Building Upon True Economic Value
This Letter builds upon the foundation that I set in True Economic Value. Let us review some key conclusions from that Letter before exploring True Biblical Money. The following quote from that Letter expressed the essence of True Economic Value:
What then is the concise lesson of my explanation of True Economic Value … ? It is for the individual to recognize that he is the investment of God and he should seek to become indispensable. Doing so will cause the opportunities to come to him as the giftings of God flourish in his life. This is the real foundation for enduring wealth accumulation.
I then went on to connect economic value and money, revealing the single mind of the Designer:
wisdom/understanding + study/work + experience/time = economic value
silver/gold (in ground) + geology/mining/refining + time = money (standard of value)
Do you see the significance of this comparison? True Economic Value is realized in our lives when the wisdom of God is brought to the surface (revealed) through a difficult and laborious process over time. Money (precious metals) that is a standard of value is brought about the same way. Why? Same Creator. He who formed you in your mother’s womb also formed gold and silver and placed them in the earth.
True Economic Value in an individual and precious metals as a true monetary standard of value both are both hard to come by. It is exactly this quality that makes them valuable. True Economic Value is hard to find in an individual. It requires a disciple of Jesus Christ who studies and/or works hard and carries with him valuable experience learned through the trials of his faith and profession. Likewise, precious metals beneath the ground require geological skill, intensive capital investment and planning, lots of drilling, and a long period of time to extract and refine the metals profitably.
True Economic Value is the essential building block for understanding True Biblical Money.
Money is a medium of exchange. God’s instructions to the Hebrews concerning their tithe provides a good example of the necessity for a convenient medium of exchange:
"And before the LORD your God, in the place that he will choose, to make his name dwell there, you shall eat the tithe of your grain, of your wine, and of your oil, and the firstborn of your herd and flock, that you may learn to fear the LORD your God always. And if the way is too long for you, so that you are not able to carry the tithe, when the LORD your God blesses you, because the place is too far from you, which the LORD your God chooses, to set his name there, then you shall turn it into money and bind up the money in your hand and go to the place that the LORD your God chooses and spend the money for whatever you desire—oxen or sheep or wine or strong drink, whatever your appetite craves. And you shall eat there before the LORD your God and rejoice, you and your household. (Deuteronomy 14:23–26; emphasis mine)
It was a lot easier for the ancient Hebrew farmer to carry a sack of silver to Shiloh or Jerusalem than to take mules laden with sacks of grain, skins of wine, and so on, not to mention livestock. In other words, money facilitated the observance of the law in the same way that it has always facilitated trade between two parties. It was a good thing, considering it enhanced the ability of the Hebrews to feast before God in His chosen local.
The use of money as a medium of exchange facilitates the trade of goods and services. Money is the blood of an economy.
Store of Value
The power of money as a medium of exchange goes beyond the simple notion of trade facilitation. Consider the efficiencies it brings to agricultural production and distribution. When a farmer is willing to hold money for his surplus production (that beyond which his family needs), then those food products can quickly enter the market for broader distribution. The farmer is not forced to hold perishable items until he can barter for something he needs. His confidence in money as a store of value, or at least a better store of value than perishable goods, allows him to quickly convert his surplus inventory (at the right price). If need be, he can then purchase equipment or materials needed to continue farming to produce more, instead of sitting on inventory until he can find the right barter relationship. What we have here—all because of money—is an efficient system where food is not wasted and productive working families can be easily fed at an efficient market price.
We can see from this example that for money to maximize its utility as a medium of exchange it must be a store of value. The money that a farmer earned from laboring day in, day out must be a store of value, otherwise we have a moral injustice. This is the crux of the issue and there are three critical aspects to it that must be addressed. Allow me to summarize them first, before going into detail on each:
- You cannot have a “moral injustice” without the Word of God as your standard.
- The originator of the type of money chosen determines who is in control.
- Store of value is not the same thing as stable prices.
As we work through each of these aspects, I will dissect the failure of many arguments for “sound money” and lay the necessary Biblical foundation.
The Word of God is the Standard
Similar to how I just did, many sound money proponents in our era will state that money that is not a store of value is unjust because the holder is robbed of the product of his labor. This is indeed true, yet the vast majority of these commentators ultimately cannot stand on their argument. Why? Because they do not accept or rightfully acknowledge He who laid down the standards in the first place. Ultimately, it just becomes another opinion of man. Is not the notion of a true standard of value the bedrock of the sound money argument in the first place? How absurd it is then to construct a sound money thesis without God. Yet, this is how it is done by every advocate for sound money who has an influential voice to the broader investment community. This simple but tremendously overlooked fact is the very reason why we do not have sound money in the first place! We have fake money because society has exalted fake evolutionary science over the Creator’s design.
Individuals like myself can make the claim and stand on it, because we openly acknowledge God and His standards. Until the Biblical argument for just money is established, its detractors will always be able to overcome it because the battle will remain in the shifting sands of man. However, when God’s definitive standards are properly presented, then we have truth that cannot be shrugged off. The truth of God’s Word will take on a life of its own and possibly change the hearts of men if they choose it over the lie.
To have a store of value, we need a standard of value. A standard of value is something that also requires the components of the True Economic Value equation—skill, work, and time. To be exchangeable as a store of value a standard of value must inherently be valuable, otherwise, it is not worthy of the value consideration. Finite natural resources can serve as a standard of value because they require skill, work, and time to either grow or extract. However, not all finite natural resources can maintain their value over an extended period of time. Wheat, although it can be made into flour (to extend its value), still has a shelf life. The value of eggs and milk deteriorate very fast. Interestingly, livestock can hypothetically maintain their value, and even multiply themselves under the right conditions. In modern times, oil and natural gas can be an enduring standard of value, if stored properly.
As one goes through the list of natural resources, metals begin to stand out for three important reasons:
- Their inherent properties enable them to maintain their value (seemingly) forever.
- They are the easiest and most inexpensive to store of all natural resources. Unlike livestock, they do not require ongoing management and land for grazing.
- They are the easiest to quickly and efficiently exchange in transactions.
Of all metals, history has proven that gold and silver work best primarily because:
- They both have all the necessary physical properties to be used as money. They are indestructible, portable, divisible, fungible [mutually interchangeable], and easily recognized.
- They are distributed across the world. There are major mines on every continent (except Antarctica) that produce gold and silver.
- Their scarcity in the ground enforces their value, yet there is still enough of each to serve as physical money. Consider that in 2016 the world’s mines collectively produced about:
- 20 million tons of copper
- 13 million tons of zinc
- 25 thousand tons of silver
- 3 thousand tons of gold
- 200 tons of platinum
There is way too much copper and zinc and way too little platinum for these metals to serve as valuable, portable coins for widespread use. There is the right amount of gold to handle large commercial transactions and the right amount of silver to handle small, everyday transactions. Copper coins have never been valuable (think: penny), because there is just too much of it. Only gold and silver—each in its own right—satisfy the scarcity and quantity requirements.
Allow me to provide you with a concrete example. The world’s population is increasing by about 81 million people per year, while miners are producing 800 million ounces per year, which comes out to 10 ounces of new silver per new person per year. This is a reasonable outlay to hypothetically add to the physical money supply each year.
So we see that the natural resources that have the inherent qualities necessary to endure, as is, for an extended period of time should ultimately become the most commonly used forms of money. The Bible confirms this observation. The patriarch Abraham (2132 - 1957 B.C.) was described as being “very rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold” (Genesis 13:2). (See also Genesis 24:35 for an expanded description of his wealth.) We can gather from this verse that a portion of the productive surplus from his livestock operation was kept as silver and gold, because they were a proven to be a superb store of value amongst the available resources (and convenient for his somewhat nomadic lifestyle). He reinvested the rest of his productive surplus in livestock, which as I already explained, is unique as a resource store of value because it can multiply itself.
A Crown of Thorns and Gold
Four verses in the second chapter of Genesis provide us with a glimpse of the geography of the ancient, pre-flood world before it was destroyed. The first two of these verses are noteworthy for our present topic. Here they are:
A river flowed out of Eden to water the garden, and there it divided and became four rivers. The name of the first is the Pishon. It is the one that flowed around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. And the gold of that land is good; bdellium and onyx stone are there. (Genesis 2:10–12)
It is interesting to me how quickly and somewhat prominently gold shows up in Adam’s record.1 There was plenty of other interesting things he could have mentioned, but he chose to emphasize gold. Here is why I think he did.
After the fall to sin, God told Adam:
“Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” (Genesis 3:17–19)
Adam lived 930 years. That is an awful lot of “pain,” “thorns and thistles,” and “sweat of your face.” I suggest to you that this was long enough for him and his descendants to come to grips with the fact that gold and silver were the best resources God had created to use for money and the best way to preserve the excess fruits they were able to generate from their cursed toil. Maybe if we put some of our modern fiat money priests out to the farm for several hundred years or so—long enough to see our fallen world obliterate the value of their paper savings like it always has—they would recognize that money needs to be a finite natural resource of enduring tangible value?
Now given this sweaty life of pain yielding thorns and thistles and the subsequent rise of various natural resource forms of money likely culminating in the widespread adoption of gold and silver as preferred money in the pre-flood years (for the reasons already mentioned), I suspect that a high grade deposit at Havilah was especially noteworthy. Gold was equivalent to hard work. A lot of gold was equivalent to years or even decades of toil. You see, the easier it was to get a hold of gold, the less one had to endure the economic toil of sin.
For the spiritually inclined, bells and whistles should now being going off in your heart and mind. A little poem about Adam springs forth:
Thorns and thistles
Bells and whistles
Lots of fine gold
Will ease my economic condition
This whole situation regarding Adam was prophetically symbolic. The Apostle Paul revealed this in the following collective verses that he wrote:
Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come [Jesus Christ]. (Romans 5:14; emphasis mine)
For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control. (1 Timothy 2:13–15; emphasis mine)
Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam [Jesus Christ] became a life-giving spirit. But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven. (1 Corinthians 15:45–49; emphasis mine)
What I think Paul was referring to here was the fact that Eve was deceived but Adam knew what he was doing when he “became a transgressor”. The first Adam ate the fruit knowingly to save his bride, just as the second Adam (Jesus Christ) laid down His life to knowingly bear the sin of man on the cross. (Eve may have actually been a “bride” in the sense that God may have just recently married them.) Paul was symbolically referring back to Eve when he wrote, “she will be saved through childbearing” because her own savior, the promised seed of Genesis 3:15 (Jesus Christ) would come through her descendants. To save his bride (Revelation 19:7; 21:9), Jesus endured the pain of the cross with a crown of thorns on His head to take on her sin.
Keeping in mind that in the Bible gold is symbolic for God or the nature of God (more on that later), how can we now hinder the sting of sin? By knowing where the best gold is and extracting it. That is, by knowing Jesus Christ we can live free from sin, as Paul wrote: “For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:2).
Adam most likely recorded the second chapter of Genesis later in his life after repeatedly observing the economic importance of gold. He specifically noted that the gold of Havilah was “good,” which likely meant that it was high grade and/or easy to extract. This very statement by Adam confirms the intentional scarcity of gold in God’s original, pre-flood creation. This is an important distinction.
Adam lived on God’s original earth before it was geologically transformed by a cataclysmic worldwide flood. God put the gold in Havilah and elsewhere for it to be discovered and used for specific purposes like money, jewelry, and (eventually) symbolic decor in the tabernacle. The common refrain from goldbugs is the true, yet lacking, statement that gold has been money throughout recorded human history. Yes, but who put it there to be found in the first place and designed the parameters of the very world where it was determined beforehand to become money for all of recorded human history? God did, of course. God did not just create gold and silver, He created the environment where He knew the gold and silver He created would be used for money. God made gold and silver to be money in His inhabited world. It is no accident that it fits the role perfectly. Very few investors realize just how much mainstream thought concerning economics and markets has been deceptively influenced by such false, atheistic notions as “chance” or “randomness”. This is a classic example.
Regarding the building of the tabernacle, God told Moses:
“Speak to the people of Israel, that they take for me a contribution. From every man whose heart moves him you shall receive the contribution for me. And this is the contribution that you shall receive from them: gold, silver, and bronze … And let them make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell in their midst. Exactly as I show you concerning the pattern of the tabernacle, and of all its furniture, so you shall make it.
“They shall make an ark of acacia wood. … You shall overlay it with pure gold, inside and outside shall you overlay it, and you shall make on it a molding of gold around it. …
“You shall make a mercy seat of pure gold. … And you shall put the mercy seat on the top of the ark, and in the ark you shall put the testimony that I shall give you. There I will meet with you, and from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim that are on the ark of the testimony, I will speak with you about all that I will give you in commandment for the people of Israel. (Exodus 25:2–3, 8–10a, 11, 17a, 21–22)
This “pattern” for the tabernacle was the throne of God in heaven. The gold covering everything in the holy place and the most holy place, where God told Moses He would meet with him, was a symbolic representation on earth of the throne of God in heaven. Furthermore, it also represented the triune structure of man—spirit (most holy place), soul (holy place), and body (outer court). God now desires to put His Spirit in the most holy place of believers (regenerated spirit in union with Him) and our soul to thus be holy through Him filling our lives. Throughout the Bible, gold is symbolic for the divine nature. God want us to worship Him in our holy place and not the gold. The gold serves to represent His nature, the holy nature He desires us to walk in. As an economic barometer for man, gold is valuable, but it points to the One Who is far greater, as Jesus confirmed:
“Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘If anyone swears by the temple, it is nothing, but if anyone swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath.’ You blind fools! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that has made the gold sacred?" (Matthew 23:16–17; emphasis mine)
I have often said that gold is like God in the economy and markets. When trust in man’s kingdom is running high, investors ignore it, but when trust in man’s kingdom is deteoriating, investors flock to it because they seek something of enduring value.
Do Not Forget The Silver
Silver is gold’s little sister in the Bible. Verse after verse, it is commonly found tagging along with it. On its own, it is sometimes symbolic for redemption.
The English word “money” appears 140 times in the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible and 139 times in the English Standard Version (ESV), which is the version I always use in the True Vine Letter. Most of these occurrences are in the Old Testament where it appears 117 times in 101 verses in the KJV and 110 times in 93 verses in the ESV. The Hebrew word translated as “money” in English is keceph, which means silver. Every time God commanded something to be done in the Law concerning money he was actually saying silver. Money in the Old Testament was silver. Our current forms of fiat paper and electronic money have no representation in the Bible.
Silver was the common man’s everyday form of money, for reasons already discussed. It was the transaction currency of the Hebrew religion (Law, Levitical Priesthood, tabernacle/temple, etc.) of Israel which was also a theocratic government for the first several hundred years of its existence from the time of Moses to the end of the period of the Judges. The question I have never heard anyone but myself ask is this: Did God want the money used in offerings and so on to always have the same inherent value (i.e., a specified weight in pure silver) or would He consider paper money, always debased over time, to be a suitable alternative? Would a specified offering in worship to the King of Kings be acceptable if it is going to be debased over time by an inferior kingdom?
The Originator of the Money Matters
Before the U.S. Congress, former Federal Reserve Chairman, Ben Bernanke, said that he did not understand gold, that it is not money, and that the central bank holds it because of tradition. I agree with him on one thing, he does not understand money.
Now the Federal Reserve would argue that if our money only loses its purchasing power by 2% per year, then it is a sufficient store of value because interest can be earned on the savings. I once heard Bernanke argue this very point before the U.S. Congress. Yet, as I write, I find that interest on savings is far below the current, government stated rate of inflation, revealing that this system is a rigged game.
Interest should only be what one earns when they lend out their money (or capital) to another party. It is compensation for the risk one takes on when lending their money, because they may not get it back. The twisted logic of the Federal Reserve is that interest is what you need to maintain your purchasing power against their established program of debasement. In their rigged monetary system, one needs interest to just tread water, if barely even that. (Funny … the Darth Vader theme just played on my instrumental playlist as I wrote that last sentence.)
Once I had an individual, self-described as a Christian, actually tell me that he was “grieved” because I was teaching people that gold and silver should be money. His reasoning was that the U.S. dollar has not lost 90%+ of its original value because those historical dollars could have been invested in U.S. treasuries bonds to earn interest and maintain their purchasing power (through compounding). Never mind the practical ridiculousness of this academic argument, which I tore up in the last paragraph already, the critical emphasis is these four words: United States treasury bonds.
Okay, I have got it now. This is how you prevent the U.S. monetary system from stealing from you. You take your paper dollars and you invest them in more government bonds. You preserve your wealth by continuing to feed (fund) the system that will ultimately wipe out all related paper wealth. This way the Socialist U.S. government will continue to have the funding necessary to continue to expand its bureaucracy with its tentacles reaching into every area of our lives, promote and pay for the murder of infants, manipulate people through the “free” press, fight to keep God out of schools, give armaments to jihadists, promote fake science and earth worship, legislatively steal 40%+ of a family business upon death, etc. Is the picture clear yet? The Federal Reserve and the Federal income tax all began right around the time that Socialism and Communism stormed the world. People have to have the Federal Reserve notes to pay the Federal income tax. It is all a Satanic downward spiral where freedom and justice are disappearing. I am reminded of the lyrics from Steve Taylor & The Perfect Foil’s In Layers:
We’ve all been compromised
Now are you so surprised?
Liberty stares you down
Before it dies
Now are you so surprised?
The alternative to this Socialist monetary experiment, is simply gold and silver. Guess who controls this “money” supply? God. He strategically printed it up and placed it in the ground a long time ago. We would find that there would be just the right amount of it if we decided to do things His way.
As you wrestle with this dichotomy in your mind, the picture becomes clear. It all comes down to control versus freedom.
Store of Value Does Not Mean Stable Prices
Those who promote a gold/silver standard often shoot themselves in the foot by implying that having gold and/or silver as money will lead to stable prices. It certainly would not hurt, but this is not the right way to think about it. A gold/silver standard does not provide some sort of economic panacea. True Biblical Money cannot override the bitter fruits of sin that constantly bombast our fallen world. If there is bad freeze in Florida, the price of orange juice will rise no matter what kind of money I have in my pocket. More importantly, economic participants can still alter the supply and demand equations through increased or decreased borrowing. Only when Christ returns and establishes His kingdom, where the effects of sin will be removed, will the use of gold and silver as money coincide with ongoing economic harmony.
True Biblical money calls for gold and silver. Only its use will ensure monetary justice for the people who work and save. This is the heart of the matter. It comes down to justice and freedom. I believe monetary justice and economic freedom were the focus of the Creator’s design.
You may be one of many investors in precious metals and/or precious metal mining companies who does not know Jesus Christ that inherently desires true value in your money. In your conscience you recognize that the current system is wrong. I hope this Letter serves to confirm that this is just another way the Spirit of truth is drawing you closer to God. If you turn from sin and ask Jesus Christ into your life, you can soon be part of His millennial kingdom where True Biblical Money will abound.
Joshua Hall, ChFC
1. Moses is credited with writing all 5 books of the Torah, however, Genesis, which predated him, was most likely a compilation of what his ancestors had recorded. Adam was likely the one who originally recorded the description we find in Genesis 2.
The True Vine Letter is a publication of True Vine Investments, the investment advisory business of Joshua S. Hall, ChFC, a Registered Investment Adviser in the U.S.A. The information presented in The True Vine Letter is provided for educational purposes only and not to be used or considered as an offer or a solicitation to sell or an offer or solicitation to buy or subscribe for securities, investment products or other financial instruments, nor to constitute any advice or recommendation with respect to such securities, investment products or other financial instruments. The True Vine Letter is prepared for general circulation. It does not have regard to the specific investment objectives, financial situation, and the particular needs of any specific person who may read this letter. You should independently evaluate specific investments and consult a professional before making any investment decisions.
All data presented by the author is regarded as factual, however, its accuracy is not guaranteed. Investors are encouraged to conduct their own comprehensive analysis.