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Summary: . . . Everyone is greedy and dishonest, whether poor or rich. Even the prophets and priests cannot be trusted Jerermiah 6:10

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"The lust of avarice as so totally seized upon mankind that their wealth seems rather to posses them than they possess their wealth."

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Gentle Saint of God,

We are and have been looking at the Gospels and trying to set aside any theological bias, to understand not only the words (written in red in so many Bibles) but the thought behind and actions of Jesus.

I have said that Jesus was a radical in His time and even today, (in some circles , the message that He left to us has been watered down and turned into a "warm , soft fuzzy religion") which puts me in mind of a verse of Scripture from the Apocalypse " I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth". (Revelation 3:15-16)

So letfs consider the Radical Jesus (and if you like you might want to see how you fit in to His theology). For radicals there is nothing like the reading of the gospels. They constantly inveigh against the rich, the powerful, those who exploit others. And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God. .. But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation. (Luke 6: 20, 24)

The young man who has observed all the Law and wants to follow Jesus turns away in sadness "And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions". (Mark 10:22) Jesus says after the young man has left "It will be hard for those with possessions (great wealth) to enter the Kingdom of God. This perturbs his followers, but He repeats and strengthens His warning: And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God! (Mark 10:24).

When a man ask Jesus to defend his property rights against his brother, Jesus replies " And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth. (Luke 12:15). Then He tells the parable of the rich man who worked hard piling up wealth with the intention of relaxing and enjoying his riches some day. "But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God. And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on. The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment". (Luke 12:20-23)

Over and over the gospels tell us that the forces arrayed against Jesus are conditioned by the ownership of property. "And being lovers of money, the Pharisees also heard all these things; and they derided Him". (Luke 16:14)

prophetical

Jesus explains wealth is at odds with the life He brings to the world: " No one is able to serve two lords; for either he will hate the one, and he will love the other; or he will cleave to the one, and he will despise the other. You are not able to serve God and wealth (greed)".(Matthew 6:24). And this is where Jesus tells the parable of the story of Dives ("the Rich Man and Lazarus: "And there was a certain rich man; and he was accustomed to don a purple robe and fine linen, making merry in luxury day by day. And there was a certain poor one named Lazarus who had been laid at his doorway, having been ulcerated, and longing to be filled from the crumbs that were falling from the table of the rich one. But coming, even the dogs licked his sores. And it happened, the poor one died and was carried away by the angels into the bosom of Abraham. And the rich one also died and was buried. And being in torments in hell, lifting up his eyes, he sees Abraham afar off and Lazarus in his bosom. And calling he said, Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am suffering in this flame. But Abraham said, Child, remember that you fully received your good things in your lifetime, and Lazarus likewise the bad things. But now he is comforted, and you are suffering. And besides all these things, a great chasm has been fixed between us and you, so that those desiring to pass from here to you are not able, nor can they pass from there to us. And he said, Then I beg you, father, that you send him to my father's house; (for I have five brothers, so that he may witness to them, that they not also come to this place of torment). Abraham said to him, They have Moses and the Prophets, let them hear them. But he said, No, father Abraham, but if one should go from the dead to them, they will repent. And he said to him, If they will not hear Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if one from the dead should rise". (Luke 16:19-31) {Note: In Beza's most ancient copy, and in another manuscript of his it is read by way of preface, "he said also another parable":...many have taken this as proof positive of a hell that torments the soul after death when what Jesus meant was that "You canft take it with you" and even though the rich Pharisees used the same parable to teach the poor you will have your reward in heaven, Jesus extrapolated the parable to point out to the rich that if their teaching was true then they should expect the situation to be reversed! And the conclusion is prophetic as they would not believe Christ even though He would rise from the dead.

But wealth by itself is not wrong, but what you do with it!

To be continued....


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