God-Given Prosperity Outside Of The Abrahamic, Mosaic And New Covenants

 

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The Old and New Testaments reveal that by His undeserved grace, God has prospered many people who were not under the Abrahamic, Mosaic or New Covenants. The following is a list of people whom God prospered in this way:

 

·         possibly Job.

·         various non-Israelite nations in Old Testament times. Some of these were prospered by God’s totally undeserved grace despite their great wickedness. For example, Ezekiel 29:19 records God gave the land of Egypt as spoils to King Nebuchadnezzar who then gave these to his wicked Babylonian army as their wages for fighting. Others were prospered by God through His grace only on the condition they turned from their sins to Him (see Jeremiah 18:7-11).

·         various wicked unrepentant individuals living in Old and New Testament times.

 

As you can see from the above, the written Word of God does not agree with the overly simplistic views of prosperity taught by many today.

 

Conditional prosperity by God’s grace in Job’s era

 

It is debatable whether Job was a descendant of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob or not. The Book of Job does not provide strong evidence that Job lived under the Mosaic Covenant. But whatever the case, not Job 36:9-12 refers to sinners who turn from their sins back to God being prospered by Him: “Then He tells them their work and their transgressions – that they have acted defiantly. He also opens their ear to instruction, and commands that they turn from iniquity. If they obey and serve Him, they shall spend their days in prosperity, and their years in pleasures. But if they do not obey, they shall perish by the sword, and they shall die without knowledge.” Such prosperity was obviously by God’s undeserved grace and mercy but occurred on the condition they turned from their sins to Him.

Job was righteous by God’s grace through faith (see Job 1:1, 1:8 and 13:5) and was blameless before Him (see Job 1:1, 1:8 and 2:3). The blameless are those with faith in God, who turn from all their known sins, are cleansed from their sins by Him and are sincerely aiming to obey His revealed known will.

The fact Job did not prosper for a period of time shows that believers who are righteous by God’s grace and blameless before Him cannot claim that God is under any obligation according to His perfect justice to give them prosperity every moment of every day. The reason is they have not earned such prosperity as a fully deserved reward.

 

 

Conditional prosperity by grace or punishment for various nations

 

Jeremiah 18:7-10 records the condition by which God in Old Testament times judged whether to prosper or punish various nations or kingdoms: “The instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, to pull down, and to destroy it, if that nation against whom I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I thought to bring upon it. And the instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it, if it does evil in My sight so that it does not obey My voice, then I will relent concerning the good with which I said I would benefit it.”

In Hebrew, the word “nation” used above three times is “goy” which is also used in Exodus 19:6, Deuteronomy 32:28 and Judges 2:20 in relation to the nation of Israel, in Isaiah 2:15 (twice) and Micah 4:7 in reference to the nation of Judah and relative to non-Israelite nations in 1 Kings 15:24, 2 Kings 17:8, 11, 15 and 26.

In Jeremiah 18:8 quoted above, the word “turns” is “shub” in Hebrew. This is the same Hebrew word used in Deuteronomy 30:2, 30:10 and 2 Chronicles 7:14. “Shub” refers to turning from sins to the Lord. God promised to prosper those nations who fulfilled this condition.

Also note in Jeremiah 18:10, God says He would punish any nation who practiced evil and refused to obey His voice. Even though the non-Israelite nations were not under the Mosaic Covenant and Mosaic Law, God still judged them on the basis of their heart attitudes and actions.

Amos 1:3-2:3 shows God punished the nations of Syria, Edom, Ammon and Moab and the cities of Gaza and Tyre on the basis of their transgressions against God. These nations and cities were not under the Mosaic Covenant and Mosaic Law.

 

Prosperity by God’s grace to Nebuchadnezzar

 

King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon was a wicked pagan who set up an enormous gold image on the plain of Dura. He commanded all people to worship this image and threatened to burn to death anyone who refused (see Daniel 3:1-7). He tried to murder three of Daniel’s friends who remained faithful to the Lord and who refused to worship the image (see Daniel 3:8-25). As a result of God miraculously saving these three Israelites, Nebuchadnezzar began to worship the God of the Israelites (see Daniel 3:26-29).

Later in Daniel 4:27, the prophet Daniel said to Nebuchadnezzar: “Therefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable to you; break off your sins by being righteous, and your iniquities by showing mercy to the poor. Perhaps there may be a lengthening of your prosperity.”

This was either an example of God sovereignly previously prospering this pagan wicked king by His undeserved grace. Or it may have been an example of God willingly permitting Nebuchadnezzar to prosper himself by his own wicked actions. But note he was definitely not previously prospered in any way as a deserved reward from God.

Observe also that Daniel was unsure whether a continuation of prosperity for Nebuchadnezzar was conditioned on whether the king turned from his sins and lived rightly in God’s eyes. This did not mean Nebuchadnezzar could earn prosperity by turning from his sins and by right living. But these latter fruits of faith were possibly the conditions which had to be fulfilled in order for Nebuchadnezzar to experience continuing prosperity by God’s grace.

The sad future of the prosperous unrepentant wicked

 

The Scriptures reveal that unrepentant wicked people who are wealthy will either lose their prosperity after a period of time or will go to hell despite their continued great prosperity up until the time of their death. Read Psalm 73:13-20.

James 5:1-5 states: “Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries that are coming upon you! Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten. Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have heaped up treasure in the last days. Indeed the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. You have lived on the earth in pleasure and luxury; you have fattened your hearts as in a day of slaughter.”

Proverbs 13:11 is another relevant verse. Luke 16:19-31 refers to an unbeliever, who was rich until the time of his death, going to Hades.

 

 

 


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