Friday, August 12, 2011

Genesis 22:14 and The Promise of Prosperity

I continue my series on abused bible verses with one of my favorites. I say this because I used to attend a Pentecostal church that preached the so-called "prosperity gospel." This "gospel" is wrapped up in the false idea that God wants believers to have prosperity and health. I believe it is a false gospel and is based on blatent misinterpretations of Scripture that do not apply to Christians, but to ancient Jews that were under the Mosaic Law. I have addressed this a previous post.

So Abraham called the name of that place, "The LORD will provide"; as it is said to this day, "On the mount of the LORD it shall be provided." First, it is clear that "The LORD will provide" is a poor translation of the Hebrew. According to the English Standard Version, the proper translation should be the LORD "will see" or "will be seen." This forces us to ask the question, what will be seen? It is clear that according to the context that this chapter is a visual example of what the Father would do to His Son some 2,000 years after this event.

Here are some points to think about. First, Just as Isaac bore the wood that he was to be sacrificed on (Gen. 22:6). Similarly, John 19:17 states that Jesus bore the cross that He was to die on.

Second, in Gen. 22:5 Abraham prophesied to his servants that he and Isaac would return from the mountain. In Matt. 16:21 Jesus foretold that He would be raised from the dead (cf. 1 Cor. 15:4).

In Gen. 22:9, Issac willingly went to the alter of sacrifice. In Heb. 12:2, Jesus viewed the cross, His alter of sacrifice, with joy.

As the story concludes, Abraham calls the place where he was to sacrifice Isaac, "Yawhew Yireah" or "Yawhew Will Provide." Now as I have shown above, this is a bad translation based on the King James Version, but given that, the question that must be asked is what did Yahweh provide on that mountain? As I have stated, the story is a visual prophecy of Jesus death on the same mountain 2,000 years future from this event. The provision was the death of Jesus.

Sadly, Pentecostals and those who hold to the "prosperity gospel" have stripped this passage of its great soteriological (the doctrine of salvation) meaning and trivialized it into a verse that merely promises financial prosperity and good health. This is truly sad, because the gospel is not about simply about the here and now, but about "the eternal weight of glory" (2 Cor. 4:17) that Paul promised Christians.

Further, this is a sad commentary on the carnal nature of many modern Pentecostals. When I attended a Pentecostal church (i was not just an attendee, but a member of leadership there), I asked my former pastor about the emphasis on the here and now as opposed to the future in his preaching, in the denomination they belonged to, and in Pentecostalism, in general. He responded that the promises of eternal life was "not enough" for people to become Christians. Rather he said that people "need something now" to motivate them to call on Christ. Sadly, this sort of teaching merely creates false converts that are "twice the children of hell" as those that never professed faith in Christ (Matt. 23:15).

These prosperity preachers are editing the the gospel in order to win attendees as opposed to disciples of Christ. They are removing the promises of trials and tribulations which were promised by Jesus to His disciples in Luke 14:25-33 and substituting the false gospel of wealth and health. It is indeed sad that too many Pentecostal preachers are doing this. It is my prayer that they repent of this false gospel, and return to preaching the true gospel, that is, repentance from sin and belief in Jesus of Nazareth (Mark 1:15).

No comments:

Post a Comment