The temples of ancient cultures often included the treasury of those governments. The "fat" or reserve fund of the people were often stored in the temples built by societies. Lands, livestock, and commodities like grain along with industries requiring major investment like mines and shipping were accumulated with the wealth deposited with these temples. The temples were not merely centers of commerce but could provide financial, social stability and a variety of valuable functions for society.
The most practical way to store wealth was in gold and without large vaults, the best way to store gold was in a block or statue where no one could steal a part of it without taking from the whole. A large statue could not be carted off easily but also it gave the people something visible and common to defend. Since it represented the wealth of the whole community it provided an incentive for the people to stay together and defend it and therefore each other. It also allowed the governing body of the temples to issue some sort of redeemable currency or money that could be traded within the community.
Even the golden calf of Israel was actually like a reserve fund of the treasury of a government being set up by Aaron. They were trying to create a central economic system like other nations to bind the people together. People fear the unknown, and nothing is more unknown than the future.
Israel was not to bind itself together with Contracts, Covenants and Constitutions like the governments of other nations, nor was the Church to bind the people like the governments of the Gentiles. But it functioned with No king, prime minister, or president without enforced taxation, nor a professional army. Yet, they were a government.
This is why the Church is defined as "one form of government". Centralized governments become governments that exercise the power of choice over the people. Once you create offices of power rather than titular offices of responsibility and service, people who seek power seek office. Power corrupts, and people of power seldom relinquish that power, but generally, they seek more and more power.
All the power of government comes to governments from the people by way of some form of consent. The more the people depend upon the government to use its power to provide the benefits of society, the weaker the people become as a community.
The first and most common form of government was voluntary systems of self-governance which depended upon the goodwill of the people. We see such free governments in Republics like early Israel, which was supported by a tithe which was freely given by ten families.
If more funds were needed, the individuals chose to freely give through the same network of ministers (and many congregations) to support local or even national projects, from emergency relief to military defense.
Governments formed, whereby that right to choose was vested in an elected leader that could exercise authority and rule over the people, was a rejection of God, according to 1 Samuel 8, where it also says they will take and take and take etc.. Such leaders almost always fall prey to what might be called the Saul Syndrome, and the people become victims of the leader's greed for power.
Real Money is power, which is why governments want that power in the hands of the State, rather than the people - from Lycurgus of Sparta to FDR, and Hitler, it has been assumed that "Gold in the hands of the people is an enemy of the state."
Jesus watched how the people would put money in the treasury within the stone temple of Herod the Great.
- Mark 12:41 ¶ And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much. 42 And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. 43 And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: 44 For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.
- “These words spake Jesus in the treasury, as he taught in the temple: and no man laid hands on him; for his hour was not yet come.”
Jesus had been hailed as King by the people, He gave instruction in the royal treasury, He issued orders in the government temple, and He fired personnel. In 78 BC, the Pharisees had an ordinance passed into law, requiring the temple tax be paid, or the matter was handed over to the appointed civil magistrates of Judea for enforcement. The Greek word for “moneychangers” was kollubistes,which was a word for a small coin or “clipped amount”. Kollubistes had to do with the commission charged by the holders of these lucrative offices of the government.
These commissioned moneychangers were likely to bring in an amount in excess of 7,600,000 denarii in that one month. They were allowed to charge a silver meah, or about one-fourth of a denar. Their cut on this one event could be 950,000 denarii, worth more than $9,000,000 today. “Thus the immense offerings … to the Temple passed through the hands of the moneychangers.”
Only the king could fire these gatekeepers of the temple treasury,, and that is exactly what Jesus was doing with His string whip, turning over those tables. Understanding who the money-changers were, as government officials - and what it meant to be fired from their lucrative commissioned position in the national treasury - brings the motivation of crucifying Jesus into a new and revealing light.
- Luke 21:1 And he looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury <1049>. 2 And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites.
3 And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all: 4 For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had. 5 ¶ And as some spake of the temple, how it was adorned with goodly stones and gifts, he said, 6 As for these things which ye behold, the days will come, in the which there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.
There is more than one word that is translated treasury in the New Testament. The most common is the word gazophulakion It is composed of two words γάζα gaza treasure, which was the "the royal treasury" and φυλακή phulake meaning guard, watch.
The other word translated treasury is κορβᾶν or korban. Corban was around in most all countries of the world and even in history. It was provided in two ways. Corban was a sacrifice or offering used to take care of the needs of the people. It was part of systems of welfare, of which there have always been two types.
If Religion is how you fulfill your duty to God and your fellow man, and since God said your duty was to love Him and your neighbor as yourself and even your enemy, then how does the Church appointed by Jesus help fulfill that duty as one form of government?
Jesus appointed a kingdom to His called out ministers, His little flock. They were a government that was to be the Benefactors of the people, but not exercise authority one over the other, but rather in its Charitable Practices of Pure Religion strengthen the poor and provide social welfare for the needy of society.
The flow of funds and supplies is important to take care of the Daily ministration of a nation. But the health of the body of Christ must exercise charity daily, and not just when there is great need, in order to be truly prepared for what the future will bring.
Jesus has expressed a strong opinion about the form of treasury of His people, which did not include central depositories and vaults:
- Matthew 6:19 "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:"
Central treasuries are often robbed by a thief breaking in to rob it, but also by those on the inside of the treasury that do not really love the people they were suppose to serve. Power corrupts and money is power. The ministers of Christ must not seek a position of power or personal wealth.
Israel and the early Church originally did not depend upon storehouses of treasures, but upon a network of volunteers which through Fervent Charity provided a constant flow of aid by The Way of a Network of ministers who gathered in Pure Religion through a system of charity rather than the force common in most governments. This was the system in the days of John the Baptist, when Herod had instituted a system of sacrifice or Corban that was making the word of God to none effect - a system of sharing through a socialist scheme. Rather than freewill offerings, socialist systems were rooted in covetousness which would bring the people into bondage and make them merchandise, both then and today. These systems filled storehouses, but rulers could (and did) spend it on projects to build vast empires.
These covetous practices would curse children with debt and enslave them to a life of Universal Service. The world's rulers who have no intention of halting their progress (empire building) offer no end to the slavery. The only salvation is to repent and seek the Kingdom of God as Jesus said, in a Network of love through the Perfect law of liberty according to The Blessed Strategy of Christ.
Because the Kingdom of God is from generation to generation, the treasury is in the pockets and purses of every man and his family. The "union and discipline" of the network which gathers in Free Assemblies can provide for one another, on a moment's notice, the funds and resources needed through its Network of ministers.
The constant flow of charity is the life and blood to the Body of Christ. When there is a greater need, the contributions begin to flow through the hearts of the people which control the purse strings of the treasury by The Way of the same Free Assemblies of the people, for the people and by the people, out of their love for one another.
This is what it meant to come in the name of Christ, to love one another as He loved us. All of this may happen while the world continues its quests for great empires, in the same way John the Baptist and those followers lived in a world ruled by Herod. But if, instead, the Modern Christians are biting one another in modern systems of Corban that make them merchandise and if they curse children under endless debt by supporting the covenant for the modern version of Roman's government, then they take His name in vain, and they are workers of iniquity.
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- Matthew 6:20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. 22 The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. 23 But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!
- Mark 10:21 Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.
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- Exodus 23:32 Thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor with their gods.
- Deuteronomy 7:2 And when the LORD thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them:
- Judges 2:2 And ye shall make no league with the inhabitants of this land; ye shall throw down their altars: but ye have not obeyed my voice: why have ye done this?
- Luke 22:25 And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve. 27 For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth. 28 Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations. 29 And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me;
- Lycurgus banned gold or silver money and instead, replaced it with money made of iron and lead.
- "Think of it, the Romans were daring to confiscate the most sacred thing the Jews possessed, the gold piled up in their temples! At that time, as now, money was their god. On the road to Damascus, St. Paul discovered that he could succeed in ruining the Roman State by causing the principle to triumph of the equality of all men before a single God — and by putting beyond the reach of the laws his private notions, which he alleged to be divinely inspired. If, into the bargain, one succeeded in imposing one man as the representative on earth of the only God, that man would possess boundless power." Adolf Hitler. Midday 21 October 1941; pp. 76-77. Entry made by Martin Bormann personally, according to Werner Jochmann. Hitler's Table Talk (German: Tischgespräche im Führerhauptquartier) is the title given to a series of World War II monologues delivered by Adolf Hitler, which were transcribed from 1941 to 1944.
- The word treasury is gazofulakion or gazophulakion 1) “a repository of treasure, especially of public treasure, a treasury” or “guarded vault or chamber.” "It is used to describe the apartments constructed in the courts of the temple, in which the not only the sacred offerings and things needful for the service were kept, but in which the priests, etc, dwelt: #Ne 13:7; of the sacred treasury in which not only treasure but also public records were stored, and the property of widows and orphans was deposited. Josephus speaks of treasuries in the women’s court of Herod’s temple. In the N.T. near the treasury seems to used of that receptacle mentioned by the rabbis to which were fitted thirteen chests or boxes, i.e. trumpets, so called from their shape, and into which were put the contributions made voluntarily or paid yearly by the Jews for the service of the temple and the support of the poor."
- Mark 11:16 “And would not suffer that any man should carry [any] vessel through the temple.”
- Salome- Alexandra (about 78 BC), that the Pharisaical party, being then in power, had carried an enactment by which the Temple tribute was to be enforced at law. Alfred Edersheim’s book The Temple.
- "kollubistes, (i.q. a. a small coin, cf. Clipped; b. rate of exchange, premium), a money-changer, banker: Mt.xxi. 12; Mk. Xi. 15; Jn.ii. 15." Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, page 353.
- New Unger’s Bible Dictionary
- 1 Chr. 9:22 “All these [which were] chosen to be porters in the gates [were] two hundred and twelve. These were reckoned by their genealogy in their villages, whom David and Samuel the seer did ordain in their set office.”
- 5132 trapeza trapeza AV-table 13, bank 1, meat 1; 15 1) a table. Trapeza is the Greek word for bank and is translated bank in Luke 19:23.
- : Acts 11:29 Then the disciples, every man according to his ability, determined to send relief unto the brethren which dwelt in Judaea:
- Acts 6:1 ¶ And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration.
- 1 Corinthians 16:1 ¶ Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. 2 Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.
- 2 Corinthians 9:12 For the administration of this service not only supplieth the want of the saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgivings unto God;
- 2 Corinthians 9:13 Whiles by the experiment of this ministration <1248> they glorify God for your professed subjection unto the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal distribution unto them, and unto all men;
- 2 Corinthians 11:8 I robbed other churches, taking wages of them, to do <1248> you service <1248>.
- Revelation 2:19 I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last [to be] more than the first.
- 1049 ~γαζοφυλάκιον~ gazophulakion \@gad-zof-oo-lak’-ee-on\@ from 1047 and 5438; ; n n AV-treasury 5; 5 1) a repository of treasure, especially of public treasure, a treasury.
- 2878 ~κορβᾶν~ korban \@kor-ban’\@ of Hebrew and Aramaic origin; n m AV-treasury 1, corban 1; 2 1) a gift offered (or to be offered) to God 2) the sacred treasury
- To be righteous is " acting in accord with divine or moral law " and in the Greek text it means " in a broad sense: state of him who is as he ought to be, righteousness, the condition acceptable to God " The word "ought" is the auxiliary verb "used to express duty or moral obligation."
- Leviticus 25:35 And if thy brother be waxen poor, and fallen in decay with thee; then thou shalt relieve him: yea, though he be a stranger, or a sojourner; that he may live with thee.
- Ezekiel 16:49 Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.
- Matthew 19:21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.
- Luke 18:22 Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.