Monday, August 02, 2010



When Jesus was asked if the Hebrew law allowed for tribute to Rome (Mt 22:17-18), He answered “Show me the tribute money. Whose image and superscription is on it?” (Mt 22:19-20).

The answer was “It is Caesar’s image and superscription.” Jesus then said “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's and unto God the things that are God's” (Mt 22:21).

What was Jesus talking about?

The answer relates to the nature of the Temple shekel and the money changers. Every Hebrew man, woman and child was required by the Old Covenant Law to pay an annual poll tax, or head tax, which was used to maintain the Temple and pay for sacrifices for the nation (Ex 30:13).

It is extremely important to realize that the Temple shekel was NOT from money which had an image on it! Such was forbidden inside God’s holy temple. Roman currency was not allowed because it had the image of Caesar on it along with a Roman superscription in a pagan language.

This must also apply to our own currency. It has images of our presidents, images of buildings, images of animals and images of our nature. Shocking as it is, our money does not qualify to be used as gifts to God or the OT Temple!

The money-changers were “bankers” and probably “Levites”. Their tables were set up in the court of the Gentiles and not inside the Temple itself because the money brought to them could not enter the Temple. The money-changers exchanged legitimate Roman currency for lawful “Temple money” which did not contain images or foreign writing. This is common in many eastern religions even today. The money-changers charged an exchange rate which resulted in the worshippers receiving less “Temple money” than their real money was worth.

Jesus was angry. Even though this occurred in the Court of the Gentiles which was outside the proper Temple grounds, it was still too near the Temple. Jesus wanted a buffer zone between defiled pagan money with images on it and the HOLY Temple grounds.

Although the texts say that Jesus was inside the “temple of God,” they must be understood as a reference to the Court of Gentiles beside the Temple itself (Mt 21:12; Mk 11:15).

The Jewish people were extremely critical about image-bearing pagan currency (shields, ensigns or anything else). A study of Jewish history will reveal several revolts over this issue.

WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH TITHING? Have you looked at your money lately? It bears pagan images and would have never been accepted at tithes under the Law. Those who teach we are to obey the tithing commands of the Law are inadvertently saying that our money cannot be used for tithes. Wow!

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