THE TWO MASTERS
“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 affirms with this sentence the existence of two masters. And the false one has as much power as the true one, maybe even more. Nobody sees anyone in a city running after God, but everybody runs after money. There are big churches, but they are all serving Mammon. And the blind Christians learn in these churches to serve Mammon. All these people are serving two masters, for they go to church thinking to get rich, and say that Jesus Christ has saved them. It is obvious that there are good churches, and that only Jesus knows which ones they are.
When Paul says that there is only one Lord, he is excluding Mammon. “ONE LORD, ONE FAITH, ONE BAPTISM” (Eph. 4:5). What happens is that Jesus Christ was not Lord previous to the crucifixion, death, and the resurrection. Let us read the text that Paul writes: “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore also God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:5-11). Previous to the cross, Jesus was not prince or Savior. Peter declared: “The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you had put to death by hanging Him on a cross. He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a prince and a Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins” (Acts 5:30-31). The same Peter says that Jesus, previous to the cross, was neither Lord nor Messiah. “Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ [Messiah]” (Acts 2:36).
Jesus was not Savior and Lord in the Old Testament, according to the texts related above. But Jehovah was. “I, even I, am Jehovah; and there is no savior besides Me” (Is. 43:11; 45:21). Jesus was not Judge at a time when Jehovah was. Let us read what the apostle Peter wrote: “God raised Him up on the third day, and granted that He should become visible, not to all the people, but to witnesses who were chosen beforehand by God, that is, to us, who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead. And He ordered us to preach to the people, and solemnly to testify that this is the One who has been appointed by God as Judge of the living and the dead” (Acts 10:40-42).Jehovah was not elevated to the position of judge, but he declares himself to have always been a judge. If Jesus was constituted Judge, there was a time when he was not a judge; therefore, there are two characters in two different scenarios: the Old and the New Testaments. Well, the god of the silver and gold has always been Jehovah, for he himself declares: “‘The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine,’ declares Jehovah of hosts” (Hag. 2:8).
The word Mammon means riches in Greek. It was Jehovah who took away the riches from Laban, Jacob’s father-in-law and gave them to Jacob (Gen. 31:16). Moses declares that it is Jehovah who gives the power to make wealth (Deut. 8:18). Job declares that Jehovah is the god of material wealth: “If you return to the Almighty, 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. For then you will delight in the Almighty, and lift up your face to God” (Job 22:23-26).
Jehovah approves of plunder. His people would make battle against other peoples, and plunder them with the blessing of Jehovah. Joshua spoke to the people after they entered Canaan: “Return to your tents with great riches and with very much livestock, with silver, gold, bronze, iron, and with very many clothes; divide the spoil of your enemy with your brothers” (Josh. 22:8). David, the great king, expressed himself on this issue: “Both riches and honor come from Thee” (1 Chr. 29:21). Jehovah confirmed the kingdom to Jehoshaphat’s control, who had riches and glory in abundance (2 Chr. 17:5). Where did this wealth come from, that he gave to Jehoshaphat? It came from plunder. “And when Jehoshaphat and his people came to take their spoil, they found much among them, including goods, garments, and valuable things which they took for themselves, more than they could carry. And they were three days taking the spoil because there was so much” (2 Chr. 20:25). And that place was called, the valley of Beracah, which translated is, valley of Blessing (2 Chr. 20:26).
Hannah, the wife of Elkanah, sang a prophetic song, saying: “Jehovah makes poor and rich; He brings low, He also exalts” (1 Sam. 2:7). Solomon declared: “The rich and the poor have a common bond, Jehovah is the maker of them all” (Prov. 22:2).
The god of the riches of the New Testament is Mammon, and the god of the riches of the Old Testament is Jehovah. Any blind can see that Jehovah and Mammon are the same person, for Mammon did not exist in the Old Testament, and Jehovah affirms that there is no other god acting together with him (Deut. 32:39). Jehovah affirms by the mouth of Isaiah that, besides himself there is no god (Is. 45:5). Paul declares that there is another god, though, saying, “The god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving” (2 Cor. 4:4).
The fact is that Jesus is not associated either with Jehovah or with Mammon, since he was born poor, lived poor, and affirmed that the gospel is for the poor (Matt. 11:5). He told a rich man who desired to go into heaven to sell everything he had and give it to the poor (Matt. 19:16-24). Another man who wanted to become very rich, Jesus called him fool, and condemned him to death (Luke 12:16-21). A rich man, who did not have pity on a poor fellow, died and went to hell, for he was a servant and worshipper of Mammon. Something is very clear in the New Testament: Jesus does not forbid wealth, but he warns us that its poison is a deadly poison.
By Pastor Olavo Silveira Pereira