Temple of Diana

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Christians were accused of robbing the Temple of Diana in Ephesus. How could they rob this secure vault?

Investing in Diana

Wycliffe took “churche” from the old English “kirke” which is often attributed to a pagan temple in earlier times. He always translated ekklesia “churche” even when it was used to describe a governmental assembly in Ephesus. In 1526 William Tyndale, and in 1535 Myles Coverdale translated ekklesia as “congregation”. Tyndale only used the word church in Acts 19:37 in reference to that pagan temple of Diana when he was translating the word hierosulos, robbers of churches in reference to the Temple of Diana[1] at Ephesus.

In Acts we see ministers of Christ being accused in Ephesus of being church robbers, guilty of sacrilege. Sacrilege is from the Latin sacrilegus meaning one who steals sacred things. The word includes legus[2] which is the Latin word that has to do with “binding together” from which we get words like legal and legislate. Sacred is defined, “Dedicated to or set apart for the worship…” The word worship has to do with allegiance and homage. What men today tell us these words mean is not as important as the meaning of the authors. We must desire to know what the author was trying to communicate, praying for true understanding.

What was this “church” that claimed to have been robbed by these ‘Christians’? What made their temples, or churche, pagan? Was their purpose different or was it the way they fulfilled that purpose? Was it the precepts contrary to those precepts of the Father in Heaven that damned the pagans?

The assembly at Ephesus was fashioned according to the doctrines of Diana, e.g. Artemus in the Asiatic Itsitions. It’s center was a massive temple similar in design of the front of the US treasury. It could seat over 24,000 people. Each of its 127 columns had been contributed by a different government and it was strategically located on major trade routes.

The most interesting thing was its purpose. It contained a great vault which was considered one of the safest depositories in Asia Minor. This temple actually functioned as a world bank, a religious institution like the Corban of the Pharisees. The “high priest” was also a credit officer making loans and collecting interest, managing valuable property, and in charge of security for those who deposited valuables in the temple in the course of commerce and trade. But, more important, it provided social insurance through a system of Roman Qurban as an underwriter for commercial interests and even national governments. There were regular and sizable contributions by members in the hopes of a secure return, profit or gain. There was coinage of money and the issuing of script. It was not only a bank but a treasury on a natonal and international basis.

Even as late as 250 AD Roman emperor Decian arrested seven Christian men and ordered them put to death at Ephesus. These seven men were of wealthy families but had given up their wealth to provide service for the Christian community, a service which again brought them into conflict with the Temple at Ephesus, accused of “robbery”.

There were accusations that they were causing fewer people to sacrifice at the temple. Some believe this meant fewer animals were being sacrificed because bones were found in the temple and there is a common belief that animal sacrifice was an essential part of these temples. The sacrifices were consumed by the people at feasts or given to the needy as a part of their social welfare system. Animal bones were found at Ephesus but why were they there?


Debasing the Kingdom

The Temple at Ephesus, along with the Empire, were financially broke. The temples were not in need of animal sacrifice but cash. The stored animal bones found in temples like Ephesus were not so much proof of animal sacrifice but evidence of a crime.

According to Herodotus coinage originated with 7th century Lydia. The earliest coins were made of naturally occurring electrum, about 70 percent gold and 30 percent silver. But, hoards of such coins found in the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus in 1904 which contained “artificial” electrum coins with a much lower gold content. Their weight was uniform but the gold content was as low as 30 percent.

“The Lydians and Greeks had not only learned how to use ancient Egyptian techniques of metallurgy, but also how to overvalue coins by using less of the more expensive metal and exploit the monetary prerogative as a fiscal Device.” [3]They did this by a secret process known to master silversmiths called cupellation. Large amounts of bone ash was needed at the temple not to satisfy the gods, but to accomplish the subterfuge and fraud of debasing the coins of the temple. This adulterating of coins eventually led to runaway inflation which is a form of theft and a violation of the precepts of God concerning just weights and measures.[4]

Plutarch’s idea of taking all the substance of the nation into a common treasury and issuing iron coins was clearly not Biblical.[5] Such schemes have historically been disastrous, besides contributing to the bondage of people like they were in Egypt. Jesus desires that we be free from all deception, debt and bondage.

Anthony and Cleopatra had lowered the purity of their silver coins by 10%. Nero reduced the weight of the denarii from 3.5 grams to 3.36 and their fineness from 98% to 93.5% silver. Before the middle of the third century coins had become 40% silver and by its end was just .02% silver.[6] Inflation continued from 600% to over 40,000%. The price of a modius of wheat went from 8 drachmas to 120,000.[7] In the fourth century Diocletian attempted to enforce price controls with capital punishment. Society was crushed. A pound of gold came to cost 2.1 billion denarii.

Central banking, usury, and debasing of coins were evidence of a problem that originated in the people. The governing powers created by the people were simply a manifestation of that same failing. People stray from the way of God when they are greedy for gain and covet their neighbors’ goods.

The Temple of Judea at the time of Christ was the center of a legal, monetary and welfare system of the government. We were warned about centrally controlled common treasuries by God and Christ.[8] Many people continued to turn to the socialism of authoritarian benefactors and their unrighteous mammon and were plunged into hopeless national debt and depressions. But some trusted in the Gospel of Jesus and understood His kingdom and sought it in word and deed and were saved in spirit and truth.

  • “And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the Spirit that there should be great dearth [economic depression] throughout all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar.” Acts 11:28

The called out ministers of the kingdom, designated as the Church, had been trained and prepared for the inevitable decay and collapse of the Roman “world” system. The unrighteous mammon would fail. Christians were excluded from the benefits of the Pharisees and had developed their own system.

  • “Then the disciples, every man according to his ability, determined to send relief unto the brethren which dwelt in Judaea: Which also they did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul.” Acts 11:29-30

Christians paid voluntary offerings to their ministers. They taxed themselves. At Pentecost, they had exited one government of control and entered another government of liberty. With thousands turning to the fruitful tables of the Christians, is there any wonder that Stephen was the first recorded martyr. He was one of seven men chosen by the people to facilitate this system of national charity.[9]

The concept of seven volunteers assisting the financial union or communion of the people is still here today.

Churches do not attend to the daily ministration that was so much a part of the early Church. The people are commonly sent to the governments of the “world”. Those governments collect tribute of its entitled members. The people have prayed for the benefits of those civic altars or tables financed at the expense of their neighbors by benefactors who exercise authority.

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Seven Men From the book The Higher Liberty, Sec. 74
http://www.hisholychurch.org/media/books/THL/sevenmen.php

Choose Your Seven
From the book The Higher Liberty, Sec. 76
http://www.hisholychurch.org/media/books/THL/chooseseven.php

Footnotes

  1. For ye have brought hither these men, which are neither robbers of churches, ...Acts 19:37
  2. lex, legis, See “Law vs Legal” or “The Covenants of the gods
  3. Uses and Abuses of Gresham’s Law in the History of Money, Prepared for publication in the Zagreb Journal of Economics, Volume 2, No. 2, 1998.
  4. “Thou shalt not have in thy bag divers weights, a great and a small.” De 25:13
  5. Leviticus 19:36 “Just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin, shall ye have: I [am] the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt.” [Deuteronomy 25:13 ] Proverbs 16:11 “A just weight and balance are the LORD’S: all the weights of the bag are his work.” Proverbs 20:10 “Divers weights, and divers measures, both of them are alike abomination to the LORD.” Proverbs 20:23 “Divers weights are an abomination unto the LORD; and a false balance is not good. Micah 6:11 Shall I count them pure with the wicked balances, and with the bag of deceitful weights?”
  6. In 1965 the silver content of coins was reduced from 90% to 40% and eliminated altogether in 1971.
  7. “By the reign of Claudius II Gothicus (268-270 A.D.) the silver content of the denarius was down to .02 percent (Michell 1947: 2). As a consequence, prices skyrocketed. A measure of Egyptian wheat had sold for seven to eight drachmas. In the second century it cost 120,000 drachmas. This suggests an inflation of 15,000 percent during the third century.” Bartlett, citing Rostovtzeff 1957: 471
  8. Ex. 22:25, 32:4-17, Lev. 25:36-37 Deut. 17:17, 23:19, Proverbs 1:10..., Matt. 6:19, Luke 12:34, Acts 3:6, 6:2, James 5:3
  9. Ecclesiastes 11:2 “Give a portion to seven, and also to eight; for thou knowest not what evil shall be upon the earth.”

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