Turning The Tables
John 2:13-17 (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. The preeminent apostle (Paul) ministered after the pattern of His Savior, beseeching men “...by the meekness and gentleness of Christ...” (2CO 10:1). Christ was indeed “...meek and lowly in heart...” (MAT 11:29). But let none confuse Biblical meekness with weakness. Our text today treats of one of the two times recorded in the gospels where Jesus Christ exhibited physical animosity. The other occurrence was when He returned to Jerusalem near the end of His public ministry. At that time He came “...meek, and sitting upon an ass...” (MAT 21:5) and promptly purged the moneychangers again from the temple with force (MAT 21:12-13). Clearly, one can be meek before God and yet be bold before men, especially where the integrity of the house of God is at stake. Clearly also, keeping the moneychangers out of the house of God is a matter of continual vigilance. NOTE: churches that seek tax-exempt status by incorporating do, by receiving that charter, become a creature of the state, which state is essentially indivisible from the moneychangers who issue and control the state's currency. A very worldly-wise moneychanger named Mayer Amschel Bauer (Rothschild) is reputed to have made this observation, “Permit me to issue and control the money of a nation, and I care not who makes its laws.” James A. Garfield (assassinated U.S. president) similarly observed, “Whoever controls the volume of money in any country is absolute master of all industry and commerce.” If this be the case (and such a proposition seems altogether valid), it can be reasonably concluded that a New Testament house of God (church) which decries the moneychanger's position in the Old Testament house of God while incorporating for the tax benefits thereof is in a very inconsistent and untenable position: they are in bed with moneychangers also---a form of spiritual bestiality, perhaps. In our text today, Jesus “turned the tables” on the moneychangers, a rather lovely thing in and of itself, and something that honest, hard-working folks might hope for on a secular level when moneychangers exploit them and plunder their wealth. Honest, hard-working folks might reasonably be expected to take umbrage when moneychangers “blanket their burros,” so to speak (pardon my meekness), by encouraging legislators to make the public pay for the consequences of their chicanery by creating out of thin air the “money” for such a bailout. This is an artificial increase in the money supply, i.e., inflation, which is an undeclared tax that reduces the purchasing power of the currency. The prophet Amos even spoke about a similar game played by the powerful: Amos 8:4-6 Hear this, O ye that swallow up the needy, even to make the poor of the land to fail, (5) Saying, When will the new moon be gone, that we may sell corn? and the sabbath, that we may set forth wheat, making the ephah small, and the shekel great, and falsifying the balances by deceit? (6) That we may buy the poor for silver, and the needy for a pair of shoes; yea, and sell the refuse of the wheat? By shrinking the unit of dry measure (ephah) and increasing the unit of weight by which money was measured (shekel), they were scalping the people at both ends. It would take more money to purchase less commodity, a curious parallel to modern-day inflation. Figuratively, I am not sure if legislators and moneychangers in bed together is a matter of one androgynous beast, or of one beast crossing lines to have relations with a different beast. Whatever the figure, the public still gets gored. To clarify something here, “tables” in our text is from the Greek “trapeza” (Anglicized spelling) which means a table or stool or figuratively, “a broker's office for loans at interest, bank...” (Strong's Greek Dictionary) and is actually translated “bank” in LUK 19:23. The moneychangers and their tables are bankers and their banks. That same word appears again where Paul is contrasting the elect Jew with the non-elect Jew in Romans 11. In ROM 11:9, Paul is citing a prophecy of King David wherein David was decrying the wicked of his own people (PSA 69:22-23) and Paul makes it applicable to gospel times wherein only a portion of Israel were of the election of grace (ROM 11:5) and so embraced the Messiah. God had blessed Israel with wisdom that would enable them to be successful and dominant lenders (DEU 28:12-13) and some of them capitalized on this to a fault. The thing that God would use to facilitate the blindness of the non-elect portion of the nation (ROM 11:7-8) was their lending table/bank: “Let their TABLE (Gr. trapeza) be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumblingblock, and a recompence unto them: Let their eyes be darkened that they may not see, and bow down their back alway” (ROM 11:9-10). NOTE: the foregoing is NOT anti-Semitic hatred; it is Biblical revelation recorded in both testaments. Anti-Semitism is an abominable class-hatred to be loathed by all, especially Bible-believers. Moneychanging has an incredible capacity to blind people. It does blind the ungodly Jew to the gospel according to the Holy Spirit's testimony in ROM 11:1-10. It can blind the banker (Jew or Gentile) to the corrupt nature of his own creature, and to the damage he is doing to trusting patrons or the citizenry (although it is unlikely that all bankers are naive). It can blind legislators into thinking that the best way to deal with some big, leaky bank-ships is to drain the entire economic lake on which all the ships float. It can blind the patron and citizenry to the fact that the credit they desire and acquire from the banker automatically increases the money supply (it's called debt-monetization) and thus reduces the value of the currency. And worst of all, it can blind believers into thinking that the church of Jesus Christ should be a business or that it needs to get in bed with moneychangers for the tax benefits of a corporate status.