When Money Is of No Value
THE world has an adage: “Money talks.” Often the man having money can weather fierce “storms.” He can escape trouble and stay “on top” in ever so many situations.
The Bible acknowledges that money has a certain power to shield its possessor. It says: “Wisdom is for a protection the same as money is for a protection.” But which is more to be relied on? The Bible continues, “but the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom itself preserves alive its owners.”—Eccl. 7:12.
There have been situations where money did not “talk.” It was silenced, “dumb” as to helping its owners. One such situation was the siege of Jerusalem by the Babylonians in the seventh century before our Common Era. Then those having true wisdom were far better off than the wealthy ones. The knowledge they had used in a right way led to their preservation. Will such a situation ever come about on a worldwide scale?—Jer. 35:18, 19; 39:16-18; 40:1-6.
If we look around to see where wealth is greatest, we find that it is among the nations in the domain called “Christendom.” And in this realm money has been relied on, trusted in, even becoming a “god” to some persons. For many professed Christians money has been the object of life’s pursuit.
CLERGY HAVE PUT RELIGION ON A MONEY BASIS
Worse, though, than these abuses of money, the religious systems, and many individual clergymen, have charged money for their ecclesiastical services to church members. They have charged for performing baptisms and marriages, for blessing homes and properties of church members, for saying Masses in church and for praying in behalf of the “souls of the dead in Purgatory,” for granting indulgences, for admission into church or for seats therein, for education at religious schools, for serving as chaplains in the armies, at the same time accepting money from the political State where there happened to be a union of Church and State or a State Church. By these means they have amassed great wealth.
Furthermore, some of the money taken for such religious services has been invested in enterprises that the churches were at the very same time condemning as wrong in God’s eyes. Scandalously, this greed for money and material riches has caused the religious leaders of Christendom to stumble into erroneous conduct before God.—1 Tim. 6:10.
Does God see this, and will he bless such organizations and men because of their riches? View what he did with ancient Israel under the very same conditions.
It was a shameful and God-dishonoring thing that the Israelite prophet Micah had to report with regard to those who claimed to bear God’s name before the world. But the prophet Micah had to say what God wanted known, that “her own head ones judge merely for a bribe, and her own priests instruct just for a price, and her own prophets practice divination simply for money; yet upon Jehovah they keep supporting themselves, saying: ‘Is not Jehovah in the midst of us? There will come upon us no calamity.”’ Was their money going to keep on protecting them? Would God intervene on their behalf? God answered: “Therefore on account of you men Zion will be plowed up as a mere field, and Jerusalem herself will become mere heaps of ruins, and the mountain of the house [of Jehovah] will be as the high places of a forest.”—Mic. 3:11, 12.
MONEY TO BE THROWN INTO THE STREETS
Six years before this calamity actually took place in Jerusalem’s destruction by the Babylonians, the prophet Ezekiel, in Babylon, forewarned them. In a larger sense, involving more people, such a calamity is bound to happen in our time, particularly in Christendom, because her attitude toward money is identical with that of Israel of that day. God cannot be true to his principles if he does not act in the same way toward hypocritical religionists that bring reproach upon his name. Ezekiel’s prophecy applies, therefore, with greater force to Christendom. (Rom. 15:4; 1 Cor. 10:11) Give earnest attention to what Christendom faces in the very near future:
(Ezekiel 7:19-22) Fulfillment
“Into the streets Money will be valueless. It will be an
they will throw “abhorrent thing” to its owners when they
their very silver, now at last reflect that their greed for it
and an abhorrent has brought on their destruction.
thing their own
gold will become.
“Neither their They will not be able to ransom their
silver nor their lives by bribing Jehovah and his
gold will be able executional agents in the earth. The
to deliver them attacking political and secular elements
in the day of will not spare Christendom any more than
Jehovah’s fury. the Babylonian armies spared Jerusalem.
—Compare Acts 8:9-20.
“Their souls they It will be impossible to consume gold
will not satisfy, and silver as food to fill their intestines
and their intestines amid famine conditions.
they will not fill,
for it has become
a stumbling block
causing their error.
“And the decoration They have adorned themselves with gold
of one’s ornament—one and silver crucifixes, rings, miters,
has set it as reason crosiers, regalia, thrones, making such
for pride. costly things the “decoration of one’s
ornament,” and they have set such as a
reason for priding themselves, considering
themselves as ‘somebodies,’ higher than
the common, ordinary laity.
“And their detestable They have used such gold and silver for
images, their decorating the images and emblems
disgusting things, used in their churches. To God they
they have made with are“detestable images,”
it. That is why I “disgusting things,”
will make it to despite their artistic construction.
them an abhorrent
“And I will give it As in the case of ancient Jerusalem, so
into the hand now, in the day of Jehovah’s fury against
of the strangers Christendom, those gold and silver and
for plunder and to bejeweled articles of false worship will
the wicked ones of be plundered by the antireligious
the earth for spoil, “strangers” and will be seized as “spoil”
and they will by the irreligious “wicked ones.” They
certainly profane it. will not consider as untouchable those
items, even religious images, held sacred by Christendom. They will profane such
reputedly holy things.
“And I shall have to Jehovah’s “concealed place,” the Most
turn away my face Holy of the temple, was entered by the
from them and they Babylonians. Jehovah did not strike
will actually profane them down dead or smite them with
my concealed place, leprosy, because he had abandoned the
and into it robbers place due to the Jews’ defilement.
will really come and The things now rated as sacred by
profane it.” Christendom, such as Vatican City, or the
palatial residences of the patriarchs
and archbishops of the religious systems
can not hope to escape being profaned,
misused and destroyed.
GOD NOT IN CHRISTENDOM
The things Ezekiel warned of really took place in Jerusalem. Is it too much to think that the same things will occur in Christendom? Not at all. For God dealt with the nation of Israel as his covenant people, and with Jerusalem as the place of the kingly throne that represented him on earth. He sent his prophets to teach Israel and to warn and correct them when they went wrong, but they refused to listen. (2 Chron. 36:15, 16) Christendom makes the claim to serve God. He never really acknowledged her as his, but he holds her responsible for what she professes to be. This is because she has set herself before the world as representing God. She has brought much reproach upon his name by her hypocrisy.
Nevertheless, God has treated her with much long-suffering. She has possessed and claimed to enjoy the enlightenment of the Holy Scriptures. Also, in her midst have been true Christians, those who are in a covenant for the kingdom of God. They have taught among her people and have warned of the calamities God would bring for her misrepresentation of him. Therefore, when judgment comes upon Christendom she cannot say she was ignorant of the wrongness of her course.
Christendom could have been helped if she had followed the words of God and of his Son Jesus Christ. But Jehovah God does not dwell in her religious house, and the things most sacred to her adherents are not sacred to God and do not have him as their Protector. Actually, instead of God dwelling in her, she, as the dominant part of Babylon the Great, the world empire of false religion, “has become a dwelling place of demons and a lurking place of every unclean exhalation.”—Rev. 18:2.
Consequently, Christendom cannot escape the things that happened on a smaller scale in Jerusalem. It is too late for her to entertain any such hope. If you are an adherent of one of Christendom’s religions, you as an individual may be able to save your life. A major step is to get rid of all false gods and images now and to forsake trusting in money.
The prophecy of Isaiah concerning “the final part of the days” should be of interest to you. Isaiah wrote: “The haughtiness of the earthling man must bow down, and the loftiness of men must become low; and Jehovah alone must be put on high in that day. And the valueless gods themselves will pass away completely. And people will enter into the caves of the rocks and into the holes of the dust because of the dreadfulness of Jehovah and from his splendid superiority, when he rises up for the earth to suffer shocks. In that day the earthling man will throw his worthless gods of silver and his valueless gods of gold that they had made for him to bow before to the shrewmice and to the bats.”—Isa. 2:1, 2, 17-20.
GET WISDOM RATHER THAN MONEY
Having forsaken false gods, the thing to do while there is yet time is to get real wisdom, which will provide the only protection in the distress of Jehovah’s “day.” Such wisdom is available, but where?
The scripture says: “Does not wisdom keep calling out, and discernment keep giving forth its voice? On top of the heights, by the way, at the crossing of the roadways it has stationed itself. At the side of the gates, at the mouth of the town, at the going in of the entrances it keeps crying loudly: ‘To you, O men, I am calling, and my voice is to the sons of men.”’—Prov. 8:1-4.
The Bible is near you, very likely in your own home. And Jehovah’s witnesses use every reasonable means to reach you so as to point you to its wisdom. You may know them at your place of work, at school, as neighbors, or calling at your door. They can assist you in getting, not money, but the wisdom that preserves its owners for life in God’s new order.
Jehovah’s witnesses certainly do not seek your riches. They do not charge for doing their religious work of teaching the Bible. They are interested in your life, and in exalting Jehovah God’s name, for only of him can it be said: “The name of Jehovah is a strong tower. Into it the righteous runs and is given protection.” (Prov. 18:10) The wisdom to flee to this place of refuge is within easy reach and is free to all. Jehovah kindly calls out:
“Hey there, all you thirsty ones! Come to the water. And the ones that have no money! Come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk even without money and without price. Why do you people keep paying out money for what is not bread, and why is your toil for what results in no satisfaction? Listen intently to me, and eat what is good, and let your soul find its exquisite delight in fatness itself. Incline your ear and come to me. Listen, and your soul will keep alive.”—Isa. 55:1-3.
Will you do this?