Month 10:8, Week 4:7 (Shibi'i/Sukkot), Year:Day 5941:274 AM|
Gregorian Calendar: Tuesday 26 December 2017
The Word & Money
A Message for Prosperity Teachers
The George Müller Memorial Sermons Part 8
Continued from Part 7
The George Müller Memorial Sermons (GMMS) are a series of sermons honouring the Prussian evangelist Georg Müller who founded orphanages by complete faith and dependency on Elohim (God). These sermons highlight the principles that George Müller so successfully and inspirationally lived by.
Shabbat shalom kol beit Yisra'el and mishpachah and welcome to the first sabbath of this the tenth month. I am glad to see you are all here - some of you may not be aware that some believers prophesied that the 'Church' was going to be raptured on Christmas Day, which was yesterday, basing their calculations on the already discredited 23 September 2017 astrological 'prophecy' or '9/23 prophecy' as I call it (see The Humiliation of the Sign-Seekers). One lady has been hanging around Jordan, Israel and Egypt since last spring when she predicted a great 'sealing' of the saints would take placed based on this bogus astrology. Quite aside from the fact that there is no pre-tribulation rapture - just a brief ascension into the air to meet our returning Master before He assumes rulership of this planet - I am really happy to see you all here today!
We, Messianic Evangelicals, believe - like all good Protestants - that Scripture alone decides doctrinal issues, not because it's a creed of authentic Protestantism but because it's really common sense. It would be an altogether different matter if we had Yah'shua (Jesus) or the apostles standing in front of us whom we could question thoroughly on any point we might want enlightenment on. But we don't, so we can't', and that's one reason Yahweh left us with an authoritative written record, which means like good Bereans or Methodists we must also systematically study it. The other reason we need a written record is precisely because of all the false prophets and teachers claiming revelation like the 9/23 prophecy. Imagine what it would be like if we had no Bible and only the cacophany of voices of those claiming to be in communion with Elohim (God)! There would be chaos. For every true revelation, there must be hundreds, if not thousands, of false ones. So our grounding has to be Scripture.
We Have to Risk All for the Truth
Because George Müller stuck to scripture as he understood it with the scholarship of the day, he lost a lot of friends and a lot of donations for his work. That's always a risk you take in being true. But his life testifies that new friends came and with them new donors for his orphanages. It must be this way with us too. Not only are we Protestants in respect of the authority of Scripture but we are also Messianics because of our insistence on Torah-obedience. Either way we have lost friends and support, but that's how it has to be too. We have never lacked friends because emet (truth) attracts them no matter what. For that we are grateful. So, yes, we must be true to Scripture and true to conviction until Yahweh forces us to revise our thinking.
Pressure to Conform to Authority
By way of an illustration, I had a 'funny' dream two nights ago. I was standing in my parents' living room and my 'mother' told me to stay away from her because my legs attracted flies. I thought that rather funny when I woke up although in the dream it did not impact me emotionally. My wife interpreted it for me, saying that my 'mother' represented a kind of Hecate or Lilith authority figure who was embarrassed or ashamed to be associated with me. In this life there will always be authority figures in our life (like parents, elder siblings, schoolmates and bosses at work) who are embarrassed or ashamed to be associated with us because of the way we walk in the Besorah (Gospel). They are ashamed because our 'different-ness' attracts negative reactions from their friends, acquaintances and especially superiors. Such reactions are 'designed' by their controlling spirits to pressure us to change and conform to societal or denominational norms. And let's not kid ourselves - such pressure can at times be huge and very distressing. I know my abandonment of Christmas over 30 years ago provoked a major backlash in both my family and my church at the time with subtle pressure being used on me by my mother to shame me, practically to her dying breath, to conform with the Christmas customs she held on to.
The Powers and Principalities
I know some of you are stirred up at this time of the year and, in spite of knowing the emet (truth), still experience a emotional tugs both because of past good experiences (like family togetherness) as well as the pressure of peers to conform. That pressure will always be there and it is sometimes surprising how persistent people can be and how they are unable to 'live and let live'. And the reason is, very often in such cases, because of the spirits that are about at this time of year. I feel it myself even though nothing would ever enduce me to return to that darkness. But we do have to be realistic in admitting that those powers and principalities are there and that they play around with your feelings and memories.
Following Scriptural Tavnith, Not Tradition
We are under an obligation to subject all social and religious customs to the test of conformity to the scriptural tavnith (pattern). Baptising infants may seem innocuous, even sweet (because babies are sweet), but 'sweetness' is not the meaure of emet (truth). Only when you probe the tradition do you see it is a mockery of Elohim (God). Yah'shua (Jesus) rebuked the Pharisees of His day, saying:
Entertaining the Eye
"Why do you break the mitzvah (command) of Elohim (God) for the sake of your tradition?" (Matt.15:3, NIV).
Many such traditions are named in the New Testament from the Pharisaic korban ruling (which was the context of the last passage) to their false festivals like Hanukkah to various elaborate but very spectacular ceremonies during Sukkot (Tabernacles) which in terms of impressing the eye would be the equivalent to some of the 'pretty' Christmas spectacles we see at this time of the year. And, sadly, there are all too many Messianics who fall for these just as Christians do their own paganised traditions. We have seen over the last couple of days all the various excuses offered.
Antiquity is Not Authority
Here is the problem. It is very easy for doctrines and practices to gain acceptance which are the outgrowth of 'ecclesiasticism' or 'churchianity', and neither have sanction in the Davar Elohim (Word of God), nor will they bear the close scrutiny of the searchlight of its testimony. Cyprian, the 3rd century Bishop of Carthage in North Africa, forewarned us that even antiquity is not authority but may only be what he called vetutas erroris, 'the old age of error'. People get mesmerised by antiquity as though age makes something true simply because it's been around a long time. But old fools are just as foolish as young fools - the common denominator is foolishness. That is why we take the time to dig out and expose all the ancient heresies that have been passed down to us in the churches because they keep cropping up again and again to fool each new generation.
The Test and the Courage of Conviction
What do you imagine would happen - what radical reforms would take place - what would happen to modern worship, teaching and practice, in the conduct of the talmidim (disciples) and in the administration of the Messianic Community (Church) - if we should globally put every notion of emet (truth) and custom of life to this one test of scriptural authority? What would be the result? What if, having done that, the entire Body of Messiah worldwide then plucked up the courage of conviction and dared to start doing according to that Davar (Word) without counting the cost? Can you imagine if they obeyed the scriptural admonition to "study to shew thyself approved unto Elohim (God)" (2 Tim.2:15, KJV), or to render that in a modern translation, "doing your best to present yourself to Elohim (God) as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the Davar Emet (word of truth)" (ESV). There would be a revolution and a revival the likes of which the world has never seen. But we all know this isn't going to happen because people love tradition (that allows them to be lazy) to the emet (truth) which demands turning your life upside down. It demands sacrifice.
Transgressing the Commandment
This begs the rather obvious question: do you think it is possible that there are many modern believers - Christians, Messianics and others - who "transgress the mitzvah (commandment) of Elohim (God) for the sake of [their] tradition" (Matt 15:3, NASU)? Müller, who was a stickler for Scripture, naturally asked this question in his day too. Two centuries later the situation is arguably a lot worse and the question even more relevent. That is why ministries like ours exist, because the need is great.
Issues That Müller Faced
Müller's journey was, of course, unlike ours in so many ways, so he asked himself different questions. Coming from a Luthern background he had to deal with such questions as infant baptism vs. believer's baptism, how to administer the Lord's Supper, who could preach and who could not, and so on, questions which had been dealt with by the Baptists of that time (amongst others). Not surprisingly Yahweh made sure that his path crossed with a Baptist who was able to point him in the right direction. Then there were the Calvinism vs. Arminian and Cessationism vs. Continuationism issues which linger on today.
Allowing the Ruach to Minister Through Giftedness
Importantly, he took the scriptural stand that the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) should have unhindered liberty to work through any believer according to his gifts which Yahweh has bestowed (Rom.12; 1 Cor.12; Eph.4; etc.). As he yielded to these truths, so the Ruach (Spirit) was the more freely able to operate in his ministry to enable him to accomplish what he did.
Rejecting a Salary
One of the things he rejected, which caused him no small amount of trouble but which Yahweh vindicated him in, was to refuse a salary as a minister of Messiah. This is a principle Messianic Evangelicals have consistently adhered to since Day #1 in 1987 and to this date no minister of NCAY has ever received a salary. We have always believed the ministry should be self-supporting and not to expect donations or 'love offerings' either save the Ruach (Spirit) move people to help. Obviously we accepted that in difficult circumstances these may be needed, particularly in countries where there is high unemployment or extreme poverty. All of us who have served as pastors have had jobs or, if retired, have lived off their small pensions.
Pew-Rental Traditions of the 1800's
Now in those days, the early to mid 1800's in Anglican England, they had all sorts of strange traditions like 'pew-rentals'. That is to say, you could 'rent-a-pew' for yourself and your family, which meant they were exclusively reserved for you. This was a way of raising money for the minister. The richer members, naturally, rented the pews up front, no doubt to be closer to the minister, both to be able to better hear him and to make a display of their importance and therefore higher social status. Traders in the Hanseatic cities of Europe likewise used to rent pews which had their names on them, Woe betide any visitor who accidentally set in a rented pew! Müller put an end to this in his church by citing the apostle James who 2,000 years ago was dealing with a similar problem:
No Respect of Persons
"My brothers, as believers in our glorious Master Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ), don't show favouritism. Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in shabby clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, 'Here's a good seat for you,' but say to the poor man, 'You stand there' or 'Sit on the floor by my feet,' have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my dear brothers: Has not Elohim (God) chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in emunah (faith) and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love Him? But you have insulted the poor..." (Jas.2:1-6, NIV).
One of the things that made Müller unpopular with the surrounding society at times is he made no distinction between rich or poor, landed or unlanded, titled or untitled, in what was then a very socially stratified nation. When you claim to follow Elohim's (God's) morals and values you're expected to imitate them:
He refused to please men on the basis of their status in society. He treated all the same, as must we, beggar and aristocrat alike. That's not to say he showed disrespect to aristocrats - he simply treated beggars as aristocrats! Now that I like.
"For Elohim (God) does not show favouritism" (Rom.2:11, NIV).
No Salary Means the Freedom to Follow Yahweh
A minister who is dependent on a salary becomes dependent on the whims of those who are paying him the salary and Müller wished to be under no such bondage. That way his dependency rested on Yahweh and not on men. Even without a salary, I, as a one-time pastor in Norway working a full-time job as a teacher, found myself under all sorts of pressure from members to do things one way or the other anyway. Our converts came from all sorts of backgrounds and wanted things done according to their former ecclesiatic traditions, or even according to societal norms. It was no fun. Had I been salaried I think there would have been civil war and our troubles would have come sooner rather than later!
Different Ways of Collecting Tithes and Offerings
Now Müller, unlike myself, had no income and depended solely on the freewill or voluntary offerings of his supporters and members, and in order to avoid the less well-off feeling guilt when they saw the wealthier give more than they, ensured that all offerings were anonymously given by installing a box at the back of the chapel in which people could put their gifts. I have always hated the way some churches 'pass the plate' so all can see what is being given by their neighbour, though some churches wisely encourage the use of envelopes to conceal the amounts. I have seen many different practices. Some churches require you to fill in forms stating who you are to make sure you are tithing properly, no doubt. In one church I was a member of we would be interviewed annually, the purpose ostensibly being to hold us to account financially as wise stewardships. It is debatable if this is a good thing or not, something I don't have time to go into properly today. Personally, unless the appeal is to a good conscience, I feel, such policing can be negative and even lead to sinful pride and false humility. We do have annual interviews with our Priesthood in NCAY just before Yom haKippurim (Day of Atonements) in which Elders and Deacons are asked if they are honest tithe-payers. A 'yes' is all we need and if they have not been honest, then we leave Yahweh to take care of their deceit. We do not interview unordained members. And we don't obviously ask people about their freewill offerings.
The Ancient Pharisees and Wealth
Money has always been a great temptation to the Messianic Community (Church) through the centuries and we know only too well of the corruptions historically. We know from archaeology that the Pharisees and Sadducees in Yah'shua's (Jesus') day lived decadently in opulence as compared to the ordinary people, not unlike a few modern tele-evangelists I could name. They kept separate from the ordinary people and even had special walkways made from their homes directly into the temple at Jerusalem to avoid having to mingle with the plebians.
Divine Counsel on the Love of Money
The love of money is beyond question the root of all kinds of evil (1 Tim-6:10), a reason Paul admonished the qodeshim (saints, set-apart ones) to:
John the Baptist gave similar counsel to poorly-paid soldiers:
"Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have" (Heb.13:5, NIV) and "learn to be content whatever the circumstances" (Phil.4:11, NIV).
Fleecing the Flock
"Be content with your pay" (Luke 3:14, NIV).
I have to say that ministers fleecing their flocks and earning millions make my blood boil - not because I want their money but because of the disgrace it brings to the Name of Messiah and other believers. Wealth is only a sign of Yahweh's blessing provided it does not stick to your fingers, as Müller used to say. Vast sums of money passed through his hands but he only ever retained enough for his basic family needs, and no more. The rest all went to his orphans, co-workers and missions. Yah'shua's (Jesus') attitude toward those making money from worshippers is no better illustrated than in the way He handled money traders in the temple:
Making Money Out of Religion is a Gross Sin
"Yah'shua (Jesus) entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves" (Matt.21:12, NIV).
"On reaching Jerusalem, Yah'shua (Jesus) entered the temple area and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. And as He taught them, He said, 'Is it not written:
But you have made it a den of robbers'" (Mark 11:15-17, NIV).
"In the temple courts He found men selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So He made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; He scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves He said, 'Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father's house into a market!'" (John 2:14-16, NIV).
Those who make money out of religion do not perhaps realise what a condemnation awaits them! Have they never read the scripture:
The Punishment for Lusting After Money - Explusion
"A faithful man will be richly blessed, but one eager to get rich will not go unpunished" (Prov.28:20, NIV).
Yahweh only punishes those who break mitzvot (commandments), because those who break mitzvot (commandments) are sinning. Do not be eager - lust after, eagerly hope for or anticipate - money to consume upon your pleasures, for this is a sin that will not go unpunished. Have George Müller's attitude. So many believers today are deceived by the 'prosperity' or 'health-and-wealth' movement. They pursue and advertise the very thing that so enraged Yah'shua (Jesus) that He not only violently upturned their tables and went after those blasphemous merchants with a whip, but expelled them from the temple. And what does the temple signify in the new Covenant? The Kingdom of our Elohim (God)! If you are a prosperity preacher, you ought to be dead scared because only Satan ever promised those who followed him wealth. You may be able to enjoy your ill-gotten gains down here but you will have no inheritance in the next life. Indeed, you will be in that terrible place of darkness.
Not For Sale!
I am sure Müller would be horrified by the goings-on today. If you want to know how Yah'shua (Jesus) will deal with those who worship money, recall the kind of opulent lifestyle of the Pharisees of His day. Recall the temple scenes where He drove these charlatans and exploiters out. Don't give your money to anyone to preach, teach, prophesy, heal or any of the scams that are in operation today. And if you are a minister, do not rob the congregations. Ministers are not hirelings and the Besorah (Gospel) is not for sale!
Tithing for the Minister?
'But isn't a tenth due to the minister?' I have heard all too many ask. No, it is not! A third of a tenth is due to the ministry, not to the minister. Another third is to take care of the poor, including orphans, and another third to finance the observation of the festivals. So what is the 'ministry'? To finance the publication of Bibles and tracts, maintain websites, help missionaries to travel and survive (as they may not be allowed to work in foreign countries), provide teaching materials, and to help working ministers out (those in regular employment) when they cannot make ends meet. No part of the tithe belongs to the minister. It isn't his salary. All should earn money honesty by honourable labour (Prov.13:11; Eccl.5:10).
Worthy of Hire?
'But isn't the minister "worthy of his hire" (Lk.10:7, KJV) or "wages" (NIV)?' others insist, quoting this as their proof text. Firstly, read the passage in context. The instructions were given to the 70 (or 72) who were told "not take a purse or bag or sandals; and ... not [to] greet anyone on the road" (Luke 10:4, NIV). If anyone claims payment for ministry but fails to abide this rule he is in violation of the terms Yah'shua (Jesus) set.
The One-Off Mission of the Seventy
This was, in any case, a one-off mission to teach the talmidim (disciples) a lesson in trust and obedience while Yah'shua (Jesus) was still there among them to whom they had to report back. Their "wages" were not in the form of money or a salary but food and accommodation as they went from place to place witnessing. This was to be a lesson in emunah (faith) and obedience.
The New Instructions For Us
Toward the end of His ministry, Yah'shua (Jesus) gave new instructions that would reflect conditions when He was no longer physically present to report back to, including lightly arming themselves for self-defence in the bandit country they would have to pass though. Notice how He reminded them of their earlier mission first and said that things would now change:
Paul Financed His Own Evangelism
"Then Yah'shua (Jesus) asked them, 'When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?'
'Nothing,' they answered.
He said to them, 'But now if you have a purse (with money), take it, and also a bag; and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. It is written: 'And he was numbered with the transgressors'; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in Me. Yes, what is written about Me is reaching its fulfillment.'
"The talmidim (disciples) said, 'See, Master, here are two swords.'
"'That is enough,' He replied" (Luke 22:35-38, NIV).
How do we know that thereafter they worked to finance their own ministry? Because Paul worked to finance himself, especially when voluntary donations were inadequate to cover his basic needs, which were always simple. He did not live in mansion houses with swimming pools, drive fancy cars, sail luxury yachts or fly in private jet planes or their equivalent in Roman times. So how did he finance himself? By following his trade as a tent-maker or leather-worker (Ac.18:3). Why would Yahweh wish it done this way? Because only those with a totally pure heart for evangelism and pastoral care would be willing to finance it themselves and fully appreciate the sacrifices that others would have to make when Yahweh called upon them to make contributions to ministers' work.
Deciding Who You Serve
No talmid (disciple) of Yah'shua (Jesus) was ever in doubt about the lifestyle they were to live because Yah'shua (Jesus) taught them correctly:
Impossible for the Rich to Get into Heaven
"No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both Elohim (God) and Money (Mammon)" (Matt.6:24, NIV).
So why do today's rich, self-anointed mega-church tele-evangelists think it is going to be a breeze getting into heaven?
No Camel Has Ever Passed Through the Eye of a Needle
"Yah'shua (Jesus) looked around and said to His talmidim (disciples), 'How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of Elohim (God)!'
"The talmidim (disciples) were amazed at his words. But Yah'shua (Jesus) said again, 'Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of Elohim (God)! It is easier for a rope to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of Elohim (God)'" (Mark 10:23-25, NIV).
Irrespective of whether you stick with the Aramaic "rope" or the Greek mistranslation "camel", Yah'shua (Jesus) is still making a rather important point. Is He saying that some rich people can get into the Kingdom? You name me any ropes that have been threaded through the eye of a needle, or a camel who has squeezed through one for that matter, and I will point out one rich man who made it to heaven. What He is saying is that no rich men get to heaven!
But let me qualify before some of you burst a metaphorical valve. A "rich man", by Yah'shua's (Jesus') definition, has lots of money that passes through his hands. George Müller had lots of money passing through his hands too. So what's the difference? Müller was poor because the money did not stick to his fingers. Rich people are "rich" precisely because it does. How does it 'stick'? By being used for vanity and indulgence.
Müller vs. the Tele-Evangelists
The life of George Müller was designed by Yahweh to illustrate how someone who has a lot of money passing through his hands is supposed to use it and it is not to live in luxury! It is not to live like the Pharisees in Yah'shua's (Jesus') day whose father Yah'shua (Jesus) said was Satan (Jn.8:44). No man of Elohim (God) could possibly retain riches for himself while the qodeshim (saints, set-apart ones) have such desperate needs. His heart would have to be shut down. I think of the dozens of people running orphanages in India, Pakistan and Africa who are struggling to feed, shelter and clothe their children, with practically nothing at all, who contact me weekly. Someone with a mega-church who has millions knows there are such desperate needs all around them in the Messianic Community (Church) and yet they choose to live decadently like movie stars and business tycoons and ignore the cries of the desperate. How can they possibly justify that?
The Disgrace of Super-Rich Ministers
So again, I repeat, there is nothing wrong in earning lots of money as a believer provided it does not stick to your fingers. If Yahweh has blessed you with abundance, then He has it earmarked for those truly in need and you are its steward accountable to Yahweh. It is a shame - a disgrace - that ministers can live in opulence while their own fellow Christians and Messianics around them are starving for lack of food and dying from disease for lack of medical treatment. It is reprobate.
Not a Lover of Money
So I have no doubt whatsoever what George Müller would say to these wolves in sheep's clothing. It doesn't matter how sweet, charming or 'spiritual' they may seem to be when performing in public (and most of it is just that - a performance), because the standard they will be judged by - the standard we all will be judged by - is the Davar Elohim (Word of God). Müller sold off all he did not need to help his orphans. He lived with the bare necessities. So you prosperity pastors out there, let me remind you what a qualification to being in the ministry is:
To Be Perfect...
"Here is a trustworthy saying: If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer (pastor, bishop), he desires a noble task. Now the overseer must be above reproach, married, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money" (1 Tim 3:1-3, NIV/NCV).
The challenge I make to you is the same as the one Yah'shua (Jesus) made to the rich young ruler:
How to Worship at Mammon's Altar
"If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow Me."
"When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.
"Then Yah'shua (Jesus) said to His talmidim (disciples), 'I tell you the emet (truth), it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a rope to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of Elohim (God).'
"When the talmidim (disciples) heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, 'Who then can be saved?'
"Yah'shua (Jesus) looked at them and said, 'With man this is impossible, but with Elohim (God) all things are possible.'
"Peter answered him, 'We have left everything to follow You! What then will there be for us?'
"Yah'shua (Jesus) said to them, 'I tell you the emet (truth), at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on His glorious throne, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for My sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal chayim (life). But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first" (Matt.19:21-30, NIV).
Don't these instructions speak for themselves? They're pretty black-and-white, aren't they? It follows that the sheep are expected to live by them because the goats will not. All must learn, like George Müller, the subtle power of selfishness and carnality that resides in the fleshy nature which, if uncrucified, will snare us into worshipping at the altar of mammon. When Yahweh sends great wealth our way as believer, it is for the purpose of blessings both the receivers - the poor and the unevangelised - and the giver.
Voluntary Wealth Redistribution, Not Socialism
The money itself is not the blessing to the recipient who is called to redistribute it but its sharing. Those who think that Yahweh sends them lots of money for them to live it up have greatly deluded themselves and are worshipping at a demon's altar. So many do, believers and unbelievers alike. And the poor who expect or demand it - who feel self-entitled, who think they deserve it as much as the wealth think they deserve it because they have worked hard - are just as wicked because they too worship at the same altar. We have nothing by right, only by grace - undeserved loving-kindness - so our mental attitude is absolutely critical. The redistribution of wealth must always be according to free-will, never by force. The latter is socialism and it is just as deadly as the sin or hoarding wealth or expecting it because it cultivates greed and laziness. There is no such thing as Christian Socialism or Communism because the two systems are utterly incompatible - one requires volutary redistribution and the other distrubution under threat if imprisonment or death. Can you see why politics can become such a trap for believers?
The Sabbatical Year, Jubilee and Usury
I should add, as a footnote, that whilst I absolutely believe the right to own property is a biblical principle I am not here giving the seal of approval to all and every kind of capitalism. Much of that is wicked too. There is forced distribution of wealth, of a sort, in the Israelite Theocracy, but it only occurs every seven years - at the Sh'mittah or Sabbatical Year - and involves the cancellation of all debts. That is the nearest thing to socialism you will find in the Bible and if government would carry it out, it would end so much of the evil in our world today (like fractional reserve banking). Plus there is the Yovel or Jubillee Year every 50 years which entitled your ancestral home to be repurchased if you or your parents were forced to sell it because of debt or poverty. But, alas, our world does not run on Yahweh's system. There's no usury in Yahweh's system either - no lending of money with interest.
Digital Currency is Taking Over
We have to think out our approach to money as radically as the Scriptures teach and the world will definitely not educate us rightly. When we fail to live Yahweh's financial laws (that includes tithing), we add to the world's problems instead of solving them. The time is, in any case, coming when believers will not have access to the world's money unless they receive what some believe is the Mark of the Beast and in so doing lose their salvation, so we have to radically rethink how we are to survive and prosper outside the system by becoming self-sufficient and learning how to use precious metals or barter with others of the same mind. We won't be able to delay much longer. One day - suddenly, overnight - all money will be digitised, like Bitcoin, which will be the only way of purchasing goods and it will likely be stored in our body in the form of a microchip. Then the government will have complete control of our money and be able to track absolutely everything we buy, where, when and from whom. When that happens the prosperity preachers will either be extinct or part of the Beast's One World Religion.
So there it is. Get your finances in order, and do so quickly. Depend on Yahweh, not on man. Don't live in luxury, if you are rich, but share as Yahweh directs you. Resist the spirit of entitlement if you are poor, for it is no less diabolical than the spirit of living opulently. Obey what the Davar (Word) teaches about these things, as George Müller did, and receive Yahweh's blessings in new and exciting ways! Be good stewards, be good providers and don't be too proud to receive when there is a legitimate need. Trust in the power of prayer to bring down financial blessings to meet both your basic needs and be proactive in helping meet the basic needs of your brethren and sisters. That is true prosperity. Go for it. Amen.
Continued in Part 9