The "God" of Mammon (Wealth).


If we have studied enough to be convinced that Jesus was indeed the Son of God, and have accepted the fact that His sacrifice (and all that it entails) can take away our sins, then we should have no problem with being called a Christian (Acts 11:26).

As Christians, we understand that there is only one God, who we are to obey and worship. That God is the father of Adam (and thus all mankind), and the father of Jesus, and hence we often refer to the God revealed by the Bible as "God the Father".  As potential spiritual children of God the Father, we want to "fit in", and hence we are trying to learn the "house rules" - the Ten Commandments.

Christ summarized the Ten Commandments in,

Mat 22:37-40 NET.  Jesus said to him, " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.'  (38)  This is the first and greatest commandment.  (39)  The second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as [if they were] yourself.'  (40)  All the law and the prophets depend on these two commandments."

As we struggle through this physical life to learn how to apply the First and Second Great  Commandments as given by Christ, we might think that God the Father has the most influence on our life. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.

Who has the greatest influence?

Of course, God the Father does influence a Christian's life, and in a perfect world, He should have the greatest influence. But , for the majority of people, He does not.

As I will try to show, the god of mammon, has the greatest influence at this time.

Why does God the Father have less influence?

To fully understand why God the Father is willing to take somewhat of a "back seat" position in our lives at this time, requires us to understand the plan of God, as outlined by the Holy Days of Lev 23. To give you a brief thumb-nail sketch, when Adam and Eve rejected God's instructions and followed Satan's suggestions instead, God allowed man to "do his thing" for around 6000 years, to prove to man that there is no way he can find eternal life by his own means.  Every man and woman who has died, will come up in the resurrection knowing that they did not just "go to heaven" and start playing harps, when they died.  To put it another way, we do not get eternal life any other way than by God giving it to us. The article "Not Immortal" tries to show that humans are not somehow born "immortal".

While the bulk of humanity has ignored God and His laws, there have been a few in each generation that have tried to have a relationship with God. These are the ones who are most likely to be part of the first-fruits of Pentecost, and make up the 144,000 of Rev 14, and are resurrected to be with God and Christ at the start of the Kingdom of God. They are the ones who have had the strength to reject the "god of mammon", the "god of this world", and instead have tried to find - and have a relationship with - God the Father.

For the first 6000 years after creating Adam and Eve, God has taken a "low key position" in people's lives because He wants to see what we will do with the information we have. God is not trying to "save the world" at this point in time, but is very interested in what people do with their "freedom" to partake of the "fruit of the knowledge of good and evil" (Gen 2,3).  But please understand, while God is not "in our face" at the personal level at this time, He certainly has a "hands on" role in lifting up those people and nations that give Him recognition, and putting down those people and nations that reject Him and His laws.

Understanding the Comforter.

When Christ knew that the time for His departure (to His Father in heaven) was getting close, He told the disciples that another "force" would be with them.

Joh 14:16 NKJV  And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—

I chose to quote from the NKJV because I think "helper" is more meaningful than "Advocate" in this day and age.  The Holy Spirit (how God operates in a remote location) helps us, but will not force us to do good, and nor will it stop us from doing wrong.  We are still in control of our actions, but if we are actively trying to use the help of the Holy Spirit, then often we will see things differently from those who do not have the help of the Holy Spirit.  What I am trying to say is that "helper" is subtle, but nevertheless real.  This concept is difficult for some people to work with, and they opt for looking to a man, or an idol, or some other "force" that they feel is more meaningful.

This "close", but still unseen, position that God has with Christians, leaves the gate wide open for another "god" to promote his version of how the world should operate. In case you have not caught up with it yet, there certainly was a battle between the man Jesus and the "god of this world". By rejecting Satan - as Adam and Eve did not do - Jesus has the right to supersede Satan (but that has not yet  happened on earth).

Joh 16:7-13 NET.  But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I am going away. For if I do not go away, the Advocate will not come to you, but if I go, I will send him to you.  (8)  And when he comes, he will prove the world wrong concerning sin and righteousness and judgment — (9)  concerning sin, because they do not believe in me [without believing in Christ, our sins stay with us]; (10)  concerning righteousness, because I am going to the Father [the fact that Jesus could go into the presence of God is proof of His righteousness] and you will see me no longer;  (11)  and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been condemned [Satan lost the battle]. (12)  "I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.  (13)  But when [it], the Spirit of truth, comes, [it] will guide you into all truth. For [it] will not speak on his own authority, but will speak whatever [it] hears, and will tell you what is to come.

So, we live in the period of time between when the Holy Spirit is being made available (starting at Pentecost, 31AD) to all who make the effort to show God that they want it, and before the coming to earth of God and His Son, who will then replace Satan as the "god of this world". During this intervening 2000 years, we have not been left in a vacuum, but rather Satan has had a field day getting people to break God's laws, and thus not qualify for a position in the Kingdom of God. Remember, God the Father is always in charge, so having Satan around to tempt us is no accident. It is all part of the testing we have to go through to find out if we are the "right stuff".

Eph 2:2-3 NKJV  in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience,  (3)  among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.

The "god of mammon".

We are introduced to the concept of mammon in,

Mat 6:24 NKJV  "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.

The Wordweb (Oxford) defines "mammon" as "wealth regarded as an evil influence".  It is a good definition, and as I hope to show, when people put wealth before God's laws, evil abounds.  The Collins adds that mammon is also the "false god of covetousness".

In Ephesians 2:2 we can see Satan described by the phase "prince of the power of the air". This, along with v3, begins to tell us a number of things about Satan. First up, he has power, but he can not use any power that God does not authorize (Job 1,2). Thus, his power is limited to what God allows. This power can vary according to what God wants to achieve at the time. When God is ready to bring this present world to a close - before ushering in the Kingdom of God - Satan will be given the power to perform great miracles, even bringing fire down from heaven. But for now, he mostly operates by influencing the decisions made by non-Christian men and women. Christians - if they are using the "helper" - are not usually "attacked" by Satan. Of course, slack Christians can be.

What Satan is trying to do, is to get people to "fulfill the desires of the flesh and of the mind".

What God is doing is asking Christians to reject the suggestions of Satan, reject the pull of our carnal mind, reject peer pressure and reject the pull of the world.

The Apostle Paul referred to this struggle that all humans have, in

Gal 5:16-17 NET.  "But I say, live by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desires of the flesh.  (17)  For the flesh has desires that are opposed to the Spirit, and the Spirit has desires that are opposed to the flesh, for these are in opposition to each other, so that you cannot do what you want."

No wonder Jesus said we can not serve both camps.

We have to make a choice as to which one we will serve. If we make no conscious choice, then we take the line of least resistance and slide into serving the god of mammon.

The classroom of God.

As I have mentioned elsewhere, an easy way to understand what life is all about, is to imagine you are in a classroom with God the Father as teacher.  During class (Bible Study) He teaches us the Law of Love - summarized by Jesus as the First and Second Great Commandments (Mat 22:36-40) - and then when class is dismissed, we are to go out into the world and put what we have learned into practice.  Those who do better in their practical , rise to the top of the class; those who do not do well, sink to the bottom of the class.

The "wild card" in this simple formula, is that the "power of the air" (His influence can be anywhere at any time) is trying to "take away our crown" and make us all fail our final exams. He is the Adversary, and is against doing things God's way.

While not the only weapon in His armory, but certainly one He uses a lot in this day and age, is to get people to make judgment calls - not based on God's law of love, but on whether money can be made on the transaction. In other words, by encouraging people to put wealth - along with the temporary fame and fortune that it can bring - on a higher level than showing love to our neighbor.

How "the prince of the power of the air" (Satan) uses wealth to generate evil.

I think that it is impossible for me to list out all the ways Satan encourages people to put wealth as their primary concern. So what I will try to do is to take some everyday examples, and then you can apply the principles to other situations.

While Satan wants us looking at money, God wants us to look at something else.

Mat 6:33 NKJV  But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

Food.

Everyone has to eat. Selling food for people to eat makes a lot of money. But often, making even more money is the aim of the game.

If food spoils before people have paid for it, then the food-sellers miss out on some profit. The god of mammon has inspired some solutions to their problems.

Some foods in their natural state have an "acquired"  flavor. To get around this problem - and thus sell more - manufacturers aim for the lowest common denominator in flavors (with a few exceptions) which is either salt or sugar.

Since people tend to stick with what they are used to, food sellers have to resort to massive advertising to get new products into the market. Sometimes the facts given in food advertisements are irrelevant or misleading, or the so called positive factors are over stated. Often a "celebrity" is used to endorse a new product, to create an "image", but the actual nutritional value may well suggest that people are better off without the new product at all.

But the god of mammon says - "if it can make a profit, do it".


Cars.

One of the biggest costs of running a car these days, is the cost of fuel. Over the last 100 years or so, there have been many patents taken out for devices that can save fuel. However, most of these have been bought and then shelved, presumably  by people who want to make money out of selling fuel. There have been patents for batteries that will last a life-time, but you can not buy one today. [Update Feb 2013 - NiFe batteries (can last 100 years) are now being produced again - but mainly for solar not cars]. Just think about how much money is made by selling every car a new battery every three or four years.

Which "god" do you think men are serving? The God that says show love to your fellow man, or the god that entices men to do whatever it takes to keep the money flowing?

I know there are honest second-hand car dealers, but stories keep coming to the surface about cars that have been "doctored" just enough to look good, yet have potential major defects. The "desires of the flesh" - I want/need money - wins the battle, and an inferior product - sometimes an outright dangerous one - is created to fulfill that desire.

Sometimes the performance of the car is overstated.

There have been reports of speedometers being "turned back".

People have used many "tricks" to make money out of cars, and the products they need to run. The god of mammon says it is OK to do anything if it is going to make money. The God of love says it is not OK to do shoddy workmanship and put your fellow man at risk.


Animals.

In order to make extra profit (serve the god of mammon), men have often exploited the animal kingdom. When men have used/abused animals for extra profit, the welfare of the animals has always come out second best.

Chickens have been housed in small cages and turned into "egg factories".

Cows have been penned up in relatively small yards and feed somewhat unnatural feed so that they produce more meat. In the natural state, cows walk around and graze on pasture.

Men have even put dogs into "puppy farms", where dogs are penned up for the sole purpose of producing litters of puppies for the pet stores. The need to make money is seen as more important than the welfare of the dogs.

Agriculture.

There is a truism that is often expressed in the phrase "life can only come from life". I know, those who promote the theory of evolution would try to convince us otherwise, but so far no one that I have heard of, has brought forth proof that it can be done.

We have life, because God gave it to us.

We maintain our life by eating things that had a life of their own - clean animals (Lev 11), and plants and fruits.

The soil beneath our feet is also full of living "things" - some large like worms, and some small like microbes, and plenty in between. The more "living" the soil is, the better it is able to produce healthy food for humans to eat.  These living "things" need organic matter to live on. God, who created everything that has life, understands this, and has decreed that the land is to rest every seven years so that this organic matter can build up (Lev 25:2-4).  Even many nonreligious men today admit that the organic material grown in one year, is enough to keep the soil healthy for the next six years.

To make more money, the god of mammon has convinced men to plant a crop every year, and then, to make up for the depleted soil, to use artificial fertilizers. Then to kill off the bugs that are trying to eat the unhealthy plants, use poisons. These poisons are strongly promoted by the chemical companies that manufacture them because it is their way of making money - and the god of mammon promotes that too.  

The end result is foods that look good on the outside (still very saleable)  but lacking nourishment and containing poison residue on the inside. Not a loving thing to do to those who have to eat it.


Methods of Selling.

As well as short-changing people by over stating the value of the product they are selling - to make more profit - people have resorted  to different  methods of selling to catch people's attention.

If you buy this product, you could win .... .

Buy this product and we will give you ..... .

Fill in the coupon when you buy this product and you are in the draw to win .... .

The above "angles" and many others are trying to get people to break the 10th Commandment and lust for something that they think they don't have to pay for.  That is NOT how the God of love wants it done, but the god of mammon certainly encourages it.

Pharmaceutical and Chemical Companies.

How these companies go about extracting money out of people and governments is too big a story for this sort of article. Because they have "excess funds" (money in reserve) they have finely tuned the system to make even more money.

They will quite willingly sell you a product with a known side-effect - that requires yet another drug to treat those side effects.

Many of the medical profession are "won over" with "free" gifts and so on, to particular companies, making a virtual pipe-line from the manufacturing plant to the patients.

As I said, this topic is so big that you need to research it on your own.

The test.

To find out which god is being served, when you have to make a decision about what to do, ask two questions.

1.    Will (what I am about to do) make money?

2.    Will (what I am about to do) help someone else (and it may even cost me a bit)?

If you accept the answer to question one as being what you want - you serve the god of mammon.

If you accept the answer to question 2 as being what you want to do - then you serve the God of love.

Conclusion.

When "making money" is your goal in life, then chances are that you will eventually end up being influenced by the god of mammon.

There is nothing wrong with making money - so long as it is never done in a way that disadvantages the person/s paying you the money.

The problems start when "making money" is used as a justification for taking short-cuts, taking advantage of others, or producing an inferior product.

If you can find a way of helping others AS you make some money, then that is a better way to go, and shows that you support God's law of love, and not the god of mammon.


Bob Orchard Jan 2010

While this information is made freely available (Mat 10:8b) , and can be printed out, it is done with the understanding that there will only be fair and honest use of the material, and that it will be copied in full with no alterations.



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