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Friday, 19 March 2010

Clearing The Tables Of The Money Changers

I was inspired by a comment made by  "Wary" to my post within this shortcut link:  Why You cannot Trust Any Preacher Who Has Ecumenical Connections   to write this article.
It is drawing the comparison with the money changers in the temple that Jesus drove out with the way bibles and Christianity is being marketed today. What was Jesus reaction? He was furious! At no other time did He show such fury during His 33 years as a man, so it must be important to note why. Why was Jesus so angry? Let's look:

Matthew 21:12-13 (King James Version)

 "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."

So what was happening? Instead of the temple being a place to pray and bring sacrifices to the Lord, the people were using the temple as a place of profiteering. They were abusing God's place of worship and manipulating the people by making money out of the things of God. The people needed to sacrifice to the Lord, so these marketeers were manipulating the situation for personal gain and maybe preventing the poor from sacrificing as they may not be able to pay.

Jesus cried over Jerusalem and gave His list of woes. One of these was that the "so called" righteous were preventing the sinners from getting right with God because of their practices. Jesus said "you go everywhere seeking a proselyte and when you find such a one you turn him into twice the child of hell he already was".

So these were the reasons Jesus was angry.

What about today? Will not Jesus also be angry with the way people are profiteering by manipulating Christianity. Look at the way our faith is being pedalled for financial gain. The bible is being marketed in a multitude of versions for financial  or deception reasons. It is NOT being produced for our benefit but for the profit-making of those producing and selling it. Many of the latest versions distort what the original manuscripts say and there are many per-versions or paraphrases like the Message or Living Translation which is merely the writers interpretations (they are not translations).

Then you have those who pedal Christianity for financial gain using the "prosperity teaching" vehicle to line their own pockets.

Peter was very clear how serious it was to use Christianity for financial gain. 2 Peter 2:1-3

But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.   NIV

But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.    KJV

Paul was also very serious about it. 1 Timothy 6: 5-11 says:

"......... men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain. But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.

As Jesus overturned the tables in anger, so God may well shake the church in these days because of such activity.  Read Hebrews 12:25-29:

"See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven? At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, "Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens." The words "once more" indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our "God is a consuming fire."

It is does seem that we are in the days of God shaking the Earth. Other scriptures suggest there will be a shaking in the church first eg, 1 Peter 4:17 says:

"For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? " 

So surely God is going to shake the "nominal, apostate, ecumenical" church at this time. Those who are true to the Lord will receive (and in a sense already have received) a kingdom (internally and externally) that CANNOT be shaken. Let us ensure that we are ALL ready when that shaking starts.

1 comment:

John Chingford said...

Thanks Tony for your comment. I have transferred it to my latest post (which is about Tony Blair) because I feel that is a better place to make the comment.