The False Doctrine of Prosperity Preachers

rolls-royce-526056_1280There are many preachers and television evangelists in the denominational world today who assert that God doesn’t want anyone to be poor; from a monetary standpoint.

In many cases they tell their parishioners that if they would provide a large sum of money to their ministry, God would in turn bless the giver with a substantial amount of money in return.

This concept that God’s goal or will for all Christians is that they are monetarily rich is a heretical teaching and we will explore some reasons why.

Old Testament Examples of Prosperity

When we examine the old testament we can clearly see that God did promise the nation of Israel many physical and financial blessings with the condition being obedience.  We must remember that the old testament experiences were mostly physical so that spiritual truths could be gleaned for the benefit of the spiritually minded.  Let’s take a look at Deuteronomy 28:1-6 (KJV) as an example:

28 And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe and to do all his commandment(if this condition was met) which I command thee this day, that the Lord thy God will set thee on high above all nations (result) of the earth:

And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God.

Blessed shalt thou be in the city, and blessed shalt thou be in the field.

Blessed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy ground, and the fruit of thy cattle, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep.

Blessed shall be thy basket and thy store.

Blessed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and blessed shalt thou be when thou goest out.

The passage above indicates that if God’s terms were met, Israel would benefit with physical health and wealth.  However, we must realize that Israel’s relationship with God in the Old Testament was much like having “training wheels”.  Christ would come later to convey what God was like and deeper spiritual truths.

Christ’s Teaching on Prosperity and Wealth

When we look at Christ’s example and teaching we first must realize that he had few possessions and taught that others not be in bondage to “things”.  Let’s take the example of the rich young ruler found in Matthew 19:22:

22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.

In the previous verses leading up to verse 22, a young man was seeking to get an answer from Christ on what he needed to do to obtain eternal life.  Jesus knowing that the rich young ruler was possessed by what he owned suggested that he sell his goods to the poor.  This was one task that the rich young ruler was not willing to do.

So with examples like this, why would God want more people to be possessed by things which would obscure their focus on him?

Jesus also taught that we should store up treasures in heaven not on earth Matthew 6:19-21:

19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:

20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:

21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

In Mark 10:25, Jesus states: “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”  This statement was also in reference to the rich young ruler and his inability to let go of his wealth to embrace the greater wealth of heavenly riches.

Finally, Jesus mentioned in Matthew 8:20 that he had nowhere to lay his head.  This wasn’t a commandment necessarily for everyone else, but here was clearly someone who could have been rich if he wanted to, but chose a greater purpose.

Other New Testament examples

Despite teachings that the apostles were wealthy, there is absolutely no evidence of this.  In fact, when we see a miracle that God performed through Peter in Acts chapter 3, he stated that he had neither silver nor gold to provide to the lame man that he healed:

6 Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. 

In Paul’s letter to Timothy in I Timothy 6:10-12 he states:

10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

11 But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.

12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.

Focus on “Bearing Fruit” For God

When we examine to parable of the talents found in Matthew 15:14-30 we are able to understand that God provides various blessings and abilities to everyone both Christian and non-Christian.  This may include wealth.  However, he expects those talents to be used to his glory.  To whom much is given, much is required: Luke 12:48.

Galatians 5:22-23 states: “22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law”.

 

 

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Common Scriptures that Bible-Haters Should Stop Quoting

“Jesus Christ” – This is actually an offense to followers of Christ.  Then again, many people who use this phrase are aware of this.

“Turn the other cheek” – This phrase is taken from Matthew 5:38 – 40.  The context of this scripture has to do with not returning evil for evil.

“Render unto Caesar” – The religious leaders of Christ’s time attempted to trap him with a question of whether poll-taxes should be paid to Caesar.  Christ could not be trapped by their questioning (Matthew 22:20-22; Mark 12:17).  His complete statement was “Pay to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s”.

Scapegoat” – This term refers to someone who bares the blame of others.  In Leviticus 16:7-10 it referred to goats that were sent into the desert with the sins of the community.

“Let there be light” – This is sometimes stated when someone enters a room and turns on the light.  However, this statement is taken from Genesis 1:3 which gives an account of God’s creation of light.

Money is the root of all evil” – This statement is a misquote from the original scripture taken from 1 Timothy 6:10.  The proper context and phrasing is the “love of money is the root of all kinds of evil”.  Money is just a tool, otherwise.

“Let he who is without sin” – This is taken from the John 8:7 in which Jesus responded to those who questioned him concerning whether the adulterous woman in question be stoned to death or not.

“An eye for an eye” –  Many in the world take this scripture as license for revenge, but this was never the intent.  The intention was more to make things equal and fair.  This passage from Exodus 21:24 is in reference to a pregnant woman who has a child injured or killed due to the negligence of others.

“Am I my brother’s keeper?” – Cain presented this question to God when asked where his brother: Abel was.  This was after Cain had killed him.  Obviously, God new where Abel was, but sometimes asks these questions in scriptures to help the guilty party see the errors of their ways.

Patience of Job” or “Trials of Job” – Pretty self-explanatory; Job is an Old Testament biblical figure who experiences material suffering to make him better spiritually.

 

If the Bible says “Thou Shalt Not Kill” Is Killing Ever Justified?

thou-shalt-not-killThere is a huge misconception out there regarding the following scripture found in Exodus 20:13 (King James Version): “Thou shalt not kill”.

The context of this scripture is in relation to Moses receiving God’s law; specifically the “10 commandments”.  For the purpose of explaining the misconception of this scripture we have elected to reference the King James Version.

The Hebrew word for “kill” is “ratsach” which means to slay or murder.  Many have mistakenly taking this word as some sort of catch all for all killings; i.e. the killing of animals, killings involved in war, self defense and capital punishment.  However, the intended meaning of the passage is to not kill in “cold blood”; to not murder or to not shed innocent blood.

Many of the other translations provide clarity of this word by using the word “murder” derived from the actual Hebrew word provided above.

Let’s consider the subject of “capital punishment”.  In further study of the scripture we do not find any indication that capital punishment is ever condemned.  For example: Genesis 9:6 – “Whoever sheds man’s blood, By man his blood shall be shed, For in the image of God He made man” (NASB).  Also, Romans 13:3-4:  3“For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; 4for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil”.

Furthermore, the sword was the most lethal weapon of the day during biblical times and would be considered the equivalent of today’s gun.  The goal of the sword was for both the punishment of crimes and as a crime deterrent.

Why Did Jesus Have to Die?

crown-of-thornsStarting as a child all the way into adulthood I never quite got why Christ needed to die to save me.  It took some real interest and desire to see before the Holy Spirit opened my eyes

To understand the significance of Christ’s death we need to move beyond looking at things from a physical perspective to a spiritual perspective.  If one would read and study the 4 gospels it becomes abundantly clear that one of Christ’s goals was to have his followers see things spiritually.  The Bible teaches “God is a spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth(John 4:24).

Let’s consider for a moment the old testament.  From a physical perspective the Israelites followed the old testament ten commandment of “thou shalt not kill ( ratsach is the Hebrew word for kill which means murder in cold blood or slay; Deuteronomy 5:17.  In the new testament we see Christ addressing the spiritual aspect of this commandment by teaching us to nip anger and evil intentions in the bud before it leads to murder (Matthew 5:21).

Furthermore, God provided “physical prosperity” for old testament Israel for the obedience and physical suffering as a result of disobedience:  “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success” (Joshua 1:8).  Moving into the New Testament we can see 2 Corinthians 9:8: “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed“.

The old testament indicates that the shedding of blood atones for sin as we find in Leviticus 17:11.  While this is a physical action, the results are spiritual.  With that being said, the blood of bulls and goats used in sacrifices for sins was never capable of actually removing sins (Hebrews 10:4).  Instead Christ’s body was necessary as we find in verse 5.  The reason that blood and goats could not remove sin although the creatures were innocent is because these creatures have less value than man.  Only a perfect and pure being who was either equal or greater than man could atone for sin.

So Christ’s blood fulfilled the spiritual law as stated above requiring that blood is the only means through which man can find atonement for sin. Thanks to God for Christ who was both equal and greater than mankind; the only one capable of meeting this divine requirement!

Points to Remember

  • The blood of animals cannot remove sins
  • God’s spiritual law requires that blood can atone
  • Christ’s blood is spiritually superior to that of bulls and goats and is able to heal man of his sinful condition
  • Old testament sacrifices rolled sin forward until the perfect human sacrifice (Christ) came to earth

 

If I’m Healed “By His Stripes” Why Am I Still Sick?

Cat O Nine Tails

The prophetic messianic scripture taken from Isaiah 53:5 states: “But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed” (NASB).

Unfortunately, this scripture has been taken out of context by many in the denominational world who assert that faith-healers still exist today as they did during the time of Christ and the apostles.  We will try to convey the truth of this passage to you in simple layman’s terms using the proper context found within the text.

It says that he endured punishment in the form of being pierced through for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities and chastened for our well-being. The question that should one should ask is are these things spiritual matters or physical?  The answer is simple: “spiritual”.

In the final statement it says: “by His scourging we are healed”. As we have concluded from the early part of the verse that the benefits are spiritual.  Therefore the healing that is provided through Christ’s suffering is spiritual healing.  The term “healing” can also mean “curative”.  In other words, Christ cures us of our broken sinful condition through his suffering.

In our referencing of God’s Word (a.k.a. The Scriptures) we must always use proper context.  While there are many scholars out there the average person who would be willing to take a little time and study (not just read) the scriptures can gain understanding.  Admittedly, there are some areas of scripture that are more difficult than others.  However, this is not a license to throw in the towel and leave all teaching to someone who is designated as a church leader even if the leader appears to have good intentions.

We need to reject all instances where God’s word is taken out of context as commanded in 2 Timothy 2:15. It would be tragic to lose one’s soul by taking another’s word concerning the scriptures.