In recent years a popular investment scam has emerged within the Christian community where the currency of Iraq (the dinar) is sold to gullible investors who are led to believe that they could reap a 100,000% return or higher when the dinar is returned to its pre-Desert Storm value. Back then it was valued at $3+, but today the dinar is valued at less than a tenth of a penny.
The scam is driven by naivety, ignorance of currency valuation, ignorance of scripture, and plain ol’ greed. Speculators are led to believe that since Iraq is the home of Babylon, and since the Bible says that Babylon will emerge as an economic giant in the last days, surely the dinar will be a factor and must therefore gain in value significantly in order for Bible prophecy to be fulfilled. By purchasing a million dinars in cash for around a thousand dollars, they can expect to exchange them for $1-3 million after Iraq’s central bank revalues their currency to its former worth.
Warren Buffett is probably the best investor in history. He says that he has passed up many opportunities over the years because he didn’t understand the investment, and he never invests in things he doesn’t understand. He could have made billions more than he has, but he also could have lost billions and he doesn’t like to lose money. Sound advice.
Many lies are told to perpetuate the scam by “pumpers” who usually work for the dinar dealers and are compensated in some capacity. They say that Kuwait revalued their currency after Desert Storm and people who bought the Kuwaiti dinar during the occupation of Kuwait by Saddam’s forces made millions when they exchanged those dinars after Kuwait was liberated and Kuwait’s central bank revalued their currency. In fact, Kuwait never revalued their currency. When they resumed business operations after the liberation they offered the Kuwaiti dinar at the same value as they did prior to the war – $3.47. What actually occurred is that the black market value of the Kuwaiti dinar depreciated during their occupation and returned after the liberation. The only way to have profited off of the situation would have been to exchange cash for cash, and you needed to be in the region with wads of dollars on you that you were willing to risk by speculating on the outcome of an occupied country’s currency which could have very easily become worthless. It’s very unlikely that anybody made more than a few thousand dollars in that scenario, and certainly nobody purchased discounted Kuwaiti dinars through a currency trader during that time.
Another case that the scammers cite is the German deutschmark. They claim that it was revalued after WWII and that people who purchased it when it was at its lowest value made a fortune when it revalued as Germany came back during the Marshall Plan. In fact, the deutschmark didn’t even exist at the time. The reischmark was the currency that Germany used during WWII, and it was replaced by the deutschmark in an effort to make Germany’s currency attractive to their people again. No huge profits there, either.
Many more lies have been told which time and space won’t allow for in this post. The point I am making here is that the dinar is marketed with lies, and several of the liars have been convicted of fraud over the years as the scam has dwindled in popularity. In addition to the lies about history and economics though, the scammers have also misinterpreted scripture to lure Christians into buying dinar.
One of the more compelling twists of scripture is the reference to the wealth of the sinner being laid up for the just. (Prov. 13:22) This verse is interpreted as some sort of endtime transfer of wealth from the ungodly to the godly, but the verse is simply referring to the tendency for a good man’s character to be reflected in his offspring who manage their affairs responsibly, while an ungodly man’s wealth tends to be lost by his offspring. There is no biblical basis for any transfer of wealth to fund the preaching of the gospel in the last days. This is a teaching popularized by many Charismatics (of which I am one), especially those in the NAR (New Apostolic Reformation) whom I consider my brothers in Christ but with whom I have theological differences.
Another biblical reference that the dinar scammers use is the references to the Babylon in Revelation. While they insist that these references should be taken literally and the the city of Babylon will be rebuilt, the fact is Bible scholars have differing views on the references to Babylon. While some take the references literally there are others who consider it to be a reference to Jerusalem (“And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.” – Rev. 11:8), and then there are those who consider it a reference to Rome (as in I Peter 5:13), and yet others take it as a reference to a false religious system of the end times. Regardless of which view you hold to, there is no reason to conclude that the dinar will play any role concerning whoever and wherever Babylon is or will be.
Perhaps the greatest abuse of scripture is the whole idea of a sudden monetary windfall as a blessing from God. When God blessed people financially in the Bible it was as a result of their work and their faithfulness to Him over a period of many years. (Prov. 13:4) The get-rich-quick lottery view of God’s blessing isn’t supported by scripture. (Prov. 28:20) Proverbs 22:29 says “Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will stand before kings; He will not stand before obscure men.” God blesses people who develop great skill.
During the peak of the scam I started a blog to expose the people promoting the scam and the lies they told. Along with my friend Marcus Curtis I was able to help thousands of people to see the light and either sell their dinar or avoid the scam altogether. Unfortunately many refused to listen. The whole experience taught us a great deal about this seamy underbelly of the investment and church worlds.
Over the years many scams have targeted church people. In 2009 a $50 million gold bullion scam targeted church people through nightly conference calls, using the right vernacular to suck the victims in. http://archive.sltrib.com/story.php?ref=/lds/ci_13368720 In 2013 Michael Winans Jr. (of the famous gospel music family) was convicted of defrauding 1200 church members in an $8 million Ponzi scheme. http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/02/28/grammy-nominee-winans-prison-fraud-scheme/1953165/ From 1997 to 2002 an advance fee scam took church members for $21 million in the “miracle cars” scam. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miracle_cars_scam More could be listed, but suffice it to say that people of faith tend to be more trusting and more willing to help their fellow man, which makes them prime targets for scammers.
Jesus said for us to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. (Mat. 10:16) In Luke 16:8 He said that the sons of this world are more shrewd than the sons of light. John tells us to test the spirits. (I John 4:1) In I Thess. 5:21 Paul tells us to prove all things. It’s important for believers to develop critical thinking skills, and to recognize fraud and scammers when they encounter them. It brings no glory to God to fall prey to con artists.
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