer during the Third Seal Judgment of the future Tribulation (Revelation 6:5-6): When the Lamb [Yeshua] opened the third seal, I [John] heard the third living creature saying, “Come!” And behold, I saw a black horse. The one riding on it held a balance scale in his hand. Then I heard something like a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius– but do no harm to the oil and wine.” This judgment, the third of twenty-one judgments, is visited against the human race during the Tribulation. This judgment will occur concurrently with other early Seal Judgments– war, famine, and pestilences. A denarius was the usual wage paid to a first-century laborer. For an entire day’s labor, he could purchase a “quart” of wheat. [“Quart,” from the Greek choenix, is actually less than our quart.] For a “quart” of wheat, think of a small loaf of bread. A daily loaf of bread would not adequately nourish one hard-working laborer, and it certainly would not provide for his family. Notice, though, that the rich will not suffer because their luxury items (wine and oil) are not affected. Grinding poverty, including starvation, are prophesied for the Tribulation.

• In a later passage (Revelation, chapter 18), Yeshua revealed to John the destruction of the rich commercial Babylon the Great, including this lament (Revelation 18:19): And they [persons trading with Babylon] threw dust on their heads and were crying out, weeping and mourning, “Alas, alas, O great city– in her all who had ships at sea grew rich from her wealth! For in a single hour has she been ruined!” Is Babylon the Great the United States?

• A number of alarming financial events are in our immediate future, but I do not have space to discuss them in adequate detail. The financial news is not as rosy as securities traders would have us believe. See America’s debt total whirl by at the U.S. Debt Clock, https://usdebtclock.org/  . The federal government now admits to debt of more than 27-trillion dollars (>$27,000,000,000,000)! This means every U.S. citizen is indebted for more than 82-thousand dollars (>$82,000), or more than 217-thousand (>$217,000) per taxpayer. Our federal debt is 137 percent of our gross domestic product (GDP). (That is, we Americans owe more than the value of goods and services the entire nation can produce in a year’s time. On a personal basis, would you be comfortable earning, say, $10,000 per year, but being in debt for $13,700?) Can our politicians not do math? Do our politicians not care about our future? Are their selfish political jobs the only things that matter to them?

Is it not foolish to invest in currency, precious metals, property, stocks, bonds, and the like, which will fail some day and certainly vanish at death, when there is a much sounder– an eternal– investment available for you through Yeshua?

Actually, economic status of a nation may, in practice, be as important as laws. A quotation attributed to M.A.B. Rothschild recognized this relationship: “Give me control of a nation’s money and I care not who makes its laws.”

WHAT ARE SOME THINGS THE B’RIT CHADASHAH TEACHES ABOUT WEALTH? Yeshua and His apostles may have taught more about wealth and its associated virtues or problems than any other ethical situation. I suspect then, as now, financial issues were/ are more important than many other issues.

Yeshua taught that wealth is a master– a god (Mammon) – of many people, because they spend more attention and concern about financial issues than they do about spiritual issues. Read Matthew 6:24-34, which I summarize to conserve space: Yeshua said no one can serve two masters (God and Mammon), as he/ she will love or serve one more than the other. Do not worry about the details of life because Father God, who cares for the birds of the air and lilies of the field, will also care for His children made in His image. Our Father knows our needs and will give us what we need.

Gary VanderPol ( https://economicdiscipleship.wordpress.com/category/bible-money/  ) reviewed B’rit Chadashah passages dealing in some manner with wealth. He found:
• 41% of passages implored sharing wealth with the poor;
• 27% of passages warned of the spiritual dangers (spiritual distractions) of wealth;
• 10% of passages reminded us that our wealth is given by God (not to worry about wealth because our Father will provide); and
• 22% of passages contained a variety of other statements.

To sum up these passages about wealth, two themes predominate. A Believer should:
• Share his/ her wealth intentionally, generously, and regularly with those in need; and
• Become free of consumerism and the need to identify with possessions, turning instead to a trust in the goodness of God to supply needs (not necessarily to supply wants).

YESHUA AS YOUR FINANCIAL ADVISOR: Consider two teachings of Yeshua and the Bible about wealth:

• (1) God is not impressed with your wealth (that is, you cannot purchase Him). Yeshua taught that the amount of money one has and gives to God’s Kingdom is not nearly as important as the giver’s attitude (Mark 12:41-44): [Yeshua] sat down opposite the treasury and began watching how the people were putting money into the offering box. Many rich people were putting in a lot. Then a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, worth less than a penny. Calling His disciples over, He said to them, “Amen, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those contributing to the box! For they all put in from their surplus; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything she had, her whole living.” 

I am offended by some televangelists who purport to sell favors (blessings) from God. These people promise that a person is guaranteed a blessing from God, IF he/ she will sow a seed of faith ($$$), or buy holy water or anointing oil from the Holy Land ($$$), or buy an anointed piece of cloth ($$$), and so forth. One television ministry simplifies God’s blessings for us: “Nothing leaves God’s hand, until something first leaves your hand” ($$$). I keep meaning to call this ministry  and ask: “If I give to Shomair Yisrael, will I be blessed by God? Or, must I give only to your television ministry?” I think I know the answer I will receive.

It is appropriate to tithe or donate to God’s Kingdom. I personally believe it is inappropriate to expect a specific “blessing” from God because you give money to a ministry. Contribute to God’s Kingdom because you love God, you want to help your neighbors, and you desire to spread the Gospel. If it pleases God, He will bless you in His own way. When you give, think of others, rather than self. 

Be smart. Be sure you know where your tithes and gifts are spent. Your money should be used to help persons in need and spread the Gospel. Your money should not be used to make a smooth-talking “man of God” richer. In case you are interested: The wealthiest televangelist/ author, whom I will not identify by name, is said (source: several Websites) to have a net worth estimated to be between 300-million to more than 850-million dollars; a 3,000-acre ranch, upon which sits a 6.3-million dollar lakefront mansion; and a small fleet of 20-million dollar jet airplanes. And, he still solicits contributions. When is enough, enough?

The only true reward you should hope for will be announced at your Bema Judgment (Judgment Seat of the Messiah). I believe the Gospel and Yeshua’s sacrifice are cheapened, if a person behaves as though God can be purchased (bribed). If you live as Messiah-like as possible, including financially supporting effective ministries, God will bless you, according to His timing and grace. When you make your gift to God conditional upon receiving a blessing from Him, it is the same as if your child agrees to help you, provided he/ she first reads your Last Will and Testament to determine if his/ her inheritance is adequate. Even if your blessing is delayed until the Bema Judgment, be patient, because, then, you can enjoy your blessing for eternity instead of just a few earthly months or years. You may like to be blessed now by a “shiny new penny,” but your blessing may come later as a glorious crown. You may not even now recognize your reward. For example (hidden blessings), you may survive an accident in which others are killed; or, your prodigal son/ daughter may repent and be saved; or, other blessings may “just happen,” but you may not connect them as a result of your service to the Master. Not all blessings from God involve money.

If you have received God’s gift of salvation, you have already received the GREATEST BLESSING He can give you. Through acceptance of His grace and Yeshua’s sacrifice, you are promised eternal life in Heaven. Can there be any greater gift, any greater blessing? Be thankful for what you have, instead of grumbling that others may have more. In my neighborhood, some of my neighbors have more expensive houses or automobiles; or, take expensive vacations; or, …. So what? An anonymous definition is: “Contentment is an attitude that says, ‘I will be satisfied with what God has given me.’” I am content and grateful for what I have; I covet no one’s possessions; I feel blessed.

Consider a James Stewart movie classic, It’s A Wonderful Life, (1946). This movie chronicles the difficult, frustrating life of George Bailey (James Stewart), who almost goes bankrupt and faces imprisonment, until the townspeople come to his aid. They help George because he has devoted his life to making their lives better. His hero younger brother, Harry, flies home in a snowstorm and offers a toast: “A toast to my big brother, George: The richest man in town.” George never thought of himself as rich, but his neighbors viewed him as the richest man they knew because he served others. Importantly, God sees us differently than the world sees us (1 Samuel 16:7c): [Adonai said] “… for man looks at the outward appearance, but Adonai looks into the heart.” -AND- (Matthew 20:16): [Yeshua said] “So the last will be first, and the first last.”

• (2)Your earthly wealth will become worthless. God’s prophets have told us that all we now own will some day pass away from us. Anyone who keeps abreast of current events can reasonably expect worldwide economic collapse. Such collapse may have a greater deleterious effect than war. In fact, war and rioting may be precipitated, as nations and peoples face starvation and inability to work and buy. Class envy, now growing in America and the world, may become acute.

Consider two other pieces of advice our financial advisor, the Messiah, gives us:

YESHUA’S FINANCIAL ADVICE (NO. 1): Lay up treasures in Heaven, not in banks. Our Divine Financial Advisor, Yeshua, has told us:
• Your bank is, at best, only a temporary institution. No matter how strong the bank’s balance sheet appears, your bank will not last into eternity.
• No matter if your bank is insured by the FDIC or FSLIC and even if these agencies could survive nationwide “runs” on multiple banks following an economic catastrophe, your bank is only a temporary institution of man.
• No matter if you have an impressive portfolio of precious metals, real estate, stocks, and bonds, these investments will some day be worthless.
• Only the “Bank of Heaven” is secure and eternal (Matthew 6:19-21): [Yeshua said] “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in or steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

Yeshua’s disciples questioned whether the costs they experienced in following Him were worth it, and Yeshua promised a greater return on their “investment” than will ever be realized on Wall Street (Mark 10:28-30): Peter began to say to [Yeshua], “Look, we’ve left everything to follow You!” “Amen, I tell you,” Yeshua replied, “there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or property, for My sake and for the sake of the Good News, who will not receive a hundred times as much now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and property, along with persecutions; and in the olam ha-ba, eternal life.

YESHUA’S FINANCIAL ADVICE (NO. 2): Trade with Him, who is perfect and provides for your needs. When you trade with any man, your purchase is merely a faulty, temporary, inadequate substitute for what you need, and your purchase will eventually fail. On the other hand, trade with the One who will never fail (Revelation 3:18): [Yeshua said] “I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may be rich, and white clothes so that you may dress yourself and so the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed, and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see.” Purchase your needs from Yeshua– they are complete, perfect, and timeless (carrying into eternity).

CONCLUSION: The Bible has much to say about wealth and rich people. There are many additional Scriptures I could cite, but space is too limited. I do wish, however, to add two other bits of financial advice from the Bible:

• The Apostle Paul informed us that we must provide for our own family (1 Timothy 5:8). Not to do so is behavior worse than that of an unbeliever.

• You must pay your bills and save for emergencies and for the future (Psalm 37:21, Romans 13:7-8). God expects His children to be honest, responsible, and forward-thinking citizens of the community. 

Yeshua’s teachings about wealth are sometimes difficult to understand, and even more difficult to put into practice. If millions of American Believers sold all they had to give to the poor, we would have a nation of homeless, starving people, made poor by giving everything they had to help the poor.

I do not have all of the answers about helping the poor, but I urge you to think seriously about Heaven and the treasures you are storing (or, not storing) there for your eternal future. Listen to the advice of your Divine Financial Advisor.

THIS WEEK’S DAILY PRAYERS FOR PERSECUTED BELIEVERS: Pray for:

** Yemen (threat: Islamic oppression). Read more about Yemen: https://www.opendoorsusa.org/christian-persecution/world-watch-list/yemen/

** Iran (threat: Islamic oppression). Read more about Iran: https://www.opendoorsusa.org/christian-persecution/world-watch-list/iran/ 

** India (threat: religious nationalism). Read more about India: https://www.opendoorsusa.org/christian-persecution/world-watch-list/india/ 

** Syria (threat: Islamic oppression). Read more about Syria: https://www.opendoorsusa.org/christian-persecution/world-watch-list/syria/ 

** Nigeria (threat: Islamic oppression). Read more about Nigeria:

https://www.opendoorsusa.org/christian-persecution/world-watch-list/nigeria/ 

** Saudi Arabia (threat: Islamic oppression). Read more about Saudi Arabia:

https://www.opendoorsusa.org/christian-persecution/world-watch-list/saudi-arabia/ 

** Maldives (threat: Islamic oppression). Read more about Maldives: https://www.opendoorsusa.org/christian-persecution/world-watch-list/maldives/ 

Until next Sunday, Shalom and Maranatha.

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