There are many today who are teaching that Jesus was rich. Jesus and the disciples were rich, only rich people could take off for 3.5 years. (Fred Price, Ever Increasing Faith, recorded 11/23/90)
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, and Creflo Dollar, 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 is that Jesus and His disciples were poor. Now there’s no Bible to substantiate that.”( “Was Jesus poor? Video)
Was Jesus Rich? Lets 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. Lk.2:22-24 Mary sacrifices two turtle doves which is a poor households sacrifice (Lev.12:2-8).Why did Mary in her praise say “He has filled the hungry with good things and the rich he has sent away empty.”
Archeological 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 traveling with His disciples. By the way, He took no tithes.
Matt. 11:7-8; Lk. 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 appareled 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 expensive 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 Peters mothers house in Capernaum that was often used as a base, it was not His. so one must decide if this is true or false.
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 traveled. 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 didn’t 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. Did Jesus become poor during his lifetime so we can become rich financially later? This is not a trick question and should be obvious to all familiar with the scriptures. This “being rich” is speaking of his preexistence in his position of glory? He became poor in becoming a servant in position and also in his social life. 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. 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’d have the best clothes, drive a Roll’s and eat steak every night. We better look carefully at the Bible before we choke on what is being dished out.
He was buried in another mans tomb, a rich mans. If he was rich or his family, they would have buried him in his own family tomb. But this again proves that He had no money for this. Neither did his family nor the apostles have the money to by such a burial, it was borrowed, actually donated to be exact. After all it would not be permanent. Jesus in his ministry had borrowed many things. A manger, He borrowed boats, He borrowed a colt; He borrowed a house for Passover and 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.)
Matt 26:9. [Sold for much] Mark and John say for three hundred pence-that is about 9 British pounds. John 12:5. [Three hundred pence] About $40.00 .(from Barnes’ Notes)
What would this be worth today with inflation? This was a large sum back then. Actually I have heard this estimated as a years wages. Here Judas was the treasurer and complained about this amount of money used on Jesus. Why would he say this if they were so rich. He later was enticed to betray Jesus for only thirty pieces of silver much less than even she gave in the oil. A shekel-a silver coin amounted to about 50 cents. The whole sum which Judas sold out the Lord was $15, or 3 British pounds. If the disciples were rich, than this would never have been a temptation. He would much more than this with what he carried.
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 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.
Matt 6:19-21: “Do not lay up 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.
Jonathan Edwards said “Aim at heaven and you get earth thrown in, aim at earth and you get neither.”
Matt 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.
V.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. Do we see this taught by Jesus or the disciples? No! This is an insertion to attract increase, mainly to himself.
Jesus explains the parable of the sower by saying in vs.19 the seed is the word and before that he explains 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 which is 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 Pt.1:23 are in the world as a growing plant to produce fruit of the spirit.
Matt 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 up a lot. It depends on how attached and attracted ones soul is to the comfortable things of life.
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 again is a hyperbole. Give up your possessions for self use (sometimes completely divorcing oneself from them) so as not trusting in the world but God alone.
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.” This is spiritual riches in Christ not a promise 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.
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.” 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, 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.”
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. These are words out of their own mouths recorded by the Holy Spirit through their hands as Scripture.
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 laboring 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, he showed by example to help those less fortunate by hard work.
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 who want to become rich now suffer a loss in faith, as Jesus said you can’t serve two masters. There’s nothing wrong with having money but there is a lot wrong with money having you. How can you tell the difference, just listen to the message and find out where they fit it in. Look at what they teach, Godliness means more blessing = money.
“Poverty is from the devil and that God wants all Christians prosperous.” (Benny Hinn, TBN, 11/6/90).
Nowhere does the Bible say this. James was the head of the Jerusalem Church that was the poorest of all churches. As 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 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. ” 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 covetedness.
Phil. 3:7-1:1″ 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 was 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 today, “has not God chosen the rich because they have faith for their wants!”
1 Tim 3:2-3: “A bishop then must be blameless, …temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous.”
1 Tim 3:7-8 Likewise deacons must be reverent, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy for money, ” kerdos ^2771^, “, get gain”), is translated “gain” in <Phil. 1:21> and <3:7>; “lucre” in <Titus 1:11> (preceded by aischros, “filthy”).(FILTHY) LUCRE .
From Matthew Henry’s Commentary:”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 a elder, not greedy for money’ 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 offenses, 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 bilk others out of their hard earned money by saying to give to their work God is going to reward upteen dividends, that 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.
But 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.
Gods true treasure is his word which makes one have a stronger and more intimate relationship with our creator Prov.2
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 honor.”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 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 TO WORK WITH OUR HANDS NOT DECLARE RICHES BY OUR 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 labor, working with our own hands. ” The apostles did not confess with their mouths they 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. 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 kings kid everything we ask for in faith are not telling the truth. No Father who was training their 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 labor 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 were 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.