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Greed is good?

We know from Revelation what the very last days will be like; the people respond uniformly to the Antichrist (except for the Christians) and allow him to coalesce the world’s broken economy into a one-world economy around his mark. (Revelation 13). All of chapter 18 in Revelation gives the Christian what s/he needs to know about the world economic system run by the Antichrist just prior to Christ’s return. It is one that still has a healthy trade in luxuries, despite the desperately impoverished condition in which most of the world’s population dwells, and despite the people knowing that it is God sending the judgments! (Revelation 16:9).

For all the politically liberal people’s talk of social justice, sharing equally, and helping the poor, we see the stark opposite when push comes to shove during the Tribulation. The poor cry for bread and the rich buy and sell fine flour and wheat, ignoring their cries even as they die in the street.

It’s partly why the Tribulation will occur, to allow sin to run its full course, revealing the depths of man’s depravity.

We as humans are greedy. Greed defines us. It’s a besetting sin that the sinful person lives with every day. The Christian must guard against and slay the remnants of greed still within us. How many Bible verses warn against greed!

Then he said to them, Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions. (Luke 12:15 )

The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, (1 Timothy 6:9-10)

Do not put your trust in wealth (1 Timothy 17-18)

Greed is listed among the sins which will prevent one from attaining heaven:

For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person – such a man is an idolater – has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God (Ephesians 5:5).

It’s interesting that the verse connects greed and idolatry. See here in the Tribulation, when money is in short supply and supplies are in short supply, at least for the common person, they still create idols out of gold and silver in order to worship!

The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk, (Revelation 9:20)

The movie Wall Street came out in 1987. The 80s were a heady time of pell-mell stock surges, whirling real estate flips, dizzying income heights…it seemed that nothing was impossible and money would last forever. In that atmosphere came the movie Wall Street, in which financier and stock raider Michael Douglas’s character Gordon Gecko famously gave his ‘greed is good’ speech. Here it is in part:

I am not a destroyer of companies. I am a liberator of them! The point is, ladies and gentleman, that greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right, greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms; greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge has marked the upward surge of mankind. And greed, you mark my words, will not only save Teldar Paper, but that other malfunctioning corporation called the USA. Thank you very much.

It’s easy for us to look back on the 80s and point fingers at the excesses which were fueled by greed. But are the times so different now? We are still greedy, and at least the fictional character Gordon Gecko and the men he was based on were true to their sin. In today’s time we have an unhealthy attraction to the Prosperity Gospel, which is just anther ‘greed is good’ speech cloaked in Jesus’ name. Which is worse. Way worse. Yet if the remnants of greed are present in a Christian’s heart, the Prosperity Gospel will be attractive to him.

9Marks asks the question, Why Is the Prosperity Gospel Attractive?

Sadly, in spite of the Scriptures’ clear warnings, the prosperity gospel has a large and growing group of followers. This isn’t hard to understand, since the message appeals so directly to our native greed. Yet it is sad and bewildering that many people remain in the movement for a long time, even their whole life, since its preachers cannot fulfill their promises.

‘Our native greed’. Greed is not good, ladies and gentlemen. Greed is bad.

The author continues in his interesting essay to briefly present the psychology of the Prosperity Gospel, its effects, and at the end he offers ‘immunization instructions.’ In America we’re plagued with the likes of prosperity theologists Joyce Meyer, Joel Osteen, Kenneth Hagin, but other continents have their plagues too. Africa and Latin America also are rife with prosperity gospel preachers deluding the unwary.

The 9Marks article ends with this:

Above all, present Christ as the pearl of great price, who infinitely surpasses in value anything that this fleeting world may offer (Mt. 13:44-46; Phil. 3:7-8)

When you have Jesus, you already have everything. When you have Jesus, there’s no need for greed. Or a prosperity gospel, which is no gospel at all.


Christian writer and Georgia teacher's aide who loves Jesus, a quiet life, art, beauty, and children.