Matthew 6:20

20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.

Matthew 6:20 Meaning and Commentary

Matthew 6:20

But lay up for yourselves treasure in heaven
That is, either be concerned for, and seek after heavenly treasure, the riches of glory, the joys and glories of another world, which infinitely excel everything that is valuable on earth; and which can never be corrupted, or taken away: or rather, lay up your earthly treasures in heaven; that is, put them into the hands of God in heaven; and this is done, by liberally communicating to the poor; by which means men "provide themselves bags which wax not old, and a treasure in heaven that faileth not", ( Luke 12:33 ) . They shall never want any good thing here, and they "lay up in store for themselves, a good foundation against the time to come", ( 1 Timothy 6:18 1 Timothy 6:19 ) . This is the way to have worldly treasure secured from moth, rust, and thieves; for to lay it up in heaven with God, to give it to him, to his poor, to make use of it for his glory, is to lay it up in a place,

where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not
break through nor steal.
Treasures are safer here than in our own hands, and will turn to better account, and more to our own advantage, both in this life, and that which is to come: see ( Matthew 19:21 ) . In this way, though not for it, men come to have treasure in heaven, even the treasure of eternal life, glory, and happiness. Heaven is often represented by the Jewish writers as a treasury; and the treasures which are in it are said F14 to be

``(Myyx yzng) , "treasures of life", and treasures of peace, and treasures of blessing; and the souls of the righteous, and the spirits and souls that shall be created, and the dew with which God will quicken the dead.''

Those words in ( Deuteronomy 31:16 ) . "And the Lord said unto Moses, thou shalt sleep with thy fathers", are thus F15 paraphrased.

``And the Lord said unto Moses, lo! thou shalt sleep in the dust with thy fathers, and thy soul shall be treasured up (amle yyx yzngb) , "in the treasury of eternal life", with thy fathers.''

They tell us F16 of a story of Monbaz the king, who was son to queen Helena; in which are many things agreeable to these words of Christ, and which may serve to illustrate them.

``Monbaz the king stood and gave all his goods to the poor: his relations sent to him, and said, thy fathers added to that which was their's, and to that which was their fathers; but thou hast given away that which was thine, and that which was thy father's: he replied to them all thus: my fathers (Mymvb ytzng ynaw Urab wzng) , "laid up treasure on earth, but I have laid up treasure in heaven", according to ( Psalms 85:11 ) . My fathers laid up treasures, which do not bring forth fruit; but I have laid up treasures, which bring forth fruit, according to ( Isaiah 3:10 ) . My fathers gathered in a place, where the hand, i.e. of man rules, (where thieves break through and steal,) but I have gathered in a place where the hand of man does not rule, according to ( Psalms 97:2 ) . My fathers gathered mammon, money, but I have gathered souls, according to ( Proverbs 11:30 ) . My fathers gathered for others, but I have gathered (ymuel) , for myself, according to ( Deuteronomy 24:13 ) . My fathers gathered in this world, but I have gathered "for the world to come".''

One of their commentators F17 on the phrase, "my fathers laid up treasures below", as it is in the Babylonish Talmud F18, has this remark:

``for lo! all that they treasured up was for the necessaries of this world; which is (helwt hmr rpe Mwqm) , "a place of dust and vermin", which corrupt and destroy everything; "but I have laid up treasures above", a place secure and firm, and which preserves everything that is put into it.''


F14 T. Bab. Chagiga, fol. 12. 2.
F15 Targum Jon. ben Uzziel, in Deut. xxxi. 16.
F16 T. Hieros. Peah, fol. 15. 2.
F17 Caphtor, fol. 97. 1.
F18 T. Bab. Bava Bathra, fol. 11. 1.

Matthew 6:20 In-Context

18 so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.
19 "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal;
20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.
21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
22 "The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light.

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Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.