Plainer Words Online
Tom L. Ballinger
Plainer Words since 1968
May 18, 2011
PLAINER WORDS ONLINE …THE PRIESTHOOD OF THE JEWS
Every institution that God established or set-up, over time, has failed. The failure was man’s, not His. God would establish an institution by Divine Statute. Divine guidelines were given in the Word of God, and certain men and their progeny were charged with the responsibility to order, direct, and maintain it.
When these institutions became corrupted, they were no longer referred to as being “of the LORD,” but rather, they were tagged with the name of “the Jews.” Several examples should be sufficient to make the point; the worship of the Father [Yahweh] degenerated into “the Jews’ religion” (Gal. 1:13-14), the Feasts of the LORD became known as “the feasts of the Jews,” (John 5:1), the Lord’s House became “your [the Jews’] house” (Matt. 23:38). The Lord’s Passover became “the Jews’ Passover.” These institutions were to have been God-Centered, and God-Honoring, but by the Tradition [the Oral Law] of the Jews, they became corrupt. As the others became corrupt, so did the Priesthood. Hence, the title of this present composition—“The Priesthood of the Jews.”
THE DISGRACEFUL ENDING OF ISRAEL’S PRIESTHOOD
We purpose to present some supplementary information which explains the disgraceful ending of Israel’s Priesthood. The important facts we present are rarely brought to light. When all of the dots are connected, we believe the following to be an accurate summation of the ignominy to which the greed-infested New Testament Priesthood had degenerated.
The Founding Father of the ancient nation of Israel was “Yahweh,” the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The nation of Israel was to support and defend its Constitution—the Law of Moses.
The Levitical Priesthood was to play an integral part in the Government of Israel. The priests’ primary responsibility was to teach the Word of God. They, also, were to attend to the service of the sanctuary and the service which went along with the offering of sacrifices. They were, also, charged with the care of receiving the tithes and offerings for the maintenance of the Temple complex.
Within the Temple grounds was located the “Storehouse”—the depot in which tithes and offerings were stored (Mal. 3:10). The priests, also, performed banking functions. The Chief Priest was the presiding “Secretary of the Treasury” for the nation.
Under King Solomon, Israel became the wealthiest nation of its time. The nation’s days of glory reached its zenith under the reign of Solomon. Jerusalem was the capital-city, and the government officials, for the most part, administered justice without partiality.
After Solomon’s death, the Kingdom became divided. The Northern Kingdom was, eventually, conquered and led away captive. The Southern Kingdom was comprised of the tribe of Judah and Benjamin. Over the years, under various evil kings, the Southern Kingdom degenerated. The prophet Isaiah lamented the coming fall of Jerusalem:
“How is the faithful city [Jerusalem] become an harlot! it was full of judgment; righteousness lodged in it; but now murderers. Thy silver is become dross [i.e.mixed with alloys], thy wine mixed with water: Thy princes are rebellious, and companions of thieves: every one loveth gifts [bribes], and followeth after rewards: they judge not the fatherless, neither doth the cause of the widow come unto them” (Isaiah 1:21-23).
The indication from this is that the ruling class were rebels against the constitution and were profiting from the enterprise of darkness being wrought by the priest-bankers. Israel’s once glorious shekel was being melted down: mixed with alloys and re-issued to the public. This devalued the shekel, robbed the populace, created inflation, and was a counterfeit of God’s money. In plainer words, they were “robbing God” (cf. Mal 3:8-10).
God punished the Southern Kingdom for this and other abuses. They spent seventy years in captivity in Babylon. After the Jews returned from Babylonian captivity, around the year of 536 B.C., the priests became more interested in “banking” than in teaching the Word of God. God had commissioned them to teach the Word― but, with their return from Babylon, Israel was without a teaching priest. The Priesthood of Jews had learned the mysteries of banking in Babylon.
When the New Testament is studied, we find that the “clipping” of coins was an unholy practice performed by the Temple priests. The priest-bankers exchanged one nation’s currency, or one size of coin, for another. These people provided a convenience, charging a fee (often exorbitant) for their services. Some moneychangers operated in the Temple area (the Court of the Gentiles) because all money given to the Temple had to be a “shekel after the sanctuary.” According to Exodus 30:11 16, every Israelite who was twenty years of age, or older was required to pay an annual tax of a half shekel into the Temple treasury. This was a fair tax. It was equitable. Rich and poor paid the same amount. Jehovah required equity in taxation—not equality.
On two different occasions, Jesus Christ cleansed the Temple of moneychangers: once, at the beginning of His ministry in John 2:13 16 and, once, near the end of His ministry in Matthew 21:12 13 and Mark 11:15-17. According to the Gospel of John, Jesus made a whip of cords and drove out of the Temple those who sold oxen, sheep, and doves. He overturned the tables of the moneychangers and poured out the changers’ money (John 2:13 14). It is not clear why Jesus was so angry with the moneychangers. His anger was not directed at the Temple tax for He, Himself, paid it willingly (Matthew 17:24 27). Most commentators say that Jesus’ anger may have been directed at the commercialism within the Temple area that took advantage of the poor: “Do not make My Father's house a house of merchandise!” (John 2:16).
A close study of the following passages sheds a great deal of light on why the Lord Jesus showed His wrath on the “moneychangers.” Notice the verses, John 2:13 15, “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.”
Matthew 21:12 13: “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, 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.”
Mark 11:15-17: “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; And would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the temple. 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.”
The significance of the Greek word for “moneychangers” is “kollubistes.” It comes from the word, “kollubos,” which, literally, means “clipped” a small coin or rate of exchange. “Koloboo” signifies “to cut off, to clip, to shorten, denotes a money-changer, literally, a money-clipper.”
It is evident that the priest-bankers in the Temple were clipping coins. The Jews, who were still living abroad after the dispersion, would come to Jerusalem on certain Holy days to offer sacrifices, register, and pay their half-shekel tax. They would have to convert their foreign money into acceptable Holy money. The bankers, or moneychangers, would charge a fee or commission to exchange drachmas, or whatever the foreign money was, into acceptable Temple money—a shekel after the sanctuary, which is to say, twenty gerahs of silver, or two-hundred-twenty grains. The priests had altered the silver content, thus, debasing the shekel by lowering the silver content. In reality, the priest-bankers exchanged unholy shekels for foreign coins. They traded in counterfeit shekels. This sin was equal to what Eli, the priest, allowed his two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, to do as they violated the Temple service and grounds (See 1 Samuel 2, 3, and 4).
The moneychangers would clip the coins, perhaps, shaving off some of the silver or gold content and place the shavings in the Temple treasury. When the travelers were ready to return to their countries, they would, again, go to the moneychangers and convert their “Holy Land” money into money from their native countries. Thus, they would pay a fee for the conversion, and not only that, the money they received in return had already been stealthily clipped and was worth less than what they had originally turned in to the moneychangers. The Temple bankers were using false weights and measures to enrich the religious establishment. The wealth of the religious establishment in Jerusalem meant power and influence with the Romans. Of course, this was an abomination to the Lord. Buying and selling doves was not theft ― the clipping of coins was. We believe this is why the Lord Jesus vented His wrath at the moneychangers.
Under the direction of the Chief Priests, the priest-bankers were committing theft. It was tantamount to counterfeiting. It was robbing God of His due (twenty gerahs of silver) and robbing other nations, by debasing their coins, and robbing the people in the deceitful exchange of their money. This was an enterprise of darkness. It was evil, sanctioned by the governmental authorities.
Note the definition of evil: “EVIL is natural or moral. Natural Evil is any thing which produces pain, distress, loss or calamity, or in which in any way disturbs the peace, impairs happiness or destroys the perfection of natural beings. Moral Evil is any deviation of a moral agent from rules of conduct prescribed to him by God, or by legitimate human authority; or it is any violation of the plain principles of justice and rectitude” (Webster's 1828 Dictionary). The moneychangers (i.e., the priests) were the moral agents, and they deviated from the rules and conduct prescribed to them by God. No wonder the Lord over-turned their tables and drove them out of the Temple.
To issue substandard coins is called “clipping.” Throughout history, counterfeiters clipped coins. History, also, shows that many European Monarchs did just that in order to finance unpopular programs, or unpopular wars. The monarchs clipped coins on a grand scale. Whether it was an individual, or a king who clipped coins, the end result was that of counterfeiting
In today’s society, the moneychangers have revived an ancient banking custom of a central bank. Today, central bankers don’t have to worry with clipping coins. There are no coins worth clipping. Instead, they have been granted a monopoly, by governments, to create money out of thin air. The process is called printing fiat-money—which is legalized counterfeiting.
In America, the central bank goes under the name of “The Federal Reserve Bank.” Without equivocation, the Central Bank is an instrument used to enslave free men. Americans are slaves and don’t know it!
God will intervene when He takes the reigns of government into His hands and establishes a divine government in the earth (2 Timothy 4:1, Titus 2:13). Corruption will find no place to hide when He exercises His dominion over the world.
When God intervenes, “Evil doers shall be cut off” (Psalm 37:9); and He shall “break the strength of evil and wicked men, and bring their wickedness to an end” (Psalm 10:15).
No wicked or corrupt person will populate the world when “all the earth shall be filled with the GLORY of the LORD [the Lord Jesus Christ]” (Numbers 14:21). The regeneration of the world will bring about universal incorruption in mankind, in the animal and vegetation kingdoms, as well as all institutions. Everything begins unsullied and pristine. Israel will become a Holy Nation—a Kingdom of Priests! The Israelites will minister to the Gentiles, to wit, the nations, during the Pre-Millennial Kingdom of Christ.
No Subscription Price
We endeavor to put in print and in plainer words, Bible Studies which we recommend to students and teachers alike. This is our 43rd year of publishing Plainer Words. Plainer Words is emailed to anyone upon their personal request.
From Plainer Words
The Priesthood of the Jews - Part 3
Posted in: 2011
By Tom L. Ballinger
May 23, 2011 - 10:04:46 AM
May 23, 2011 - 10:04:46 AM
© Copyright 2011 by Plainer Words