Treasures in heaven (Lk 12:33-12:33)

“Sell your possessions!

Give alms!

Make purses

For yourselves

That do not wear out!

Have an unfailing treasure

In heaven!

There,

No thief

Comes near!

No moth

Destroys!”

 

Πωλήσατε τὰ ὑπάρχοντα ὑμῶν καὶ δότε ἐλεημοσύνην· ποιήσατε ἑαυτοῖς βαλλάντια μὴ παλαιούμενα, θησαυρὸν ἀνέκλειπτον ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς, ὅπου κλέπτης οὐκ ἐγγίζει οὐδὲ σὴς διαφθείρει·

 

Luke indicated that Jesus told them to sell their possessions (Πωλήσατε τὰ ὑπάρχοντα ὑμῶν) and then give alms to charity (καὶ δότε ἐλεημοσύνην).  They were to make their own purses (ποιήσατε ἑαυτοῖς βαλλάντια) that did not wear out (ὴ παλαιούμενα).  Their unfailing treasure (θησαυρὸν ἀνέκλειπτον) should be in heaven (ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς), where no thief could get near it (ὅπου κλέπτης οὐκ ἐγγίζει) and no moth would destroy it (οὐδὲ σὴς διαφθείρει).  This is the only time that the word ἀνέκλειπτον appears in the New Testament literature, meaning unfailing, not giving up.  The same idea but in different words can be found in Matthew, chapter 6:19-20.  Matthew had Jesus say that they should not store up treasures (Μὴ θησαυρίζετε ὑμῖν θησαυροὺς) here on earth (ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς), because it was too much trouble to store things.  Either moths (ὅπου σὴς) would eat up the garments or rust would consume them.  This is one of the 3 times that moths are mentioned in the biblical New Testament.  The other was the Luke comparative and later in Matthew.  Garments were often considered treasures.  Rust was a more common term and applied to other goods.  Otherwise, thieves might break in and steal it anyhow (καὶ ὅπου κλέπται διορύσσουσιν καὶ κλέπτουσιν).  The opposite of the earthly treasures were the heavenly treasures (θησαυρίζετε δὲ ὑμῖν θησαυροὺς ἐν οὐρανῷ) that you should store up.  Moths and rust could not consume them (ὅπου οὔτε σὴς οὔτε βρῶσις ἀφανίζει).  Thieves could not break in and steal them either (καὶ ὅπου κλέπται οὐ διορύσσουσιν οὐδὲ κλέπτουσιν).  Clearly, heaven was a better place to store up treasures than the dangerous earth.

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Earthly and heavenly treasures (Mt 6:19-6:21)

“Do not store up

For yourselves

Treasures on earth.

Moths

And rust

Will consume them.

Thieves

Will break in

And steal them.

But store up

For yourselves

Treasures in heaven.

Where neither moth

Nor rust

Consumes them.

Where thieves

Do not break in

And steal them.

Where your treasure is,

There will your heart be also.”

 

Μὴ θησαυρίζετε ὑμῖν θησαυροὺς ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς, ὅπου σὴς καὶ βρῶσις ἀφανίζει, καὶ ὅπου κλέπται διορύσσουσιν καὶ κλέπτουσιν·

θησαυρίζετε δὲ ὑμῖν θησαυροὺς ἐν οὐρανῷ, ὅπου οὔτε σὴς οὔτε βρῶσις ἀφανίζει, καὶ ὅπου κλέπται οὐ διορύσσουσιν οὐδὲ κλέπτουσιν

ὅπου γάρ ἐστιν ὁ θησαυρός σου, ἐκεῖ ἔσται καὶ ἡ καρδία σου.

 

This is another unique saying of Jesus in Matthew, although the idea can be found in Luke, chapter 12:33-34, with the last verse exactly the same.  You should not store up treasures (Μὴ θησαυρίζετε ὑμῖν θησαυροὺς) here on earth (ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς), because it was too much trouble to store things.  Either moths (ὅπου σὴς) would eat up the garments or rust would consume them.  This is one of the 3 times that moths are mentioned in the biblical New Testament.  The other was the Luke comparative and later in Matthew.  Garments were often considered treasures.  Rust was a more common term and applied to other goods.  Otherwise, thieves might break in and steal it anyhow (καὶ ὅπου κλέπται διορύσσουσιν καὶ κλέπτουσιν).  The opposite of the earthly treasures were the heavenly treasures (θησαυρίζετε δὲ ὑμῖν θησαυροὺς ἐν οὐρανῷ) that you should store up.  Moths and rust could not consume them (ὅπου οὔτε σὴς οὔτε βρῶσις ἀφανίζει).  Thieves could not break in and steal them either (καὶ ὅπου κλέπται οὐ διορύσσουσιν οὐδὲ κλέπτουσιν).  Finally, we have the wonderful saying about where your treasure is (ὅπου γάρ ἐστιν ὁ θησαυρός σου), there is your heart (ἐκεῖ ἔσται καὶ ἡ καρδία σου).  What you really care about is what is important to you.

The boiling rusted pot (Ezek 24:9-24:11)

“Therefore

Thus says Yahweh God!

‘Woe to the bloody city!

I will even make

The pile great!

Heap up the logs!

Kindle the fire!

Boil the meat well!

Mix in the spices!

Let the bones

Be burned!

Stand it empty

Upon the coals!

Thus it may become hot.

Its copper will glow.

Its filth

Will melt in it.

Its rust

Will be consumed.’”

Once again Yahweh, via Ezekiel, pronounced a curse against the bloody city of Jerusalem. Yahweh was going to pile up logs and kindle a fire. He wanted to boil the meat with lots of spices. He wanted this meal so well cooked that even the bones would be burned. He wanted this pot to stand empty on the hot coals until its copper glowed. He had hoped that the filth would melt out of this pot. That way, all the rust would be consumed and gone, since this burning pot was Jerusalem.

The rusted pot (Ezek 24:6-24:6)

“Therefore,

Thus says Yahweh God!

‘Woe to the bloody city!

Woe to the pot

Where rust is

In it!

This rust

Has not gone out

Of it!

Empty it

Piece by piece!

Do not make

Any choice!’”

Now Yahweh, via Ezekiel, called Jerusalem a bloody city. He compared it to a rusted pot. The rust was in this pot, Jerusalem, but it has not gone out of it. They would have to empty it piece by piece to get rid of this rust. They had no choice but to get rid of everything and everyone in the pot.

The useless gods (Bar 6:12-6:18)

“These gods

Cannot save themselves

From rust.

They cannot save themselves

From corrosion.

When they have been dressed

In purple robes,

Their faces are wiped

Because the dust

From the temple

Is thick upon them.

One of them

Holds a scepter

Like a district judge.

But he is unable

To destroy

Anyone who offends him.

Another has a dagger

In his right hand.

Another has an axe.

But these gods cannot

Defend themselves

From war

Or robbers.

From this,

It is evident

That they are not gods.

So do not fear them!

Just as someone’s dish

Is useless

When it is broken,

So are their gods

When they have been

Set up in the temples.

Their eyes are full

Of the dust

Raised by the feet

Of those who enter.”

This author says that these gods cannot save themselves from rust or corrosion. Even when they have been dressed in purple robes, someone has to wipe their faces because of the thick dust from the temple. If they have a scepter like a district judge, they are unable to destroy anyone who offends them. If they have a dagger or an axe, they cannot defend themselves from war or robbers. It is quite evident that these useless colorful idols are not gods at all. So there is nothing to fear from them. They are like useless broken dishes.

Almsgiving (Sir 29:8-29:13)

“Be patient with someone

In humble circumstances.

Do not keep him waiting

For your alms.

Help the poor man

For the commandment’s sake.

In their need,

Do not send them away

Empty-handed.

Lose your silver

For the sake of a brother.

Lose your silver

For the sake of a friend.

Do not let your silver rust

Under a stone.

Do not let your silver be lost.

Lay up your treasure

According to the commandments

Of the Most High.

It will profit you

More than gold.

Store up almsgiving

In your treasury.

It will rescue you

From every disaster.

Better than a stout shield,

Better than a sturdy spear,

It will fight for you

Against the enemy.”

You should be patient with people in humble poor circumstances. You should not make them wait for your almsgiving gift. You are only following the commandments when you give to the poor. You should not send the needy away empty-handed. You should give your silver to a brother or a friend. Do not let your silver rust or get lost under a stone. Circulate money. Your treasure should be in the commandments of the Most High God that are more profitable than gold. Your treasury should be filled with almsgiving, so that it can rescue you from any disaster that might come your way. Almsgiving is better than a strong shield or spear in the fight against your enemy.