Leviticus 10-12

Leviticus 10-12…The death of Nadab and Abihu, and outlining things unclean.

Many biblical texts clearly teach that our holy Creator takes His worship very seriously. In these chapters, for example, we read of the occasion in which God struck Nadab and Abihu dead for worshiping Him in a way that was strange (Leviticus 10:1–3). Commentators are not sure about the exact nature of their error, but they do agree that the seriousness of the offense is related to their worshiping God in a manner that He had not commanded. They sought to be innovators in worship, and they paid the price for it. The Lord does have some lines within which we’re to color, especially when we consider 1 Corinthians 11:27–30. Many of the Corinthian Christians were taking part in the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper inappropriately, and some of them died for their unworthy partaking. These passages, and many others, make it clear that it is a very serious matter to worship God according to his command.

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Malachi 4:2

Malachi 4:2…”But for you who revere My name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in its rays.” By the Sun of Righteousness we understand this to be Jesus Christ. Through Him believers are justified and sanctified, and are brought to see light. His influences render us holy, joyful, and fruitful. It is also a reference to the graces and comforts of the Holy Spirit, brought into our souls. Christ gave the Spirit to those who are His, to shine in their hearts, and to be a Comforter to them, a Sun and a Shield.

In terms of perfect, physical healing (which is not the main point of the passage, but is often used out of context in association with this verse), this will be carried out in heaven, but not in this life. Otherwise, there would be no sickness and death for Christians. Can God heal the sick, and does He do so miraculously? Absolutely, and it happens every day all over the world, but every one of those people will eventually die. Should we pray for physical healing? Yes, we should, with the expectation that God is big and powerful and sovereign enough to heal miraculously. What if I prayed for healing, but the person wasn’t healed; does that mean I didn’t have enough faith? No, there is not a guarantee of physical healing in this life, and all humans are still affected by the curse of sin, which includes sickness and death. Does He heal non-Christians? Yes, which shows that He is not a cosmic genie, dependent upon our prayers and/or faith for healing to occur.

Acts 24:27

Acts 24:27…”When two years had passed, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus, but because Felix wanted to grant a favor to the Jews, he left Paul in prison.” Why would God not “bless” Paul here, and allow him to be set free? If struggles in this life, whether they be physical or financial, are from a lack of faith, then why did Paul have to suffer? Surely his faith was stronger than that of anyone reading this post. Examples like this completely destroy the prosperity gospel. In addition to the numerous passages in scripture where suffering and trials for the believer are assumed, actual examples of people of great faith who suffer are the rule not the exception in God’s redemptive history. Most importantly, our Savior suffered, and told us that we would as well.

John 15:20

Remember what I told you: “A servant is not greater than his master.” If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.

Thankfully, this life is not where our hope lies. If we have an eternal perspective grounded in biblical truth, we’ll know that trials are from the Lord, and are part of this life so that we would grow in trusting Him.

James 1:2-4

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Acts 15:41

Acts 15:41…”He went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.” Paul took Silas, and went around building up the brothers and sisters in the faith at these churches. So, what did that look like? It certainly included preaching the gospel to them, but also likely involved some practical exhortation to holy living as well. This should be the goal of every Christian. Is this something you think about? What are you doing to spiritually strengthen the other members of your church? This is not difficult, but does require a willingness to give up your time. This is the beauty of the vision God has for His people. A variegated group of people, united by one common goal and interest: glorifying Him, through love for and submission to His Son, as well as a concern for the spiritual well-being of His people. Do you have an interest in the spiritual well-being of the members of your church? According to Jesus (John 13:35), this is a great litmus-test question to see if you are one of the elect:

“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Acts 14:22

Acts 14:22…”‘We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,’ they said.” Paul and Barnabus were preaching the gospel and encouraging the believers in Lystra, Iconium and Antioch (South Galatia then, Turkey today). For prosperity gospel teachers/preachers here again is a portion of scripture exposing their heretical view that suffering is not for the Christian. According to the bible, not only are we guaranteed to suffer in this life (1 Peter 1:6-7), it MUST happen for us to enter the kingdom of God. This is how the Lord tests our faith, and according to James 1:2-4, it’s how he makes us more like Christ. Flee from any teacher who is telling you that suffering should not be part of this life for the Christian. Just because they weave in some scripture to their messages doesn’t mean they are safe to follow. Their gospel is fool’s gold, and the false hope they peddle includes perfect health and abundant wealth in this life. Our real treasure if we’re saved is Christ, and we look forward to being with Him forever in heaven.

Acts 4:32

Acts 4:32…”All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had.” Prosperity gospel preachers either don’t know this verse exists, or have removed it from their bibles. Either way, the biblical model for Christ’s church is not compatible with the idea that the “King’s Kids” are guaranteed to receive special financial blessings which they deserve. If we happen to receive undeserved financial blessings from the Lord, we are to share them with our fellow church members, particularly those in need. If we believe that anything we have been given is far more than we deserve, then we’ll be more likely to hold on lightly, and give abundantly.

Job 22:10

Job 22:10…”That is why snares are all around you, why sudden peril terrifies you.” Eliphaz brought heavy charges against Job without reason for his accusations, except that Job was visited as he supposed God always visited every wicked man. He charges him with oppression, and that he did harm with his wealth and power in the time of his prosperity. However, the Bible clearly teaches that Christians will face trials (1 Peter 1:6), and that those are used by the Lord for our spiritual good if we respond correctly (James 1:2-8). The prosperity gospel is so harmful because it tricks people into thinking that blessing and suffering are directly tied to performance. If we’ve been purchased by the blood of Christ, and are authentically converted, then He already set His affection on us unswervingly before He created the world (Ephesians 1:4). This affection is eternal, and has been sealed by the Holy Spirit in us as a down payment (Ephesians 1:14-16).

Job 21:7

Job 21:7…”Why do the wicked live on, growing old and increasing in power?” Job comes closer to the question in dispute. This was whether outward prosperity is a mark of the true church, and the true members of it, so that ruin of a man’s prosperity proves him a hypocrite. Job’s friends believed this foolishly, but he rebuked them. Sadly, this heresy is very popular today. In fact, the prosperity gospel is believed by 46% of professing Christians in the U.S. according to a recent book by Southeastern Seminary professors David Jones and Russell Woodbridge. The book, Health, Wealth and Happiness, is very helpful in tracing the origins of the prosperity gospel back to the New Thought movement of the late 1800s, which was clearly not biblical or even remotely Christian. Jones and Woodbridge also point out the commonly misinterpreted verses and ideas used by prosperity gospel preachers to twist scripture out of context.

Here is an excerpt:

A recent survey found that in the United States, 46 percent of self-proclaimed Christians agree with the idea that God will grant material riches to all believers who have enough faith. Why is this so? The prosperity gospel has an appealing but fatal message: accept God and He will bless you– because you deserve it. (Health, Wealth and Happiness: Has the Prosperity Gospel Overshadowed the Gospel of Christ? by David W. Jones and Russell S. Woodbridge, Kregel Publications, 2011, page 15)

Job 20:11

Job 20:11…”The youthful vigour that fills his bones will lie with him in the dust.” The miserable condition of the wicked man in this world will transfer to eternity in a much more severe way. The lusts of the flesh are here called the sins of his youth. He hides and keeps them under his tongue to conceal his beloved lust and secret delight. However, God knows what is in the heart and under the tongue. The love of the world and its obsession with wealth and lust is wickedness, and the man who sets his heart upon these is on the path to destruction. Christians recognize this worldliness in their own hearts, and pivot from that path to the One with whom they’ll enjoy forever in heaven.

Job 1:22

Job 1:22…”In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.” Job was a man of God, but had everything taken as a test of his faith. The discontent and impatient will charge God with folly when things don’t go well. Against these tendencies Job carefully watched; and we need to as well, acknowledging that God is much wiser than us. We will grow in spiritual maturity when we submit to Him, enjoying His sovereign reign, and trusting that trials are for our spiritual benefit (James 1:2-4).