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The Spiritual Man, book by H. H. Pope Shenouda III

67- The problem of the prosperity of the wicked


This problem may trouble some as it disturbed Jeremiah the Prophet at one time, so he gently reproved God by saying: Righteous are You, O Lord, when I plead with You; yet let me talk with You about Your judgements. Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why are those happy who deal so treacherously? (Jer 12:1).

Prosperity of the wicked is a false prosperity, temporary and by evil ways.         Image: Saint John the Baptist icon صورة: أيقونة حديثة تصور الشهيد يوحنا المعمدان Image: Saint John the Baptist icon.

صورة في موقع الأنبا تكلا: أيقونة حديثة تصور الشهيد يوحنا المعمدان.

+ Herod the King thought that he succeeded by putting to death all the children of Bethlehem. But it was a false success. The only One that he wanted to kill was alive and did not die. Herods means were also sinful.

+ Herod who came after him put to death John the Baptist. Did Herodia, Salomi or Herod prosper by killing John, or it was a false and temporary success? Herods disturbance continued, even after the death of John (Mt 14:1,2). Herods life ended when an angel of the Lord struck him and he was eaten by worms and died (Acts 12:23).

Ahab managed to destroy Naboth the Jezreelite, plotted and killed him in order to take possession of his vineyard (1 Kings 21). His prosperity was temporary, false and evil. Gods wrath came later on Ahab and the Lord said: In the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth, dogs shall lick your blood, even yours (1Kings 21:19).

+ The Jews thought that they got rid of Christ by crucifying Him as their plot worked , and the result was crucifying the Lord. But it was a false and temporary success as it ended by the glory of the Resurrection...

+ Haman thought that he managed to overcome Mordecai, plotted against him and prepared a cross for him. He almost destroyed not only Mordecai, but also all the people. God finally interfered after Queen Esther called for a fasting and the situation was completely reversed. They hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai (Esther 7:10).

+ St Augustine said that the evil are like smoke that rises up and its area gets bigger, then all that disappears.

As for the fire, it remains low and does not get high like the smoke. But it keeps its strength, heat and effect without disappearing , like smoke does in its rise...

Their prosperity is also in worldly matters, not a real success. Compare that to the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, (Lk 16), and the parable of the rich fool whose ground yielded plentifully, so he said: I will pull down my barns and build greater... And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat and drink... (Lk 12:16-20).

The true prosperity is the spiritual prosperity.

And if it was in the material, it should be in a spiritual manner.

Therefore, do not get jealous when the wicked prosper, especially if the means of their success were far from God... Such as the one who turns to lying, cunningness and tricks... Or to cheating..., bribery... or flattery, hypocrisy, deceit and favouritism... Or the businessman who monopolizes the markets and exaggerates in his profit, as we have discussed this issue before here on in other sections. He prospers financially and fails spiritually. The saying of the Apostle applies to all of them:

Whose glory is in their shame who set their mind on earthly things (Phil 3:19).

He also said that their end is destruction.                     Divider of Saint TaklaHaymanot's website فاصل - موقع الأنبا تكلاهيمانوت

Among the outstanding examples of false success is : Satan and his soldiers.

+ When Satan is released from his prison, he will go out : To deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth (Rev 20:7). And will also try to deceive: If possible, even the elect (Mt 24:24)... Did Satan succeed?!

+ It was said about the beast that : It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them (Rev 13:7) . But did the beast prosper after this temporary victory?!

The Holy Bible settled this matter by saying : And the devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophets are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever (Rev 20 : 10 ).

+ Satan fought also against Christ, as he: Opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God (2 Thess 2:4). The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish (2 Thess 2:9,10). And that will cause many to depart from the faith. His prosperity is also temporary, false and evil. And the Lord will consume him with the breath of His mouth (2 Thess 2:8).

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