In the beginning, God labored six days creating the heavens and the earth. At the end of creating, He made man, and planted him on a perfectly prepared earth. Because God is sovereign, He could have made man any way He desired. For example, God could have created man to walk on all fours, like apes; He could have made man’s knees to bend backwards, like birds; He could have given man more than two eyes. And finally, He could have made man independent of the earth!
Key1- God created man like Himself, in His image.
Key2- God made man dependent on Himself.
Key3-God created man dependent on the earth
Even ‘after’ His resurrection, Jesus ate (Lu24:42)!
Key4-God created everything which has life dependent on the earth
Question: Why did not God make man dependent only on Himself, i.e.needing only spiritual sustenance?
Question: Why did God make man dependent on the earth, after creating him like Himself, Who is dependent on nothing or no one? Even in the Garden of Eden--before man fell--God made man to require the earth’s resources to exist. So, the dependence of man on the earth is not a result of the fall, but the perfect plan of the sovereign God!
Therefore, man is dependent on: 1.God; 2.Earth. But why?
One reason, and maybe even the primary reason, is God is a Father. Just a couple of ‘Fatherhood’ responsibilities are source and provider.
Ps145:15,16 declares: “The eyes of all wait upon thee; and thou givest them their meat in due
season. Thou openest thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing” (see also Ps104:27,28; Joel1:20)
This powerful passage declares every living thing: 1.looks to God for sustenance; and 2.God supplies their every need. To ponder for one minute, the supply the earth must possess in order to nourish “every living thing”--is absolutely mind-boggling! Actually, it is beyond human comprehension!!! Because God originally created the earth to exist forever; and He originally planned on mankind never to die---the supply God created ‘IN’ the earth cannot be limited!! Remember, the Bible calls the earth’s supply: “full”*. The Hebrew word means fulness (lit.) or fig.); fill, full, fulness, full, multitude (Strong’s). Notice it does not say the earth is empty, or running out! I repeat, it says the earth is full! Describing something as “full” does not convey the idea of enough, but of more than enough.
For example, God created the Garden of Eden “FULL”! It was full of trees with fruit, and other natural supplies. As a matter of fact, God created the earth full of natural resources—and remember the earth was the same size it is now! We don’t know the size of Eden, it could have been 10 miles by 10 miles; 100miles by 100miles, or the size of the entire land mass of earth!! Yet, regardless of its size, its supply was many times more than Adam and Eve could have consumed!! But why would God make so much for TWO people?**
Using the natural mind, one could accuse God of waste! On the contrary, God is not wasteful, He is the God who supplies more than enough…He is our example of Fatherhood! He is the God of abundance! He is the God of natural prosperity***!!!
This great truth reveals the nature of God! It speaks to God’s way of providing, i.e. of His Fathering!! This truth describes God’s provision, or His nature which drives His provision: more than enough, i.e.abundant! In other words, when God provides, beginning with the Garden of Eden, He does not provide ‘enough’, He provides more than enough! Why? Because He is the God of abundance!! His provision is abundant, because it originates from His nature of abundant provision!!!e is
Why did God make the Solar System so large? Why did He make the Milky Way so huge? And don’t even think about the size of the Universe, lest you get a headache!!! The answer is simple, God is BIG, beyond human comprehension! He created the Universe to show man His immensity! Yet, His size reveals the ‘way’ He provides! Why? Because what God created, He created FOR mankind—the apex of His creation! Therefore, as the Universe, the Galaxy, even the Solar System are incomprehensible in size—they reveal God’s provision for man as abundant, i.e.more than enough!!
Rejoice and be glad!!! For, God is good (His nature); and does good(the works of His nature)(Ps119”68)!! God cannot be good, without doing good. One of the infinitum ways God does mankind good is to prosper him!!
*Repeatedly God says the earth is full! Ps24:1; Deut33:16; 1Chron16:32; Ps50:12; Ps89:11;Ps96:11; Ps98:7
**And, please don’t make the unthinking point that God made the Garden for all the people of the earth! Sure, while that is ultimately true, God started with only two people, not 10 billion!! And, if you argue the Garden could have supplied 10 billion people, you have just confirmed my point of its vast size 'WHEN’ only two people were present!
***Actually, He created man to prosper in every area of life!
Believe in people and their potential, not in what you see, but what you don’t see. - unknown
Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in
health, even as thy soul prospereth.
Ultra-evangelicals* who reject that the Bible teaches prosperity often use the argument: “Prosperity is only in the Old Testament, not in the New Testament”. A book could be written on the error of such a belief. 3John2 is one of the ‘many’ NT passages which give evidence for Biblical prosperity.
First, the Greek word for “prosper” in this verse is used only 4 times in the NT, two times in 3John2 alone. According to Strong’s Concordance, the definition of the Greek word is: to help on the road, i.e. (pass.) succeed in reaching; fig. to succeed in business affairs:—(have a) prosper (-ous journey).
As is the case with any word, the context dictates which of the word’s definitions should be used. But in 1Corinthians 16:2, where this word is used in the context of money, teaches money is definitely part of this word’s definition.
Now on to 3John2, where the context obviously dictates this word refers to prosperity in different areas; which as a side note, teaches one of the incredible powers of prosperity…it is God-designed to affect all-areas of life!
To any honest person, the short interpretation of 3John2 is both easy and obvious; the passage speaks to:
This teaches God promises increase/growth/prosperity to Christians in these three areas.
John wrote to Gaius, and intended these three areas to apply only to him! In other words, the promises of this passage do not apply to all Christians, because the context restricts its application to Gaius!
The word “wish” in the KJV means ‘to pray’**. For God to answer prayer, it must be prayed according to a covenant of God. In other words, God does not answer just any and every plea from mankind, but only that prayer which is prayed according to His word in covenant, i.e. His will(1Jn5:14,15). Praying ‘according to the will of God’ is also known as: “Praying according to the ‘purposes of God’”; “Praying Biblically”; “Praying scripturally”; “Praying according to God’s word”
Therefore, before praying for Gaius, John had to ‘know’:
a.Prayer is God’s will (Mat6:9; Eph6:18;1Tim2:8)
b.That which is prayed, must be according to the will of God, which
means according to His covenant promises (1Jn5:14,15)
c.Prayer must be in the name of Jesus (Jn16:23,24)
Therefore, because all scripture is divinely inspired, before John prayed, he perfectly understood that not only was it God’s will for him to pray for Gaius, but that what he prayed for Gaius had to have been previously rooted in God’s covenant promise for ‘mankind’. I emphasize ‘mankind’, because no covenant exists that applies only to Gaius!!!
In other words, God makes covenants with mankind, and through faith humans access those covenants. Or, God can make a covenant with a man, but it cannot be restricted only to that man---for example, Abraham (Gal3:29). I repeat, God makes covenants for mankind…not for single individuals!
If covenants do not direct man’s prayer, it becomes impossible to ever know what is appropriate to pray for, as prayer then becomes a quagmire of feelings, beliefs, or philosophy—not God’s word! For example, God has two fundamental wills for mankind:
God’s general will includes His will for mankind! For example, it is God’s general will for all men to be saved (2 Pet3:9). Because this is true, any human can come to Christ for salvation, and not be rejected (Jn6:37, 1Jn5:11,12).
The other side of the coin is that God also has a specific will, which means unique for every person(2Tim1:9). For example, God can call a missionary to China as part of his unique purpose. Yet, God does not call every person to be a missionary; nor does He call every missionary to China.
In the case of Gaius, John prayed God’s general will for him. How do I know? The Bible repeatedly reveals the three areas of John’s focus in 3John2, as general inheritance promises for all believers:
1.Prosperity (Ps35:27; Josh1:8; Ps1:3)
2.Health (Mat8:17; 1Pet2:24; Jms5:14,15)
3.Soul prosperity (Jn14:26; Ps119:99; Is54:13; Phil2:5; Pro9:10;
Therefore, these three promises cannot only apply to Gaius, when they are listed as promises for other believers! I repeat, these three promises are part of God’s general will for all mankind!
Furthermore, John had to previously believe the three promises of 3John2 were covenant promises for all men because he also wrote 1 John 5:14: “If we ask anything according to his will he hears us.” Therefore, would not John have to believe the promises of prosperity, health, and soul prosperity are within the meaning of the word “anything”? Yet, if in fact John did not believe these promises were part of “anything”, why use the word “anything”?***
On the contrary, “anything” cannot include sin, because sin is not a promise to man…in any covenant! For example, one cannot pray for another man’s wife—i.e.adultery! Why? Because adultery is not a promise, but a condemnation of God(Ex20:14).
Furthermore, one cannot pray for things outside of God’s purposes. For example, it is God’s will for man to fly, but it is not God’s will for man to grow wings from his back. Therefore, because man has no promise to possess wings from his back, he cannot pray for them.
In conclusion, Good news!! Rejoice and be glad, for it is God’s will to YOU to prosper, and be in good health, even as YOUR soul prospers!!!
*I use the phrase “ultra-evangelicals” to identify that group of Christians/theologians who ‘rabidly’ hold to their rejection of prosperity, healing, and gifts of the Spirit, etc., in spite of Bible evidence.
**See the ESV; NAS; and NIV for verification.
***1John 5:14 is part of what I call “Unlimited Promises”; which means the promise in the text is open…or based upon the will of the believer. A few others include Mat7:7,8; Mk11:23,24; Jn16:23,24; Jn15:7. To declare prosperity cannot be part of an unlimited promise is unBiblical!
Some Christians call it “Health and Wealthy Heresy”, or “the Prosperity Gospel”, or any one of their many creative epithets! Yet, let me be crystal clear, I have been in ministry for over 40 years, and over that time, I have neither heard nor read even ‘ONE’ argument against prosperity that is either:
2.Logical or rational
Here we go! One of the statements I so often hear is, “Prosperity is unbiblical”! I really find this statement intriguing, especially considering the great number of times the word “prosperity” appears in the Bible! For example, I use Logos Bible software to study the Bible. A simple search in Logos using the word “prosperity”, in 10 Bible versions, yields a result of 315 verses; while using the word “prosper”, yields 396 verses. Now this does not mean all these verses refer to money, but many do! My point is that the Bible is full of knowledge, understanding, and wisdom, as it relates to money!
What is absolutely amazing to me, is that so many of these pastors who disagree with prosperity, will teach stewardship in their churches; yet, anyone who applies stewardship to their financial life…will prosper!! I have literally found so many areas of hypocrisy like this in the anti-prosperity positions that is it stunning how we read the same Bible!!
There are so many places to begin –either with or without the Bible*--and I’m not sure of a best place, so let me just go for it! If this is not your perfect beginning place, bear with me!
In their book, “Millionaire Next Door” in 1996, Drs Thomas Stanley and William Danko make some incredible truth statements:
1.“Wealth is not the same as income. If you make a good income each year and spend all of it, you are not getting wealthier. You are just living high. Wealth is what you accumulate, not what you spend.”
2.“Wealth is more often the result of a lifestyle of hard work, perseverance, planning, and most of all, self-discipline”
3.“Eighty percent of America’s millionaires are first generational rich.”
Let’s examine these statements in the light of the “anti-prosperity” Christians:
1.Their definition of wealth is brilliant! Drs Stanley and Danko do not fight over whether it is God’s will for wealth—they assume it! This quote unequivocally declares if you make an income, and spend it all, you are not getting wealthier. The fundamental assumptions driving these facts are: it is good to make an income; it is good not to spend all your income; it is good to save and invest the income you don’t spend. And best of all, if you do this, you will become wealthy or wealthier! In other words, you will prosper, i.e. have prosperity, i.e.have more money! I repeat, this is prosperity!
In Psalms 112:3, Bible declares of the man who:
1.Fears the Lord
2.Delights in His (God’s) commandments
“Wealth and riches shall be in his house: and his righteousness endureth for ever.”
Psalms 112:3 assumes wealth and riches are good, because this verse reveals how God has chosen to bless, i.e.reward, those who: 1.fear the Lord; 2.Delight in His commandments!! How any honest person cannot see financial prosperity in this verse—is simply beyond my comprehension!
2.Drs Stanley and Danko’s second quote declares the means to wealth…the road to wealth…the way to wealth! In other words, if we were to ask these two authors with Doctorate degrees, “how do I get wealthy?” Or, “How do I get rich?” Their answer would be: “hard work, perseverance, planning, and most of all, self-discipline”!!
Please note what they would not say, “You are being carnal!” “It is not God’s will for Christians to have wealth, riches or money!” “That prosperity gospel is ungodly!” “Why do you attend a church that preaches Christians should be wealthy?”
Furthermore, note the way to wealth Drs Stanley and Danko recommend is character or virtue! I repeat, the way is: i.hard work; ii.perservance; iii.planning; and iv.self-discipline. Can any honest Christian say these virtues are wrong, evil, ungodly, or carnal? On the contrary, character traits originate in God Himself, Who alone possesses them, and gave them to mankind!!
3.The third quote goes back to the very foundation of Biblical prosperity as revealed in Genesis 1:28, The ‘Be Fruitful’ principle. Fruitfulness is productivity. When God created mankind, He designed him for productivity; and then gave man the command to “be productive”. Productivity is the foundation for ‘ALL’ financial prosperity! If you produce you will prosper; if you do not, you will not.
In conclusion, if you disagree with the idea of financial prosperity—you must disagree with all three quotes of Drs Stanley and Danko!!!!
On the contrary, rejoice and be glad, for God wants to prosper YOU!
*Theologically, using the Bible is called ‘Special Revelation’. Using the creation is called ‘General Revelation’. Because God gave both ‘Revelations’, one can find God’s will and power in both.
“People are anxious to improve their circumstances, but they’re unwilling to improve themselves; therefore, they remain bound.” -James Allen