Bill Heinrich  -  Jan 07, 2016  -  Comments Off on 08.04.01 SPIRITUAL TREASURES

08.04.01 Mt. 6:19-24




19 Don’t collect for yourselves treasures on earth,

where moth and rust destroy,

and where thieves break in and steal. 


20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven,

where neither moth and rust destroys,  

and where thieves don’t break in and steal. 


21 For where your treasure is,

there your heart will be also.


22 “The eye is the lamp of the body.

If your eye is good,

your whole body will be full of light. 

23 But if your eye is bad,

                  your whole body will be full of darkness. 


So if the light within you is darkness—

         how deep is that darkness?


If then the light within you

is darkness,

how great is that darkness!


24 “No one can be a slave of two masters.

Since either he will hate the one

and love the other,

or be devoted to one

and despise the other. 

You cannot be slaves of God and of money.                                 


At this time there was no institutionalized banking system, although there is clear evidence that the aristocrats and super rich stored their wealth in the temple.[1] But for most people, what little they had was hidden somewhere in their home or possibly buried in a field. Since houses were generally constructed of stone, and sometimes of brick depending upon location, thieves could literally dig their way into a house.


“Moth and rust destroy.” The Greek term for rust is brosis (1111) and it literally means to eat away. Therefore, the word “moth” and “rust” are parallelisms to emphasize the futility of earthly wealth.  Preventing loss was a major concern because these objects of value were easily stolen or subject to deterioration.[2] Preserving wealth often became an obsession, which is why the Apostle Paul warned about getting engrossed with it (1 Cor. 7:31; 1 Tim. 6:9). In fact, all of the disciples had divorced themselves from material passions, something that was most certainly difficult in a peasant-slave culture under Roman oppression (Philip. 4:11-14).


“Eye is good … eye is bad.”  This idiom of the eyes was popular in all ancient Middle Eastern cultures and a modified version continues on today.  The phrase, good eye, from the Hebrew aiyin tovah [3] or Greek haplous, meant one was sound, kind, giving and generous,[4]  but today it has the meaning of good luck or good fortune. On the other hand, the phrase bad eye, (Heb. aiyin ra’ah) meant that one was jealous and greedy; [5]  although the phrase has been changed to mean evil eye.[6]


“So if the light within you is darkness—how deep is that darkness?” How can light (Gk. phos) be darkness (Gk. skotos)?[7] This statement is one of several oxymorons[8] used in Scripture. It is intended to combine words that are naturally opposite, but, when used in this manner, they enhance the meaning of the speaker.  In this case, if a small amount of light is considered to be darkness, how much more darkness would there be if there was absolutely no light whatsoever?


“You cannot be slaves of God and of money.”  The word money in a general Aramaic or Hebrew sense means wealth.  And the passion to obtain wealth often commanded and possessed a man’s allegiance and, thus, became his god.  When he finally has financial security, he seldom needs divine security, and has no need to trust God for his daily provisions. Therefore, he cannot serve both God and his financial security. Jesus was often quick to condemn those who had great wealth, not because they were wealthy, but because He knew that their wealth was their security – a substitute for God Himself.  The proper use of wealth is to help expand the Kingdom of God. Finally, Jesus was not alone in this comment as some Old Testament prophets[9] made similar statements as did some rabbis in later Judaism[10] and in the Dead Sea Scrolls.[11]

[1]. 4 Maccabees 4.3; Josephus, Wars 6.5.2 (282); See also banking discussion in 05.05.04.

[2]. Carson, “Matthew” 8:177.

[3]. Moseley, Yeshua: A Guide to the Real Jesus and the Original Church. 29.


[4]. Lang, Know the Words of Jesus. 224; Bock, Jesus According to Scripture. 142-43.


[5]. Bock, Jesus According to Scripture. 221.


[6]. Moseley, Yeshua: A Guide to the Real Jesus and the Original Church. 28-29; See Lk. 11:34; 09.02.01; 12.03.10.


[7]. Barclay, Jesus. 264.


[8]. Bullinger, Figures of Speech Used in the Bible. 816-18; See Appendix 26 for definition.

[9]. Amos 5:10-12; Isa. 1:22-23; 5:8-10.


[10]. 1 Enoch 92-105.


[11]. Safrai and Flusser. “The Slave of Two Masters.” 32; 1 QS 3:19-22.


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