Sacred Cow Number One – Jesus Was Very Wealthy

23 06 2009

Truth Matters Newsletter – February 2005 – Vol. 10 Issue 2 – Sacred Cow Number One – Jesus Was Very Wealthy – by Rev. Robert S. Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

Sacred Cow Number OneJesus Was Very Wealthy

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Over the next several months the Lord willing, DMI will be writing a series of articles designed to kick over several sacred cows within Charismania. (1) The term “sacred cow” has its origin from Hinduism where the cow is viewed as a sacred animal. (2)   Today it is an idiomatic term for a cherished idea that cannot be questioned or negated. One such major “sacred cow” is the doctrine that our Lord Jesus Christ was extremely wealthy. This false doctrine is accepted and taught by every major Word of Faith (WOF) teacher and televangelist.

The conviction that Jesus was very rich is not an ancillary teaching it is a central core dogma for literally hundreds of thousands of professing Christians. It is so central a concept that when it is demolished many other teachings can no longer be supported, which is why it qualifies as a sacred cow for many sign-gift extremists. After all, if Jesus was not wealthy then the rest of the various teachings on prosperity fall down like a house of card.

Through my research I cannot unequivocally say who originally came up with the wealthy Jesus idea, but it does seem to have taken root during the so-called “Healing Revival” of Post World War II. Earlier divine healers were well known for their personal wealth and riches. Aimee Semple McPherson was know for her opulent lifestyle. (3)   I personally remember Lester Sumrall commenting on how John Alexander Dowie used to have tubs of money and lived very well in his city, Zion, Illinois.

When the new batch of healers came around after WWII it seems they took their financial cues from those “giants” upon whose shoulders they humbly stood. Healers such as A.A. Alan, Jack Coe, Oral Roberts, T.L. Osborn, William Branham were wealthy people. Those who followed them in the early 1960’s to this day such as Kathryn Kuhlman, R.. Schambach, Benny Hinn, W.V. Grant, Peter Popoff and Robert Tilton  are (or were in the case of Kuhlman who is dead) extremely wealthy individuals. Not to mention a host of WOF teachers, as opposed to those claiming healing ministries. These people too are extremely wealthy and openly display their wealth. This list would include people such as: Paul and Jan Crouch, T.D. Jakes, Leroy Tomkins, Ken & Gloria Copeland, Jesse Duplantis, Creflo Dollar, Joyce Meyer, Fred Price, Jerry Savelle, Norvel Hayes, John Avanzini, etc.

Where Did the Doctrine of Wealthy Jesus Come From?

I believe this false teaching came about by necessity. Somehow, these phenomenally wealthy individuals who claim to be serving Christ and His sheep had to create some form of “biblical” support for their lavish lifestyle. Ergo, the teaching that Jesus and His disciples were wealthy developed.

Once the fake-healers and false teachers could show their followers, who by-in-large were and are biblical fundamentalists, a Wealthy Jesus by twisting biblical texts, then they could explain away their wealth as a natural by-product of following the Savior! As a result of creating a wealthy Jesus an entirely new, formerly untapped vein of revenue could now be mined by these unscrupulous preachers and what is commonly called the “Prosperity Gospel” was invented. (4)

The concept that Jesus was rich and that God wants you to be rich too,  proved to be so popular every sign-gift healer/preacher/teacher/pastor has written books on the topic. Here are a few  examples from the DMI archives: Attach You Lack by Oral Roberts; Financial Prosperity by Elbert Willis; The Blessing of Obedience by Norvel Hayes; Dare to Be A Success by Robert Tilton; The Power to Create Wealth by Robert Tilton; Sowing In Famine by Jerry Savelle; God’s Answer to Insufficient Funds by Rod Parsley; The Laws of Prosperity by Kenneth Copeland; God’s Debt Free Guarantee by John Avanzini; It’s Not Working Brother John by John Avanzizi; The Miracle of Seed Faith by Oral Roberts; Lifestyles of the Rich and Faithful by Fred Price.

How They Biblically “Prove” Jesus Was Rich

As the old saying goes “the best defense is a good offense” which is just what Mr. Avanzizi attempts to do in his attempt to counter the genuine version of the biblical Jesus when he stated:

“I don’t now where these goofy traditions creep in at, but one of the goofiest ones is that Jesus and His disciples were poor. Now there’s no Bible to substantiate that. (5) Let me explain from memory and my background as a former Word of Faith Pastor/Teacher how I was taught that Jesus and His followers were rich.

His Birth

We have to start with the birth of Jesus. Remember the wise men that came to worship Him and they brought Him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh (see Matt. 2:11) ? Forget the Christmas card images, there were not just three wise men, but a whole caravan and they brought a tremendous amount of riches with them that they gave to Jesus. Joseph was a carpenter. What we’d called a “skilled tradesman” today. He had enough money to buy a house and establish a carpentry business for two years before Herod sought to kill Jesus. Vs. 11 clearly says they were in a “house” not in the manger by the time the wise men got there. Obviously Jesus came from a fairly well off family. The only reason He was born in a manger was because Joseph could not rent a room, not because he could not afford one! When the angel appeared and warned Joseph to take his family and flee to Egypt until Jesus returned after Herod’s death many years later. After that point Jesus took up the profitable trade of being a carpenter like Joseph. Jesus was rich from His very birth, given heaps of gold and extremely valuable incense. What is more, Jesus learned a valuable trade, carpentry (ever see how much a carpenter makes per hour these days?) and He worked at this trade for several years. What do you think Jesus did with the money He made from selling His works? He tithed, gave and God blessed Him for it! “

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Keep in mind that 99.9% of what I am writing above is a pure reading into the text The facts are 1) we do not know how many wise men came to worship Jesus, any number given is pure speculation which has no place in biblical doctrine. 2) Nor do we know the amount of treasure they gave the Christ child. 3) We have little background on Joseph apart from his genealogy (see Matt.1:1) and we know Joseph was a carpenter. 4) There is nothing that says they lived off the treasure given to them while in Egypt. 5). Yet Jesus was viewed by others as the carpenter’s son (see Matt 13:55).  In that time it was traditional for sons to follow their father’s trade, so I will accept that Jesus did probably work as a carpenter for some period of time. However, to equate what carpenter’s were paid in Jesus’ day with what a “union” carpenter makes per hour today is the height of folly. 6) Jesus fulfilled every aspect of God’s law which would have included tithing, but that does not equate with being materially wealthy. (6)

His Ministry

Jesus began His official ministry after being baptized by John, coming out of the wilderness in the power of the Holy Spirit and choosing 12 disciples. In order for Him to do all this He had to have money, and a great deal of it. Elbert Willis (7) states the WOF view very specifically in the following citation:

Many people say, ‘Well, Jesus didn’t have prosperity. He didn’t have any money. He had twelve disciples and seventy others with Him. They were not working, but they were serving Him. That equate eighty-three men. And their families? Have you ever heard a pauper having a treasure? Do you have so much money that you need a treasurer to keep up with it? (8)

To begin with the Bible does not say that Jesus was a “pauper” nor does it say He had so much money that He covered all the living expenses of eighty-three men and their families. The Bible mentions nothing about Jesus financially providing for these men’s families. The families of these chosen disciples continued to work as they had before one of their sons was called to follow the Master. Then Elbert makes mention, as do all prosperity preachers, about the fact that Jesus had a “treasurer.” Here is a statement by the grandfather of greed, Oral Roberts:

Second, we know Jesus was not poor because He needed to have a treasurer. According to John 13:29, a disciple by the name of Judas Iscariot was Jesus’ treasurer. Now a treasurer is needed by a person who must deal with large sums of money that have to be accounted for, write checks, make purchases and pay bills, taxes and debts. You ask, “Did Jesus have that kind of money? Yes, or He wouldn’t have needed a treasurer. He had so much that later Judas stole from the treasury.   (9)

The problem with their concept stems around their reading more into the word “treasurer” than should be, it is an exegetical error on their part. They carry today’s concept and read it back into the text. They had no paper currency in those days, they had coins. It is hard to imagine that Jesus was so wealthy that Judas alone could have lugged around a very heavy bag of gold, silver and copper coins all day long (gold is rather heavy, or so I am told). All that is meant by the passage is that Jesus had appointed Judas to be in charge of whatever money they had. The Greek word for “bag” , which according to strong’s Concordance is defined as “a small box for other uses, a purse to keep money in”. (10) Hardly the impression today’s prosperity preachers give their followers. They like to make such a big deal out of the fact that Judas carried the money bag that Mr. Copeland gives the following “revelation” concerning Judas and the purse:

Jesus knew the spiritual law of giving and He operated it proficiently. He gave to the poor at such an astonishing rate that when Judas left the room during the Last Supper, some people thought that he must be going to give to the poor. Do you want a hundredfold return on your money? Give and let God multiply it back to you. No bank in the world offers this kind of return! Praise the Lord!”

It is beyond the scope of this article to deal with the WOF doctrine of spiritual laws, (prosperity is just one of them) but there is nothing stated in the Gospels that our Lord manipulated spiritual laws of any sort. I am sure that our Lord gave to the poor, but there is nothing that says that “He gave to the poor as such as astonishing rate” because if this were the case, then according to Copeland Jesus would have received 100 times back on every denarii’ He gave away. As an aside: if this spiritual law is biblical then why aren’t more televangelists giving money away at an astonishing rate. The only thing that is astonishing is that people are so biblically dull that they give millions to these shysters who keep far far more than they ever give away!

His Clothing

Jesus wore designer clothing. Naturally one must realize that Jesus as a man who fulfilled the Law walked in the blessings of Abraham (see Deut. 28:1-14) would only wear the best clothing available.

John 19:23 says “He had a seamless robe’ Roman soldiers gambled for it at the foot of the cross. It was a designer original. It was valuabe enough for them to want it…And then there are Christians that have a poverty complex that says “Well, I feel guilty about having nice things.’ Jesus didn’t. (12)

I’m telling you, Jesus wasn’t poor, and He didn’t wear no rags, either. Like we march in on these Easter little plays that we do at our church, with those raggedly sheets on. Jesus didn’t have no rags on.  He wore designer clothes, honey! (13) uniquely made and different from the ordinary. But Jesus clothes were even better than that. (14)

That is all Jesus said to them is, ’Come follow me and I’ll make you fishers of men’ They went ’Wooo right!’ And they followed him! Why? The boy was dressed in  an Armani Suit! He was wearing Berlini shoes!  Come on now! Why do we know that? Because He hung on the cross at Calvary they gambled for His clothes. They tossed dice for His underwear! You think anybody here would gamble for your underwear [Laughs]? You could have some pretty fine DNKY underwear, but you ain’t got anything that I’m gambling for [Laughs]! He was dressed fine! The rich will always follow the rich. The poor will follow the rich. But the rich will never follow the poor! So, how do we get these strange notions and these strange attitudes? Where does that come from except religious attitudes that kept the body of Christ poor! Amen? (15)

The above statements would be humorous (and such teachings are usually delivered in such a fashion to the devotees) if it were not so blatantly false and misleading. This concept is mouthed by every WOF preacher and televangelist.

Because Jesus wore the best, than that gives them license to wear Armani suits and spend over $1,000+ on a pair of shoes. In fact, Bishop T.D. Jakes buys his shoes in Detroit from another Bishop who owns a very upscale haberdashery. My wife and I personally witnessed Robert Tilton raise over $1,000 for a pastor so he could go and buy some “decent shoes to preach in.”

His Message

“Not only did Jesus come from a wealthy family and He no doubt was a member of the Galilean Amalgamated Carpenters Union, but He wore only the best clothes and much of what he taught centered around financial prosperity. I realize this may be new insights to many of you but hear the revelation knowledge from today’s anointed:

“The very first thing on Jesus’ agenda was to get rid of poverty! Would you like to know why some people, including ministries, never get out of poverty? Its not because they aren’t smart. Its because they don’t have windows of opportunity. It because they’re not anointed. If you’re not anointed, poverty will follow you all the days of your life. His first objective was to get rid of poverty. (16)

What Duplantis is referring to is the first message Jesus preached in Luke 4:18: “The Spirit of the Lord [is] upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor… Jesse goes on to say that the Gospel message to the poor is that they do not have to be financially poor any longer. He and others teach that Jesus was not addressing spiritual poverty, but financial lack. What is good news to a poor person? That they can become rich! Jesse goes as far as to say that Jesus was more interested in preaching financial prosperity than opening the eyes of the blind because He mentions it first in His message!

Markus Bishop in his book, Our Covenant of Prosperity in the section entitled “Jesus Came To Reverse the Curse” writes this about the same text:

“Not only has God anointed Jesus, but He has appointed Him. He had commissioned and commanded Him to preach the Gospel, the Good News, to the poor. And Jesus wasn’t talking here about the ‘poor in spirit.” He was talking about preaching the Good News to those who were experiencing financial difficulty, poverty and lack. He was saying, ‘God has sent Me to preach the Good News to the poor.’ What is ‘good news’ to the poor? That they would be redeemed from financial poverty. (17)

All of the prosperity pimps twist this verse and make the central theme of the Gospel message of Christ redemption from the “curse” of poverty. There is not one reputable theologian, commentary writer or scholar who agrees with their aberrant abuse of the text. John Gill’s and Mathew Henry’s commentary say the following regarding Luke 4:18:

because he hath anointed me; or “that he might anoint me”; the Ethiopic version renders it, “by whom he hath anointed me”, for it was with the Holy Ghost he was anointed, as to be king and priest, so likewise to be a prophet: hence he has the name Messiah, which signifies anointed: and this unction he had, in order to preach the Gospel to the poor: in Isaiah it is, “to the meek”, which design the same persons, and mean such as are poor in spirit, and are sensible of their spiritual poverty; have low and humble thoughts of themselves, and of their own righteousness; and seek to Christ for durable riches and true righteousness, and frankly acknowledge that all they have and are, is owing to the grace of God: and generally speaking, these are the poor of this world, and poor in their intellectuals, who have but a small degree of natural wisdom and knowledge: to these the Gospel, or glad tidings of the love, grace, and mercy of God in Christ, of peace, pardon, righteousness, life and salvation by Christ, wre preached by him, and that in so clear a manner. (18)

Thirdly,  What his work was. He was qualified and commissioned, 1. To be a geat prophet. He was now entering upon Observe, (1) To whom he was to preach; to the poor; to those that were poor in the world, whom the Jewish doctors disdained to undertake the teaching of and spoke of with contempt; to those that were poor in spirit, to the need and humble, and to those that were truly sorrowful for sin; to them the gospel and the grace of it will be welcome, and they shall have it, Mt. 11:15   (19)

No commentary I researched agrees with the interpretation given by WOF movements’ sinisters. (20)  If Jesus’ message was really one of how to become financially wealthy why did He proclaim that “blessed are the poor in spirit because theirs is the kingdom of God” in Matthew 26:11? How could there be any poverty when Jesus fully preached the Gospel and equipped His ministry term to go out and do likewise?

I can imagine my conversation with Mr. Copeland regarding prosperity. It might go something like this: “Well, Mr. Heresy-hunter” how do you explain the encounter Jesus had with the rich, not poor, but RICH young ruler?” I’ll first allow Mr. Copeland to give us his insights:

“Whenever I read something that seem contradictory to this, I immediately stop and straighten my thinking. The truth is hidden in some way and I rely on the Holy Spirit to reveal it to me…Here is how the Lord revealed the truth to me: As I read Mark 10:20, And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed FROM MY YOUTH, the Lord spoke to me and said, “See this is why he was rich”….When the rich young ruler walked away, Jesus said; ‘How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!’ Then an interesting thing happened. The next verse says, ‘And the disciples were astonished at his words.’ We have taken it for granted that Jesus and His disciples didn’t have anything. But the Bible describes Peter, James, and John as professional fisherman. They owned more than one boat and they had household servants! When Jesus spoke those words, it shook them. (21)

According to Copeland “this was the biggest financial deal that young man had ever been offered, but he walked away from it because he didn’t know God’s system of finances.  (22)   In Copeland’s warped mind Jesus was really offering this man 100 times what he currently was worth. Copeland even says that Jesus was offering this man apostleship, but the man missed it because he had many possessions. Please do not lose sight of the fact that Copland claims to have obtained his insight into this text by divine personal revelation from the Holy Spirit.

If one takes time to read the entire discourse the true meaning becomes very plain. Jesus exposed where this man’s heart was. He loved his possessions more than Jesus. Hew was unwilling to part with them and he certainly was not willing to take up his cross and follow Jesus to be crucified.

This is why Jesus goes on to make the following comment: Mark 10:23 “And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the Kingdom of God!”  He repeats Himself in the next verse by saying”…how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the Kingdom of God!”   To make His point even stronger in vs. 25 over Master says “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of God.”

His disciples were astonished because in those days being wealthy was a sign of God’s approval and blessing and if the rich could not make it in, even one, like the rich young ruler who seemed to keep the Law, then what hope did they have?

In and of themselves they had no hope of salvation. Their wealth (or lack thereof), and their attempts at keeping all of God’s law perfectly would not grant them entrance into the kingdom of God. Jesus knowing their anxiety and concern tells them simply in vs. 27 “And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men [it is] impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.” Man cannot save himself, but with God all things are possible even the salvation of the rich! The rest of the chapter leads into the 100-fold nonsense commonly twisted by Copeland and others to mean if you give $10 then God will give you back $1,000 (talk about voodoo economics!).

The 12 Were Rich

You don’t think that Jesus would choose 12 poor men to be His representatives do you? What kind of kingdom ambassadors would penniless beggars be? Also, why would 12 rich men follow some poor guy? No, Jesus chose 12 highly successful businessmen, sort of the prototypical “Full Gospel Businessmen’s Association.” Think about it for a moment, Matthew was a tax collector, sort of like being a CPA today, a man use to handling large sums of money. Copeland just informed us that Peter, James and John were professional fishermen with several boats. Although nothing is ever actually stated about the personal wealth of any of the original 12 in the biblical text, that does not matter to these men because it bolsters their false teachings on personal financial wealth.

In summary we now understand according to the prosperity preachers that Jesus was born into a well to do family, was given a huge amount of treasure by a large caravan of wise men, that He was a professional carpenter and that he wore only the finest clothing. We see that His main message was how to break the curse of poverty off of poor people. Lastly, we also have learned that His original followers, hand-picked by Jesus, were also wealthy businessmen of various types.

This is the Rich Jesus which is presented on a regular basis on Christian television and radio. This is the version of Jesus taught about in national and international crusades, in hundreds of books, audio and video tapes series by men and women who hold sway over the spiritual lives of literally millions of professing Christians. Now, let’s consider what the Bible actually shows us concerning the biblical Jesus.

We must always have “sola Scriptura” as the overriding principle of our spiritual understanding. Everything we know for certain is found within the Bible. Any other non-biblical source is not to be considered authoritative and where the Bible is silent we too had best keep silent or at least be honest enough to admit that we have wandered into the realm of speculation, which at times may even seem to be logical, but it is still speculation, and non-authoritative. The vast majority of what the so-called prosperity preachers proclaim is either speculative in nature, outright invention or a twisting of the biblical texts they cite.

His Birth

We know little of Joseph and his family other than he came from Nazareth up to Jerusalem for the census and to pay his taxes. The fact he paid taxes does not mean he was wealthy, poor people to this day (including yours truly) pay taxes. What it does mean is that Joseph was an honest man and obeyed both God and the civil authorities.

We are not told of how much wealth/treasure the wise men gave to Jesus and his family. Nor do we know how many of them came to worship the Christ child. They were a small enough group to effectively slip away from King Herod’s grasp (see Mat.2:12). In the next verse we are told that the angel of the Lord told Joseph to take his family to Egypt. They stayed there until Herod died, which many commentators say was approximately two years after he slaughtered the children. We have no idea where in Egypt Jesus and His family went.

From historical records we do know something of the carpentry business of that day and even a bit about the area Jesus grew up in from archeology. Carpenters were not the highly paid “skilled craftsmen” in the same vein as our union member carpenters are today. To make such comparisons is sheer folly.

Archeological excavations of Nazareth from the 1950’s show the village of Jesus’ day were occupied by poor agricultural people. As Jesus grew up he worked in the trade of a carpenter not a trade know for its wealth. How did Jesus become rich with a step-dad who was only a carpenter? There is absolutely no indication anywhere that he was wealthy from his family or from traveling with His disciples. By the way, He took no tithes. (23)

Nothing in the biblical record states that Joseph was wealthy, or that they became wealthy from the gifts given to them by the wise men. Nothing is stated about Joseph having a thriving carpentry business which was profitable or that Jesus became wealthy as a carpenter.

His Ministry

Above I cited a quote from Elbert Willis who would have us believe that Jesus was so wealthy that He supported eighty-three (83) men and their family for the duration of His ministry! Nothing in the bible even remotely suggests this. It is pure fabrication on Elbert’s part to bolster his other teachings on why it is God’s will for the rest of His children to be wealthy like Jesus was. Read what Jesus had to say concerning His cousin John:

And when the messengers of John were departed, he began to speak unto the people concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness for to see? A reed shaken with the wind? But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? Behold, they which are gorgeously appareled, and live delicately, are in kings’ courts. But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and much more than a prophet. Luke 7:24-25

Doesn’t it strike you as more than a bit strange, in light of prosperity teachings, that John the cousin of Jesus would be poor? Yet by all accounts he was at best an ascetic. Didn’t Jesus give to the poor “at an astonishing rate” as Mr. Copeland teaches? The Bible says in Mark 1:6   And John was clothed with camel’s hair, and with a girdle of a skin about his loins; and he did eat locusts and wild honey…”  This is hardly a prophetic picture of someone “wearing the best, eating the best and driving the best.”  Let’s very briefly consider the picture of the servants of God by the author of the book of Hebrews:

And what shall I more say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and [of] Barak, and [of] Samson, and [of] Jephthae [of] David also, and Samuel, and [of] the prophets: Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to fight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: And others had trial of [cruel] mockings and scourging, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: they were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (Of whom the world was not worthy: ) they wandered in desserts, and [in] mountains, and [in] dens and caves of the earth. And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: Hebrews 11:32-39   (24)

Here is the famous “hall of faith” and in reading it what do we see? That the true servants of God were mocked; scourged, imprisoned; stoned (with real rocks); cut in half; killed by the sword; and they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins {a far cry from Armani and Gucchi}. We read what God’s opinion was — “of such the world was not worthy.” These prophets were destitute, afflicted and tormented. How is this possible with the scenario that the Gospel “pimps” have put forward? If anyone walked in covenant with God it had to be these O.T. believers. Yet, what was their reward? Far from blessing, it seemed that all the weight and curse of sinful mankind fell upon them. Any in-depth study of the Hebrew and Greek will demonstrate that these faithful servants of God were anything but operating in the “blessings” of Abraham!

Regarding His ministry if Jesus taught the “100-fold” return on one’s giving as is alleged by the opines of opulence then why do they restrict the flow to 100 times ones financial giving?  Our Lord mentioned families, houses, and lands (see Mark 10:30) in the same text, PLUS persecutions. These aspects of Jesus’ teaching they blithely skip over.

In Mark 15:41 we read that women followed Jesus and “ministered” to Him, in the Greek the word is from which we get our term deacon of deaconess. Robertson gives more grammatical insights regarding their ministry to our Lord:

Followed him and ministered unto him. Two imperfects describing the long Galilean ministry of these three women and many other women in Galilee (Lu 8:1-3) who came up with him to Jerusalem. (25)

Jesus had material support from these women and others who followed Him, He was not “supporting” His disciples and their families. What about His teaching concerning wealth and poverty? Let the Master answer for Himself:

Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:3  Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest; go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me Mark 10:21. But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: And thou shalt be blessed: for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just. Luke 14:13,14

Jesus did teach about giving and living sacrificially for the sake of others. He never taught that those who give will necessarily receive a return on their giving in this life. He did (and does) teach us to give to those who ask, (see Matt. 5:24) expecting nothing in return. He wars His followers concerning the various dangers which can creep into a life and choke the Word of God:

And these are they which are sown, among thorns; such as hear the word, And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful,. {lusts: or, inordinate desires}. Mark 4:18,19.

In Mark 10:24 again He reminds His disciples “how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!” Jesus was not against the rich as some “liberation theologians” would have us believe, nor was He “pro” poverty either. He taught a balanced message that was predicated on the principle of seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness (see Matt. 6:33) and the things you have need of your heavenly Father will supply. If Jesus was rich then why didn’t He have enough funds in His treasury to feed the five thousand a simple meal?

When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, he saith unto Phillip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat? And his he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do. Phillip answered him, Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little. One of his disciples, Andrew, Jesus said, Make the men sit down. No there was much grass I Simon Peter’s brother, saith unto him. There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes; but what are they among so many? And in the place so the men sat down, in number about five thousand. John 6:5-10.

Apparently they did not even have 200 pennies in their treasury to feed these hungry folks. Jesus did not rely upon money, He looked to His Father in heaven, the real “Source” of all humanities needs and gave thanks and worked a miracle.

How do the gurus of greed deal with the account of Jesus and His disciples picking the kernels of wheat from the field to eat on the Sabbath?

And it came to pass on the second Sabbath after the first, that he went through the corn fields; and his disciples plunked the ears of corn, and did eat, rubbing them in their hands. And certain of the Pharisees said unto them, Why do ye that which is not lawful to do on the Sabbath day? Luke 6:1-2

Why weren’t Jesus and His “boyz” sitting down at the Four Seasons or The Stork Club, feasting on roasted lamb with mint jelly while knocking off a few bottles Judean Roederer Cristal Rose-Limited champagne? Instead we find Him wandering through a corn field eating the gleanings which were left for the poor (see Lev. 19:9). How do these masters of money parse the following teaching of Christ?

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matt 6:19-21

This image of Jesus is never taught by those who make merchandise of God’s greedy and gullible saints:

But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies even denying the Lord that brought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction  And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of {pernicious ways: or, lascivious ways, as some copies read} And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you; whose judgment now of a long time lingered not, and their damnation slumbered not. 2 Peter 2:1-3

These false teachers exist to make the people of God nothing more than a means to provide for their very lavish lifestyles. The huge conventions, radio and television broadcasts are little more than means to sell their books, tapes, videos and of course ask for “seed-faith” gifts…all the while promising the people 100 times back on what they give or in some cases the promise divine healing, restored marriages, salvation of lost family and friends. They vary their “pitch” depending upon the audience and all of these people are MASTERS at zeroing in on precisely what hot button to push to open folks wallets.

His Clothing

I have never heard so much made out of so little. Matthew 27:35 “And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots.” There are several explanations why the Roman soldiers threw dice for His garments. The Bible itself gives us the main reason—to fulfill the prophecy in Psalms 22:18.

The Roman soldiers gambled for His garments because they were poor themselves, this is a historical fact and possibly they thought that since Jesus had the reputation of being a miracle worker possibly his clothes may have contained some form of magic power. They may have heard about the woman with the issue of blood who (in their minds) merely touched the hem of His garment and was healed instantly (see Mark 9:20-21).   Soldiers being poor are a well documented fact the other comments are my own mere suppositions.

This much is certain there is nothing stated about His clothing that set Him apart from others due to His fine duds, in fact, those who did not know Him could not pick Him out of a crowd (see John 18:4-5).

His 12 Disciples

Prosperity Pontificators teach that Jesus hand picked only wealthy men. What does the biblical record show us? If Peter owned a successful fishing business then why after the resurrection of our Lord did he say:

Then Peter said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you; in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” This does not mean they had none on them at the time; they had NO money. These are words out of their own mouths recorded by the Holy Spirit through their hands as Scripture. Acts 3:6

Or prior to Jesus’ death when it came time to pay the temple tax, did Jesus call Judas over and reach into the very deep and heavy bag of gold, silver and copper coins?

Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money, that take, and give unto them for me and thee. {a piece….or a stater; it is half an ounce of silver, in value two shillings and six pence, sterling about fifty five cents}. Matthew 17:27

Not only didn’t Peter have the tax money neither did Jesus. Now if Jesus was so very wealthy, then why did this type of a miraculous provision have to be made? How do these pilfering profiteers answer James the brother of Jesus when he says:

“Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?”   James 2:5

What about the Apostle Paul, true, he was not one of the original 12, but he was a genuine apostle and he was not wealthy. He says: as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold we live; as chastened, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.2 Cor. 6:9-10

To the present hour we both hunger and thirst, and we are poorly clothed, and beaten, and homeless. And we labor working with our own hands.” 1 Cor 4:11-12 But what things were gain to me these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death. If, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.” Paul a Pharisee was quite rich yet he gave it up for a life to follow Christ. Phil 3:7, 1:1

Paul wrote approximately two-thirds of the New Testament and yet he describes his life as a faithful servant of Christ as living with (1) hunger; (2) thirst; (3) poorly clothed; (4) beaten; (5) homeless; as (6) poor; and (7) having lost everything for the sake of gaining Christ Jesus. NONE of this matches up with the false teaching of a Rich Jesus and Wealthy Disciples.

These men and women are teaching lies either out of ignorance or out of sheer greed. In either case God’s people who buy into these lies in the end hurt themselves spiritually because they have been led further from the true Christ of the Bible. Many people end up shipwrecked in their walk, with Christ because of being taken by these religious con-men. DMI deals with people in both of these categories on a regular basis.

Like all pyramid schemes the only people the “law of prosperity” work for are those who are propagating them to an eager (and often greedy) audience who want to believe it is God’s will for them to be wealthy. How are they to arrive at that status? Simple—GIVE and GIVE and GIVE to these false teachers. Attend all their seminars, buy all their books and tapes, and “sow your biggest financial seed” into every appeal letter they have mechanically sent out to you via a huge computerized mass-mailing company. Oh yes, make sure and NEVER DOUBT the man/woman of God, if you do then you have “dug up your seed” and will have to start the whole process over again.

Now, being set free from such foolishness and darkness it amazes me that more people are not waking up to the FACT that this stuff just is not working in the lives of the rank-and-file. After 30+ years of teaching this, if it were true then the Church should be filled with thousands of multi-millionaires. Yet the only ones becoming millionaires are Benny Hinn; Kenneth Copland; Paul & Jan Crouch; Joyce Meyer; Bob Tilton; Peter Popoff; John Avanzini; Oral & Richard Roberts; Juanita Bynum; Paula White; T.D. Jakes; and Don Stewart to name just a few who teach these lies. ♦

Copyright © Rev. Robert S. Liichow

End Notes

1. “Charismania” refers to people who have given themselves over totally to the more extreme beliefs and practices on the fringe of the sign-gift/Pentecostal movement. Not all Pentecostal or Sign-gift Christians believe the sacred cows which will be dealt with over the next few months.

2. Some trace the cow’s sacred status back to Lord Krishna, one of the faith’s most important figures. He is said to have appeared 5,000 years ago as a cowhead, and is often described as bala-gopala, “the child who protects the cows” Another of Krishna’s holy names, Govinda, means “one who brings satisfaction to the cows.” Other scriptures identify the cow as the “mother” of all civilization its milk nurturing the population Obtained from http://www.uwec.edu/geography/Ivogeler/w111/articles/Hinduism’s%20Sacred%20Cow.htm  on 01-27-2005.

3. Bahr, Robert. The Least of All Saints, The Story of Aimee Semple McPherson. This is an insightful and fascinating book about one of Pentecostalism’s most prominent female evangelists and pastors.

4. I am well schooled in this particular sacred cow being a graduate from Robert Tilton’s Bible School in the mid-1980’s. Mr. Tilton, is still on television, bilking God’s ignorant and desperate sheep out of millions of dollars. Tilton has mastered this false doctrine and raised it to a literal art form of sorts.

5. Hanegraff, Hank, Christianity in Crisis, Harvest House, 1993, p. 187

6. Tithing was a law or a principle we had to follow if we wanted God to financially prosper us. 10% off the gross (not the net) was expected, along with offerings. If this law was carried out faithfully on every dime that came into our hands then and only then would the windows of heaven be opened and God would pour out so much money we would not have room enough to hold it all (see Mal. Ch. 3). Any biblical scholar will point out that there were several types of tithing required under the law and much of it had little to do with giving money.

7. A good book on this topic is entitled The Lie of the Tithe available at http://www.gotosimpletruth.com/Tithing/tithe4.html. ( added: See you tube video below)

8. Many people are not familiar with Ebert Willis. I have met him on a few occasions and have literally 100% of his tapes and books. He was one of the “purest” of the WOF teachers. He actually believes what he teaches and lives by it. Elbert was so hardcore that once he spoke at Rhema and delivered a famous sermon entitled “Wet Water Walkers or Dry Boat Sitters.” It was so tough on the Hagin crowd, he was never invited back to speak again.

9. Willis, Elbert Financial Prosperity Fill the Gap Ministries, Lafayette, La 1975, pp. 19-20

10. Oral Roberts. “How I Learned Jesus Was Not Poor, page 16 Underlinging added for emphasis.

11. Obtained from http://bible.crosswalk.com/Lexicons/Greek/grk.cgi?number=1101&version=kjv on 01-27-05

12. Copeland, Kenneth The Laws of Prosperity Kenneth Copeland Publication, 1974, pp. 66-67

13. John Hagee, Praise-A-Thon, Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) November 5, 2004. Bold type added for emphasis.

14. Creflo Dollar Crusade, Feb 9, 1999. Information obtained from http://www.geocities.com/Bob_Hunter/dollar.html.

15. Oral Roberts. How I Learned Jesus Was Not Poor, page 24

16. Dr. Thomas C. Anderson, Praise The Lord, “TBN, August 21, 2004 Bold type and underlining added for emphasis.

17. Jesse Duplantis, Voice of the Covenant Magazine, Pg. 5 Nov. 1997

18. Bishop, Marcus Our Covenant of Prosperity Harrison House Publishers 1997, pp. 47-48.

19. Obtained from http://www.gospelcom.net/eword/comments/luke/gill/luke4.htm Underlining added for emphasis.

20. Obtained from http://www.gospelcom.net/eword/comments/luke/mh/luke4.htm Underlining added for emphasis.

21. My research included the Geneva Commentary, Jamison Fausett Brown, Darby, Johnson, McGarvey Pendleton, Wesley and Lightfoot.

22. Copeland, Kenneth The Laws of Prosperity Kenneth Copeland Publications, 1974 pp. 63-65.

23. Ibid. p. 64

24. Obtained from http://www.letusreason.org/Wf15.htm on 02–2-05 Underlining and Bold type added for emphasis.

25. Robertson’s Word Pictures BibleWorks CD, ver. 4.0.0035p. 1998 Underlining added for emphasis.

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