Wealth And The Lord’s Coming How They Work

Wealth And The Lord’s Coming How They Work -- Of what coming was James speaking? What did James mean when he told people two thousand years ago they had hoarded wealth in the last days? James sounded like John in the Revelation talking about Jesus coming soon and quickly. What’s up with this? To help us with this passage (and many more), I must do a little history teaching and a little anti-eschatology teaching. But, how does wealth figure in with the Lord’s coming? Is wealth bad?

Wealth And The Lord’s Coming How They Work – sermon video audio notes

Wealth And The Lord’s Coming How They Work – sermon video audio notes

Scriptures: James 5:1-9, Matthew 16:28, Matthew 21:43, Revelation 1-3, Revelation 22:12, John 8:44, Matthew 23:33-39, Matthew 24:1-3, Matthew 23:36, Matthew 24:34, Luke 21:32, Matthew 24:21, Matthew 16:28, Matthew 24:27, Matthew 24:30, Matthew 24-39, Matthew 26:64-65, Mark 13:26, Mark 14:62, Luke 21:27, Acts 2:17, Acts 2:40, Hebrews 1:2, Revelation 1:1, Revelation 22:7, James 5:1-11

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Wealth And The Lord’s Coming How They Work - sermon video

Wealth And The Lord’s Coming How They Work – sermon video audio notes -- sermon audio

Wealth And The Lord’s Coming How They Work – sermon notes

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James 5:1 Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you.

…because of the misery that is coming upon you

James appeared to be speaking of an imminent misery coming upon those people to whom he spoke. James also spoke about the last days in this same context. Actually, there were several times in this passage James referred to some devastating event about to take place in the context of “last days.”

James 5:1 . . . the misery that is coming upon you.

James 5:3 . . . You have hoarded wealth in the last days.

James 5:5 . . . You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter.

James 5:8 . . . because the Lord’s coming is near.

James 5:9 . . . The Judge is standing at the door!

Of what coming was James speaking? What did James mean when he told those people two thousand years ago they had hoarded wealth in the last days? James sounded like John in the Revelation talking about Jesus coming soon and quickly. What’s up with this?

To help us with this passage (and many more), I must do a little history teaching and a little anti-eschatology teaching. I need to set the stage for the times in which James wrote this letter. I will need your close attention because I am certain some of us have never heard the “last days” from this perspective.

Some scriptures used to give me a brain freeze. I would read them, but they made no sense. Let me show us a few of these to show you what I mean.

Matthew 16:28 I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.

Matthew 21:43 “Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit.

Revelation 1:1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:

Revelation 1:3 Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.

Revelation 22:12 And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.

I would resign to the fact Jesus wasn’t clear about his coming or his kingdom. How could those disciples be alive today awaiting Jesus and the kingdom to come? How could Jesus take a kingdom from those religious leaders that had not come yet? How could the events of the Revelation shortly come to pass, be at hand, and the Lord come quickly? So, I would attempt to answer those questions with a day to the Lord is a thousand years and no man knows the day or the hour. But this did not satisfy my soul. How could the scriptures be so clear and so specific about some things and yet so vague about this very important issue of the Lord and his kingdom? Let’s see if what I have learned will help.

James was martyred by Ananus II around A.D. 62. So, we know the epistle of James was written prior to A.D. 62. A time given for the writing of the book of James would be the late A.D. 50’s to the early A.D. 60’s.

Jesus was crucified A.D. 33. During the week prior to the crucifixion (Passion week). there was a tremendous spiritual battle raging between Jesus and the demonic Pharisee/religious system. Jesus had said their religious system was of the devil.

John 8:44 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him . . .

From the time Jesus rode into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday until they killed him Friday afternoon (Passion Week), Jesus and those religious leaders were nose-to-nose in combat. It was far more than Jesus and the Pharisees battling. It was the devil and Jesus in conflict. Darkness and light were nose-to-nose. Jesus had cleansed their temple (Mat 21:12). No one had ever done this. Jesus said they were robbers and thieves. He told them tax collectors and prostitutes would go into the kingdom before they would (Mat 21:31). He told them they had rejected the chief corner stone and now the stone would grind them to power (Mat 21:44). Jesus said the kingdom would be taken from their religious system and given to another people (Mat 21:43). They tried to trick him by asking him should they pay taxes. He said render to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God’s what is God’s (Mat 22:21).

It was intense battle which became white hot. In Matthew chapter 23, Jesus continued the battle saying “Woe unto you scribes and Pharisee hypocrites” over and over. “Woe to you” means “great grief to you.” They shut up the kingdom to people (Mat 23:13). They made people twice the sons of hell they were (Mat 23:15). They were blind guides straining at gnats and swallowing camels (Mat 23:24). They were whitewashed tombs full of dead men’s bones (Mat 23:27). Jesus pronounced “great grief” upon their demonic system. At the end of those great grief “woes,” Jesus said to the religious leaders of that day,

Matthew 23:33 Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?

Jesus said their system was dammed for hell. It could not escape. Please don’t miss the link between the “woes” and this section. It is a continuation. The next verse (Mat 23:34) says Jesus would send prophets and teachers, but they would scourge and kill them. The next verse says,

Matthew 23:35 That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.

Matthew 23:36 Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation.

This damnation of hell was to come upon their generation of scribes and Pharisees to whom Jesus spoke. The vengeance of all the righteous blood shed would come upon their generation. (Please note the phrase “All these things…” the King James’ version used. It will be used again shortly to tie the thoughts together.) The next verse speaks of their Jerusalem of their day.

Matthew 23:37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!

Matthew 23:38 Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.

Jesus prophesied to Jerusalem. He said, “Your house is left unto you desolate.” This would be the “abomination of desolation” Jesus would refer again to in Matthew 24:15. It would be laid desolate during their generation. The next verse says,

Matthew 23:39 For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.

The Lord attached a coming with that desolation of their generation. This is too important to miss. Jesus said this temple will not see me again until it sees me coming in the name of the Lord to lay it desolate. Jesus then walked out of the temple. Please do not lose touch with the continuation of chapter 24:1. Chapter 24 is not thousands of years later. It is minutes later at the most. Jesus said that very system would not see him again until it saw him coming to lay it desolate and turned and walked out.

His disciples, extremely interested in what Jesus had just said, were pointing to the buildings of the temple.

Matthew 24:1 And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple.

Was it their temple Jesus had just damned? Did he mean their temple or was it a different temple? Here is what Jesus said.

Matthew 24:2 And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.

Indeed it would be their temple. Jesus said not one stone would be left of the temple he had just exited.

Obviously this had stirred his disciples. They asked him on the Mount of Olivet to tell them when “these things shall be” (Mat 24:3).

Matthew 24:3 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?

His disciples wanted to know two things. They wanted to know when this desolation would happen. They wanted to know a sign of the coming ending their age. The Greek word translated “world” in the KJV is aion (Strong’s #165) meaning age or allotted time. Jesus answered both questions in Matthew 24.

They asked, “. . . when shall these things be.” The phrase, “These things” is a direct reference to 23:36 where Jesus had said “All ‘these things’ shall come upon this generation.”

Matthew 23:36 Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation.

Jesus answered them concerning the time of “these things.” The Olivet Discourse is about “these things.” We cannot take the time required to go through the entire discourse. We have it written out in the Revelation study and on cassette tape. Jesus answered for them “when shall ‘these things’ be.” Matthew, Mark, and Luke record it.

Matthew 24:34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.

Mark 13:30 Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done.

Luke 21:32 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled.

Jesus said something extremely devastating was to happen to their religious system including the temple. It would happen within the next forty years (time of a generation see Num 32:13). It would be so catastrophic nothing like what Jesus spoke had ever happened before, nor would anything like it ever happen again.

Matthew 24:21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.

Thirty-seven years later (A.D. 70), the temple in Jerusalem (Mat. 24:1-2), and Jerusalem itself, was indeed laid desolate by the Roman army just as Jesus had said (Mat 23:38). The religious relics in the temple were carried off to Rome, i.e., golden candlestick, golden altar of incense and placed in the museum of Vespesian. The temple was dismantled stone by stone. Not one stone stood upon another just as Jesus had said (Mat 24:2). All remaining was a part of the wall around the temple. It is called the Wailing Wall for this very reason. Not one stone of the literal temple can be found. It happened in A.D. 70.

Masada was the last strong hold for the Jewish nation. In A.D. 73, Masada fell. A.D. 73 would be exactly 40 years, i.e., one generation from the time Jesus spoke the words saying the generation would not pass.

Though there is a nation called “Israel” today, it is not the same. It does not have a temple. It does not have a Levitical priesthood. It would be impossible to identify a pure Levite to be a priest. It does not do the animal sacrifices taught by Moses. History shows the Roman army invaded the land in A.D. 66. Seven years later (A.D. 73) the land and the temple laid desolate. It was the great tribulation Jesus spoke of in Matthew 24:21. There will never be anything like it again.

The Lord Jesus referred to the event of A.D. 66-73 as his coming. This is important. Again and again and over and over the Lord warned and spoke of the A.D. 66-73 event. It is imperative to know this if we are to have proper Biblical interpretation. Let’s read the following verses with the thought of an A.D. 66-73 coming of the Lord and judgment upon the temple and their religious system of the generation of Jesus and James.

Matthew 16:28 Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.

Matthew 24:27 For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

Matthew 24:30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

Matthew 24:37 But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

Matthew 24:39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

Matthew 26:64 Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.

Matthew 26:65 Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy.

Mark 13:26 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory.

Mark 14:62 And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.

Luke 21:27 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.

It was to their misery and coming of the Lord James referred in chapter 5:1-11. With that thought, let’s read 5:1-9 again and some verses in James.

James 5:1 Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you.

James 5:3 Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days.

James 5:5 You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter.

James 5:8 You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near.

James 5:9 Don’t grumble against each other, brothers, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!

Either James was extremely confused about the time of the Lord’s coming. Or, the Lord’s coming was upon them. It was the last days (of then Israel). The Lord’s coming was near. The Judge was standing at the door. James wrote this around A.D. 60. He came in A.D. 66. History proves the Lord came in the form of the Roman army. They came and destroyed the temple, Jerusalem, and the religious system of their generation.

Encarta Encyclopedia says, “Under Nero a general rebellion erupted, and he dispatched four legions led by Vespasian to crush the uprising. The Romans destroyed the Temple of the Jews in Jerusalem and defeated the last Zealot holdouts at the fortress of Masada in AD 73. The Romans then abolished the priesthood, thus leaving no remnant of Jewish political organization.” This subject so fascinated me I wrote an entire teaching on it. It is called “War of A.D. 70 Great Tribulation.” It was amazing the correlation between the seven-year war (A.D. 66-73) and the book of Revelation chapters 4-16.

A soon coming of the Lord upon their generation was the teaching of the apostles.

Peter taught it was the last days and a judgment would indeed come upon their wicked generation. Peter speaking to the people of “Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem” (Act 2:14) said, Acts 2:17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh Acts 2:40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. The writer of Hebrews believed it was the last days. Hebrews 1:2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son . . .John believed the coming of Jesus in the Revelation would take place shortly. Revelation 1:1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: Jesus thought his coming would be soon. Revelation 22:7 Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book. James teaching becomes apparent once this coming is understood. James taught within a few short years all the riches those people had hoarded would be for nothing. They would do them no good. Nor would they have done any good for the kingdom of God. Let’s read James 5:1-11. James 5:1 Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you. James 5:2 Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. James 5:3 Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days.James 5:4 Look! The wages you failed to pay the workmen who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty.James 5:5 You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. James 5:6 You have condemned and murdered innocent men, who were not opposing you. James 5:7 Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. James 5:8 You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. James 5:9 Don’t grumble against each other, brothers, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door! James 5:10 Brothers, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. James 5:11 As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy. The passage is self explanatory when we incorporate the A.D. 66-73 coming of the Lord. James is doing two things: (1) He is warning those who have hoarded their wealth. This hoarding is an issue that will bring judgment; (2) He is telling them the Lord’s coming is near. HOW HOARDING WEALTH WORKS These people trusted in their wealth rather than trusting in the Lord. These people hoarded their wealth. They did not pay their employees correctly if at all. They found ways to cheat and not pay what they owed. They lived in luxury and self-indulgence while they cheated innocent people who had never done anything to them. It must be accentuated wealth was not why James rebukes these people. There is nothing wrong with wealth. The church needs wealthy people to help finance what is needed to do. James’ rebuke was because these wealthy people did nothing with their wealth to advance the kingdom or help people. They hoarded it. They did nothing with their wealth to minister to hurting people. In fact, they found ways not to help. They hoarded their wealth so they could live in luxury and self-indulgence while humanity hurt and hungered all around. James says something I don’t want us to miss. James 5:3 Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you . . .James 5:4 Look! The wages you failed to pay the workmen who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. James takes the thought back to the time of Cain and Able and how Able’s blood cried out from the ground (Gen 4:10). James said when we hoard money, do not help reach people, and cheat people, it will do as did the blood of Able. It will testify against us. It will cry out against us. Hoarding money, not helping the needy, and cheating people is far more serious than we think. It testifies against us. It cries out against us. The Greek word translated “Almighty” is sabaoth(Strong’s #4519). It is pronounced sab-ah-owth’ and means Lord of the armies of God. James said our cheating people cries out against us and the testifying of our hoarding ways is heard by the Lord of Sabaoth. God will have his armies deal with us. Hoarding money will bring a judgment from God. Hoarding money brings three perils upon people I want to speak about as we close.1. We ignore God. People with a lot of money don’t feel they need to hear from God. Jesus said it was easier for a camel to go through an eye of a needle than a rich man to get into the kingdom of God (Mat 19:24). Money has a way of making us feel independent and superior. We don’t need God and we don’t need God’s people.2. We ignore the needs of God’s people. Wealthy people feel people who have no money are attempting to get the money of the wealthy. The wealthy go into protection mode and turn their backs on the needy.

  1. Judgment.The misuse of money will bring judgment. As we have seen, its misuse will witness against us and cry out against us.

So, how do we do with our money? Do we attempt to live lavishly? Do we spend it all on ourselves and what we want? Do we cheat at business and cheat our employees? If the Lord were to come soon, how would you be judged concerning how you have handled your money? Would it witness for you or against you? It will witness one way or another. Wealth And The Lord’s Coming How They Work.
1.  1.”Roman Empire.” Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 2001. © 1993-2000 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

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