238 – PARADOXES – 5
Paradoxes are contradictory passages between the Old and the New Testaments. They are texts that clash bringing doubt and restlessness to the meticulous and attentive reader. Let us examine and compare the two testaments.
1. If Jesus counsels the disciples not to gather riches in this world, and taught them that the true riches were spiritual, that is, virtues proceeding from faith, why is Jehovah the god of the silver and the gold? Why did Jehovah make some rich, and others, not? (Matt. 6:19-20; Hagg. 2:8; Eccl. 5:19; 6:2).
2. If Jesus established to a very rich young man, as a condition for him to be rich in heaven, that he should sell all his proprieties and give the money to the poor, why did Jehovah command the plunder, destruction and slavery of the conquered peoples? (Matt. 19:16-22; Josh. 6:19; 22:8; Deut. 20:10-15).
3. If the rich men risk their lives because of thieves and robbers (Matt. 6:19), and for this reason Jesus commands his disciples to abstain from riches (for he had in mind to preserve them from the danger of robbers and kidnappers), why did Jehovah make his best servants rich? Did he wish to jeopardize their lives? He made Abraham rich, allowing Sarai to become Pharaoh’s lover (Gen. 12:10-16). As Lot, Abraham’s nephew, also got rich, there were fights between Abraham’s shepherds and Lot’s shepherds. The result was that they had to part from each other. This proves that riches separate brothers. Jehovah made King Jehoshaphat rich (2 Chr. 17:5). Ahab, a perverse king, seeing the glory and riches of Jehoshaphat, gave him his daughter in marriage (2 Chr. 18:1). Because of their relationship, they made a covenant of war. As a consequence, Jehovah became displeased with Jehoshaphat. “Then Jehoshaphat the king of Judah returned in safety to his house in Jerusalem. And Jehu the son of Hanani the seer went out to meet him and said to King Jehoshaphat, ‘Should you help the wicked and love those who hate Jehovah and so bring wrath on yourself from Jehovah? (2 Chr. 19:1-2).Another king that Jehovah made rich was the good old King Hezekias, king of Judah. “Now Hezekiah had immense riches and honor; and he made fro himself treasuries for silver, gold, precious stones, spices, shields and all kinds of valuable articles” (2 Chr. 32:27). Jehovah gave great riches to Hezekiah, such as he had given to Jehoshaphat, for they had both been great kings. But because Hezekiah was very rich, and ambassadors from Babylon came to visit, he showed them his immense treasure, a blessing from Jehovah. Isaiah, the prophet, then came to Hezekiah and told him on the part of Jehovah: Because you opened the doors of your treasures before the eyes of those ambassadors, it will all be taken into Babylon, as punishment. Your sons will be taken from you to serve as eunuchs in the court of the king of Babylon (2 Kings 20:12-18). If Hezekiah did not have riches, he would not show it to the ambassadors and would not be plundered or exposed to the wrath of Jehovah. But Jehovah had made him rich, as David confirms (1 Chr. 29:11-12). Hannah, the mother of Samuel affirms the same thing (1 Sam. 2:7). Solomon did, too (Prov. 22:2). Solomon, son of David, whom Jehovah chose from the womb, asked for wisdom, not riches. Jehovah spoke to him, “Behold, I have given you a wise and discerning heart […]. And I have also given you what you have not asked, both riches and honor” (1 Kings 3:11-13). Solomon received 666 talents of gold each year, around 430 million dollars. With such a fortune he could afford 1,000 women. We know trough the Bible that one foolish woman destroys a home. Imagine 1,000 women! Solomon married 1,000 women and they were all foolish. What a hubbub! What gossip! What jealousy and crazy fights! (Prov. 14:1). The 1,000 women were able to pervert Solomon with such enticements that not even the wisdom of Jehovah that Solomon received could keep him standing. Solomon realized all kinds of crazy things and fantasies(Eccl. 2:1-3). Solomon, old, tired and defeated, revealed the reason for his tremendous fall: “The mouth of an adulteress is a deep pit; he who is cursed of Jehovah will fall into it” (Prov. 22:14). “I discovered more bitter than death the woman whose heart is snares and nets, whose hands are chains. One who is pleasing to God will escape from her, but the sinner will be captured by her” (Eccl. 7:26). As it is written that the good woman comes from Jehovah, as the perverse, also, it is clear that Jehovah fabricated the fall of Solomon, for if Solomon were poor, he would not have 1,000 foolish foreign women, and therefore they would not have perverted him (Prov. 19:14). If the very Jehovah declares that wealth is an evil that causes harm to its possessors, why would he make his elect rich? (Eccl. 5:13). Riches are snares from Jehovah (1 Kings 11:1-10).
4. Mammon is the name of the god of riches, in Aramaic, the language spoken by the Jews during the Babylonian captivity. If Jesus declares that seeking or gathering possessions in this world is serving Mammon (Matt. 6:19-24), why was Jehovah the one who made people rich? (Eccl. 5:19). When he made them rich, he caused them to serve Mammon. Why, then, did he forbid his people to serve other gods?
5. The farm of a man was so productive, that his barns could not hold all he had harvested, because they were already full. The rich man thought: I will tear down these barns and build bigger ones to receive my harvest. And God told him, “You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?” (Luke 12:13-21). It is obvious that neither God nor Jesus killed him. God wants to save all men, and Jesus gave his life for all men (1 John 2:1-2; 1 Tim. 2:3-4). The one who took away his life was Satan, the king of a huge empire, THE EMPIRE OF DEATH(Heb. 2:14). Considering the parable of the foolish rich man, whoever gets rich makes himself the devil’s target, who prowls about seeking someone to devour (1 Pet. 5:8). Therefore, why did Jehovah make people rich? Did he mean to expose the rich person to the sharp claws of Satan?
6. Let us transcribe a text of Paul: “But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith, and pierced themselves with many a pang” (1 Tim. 6:9-10). The reader of this letter will think like this: “I am rich, but I do not love my money. I am O.K.” You do not have all sorts of evil, but you have one evil—RICHES. Jesus says that it is very difficult for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. And he said more: “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God” (Matt. 19:23-24). If the door of heaven is so narrow for the rich person, then riches are an evil. If God chooses only the poor to be rich in faith and never the rich, we understand that the rich are rejected. The poor are heirs of the kingdom of God, already (James 2:5). But let it be well understood that these are the poor who have shared their riches, as Jesus has done (2 Cor. 8:9).
by PASTOR OLAVO SILVEIRA PEREIRA