Summary: There is a growing trend within some circles of Christianity to teach that a Born-Again Christian can declare and decree things over themselves, and others, as already done.

The primary Scripture verse to support the teaching is:

“Thou shalt also decree a thing, and it shall be established unto thee: and the light shall shine upon thy ways.” (Job 22:28 KJV)

The Hebrew word translated ‘decree’ in the verse shown above, is ‘gazar’ which is a verb in the masculine singular, and means in context to completely cut and divide; to establish precisely, to decide; to make a decision or promise that something will be carried out successfully. It does not mean or infer “an official decree.” The Hebrew word used throughout the Old Testament, which means to officially decree to enact, prescribe, engrave, govern, is ‘khoke’ and comes from the root word ‘chaqaq.’

A more accurate translation of the verse makes this clear; “You will decide on a matter, and it will be established for you, and light will shine on your ways” (ESV).

In the New Testament, there are 11 Greek words that are translated as ‘declare,’ and in context, virtually all of them mean to publically announce, report, make known, tell, make understandable, to confess, to praise and celebrate, to agree.

The discussion in Job 22 is about the fact that Job must repent of his sins. Eliphaz was sincere in his appeal to Job, just as Zophar was sincere when he asked Job to return to God (11:13-20). "Submit to God and be at peace with Him; in this way prosperity will come to you" (22:21, NIV). The word translated "prosperity" means "good of every kind." Submitting to God means to stop fighting Him and accept His terms of peace (James 4:1-10). It also means to listen to His Word and obey what He says (Job 22:22). A sinner must put away sin (v. 23) and make God their greatest treasure (v. 25); they must pray and seek God's face (v. 27).

God promises to those who repent and return to Him that He will restore them (v. 23) and will make Himself precious to them (v. 25) so that all their delight will be in Him alone and not in earthly wealth or pleasure (v. 26). God will answer their prayers and enable them to do His will (v. 27) as He gives direction and light (v. 28). Because they are restored to fellowship with God, they can help others who have fallen (vv. 29-30).

Eliphaz had a solution for Job’s problems and offered it in this last section of his speech. Job had to return to God (v. 23), but Eliphaz used multiple images. The first verb in v. 22 is the same term he uses twice in v. 2, where he questions the possibility of being of use to God. The verb used means that Job must be reconciled to God, with a clear contextual implication that it would have to be on God’s terms.

The Hebrew has “be reconciled to him,” but it is clear from v. 23 that it is God who is meant, and some translations make this reference explicit. Other ways in which Job needed to return to God was to be at peace with Him so that good things would begin happening again (v. 21), by not accusing Him any longer, accept words of instruction from His mouth (v. 22) and take them to heart so he would stop being wicked and be “built-up” (v. 23); and also stop trusting in gold, and instead, start believing God so that he could be restored to his former prosperity (v. 24).

Starting with verse 26, the effects of Job returning to God are in the foreground. Job would be pleased with God and would be able to lift his face to Him, a sign that God would have accepted him. Verses 27-30 show how far God’s favor would extend to Job, and whatever Job prayed for would be granted.

Verse 28, the initial verse in the discussion, was not spoken by God. It was spoken by Eliphaz, who was one of Job's friends. The Bible describes him as a miserable comforter who was rebuked by God for not speaking what was right (Job 42:7).

Declare the Truth

Everything a person says is technically a declaration. If a person says “I’m going to paint the barn now” that is a declaration their intent is to go and begin painting. Their intention to paint the barn requires self-effort to buy the paint, and everything else needed to get the job done and then start painting. The fact that the person declared their intent to paint does not cause the barn to get painted. It is their active involvement that results in the barn getting painted. A person says it because it is a statement of fact.

There is nothing supernatural about making a declaration. Every praise to God is a declaration that He is great. However, saying that does not make Him great. He is great on His own! Decreed declarations don’t cause anything to happen. The authority and power that God alone possesses are what makes things happen. The Born–Again Christian is not co-equal with God, nor do they have equal, or more, authority than what He has given them.

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