… the slanderer …

… what is slander?

.. slander is defined as:

1: the utterance of false charges or misrepresentations which defame and damage another’s reputation
2: a false and defamatory oral statement about a person—compare LIBEL

Inc Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary. (Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, Inc., 2003).

… when we look at synonyms for slander, we see words like; malign, defame, denigrate, libel, slur, belittle, disparage and scandal.

… so we can see that slander is basically lies told about someone to make them look bad with the purpose of destroying a person’s reputation. this includes name calling and should be familiar to anyone who has seen a political attack ad.

… when we look at the English Bible, we see that slander is used 13 times in the Old Testament and 17 times in the New. in the Torah, the Law of Moses, we read;

“Do not spread slanderous gossip among your people. “Do not stand idly by when your neighbor’s life is threatened. I am the Lord.

Leviticus 19:16

.. and in the Psalms we read;

Let not the slanderer be established in the land; let evil hunt down the violent man speedily!

Psalm 140:11
διάβολος (diabolos)

… and so, throughout the Old and New Testaments, the Bible is crystal clear on the LORD’s feelings about slander. in fact, one of the Greek words translated as slanderer is the word διάβολος (diabolos) – translated as; pertaining to engagement in slander, slanderous, one who engages in slander, slanderer, adversary, opponent and devil. and actually, every time you see the name “Satan” in the Old Testament, it is actually translating the word διάβολος (diabolos). yes, the very name and nature of the Biblical character called Satan and Devil is that of a lying slanderer, the adversary of everything that is good, decent, and honest.

.. it is recorded in the book of John that Jesus, called Christ, was having a discussion with the religious-right of His time. He tells the man;

You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” John 8:44, ESV

You are of your father διαβόλου…

βλασφημία (blasphēmia)

… another word used in the Greek New Testament is the word βλασφημία (blasphēmia) from where we get the English words like blaspheme and blasphemy. it is translated as; to revile, to defame, to blaspheme, profane speech, defamation, disrespect, insult, and slander.

The beast was allowed to speak arrogant and insulting things. It was given authority to act for 42 months.” Revelation 13:5, GW

…. to speak arrogant and βλασφημίας

But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.” Matthew 15:18–19, ESV

… and, just like his father, the beast of the book of The Revelation, aka; the man of lawlessness, the son of perdition, the man of sin, the adversary, the antichrist, will be known by his slander which he will use to knock off heroes and holy ones left and right. expect him to call people names and spread lies about his opponents and anyone who stands against his will as he claims to be the greatest at everything – even a god himself.

His power will swell enormously. He’ll talk big, high-handedly, doing whatever he pleases, knocking off heroes and holy ones left and right.” (Daniel 8:24, The Message)

καταλαλιά (katalalia)

.. the third Greek word, most translated as slander, is the word καταλαλιά (katalalia) with a meaning of; evil-speaking, slander, insult, evil report, defamation, and disparagement.

So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.” 1 Peter 2:1–3, ESV

… envy and all καταλαλιάς

… i’m hoping, if you call yourself a Christian, that you can see calling people names, lying about them and trying to defame others is NOT what you should be doing.

… it is a dark time we live in, where so many who call themselves Christian, actively engage in slander on a regular basis. many of them are in the Congress of this country and you can watch them slander their opponents on TV daily…

.. but Jesus taught us a different way, and He taught us that we could tell His disciples from impostors by the way they act.

But Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Matthew 20:25–28, NLT

.. where is “slander” in the Bible?

Old Testament

Lev 19:16, Pr 11:13, Pr 20:19, Je 6:28, Je 9:4, Ex 22:9, 2 Sa 19:27, Ps 15:3, Ps 101:5, Pr 30:10, Ps 50:20, Ps 140:11, Pr 10:18

New Testament

Mt 15:19, Mk 7:22, Eph 4:31, Col 3:8, 1 Ti 6:4, Re 2:9, 1 Ti 3:11, 2 Ti 3:3, Tt2:3, 2 Co 12:20, 1 Pe 2:1, Ro 1:30, Ro 3:8, 1 Co 4:13, 2 Co 6:8, 1 Ti 5:14, 1 Pe 3:16

.. i will close with a passage from the letter that Paul the Apostle wrote to the church at Colossae.

But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language.
Don’t lie to each other,
for you have stripped off your old sinful nature
and all its wicked deeds. Put on your new nature,
and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator
and become like him.
Colossians 3:8–10, NLT

… mysterious land of idolatry …

.. in 2005 the church i was attending had a mission work trip to Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India.  there were a number of orphanages that this church sponsored that were in desperate need for work to be done.  one orphanage in the outskirts of Chennai was run by a man called Pastor Simpson.  the small orphanage and church took care of many children, mostly orphans, and scores of elderly widow women came for support and comfort.

… there were a number of tasks that we were to accomplish, including the installation of a concrete slab so that the children did not have to sleep in the dirt.  earlier that year, they had installed a 2 foot high wall around the perimeter to keep out the cobras.  apparently cobras don’t climb, so 2 foot was all that was needed to keep them out.

… when we arrived, they had already prepared the surface for us by spreading out broken pieces of brick. i was a general contractor in my country, and here we would install 57 gravel under the concrete, but in this village in India, bricks are very inexpensive because they are mostly made by slave labor, so the cheapest way to install the substrate for the concrete, is to break up the bricks into rock size pieces, and install that.  for a month or so before we got there, the widow ladies and orphan children broke up the bricks and spread them for us.

… at the other end of this building there was a wall about 6 foot from the exterior creating the place where pastor Simpson, his wife, and their children lived and slept in.  and just outside of that was the kitchen area where the widow women would use rocks as tools and the concrete floor as working surface to prepare the meals for the children.

.. on our trip back to the states, the pastor who went with us had to take a later flight, as they had overbooked the first class section on our flight, so a couple of members of our team waited and took the later flight so the pastor did not have to sit in coach with the poor people…

… in 2006, my wife, Laura and i set up a ministry, New Wind Ministries, Inc. for the purpose of setting up feeding projects around Chennai to feed countless scores of hungry children, and on a trip that year we visited Pastor Simpson and asked what they needed, so we bought them a refrigerator and mattress pads for the children to sleep on instead of just the concrete floor that the church we had attended had installed the year before.  the cost to purchase the refrigerator and mattresses was less than a tenth of the cost of a first class airline ticket to India…

… there are many poor in India that will buy bunches of jasmine flowers and string them together to make a type of jasmine garland that the rich put in their hair so they don’t have to smell human waste that is in many of the gutters in the cities of India. in 2006 my wife learned how to make them from a bunch of widow ladies that help take care of the orphan children …

…over the next couple of years we made 2 trips a year to India to visit our feeding projects and to hold conferences and we even took 100 of the slum children to an ocean side camp near Mahabalipuram for a three day kid’s camp.  we built up to feeding 240 kids/6 days a week before the economy caused our construction company to go under and eventually we had to close the projects.

… on my first trip, the church i attended booked us rooms in a 4 star hotel at the cost of $150 a night.  we were encouraged to take the shampoo, soap, and other personal hygiene items that the hotel gives out daily, to the people in the villages where we visited.  on future trips, we stayed in a hotel that cost $40 a night, and instead of taking what the hotel offered, we purchased soaps and things from the store to take to the villagers.

… i remember our first Sunday back at the church filled with people in designer suits, adorned in gold, silver and diamonds and the parking lot full of Hummers, BMWs, Mercedes Benzes, and Cadillacs.  i remember the 8,000+ member church that applauded our work and i wondered why it was so difficult to raise the $3,000 needed to replace the failing roof on one of their orphanages in Chennai.  i also remember the shock and horror as this mega-‘church’ decided that $1,500 a month to pay for 3 orphanages was just to much as they stopped supporting them a few months later…

… and i remember the words that the Apostle Paul wrote in his second letter to the Corinthian church.

For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened, but that as a matter of fairness your abundance at the present time should supply their need, so that their abundance may supply your need, that there may be fairness. As it is written, “Whoever gathered much had nothing left over, and whoever gathered little had no lack.”” (2 Corinthians 8:13–15, ESV)

… and the words that he wrote to the church in Colosse.

So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world.” (Colossians 3:5, NLT)

.. and i realized that this country has a much bigger problem with idolatry than India does…

You can be sure that no immoral, impure, or greedy person will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God. For a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world.” (Ephesians 5:5, NLT)

… that greed and worship of money has now led to a majority of ‘churches’ supporting one of the greediest men on the planet to rule and reign over this country.  of the 1,810 billionaires in the world today, 540 of them live in this country, and now 5 of them have massive power in our government.

… i am mortified by the huge number of people who claim to be ‘Christians’ who are in favor of building a larger military by cutting programs that feed and help the poor.  but i am also aware that the Bible says that many people will support a lawless man because the LORD will cause them to be deceived because they are idolaters in their hearts…

The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” (2 Thessalonians 2:9–12, ESV)

… there are over 21,000 children who die DAILY on this planet while we have ‘pastors’ who want more money to buy bigger and better jets.  and i am deeply saddened that the majority of the ‘Church’ in this country is deeply steeped in idolatry, and i realize that the ‘mysterious land of Idolatry’ isn’t India, but is actually the United States of America..

For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.” (Revelation 3:17–19, ESV)

… stop blaming God for making you rich …

Stop blaming God for making
you Rich (wealthy)

written:(5/25/2012)

““No one can serve two masters.
For you will hate one and love the other;
you will be devoted to one and despise the other.
You cannot serve both God and money.”
Jesus
(Matthew 6:24, NLT)

In many churches today we hear the testimonies of how God has provided Hummers , BMWs, Cadillacs, Mercedes Benzes, new houses, Rolex watches, iPods, expensive suits and purses; but is this scripturally accurate? Is it God that has provided these things? Lets look at what the Bible says.

It says that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8, NKJV) So God has not changed. From the foundation of the world, God has remained the same. He has the same principles that He always had. In Deuteronomy, under the Old Covenant Law, it says :

““There should be no poor among you, for the Lord your God will greatly bless you in the land he is giving you as a special possession.” (Deuteronomy 15:4, NLT)

This is a law to the believers, the partakers in the first Covenant, the Jews. What does He mean by ‘no poor’ among you? Let’s look at the word ‘poor’. What does it mean? The Hebrew word translated as ‘poor’ is אֶבְיׄון [ʾebyown /eb·yone/] Strong’s Concordance says that the King James translates this word as “needy” 35 times, “poor” 24 times, “beggar” once, and “poor man” once. It’s definition is: 1 in want, needy, chiefly poor, needy person. 2 subject to oppression and abuse. 3 needing help, deliverance from trouble, especially as delivered by God. 4 general reference to lowest class.* So God is saying to the people of the Old Covenant that there should not be anyone that is needy, or in other words, everyone should be well supplied. In the New Covenant it says

“And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19, NKJV)

I have had people tell me that it was God who made them rich. Doesn’t the Bible say that it is God who gives me power to gain wealth?

““And you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.” (Deuteronomy 8:18, NKJV)

Does this verse say that He makes you rich? No. It says that because of the Covenant relationship that you have with God, He will give you the ‘power to gain wealth’. Or, in other words, when I join the Covenant, God has promised, on His part, to give ‘me the power to gain wealth.’ It does not say that He gives me the power to ‘be rich’.

There are many sayings in the Bible about ‘being rich’. Let’s look at some of them.

“There is one who makes himself rich, yet has nothing; And one who makes himself poor, yet has great riches.” (Proverbs 13:7, NKJV)

Isn’t it interesting that it says ‘one who makes himself rich’? So the Bible says that God ‘gives me power to gain wealth’, and it says that ‘there is one who makes himself rich’. Maybe we have the wrong definition of the word ‘rich’. Let’s look at that. The word translated as ‘rich’ in this verse is the Hebrew word עָשַׁר [ʿashar /aw·shar/] In Strong’s Concordance it says that the King James Bible translates this word as “rich” 14 times, “enrich” three times, and “richer” once. It is defined as: 1 to be or become rich or wealthy, enrich, pretend to be rich. 1a (Qal) to be or become rich. 1b (Hiphil). 1b1 to make rich. 1b2 to gain riches. 1c (Hithpael) to enrich oneself, pretend to be rich.1 It says to ‘become wealthy’. So this word is talking about money or wealth.

So what else does the Old Covenant say about ‘wealth’ or ‘riches’? The wisdom of Proverbs says:

“Do not overwork to be rich; Because of your own understanding, cease! Will you set your eyes on that which is not? For riches certainly make themselves wings; They fly away like an eagle toward heaven.” (Proverbs 23:4–5, NKJV)

This is the same Hebrew word עָשַׁר, translated as ‘rich’. In Psalms it says;

“They trust in their wealth and boast of great riches. Yet they cannot redeem themselves from death by paying a ransom to God. Redemption does not come so easily, for no one can ever pay enough to live forever and never see the grave.” (Psalm 49:6–9, NLT)

And again in Proverbs it says;

“Two things I request of You (Deprive me not before I die): Remove falsehood and lies far from me; Give me neither poverty nor riches— Feed me with the food allotted to me; Lest I be full and deny You, And say, “Who is the Lord?” Or lest I be poor and steal, And profane the name of my God.” (Proverbs 30:7–9, NKJV)

Someone might say, doesn’t the Bible say that Abraham was rich? “Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold.” (Genesis 13:2, NKJV) Let’s see if it is the same Hebrew word. This phrase ‘very rich’ is the Hebrew phrase מְאֹד כָּבֵד [mâʿod /meh·ode/] [kabed /kaw·bade/] מְאֹד [mâʿod /meh·ode/], according to Strong’s Concordance, is translated in the King James Bible as “very” 137 times, “greatly” 49 times, “sore” 23 times, “exceeding” 18 times, “great” 12 times, “exceedingly” 11 times, “much” 10 times, “exceeding + 3966” six times, “exceedingly + 3966” five times, “diligently” four times, “good” three times, “might” twice, “mightily” twice, and translated miscellaneously 17 times. It is defined as: 1 exceedingly, much subst. 2 might, force, abundance. 3 muchness, force, abundance, exceedingly. 3a force, might. 3b exceedingly, greatly, very (idioms showing magnitude or degree). 3b1 exceedingly. 3b2 up to abundance, to a great degree, exceedingly. 3b3 with muchness, muchness.1 And כָּבֵד [kabed /kaw·bade/] according to Strong’s Concordance, is translated as “great” eight times, “grievous” eight times, “heavy” eight times, “sore” four times, “hard” twice, “much” twice, “slow” twice, “hardened” once, “heavier” once, “laden” once, and “thick” once. 1 heavy, great. 1a heavy. 1b massive, abundant, numerous. 1c heavy, dull. 1d hard, difficult, burdensome. 1e very oppressive, numerous, rich.1 The word translated as ‘livestock’ is the Hebrew word מִקְנֶה [miqneh /mik·neh/]. According to Strong’s Concordance, this word in the King James Bible is translated as “cattle” 63 times, “possession” five times, “flocks” three times, “substance” twice, “herds” once, and “purchase” once. It is defined as: 1 cattle, livestock. 1a cattle, livestock. 1a1 in general of a purchasable domestic animal. 1b cows, sheep, goats (in herds and flocks). It says that Abraham was abundantly supplied with these things, but it does not refer to him as ‘wealthy’. You could say that Abraham was ‘exceedingly abundantly supplied with substance’. Of course, if you are abundantly supplied with ‘silver and gold’ we would call you ‘wealthy’ or ‘rich’, but the supply was to take care of the throngs of people that were with him.

What does it say, under the Old Covenant, to do with the supply? In Proverbs it says, “He who has pity on the poor lends to the Lord, And He will pay back what he has given.” (Proverbs 19:17, NKJV) And then in Joshua we read, “Now to half the tribe of Manasseh Moses had given a possession in Bashan, but to the other half of it Joshua gave a possession among their brethren on this side of the Jordan, westward. And indeed, when Joshua sent them away to their tents, he blessed them, and spoke to them, saying, “Return with much riches to your tents, with very much livestock, with silver, with gold, with bronze, with iron, and with very much clothing. Divide the spoil of your enemies with your brethren.”” (Joshua 22:7–8, NKJV) He told them to ‘Divide the spoil of your enemies with your brethren.’ Interesting that he told them to share the spoil with their brethren, not keep it for themselves.

In the book of 1 Kings, God asks what He can give to Solomon; “At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, “Ask! What shall I give you?”” (1 Kings 3:5, NKJV) It goes on to say that he asked for wisdom, to which this is recorded: “The speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing. Then God said to him: “Because you have asked this thing, and have not asked long life for yourself, nor have asked riches for yourself, nor have asked the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern justice, behold, I have done according to your words; see, I have given you a wise and understanding heart, so that there has not been anyone like you before you, nor shall any like you arise after you.” (1 Kings 3:10–12, NKJV) He is praised for not asking for ‘riches’. He was given what he wanted because he did not want riches. What are we asking for?

Are we seeing a pattern yet? “The rich man will lie down, But not be gathered up; He opens his eyes, And he is no more.” (Job 27:19, NKJV) And again, “Will your riches, Or all the mighty forces, Keep you from distress?” (Job 36:19, NKJV) And again, “A little that a righteous man has Is better than the riches of many wicked.” (Psalm 37:16, NKJV) And again, “Surely every man walks about like a shadow; Surely they busy themselves in vain; He heaps up riches, And does not know who will gather them.” (Psalm 39:6, NKJV) And this warning, “Do not trust in oppression, Nor vainly hope in robbery; If riches increase, Do not set your heart on them.” (Psalm 62:10, NKJV)

What does the Old Covenant say about the wealthy? “Behold, these are the ungodly, Who are always at ease; They increase in riches.” (Psalm 73:12, NKJV) “A thick bankroll is no help when life falls apart, but a principled life can stand up to the worst.” (Proverbs 11:4, The Message) Another warning, “He who trusts in his riches will fall, But the righteous will flourish like foliage.” (Proverbs 11:28, NKJV)

Well then, how is it that someone is ‘made rich’? The wisdom of Proverbs says it like this, “A gracious woman retains honor, But ruthless men retain riches.” (Proverbs 11:16, NKJV) A ruthless man retains riches. Oh, so I become ‘rich – wealthy’ when I choose to ‘retain – keep’ the provision that God has provided. So, that means that I make myself rich, according to the Bible.

You say, ‘fine, all of that is under the Old Covenant, but now I am under the New Covenant. Doesn’t the Bible say that Jesus came to make me rich”? “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.” (2 Corinthians 8:9, NKJV) Ok, let’s look at this verse. The first word ‘rich’, referring to Jesus, is the Greek word πλούσιος [plousios /ploo·see·os/] Strong’s Concordance says that in the King James Bible, this word is translated as “rich” 28 times. 1 wealthy, abounding in material resources. 2 metaph. abounding, abundantly supplied. 2a abounding (rich) in Christian virtues and eternal possessions.1 The second use of the word translated as ‘rich’ is the Greek word πλουτέω [plouteo /ploo·teh·o/] . Strong’s Concordance says that the King James Bible translates it as “be rich” seven times, “be made rich” twice, “rich” once, “wax rich” once, and “be increased with goods” once. 1 to be rich, to have abundance. 1a of outward possessions. 2 metaph. to be richly supplied. 2a is affluent in resources so that he can give blessings of salvation to all.1 It is interesting that it is two different Greek words. Maybe it would be more accurate to say that “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was wealthy, abounding in material resources, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become richly supplied.” Now you say that I am changing the Bible. Let’s continue to look at the New Testament and see if I am off base.

What did Jesus have to say, “Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful.” (Matthew 13:22, NKJV) He called it the ‘deceitfulness of riches’. What else did He say, “Then Jesus said to His disciples, “Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”” (Matthew 19:23–24, NKJV) What did He mean by this, ‘easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle’? Nelsons Bible Dictionary says: “EYE OF A NEEDLE — a figure of speech used by Jesus to illustrate the extreme difficulty of a wealthy person’s attaining salvation: “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God” (Matt. 19:24; Mark 10:25; Luke 18:25). Much has been written in an attempt to explain this statement. Some have suggested that the “Needle’s Eye” was a particularly narrow gate adjacent to one of the main gates of Jerusalem. A camel could pass through this gate but only with great difficulty. First it had to be stripped of the goods it carried, and then it had to bow to its knees to get through the gate. However, this claim is unsupported by historical evidence. Another suggestion is that “camel” (kamelos) should be translated “rope” (kamilos) or “ship’s cable.” Neither of these suggestions has received much support from scholars. It is probably best to understand this figure of speech as an example of Jesus’ use of hyperbole, or exaggeration for effect. The image of a camel trying to climb through the eye of a needle would have been both vivid and amusing. When Jesus’ disciples heard this “hard saying” from their Lord, they asked, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus replied, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matt. 19:25–26). Even man’s best achievements cannot attain salvation, which is granted as a gift of God.”**

What else did He say? He said, “And the disciples were astonished at His words. But Jesus answered again and said to them, “Children, how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God!” (Mark 10:24, NKJV) And you say, ‘well, that does not apply to me. I do not trust in my riches. I trust in God’. To you I would say, ‘If you don’t trust in your riches then do what Jesus said to the Rich Young Ruler’. He said, “So when Jesus heard these things, He said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”” (Luke 18:22, NKJV) Prove that you don’t trust in your riches. Take care of the poor people that are all around you. Then your generosity will cause them to praise God. How cool is that?

And again He says, “ “But woe to you who are rich, For you have received your consolation. Woe to you who are full, For you shall hunger. Woe to you who laugh now, For you shall mourn and weep.” (Luke 6:24–25, NKJV) And again, “Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’ So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.” ’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’ “So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”” (Luke 12:16–21, NKJV) Do you still say that God made you rich?

How about this, Jesus said, “Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in what is another man’s, who will give you what is your own?” (Luke 16:11–12, NKJV) So what does it mean to be ‘faithful in the unrighteous mammon’? If you recognize that all good things come from God, then you must recognize that the provision is for taking care of each other. It was Jesus that also said, “So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.” (John 13:34, NLT) Can you honestly say that you love someone when you have ‘money – mammon’ and you see someone who needs help paying their mortgage or buying food and you do not help them? Is that not what He is talking about?

I find this discourse very interesting. Jesus said, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. Therefore you will receive greater condemnation. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves. “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘Whoever swears by the temple, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold of the temple, he is obliged to perform it.’ Fools and blind! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that sanctifies the gold? And, ‘Whoever swears by the altar, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gift that is on it, he is obliged to perform it.’ Fools and blind! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that sanctifies the gift? Therefore he who swears by the altar, swears by it and by all things on it. He who swears by the temple, swears by it and by Him who dwells in it. And he who swears by heaven, swears by the throne of God and by Him who sits on it. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone. Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!” (Matthew 23:14–24, NKJV)

Let’s take this one apart. He said, ‘you devour widows’ houses’. What could that mean? Maybe, He is talking about those land grabbers in the congregation, who like to make money on foreclosed properties. Are these the ones who stand in our churches and declare ‘praise the lord. He put another property in my hands at a ridiculously low price. Isn’t god good?’ So you made a lot of ‘money’ by buying up the widow’s house on the foreclosure sale. Do you really believe that it was God who made that happen for you? He then talks about swearing on the ‘gold of the temple’. Talking again about the money. Interesting. He talks about the tithe. Do you say that ‘we have paid our tithe, why, we’ve even given up to 50% of our vast wealth. Haven’t I given enough’? To that He replies, ‘you have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith.’ What is more merciful; to buy a house at a foreclosure sale or to take the abundance of money that you have in your bank account and help someone pay their mortgage? Which option shows mercy? Wouldn’t your faith say that God could refill your bank account or better yet, that God will supply my needs without a large bank account? Isn’t that what this verse means, “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19, NKJV)

Let’s look at the other verses in the New Covenant and see what they say. “Believers who are poor have something to boast about, for God has honored them. And those who are rich should boast that God has humbled them. They will fade away like a little flower in the field. The hot sun rises and the grass withers; the little flower droops and falls, and its beauty fades away. In the same way, the rich will fade away with all of their achievements.” (James 1:9–11, NLT) Did the Bible actually say that God has ‘honored’ the poor believers? Is that right?

And the many warnings; “But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness.” (1 Timothy 6:9–11, NKJV) And again, “Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.” (1 Timothy 6:17–19, NKJV) “Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? But you have dishonored the poor man. Do not the rich oppress you and drag you into the courts? Do they not blaspheme that noble name by which you are called?” (James 2:5–7, NKJV)

“Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries that are coming upon you! Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have heaped up treasure in the last days. Indeed the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. You have lived on the earth in pleasure and luxury; you have fattened your hearts as in a day of slaughter. You have condemned, you have murdered the just; he does not resist you.” (James 5:1–6, NKJV)

And this,

“Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked— I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.” (Revelation 3:17–18, NKJV)

When we always have to have that latest of everything and expensive clothes and thing, isn’t that what this verse is talking about?

“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.” (1 John 2:15–17, NKJV)

So, what does the Bible say to do with the excess that has come into our hands?

“If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person?” (1 John 3:17, NLT)

Take care of the need. Plain and simple. If you have enough to live well – comfortably, if your needs are met; then meet someone else’s need. It is offensive to me that so many people say, ‘if God existed, then He would take care of the poor.’ Don’t you hear God’s heartbeat? Don’t you see that He has provided everything that we need? We just won’t share what He has given.

Jesus came to fulfill the Law of Moses.

““Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.” (Matthew 5:17–18, NKJV)

“For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” (John 3:17, NKJV)

Then He said it was done;

“So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.” (John 19:30, NKJV)

He gave us the New Covenant rules.

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” (John 13:34, NKJV)

This is the only command – law of the New Covenant. The response of the first church is recorded in the book of Acts. It says,

“Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.” (Acts 2:44–45, NKJV)

And again it says,

“Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common. And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all. Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, and laid them at the apostles’ feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need.” (Acts 4:32–35, NKJV)

Has anything changed?

So, once again I say, ‘Stop saying that God made you rich.’ To you I say “Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent.” (Revelation 2:4–5, NKJV)

“For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened,
and have tasted the heavenly gift,
and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit,
and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come,
if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance,
since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God,
and put Him to an open shame.”
(Hebrews 6:4–6, NKJV)

* Strong, J. (1996). The exhaustive concordance of the Bible : Showing every word of the text of the common English version of the canonical books, and every occurrence of each word in regular order. (electronic ed.). Ontario: Woodside Bible Fellowship.

** Nelson’s new illustrated Bible dictionary. 1995 (R. F. Youngblood, F. F. Bruce, R. K. Harrison & Thomas Nelson Publishers, Ed.). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, Inc.

… trust in the LORD and do good …

… one issues that comes up over and over again in the Bible is the concept of ‘trust.’  this is especially true in the Psalms of David where the AV translation uses ‘trust’ 63 times in 62 verses alone. over and over again David proclaims his trust in the LORD.

Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.” (Psalm 20:7, ESV)

.. it is that trust that is the basis of any relationship with the LORD.  in the book of Genesis, we are told that father Abraham “ believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness.” (Genesis 15:6, ESV)

.. in the book of Hebrews we are told

“It was by faith that Abraham was made able to become a father, because he trusted God to do what he had promised.” (Heb 11:11, NCV).

… if you spend any time at all on social media you can’t help but see the fear and anxiety that is rising around the world as a consequence of the results of the US Election.  on the initial word, stock markets around the globe took sharp dives and the protests seem to be every night in major cities across the US.  all the great minds and talking heads of our day are giving us their analysis of who, what, where, when, how and why the results are the way they are and why the people are reacting the way they are and i can’t help but wonder what would be happening if the results were the opposite.

… but in the midst of all the fear and anxiety, i read the words of David, who spent most of his youth being chased by government soldiers who intended to harm and or kill him.  speaking prophetically, David gives instruction to himself and us.

A psalm of David.
Don’t worry about the wicked or envy those who do wrong. For like grass, they soon fade away.
Like spring flowers, they soon wither.
Trust in the
Lord and do good.
Then you will live safely in the land and prosper.
Take delight in the
Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires.
Commit everything you do to the
Lord. Trust him, and he will help you.
He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn, and the justice of your cause
will shine like the noonday sun.
Be still in the presence of the
Lord, and wait patiently for him to act.
Don’t worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes.
Stop being angry! Turn from your rage!
Do not lose your temper— it only leads to harm.
For the wicked will be destroyed, but those who trust in the
Lord will possess the land.
Soon the wicked will disappear. Though you look for them, they will be gone.
The lowly will possess the land and will live in peace and prosperity.

(Psalm 37:1–11, NLT)

… Trust in the LORD and do good.

… and so, like Abraham, David instructs us to trust “God to do what He had promised” and to “do good”.  David then tells us the promises that God will keep. if you “trust in the LORD and do good, then you will live in safely in the land and prosper.”  if you “trust him,” then “he will help you. if you “trust in the LORD,” then you “will possess the land.”

… David, speaking in the book of 2 Samuel, says

This God—his way is perfect; the word of the Lord proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.” (2 Samuel 22:31, ESV)

… so either we believe in the instructions found in the scriptures or we don’t.  that is the real question.  do we really trust the LORD to do what He said He will?  can we join with the Psalmist and say,

I lay down and slept, yet I woke up in safety, for the Lord was watching over me. I am not afraid of ten thousand enemies who surround me on every side.” (Psalm 3:5–6, NLT)

… because if we truly dare to believe that the LORD cares about and watches over me, then i don’t need to be afraid but i should follow the advise of another prophet of old and

But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you.” – Jesus (Luke 6:27, NLT)

… while Jesus taught us to ‘do good’ even to our enemies, James goes on to say,

Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.” (James 4:17, NKJV)

… so ‘let your light shine.’ …

 

… ‘christian’ capitalist – or – what’s an oxymoron?

. And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.
(Acts 11:26b, NKJV)

… in order to look at the issue of ‘christian capitalism’ we should first start with simple definitions.  the disciples of Christ were first called Christians in Antioch, sometime around the year 42 AD/CE. so the Bible tells us that the first ‘Christians’ were the disciples of Jesus, Who was called the Christ.  upon further study, we find out that the followers of Christ did not call themselves Christian, but that the term was actually one of ridicule.  this is during the time when the Roman patriots would throw the Christians to the lions because they believed that worshiping the gods of Rome was one’s patriotic duty, and therefore people who would not worship their god must be destroyed for the good of society.  surprisingly, this is the attitude of the religious right today, who mostly call themselves ‘christians’ who believe that their god should be the only one freely allowed in this country.  most of these people would consider themselves ‘capitalists’ as well, their true god being money and the possessions it can afford them.

  Chris•tian \ˈkris-chən, ˈkrish-\ noun
[Latin christianus, adjective & noun, from Greek christianos, from Christos] 1526
1      a: one who professes belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ

Inc Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary. (Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, Inc., 2003).

… i would note that the dictionary states that anyone who ‘professes belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ’ is a ‘Christian’, but Jesus said that only those who actually follow His teachings are counted as His disciples.

“Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’” – Jesus (Matthew 7:21–23, NLT)

… in order to understand what a ‘capitalist’ is, we should look first to the definition of ‘capitalism’ itself.

capitalism

■ noun an economic and political system in which a country’s trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state.

Concise Oxford English Dictionary (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004).

.. the big ‘key’ ? to ‘capitalism’ is the ‘for private profit‘ part.  capitalism by definition is self serving, looking at the personal private profit of the owners of the business, rather than looking at how a business would profit society at large.  currently in the country of my birth, we have publicly funded fire stations, where collectively our taxes go to pay the salaries of the fire men as well as the equipment costs, etc, in order to run the station for everyone’s benefit.  under a pure capitalist system, the fire stations would only work for people who could afford their services. our publicly funded fire stations are actually part of a socialist system, as is our public schools, police departments, gas and water departments, national park service, military, and other services and industries where the profit, or benefits are mutually shared.

… in the area of the country where i live, you can see the effects of capitalism in our roads. our publicly funded roads are in major disrepair, but if you have the money, you can drive on the privately owned toll roads, which are very nice and can save you a lot of time as they are usually the choice route for your destination.  under a pure capitalist system, you would have to pay a toll to drive on any roads, as all lands would be owned by private individuals.

  cap•i•tal•ist \-ist\ noun
1781
1:      a person who has capital especially invested in business broadly: a person of wealth: PLUTOCRAT
2:      a person who favors capitalism

plu•toc•ra•cy \plü-ˈtä-krə-sē\ noun
plural -cies [Greek ploutokratia, from ploutos wealth; akin to Greek plein to sail, float—more at FLOW] 1652
1:      government by the wealthy
2:      a controlling class of the wealthy—plu•to•crat \ˈplü-tə-ˌkrat\ noun—plu•to•crat•ic \ˌplü-tə-ˈkra-tik\ adjective—plu•to•crat•i•cal•ly \-ti-k(ə-)lē\ adverb

Inc Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary. (Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, Inc., 2003).

.. now a ‘capitalist’ is a person who favors ‘capitalism’ and has generally become wealthy through a capitalist system.  remember, the primary motivation in capitalism is the personal profit for the owners of the capital.  you can not be a ‘capitalist’ if you don’t have any ‘capital’ and you are only going to get the ‘capital’ by serving the owners of capital and by getting them more capital to add to their stockpiles of capital.

… we see the results of the capitalist system in the Oxfam Davos Report which revealed that only 62 people own as much as half the entire planet. this is based on the 2015 numbers which show that the number of people who own half the planet is shrinking dramatically, even since 2010 where 388 people owned as much as half the planet. that number dropped to 177 in 2011, 159 in 2012, 92 in 2013 and 80 in 2014 before hitting 62 in 2015.  this report was made public in January of 2016, so it will be very interesting to see what that number is using 2016 numbers.  will we see a 42% drop like in 2013, revealing only 36 people own as much as half the planet? or will we see a more modest drop of 22% like in 2015, revealing only 49 people own as much as half the entire planet?

… the world and it’s systems …

… and so we get to the things that are recorded that Jesus, the Man called the Christ, said and taught about. one of the most popular ‘sermons’ that we have recorded that Jesus taught was in what is popularly called The Beatitudes, which is recorded in both Matthew 5:1-12 and in Luke 6:20-26.

Then Jesus turned to his disciples and said,
“God blesses you who are poor, for the Kingdom of God is yours.
God blesses you who are hungry now, for you will be satisfied.
God blesses you who weep now, for in due time you will laugh.
What blessings await you when people hate you and exclude you and mock you and curse you as evil because you follow the Son of Man. When that happens, be happy! Yes, leap for joy! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, their ancestors treated the ancient prophets that same way.

“What sorrow awaits you who are rich, for you have your only happiness now.
What sorrow awaits you who are fat and prosperous now, for a time of awful hunger awaits you.
What sorrow awaits you who laugh now, for your laughing will turn to mourning and sorrow.
What sorrow awaits you who are praised by the crowds, for their ancestors also praised false prophets.
– Jesus (Luke 6:20–26, NLT)

… and it should be obvious what Jesus is teaching about being rich.  a capitalist desires to be rich through the acquisition of capital, regardless of need.  in the Bible, this is the very definition of greed – “πλεονεξίαa, ας f: a strong desire to acquire more and more material possessions or to possess more things than other people have, all irrespective of need—‘greed, avarice, covetousness.’” (Johannes P. Louw and Eugene Albert Nida, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains (New York: United Bible Societies, 1996), 290–291.)

Give to anyone who asks; and when things are taken away from you, don’t try to get them back.
Do to others as you would like them to do to you.
“If you love only those who love you, why should you get credit for that? Even sinners love those who love them! And if you do good only to those who do good to you, why should you get credit? Even sinners do that much! And if you lend money only to those who can repay you, why should you get credit? Even sinners will lend to other sinners for a full return.
“Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid.
Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked.
You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.
– Jesus (Luke 6:30–36, NLT)

… ” … give to everyone who asks… ” and “… love your enemieslend to them without expecting to be repaid…” are just a couple more examples of how completely contrary to capitalism His teachings are.

.. and so we see that the phrase “Christian Capitalist” is nothing more than a ‘pointedly foolish‘ oxymoron…

“Beware of false prophets. They come to you disguised as sheep, but in their hearts they are vicious wolves. You will know them by what they produce. “People don’t pick grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles, do they? In the same way every good tree produces good fruit, but a rotten tree produces bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, and a rotten tree cannot produce good fruit. Any tree that fails to produce good fruit is cut down and thrown into a fire. So you will know them by what they produce.””  – Jesus (Matthew 7:15–20, GW)

… you MUST vote or you are not saved!?

… i have a friend in Bangladesh who is a missionary.  the climate in Bangladesh, which is only 0.03% Christian, is hostile to Christianity and there are many stories of people being killed for their beliefs there.  i am helping this friend with fund raising, as the needs are many, in this country where 43.3% of the population of 156.6 million people are below the International Poverty Line of USD $1.25/day.

… when i was setting up the GoFundMe Campaign, i went to my friends Facebook wall to look for pictures and other information i could use.  my friend had posted that he was praying for the US elections.  i read through the comments and oe of the first was;

Thanks ****…its a clincher…God is going to have his way and bring back his glory to this city upon a hill…the Whitehouse…we will be blessed because we have a man and his family that won’t compromise the real American values… Any Patriotic American should vote Straight REPUBLICAN…hugs…

trump

… and i thought, ‘wow.  what a deceived, confused person.

… first, Washington, D.C. has long been rumored to be built on a swamp because of how low it is. although the rumor seems to be false, the truth comes out in an article on ScienceMag.org’s titled Washington, D.C. is sinking .. slowly.  in the article the author writes,

“A sea-level rise of just 10 centimeters could cause $2 billion in damages in the capital, according to a 2012 study. In the much more distant future, a 40-meter drop in elevation would swamp many of today’s landmarks. The base of the Washington Monument on the National Mall is 9 meters above sea level and the base of the Capitol sits 27 meters above the sea.”

… anyways, the “White House” and the rest of DC are NOT upon a hill.  DC is closer to ‘the city in the swamp’ than ‘the city upon a hill.”  then the issue of “real American Values.”  Mr. Trump is on his third marriage.he claims to be one of the 540 greediest people in this country, with over $1Billion in assets, while we have >1,000,000 homeless schoolchildren and 42.2 million living in food insecure households.  so, according to this person who claims to be a Christian, the Father of the Homeless Man called Jesus, will bring His glory to Washington, D.C, and the rest of America, by putting a greedy adulterer in the position known as “Most Powerful Person on Earth.” – aka “President of the United States of America.”

.. another person commented that they hoped the first person was correct, but feared that  “God will judge us where Hillary has a job to do, much like Judas had one.”  i shared an article i wrote called “… the rise of a beast – Trump and the Evangelicals … where i discuss the insane hypocrisy of anyone who thinks Mr. Trump is an example of what a Christian looks like, acts like or talks like. after a few more comments from my new ‘friend’, i shared another blog i wrote about the true foundations of this country called, “… country founded on ‘christian’ principles? .. still believe that one?my new friend told me that i was wrong and that this country was founded on ‘christian principles.’

.. it was at this point that my new friend demanded that i tell him what denomination i was affiliated with, and what church i attend on a weekly basis.  i was called “LUKE WARM” because i would not stand up for ‘Christian Values’ and support the professing greedy adulterer.  i told him that neither candidate was a  Christ follower.  this went on for a while until my new friend wrote this,

“YOU sir are the one who is allowing the corrupt government to move forward with its agenda to eradicate the values of Christianity and to muzzle the free speech and everything else associated with Christianity.”

prov8-15

.. my new friend thinks i’m God, because clearly the Bible teaches that it is God Alone who determines who will rule and reign on this planet that He created.

dan-4-14

… there people who want to take over the US Government for “Christianity” have nothing in common with the Christ Who taught that it would be different among His followers.

“Jesus said to them, “The kings of nations have power over their people, and those in authority call themselves friends of the people. But you’re not going to be that way! Rather, the greatest among you must be like the youngest, and your leader must be like a servant. Who’s the greatest, the person who sits at the table or the servant? Isn’t it really the person who sits at the table? But I’m among you as a servant.” (Luke 22:25–27, GW)

… so, BECAUSE i believe in Jesus  and the words of the Bible, i will trust that God the Father will put the person that He wants into the Presidency regardless of if i vote for that person or not.  and because i believe that, i would hate to vote for the person that the LORD did not want to be President…

Voting for the ‘lesser of two evils’ is still voting for evil.
Don’t vote for evil.

… the man who dressed in purple .. a modern take ..

.. at the end of the sixteenth chapter of the book of Luke, there is a story that Jesus tells about ‘a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day.‘ i want to look at who this ‘certain man’ would be today, and if this was the only time that Jesus or any of the Prophets spoke about the fate of the rich.

“There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day.
evil_bankerBut there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.
veryhungrySo it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom.
abraham-bosomThe rich man also died and was buried. And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.

hell-fire“Then he cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.’
rich_man_and_lazarusBut Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented. And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.’

“Then he said, ‘I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.’
billionairespolitcsAbraham said to him, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’
oldbibleAnd he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ But he said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.’
” (Luke 16:19–31, NKJV)“

.. so who is the ‘certain man?’  and if Jesus was specifically referring to a specific individual, would it have any bearing on our lives?

… let’s just say that the certain rich man was any rich man who liked to eat on gold rimmed dinner plates with crystal glasses to drink from.
richdinner

… after this man dies, he cries out ‘Father Abraham’ so he is a member of the Jewish community. fast forward to today, this man who claims to follow the teaching of Jesus, called Christ, would be a ‘good Christian’ who is involved in his church.  this man would have a nice home or two, nice cars, nice clothes, probably eats out a couple times a week in nice restaurants  in other words, this ‘certain man’ would look a lot like your average ‘middle-to upper class American.’

… the rest of the story needs no explanation, but in the modern version, Father Abraham might remind this rich man of the 21,000 children who die daily because of starvation because they can’t get the $.50 or so it would cost to eat for another day.

… in March of this year, there was an article about all the American Billionaires on Forbes, and in the article it said,

“America boasts 540 billionaires, more than any other country on the planet and more than all of Europe combined.”

… these are the greediest people in the country.  they worship money over people, so they sit loaded down with money, and watch as our schools are being closed because of lack of funds, our cities and states closing services, like homeless shelters. they watch the 1,000,000+ homeless school children struggle to make it through another day.

… and many of these people blame God for making them rich, when it is truly just their greed.

… i think Clement of Alexandria, one of the early church fathers round the year 170 CE, put it like this.

clement

.. in what is called The Beatitudes of Luke chapter 6, Jesus is quoted as saying,

“But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation. “Woe to you who are full now, for you shall be hungry. “Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep. “Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.” (Luke 6:24–26, ESV)

.. the Prophet Ezekiel blamed the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah on the rich who didn’t take care of the poor.

Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy. They were haughty and did an abomination before me. So I removed them, when I saw it.” (Ezekiel 16:49–50, ESV)

… Ezekiel then goes on to describe the penalty for the unrighteous son of a righteous man,

“If he fathers a son who is violent, a shedder of blood, who does any of these things (though he himself did none of these things), who even eats upon the mountains, defiles his neighbor’s wife, oppresses the poor and needy, commits robbery, does not restore the pledge, lifts up his eyes to the idols, commits abomination, lends at interest, and takes profit; shall he then live? He shall not live. He has done all these abominations; he shall surely die; his blood shall be upon himself.” (Ezekiel 18:10–13, ESV)

.. charging interest and making money off of the poor is punishable by death under the Old Covenant.

richest-pastors-in-the-world
richest ‘pastors’ in the world

… stop following men who lie to make themselves wealthy.  they don’t care about you, they just want your money.

… will you listen to the cries of Jesus and the prophets who tell you to listen to the cries of the poor?

…or will you continue to accumulate and consume?  the choice is yours to make…

And a final word to you arrogant rich: Take some lessons in lament.
You’ll need buckets for the tears when the crash comes upon you.
Your money is corrupt and your fine clothes stink.
Your greedy luxuries are a cancer in your gut, destroying your life from within.
You thought you were piling up wealth.
What you’ve piled up is judgment.

All the workers you’ve exploited and cheated cry out for judgment.
The groans of the workers you used and abused are a roar in the ears of the Master Avenger.
You’ve looted the earth and lived it up. But all you’ll have to show for it is a fatter than usual corpse.
In fact, what you’ve done is condemn and murder perfectly good persons, who stand there and take it.

(James 5:1–6, The Message)