of the craftiest traps the devil has set for the end-times church is to get it to season New Covenant grace with Old Covenant
customs. A prime example of this is one of the most perverse gimmicks on Christian
TV: Make a vow, get a miracle.
In Old Testament times, people did make vows to the Lord to help them receive what they needed from Him. Childless Hannah vowed to give God back the first son He gave her, that he might serve the Lord all the
days of his life (I Sam. 1:11). Money-obsessed preachers are quick to seize upon such examples as this and apply them to the
Church. But does God care if they do this?
Once little Samuel was weaned, Hannah and her husband Elkanah brought him to Eli the High Priest as fulfillment (payment)
of her vow (I Sam. 1:24-28). This is significant. In order to receive payment for sacred vows to God, modern televangelists
must place themselves in the position of Eli as God's representative. When you try to transfer Old Testament regulations and
practices to the New Covenant, it's like throwing cold water into hot grease. It creates chaos. You open a can of worms and
your proper role in God's scheme of things gets distorted. In Deuteronomy 12:6 worshippers are commanded to bring all their
sacrifices, including any animal paid as a vow, to their place of worship where the Lord's Presence was. That is what Hannah and Elkanah did, when they brought Samuel to the High Priest in Shiloh. But Hannah and Elkanah
lived under the Law of Moses in the Old Covenant. Who is the High Priest of our New Covenant?
None other than the Lord Jesus holds that office (Heb. 4:14-16).
Jesus alone presides eternally as High Priest over His Church and it is sheer blasphemy for any mere man to lay claim
to imaginary perks of the High Priestly office. I Samuel 2: 12-17 relates
how Eli's own sons stole the best of the offerings of the Lord out of the worshipper's cooking pots before they could be boiled.
My guess is they did this so they could run an illicit butcher business on the side. Lots of modern preachers are dipping
their fleshhooks into the cash pot to live off the fat vows they persuade the people of God to pay TO THEM, as God's self-appointed
IRS agents. Those spiritual tyrants aren't getting what they crave out of Jesus' true Gospel, so they marry the most lucrative
portions of the Old Covenant to the New Covenant to create their own hybrid gospel of get, to benefit themselves.
I have lived outside of the U.S.
for many years now. The fishing-for-funds rackets going on in the religious world
were bad enough when I lived in America,
but I dread to think of how bad the situation must be now. I'll never forget the groaning organ music playing as one televangelist
stretched forth his wriggling fingers pleading for a $2000 "vow of faith". But woe unto you if you stop paying on the vow. Instead of a reward, God might punish you by taking back any blessings He's already
bestowed upon you, and you've just opened the door for satan to steal your finances.
My brother kept getting slick religious mail warning him that unless he stepped out in faith with a donation for "this
faith ministry", the devil was going to give him a worse New Year than he'd ever seen before. Only problem for satan is, my
brother had already died and gone to be with the Lord. It's bad enough that living saints are getting the shakedown, but how
do you squeeze money out of a dead man?
Religious sharks are out for blood now, if I am to believe what some Americans have written me. Some churchgoers
are actually being threatened with the terrible judgment of God if they don't give in to their preacher's demands! That is tantamount to a witchcraft curse, beloved, and you must never give into such a lie of satan. I don't care if the religious extortionist prances around in silk robes with a three-cornered
cap on his head, don't give him a dime! When a religious leader plays God and
messes up other people's souls to buy another Cadillac, he has crossed the line, and you are not obligated to submit your
souls to such a deceiver. The Apostle Peter said to the Jewish religious leaders
in Acts 5:29: We ought to obey God rather than men. An angry threat of divine
retribution for refusing to put your rent money into the offering bucket comes from satan, not God. Ye shall know a tree by its fruits (Matt. 7:16). One glance at the preacher's fancy fixtures and expensive
jewelry ought to make a warning bell go off. Oh, the heartache and disappointment I could have saved myself in times past
if I had bothered to study the Bible for myself instead of caving in and giving in to all the mixed-up mysticism going round
in the Faith Movement, passing itself off as the true Gospel of Christ! Thank God for delivering me and bringing me to the
place where I no longer stand in awe of a man or woman just because they preach from a gold-plated podium and wear fancy jewelry
and designer duds.
Beware of airy-fairy rhetoric disguised as "God's deeper truths". No
fisher-for-funds wants you to be able to think clearly, with sanctified common sense.
The true Gospel of Jesus is deep, yet simple enough for a child to grasp (Luke 18:16-17; II Cor. 11:3). If some "faith"
teacher tells you to step out on a limb and vow a thousand dollars to his ministry, and you feel unrest inside, that could
be the Holy Spirit's still small voice warning you not to take that so-called leap of faith. Go out on a limb to please the
preacher and you might fall off and break your neck.
If you were driving a car out in a dense fog over an icy highway, you would not go full speed ahead down a treacherous
road. You would proceed cautiously, or look for a rest stop and wait until the fog has lifted. If you are not one thousand-percent
certain that God wants you to rob the landlord to pay the preacher, wait! Don't
let Brother Bigbucks hustle you into opening your heart and your wallet to some
"new revelation" which is going to cost you money. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you to discern any preacher who deliberately
twists God's Word out of context to justify his false doctrine. “Faith
preachers” tend to draw most of their teaching from a select few Scriptures which they
yank out of context and manipulate to make them support their appeal for money. They neglect those parts of Scripture
which teach Christians to “love not the world, neither the things that are in the world” (I John 2:15), and: “Lay
not up treasures for yourselves upon earth” (Matt. 6:19). Jesus also says
in Luke 6:24: But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation! One pastor of an affluent congregation I visited said this: “Why shouldn’t
God want us to be rich? David was rich, Solomon was rich.”
At the time we were struggling financially because my husband had just been disabled by a terrible accident on his
work site. I saw nothing but covetousness and self-centeredness in the pastor’s
statement. Instead of clamoring for more, that man should have gone down on his knees and thanked God that all of his family
were well, and he didn’t have my worries. Sure Solomon had big blessings in this world.
But why didn’t that pastor also say that since Solomon had a thousand wives we should have a thousand wives too?
As for David, I tend to suspect there were times he got nostalgia for those days he was a humble shepherd lad sitting on a
hillside strumming a harp and singing praises to God. Just think of the bickering
that must have gone on in David’s harem as his wives made themselves up and competed
for his attentions! One televangelist owns a stable full of Arabian horses. But
if you want big blessings you’d better be prepared to clean up after them.
As the Holy Spirit to guide you in your Bible study, and to harmonize any parts which seem to contradict each other. Jesus warns against the deceitfulness of riches (Matt. 13:22). Yet II Corinthians 8:9 states that Jesus made himself poor so we could become rich. Ephesians 1:3 says: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all
SPIRITUAL blessings in heavenly places in Christ. Jesus did not die to give Brother
Golddigger a Cadillac. He died to give us a heavenly inheritance. Strange how fishers-for-funds claim to be following Jesus, yet a few greedy men make many poor to make
Don’t let it bother you if you don’t live in a palace in this world, or wear a Rolex. Rest assured that
if you love the Lord, you’ll get a mansion in heaven, even if you must rent a studio apartment in this life. And instead
of hoarding up perishable gold, you’ll walk on streets of gold and wear a crown of glory for your faithfulness.
Beware of sitting under the ministry of fishers-for-funds. If you allow
such unscrupulous preachers to tell you what parts of your Bible to read and how, instead of studying under the Spirit’s
guidance, you might forget all about those Scriptures which warn against covetousness.
You’ll be much more likely to come under the control of those preachers and lead them into greener pastures.
God in Christ is able to give you wisdom (I Cor.1:30). It's oh, so easy to just go along with the crowd at big crusades
instead of stopping to think rationally. Don't fall under the spell of mood-altering
music which plays on the heart strings of souls and sweeps them away on a tide of emotional, impulsive giving. The fact you
don't feel sure about sowing your grocery money into Brother Bigbucks' ice cream bucket might mean you're driving down a treacherous
road, unable to see through a thick fog of religious hoopla. Wait until you can clearly discern God's guidance, lest you do
something you might regret later.
Don't get suckered in by such psychological tricks as "Don't miss the stirring of the waters", and other religious
jargon. If that particular preacher were truly of the Lord and had your best
interests at heart, he would not object to giving the Holy Spirit time to speak to each individual about whether or how much,
to give. It is written: He that believeth shall not make haste (Isa. 28:16b). How true. The Lord leadeth, but the devil driveth with a three-pronged pitchfork of falsehood, fear, and folly. And what's more, if that
preacher really were a man of faith he would look unto the Lord, not unto the poor, to keep his ministry from going under.
In years past more emphasis was put on the "carrot" approach in soliciting funds. Give sacrificially "to God" and
His heavenly slot machine will never fail to pour you out a fortune you won't have room to contain. The desperate, the hurting,
and the naiive (such as I once was) would send in money they needed to take care of their own families, in hopes they could
become financially secure for life. But unscrupulous preachers count on people's ignorance of certain Scriptures, and this
one is an eye-opener: Proverbs 22:16: HE THAT OPPRESSETH THE POOR TO INCREASE HIS RICHES, AND HE THAT GIVETH TO THE RICH,
SHALL SURELY COME TO WANT (extreme poverty). Why don't faith preachers ever preach on that verse, especially those who twist
Scripture to collect vows off God's people in the Name of the Lord?
Now I am led to believe that religious oppressors are getting more aggressive in using the stick approach. In essence:
"Give more or you don't really love Jesus and you'll split hell wide open." Woe
unto those who resort to lies and deception to make the heart of the righteous sad, whom God has not made sad (Ezek.13:22).
So many Christians are wrestling with satan over assurance of their own salvation, and for some religious predator to tell
them God will reject them for non-giving is sheer deviltry. That religious fraud
is doing the devil's work, not God's work.
People did make voluntary vows in the Old Testament, but it was a risky business. You could come under the judgment of God if the vow were not carried out. In Judges Chapter 11 Jephthah
made a foolish vow that if God would give him victory in battle over the Ammonites, he would sacrifice unto the Lord the first
thing that came out of his house to greet him upon his return home. Jephthah
defeated the Ammonites and went home, but his only child was the first to emerge from his door to greet him. So his own daughter
had to be sacrificed unto the Lord. Some scholars believe she was only consecrated
to perpetual virginity, because human sacrifice was a pagan practice. Nonetheless,
Jephthah feared not to keep his vow to the Lord. Fear, not joyful faith, motivated the fulfillment of Jephthah's vow.
When you vow a vow unto the Lord, you open the door to possible judgment. You
bring yourself back under the bondage of fear that Christ died to set us free from (Rom. 8:15). When some fear peddler tries to wheedle you into making a so-called “vow of faith”, beware! He is trying to bring you back under bondage. The religious fear peddler puts a heavy
yoke of slavery back on the people of God. He expects his followers to work for
money to finance his insatiable appetite for sinful luxuries. By peddling his own base gospel, he has made himself an enemy
of the Cross of Christ (Phil. 3:18). As verse 19 says of ministers of deceit,
their god is their belly (which speaks of lusting after carnal pleasures which can be purchased for money). In trying to bind
God's people to vows these wolves in sheep's clothing are opposing Jesus' work of setting the captives free! They are religious slave masters oppressing God's people, whom God has redeemed unto Himself through the
blood of Christ!
What did Jesus Himself have to say about swearing oaths (making a vow)?
Matt. 5:33 AGAIN, YE HAVE HEARD THAT IT HATH BEEN SAID BY THEM OF OLD
TIME, THOU SHALT NOT FORSWEAR THYSELF (go back on your word); BUT THOU SHALT PERFORM UNTO THE LORD ALL THINE OATHS (vows):
Verse 34 BUT I SAY UNTO YOU, SWEAR NOT AT ALL, NEITHER BY HEAVEN; FOR
IT IS GOD'S THRONE:
Verse 35 NOR BY THE EARTH; FOR IT IS HIS FOOTSTOOL: NEITHER BY JERUSALEM; FOR IT IS THE CITY OF THE GREAT KING.
Verse 36 NEITHER SHALT THOU SWEAR BY THINE HEAD, BECAUSE THOU CANST
NOT MAKE ONE HAIR WHITE OR BLACK.
Verse 37 BUT LET YOUR COMMUNICATION BE YEA, YEA; NAY, NAY; FOR WHATSOEVER
IS MORE THAN THESE COMETH OF EVIL.
Simple obedience and faithfulness are what God desires from His children. For
example, it is far wiser to say to God "By your grace and enablement I can overcome this smoking habit" than to say: "Lord,
I make a sacred vow that by 12 noon Thursday I will crush out my very last cigarette and never touch one again." If you should
fail to keep your word and succumb to the desire for another cigarette, would you not live in fear of divine retribution?
Every action we take has repercussions. When a Christian makes a vow to God he makes himself a debtor to the Great
King, and automatically loses sight of his identity as a child of the Great King. He has so little confidence in His Heavenly
Father's willingness to freely give him whatever he needs that he tries to bribe God with some personal sacrifice. As the
believer focuses on his own sacrificial vow, he forgets the Sacrifice of Jesus and its value in the sight of God. That desperate
attitude speaks of works, not grace. In binding himself to a vow, the vow-maker owes God something more than a life of faith
abiding in Christ. When we make a vow we focus on ourselves and our own inclination
and ability to carry out our end of the transaction, instead of focusing on Christ alone.
A vow is a risky venture, performed out of faith in ourselves, not Christ.
Even if there is every intention of making good on the vow, it is carried out beneath the shadow of fear of divine
punishment. Making a vow hearkens back to the ways of the Old Law, and the Law is not of faith (Gal. 3:12). As many as are
under the Law are under a curse (verse 10). In making an Old Testament-style
vow, we automatically bring ourselves under a curse. In effect, we are saying: May God do thus and thus unto me if I fail
to do what I promised. Brother Flashfingers might promise you the moon, the sun
and the stars in exchange for "a one-time" vow of $2000, but it will cost you dearly spiritually. Woe be unto you if your child gets sick and you spend your vow money on medicine instead of pampering the
preacher. Even if you are sure God still loves you, you still feel heavy-hearted for breaking your vow and you wonder if your
relationship with God has suffered because of your failure to pay up. Once again,
you must focus upon your own willpower, strength and resources, rather than depending upon Christ and His all-sufficiency
to stay in right relationship with God.
Don't be deceived, dearly beloved. In Matthew 6:12 Jesus teaches his followers to pray that God would forgive them
their debts. Whoever places himself under any Old Covenant ritual, including
binding himself with a vow, is making himself a debtor to do the whole Law and has fallen from our Covenant of Grace (Gal.
5:3-4). Numbers 30:4 speaks of a
woman who made a vow as someone who has BOUND HER SOUL. Jesus paid a terrible
price to set us free from the bondage of fear. If you have been bamboozled by vow preachers into vowing a vow unto the Lord,
repent of falling for this evil gimmick of prosperity peddlers. Ask God to wipe the slate clean and unbind you from the shackles which you (or others) placed upon your soul.
Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty (II Cor. 3:17).