By Walid & Theodore Shoebat
Outside of the edifice where the children of Abraham were to spill the blood of lambs for propitiation, there stood a precinct hundreds of yards wide, a place divinely made to be one of prayer. But contemplation was not exhorted for, but rather exploitation. For in the premises of the foreigner, the shekel was honored above humanity. The ones who led this whole enterprise were like those who were making the shekel great, and falsifying the balances by deceit (Amos 8:5), and they were using the devotion of people to extort them to trading their Roman coins for a Temple currency, leveraging religious obligation for profit and gain. As all of this exploitation was taking place, a lowly carpenter was making his way when He spotted a fig tree. He approached the tree hoping to find some fruit, but instead he was only met with leaves. “Let no one eat fruit from you ever again.” (Mark 11:14) A tree without fruit He saw, and soon He was to see an elite that bore not fruit, but rather had armed themselves with the force of extortion, exploitation and tribalism.
This man, the Christ — being the fullness of Humanity and Divinity in the eternal Hypostatic Union — approached this very place specifically to overthrow the tyrannical policy of exploitation. “Jesus went into the temple and began to drive out those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves.” After he toppled the tables of currency exchange, He would not allow anyone to carry wares through the temple. (Mark 11:16) The divine wood worker then declared:
“Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’ ” (Mark 11:17)
Here we have a great divide being expressed by the Wisdom of God, between those who are for universalism and those who are for nationalism. The spirit of Catholicity is here manifest, for the etymology of the word Catholic signifies universal. Whereas with the other side, the side of currency fixation, there was an insidious obsession with keeping things confined to the tribe in the spirit of a zeal to the children of Israel (2 Samuel 21:2). In this disposition of viscous tribalism lied an aversion to the universality of humanity, perceiving it as a threat to the position of the material Israel while ignoring the eternal significance of Israel as a light to the world. “For,” writes Solovyov, “the idea of a nation is not what it thinks of itself in time, but instead what God thinks of it in eternity.” (Russian Idea, intro, p. xxi)
They did not perceive their nation through the eyes of Heaven, but rather through the fleshy eyes of tribalist egoism. They saw themselves as with the eyes of Samson when he could see and was taken by Delilah, and not through the spiritual eyes of Samson before he pulled down the pillars of the pagan temple. They had this disdain for a house of prayer for all nations, and this was seen when they raged against Christ saying, “Look, the world has gone after Him!” (Luke 12:19) As soon as John presents this quote he then recounts:
“Now there were certain Greeks among those who came up to worship at the feast. Then they came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida of Galilee, and asked him, saying, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” (John 12:20-21)
In the midst of foreigners who came to Christ, there were the tribalists enraged in their cult of regionalism. These would be the same people who would have Christ murdered on the altar of egoism. In their tribalist pride, they watched as Christ was scourged, forced to haul the heavy wood up to the hill for His execution, and crucified. While they stood with their pride impervious to the horrors of their own contriving, they hated the man Who called for the Temple to be a house of prayer for all nations. This exhortation for the universal spirit was truly a revolution to topple the despotism of a mobbish society ruled by an oligarchical elite. To reference Fulton Sheen, Christ’s phenomenal action towards a universality of worship was a revolutionary concept that must have deeply stirred the spirit of universalism (Life of Christ, ch. 34, p. 380) The overturning of the tables was a revolutionary action towards the liberation from a religion of profit and currency speculation and a exploitive cult of tribalism, for a spiritual universality under the kingship of Christ.
The exploitation of the foreigners is clear in the recounting of the Gospel about Christ’s attack on the money changers when He told them ye have made it a den of thieves (Matthew 21:13). This line was a reference to what was written in the Book of Jeremiah, in which God warned the Hebrews that if they ceased abusing foreigners then He would allow them to remain in the Temple:
“For if you thoroughly amend your ways and your doings, if you thoroughly execute judgment between a man and his neighbor, if you do not oppress the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place, or walk after other gods to your hurt, then I will cause you to dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers forever and ever.” (Jeremiah 7:5-7)
The text then reads:
“Has this house, which is called by My name, become a den of thieves in your eyes? Behold, I, even I, have seen it,” says the Lord.” (Jeremiah 7:11)
Jeremiah, his soul enflamed with the zeal of sublime inspiration, retold these declarations to Israel, and he was eventually murdered by his own countrymen. Christ revolted against the totalitarian ways of the pharisaical elite, and He too was murdered by His own tribe. Nationalism is only enjoyed by those who tout the party line, it can never extend its brotherly camaraderie to those who strive to correct the nation; for the nation that isolates itself in selfishnesses rejects the eternal commission of being a light to the globe, since being a light means a forsaking of state worship and hypocrisy.
Sycophancy and professional exaggeration was most definitely exhibited in the mobbish trial of Christ. Christ spoke of the Kingdom of Heaven, and these deceivers used this to tell Pilate that He was planning a revolution against the kingdom of the Caesar. They took something that was truly said and inflated it for a false accusation, filled with hysteria about sedition. Every tyranny has the use of political exaggerations about national security as its foundation for unjust policies. This truly was witnessed in the trial of Christ when the elites of Judea hollered about Christ being an enemy of the Caesar who they exalted as their only king:
From then on Pilate sought to release Him, but the Jews cried out, saying, “If you let this Man go, you are not Caesar’s friend. Whoever makes himself a king speaks against Caesar.”
When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus out and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called The Pavement, but in Hebrew, Gabbatha. Now it was the Preparation Day of the Passover, and about the sixth hour. And he said to the Jews, “Behold your King!”
But they cried out, “Away with Him, away with Him! Crucify Him!”
Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?”
The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar!” (John 19:12—15)
They rejected Christ as their King, and instead chose a king who called himself divine. They were possessed by the same spirit that possessed the Hebrews in the time of Samuel to whom they cried about how much they wanted a king. They did not want God to be their King, but rather they preferred Saul, a king who would slaughter the priests of God, consulted a witch, and later commit suicide after being defeated by the Philistines. “Saul took a sword, and fell upon it.” (1 Samuel 31:4)
As Saul committed suicide, so the Jews who rejected Christ would commit mass suicide in the siege of Masada, being like Judas who hanged himself. It was this very Saul who slaughtered the Canaanites of Gibeon in his zeal for the children of Israel and Judah. (2 Samuel 21:2) In the cause of nationalism did Saul spill innocent blood in a policy of ethnic genocide. He butchered innocent Canaanites, the very people of whose tribe Melchizedek was a member. And it was the Order of Melchizedek of which Christ was a priest. “You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek.” (Psalm 110:4) The tribalist sentiment of a group that confines itself to its ethnicity and rejects humanity was not upheld by the universal spirit of God, but rather it was rejected. Christ’s priesthood was not the one of the Levites, but of a Canaanite chief (to reference Josephus) named Melchizedek who was the king of pre-exodus Jerusalem.
When Israel suffered under a plague, the nation found redemption through a sacrifice made on the land owned by a Canaanite, Araunah the Jebusite. Why has my lord the king come to his servant?” asked Araunah when he saw his king approach him. And David said, “To buy the threshing floor from you, to build an altar to the Lord, that the plague may be withdrawn from the people.” But Araunah was selfless: “Let my lord the king take and offer up whatever seems good to him. Look, here are oxen for burnt sacrifice, and threshing implements and the yokes of the oxen for wood.” The sacrifice was made on the land of a Canaanite, and redemption came to Israel. (2 Samuel 24) Through the sacrifice made on the land of a Canaanite is Israel saved; through the self-sacrifice of a priest of the order of a Canaanite, is mankind saved.
Redemption is not confined to one tribe. Through a foreigner is man saved, for the love of foreigners was an expression of redemptive love. If you do not oppress the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place, or walk after other gods to your hurt, then I will cause you to dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers forever and ever. (Jeremiah 7:6-7) To remain in the Temple is to reject tribalism; but because of the egoism of the Jews — which was demonstrated in their rejection of the Messiah — the Temple was destroyed. But Christ is the Temple, but they rejected Him, leaving the tent of Shem. But the tent was inhabited by others, foreigners not of the posterity of Shem. “May God enlarge Japheth, And may he dwell in the tents of Shem” (Genesis 9:27). Remember what St. Paul told the Jews: “Therefore let it be known to you that the salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will hear it!” (Acts 28:28) The obstinance of the Jews was untouched by the sufferings of their Messiah, but the minds of the Gentiles were open to knowing the truth.
Most of the Jews rejected Christ, just as a majority of Israel rejected David and chose Absalom. “So Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel.” (2 Samuel 15:6) “The hearts of the men of Israel are with Absalom.” (2 Samuel 15:13) More loyal than any of these Hebrews were a group of foreigners:
“Then all his servants passed before him; and all the Cherethites, all the Pelethites, and all the Gittites, six hundred men who had followed him from Gath, passed before the king.
Then the king said to Ittai the Gittite, “Why are you also going with us? Return and remain with the king. For you are a foreigner and also an exile from your own place. In fact, you came only yesterday. Should I make you wander up and down with us today, since I go I know not where? Return, and take your brethren back. Mercy and truth be with you.”
But Ittai answered the king and said, “As the Lord lives, and as my lord the king lives, surely in whatever place my lord the king shall be, whether in death or life, even there also your servant will be.”
So David said to Ittai, “Go, and cross over.” Then Ittai the Gittite and all his men and all the little ones who were with him crossed over.” (2 Samuel 15:18-22)
As it was foreigners who followed David while most of his countrymen rejected him, so it was mainly gentiles who followed Christ while most of His fellow Jews rejected Him. In both of these stories we find universality triumphing over the vanity of egoism. The war between those who want all nations to be together in the house of prayer and that den of thieves is still ongoing with the latter’s denouement always in defeat and self-destruction.