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  Alan Jones, Editor

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"Brightly beams our Father's mercy

From the lighthouse evermore;

But to us He gives the keeping

Of the light along the shore."

       Published monthly by the church of Christ, 35900 Palmer Road, P.O. Box 86-233, Westland, MI  48186     

Volume 5                                                                   August 2005                                                                                 No2 

 

THE HEALTH AND WEALTH GOSPEL

 

Should a Christian get sick?  “No!”  Should a Christian be financially prosperous?  “Yes!”  So many say, as they preach from the Bible on T.V. and in pulpits across the country.  They confidently affirm that Jesus will reward His disciples with both health and wealth.  But did Jesus promise what these preachers promise?  What does the Bible say? 

                The teaching that many advocate on health can be summed up by a quote from a tract, “Watch and Pray” put out by the Unity School of Christianity.  The tract reads, “We watch that we do not claim sickness or negation by talking about ‘my’ cold, ‘my’ headache.  We keep the watch of Truth and see ourselves as God sees us, whole and perfect in every part.  The cells of our bodies respond to our strong healing consciousness, and good health is quickly restored to every part.” 

                But, in the Bible, the apostle Paul says of his fellow-disciple, “Trophimus I left sick at Miletus” (2 Tim 4;19).  Paul wrote about Epaphroditus, the faithful Christian and minister to his need, “He was sick unto the point of death.”  To Timothy, Paul advised, “Use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.” (1 Tim 5:23).  And, the apostle spoke frankly about the Christian’s suffering in this life and the hope of it ending when he receives a new body, “… but we ourselves, having the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.” (Rom 8:23). 

                The “Watch and Pray” tract says concerning financial prosperity, “There is a never ending

 

prosperity that comes to us from God… We believe that God’s will is abundance.” 

                But, in the Bible, Paul, the devout and totally committed disciple of Jesus, wrote, “I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleep-less nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure.” (2 Cor 11:27).  Later, he penned these words to the church at Philippi while in prison preaching the gospel, “I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need” (Phil 4:12). 

                God’s will for the Christian does not rule out and may very well include both financial adversity and ill health.  God uses suffering to strengthen His children’s faith and to develop their character.  In fact, in the Bible, through His ser-vant James, God instructed His people to rejoice when in trials, realizing the spiritual benefit God would bring from their suffering.  God said, “con-sider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.  And let endurance have its perfect result that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” (Js 1:2-4). 

                Do not be deceived by the false teachers of the “health and wealth gospel!  The advantage in obeying Jesus is spiritual, not physical and, o, what an advantage it is!  Obey Jesus, be forgiven, live in joy and peace (even in trial), and go to heaven after this short and troubled life!

EVIDENCE FOR FAITH: THE DIMINISHING OF EGYPT

Americans will once again be able to see for themselves the treasures of ancient Egypt, as the King Tut exhibit makes another round.  These treasures, as well as the magnificent pyramids, testify to Egypt’s past greatness.  But, now the glory of Egypt is but a memory, as the country that once was a great world power struggles among the “developing” nations.

                 When Egypt was at the height of its glory, the prophets Isaiah and Ezekiel made these predictions:

 1) There would more be a Prince of the land of Egypt (Eze 30:13).

 2) Egypt would be diminished into a lowly kingdom (Eze 29:14-15)

 3) The Nile River canals would dry up and Egypt would become desolate (Eze 29:9-10; 30:12; Isa 19:5-9)

                 The amazing 3000-year dynasty of the Pharaohs ended in 343 B.C.  Since then there have not been any native rulers, but the country has been ruled by foreigners, including those of Arab descent today.

                 Though others ruled them, Egypt remained rich for centuries.  Augustus Caesar called it “the granary of the world” in the 1st century B.C.  Even when the Arabians conquered it in A.D. 640, Egypt was the richest nation in the world. 

 

 But, when and why did Egypt so diminish?  Herodotus called Egypt “the gift of the Nile”.  After the Arabians took control, they neglected to remove the silt from the canals and the Nile began to quit “giving”.  Now over 96% of Egypt is desert! 

                As predicted, the industries of agriculture and fishing have been destroyed and reeds no longer line the shores of the shrunken river.  In 1991, the now lowly kingdom could by no means feed the world- they only grew half the wheat they needed to feed their own people! 

                Could Isaiah and Ezekiel, who lived when Egypt had power and riches and the Nile made the country fertile, have foreseen the destiny of Egypt with human eyes?  Obviously not!  They wrote as prophets of God and their work is part of the abundant evidence that should convince you to believe that the Bible could not be the work of men, but must be, as it claims, the Word of God!



 

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