The Image Of God In Man- Image And Likeness
©2016 Dr. Irene Bonney Faulkes DD


We find that both these words “image” and “likeness” are used interchangeably in the scriptures. In Gen.1:26  both words appear, yet in vs.27 we find only “image”. In Gen.5:1 the word “likeness” is found. Gen.9:6 uses “image” alone, and then when we come to the NT. we discover in 1 Cor.11:7 “image” alone and in Jams. 3:9 “likeness” is used.

Genesis 1:26 Then God said, “Let us make humankind (man) in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea etc.”  “Image” is  from the Hebrew “tselem”.  The meaning is, “”Image is related to nature, i.e. the immaterial part of man”.  “Likeness” is from “demuth”, meaning “likeness, not in a physical sense, but that we have a spiritual nature like God’s.”

Before going any further, we should mention that the dominion God gave Adam and thus mankind, is that over the earth, the sky and the living creatures.  It suggests a natural dominion in relation to nature itself and creation.  This did not make Adam Lord or God of such.  Rather, as being made in the image of God, he had been created with the potential of governing within creation that was God’s possession.  Man having fallen into sin never lost that.  Hence we are blessed in many ways with living in an advanced civilization full of material things created by man, under God.

There was never a spiritual dominion given to Adam.  The temptation by Satan to Eve was, “if you eat, you shall be like God, knowing good and evil.  The extent of having likeness to God under the fall did indeed mean a certain knowledge better not known and a supremacy in man’s sinful heart that he is a god unto himself.  The present day teaching on dominion in this world by believers, in a natural sense, has never been taught in the Word of God.   Rather, as believers only, “We reign as kings” but “in the realm of life (of Christ and of eternal content only)”.

We believers are in this category in the world of one shared by all mankind as God wills, both humanity of advanced civilization and that of what we would consider to be, the less endowed portion in nations.

Psalm 8:5 says of Adam and it is quoted in Hebrews 2:6,7 especially  of Jesus Christ in His humanity – “You have made him less than God”.  (meelohim).  This means that man has been placed at the head of all God’s works, including the creatures such as animals.  It is an earthly dominion for this earth until it ends as God has planned.  It is not eternal and will never be regained as is taught wrongly.  God intends making “new heavens and a new earth wherein dwells righteousness”.

Thus we ask, “What are the features with which man was created, that reflect his Creator so as to be made in His image and likeness?”

God is Spirit (Jn.4:24).  The original Greek is not “a Spirit” as translated by the KJV.  It is “Spirit”.  He is invisible. When it states we were created in His image it does not mean that God is a physical being and that we are like Him in that manner. This is unfortunately the misunderstandings of the Mormon church and now many evangelicals, such as the Charismatics and Pentecostals. In the Hebrew language Image tselem- is related to nature, the immaterial part of man. It means we have a spiritual nature like God in a finite way. Likeness- Heb. demuth does not mean in a physical sense. This means we have a spiritual nature like God. God is Spirit. The similarity is we have qualities like God, but finite.  He alone has infinite attributes.  Ours are subject to death, meaning “dissolution” and thus finite.  Man has an eternal spirit which can live on after the physical body dies.

If man’s image were physical, made in the image of God, Jesus would not have had to take the form of a man.  He would have already possessed it. If man is an exact image, then is God both male and female.  In no sense is there gender in God, even though men and women were both made in the image of God. Does God have a literal body as we?  Does he also have reproductive organs and bodily functions as we do?  Does this mean Christ was a literal offspring of his Father as we also conceive children?   We know the answer to all is “No”.   Taking terms in their complete literal sense can sometimes make no sense at all. Especially when they are not intended to be interpreted that way.

“When Gentiles, who do not have the law (moral), do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, since they show the requirements of the law written in their hearts…” (Rom. 2:14-15).  How are they able to do this? Because they still have the image of God in them as explained.  It may be distorted but there is enough alive for it to still operate.

Image means a personal likeness. God is a personal being so is man. There is also a moral likeness we were created in. God is Holy. Man, like his creator, had what is termed unconfirmed creature holiness in his original state in the garden.  He has a conscience.  If Adam had not sinned all this in its fulness would have been passed on to his offspring.  After Adam sinned the same nature of sin was passed on to all as well as a certain natural morality and conscience.  When we experience the new birth a nature of holiness is instituted back again alongside the old nature.  Rather, this is only as a ‘”re-creation”, in a “new creation”, or a new manner, “the new man”!

Man was not made in the likeness of any creature but in the likeness of his Creator.  However, between God and man there is an infinite distance.  Christ only is the express image of God’s person, as the Son of his Father, having the same nature.  Christ only is God.  Man is never a little god.   It is only some of God’s honour that is put upon man, who is God’s image only as the shadow in the glass, or the king’s impress upon the coin.

God’s image upon man consists in his nature and constitution, not those of his body (for God has not a body) but those of his soul, rather his spirit (soul being an attachment of same but different).  God has put upon the body of man, the honour that “the Word was made flesh”.  The Son of God was clothed with a body like ours and will shortly clothe ours with a glory like that of His.

It was by this Son that God made the world and man, indeed all creation.  God by the Son formed the body of man, at first, according to the  design  for  the Son Himself who would be born “in the fulness of time”.

However, it is the soul  of man, that specially bears God’s image. The soul as part of man is  connected to his spirit, an intelligent immortal spirit, an influencing active spirit. In this way man resembles God, the Father of spirits.   Note   “The father of lights” James 1:17  and “The father of spirits” Hebrews 12:9.  “The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord” Proverbs 20:27.  Man is “spirit, soul and body”, 1 Thessalonians 5:23.

Being made in God’s image also means communication with others.  This he does with soul and body.  As God communicates within the Trinity, likewise man does with other people. Just as He exercises authority over the universe. God gave man authority over the earth and animals. There needs to be balance in understanding just how man was to reflect His image. D.E. Trueblood said “To say God is completely different from us is as absurd to say that he is completely like us”.

Looking at whose image Christ is in, Col.1:15 “He is in the image of the invisible God.” Christ alone is this image. Man will not be what Christ is in His nature, even when we are glorified.

The Greek word for “image” is “eikon” indicating “a perfect image”. It is related to Christ’s nature and substance. It is a Spiritual image, meaning He is the very substance and nature of God.  In John 14:9 when Jesus used the expression “if you have seen me you have seen the Father” He  means that as the Son He is expressing the Father’s nature.  “Making the Father known” indicates He is the very substance and nature of God. An exact reproduction is what we can see, because before that He states “No man has seen the Father”.

Hebrews 1:3 states, “Who being the brightness of his glory and express image of his person”.  Christ is that brightness of the Father’s glory.  He is the perfect representation of another person therefore He too is a person of like nature.  Jesus is the exact image.  The word used is an illustration of an engraving tool that would stamp its impression on a coin or seal. It bears the image produced by it having the exact reproduction of the original. Yet the image is not the same identity as the seal. Neither is the Son the identical person as the Father except in His nature.

In Romans 8:29 we are told that we are “to be conformed to the image of his Son.”  This is a partial renewal now and a complete one when we see Jesus and become like Him. It should be a continual process of sanctification and holiness of life, even though it was started the time we were born again.    We do not become God nor will we be exactly like Him in the resurrection. We are creatures and will stay this way, each with his own identity.  We will never be “the express image” of God, as Christ is.  It is only Christ who is the I Am and that express image and not to be said of us.   We shouldn’t strive to be something we clearly are not.  If the faith teachers would learn from the mistakes of the cults they wouldn’t be so prone to repeat them!

The NEW  VERSION  of what IMAGE  means

For all of us who sincerely desire the truths of the gospel and the Word of God, we are committed to looking into all matters such as this.  Our dedication to Christ will lead us regarding His words, that are Spirit and are life.  We need the Holy Spirit to teach us in these as indeed all doctrines that come our way.  He guides into “all Truth” so that we must follow Truth and not winds of doctrine.

The Word of God itself encourages us to examine everything in relation to Scripture.  Therefore we would be wise to look closely at the teachings that have become prevalent in our churches.  We have to say that there are Tele-evangelists who also have a distorted teaching on Christ’s pre-existence and how he became man.  Here are some examples.

Let us look at what they have publicly stated and presumably still believe and follow.

Creflo Dollar as all Word of Faith teachers says,  “When God made Adam all He did was make an exact imprint of Himself.  He duplicated Himself.  He was the image and from His image, came Himself….You are an exact duplicate of the image of God and God is a speaking spirit….God took a reflection of Himself and put it in a physical body formed out of the dust and gave him authority of all physical  things on the planet. So that like He was God in heaven, now He’s made Adam god of the earth… God wanted a god on the earth like He was God in heaven. And God said, I tell you what I’m going to do this time.  I’m going to have to reproduce Myself.  Like I’m God up here in heaven.  I’m going to make Me a god and put Myself in the physical body so that he can guard the earth and keep out all intruders in the earth. (speaking of Adam) he was all God.  He was just like God.” (Our Equality with God Through Righteousness 1/21/2001)

“Originally, God made the earth and the fullness thereof, giving Adam dominion over all the works of His hands. In other words, Adam was the god of this world.” (The Believer’s Authority,p.19 2d ed. [Tulsa, OK: Kenneth Hagin Ministries, 1991]).  Of course, these preachers have error and heresy.

B. Hinn “…If you say , I am, your saying you’re a part of him, right ? Is he God ? are you his offspring? Are you his children? You can’t be human! You can’t, you can’t!” (Our position in Christ #2 1990 audio side 2)

“God came to earth and touched a piece of dust and turned it into a God. …Are you a child of God? Then you’re divine! Are you a child of God? Then you’re not human!” (Benny Hinn TBN, Dec 1, 1990).

“What was the appearance of God the Father? Like that of a man…God has the likeness of fingers and hands and a face.” (Good Morning Holy Spirit, p. 82, Benny Hinn, Word, 1991)

“What does God the Father look like? Although I’ve never seen Him, I believe – as with the Holy Spirit – He looks like Jesus looked on earth.” (Benny Hinn, Good Morning Holy Spirit, p.87, Word, 1991)

“Do they preach another Jesus, another Holy Spirit?”?  2 Corinthians 11:4 says “For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel …”

Copeland repeats the same misunderstandings, God is a “spirit-being with a body, complete with eyes, and eyelids, ears, nostrils, a mouth, hands and fingers, and feet.” Kenneth Copeland ministry letter, 21 July 1977

The Mormon Church has been teaching these doctrines for years – “I say, if you were to see him today, you would see him like a man in form- like yourselves, in all the person, image and very form as a man….” (J. Smith History of the Church vol.6 p.305)

Hagin repeats the Mormon error – “The image being that he was a copy, looked just like, if you stood Adam upside God they look just exactly alike…Now a lot of people have missed that…but that’s exactly true…The image is that they looked just alike. But the likeness, is that they act alike, and they are alike…Now here’s Adam in the image of God, and in the likeness of God. All of God’s attributes, all of God’s authority, all of God’s faith, all of God’s ability, was invested in that man.” (The Authority of the Believer IV, Tape #01-0304)

Charles Capps “God said, Let us make man in our image after our likeness. The word likeness in the original Hebrew means an exact duplication in kind…Adam was an exact duplication of Gods kind.”(Authority in three worlds pp.15-16)

Kenneth Hagin repeats the heresy, “Originally, God made the earth and the fullness thereof, giving Adam dominion over all the works of His hands. In other words, Adam was the god of this world.” (The Believer’s Authority,p.19 2d ed. [Tulsa, OK: Kenneth Hagin Ministries, 1991])

Copeland speaking of Adam says, “his body and Adams were the exactly the same size.” (Holy bible K. Copeland Reference edition p.45)

K. Copeland speaking of God states, “A being that stands somewhere around 6-2 , 6-3 that weighs somewhere in the neighbourhood of a couple of hundred pounds or a little better, has a span of 9 inches across (relating to his own hand span)”.  (Spirit, soul and a Body 1985 audio # 01-0601 side 1)

Now lets look at those outside the evangelical church to the Mormons, a cult that evangelicals oppose. “First God himself, who sits enthroned in yonder heavens, is a man unto one of yourselves, that is the great secret.” (J. Smith jr. Times and Seasons vol.5 p.613 Aug.15 1844)

“First, we believe that God is a being with a body in form like man’s; that he possesses body, parts and passions; that in a word, God is an exalted, perfected man” { Brigham H. Roberts conference of the Mutual Improvement Associations of the Salt Lake Stake of Zion, August 18,1901, published in both the Deseret News and the Improvement Era}

Kenneth Hagin states, “[Man] was created on terms of equality with God, and he could stand in God’s presence without any consciousness of inferiority…God made us as much like Himself as possible…He made us the same class of being that He is Himself…Man lived in the realm of God. He lived on terms equal with God…[The] believer is called Christ…That’s who we are; we’re Christ” (Zoe: The God-Kind of Life,   pp. 35-36, 41 1989)

Kenneth Copeland teaches, “Gods reason for creating Adam was his desire to reproduce himself.  I mean a reproduction of himself. And in the garden of Eden he did just that. He was not a little like God, he was not almost like God, he was not subordinate to God even…Adam was as much like God as you can get, just the same as Jesus . Adam in the Garden of Eden was God manifested in the flesh.” (Following the faith of Abraham #01-3001 Audio side 1).  How he can raise man to the level of Jesus in rank heresy is astounding, when one considers    Colossians 1:15,16 He (Jesus) is the (‘the’ means only one)  image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.  For in him all things in heaven and on earth were created”.  V.17 “He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together.  18 He is the head of the body; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead,  SO THAT HE MIGHT COME TO HAVE FIRST PLACE IN EVERYTHING’”.

Christ is the firstborn from the dead and is thus the Prince of life, giving life to the church.  He was not created to be firstborn in the manner of having to be born again – “the first man to be born again” as they wrongly say.  He was the first one to come out of death, and in that sense is the firstborn.  Thus he is the Author of eternal life, He who went through death in Life and He who is the Life, 1 John 1:2.  See verse 1, “the Word of Life” and John 1:1 “The Word was God”.

This can never mean that He was born again.  Only sinners have the need to be born again, as in John 3:1-17.  “He did no sin and neither was guile found in His mouth”, 1 Peter 2:22.  He is he head of all creation by virtue of being the Son of God through Whom creation was made.  He is the Head of the church by reason of His being the first out of death, always having Life.  He has the pre-eminence and first place in everything, in creation and in the church.

Copeland’s words sound similar to Brigham Young’s statement , “Adam is our father and God.” ( Brigham Young, Deseret News, 6/16/1873).   “When our father Adam came into the garden of Eden, he came into it with a celestial body and brought Eve,… He is our father and our God and the Only god with whom we have to do.”   (Brigham young Journal of  Discourses, vol.1 p.50)

Let us note this one – “God and man are of the same race, differing only in their degree of advancement” (Mormon Apostle, Dr. John Widtsoe Gospel Through the Ages, pg.107). All of these are distortions by Christians and Mormons are based on a misunderstanding of what image means. Cultic interpretations will continue to flourish in the fertile soil of misunderstanding. What is the most damaging is that it is accepted as a replacement for the truth the church has always believed.

Copeland states  “Am I God? Man was created in the god class. Not created in the animal class. He’s in the god class. He has a uniqueness about him that even angels do not have. …Now Peter said, by exceeding great and precious promises you become partakers of the divine nature. All right, are we gods? we are a class of gods.” (“Praise the Lord” (TBN), recorded 2/5/86)

Hinn says, “This spirit-man within me is a God-man. Say after me, ‘He’s born of heaven, he’s a super-being’…Say ‘I’m born of heaven – God-man. I’m a God-man. I’m a sample of Jesus. I’m a super being.’ Say it! Say it! ‘Who’s a super being? I walk in the realm of the supernatural’.” (as is quoted in “Joel’s Army,” by Jewel van der Merwe, Discernment Ministries).

It seems  that if Joseph Smith or Brigham Young were around today they would be well accepted by the Charismatics who teach likewise. Does teaching matter? We find that it is  only correct Biblical teaching and Truth that distinguishes Christianity from the cults.   The apostles mentioned the need for following “The Truth” around forty times and “The Truth” would be found in the New Testament up to one hundred times.  That is how important knowing and following “The Truth” is.

TEACHING – THAT JESUS was RICH and WEALTHY

There are  many today who are teaching that Jesus was rich. They say that Jesus and the disciples were rich as only rich people could take off for 3.5 years. (Fred Price, Ever Increasing Faith, recorded 11/23/90).  Obviously such preachers have never lived as millions of pastors, evangelists and Christian workers live in Third World countries.  Many exist on next to nothing and most never live as we do in our wonderful world.

Frederick K.C. Price states: “The Bible says that He [Jesus] had a treasurer-a treasury (they called it “the bag”); that they had one man who was the treasurer, named Judas Iscariot; and the rascal was stealing out of the bag for three-and-a-half years and nobody knew that he was stealing. You know why? Because there was so much in it, He couldn’t tell. Nobody could tell that anything was missing…, if Jesus didn’t have anything, what do you need a treasury for? A treasury is for surplus. It’s not for that which you’re spending. It’s only for surplus-to hold it until you need to spend it. Therefore, He must have had a whole lot that needed to be held in advance that He wasn’t spending. So He must have had more than He was living on.” (“Ever Increasing Faith” program on TBN [23 November 1990.)

Among those who teach Jesus and the apostles are rich are Oral Roberts, Creflo Dollar and there was Kenneth Hagin.  John Avanzini attacks and mocks theologians for teaching that Jesus was poor. “I don’t know where these goofy traditions creep in at, but one of the goofiest ones s that Jesus and His disciples were poor. Now there’s no Bible to substantiate that.” ( “Was Jesus poor? Video)

Was Jesus rich?  Let us look at the clear biblical evidence. Jesus was born in a stable (his parents knew the approximate time of his birth so they could have reserved a place,  God could have made sure he had a room) but it was to be in a stable, a cave. In Luke :22-24 we see that Mary sacrifices two turtle doves which is a poor household’s sacrifice (Lev.12:2-8).  Also, why did Mary in her praise say “He has filled the hungry with good things and the rich he has sent away empty” ?

Jesus gave up all the riches that are His in heaven to become a man and was born to a poor family  but not homeless and destitute.   His stepfather was carpenter.  If they had money from the gold given at His birth (as some claim) he would not have had to work. The Bible does not mention He had riches but many teach this from silence.

Archaeological excavations of Nazareth from the 1950’s show the village of Jesus’ day were occupied by poor agricultural people.   As Jesus grew up He worked in the trade of a carpenter, not a trade known for its wealth.  How did Jesus become rich with a step-dad who was only a carpenter?  There is absolutely no indication anywhere that He was wealthy from His family or from travelling with His disciples.  By the way, He took no tithes.   If He on earth took no tithes why and how He in heaven now can take tithes?

In Luke 2:22-24,  Jesus is taken to the Temple by His mother.   A poor families sacrifice is made – two pigeons, according to Leviticus 12:8.  Had they been rich as the prosperity teachers claim they would have had to make a larger sacrifice because if they did not and were rich it would mean they broke the law.

That Jesus was not rich is indicated by Matthew 11:7-8 and Luke 7:25, “As they departed, Jesus began to say to the multitudes concerning John: ‘What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? But what did you go out to see? A man clothed in soft garments? Indeed those who are gorgeously apparelled and live in luxury are in kings’ courts’.” Neither John or Jesus dressed as those who show God’s blessings today with thousand dollar suits and shoes. Why does Jesus’ cousin John wear such bad clothing while Jesus is walking around in what they claim was an expensive  piece of clothing (a seamless garment).  Didn’t He share?

Avanzini says “Jesus had a nice house, a big house, big enough to have company stay the night with Him at the house. Let me show YOU His house. G0 over to John the first chapter and I’ll show you His house. Now, child of God, that’s a house big enough to have company stay the night in. There’s His house.” (Believers voice of Victory program, TBN Jan.20,1991)

I couldn’t find it! How about you? Avanzini says “Jesus had a big house” but it was Peter’s mother-in-law’s house in Capernaum that was often used as a base, it was not His, Matthew 8:15.

What about this verse.  Matt. 8:19-20, “Then a certain scribe came and said to Him, “Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go.”  And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” Jesus himself he had no place to lay his head, no permanent home, he constantly travelled. He dressed like everyone else, he even said to forsake this world to inherit his kingdom.  His kingdom is not of this world and he made it perfectly clear in His teachings. Some seem to think that Moses may have gotten it all wrong to have forsaken the riches and pleasures of Egypt and suffer affliction with his brethren looking by faith to him who is invisible.”, Heb.11:24-27).  He did not have to.  He could have had the best of both worlds.

The rich young ruler came to Jesus and He responded by telling to him to give all his riches to the poor and follow Him. Was Jesus telling him to rid himself of riches while he actually possessed them Himself? Would He ask someone to do something He himself would not?

In 2 Cor.8:9 Paul states of Jesus “being rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that through his poverty you might become rich” (this is spiritual riches). In the only place where it might give a hint of wealth it says He became poor.  That was being poor on earth.  The question is, “Did Jesus become poor during his lifetime so we can become rich financially later?”  This “being rich” is speaking of His pre-existence in His position of glory.  He became poor in becoming a servant in position and also in his social life, as found in Zech. 9:9, “Behold, your King is coming to you; he is just and having salvation, lowly and riding on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey.”  Even His fulfilling prophecy as a king was in humility of His position. He came as a servant, not a king, but today we have those who want to have crowns recognized for their positions now. It is quite the opposite in the Scripture, “He who is exalted will be humbled”. We are to follow Jesus’ pattern, yet some actually think if Jesus came today He would have the best clothes, drive a top model car with a top model one for his wife.  We should have mansions here  as rewards that are for heaven.

He was buried in another man’ tomb and that a rich man’s. If Had He or His family been rich, He would have been buried in His own family tomb.  This again proves that He had no money for this.  Neither did his family nor the apostles have the money to pay for such a burial.  It was actually a donated that proved to be just a loan as Jesus rose from the dead.  Jesus in His ministry had borrowed many things. He borrowed a manger, boats and He borrowed a colt. He borrowed a house for Passover and of course He was  buried in a borrowed tomb. Christ came in complete humility as stated in 2 Cor. 8:9 “Christ, that though He was rich, (owning everything) yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.”  (Meaning spiritually rich.)

We trace the poverty of Jesus and the disciples in His teaching with the disciples present.

This was the time of the  miracle of the 5,000 being fed, Mark 6:32-40.  Jesus there asks the disciples to feed the hungry people who have sat all day listening to His teaching. They respond by saying they did not possess enough  money to be able to do this. They would need two hundred pennyworth of bread, this being about twenty-eight dollars.   This did not  even represent riches for these  thirteen people. The disciples had a common purse in which they carried their money, consisting of the donations of their friends and money to be given to the poor ( John 12:6; Matt 26:8-9; Luke 8:3).  Obviously they had  this amount in their possession as Philip asked Jesus the question (John 6:7) – about them taking “ALL” that they had (twenty eight dollars) and spending it on a single meal.  It took a miracle to feed this crowd, performed by Jesus out of their lack of riches.

Then there is the fact that Jesus sent the disciples out without money ( Mt. 10:9-12) “ Provide neither gold nor silver nor copper in your money belts,  nor bag for your journey, nor two tunics, nor sandals, nor staffs; for a worker is worthy of his food.  Now whatever city or town you enter, inquire who in it is worthy, and stay there till you go out.”  They did not rent a room but depended on others hospitality and the Lord for their provision. The money belt was a small purse that would carry very little coins, they did not have dollar bills then but coins.

Before Jesus is betrayed ( Luke 22:35-36) And He said to them, “When I sent you without money bag, knapsack, and sandals, did you lack anything?” So they said, “Nothing.”  Then He said to them, “But now, he who has a money bag, let him take it, and likewise a knapsack; and he who has no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one.” If the disciples were well to do they wouldn’t need to sell one of their two garments for a small sword. Jesus also reminded them of how they were sent out with nothing and God met their needs. This again proves they did not have enormous wealth.

The Temple tax which Peter paid For Jesus and himself did not come out of the pocket of their treasurer.  Matt. 17:24- 27: “When they had come to Capernaum, those who received the temple tax came to Peter and said, “Does your Teacher not pay the temple tax?”  He said, “Yes.” V.27   Nevertheless, lest we offend them, go to the sea, cast in a hook, and take the fish that comes up first. And when you have opened its mouth, you will find a piece of money; take that and give it to them for me and you.” If the disciples had money as Faith teachers claim Jesus would not have had Peter go fish for a coin, they would have already had it. This is one of the miracles we don’t see anyone copy today, despite their claims of “we can do all that Jesus did.”

When Mary took a pound of very costly oil in John 12:3 and  anointed the feet of Jesus, “Judas Iscariot said,  ‘Why was this fragrant oil not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?’  This he said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the money box; and he used to take what was put in it.” If all this money were available there would  have been no need to go out and find more.  Luke 22:4-5: “So he went his way and conferred with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray Him to them.  And they were glad, and agreed to give him money.”  Mark 14:10-11, “Then Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Him to them.  And when they heard it, they were glad, and promised to give him money. So he sought how he might conveniently betray Him.”   He had not been rich!

JESUS TEACHES ABOUT RICHES

What does Jesus teach about riches?

Kenneth Hagin claims not only for himself but from the Bible’s written promise, “He [also] wants His children to eat the best.  He wants them to wear the best clothing, He wants them to drive the best cars, and He wants them to have the best of everything.” (Quoted by D.L. McConnell a different Gospel p.175)

However, this is what Jesus says, “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God”, Luke 6:20.   Who is right?   Hagin or Jesus?  Was it riches of this world Jesus was promising or spiritual blessings?

Throughout the Bible there is a constant warning of riches being a snare. David who had it all prayed that the Lord would not give him too little, that he would be in need or too much that he would forget God. In the middle ages the church thought that for one to be poor was equivalent to being spiritual. Today it is on the opposite extreme, to be rich shows God’s blessings. They have fixed their eyes on earth and become subject to the earthly law of gravity, instead of fixing their eyes to heaven above by true faith.

Do riches prove God’s blessings? Nothing could be further from the truth. Their are many a heathen and atheist who are rich despite their disbelief. Prosperity is not an absolute to show Gods hand in ones life, it might in fact show the opposite.

Proverbs 16:16: tells those who want to pursue God – it is better to get wisdom instead of gold.  Christ is “made unto us Wisdom”.

He said, “Seek not for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  Jesus was telling His followers not to seek for riches on earth.  Rather we are to so live that we are laying up treasures for ourselves in heaven.

“All of us must appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each may receive recompense for what has been done in the body, whether good or evil”, 2 Corinthians 5:10.  Hence we should take note of what Jesus said about laying up treasures for ourselves in heaven.  The treasures will be received, if at all, at that seat of judgment.

In 1 Corinthians 3:12,13 we are told how we can lay up heavenly treasures and also that it is possible to arrive in heaven only to receive no rewards.  It reads, “Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw – the work of each builder will become visible, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each has done.  One wonders about the test of fire on false teachings of wealth and financial prosperity in this life.  Will those efforts be burnt up with fire?  Can they be classed as “wood, hay and straw?”  then again, what will be the result for those who listen and follow such teachings?  Surely this calls for serious thought.

Jonathan Edwards said “Aim at heaven and you get earth thrown in, aim at earth and you get neither.”

We now deal with the parable they use, found in Matthew 13:22-23: “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.  23  But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”

Avanzini distorts this scripture like no other saying that the seed is money and that we can get a hundred fold return.  Many sadly teach and follow the same idea.  We should surely ask ourselves, “Do we see this taught by Jesus or the disciples?”   No! This is an insertion to attract increase, that mainly benefits such preachers who become multi-millionaires.

We need to examine the parable and see what it really is teaching.  Jesus explains the parable of the sower by saying in vs.19  that the seed is the word.   Before that He has explained  how the people need ears to hear so they can understand and be fruitful.  In vs. 37  He explains further that the sower of the good seed is the Son of Man meaning either Jesus himself or those who preach the same message of His word.   The good seeds are the sons of the kingdom. In other words those born of incorruptible seed which is the word of God 1 Peter 1:23 are in the world as a growing plant to produce fruit of the Spirit.  The seed is Spiritual.  It is not material or natural and therefore can never be money or a sowing of things natural.

Jesus shows the importance of eternal life and heaven as against profits and success in this life.  Should we not have this always in our hearts?  I believe we should.  This is found in Matthew 10:38: “And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.” Mark 8:34-37: “When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, ‘Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.  For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?  Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?”

In other words the pursuit to be financially free and keep on gaining is not what we are to be focused on. Denying oneself may mean to give the desires and lusts of our old “self” or carnal nature.   The importance for us is not a deep attachment to the comfortable things of life. We may consider them necessary and in our world of plenty in which we live, they probably are.   We should remember that “we are seated in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” now and that Jesus said, “He who forsakes houses, lands etc. for My sake and the gospel’s, will receive …”.   “Your heavenly Father knows you have need of these things”.  The promise to believers is “My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus”.

There is a warning for each one of us in Luke 12:15-21 “And He said to them, ‘Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses’.”  Then He spoke a parable to them, about a rich man who was planning his future expansion  He sums it up in vs.21 “So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” Do we ever hear sermons on the TV of being rich toward God without money? I think not!

Luke 14:33: “So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.”   This means       anything concerning the carnal nature or the self, that gets in the way of having Christ first, foremost and pre-eminent, is not part of being “in Christ Jesus”.  This follows on from verse 26, where disciples are “to hate their father, mother, wife etc.” that has the same sense of the sinful self with its lusts of the flesh, the eyes and the world, having been crucified with Christ on the cross.  It means that we live, but as Paul says, “not I but Christ lives in me”.  It cannot mean a letting go of the material things of life as being necessary in human existence.  It also includes that Christ alone is Lord of the believer’s life to the exclusion of family members.

In view of all this, there is an interesting statement that is found in 1 Timothy 6:9,10, “But those who ant to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.  For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and in their eagerness to be rich some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains”.  We emphasized “love” and it should be noted that even in this desire and lust, only “some” will wander away totally from the faith.

Against these verses, we should point out that there is a ministry for some in the accumulation of wealth if it is all used for the true kingdom of the gospel of Christ.  This we discover in the list of ministries found in Romans 12, particularly verse 8 – “the giver, in generosity” and “the compassionate, in cheerfulness”.  Thus there is scope in one’s service in the body of Christ, for some to have been given these two gifts of ministry – giving (having to be rich first of all) and compassion (giving particularly of their wealth for the good of brethren in Christ and of His Kingdom here and now, under the gospel.  This generosity and compassion is primarily to be extended to members of the body of Christ – fellow believers.

The Jews in the Old Testament extended their charity to their own citizens, the nation being under Jehovah.  Those who lived with them and became Jews also were participants in the charitable efforts.  This is one reason James in 1:27 says “religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world”.

We have an instance of charity provided for believers in Christ, in Israel, in Jerusalem itself,  found in Acts 6:1.  It comes in the midst of the moving of the Spirit through the disciples and new believers.  It says, “When the disciples were increasing in number, the Hellenists complained against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution of food”.

Those who complained were the Grecians or Hellenists.  These were believing Jews who came from Greece.  They spoke Greek and read the Old Testament version in Greek and not the original Hebrew.  Many of them came to the feast in Jerusalem and found Christ.         They were added to the church.  The number could have included Greeks who had become Jews.    The complaint was against the native Jews, who spoke the Hebrew of the Old Testament and who were dwellers of Israel.  Some of these had become Christians.

The widows of the Grecians were being neglected in the distribution of public charity.    A great deal of money was gathered for the relief of the poor.  The apostles received this, “at their feet”, Acts 5:2.  We should note that this is amongst the believers only.  It could have been that it was only the widows who were neglected as they would follow an old Jewish rule “that a widow was to be maintained by her husband’s children”, 1 Timothy 5:4 and v.16.  It may have included all the poor believers.  At that time, the Jews, according to history, did collect daily for the poor in their midst.  It was not for the poor not in their midst!   Jesus did not give us a social gospel.  We are to go into all the world and  “preach the gospel”.

The twelve apostles “called together the whole community of the disciples”.  All the believers in Christ, Jewish and Grecian Jews, were there, or perhaps it was their representatives.   The apostles said “It is not reasonable that we should neglect the word of God in order to wait on tables (or keep accounts).”, verse 4 “while we, for our part, will devote ourselves to prayer and to serving the word”.  One wonders how much time the modern ministers of Christ do this – in prayer and preaching the Word of Christ – and not doing the mundane things!  As Paul said in 2 Timothy 2:4, “A minister must not entangle himself in the affairs of this life.”

WERE THE DISCIPLES RICH?

They were rich in spiritual things as we are meant to be.  This included the Apostle Paulo, who said in 2 Cor. 12:4 how he was “caught up into Paradise and heard things that are not to be told, that no mortal is permitted to repeat”.  He showed in Ephesians 3:3, v.5 “In former generations this mystery was not made known”, v.7 “according to the gift of God’s grace that was given me by the working of his power” and 2 Cor.12:12 that says  “And how the mystery was made known to me by revelation” The signs of a true apostle were performed among you”.  The wealth of these servants of the Lord was indeed spiritual.  We could do with some of it!  Paul even on occasions worked at his trade of a Tent Maker, so he could not have enjoyed wealth.

Referring again to 2 Cor. 8:9: “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.” We have shown how this is spiritual riches in Christ not promises of earthly gain.  Why is it spiritual riches? Because Christ actually said the poor are blessed not cursed. Not because He made them wealthy but because they inherited the kingdom of God. Jesus did not change ones status in life but He certainly changed their hearts attitude.

We are told that these riches are Spiritual as in Rom. 2:4 “Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering.” Rom. 9:23 “ that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory.” Eph. 1:7 “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.” Eph. 3:8 “To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ”

Jesus did not teach His disciples to be rich.  He let them known that it was better not to be rich in the words of Matt 19:23-25  “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..”   These are strange words from One who reportedly today wants us to be rich in this world’s goods is part of the gospel of prosperity!   When His disciples heard it, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?”

They were not astonished because they were rich and wondered about themselves.  In these verses, Jesus is talking about someone other than them. However in Luke 18:28-30 Peter being convicted of this states,  “See, we have left all and followed You.”  Peter’s perception was that they had no riches in money or property since he says they left it all behind. So why do some say they were wealthy?

Paul makes it clear 2 Cor. 6:9-10: “as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold we live; as chastened, and yet not killed;  as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.”   Paul had been a Pharisee and of the class of the wealthy.  Obviously, if he had been wealthy, he had lost it.

How were they made rich? They were made rich in relation to the glory of heaven.  We are to be “changed from glory to glory, by the Lord, the Spirit”, 2 Cor. 3:18.   This occurs as we are being “filled with the Spirit” in a supernatural, heavenly way.  Then in Col. 1:27 “To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

The apostle Paul wrote in 1 Cor. 4:11-12: “To the present hour we both hunger and thirst, and we are poorly clothed, and beaten, and homeless. And we labour, working with our own hands. ”   This certainly does not speak of wealth.

Acts 3:6: Then Peter said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” This does not mean they had none on them at the time; they had NO money, otherwise Peter could have said, “I will go home and get some”, being the Jew he was.  These are words out of their own mouths recorded by the Holy Spirit through their hands as Scripture.   They were obviously not wealthy.

Paul certainly was not, judging by his words in Acts 20:33-35: “I have coveted no one’s silver or gold or apparel. Yes, you yourselves know that these hands have provided for my necessities, and for those who were with me. I have shown you in every way, by labouring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’.'”  Paul says it was good to work with his hands because he did not have a bank account or riches to use.  He showed by example that we are to help those less fortunate by hard work.

There are so many Scriptures for us to consider.  1 Tim 6:3-12 “If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions,  useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself.

“Now godliness with contentment is great gain.  For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.  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.   Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”

Those above who want to become rich will now suffer a loss in faith, as Jesus said “You can’t serve two masters, you cannot serve God and Mammon (god of wealth)”. There’s nothing wrong with having money but there is a lot wrong with money having you.  We can tell the difference for ourselves by taking note, listening to the words and finding out where we fit it in.  Instead of this, we hear from many preachers, “Godliness means more blessing, i.e. money”.

Kenneth Copeland writes, “Do you want a hundredfold return on your money? Give and let God multiply it back to you.”  What the Scriptures do say is said in 2 Cor. 9:7,8 about giving to poor believers in Christ, in Jerusalem – “Each must give not reluctantly or under compulsion (or being conned) for God loves a cheerful giver.  And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work.  As it is written, ‘He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor; his righteousness endures forever’.”

Copeland urges his supporters, “Invest heavily in God; the returns are staggering, … Every man who invests in the Gospel has a right to expect the staggering return of one hundredfold.” (Laws of Prosperity , pg.67) This may be true but it may not be in your bank account.

This is why Creflo Dollar and Kenneth Copeland can lead the congregation in a affirmation “Money come unto me NOW” three times. (Dec.4, 1999 Voice of victory telecast).  Creflo Dollar  says “Yo’all better obey the prophet and reap the prophet’s reward, my prophet is rich and I’m gonna be rich too” “I call in the money, I found me a preacher, this is my first million and to it, do you all hear what I’m saying,…I’m going to have what I say, what I say, what I say, what I say, what I say” and the people cheered madly).  The “prophet’s reward” has not connection with any New Testament order as the body of Christ.  It was for that Old Testament order.

Peter writes ”They have a heart trained in covetous practices, and are accursed children” (2 Peter 2:14).  This, sadly, is what often occurs amongst ministry.

“Poverty is from the devil and that God wants all Christians prosperous.” (Benny Hinn, TBN, 11/6/90).   Poor Benny (in understanding). He would not have seen in actuality, the multitude of very poor believers when he often campaigned in India and to millions.

Nowhere does the Bible say this.  James was the head of the Jerusalem Church that was the poorest of all churches. As the Jews converted they lost their family, friend’s and job. The people in the church gave the best seats to those who were rich hoping for some response  in help. This is why he writes in James 5:1-5: “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 labourers 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.”  This is a sobering rebuke for those who will be accountable for using their money to promote themselves and neglect the needs of the people.  Yes, there will be rich church people in the last days that will be judged for their covetness.

The Apostle Paul did not count anything in this world as value compared to that of having Christ.  He says this in Phil. 3:7-11 ” But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ.  Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith;  that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death,  if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.”  Paul a Pharisee would have been quite rich yet he gave it up for a life to follow Christ.

James 2:5 “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?” The very opposite is being said, “has not God chosen the rich because they have faith for their wants”!

One of the qualifications for a Bishop or Elder is in 1 Tim.3

1 Tim 3:2-3: “A bishop then must be blameless, …temperate, sober-minded, of good behaviour, hospitable, able to teach; not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous.”  A bishop is a Pastor/Teacher.

1 Tim 3:7-8 Likewise deacons must be reverent, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy for money,”. The Greek “kerdos”, “get gain”, is translated “gain” in Phil. 1:21 and 3:7; “lucre” in Titus 1:11.  Here it is preceded by “aischros”, “filthy” and reads  “filthy lucre”.

From Matthew Henry’s Commentary on 1 Timothy 3:3 “One who is not greedy of filthy lucre, who does not make his ministry to truckle to any secular design or interest, who uses no mean, base, sordid ways of getting money, who is dead to the wealth of this world, lives above it, and makes it appear he is so. 12. ‘Not covetous’.  Covetousness is bad in any, but it is worst in a minister, whose calling leads him to converse so much with another world.”

1 Timothy 3:8 – “Not greedy of filthy lucre; …the deacons, who were entrusted with the church’s money, and, if they were covetous and greedy of filthy lucre, would be tempted to embezzle it, and convert that to their own use which was intended for the public service.”

1 Pet. 5:2 “Elders are to rule willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly.”  Titus 1:7: ” To be an elder, Pastor-Teacher, not greedy for money was obviously mentioned for good reason.  The nature of man whether Christian or not sometimes does not change.

Ask yourself is this what we see some of the teachers doing?

Rom. 16:17-18: ” Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offences, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own appetites, (carnal ones) and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple.”

People are so gullible because they want to trust others who claim the name of Christ. If someone wants to live like this on their own, that’s their prerogative but if they are given free reign on TV and take from others out of their hard earned money by saying to give to their work God is going to reward  many dividends, is another scenario. You can call this Spiritual racketeering.

What we find the word faith teachers doing is distorting the scripture claiming that God is teaching them spiritual ways to make money, your exchange is at the Bank of Jehovah, and the returns are enormous.

Jesus said in Luke 6:24-26 “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.  Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for so did their fathers to the false prophets.”

God’s true treasure is His word  which makes one have a stronger and more intimate relationship with our Saviour, “Le the Word of Christ dwell in you richly”, Colossians 3:16.

Prov. 2:1-5: ” My son, if you receive my words, and treasure my commands within you, So that you incline your ear to wisdom, and apply your heart to understanding; Yes, if you cry out for discernment, and lift up your voice for understanding, If you seek her as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures; Then you will understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.”

Prov. 7:1-2: “My son, keep my words, and treasure my commands within you. Keep my commands and live, and my law as the apple of your eye.”

Prov. 3:13-16: “Happy is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding; For her proceeds are better than the profits of silver, and her gain than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies, and all the things you may desire cannot compare with her. Length of days is in her right hand, in her left hand riches and honour.”

Mark Chirrona on a fund raise states “There are people ready to pray with you, come into agreement and see the power of God released.  But faith is being unlocked to release the power of God.  You are going to improvise your way into your future, your money is in your mouth” in the name of Jesus receive your miracle right now.” (Aug 3,1999 TBN).  We are never told to declare riches by words speaking faith!

Prov. 6:6-11: “Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise,  Which, having no captain, overseer or ruler,  Provides her supplies in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest. How long will you slumber, O sluggard? When will you rise from your sleep?  A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep—  So shall your poverty come on you like a prowler, and your need like an armed man.”

1 Cor. 4:11-12: “To the present hour we both hunger and thirst, and we are poorly clothed, and beaten, and homeless. And we labour, working with our own hands. ” The apostles did not confess with their mouths but often worked with their hands.

Prov. 21:5-6: “The plans of the diligent lead surely to plenty, but those of everyone who is hasty, surely to poverty.6 Getting treasures by a lying tongue is the fleeting fantasy of those who seek death.” Those who  state God promises to those who are a king’s kid, ‘Everything we ask for in faith’ are not telling the truth. No Father who is training his child to appreciate the things in life would give him whatever he asked for, unless he wanted to spoil him. This is not instilling character into a person nor is it the nature of Christ who denied himself.

Prov. 13:11: “Wealth gained by dishonesty will be diminished, but he who gathers by labour will increase.” Ask yourself as you watch the sermons of the faith teachers why they are saying certain things?

Prov. 15:8: ‘The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD, but the prayer of the upright is His delight.” If your giving to get this is the wrong motivation and is not acceptable to the Lord.

Prov. 23:4-5 “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.”

Nowhere can you find a passage in the New Testament where Jesus Christ or His Apostles discipled believers to get money or be rich?.   Jesus Christ taught the opposite, He told the rich man to sell all that he had and give to the poor, come follow me and you will have treasure in Heaven! (Luke 18:22; 12:33-34)

Last of all the warning in Rev.3:17 for today’s church:  “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth 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. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.

“Because you say I’m rich, have become wealthy and have need of nothing-and do not know that you are wretched miserable, blind and naked…” What a summation of where the rich Laodicean Church of today is. God’s remedy is to buy gold refined in the fire from Him, that you may be rich, and white garments that you may be clothed…”

Real riches that Christ is concerned with are spiritual ones.  Our self righteous rags will never do from a church that is self empowered.

Until we have God’s eye salve applied to our eyes we will continue to look at the outward, and ignore our  spiritual bankrupt condition on the inside.”

Finally, it should be noted that  most of the teachings as pursued in this book, originally came from Kenyon, who authored many books as studied intensely and as copied by Hagin and Copeland as the source of their own ministries.

It could be said of them as Paul said of the Jews, “I can testify that they have a zeal for God, but it is not according to knowledge.” Kenyon was neither a Pentecostal, Charismatic or Evangelical.  Rather he had been a student at a Christian Science Seminary, a cult that has been branded as false for decades by those who know the Word of God.  I myself read all of his books very diligently over forty years ago.  Thank God they have not become part of my theology or beliefs, which have all my endeavours to be true to the Word of Christ and of the gospel.

It is only correct Biblical teaching and Truth, with correct experiences, that distinguish Christianity from the cults.  The apostles mentioned the need for following “the truth” around forty times and “the truth” would be found in the New Testament up to one hundred times.