2 Peter 2:1 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. 2 And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. 3And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.
In what is just the latest excess in the “name it and claim it” Prosperity Gospel movement, Joel Osteen, pastor of Lakewood Church, the biggest church in America (with approximately 40,000 people per service), held an event with a ticket site charging rock concert prices for his “Night of Hope” sermon in Key Arena in Seattle Washington (B&E – As the link to the January 2012 event is now down, the article has been edited to remove the pricing information). While church services regularly have offerings where members can volunteer to make a donation to support a ministry, there is no Biblical support for cover charges just to hear a church service or increasing pricing to ridiculous levels for “preferred seating.” How fortunate we are that Jesus Christ The Lord never charged any of his followers money to hear Him speak or had “preferred seating” for a select few who were rich and could really pay for a good seat to hear Him preach. And when Jesus sent out His disciples on their own to go to different towns to preach the Gospel He told them: “..freely ye have received, freely give” (Matthew 10:8).
And what is Osteen actually preaching once you pay a cover charge for entering church? A false message. As he says in his book, ‘Live Your Best Life Now’: “It’s God’s will for you to live in prosperity instead of poverty. It’s God’s will for you to pay your bills and not be in debt. It’s God’s will for you to live in health and not in sickness all the days of your life.” This sums up Joel Osteen’s prosperity gospel message, also known as the Word of Faith Movement, which is based on the false idea that a Christian can use their faith to obtain material gain and wealth. Other nuances include “speaking wealth into being” by pronouncing the riches before they arrive. At the heart of it, it is commanding God to provide a material blessing as if it is the individual who has power over the universe, fate and even God.
The Bible says otherwise. Jesus Christ said: Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21 F or where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. As Christians, our focus should not be on gaining material wealth. Christians can work, make incomes and enjoy material success, if it is God’s will for us. But it is certainly not our goal or purpose on this Earth. In becoming a Christian, believers are to surrender their sinful desires and worldly lusts to let the desires of Jesus and His righteousness fill us up. It is about living for God’s will, not our own. And Jesus’ will is not focused on our being wealthy and prosperous. He explained this in a parable He spoke:
13 And one of the company said unto him, Master, speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me. 14 And he said unto him, Man, who made me a judge or a divider over you? 15 And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness [desiring material gain]: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth. 16 And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: 17 And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? 18And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. 20But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? 21 So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God. – Luke 12
In this parable, notice Jesus begins in verse 15 by stating “beware of covetousness.” Constant concern for material gain is not good, in fact it is a violation of the 10th Commandment which instructs us not to desire the things others possess. And in the parable Jesus speaks of a man who was rich and successful to the point that he could not even store everything he had. Now this was not the sin. Success in and of itself, when lawfully gained, is not a bad thing in the Bible. It was what followed afterwards that was at issue. He stated to his soul, that he was now set for years to come, so he could relax, “eat, drink and be merry.”
The wealthy man’s misplaced confidence in his wealth made the man so blind that he assumed he knew how long his life would be. He gave no credit to God for the crops growing so well and then showed he had no fear of God by his boastful attitude and ideas that he knew his own lifespan. This is what Jesus means by being “rich towards God.” What God wants is not our order and commands to Him. He wants our love, worship, respect and thanks. God is the one gives us life. Who blesses us. And the only one who can provide eternal life. The prosperity Gospel goes against this by making worldly prosperity guaranteed and just a matter of increasing faith to receive it.
This “me-centered” false theology has exploded in church across the world and led to great material gain for the pastors. Notice the passage at the opening of the article states: “And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you..” The Prosperity Gospel preachers use human desire for wealth, health and success as their means to make millions upon millions of dollars. All the while they distort the Bible and even go so far as to deny Jesus Christ.
Here is Pastor Osteen on Larry King Live:
These are tell-tale signs of a false teacher. Not only did Osteen deny Jesus, a caller had to quote Scripture to Him to remind Him that Jesus unequivocally stated “..no man cometh unto the Father [God] but by me.” The Lord Jesus left no wiggle room. A basic concept of Christianity is Jesus Christ being the exclusive way to Heaven. Jesus went on to say: “…but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” So for Pastor Osteen to say “it’s not for me to judge” in the case of someone who clearly does not believe in Jesus he was denying “the Lord that brought them.” Osteen, supposedly, the ‘Number 1 pastor in America’ says “it’s not my business..” in reference to the eternal destiny of others. And he even indicates that people he has met in India who are not Christians are going to Heaven as well. This is a blatant denial of the Gospel, Jesus Christ and the Bible.
Again, we stress that it is not wrong for Christians or pastors to make an income. Joel Osteen has written many books and rightfully deserves the income from the millions of copies that he has sold. But it is the doctrine that is being preached that is at issue as it turns the focus from eternal life to the present life and emphasizes personal desire of following the desires of God. Jesus said: “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”
The essence of being a follower of Jesus is the willingness to forego the sinful pleasures of today or their own personal agenda for the greater glory of eternal life and membership in God’s Kingdom. What if it is God’s will that a well-to-do young woman, give up a great future in college, a successful career and lifestyle to go live in one of the poorest, war-torn regions of Africa and start a ministry? That is precisely what happened to once Christian woman. What if it is God’s will that a star professional football player, set to make millions in the prime of his career, retire early to start spreading the Gospel as a pastor? Or that a faithful Christian never makes any money? Would you still be interested in following Jesus? What would Joel Osteen say about this? A “me-centered” form of Christianity would say to always stick to whatever personal goals you have made and God will just give you what you want. But the bible says otherwise. Jesus has the answer already: “25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. 26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”
In the end, material gain is meaningless. There is nothing we have in our short time on the Earth in this life that we can take with us to the grave. What ultimately matters is the fate of our soul. And having eternal life. And the willingness to forego what we think our “destiny” and “prosperity” should be if it conflicts with our love, faith and God’s plan for our lives.
In his best-selling book “Live Your Best Life Now”, Osteen writes: “If you develop an image of victory, success, health, abundance, joy, peace, and happiness, nothing on earth will be able to hold those things from you” (p. 5). Jesus never preached any guarantee of worldly riches. He and His disciples were not wealthy and lived mostly off of the hospitality of others. Jesus Himself said that He did not even have a place to rest His head. What Jesus did encourage instead of focusing on a financial “breakthrough” or “harvest” or “victory” was instead not worrying at all: 22 And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on. 23 The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment. 24 Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls?
God knows our material needs and will provide accordingly. Jesus preached that we should not even worry about these daily cares when we have our faith and trust in The Lord.
Destined for Victory…or A Promise of Suffering?
“You were born to win; you were born for greatness, you were created to be a champion in life” – Joel Osteen (p. 35).
Osteen repeatedly teaches that every human being has inborn “destiny” for immense wealth and success, given by God. Again, Osteen’s focus is always on the present world – the exact opposite of the message of Christ. What Osteen and other prosperity Gospel preachers miss out on is the fact that not only does the Bible guarantee suffering, that trials and tribulations actually help the relationship between a Christian and God. Let’s look at the example of the Apostle Paul.
As a Pharisee, living in 1st century Judea, the Apostle Paul (then known as Saul), was a well-respected leader in his community. A Roman Citizen, he enjoyed many benefits and a position of privilege among his Jewish brethren. He was living a good material life. In his zeal as an enemy of Christians, Paul persecuted the church, tracking down Christians and having them arrested and sometimes sentenced to death for their faith. But God had other plans for Him. Jesus Christ was preparing to speak to Paul directly to witness to Him that He was real and alive and give Paul a new mission: to become a Christian and spread the Gospel. In order to help Paul get started, Jesus called upon one of the early apostles to go meet Paul on his way to Damascus (where he would be converted to Christianity). Here is what Jesus said when He gave Ananias:
10And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord. 11 And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth, 12 And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight…. Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: 16 For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake. (Acts 9)
Now here was a divine assignment. Jesus Christ, from Heaven, handpicked Paul to serve Him as one of His greatest apostles. And how did Jesus describe Paul’s destiny? Did he promise Paul a “victory”? No, he said He was going to show Paul from the onset the great things that he would suffer in the name of Jesus. There was no guarantee of Earthly riches and achieving his big dreams. The Christian life is about surrendering the self to let Christ rule us. And in those sufferings and challenges, we grow closer to God because we call upon Him. It helps to test and strengthen our faith by which we become better children to The Lord.
Paul received divine revelation, performed supernatural miracles and spoke to Jesus directly during his ministry (things that Prosperity Preachers claim to do on a weekly basis). But rather than boast of these things, Paul sought to remain humble. And in order to keep him humble, Paul was experiencing a demonic pain he described as a “thorn in the flesh”:
And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. (2 Corinthians 12)
Here Paul asked Jesus to remove the thorn and Jesus refused saying “my grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” God can display His power and strength not when we are boastful and giving out commands and making our own plans, but when we are weak, meek and humble. This is when Jesus Christ can work with us and “the power of Christ” can rest on us. Contrast this with Osteen: “It’s going to happen… Suddenly, your situation will change for the better…He will bring your dreams to pass” (pp. 196-198) “ Receiving blessings or “breakthroughs” in life is not about any special power within us, it’s about recognizing the power of the God of the universe. This is why Paul said he took “pleasure” in the infirmities and pains he endured for Jesus’ sake. Because when he was weak and crying out to God, he became strong through Jesus lifting him back up.
Comparing the perception of the Christian life as told by Osteen with the testimony of the Apostle Paul reveals two completely different worldviews:
Osteen: “You will often receive preferential treatment simply because your Father is the King of kings, and His glory and honor spill over onto you” (p. 40)
Apostle Paul: Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; (2 Corinthians 11:25)
Osteen: “God wants us to have healthy, positive self-images, to see ourselves as priceless treasures. He wants us to feel good about ourselves… God sees you as a champion… He regards you as a strong, courageous, successful, overcoming person” (p. 57-58).
Apostle Paul: “..not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.” (Romans 12:3)
Time and time again, Osteen’s message, while very positive and uplifting to the human ego, is going against what the Bible instructs for Godly living. But Osteen is able to craft a message that appeals to millions because he is focused on the individual and their “success” and not The Lord and His Glory. And with no mention of sin or damnation, his preaching is even more inviting and friendly. This is dangerous teaching because it not only leads people away from repentance and truly living for God, it can also enter the world of the occult.
The Steps to “Success”
1 Timothy 4: 1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.
Osteen then goes down another dangerous spiritual road by what he declares are his ‘steps to success’:
1. Mental Visualization: “The first step to living at your full potential is to enlarge your vision. To live your best life now, you must start looking at life through eyes of faith, seeing yourself rising to new levels. See your business taking off. See your marriage restored. See your family prospering. See your dreams coming to pass. You must conceive it and believe it is possible if you ever hope to experience it” (p. 4)
“You will produce what you’re continually seeing in your mind… If you develop an image of victory, success, health, abundance, joy, peace, and happiness, nothing on earth will be able to hold those things from you… Start anticipating promotions and supernatural increase. You must conceive it in your heart and mind before you can receive it… You must make room for increase in your own thinking, and then God will bring those things to pass” (pp. 5-6).
Nowhere is anything of the sort said in the Bible. What Osteen is promoting is known in the New Age as the “Law of Attraction” which is visualizing situations or desires in your mind to “make” them happen in the future. Compare Osteen’s words above and now see instructions from the a site that teaches New Age mysticism, witchcraft and wicca:
“Spiritually speaking, you can create anything you wish in your life. And the key to doing this is to first see it in your mind. Creating images in your mind can help facilitate their creation in the physical realm also. But it doesn’t happen instantly (usually)… When you are ready, I want you to visualize your “perfect” life. If you could create anything right now, what would you create? What kind of life would you be living? What would your home look like? What people and/or animals would share your life? What would you be doing for work? Would it fulfill you spiritually and emotionally? Would you be rich, or just comfortable? What would you look like physically? Would you be married, and to whom?”
2. Using Faith to “Unlock God”
Osteen: “God works by faith. You must believe first, and then you’ll receive” (p. 33). “We receive what we believe. Unfortunately, this principle works as strongly in the negative as it does in the positive” (p. 72). “Understand this: God will help you, but you cast the deciding vote… [we must] get into agreement with God” (p. 74). “It’s our faith that activates the power of God” (p. 306).
Witchcraft: “Now for the hard part. Why do you think you haven’t created this life for yourself yet? Lack of opportunity, lack of money, lack of motivation? Or is it something deeper?… Do you believe that you deserve this life you have imagined? Really? Do you believe that the Universe wants to bless you with the things you desire? It’s easy to utter, “sure I do”, but I want you to really examine this question before answering. Many of us really don’t believe that we are worthy of such blessings. Many of us are carrying guilt from years past, or a deep-seated feeling that we are not worthy of anything good. We can work our tails off, but it will never be “good enough”. If this describes you, it is very important to work on changing this belief.”
Not only is Osteen copying from New Age/witchcraft, he is also encouraging his followers to usurp God and form their own destiny. As he states “you cast the deciding vote” and that our faith “activates the power of God” so once again, God is at our beckoning, and cannot act until we choose to “activate him.” Meanwhile the Bible says that God: ” maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” God will bring blessings and permit hardships to come into the lives of both good and bad people. He is not subject to commands from humans.
The Book of Job: Refuting the Prosperity Gospel
We are not guaranteed any prosperity on this Earth and there is no “trick” to making sure you are blessed materially. The book of Job is the ultimate test of what the Bible states about the idea of material wealth, faith and whether or not we can “make” God bless us. The book gives the account of Job, a man of God, who had great material wealth and suffered loss. Notice how the Bible describes Job’s faithfulness to God:
“And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?” (Job 1).
God was so pleased with Job, He declared him the most faithful, God-fearing man on the planet! Clearly this is a man who should have been able to unlock all of the blessings from Heaven on command. By Joel Osteen’s standards, Job should be able to visualize every great thing life has to offer, and receive it all in constant abundance. Yet in the account, Job, who had great wealth, land and prosperity, lost it all. Satan was able to not only destroy Job’s wealth, but kill his children and give Job a horrible sickness. In fact, Satan was permitted to do this because Satan believed that Job only had faith in God because of the material wealth he was blessed with and that if he lost it, Job would then lose all faith in God. The entire spiritual contest in this book is showing the Prosperity Gospel faith, which is based on obtaining earthly things (which Satan was advocating), verses Godly, Biblical faith, that is based on the belief that God has saved your soul eternally and that is what really matters. And it’s clear that by God’s standards, our material wealth is not a measure of our faith in God. Our eternal life and eternal riches are. ‘Success’ in the Bible is going to Heaven when you die, not having a mansion on Earth today.
Job was a believer who happened to be wealthy. And when he lost his Earthly riches, his response is very telling: “Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.” (Job 1)
Job’s response strikes at the foundation of any materially based message: “The Lord giveth and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” Contrast this with Osteen who says that we must also ‘speak to our problems’: “Whatever your mountain is, you must do more than think about it, more than pray about it; you must speak to that obstacle… Start calling yourself healed, happy, whole, blessed, and prosperous. Stop talking to God about how big your mountains are, and start talking to your mountains about how big your God is” (p. 124). Job did not speak to his “problems” when he suffered, he worshiped God Almighty. And when he prayed to God, he did not command more blessings to fall on him. He merely praised the Lord’s Holy Name. Job did not know what plan God had for His life. So he submitted to circumstances knowing that God was going to see him through them. Thus he was humble before God, not acting as if his faith could “unlock” or “unleash” God. The notion that The Lord must respond to our requests for physical blessing and cannot act without our “vote” is complete heresy and an insult. Osteen’s message is not lining up with the Bible.
Additionally, nowhere is Jesus Christ or being saved from sin even being mentioned in Osteen’s message. And this is the running theme in the Prosperity Gospel. It takes faith, which the Bible teaches is needed to save our souls and using it to obtain the world’s goods and make ourselves prosperous and wealthy. Again, it is distorting Jesus Christ’s message and luring people in by covetousness. This is precisely what the Bible prophesied would happen in the years leading up to the end times. As the Apostasy, or falling away from the faith started, churchgoers would abandon Biblical Christianity for a false message that is more geared to their desires and is pleasing for them to listen to: For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” (2 Timothy 4:3-4).
Prosperity Gospel Preachers become popular by appealing to lusts. Instead of preaching about the real issue facing humanity: sin and God’s plan to forgive us through Jesus Christ, they focus on the individual and their desires, goals and dreams. And people have been caught up as can be seen from Osteen’s massive success. He has made millions upon millions from his book deals, TV shows and of course, speaking appearances. And his millions of fans are so content that they see no issue with a Pastor charing as much as $147 per seat at a church service! Notice the accuracy of the Bible when it prophesied that false prophets like Osteen will: ” with feigned words make merchandise of you.”
Myles Munroe: $199 Pay-Per-View
Pastor Munroe recently charged $199 just to watch a pay-per-view showing of his church conference on the internet! Myles Munroe is a very sophisticated Prosperity Gospel Preacher. Rather than just stirring up the congregation to “sew a seed” of money and await their blessing, he has built an entire false doctrine centered on the Kingdom of God. Munroe’s doctrine (as will be seen in the video below) is the following:
1. God created the Earth for humanity to rule it.
2. Through sin in the Garden of Eden, the ‘ownership of the Kingdom’ on Earth was forfeited.
3. By seeking God and putting faith in God and Biblical living, we can re-enter the Kingdom and reclaim our Royal position.
4. Once we have re-entered the Kingdom, all material blessings are available to us because we now have full dominion over the Earth and everything in it. So whatever we want or need in life, we can will it to happen or be received.
As will be seen in the video below, not only is Munroe preaching unbiblical heresy, he is also preaching from an Antichrist spirit. From the onset, he denies Jesus Christ any glory by saying Jesus was merely a messenger to let us know about the Kingdom of God and the power we have to reclaim the Earth and all of its goods.
Munroe says: “the main reason for Jesus to come to the Earth was not to go to the cross.” The Bible taught otherwise:
And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. 24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. 25 He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. 26 If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour. 27 Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour. 28 Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again. 29 The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, An angel spake to him. 30 Jesus answered and said, This voice came not because of me, but for your sakes. 31 Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. 32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. 33 This he said, signifying what death he should die.
Hebrews 9:26: “He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.”
Mark 8:31: “And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again”
Munroe then says: “Jesus came not because of the cross primarily but to share the message that we can “re-enter the Kingdom” (speaking of Earthly Kingdom, royalty and wealth).”
The Bible says the ultimate purpose of God’s love and plan for us is that: “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. – John 3:17.
Jesus came into this world to provide eternal life, not to usher in a Kingdom on Earth for Christians to have “dominion” over today. Jesus died because that was the only way to satisfy the wrath of God against the sins of every human being who has ever lived. Jesus took on the punishment we were supposed to so that we could have a chance to live in Heaven and not go to Hell.
Munroe on the Kingdom
Munroe: “Jesus said ‘It is my Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom’…Jesus sent out His disciples two by two to preach the ‘Kingdom of Heaven has come unto you.’”
Like many false teachers, Munroe has to use Scriptures out of context. Here is the context of the first verse he quotes: “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Luke 12:32-34)
The clear point of Jesus’ words here is that the “Kingdom” is spiritual and Heavenly, not one on Earth. The passages states that we should value “treasure in heavens that faileth not” which cannot be corrupted. The focus of Christ’s message, in context, was on eternal life, not the short, present life. And our hearts follow what we treasure. Munroe completely takes this verse out of context to make it say the exact opposite of what Jesus meant.
Regarding Jesus sending out disciples to ‘preach the Kingdom’, Munroe says: “After these things the LORD appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come. And heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.” (Luke 10)
So going by Bible Scripture, what does the phrase: “Kingdom of God” mean? It is salvation in Jesus Christ. The belief in Jesus Christ as your Savior, who died for your sins, and was raised three days later in glory, conquering death and the grave is the “Kingdom of God.” For this time being, for those who are on Earth and believe, Jesus reigns in our hearts and fills us with the Holy Spirit. We know this from Jesus’ own words: “And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17:20-21)
Jesus’ point was that the Kingdom of God at present, arrives when someone puts their faith in Him. And that belief happens in the heart, hence it coming without “observation.” You cannot see the moment someone becomes a believer. It is a decision in the heart. Jesus further confirms this by saying the kingdom of God is “within you.” The world today in this fallen, sinful age is not Jesus’ Kingdom. He made this clear as well: “Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.” (John 18:36)
Jesus set up a Kingdom in the hearts of believers in His first coming. At His Second Coming, He will come to physically establish His Kingdom on Earth. That is when the saints will rule and reign and have “dominion.” Not in this present world. In fact, Jesus identifies who rules this present age and world we live in: ” Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.” (John 12:31)
By his extensive quoting of scripture, Munroe very cleverly changes the gospel message by relegating Jesus and elevating the “Kingdom” which of course, allows us to have control, luxury, wealth and all the good things to satisfy our lusts. At 5:30 in the video, Munroe goes into complete blasphemy by saying that preaching about “calvary” or “the blood of Jesus”, the baptism of the Holy Spirit or “the Resurrection” was a strategy of Satan! This is an incredibly blasphemous statement. Once again, the Bible says the exact opposite: For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. (1 Corinthians 17 17-18)
This verse is explaining that the main purpose of a follower of Christ is to preach the gospel. And the Gospel is about Jesus saving humanity from our sins, not about taking dominion of the Earth today. The Apsotle Paul affirms this by saying that when we try to add our “wisdom of words” to the Gospel message, we make the cross Jesus died on have “none effect.” This is exactly what Munroe is doing. He is trying to preach a new revelation about the Kingdom, that he says most people have not even known about. And his Gospel of the Kingdom has nothing to do with the blood of Christ, which was shed as a payment to have the sins of humanity forgiven. He calls that type of preaching a plan of the devil. This again, is pure blasphemy and falsehood. (And we see more blasphemy and disrespect when Munroe mocks Jesus for calling Himself “the door”).
In the book of John, Jesus again explain what his exact purpose for coming to Earth was:
For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day. (John 6:38-40).
The entire mission of Jesus was to give His life and resurrect so He could provide eternal life to those who believe and trust in Him. We never see Jesus telling his followers to take over or command an Earthly Kingdom. As we have demonstrated above, Jesus did not consider the world he lived in His Kingdom. What was most important was that Jesus save the souls of men, not their bodies. He did not come to ensure everyone dominate the finances of the world.
Like Osteen, Munroe is charging believers outrageous prices to watch him share his false Gospel. The Prosperity Gospel has become a global sensation in the church and it is rooted on all of the exact things that Jesus preached against. Christians are to base their truth on the Word of God, which is the Bible and not the ideas and feelings generated by these Pastors who seduce their flock with promises of wealth and success.
When Jesus presented Himself to Israel as their Messiah by entering Jerusalem on a donkey (in accordance with the Old Testament prophecies of how the Messiah would enter the Holy City in the precise year and day that the Messiah was prophesied to arrive), he immediately went to the Holy Temple. With much of the religious leadership of the day preaching man-made doctrine instead of the Bible, the religious practice had moved from Godliness. As a result, the outer parts of the temple were being used to buy and sell goods. The use of the temple as a money-making venue was the one of the few times Jesus is ever recorded displaying righteous indignation: “And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, 13And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.”
By using God’s House for money, they had perverted the purpose of it. And just as Jesus prophesied, in churches today that continue to see Pastors and their staff literally make millions off of their congregations while teaching heresy. Pray for these pastors to repent and for the truth of the Bible to shine in the hearts and minds of those who so willingly follow and support these corrupt ministries. The church is suffering today because Satan knows he cannot defeat it. Thus he has to infiltrate it with false prophets and false teaching to mislead churchgoers from focusing on God’s message and putting their minds and hearts on their own desires and way they want to live their lives.
Is It Ever Okay to Pray for Just Material, Earthly Success?
As Christians, we can pray for a new job, a raise, for a home, cars, money to support our families and material gain. There is no sin in that. In fact, the book of Job ends with Job being blessed by God with much more wealth than he originally had lost. As Jesus taught, God knows that we have physical needs that have to be met every day and will provide for us according to His Will. But we do not always know what God’s Will for our lives is. It may be God’s will to make you a multi-millionaire. Or maybe God knows with more money, you will forget about your commitment, faith and humility altogether. Our desires should not overtake our relationship with God, who knows what is best for us and will bless us according to His perfect plan for our lives that He may be glorified. We must acknowledge that He is King of the universe and we are beneath Him as His children. And this is the great danger of preachers like Osteen and Munroe. By putting so much emphasis on the cares of the world today they not only distort the message of the Bible they ultimately deny Jesus Christ Himself.
We do not “unlock” or “unleash” God. And any blessings we receive today come with the understanding that they can be literally gone tomorrow if God so sees fit. This kind of faith, in God’s eternal blessings and riches, is what helped Job stay so faithful during the worst times of his life when he lost everything. It is what kept him from cursing God even when his wife was finally fed up with the whole situation and encouraged him to. The blessed assurance Job relied on was that he had eternal life. Job’s faith was based on the coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ: “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth..” (Job 19:25). Job had eternal prosperity which every Christian has and can never lose. And thus his life was guided by God’s perspective and not his own flawed, human outlook: And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. (Galatians 2) We do not know what life on Earth is going to bring. We do not know what abundance of blessings or trials may come. But letting Jesus Christ live in us, and believing upon His death on the cross and resurrection will 100% guarantee us eternal life of happiness, richness, joy and pleasures in the presence of the Savior:
John 14:1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.