Bible Answers: Was the Eye of the Needle in Mark 10:25 a Literal or Figurative description and what does it mean?
Ver 2.0) I recently received a question about what Jesus meant concerning the “camel” going through the “eye of a needle” spoken to us in Mark 10:25. This is a commonly misunderstood verse in the Bible that is often misused and misapplied to mean many things that was not truly stated. If we read the surrounding verses we might discover that there were two primary subjects being spoken of. One subject was salvation and the other was physical money or possessions. Jesus actually taught more on the subject of money than practically any other subject found in the Gospels. It is very obvious to me that this makes money a very important subject to learn and understand correctly. It further teaches us if money was discussed in the same context as salvation that we are required to learn how they fit and work together to have any confidence that we are following the words and teachings of Jesus accurately. This is a potentially controversial topic to teach. There are so many strong opinions on this subject of money and they go from one extreme on the far left to the opposite extreme on the far right. This subject will be difficult for some to receive but please do not get offended by anything that I say just because you disagreed. To become offended at your brother for saying something is a childish carnal reaction. If you want to grow spiritually and discuss it in a mature Christian way, I will be happy to hear what you have to say if you have Bible verses that back up what you believe.
There is a significant challenge being presented by God with studying a prolific subject like money. The more abundantly any subject is presented in the Bible the more difficult it becomes to learn completely because every verse on the subject must be balanced with every other verse about the same subject in order to come to the correct interpretation of what is being taught as a whole. If we go and do some study we should find that there are over 2000 verses in the Bible that directly or indirectly relate to the subject of money. That is a lot of verses to study and to understand. If you know and understand them all, please feel free to share that with me so that I may learn from you. If not, then please do not condemn what I teach by the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Since no one knows or understands every verse on any prolific subject except for God we need to trust God to speak what we need to learn about today and trust that He will guide us into more knowledge and a greater understanding tomorrow. What I have learned from studying this subject is that if we take any single verse on a broad subject like money in Mark 10:25 and study it in isolation it will cause only confusion and misunderstanding because we lack sufficient knowledge to make any correct assessment. We will begin with the primary verse in question and then continue to understand what is being said by Jesus using certain basic Bible interpretation rules:
Mar 10:25 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.
The question being answered today “Is Jesus talking about a literal sewing needle in this verse or one that is figurative representing something else?” I guess that also implies, is Jesus talking about a literal camel in this verse or is the camel also a symbolic representation for something else? If one is symbolic the other by direct association must also be symbolic and the antithesis to that truth is if one is literal then the other reference must also be literal. Because the camel is stated to pass through the eye of the needle both objects must interact directly with the other. It is usually wisdom to be consistent in the interpretation of objects of such close proximity in the scriptures especially if they interact with each other. Determining whether or not these objects are literal or figurative will be a difficult question to answer so we need to use the defined rules of Bible interpretation to come to the proper conclusion. We will start with the rule of God’s Selected Word Usage in the other parts of the Bible to determine if God sets any pattern of usage or if God has presented us with any redefinitions for any of the words being questioned. This is actually one of the most significant Bible interpretation rules that is often ignored, not known or not applied. I hope that you at least understand the principle behind why this rule is beneficial. I’m not here today to teach rules for interpretation, but I will always use them whether I tell you about them or not.
GOD’S SELECTED WORD USAGE
The Greek word G4476 translated as “needle” is only used in three verses in the entire N.T. and these all quote this same statement (Mat 19:26, Mark 10:25, Luke 18:25). This Greek word literally means a sewing instrument also known as a sewing needle according to the Strong’s dictionary. The Greek word G5168 translated as “eye” is also only found in these three same quoted statements in the same three verses in the N.T. The meaning of the “eye” is literally an opening like an orifice in the human body. Clearly this is a description of a literal natural sewing needle. Therefore, we have no other word usage convention in the N.T. to help us compare God’s selection of the terms to be either literal or figurative. That means we need to move to the next Greek word and learn what it teaches us.
The Greek word G2574 that was translated as “camel” is used in the same exact three quoted verses but this word is also found in three additional N.T. verses where two times (Mat 3:4, Mar 1:6) it is definitely used by God to describe an actual literal created camel. In these two verses John the Baptist is described wearing a coat of “camel’s” hair and since John is literal the camel-hair coat must also be literal by the rule of direct interaction that I mentioned previously. There is only one other verse (Mar 23:24) in the N.T. where this Greek word for camel is used and this time it is clearly selected by Jesus to be a figurative statement where it cannot be taken literally. In this verse Jesus is talking to the scribes and the Pharisees and He tells them “You strain a gnat and swallow a camel”. These were “figures of speech” with deeper meanings that could be understood by the hearer. The gnat and the camel were not to be taken as literal statements where they were literally straining gnats and literally swallowing a whole camel. I do not have time to explain figures of speech but they are found in the Bible in several places by God’s design.
What we have discovered so far is that it is not going to be easy to learn what these words really mean by observing only the usage of the Greek words in the rest of the Bible. There are no definitions for the words given in the rest of the Bible that I have found. There were no other occurrences of the words “eye” or “needle” in the New Testament. The Greek word for “camel” could be taken literally or as a figure of speech and that only means the verse in Mark 10:25 is one of the two and we need to continue to study to determine which it is. That was only one rule of Bible interpretation and there are others to follow so let’s go to the next and find how that applies.
Before I apply the next interpretation rule, let’s expand the reader’s question using the implied unstated meaning behind the question. What I have discovered is that the reason for one asking a question is equally as important as the question itself. I understood my reader’s question to imply “If this verse is a literal camel going through a literal needle’s eye, then Jesus was teaching that we shouldn’t become rich, own any possessions or live outside of the realm of absolute poverty”. But was that what Jesus was actually teaching us? I have seen where many believe this to be true and go and live in a commune owning nothing. I have even heard preachers teach that this verse in Mark 10 is a proclamation that having wealth and riches in this world is a direct pathway to hell. I do not know for sure if that was the reason for the question, but that will be the focus for my answer to the question nonetheless. Is having money a negative in the eyes of God? If we own nothing is that a positive thing in the eyes of God? If having money, wealth and possessions in this world is a negative then I believe hell is full of a lot of Old Testament saints that were rich like, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, David, Solomon, Job and I could name others that possessed great wealth in the Bible. If the possession of wealth causes one to be evil, I would begin to ask God, why did you create it? I would then ask an even better question next to God saying “why are the streets of heaven paved in gold”? It would appear to me that the Bible contradicts the teaching that having wealth is an evil by giving us so many examples to the contrary. This is where we need to learn the application of balance. Let’s balance every verse about money in the Bible and not just focus on this one alone in Mark 10. We still need to overcome the apparent contradiction to the presumed statement made by Jesus in Mark 10:25 about a rich man not being able to enter into the Kingdom of God.
STUDYING THE CONTEXT OF MARK 10:25
One of the key Bible interpretation rules is to interpret the verse in question using the surrounding context of the statement. Ignoring the context or taking the verse out of context will usually result in a false meaning of the information given within the verse. This is normally true except when a verse contains information of a universal truth nature. A universal truth is a statement made by God that is true regardless of the context or application. This verse in Mark 10:25 is NOT a divine universal statement of truth and therefore the context is valuable and even essential to understanding the meaning. A context type of study would include what is being described directly around the statement in the chapter and if you want to expand the search to go beyond the chapter context you can also include what was spoken in the entire book about the subjects presented. But context study also includes the search to find the answers for three additional questions which are:
- Who is speaking?
- Who is being spoken to?
- Who is being spoken about?
This verse is a prime example of the necessity for this rule’s application. We cannot read this verse in Mark 10:25 alone and attempt to understand it because it is a small part of a much larger story that is being used to teach a far greater principle. Therefore, we really must consider the surrounding context in order to better understand what is being stated by Jesus in verse 25. It is very similar to what I said in a previous paragraph. The reason for Jesus speaking this statement in Mark 10:25, is equally as important as what was said by Jesus in the statement alone. Without understanding the purpose behind it, you will never understand the statement being made. Please read all of these context verses together starting with verse 17 where the lesson begins:
Mar 10:17 And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?
Mar 10:18 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.
Mar 10:19 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother.
Mar 10:20 And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth.
Mar 10:21 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.
Mar 10:22 And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.
Mar 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!
Mar 10:24 And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!
Mar 10:25 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.
Mar 10:26 And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved?
I gave you several verses before verse 25 and one after because they all go together in a single lesson. Jesus is the primary speaker with the majority of the spoken words being in red ink. However, there are secondary statements being made by a rich man at first and later the disciples of Jesus. Actually it is important to note that the rich man initiates the conversation and that causes Jesus to begin to respond to his question. Therefore the conversation was not initiated by Jesus. It is always important to notice if Jesus initiates something or if it is simply Jesus responding to what another has initiated. One reason for this distinction is to know if Jesus is teaching generally to everyone or if Jesus is teaching directly to just one person. This fact will have direct bearing upon how we view the context. What we have is Jesus as the main speaker answering a question from a solitary rich man not about money but about his salvation. Therefore the lesson within the conversation begins with a personal response to one man and not a general discussion to everyone about how to be saved. Do you understand this? I’ll try to say it again differently; Jesus is speaking to only this one rich man at first with the disciples in observance of the conversation not being direct participants but rather simply observant students of the Master who was giving a lesson to an isolated rich man about his personal salvation.
As you can read in verse 17 the primary subject of this discussion is concerning only salvation. One of the secondary subjects of the conversation that later comes out is about the subject of the rich man’s money in verse 21. We know from reading verse 22, that Jesus was approached by a very wealthy man asking what he could do to inherit eternal life. Jesus names several of the commandments of God in verse 19 and the rich man claims to have followed all of these since his age of accountability in verse 20. Many today would think that obeying God’s law would be enough to be saved but that is not what the New Testament teaches us. In Romans 4:13-14, God says that the promise to be an heir of salvation was not given to any man through the obedience of the law but rather it came by faith in Jesus Christ alone who was doing the speaking in this lesson. In Galatians 2:16 God says “No flesh will be justified by the works of the law”. This knowledge of the law makes the initial answer that Jesus gave to the rich man almost irrelevant. So there must be another reason for Jesus making the statement.
Why then does Jesus tell him that he should have obeyed the law if this obedience was not required for New Covenant salvation? Well first we need to remember that the New Covenant was not yet implemented and thus they were still under the jurisdiction and the concluding timeline of the Old Covenant. The Law was the only Words of God available to follow, so that is clearly the emphasis being given at first. However, Jesus was not done talking and continues with some personal spiritual realities on things this rich man would need to fix in order to be saved after the New Covenant was implemented. I am not sure if you understood fully what I just said, but it will become clearer as we go forward.
What I observe here in this lesson to the rich man so far is that Jesus was dealing with his core spiritual heart issues and not just his perceived loyalty to obey God’s commands. Jesus appears to be confirming the existence of the rich man’s pride by offering him a chance to admit to just one law that he has not followed completely in his entire mature life. You see the law was created by God to show man that it was impossible to keep the entire law consistently and by coming to this revelation of the truth teach man the need for a savior. Romans 3:20 teaches us that it is by law that the knowledge of sin was given to man. In Romans 2 Paul talks a lot in this chapter about those under the law attempting to keep the law but then breaking it in some way. Then in Roman 5:20 Paul wrote that the law entered so that the transgression of the law might abound. I’m not sure if you understood that last statement either that God made through Paul. You see here in the U.S., the 5 largest cities with the strictest and most prolific gun control laws are where the majority of gun murders occur. If you want more deaths by guns to occur God just said you should pass more laws against them and this will cause the violation of the law to increase. Wow, that was good to learn! I wish more of our government would learn that.
This rich man’s claim to have followed the law completely is a virtual impossibility since only Jesus fulfilled the law to the full extent. One problem that Jesus consistently encountered in the Gospels was religious people who believed that they were superior to Him because of their self-righteous good works. These Pharisee types looked at their ability to obey the law as the true way to God. They created manmade traditional rules on top of God’s laws to insure that they never even came close to violating God’s law. However, Jesus would look at them and say that they were like whitewashed tombs that looked pretty on the outside but were full of unclean dead men’s bones on the inside (Mat 23:27). This rich man’s response was much like those of the Pharisee types. Therefore the rich man was clearly in pride not admitting to the truth of his own faults and shortcomings in need of a savior. This is when Jesus begins to dig deeper into the man’s inner heart condition to show him that there were more profound root issues that needed correction in order for him to receive this “eternal life” that he was seeking.
Jesus says to go and sell his possessions and give to the poor and that is when the rich man turns away from his only hope named Jesus in a state of grief. That was the end of that personal conversation with the rich man about his salvation and that is very important to note. Jesus then looking around about at his surroundings said out loud “how hard it is for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God”. This new statement to a totally different audience appears to be the beginning of a major controversy for the disciples of Jesus and it was totally unexpected to them because they did not understand the reason for what had just happened to the rich man.
What we must observe is that a significant target audience transition has just occurred. Jesus has just moved from answering a rich man’s personal question on what he needed to do to be saved to teaching a different valuable lesson to His disciples and us in the church. This new lesson is about a greater previously unmentioned subject. What that should potentially mean to us is that the primary subject has moved from a conversation about the salvation of a single natural rich man to a conversation about spiritual internal conditions that were never discussed. Here is a good time for us to ask, why did Jesus ask the rich man to sell his possessions and give to the poor. The reason behind the request is actually again more important than the request itself.
This is where the Bible reader who desires to know the truth needs to become a Sherlock Holmes type of serious Bible student to observe the details to what is really being taught to the church and not to an unsaved rich carnal man. Why were the disciples so astonished at this saying of Jesus in verse 23? Why were His disciples so surprised by this statement about the rich of this world being so hard to save? Think about it. If the disciples were all poor men that had nothing and owned nothing they should be rejoicing because they could now be easily saved on their way into the Kingdom of God, but that was not their reaction at all, was it? Can you read? Can you see what their reaction was? This was clearly the reaction of men that were NOT poor. Being shocked that a rich man is almost impossible to save makes no logical sense for anyone but men with money. I believe if you study the Bible you might agree that these men selected by Jesus were not poor men who owned nothing. In fact, the majority of the disciples described came from successful businesses that were making them money. Many were fishermen like Simon Peter and Andrew who caught and sold fish for money (Mat 4:18). James and John are described to also be fishermen with possessions (Mat 4:21). Clearly fishermen owned large boats, fishing gear, nets, as well as owned houses and worked and made money in the markets. One disciple named Matthew was definitely a tax collector (Mat 9:9) and years later when Luke wrote about this story he was described to be a doctor (Col 4:4). None of these followers were poor men begging for money to exist. That is why they are so very concerned with this statement that Jesus just made. Do you understand this?
Jesus then continues the lesson saying “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to be saved”. Again all of the disciples that heard Jesus were flabbergasted and confused and that confirms that they all have money. This saying of Jesus was making them think about asking if they could even be saved. What I have discovered being taught within the Bible is that the Bible is not opposed to people having money. Jesus was not teaching poverty in this example. Jesus was not even teaching that we need to sell or give away everything in order to be saved. That would be very unintelligent religious thinking that is drawn from wrong conclusions and interpretation that would teach this is found in the Bible.
What Jesus was teaching, is that rich people MUST NOT trust in their money more than they trust in God. This further says that rich people must not love their money and their possessions more than they love their God. Jesus was making a point to the rich man that he needed to learn to trust in God and His Grace rather than to place all of his confidence in what he had done and what he had obtained. Any rich person who is self-reliant, self-made, and self-sufficient in their own eyes will find it very hard to be saved because they are full of pride in their own accomplishments and abilities. The Bible says that God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble (James 4:6). The rich man that came to Jesus was asking how to be saved but he was too heavily bound to and by his money and his possessions for him to let go of them to make Jesus his Lord. The rich man therefore does not qualify to receive grace. His money was in effect his god. He was joined to his money and he was unable to part with any of these temporary things of this world simply because he valued them more than he valued the eternal rewards of God and that was the major problem that Jesus was addressing in this personal lesson to the rich man.
Jesus was dealing with a heart issue and not a money issue. What we value will be what we place our trust and confidence in. A man with great wealth has learned that money will buy him practically anything and he has placed a false trust in it. Jesus actually spoke of this in Matthew 6:2 when he said “Where you treasure is there will also be your heart”. Jesus clearly says what a man values in this world is what he will be focused on in his heart. Jesus is not going to share first place in your heart with your money or your possessions. Everyone is going to have to choose between Jesus and money or whatever it is that they value to determine which will be of more lasting worth and benefit and then make only one of these their priority in this life.
In the first part of the lesson to the rich man Jesus was trying to get him to see that he needed to change. In the last part of the lesson to the church Jesus was teaching a lesson about how people can still possess money but that this money must not possess them or they will never see the kingdom of God. This lesson being taught goes along with other statements that Jesus made on the subject of money that are parallel examples to what is being taught in Mark 10:25:
- Mat 6:24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
You see when a person becomes a Christian they are required by the design of God in Romans 10:9-10 to make Jesus their personal Lord and Savior. You cannot make Jesus your Savior without also making Him your simultaneous Lord. If Jesus is your Lord then your money or your possessions or whatever cannot be your Lord. Jesus states this very clearly using money in Matthew 6:24. When someone tries to serve two masters they are distracted by the one to not fully serve either. Jesus requires your undivided attention when you make Him your Lord. He is not going to share His Lordship with your business or your money. That was the major problem with the rich man that came to Jesus in Mark 10:25. Jesus was attempting to get a commitment from the rich man to make Jesus His Lord, but the rich man turned away to continue to serve his wealth. Does this make sense to you now?
Jesus was teaching the rich man about his problem without ever stating that he had a problem. When the rich man heard this he should have become humble and asked a few more questions instead of going away without knowing the rest of the truth for the reason to why Jesus asked what He did. What did I say earlier? I said the reason for the statement is as important as the statement itself. This man heard the request but did not desire to know the reason behind the statement. That was one of his greatest failures. It is not offensive to God if you ask Him questions. People are generally like two year old children to God’s level of thinking. God understands that people are in need of knowledge and understanding to grow.
Asking questions is an excellent way to learn more about your situation. Don’t believe me? When the angel of God comes to Mary and tells her that she will have a child, she doesn’t walk away in grief saying, “yea right”. No she was wiser than this rich man and she asked “how shall this be seeing that I have never known a man?’ God was not angry at the question and gave her the straight answer and this was to her benefit because now she understood more about how this was possible to occur. Do you ever ask God questions? I ask God questions very often, it is the easiest way to learn the truth.
WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT GIVING TO THE POOR?
Now for some more potentially controversial parts of the lesson. I have already shown briefly what the N.T. says about Jesus’ instructions concerning obeying the law so we should move to the next statement made by Jesus and learn more about this subject. Since the rich man was next instructed by Jesus to release his possessions and then to “give” to the poor it might be helpful if we understood how this relates in order to understand what would have happened to the rich man if he would have been obedient to the LORD’s request. I will confirm that his disobedience to Jesus’ request to sell and give to the poor cost him his salvation but then I will also say that it would not have been his poverty that saved him either. I’ll repeat this again, it was Jesus working on the man’s heart issues that caused the request to sell and give. I know I repeat myself, but these are important facts that need to be understood.
One key to understanding a subject is to find related verses in the Bible that speak about the subject. We did this with the key words “camel”, “eye” and “needle” and found very little to help us, but that is not all of the word subjects within the context of the verse in question. We know before Jesus spoke these words about the camel going through the eye of the needle that Jesus asked the rich man to go and sell his possessions and to “give” to the poor”. I tried to teach you that this rich man was not valuing the correct things and placing them in the correct order of priority. He was clearly placing his trust in his money and possessions and that will never please God. Still there is a need to understand what “giving” has to do with God’s proposed solution to change this man’s heart around to learn to trust Him! Wow, that sounds like an awesome thing to learn for every Christian. So let’s get started.
Jesus literally taught many other things in the Gospels about money. Because the rich man did not know these other sayings he walked away from obtaining a blessing and he didn’t even know it. God says in His Word “My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6). I just taught you that we need to learn to ask God questions if we want to learn more from Him. I really meant that! So let’s ask God the question “what would have happened if the rich man gave away all of his possessions to the poor”? What would be the end result of such obedience? Would this rich man have remained in poverty from then on? Could this rich man never work or earn anymore money ever again? Or should this rich man go to work but then continue to give everything that he makes away? In order to begin to learn how to answer these questions from God’s word I believe that we need to learn what God said about giving. I’ll start with a verse that is certainly important and directly related about this subject of giving:
Act 20:35 “In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.‘”
What is being repeated here in this verse? I want you to first observe that this statement says the writer is working hard as an example to those that he was writing to. Therefore we just answered a part of the question about should a Christian continue to work after becoming a Christian! Did you know that the writer of the book of Acts was Luke? Can you agree that Luke heard and learned the same rich man’s lesson from eye witnesses? Did Luke learn anything from their experience? Apparently he did! Luke is saying that we should help the weak. This Greek word translated as weak means the sick, the diseased, and the feeble which implies those that are poor because they are unable to work. Everyone in a weak condition is not able to work and therefore is in need of assistance. Can we agree that this statement applies to the poor?
Then Luke by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost quotes something that Jesus taught us directly. Luke said that Jesus said “It is more blessed to give (to the poor) than to receive (from the poor). I put the poor in the statement because that was the associated meaning based upon context. Do you understand that? Please tell me that you do. Why is God asking His people to help the poor, the sick and the weak by giving to them? It is primarily because the poor need the help, but God also says whoever gives will be blessed more than those that received the gift. Oh, that doesn’t make any sense does it? How is a rich man the one that is blessed by him giving away all of his money? That is a divine mystery that is being ignored in much of the church body today. What I would like you do to is to start believing that there is a blessing associated with giving to the poor. Now we just need to determine if this blessing is here in this life or is only found in the eternal rewards to come?
I’ll try to answer when this giving blessing occurs by observing more about what Jesus taught us on the subject of giving in the Gospels. However I do need to review an observation of where Jesus placed the emphasis when He told the rich man in Mark 10:21 to go and sell and give. I did not go over the last part of the verse previously. If you go back and read this verse again you will notice that Jesus after telling the rich man to give to the poor Jesus then promised him that he would have treasure in heaven for doing this. That is very self-evident that there is a stated eternal blessing from God that will be given to him if he would have been obedient and had given to the poor. Jesus places the primary emphasis upon eternal rewards and that makes total logical sense to me.
An eternity of blessings and treasures is far more significant than a natural 100 years of existence on earth with riches. But do not assume too much here. Just because Jesus did not emphasize any earthly benefits to the rich man does not mean that they do not exist. That would be foolish presumption to take one verse as the complete truth on the subject of giving to the poor. Therefore we need to study and find additional Bible information in order to come to a balanced conclusion. Can we at least agree that God will bless us also, if He comes to us and asks us to give to the poor? If you understand that God shows no favoritism (Acts 10:34) and what He promised to one is the same that is available to any other in the same circumstances then you should be able to agree with that belief.
Let’s turn to the book of Luke and read a verse that many of you may already be familiar with. Read this verse very carefully and observe that the same Greek word translated for “Give” in Mark 10:21 is used in this verse connecting the lessons together by God’s direct word selection and subject connection. Then notice what Jesus teaches about giving in this verse. This verse must also apply to the rich man’s giving or God becomes a liar:
- Luk 6:38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.
According to Jesus (God in the flesh), If the rich man would have only understood that what he gave to others, this verse states that God would have caused those gifts to be returned back to him multiplied. This knowledge has the potential to cause the rich to see the giving away of his riches in a much different light. Of course the rich man did not give Jesus the opportunity to teach this part of the lesson about money and giving nor did the rich man ask Jesus any questions about it. Jesus also did not voluntarily offer this information up either since Jesus wanted the rich man to learn faith and trust in God first. I’m not sure if you understood what I just said or not?
The rich man trusted in his money to be his supplier and God’s word says “My God shall supply all of your needs according to His riches in glory” (Php 4:19). There is a promised supply by God in the N.T. By the rich man having to learn to look to God instead of his own money and this rich man would have learned a more valuable lesson about trusting God and walking by faith. However, it still does not mean that the rich man could never have any money again. I believe that the rich man assumed too much just like many Bible readers today assume too much when they read this lesson. Remember what God says in the Old Testament? Let me remind you:
Jer 29:11 For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome. (AMP)
God says very clearly when He asks you to do something it is for your good and not to harm, hurt you, ruin you, or even to make life hard for you. Failure to believe or understand this is one of the key reasons why people today will resist God’s instructions. This rich man in Mark 10 was not asked by God to do something that was not going to benefit him in the long run if he would have just been willing and compliant God would have rewarded him greatly for his obedience. If you believe that God is going to take something away from you without knowing the purpose behind the request then you are not trusting God’s wisdom, knowledge and plan for your life. It is usually at this point where I emphasize that you need to learn if God is directing you to turn away from anything then there is a greater purpose behind that request and if you ask for Him for the reason why, God might just show you or you can just trust Him and learn it when it happens which is usually wiser.
But, it is also important to understand if Satan is trying to steal anything from you (John 10:10) you need to fight against that and resist him. If you do not know how it works yet, God will ask you usually to give something up voluntarily, but if you refuse this can open the door for Satan just to come and take it from you without asking. It is pretty simple to learn which is which. Let’s go back and talk some more about Luke 6:38 and Mark 10:21.
There is a stated law of reciprocity that is placed in effect with God when a human in faith participates voluntarily and willingly with the requests of God. God is not going to ask anyone to give away something without observing the obedience and blessing them in return. We clearly saw this stated in Mark 10:21 when Jesus informed the rich man that there would be treasure in heaven awaiting him for his giving. Then again in Luke 6:38 God says if you give to men, men will also give back to you. Reciprocity is also found in the established decree of God called the Law of Sowing and Reaping (Gen 8:22). Sowing is the stated release of a seed from your hand into the ground that is believed to be given back to you multiplied over time.
I believe that if the rich man would have viewed the release of his money into the poor as a seed sown that it would have been returned back to him multiplied based upon what Luke 6:38 taught us. God states this clearly in Luke 6:38 when He says that others will return to you what you have given away as multiplied. This is a very basic farming concept where any seed planter sows their valuable seeds that are returned back as a greater and more valuable return after time has passed. This multiplication principle is implied in Luke 6:38 in the phrase “good measure, pressed down and shaken together and running over”. That certainly makes it sound like giving to others is a benefit and not a liability to me. If you don’t understand the concept of seeds in the Bible I would recommend that you go read that lesson series (Understanding Seeds in the Bible).
We should still understand that in Mark 10 that Jesus was not emphasizing this sowing and reaping part of the lesson simply because He was dealing with the man’s love for his money and possessions. Do you understand the motivation for Jesus telling the rich man to get rid of his possessions and give to the poor, now?
Whenever God asks you to give away something it will normally be because it controls you and gets in the way of His relationship with you. After a time of learning that God is more important to pursue than the item that is given, many times God will see that you get back what you were asked to give up. This of course is not true if it is drugs, alcohol or some other substance that controlled you and will do physical harm to you and this is even true for money and possessions if they return to being your gods. I’ve been going longer than I expected in this lesson so let me see if the Holy Spirit will allow me to wrap it up by giving you one more O.T. verse on this subject about giving to the poor:
- Pro 19:17 He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the LORD; and that which he hath given will he pay him again.
If the rich man would have just considered this old fact written by Solomon probably one of the richest men ever in the Bible, I believe that it could have made a tremendous difference in his attitude towards giving to the poor. You see this verse literally says that when we give to the poor the Lord observes it and takes over the responsibility for the debt. Therefore we do not expect the one that we gave something to, to give back to us anything in return even in the future. This is simply because God says “I owe the debt” and I believe God is faithful to repay it. If God takes the responsibility for the debt, then we must ask is this repayment now in this life or is this in the next life to come? I believe that we could get correct answers for both beliefs, by saying all of the above.
I do not place any limitations upon what God wants to bless me with or when God wants the blessing to arrive. Since I’m not God He can sovereignly do as He pleases. I definitely believe that there are eternal rewards based upon what Jesus taught in Matthew 6:20 when He taught that we should be laying up treasures in heaven where moth and rust will never corrupt them. But the balanced counter to that statement was given to us in Luke 6:38 that claims if we give to men (here and now) that men will give back to us (here and now). Luke 6:38 is clearly talking about receiving a return for giving here in this life. I’m not going to teach this part of giving anymore in today’s lesson. I really do not know how many I have offended by even mentioning it. Christians often ignore vast parts of scripture thinking they are not applicable for today. However to those like me that believe in them they still work just fine. I will end this section about giving by saying that there are definitely heavenly rewards laid up for us for everything that we give here on the earth so the eternal benefits will by far outweigh any temporary benefits that we can enjoy for a short time here on this earth. You should always keep your focus on the eternal rather than the carnal temporary, as I try to do.
In conclusion I will say that there are certain Bible teachers who teach that the “eye of the needle” was a figurative type for a city gate designed to be very narrow to limit passage into the city. This was done in Bible days as a safety measure to keep large foreign armies and enemies from invading the city in mass numbers. This narrow gate was like a funnel that kept the inflow and outflow of traffic to a very few with limited size of restrictions that were easily controlled. This city opening was so narrow that many times a fully loaded camel would not be able to even enter it. The merchant or traveler would usually have to unload the camel and squeeze it through the gate and then carry the loads by hand into the city. So many teachers today believe that this was what Jesus was talking about in this verse in Mark 10:25.
However, that is still a private interpretation of the verse since it is not mentioned in the Bible anywhere and therefore I do not agree with it. It also mixes one noun found in Luke 10:25 “the eye of the needle” as a figurative object and the other noun (camel) as a literal object and I do not agree with that type of interpretation. I take scriptures literally when I can and then I apply what is stated spiritually based upon what is specified or being taught following the rules of interpretation of which I only mentioned two or three today in this lesson. In conclusion I will give you two more verses to consider:
1Co 5:9 I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators:
1Co 5:10 Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world.
We have more directions being given to the church in these passages. God is speaking to the church and telling them not to associate with those that are in the world. Uh oh? That sounds serious to me! Then God lists a few types that fit that description. Read these again and tell me if you see the rich man being described? I’ll help you by pointing you to two key words. The first word is “covetous”. This Greek word means a human with a desire for more of something. This type of person has a very difficult time at releasing anything. I believe that description fits the unsaved lost rich man. Since the rich man was unwilling to give away any of his possession that implied that he loved them greatly and possibly desired (coveted) to even have more of them. It was like he was a collector of natural things. Any collector that I have ever observed is never satisfied with their collection. Most collectors are looking for more of the same whether it be coins, stamps or baseball cards. This “covetous” word is a problem if you are wanting more natural possession and not more of God. Again remember that Jesus said you cannot serve two masters. The second Greek word in this sentence describing the rich man is “idolater”. What is an idolater? This is a person that worships a manmade object. Uh oh again for our rich man! It is very clear to me that this rich man placed too much emphasis upon his possessions. They had become his focus and they are clearly manmade objects of temporary status. Do you understand why Jesus asked him to sell them now? I could give you many more Bible verses on this subject but I have gone long enough today.
What I believe about Mark 10:25, is that Jesus was speaking of a literal camel and the literal eye of a needle with a human trying to pass this large beast through it. That would be a nearly impossible task and that was the message being communicated to the church, but not to the rich man since he was not present to hear it. Therefore, we should take this verse literally and see that the salvation of a rich man is a nearly impossible task. However, we also need to balance that message with the fact that it was not the money that caused the problem but rather the love of the money that was at issue.
Jesus was clearly motivated by the heart condition of the rich man and tried to show him that the money and possession were his lord. Know that Jesus deals with individual heart conditions differently. Only man looks at the outward and sees a rich man and believes that he should be poor to be saved. God looks at the man’s heart motivation for being rich and if it is for his love of these objects it will become the area that God will attempt to correct in our lives.
Each person is unique to God and only God knows what is taking priority over your relationship to Him. What God tells me to get rid of will almost always be different than what God will tell you to get rid of. And if you believe that God will never instruct you to get rid of anything then you are either deceived or a perfect person in need of no savior.
Jesus was teaching that it was impossible for anyone here on the earth that was rich to be saved if they did not put aside their love for their money to make Him their Lord. While this is impossible for most men to do, we know from reading the Bible that with God all things are possible if we believe (Mat 10:27). So a rich man can be saved if they want to learn how to enter through Jesus who is called the narrow gate in Mat 7:14. Remember what Jesus said there in Matthew 7? Jesus declared there were only two paths to choose from. One narrow way was describing the selection as Jesus to be your Lord. The other choice was a wide gate and a broad path and many there are that will choose it to their destruction (Mat 7:13). This was a description of worldly lusts and desires that take the place of Jesus. Please don’t allow something so temporary like money or possession be the reason for selecting the wrong path as this rich man in this lesson did today. Thank you for your time reading and studying the Bible and until next time may you continue to grow in the knowledge of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.
(Ver 1.4) This is Part 4 in a series of Bible lessons on unlocking the “Myths of Jesus” found in the church. This lesson is a follow-up and another attempt at setting the record straight. If you have not read the first lesson I might suggest that you go and start with “Part 1“. According to a recent video that I saw on Facebook from a preacher, he claimed that Jesus must have taken a vow of poverty and set a humble example that we should all follow. Using only his religious philosophy he portrayed a Jesus who suffered physical pain and therefore we should tolerate pain with the same level of humility. He further went on to say that my Jesus was born into a poor family and implied this is where we all should be also. Then He went on to say that Jesus was homeless, often hungry and could not even pay His own taxes. I’ll start this discussion by asking you a simple question, why was it necessary for a homeless poverty stricken hungry man to even pay taxes? Does your government tax people when they have nothing or does your government give the poor people food stamps, housing subsidies and welfare to help them? Was Jesus dependent upon the generosity of people to survive or was Jesus a blessing to others as a man of means? I guess how you see your goverment depends upon who your government is. Giving to the poor is certainly a descriptive view of the U.S. democratic government. Maybe things are different now than they were back then, I do not know for sure, since I was not there. I do know what the Bible says on this subject however so let’s find out if Jesus was a poor Jesus example for us to follow. We’ll begin with His childhood:
Mat 2:11 And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.
Poor people did not live in houses even in Jesus’ day. Joseph and Mary must have owned a house and lived in it in order for the wise men to find them there. Then the wise men from the east come to their house and what did they bring with them to the house? Are they not gifts to give to the child Jesus? If some men from one country come to another country to visit a new born king, what kind of gifts do they bring? You have to understand that these men were bringing gifts to a king in their mind and not just gifts for a baby shower. These were no little nothing gifts of insignificant value. These were great gifts fit for royalty in large enough quantities so they would not offend the king or the family of the king. Examine the key word in this verse and research the definition. The key word in this verse in Matthew 2:11 is “treasures”. The wisemen are said to be bringing their treasures to Jesus. If you look up the word “treasures” it means “wealth”. What does wealth mean to you? Are you wealthy physically? If you are not then you are not like Jesus was. Understand based upon this information Joseph and Mary were now set for life after this encounter and this meant Jesus was never poor either. Gold, frankincense and myrrh were the three types of gifts that were given and they all had great value and wealth attached them by definition. If they rode to the house on camels they could have had saddle bags full of the stuff. We are not told how much was presented, but logically speaking it had to be the size of a gift that would not be laughed at by the royal recipient. What if these men wer bringing their gifts to Ceasar in Rome? What type of gifts would they have brought that would not have gotten them thrown into prison or killed? What would have impressed Ceasar? You see if you change your perspective you will begin to see a different type of Jesus and the men that came to honor Him. How do you get a poor Jesus out of this information? I cannot fathom the blindness or the creativity that it takes to write this off to come up with that type of religious philosophy that preaches a poor Jesus. You are still welcome to ignore Bible verses like these or attempt to explain them away to make your own private independent views work apart from God’s Word, but that does not make your views true, it only leaves you locked into a wrong interpretation of the Bible.
Let’s back up in the story to Bethlehem before the wise men show up with their gifts of wealth. Did Joseph have money before this? Before Jesus was born, the couple was going to Bethlehem to do what? Did you know that they were going to pay taxes and participate in the nationwide census according to Luke 2:1-3? I’ll say this again that poor people do not pay taxes. It takes money to pay taxes. Joseph is called the carpenter in Matthew 13:55, so he was obviously employed and was a trade worker and that information implies that he was never poor. Carpenters were skilled laborers and not house builders like we think today. Houses were not framed by carpenters in those days when Jesus was born. Carpenters built more furniture and things out of the wood for the inside of the house. Houses were made of clay or brick normally. Anyway Jesus is born in a manger in Bethlehem because why? That is the million dollar question being presented for the prize of knowledge and truth:
Luk 2:7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
Apparently Joseph tried to stay at the inn but they were full? Do you know you have to have money to stay at any Inn? Did you know a nine month pregnant woman does not travel very fast? By the time Joseph and Mary arrive at Bethlehem the inn is full of people and there is nowhere else for them to stay so they stay in the manger. Better than outside, but not what they had in mind either. Jesus was only born in the manger because the INN was FULL! It is very clear to me based upon Bible evidence that the family of Jesus was NOT poor if they had to go to their home city to pay taxes and they had money to stay at an inn. So why do people say they were poor? I have no clue!
Now, let’s examine the ministry of Jesus as a grown up. I’ll skip to the mature life of Jesus as a grown man now being 30 years old and see what is being told to us about Him. Did you know that the ministry of Jesus had a treasurer? Why is it necessary to have a treasurer? The treasurer is always held responsible to manage and control the money of the organization. This is the normal duties of a treasurer. Who was this treasurer? It was Judas who would betray Him:
Joh 13:29 For some of them thought, because Judas had the bag, that Jesus had said unto him, Buy those things that we have need of against the feast; or, that he should give something to the poor.
Judas we are told was the money carrier for the ministry of Jesus. The “bag” that is referred to in this text contained money. When things needed to be bought with money, then it was taken from the bag and they bought it. You can clearly see in this verse that the disciples thought that Jesus was speaking to Judas and saying for him to take some of the money in their possession and either spend it to buy some things that they needed or to give it to the poor. Uh oh? That is a problem for a poor Jesus philosophy, isn’t it? We are given two direct reasons for Jesus having money and they are very clear. You either need stuff or you give stuff to others. Let’s look at another example in the Gospels of Jesus’ ministry. What happened one day when Jesus was ministering to a group of 5000 on a hillside? After everyone was there for a long time Jesus makes a request to the disciples and the disciple’s reaction is absolutely priceless:
Mar 6:37 He answered and said unto them, Give ye them to eat. And they say unto him, Shall we go and buy two hundred pennyworth of bread, and give them to eat?
Jesus tells the disciples to feed the people and the disciples said we don’t have any money to do this? No that is not what the disciples said, is it? Why would a poor Jesus even make that kind of ridiculous statement if it was impossible for them to do it? Jesus is clearly confused or He was not poor. The disciples estimated that it will cost them nearly 200 pennies worth of bread to buy enough food for this many people and this is clearly almost a year’s wages to them. Do they have that much money on them in their possession when they made this statement? They must have it in their possession or this would be a very stupid response to make to Jesus’ command. I do not believe that Jesus was poor; if they had enough money with them to feed the 5000 they had a lot of money on them. How many peopl have you ever fed? Ever been to resturaunt and paid the bill for everyone? This is what Jesus was telling them to do. However, the problem was that they were in the middle of nowhere and there wwere no stores to buy anything anywhere near them, so Jesus was making a point, but they were asking if He meant for them to go away to buy the bread and then come back to give it to the people? I’m telling you verses like these reveal volumes of information to me that are ignored by many Christians. Read what Jesus tells His disciples in another place in the Gospels:
Mar 6:7 And he called unto him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two; and gave them power over unclean spirits;
Mar 6:8 And commanded them that they should take nothing for their journey, save a staff only; no scrip, no bread, no money in their purse:
Did you know that you do not have to tell men that have no money not to take their money with them? This is not rocket science. Here we have it recorded in plain sight that Jesus is telling His disciples to leave their money at home with their wives and to go out in faith and the disciples heard it and obeyed. It is very obvious to me that all of these men had money to leave and it implies that they all had personal purses that they carried with them normally. This means their money was separate from the money in the bag that Judas carried. Do you understand this? Do you think this is a trick question? Does Jesus tell men with no money not to take any money? That would be very stupid for God to do. All the men would have to do is to confront Jesus and say Master we have no money and this would tell us of their poor condition, but that is not recorded in the Bible so therefore it did not occur. Here is another lesson that Jesus taught on money:
Mar 10:25 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.
Mar 10:26 And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved?
When you read the Gospels you find that Jesus taught more on money than probably any other subject. If poor people came to learn a teaching about money from a poorer man than they were, they would be very stupid. What would the reaction to that be today? In today’s world a poor homeless man would be laughed out of the city. If Jesus was a homeless destitute man as this preacher claimed he is not qualified to teach on the subject of money since he could not obviously manage it properly. You never take advice from a man who has nothing to teach you about how to manage your money. Today, I would rather listen to Warren Buffet or Bill Gates on the subject of money than to listen to any homeless poverty stricken man on the street. If you think this is different today than back when Jesus was on the earth you are very foolish in your beliefs. Here in Mark 10 Jesus is teaching on the subject of money and His disciple’s reaction to this teaching is what is important for you to see. In these verses Jesus said it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to be saved. Then the disciples were full of excitement because they were all saved poor men? No, they said with great astonishment “who then can be saved”? This is not the common or even logical reaction of a poor man; it is more the reaction of a rich man with money. If you can’t see this, then someone needs to pray for your eyes to be opened. The disciples did not exhibit a proper reaction for poor men, they clearly demonstrated the opposite. Does this matter, you bet it does! Let’s go back to the treasurer in the ministry:
Joh 12:5 Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?
Joh 12:6 This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein.
Again we see a reference in context that Judas held the money bag. This verse says that money was placed in the bag and that it must have been enough money that Judas was able to steal from it without being easily observed or caught by all of the others that were with him. Do you understand this? Is that what the Bible says? Does the Bible say that Jesus had no money? You have to be totally blind or totally ignorant to remain in the doctrinal state of poverty to be like Jesus after reading Bible verses like these. If you do not have a personal treasurer handling your money and your finances, then you are obviously not being like Jesus’ example in the Gospel. If you do not have a personal accountant to manage your money then you are not following Jesus’ example that He gave to us to follow. Therefore, you are failing to follow the illustration of Jesus Christ. I’ll probably get a lot of negative hate mail because of this lesson today and probably lose some friends on Facebook. But I’m not going to ignore the Bible to satisfy their ignorant beliefs of a poverty stricken Jesus.
One statement that the preacher made was that Jesus was often hungry and this proved He was poor by his reasoning. I wonder how some people can be so selective in their Bible reading and ignore verses that are clearly right in front of them? Was Jesus ever hungry? We saw Him turn water into wine once and we can see Him taking 5 loaves and some fishes and feeding 5000 at one time and 4000 at another time in the Gospels. This does not sound like a hungry man to me.
Luk 5:30 But their scribes and Pharisees murmured against his disciples, saying, Why do ye eat and drink with publicans and sinners?
It is very obvious to me that if the religious people of Jesus’ day criticized Him for eating and drinking with sinners and publicans that Jesus Christ did not go hungry. Where do you get a hungry Jesus in the Bible? Do you make it up and fabricate it or do you see where Jesus fasted for 40 days and misapply those verses to apply them to a poor hungry Jesus. The ideas of a poor Jesus do not hold up when analyzed accurately with what is recorded in the Bible. I never saw where Jesus could not eat, did not eat or could not afford to eat. If you know of those verses, then tell me where they are.
Why do people have the idea that Jesus was poor? I really do not have a clue other than the fact that the Bible makes some rare statements that can be easily taken incorrectly and misapplied to make Jesus sound like He was poor. Too often people just jump to wrong conclusions and make wrong assumptions without researching the truth. We have been given a narrow window view into the life of Jesus in the Bible. John says if everything was written about Jesus and what He did on the earth, the world could not contain the volumes of information (John 21:25). Therefore we are required to read the words that have been selected by God and rightly divide them in order to understand the examples that Jesus has set before us to follow. Let’s review a few scriptures that have been classically misunderstood about Jesus and see what they are saying. For example:
Mat 8:20 And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.
You see I have heard so many people quote me this verse and try to tell me that this proves that Jesus was homeless and destitute and that interpretation is amusing to me now in the light of balancing this information with the other scriptures about Jesus. This verse is Jesus’ response to a question and a temporary personal situation and people try to apply it to areas that they are not applicable to. Jesus had a traveling ministry and went from city to city and even to far away regions to minister to the people. Jesus would travel a long ways some times and then reach a place by faith and yes need a place to stay. Here is Jesus telling a man, I have no place to stay tonight. It is like when I travel and I go to another state and drive into a town without a reservation. I can look for a hotel to see if they have a room and this is sometimes what I do. We will often go to places without a reservation or a place to stay and expect to find something. We did this once when we went to the British Virgin Islands. We tried to find a place on the internet and got a reservation, but when we got there it was not as good as it sounded so we went driving around the island looking for another place. We found a great place on the beach and it was awesome. Let’s get back to Jesus. Read the Gospels and realize that things are not always written in literal and obvious terms. Nowhere in the Bible does it ever say that Jesus went to the bathroom, but it does tell us that He ate so we know by simple logic that He did this. To believe that Jesus slept on the ground outside all of His adult life as a homeless man is a fallacy that neglects the fact that Jesus obviously had money from His birth. Understand that a traveling Jesus does not have to reflect a poor homeless Jesus. It only means that He left his home and went other places some times and when He did this He needed places to stay the night occasionally. Let me try to explain another classic verse:
2Co 8:9 For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.
You see people like to take a part of a verse and ignore the entire verse to make a point that fits with their religious philosophy. Here it clearly says Jesus was poor. But, being poor is a relative term based upon two things; who Jesus was and where Jesus came from. It is just like I’m poor in the eyes of Bill Gates and Warren Buffet. But, to many people in Africa and Asia I’m very rich because I have house, a car, a cell phone and money in the bank. Jesus as you know left heaven where the streets we are told are paved with solid gold to come to the earth where I have never seen a gold paved street. Using this information we know that even Bill Gates one of the richest men in this world could be called poor by heaven’s standards. Do not pretend that Jesus lived on the earth in poverty to justify your poverty. See things in the Bible from God’s perspective first. Know that Jesus (God in the flesh) left the extreme riches of heaven to come to the earth and this He did so that we could come up to His level and standard of reality of being rich like Him. Here we have a future promise of being made rich that most would gladly agree with. But I read in the Bible that much of the reality of what Christ did for us came into effect when He rose from the dead and we accepted Him as our Lord and Savior. You have to understand the difference between what was given to us already and what we are still waiting on to be given to us. The only thing that I can see that we are still awaiting for is the redemption of our bodies to be made immortal. Other than that the Bible seems to say that everything God has done has already been given to us in the past tense wording found in the New Testament.
People like to look to the coming future spiritual kingdom of God that will change their current situation around someday in the next age and they forget the Kingdom of God is here now in you and me. Rather than seeing the Kingdom has been established internally they are looking for a new external coming event. Therefore we should just all be tolerant and patient to be like Jesus was so that when He comes and takes us away that He will give us a new mansion built in heaven. That is a nice Bible truth, but that is also not the entire Bible truth. My Bible says “I am seated with Him right now in the heavenly realm” (Eph 2:6). Then in 1 John it says “As He is, so are we in this world” (1 John 4:17). There is an implied state of being that however Christ Jesus is right now that we are supposed to be in the same state right now. This of course could be a mental state or a spiritual state if that is all that you believe Jesus accomplished for us on this earth. However when I looked up the word “salvation” in the Greek it appears to be more all-inclusive, meaning salvation of the spirit, the mind, the emotions as well as the healing for the physical body. When Jesus was teaching the people, He would read from the book of Isaiah and tell them “God has anointed me to preach the Gospel to the poor” (Luke 4:18). What is good news to a poor man? To me it has to be that you do not have to be poor anymore. Do the research and do not take my word for it. Look up the Greek word “Sozo” and tell me what it means. It is often translated as healed, delivered, and saved. People like to criticize modern health and wealth preachers as not following Jesus’ example of poverty and suffering. However if you read what Jesus said while quoting Isaiah you find Jesus was the first health and wealth preacher that ever existed and those that continue this tradition are only following what He has taught. I guess I won’t go there in further. People like to think that this is the coming future reality and I believe it applies now to me and to you if you also believe it.
1Ti 6:17 Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;
I want you to see that God does not write to people and tell them to take a vow of poverty in the New Testament. God only tells them not to trust in their money. You have to have money in order to trust in money. If God writes a letter to rich people and says do not place your confidence in your money, then it is very obvious to me that it is permissible to have money if you do not place any confidence in it and become arrogant or “highminded” as this verse warns. Do not seek money; seek God as He is the one that has given us “Richly” all things to enjoy. This is really not that difficult to comprehend, yet there are Christians that will write me and tell me I’m teaching you things not found in the Bible. They obviously cannot read nor see what God wanted them to have in this life, right now. I do not fault them and I do not put them down either. People are free to do whatever they like in this world regardless of what the Bible says.
2Pe 1:3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
If God has given to us ALL THINGS that pertain to life (Past Tense), how can you exclude money from this statement? It takes money to survive in the world today. Without money you are not going to reach the world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If you are poorer than the people that you are trying to reach, why would they want to follow a man or a woman to become like them when they have nothing to offer? Having nothing in the world reflects on a God who has given them nothing? Your poverty is a direct reflection on your God’s character and ability to bless you. I do not care if you disagree with that statement or not. If your God cannot supply your needs, then how can He get His message of salvation, deliverance and healing to other people who are looking for the truth in all of the wrong places? If you think you are going to impress people with your good looks or your clever words then you are clearly confused. Reread the exodus of Israel from Egypt and see the types being repeated in the Exodus of the church from the earth. The children of Israel went out with the vast wealth of the Egyptians. They took all they could carry and then some and they exited Egypt in health very strong after eating the Passover lamb (a type of Christ). The nation of Israel coming out of Egypt is a type of the church today about to be taken up out of this world. If you do not believe that we are going out big in victory then you are probably staying here in Egypt and that is not good news for you. I’m not trying to be a popular Bible teacher. Because of some of the things that I teach like today’s lessons I am persecuted by my self-called brothers in Christ. I’ll end this lesson today with another story about Jesus our example to follow. If Jesus was so poor why does it say this?
Joh 19:23 Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also his coat: now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout.
Joh 19:24 They said therefore among themselves, Let us not rend it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be: that the scripture might be fulfilled, which saith, They parted my raiment among them, and for my vesture they did cast lots. These things therefore the soldiers did.
Here we have the Roman soldiers who are crucifying Jesus dividing up the spoils of the man hanging on the cross. The coat of Jesus is described to be made without a seam. What does that mean? A seamless garment is not one that was cheap or easy to make. It was not a common type of garment worn by a poor man either. It is made upon a special loom that creates a continuous piece of cloth. This garment obviously had no patches, tears, rips or damage to it. This type of garment was one worn by kings and only the wealthy people of the day and the nobility that could afford to purchase it. In the terms of today’s clothing this was the upper end designer clothes of that day. This was the best of the best and not the clothing of a homeless man. It is very clear reading the Bible that the Roman soldiers decided to cast lots for this valuable piece of clothing and not to rip it up into pieces. Someone tried to tell me that this great rich robe was placed upon by those that crucified so that they could mock him. That is true that they take his clothes off and beat him and put a kingly scarlet robe on him. But this robe was taken from him and his clothes were returned before they crucified him. You can read this clearl in Matthew 27:31. Therefore the Roman soldiers were gambling over Jesus own clothing. So do people ever gamble over something that is worthless? If they did this they were very stupid. Do not get me wrong, I’m not saying the Roman soldiers were stupid, I think I’m saying the people who said Jesus was poor could possibly be called that, but I’m not going to go there. I want you to see that Jesus wore the best clothes and they were desired to be owned even by a paid soldier. It had to be very valuable so this information alone dispels the poverty Jesus philosophy.
There is overwhelming evidence in the Bible that Jesus was not poor if you choose to see it. God gave us enough clues to see that He lived well for human standards even though it was far from where He came from in heaven. Jesus was never sick anywhere in the Bible that I could find. Therefore, Jesus exemplified the modern health and wealth Gospel that many are being criticized for teaching today. Do you feel you are better than Jesus? If you want to remain poor and sick on the earth, I am not going to deny that unique privilege to you. Just do not criticize those that teach that we should be like Jesus and actually desire to live it out. According to the Bible, Jesus had money from His birth until His death on the cross. According to the Bible, Jesus had health from His birth until Satan killed Him on the cross. If you attempt to say that because Jesus suffered on the cross and exemplified an example of suffering for us that we should do the same, then you do not understand that Jesus laid down His life voluntarily as our sacrificial lamb to shed His blood for our salvation and redemption and you do not have to do anything to accept this free gift of His Grace other than believe and have Faith in Him. If you attempt to suffer like Jesus did for a few hours of His life on the earth then you have become a doer of the works of the law and are attempting to save yourself by making yourself worthy and fulfilling what only He could have accomplished hanging on the tree. Nowhere does it say that we should be crucified like Him to pay for our sins. I am going to stick with Jesus’ example of health and wealth the best that I can do to follow His example, and I will be happy following Him and you can do whatever you want. Let’s review what we have learned today:
- Jesus was born into a family that owned a home.
- Jesus’ step-father worked as a skilled carpenter and was required to pay taxes in Bethlehem even trying to rent a room at the inn there.
- Jesus was born into the world and as a child was given gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
- Jesus was not hungry and was criticized for eating with sinners and publicans.
- Jesus wore fine expensive clothes of the day that were gambled over when He was crucified proving their extreme value.
- When challenged by Jesus to feed the 5000, His disciples asked “do you want us to spend a year’s wages to buy bread for this crowd?” proving they had that much money in their pockets to do this.
- The disciple Judas was the appointed treasurer of the entire ministry and this is only necessary if you have enough money to manage.
- If Judas could steal money and it goes unnoticed, then there was a lot of money in his possession.
Where is the poor Jesus in these facts? Are these easily ignored facts in the Bible? Are these easily explained away facts found in the Bible? They must both be true in order for people to teach a poor Jesus for us to follow. Please wake up and see the real Jesus recorded in the Bible. When I learned these verses in the Bible it totally changed my perspective. I knew Jesus was a great example for us to follow and that is why I am like I am today.
If you want to read other lessons that I have about did Jesus own a house on the earth you better go and read them on my blog to learn the complete truth about His examples given. I did not attempt to give you every verse in the Gospels in this lesson that I could have. Jesus teaches a lot of stuff on money and I will probably talk more about that later. However, I have given you enough witnesses to show you that there is more to the Bible than a modern man trying to say my Jesus was a homeless beggar who could not even pay His taxes. Read your Bible very, very closely and see what it actually says and do not follow me or any other man who does not give you Bible verses to back up exactly what they are saying. Even when a man appears very sincere and a dedicated Christian, he can be sincerely wrong. Also do not criticize anyone where you have no complete knowledge on the subject under discussion and make yourself to look like a fool. When God spoke to Job He said “Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge” (Job 38:2). This is what probably people’s words sound like to God when they criticize the called and anointed preachers of God today who teach like Jesus did. Base your beliefs only on the Bible and ignore the doctrines of men. Who knows how many people I have offended today, but yet I did not name any names so I feel that I am justified in my Bible lesson. I did not name the preacher who inspired my lesson today by His criticism of the well-known TV preacher Joel Osteen. But, if you want to find it on YouTube I’m sure you can find it. I do not listen to Joel Osteen, but I do not criticize Him either. I will not base my beliefs on what any man teaches. I will only base my beliefs on my knowledge of the Bible that God has taught me. I would strongly recommend that you do the same and keep your mouth closed on what you do not know when you want to criticize me or anyone else. God Bless!
Driving Out the Money Changers from the Temple of God! A Copyrighted Gospel Sold in the Den of Thieves!
(Ver 2.0) I will warn you up front that this Bible lesson will offend some people today. I’m sure after you read this lesson I will have some people who agree with me and others who strongly disagree with me, but I really do pray that you will agree with God’s Word and not my opinions I am not writing this Bible lesson today to seem better than anyone else or to say that I am perfect and I never make any mistakes! I am just writing this article today to point out a major problem that has been running rampant in the Body of Christ. It seems there are certain internal policies called the doctrines of men in many Christian Ministries today who believe that they have the right to limit and control what is being taught to others and even how it can be shared. This is what I call today the “Copyrighted Gospel of Jesus Christ” and you will soon learn more about why I called it this. These offensive policies are giving the body of Christ a black eye and a very poor reputation and what even one Christian man does reflects on all of us as a whole whether we like it or not, since we are just ONE BODY! You see I’m definitely not perfect either and I make a ton of mistakes. But, if someone sees me making a mistake I would greatly appreciate them telling me about it so I can learn, repent and change. This is my attempt at teaching so others will see a different perspective to what they are doing. I try very hard not name names in my lessons, and I will do the same today after considering what these words might do to damage the reputation of certain Christians. Somebody definitely needs to wake up the sleeping giants, sound the alarm and they need to stop what they are doing and this is my deepest prayer. Perhaps God can use this message to do something that might cause a change to occur. I have tried to talk to a few ministries personally and privately first and since this didn’t work, I am now taking the message publicly to the Body of Christ for your attention and consideration. So today I am going to talk about the moneychangers in the Temple of God, who they are and what they are selling in the modern world:
Mat 21:12 And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves,
Mat 21:13 And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.
As you can see from these verses in Matthew Jesus is NOT a happy Savior! This is an example of Godly Righteous Anger in action. Many people like to think that God is only Love and that this means He is nice all the time and will put up with your antics indefinitely. The vast gay community embraces the scriptures of God’s love and grace and they ignore the scriptures of sin, repentance and His judgment. Here in Matthew 21:12 Jesus goes into the Temple in Jerusalem and starts casting out those who were there to profit from God’s Word. These were His natural brothers and sisters if you did not know that. So I feel justified to speak of my spiritual brothers and sisters today in the same light. These people in the temple were all religious people who knew what the Bible said and they used this knowledge to make God’s work and His Word a business that caused them to get rich and profit from what did not belong to them. So Jesus got angry and cast them all out! Do you think that God thinks differently about this today than He did back then in the Temple? Do not get me wrong, being rich is not a problem at all, but how you got there is! If you are using God’s Word to prosper you or your ministry then you are a modern day moneychanger in the Temple of God at risk of being driven out before Christ returns for His church very soon. There are many and I do literally mean many Christian ministries that are in danger of this catastrophe today. All you have to do is go on to the internet and search for ministries that do this and you will find them. They have literally thousands of tapes, CDs, Video Tapes, DVDs and books for sell that clearly have huge mark ups and profit margins built into them. They have taken the Word of God that was given to them for free and put a price on it because it was valuable to someone and they can sell it to help pay for their ministry and TV expenses. This is what I call prostituting the Word of God for money and it is going on almost everywhere! Many of these ministries justify this practice with the logic and human reasoning that all of the money just goes back into the ministry and never their personal pockets, but yet most of these ministers and their employees still draw salaries from this income and there lies at least a part of the root of the problem.
So here is where I am going to start to get directly to the point that needs to be said today. I recently asked a very popular Christian TV ministry for permission to distribute copies of their materials for free to those in other countries that cannot afford to buy them. I did not modify the messages or make any changes to them, nor did I charge anyone for any of them. In fact, I mailed them to others with me paying the full cost of shipping. I also took upon myself the duplication costs, the material media expenses and the gas and labor for sending them were all paid by me. So I was never attempting to profit from their copyrighted materials. I was only motivated to help others to learn from the great messages that I had learned from. There is a huge problem with many ministries today; they do not fully understand the advantages of modern technology and the power of it. While the world around them has gone fully digital, these ministries primarily live with an analog mentality. I am a computer geek and I do not deny this one bit. Over 15 years ago I started buying old tapes from certain ministries and I converted them to MP3 files on my computer. This allowed me to keep them electronically so even if the tapes wear out, I still have the message. But, today there are also new MP3 players that you can fit in your little shirt pocket that will hold over 2000 sermons on it. This allows the Gospel to be carried around wherever you go. It also allows the Gospel to be freely and cheaply distributed to others for little to nothing. There are some ministries that are starting to learn about MP3 files now, but they are still stuck in their analog paradigm of selling them for the same cost as their tapes and CDs. That is crazy; do you know how much it would cost to fill up a MP3 player with your $5 MP3 files that cost you pennies to create and distribute? You see we live in a different world today; it is not a reel to reel Gospel mentality anymore. It is not even a cassette tape mentality where you can only put one tape into your tape player to hear the Gospel anymore. It is a digital revolution that has occurred to allow you to carry around 1000’s of your favorite Bible lessons and you can do all of them in a device that is less than 1 inch square or even on your smart phone. Wake UP PEOPLE!
You see this ministry that I asked for permission from, did not care if people had their materials, they only cared that they were given away for free to people outside of their control. How arrogant and controlling is that attitude? According to them anyone is free to go to their website and spend $5,000 – $10,000 to buy all of their ministry materials and they will be mailed directly to them. But, do not ever think you can make copies of them and give them to anyone else or they will sue you because of the copyrighted Gospel only belongs to them. This is a GOSPEL FUNNEL effect that Satan loves. If you limit the Gospel to go through one source of distribution only, it causes the Gospel to in effect be easily stopped or at the least severely hindered.
Does any ministry have the right to be a funnel for the TRUTH? What if Paul had this attitude? Would we have a Bible today? How did the early church grow into the fastest known religion from a small handful to thousands in only a very short time? Could it be the fact that there were no funnels limiting the spread of the truth? Could it be the fact there were no COPYRIGHTED Gospel ministries? All of this sounds a whole lot like the people in the temple who were profiting from selling doves and sacrifices for the people to obey the Word of God. If only the rich could afford to buy their sacrifices, then the poor were in trouble. This is the same situation we have in the world today. We have a bunch of ministries that are preaching a rich man’s Gospel and the poor are left out to fend for themselves.
Let me describe to you the situation so that you understand what is going on. I try to be a man of integrity and I never do anything to profit from preaching or teaching the Word of God as you can tell from reading my Bible lessons on the internet for free. So over the past 30 years, I had bought a bunch of a certain ministries materials costing me thousands of dollars and I thought they were all excellent Bible lessons that everyone should hear. So I emailed this ministry and asked them for permission to make electronic copies to distribute to others free of charge. In other words I would give their materials away to help others for free in order to assist people all over the world learn the same truth of God’s Word that I had learned. Does that sound unreasonable to you? You see after I emailed this well-known TV ministry and asked for this permission to make copies of their materials to give away to others for free, they wrote me back and explained all of their materials were “copyrighted” and I could not give them away to anyone because it was just not allowed by their internal policies. Forget, the Spirit of God said not to do this and forget what the Bible says about spreading the Gospel, they did not mention either of these to be factors in their policy; they just said it was THEIR Policy that forbids me in conjunction with the copyright laws of the United States of America which backs their right to do this. Wow and I thought there was a separation of church and state? I guess the separation is only important if the government is trying to tell the church what to do, but if the church wants to use the government to helps them to make a profit from the Word of God and the Gospel, then that is OK! So I became righteously angry with their email response and this is my attempt to tell the world about it. Since I am a Christian and a man of integrity I have no choice but to abide by their ignorant Godless policy, but you need to know about it so that you can decide if what they are doing is allowable both in your eyes and in the eyes of God. Here is the email response that I got from this ministry:
Because of the great amount of requests we receive from persons both known and unknown to us for duplication of “OUR UNNAMED” Ministries material such as cassette tapes, CDs, video tapes, DVDs, excerpts of books and magazines, printed lessons, etc., we have had to adopt a standard policy in order to be fair to everyone. In times past there has been confusion, misunderstanding and even unauthorized message changes resulting from duplication. Now that all of our materials are copyrighted, we feel it best to deny all requests for duplication. Thank you for your understanding in this matter.
Oh, I understand perfectly well! Here is a ministry that charges a great deal of money on their website and in the meetings for their copyrighted Gospel and as long as you can afford to pay their prices you can have a copy of anything you like. If you are rich enough you can even buy one of everything. Oh, I understand perfectly well! But, if you cannot afford to pay $5 for a MP3 file, $7 for a CD or $15 for a DVD then you are screwed! Yes, I understand perfectly! Here is a ministry that is interested ONLY in making a dollar; more than they are for getting people the Word of God to teach them. Here is a ministry that God came for free and taught them what to teach to His people and they turn around and think they own the message. Wow, did you hear what I just said? Here is a ministry that does not allow you to copy “their” messages to give to others because it would cut into their future revenue stream. This is no different than the moneychangers in the Temple of God that Jesus drove out with a whip. If the people of Israel could not afford the moneychangers prices they did without a sacrifice that year. Oh, well maybe they can come back next year and could afford to buy a dove? I understand perfectly! What if the apostle Paul had that attitude? I would bet you that Paul would not have written 2/3 of the New Testament for us to have today. He would have seen how much money he could have made from the revelations of the mystery of the Gospel and only give this valuable information to the rich who could afford to buy it. If Paul would have copyrighted the New Testament, we would not have the Bible today. If the church in Paul’s day was not allowed to make copies of the letters that were written to them by Paul, they would have worn out, died and faded away forever. Do you understand these concepts that I am giving you today? What is the difference between a hand written letter or a scroll in Paul’s day and a CD in our day? They are both the Words of God, are they not? I do not see there is any difference between them. So what gives a ministry the right to limit who gets what they teach and forbid others to copy it? Who died and made them God? Is it only because the government says they can do it, that this makes it permissible in the eyes of everyone? Is the government the God of these ministries who charge for “their” gospel? Listen to what Paul said about this subject and pay very close attention to the Word of God and what He says:
1Co 9:18 What is my reward then? Verily that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel.
Wow, when I read this verse I nearly fell on my face and asked God why don’t men see and understand what they are doing with their eternal rewards. They have chosen to sacrifice an eternal reward for a temporary monetary gain. My Bible says in Matthew 6:20 “Lay up for yourself treasure in heaven, where neither moth nor rust does corrupt it”. Paul very clearly tells us in 1 Corinthians 9:18 that his reward is great because he has freely given the truth to everyone without a charge. Paul further calls the charge of the Gospel an abuse of the power of God. Are you listening to what God just said? So if you are making ANY money from the Gospel you are abusing God’s power and losing your eternal reward. These are not my Words are they? I did not make this up, did I? Is this what your Bible says about selling the Gospel? What are the vast numbers of ministries doing with the Gospel that they have been given? Do they just ignore the Bible because they can? Most modern ministries when they go to a church to teach in person, they go for free, but then they usually receive an offering for their work that they have done. That is a normal Bible way of doing things in the church and I believe this is acceptable based upon Romans 15:27 and 1 Corinthians 9:11. But, here is where these ministries take it up a notch because of the advent of modern recording technology which was not available in Paul’s day. Because the Gospel can be recorded, preserved, and redistributed in the modern world, it is copied and packaged into an attractive sellable product and peddled everywhere they go for profit and income. Most of the ministries who do this are on television and they see these products as ways to help pay for the very expensive television time costs. So they will offer these valuable lessons on special promotions that will cause people to want them and send in their money so that they can hear the Gospel. So they make millions of dollars from the Gospel of Jesus Christ to help them pay for their TV bills.
When I was younger, I remember going to some Kenneth Copeland Believer’s Conventions and I would always have to pass by the tape tables at the front to get into the auditorium. Of course they were selling the tapes of the meetings that were going on that week, but they were also selling tapes from many years gone by at the same time. I would look at the tape series one after the other and there were normally many of them. My heart hungered for the knowledge of God and I wanted to buy them all. But, I was going to a church that taught us to give offerings and to sow seeds into other ministries. So I had a dilemma and a very hard choice to make since I was not a rich man. Do I buy tapes or do I give an offering? Why did I have to make this choice? It is because they charged so much for their taped Gospel. The Gospel was being peddled for a major profit. This was a clear prostitution of the Word of God and I can see that now, but back then I did not know enough to understand it. Oh, sure it was all nice quality tapes and folders and it takes time to duplicate them and package them. But, when you buy in the bulk like they did you can get these things very cheap and it does not cost you $5 to make one tape. In fact the cost is less than ten percent of that when done in major bulk with an efficient assembly line support process. So even if 50 cents of my $5 goes to cover the cost of making the tape the other $4.50 went to the ministry to pay for their jet airplanes or whatever. Wake up preachers!!! You see the cost of recording, duplication, production and distribution has greatly decreased over time with technology advancements. What use to cost 50 cents is now in the pennies today. What would had happened 25 years ago if preachers gave away their messages for free and allowed you to copy all of them? I believe that Jesus could have come back sooner because the Gospel would have already gone around the globe. Instead we have ministries like Kenneth Hagin and Kenneth Copeland who are charging more than ever for their 30 year old copyrighted Gospel and what can we do about it? Do you think charging for the Gospel puts undue constraints upon who is able to hear it and who is not able to hear it? Does any of this sound fair to you? You see the Kenneth Hagin ministry said that they had to be fair by making a blanket NO COPY policy and they forget who they are not being fair to are those that cannot afford to buy their overpriced materials to learn the truth. This Gospel could have been spread around the world with modern technology and the internet for pennies. I have to tell you the truth that Kenneth Copeland does give away a little bit for free on the internet, but Kenneth Hagin Ministries do not give anything away ever for FREE on the internet. So do I sound like the bad guy here? Are you going to shoot the messenger and ignore the message?
Let’s shift our focus off of money for a minute. The Kenneth Hagin Ministry claims that people have abused their materials and even edited them to make them say something that they do not say and this is the justification for copyrighting the Gospel of Jesus Christ and for not permitting anyone to make copies or redistribute the messages. Isn’t it amazing that Satan can use a few people to abuse the Gospel and this is suddenly justification to stop the ministry from spreading the truth to the hands of many more people who want to hear it but can’t afford it? Here is a great ministry with a great message and all it takes is for Satan to abuse it and they shut the doors to make sure it does not go around the world unless they can fully control it. Abuse is a funny lesson to learn from, but this is nothing new. In the natural world people abuse natural food and overeat constantly and we have a generation of kids who are grossly obese because of natural food abuse and the lack of physical exercise. Using the logic of the Unnamed TV Ministry we should control natural food to the masses of children so that they will not hurt themselves with it. In fact this is what our government has hotly debated and they have started to initiate these types of controls in schools and other places. They have limited food service in schools to only good healthy non-fried foods that are low in fat. One government agency in California passed a law that McDonalds could not sell toys in the happy meals to kids because this promoted an unhealthy lifestyle choice. This is how some ministries in the church are reacting to the abuse of God’s spiritual food. You did know that God’s word is spiritual food, didn’t you? If you did not know this you need to read your Bible some more. Because a ministry’s materials were abused they have instigated tight controls to keep it from happening and this is not the way to solve the problem. Did you know that people when they received copies of the Bible written by the Apostles they would make copies of them? Did you know that sometimes some people would abuse this policy and make little subtle changes to the copies and omissions to some of the words in the text because they did not agree with them? Did you know that this is still a point of controversy today in some religious institutions? However, the problem is solved by looking at all of the copies and comparing them. Since there are so many copies of the original manuscripts in the world that we can use to compare, the truth is easily determined. So copy abuse is not a new concept, it was an old concept used by Satan in the early church and it is still the same today. The best way to overcome copy abuse is to ensure that there are more legitimate copies in circulation than there are corrupted copies. If the Unnamed TV Ministry website gave away legit copies for anyone to download and listen to, it would be impossible for Satan to corrupt them all. This is the solution for abuse of the message and it is very easy to solve in this age of technology. A legitimate copy of the Word of God can contain signature information, even file size and date and time stamps and other ways of ensuring the accuracy. Of course any smart criminal can overcome whatever you do to protect your material, so you will never overcome that potential abuse. But, you can ensure that no matter how many abused copies there are in the world, there is still a place where you can get the complete message for FREE. So the solution to keep people from abusing your ministry materials is to flood the market with them so that anyone can get a legitimate copy of it for free from your website. Then no one can stop it or even change it to keep it out of the hands of the people to learn it. Don’t you see how the spread of the Gospel could go around the world in a matter of a few days if only ministries would start to do this?
There are so many ministries on TV and the internet that are guilty of this practice of copyrighting the Gospel of Jesus, that I really cannot name them all. Please do not get me wrong I have no problem with anything these TV ministries teach, that is not the issue at all. They all have a great message from God. The only problem that I have is how much they are charging for it. Also I want to point out that not everyone in the ministry is doing this on the internet. One man that I highly recommend is named Keith Moore (Moore Life Ministries) and he teaches the Bible with great spiritual substance to it and it is all for FREE! Keith Moore Ministries gives away all of their Bible lessons for free and that is an awesome example that he is setting for the Body of Christ. Do me a favor and go to his website and download something and then send him an offering telling him thanks for freely giving us the word of God.
There are many of my favorite Bible preachers and teachers that I have learned a lot from that practice this Limited Funnel Gospel Prostitution and they have gotten a lot of my money in order for me to get this knowledge. If you came to my house you could find hundreds and even thousands of their tapes in boxes in my closet from these guys. There are literally too many TV preachers to name them all. However there are also many churches that follow their examples and do the same with their in church book stores. I do not believe that these ministries are purposely or intentionally keeping the gospel from the masses; I’m trying to give them the benefit of a doubt and convince myself that they are doing what they are doing out of pure ignorance and this is why I teach the way I do today by naming their names. Please join with me to help me proclaim freedom for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Call these ministries until they hear the voice of the people or the voice of God to change their ways to allow the Gospel to be preached without charge. Help me eliminate Gospel copyrights that only line the pockets of the preachers. Help me to take off Gospel limitations so that it can be spread around the world with modern technology. In closing here is the commandment and great commission given to the church by our Lord Jesus Christ:
Mat 10:8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.
Freely you have received from God, so therefore freely give to men. This does not say to charge to recover you costs, it says to freely give the message of the truth to everyone that will listen. In today’s digital world this is so simple to do.
Maybe you may have noticed that I teach the Bible totally FREE! I do not have a donate button on my website, I do not have a P.O. Box that you can mail to, I do not give you a ministry name, I do not give you my personal name. This is my way of FREELY giving to you what God has given to me! So if I never see a dime from anything I teach, I know that I have a reward awaiting me in heaven that moths and rust cannot take away. I will also tell you that anything that I publish on this site is not mine and I do not own it and therefore you may freely copy it and spread it to anyone that will listen to it or read it. I have an OPEN COPY policy that is based upon FREELY I RECEIVED so FREELY GIVE. You have full permission to abuse it or use it however you like. I do not care! I have done what God has told me to do by publishing it, now you do what God tells you to do with it and be a good steward of His Word too.
Therefore, if no other ministry in the world will distribute the Gospel for Free, I have decided that I will do it! I’m sure this is going to make Satan really angry with me so I would appreciate your prayers. Also, I recently had a commenter who asked if they could sow a seed into my ministry, but I had to turn them down. This was a very difficult decision on my part to make, because I understand the power of sowing and reaping in the Bible. However, I believe that God told me not to accept any money for what I teach. This is one of the main reasons I teach anonymously on the internet. This website is not the words of a man, these are the Words of God and if I treat them as such, somebody out there will see them for what they are and understand their value.
Before I end today let me please say a prayer and if you agree with what I have said today, please also pray this with me in agreement:
Dear God, help Christian ministries to see that everything you have given to them does not belong to them. Cause ministers to come to know that they are just stewards of the Gospel and that you will hold them accountable for what you have given to them freely. Help all ministers to have a compassionate heart for people; a heart that desires everyone to hear and know the truth and not just those who can afford to buy it. Help ministries learn about all of the new technologies that are available in the world and on the internet to help us spread the Words of Grace to everyone who is hungry to hear it. Lord God as ministries transition to a faith based life style of ministry by giving the Gospel for free to everyone, help them with an abundant supply of new partners, donors and contributors that more than make up for the revenue that they will lose from not selling your Words. Open the eyes and hears of our understanding and help us all to be good stewards of the blessed Word of God. Surely the time is short and many in the world still need to hear the truth before you come back, so help us to get this word out as fast and as efficient as we can and to not miss anyone that is open to the Gospel before you return for us. Even so Lord Jesus, come quickly! In Jesus name I pray! Amen!
Thank you and God bless you for taking the time to read my Bible lesson and please share it with someone that you know to help us all get the truth out!
If you would like to continue reading this series of Bible lessons, you can continue with “Part 2“.
(Ver 2.2) Today is now Part 12 of a very important series of lessons on Understanding Seeds in the Bible. We have covered a lot of very significant information that will not be repeated so I would highly recommend that you go back and start your reading with “Part 1”. I almost purposely left this part of this subject of seeds out of the series because it is so popularly preached on TV that it gives many a negative perception on a positive subject. However, money and finances are clearly found in the Bible so I will touch on it today. I believe if you study the Gospels you will see that Jesus taught on money more than any other subject. I have heard many preachers, especially TV preachers, jump all over this subject and it appears to come across that they do it because they are only after your money. Of course I do not judge them because I do not know their hearts, only God knows a man’s motivation for doing what he does. It could be that God told them to teach this subject with great emphasis and I would sound like a fool if I would criticize what God does. So, I cannot say or will not judge if this is true or not, I just said it just appears to many to be this way because of the emphasis that they are placing on a minor part of a much greater subject about seeds. It would seem to me that to only pick one part of a subject and teach that causes the wrong perceptions to be given and to many people it is true that perception becomes reality and this is not a good image to portray to the world. So far, I have given you eleven different lessons about seeds in the Bible and have not mentioned money or finances even once. I guess since I do these Bible lessons for free and never ask you for money, is the one reason that I can include this lesson on money in the series today.
In searching the Bible for any form of the word “seed” I found approximately 257 verses in the KJV that directly mentioned this word. Out of this total I counted less than 20 verses that speak about money or that can be applied to money directly. Of course this is a subjective number of verses depending upon your desire to try to apply verses from one topic to another. This is certainly a legal method of Bible interpretation; God does it all the time. You can find that God used the same word seed to describe at least 10 different things in the Bible and the laws and principles that govern them are universal truths that cross over into each topic area. But, it is always difficult to teach some subjects like money and not sound like you are asking for money, especially in light of what the Bible says on this subject. That is just the inherit problem with this subject and I will do the best that I can in spite of this appearance. I hope that you can see the difference in what I say since there are no names or ministry names attached to this website and no donate buttons anywhere that allows you to give money to me. If you are a Christian you should be giving your money to where you go to church and are being fed spiritually; we’ll see more about this as we go into this lesson.
So even though seeds of finance are a minor part of this subject in this entire seed topic realm, it is still a valid concept that applies to your money. First, off think about this, farming and agriculture were common methods of income in Bible days. The seed concepts of sowing and reaping applied whether you planted corn or raised sheep. If you farmed then you raised crops or animals that could be sold or traded to others. So the seed concepts found in the Bible about farming must also apply to modern day money and finances directly, also. Farmers used seeds to grow crops and these crops produced more food than the originally planted seeds. So the principles of sowing seeds into good ground, seed increase and multiplication are clearly applicable to our modern money. In the world of finances money would represent the seed. Today we can take money and invest it in the stock market or whatever expecting it to grow over time. This is a seed principle that works when you plant your seeds in good ground. You see good ground in the financial world are the companies that are going to be profitable. If you place your money in a company that is foolish then it can go out of business and you lose your investment and that is the definition of planting your seed into bad ground. In America we have many people who buy lottery tickets. These are people who are hoping to hit it big and win millions of dollars overnight. I have not found that concept in the Bible. In the Bible if you want millions of dollars you must start with what you have and plant it to cause it to grow into millions of dollars. This is the Bible concept of financial seed planting and reaping an increase. These are clear Bible farming concepts that you need to learn and to apply to your life and what you do in the world. If you are expecting to hit it big and get rich over night the odds are that it will not happen. Yes, the lottery does occasionally reward someone with a large payment that gives the appearance of the possibility that it can happen to anyone. However, mathematically speaking the odds of it happening to you is extremely low; in fact it is more likely that you will get hit by lightning and die than to think that you will win the lottery. So let’s examine some scripture that can apply to money and finances in relation to seeds.
Gen 8:22 While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.
While this scripture does not directly mention money it can be applied to money very easily. This verse states a Bible law that establishes the concept of planting seeds and reaping harvests as long as the earth exists. This would seem to imply that this principle will exist in the new earth to come also, so it seems to me to be a concept that we need to learn. God tells us that our world was designed to be a seed world of sowing and reaping. If you plant your seeds in good ground you will always harvest an increased crop or return on your initial investment. Your seeds sown are always your initial investment that you risk losing. The same enemies that you find in the natural world of natural seeds also apply symbolically to the financial world. The concept of weeds, insects and the birds of the air that eat your seed; these are all symbolic enemies to financial dealings. Before you can invest money anywhere you should first determine if this is good ground to plant in. Too many times people put money somewhere and then change it to something else before they make anything where it is planted. This would be like planting corn seed in the ground today and then digging it up tomorrow to take it to another field that you heard was better ground. If you think this is stupid to do, you are right, but in the financial world people do it everyday.
Lev 26:16 I also will do this unto you; I will even appoint over you terror, consumption, and the burning ague, that shall consume the eyes, and cause sorrow of heart: and ye shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it.
What I wanted to do was to show you that every seed sown can have an enemy. Here we have God telling the children of Israel that the seeds they have sown will be eaten by their enemies. This was usually caused by a reckless disregard for obeying the Word of God. Whenever the children of Israel disobeyed God, this would open the door and allow enemies to come in and take what they had worked for. So this is a lesson for Christian to learn from as a bad example of what not to do.
Deu 28:38 Thou shalt carry much seed out into the field, and shalt gather but little in; for the locust shall consume it.
So you can see another verse where insects can come and eat your seed. Here God says that you will take a lot of seeds into your field and harvest very little of them because they were all eaten by an enemy. In our world today, financial enemies abound all around us. There are false investment schemes that take your money and you can lose everything. A man in the U.S. is serving jail time right now for taking billions of dollars from people and spending it on himself and his family. His lavish lifestyle lasted for several years until it finally caught up with him, but most of the people that put their money in his false funds all lost their money. These are some of the potential enemies to financial transactions and many of them are backed by satanic influences that causes you lose your money.
Deu 14:22 Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by year.
So here is another verse that does not mention money directly, yet clearly applies. The word tithe means to give a tenth. The word increase is a numerical financial term of positive results. This verse also says that your field brings forth year by year. So this is a principle of being faithful to do what you know to do in a consistent manner. Being consistent is a seed principle. There are many factors to planting seeds in the natural that apply in the financial world. For, example, one key factor of correct seed planting is timing. Did you know you can plant the right seed in the right ground at the wrong time and totally fail and lose everything? So knowing when to plant is a key to getting positive results. There are of course other seed concepts that also apply to money. You can under seed a field and not reap what you should have. You can over seed a field and also cause your crop to be unprofitable. There are really too many factors to consider about seeds that apply to investing that I cannot go into them all. It is not my goal to teach you how to invest your money; it is only my goal to introduce you to Bible concepts and to note the things that God has created in the world that give us views into spiritual laws. I’ll take you to one more Old Testament verse before I move to the New Testament:
Isa 55:10 For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:
Here is a verse that is speaking of natural things and spiritual things simultaneously. It can also clearly be applied to financial things. The blessings of God are many times manifested in the natural realm in financial blessings. You can see this concept in the Book of Job when God blessed Job in the end with more than he had in the beginning. You can also see the concept repeated in the life of Abraham when God blessed him exceedingly and abundantly so that his herds could not coexist with his nephew Lot’s herds because the land would not sustain them both since they were so blessed. You can see the blessing of God on the life of Jacob when he worked 7 years for Rachael and his father-in-law tricked him into seven more years. Jacob’s father-in-law saw that he was blessed because of Jacob’s presence and tried to manipulate his income and cheat him out of his blessings from God. So we can see this pattern repeatedly found in the Bible that God blesses people financially with an increase in the natural realm. So the verse in Isaiah can be applied to natural seeds, spiritual seeds, and financial seeds and so on. If God gives us seed and bread these are clearly symbolic of financial things that represent income producing and life sustaining factors. Let’s look at some New Testament verses about seeds and money:
2Co 9:6 But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.
Here we again find a verse that crosses subject topic boundaries. This verse applies to many things and it represents a spiritual law of God. The basic law presented to you is this; you will always reap what you sow. If you sow a little bit, you get a little bit back. If you sow a lot you get a lot back. These are just basic seed laws found in the Bible. You can see that this verse does not mention seed directly, however to sow is to plant seed; therefore the seed is indirectly related. Let’s see what else this chapter says about seeds of finance:
2Co 9:7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.
What is a cheerful giver? You can again apply this to many things, including money. Being a cheerful giver involves primarily your attitude. If you have a right positive attitude you will be blessed in what you do. Have you ever read the story of Joseph in Genesis? Here is a man that was handed some very rough set of circumstances in life and he maintained a great attitude through them all. Joseph always expected God to fulfill his words that were spoken to him, so even though his brothers sold him into slavery he continued to believe in the best outcome. Joseph spent a great amount of time in prison, but wherever he was, the blessing of God was upon him and he was raised because of his attitude. This is a very powerful example for Christians today. It tells us that we do not always have it exactly the way that we would like it to be all the time, but we can still expect God to work it all out to cause it to be good for us in the end. So this verse is all about your positive attitude and your faith in God. You can read the other verses in this chapter and hopefully see the connections to money and finances, but I’ll end this chapters’ discussion with this one more verse:
2Co 9:10 Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;)
As you can clearly see the term seed sown is self-evident. The term increase is also self-evident. The “fruits” of your righteousness is of course symbolic of your harvest. So this verse clearly applies in the spiritual realm to our effort to grow in spiritual maturity. However, this verse will also cross over in the context of the natural realm and must be related to our financial blessings from God. It can also mean emotional blessings. It can further apply to our seeds that we plant in the lives of other people that allows God to grow them and produce fruit in their lives. There are just a wide variety of applications for almost every verse on seeds. This is why I teach that money is just a small part of the bigger picture of seeds given to us in the Word of God. So let’s examine another chapter of the N.T. about seeds:
1Co 9:7 Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges? who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof? or who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk of the flock?
As you can see from this verse, God is comparing several similar concepts of financial matters. God says nobody finances their own war. God says nobody plants a crop and not also eats from it. Nobody raises sheep and not drink the milk of the flock. These are all symbolic representations of a spiritual set of realities found in the Bible. We the church are in a spiritual warfare with a spiritual enemy named Satan. Then Paul was a sower of the word of God and he says that anyone who sows will eat from that which he has sown. Then sheep are a widely symbolic representation of the people of God in the Bible. So the clear implied meaning is Paul fed the sheep and the sheep fed him back. This is not rocket science so grasp these simple concepts and learn to live by them.
1Co 9:9 For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen?
Here we have a Bible concept that is very profound being explained. Many times God writes a Bible verse about natural things that cross over into the spiritual realm and this is a prime example of this. Paul is saying that God wrote about oxen and corn but that these apply to him and to us. In other words God did not write this verse for the benefit of the oxen, it was written for our benefit so that we can learn from it. Oxen when treading corn are said to be partakers of the corn and this is a Bible principle given to us from God. If the oxen are working then they should eat from their labors of work.
1Co 9:11 If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things?
So this is a popular TV preacher verse found in the Bible. However, Paul is not writing this asking for their money he is only explaining a very powerful concept of sowing and reaping. Paul was sowing spiritual seeds into their lives and Paul said it was good for them to give back carnal or natural things back to him. In this verse Paul is claiming to be like the oxen that was working and that he should be a partaker of his own labor. However, what we see here are two principles being exercised simultaneously. To give to Paul would cause Paul to receive a harvest from what he has previously spiritually sown from the Word of God. For them to give financially to Paul is a concept of them planting back natural seeds into good ground; therefore they can also expect a harvest for what they have planted. In other words if they wanted Paul to continue to bless them with spiritual things it was good for them to give to Paul of their natural things like money, food, etc. so that Paul could live on the earth to continue to preach and not have to work to eat.
1Co 9:13 Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar?
As we continue to read in this chapter, Paul and God is giving us a key principle that ministers of the gospel are partakers of those which they minister to. In other words this was a designed system of church government by God. It promotes a minister who is focused on you and not himself. If your minister had to work for a living in the world, you and the rest of the church would be a secondary thought to his primary time taker of working for a living. However, if the church pays for his wellbeing and financial needs then the minister can focus on God and the church and ministering to the sheep of God and not have to worry about where he will eat tomorrow.
1Co 9:14 Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.
God again says what I just tried to say. The minister of God should be paid by the people who he ministers to. This is clearly the concept of sowing and reaping for both participants. The minister should minister in faith that the people will meet his financial needs and the people should give to the minister in faith that the God of their salvation will give them increases from the seeds that they have sown. So here is the flip side of the coin that also goes with this subject of sowing and reaping:
1Co 9:18 What is my reward then? Verily that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel.
God in this verse clearly says that anyone who preaches and charges you money for the information is being an abuser of God’s designed plan. Paul very clearly says that he should not charge anyone to preach what God has given to him for free. This is what discourages me about many TV preachers that I listen to. While they say good spiritual things for 20 minutes, they end their show with a request for you to buy the rest of the message on CD or DVD and it always costs much more than it does to produce these and to send them out. A DVD can cost $20 plus postage and handling fees and this is clearly outrages for a piece of plastic that costs maybe 20 cents in bulk. Clearly these ministers of God are looking to your purchases of their messages to fund their TV ministries. So I understand and I am not stupid that TV cost a lot of money, but yet in what they do and the way that they do it, it gives the appearance of being an abuse of power that God says was not acceptable. It also promotes a philosophy that only the rich can afford to know the truth of the Gospel and that is not a fair thing to do. As you can tell this bothers me a great deal and I think it is very wrong. Here is what Jesus said on the subject:
Mat 10:8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.
Jesus tells us that God did not charge us for the information that we learned to preach, so we should not charge others to hear it also. That is why I do a free blog on a free website and I never ask for money or request you to send me a donation. Money is not a motivational factor and why I do what I do. However, that does not mean you should not do what God says to do either. Wow, this is a very complex subject that involves the participation of everyone doing what they should do, when they should do it and then everything works according to God’s designed plan. So that is why I did not want to include this lesson in my series about seeds, because it can very easily be taken wrong. I probably ended this lesson and sounded like you should give me something for the spiritual seeds that I have given to you; and that is not what I said at all. I said that I do these lessons for free because I love being a blessing to others. So I try to do the right things according to the word of God and you should do the same. If you noticed this blog is called the “Agapegeek” Blog and not my name. That means I am anonymous and you do not know me or my address to send me anything. I do this on purpose also. How you can bless me is to tell a friend about what you have learned and increase the traffic on my web site. That would be one of the greatest ways that you can be a blessing to me. If you learned anything about giving and sowing financially then you should give to your local pastor to help support your church to grow. We have just briefly covered a much broader subject of sowing and reaping financially from the Word of God. This is a complex subject and one that is not easily understood by many. Many people find it very difficult to relate their money to be like a seed that can be planted into ground to grow and increase. However, you can certainly find this concept in the Bible therefore you can personally choose to participate in it or to ignore it. Thanks for reading my Bible Study and God Bless!
(Ver 1.3) This is Part 1 in a series of advanced Bible lessons on “Myths taught about Jesus” in the modern church. There are a number of things taught from the Bible that are clearly fabricated by the devil to discredit the identity and character of the real Jesus of the Bible. By portraying a fictional Jesus, Satan can keep the church from seeing, seeking and following the examples of the true Jesus. For example, it is widely preached and taught in many churches that Jesus was a very, very poor man and did not own anything of value. However, is this really what the Bible teaches us or is this just what Satan wants you to think so that he can keep you poor in the world today? What advantage does Satan gain by portraying a poor Jesus to the church? I believe that as long as Christians think Jesus was poor they will follow in his example to remain the same. Poor Christians are ineffective and unable to be a blessing to others and therefore very harmless to Satan or even to help the lost unsaved people under his control. Satan desires every Christian to take a vow of poverty to go and live in common dwelling community with others in the same way. In doing this they are unable to feed the poor or help preach the Gospel to the world on the outside. Poor nations are the same type of pattern in this world as poor Christians. This is very evident in the displayed wealth distribution of the nations as studied on the internet. Only the richer strong nations can be a factor to effect any positive change to any other nation that needs help. The poorest nations are the ones that are found the homeless, starving people that are begging for the other nations to come and help them. This is why Satan causes many churches to promote a false Mother Theresa type of sainthood thinking it to be the perfect model type of a real Christian. There are just too many churches that promote a vow of poverty philosophy and somehow believe that this self-imposed vow of suffering makes their people more pious or worthy of being saved. However, I’ve got bad news for you, if Mother Theresa would have had 5 billion dollars to help poor people she would have been much more effective and reached so many that she was never able to reach. Bill Gates helps more poor people than Mother Theresa will ever dream of. There is just no substitute for having money in this world to help and bless other people. Of course money without knowing God is completely worthless. I am not a prosperity preacher or teacher. I hardly mention money on my website and I never ask you to send me anything. Therefore, do not put me into a category of any other stereotyped Bible teacher. I simply like to look for what the Bible says and then teach that regardless of the message. If the Bible said that Jesus was poor then that is exactly what this lesson would be about. How about we just find out what God says in His Word and believe that. Can we just do that?
If you do not have any money or do not work to earn any money then you are living in poverty and usually called a beggar that is seeking and asking churches, charities, relatives, other people or the government for a free helping handout just to eat and to survive. Is that what Jesus did? Can you search the gospels and ever find Jesus begging from anyone? I mean try to find it and then tell me where it is. There are at the minimum two different ways to learn from the Bible. You can learn from what the Bible directly says or you can learn from what it does not directly say. If the Bible does not teach us that Jesus begged then why would you think that you should beg? This type of baseless poverty Jesus teaching would be very much like teaching since the Bible never teaches us that Jesus went to the bathroom, we must all not go to the bathroom and hold it to be like Him. No this is the challenge of resolving our ignorance to allow us to become realistic in our beliefs to see what the Bible actually says about how Jesus never begged for anything and then find out how that applies to us. So I want to take you through some scriptures in the Bible and show you some new perspectives on some things that should hopefully permit you to find and see the real Jesus of the Bible. You will soon find that this real Bible Jesus was not a poor man who owned nothing. Please let me show you in the Bible:
Mat 2:11 And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.
There are many verses in the Bible that I could start with, but I’ll start with this one in Matthew about the men from the east coming to visit baby Jesus after He was born. If you read you will find that these men traveled a great distance because they had seen His star in the east and they followed it to where Jesus was. Most Christma manger scenes have Jesus being born in a stable in Bethlehem with the animals that were present and they have the wise men coming to the manger with their gifts. However, did you notice in this verse in Matthew 2:11 that these men came to see Jesus in a house? There was no manger in this verse or the context. Apparently from this information we can see that Jesus at the very least was a child who lived in a house with his mother and father. So far this is not a homeless and destitute poor Jesus that we have been taught, is it? Next did you notice what these men brought to Jesus? It says they brought gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. That does not sound like a poor Jesus either? So if men traveled a great distance to see a newborn king, would they have brought small insignificant trivial gifts or large extravagant gifts fit for a living king? What would impress the family? If you do not believe me try taking a wrothless gift to the queen of England and see how it is received. You are foolish not to believe a gift for a king has to be great. Therefore, I do not think that Jesus was either homeless or poor as a child growing up; I hope you can see what the Bible says also.
Let’s shift gears to the older Jesus and see what the Bible says about the men that Jesus chose to hang around with. One of the key men that Jesus personally selected was a man called Peter. Peter was a key figure and we can learn a lot about him in the Bible. Peter was married, a fisherman with his brother and he lived in and owned a house:
Mat 8:14 And when Jesus was come into Peter’s house, he saw his wife’s mother laid, and sick of a fever.
So reading about Peter in the Bible we can clearly see that Peter was a businessman who made a living and had a job and thus was not homeless or a man of poverty. Jesus came into Peter’s house and healed his mother-in-law. So the house was large enough to accomodate more than just his wife. Jesus did not pick men who were homeless and poor to associate with, so why do people think Jesus was homeless and poor? Somehow it makes people feel good on the inside to think that Jesus had nothing, owned nothing to depended upon others for everything that He needed. This is exactly how Satan wants you to envision your Jesus so that you will never rise above the level of His poor example.
So do you think that Jesus ever owned a physical house and dwelling place? Some place where He lived for three years? An actual building called a home built with walls, windows, doors and a roof, in some city? If not then where would our Jesus live, sleep, eat or rest? Does He just sleep outdoors on the ground? Does He beg to sleep in other people’s houses? Maybe He just slept in someone’s barn. I do not know why people like to think that Jesus went from place to place sleeping under the stars for at least three years? Remeber that the ministry duration of Jesus was somewhere near three years of time. I cannot only assume that people read the Bible with dark goggles on so they do not have to see what is actually written there. They have created a Jesus in their minds and are quite content with keeping Jesus in their cramped little box of limitations. You would truly be amazed at what the Bible actually says if you would open your eyes and see it! Let me give you a verse found in Matthew to start with:
Mat 9:1 And he entered into a ship, and passed over, and came into his own city.
What does it mean if Jesus crosses over in a boat in order to get to His “own city”? It sounds like that was Jesus’ hometown, doesn’t it? The term “own” is a possessive pronoun and this town was the town that Jesus lived in and possibly even owned a home in. If I called you on the phone and you were my friend and I said “I’m back in town”, you know from that statement that I was gone from town but that I have now returned back home. So did you know that Jesus had his own city to return to? Well I’m about to show you some additional verses that will help us confirm this reality:
Mar 2:1 And again he entered into Capernaum after some days; and it was noised that he was in the house.
Capernaum was a seaside city on the north end of the Sea of Galilee, thus Jesus entered back into the city by boat as we just read about in Matthew. This verse in the book of Mark says there went out rumors spreading everywhere that Jesus was in the house. Uh oh? Further, notice that these rumors took several days to be spread, so Jesus has been in this house for at least that length of time. Whose house was this? Who did this house belong? That sounds pretty bad for the poor homeless Jesus proponents and teachers. If you knew I was gone out of town and drove by my house, could you tell when I got back home? More than likely you could! However, in Jesus’ day you could not just drive into town incognito unless you walked in, in the middle of the night when everyone else was asleep. So according to this verse Jesus comes to Capernaum in a boat and people see Him arrive and start spreading the word to all of their friends that “Jesus is home”. To be “In the house” you have to logically conclude that this was Jesus’ house that they are talking about, otherwise which house in a city of hundreds or even thousands of houses are they speaking of? You just cannot say that Jesus is in the house if you do not already know which one it is! So far this is just very basic simiple logic reached by observing what is stated in the Bible, it is not that difficult, but admittedly it can be easily explained away for those who refuse to see it.
Mar 2:2 And straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive them, no, not so much as about the door: and he preached the word unto them.
So technically speaking it does not say this house belongs to Jesus, but then again it does not say that it doesn’t either. If you read the context there is no mention of any owner and I believe that is very important to note. So we have to use our brains in order to figure out the truth. Jesus is in a house and a large number of people hear that Jesus is present to be found there and they just happened to show up automatically at just the right house. How do all of these people know which house if this is not Jesus’ house? Uh oh? Here we have another problem for those who want to believe in a poor homeless Jesus. No this verse says so many people showed up, that they could get anyone else in the house, so they had to stand outside the door to hear His words. Then there comes 4 more men carrying a lame friend to get Jesus to heal him. How did these 5 men know what house to come to and why were they there? When they arrived at the house they could easily look at the house and all of the people knowing, yes Jesus is in the house. I conclude formthis that they knew He was home again because we can soon see that they were going to do whatever it took to get their friend healed.
Mar 2:4 And when they could not come nigh unto him for the press, they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay.
You see here is the major problem that I have discovered about this story in the Bible. If this was my house that I owned and Jesus was just visiting with me for a few days and four idiots come tearing a huge hole in my roof what would you have done to stop them from tearing up your house? Do you know there is no mention that anyone was upset that 4 guys just tore a big hole in the roof to lower their buddy down in? I find that omission totally fascinating to say the least. To me the lack of anyone complaining just confirms that Jesus the healer was in His own house and He did not mind when He saw these men’s faith to get their friend healed. That is the only logical explanation of how everybody knew where Jesus was and why no one cared when the house was broken into and modified with a huge new sky light large enough to lower a crippled man. Let’s read down now in the same chapter and see what else Jesus does in his home city.
Mar 2:14 And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the receipt of custom, and said unto him, Follow me. And he arose and followed him.
Jesus is said to be walking in His city again and finds a man named Levi and tells Levi to “follow me”. Right there let’s analyze that statement; if Jesus wanted to go to Levi’s house would Jesus have said “follow me”? To me Jesus would have said “let’s go to your house and I’ll follow you”. Things in the Bible need to make sense when we read them. The verses present us with limited factual information and we are required to read the facts and use the information to make a determination of what is stated. L’et’s read the following verse and see what is said next:
Mar 2:15 And it came to pass, that, as Jesus sat at meat in his house, many publicans and sinners sat also together with Jesus and his disciples: for there were many, and they followed him.
Hopefully you can see my problem? Whose house is Jesus now eating in? Did Jesus lead Levi to Levi’s house expecting Levi to feed everyone? Or did Jesus take Levi to Jesus’ house and there they all sat and ate together. The phrase “his house” is one that must be directed at Jesus and not at Levi since Levi is never mentioned in this verse. But, you see we could easily take this verses either way and almost be right. However, only one way is right and the other was must be wrong. Two truths can never exist from one statement. Did you notice how many people were present? Did you notice all of the disciples and Jesus were present and we know Levi was also there if he followed Jesus and now we can read that publicans and sinners were also there. That really sounds like a big group and not a small house at all.
Mar 2:16 And when the scribes and Pharisees saw him eat with publicans and sinners, they said unto his disciples, How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners?
So poor Jesus proponents and teachers have more problems to try to explain away. I’ll start by asking you how did the Scribes and the Pharisees know where Jesus was eating? Are they following Jesus around? From my current understanding of Bible history the city of Capernaum was not a tiny 4 or 5 house community. It must have had a significant population with many families and houses in it. We can clearly see from this information that Jesus was eating in a house with a lot of people being present and while others simultaneously watching him and knowing where He was located. From what I have just read, I am convinced that Jesus was a man who owned a house in the city of Capernaum and that many people knew Him and exactly where He lived. This is really the only explanation that makes sense of how people kept finding Jesus in a big city. You of course have the option to remain ignorant and believe whatever you like.
Mar 6:4 But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.
If you read the Bible like you want to believe that Jesus was homeless you have to ignore a lot of the Bible to establish that belief. In this verse Jesus is speaking and He says some very profound words. Jesus was the Prophet that He is talking about in this verse. Did you know that Jesus was a prophet? The prophet’s office was just one position that He held, but nevertheless that is one title that He called Himself. This Prophet was said to have no honor among the people who knew Him personally. These people were His neighbors and relatives who knew Him and knew where He lived. These were the people who recognized Him when He walks down the street. These were the people who can see when He enters into the house where He lives and they knew exactly which house it was. These were the people who look at Jesus as being a regular human like them. Because the do not know Him as the Son of God, they hold no place of honor for Him in their heart because He appears to be exactly as they were in every way. To be exactly like them meant that He works, He eats, He sleeps, He goes to the bathroom and He lives in a house just like they did. Do you understand these basic things? They do not see Jesus with a halo around His head and they do not see Jesus walking above the ground where He does not leave any footprints. Jesus was not surrounded with angels. His faced did not glow. Jesus looked normal, acted normal and lived normally. Jesus was a man in complete normalcy like everyone else in appearance. Furthermore Jesus himself just spoke some words and said that He owned a house. Did you notice that? The Greek word G3614 translated as “house” literally means a residence. The inclusion of a personal pronoun of “own” before the noun house (residence) conveys ownership responsibility and is directly associated to the speaker of the words and that was clearly Jesus.
Mat 12:46 While he yet talked to the people, behold, his mother and his brethren stood without, desiring to speak with him.
Here is another very interesting verse that I found about Jesus. Jesus is in a house talking with some people and suddenly His mother and His half-brothers suddenly appear asking to talk to Him standing outside of the house. If this is not Jesus’ house where He lived, how do these close relatives know where to find Him? You can clearly see the difficulty that I have with people’s interpretation that says Jesus did not own a house. If His mothers and His brothers could come to exactly where He was and request a meeting, they had to know where to go. Jesus instead of going to speak to his natural family looked around the room and said those that do the will of my Father, you are my mother, my sister and and brother and then a couple of verses later you will read this:
Mat 13:1 The same day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the sea side.
Again, we have to conclude that Jesus owned this house that He keeps being associated with near the sea. If Jesus is seen exiting a house and sitting by the sea, we know this is Jesus’ house in Capernaum that He is seen leaving from. There are certainly many more verses like these that I could go through to show you that Jesus did own a house, but I will leave it at that. It really doesn’t matter if you show people two verses or forty verses, if they do not want to see the truth, they will always ignore whatever you give them. Let’s change the subjecvt from houses to moeny and see another perspective of Jesus.
I want you to think about this, did Jesus ever have any money? We know there was one case in the Bible that says when Jesus was forced to pay taxes that He told Peter to go to the sea and catch a fish and use that money in the fish’s mouth to pay the tax. So stories like that are used by people to promote a poor Jesus who did not carry money around with Him. But, did you know that the disciple Judas was said to be the treasurer for Jesus and the other disciples (John 13:29)? Do you need a treasurer if you have no money? In fact if you search and can read the Bible, you will find out that Judas was a thief and he was able to steal money from Jesus and the disciples without anyone else knowing it (John 12:6). Did you know if Jesus only had a little bit of money and Judas took a little bit of it out, it wouldn’t be easily missed? But, if Jesus had a whole bunch of money in the bag and Judas slowly took out a little here and a little bit there, it would never be missed by anyone? So to me using this story of Judas alone we discover that Jesus did carry large sums of money so a little bit is never missed. Let me show you another story in the Bible about this large sum of money that Jesus and the disciples carried around with them:
Mar 6:36 Send them away, that they may go into the country round about, and into the villages, and buy themselves bread: for they have nothing to eat.
We have an interesting story of many people following Jesus in the wilderness. In the Bible verse before this one it says that it is very late in the day and the disciples come to Jesus and ask Him to send the people away so that they can still make it home to get something to eat. However, Jesus had a different lesson to teach them and said this:
Mar 6:37 He answered and said unto them, Give ye them to eat. And they say unto him, Shall we go and buy two hundred pennyworth of bread, and give them to eat?
Jesus tells the disciples to get all of the people something to eat and since there were thousands of them, the disciples ask Him a very strange question for poor homelss men. If these disciples did not have in their possession 200 pennies to buy this bread they would have said let’s go take up a collection so that we can go buy them some bread. But, they did not say that did they? They asked Jesus, do you want us to go and spend 200 pennies to buy all of these people bread to eat? The Bible tells us that there were approximately 5000 men in this group and we know these men had wives and children so there could have been 15000 people there around Jesus. Let me ask you this question, what would it cost you if you took 15000 people to McDonald’s and bought them all a burger? It would take a whole bunch of money to feed that many people. So why would the poor disciples ask Jesus if He wanted them to go and buy food for all of them, if they did not already have the money to do it? You see that would really be a stupid question to ask wouldn’t it. The disciples were not stupid and they were not poor either so get over it and see what the Bible says about money. The disciples had enough money on them to feed everyone, but still there were no bread stores in the wilderness to buy this food, so Jesus goes with His original plan of multiplying the loaves and fishes of a boy’s lunch. The discipiles could have solved the problem in a natural way, but Jesus was teaching them a supernatural method of supply.
I’ll end today’s leson with one more example of how Jesus was not a poor man. When Jesus was crucified it tells us that there were some soldiers who divided up what Jesus was wearing. Since Jesus was hanging on the cross naked about to die, He would have no further need of any of the items and the guards saw a great opportunity to profit:
Joh 19:23 Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also his coat: now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout.
Jesus was wearing a seamless coat that was woven in one piece from top to bottom it says. You probably do not understand the significance to that statement. It means His coat was very valuable. This was the coat of a wealthy man, a king or someone of great status in the city or country. Not everyone possessed a coat such as this, because it took a lot of money to buy one. Evidently if Jesus was poor where did He obtain such a piece of clothing? Someone tried to tell me that this valuable robe was the garment placced upon him by Pilate, but if you go read closely that robe was not a gift but a temporary robe placed to mock Him (Mat 27:31). This royal mocking robe was removed after the mocking and it did not go to the cross. Thefore, the coat that the soldiers were gambling over had to have been owned by Jesus.
Joh 19:24 They said therefore among themselves, Let us not rend it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be: that the scripture might be fulfilled, which saith, They parted my raiment among them, and for my vesture they did cast lots. These things therefore the soldiers did.
You see the soldiers recognized the value of the coat and said let’s not tear it up! Let us gamble for it so that one of us can use it like it is. For the soldiers to gamble for something that is worthless would be illogical or foolish; so they had to know that the coat was a very valuable item and something that they could not afford even with their salaries from the Roman Empire. This information about Jesus does not go along with the Mother Theresa type of poor Jesus that many people want to follow. There are many other Bible verses that I failed to mention, but I gave you enough references to get you to think and hopefully change your poverty mentality away from the poor Jesus to change it to the real Jesus. You see I do not believe that Jesus was Bill Gates or Warren Buffet while on the earth. However, I also do not believe that Jesus went about as a homeless man in absolute poverty either. You can see too many examples of Jesus beginning with His birth all the way to His death and never is it said that He was poor. Jesus is portrayed in the Bible as being more in the range of an upper middle class man and never a poor homeless man in the Bible. I hope that you can see it with your own eyes and definitely spend more time reading the Gospels for the real Jesus. Thanks for taking the time to read and study the Bible and if you have any questions or comments you are welcome to share them. God Bless!
If you would like to continue reading in this series about Myths of Jesus taught in the Church you may continue to “Part 2“.