Romans 13 (Part 3)
First posted: April 7, 2013
This article is the third in a series of articles dealing in detail with the spiritual meaning behind Romans chapter 13.
Romans 13:8 declares the following:
The word "owe" was translated from the Greek verb opheilo, which, interestingly enough, is derived from the noun ophelos meaning "advantage, profit"; ophelos is only used 3 times in the New Testament, the first time being in the following verse, translated as "advantageth":
Notice that ophelos is used above to speak of the "returns" or "dividends" one can expect from an effort or investment that has been made. The notion of "returns" implies the weighing of costs versus benefits, which in turns implies the notion of counting costs and analysing whether a desired goal can or will be met, as shown by the following passage:
"28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? 29 Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, 30 Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish. 31 Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? 32 Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace." (Luke 14:28-32)
From all of the above, we can conclude that, in the Lord's eyes, there is an inextricable connection between "owing" (i.e.- debt) and "profit/cost analysis" (otherwise, the words He chose to use in the New Testament for "owing" and "profit" would not be so interconnected). All of this reveals a spiritual principle:
Borrowing is only justifiable if it enables a profit, i.e.- a harvest larger than what was originally borrowed, and it therefore necessitates a constant monitoring to assess the effectiveness of the investment being made, comparing the results obtained against clear goals.
If Democrat politicians in America were aware of this principle, they would have soon realised the stupidity of most of the social programmes they promote and institute. They would have been constantly monitoring the effectiveness of idiotic strategies such as their "War on Poverty", which has clearly done little to reduce the poverty rate in America. As indicated on nationalreview.com, between the start of the "War" (in 1964) and the year 2008, the U.S. has spent close to $17 trillion (in 2008 adjusted-for-inflation) dollars "fighting" poverty, and, yet, poverty has not even come close to being eradicated. On the contrary, the liberals in power who promote this war have ratcheted up the "assault" and are now spending close to US$1 trillion per year, spurred by the lying demagogue that Americans idiotically put in power in 2008 and 2012. Therefore, if you add the outrageous spending that has been piled up between 2009 and 2012, the total spending on the "War on Poverty" (as of 2012) has risen to around $21 billion (in 2012 dollars), which amounts to around 150% of the annual U.S. GDP! Said another way, the U.S. has, over the last 48 years, dedicated 1.5 years of economic production exclusively to the War on Poverty, and, instead of laying the foundations for the eradication of systemic poverty, the U.S. has only made the problem worse, finding itself in the "need" of investing $1 trillion of its yearly production from now on just to keep up with the "poor" who demand more and more from the public coffers with every passing year! As indicated on nationalreview.com, the "War on Poverty" has triggered both a rise in unmarried, single-parent poor homes and a reduction in the number of hours worked by poor families, leading to a permanent underclass of unproductive people who grow up accepting a state of perennial dependency. Had America's liberals and pseudo-conservatives ever tried to apply the spiritual principle detailed above, they would have been asking themselves the following questions:
Some out there may hastily argue that using up 1.5 years of economic output over a 45-year period to feed the poor is a reasonably low "investment", representing only 3% of the total time period. However, such a simplistic assessment overlooks two realities:
As we shared above, the word "owe" at the start of Romans 13:8 was translated from the Greek verb opheilo:
"Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law" (Romans 13:8)
The next time opheilo appears in Scripture is in the following verse, translated as "ought":
The word "strong" above was slightly mistranslated from the Greek word dunatos (or dynatos), which is derived from the word for "power" (dunamis) and is therefore better translated as "powerful". The concept of "power" is inherently tied to the verb "can". In other words, having "power" means being enabled to do something that you would otherwise not be able to do. Hence, to say that you "have more power" is equivalent to saying that you "can do more things". As the righteous are very much aware, power is not a measure of righteousness, for the righteous are often impeded from doing things because of the danger their work poses on the unrighteous, matriarchal establishment. Said another way, the righteous are often cornered into a situation where they can do little, meaning that they are rendered "powerless".
The above, however, does not mean that "power" must always be treated as inherently evil. Instead, if you come across a position of power (i.e.- you are "strong", according to the KJV), Romans 15:1 speaks of an obligation towards those who are "weak". Interestingly enough, the word "weak" in Romans 15:1 was translated from the Greek word adunates (or adynates), which is derived from the prefix a meaning "without" and dunamis (or dynamis) meaning "power". In other words, adunates literally means "without power" or "powerless", speaking, therefore, of those who are lacking in resources. Hence, the Lord is saying in Romans 15:1 that we must be on a constant lookout to enable others, empowering others so that they may manifest the fullness of their God-potential. Those in "power" (i.e. with resources) within the Church are unfortunately unaware of this, acting more like the rich man who lets righteous Lazarus die outside without helping him. Instead of understanding that they are there to empower the God-potential of others, the Church's "ministers" behave as if the rest of the Church was designed to empower them, convinced that "God's work" cannot be done unless the "little people" align themselves with their ministerial plans. They reduce "God's work" to getting as many souls to repeat the "salvation prayer" as possible, and to entertaining them with religious activities until the Lord takes them "home", all without realising that the "power" they have acquired creates a debt, a responsibility before God to enable the ministries and gifts of others so that the Awesome and Overwhelming Glory of Yeshua Himself may be manifested in them.
It must be noted that the word "infirmities" in Romans 15:1 above was mistranslated from the Greek word asthenema, which is derived from the prefix a meaning "without" and the word sthenos meaning "strength" or "bodily vigour". Hence, it speaks of external weakness, as opposed to spiritual weakness or moral lack in the person. Said another way, asthenema speaks of someone who is not showing strength in the natural, visible realm (the "bodily" realm) even if they may be strong on the inside. The word sthenos is itself derived from the word histemi, which literally means "to set, to establish". Therefore, asthenema refers to people who do not have established support structures around them to manifest the potential within them. Those with "power" (i.e.- resources) are thus called to gear those resources towards the establishment of those structures so that the righteous may exhibit the strength of God in them within the visible realm. That is the love-induced debt obligation that believers have one to another, an obligation that requires the soul of a prayerful watchman.
As you may have noticed, Romans 13:8 has a connotation that most believers gladly ignore:
"Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law" (Romans 13:8)
Notice that the Spirit of God is decreeing a prohibition against debt, with the only acceptable debt being the "unshirkable" debt of love. Some believers have taken this in an exaggeratedly literal sense, claiming that the verse above is an outright ban on all debt and borrowing. However, such a conclusion would inevitably imply that all lending is wrong too. In other words, if it is a sin to borrow money, it is also a sin to lend it (just as it is a sin to sell drugs if it is a sin to consume them). This would make it difficult for Yeshua to justify the following words:
"23 Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. 24 And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. 25 But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. 26 The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. 27 Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt. 28 But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest. 29 And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. 30 And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt. 31 So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done. 32 Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: 33 Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee? 34 And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. 35 So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses." (Matthew 18:23-35)
Notice that Yeshua associates God the Father with the king who was owed 10,000 talents by the servant. How could the servant "owe" the king if the king had not lent him the money to begin with? Therefore, if lending is a sin, wouldn't Yeshua be inadvertently indicting the Father by equating Him with a "lending king"? Some may stubbornly argue that the servant's debt consisted of unpaid taxes and not a loan. This flimsy argument, however, has several gaping holes. For starters, it ignores the magnitude of the amount described as "10,000 talents". As indicated on wikipedia.org, the "talent" referred to in the New Testament was a weight unit equivalent to 58.9 kilograms, or 130 lb, meaning that 10,000 talents would amount to 1,300,000 lb! Since the "talent" is being used in the passage as a measure of money, we can safely argue that it is referring to the weight of a precious metal. Even if we assume that the metal in question is silver and not gold, 10,000 talents add up to an extraordinary amount of money. At the time of this writing, the market price of silver stands at around US$29/oz, meaning that 10,000 talents (i.e.- 1.3 million pounds) of silver would be valued at US$603.2 million. Thus, if the servant's debt to the king was the result of unpaid taxes, wouldn't the US$603.2 million amount reveal the king to be a tax-extorting despot, for how can one single "servant" come to owe such an amount in taxes? Even if you are willing to argue that the "servant" was actually an upper class aristocrat, you would be hard-pressed to explain how a person can come to owe over $603.2 million in taxes without first owning a much, much larger amount in property. Such a supposition, however, would be impossible to defend, especially since only kings would hold such vast amounts of property in those days. Even if you were foolish enough to continue this line of argument by claiming that the "servant" must have been an unusually powerful "duke" or "prince", you would then have the problem of explaining the king's initial solution to his debt "problem", i.e.- the selling of the servant, his wife and his children as slaves and the selling of all his possessions (v25). Would it be prudent for a king to allow a "duke" or "prince" who once owned billions to be "out there" (even as a slave), considering that he might be able to contact those who served under him and somehow organise a vengeful rebellion against the king? Besides, if the servant was a "duke" or " earl", how feasible would it be to sell of his possessions such as a castle or a large estate? Wouldn't it be much easier for the king to simply go in with his army and take over the castle, the estate, and all the duke's luxury possessions? Hence, doesn't the potential selling of the servant's possessions bear out that the amount of property he owned was reasonably small? Therefore, any person with intellectual honesty would have to conclude that this servant's dire straits were a result of business ventures that went woefully awry, which implies that his large debt to the king involved an initial large loan that allowed the servant to expand his business ventures in a massive way before it all collapsed. Yes, the debt may have included unpaid taxes, interests, and other penalties, but the largeness of the debt and the king's initial solution to the servant's delinquency cannot be explained away as nothing more than unpaid taxes by some high-end aristocrat or political hierarch. The servant was a businessman who was granted a large loan, a loan that he squandered through negligence and misuse.
[The above paragraph may seem like a banal digression from the spiritual topic being discussed, but we pray in the Spirit that, as you reread this article, the spiritual hues embedded in it may become evident and you will perceive the powerful spiritual message God has hidden in it.]
The above conclusion is certified by what the Lord describes in verses 28 through 30. Notice how the person who owed the servant 100 pence is described as a "fellowservant", a word that was translated from the Greek noun syndoulos. This word is derived from the prefix syn meaning "with" (which has the connotation of "union", "unity", or "company"), and the word doulos meaning "slave". Hence, another valid translation for syndoulos would be "co-slave". If the first servant was some sort of "duke" or "prince", would the other servant have been described as a "co-slave"? Besides, would a debt of "100 pence" be such an insurmountable debt to an aristocrat, even if he was going through rough times? If the second debtor was not a fellow aristocrat but, instead, a "lowly subject" in the first debtor's "dukedom", wouldn't he have been referred to as a servant of the first debtor (in the same way that the first debtor was referred to as a servant of the king)? Besides, would a "duke" invest time of his own going after a lowly subject that owed him "100 pence"? Wouldn't he instead send a member of his "staff" to collect such a petty debt? All of this certifies that neither debtor was an aristocrat and that both were businessmen who were having "trouble" managing the loans they had been given. Hence, any claim that either "lending" or "owing" is a sin would be outrageously wrong, given that Matthew 18:23-35 clearly shows that the Father is in the "lending" business.
Having said all of the above, Romans 13:8 does contain a certain prohibition against "owing". As shown by the above, Romans 13:8 is clearly not a blanket prohibition of debt per se, but it is a ban against not fulfilling your payment obligations. In other words, it may not be wrong for you to take out a loan to buy a house, but it is definitely wrong for you not to fulfil your monthly loan payment, even if you truly lack the money to make the payment. As shown by Matthew 18:23-35, you are, in God's eyes, at the mercy of your lender when you take out a loan, and, if you become delinquent on your debt, your lender is at liberty to do with you as he wishes, as long as it is within the terms and conditions of the loan agreement. Harsh and unfair as this may sound to the matriarchal "Christian", you should have known what you were getting into when you agreed to that debt. When the creditor shows up at your door and you are all out of money, you are reaping the consequences of your earlier decision; therefore, the fact that you are telling the truth when you say, "I don't have the money" in no way absolves you in God's eyes, and neither does it turn the bill collector into an exploiting, satanic demon (as many Canaanite "believers" are wont to think). You are in sin when the creditor has to walk away from your door with no payment in his hands, for you are revealing that you have bitten off more than you can chew. If you are living in the centre of God's will, you should never have to turn a collector away from your door with the words, "Please come another time because I cannot pay you today", the only exception being some sort of "fluke", one-off circumstance involving a technical "glitch" that prevented you making the timely payment. Every time a Christian tells a creditor, "I cannot pay you because I am out of money", that Christian is telling the creditor, "I, a child of the Living God of Israel, do not have enough to pay what I owe you", and he or she is thus saying, "The Heavenly Father whom I worship at church every Sunday did not provide for my needs". That Christian is therefore embarrassing the name of God in public, especially if the creditors in question are "heathen" non-believers. For those of you who may still think that these words are "heartless", just imagine a collector showing up at Jesus' door in Nazareth one day, and Jesus gingerly opening the door a quarter of the way, leaning his face into the open door gap to tell the creditor, "Please come back next week; the carpentry business has been a bit tough this month, and I can't pay you now!", quickly shutting the door before the creditor can get a harsh word in. Does this sound like a plausible scenario? If it does, and you are not somewhat appalled by the realisation that it is plausible to you, there is no point in you reading the rest of this posting (or any other posting on this website for that matter), for your view of God and His Christ is so hypocritical, conformist, and self-serving that there is no chance for you to expect any significant spiritual growth in your life.
"21 Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river of Ahava, that we might afflict ourselves before our God, to seek of him a right way for us, and for our little ones, and for all our substance. 22 For I was ashamed to require of the king a band of soldiers and horsemen to help us against the enemy in the way: because we had spoken unto the king, saying, The hand of our God is upon all them for good that seek him; but his power and his wrath is against all them that forsake him. 23 So we fasted and besought our God for this: and he was intreated of us." (Ezra 8:21-23)
[Notice how Ezra's first reaction in the face of a needed resource was not to get a loan from the "Royal Bank of Persia", for he understood that, as a son of the God of Israel, he had to make sure not to cause embarrassment to God by portraying Him as one who does not provide for His people, especially after the generous donations they had received from the people of Persia, which had been authorised by the king's decree (Ezra 7). When you are constantly borrowing from others, especially from non-believers, to cover cash shortages, you are bringing shame to the name of God.
Interestingly enough, the name "Ahava" in verse 21 means "I shall subsist". This speaks of a willingness to "tighten the belt" and minimise one's budget in the face of scarcity, as opposed to simply going out and asking people for "more". Notice also how Ezra chose to "stop everything" for a moment to diligently seek the Lord and find a "right" (i.e.- righteous and spiritually appropriate) way (v21) to resolve the situation.
Notice also how Ezra voices his concern regarding 3 groups: "ourselves", "our little ones", and "all our substance", in that order (v21). The more "correct" or "selfless" order would have been, "our little ones, ourselves, and our property", yet, the fact that the Holy Spirit inspired this order reveals the true meaning of "ourselves" in verse 21. By "ourselves", the Lord is referring to the spiritual calling that God has burdened you with, for God has loaned you spiritual gifts in order to fulfil a purpose that is to yield eternal rewards that glorify Him and benefit others in ways that go beyond the material or the emotional. This means that, when it comes to choosing between the fulfilment of your spiritual calling and the comfort of your family (i.e.- "your little ones"), you must choose your spiritual calling. In the long term, you do them more harm by placing them above God, which happens when you allow the soul to rule over the Spirit. In a figurative sense, the "yourselves" in verse 21 points to the spirit, the "little ones" to the soul, and "all our substance" to the body.
As a parenthesis, it is worth mentioning that the phrase "little ones" in verse 21 was translated from the Hebrew word taph, which is derived from the word taphaph meaning "to skip, to trip, to take little steps". Therefore, it has the connotation of people who have difficulties walking on their own or who are not yet ready to take big steps. Hence, taph has the connotation of dependency and of people who have been placed under your care until they can walk and take large steps on their own. As we have studied before, "walking" speaks of spiritual authority. Thus, taph has the connotation of temporary care whose target is the eventual manifestation of the dependent's spiritual authority. Therefore, how can you further a person's spiritual authority if you constantly place soul needs above the Spirit? Also, is God's planning so inconsistent that some of His people's spiritual callings are mutually exclusive, meaning that you must sacrifice someone's calling to fulfil another's? Instead, wouldn't your calling not only be perfectly compatible with all others' but also enable them? How can you hinder God's spiritual purposes for others whilst you are fulfilling the ones assigned to you?]
When a Christian cannot fulfil his or her payment obligations (on a debt or anything else), he must step back in self-examination and analyse what he is doing wrong, both in the natural and the spiritual realm. We may be called to live in poverty, but, even so, we are to live "debt-free", which, as we explained above, does not mean that we are banned from having any debts. Instead, it means that we are not to allow anyone to say that we owe them money and cannot pay them back. Thus, any temporary debt obligation we may enter into must be thoroughly certified by the Holy Spirit as being in keeping with God's will, and it must be monitored closely and continually to ensure that it is yielding returns that ...
As a practical rule, any state of debt should be avoided as if it were the plague, and any potential debt beyond the short-term should be presented before the Lord first so as to ensure that it is in the centre of God's will. As shown by all of the above, God's will includes your responsibility to evaluate any debt or loan in terms of its profitability. When the reasoning behind borrowing is to simply "cover expenses" and put out cash-flow fires, with no longer-term strategy that exposes the returns and eventual net gain enabled by the loan, you are living in sin, and you are in need of plucking out deep roots of iniquity from your soul. If you see debt as an acceptable state of being, you are essentially declaring that you have outstayed your welcome on Earth, and you should therefore be planning for your trip into the afterlife. God has called you to be productive, and when you are willing to accept a state of perennial unproductiveness, God's purposes are better served with you dead than alive. Let him who can bear these words bear them.
The word opheilo that appears in Romans 13:8 also appears twice in the following passage:
"16 Woe unto you, ye blind guides, which say, Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor! 17 Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifieth the gold? 18 And, whosoever shall swear by the altar, it is nothing; but whosoever sweareth by the gift that is upon it, he is guilty. 19 Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifieth the gift? " (Matthew 23:16-19)
Both the phrases "he is a debtor" at the end of verse 16 and "he is guilty" at the end of verse 18 were translated from the verb opheilo. Therefore, a more accurate translation (in both cases) would be "he owes". In other words, the Lord is speaking here of self-imposed obligations (the "swearing") that are tied to the value of something (the "temple", for example) and incur a debt that must be fulfilled. Hence, it's clear that this passage contains spiritual concepts related to both "debt" and "investment". In each of the 2 cases described in the passage, the Lord speaks of what you should and shouldn't tie the worth of your debt obligation to. In the first case, the contrast is between tying the debt to the "temple" versus the "gold in the temple". Seen from a natural perspective, this contrast speaks of measuring the worthiness of an investment by the inherent, unshakeable value of the object being invested in (the "temple") versus the monetary value that may be placed on it at any given moment (the "gold").
"But I have built an house of habitation for thee, and a place for thy dwelling for ever." (2 Chronicles 6:2)
[Notice how this verse associates the temple with eternity, meaning that it associates the temple with something whose value does not change because that value is inherent to it]
"Look upon Zion, the city of our solemnities: thine eyes shall see Jerusalem a quiet habitation, a tabernacle that shall not be taken down; not one of the stakes thereof shall ever be removed, neither shall any of the cords thereof be broken." (Isaiah 33:20)
[Notice how this verse associates the temple with unshakeability]
Naturally, the temple's value is tied to Who abides in it. This is why our value as temples of God does not change even if our external appearance is not that humanly "impressive". Regardless of how much "gold" or "glory" may be placed upon us by man, our value as temples of God remains unchanged. Hence, even if man places zero value on us, our temple's inherent worth is still the same, and anyone who ignores that worth must face the consequences of his foolishness, irrespective of how little "gold" has been placed on our exterior:
"16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? 17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are." (1 Corinthians 3:16-17)
The violation of the "temple vs. gold" principle happens every single day on Wall Street and other stock markets around the world. As we described in detail before, the stock market system is inherently flawed and evil, but not for the reasons that capitalism-hating liberals believe. In order for capitalism to function properly, it must ensure that the monetary value associated to items is consistent with the real value added to it by the agents that participate in it. As we shared before, an item's monetary value is increased through either production or distribution. Whenever a "production" agent adds a productive feature to the item, its price should increase accordingly. Whenever a "distribution" agent efficiently gets the item closer to its end user, the item's price should also increase accordingly. If the item passes instead through an economic agent that neither adds functionality to it nor gets it closer to the end user, its price should not change. Under such a case, any price increase represents a waste of society's resources, especially if the economic agent is rewarded simply for having the item pass through his hands. This, unfortunately, is what happens with stocks. After fulfilling their initial goal of raising capital for a company, stocks enter into a meaningless "exchange cycle" during which the stock is sold back and forth by people who add no value to the stock's underlying company and whose primary concern is the market price of the stock per se and not necessarily the true value of the underlying company. This means that people will buy a stock if they perceive that they will be able to resell it at a higher price, even if they know in their knower that the stock's company is rubbish. As long as the collective perception of the stock is expected to improve, the stock becomes a "worthwhile" investment. This leads to prices that rise or fall based on speculation, rumours, and superficial perception, i.e.- the whimsical "gold" value that people may place on it at any given time. People are rewarded for riding waves of upward speculation and punished for riding sinking boats of downward panic, all of this happening for the most part without any actual, objective change in the underlying company's fundamentals. As a result, people are constantly "swearing by the gold of the temple" instead of the "temple" itself, which leads to a massive waste and misallocation of society's resources (in brokerage fees, statistical analyses of sterile market price data unrelated to the company's core operations, the devising and maintenance of artificial derivatives, etc.). Since investment is driven by spiritually perverse motivations, it ends up weakening the economy as a whole by causing society to pour resources into wasteful activities and flash-in-the-pan ideas, which, as we have shared before, opens the way for the enemy to undermine true capitalism and deceive society into greater and greater statism and crony capitalism.
To truly end the "swearing by the gold's temple" that happens on Wall Street, a few measures must be adopted:
Once the power of the unnecessary Wall Street and Canary Wharf intermediaries is removed and they are returned to a simple service-providing role (with no control over the price or ownership of stocks), the drain on the American and British economies will stop. And, as this "swearing-by-the-temple" change is implemented throughout Europe's major economies, a significant economic healing will ensue.
It must be noted that the violation of the "swearing-by-the-temple" principle is also dominant in America's real estate market, as evidenced by the overly popular practice of "house flipping". People who "flip houses" (as it is called in America) are nothing but useless intermediaries with no interest in the house they are buying. They do not add any real "functionality" to the house, and, unlike real-estate agents, their participation does nothing to get the house closer to its ultimate owner and dweller. On the contrary, they delay the house's transition to its final owner, and they do nothing but create artificial demand that increases houses prices unnecessarily, which in turn creates additional "thirst for flipping", thus forming a vicious cycle that always ends in disaster. To end such destructive practices, a simple law should be enacted: A person or entity who purchases all or part of a real estate property cannot sell that property (or any part of what he purchased) for a year, unless it is sold at a value lower than the purchase value. To avoid any clever circumventions, the purchaser cannot, for the first year, receive a total rent income from that property that is greater than the amount he paid for it. Unlike a toothbrush or a razor, real estate is inherently a long-term investment, and any transaction that runs counter to this reality (whether it be "house flipping" or the rushed purchase of a home) is bound to create economic inefficiencies and long-term loss. It is only when people make loans or investments based on the inherent value of things that true productivity and prosperity can ensue.
The second case depicted by the Lord in Matthew 23:16-19 above contrasts "swearing by the altar" versus "swearing by the gift on the altar". The word "gift" in Matthew 23:18-19 was translated from the Greek word doron, which as we have studied in detail before, speaks of giving oneself in sacrifice for others as we behold their invisible value and are willing to break traditional, mind-binding religious paradigms. Therefore, we can safely say that doron gifts require a strong emotional component. You cannot give a true doron gift without investing yourself emotionally and without breaking away from what the mind can see and is naturally comfortable with.
The word "altar", on the other hand, was translated from the Greek word thysiasterion, which is derived from the verb thyo, (or thüo) meaning to "slay". Out of the 15 times thyo appears in the New Testament, it is used 14 times to refer to literal animals slain for food or sacrifice. As we have shared before, animals are soul beings with no spirit. Hence, we can safely say that the "altar" points to "soul death for the sake of others". This, in turn, points to the prophetic endowment, since it is the endowment most directly related to sacrificial death. As we have shared before, the prophetic endowment points out the eternal purpose and usefulness of people and things. Therefore, we can conclude that "swearing by the altar" speaks of a soul investment based on the long-term purpose or usefulness behind the object being invested in. By contrast, "swearing by the gift" speaks of an investment based on the emotional, soul attachment to the object being invested in.
At times, we may see a value in something (or someone) that others may not see, a value with great possibilities. As time wears on, however, that value may dwindle due to unfulfilled potential resulting from Canaanite unrighteousness (or Girgashite staleness). Unfortunately, many people allow the emotions they have committed to the thing (or person) to blind them to the new reality. Convinced that their emotional investment in the thing (or person) guarantees its worthiness, they continue investing in it, even when it has long lost its value.
"27 And as they were going down to the end of the city, Samuel said to Saul, Bid the servant pass on before us, (and he passed on,) but stand thou still a while, that I may shew thee the word of God. 1 Then Samuel took a vial of oil, and poured it upon his head, and kissed him, and said, Is it not because the LORD hath anointed thee to be captain over his inheritance?" (1 Samuel 9:27-10:1)
[Notice how Samuel "invested" a vial of oil in the "Saul altar". Even though the anointing done by Samuel was an investment that God called him to make, the "kiss" (v1) was "extra", and it symbolises the emotional attachment that Samuel developed towards Saul. This means that Samuel not only placed God's assigned doron on the "Saul altar" but also placed an extra doron of his own.]
"26 And Samuel said unto Saul, I will not return with thee: for thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, and the LORD hath rejected thee from being king over Israel. 27 And as Samuel turned about to go away, he laid hold upon the skirt of his mantle, and it rent. 28 And Samuel said unto him, The LORD hath rent the kingdom of Israel from thee this day, and hath given it to a neighbour of thine, that is better than thou. 29 And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent: for he is not a man, that he should repent." (1 Samuel 15:26-29)
[Notice how the prophetic value of "Saul altar" dwindled down to nothing due to Saul's unrighteousness. Once that "altar" became worthless, it was no longer time to be placing any more doron's on it.]
[Notice how Saul kept pouring tears over the "Saul altar", meaning that he continued to make emotional investments in it despite the fact that he knew that the altar had already been declared to be of zero value by God. This is why God told him to stop placing doron gifts over that altar and to start placing them over a new one.]
The "gift" placed on the altar may have been placed by others or by the investor himself; regardless, that gift will act as a constant source of deception as to the value of the altar under it, at least to those who allow the soul to rule over the Spirit. The value of the altar may have been very little to begin with, but, once a person is fooled into placing a "gift" over it, the altar automatically increases in value in the eyes of the emotional, and the number of gifts piled over the worthless altar will tend to increase.
In order not to pile your gift over a worthless altar, you must be willing to ignore the emotional investment that either you or others have made on the altar. Instead, you must focus on the long-term prophetic purpose present in the altar, asking yourself, "Is the altar's long-term usefulness still there (if it was ever there), and, if so, how valuable is it?". The measure of this "usefulness" must ignore any emotional hype surrounding the altar, lest you be swept away by Canaanite currents of popularity that come and go with whimsical fury. This is what happened in the natural realm with the website MySpace, for example. Riding a wave of Canaanite popularity, MySpace seemed so valuable in 2005, two years after its founding, that it was bought from its founders for US$580 million. For close to 3 years after that, MySpace was the "king of social networking" until it was eventually overtaken by Facebook, never to recover again. As indicated on wikipedia.org, Rupert Murdoch called his company's purchase of MySpace a "huge mistake", a mistake that was made painfully obvious when it was sold off for a mere $35 million on 29 June 2011, this despite the fact that it was briefly valued at three times its purchase value of $580 million a year after the purchase. Despite MySpace's woeful demise, its co-founders are to this day swimming in the hundreds of millions that were placed on MySpace's altar as a result of the emotional upheaval surrounding the company. Fellow believer, this writer can say with confidence that MySpace's co-founders are in no way worthy of the $580 million they were endowed with. The prophetic, long-term usefulness to society of what they created is very limited to say the least, and it can easily be argued that the long-term damage they caused far outweighs the benefits that they brought to society (as documented on wikipedia.org). Yet, society has rewarded them immensely, misallocating resources towards them that would have been better used on a different altar.
MySpace's "swearing-by-the-gift" problem is also present in Facebook, as evidenced by its overpriced IPO (Initial Public Offering) in May 2012. Even though Facebook's demise will not be as immediate as MySpace's, it will eventually become evident many years down the road how Facebook's existence was way more harmful to society than it was beneficial, spawning way more useless Canaanite chatter than it did intelligent conversation or instructive information exchange. Facebook's long-term "uselessness" is exacerbated by how it has served as a spiritual platform to promote left-wing liberalism, acting as a defender of the b.i.t.w.h. (bastard in the White House), a fact evidenced when it courted yet another member of babi's staff, former White House spokes-liar Robert Gibbs (aka Bobby Fibs) to become its communications director (as detailed on csmonitor.com). Hence, it is no coincidence that Facebook's rise to Internet prominence has happened during the bastard's tenure as Demagogue in Chief.
To summarise all of the above, we can say that "to swear by the temple" and "to swear by the altar" means to make investments based on the "essence" of the object rather than the external "material" value ("gold") or "emotional" value ("gift") that is being attached to it. Based on what we shared above, we can say that the "temple" refers to the object's "material" essence, i.e. the spiritual "substance" out of which the object is made, which can either be gold, silver, and precious metals or wood, hay, and stubble:
"10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. 11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; 13 Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. 14 If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 15 If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. 16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? 17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are." (1 Corinthians 3:10-17)
[Notice how the passage above proceeds to speak of us as "temples" immediately after speaking of the 6 types of spiritual "substance" (3 enduring and 3 ephemeral)]
Since the "temple" speaks of spiritual "building material", we can conclude that it is related to the "mind", which is the soul's "body". Hence, it points to the apostolic ministry, the ministry most directly related to the mind and to the producing of truth and judgements in wisdom. This is why Paul, the "prototypical apostle", speaks of himself as a "wise master builder" in verse 10 above. We can therefore conclude that the "temple" speaks of the "apostolic essence" of that in which you plan to invest. If the object of your investment is "chuck full" of truth and is consistent with righteous judgements, its "apostolic essence" is sound, and it is thus a worthy object to "swear by" and a worthy object to invest your "gold" in.
Just as the "temple" points to "apostolic essence", it is clear from what we shared above that the "altar" points to "prophetic essence", i.e.- the usefulness and fullness of purpose inherent in the object of your investment. The more of a long-term purpose and usefulness you can attach to the object, the more "prophetic essence" it shall have, and the more worthy it shall be to "swear by" and pour your doron gifts on.
We saw above how we must evaluate an object's apostolic and prophetic essence before standing by and investing in it. As we have studied before, believers in the black-horse stage begin to operate as apostle-prophets. Therefore, we can say that the evaluation of an object's worthiness as an investment requires a black-horse anointing. The more consistent the object is with the black-horse anointing, the more investment-worthy it becomes, and the less debt-inducing it will be. Hence, it is no spiritual coincidence that the phrase "in the black" is used in the English language to refer to someone who is debt-free.
By contrast, the "gold" of Matthew 23:16-17 points to abundance or prosperity that is visible in the natural realm, even though it may not reflect true spiritual substance. Therefore, it points to Balaam's "barley", i.e.- the Amorite-induced material prosperity offered by Balaam. On the other hand, the "gift" of Matthew 23:18-19 points to emotional abundance or prosperity that is palpable in the natural realm but may not reflect eternal usefulness and purpose. Therefore, it points to Balaam's "wheat", i.e.- the Hittite-induced emotional prosperity offered by Balaam. As we have studied before, Balaam is the enemy's answer to God's black-horse riders, meaning that, in Matthew 23:16-19, the Lord is calling us to evaluate the object of our investment in black-horse terms. If it is a worthy object, it will reflect apostolic-prophetic black-horse qualities. If it is an unworthy object, it will reflect Amorite-Hittite qualities, seducing you in the spirit of Balaam. Since investment-worthy objects have a black-horse nature, they will have an "anonymous-voice" quality to them. They will not seduce you with garish opulence; instead, they will speak to you with an invisible, nameless voice that will convey unmistakeable truth and purpose to those endeavouring to find the full reality.
It is no coincidence either that the black horse of the Apocalypse is the "horse of independence". The more you invest in (and occasionally borrow for) things that are full of apostolic and prophetic essence, the more independent you will become, not only financially but spiritually.
There is more to say regarding Romans 13, but we will do so (if God allows it) in a future article.