Just A Thought…

Those who have read my book JESUS: MILLIONAIRE will be aware of the cogent argument that Jesus was not poor on this earth until He went to the Cross; in fact, far from it. You can read the book here.

In the book I reflect on something the Holy Spirit brought to my attention – that Jesus could not have asked the rich young ruler to do something He had not or could not do Himself i.e. give away his wealth (see Luke 18:18-30).

Jesus was funded from an early age at the level of royalty. The caravan train bringing Him wealth was so vast it frightened the people of Jerusalem.

Now it stands to reason that, probably after making provision for His mother and siblings, Jesus gave His wealth away.

Here is what I believe is a possible scenario:

Jesus preached Good News to the poor, based on verses from Isaiah 61. Kenneth Hagin speculates that this was a sermon Jesus possibly preached as a mission statement pretty much wherever He went.

Of course, good news to the poor is not that they have a wee cabin over the hilltop when they die. It is that poverty days are over and God is going to prosper them here on earth!

Now my thought is, what if it was more than that?

By this I mean that Jesus practised what James wrote in his epistle:

 If a brother or sister is naked and lacking daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” and yet you give them nothing that the body needs, what does it profit? JAMES 2:15,16 MEV

Jesus’ words certainly had the power in them to break the shackles of poverty but what if it was more than that? What if He gave money to the poor out of His vast fortune?

We know from scripture that Jesus was always giving to the poor. In John 13 we read that when Judas left the upper room at the Last Supper it was thought he was going to give to the poor (v29). This means it must have been a common thing for him to do.

Judas was the treasurer and he was prone to dip into the funds to help himself (John 12:6). This implies there was always plenty in the bag because if it was only a few pence it would not have been worth stealing and would have been easily noticed.

What if Jesus spent His ministry giving away His huge wealth? This would certainly gather a crowd and generate publicity! It would also authenticate His message. We know Jesus and His disciples gave to the poor but we tend to think of it in pennies rather than big amounts.

In JESUS: MILLIONAIRE I point out that the disciples were businessmen who were so impressed with Jesus’ lifestyle they left their own for something better. Do we really believe the religious fables that these responsible men, some of them with families, left their livelihoods to hang out with a beatnik hippy Rabbi with no money?

People in business are not normally impressed by poverty or peddlers of poverty. So Jesus clearly wasn’t poor or looking like it.  When this Man walked in, everybody wanted what He had! And if you think that this was just peace of mind and other spiritual attributes, you are kidding yourself on. This Man looked like a King and lived like a King. He had it together in every way. This is what attracted people to Him.

Is Jesus’ example of giving lavishly to the poor maybe the inspiration for Zaccheus becoming generous (see Luke 19:1-10)?

Did Jesus model His own teaching by distributing the lavish fortune He was given as a child and had probably grown extensively in business to the poor in His ministry?

It is speculation, yes, but it does fit the narrative.

Do we really think that Jesus put such emphasis on the poor yet only managed to give them a trickle of funds during His time ministering to them?

It is time we re-thought these things. Religiosity has too long held sway over our thinking on these matters.

It is time for us to face the stark reality that if Jesus was poor on the earth prior to the Cross, God has some explaining to do.

Read the book to find out why!

The Sign Of The Dollar

dollartHave you ever noticed how the dollar sign resembles a serpent on a pole?

I don’t believe this is an accident.

Some people believe it comes from the sign of Hermes, the Greek god of commerce but we know that counterfeiting the true is a ploy of the evil one.

The serpent on a pole is biblical:

Then they journeyed from Mount Hor by the Way of the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; and the soul of the people became very discouraged on the way. And the people spoke against God and against Moses: “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and our soul loathes this worthless bread.” So the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and many of the people of Israel died. Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord and against you; pray to the Lord that He take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people. Then the Lord said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and it shall be that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live.” So Moses made a bronze serpent, and put it on a pole; and so it was, if a serpent had bitten anyone, when he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived. NUMBERS 31:4-9 NKJV

This serpent – or nehushtan was a type of Christ, signifying the Saviour’s death on the cross, where He became sin for us and took our sicknesses and diseases upon Him. It is used as a symbol of the medical profession to this day. Those Israelites who were bitten by the fiery serpents were healed by only a look at Moses’ bronze (some translations say brass) serpent. There is life for a look at the crucified One, as the old song says.

Seeing your sin upon Jesus brings you salvation. Seeing your sickness upon Him is health and healing to you. He bore both sin and sickness in our stead. It is important to note that Jesus became sin on the cross. He took upon Him our Adamic, serpent nature.

So what does this have to do with the dollar sign?

Everything is the answer.

You see, it is God’s will that we be delivered from evil. Jesus actually instructed us to pray this in Matthew chapter 6. We are to pray “Deliver us from evil.”

As Bill Johnson often points out, the Greek word for “evil” here is poneros.  It came from the word ponos, which means “pain.” And that word came from the root word penes, which means “poor.” This is what Jesus came to destroy: evil-sin, pain-sickness and poor-poverty.

The root of all evil is lack. This produces poverty spiritually – sin is to fall short of God’s glory. Poverty in the body is lack of good health. And poverty in your finances is to lack what you need to live a satisfying life.

The dollar sign reminds us of God’s remedy for man’s lack in every realm i.e. the crucified Christ. Jesus bore all OUR evil in Himself on the cross. The dollar sign is thus a symbol of our redemption. Jesus paid the ransom price to set us free. He who knew no sin and in whom was no evil or death became the sinful, sick and broke US on the cross, in exchange for HIS righteousness, His life and His riches in glory.

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 be rich. 2 CORINTHIANS 8:9 KJVER

Remember that the Romans viewed crucifixion as much more than a form of capital punishment. To the Romans, crucifixion was a statement of Rome’s power and its right to utterly impoverish all who opposed this power. Crucifixion was, to the Romans, the ultimate form of bankruptcy and was implemented as a very public lesson to any with seditious thoughts.

Crucified victims were stripped naked to ram home the message that Roman rule meant you were owned by the empire.

Jesus bore excruciating poverty on every level in order that we could walk in infinite, superabundant supply.

When you look at the dollar sign, do not think of mere money. Think of the destitution that was in your old self and how that destitute old self was nailed to the tree in Christ. Christ bore your Adamic nature and took your poverty in every area upon Him.

He was the serpent on the pole, bearing all your evil.

It is LIFE, PEACE and JOY to gaze upon Him crucified.

And now you can walk in plenty, knowing no lack or fear thereof.

You are the redeemed, the rich and the righteous!

Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law by being made a curse for us—as it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree” — so that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. GALATIANS 3:13,14 MEV

See your poverty upon Jesus as He hung on the cross. Now, see yourself as walking in His riches in glory. These riches belong to you.

 

Wealth With A Purpose

Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causes through us thanksgiving to God. 2 CORINTHIANS 9:11 KJVER

Very often the life of faith is lived in paradox. This means living in the tension between two seemingly opposing thoughts. For example, we are supposed to live in peace with all men and we serve the Prince of Peace. However, Jesus Himself said He came not to bring peace but a sword.

Scripture has plenty of such apparent contradictions. The truth is, they are not so much contradictory as accepting of the fact that life on this planet has many variables and is lived in a state of flux. There is a time to speak and a time to be silent. There are appropriate times and seasons for things.

Another paradox is that God has given us abundant scriptural warrant to believe Him for success and prosperity in the economic realm. We are created to be productive and multiply – and money is a massive part of this. He gives us power to get wealth and Jesus died to get Abraham’s billionaire blessing on us (see Deuteronomy 8:18 and Galatians 3:13,14). Yet we are to be content if we have our basic needs met (1 Timothy 6:8). That is some paradox!

It is an easily explained one. You are supposed to desire increase in your finances. But not for purposes of avarice.

You see, the paradox is this: Prosperity is about YOU. But prosperity is not about YOU.

God wants you rich, yes. No question about that. And your faith is involved. Now, since faith works by desire (Mark 11:22-24), you need to desire financial abundance in order for your faith to have a target. But you are not supposed to want to get rich (1 Timothy 6). A conundrum indeed.

The answer to it all is your MOTIVE or PURPOSE in getting rich.

This verse brings it out perfectly:

And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: 2 CORINTHIANS 9:8

God multiplies favour toward us so that we can have all sufficiency in all things. This is not just about managing, this is living in plenty. As we overflow in our own circumstances we can then abound to every good work. Notice it says ABOUND, not just give a little.

You have to catch the spirit of this.

This is about abounding personally FOR THE PURPOSE OF ABOUNDING TO OTHERS!!! Your personal increase is based upon the desire to bless others. Now, it is not wrong to want to prosper. It is not wrong to desire better things, bigger houses, nicer clothes, faster cars. Especially if you want to give your family a better life. And that is the clue: you want to prosper for others’ sake.

We can even see this in the world system. Wealthy people often give a massive part of their wealth away to good causes. Now, if you will have this heart for others in your dealings financially, you qualify for extreme abundance! On the other hand, if you want to be Mr Big, you are setting yourself up for ruin. It just makes good sense that God has reserved ultra wealth for people who are happy to use their wealth to bless those less fortunate than themselves.

Maybe this spirit of generosity explains why some of the super-rich get their money – because they are prepared to give so much away. Worth a thought… Remember that God sees the heart.

We can also see how this applies to the Abrahamic Covenant.

Now the LORD had said to Abram:
“Get out of your country,
From your family
And from your father’s house,
To a land that I will show you.
I will make you a great nation;
I will bless you
And make your name great;
And you shall be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you,
And I will curse him who curses you;
And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
GENESIS 12:1-3 NKJV

blessed-to-be-a-blessingWe see that God promises here to bless Abraham personally and make his name great. But it wasn’t to stop at Abraham! He was not just to be blessed, HE WAS TO BE A BLESSING! This is where we get the phrase “blessed to be a blessing.”

Not only that, all the families of the earth are to be blessed in Abraham and his seed. This is no small enterprise; this is a massive global program involving everyone.

Your prosperity is linked to the divine purpose of the Abrahamic Covenant! You are to prosper so that others may prosper!

This brings us back to our verse at the start:

Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causes through us thanksgiving to God. 2 CORINTHIANS 9:11 KJVER

We are to be made rich in every way so that we can be bountiful in our giving. Thus we will fulfill our side of the Abrahamic Covenant in terms of our financial and economic commitment. God’s side is to give us power to get wealth on this planet (Deuteronomy 8:18), to enrich us in everything.

Wealth with a purpose is not about curbing your ambitions but is about refining them. The purpose of our being rich is to manifest what is ours in glory realms so that others can be blessed by this.

Think of it this way: God’s business is blessing you; your business is blessing others. Our job is to be blessed so that we can bless others.

You can be as rich as you want to be if you will simply channel your blessings to a world that needs them.