A House of Merchandise
◊ For the Love of Money ◊
The Money-Changers and Temple Traders
And the Jews’ passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem,
And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting:
And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables;
And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise.
And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.
John chapter 2 verses 13-17
And he went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold therein, and them that bought;
Saying unto them, It is written, My house is the house of prayer: but ye have made it a den of thieves.
Luke chapter 19 verses 45-46
How often is John 3:16 quoted in congregations by the teachers and prophets and printed on all types of merchandise.
It is truly fantastic that this verse has been treasured by all who have faith and understand what it means to be ‘saved’.
But how often is John 2:16 quoted by these same teachers and prophets – providing the true meaning behind the actions of Yahushua.
Could it be because these very same teachers who make themselves rich on the back of John 3:16 would be chastised by John 2:16:
And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise.
This article is directed at those ‘traders’ and ‘money changers’ conducting their trade in the ‘temple’ today,
whose motive is, the ‘love of money’.
Read and ‘hear’.
What has been will be again
It was soon after the wedding in Cana in Galilee that Yahushua (Y’Shua) moved down to Jerusalem for the Passover.
It is important to understand the link between the wedding feast at Cana and the Cleansing of the Temple in John 2:13-22. Y’Shua’s first sign that was performed during the wedding feast at Cana in Galilee (John 2:1- 11), where He turned water into wine, is significant for establishing His divine authority both as a miracle worker and Messiah
The ‘wedding-feast’ is a parable of the Messianic Kingdom where the Blood of the Messiah replaces the ritualistic cleansing water. This theme of replacement will then repeat itself in similar fashion in the Cleansing of the Temple passage (John 2:13-22). This cleansing of the ‘temple’ will take place again prior to the second coming of Y’Shua – understanding that the New Testament ‘temple’ now consists of human stones.
According to 1 Peter 4:17 judgement will begin with the House of Elohim:
For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
For a more complete understanding of this end-time judgement and cleansing one needs to have a good understanding of the role of the Two Witnesses as the ‘First-fruits’ of the wheat harvest and the separation of the remaining wheat (those that heed to the warning and repent) and the tares (those that refuse to ‘hear’ the end-time warning message and are thrown into the fire).
Contrary to popular belief that the ‘tares’ are the sinners, the tares are the ‘fake’ or rather ‘rebellious’ believers who refuse to listen and repent. This is the end-time ‘temple’ cleansing which takes place prior to the ‘bowl’ judgements and the Millennial reign of Messiah Yahushua and his bride (the Millennial Sabbath – Sukkot).
The ‘grape harvest’ is the gathering of the wicked. (The end time harvest is however a lengthy teaching in itself and is detailed in a separate article).
The prophecy in Malachi 3:1-3 speaks of both John the Baptist and the end-time Two Witnesses who appear as the ‘Elijah’ type Prophet to prepare the way:
Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.
But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap:
And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.
By the time Y’Shua arrived on the temple scene, the High Priest and religious leaders had grown to such a level of pride, comfort and power that they were incapable of relinquishing their authority to the Messiah. When Y’Shua cleanses the temple and declares to them – ‘destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it,’ he is implying that the time is fulfilled, that the true Prophet predicted in Scripture has come, and that it was time for them to step down from their positions of power and make room for the new system which would be inaugurated by his death and resurrection. Y’Shua is the true replacement of the Temple – He and His ‘body’ is the Messianic temple.
What is really sad though is that we have this same ‘unacceptable’ condition in the temple today – the desire for power, fame and the greed for money. Not many in leadership roles listen and obey the voice of the Messiah. They may preach about him but their deeds are not the same as Yahushua’s.
In the words of Solomon:
The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.
Do we really hear and believe that statement from Solomon? What a warning that should be for us to be aware of our actions not to repeat the wicked errors of the past.
The Feast and the leaven
It was the Passover, and pilgrims from all over would come to Jerusalem to seek after Almighty YHWH at the Temple. They would come marching through the hills singing and rejoicing of the great things that the Almighty Father has done. It was a wonderful time of joy and festivity. Once they arrived, the foreigners would come to the Court of the Gentiles, and they would be confronted with the ‘moneychangers.’
What is interesting from the Scripture in John 2 is the timing of the Passover and the cleansing of the temple. Two things are being linked together; the Passover and the cleansing of the temple. Now the Torah student will recall at once, that one of the express requirements of YHWH in connection with the observance of the Passover was, that all leaven was to be meticulously removed from the houses of His people. The Passover was a busy time for every Israelite family: each home was subject to a rigorous examination to avoid ceremonial defilement, in the form of leaven. ‘No leaven in your houses’ was the requirement of the Torah.
The leaven is symbolic of sin which must be removed from the New Testament believers heart, through the act of repentance, when accepting the Messiah as their saviour.
The ‘uncleanness’ in the temple portrayed the corruption of the people and was an image of the sinful impurity (leaven) in their hearts.
The Temple Banksters
So who were the ‘Money-Changers’ who sat at the temple? The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia provides the following:
chān ́jẽrs (κολλυβιστής, kollubistḗs, from κόλλυβος, kóllubos, “a small coin,” so “a money-changer,” or “banker” (Mat_21:12; Mar_11:15; “changers” in Joh_2:15; compare Joh_2:14, where κερματιστής, kermatistḗs, “a dealer in small bits,” or “change,” is also rendered “changers”); compare τραπεζτης, trapezı́tēs, “one who sits at a table,” “a money-changer,” “a banker” or “broker”; one who both exchanges money for a small fee and pays interest on deposits (Mat_25:27, the King James Version “exchangers,” the American Standard Revised Version “bankers”)): The profession of money-changer in Palestine was made necessary by the law requiring every male Israelite who had reached the age of 20 years to pay into the treasury of the sanctuary a half-shekel at every numbering of the people, an offering to Yahweh, not even the poor being exempt. It seems to have become an annual tax, and was to be paid in the regular Jewish half-shekel (Exo_30:11-15). Since the Jews, coming up to the feasts, would need to exchange the various coins in common circulation for this Jewish piece, there were money-changers who exacted a premium for the exchange. This fee was a kollubos (about 31 cents in U.S. money, i.e. in 1915), hence, the name kollubistēs. The Jews of Christ’s day came from many parts of the world, and the business of exchanging foreign coins for various purposes became a lucrative one, the exchangers exacting whatever fee they might. Because of their greed and impiety, Jesus drove them from the courts of the temple.
What were the money-changers doing in the temple?
At first, people brought their own animals and the priests inspected them to make sure that they weren’t sick before sacrificing them. Cattle, sheep and doves were also sold to worshippers in markets outside the Temple. Gradually all this was moved right into the Temple for convenience. But there was a catch. Since priests couldn’t touch coins that bore the Caesar’s image, the people first had to change their money, for a fee of course, into special temple money. So the priests were making money twice – the currency conversion and the sale of animals. Therefore the priests didn’t appreciate Y’Shua, on this occasion, jeopardising their business.
They would make large profits at the expense of the pilgrims. Every Israelite, rich or poor, who had reached the age of twenty, was obligated to pay a half shekel as an offering to YHWH into the sacred treasury. This tribute was in every case to be paid in the exact Hebrew half shekel. At Passover everyone who was an adult male and wished to worship at the Temple would bring his ‘offering’ or purchase a sacrificial animal at the Temple. Since there was no acceptance of foreign money with any foreign image the money changers would sell ‘Temple coinage’ at a very high rate of exchange and assess a fixed charge for their services.
The judges, who sat to inspect the offerings that were brought in by the pilgrims, were quick to detect any blemish in them. This was expensive for the wealthy pilgrims, not to say how ruinous this was for the poor who could only offer their turtle-doves and pigeons. There was no defence for them or court of appeal, seeing that the priestly authorities were in control of the exchange.
The money-changers were ‘seated’ as merchants in their place of business. As many as two and a half million worshippers were gathered in Jerusalem from all parts of the surrounding regions. The work and the profit, of selling animals and exchanging currency, must have been enormous.
The word ‘sitting’ in verse 14 implies habitual, established practices. What Y’Shua did to the money changers any Israelite could have done, because under the Law, these abuses should not have been permitted. But no one did the right thing until Y’Shua came on the scene.
Leviticus 19:30 reads,
Ye shall keep my sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary: I am the LORD. Leviticus 19:30
The Jewish priestly authorities would have argued that these money changers and cattle dealers in the temple courts, were there as a convenience to those who came to the temple to worship. But Y’Shua lays bare their real motive. ‘Den of robbers/thieves’ (Mat 21.13, Mark 11.17, Luke 19..46) tells us that the love of money, covetousness and deceit lay at the root of it all.
What does Scripture state regarding the love of money:
For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. 1Timothy 6:10
And what is ‘covetousness’? What is the Divine symbol for it? Let us turn the light of Scripture on these questions. Notice carefully what is written by Paul to the Corinthian believers in 1 Corinthians 5:6-8.
Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?
Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:
Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
1 Corinthians 5:6-8
To what was he referring here under the figure of ‘leaven?’ Notice what follows in verse 9 and 10:
9 I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators:
10 Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world.
Leaven in this context then refers (among other things) to covetousness, extortion (greedy of gain and swindlers is used in The Scriptures) and idolatry. Now go back again to John 2. The feast of the Passover was at hand, when all leaven must be removed from Israel’s dwellings. And there in the temple, were the cattle dealers and money-changers, motivated by covetousness and practicing extortion. What horrible desecration was this! Leaven in the temple of YHWH!
But let us turn on the light of one more passage. In Colossians 3:5 we read:
Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: Colossians 3:5
The nation prided itself upon its monotheism—they did not worship the many gods of the heathen. The Jews boasted that they were free from idolatry. Yet idolatry—’covetousness’—was the very thing Y’Shua found in His Father’s House.
Note again, the force of 1 Corinthians 5:10, covetousness, extortion, and idolatry are the three things mentioned under the symbol of ‘leaven.’ Here, then, is the first reason why YHWH has placed this incident just where He has in this Gospel. It furnishes a striking climax to what has gone before. Put together these three things, and see what a glaring picture they give us of Judaism: first, a blinded priesthood (John 1:19- 26); second, a joyless nation (no ‘wine’ John 2:3); third, a desecrated temple. (John 2:16).
Let no reader miss this vital point that covetousness (one eager to have more/greedy of gain Thayer G 4123) is identified as idolatry in Scripture (as per Colossians 3.5)
This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.
A House of Merchandise
And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise. John 2:16
By the time of Y’Shua, Jerusalem had become a parasitic city, lying in wait for the multitudes of pilgrims who flocked into the city in their hundreds of thousands at each Festival. It would appear that the significance of the Passover blood sacrifice had been reduced to consumerism for convenience. The Court of the Gentiles was the only access that Gentiles had to the temple and these traders made Gentile worship impossible by using their worship space for commercial purposes. Y’Shua’s anger was directed against those who made it impossible for simple people to worship in the Temple. In the noise and business of buying and selling, prayer was impossible
Instead of solemn dignity and the murmur of prayer, there is the bellowing of cattle and the bleating of sheep. Instead of brokenness and contrition, adoration and prolonged petition, there is noisy commerce. Y’Shua’s rage in the Temple caused a major stir throughout the community of religious authorities, especially since a large part of their revenue would have come from this system. Upsetting the tables of the money-changers was a direct affront and threat to their profitable livelihood. It is no wonder then, why John puts the cleansing of the Temple scene up front instead of later on. For John this is important, because he wants to convey the idea that what contributed to Y’Shua’s arrest and death was his so-called profanation against the Temple, and that it would be through his death and resurrection that he would fulfill the role as Messiah – the stone which the builders rejected:
I will praise thee: for thou hast heard me, and art become my salvation.
The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner.
This is the LORD’S doing; it is marvellous in our eyes.
Jeremiah 7 provides more insight into the character of those operating and trading within the temple of YHWH:
Behold, ye trust in lying words, that cannot profit.
Will ye steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and burn incense unto Baal, and walk after other gods whom ye know not;
And come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, We are delivered to do all these abominations?
Is this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, even I have seen it, saith the LORD.
These passages condemn the general population for using the Temple as a sin shelter. Idolaters and sinners of all kinds worship other gods and engage in the worst kinds of pagan rituals, and then conduct their business in the temple to cover it up. Verse 11 asks ‘Is this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes?’. The question is a rhetorical one; YHWH is asking, ‘Do you really see my house this way, as a place to hide your wickedness?’
Jeremiah 7 implores people to turn away from religious hypocrisy and to turn towards righteous behavior: It is a prophetic citation against those hiding their true sinful ways under a cloak of piety.
A righteous act
And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he droveG1544 them all out of the temple….John 2:15
The Greek word G1544 ekballo is most frequently used in connection with casting out demons and Satan (demons: Mathew 7:22, 8:16, 8:31, 9:33, 9:34,10:1,10:8,12:26,27,28, Mark 1:34,39, 6:13,16:17, Luke 11:14,15,18,19,20, 13:32 John 12:31).
What does this really say then about the action and thoughts of Y’Shua when driving out the traders and money-changers from the temple? There is a parallel in this act to the driving out of demons and demonic spirits – the spirit of idolatry and covetousness.. Wow. I think that we should pay a little more attention to this righteous act of temple cleansing by the High Priest.
Y’Shua spoke with authority! It is obvious from other passages that Y’Shua, who was recognized as a Rabbi, had authority. In John 3:1-2 we read:
There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:
The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.
Here Nakdimon (Nicodemus) addressed Y’Shua as Rabbi which is translated ‘Teacher’ (compare Young’s Analytical Concordance to the Bible) or ‘Master’ (which is an official title of honour – compare Strong’s Hebrew & Greek Dictionaries).
We see that Y’Shua was not just some ordinary Yehudite (Jew) of that time, taking things into His own hands, but someone who had the right to exercise authority in the Temple, which was their place of worship. The authorities were afraid to stop Y’Shua because they knew that He had this authority and they knew that the Torah (law of YHWH) was on His side.
Do not diminish or minimize the anger which Y’shua manifested at this time. This is a different Y’Shua than many people imagine him to be. Oftentimes we think of him as so loving and understanding that he lets you get by with anything; that seeing your evil he puts his hand upon your shoulder and says, ‘It’s all right. It doesn’t matter.’Many people think of him that way. But this action clearly indicates that our Master was angry. He drove these people out of the temple.
How this act of righteous anger brings out the Deity of Y’Shua! First, He identifies Himself with the temple, terming it ‘the house of My Father,’ therefore affirming His Divine Sonship. This was something which none other had dreamed of doing. Y’Shua alone could do this. Again, realise the result of His actions. One man, single handed, takes a whip and the whole crowd flees in fear before Him. Ah, this was no mere man. It was the terror of almighty YHWH that had fallen upon them.
Y’Shua is not going to settle for clutter, compromise, extortion and racket, whatever may be defiling and corrupting the temple courts. He may leave you alone for a while. Many young Christians have misunderstood this. Because He brings us in love and he deals with us in patience, we think that he is going to let us get by with some of the comfortable but wrongful habits we have built into our lives. But he will not. If we mistake the delay of judgement for acceptance, we are in for a surprise. If we refuse to deal with what he puts his finger on, one day we will find him coming with flaming eyes and with a whip in his hand, and we will find all dealings in immorality are driven out whether we like it or not. Al believers will feel the heat of the refiners fire as we are purged of our sin.
The Yehudim expected the Messiah to give them certain signs, and one of the signs the prophet Malachi prophesied was that the Messiah would suddenly come to his temple and purify the sons of Levi. The Messiah had just done that, but they did not recognize him. Instead, they said to him, ‘What sign do you have that you are the Messiah?’ Y’shua’s answer, of course, was to give them the sign of his own resurrection and the building of a new ‘temple’ – which they didn’t understand anyway.
We notice that Jesus does not destroy their property, but He removes the desecration.
One may question why Y’Shua did not drive out the ‘doves’? The answer to this is found in Isaiah 52:13, where YHWH, through His prophet declared of the Messiah then to come, ‘See, My Servant shall work wisely.’ The ‘wisdom’ of Y’Shua was strikingly evidenced by His method on this occasion of his cleansing of the temple. The attentive reader will observe that He distinguished, carefully, between the different objects of His displeasure. The oxen and sheep He drove out, and these were in no danger of being lost by this treatment. The money of the changers He threw on the ground, and this could be easily picked up again and carried away. The doves He simply ordered to be taken away: had He done more with them, they might have flown away, and been lost to their owners. Therefore we can see that Y’Shua, the Perfect One, combined wisdom with zeal. How differently would Moshe (Moses) or Ěliyahu (Elijah) have acted under similar circumstances? But even in His anger, Y’Shua demonstrates wisdom. Y’Shua rebuked all, yet none were really injured, and nothing was lost.
There is a most striking contrast between the two incidents recorded in the first and second parts of John chapter 2 — the turning of water into wine at the Cana marriage-feast, and the cleansing of the Temple. In the one we have a festive gathering; in the other a scene of Divine judgment. In the former Y’Shua pointed forward to His death (John 2:4); in the latter He pointed forward to His resurrection (John 2:19). In the former He ‘manifested His glory/esteem’ (John 2:11); in the latter He manifested His ‘ardour/zeal’ for His Father’s House (John 2:17).
Y’Shua promised the religious aristocracy that their ‘Temple would be left desolate,’ and not a single stone of the Temple would be left on top of another that would not be thrown down. Not even forty years passed before it all happened, for in 70 A.D. the legions of Rome came, led by Titus, and the Words of Y’Shua were fulfilled.
He knows your heart
But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men,
And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man.
Here we are shown the Messiah’s perfect knowledge of the human heart. These men could not impose upon the Son of YHWH. He knew that they were only shallow hearers, and therefore, not to be depended upon. They were only intellectually convinced. Y’Shua clearly discerned this. He knew that their profession was not from the heart. And through understanding their hearts He manifested His omniscience. The force of what is said in these closing words of John 2 will be made more evident if we compare them with 1 Kings 8:39:
Then hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place, and forgive, and do, and give to every man according to his ways, whose heart thou knowest; (for thou, even thou only, knowest the hearts of all the children of men;) 1 Kings 8:39
This verse should provide a lot of comfort for those who pursue the straight and narrow path of righteousness. On the other hand the individual who has a hidden agenda and is driven by their lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (1John 2:16) should tremble with fear – their sin will be brought out into the open soon enough.
One can try and justify lustful actions any way one wants to, but what would Y’Shua say about your unacceptable leaven in the Dwelling Place:
This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.
quoting the prophet Isaiah:
Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near mewith their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:
This commercialisation of the Dwelling Place today must stop. The Focus on money making must stop. It is idolatry.
Does anything like this ever happen today? It happens in most religious organisations where most of the leaders live in luxury from the monies collected for ‘God’s work’ around the world. The tactics may have changed but profiteering in the name of YHWH hasn’t.
Scripture declares ‘it is a fearsome to fall into the hands of the living Elohim,’(Hebrews 10:31) as all who defy Him will yet discover. Scripture speaks of ‘the wrath of the lamb,’ and this lesson furnishes us with a solemn illustration of this. The unresisting money-changers and cattle-dealers, fleeing in terror before His flashing eye and upraised hand, give warning of what shall happen at the end of this age.
The is not referring to wrath directed at the wicked non-believers. This is the judgement of the wheat and the tares – the body of believers i.e. the ‘church’.
Across the world today great cathedrals have been erected, many with plaques that proudly proclaim ‘Erected to the glory of God.’ The Scriptures teach that YHWH is not glorified by buildings. No building is the house of YHWH. It never was, it never will be. Even this building in Jerusalem was not really the house of YHWH. When Solomon dedicated the temple he acknowledged that fact. He said, ‘For is it true: Elohim dwells with men on the earth! See, the heavens and the heavens of the heavens are unable to contain You, how much less this House which I have built! (2 Chronicles 6:18 ).
According to Ephesians 2:19-21 and I Peter 2:5 the ‘assembly’ or Body of Messiah is spoken of in terms of a Dwelling Place (Temple of living stones), who are being built up into a spiritual house to be a set-apart priesthood, to offer up spiritual slaughter offerings acceptable to Elohim.
Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;
In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:
In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.
Ephesians 2:19 – 22
Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.
More specifically, I Cor 3:16; 6:19, and II Cor 6:16, refers to the believers physical body as the Dwelling Place of Elohim and the Set-apart Spirit .
Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Whereas Ephesians 2:19-21 and I Peter 2:5 refer to individual believers that collectively make up the Dwelling Place, I Cor 3:16; 6:19 and II Cor 6:16 speak of the believers body as the Dwelling Place of Elohim.
While the one speaks of the people collectively, the other is more individual.
This incident in John 2 also serves as a warning and rebukes the present-day desecration taking place within the Dwelling Place of YHWH.
If the righteous anger of the Master Y’Shua was stirred when He beheld the profanation of that House which was to be a ‘house of prayer,’ if the idolatrous commercialisation of it caused Him to cleanse it in such a drastic manner, how must He now regard many of the edifices which have been consecrated to His name and the activities within! How tragically does history repeat itself? The things which are now done in so many church-houses—the ice cream suppers, the bazaars, the movie shows and other forms of entertainment—what are these but idolatrous commercialisation of these ‘houses of prayer.’ No wonder that such places are devoid of spirituality and strangers to the power of YHWH. He will not tolerate a mixture of worldly things with the spiritual.
This warning message applies both on a collective and an individual level. The idolatrous actions of both the corporate ‘church’ and those of the individual believer.
This passage in John 2 is about the commercialisation of the sacrifice that was pointing to the Lamb of YHWH. Lastly, it shows that YHWH’s people failed to acknowledge His presence among them. It is the same today – the focus is on the sale of merchandise and not the depth of the Word/Y’Shua.
At the Passover we are required to repent of our previous wicked ways and remove that leaven from our midst. The activities today pertaining to mammon both within most churches and the lives of many beleivers is sinful.
Christianity today is a multi-billion dollar industry with all sorts of entrepreneurial enterprises continually inventing new ways to generate, or rather extract, wealth from the believers. All sorts of products are available from printed mugs to music DVD’s. Some of the music sounds like clanging dustbins with ‘rock- star’ wannabees screeching at the top of their voices like the ‘heathen’, secular rock bands. Tattoos and body piercing is adorned to satisfy the lust of the ‘lukewarm’ Christian market and the desire to ‘fit in’ with the unbelieving world.
Christianity has created a product offering that duplicates the secular world and is geared to satisfy the lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (1John 2:16).
Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
This pursuit of ‘all that is in the world’ is unacceptable and must cease. If any man love the world, which includes the lust for material things and wealth, then the love of the Father is not in him.
Consider the modern-day ‘faith healers’ who claim they can do miracles by the power of the Almighty like Y’Shua and His apostles did. But they expect and may even require a generous donation first. Many of them get filthy rich, and yet they are not doing true miracles. In many cases they are frauds and know it.
Other groups make merchandise of the people by offering spiritual benefits (indulgences, masses), but people must pay a fee for the service. Often these services are not Scriptural or not needed by the people, but the religious leaders convince people it is needed and then charge a fee or otherwise get rich off it.
Then compare the modern ‘Social Gospel’ movement. The ‘assembly’ (church) was sanctified by YHWH for spiritual purposes, to worship Him (through obedience) and teach His Word, just as the Old Testament temple was (1 Tim. 3:15; 1 Cor. 14; Eph. 4:16; etc.). Yet many people today seek to get the ‘assembly’ involved in sponsoring or using its facilities for recreation, entertainment, business activities, social gatherings, secular education, common meals, parties, plays, gymnasiums, carnivals, and other carnal attractions for personal desire and enjoyment.
But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.
Often ‘assembly/church’ involvement in secular, social activities is justified on the grounds that some indirect connection of some kind can be found between the activity and the work of the church. But that was also true for the activities that Y’Shua cast out of the temple. So the fact is, that the activities themselves are not part of what YHWH authorised the church to do, nor is it spiritual in its nature and emphasis. There may be no specific passage forbidding them, but they violate YHWH’s purpose and intent for His church just as surely as these money-changers in the temple. Y’Shua, were He to return, would cast them out of His church as surely as He cast these money changers out of the temple. Those who share His zeal for the church will act as He would.
Many Christians who, like the Pharisees, make their outward actions look good, but allow sinful habits – pornography, an unforgiving bitter spirit towards another, an evil lustful habit, a private indulgence, a compromise with expediency in business – to be hidden in their lives. As surely as people do that, one day they will discover that their Master has changed his attitude towards them. He is no longer tolerant, understanding and patient. His eyes are aflame; and he means business – and their life begins to fall apart. All the evil they thought was hidden is exposed. ‘That which is done in secret is shouted from the house- tops,’ (Matthew 10:27, Luke 12:3). People who think they are successfully hiding what they are doing are suddenly revealed before all.
Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.
The Messianic/Hebrew Roots movement has recently become infiltrated by the profiteers selling their wares. Teaching DVD’s, books, conferences etc etc etc. One Hebrew Roots training institution is even offering alleged fake theology qualifications at highly inflated prices. They work tirelessly to expand their ‘franchise – like’ operation which generates income on a royalty fee basis. What is this? What would Y’Shua say about this? What is with the need for letters after one’s name? Is this behavior not reserved for citizens of Babylon? Surely one requires the anointing from above to teach and lead, not some worthless paper acknowledgement from carnal man.
My house is the house of prayer: but ye have made it a den of thieves. Luke chapter 19:46
Read the following verses from Revelation all you merchants and start weeping now, because this is soon to come.
Revelation 18:3 because all the nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her whoring, and the sovereigns of the earth have committed whoring with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich through the power of her riotous living.”
Revelation 18:11 ‘And the merchants of the earth weep and mourn over her, because no one buys their merchandise any more
Revelation 18:15 ‘The merchants of these, those who became rich by her, shall stand at a distance for fear of her torture, weeping and mourning,
Revelation 18:23 “And the light of a lamp shall not shine in you any more at all. And the voice of bridegroom and bride shall not be heard in you any more at all. For your merchants were the great ones of the earth, for by your drug sorcery all the nations were led astray.
Don’t believe the lie that the ‘church’ is the Bride and will be taken away before the ‘wrath’. Get to understand that the Bride is formed from the Body. The end-time cleansing will be the separation of the wheat from the Tares – those who repent from their sin and those who don’t. Both groups are in the field of wheat. The ‘First-fruits’ of the wheat crop will be taken as the Bride – these are those believers who have already repented out of choice. These are those believers who heeded the call to ‘come out of her my people’. They did not wait for the final Trumpets of Revelation 8:6-13 before they repented. A wicked and adulterous generation waits for a sign – Matthew 16:4.
All will be required to repent – sooner or later. One can not lust after worldly fame and fortune and be faithful to your heavenly Father:
Matthew 6:24 ‘No one is able to serve two masters, for either he shall hate the one and love the other, or else he shall cleave to the one and despise the other. You are not able to serve Elohim and mammon.
Luke 16:13 No servant is able to serve two masters, for either he shall hate the one and love the other, or else he shall cling to the one and despise the other. You are not able to serve Elohim and mammon.
We must decide whether we want to be ‘stones’ in the Dwelling Place of the Almighty YHWH or ‘stones’ in the Tower of Babel. We can not be both.
The believer is supposed to be in the world not of the world:
John 15:19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.
John 17:16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
John 18:36 Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.
John 8:23 – And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world.
John 17:16 – They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
1John 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
1John 2:16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind…
Why would any sincere believer want to mimic the carnal and wicked ways of this world. Why are so many believers focused on their careers, wealth, fame and personal image. The Scriptures have many negative comments regarding the ‘men of renown’.
This verse from Colossians says it all:
Colossians 3:2 – Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
We are not of this world and therefore we will not be accepted and revered by non-believers. Accept this fact and commit to the heavenly ways. It does however seem to me though that unless one produces worldly fruit i.e. wealth and fame, then one is not readily accepted by believers either. Success in Christian ministry is measured by the size of the building, the number of outreach projects and the size of the church purse. Well you can have it if you want. I want nothing to do with this wicked type of ‘church’.
The world and the lukewarm believer will hate the one telling the Truth.
John 17:14 – I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
There is a saying that goes ‘Truth sounds like hate to those that hate truth’. Take strength from Yahushua’s comforting words in John chapter 15:
John 15:20 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you;
In the book of Daniel the king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar, had a dream of an image – a figure. Daniel provided the interpretation and advised Nebuchadnezzar that he was the head of gold and a king of kings. The image comprised of all the worldly kingdoms from that time through to the last kingdom on earth at the return of Messiah. This provides us with much more insight than is commonly understood.
The interpretation is showing us that the head of the figure – Nebuchadnezzar (head of gold) , king of Babylon, will influence the other kingdoms in their thoughts and deeds. In other words there would be an underlying Babylonian culture and influence throughout all the successive kingdoms. The world is influeneced and driven by the wicked Babylonian head.
Babylon is the root of all pagan and idolatrous tradition. It is the head that controls the body. Whether it be a Grecian, Persian or Roma empire, they are all after the same pattern.
This is why the end-time ‘Mother of whores’ has the name ‘Mystery Babylon’ on her forehead. This indicates that her thoughts and deeds, the abominations of the earth, has permeated Christianity and has led almost the entire world of Christian believers astray. Instead of being the set-apart bride in waiting, preparing her wedding garments for the Bridegroom, this ‘harlot’ has been riding on the back of the Babylonian world system. She has embraced all the idolatrous and wicked ways of the beast. This is an image of the idolatrous ‘church’ which is largely the institution of organised Christian religion and all of her deceived followers.
Revelation 18:4 And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.
In contrast to this, the faithful believers in Y’Shua are called the body of Messiah – His Body. This assembly which makes up His body should live their lives in obedience to the ‘head’ of their body, which of course is our Messiah Y’Shua (Colossians 1:18)
Colossians 1:18 And He is the Head of the body, the assembly, who is the beginning, the first-born from the dead, that He might become the One who is first in all.
Since Y’Shua is the epitome of righteousness then His influence and rule as the Head should manifest in our lives i.e. a life of righteous living. If this is not the case then we may be embracing the other head of ‘Mystery Babylon’ – which leads to a life of sin and abominations. We are told to be in the world not of the world.
A life of chasing after fame, fortune and self gratification is the way of the world – the kingdom of darkness, which is not of the Father. It is sinful lust and pride.
1John 2:16 Because all that is in the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life – is not of the Father but is of the world.
Romans 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you prove what is that good and well-pleasing and perfect desire of Elohim.
Why embrace the ways of this world when doing so makes you an enemy of YHWH and the love of the Father is not in you. A life of chasing after fame and fortune
Jamess 4:4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.
1John 2:15 Do not love the world nor that which is in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
2Peter 1:4 Through these there have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, so that through these you might be partakers of the Mighty-like nature, having escaped from the corruption in the world, caused by lust.
Lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life – this is the essence of the ‘mark of the beast’ (666), the rebellious ways of man – as opposed to the ways of YHWH stated by His Son Yahushua:
‘I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life’ (John 14.6) – the righteousness of YHWH detailed from cover to cover in the Scriptures.
Make your choice.
Revelation 18:4 tells us to ‘come out of her’ lest we share in her sins and plagues. This is not just telling us to leave a church denomination that is filled with pagan traditions and practices as some preach. It is telling us to come out of the Babylonian kingdom of this world with all its sinful splendour and to embrace the Kingdom of YHWH and His righteous ways. This modern day Babylon is about to be destroyed – do not be part of it when it happens. This is a warning to His people. To commit adultery with the world will cause one to partake of her sinful ways and receive the consequences.
Revelation 18:4 And I heard another voice from the heaven saying, ‘Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues
As it was in the days of Lot and Egypt, YHWH will send his messengers with a warning message before His judgement. Do not wait until you hear the trumpet warnings of the Two Witnesses to repent because then you will have missed the ‘Bride’ group. Repent now and seek the Kingdom of YHWH. All your needs will be met – not your lusts and desires, just your needs – which is sufficient.
Matthew 6:31 ‘Do not worry then, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’
Matthew 6:32 ‘For all these the gentiles seek for. And your heavenly Father knows that you need all these.
Matthew 6:33 ‘But seek first the reign of Elohim, and His righteousness, and all these matters shall be added to you.
Will you one day hear the Words ‘I never knew you, depart from Me’? (some will say ‘Master, Master, have we not sold many books in Your Name, printed and sold millions of tee-shirts in Your Name, made rock-music in Your Name, built training schools and issued prestigious qualifications in Your Name, etc etc………………………) or will you hear – ‘Well done, good and trustworthy servant’ (Mat 25:21,23).
Matthew 7:22 ‘Many shall say to Me in that day, ‘Master, Master, have we not prophesied in Your Name, and cast out demons in Your Name, and done many mighty works in Your Name?’
Matthew 7:23 ‘And then I shall declare to them, ‘I never knew you, depart from Me, you who work 11
Repent then and teach the message of repentance which means to return to the righteous ways of the Almighty – His Torah. The book of Revelation reveals to us how stiff-necked the wicked are and refuse to repent – as did Pharaoh.
Revelation 2:21 ‘And I gave her time to repent of her whoring, and she did not repent.
Why are we not hearing this warning to repent proclaimed from the rooftops in the church today? There are many instances in the New Testament where we are called to repent. Here are a few:
Revelation 3:3 Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.
Ezekiel_14:6 ‘Therefore say to the house of Yisra’ĕl, ‘Thus said the Master YHWH, ‘Repent, and turn back from your idols, and turn back your faces from all your abominations.
Matthew11:20 Then He began to reproach the cities in which most of His miracles had been done, because they did not repent:
Mark 6:12 And they went out and proclaimed that men should repent.
Luke 13:5 ‘I say to you, no! But unless you repent you shall all perish in the same way.’
Acts 8:22 ‘Repent therefore of this evil of yours, and plead with Elohim to forgive you the intention of your heart.
Those who hear the Words of Y’Shua are the wise:
Matthew 7:24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:
The disciples learned a valuable lesson from Yahushua’s temple cleansing, and the realisation of the fulfillment of the Words from Psalms 69:9 ‘Zeal for thy house will consume me.’
‘Y’Shua answered him, ‘If anyone loves Me, he shall guard My Word. And My Father shall love him, and We shall come to him and make Our stay with him.’ (John 14:23).
Is our zeal for His Dwelling Place what it ought to be…?
‘Remember, then, how you have received, and heard. And watch and repent. If, then, you do not wake up, I shall come upon you as a thief, and you shall not know at all what hour I come upon you.
While we may not always be able to emulate Y’Shua’s prerogative to judge, we should certainly strive to copy His zeal for His Father’s house. If we share this same passion for YHWH’s Dwelling Place, we will not rest silent when others pervert its purpose.
Is the house of the Almighty YHWH today largely a ‘house of merchandise’?
Solomon would suggest so – Ecclisiastes 1:9
What do you witness. If you believe so and are participating then please ‘come out of her lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues’.
And to those who continue with this practise of trade and profiteering within the temple of YHWH I say this:
Stop making the house of YHWH a house of merchandise
Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near mewith their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:
Let’s read what Matthew Henry has to say on this topic:
Christ’s design in coming into the world was to reform the world; and he expects that all who come to him should reform their hearts and lives, Gen_35:2. And this he has taught us by purging the temple. See here,
[1.] What were the corruptions that were to be purged out. He found a market in one of the courts of the temple, that which was called the court of the Gentiles, within the mountain of that house. There, First, They sold oxen, and sheep, and doves, for sacrifice; we will suppose, not for common use, but for the convenience of those who came out of the country, and could not bring their sacrifices in kind along with them; see Deu_14:24-26. This market perhaps had been kept by the pool of Bethesda (Joh_5:2), but was admitted into the temple by the chief priests, for filthy lucre; for, no doubt, the rents for standing there, and fees for searching the beasts sold there, and certifying that they were without blemish, would be a considerable revenue to them. Great corruptions in the church owe their rise to the love of money, 1Ti_6:5, 1Ti_6:10. Secondly, They changed money, for the convenience of those that were to pay a half-shekel in specie every year, by way of poll, for the service of the tabernacle (Exo_30:12), and no doubt they got by it.
[2.] What course our Lord took to purge out those corruptions. He had seen these in the temple formerly, when he was in a private station; but never went about to drive them out till now, when he had taken upon him the public character of a prophet. He did not complain to the chief priests, for he knew they countenanced those corruptions.
In pouring out the money, he showed his contempt of it; he threw it to the ground, to the earth as it was. In overthrowing the tables, he showed his displeasure against those that make religion a matter of worldly gain.
Money-changers in the temple are the scandal of it. Note, In reformation, it is good to make thorough work; he drove them all out; and not only threw out the money, but, in overturning the tables, threw out the trade too.
Thirdly, He said to them that sold doves (sacrifices for the poor), Take these things hence. The doves, though they took up less room, and were a less nuisance than the oxen and sheep, yet must not be allowed there. The sparrows and swallows were welcome, that were left to God’s providence (Psa_84:3), but not the doves, that were appropriated to man’s profit. God’s temple must not be made a pigeon-house. But see Christ’s prudence in his zeal. When he drove out the sheep and oxen, the owners might follow them; when he poured out the money, they might gather it up again; but, if he had turned the doves flying, perhaps they could not have been retrieved; therefore to them that sold doves he said, Take these things hence. Note, Discretion must always guide and govern our zeal, that we do nothing unbecoming ourselves, or mischievous to others.
Fourthly, He gave them a good reason for what he did: Make not my Father’s house a house of merchandise. Reason for conviction should accompany force for correction.
Here is a reason why they should not profane the temple, because it was the house of God, and not to be made a house of merchandise. Merchandise is a good thing in the exchange, but not in the temple. This was, (a.) to alienate that which was dedicated to the honour of God; it was sacrilege; it was robbing God. (b.) It was to debase that which was solemn and awful, and to make it mean. (c.) It was to disturb and distract those services in which men ought to be most solemn, serious, and intent. It was particularly an affront to the sons of the stranger in their worship to be forced to herd themselves with the sheep and oxen, and to be distracted in their worship by the noise of a market, for this market was kept in the court of the Gentiles. (d.) It was to make the business of religion subservient to a secular interest; for the holiness of the place must advance the market, and promote the sale of their commodities. Those make God’s house a house of merchandise, [a.] Whose minds are filled with cares about worldly business when they are attending on religious exercises, as those, Amo_8:5; Eze_33:31. [b.] Who perform divine offices for filthy lucre, and sell the gifts of the Holy Ghost, Act_8:18.
Who are the ‘superstars’ of the todays Christian mega-churches? Who are the wealthiest pastors?
Read the post ‘The Business of Televangelism‘ and find out: