Joseph Prince - What It Means To Be Blessed
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This is an excerpt from: Prosper God's Way During Recession
What is blessing? "Oh, Pastor Prince, blessing means you have peace in your heart". And when you say "peace", where did you got the word "peace in your heart" from? Peace is in the heart and in the mind, yes, but where did you get it from? You got it from the Bible, amen. The Bible talks about peace, amen. You got it from the Old English peace. Where'd they got it from? The Bible, amen? And you have the Greek word in the New Testament for "peace" is "eirene". You have the Old Testament word for peace which is what? "Shalom".
Now, "shalom," you ask any Hebrew person, you go to Israel, many of you are going to Israel already. All right, ask them, "What does 'shalom' mean"? Is "shalom" only peace of mind and heart? No, "shalom" is health. They'll tell you that. "Shalom" is prosperity. When they say, "Shalom"! they are saying, "May all things go well with you, inside out and all around you," amen? Now, Pastor Prince, you are just saying that, okay? Or they are just saying that. Maybe the Bible meant something else. Okay, let's look at a scholar, okay? And this is "shalom" definition from "Mounce's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old & New Testament Words," okay? Mounce is a Hebrew expert, okay? If you are looking for an expert, so I put this down for you, all right? It's not just Pastor Prince saying it, okay?
So, "Shalom is one of the most important words in the Old Testament. In addition to 'peace,' it can be translated as 'prosperity, well-being, health, completeness, safety.'" Now, is that a mouthful? So when I say "Shalom," what does it mean? Amen. And by the way, you cannot say it's changed because the only thing that's changed in the New Testament is the word is changed to Greek. But when Paul speaks to the Jewish people in the New Testament in the church and all that, do you think he spoke Greek with his fellow Jew? No, amen. When Jesus appeared to John and says, "I am the First and the Last," the first letter, "I'm Alpha and Omega," the first and last letter of the Greek alphabet. But then when he talked to a fellow Jew, do you think he said, "Alpha and Omega". No, it's translated for us. He would speak Hebrew. What is it? "I am Alef and Tav," the first letter and last letter of the Hebrew alphabet.
Alef Tav, you put together, it's the fourth word of the first sentence of the Bible, "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth". It says, "In the beginning, God," three words there. The center one is "Alef Tav," untranslated. "The heavens and the earth," three words. Make a menorah, center, untranslated, which is the signature of Jesus Christ right from the beginning. He says, "I am the Alef Tav". He revealed that He is the Creator, amen. Are you with me so far? All right, so very clear, "Shalom". So when Paul says, "Shalom," to his fellow human beings, right, what does he mean? It's a mouthful. Do you see it now, people?
All right, it's not just peace of mind. Yo, peace, bro. Yo, peace, bro. Peace. We mean peace, peace of mind, all right? Peace, bro. Don't go in pieces, amen? Yeah, the idea is there. It means complete, completeness, right? Completeness, not in pieces. Hello? How many want peace? Bible peace, right? And every time Paul opens up his letters, he says, "Grace and peace," "Shalom" in the Hebrew, right? "Eirene" in the Greek for peace. It's the same, same. Same Bible, different words. Sorry, different language of the same word. Okay, so God told Isaac, "I bless you," right? Bless you. Okay, look at the bless. "Dwell in this land, and I will be with you and I will bless you". The word there is "barak," barak. Now, what is "barak"? The noun is like God told Abraham, "I will bless you and you shall be a blessing. I will barak you and you will be a barakah". The Valley of Barakah. You shall be a blessing.
So "blessing" is the noun, right? "Barak" is the verb, okay? So this is "Barak". What is "barak"? That's why I say God will bless you in every area of your life. Where it really matters, number one, relationship with God. You are the righteousness of God in Christ. The blessing of Abraham has come on us. Hello? Amen? Real quick, "Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, that the blessing", okay, "Christ has redeemed us". Who is us? You and I. You and I, all right? We have been ransomed from what? The curse of the law. We are not under the curse of the law, amen. Even though we are not perfect, we are not under the curse of the law. Okay, why? Because, by the way, it cannot mean anything but that we are not perfect, why? Because if you say, "Pastor Prince, it's only for people who are keeping the law," that makes no reason why is there a curse for him.
Why should there be a curse for someone who is keeping the law? It only means something when people are not perfect, right? But he says, "Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us". And notice the purpose, "That the blessing of Abraham". The blessing of what? "Abraham might come on the Gentiles," that's you and I, non-Jews, "through Jesus Christ". How? Through faith. "That we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith". Do you see that? So the blessing of Abraham, the blessing that brings every blessing, is righteousness of faith. God has made you righteous with Him. You are so close, your position before God right now is so near Him. Say, "So near". You are so near. Nearer you cannot be, for in the person of His Son, you are as near as He. Okay, you cannot be nearer. You are in Christ, so near to God. When you pray, you must always have the sense, like, not that God is so far away. Talk to God, amen.
Some people just yell. By themselves, they yell, "Oh God"! It's like, you start from the wrong premise, like God is so far away. Lovers don't yell, you know? You don't walk, you know, I don't know if they still date in Botanic Gardens or not, but I go to illustrate. You find out all of a sudden you're walking in the evening, "Whoa, I love you! What does she want"? You know it's a Japanese couple. Another one. All the monkeys scrambling, all hiding and that, right? I love you too! Say, man, now we know where they are. You know, it's like, no one does that. Lovers don't yell. Lovers whisper, "I love you". I love you. Love you too. Amen? Especially in front of the parents, "Love you". Sometimes far away, just... Amen? Amen? This kind of thing I must teach you all. Okay, so the blessing of Abraham comes on us, right? So God says, "I bless you". Say the word "barak".
Now, "barak" includes blessing in the area of prosperity in terms of material things as well. Is that in the Bible? Okay, you say, "Pastor Prince, that's your opinion". Okay, it's just my opinion. Let's go to a scholar, a Hebrew scholar. This time, not Mounce. I find somebody else. "The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology," sounds fancy. These are scholars who are reputed who write these kind of books. See what he says. "Basically BARAK," or "eulogia". By the way, "eulogia" is the Greek for "blessing, bless," all right?
So, left is Old Testament, "barak". New Testament is "eulogia". Same meaning, okay? Like you say, "Eulogy," right? It's from the Greek word "eulogia". "Eu," good, "logia," word, okay? Together, it becomes "blessing". "Basically BARAK," the Hebrew word "barak," "means endue with beneficial power". When God blesses you, listen, in this time of famine, when God blesses you, you are endued with beneficial power to effect all these things in your life. "The nature of the blessing is that of the conferring and transference of beneficial power". Beneficial. Say, "Beneficial power". All right, "Which produces fertility in men and in livestock and lands".
Would you say that back in those days, "barak," because he's translating for the Old Testament blessing of the Israelis and all that, in what way does it manifest? Because they are all people involved in husbandry, in farming, right? They grow grapes, vine grapes, and figs, and olive trees, and all that. The more they have, the more they prosper. And they have flocks as well, so the more fruitful their flock is, what happens? They prosper. So here it says, all right, "This blessing works vertically in the continued growth of succeeding generations. Horizontally, it effects peace, security from enemies," think of that, think of that, "good fortune".
Now we come to Chinese New Year. Is this a Christian study book? "And well-being". What does that mean, "well-being"? Does that mean that you are always sick, always tired, no energy, depressed? Is that well-being? No! "Well-being for a tribe or group (expressed most comprehensively in the concept 'shalom', 'well-being')," again. So "barak" and "shalom" is very close. Can you see that? All right, if this book is not enough, let me show you another book. This is the "Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament". You grace academy has started, all right? This is your "Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament".
Now, watch this. "To bless in the Old Testament means 'to endue with power for success, prosperity, fecundity, and longevity.'" You know what's fecundity? It means you are very fruitful, plenty of children. How many want blessing? Fecundity. How many want fecundity? Okay, lah, at least you know you are fecund. You wanna have a lot, effect or not, never mind, all right? You are fecund. All right, "fecundity" means having a lot of children. It means you are very fruitful, "fecundity". For the animals, like the sheep, that they raise the goats, and the cows, and all that, when they have fecundity, they have plenty of offspring, which increases the wealth of those people in those days. But in our context, what does it mean? Our business, our ministry flourishes, increases. See, God doesn't think that when these things increase they're a curse, for Him to put the word "bless".
Isn't the blessing, today we hear, "When God removes something, it's to bless you, my friend. When you're not feeling well, that's a lesson. It's a blessing for you". What's the lesson? I wanna know the lesson fast. I wanna learn it fast so that this lesson can be shortened, all right? No, usually sometimes it takes the life away before the lesson can be learned. No, my friend. If that is true, if people who are always broke, always poor are the only ones God is calling to preach the gospel, and those who are sick, always sick, always on their backs are the ones that God calls to preach the gospel, the gospel would never go around the world. Think about it, people. Who is behind this systematic elimination of this teaching in the church? Why? Because he's trying to stop the gospel from spreading.
Think about it. If you are always broke, can you sponsor the gospel? No. If you're always sick, can you be in a position to go around, share with people, or even travel, or even, you know, put in the effort if you're always flat on your back? No. Is this the army that God is raising to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ? That's what the devil wants you to believe.