THE LOVE OF MONEY (EXCERPT OF JOHN, CHAPTER SEVENTEEN)
From: John, Chapter Seventeen
Copyright © 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
There is no way to escape crucifixion in this world. Those who enter willingly into the cross of Christ are lifted up in His omnipotent resurrection. Those who choose the way of the riches of the world, trusting their money will give them the power to escape the tribulations of life, destroy their relationship with their Creator. Christ has warned us plainly: no man can serve both God and money.
“While I was with them in the world, I kept them in your name. Those whom you gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. (John 17:12)
How terrible to be lost! Judas Iscariot was lost—lost from the Presence of His Creator forever. And for thirty silver coins!
Judas Iscariot was one of the twelve disciples. There was nothing unusual about Judas except his love of money. He carried the bag of money, the common purse of the disciples. Money meant so much to Judas he would steal the money belonging to his comrades, his fellow disciples.
This he said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the money box; and he used to take what was put in it. (John 12:6)
Jesus referred to Judas, Simon’s son, as “the son of perdition” (son of destruction). Jesus declared, “It would have been good for that man if he had not been bornrdquo; (Matthew 26:24).
This indeed is a fearful statement. How would you like to hear your Creator say it had been good for you that you never had been born?
Judas was not a man without a conscience. His future conduct portrayed conscience and remorse. But Judas loved money. The love of money provided the door through which Satan was able to enter him.
The moment Judas’ despicable deed was performed his conscience spoke to him. Judas repented and brought back the thirty silver coins to the priests and elders of Israel—the price of the life of God’s Christ.
“I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood,” Judas cried. Judas’ sorrow was not that he had betrayed the Christ of Israel but merely an innocent human being.
Judas went and hanged himself. Truly, the love of money is the root of all evil.
What must have been Judas’ terror when he discovered, as he was descending into the bottomless pit, that he had turned over God’s holy Son to the Romans? What will be our terror if we discover when we enter the spirit realm that we have failed Christ because of our love of money?
Can you imagine the agony of Judas’ soul and mind? Christ was not the only person who suffered the pangs of death and Hell during those terrible hours. But Christ’s agony led to the throne of glory, while Judas’ agony increased a thousand times as he entered the frightful caverns of darkness, the abode of Satan, the fallen angels, and the most vile people of history. It was no comfort to Judas to realize he was surrounded with spirits like his own.
Christ was welcomed by the Father and the holy angels. Judas was greeted by fallen angels and demons, the sight of whose faces surpasses in horror any other experience possible to human beings.
There were three crosses on Golgotha: God was crucified; the saved criminal was crucified; the unsaved criminal was crucified. Nor did Judas escape. He also was “crucified,” so to speak.
There is no way to escape crucifixion in the world. Those who enter willingly into the cross of Christ are lifted in His omnipotent resurrection.
Those who choose the way of the riches of the world, trusting their money will give them the power to escape the tribulations of life, destroy their relationship with their Creator. In the end, all are “crucified” in one manner or another, and the possession of great wealth cannot prevent it.
Balaam, Gehazi, Judas, and Ananias and Sapphira testify to us from the eternal darkness that riches are deceitful, that the love of money indeed is the root of all evil.
We have “Christian” ministers today who are teaching that the Lord’s people ought to be rich in the world’s goods and we should exercise faith in order to gain wealth. These Balaamite prophets, adorned in the finery of the present world, cannot see the bony ribs of the dying in Africa; neither can they hear the moans of despair coming from the parched lips of the mother attempting to nurse her starving infant.
These lovers of gold cannot see or hear the torments of the world’s population because the pursuit of wealth has blinded their eyes and stopped their ears. Yet they are preaching the saints should seek after money. The blind are leading the blind. Shall they not bear their judgment?
The hour will come when the false prophets of money will be in outer darkness, clothed in rags, begging for a taste of the water of life. The poor of the earth, rich in faith, will be reveling in the sumptuous riches of the Kingdom. They will be dancing and singing for joy, playing with the children in the grassy meadows of glory under a radiant sky.
The teachers of the love of money will see from their oppressive dens the wealth and glory of the Kingdom in the distance. They will hear faintly the strains of the music of the angels. They will smell a bit of the fragrance of the heavenly air. But they will be kept at a distance until the Day of Judgment.
They became rich from their preaching but now they are impoverished. They should have laid up treasures in Heaven so at their death they could have rejoiced in the beauty and love of the spirit Paradise. Instead they are in rags, awaiting the most terrifying of all court appearances.
This is the certain fate of Christian pastors, evangelists, and teachers who have chosen to use their profession to gain material wealth and comfort. When they die they will gnash their teeth in torment while the poorest of the saints will be dwelling in perfect joy and peace.
One of the conspicuous aspects of the reign of Antichrist will be the love of money, of material gain. The world government and the gigantic Christian organization of the last days will be dominated by the love of money. Money will be their idol and their power. They all will be destroyed in the end.
Spiritual darkness has settled on the world today. Many of the Lord’s people already have been deceived. If the believers do not abandon at once the Antichrist love of material gain, their fate will be torment with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and the Lamb (Revelation 14:10).
Where will their pastors and evangelists be then—they who coddled the believers and assured them that even though they were not bearing their cross behind Jesus they had no need to worry. These false prophets have taught their followers that God loves them too much to deny them anything they desire. What will they say to their flocks when they all are looking with horror at each other in outer darkness?
Some who are teaching a “pre-Antichrist rapture” may not realize that they and their disciples already are serving and preaching Antichrist. Because they have chosen the riches of the world they will not be given the true riches of the Kingdom of God.
As far as we know, Judas was an ordinary human being.
At one time Judas had been a little boy, playing games around his home in the village of Kerioth. Could the lad Judas have realized that one day his Creator would say of him, “It had been good for that man if he had not been born”? Could Judas have known that one day his name would be a symbol for treachery throughout the world?
What if Christ were to say that about me?—about you? Are we immune for some reason? Was Judas immune? Were Ananias and Sapphira, who held back part of the proceeds from the sale of their land because of their desire for money, immune to the wrath of God because they were members of the early Church?
The holy Scriptures by commandment and example teach us to flee from the love of money, from the deceitfulness of riches. It is impossible to serve God and money. We must choose between these two demanding masters.
- Esau traded the Messianic inheritance for a bowl of lentils.
- Gehazi exchanged the trust of Elisha, and his own health, for some clothes.
- Judas sold Emmanuel for thirty pieces of silver.
- Balaam, Ananias, and Sapphira gave their lives for material gain.
- The members of the Laodicean churches will trade their part in the Lamb’s Book of Life for economic security, during the reign of Antichrist.
We have made our choice. How about you?
“That the scripture might be fulfilled,” Jesus prayed. Christ knew from the beginning who it was that would betray Him.
Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?”
He spoke of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, for it was he who would betray Him, being one of the twelve. (John 6:70,71)
Judas was mentioned by the Spirit of Christ speaking through David:
Even my own familiar friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted up his heel against me. (Psalms 41:9)
There are the wicked and there are the righteous. To what extent some people belong to God before they receive Jesus, and others are wicked and not of God, we cannot say. It is obvious that Judas was condemned from the beginning. However, the Scripture holds true that if any person comes to Jesus he will not be turned aside.
Judas betrayed Christ with the kiss of friendship. How truly treacherous and perverse is the spirit of covetousness! Indeed, covetousness is idolatry. It is the worship of the God of riches, the God of the world. Of all the heathen gods worshiped in His day, Christ spoke only of one—Mammon (money).
Antichrist starts out among the people of God, as we can see concerning Gehazi, Judas, and Ananias and Sapphira. But those who are of Antichrist never were of God, although though they may have a true spiritual gift. Jesus never knew them even though they worked miracles in His name.
They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us. (I John 2:19)
It is not true, as some teach, that Balaam was a false prophet. Balaam was a true seer. God came to him when he prayed.
Then God came to Balaam and said, “Who are these men with you?” (Numbers 22:9)
If Balaam had been a false prophet he would have been able to curse Israel with no trouble. The problem arose because he was a true seer.
Gehazi, and Ananias and Sapphira, chose death when they were fellowshiping with eternal life.
Then he said to him, “Did not my heart go with you when the man turned back from his chariot to meet you? Is it time to receive money and to receive clothing, olive groves and vineyards, sheep and oxen, male and female servants? (II Kings 5:26)
But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession.
And he kept back part of the proceeds, his wife also being aware of it, and brought a certain part and laid it at the apostles’ feet. (Acts 5:1,2)
Their conscious remorse will make Hades all the more unbearable for them. In like manner, Judas was one of the twelve who were closest to Christ.
We have no doubt that Antichrist will come from the Christian churches. Remember, Antichrist is not the opposite of Christ, he is the counterfeit of Christ.
Skillfully made counterfeit money can be detected only by an expert. It virtually is identical to genuine currency. It differs only in its source.
So it is true of Antichrist. He virtually is identical to Christ. He appears as an angel of light, not of darkness. He differs from Christ in his source. The Source of Christ is God the Father. The source of Antichrist is Satan.
Antichrist, “the son of perdition” (II Thessalonians 2:3), no doubt will come from among fervent Christian believers. Judas, another son of destruction, emerged from among the original twelve disciples.
Perhaps Antichrist will be the minister of a Christian church who sees in Christ the means of becoming wealthy and powerful, thinking that this is God’s will for him. Little by little he will be drawn into Satan’s power, as was true of Judas Iscariot, until he is thoroughly deceived. He will lead a multitude of other believers astray with him just as the preachers of money are leading multitudes astray in our day.
Judas did not realize Satan was using him, that he was a tool in the hands of the lords of darkness. Perhaps Antichrist will not realize Satan is using him—at least not in the beginning. No human being deliberately chooses confinement in the lake burning with fire and sulfur.
How about today? Are we being led to believe we should use Christ in order to gain wealth, power, fame, success, positions of leadership, better jobs, houses, lands? Are we beginning to view material gain as godliness?
If we are, we need to read about Balaam, Judas, Antichrist. Covetousness will open a door in our personality through which Satan will enter and cause us to betray Christ. He who would love money is taking the first step toward the Lake of Fire.
Christ has warned us clearly. No man can serve God and money. Paul exhorted us to flee from the presence of those who teach that gain is godliness or that godliness is a means of acquiring money (I Timothy 6:5).
The disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ must choose between two ways of living. He can choose the way of self-denial and cross-carrying obedience to the Lord Jesus, or he can choose the way of trust in money, a path that appears to evade the cross and yet lead to Paradise. However, the believer who seeks to evade the cross makes himself vulnerable to deception.
The love of money, being a counterfeit of the love of God, leads to spiritual destruction.
One path that seeks to evade the cross is overemphasis on the grace (forgiveness) of God. This false path stresses that salvation is by a profession of faith apart from works of repentance.
Today’s stress on a profession of belief opens the way to a life of covetousness, the lust for material riches, and other non-Christian attitudes and practices, while the doctrinal position is held that we are saved by grace and our works do not matter.
The teachers who advocate the “Jesus did it all” concept of salvation may have some knowledge of the Scriptures that announce our position in Christ, but they certainly are unaware of the warfare that is necessary if the Divine vision is to become reality in our personality. We must make every effort if we are to enter the rest of God, the Divine vision that portrays our position in Christ at the right hand of God.
To stress our position in Christ and not balance the position with an equal emphasis on the necessary warfare is a distorting of Paul’s teaching and will lead to the destruction of every person who allows himself or herself to become persuaded that God and Christ would participate in such an empty redemption.
To use the blood of Jesus as a “covering” while we continue in the love of money is to destroy the new covenant. The blood of Jesus is to serve as the means of keeping us acceptable to God while we, through the Holy Spirit, are driving the sin from our personality.
True faith in the Lord Jesus Christ produces a “new creature” who reveals in himself the righteous works of the Divine Nature from which he was born. If there is no new creature who is performing works of righteousness, who shuns the covetousness of the world, the new covenant is not operating in the personality.
Branches in Christ that do not, after a season, bear the fruit of righteous behavior, are cut out of the Vine (out of Christ). Trees that finally do not bear the fruit of the image of Christ are removed from the orchard.
‘And if it bears fruit, well. But if not, after that you can cut it down.’” (Luke 13:9)
God is seeking to bring about the worship of Himself, and obedience to Himself, on the part of the inhabitants of the earth. If the Gospel of Christ does not result in righteous, holy, and obedient conduct, in freedom from covetousness, how is it accomplishing the eternal purpose of God? Is it not inferior to the old covenant, which at least required an abstention from moral transgressions?
The mature fruit of the moral image of Christ does not spring forth in our personality in a moment. Godly character requires years of patient discipline as the Holy Spirit slowly and thoroughly works redemption in our nature.
The Christian salvation is moral and character transformation. This is what salvation is. This is what the new covenant is. To define grace to mean that righteous works are unrelated to our salvation misses the entire point of what God is performing through the new covenant.
A second path by which the money-lovers seek to evade the cross is the current overemphasis on God’s love. God is Love—this is what the Scripture teaches. The Scripture teaches also that God is a consuming Fire. Sodom and Gomorrah dramatically portray that fact.
The flood of Noah is a warning to every creature, revealing that God is an all-powerful Spirit who is to be feared. The individual who does not fear God is foolish and ignorant.
God has not changed. Christ has not changed. The God of Noah and Abraham has not changed. We have boldness in Christ, not because God has changed but because of the adequacy of the atonement made on the cross of Calvary. Jesus warned His elect that He has not changed. He emphasized the fact that as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be in the day when He is revealed.
An emphasis on God’s love that causes the believers to cease to fear God, and to continue in the delusion that they love God while they are frolicking in the world and amassing money, is of Satan. The spirit that pretends to sympathize with the plight of man, teaching us to shun the cross of self-denial, proceeds from Satan. We have the words of Christ to Peter as follows:
But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.” (Matthew 16:23)
Where there is no fear of the Lord, there is no wisdom.
The true saint both loves and fears God. He loves God with all his strength. He also has experienced the terror of the Lord. He works out his salvation with fear and trembling.
The saint understands he will not have an excess amount of “oil” to share with the unwise in the Day of Christ. He knows that even those of righteous conduct are saved with difficulty (I Peter 4:18).
Extreme positions on grace or on God’s love place in jeopardy the redemption of the believer. They are false, satanic teachings.
A third path that appeals to those who trust in money, that seeks to evade the cross, centers around the teaching of the first resurrection and ascension of the saints. Paul described the first resurrection, the resurrection of the royal priesthood, to the church of the Thessalonians (I Thessalonians 4:13-5:3).
The term “rapture” has been applied to the catching up that will follow the first resurrection of the dead. As is true of the first two errors mentioned (extremism concerning grace and concerning God’s love), the doctrine of the “rapture,” as it is taught today, is a departure from a fundamental truth of God’s Word. It is a misapplication of Divine truth, bringing harm instead of blessing to the Lord’s people.
The catching up of the saints is being preached as the means God has provided for our escape from the great tribulation. God indeed has provided for our escape from the spiritual harm that will be caused by the great tribulation. God will enter His saints in that hour in fulfillment of the Old Testament feast of Tabernacles. The saints finally will overcome the deceptions of Antichrist because greater is He (Christ—the Spirit of truth) who is in us than he who is in the world (I John 4:4).
It is true that the saints will not suffer from the pouring out of the vials of God’s wrath at the time of the destruction of Antichrist. When the saints go out from the midst of the wicked of the earth the wrath of God will fall on the ungodly, just as Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed the moment Lot had been pulled to safety by the angels.
A fourth path that seeks to evade the cross has to do with using “faith” to gain wealth, power, and success. This is a modern symptom of the perennial attempt to be a Christian and not live righteously; not walk in the wholesome fear of God; not experience tribulation in the world.
The four evasions of the cross have a common denominator. They are compatible, each enhancing the other three. They produce an overfamiliarity with Christ and His Gospel, an “ease in Zion,” a mystique producing an aura regarding the Christian salvation that is far removed from the text of the Old or New Testaments.
The common denominator of the errors of the Christian mystique is the concept of the Christian salvation as an eternal, unconditional amnesty whose purpose is to admit the believer to Paradise when he dies. It often is true that those who follow this path trust in money. They do not walk each day in humble obedience to Christ.
The angel of the Christian “gospel” is rebuked today by the Spirit of the Lord Jesus for its love of money and pleasure. It is telling God’s people that Jesus has done everything for them; and while they should try to live a godly life out of appreciation for the goodness of the Lord to them, it is not critically important that they do so because they already are eternally secure in their hope of eternal residence in Paradise after their physical death. It is a potpourri of myths and errors.
The sincere saint should examine carefully what he is being taught today. He should study the modern Christian trend of thinking and attitude and determine if it corresponds to the thinking and attitude of the Apostles of the Lamb.
Concerning the current we-can-get-rich-by-faith doctrine, the eleventh chapter of the Book of Hebrews is clear that faith follows, not precedes, the expression of God’s will. Faith is not a matter of deciding what we want and then commanding God to give it to us.
The fruit of faith is shown (in Hebrews, Chapter 11) to be works of righteousness, not the gaining of ease in the world or money, success, or luxury. Rather, the opposite is true. God Himself spoke to the men and women mentioned in the eleventh chapter, such as Noah, Abraham, and Moses. God spoke. Then the saints demonstrated their faith by obedience, courage, patience, trust, and persistence—often in the face of much suffering and adversity.
When we put faith (presumption) first, before God gives us direction, in a self-centered attempt to use Christ for our benefit, we enter a dangerous deception. We are employing presumption, not faith, and presumption is a transgression against God. It reminds us of Satan who attempts to be like God apart from union with God.
Devout teachers of today are exposing the error of attempting to acquire material wealth and success by the exercise of “faith” in Christ. We would add our support to them in deploring the fascination with money and comfort. Such “faith” efforts are not even close to being Christian. They are just one more attempt to evade the cross. They blind their adherents with the love of money, which is the destroyer of all that is of God and Christ.
Extremism in grace; overemphasis on the love of God; the unwillingness to believe that the Lord allows his saints to suffer tribulation; and now the use of faith in His name in order to become rich—all add up to an “eat, drink and be merry” attitude. The desire is to “have fun in the Son,” as someone expressed it.
If this truly is the attitude of the Lord Jesus, our teaching that the Christian discipleship is a rugged road of repentance, patience, self-denial, and cross-carrying obedience to Christ is not accurately reflecting the will of the Father in Heaven.
Yet, we do appreciate and trust in God’s grace. We do experience God’s unfathomable love. We do enjoy the Lord’s protection. We do walk in miracle faith. The Lord has supplied our every material need.
Which is the right way? Perhaps Balaam, Jezebel, Gehazi, Judas, Ananias, Sapphira, and Demas could now provide us with the answer.
The truth can be found in the writings of the Apostles.
If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness,
he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions,
useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself.
Now godliness with contentment is great gain.
For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.
And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.
But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition [destruction].
For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. (I Timothy 6:3-10)
The choice is between the cross and the world. No person will be destroyed by Antichrist or the False Prophet if he cries out to Christ continually for the truth, if he prays to the Father to be kept from temptation, if he accepts his cross and carries it faithfully each day of his pilgrimage.
(“The Love of Money”, 3509-1)