The modern Temple Traders - Tithe Dacoits
Luke 19:46 -
Saying unto them, It is written, My house is the house of prayer: but ye have made it a den of thieves.
In a Catholic Church when one enters one sees that idols take the center stage of the place. Some months back I went to a Believer Church in a city near Mumbai and was taken aback by their boldness. This is not the boldness in Christ which we learned 2 days back but the boldness like the traders had in the temple during the times Jesus was man on earth. This Church hall had a very large vessel grandly designed to collect tithes and 'offerings' with scripture printed on it concerning the same, kept just before the preacher's table, taking the center stage of the Church hall.
Many believe Jesus drove the traders only once from the Jewish temple but someone put the flow of events of the Gospels in chronicle order and showed all the Gospels together recorded the 3 different times Jesus drove the traders away from the Jewish temple.
1st time in John 2:12-17 (after coming from Capernaum to Jerusalem)
2nd time in Matthew 21:9-13 & Luke 19:45-46 (after His triumphant entry into Jerusalem)
3rd time in Mark 11:11-17 (after going from Jerusalem to Bethany and coming back, after the teaching of the fig tree and before Mary anointed His feet)
Firstly let us raise the question - were the traders wrong? They were just providing the facility to those who came there to make their dedications of the animals or birds or money as written in the book of Moses. Now tell me where would have Mary offered the 2 turtle doves from which she did for her cleanliness, as per the Law given by the Lord in the book of Moses. Did Jesus expect Mary or any other woman to catch the birds from a tree or bush or bring all the way from the market to the temple?
Firstly Jesus knew the instructions of offerings or sacrifices told by the Lord in the book of Moses were statutes and symbolic. The Jews due to their lack of understanding of scriptures and craving of their carnal nature had made these statutes into rituals and gave them a level equal to or more than God.
In today's Believer Churches we see that many Church leaders give great importance to tithes and to other statutes than the very purpose people come to Church - have fellowship with God and among themselves. Like the Jews did concerning the sacrifices they do with tithes and statutes concerning Jesus.
When Jesus drove the traders away from the temple He removed the rope which was used to tie the robe at the waist, it was like a person in the present times taking out his belt. We need to note Jesus did not hurt any person He overturned their money tables and set the animals and birds free, He primarily used His ropes to scare away the animals and birds.
In today's message the Lord is telling all those who are called to be Pastors and Shepherds of His flock have made His Father's House into a den of thieves.
I used the word dacoit in the title to give a clearer picture of the Church leaders whom the Lord speaks of. Like a dacoit they too leave their families or worldly social circles. Like the dacoits all do not necessarily live in grand palaces (only the real big and powerful ones do). Like the dacoits the main reasons they rob is to take care of the others in the gang. Like the dacoits they do not take from the collections to meet their needs but take a share according to their status and the role they played in collecting the loot along with the gang.
I am not prophesying but just simply stating the message which the Lord put in my heart today to give. Like Jesus used His ropes to drive away the 'loot' of the Jewish temple traders in the same way the Lord is going to drive away the funds or resources of these modern temple traders because they have not made His Father's House a place to bring people to God, to have relationship with Him but a place of commerce.
[ Prayer Starter ]
Lord, You are awaiting the day when You come back as Son of Man to take your people to the Father's true House. But your return is delayed because those whom You have given charge to fulfil the conditions for your return are not doing it, but are misusing your House on earth for their own purposes. Lord, we pray that You quicken things here and at the same time we pray for the innocent souls that they do not get crushed in this mayhem...
This prayer we make in Jesus' Name, Amen.
[ Reference Scriptures ]
John 2:12-17 (coming from Capernaum)
12 After this he went down to Capernaum, he, and his mother, and his brethren, and his disciples: and they continued there not many days.
13 And the Jews' passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem,
14 And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting:
15 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;
16 And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father's house an house of merchandise.
17 And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.
Matthew 21:9-13 (after His grand entrance to Jerusalem)
9 And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.
10 And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this?
11 And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee.
12 And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves,
13 And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.
Luke 19:34-38,45-46 (after His grand entrance to Jerusalem)
34 And they said, The Lord hath need of him.
35 And they brought him to Jesus: and they cast their garments upon the colt, and they set Jesus thereon.
36 And as he went, they spread their clothes in the way.
37 And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen;
38 Saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest.
45 And he went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold therein, and them that bought;
46 Saying unto them, It is written, My house is the house of prayer: but ye have made it a den of thieves.
Mark 11:11-17 (after going from Jerusalem to Bethany and coming back)
11 And Jesus entered into Jerusalem, and into the temple: and when he had looked round about upon all things, and now the eventide was come, he went out unto Bethany with the twelve.
12 And on the morrow, when they were come from Bethany, he was hungry:
13 And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find any thing thereon: and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet.
14 And Jesus answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever. And his disciples heard it.
15 And they come to Jerusalem: and Jesus went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves;
16 And would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the temple.
17 And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves.
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