I came across an interesting Bible passage today. Matthew 13:44 states, “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the whech when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.”
This, to me, seems to be very un-Christian behavior. Finding treasure on someone else’s land, concealing it, withholding knowledge of such from the rightful owner, and then buying the property to gain ownership. This reeks of dirty dealing, secrecy, and back stabbing; things I was always led to believe were not becoming of good Christians. Moreover, the man that said the above quote is Jesus himself. So God (via his son) condones this sort of behavior.
Say the above happened, and this asshole bought the land with the treasure. I would like to know if any kind of mineral rights existed in ancient Palestine. Would simply purchasing the parcel of land entitle one to any treasures that were contained below the surface? If petroleum, gold, silver, uranium, etc. are to be considered precious commodities, then certainly a treasure comparable to heaven would be included in such rights.
Yes, I know that is an absurd comparison, but, to me, it illustrates that people, including Jesus Christ himself, will say anything to make the prospect of an afterlife as appealing as possible. By appealing to mankind’s lust for treasure and conquest, Jesus lays out a situation in which an underhanded transaction takes place with clearly concealed ulterior motives with the goal of enjoying a treasure while excluding others from said enjoyment. If this passage is to mean anything else, then it could have been written so many different ways.
Of course, no matter how much Jesus was trying to wow his starry-eyed observers, he certainly resorted to an appeal to force mere passages later with, “So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, and shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 13:49-50)
When push comes to shove, if the promise of treasure can’t convince someone to do something, threatening to burn them eternally should prove a useful tool of persuasion.