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Is it true that the Old Testament teaches Prosperity Theology?

Prosperity theology is the teaching that an authentic religious belief and behavior in a person will result in their material prosperity.

Prosperity theology seens to be the teaching of passages like Deuteronomy 28.

Is it true that the Old Testament teaches Prosperity Theology?

If the answer is YES, then I have a second question: Is Prosperity Theology valid for today? Why? Or why not?

I think the New Testament does not teach Prosperity Theology. But why not? Did god change his mind?

Tags: Old, Prosperity, Testament, Theology

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These are good questions.

No doubt that certain teachings can be developed out of only focusing on specific passages of Scripture such as Deut 28; Deut 30; Josh 1:1-9; 1 Chron 22:13; Neh 2:20; Ps 1:3; many other passages from Psalm; etc, etc. But we have to consider the full scope of Scripture when developing theology on any topic at hand. Now, I do believe God has our best in mind. I don't think He is out to make us miserable. But, as fallen people in a fallen world, that doesn't always mean perfect finances, perfect relationships, perfect health, etc, etc. I do believe we need to be challenged to seek God for blessings in these areas of life, but we must also consider passages like:

Matt 5:3-4 - being poor in spirit and being those who will mourn
Matt 5:10-12 - being those who will be persecuted
Phil 1:29 - being those who have been called to suffer for His sake
Phil 3:10 - being those called to share in His sufferings
Col 1:24 - filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions (not what is lacking in His atoning sacrifice, but in displaying the love of God through being willing to suffer on behalf of people for the sake of the gospel)

And there are many more. God does have our good in mind (Rom 8:28; etc), and much more than we ever do. He is a very, very good Father. But we don't always get there exactly how we thought we should. And consider, if we always 'prospered' from the perspective that everything should always go peachy for Christians, then we would be tempted to never really trust God, and I think we would walk that path often, as this is the usual case even now. I think someone like Jeremiah or Paul prospered, but that didn't look like much of the prosperity teaching that is espoused today. And, even Christ's life didn't look like much of that picture either.

So, in the end, we have to consider the whole scope of Scripture when developing a Biblical understanding on any topic. Does God want us to prosper? Yes. But that must be kept in consideration with the whole tenor of Scripture, not to mention that, living in a fallen world, things don't always come together perfectly. Yet, He is still good and sovereign.
Yeah, I know. A christian living today have to consider the full scope of Scripture and this includes the New Testament.

But I am questioning what is the OT theology about prosperity. Wasn´t the prosperity theology a true doctrine for a jew living before Christ?
I am ok to go down that path - that the OT teaches such (and we must consider the OT as having something to say to new covenant Christians). But, even the OT shows that you have to deal with the 'other' cases, such as found in Job and Ecclesiastes. And, I think God has always been the same God - in the old covenant and the new covenant. So we can't just always say, 'That is OT.'

So, I believe we can establish that God wants us to prosper. But that doesn't always work out and look like we thought it would/should. On this side of the consummation of all things, living in a fallen world (whether OT or NT times), we still have to face the reality of being fallen people living in this fallen world.

I know this doesn't answer all the questions, but the Bible doesn't always answer every inquiry. If anything, we are many times left with more questions. But we still conclude that God is all-good in our lives.
Yes,

Nationally, the nation would prosper if they listened to and did what the Lord commanded.

Deu 28:1 And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth:
Of course, it was never realistic that the nation could keep ALL the commandments ALWAYS. I see Deuteronomy 28 as more a warning than a promise. It devotes much more space to what will happen if they don't keep all the commandments.
Wagner, you're not gonna get a straight answer from folk who see no difference in the way Israel functioned from the way the Church functions. If by Prosperity Theology you mean the authentic religious belief and behavior that focuses on prosperity and equates it with blessing that goes on today, then no: the OT does not teach Prosperity Theology.

If by Prosperity Theology you mean that predicated upon their Covenantal conformity, Israel would remain under the purview of God's promises and therefore be endowed with blessing but if they stepped out of the Covenantal boundaries they could expect cursing then yes. God wanted to add to them (not only physically but spiritually and bountifully) to be a testimony to the nations about them. They agreed to this and all that it entails. The negative is that stepping outside of what God demanded would still result in them being a testimony, albeit as a pariah.

Prosperity Theology as dictated in the second bit is not valid for Today. First the Law Covenant was made with Israel not with Nebuchadnezzar and not with the Church. Second because the Law invariably pointed at its own limitations within the covenant community of Israel that would be people who had an external law. Thirdly, a tit-for-tat system doesn't work because all that winds up being leftover is a bunch of dead people or people hedging God's Law so no one even comes near breaking the Law. Fourthly, the focus is thrown off: God wants to bless people in ways that matter by being in a love affair with Him--not by ignoring him for the baubles he hands us. That's why he specifies "Use everything I give you for everyone else. Debase yourself extravagantly: Learn from Me."

The New Testament teaches the ultimate prosperity of believers but never makes it conditional upon keeping the Covenant--which is not something people can do anyway. Who can write a law on a heart but God?

Why not? Because the New Testament is only a series of mail, a couple of historical retellings, and focused on making grown up Sons--not children that need a school marm to dictate do's and don'ts while offering candied kisses or wrist lashes depending on what is done. There's warnings a plenty, and there's the danger of being derailed: but God is working and conforming. Completely different from the way He dealt with humanity in the OT.

God never changed His mind. His plan was in play from the get go in the garden but people revolted. God is just and as such He teaches a valuable lesson under various economies of dealing with humanity and offering witness and testimony and responsibility. The lesson is this: You're only hope is by going through God. Now if the plan was always there why wasn't it obvious? Well there's pointers in the OT but they were never revealed until it became evident in the NT Times.

I'm typing quickly without citing though I'm making allusions to several passages. Sorry: I'm on someone else's computer.
Rey, you always put things so nicely. Yes, there is a marked difference in God's dealing with His people in the Old Testament vs. the New Testament and I concur that the continuity between the 2 Testaments is that God is chiefly concerned about obedience and placing our affection on Him. Deut 28 describes the rewards of His people's obedience then and I do think we see a different picture in the New Testament.

I also believe that God does bless some financially, it is so they can give (hence the gift of giving). But I think that there is sufficient evidence to suggest that we are NOT to pursue wealth. Most notably consider I Timothy 6:11 in context of vs. 3-10 and I Cor 4:16 in context of vs. 8-15, to name a few. The latter passage is a picture of following Christ at the expense of riches, reputation and comfort. But prosperity teaching says just the opposite. It equates kingdom righteousness with material possessions that says we SHOULD pursue it as our divine right.

So no, I don't believe its that God changed His mind, its just that in Christ, its a different type of scenario.
Somewhere, Joel Osteen cries...

Rey Reynoso said:
Wagner, you're not gonna get a straight answer from folk who see no difference in the way Israel functioned from the way the Church functions. If by Prosperity Theology you mean the authentic religious belief and behavior that focuses on prosperity and equates it with blessing that goes on today, then no: the OT does not teach Prosperity Theology.

If by Prosperity Theology you mean that predicated upon their Covenantal conformity, Israel would remain under the purview of God's promises and therefore be endowed with blessing but if they stepped out of the Covenantal boundaries they could expect cursing then yes. God wanted to add to them (not only physically but spiritually and bountifully) to be a testimony to the nations about them. They agreed to this and all that it entails. The negative is that stepping outside of what God demanded would still result in them being a testimony, albeit as a pariah.

Prosperity Theology as dictated in the second bit is not valid for Today. First the Law Covenant was made with Israel not with Nebuchadnezzar and not with the Church. Second because the Law invariably pointed at its own limitations within the covenant community of Israel that would be people who had an external law. Thirdly, a tit-for-tat system doesn't work because all that winds up being leftover is a bunch of dead people or people hedging God's Law so no one even comes near breaking the Law. Fourthly, the focus is thrown off: God wants to bless people in ways that matter by being in a love affair with Him--not by ignoring him for the baubles he hands us. That's why he specifies "Use everything I give you for everyone else. Debase yourself extravagantly: Learn from Me."

The New Testament teaches the ultimate prosperity of believers but never makes it conditional upon keeping the Covenant--which is not something people can do anyway. Who can write a law on a heart but God?

Why not? Because the New Testament is only a series of mail, a couple of historical retellings, and focused on making grown up Sons--not children that need a school marm to dictate do's and don'ts while offering candied kisses or wrist lashes depending on what is done. There's warnings a plenty, and there's the danger of being derailed: but God is working and conforming. Completely different from the way He dealt with humanity in the OT.

God never changed His mind. His plan was in play from the get go in the garden but people revolted. God is just and as such He teaches a valuable lesson under various economies of dealing with humanity and offering witness and testimony and responsibility. The lesson is this: You're only hope is by going through God. Now if the plan was always there why wasn't it obvious? Well there's pointers in the OT but they were never revealed until it became evident in the NT Times.

I'm typing quickly without citing though I'm making allusions to several passages. Sorry: I'm on someone else's computer.
And dabs the flowing tears with a fistful of dollars.
Ask Job about prosperity theology.
Yes, I would like to ask Job what he thought of the added prosperity after the trial. I like to think that he would rather not have it at all considering all the stress that his family had to go through. He was already wealthy; what possible good was more material wealth to him?
My 5 yr old was practicing the books of the Bible last night and EVERY time he got to Leviticus, he called it 'Lexus' (rhymes with Exodus??). I'm sure that he's showing the early symptoms of health and wealth.


Rey Reynoso said:
And dabs the flowing tears with a fistful of dollars.

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