I ran across a 1 hour video online titled ‘The Biblical Money Code’. In this video Mr. Sean Hyman states that the Bible is full of money-making investing principles and that if you put them into practice you could go from making 15,000 a year to giving away 50,000 a year. I am not making this up. Ironically Mr. Hyman starts by quoting that the love of money is the root of all kinds of evils (1 Timothy 6:10), true, yet continues through the video stating how we can make money off the investment of the stock market by following these biblical principles and, as the 13:55 minute mark states, that even if you are not a person of faith you too can be successful. After talking about himself and his program for quite some time Mr. Hyman does mention three more bible references for his investment program.
The first to get a mention is Matthew 25: 14-30; the parable of the talents. This chapter is all about FAITH. Except that is not what this parable is about beloved. Jesus spoke in parables to emphasize an overall point. They were not meant to be taken so literally. He used talents here because He knows how easily we would relate to money. The problem here of course is in poor hermeneutics. This is simply poor Bible interpretation. You cannot take one word, such as talent, and assume the entire passage is about money. Neither can you even look at one story in a vacuum. The first rule of all Biblical interpretation is context. The second rule my first Bible teacher would say is to re-read rule number one. The key verse today is the first line in the Parable of the Talents. What is the most important word from an interpretive standpoint? The word “again.” This clearly implies that the Parable of the Talents is a continuation of a train of thought. That it must be preceded by something else that is similar, which can provide even deeper context. What precedes the Parable of the Talents? The Parable of the Ten Virgins. This story tells of ten virgins who went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were wise and brought extra oil for their lamps but five were foolish and did not. The bridegroom was a long time in coming and they drifted off to sleep. They were awoken by the impending arrival of the bridegroom but the five foolish virgins had their lamps go out and were forced to try and go buy some oil. While they were gone, the Bridegroom arrived and the door was shut to them. They tried to get in but the Lord said that He did not know who they were. The Parable concludes with the warning that we need to keep watch because we do not know the day or hour. So what does this parable have to do with money? About the same as the Parable of the Talents – nothing. In fact, strictly from a contextual standpoint we have not gone far enough back yet.
Here is the start to the Parable of the Ten Virgins:
“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. – Matthew 25: 1 (NIV)
At that time? At what time? To find the true beginning of the context of the Parable of the Talents we must travel back to the start of the previous chapter. Jesus is talking to His disciples and is asked this question:
As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” – Matthew 24: 3 (NIV)
The remaining 48 verses in Chapter 24 deal with the signs of the end of the age. It deals with the second coming of Jesus Christ. Then to illustrate the points He was trying to make, He tells us two parables. The Parable of the Ten Virgins may seem more obvious. It is teaching us the necessity to be ready for the second coming. That we have to be prepared. On a deeper level, oil is a representation of the Holy Spirit and those without it will not be allowed in. This explains the admonition at the end about not knowing the day or hour. Because of the usage of talents, that parable might not be as obvious until you take it in the context in which it was written. God has entrusted us all with certain things. First He has entrusted us with salvation. We all know what God has done for us. That is the foundational talent if you will. That is the first bag of gold we receive. We are not supposed to bury this talent. Others may have been given more talents. More insight into the things of God. More giftings from the Holy Spirit. Sometimes we want to know why God has not given us a certain level of promotion or responsibility and He is still waiting for us to be faithful with what we have been given.
Either way, this is not a story highlighting the appropriate usage of money. Contextually, it is part of a discussion on the second coming of Christ and what our responsibilities are until that coming. When the Master says well done and puts them in charge of even more that is not “more wealth; more blessing.” It actually means more responsibility. The problem as with all wealth-focused programs is it is improperly focused on the things of this earth instead of eternal matters. These two chapters from Matthew are not about money. They are about salvation and being sure you are ready for when that trumpet sounds. There is however a Biblical Money Code. It is not vague. It does not need to be ripped out of context. It is quite clear:
“Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be. – Matthew 6:19-21 (NLT)
“No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. – Matthew 6: 24 (NLT)
But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows. – 1 Timothy 6:9-10 NLT)
Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God!” This amazed them. But Jesus said again, “Dear children, it is very hard to enter the Kingdom of God. In fact, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!” – Mark 10:23-25 (NLT)
Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. – Matthew 6: 33 (NLT)
Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.” – Hebrews 13: 5 (NLT)
Trust in your money and down you go!But the godly flourish like leaves in spring. – Proverbs 11: 28 (NLT)
Mr. Hyman then breaks the 2nd commandment of misusing the Lords name and commits blasphemy by invoking the name of God in a lie. He twists this parable to mean that Jesus was giving us investment secrets in this parable as it pertains to our money. Yet, a closer look at this parable in context shows us that this is not really about money. This would state that God gives us money and He expects it back with interest when He returns. This parable is about spiritual gifts, namely faith, and what we do with this faith. Will this faith be active and living just doing what faith naturally does serving our neighbor, or will we stuff it away (rejecting it) and continue living for ourselves (chasing Mammon perhaps?). This chapter reads through like a story. Mr. Hyman had taken part of the story, and with it the surrounding context, and added his own context. The continuing story tells of goats and sheep. As you can see by my emphasis, the sheep had no idea that they did these good works and the goats point to their works by stating “when didn’t we help you?”. You see repentant faith doesn’t look to works to see if it is active and real, repentant faith looks to Christ because our own works are vile and evil. The more we focus on Christ the more we realize our own sinful nature. After awhile Mr. Hyman then takes us to Malachi 3:10.
Again, continuing in blasphemy, he states that this verse means that when you bless others God will then bless you. Really Mr. Hyman; If I DO then God WILL; am I to control God? Doesn’t this verse speak, in context (see Malachi) , about the famine of the Word in the land? The tithe was given to the Levites because they had no land of their own, this was their portion and not given to them so that everyone else can be blessed with material wealth. This tithe would support the preaching of the Word. The “blessing” is the covenant promise that God made to Israel that ultimately points to Christ! This is not a passage that tells us that if we give a little to others then we get a whole lot more back to give to others. Nice pious move thought Mr. Hyman yet your still pointing us to Mammon and not to Christ. Maybe that is perhaps your reading the Scripture through the eyes of idolatry and not looking for Christ. The last passage of Scripture he quotes is Luke 6:46.
The parable of the house on the rock, according to Mr. Hyman, is a warning of making sure you have a solid foundation for your investment. Make sure you have a good reason for choosing your investment and do not waver. Yet, in context, this parable is about placing Christ as your foundation so that your faith will not fall. What is the foundation that was laid? Jesus’ Words! It is His words that bring faith; thus it is repentant faith that is the foundation of our relationship with our fellow-man (See Luke 6) If you have a foundation of idolatry it will not last and will collapse. Mr. Hyman will sell even more information to you if you subscribe for a year membership to his program. In closing, this 60 minute video was mostly about investing and not about God or His Word, at least not properly taught in context. Furthermore, would anyone come to repentant faith by these money-making principles? Would these principles make me Justified before God? No. The Bible is about Jesus (Luke 24:27; John 5:39) and not gnostic principles, moralistic therapeutic deism, or anything else to make God into YOUR image. Since the Bible centers on Jesus then maybe we should teach it as such? Lying, misusing the name of the Lord, and idolatry are all condemned under God’s Law and must be punished. Yet, Jesus Christ, fully God and Fully Man, fulfilled the law perfectly for you (active obedience) and took your place under the Father’s wrath (passive obedience) on the cross, suffered, died, and was buried. On the third day He rose from the dead for your justification so that as a guilty sinner you are now imputed with the righteousness of Christ by faith. This is the Gospel message that should be proclaimed (Luke 24:47). You see, this is the “code” of the Bible; Christ and Him crucified for YOU. Remember, there will always be people out there eisegeting God’s Word that is why it is imperative that we use biblical discernment and follow the Berean method (Acts 17:10-12). Mr. Hyman, a former pastor, seems very successful at investing however he did not handle these Biblical passages correctly. Until next time, put on the full armor of God and stand firm on the foundation of Christ.
Wealth in and of itself is not evil. The sad reality is that it often leads to evil. The love of wealth often prevents people from coming to God. The Lord knows what would happen if we did hit Lotto. There is a reason why we have not. Does God want us rich? Yes- spiritually! Does that mean He wants us poor materially? Not necessarily but if that is what it takes to keep us eternally then the answer is yes. Remember the rich young ruler was not instructed to give all of his money to the poor because Jesus shunned wealth but because the man placed it before God in his life.
There is a Biblical Code for money but it doesn’t sell very well on a half hour infomercial. The real code says to not store up treasures on this earth because our heart needs to be set on the eternal things of God. The code says we cannot serve two masters. We can use money but cannot allow money to use us. The code says that just craving money can lead us away from the true faith and pierce us with many sorrows. Don’t believe it? Just look at how many hundreds of thousands of people pack into arenas every week to hear one snake oil salesman or another preach earthly prosperity to them. Turning God into a cosmic ATM. How many will be pierced with sorrows when they get to the last day and discover they never really knew God at all? How many have the lamp of church without the oil of the Holy Spirit like the five foolish virgins? Church is just an empty vessel without the power of God lighting it. The code says quite frankly that it is extremely difficult for a rich person to enter heaven! Not because of money but because of what money does to us. The code says to seek the Kingdom of God above everything and live righteously and God will take care of the rest. Maybe not in a yacht, but He will take care of the rest. The code says to be satisfied with what God has given us and that the Godly will flourish. Oh, there is a code.
So do not fall for the snake oil salesmen. Do not fall for those who preach earthly prosperity to you. Preachers with diamond pinky rings who drive hundred thousand dollar cars. Pastors who travel between their mansions with the helicopter God told them to buy. Do not fall for the “seed” theology that perverts the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Do not be fooled by those who say that your blessings are tied to money. The God I serve isn’t short of cash. Do not be fooled by charlatans who wrest Scripture out of it’s intended context to convince you to give them money. Oh beloved there is a code but it has as much to do with acquiring money as the Parable of the Talents. Nothing. I will end this with the words from the Apostle Paul explaining the role of ministers of the new covenant:
But thank God! He has made us his captives and continues to lead us along in Christ’s triumphal procession. Now he uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume. Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing. To those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom. But to those who are being saved, we are a life-giving perfume. And who is adequate for such a task as this?You see, we are not like the many hucksters who preach for personal profit. We preach the word of God with sincerity and with Christ’s authority, knowing that God is watching us. – 2 Corinthians 2:14-17 NLT)
We do not preach for personal profit! Amen and thank God for the real code!