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Adonai, Teach Us About True Treasure

This article continues the series for Bet Yeshurun Assembly (BYA) on the commandments of our lord and master, Adonai Yahushuah as written in the "Good News" of Matthew ("MattithYahu"). After instructing His disciples (students) about how to pray and fast, He speaks about storage places for treasure. "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust does corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal. But, lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust does corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal." (Matthew 6:19-20)

The King James Version (KJV) of the Bible translates "treasures" from a Greek word, "thesauros (G2344)." Strong's Concordance says it describes "a deposit, in other words, wealth (literally or figuratively)." Joseph H. Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament similarly notes that "thesauros" means "the place where good and precious things are laid up."

That Greek word reminds me of the "Roget's A-Z Thesaurus" that is on my bookshelf. I go to that reference book if I'm searching for a special word for an article. I'd never before thought of that book as a place of treasure until I began this scripture study. I then checked Webster's Dictionary. Sure enough, thesaurus means: "1. a treasury or storehouse; 2. a book containing a store of words, specifically a book of synonyms and antonyms; and 3. a categorized index of terms for use in information retrieval, as in a computer."

The thought of a crook breaking into my house to steal an educational book caused me to chuckle. Nonetheless, I admit the pages of my thesaurus on the bookshelf will surely turn yellow and crumble one day. While pondering on that, I reflected on the times that book helped my scripture studies. I now realize that it enabled me to store some words from Yah in my brain and hopefully inscribed them on my heart. These are the true treasures that come upon the earth from heaven: YAH's Will and Way of Life as written in His Word. Yahushuah also tells me where to store this true treasure: "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. (Matthew 6:21)

Scripturally speaking, Thayer says the "heart" ("kardia," G2588) "denotes the centre of all physical and spiritual life." I can relate to and understand the physical attributes of my heart. I live as long as my heart beats. Then Joab said, "I may not tarry thus with you." And he took three darts in his hand and thrust them through the heart of Absalom, while he was yet alive in the midst of the oak. And ten young men who bare Joab's armor compassed about and smote Absalom, and slew him. (2 Samuel 18:14-15) Jehu drew a bow with his full strength and smote Jehoram between his arms. The arrow went out at his heart and he sunk down in his chariot." (2 Kings 9:24)

Thayer further explains that a heart, in scripture, is considered "the center and seat of spiritual life." It represents "the soul or mind, as it is the fountain and seat of the thoughts, passions, desires, appetites, affections, purposes, endeavors; of the understanding, the faculty and seat of the intelligence; of the will and character; and of the soul so far as it is affected and stirred in a bad way or good, or of the soul as the seat of the sensibilities, affections, emotions, desires, appetites, passions."

So, my heart motivates me. It drives my personal reasons for doing what I do. My desires, thoughts, values, hopes and passions are my life's treasures. What I focus on and depend upon give purpose and provide security in my life. I need to be careful to seek Yah's values not Satan's because as Thayer notes my endeavors can be "affected or stirred in a bad way." Yahushuah, knowing their thoughts said, "Why think you evil in your hearts?" (Matthew 9:4) "For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile the man." (Mark 7:21-23)

Our life's purpose transcends the physical gifts received from Elohim. The gifts are temporary, given as opportunities to achieve a higher purpose like developing YAH-like "fruits" (character, attributes). "Those by the way side, are they who hear. Then, comes the demon, who takes away the Word from their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. They on the rock, are they who when they hear, receive the Word with joy; and these have no root, who for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away. And that which fell among thorns are they, who when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection. But that on the good ground, are they who in an honest and good heart, having heard the Word, keep it and bring forth fruit with patience." (Luke 8:12-15)

In His teaching on treasure, Yahushuah includes a physical example that can help us understand a spiritual principle: "The light of the body is the eye. Therefore, if your eye be "single" ("sound, good fulfilling its office") your whole body shall be full of light. But if your eye be evil, your whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!" (Matthew 6:22-23)

He illustrates that the pathway to our heart is through the eye. In other words, what our eye sees can lead to our heart's desire. For example, an eye filled with Yah's Light, will draw the heart of its body toward Elohim: "Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see Elohim." (Matthew 5:8)

On the other hand, an eye fixated upon wickedness can draw the heart of its body toward evil (i.e. darkness, the absence of Yah) if. "Take heed therefore that the light which is in you be not darkness. If your whole body therefore be full of light, having no part dark, the whole shall be full of light, as when the bright shining of a candle does give you light." (Luke 11:35-36)

BYA is truly blessed to have eyes that can see the Light: He turned to His disciples and said privately, "Blessed are the eyes which see the things that you see. For I tell you, that many prophets and kings have desired to see those things which you see and have not seen them; and to hear those things which you hear, and have not heard them." (Luke 10:23-24)

Hallelu Yah! Thanks Yah for revealing Light! "Elohim is YAHUAH, who has shown us light. Bind the sacrifice with cords even unto the horns of the altar. You are my Elohim, I praise You! You are my Elohim, I exalt You! Give thanks to YAHUAH for He is good: for His mercy endures forever." (Psalm 118:27-29)

And, let us pray that those still in darkness may receive His Light: When He was come near, He beheld the city and wept over it, saying, "If you had known, even you, at least in this your day, the things which belong to your peace! But now they are hid from your eyes." (Luke 19:41-42) "This is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one who does evil hates the light, neither comes to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he who does truth comes to the light that his deeds may be made manifest that they are wrought in Elohim." (John 3:19-21)

Yahushuah also instructs His disciples on the masters they will choose to serve. He speaks of two choices: (1) "Elohim" (representing the Light of Yah's heavenly Kingdom), or (2) "mammon" (representing the darkness of man's worldly system). Everyone will come to choose one or the other, and come to love one and hate the other. "No man can serve two masters. For either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve Elohim and mammon." (Matthew 6:24)

There will be no fence-straddling on this matter. Everyone is given an opportunity to choose between Elohim and mammon. Remember how ancient Israelites were offered two choices in Moses' time: "I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing. Therefore, choose life that both you and your seed may live. That you may love YAHUAH your Elohim, and that you may obey His voice, and that you may cleave unto Him. For, He is your life and the length of your days: that you may dwell in the land which YAHUAH swore unto your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob, to give them. (Deuteronomy 30:19-20)

Scripture speaks again of Israel's choice of masters during the time of Joshua: "If it seem evil unto you to serve YAHUAH, choose you this day whom you will serve; whether the gods (the mighty ones) which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods (the mighty ones) of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve YAHUAH." (Joshua 24:15)

As for Yahushuah's disciples, they had to decide whom to serve. So also, do we. No one escapes this decision. Whoa … It behooves me to understand this choice between "Elohim and mammon," that other peculiar, mysterious option. The word "mammon" in the KJV comes from "mamonas" G3126). Strong notes that it is "of Aramaic origin, confidence, i.e. figuratively wealth, personified, or avarice (greed), deified."

In this instance, "of Aramaic origin" means "Hebraic" as the equivalent Hebrew word is "matmown" (H4301). Gesenius' Lexicon says it describes "a hidden or underground store or treasure." Here's two passages to reflect on: "Wherefore is light given to him who is in misery and life unto the bitter in soul; who long for death, but it comes not and dig for it more than for matmown; who rejoice exceedingly and are glad, when they can find the grave?" (Job 3:20-22) Thus says YAHUAH to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I held to subdue nations before him. I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates. The gates shall not be shut. I will go before you and make the crooked places straight. I will break in pieces the gates of brass and cut in sunder the bars of iron. I will give you the matmown of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places that you may know that I, YAHUAH, who calls you by your name, am the Elohim of Israel. (Isaiah 45:1-3)

Webster's Dictionary defines "mammon" as "that which is made secure or deposited; riches regarded as an object of worship and greedy pursuit; wealth or material gain as an evil, more or less deified." Many think that wealth is a sign of Yah's blessing. It can be, but if the pursuit of that wealth motivates the heart, the path to a road of destruction lies ahead. "For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows." (1 Timothy 6:10)

Consider another example from scripture of people, who were known for choosing mamonas: The Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things and they derided Him. He said to them, "you are they who justify yourselves before men. But Elohim knows your hearts. For, that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of Elohim." (Luke 16:14-15)

So again, whom will you serve? In whom is your confidence? In whom do you trust? "It is better to trust in YAHUAH than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in YAHUAH than to put confidence in princes." (Psalm 118:8-9)

Our answer to the question of whom we serve is given not in our words, but will be expressed in our actions. For example, if we elect to spend our time pursuing worldly wealth we will find ourselves serving other mighty ones, e.g. a corporate boss. On the other hand, we can choose to prioritize our time by seeking Elohim and serving Him. "My son, if you will receive my words and hide (store) my commandments with you, so that you incline your ear unto wisdom and apply your heart to understanding; yea, if you cry after knowledge and lift up your voice for understanding; if you seek her as silver and search for her as for hid treasures (matmown); then you shall understand the fear of YAHUAH and find the knowledge of Elohim." (Proverbs 2:1-5)

Scripture confirms the earthly treasure received from serving men is transitory riches. "Your riches are corrupted and your garments are moth eaten. Your gold and silver is cankered. The rust of them shall be a witness against you and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. You have heaped treasure together for the last days." (James 5:2-3)

Compare that to the heavenly treasure available in Yah's Words. "But rather seek ye the kingdom of Elohim and all these things shall be added to you. Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell that ye have and give alms. Provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that fails not, where no thief approaches, neither moth corrupts." (Luke 12:31-33)

As you choose, and make no mistake, we all will choose, please keep in mind that the world's business system will be at enmity with the Kingdom of Heaven. "You ask, and receive not, because you ask amiss that you may consume it upon your lusts. You adulterers and adulteresses know you not that the friendship of the world is enmity with Elohim? Whoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of Elohim." (James 4:3-4)

You might personally experience this in a conflict between men's work days and Yah's holy days. For example, you may be asked to decide between going to work and scheduling time-off from work to observe the Sabbaths, New Moons and annual Feast Days of YAHUAH. To who are you dedicated? "Behold, I build a house to the name of YAHUAH my Elohim, to dedicate it to Him, and to burn before Him sweet incense and for the continual showbread, and for the burnt offerings morning and evening, on the Sabbaths, and on the New Moons, and on the solemn feasts of YAHUAH our Elohim. This is an ordinance forever to Israel. And the house which I build is great: for great is our Elohim above all gods ("mighty ones")." (2 Chronicles 2:4-5)

Remember, that if you choose to serve the way of men, you will ultimately come to hate the Way of Elohim. BYA has a double witness: "No servant can serve two masters. For, either he will hate the one and love the other; or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve Elohim and mammon. (Luke 16:13)

The reason for this might be contained within scripture's warning that the pursuit of mammon can lead to achieving wealth that can then tempt us into thinking that we have no need for Elohim: "Because you say, 'I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing;' and know not that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked: I counsel you to buy of Me gold tried in the fire that you may be rich; and white raiment that you may be clothed, and that the shame of your nakedness do not appear; and anoint your eyes with eye salve that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Be zealous, therefore, and repent." (Revelation 3:17-19)

In the here and now, inscribe Yah's Word upon your heart. Do His "good works" and layup our treasure in heaven. "Charge them who are rich in this world that they be not high minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living Elohim, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. So that they do well, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate. Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life." (1 Timothy 6:17-19)

In the hereafter, we will enjoy this heavenly treasure. And, it begins with choosing to turn away from man's ways (mammon) and seeking to obey Elohim's Way of Life: "Not every one who says to Me, Adonai, Adonai, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 7:21)

May Yah bless your heart as you seek true heavenly treasures. And may Yah's mercy and grace be with all of us, Elder Curt