Joel Osteen has been quoted as saying:
… I believe every person is made in the image of God, and you have to accept them as they are, on their journey. I’m not here to be preaching hate, pushing people down. I’m not here telling people what they’re doing wrong.” (Source)
For about 20 years now, there has been a major push in the mainstream church to get us to believe that flattery and permissiveness are THE way God wants his children to communicate with each other. Any other form of speaking is deemed unwholesome and hateful.
Not only does this error demonstrate that we are looking more and more like the world every day, it prevents us from coming together and sharpening each other as brethren (and “sistren”) should. When the enemy comes our way looking for a fight, all that he sees is a sin-laden group of gluttons with dull and rusty swords.
He probably thinks, “Man … this is like taking candy from a baby.”
But what is the right way to communicate with each other? Do we avoid confrontation and choose to coddle each other like infants our whole lives? What kinds of words should we speak to each other?
Fortunately, the Word of God has the answers!
Would King Solomon agree with Joel Osteen?
The book of Proverbs is full of wisdom from King Solomon. Not only was he raised by King David, the “man after God’s own heart,” but he was given wisdom beyond his years by the Most High.
It’s actually shocking that he turned out the way he did. Nevertheless, the wisdom that he handed down to us is priceless. This wise king once wrote:
A wholesome tongue is a tree of life: but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit.
Now, most of us would look at this verse and think, “Hey, King Solomon agrees with Joel Osteen! We should speak soft and gentle words to each other and ‘love’ each other into the Kingdom!” … but that would be your christian brainwashing talking.
Don’t be insulted; I thought the exact same thing! But a deeper look into the Word of God reveals something entirely different.
What does it mean to be “Wholesome?”
Theoretically, we should all want to have “wholesome” tongues. Not one believer I know would say “I love putting people down! I hope everything I speak will just destroy anything and anyone that it comes into contact with!”
The question is … “What does ‘wholesome’ mean?”
Does it mean what Joel Osteen and the leaders of the mega-churches would want you to believe?
If you look up the word “wholesome” in your Strong’s Concordance, you will see that it comes from the Hebrew word “marpe” [H4832] (source) which means “health, healing, and cure.”
The first part of Proverbs 15:4 says, “A wholesome [marpe – health, healing, cure] tongue is a tree of life … “
From reading this verse, we should be able to perceive that a wholesome tongue is to take on the properties of “a tree of life,” bringing “health, healing and a cure” to whoever is listening (or “eating its fruit”).
So, NOW the question is “How does a tree of life bring health, healing and a cure to those who would eat its fruit?”
To find this out, let’s refer to THE Tree of Life found in the Garden of Eden.
The Function of the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden
In order to understand the role of the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden, we need to be familiar with the condition of Adam and Eve before the Fall. It is vital to realize that, at that point, there was NO SIN to interfere between God and man.
Man was meant to be an eternal being, destined to walk and talk face-to-face with the Creator forever. He lived in a different “state” than we do now. His spirit (ruwach) held the ascendancy (dominance) over his soul and body.
There were many types of trees in the Garden of Eden, but the ones mentioned in the Creation story are:
- the Tree of Life
- the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil
- and the “other” trees.
God told them that they could eat freely from any tree in the garden except the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
So from looking at this passage, we can safely assume that Adam and Eve were eating from the Tree of Life. While the fruit from the “other trees” was for the nourishment of their physical bodies, this Tree of Life was directly related to the nourishment of their spirit man and its eternal nature.
After the Fall, when man was booted out of the garden, Yahweh said:
And the LORD God said, “Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever…“
It was because of His mercy that Yahweh did not allow man to live forever in a cursed and sinful state.
Now, what was (and is) the part of man that is eternal in nature? His spirit man! So if the Tree of Life is directly related to the spirit man, its fruit must have been the means by which their spirits were nourished.
In the same way, our “wholesome” speech (the “fruit of our lips”) must be for the nourishment of the spirit man in others, not their emotions and feelings. All-too-often, those in the church mistake their emotions and feelings for the “spirit,” even to the point where they will ignore the Word of God entirely, if their feelings are moved contrary to what it says.
This is a byproduct of the Fall. Our flesh is now in charge, the soul submits to the flesh, and the spirit is barely existent.
Perversion – the Twisting of His Word
While writing this proverb, Solomon used antithetical parallelism to get his point across, presenting and comparing two opposite sides of a situation. So if one side of our proverb is speaking of life-giving words of truth that nourish the spirit man, the opposite of that would be words that bring death to the spirit man.
The latter part of Proverbs 15:4 says “but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit.”
In order to fully understand what Proverbs 15:4 is saying, you need to look a little deeper and study out the original Hebrew definition of certain words in this Scripture.
When you twist something, you take an object with an original shape and distort it to suit your purposes.
The Hebrew word for “breach” is “sheber” which means a breaking, fracture, crushing, breach, crash, ruin, or a shattering (Source). Usually, when you think of a “breach,” you think of a break in something, but to “sheber” is to totally crush and destroy something beyond any hope of repair.
In the same way, the imposters in the pulpits teach us to take the words of God and twist them to fit into our mould, then manipulate His words to fulfill our own purposes.
This is utter perversion and it is rampant in the mainstream church.
Unbeknownst to the sheeple, the Word of God and our core doctrines have been perverted and twisted to fit the ends of the Mother Church. And we fight to defend these core doctrines too, completely unaware that we stand opposed to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. But that’s another book for another time; I need to stay “on track.”
As we speak these perverted words to one another, reinforcing the false image of a god that only exists in our theologies, we are actually crushing one another’s spirits. Sure, there may be tears, there may even be shouts of joy and exultation, but our spirits are dying a slow death, helpless to defend against the sweet-sounding cyanide that pours out of our mouths.
All because Joel Osteen and the rest of the beautiful people says that’s how it should be.
The Tree of Life and the New Jerusalem
The Tree of Life will not be out of reach forever. Revelation tells us that the fruit of the Tree of Life will once again be available for consumption in the New Jerusalem.
And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
Are you including yourself among those who will have the benefit of eating this fruit that nourishes your spirit man? Not so fast! There’s a catch …
Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie.
Ah … you knew I’d get back to the Commandments, didn’t you?
When Yahweh comes and sets up His Kingdom, there is NO WAY that you are going to have access to the fruit that comes from the Tree of Life unless you follow the commandments of the Most High. I know that throws a monkey wrench into the dispensational theology of some, but it’s something you’re going to have to face, nonetheless.
What does this have to do with a wholesome tongue? Look at the second part of this verse.
Those outside the New Jerusalem are as follows:
- sexually immoral
- whoever loves and practices a lie.
The modern day church is filled with people who fall into one (or more) of these catagories, but the one that contains the most people is “whoever loves and practices a lie.”
In fact, it would be reasonable to state that all who commit the prior offenses in the list “love and practice a lie,” in some form or fashion.
However, there are those who say they follow the Messiah, but follow a “Jesus” who is anything BUT what the Word says He is – this is also loving and practicing a lie.
- These are people whose entire walk is based upon a preconceived notion of what it means to “follow Christ.”
- These are people who, through soft, ignorant and deceptive words have evangelized thousands (maybe millions), urging them to “come forward and say the sinner’s prayer,” pledging allegiance to a Jesus that doesn’t really exist, except for in their own errant theologies.
- These are people who will not have a right to the Tree of Life.
Some of you who are more astute may be asking yourselves, “Hey, what are murderers, idolaters and sexually immoral people doing anywhere NEAR the New Jerusalem? I thought they would be burning in the lake of fire by this time?”
That’s a great question, and worthy of your consideration, but I cannot address it in this post. I only mention it because I want to urge you to study it out for yourselves. In all honesty, I’m not completely “up-to-speed” on it myself.
I want to leave you with another passage from Revelation – a message to the church of Ephesus.
To the angel of the church of Ephesus write, “These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands:
Eating from the Tree of Life comes with a cost.
The angel told John that in order to eat from the Tree of Life, one has to overcome a few things. From reading the passage above, one can see the need to overcome the following:
- We must test those who claim to be called to ministry, but are really imposters. They deserve no adoration and their ways must be rejected.
- We must repent of our sins. Sin is the transgression of the Law (1 John 3:4), therefore we must turn from our disobedience to it.
- We must overcome the Nicolaitans of our day. The word, Nicolaitan means “victory over the people.” Most of the leaders in the modern day church strive to keep their “flocks” dependent upon them for their sustenance and will go to great lengths to see to it that you are treated like a mushroom. They do this by keeping you in the dark and feeding you lots of, um . . . manure. And it’s sad to say, most of the sheep like it that way. But as long as you stay that way, you will not eat from the Tree of Life.
I pray that we all will be counted worthy to partake from the Tree of Life in the New Jerusalem. But in order to do that, we need to make it our priority to speak the Truth to one another, regardless of what the self-appointed church bigwigs say. We do this BECAUSE we genuinely love each other and we don’t want to be counted among the murderers, liars and adulterers.
Personally, I hope Joel Osteen will repent and take a righteous stand. I’m sure Yahweh Himself would be pleased to see that big ole’ toothy grin eating fruit from the Tree of Life.
It could happen . . .
For the Truth,