1. INTRODUCTION

Yesterday the Lord showed me that riches were personified in the parable of  the sower:

He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful (Mt 13: 22).

When something is personified, it is represented as having personality or the qualities, thoughts, or movements of a living being (dictionary.com). The question is why did Jesus personify riches as being deceitful?   A word search revealed that apate is the Greek word for deceitfulness.  It is found only  7 times in 7verses in the Greek concordance of the KJV:

And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful  (Mk 4: 19).

That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts (Eph 4: 22)

Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ (Col 2: 8)

And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved (2 Thes 2: 10).

But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin (Heb 3: 18)

And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, [as] they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots [they are] and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you (2 Pet 2: 13).

The preceding scriptures link the word apate with a noun which is personified as a result. For example, we learn about deceitful lusts, vain deceit, deceivableness of unrighteousness, deceitfulness of sin, sporting with one’s own deceivings. Deceitfulness is portrayed as a dangerous person who will bring about your:

  • unfruitfulness
  •  corruption
  • spoilage (in the Greek it means to take you captive/bring you into bondage)
  • destruction
  • hardening/stubbornness
  • self-deception

Apate comes from the Greek word apataō (G 538) which is found only three times in the New Testament:

Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience (Eph 5: 6)

And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression (1 Tim 2: 14).

If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion [is] vain (James 1: 26).

2.  What can we learn from apataō?

Satan is the root of deceitfulness. He used vain words to deceive or trap Eve into lusting after the forbidden fruit which c0uld refer to a literal fruit or some action that he offered that would bring about corruption. Satan deceived Eve into believing that something bad was really good for her. The wrath of God, separation from His presence, came on Adam and Eve as a result of their disobedience.

Now, Jesus is not saying that riches are bad. However, they  become deceptive when the love of m0ney lures an individual into doing evil

3. Biblical examples about the deceitfulness of riches

One of these is the rich young ruler. Jesus called him, but he left sorrowful because he was wealthy. His problem was that he valued his “great possessions”  more than following the Lord and therefore lost out for eternity (Mt 19: 16-22).

Judas was so greedy for wealth that satan tempted him to steal from Jesus’ money bag.  He eventually betrayed the  Lord for thirty pieces of silver. We know that he regretted his actions when he came to himself and committed suicide.

Solomon used his wealth to make wealthy connections that led him into idol worship and eventual loss of his kingdom.

The rich man hoarded his wealth and gave none for God, causing God to call him a fool and to kill him

Demas forsook Paul because he loved the “present world” and its wealth. What was his eternal fate – Hell or heaven? (2 TIm 4: 10)

According to scriptures, “Abram [was] very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold.” (Gen 13: 2). He acquired his wealth in exchange for the capture of his wife by two wealthy rulers. Note that Jesus made him swear not to take any goods from the King of Sodom, who was a sodomite and a wicked man. The lesson is that we should not try to acquire wealth by any mean possible since God will not bless any thing that is corrupted by sin (Gen 14: 23).

Again, I recall the incident of Achan who took wealthy goods from the city of Ai, which Israel had been sent to destroy entirely. He brought a curse and death on himself and his family because he disobeyed God’s command that the Jews should not take any of the accursed things (Joshua 7)

4. JESUS ON RICHES

Jesus said that it is very hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Is it because the rich have everything and become self sufficient, feeling that they need nothing else? This is what He said about riches:

And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God

When his disciples heard [it], they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved?

But Jesus beheld [them], and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible

Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?

And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life (Mt 19: 23-29).

From the preceding conversation, I deduced that the disciples had been wealthy and before they had left their businesses to follow the Lord.  However, the Lord promised that the key to wealth is to follow Him first then He would bring the rewards, just as He had done for Abraham. The most important thing is to inherit eternal life. What good will riches after this life? One cannot take them to the grave. Why gain wealth and lose one’ s spirit in hell? Riches will lure the individual into wealth at any cost. However, God promises true treasures which we will do well to pursue.

God bless.

REFERENCES

http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G1423&t=KJV

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