What is vanity? Empty, vain things; a desire to show up, to shine, to attract the attention of other people, ridicule arrogance, vainglory, ostentation. Exhibit riches, show off jewelry, greatness, knowledge in front of the unlearned; exert power over the weaker; display glory before the disadvantaged; baseless boasting, arrogant pretention.
Solomon said: “Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher; “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity” (Eccl. 1:2). In the Hebrew: “Avel avalim! amar Koelet, avel avalim! col avel.” And in Latin: “Vanitas vanitatis! vanitas vanitatis! et omnia vanitas”.
Jehovah, the god of the Hebrews, declares that he is the owner of gold and silver (Hag. 2:8).
Gold and silver, and also precious stones, form the crown of the kings, the bracelets on the arms of beautiful, vain, and rich women. Gold and precious stones also make the pendants of the ears, and the necklaces of the necks; also the diadems that beautify the faces of charming women.
Jehovah had his treasure before he built his house, that is to say, the temple. When the Israelites crossed the Jordan on dry feet they were all circumcised. They celebrated the Passover. Jericho opposed them, but Jehovah knocked down its walls at the sound of the trumpets. The armies of Israel slew everyone by the sword, burnt everything, but the gold and the silver were consecrated to Jehovah, and were added to his treasury (Josh. 6:19).
What is interesting about this is that the greatest appreciation of gold and silver comes from thieves and robbers. When they break into a house they go quickly after the jewelry boxes and the safes. Gold and silver are exclusive to millionaires, to the great dressed up dames, to thieves, and also to Jehovah.
The Old Testament Scriptures reveal the following: “They with whom [precious] stones were found gave them to the treasure of the house of Jehovah” (1 Chr. 29:8). The treasures of Jehovah were in the rooms of the treasure house (Neh. 10:38). The treasures of Jehovah, in other words, silver, gold, and precious stones, were stolen from the temple of Shishak, king of Egypt, in Reoboam’s time, son of Solomon (1 Kings 14:25-26). Even Jehovah did not escape the thieves! But the thieves were present also in the kingdom of Jehovah. Jehoash, king of Israel, fought against Amaziah, king of Judah, and overcame him. He stole all the gold and all the silver of the treasury of the house of Jehovah (2 Kings 14:11-14). Later, the terrible king Ahaz took the gold and silver from the safe of the house of Jehovah, and gave them to Tiglath Pileser king of Assyria in order to help him against the king of Syria and the king of Israel (2 Kings 16:7-9). At the end of the kingdom of Judah, when Nebuchadnezzar destroyed everything, he took the treasures of Jehovah and the golden vessels that Solomon had made, and carried everything to Babylon (2 Kings 24:12-13).
The treasures of Jehovah have disappeared and have not been found until this day — gold, silver and precious stones. Thieves stole everything. Nothing remained, not even the chambers of the temple. The Christians of our days are also falling into this vanity.
Jehovah is so attached to gold, that everything was overlaid with gold in his house (Ex. 25:10-40; 30:1-5; 37:1-29).
Jesus, on the contrary, when he entered this world, was born in a manger, surrounded by animals (Luke 2:1-7). He lived in poverty, for he was a carpenter (Mark 6:1-3). When Jesus was acclaimed king of Israel he entered into Jerusalem mounted on a young donkey. The people cried out, saying: “HOSANNA! BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD” (MARK 11:1-11). The prophet Zechariah “Behold, YOUR KING COMES TO YOU! HE IS RIGHTEOUS, AND HAVING SALVATION; LOWLY, AND RIDING ON A DONKEY, EVEN ON A COLT, THE FOAL OF A DONKEY” (Zech. 9:9). The Christians of Jehovah, followers of gold and silver, walk around preaching that Jesus was rich, deluded by their vain desires of the flesh.
Solomon used to say: “Jehovah’s blessing brings wealth, and he adds no trouble to it” (Prov. 10:22). Jesus preached, saying: “Don’t lay up treasures for yourselves on the earth, where moth and rust consume, and where thieves break through and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consume, and where thieves don’t break through and steal” (Matt. 6:19-20).
Paul explains this in the first letter to Timothy 6:17-21. And Paul says more: “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some have been led astray from the faith in their greed, and have pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (1 Tim. 6:10). And Jesus preached saying: “So therefore whoever of you who doesn’t renounce all that he has, he can’t be my disciple” (Luke 14:33). When he sent the apostles to preach the kingdom of heaven, Jesus gave them power to heal the lepers, raise the dead, and cast out demons; and he gave them the following command: “Don’t take any gold, nor silver, nor brass in your money belts” (Matt. 10:1-9). Everyone that preaches these days in the radios and televisions come in only with gold in their belts. See how things change! And those with more gold preach louder.
The reader may think and interpret the following parable:
“One of the multitude said to him, ‘Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.’ But he said to him, ‘Man, who made me a judge or an arbitrator over you?’ He said to them, ‘Beware! Keep yourselves from covetousness, for a man’s life doesn’t consist of the abundance of the things which he possesses.’ He spoke a parable to them, saying, ‘The ground of a certain rich man brought forth abundantly. He reasoned within himself, saying, “What will I do, because I don’t have room to store my crops?” He said, “This is what I will do. I will pull down my barns, and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. I will tell my soul, ‘Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years. Take your ease, eat, drink, be merry.’” But God said to him, “You foolish one, tonight your soul is required of you. The things which you have prepared–whose will they be?”’ So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God” (Luke 12:13-21).
“VANITAS VANITATUM! VANITAS VANITATUM! ET OMNIA VANITAS” (Eccl. 1:2).
By Pastor Olavo Silveira Pereira