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Round Table Discussion:
Render to Caesar what is Caesar’s

(Come Out of Babylon Part 2)

Emperor Tiberius Silver Denarius (or Tribute Penny)

Last week we started to discuss the difference between being in the world and being partnered with the world… (for context, its good to watch/read the notes from Part 1: Come Out of Babylon)

And Jesus answered and said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” – Mark 12:17

… the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one.” – John 17:14-15

In the context of God’s command for believers to come out of Babylon (Rev 18:4), how does paying taxes, using the world’s secular currencies, or even having a regular bank account (checking; savings; demand deposit) reconcile to this command?

“Come out of her, my people, so that you will not be a partner in her sins and receive her plagues“? Revelation 18:4

Jesus would never have told his disciples and the Pharisees it is permissible to use Caesar’s coinage if it represented a sin (or prohibited partnerships). In fact, it is indeed related to the scriptures about how God has instituted secular authorities to keep law and order, and we are to obey them (Peter 2:13-14; Romans 13:1).

So, critically, how are these matters then any different from economic and business partnerships with unbelievers? (co-ownership of companies, signing debt covenants, etc.). Scripturally, we must understand that the partnership prohibition with unbelievers (and Belial, aka Satan) is directly tied to the command to come out of Babylon, for the one quotes the other (Isaiah 52):

“Do not be partnered together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God…Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you.” – 2 Corinthians 6:14-17

In other words, “be in the world not of the world”, which is a paraphrase of John 17.

Also, as part of Coming out of Babylon we also take a fresh look at the practical utility of:

1. Divorcing Baal/Mammon

Here is a link to a divorce and remarry legal agreement your consideration: https://newbreedco.files.wordpress.com/2021/08/divorce-baal-and-mammon.pdf

2. Private (and even Public) Repentance from Mammon / Babylon

Related Posts and Pages:

Round Table Discussion:
Come Out of Babylon

What does God mean by the statement: “Come out of her, my people, so that you will not be a partner in her sins and receive her plagues“? (Revelation 18:4 Amplified)

for more background reading (and video) about coming out of Babylon click here for article Come out of Babylon

Key Questions and Scriptures that address

What is “Babylon” in the context of Revelation 18?

The woman [Mystery Babylon] whom you saw is the GREAT CITY, which reigns over and dominates and controls the kings and the political leaders of the earth.” Revelation 17:18

What other city in Revelation is described as a great city?

I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.” – Revelation 21:2

Ancient Babylon (the geographic center of which is in modern day Iraq) went away in 539 B.C. when it was defeated by Cyrus and the Medio-Persion empire. So is the “Babylon” John the revelator is speaking of represented by another nation today?

Is the United States still a Christian nation?

Is the United States the Babylon of Revelation?

For ALL THE NATIONS have drunk the maddening wine of her adulteries.” – Revelation 18:3

Or, has the United States’ helped develop and export the financial markets and capitalistic systems of commerce by which the whole world is getting drunk on the spirit of Babylon described in Revelation 18?

…for [Babylon’s] merchants were the great and prominent men of the earth, because all the nations were deceived and misled by [Babylon’s] sorcery” – Rev 18:23

The kings of the earth committed adultery with her, and the merchants of the earth grew rich from her excessive luxuries.” – Rev 18:3

And the kings and political leaders of the earth, who committed immorality and lived luxuriously with her, will weep and beat their chests [in mourning] over her when they see the smoke of her burning” – Rev 18:9

And merchants of the earth will weep and grieve over her, because no one buys their cargo (goods, merchandise) anymore” – Rev 18:11

Discussion Notes

Do not be unequally bound together with unbelievers [do not make mismatched alliances with them, inconsistent with your faith]. For what partnership can righteousness have with lawlessness? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony can there be between Christ and Belial (Satan)? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols?

2 Corinthians 6:14-16

There are two kinds of capital we need to consider in light of the above scriptures:

  • Debt (bank loan or bond issuance)

All institutional debts have “debt covenants” associated with them.

They are the legal agreement between the borrower and lender. These terms require the debtor to: make certain payments, pay interest (and fees), and repay the principal within certain timeframes set forth in the legal agreement. In the event payments cannot be made, the lender has certain rights that are triggered. This can include a demand to repay the enter balance, or the right to foreclose on any asset referred to a surety in the covenants. This is why Proverbs 27 teaches us that the borrower is a slave to the lender.

Does God want us in such covenants? Where we bind ourselves with an unbeliever? Or in today’s realm, unbeleiving and depersonalized banks and systems? These entities may even start off personally during the sales cycle (when one agrees to a take a loan). But on the back end, it is almost always a nameless, faceless, person-less interaction (for example the “bank” is often legally a trust (created to buy/sell or securitize a loan)

  • Equity capital (ownership)

Equity is a partnership.

If you and I own a company together 50/50, we are “partners.”

As such it is a type of “marriage”, as either partner has rights to make decisions, and are responsible for all of the company’s actions. Including a share of the profits, and responsibility for losses.

Owning shares of stock is likewise a partnership (all be it a minority ownership). Shareholders have voting rights. They share in the profits. They are also collectively responsible for the action of the company through its board of directors and governance. Because it is a partnership, are we not responsible to God for whatever that company is doing?

What’s the difference between using money (USD) in the banking system and having a bank loan, and/or ownership of stocks and bonds?

Big difference

When you hold money, you are actually lending to the Federal Reserve. They are called Fed Reserve “notes”. Its like you are holding the bond if you will, and the proceeds have gone to the central bank, and they ultimately “owe” you. Now, its a crummy deal, because instead of collecting interest, you pay a type of interest called inflation. In fact, you can’t even redeem the note for anything anymore. When the Fed pays you back (through someone giving you a good or service), that dollar may buy a lot less that when you took the “note”.

Example: You burn 10 One Hundred Dollar bills. What happens? You are left with nothing, as you destroyed the “notes” that would have given you any redemption rights. So, you are not in debt to the Fed, the Fed is in debit to you. It’s your “bank note” (think of it as you are the lender – or the bond holder) to do with what you like.

Contrasting example: You burn your mortgage lending agreement (loan covenants) documents and say “I own this house”. You stop making payments. But because you signed agreement the loan covenant, the bank has rights to repossess your house. Depending on the state, they may not even have to go to court to “foreclose.” Understand, that a mortgage is a legal document recorded on the town/city land records that literally says the bank owns “your” property until you pay the loan in full. Until then you actually don’t own anything. Most people don’t understand this. But if you can’t pay, the lender takes over your homestead and land and kicks you out.

So realize the difference between the two. Ask the questions: Will this lead me into any form of slavery? Are there any strings attached to this financial transaction I am legally entering into?

Is it permissible to pay the poll-tax to Caesar, or not?” But Jesus, aware of their malice, asked, “Why are you testing Me, you hypocrites? Show me the coin used for the poll-tax.” And they brought Him a denarius [a day’s wage]. And Jesus said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said, “[The Emperor Tiberius] Caesar’s.” Then He said to them, “Then pay to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s.”

Matthew 22:17-21

4 Drachma Silver Shekel (Peter’s coin)

Jesus forbid partnering with unbelievers, but he did not prohibit using Caesar’s money (an unbelieving Government). Jesus commands us to preach the good news to unbelievers and help them, bringing the Kingdom of Heaven near. This is very different to entering into a business partnership with an unbeliever who is doing business the “world’s way” (i.e., deceived by the Harlot according to Rev 18:3, or serving Mammon according to Matthew 6:24)

Peter’s miracle fish coin required to pay the Jewish temple tax was a four-drachma coin Greek coin with secular rulers and/or Greek gods.

The disciples money box held similar and other secular coins.

Meditate on the difference through these and other scriptures to understand the difference.

One last point – What does God think of me owning bonds?

Good question!

Basically it comes back to: what are in the bond covenants? Since through the ownership of bonds, we are partnered with the other bond holders and we are “lending” to an entity, we are responsible to God according to 2 Corinthians 6 (see above) and all the moral ethical scriptures of the old testament. In most circumstances (99%), bond issuers and institutional holders are by definition secular unbelievers / companies / person-less entities. If that partnership with the “world’s” bond covenants violates God’s principals (say, profits from the poor, or charges interest to those God prohibits, doesn’t return the pledge, doesn’t allow ‘gleaning’ the fields, violates the sabbath), we are responsible for all that too.

This all goes back to Rev 18:4 – come out of her my people, lest you be responsible for her sins and suffer from her plagues. We can no longer afford to rationalize away these issues before God. We will be judged along with Bablyon and receive of her “plagues”.

Challenge question: Is CV19 a plague of Babylon according to the prophecies of Revelation and the rest of the bible?

Discussion: Cooperatives

Equity Ownership Structures Part I

We discuss Co-ops (short for Cooperatives). What are they and how are they significantly different from publicly traded companies, non-profit corporations, and privately held for profit companies? We discuss their strengths and weaknesses. We look at biblical models such as Acts 2 and 4 and compare and contrast them.

Some History of Co-ops in USA:

Founded 1752 in Philadelphia, PA

Earliest known US co-op in the form of a mutual insurance company – owned by policyholders

https://1752.com/blog/about-us/history/

Founded 1930 in Hanson, Massachusetts among 3 cranberry farming families

Example of a vertically integrated farming co-op whereby the farmers own the company.

https://www.oceanspray.com/en/Our-Story/Ownership

Founded in 1938, Seattle, WA

Formed as a consumer co-op where by the customers own the company

https://www.rei.com/about-rei

Founded 1908, Manchester, New Hampshire

First credit union in the US, as a cooperative bank owned by depositors and loan holders

https://www.stmarysbank.com/nav/about-us/history

Key Attributes of a “Co-op”

  • Alignment of interest around an affinity group
  • Pool resources together to better achieve business objective / common goal
  • Mutual and broad ownership with “one man, one vote” governance structure
  • “Profits” are distributed back to owners based on various fairness metrics, such as policy value, agricultural output, deposit/loan amount, or sales volume
  • they are “Non-profit” in the sense that the income statement balances to zero after dividends and/or member benefits are paid out
  • Opt-in and opt-out provisions for agricultural / supplier co-ops
  • Lifetime membership for some consumer co-ops including credit unions and insurance cos
  • Avoids hostile takeovers, capital stripping, over use of leverage, etc. found in publicly traded cos.

Other types of “Co-ops”

  • Housing / Coop Apartment buildings / Condos
  • Student unions
  • Preschools / Child care
  • Utilities
  • Workers
  • Food / Farmers Market
  • Retail / Buyers Clubs
  • Business
  • Arts / Crafts / Performance / Theater

We compare the strengths and weaknesses of the cooperative structure to other equity ownership structures.

Discussion: Lending Club

What is a lending club? We discuss the OMC and NECAP examples. What is it? How does it work? It’s the “Storehouse” in action…

Rules

1. The first rule of Lending Club is: You do talk about Lending Club

2. The second rule of Lending Club is: You do talk about Lending Club

… wait a second – no but seriously ….

Scriptural Rules for Lending Club

1. Do not charge your brother interest (Deut 23:19); 2. Do not charge interest to the poor (Deut 22:25)

2. Forgive debts every seven years (Deut 15:1)

3. Return the pledge (do not hold collateral) (Ezek 33:15)

4. Don’t expect to be repaid (Luke 6:34)

5. Lend to your enemy (Luke 6:35)

6. Freely you have received; freely give (Matt 10:8)

7. Open your hand wide to the poor for their need (Deut 15:8)

8. Borrower repays principal under God (Psalm 37:21)

But wait, that’s impossible, right?

Everything is possible for one who believes.”

Mark 9:23

Discussion: Storehouse Retreat Debrief

We cast vision for the Storehouse alternative banking strategy of God and discussed new possibilities and potential partnerships with others in Lindale Texas (see attached presentation).

The Storehouse includes: savings, payments, community investment, local currency, advancing the Kingdom, and more. It’s God’s biblical way of lending (non-hard recourse; non-forced interest), with a focus on discipling people to create Kingdom business/ministry opportunities, receive seed investment, get out of debt and into capital surplus in order to become an investor/lender, paying it forward for the benefit of others in the community.

Roundtable Discussion: The Storehouse

What is the Storehouse alternative banking strategy of God?

We discuss further.

The Storehouse includes: savings, payments, community investment, local currency, advancing the Kingdom, and more.

It’s God’s biblical way of lending (non-hard recourse; non-forced interest), with a focus on discipling people to create Kingdom business/ministry opportunities, receive seed investment, get out of debt and into capital surplus in order to become an investor/lender, paying it forward for the benefit of others in the community.

Discussion: Alt Currency

Inflation Part 2

How to deploy God’s “Storehouse” strategy of banking which can utilize an alternative community currency to the US dollar as a hedge against Inflation. The alternative currency would still be convertible to and from USD using payment bridges.

Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.

Matthew 7:24-27

Within a community, there lies an opportunity to encourage and stimulate the local economy, whereby the people of a given area agree to accept their own currency in lieu of US dollars. This does not remove the use of USD, but it runs in parallel to it.

BerkShares local currency
W.E.B. DuBois born in Great Barrington

An example of this is BerkShares which was a local currency created in 2006 and is accepted by 400+ merchants in the Berkshire Region of Western Massachusetts. Here is a good article in the Boston Globe.

Saugatuck Bank, Westport CT local currency 1860

Here is a different example of a Westport CT local bank issued currency (these are the printing plates) from 1860. Because banks today are regulated by the Fed, they deal only in Federal Reserve Notes (USD). But that wasn’t always the case! And what if the Fed fails?

We continue to discuss why inflation is coming. Another good perspective on this is from Ray Dalio, who manages the largest hedge fund in the world Bridgewater Capital, also based in Westport CT. While I don’t agree with Ray’s approach to economy and investing, he is an astute observer. And here.

Hockey Stick Increase M1 Money Supply

Finally, we have received another wake up call from the Fed itself when it announced at the beginning of the year that it would stop tracking ANY of the money supply. Yes, you heard that right, for years everyone tracked M1 and M2, which are our US measures of money. But the problem is when the Fed started printing money during the pandemic and the Fed government sent out stimulus checks and PPP loans, the money supply exploded. M1 took off like a rocket. This is also a sign of inflation. The fact that the Fed is not really explaining why it took this action, is also problematic.

Weimar Wheelbarrow of Money

This just in: 3 Americans – Buffet, Bezos and Musk are wealthier than the bottom 50% of all Americans. Mmmm.

There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold…

Acts 4:34

Cryptocurrencies as of April 29 were worth more than $2 trillion, according to CoinDesk, an information service, roughly equivalent to all U.S. dollars in circulation.

WSJ excerpt from “It’s Raining Money! What Happens When It Stops?

Discussion: Inflation

Last July, we discussed the Inflation Prophecies which you can read here as a refresher. Then more recently, our discussion of the National Debt delved into the “what if” of if the US ever lost its place as the reserve and settlement currency of the world, and how that could lead to even hyper-inflation. As we talked about, China and Iran are already making inroads to settling oil and energy products outside of the USD, including the US Fed wire / SWIFT banking system.

Just today Janet Yellen hinted that the Fed may need to raise interest rates in the medium term. Jamie Dimon, the CEO of the largest US bank JPM also said inflation is here but “everyone should enjoy it”. Warren Buffet also said inflation is more than expected. This is news. Reason being – stimulus spending and asset purchases through loose monetary policy, aka more debt.

No raising rates if inflation goes above 2% “temporarily”

The Fed and Jerome Powell have also raised their inflation target to above 2% rather than traditional measures of keeping inflation below 2%.

The spigot of government spending and Fed backed lending that is now wide open through the various Fed lending windows, to banks, corporations, municipalities. This in turn has led to massive increase in asset purchases such as housing, land, stocks, commodities, land, gold, precious metals and yes – Bitcoin.

Zimbabwe Note – 100Tn ?!

Third Seal: Scarcity on Earth

When He opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come and see.” So I looked, and behold, a black horse, and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand. And I heard 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; and do not harm the oil and the wine.”

Revelation 6:5-6

So, what to do? That will be the nature of our discussion. How the “Storehouse” alternative banking and currency strategies can respond to these issues.

Discussion: Bitcoin from a Christian perspective (Crypto Currency Part 2)

Bitcoin was the first cryptocurrency to successfully record transactions on a secure, decentralized blockchain-based network. Launched in early 2009 by its pseudonymous creator Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoin is the largest cryptocurrency measured by market capitalization and amount of data stored on its blockchain. The Bitcoin software is free and available online to anyone who wants to run a Bitcoin node and store their own copy of the Bitcoin blockchain. As Bitcoin matures, engineers have designed additional protocols to improve the speed and privacy of Bitcoin transactions, including the Omni LayerLightning Network and Liquid Network. Only approximately 21 million bitcoins will ever be created. New coins are minted every 10 minutes by bitcoin miners who help to maintain the network by adding new transaction data to the blockchain.

Coindesk.com description of Bitcoin

Last September, we explored the subject of Crypto currencies, decentralized finance (DeFi) and blockchain technology for applicability to financing the works of God here on the earth, including an alternative currency. The biggest Crypto by far is Bitcoin. So we are going to do a bit of a deeper dive into it in this discussion… This post / podcast is worth reading / listening to by means of review: https://newbreed.co/2020/09/01/crypto-currency/

Sept 2020     1 Bitcoin (last time we talked) $11,500
April 2021   1 Bitcoin (as of this email) $55,043

What has happened since:

  • 10/8/20 Square / Jack Dorsey $50m purchase of Bitcoin
  • 10/21/20 PayPal clients can purchase Bitcoin; Venmo 2021
  • 12/16/20 MassMutual insurance buys $100m Bitcoin
  • 12/20/20 Square Cash announces “Bitcoin back”
  • 1/31/21 Twitter / Dorsey brands “#bitcoin” with bitcoin emoji
  • 2/2/21 CALPERs increases Bitcoin miner RIOT stake to $441m
  • 2/4/21 “Dogecoin is the people’s crypto.” Elon Musk tweet
  • 2/8/21 Tesla $1.5Bn purchase of Bitcoin; Bitcoin as payment
  • 2/18/21 Robinhood announces clients Bitcoin buy and sell
  • 2/23/21 Square / Dorsey $170m purchase of Bitcoin
  • 3/30/21 PayPal clients can settle transactions in Bitcoin
  • 3/17/21 Morgan Stanley high net-worth clients can buy Bitcoin
  • 4/14/21 Coinbase goes public at $250/s – closes $338

Few other interesting tidbits:

A friend forwarded me this Tweet:

Bitcoin is an exit from the Fed.
DeFi is an exit from Wall Street.
Social media is an exit from mass media.

Homeschooling is an exit from industrial education.
Remote work is an exit from 9-5.
Creator economy is an exit from employment.

Individuals are leaving institutions.

@Naval Tweet on 1/2/21

A nice quip, but is it true??

  • Example: Bitcoin is traded through exchanges and held in wallets that are regulated
  • Example: Virtually all USD lending is done through the Fed
  • Example: 75% of US GDP and 50%+ of all jobs come from the Fortune 500…big institutions getting bigger

700 Club video just published yesterday on Bitcoin, which was pretty good: https://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/world/2021/april/understanding-the-bitcoin-revolution-and-why-its-likely-to-change-the-world

Bear Case for Bitcoin:

NYU Economist Roubini believes Bitcoin is a self-fulfilling bubble as transaction costs are too high as a means of payment : https://www.bloomberg.com/news/videos/2021-02-17/bitcoin-is-a-self-fulfilling-bubble-roubini-warns-video

Bull Case for Bitcoin:

ARK Investing Founder Cathie Wood (a professing Christian) believes the ability of crypto and bitcoin and other advanced technology cos to change and advance the economy of the world (such as Tesla and Space X) are so great, we have an order of magnitude of future investment appreciation https://www.bloomberg.com/news/videos/2021-03-08/cathie-wood-on-market-broadening-out-tesla-retail-investors-video

Satoshi Nakamoto

What is needed is an electronic payment system based on cryptographic proof instead of trust,
allowing any two willing parties to transact directly with each other without the need for a trusted
third party.

2008 Bitcoin white paper p1

Is God is looking to replace trust in Him and people with cryptographic machine trust?

The word “Crypto” comes from the Greek word kruptós, meaning ‘hidden’, ‘secret’ or ‘in the dark’.

Another friend asked me the other day what I thought of the decentralized nature of Crypto as it relates to creating an alternative Christian banking system, and this was my response :

Crypto, block chain, and DeFi are all good/interesting technology and ideas. Bitcoin, etc. not so great given price mania of its implementation. Bitcoin and most crypto-currencies also try to replace human trust with machine trust (which isn’t biblical). So, if you combine the tech with human relationships, bypass the legacy financial systems and the Fed while using removable bridges, back it with physical tangible value, you have what we are prototyping in the New Breed of Business.

Discussion: Affordable Housing with Christopher Lucey

Chris Lucey is the CAO of JAMA Global Foundation (Jesus Awakening Movement for America) and member of the Joint Executive Team (JET). Prior to this he was the Managing Director of Frontiers Ventures (formally the US Center for World Missions).

JAMA is building a “collaborative kingdom community”. A mix of advanced program offerings challenging emerging leaders to top-level senior executives/ elders. JAMA is raising up the next generation of global servant-leaders, business innovators and missionally-minded entrepreneurs and thought leaders.  

Christopher is transforming JAMA (2.0) by leading a pioneering work that includes creating housing for returning/ retiring missionaries from their field of service so they can “finish well”. The housing is designed to be affordable with a generational perspective. They also would like to honor and incorporate the missionaries as Adjunct Professors at the college located on the JAMA Campus (Fall 2024).

Here is the website: https://www.missiongrove.org/

But our discussion is not just what Christopher and JAMA are doing. This is a “what if” discussion for exploring the possibilities of an alternative way of financing housing, building collaborative community, thinking with a multigenerational perspective in mind.

Here is a related article about community housing with some food for thought:

https://nextcity.org/daily/entry/real-estate-co-op-is-looking-for-investors-who-want-to-put-community-first