Luke chapter 16 - The Jews are wise with money
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The Jews used their money-making skills to survive in the Gentile countries when they were exiled from Israel.First published on the 19th of May 2018 — Last updated on the 26th of January 2021
Luke again relates a parable dealing with a man.
This is the most difficult of all the parables to interpret because Jesus praises a crook.
Why does He do this? Because Pharisees were listening and as religious leaders they used their position for financial gain.
LUKE 16:14 And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things: and they derided him.
Like the Pharisees, the unjust steward, had positions of authority. He was being fired, and needed to find a future home.
LUKE 16: 1 And he said also unto his disciples, There was a certain rich man, which had a steward; and the same was accused unto him that he had wasted his goods.
:2 And he called him, and said unto him, How is it that I hear this of thee? give an account of thy stewardship; for thou mayest be no longer steward.
:3 Then the steward said within himself, What shall I do? for my lord taketh away from me the stewardship: I cannot dig; to beg I am ashamed.
:4 I am resolved what to do, that, when I am put out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses.
:5 So he called every one of his lord's debtors unto him, and said unto the first, How much owest thou unto my lord?
:6 And he said, An hundred measures of oil. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and sit down quickly, and write fifty.
:7 Then said he to another, And how much owest thou? And he said, An hundred measures of wheat. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and write fourscore.
Let us try to apply this parable to the Jews.
They had been the stewards of God's Word and God's Spirit in the Old Testament.
They carried God's Word in the ark of the covenant, and God's Spirit behind the inner veil. Oil is a symbol of God's Spirit. Wheat makes bread, which is a symbol of the doctrine of God's Word.
The Jews would reject Messiah, and thus waste their favoured position with God as they would no longer be stewards of His true Word and Spirit. They would then be thrown out of Palestine by the Romans. So Jesus advised them to get involved as money lenders and wealth earners, which would make them invaluable in helping the Gentile kingdoms financially. The Romans dispersed the Jews worldwide after burning the Temple and sacking Jerusalem in AD 70 and finally exiled them from Jerusalem in AD 135.
Deprived of their Temple, which was the centre of their faith, the Jews would have to write their own survival script for the next 2000 years.
The Jews learned to integrate into the dominant majorities of other nations, where their skill for making money has always ensured their survival and made them welcome in many countries. Jews have combined hard work with intelligence and a tremendous ability to trade and do banking and investments, and thus upgrade the economy of the country that accepts them.
In 711 the Muslim Arabs conquered Spain, and Jews became wealthy in the market place, and then rose to the highest government posts as a series of brilliant viceroys who made the Spanish caliphate extremely rich. These Jews, with their talented business skills, helped to usher in an age of splendour and learning as Spain developed a brilliant 700-year Islamic civilization, while the rest of Europe plunged into the Dark Ages. Thus the Jews helped to develop Islamic capitalism.
In 1066 William the Conqueror brought over many French Jews who established banking and a national economy in England. The Anglo-Saxon clergy of England had the unfortunate reputation of being ignorant, corrupt, and greedy. The barbaric and illiterate English hardly had an economy. The Jews formed an elite business class of professional men. Jewish bankers were involved in financial transactions involving huge sums of money. Jews established international banking in Europe by introducing promissory notes. The Jews acted as economic middlemen between the Mohammedans and Christians.
The feudal system of the Dark Ages has the nobles doing the fighting, the priests praying, and the serfs doing the farming. There was no merchant class. So the Jews moved naturally into this vacuum, to the benefit of everyone.
Jews were expelled from England, but after 1648 Oliver Cromwell invited them back to England to speed up England's development of a capitalist economy. Court Jews were recognized for their financial genius, as they could guide a king in his struggles against the power of the nobles. Other Jews established vast business enterprises in most of Europe. Catherine the Great, who ruled Russia from 1762 t0 1796, found that she needed Jews to develop the economies of her newly conquered territories in Poland.
LUKE 16:8 And the lord commended the unjust steward, because he had done wisely: for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light.
In the Dark Ages, Jewish capitalism far outshone the Christian church in terms of building up national economies.
:9 And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations.
The Jews failed to present Jesus as their Messiah to the world. But their business and banking skills made them welcome in different countries, during their dispersion.
Service to the community is regarded by the Jews as an obligation. Countries benefited financially by having Jews to help drive their economies.
:10 He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.
Jews were hugely disadvantaged as refugees who had to flee their homeland. The Jews used their money-making skills to their best advantage and increased the welfare of nations by helping to develop private banks and international banking practices.
Jewish bankers and industrialists helped so many nations. Jews safely and quickly transferred most of the gold from England to Spain that was needed by General Wellington's army in Spain as he defeated the French armies of Napoleon.
Using their financial skills to help so many nations qualified the Jews for a far greater reward, their return to their own homeland.
Meanwhile, the nations who occupied Israel had never developed its potential, as they persecuted or suppressed the Jews. Most of these nations faded away onto the scrapheap of history.
The Romans, the Greek Byzantines, the Sassanids, the Arabs, the Crusaders, the Mamlukes, the Turks, and the English.
The Turks and the English once had great empires, but have lost them. The Arabs lived in poverty in Palestine, which was largely a wilderness or wasteland.
But the Jews finally made it back into Israel, and are world leaders in turning deserts into productive farmland. They are the only nation to be ejected from their homeland for 2000 years, and still manage to make a comeback.
The only resurrection of a nation in world history.
After the First World War, Jews from around the world supported the Jewish settlers in Israel with mammoth investments and donations, which enabled them to buy up swamps and wasteland in Palestine from the Turkish owners at exorbitant prices. They drained the swamps and turned desert areas into productive farmland.
The Wall Street stock exchange Jews of New York, and in Europe the Jewish Rothschild bankers (possibly the wealthiest family in the world), grant huge loans to countries and multinational business corporations, as well as supporting the modern state of Israel. The Jews have certainly used their money wisely as they have become an essential component of world finance. Their financial skills have helped them to survive 2000 years of relentless persecution.
American Jewish money has played a large role in the survival of the state of Israel. In 1948 Golda Meir went to America to beg for 2 million dollars to fight the impending war with the Arabs, which would happen when Israel would declare their independence. Golda came back with 20 million dollars, which basically saved Israel.
Israel is the ultimate home to welcome Jewish refugees, that the guilt-ridden Gentile United Nations provided in 1947 as an act of compensation for the survivors of the awful Nazi holocaust of 1941-1945 when six million Jews died. Russia, under Stalin, played a leading role in establishing the state of Israel. This was very strange because Stalin hated Jews.
God uses whoever He wants to as He brings His great Plan to pass.
LUKE 16:11 If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?
By using their money talents to build up other countries, God has now allowed the Jews to finally build up Israel as their own home; a final place of safety where they can protect themselves. They have built up the barren wasteland, that the Turks owned, where the Arabs rented and lived in poverty, into a modern and very powerful nation by the judicious use of their incredible financial skills. The Jews have thus been able to use their impressive money talents to build up their own national home by buying land from the Turks, and conquering the rest from the Arabs who refused the United Nations' partition plan to divide Palestine into two states, giving the Arabs about 80% of the British mandate, which was called Transjordan, together with its well-equipped modern army led by British officers. Rejecting the UN offer, the Arabs preferred to declare war with the aim of eliminating the Jews, and trying to claim 100% of the Palestine territory which was ruled by Britain.
The Jews won and thereby fulfilled the prophecy (which is the truth) that they would be back in their homeland to stay.
AMOS 9:15 And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the LORD thy God.
Their true riches is the fact that they are back in their homeland waiting for Messiah.
LUKE 16:12 And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man's, who shall give you that which is your own?
If they were not faithful as bankers with other people's money, how could they be entrusted with their own homeland?
Now that they have fought their way back in their Promised Land against huge odds, God is preparing them for their main spiritual purpose, which is to receive their Messiah during the Great Tribulation. This is the greatest treasure that the Jews will ever receive.
The steward gave back half the oil (50%) but only 20% of the wheat (as the debtor had to write a bill for 80% of what he owed).
The Jews only had enough of God's Spirit for the Old Testament, which was half (50%) of God's plan. Then they lost out.
The 1947 United Nations partition plan only gave them 20% of the territory of the British Palestine mandate. The rest they had to win by fighting the Arabs who declared war on them.
LUKE 16:13 No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
Serving the pursuit of wealth easily becomes the main concern in our lives, rather than the pursuit of the Kingdom of God, which is the revelation of the truth in the Bible.
First, the Jews survived with their focus on wealth, which would finally result in them returning to their Promised Land.
During this stage, they put money first and God second.
Their focus was on profits.
During the Great Tribulation, their attitude will change. Then it will be God first when Messiah returns to save them.
This will be as a result of the preaching of two prophets (Moses and Elijah).
LUKE 16:15 And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.
The Jews (and the rest of us) justify money-making as our main reason for being on earth. People are impressed by wealth. But God sees things very differently.
There is a spiritual plan that God wants to produce at the end time, and money-making is not God's purpose.
As the Jews return to their promised land, so God wants the Gentile church to return back to the beliefs of the New Testament church. These are the beliefs that Moses and Elijah will take back to Israel.
LUKE 16:16 The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.
As the Jews have had a tough time during the church ages, so the Christians can also expect to have a tough time.
The Law was a shadow or outline of the New Testament faith. Jesus was the reality of that shadow. The prophets foretold the coming of the Messiah. John the Baptist was the last of the prophets because in his day Jesus came as the Messiah. Now God wants to dwell in human hearts that He has changed. But is not easy to be a Christian. Each individual has to try hard to serve God's purpose on earth, without being fooled by man-made doctrines, religious traditions, and the opinions of human leadership. It is also hard not to be fooled into believing that our main reason for being on earth is to get rich. In addition, the Devil opposes anyone who gets closer to the truth by causing extra family problems, financial pressures, health issues, or job problems. You have to press hard to progress slowly, step by step, into God's great Plan for our age.
LUKE 16:17 And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.
Nothing that is written in the Bible is false. We need to believe every word. Very few people can do this. Most Christians obey certain portions of the Bible, but disregard other portions of the Bible. Never believe that there is a mistake in the Bible. Never believe that two Scriptures contradict each other. Never believe that any Scripture is unimportant.
Scientists do not know what 95% of our DNA does, but sensible scientists realize that this 95% is not junk DNA as some people claim, but is still unknown because of our present stage of human ignorance. One day we will know more about it. In the meanwhile, we know that it has some value, and we keep searching to understand it better.
Equally, all Scripture is true. If you do not understand it now, search harder and be prepared to listen to others. Sometime the answer will be revealed if you keep seeking the answer.
II TIMOTHY 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
Doctrine teaches us the truth. Reproof tells us what we do wrong. Correction straightens our thinking when we misunderstand or misinterpret Scripture. Righteouness makes us better people.
Now Luke writes about one of the biggest mistakes in the churches.
LUKE 16:18 Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery.
There is no such thing as divorce, and re-marriage while the marriage partner is still living. The marriage vow stands until "death us do part". Nothing can break that vow once it has been legally made.
Here, in their compromise with the world so that they can remain popular and friendly, the churches have made a huge mistake. All the so-called re-marriages are simply a couple that are living in adultery. They will have to answer for this on Judgement day. The religious leaders who remarried them will have to give an account on Judgement day. On that day things will not go well for any of them.
JAMES 4:4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.
The next parable, of a rich man and a beggar, shows that everything in Heaven is upside down compared to what we see on earth.
LUKE 16:19 There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:
:20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,
:21 And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.
:22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;
:23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
As soon as he was dead the rich man suddenly became very religious, and now wanted to be in the company of the beggar. But it was too late.
There was no way out. The line had been crossed.
He then asked for someone to rise from the dead to warn his brothers. Suddenly he was very evangelical. Just when it was too late.
LUKE 16:29 Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.
:30 And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.
:31 And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.
A chilling reminder. If we cannot now believe the New Testament truths of the early church, then when the early church rises from the dead and appears to us, we will still not be able to believe what they say. Because they will only say what is written in the Bible. Thus we will not be caught up with them to Heaven.