“The love of money is the root of all evil.”
This is a well-known saying. it is found in Paul’s first letter to Timothy, (6:10) and in this paper we shall be looking at the implications of this statement.
THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL is a very profound and all embracing phrase. It tells us that there are many evils at large in the world, but at the root of them all lies the LOVE OF MONEY. Now the root of a tree is always hidden from view, and therefore we might expect man to focus his energies on the VISIBLE evils of the trunk and branches, the leaves and the fruit of this tree. But Paul tells us to think deeply about the ROOTSTOCK of this tree. And it is the LOVE OF MONEY. In the Greek, it is all one word, PHILARGURIA, literally the LOVE OF SILVER. The reason for this is simple to find. In those days all the main transactions were carried out with silver coins.
So important is this subject that before going any further we must read the context of Paul’s statement in 1st Timothy, and the following is the way in which it is presented in the Greek interlinear Bible.
Piety with self-sufficiency is great gain; for we brought nothing into this world, neither can we carry anything out, but having food and clothing, with these things we shall be satisfied. But those who resolve to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and many foolish and injurious lusts which cause men to sink into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all evils, of which some hankering after have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves through with many pains. But you, 0 man of God, flee these things, and pursue righteousness, piety, faith, love, endurance, and meekness.
Seldom does a week pass without the postman delivering unsolicited mail, in which we are urged to enter great competitions or computerised prize draws or football pools, with the chance of winning “big money”, or going on lavish holidays, or owning expensive cars etc. The newspapers carry numerous advertisements from banks and building societies telling what to do with our money, or how to obtain massive loans if we are short, and frequently the broadsheet papers have many pages devoted to the “money markets”. Such is the magnetic drag of the advertising agencies these days. More than ever before, we live in a society where the ultimate goal of living is to be rich and healthy and enjoy living. I suppose the world that knows not God cannot think otherwise, but Christians are also being caught up in this graveyard spiral, and Paul’s words are shown to be timeless in their advice. How urgent Paul was in his warning. How urgent we should be today for the same reason.
Now let’s look at another side of this question. Many books and Christian magazines have devoted space to the “grand delusion” of these last days, and quite the majority zoom in on the Harlot of Revelation 13, and relate it to the Roman Catholic church. But we should like to emphasise Paul’s words again in this paper, that the R.C. church cannot be the ROOT of evil. The root is the love of money. It is in this direction that we must look if we wish to unravel all the twists and turns of evil in society today. The founding-father of the great dynasty of bankers, Meyer Amschel Rothschild, said in 1791, “Let me control the issue of a country’s credit, and I care not who makes its laws.” Behind all the well-known political faces of government there are unseen powers, the great banking barons, who are the real “Mr. Bigs” of this world.
In our fellowship we have recently done another study of the 13th and 17th chapters of Revelation, which deal with the Beast and the Harlot. And it became crystal clear to us that the focus of all the evil was MONEY. The context was that of deception, yes, but the basis was always “buying and selling”. The Harlot declares, “I sit a Queen, I am no widow, and I shall see no sorrow.” It is “all the merchants of the earth who became rich through the abundance of her luxury.”And when Babylon, the Harlot, is judged and falls like a millstone into the sea, it is the Merchants of the earth who wail. To understand these statements, we must apply the teaching of Paul to Timothy about the “love of money”. A while ago we received a paper from a Christian group in which the “bar code” was investigated, and it was found that the number 666 was the framework for all. The two thin lines that represent the number 6, are displayed at the beginning, in the middle, and at the end, of every bar code, and the base of these lines protrude below the rest of the code, and do not enter into the information section of the code. But the article went on to say that it is just part of a system which the Antichrist is about to use in this world, where people will be invisibly tattooed with a similar code, either in the forehead, or on the back of the hand. And that all who submit to this proceedure will be able to “buy and sell” freely, but those who refuse will be virtually starved to death.
In another of our papers we sought to show that there is but little difference between such a practice and that which now obtains in the credit card, cheque-book arrangements of banking houses. The Lord will not judge people as fit for the lake of fire if they are forcibly tattooed in this manner. What matters most to the Lord is contained in the passage we quoted from Paul to Timothy. God is looking to the HEART, not to a mere tattoo on the forehead. In our own family, a few years ago, we made the decision that the whole banking empire was evil, and that we would withdraw from it altogether, not having any connection with banks or building societies at all. For a while it worked, but as time went on so we found ourselves in greater and greater difficulties. In the end we saw that it was utter hypocrisy to use SOMEONE ELSE’S banking account to cash anycheques that we received. It has become virtually impossible to live without using the banks today. And therefore we restored our connection with a high-street bank. Does this make us condemned to the lake of fire? How many of our readers are able to live without the use of a banking account? We imagine that there are few, if any. Therefore all of us are forcibly made to be part of the world-wide banking empire, whether we like it or not. There is no point in getting all worked up about the future possibility of this invisible tattoo – we are ALREADY totally immersed in the system. But I will not accept that because we are all forced to use cheques that we are all bound for the lake of fire. It does not add up with the righteous requirements of God.
What is God looking for? What is it about this financial beast-system that causes Him to be angry? Is it not the LOVE OF MONEY? Is not this the ROOT OF ALL EVIL? All of us are forced, daily, to use money. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with this. It is the world-wide method of trade transacting, and therefore we are bound to use it. But what is our underlying attitude to the money we have in our purses or bank accounts? Do we love it? Do we pamper it, and care for it, and watch it like a hawk, saying “A fool and his money are soon parted”? Do we play the stock market, and dabble in shares? Do we partake of insurance schemes, that promise us great dividends coupled with other doubtful benefits? Do we invest our money in “gilt edged securities” and rub our hands together when our half-yearly interest arrives? Yes, it is our attitude that matters. Some of God’s children are “blessed” with much money. But their blessing may soon become a curse to them if they do not know how to handle their riches satisfactorily in the sight of God. The Bible does not favour grinding poverty, as some would have us believe. But it does teach us, from cover to cover, the great difficulties that accompany wealth in this world. Jesus spoke about the camel trying to get through the eye of a needle, when depicting the difficulty some would experience in trying to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. But He also said that the impossible things of this world CAN become miraculously possible with faith in God.
Quite recently [N.B. This paper was written in January 1991] Britain has seen a most remarkable change in its government, with the sudden eviction of its Prime Minister from office. She was literally cut down as a tree, with one great blow of the Conservative Axe. It came as an enormous surprise to many, after her eleven years in office. But as we reflected on this, we saw how “the lady at No. 10” had destroyed herself over the years, with her ever increasing arrogance of attitude, so clearly depicted in Revelation 17 by the harlot. Let no one get upset about this comparison. We are not entering politics at this point, nor are we trying to say that Mrs. Thatcher WAS the harlot. Far from it. But she fell under the very temptations that Paul warned about. Her whole term of office could be adequately summed up in terms of high finance. Above all other factors, she tried to create a new class of society, in which she honoured those who HAD and denounced as lazy all those who HAD NOT. We have seen in recent newspapers graphs which prove the point. The FT 30 share index clearly reflects the way in which shares had risen, indeed by almost fourfold, since she came to power. It was her own directive to do this. She was proud of it. In selling up the nationalised industries to private investment, she encouraged millions of ordinary citizens to enter the stock market who had never before owned a share in their lives.
Then there was the graph of bank base rates, causing people to groan, as interest fell to about 8% in 1988, and triggered off the great property boom, only to jump up to 15% a year later and cripple vast numbers of people buying their first home. A government which had any COMPASSION for its people would have avoided this at all costs. They might argue that it was precipitated by circumstances beyond their control, but we do not believe that. It was their whole POLICY that was contrary to the will of God. Interest on borrowed money is allowed by God, but the impression gained from the Bible is that it should never exceed 5%, and probably half this amount.
But even though the government makes conciliatory noises about the evils of high interest rates, it cannot be hidden that all those who HAVE are reaping handsome rewards for their investments, whilst those who HAVE NOT are finding it almost impossible to repay their mortgages. In this way the government has favoured the moneyed class, at the expense of the poor, and the anger of God is expressed in the Bible for such practises.
The Inflation graph showed enormous variations, but sadly for Mrs. Thatcher’s image, it ended at almost the exact point that it was in 1979 when she first became Prime Minister. She was always emphasising the necessity to keep inflation down, and it was a major factor in wooing the electorate, but it proved to be no more than mere window dressing, an outward and visible factor that hid other less-than-noble motives. Many of us who are old enough can remember days when wages and prices remained tolerably static for years. There is no reason why this cannot apply today. But the greedy banking barons are out to sap the very life blood from the world’s population until they possess total control. That is the ultimate goal of the Beast. But God will not let it come to pass. No sooner than it seems within their grasp, Babylon will fall, as rapidly as Mrs. Thatcher fell.
Yesterday we learned that last year just over 24,000 small businesses folded up. The wretchedness and gloom that surrounds the inevitable situation of bankruptcy has been felt within our own fellowship by a married couple who now face eviction from their home, and nothing left in life save a few allowable goods. Furthermore, in the same period last year there were numerous small firms struggling under enormous loads, loads that should never be borne by people who want to make an honest living out of their craft, and who do not seek millions but enough to live on. Poll taxes and property taxes on these small businesses accounted for many of the firms that went bankrupt or had to close down before getting to that point. And yet the Prime Minister created schemes for people who wanted to start up their own business. The average person in the land is dulled into a stupor by the controls and conditions made by the government. And all this has come about by those whose idol, whose god, is the LOVE OF MONEY.
In 1979 the average price of a house was £5,000. But in 1990 it had risen to £78,000. This increase was the result of a manipulative market of sheer greed. How many people who were earning £5,000 per annum in 1979 could boast of earning £78,000 last year? Virtually nobody, and yet the cost of a house had risen by that amount. The result? The average young couple getting married are way below the threshold of home-ownership. It is out of the question. I cannot see any way open for young couples. It is a depressing situation, and creates stresses that young people should not have to bear. All because of the greed of hungry financiers who line their own pockets and ”grind the faces of the poor.”
And then again, during the Thatcher years, the top rate of income tax was reduced from 83% to 60%, and for the last 3 years has stood at 40%. Some people might think of this as a generous hand out by the government, but a moment’s thought will dispel all such illusion. Who gets the benefit from these large cuts? Only those who receive the very largest salaries. At the lowest end of the scale, the basic rate was cut from 33% in 1979 to 25% today, and the interface between the rates raised from £8,000 to £20,700. Regardless of the obvious improvement here, when tax and inflation are considered together (relating to price rises) the benefit may still be seen to be far greater for those in the higher income brackets.
Finally on this subject of the markets and their trends during the Thatcher years, I would like to quote from an article by Sonia Purnell of the Daily Telegraph financial staff, in an article that appeared at the time Mrs. Thatcher left Downing Street. She quotes a certain Mr. Brian Winterflood, head of Winterflood Securities, as saying about the Stock Market meltdown of 1987, “We were worried that the crash would permanently dent confidence in the City but we discovered that there was nothing that greed and avarice couldn’t overcome. It’s all push, shove, and grab.” In other words, these financial whiz-kids know what it’s all about. They know the “laws” under which they operate,the laws of the jungle, the laws that Darwin taught, of the survival of the fittest! Laws indeed!!! They operate a LAWLESSREGIME, that will sooner or later fall under the divine hammer, for it cannot go on much longer in this way.
Let us now return to the Book of Revelation and make a few final observations on this theme. Earlier in the article we had occasion to refer to the bar coding practice, and its use of 666 in the pattern and layout of the bar code. It is common knowledge that the number 666 occurs in the last verses of Rev.13. But perhaps fewer realise the deeper implications of this number from a Scriptural viewpoint.
All simple digital numbers have a spiritual meaning, and several books have been published which investigate the meanings and usage of numbers. Although there are some divergences of opinion, there seems to be almost unanimous agreement that the number 6 is the number of man, who was created on the sixth day. And furthermore, it is the number of man as separated from God by the fall. In one book I find the interesting suggestion that 666 is a numerical way of expressing the very heights that man can ascend to in his godless pursuits. No doubt that would fit the bill for a description of the antichrist very handsomely.
But how does the number 666 appear in the Bible? We have already seen that it is inseparably connected with commerce and finance. Buying and selling are forbidden without this number operating. Are there any other occurrences of the number? The answer is yes, there are. And only one of them is overt, the rest are hidden and need to be dug out. The obvious one is found in the O.T. and refers to the reign of King Solomon, who was, in his day, the most exalted king, the richest monarch of history. It is recorded of him that during his reign the annual revenue amounted to 666 talents of gold!(1 Kings 10:14) See how it is connected with MONEY MATTERS. The other occurrences require a knowledge of the Hebrew and Greek languages to fathom. Unlike us, they used their alphabet letters to express numbers, so that in Hebrew Aleph = 1, Beth = 2, etc and in Greek Alpha = 1 and Beta = 2. Because of this, all Hebrew and Greek words have a numerical value attached to them, and the study of this branch of numerology is called GEMATRIA (a word derived from Geometria = earth measurement, because the exponents of the theory were interested in what we now call GEOMETRY, the study of solid objects.)
In Greek there are three words which have a numerical value of 666. (Perhaps there are others which have not yet been found). They are as follows:-
PARADOSIS = tradition!
TERASIN wonders, as found in 2 Thess.2:9, the work of the antichrist.
And so these hidden values speak with a clarity that cannot be mistaken.
But we can take this study one step further. We can evaluate the gematria of whole sentences, or clauses, which refer to the work of the antichrist, and find even greater support for this understanding, that 666 is the FINANCIAL NUMBER, the PHILARGURIST’S NUMBER. The following results are taken from a book entitled THEOMATICS by Jerry Lucas and Del Washburn, 1977 published by Stein & Day, New York. I am indebted to them for their patient evaluation of passages of Scripture based on many different numbers, and have selected those that appear in their book on the theme of 666 and the antichrist.
|The Merchants of the Earth
|Kingdoms of the World
|666 X 2
|Those who worship the Beast and its Image.
|666 X 6
|And to destroy those who destroy the Earth.
|666 X 5
|For her sins are piled up as high as heaven.
|666 X 6
|2 Thess. 2:8
|The lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord Jesus will slay with the breath of His mouth.
|666 X 13
|2 Thess. 2:3-4
|The man of lawlessness, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshipped, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, showing himself as God.
|666 X 22
|And it provides that no one should be able to buy or sell, save the one who has the mark or the name of the Beast, or the number of his name.
|666 X 16
What further evidence is needed to bolster up the conclusion already reached? In what sense then is the Catholic Church connected with 666? It must be for the following reasons.
(a) By the word TRADITION, which we have already seen to be 666, and which adequately depicts this religious empire.
(b) The Vatican millions, without which the Church could not operate. Some have said that the total wealth of the Vatican is greater than any other human organisation on earth. Therefore if any wish to see the antichrist within this religion, it can only be because of these factors. All the other factors are ABOVE GROUND, but the ROOT is THE LOVE OF MONEY.
In this country the equivalent is the Church of England. And here again the colossal wealth of the movement is quite the deciding factor in the working of the Church. When people look at the Church they see all those things which pertain to its outward performance, but the ROOT of their operation is MONEY, and the love of it. And so it is with many other religious systems in the world, both Christian and otherwise. But the important thing to us, as individuals, is to heed Paul’s warning.
In Revelation 13 we are introduced to two beasts. The first beast is clearly a world-wide secular beast that demands worship. But the second beast seems to be religious, and parodies the Lamb of God. But we are told that the second beast requires its followers to worship the “god” of the first beast. Hence within the Churches of Christendom there operates this deceptive energetic device for troubling God’s people, working on their Adam-nature propensities, and encouraging them to think in terms of MONEY and the love of it. It produces a class of Christianity spoken of by our Lord in Rev.3, the“Church at Laodicea”. This Church says, “I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing.” But the Lord’s estimation of this Church comes as a profound shock to its adherents. “Your problem is that you do not even realise that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked.”
The same teaching was found in the Gospels, in our Lord’s parable of the rich farmer, who had increased his goods considerably, and thought of building larger barns to house his harvesting. He said to himself, “You have much goods laid up for many years. Take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry. But the Lord cautioned him, saying, “You fool! This night your soul is required of you. So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not RICH TOWARDS GOD.” (Luke 12:16-21)
Paul said that having enough food and clothing we should be satisfied. He never even mentioned a home in which to live, but it should be added to the list for quite the majority of us, inasmuch as we cannot exist without a roof over our heads. But we need to distinguish very clearly between our NEEDS and our WANTS. Our needs the Lord promises to provide. Our wants are often quite unnecessary, and if we spend our money on them, we go beyond the best will of the Lord for us. In fact it can be said that to have very little money, and to learn to spend it wisely, is a far greater blessing to our souls than to be reasonably “flush”, and not have to think too carefully about what we purchase.
In Paul’s day, he said that he had learned both to be abased and to abound. And he taught that we should learn to be content in whatsoever circumstances we find ourselves. This contentment should be an inner contentment, and unrelated to the circumstances. Sometimes Paul’s meaning is misunderstood because of the wording in the A.V. which suggests we should be content WITH our circumstances, rather than to be content WITHIN the circumstances, which is more the force of the original Greek. This inner contentment can only come from a life that focuses upon heavenly things, and learns to live in daily communion with the Lord. “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and all these things (that you need each day) will be added to you.”
My wife and I have experienced over the last 22 years very much the same as Paul. Sometimes the Lord has given to us in plenty. But at other times we have been reduced to the “bread line”. At one time we owned a very expensive house near London. But a few years later we were packing all our worldly goods into a few suitcases to leave by air for another country at the Government’s expense. It has been an exercise in discipline. As a result we now say that to have a little and use it wisely is far better than to have much and forget that ALL OUR POSSESSIONS are really His, and must be disposed of prayerfully, and used sensibly rather than carelessly. At the moment we own our house, but have handed it over to the Lord. It has become a place of refuge for a number of people, and not infrequently we have more than a dozen sleeping the night under our roof. Our weekly income is far less than is considered by the Government as a living wage, but we never go hungry, and the Lord provides for emergencies in a wonderful way. Having recently read the life story of George Muller, we understand even better how to rely on God, the Rock. His solidity is our own stability. His provisions are our daily bread. For all these blessings we offer Him daily praise and thanksgiving.
Returning to the study of Revelation, we have noticed that the ten horns of the beast eventually turn on the woman, and hate her. We are told that they “make her desolate and naked, and eat her flesh and burn her with fire.” (Rev.17:16) It is not an outside force that brings about the downfall of Babylon, but the very beast upon which she sits. But remembering BrianWinterflood’s remarks about the recovery of the stock market after the ‘meltdown’, “There is nothing that greed and avarice couldn’t overcome. It’s all push, shove and grab”, we can well understand the nature of this beast. It is a composite structure, yes, but it is composed of all those who worship greed, the love of money, and in such a structure, there is bound to be a vicious climbing upon each other’s shoulders for prime place and advantage. Nobody cares for anyone else. Each man thinks for himself at the expense of everyone else. The whole set-up works at fever pitch, and unceremoniously dumps everything that gets in its way, even if it happens to be a Prime Minister!
But be warned. Mrs. Thatcher’s political demise was engineered from within her own party, and even if it has caused relief in certain circles, it has been performed as necessary surgery for further advance in ungodliness, further increase in devilish prosperity, further provocation of the Divine Spirit, flying in the face of all God’s laws. We are living in fiendishly wicked days. The number of smart, attractive, alluring devices is legion, devices of the Devil to draw men to perdition. Let us heed Paul’s words regularly, lest being caught unawares, we find ourselves unwittingly serving the interests of the beast, and hankering after wealth, ease, and comfort. For these three devices are used by Satan to lull people into a sleepy state, where they cannot see the very truths of the Bible that flit past their eyes as they read. God has not appointed us to wrath, and therefore we must not sleep as others do, but be alert, for the coming of the Lord draws ever nearer, and we believe it is almost at the doors. Brethren beloved of the Lord, we say these things to encourage, to warn, and to be helpful in very difficult days. Our prayers accompany this paper.