The Greek word mammon is translated “riches”. In Matt. 6:24 we read the word “mammon”, and in the footnotes at the bottom of the page we can find the translation. To many Christians, wealth is a god. When Jesus says, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will hold to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon” (Matt.6:24). Jesus is teaching that whoever loves money despises God. A rich man wanted to inherit the kingdom of God. Jesus asked him if he kept the commandments. He answered that he was faithful to keep them from his childhood. Jesus, in order to test him concerning the love of God, said to him, “If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me”. The young man, because of his love for money and for material comfort, went away, despising God. He considered that to leave his riches to be saved was an absurd request. That rich young man preferred to remain with Jehovah, the God of gold and silver (Matt.19:16-23; Haggai 2:8).
Jehovah is responsible for making men rich. “But you shall remember Jehovah your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth” (Deut.8:18). You can find the word “wealth” in this text in the Thompson Bible, Vida Nova, and the Jerusalem Bible, according to the Greek. The Almeida translation is not faithful to the originals. “…as for every man to whom Jehovah has given riches and wealth, He has also empowered him to eat from them…” (Eccl. 5:19). “(…a man to whom Jehovah has given riches and wealth and honor so that his soul lacks nothing of all that he desires, but God has not empowered him to eat from them…” (Eccl.6:2). “Jehovah makes poor and rich; He brings low, He also exalts” (1 Sam.2:7). “The rich and the poor have a common bond, Jehovah is the maker of them all” (Prov.22:2). Jehovah revealed the Egyptian captivity of 430 years to Abraham, and also that after the judgments of Jehovah they would go out with great wealth (Gen.15:13-14). When they left Egypt after 430 years, the Israelites plundered it (Ex.3:19-22; 12:35). They took with them Egypt’s silver and gold, and soon made with it the golden calf. Even Abram became rich in Egypt. The price paid was to hand Sarai over to Pharaoh to become his lover. Because of the love that he had for Sarai, he made Abram rich, under the blessing of Jehovah (Gen.12:10-16).
The inheritance of Jehovah was material riches. “The sin of Judah is written down with an iron stylus; with a diamond point it is engraved upon the tablet of their heart” (Jer.17:1). “O mountain of Mine in the countryside, I will give over your wealth and all your treasures for booty, your high places for sin throughout your borders. And you will, even of yourself let go of your inheritance that I gave you” (Jer.17:3-4).
The people of Israel learned with Jehovah to love silver and gold. When Joshua destroyed Jericho, the plunder of silver and gold went to the treasury of Jehovah. “But all the silver and gold and articles of bronze and iron are holy to Jehovah, they shall go into the treasury of Jehovah” (Josh.6:19). Immediately following that, in verse 21, Jehovah gave orders to kill men, woman, children and old people. Lives were not valuable to Jehovah; instead, silver and gold had great value. Books on Universal History classify the people of Israel as vagrant nomads who lived from spoil. Wealth was so important to Jehovah that one of his punishments was to bring a warrior nation to plunder his rebellious people. “I shall also give over all the wealth of this city, all its produce, and all its costly things; even all the treasures of the kings of Judah I shall give over to the hand of their enemies, and they will plunder them, take them away, an bring them to Babylon” (Jer.20:5). “Your wealth and your treasures I will give for booty without cost, even for all your sins” (Jer.15:13).
Jehovah promises by the mouth of Isaiah, the prophet, to restore the kingdom to Israel at a fairly close future, and to cause it to be a light to the peoples. All kings, then, would come to worship Jehovah in Jerusalem, and would bring gifts: great many camels and dromedaries, gold and incense, sheep and lambs. The children of the gentiles would edify the walls of the city, and the kings would all be servants of Israel. Jehovah threatened: “For the nation and the kingdom which will not serve you will perish” (Is.60:3-12). We can say with assurance that Jehovah is not the god of the gentiles, such as the Father of Jesus (Rom.3:29). The prophet Zechariah adds to the issue: “And if the family of Egypt does not go up or enter, then no rain will fall on them; it will be the plague with which Jehovah smites the nations” (Zech.14:18-19). Doubtless the project of Jehovah was the opposite from that of Jesus Christ.
According to the words of Elihu, in the book of Job, we read, “If you return to the Almighty (Shaday), you will be restored; if you remove unrighteousness far from your tent, and place your gold in the dust, and the gold of Ophir among the stones of the brooks, then the Almighty will be your gold and choice silver to you” (Job 22:23-25).
In the Old Testament, glory came with riches; therefore, riches come ahead of glory. King David, blessed by Jehovah, died full of days, riches and glory (1 Chr.29:28). Jehovah gave riches and glory to Solomon (1 Kings 3:13). The gold that Solomon received each year totaled 666 talents of gold (1 Kings 10:14). We should not forget that 666 is the number of the beast (Rev. 13:18). Jehovah blessed Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, with riches and glory (2 Chr.17:5; 18:1). Jehovah caused the righteous to be rich. “Praise Jehovah! How blessed is the man who fears Jehovah, who greatly delights in His commandments. His descendants will be mighty on earth; the generation of the upright will be blessed. Wealth and riches are in his house” (Ps.112:1-3). The friends of Job accused him of being a great sinner, because if he were righteous he would not have become so poor (Job 22:5-11).
There is something that confuses people. The first one is that Satan would call himself the owner of the kingdoms of this earth, of their power and glory, and obviously, their riches. Is it Jehovah or Satan who gives silver and gold, and makes rich? The second thing that confuses people is that Jesus and the Father have never given material riches to anyone, for we read, “…did not God chose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom…?” (James 2:5). Jesus said that a rich man attached to his riches is senseless and foolish, and therefore, condemned (Luke 12:13-21). Now, if the blessing of Jehovah is wealth (Prov.10:22), the curse of Jehovah is poverty; if the blessing of the Father is poverty, and the curse is riches, then Jehovah and the Father are adversaries, and Jehovah and Satan are friends.
By Pastor Olavo Silveira Pereira