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 The Gospel of Prosperity Part 1 (Part 27 of Series)

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PostSubject: The Gospel of Prosperity Part 1 (Part 27 of Series)   Fri Jan 09, 2015 10:37 pm

Many believe that the gospel of prosperity derived from America and leaked out to other countries worldwide.  We can postulate this to be true in regards to this contemporary, false interpretation of God’s word concerning wealth that today’s Christian preachers promulgate. Though the spread of this doctrine from the Church may be new—and it is definitely now worldwide—the root of this doctrine certainly is not new.  It is a worldly doctrine.  The bible calls it the Babylonian System.  We will talk a lot about this system when we study Revelation chapters 18 and 19 where God destroys this system.  It is a demonic system.  The tragedy with the Christian church in Laodicea is that they had incorporated this demonic system into their prayers, worship, and doctrine.  Babylon is one of the most ancient nations of the world.  It has its beginnings back in Genesis where men attempted to build the tower of Babel. We will later look at this passage again, but let’s briefly look at it now.  This was more than an attempt to make a skyscraper.  These people were building a city, and the tower was to serve as its base and its peek was to reach their pagan gods in the sky.  Genesis 11:4 says, “Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens so that we may make a name for ourselves.”  These people, like many men today, relied on their technology.  Their technology was their god.  The reason they state for building this tower was to “make a name” for themselves.  They sought prestige, fame, power, and notoriety.  They were egotistical, proud, worshippers of themselves.  Does this all sound familiar?  It sounds a lot like the American Dream.  The American Dream is a vision to achieve economic power, gain, prestige, and fame.  The Church of Laodicea in our time has adopted this American Dream (which originated in Babylon—more precisely yet, originated with Satan).  The people of this city sought to build a tower to the heavens so that they can look down on the world by their achievements and place themselves above everybody else; and so that they may have a place among the gods.  This is an egregious attempt of man trusting in man’s ability, and an attempt to live life independently from God.  Whenever man praises their scientific achievements, they are praising the Babylonian system.  

The church today does not blatantly seek to live independently from God.  Rather, we seek to mix the Babylonian system with God’s agenda and call it holy.  We want both.  We want prestige, power, riches, fame and God’s hand of blessing on our lives.  This is the church of Laodicea that we have been studying.  This is the gospel of prosperity.  This is the answer to the secular prayer, “Let my will be done.”  What we have done is taken scripture and tweaked its meaning to help justify the true desires of our hearts.  We ignore the Scriptures that blatantly condemn this.  

Babylon was a real nation/city.  But throughout the bible, Babylon represents a system of wealth, pride, power, and independence from God.  Let’s briefly look at some of the verses in Revelation 18.  God warns his people in verse 4, “Come out of her [Babylon], my people, so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues...”  By the time we get to chapter 18, we will see in our study that there are no more saved people on the Earth at all.  Verse 4 therefore is a warning to us today, not to a future warning for the people of that time.  God is asking the Christian readers today to come out of Babylon, just as he urged Israel to come out of Egypt in the Old Testament. Verse 9 reads, “When the kings of the earth who committed adultery with her [Babylon] and shared her luxury see the smoke of her burning, they will weep and mourn over her.  Terrified at her torment, they will stand far off and cry: ‘Woe! Woe! O great city, O Babylon, city of power! In one hour your doom has come!”  This verse tells us some things about Babylon—it is a city of luxury; a city of power; a city who commits adultery with pagan gods who are not the true God.  It is a city that the kings and government systems of the earth commit to.  So great is this system, that they will not know what to do when this system collapses before their very eyes.  Verse 11 continues, “The merchants of the earth will weep and mourn over her because no one buys their cargoes any more—cargoes of gold, silver, precious stones and pearls; fine linen, purple, silk and scarlet cloth; every sort of citron wood, and articles of every kind made of ivory, costly wood, bronze, iron and marble; cargoes of cinnamon and spice, of incense, myrrh and frankincense, of wine and olive oil, of fine flour and wheat; cattle and sheep; horses [cars in our day] and carriages [limos]; and bodies and souls of men [victims].”  Down will fall the big businesses that have preyed on milking their workers by paying them meagerly, while exponentially growing into bigger more powerful establishments, adding house upon house, until there is no more room for others in the land. Down will fall the vision of affluence; the possibility of the American Dream will crumble.  

In Isaiah 24:1-3, God says of this system and of this particular time period, “See the LORD is going to lay waste the earth and devastate it; he will ruin its face and scatter its inhabitants—it will be the same for priests as for people, for master as for servant, for mistress as for maid, for seller as for buyer, for borrower as for lender, for debtor as for creditor.  The earth will be completely laid waste and totally plundered.”  In Zephaniah 1:10, it says, “Wail, you who live in the market district; all your merchants will be wiped out, all who trade with silver will be ruined...(verse 18) Neither their silver nor their gold will be able to save them on the day of the LORD’s wrath.  In the fire of his jealousy the whole world will be consumed, for he will make a sudden end of all who live in the earth.”  Revelation 18:2 says that Babylon is a demonic system: “[it is] a home for demons and a haunt for every evil spirit.” Isaiah chapters 13 and 47 also predict the fall of Babylon.  

What does God really say about the gospel of prosperity?  In Matthew 6:19, Jesus says, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.”  This sounds quite opposite to the builders of the Babylonian tower who wanted to “make for ourselves...a tower...and a name.”  Jesus says do not store up for yourselves treasures on Earth.  The most important thing I’d like to point out about this verse is that it is a command!  Please don’t get me wrong—there is nothing wrong with being rich. Some of the Old Testament saints were rich, such as Job, Joseph, Abraham, and David.  There is nothing wrong with storing up treasure for the Kingdom agenda and purpose.  But there is everything wrong with storing up treasures for ourselves.  Storing up treasure for a self-centered, egotistical, self-willed purpose to make a name for oneself is a temptation from hell.  This is one great reason why understanding prophesy and end times is important.  If you understand the next life, you will not be as tempted to store up treasures for yourself in this one.  The New Earth will be a complete recreation of this one.  The next life is much longer than this one.  Can you compare the possible 60-100 years that you may live if you’re lucky on this Earth to that of living the rest of your existence in eternity?  Why store up treasures that you can only attain for at most 80-110 years here that will eventually rust and decay and assign for yourself an eternity of poverty because you did not store up Heavenly treasures while you were here?  Now is the only time we get to store up Heavenly treasures for ourselves.  We don’t get another opportunity.  Many will be poor in the next life because they sought to be rich in this one.  That is, poor for billions of years times billions exponentially, infinitely multiplied.  If we really understood this, we would pray the prayer in Proverbs 30:8 which reads, “Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread.  Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’  Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.”  

It is perfectly fine to store up as much treasures in the next life that you possibly can.  It is perfectly fine to strive to become rich in the next life.  It is a holy act.  It is righteous because storing up treasures in the next life requires loving others and sacrificing yourself, resources, and time for others’ sake in this life.  God wants you to be as rich as possible in the next life.  Jesus said numerous times that the last in this life will be first in the next, and the first in this life will be the last in the next.  Neither heaven nor hell will hold equal status for everyone.  Whichever your destination, whether Heaven or Hell, your eternal status and degree of comfort are determined by what you do in this life.  For the unbeliever in hell, the thermostat of punishment will be greater or less, determined by how the unbeliever lived his or her life on this Earth in this life.  The degree of blessing for the believer will be weighted based on his or her pattern of living on this Earth in this life.  Jesus is speaking of the next life when he warns those who have money on their minds in Luke 6:24.  He says, “But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort.  Woe to you who are well fed now, for you will go hungry.”  If money is the only thing on your mind—or, if God and money are equally on your mind, then God says that whatever wealth you accumulate in this life will be the only comfort you enjoy because in the next life, you would have made yourself poor based on money being esteemed so highly in your heart.

God does not want even Kings and Queens to store up treasures for themselves.  Deuteronomy 17:16 reads, “The king, moreover, must not acquire great numbers of horses for himself or make the people return to Egypt to get more of them, for the LORD has told you, ‘You are not to go back that way again.’  He must not take many wives, or his heart will be lead astray.  He must not accumulate large amounts of silver and gold.”  Verse 20 reads, “[...the king must] not consider himself better than his brothers and turn from the law to the right or to the left.  Then he and his descendants will reign a long time over his kingdom in Israel.”  God commanded the king to not store up treasures, silver or gold for himself!  Why?  So that the king and the nation will learn to trust in God and not in their treasures, wealth, and worldly possessions; and so that the king will not consider himself better than even the peasants of the land.  These too are the opposite of Babylon who wanted to “make a name for themselves” by towering to the heavens.  God does not want you to make a name for yourself.  We here in America say that your name is great if your bank account excels that of most people.  The rich in America, in general, are snobbish and deign themselves better than their neighbor.  Even lower class people deign themselves better than those more poor than themselves—for we have equated greatness with riches.  But God equates humility and lowliness of the heart as rich.  Often it is the poor who through hardship become the first to come to this realization.  Many Christian preachers preach that if you are poor than that means you have little faith—as if that is the end that God wants us to achieve.  God does not want us to achieve a hoarding of wealth!

One of the problems that feed our erroneous doctrine of prosperity is the King James Version of John 14:2, which reads, "In my Father’s house are many mansions."  I hate to give your hopes up, but it is better that truth be told.  The word "mansions" would be properly translated if we were still speaking the Old English language.  The word “mansions” used to mean "rooms" in Shakespearean days.  The word is "rooms".  Think about it.  It does not make sense to say in my Father’s house are many mansions.  There are not mansions in a house, but rather rooms.  A mansion can't fit in a house.  One thing that is certainly promised is that everyone will have his own vine and fig tree and that no one will be afraid in Heaven—that is, the New Earth (Micah 4:4).  There will be no debt at the time of the New Earth.  Everyone will have a place to lay his or her head and everyone will have a means for living (vine and fig tree).  None will starve in that day.  God will take care of all of us (who are on the New Earth—not so of those in Hell—their worm will never die).  

We must remember that poverty in America is wealth in many third-world, underdeveloped countries of the world.  Many people of other countries would do anything to be poor and a citizen in America.  Yet, the American gospel of prosperity doctrine says that if you are in poverty in America, then somehow you are outside of God’s graces and blessings. I even heard a preacher outlandishly say that the people who are in impoverished countries are there because God is angry with them.  Paul warns against this way of thinking.  In Philippians 3:18 he says, “For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ.  Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame.  Their mind is on earthly things.”  Of the part that reads, “their glory is in their shame,” the NLV translates, “...they brag about shameful things”.  James 2:5 also contradicts this American gospel of prosperity doctrine.  It reads, “Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised to those who love him?”  The church today would call these poor people as unblessed and would turn their nose up at them.  I like the next verse which reads, “But you have insulted the poor.  Is it not the rich who are exploiting you?”  James says, “Why snub the poor and honor the rich?  Isn't it true that the rich people are the ones who are exploiting you?”  This faulty doctrine of prosperity exalts ourselves in our own minds to be greater than who we really are.  Nobody is above anyone else. Finally, Jesus says in Luke 12:15, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”  Accumulation of wealth is not the will of God for all Christians, no matter how faithful the saint.  We need to guard against this prosperity doctrine to make sure that it does not leak into our theology or our hearts.  

I was hoping to cover the gospel of prosperity in a single post, but I have much more I need to share.  I will conclude this topic with the next post.  I want to cover more Old Testament scriptures in the next post.
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The Gospel of Prosperity Part 1 (Part 27 of Series)
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