Saturday, April 30, 2016

Mammon: The Zeroeth Comforter

JST Luke 6:24 But woe unto you that are rich! For ye have received your consolation.

That word - consolation - is a translation of παράκλησις, paraklēsis, which means "that which affords comfort or refreshment," or, in other words, "comforter," meaning, according to Thayer's Greek Lexicon: "thus of the Messianic salvation (so the Rabbis call the Messiah the consoler, the comforter)."

We might therefore render that verse: "But wo unto you that are rich! For ye have received your comforter."

The rich are they who have gathered and retain more resources than they need; they have the comforter they desire - their stuff. But what are our needs? That's been answered, too, in 1 Timothy 6:8-11.

"Having adequate nourishment (diatrophas) and decent covering (skepasmata) we shall with these suffice ourselves (arkesthesometha). But those who want to be rich (ploutein) fall into temptation (peirasmon, a test) and a snare (pagida, a trap, noose, decoy), and into hankering for many things (epithumias, a passionate desire to possess) which are silly (anoetous; mindless, senseless) and harmful (blaberas), and which drag (buthizousi, plunge) human beings down to ruin (olethron, deadly danger) and utter destruction (apoleian). For the root (rhiza) of all evil doings (panton ton kakon) is the desire for money (philargyria, cash–loving), being driven by which people have gone astray, got lost (apeplanesthesan, Heb. abad, stray from the path) from the faith and become hopelessly involved (peripeiran, spitted, engangled) in agonizing situations (odunais, rapids, pangs). But thou, O man of God, keep away from these things" (1 Timothy 6:8–11). - Hugh Nibley

We shall - that's a command - be content with adequate nourishment and covering. And it is written that it is not given by God that one man should possess that which is above what another man possesses, which material inequality is the reason the world lies in sin (D&C 49).

And it is also written:
D&C 104
14 I, the Lord, stretched out the heavens, and built the earth, my very handiwork; and all things therein are mine.

15 And it is my purpose to provide for my saints, for all things are mine.

16 But it must needs be done in mine own way; and behold this is the way that I, the Lord, have decreed to provide for my saints, that the poor shall be exalted, in that the rich are made low.

17 For the earth is full, and there is enough and to spare; yea, I prepared all things, and have given unto the children of men to be agents unto themselves.

18 Therefore, if any man shall take of the abundance which I have made, and impart not his portion, according to the law of my gospel, unto the poor and the needy, he shall, with the wicked, lift up his eyes in hell, being in torment.

Let us remember that the relevant commandment in the law of the gospel is "give to every man that asketh of thee" (Luke 6:30), a policy which, if followed, would certainly seem calculated to make the rich low.

Against Jesus's commandment to give to everyone who asks is sometimes set the saying of Paul: "But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel" (1 Timothy 5:8). The implicit position being taken is "if I keep Christ's commandment, then I may not be able to provide for those of my own household, which possible lack of ability to provide would entail my denying the faith of Christ and render me worse than an infidel, therefore I will not keep Christ's commandment."

Yet intentionally failing to keep the commandments of Christ is what it means to "deny the faith." The real concern, which has gone unstated, is that God can't, or won't, provide us with what we need if we serve him faithfully (contra JST Matthew 6:19-39) - that is, God doesn't exist or is worse than an infidel - therefore the objector necessarily doesn't trust - doesn't have faith in - God. But that's what "infidel" means - "unbeliever, faithless." By setting Paul against Jesus in this fashion, the objector demonstrates himself to be an infidel.

"But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone; which is the second death" (JST Revelation 21:8).

But there is a way out! If one believes that God exists, that Jesus is the Christ, and that Jesus asked of all men who would be his disciples to do certain things - like "give to every man that asketh of thee" - and if one desires to serve God by granting God's requests, then simply do so believing that the results will be in God's hands, showing thereby that you are "willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon [you], even as a child doth submit to his father" (Mosiah 3:19).

Try an experiment upon Jesus's commandments, if you believe them to be such (Alma 32). See what happens (JST John 7:17).