Prosperity gospel preacher Jesse Duplantis recently applied the text of Isaiah 9:6, an Old Testament passage often quoted during the Christmas season as a prophecy about Jesus, in a way that some people took as blasphemous.
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders,” says Isaiah 9:6. “And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
“Where is the government now?” asked Duplantis in his sermon, “The Gift That Jesus Gave To His Father,” which was published to social media Dec. 26. “It’s on us. The government of the world is on mankind, and because we’re made in God’s image and in God’s likeness, you can call us Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Christ in us, the Everlasting Father, whoo! The Prince of Peace. That’s what it means to be the gift that Jesus gave to you.”
Jesse Duplantis: We Are Jesus’ Gift to God
Jesse Duplantis is a Word of Faith preacher based out of Destrehan, Louisiana, who runs Jesse Duplantis Ministries (JDM) and is known for promoting a prosperity gospel. Duplantis made headlines in 2018 for asking his supporters to donate money so that his ministry could afford a $54 million private jet—the preacher’s fourth one. Duplantis said the reason he needed the jet was to continue his ministry and spread the gospel.
In 2021, Duplantis appeared in a four-day fundraising event on Kenneth Copeland’s VICTORY Channel. During the event, Duplantis mentioned that he is a multi-millionaire and said that viewers could speed the return of Jesus by donating money. “I honestly believe this,” he said, “that the reason why Jesus hadn’t come is because people aren’t giving the way God told them to give.”
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In his Dec. 26 sermon, which appears to have been previously recorded at Covenant Church, an outreach of JDM, Duplantis wore a Christmas bow to illustrate his main point that Jesus gave people (presumably believers) as a gift to God the Father.
As he began the sermon, Duplantis told the congregation that God had told him to preach “the December partner letter.” According to the JDM website, “partners” are people who “regularly pray and sow financial seeds” into the ministry. Partners receive from Duplantis a monthly letter “filled with exactly what God has put on his heart to share with his Partners.”
Duplantis explained that before God created the world, he created angels in heaven—“I call it ‘Planet Heaven’”—and “many, many servants.” The members of the Trinity had a “business meeting” to discuss the creation of humanity and decided to give people free will, through which sin came into the world. During this discussion, God said he could never “touch sin,” and the Holy Spirit said the same. Jesus then “took over the meeting” and offered to die to save all people.
Duplantis, who acknowledged that John 3:16 says God gave Jesus to save mankind, told church members that Jesus had been waiting for eternity to give God a gift and that he finally realized what it was. Jesus decided to “turn this thing around” and give people back to God the Father as gifts, said the preacher. “So when you get born again, you a baby Christian and Jesus takes you upstairs and says, ‘Father, what do you think?’…And the Father says, ‘Wow, they look just like you, Jesus.’” Later in his sermon, Duplantis compared the way God the Father feels about Christians to the way human parents often see their children as precious gifts.>
The preacher emphasized more than once that people have inherent worth because they are made in God’s image. He told his church members that when they feel unworthy, they should “put on your bow” and remember they are Jesus’ gift to God.
Being Jesus’ gift to God enables us to “act like God,” said Duplantis, quoting Ephesians 5:1. “People get irritated when we act like God, but if we don’t, then we’re acting like somebody else.” He continued, “That’s why I live here on earth like I’d be in heaven. I truly am living the ‘Our Father’ prayer.” As examples, Duplantis pointed out that in heaven, there is no debt, jealousy, envy, strife, or age. “So how come I cannot live here, because I am a gift that Jesus gave to his father, like when I get there physically?” he asked.
Later, Duplantis implied that having mansions in heaven signifies the wealth we can have on earth. He said, “People that are against prosperity don’t know the Word.” He also addressed physical health, conceding that people do get sick and feel ill, but said that their illnesses nevertheless do not have to affect them. Said Duplantis, “If you want to go to heaven, you can die healthy because death and life’s in the power of the tongue.”
Discussion on Duplantis’ sermon online centers on a clip where he quotes Isaiah 9:6. While the preacher’s overall point seemed to be that God’s children will follow his example in some sense, it was unclear what that behavior entails, and a number of people took his wording as heretical.
“Why is Biblical hermeneutics (the study of the methodological principles of interpretation) so important?” tweeted user Keith Walker. “Because improper hermeneutics leads to heresy. Jesse Duplantis is exhibit A. Listen to how he takes verses that apply to Jesus and attributes them to us. Blasphemous!” Pastor and apologetics writer Shane Idleman also tweeted about Duplantis’ sermon, commenting, “Blasphemy Alert!”
ChurchLeaders has reached out to Jesse Duplantis Ministries for comment and will update this article in the event of a reply.
This article originally appeared at ChurchLeaders.com.