“To show favor to an evildoer is not good; it turns astray the judgment of a righteous person.” Proverbs 18:5
What is one of the events that we read in the Apostolic Writings that unfortunately has been used by the systems of religion to support the doctrine and theology that the Temple was something corrupt and something that HaShem never wanted? This event I am referring to is found in Matthew 21:12-13 which says “And Yeshua went into the Set Apart Place (The Temple complex) of Elohim and drove out all those buying and selling in the Set Apart Place, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. And He said to them, ‘It has been written, My House shall be called a House of prayer.’ (Quoting Isaiah 56:7) but you have made it a den of robbers.’ (Quoting Jeremiah 7:11)”
This is another example of why it is so imperative that we obey HaShem’s command in Ezekiel 43:10-11 to learn everything about His House, the gates, the offerings, the Temple Services, the priesthood, etc, because when we do so, when reading this account of the money changers, we will see Yeshua was all about restoring the honor of HaShem’s Name and of His House, NOT the way many in Christendom teaches it via the Replacement Theology doctrine which shows the Temple ‘seemingly’ was all wrong and soon to be destroyed because HaShem never wanted it. This is what we will explore in this Op.
But first, just to quickly recap:
– HaShem never changes per Num 23:19/Mal 3:6/Hebrews 13:8/James 1:17
– His Word is firmly established per Psalm 119:89
– He reveals the end out of the beginning per Is 46:10
– He does nothing without first revealing it to His prophets per Amos 3:7
– He says there is nothing new under the sun per Ecclesiastes 1:9
– He says His Torah is eternal per Proverbs 3:19 and Psalm 119:160
– He says His Torah is perfect and restores the soul per Psalm 19:7
– He says His Torah makes the simple one wise per Psalm 19:7
– He says His Torah Is freedom and liberty per Psalm Ps 119:45 and James 1:25
– He says His Torah is the only good doctrine there is Proverbs 4:2
– He says His Torah will add length of days and years of life and peace per Proverbs 3:2
– He says all of the ways of His Torah are ways of pleasantness and peace per Proverbs 3:17
– He says His Torah is for our good and well-being per Deuteronomy 6:24
– He says His Torah is health for our lives per Proverbs 3:8
– He says His Torah is life to our soul and a graceful ornament for our neck per Prov 3:22
– He says His Torah is better than pearls and all desires cannot compare to it per Prov 8:11
– He says those who walk with His Torah are praiseworthy per Psalms 119:1
– He says observing His Torah is how we purify our path per Psalms 119:9
– He says His Torah is better than thousands in gold and silver per Psalms 119:72
– He says His Torah brings abundant peace to those who love Him and His Torah per Psalms 119:165
– He says there is one Torah for all per Exodus 12:49/Leviticus 24:22
– He says those who hate His Torah love death per Proverbs 8:36
Shemot (Exodus) 30:12-16 HaShem establishes the Half Shekel Tax: “When you take a census of the Children of Israel according to their numbers, every man shall give HaShem an ATONEMENT for his soul when counting them, so that there will not be a plague among them when counting them. This shall they give, everyone who passes through the census, a half shekel of the sacred shekel, the shekel is twenty geras, half a shekel as a portion to HaShem. Everyone who passes through the census, from twenty years of age and up, shall give the portion of HaShem. The wealthy shall not increase and the destitute shall not decrease from half a shekel, to give the portion of HaShem, to ATONE for your souls.”
Very interesting, so, we can see the Half Shekel Temple Tax is established legally by HaShem Himself and is NOT some concept the rabbis just came up with out of thin air as I have heard some in Christendom claim over the years. Further, we see the Half Shekel Temple Tax applies to all of Israel and HaShem is equal in that everyone regardless of wealth or lack thereof will pay the same half shekel.
Another aspect of this tax which must be understood is that at the time of this event we read about in the Apostolic Writings, Israel is scattered around the world and as such they live under the various governments along with its specific currencies, which all bear the image of their leaders or their gods and as such they are forbidden from being used in the Temple per the Torah i.e. idolatry. Additionally, the Half Shekel Temple Tax went into the Temple Treasury to be used for the upkeep, repairs, replacement of damaged utensils and for paying for korbonot (offerings).
One aspect of the money changers to keep in mind, which are required year-round, are in order to exchange the foreign currencies for Shekels so it can be used in the Temple in compliance with the Torah of HaShem. Further, because the people came from different countries and many did not know the value of their currency with respect to the local money used in the Temple, they would need the services of a money changer.
Per Tractate Shekalim from the Mishnah: “On the first day of the biblical month of Adar, which is the twelfth month on the religious calendar, it is proclaimed about the payment of the shekalim and about kilayim (Mixtures in the crops per Deuteronomy 22:9). On the 15th day of Adar, Megillah (Esther) is read in the walled cities throughout Israel and they commence to repair the roads, the town squares, the mikvahs and they attend to all of the public needs as well as mark with lime the graves and inspect the fields for kilayim (Mixtures of crops which is forbidden in the Torah) per Deuteronomy 19:3. They do this because the following month is the First month of the year i.e. Nissan, the month of Pesach (Passover) when millions of people will be travelling from all over the world to come to Jerusalem and the Temple as required by the Torah of HaShem.”
Additionally, “on the 15th of Adar money changers would sit in the provinces of Israel to collect the Half Shekel Temple Tax. On the 25th of Adar, they sat in the Temple until the 1st of Nissan, the date when all half shekalim were due in the Temple treasury. From the time they sat in the Temple they would commence to seize collateral. From whom did they seize collateral? From the Leviim and Yisraelim, proselytes and freed slaves, but not from women, slaves, nor minors.”
There is an interesting side note about the Temple – There were 13 collection chests in the Temple in which were inscribed respectively: “New Shekalim (For this year), Old Shekalim (For the previous years), Nests (Turtledoves), Young Pigeon Burnt Offerings, Wood (For the fires on the Altar), Frankincense, Gold for the Utensils and the remaining six chests were used for various donative offerings.” What is very interesting is 13 is THE number associated with the Temple: There are 13 different bread offerings, 13 different gates, etc – gee, then is it any wonder the adversary has taught the number 13 is cursed and the most cursed day on the calendar is Friday the 13th i.e. Shabbat. I digress.
It was the duty of the money changers to demand softly that the half shekel be paid; but they were not allowed or empowered to coerce anyone into paying for it was a matter between HaShem and that person. If that person did not pay, then HaShem would deal with them directly, at His appointed time. Keep all of this in mind as we continue.
With all of this established, let’s now address the event we discussed in the very beginning of this Op. Was Yeshua angry the money changers were operating in Jerusalem and in the Temple as many who teach Christendom’s Replacement Theology doctrine claim? Or was He angry because there was a measure of corruption at play behind the scenes and as such it was bringing shame to both HaShem, His Great Name and His House? I suggest Yeshua was angry because of the corruption of what we discussed above with regards to the money changers responsibilities!
Now, did the money changers themselves have the authority to raise or lower the values of the currencies and increase the cost of taxes? No, they did not! There was one who had all the authority for just about everything concerning the Temple, the Temple Services, the Temple operation, etc and that was the Kohen HaGadol i.e. the High Priest! Remember the Kohen HaGadol not only represents all of Israel before HaShem, but he also represents HaShem to all of Israel! This is precisely why Yeshua said “If you see Me, you see the Father!” He wasn’t claiming to be HaShem as Christendom erroneously teaches it, He was expressing a very well known fact about the Kohen HaGadol and further reinforces why the Kohen HaGadol MUST be very careful and always mindful of his actions simply because of Who he is representing! Something we all must take to heart in our own lives today! Very important this fact is kept in mind as we proceed!
In order to grasp what is really going on with this event of Yeshua and the money changers we must not fall into the same trap Christendom fell into and not regurgitate the narrative built around it attempting to support an anti-Temple/anti-Torah Replacement Theology doctrinal position, therefore we have to understand the political climate of Yeshua’s day and time in that what power was ruling and what was going on with regards to the position of the Kohen HaGadol (High Priest) at the time of Yeshua.
In order to answer this, we need to understand the composition of the Kohen HaGadol (High Priests) during and after the time of Yeshua. These guys were VERY corrupt, bought and paid Rome for their position as the Kohen HaGadol. They were all Sadducees which meant they did not believe in the validity of the Oral Torah nor in the World to Come i.e. resurrection which meant they were all about get your money, wealth and prosperity now in this life while you can (Sound familiar?). They conducted themselves like a mafia family and their family members were subsequently put into the position of the Kohen HaGadol (High Priest). The Oral Torah discusses these corrupted Kohen: Annas Ben Seth who had five sons: Eleazar Ben Ananus, Joseph Ben Caiphas (Son in law to Annas Ben Seth who had married his daughter and the one who oversaw the illegal trail of Yeshua), Johathathan Ben Ananus, Theophilus Ben Ananus (Theophilus is mentioned by name in the Apostolic Writings i.e. Acts 1), Mattias Ben Ananus and Ananus Ben Ananus.
It should be noted that just because these guys were corrupt, the people to include Yeshua Himself respected their rulings because of the position. The Torah commands we are to obey the rulings of the Kohen HaGadol without fail and if that Kohen renders a wrong ruling, then HaShem deals with them. Think of it like a military hierarchy, obey the Commanding General, but if that CG renders a wrong ruling then, theoretically, the US Congress and the US President will deal with that CG and fix their wrong rulings. This is precisely why Yeshua remained silent during His illegal trial, because the whole trial was illegal and violated the Torah of HaShem, therefore what was there to say? I digress.
Even Tractate Pesachim 57a from the Talmud Bavli discusses Annas Ben Seth and his five sons VERY despairingly saying “The corruption of the Temple was such that the Kohanim Gedolim (High Priesthood) secured all the positions of power for their relatives, who in turn used their power to oppress the people.” It further says “They were guilty of high handed oppression and were notorious for counseling evil against their countryman and were gossipmongers.” Does it make sense now why HaShem had to let His Temple be destroyed by Rome in 70 AD? His Name and His House had been so dishonored, shamed and profaned, there was literally no other option. Very sadly the dishonor, shame and profaned status of His Great Name is still to this day being taught within Christendom and its Replacement Theology doctrine.
Can you imagine being alive then and in Israel and these corrupt Kohen HaGedolim are the ones to make intercession for you and all of Israel before HaShem? Think about it, these guys are the ones going into the Most Holy Place on Yom Kippur to make atonement for you and all of Israel when in fact they had zero interest in actually serving HaShem, but instead were all about themselves, getting rich, obtaining power and securing their prosperity as a result of oppressing you! Then Israel calls out to HaShem asking Him for justice and righteousness be done due to being oppressed by these clowns and what does HaShem do? He sends His Agent, His Representative, His Mighty Right Arm i.e. Messiah Yeshua to the scene!
On a side note, it is interesting, there is some speculation that the parable of the ‘Rich Man and Lazarus’ per Luke 16:19-31 is a direct reference to these five corrupt High Priests who were Sadducees and did not believe in the validity of the Oral Torah nor in resurrection. I encourage you to read it with this in mind as it fits very well! Keep this in mind.
These corrupt High Priests who were in control of the money changers and the shops in the Royal Stoa on the Temple Mount outside of the Temple where the people bought the sacrifices and exchanged their money, they charged enormous prices in order to not only get rich but to be able to pay off their debts to Rome. Point is, again it was all about making money. These guys had zero interest in actually representing Israel before HaShem in the Temple. It was all about getting rich….Gee, sound familiar to a specific religious system today who has its leaders on television manipulating, going through the motions, getting rich off of oppressing the people? See, Ecclesiastes 1:9 is true, there is nothing new under the sun. What does this also mean? It means like before HaShem WILL soon act and wipe out the corruption once and for all!! May it be VERY soon in our days!
Now with this said thus far, does this mean the position of the Kohen HaGadol (High Priest) was corrupt and something HaShem did not want as is commonly taught? Not a chance! It was HaShem Himself Who established the position of the Kohen HaGadol per Shemot (Exodus) 28:1!! What HaShem decrees to be cannot be rescinded nor done away with for He is unchanging, and His Word is firmly established! Think of it in this case, you have an Israeli family who lives in Syria. They have saved up $100.00 all year long to come to the Temple on Pesach (Passover) and it is their intention to use that one hundred dollars to purchase the best lamb they can buy in offering to HaShem in gratitude, thankfulness and honor to His Great Name. They travel the long, dangerous journey and come to Jerusalem. They go to the money changers to exchange their Syrian currency and the money changers give them the devastating news. Their Syrian currency has been devalued and now is only worth $25.00 which means they can only buy the most basic, barely kosher lamb to offer to HaShem, because the Kohen HaGadol has pocketed the other $75.00 in his personal bank account. How discouraging would this be to you if it was you who had planned and prepared all year long for this time and now you can barely afford the most basic offering? Would that not make HaShem look like a tyrant, a bully and certainly oppressive?
Now, consider how HaShem must feel about it in that these corrupt clowns who are representing Him, have zero concern for Him, for His Torah, for His Temple, for His people, for His Temple Services, for His offerings and are only using Him to get rich? His fury and judgment would be fully justified!
Does this imply that the rest of the Levites and Kohanim serving in the Temple are equally corrupt? Not a chance! In fact Acts 6:7 says “And the Word of Elohim spread, and the number of the taught ones increased greatly in Jerusalem, and a GREAT MANY OF THE KOHANIM AND LEVITES WERE OBEDIENT TO THE FAITH.” What does this mean? It means a great many of the Kohanim and Levites were believers in Yeshua as the Messiah! This single-handily destroys Christendom’s Replacement Theology doctrine! Consider this for a second: This means, these Kohanim and Levites who are officiating the slaughter of the offerings, performing the Temple Services, etc, all acknowledge Yeshua as the Messiah and are still operating in the Temple! Clearly the message that the Messiah came to end the Torah and the Temple Services/offerings was never taught! I digress!
So Yeshua then shows up to these money changers and confronts them per Matthew 21:12-13 which says “And Yeshua went into the Set Apart Place (The Temple complex) of Elohim and drove out all those buying and selling in the Set Apart Place, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. And He said to them, ‘It has been written, My House shall be called a House of prayer.’ (Quoting Isaiah 56:7) but you have made it a den of robbers.’ (Quoting Jeremiah 7:11)” His issue is NOT with the commerce going on, but with the price gouging, the robbing and the oppression that is going on!!!
It is interesting Yeshua references Jeremiah 7:11 which states “Has this Temple, upon which My Name is proclaimed, become a cave of criminals in your eyes? Moreover, behold, I have seen it, the Word of HaShem.” The commentary on this verse is equally interesting which says “How much more aggravated is the depth of their guilt if, after disobeying HaShem and committing the worst crimes, they have the audacity to escape and hide in His Palace. If a sinner is not ashamed to enter the Temple, he displays his lack of reverence for the Temple and what it represents.”
Does this not prove then that Yeshua did NOT come to do away with the Torah nor the Temple, nor end the offerings, but rather came to RESTORE and RENEW the covenant, RESTORE and RENEW the honor, dignity and majesty of the Name of HaShem which had been so thoroughly maligned by corruption and oppression? The same has and is happening today, sadly much of it within the doctrines of Christendom and its Replacement Theology! I know I keep hammering this but it is just a sad fact! For the record, my hammering is NOT against the people within Christendom, but against the doctrine of Christendom! Moving on.
Is it any wonder then that in the waning years of the Temple Services before its destruction by Rome in 70 AD, that HaShem stopped accepting the Yom Kippur offerings as we see with the fact the scarlet thread stopped turning white or the light of the Menorah kept going out on its own or the doors to the Temple kept opening on their own, etc? These things didn’t happen because Yeshua ended it all, they happened because of the corruption of the Kohen HaGadol!! Again, imagine this guy representing you, bringing the Yom Kippur offering to HaShem when he has zero interest in doing so, all he cares about is getting rich……..no wonder HaShem stopped accepting the offering!!
Now on the flip side, imagine now how incredible it is in that today, as I write this, we have a Kohen HaGadol in the order of Melchizedek, Who is right now officiating the Temple Services in the Heavenly Temple on our behalf before HaShem i.e. Yeshua (Not Christendom’s Torah abolishing Jesus – Very important to make that distinction). When He returns and sets up the Kingdom of HaShem He will act as both King and Kohen HaGadol and will rule from the rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem, officiate the Temple Service, the animal offerings will fully resume and all the world will learn the Torah of HaShem! Baruch HaShem, may it be VERY soon!
I hope and pray this Op will stir people to stop and think about what we are really reading in the Apostolic Writings and not simply relying on some Replacement Theology doctrine teaching person to make the interpretation for us? Further, I hope and pray this Op is stirring people’s interest into learning about HaShem and His magnificent House and all that is involved in it? Yeshua did NOT come to nullify, remove, replace but to restore and renew and as such what we read in the Apostolic Writings is nothing new, but just a continuation from the beginning. There is nothing new under the sun and He reveals the end out of the beginning! Further, HaShem says He does nothing without first revealing it to His prophets, therefore I have to ask the question: ‘Where did He prophecy the Messiah would come to end the offerings, the Torah or the Temple?’ He never did utter such prophecies, not one time, which can only mean one thing: It will all be restored at the appointed time and there isn’t a force in this universe that can thwart or stop Him! Baruch HaShem! May it be VERY soon in our days!!
Much to consider!
– The Milstein Edition of the Later Prophets Jeremiah by
– The Mishnah Tractate Shekalim by Artscroll
– The Schottenstein Edition of Tractate Shekalim Talmud Bavli by Artscroll
– The Schottenstein Edition of Tractate Pesachim Talmud Bavli by Artscroll
– The Scriptures by the Institute for Scripture Research
– The Writings Proverbs by Artscroll
– Measure the Pattern by Joseph Good