James 5:5 – Luxury and Self-Indulgence

Because Scripture is God-breathed, it has the unique ability to give new insights each time it’s read.  The example today is the brief passage of James 5:1-6:

1 Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. 2 Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten. 3 Your gold and silver have corroded, and their corrosion will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure in the last days. 4 Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, are crying out against you, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. 5 You have lived on the earth in luxury and in self-indulgence. You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned and murdered the righteous person. He does not resist you.

I would imagine that if you’re like me, you’ve typically looked at these verses in the same light as I have, i.e. in a similar way to the encounter Jesus had with the rich young ruler (Luke 18:18-23).  This fellow had it all, He was young, wealthy, probably good-looking, and had a position of power.  Because he was a religious Jew, he had kept the Ten Commandments in a ritualistic manner.  His problem, as outlined in James, was that he trusted in his riches.  This wasn’t uncommon in ancient Israel, because it was understood that the blessings of the Lord showed up in the physical possessions you had.  You must be doing right in God’s eyes if you had much land and many cattle.  Except, of course, this concept was only partially correct.  As Jesus pointed out, to truly be right before God requires your heart to be soft toward Him in your obedience, and to have no other gods that you trust, whatever those gods look like.  In fact, lack of complete faith and trust in Christ would cause the young man to be under God’s judgment if he didn’t change.  His wealth had captured his heart, not God.  That meant his condemnation was sure in that condition.

What if we consider the above passage somewhat differently?  I certainly don’t dispute what I’ve just laid out, but notice in verse 3 that it speaks of the last days.  Perhaps there’s an eschatological interpretation that applies fully to the current times in which we live.

Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about how the globalist elites have plotted and schemed for years to reach the point where they could take control of the world.  This isn’t hyperbole.  It’s a deep-seated desire that has been in the hearts of certain men for a long time.  These are “the worthy few” who have the wealth and power to pull the strings of governments and corporations.  It’s the outcome stated by the Georgia Guidestones, the Ten Commandments of these elites, i.e. the ones who will usher in the New World Order, a.k.a. The Great Reset.  Among their objectives is to enslave humanity to do their will as they become like gods.  Part of accomplishing this goal is to kill off a large swath of people.  They must commit mass genocide to reach a manageable level among the population.  All that they are doing will culminate in the rise of the Antichrist.

It’s the wealth that leads to the pride that leads to the hubris whereby these elitists believe they can pull all this off.  Stunningly, as the Bible shows us, they will – for a time.  But look at what James says as to the final conclusion of their evil venture.  In God’s kingdom, in His economy, the riches of these men will come to nothing.  For their efforts, fire will consume their flesh.  Their end will come when Jesus returns after seven years of Tribulation.  As Revelation 19:15 tells us:

From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty.

The men among whom this judgment will fall will have done just what James outlines above.  They will have kept many in bondage while they themselves have lived in absolute luxury.  This is another view of what Revelation 6:6 describes in the opening of the 3rd Seal:

And I heard what seemed to be a voice in the midst of the four living creatures, saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius, and do not harm the oil and wine!”

Much of mankind will have little during this time, while the wealthy – represented by the oil and wine that isn’t touched – will be above it all.  But it all comes tumbling down.  For every one of these men who choose to exalt themselves and their possessions above belief in Christ, they will face the day which is foretold in Jesus’ parable of the rich fool in Luke 12::20-21:

But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”

All this to say that the righteous should take heart and not despair.  The darkness will get blacker and the wicked more lawless, but the light of Christ will shine just that much brighter.  Believe and trust.  The Lord will deliver His children.

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