As Jesus the Christ chases the infamous merchants and the moneychangers out of God’s House, during His first Temple-cleansing act, He specifically commands the sellers of doves (birds that represent the Holy Spirit’s purity or holiness) to not convert God’s House of Prayer into an emporium (marketplace)—to not continue with their idolatrous commercialization of the Temple. To keep doing what they were doing also would make them guilty of branding their God, their Temple, and their religion.
Furthermore, even though the sellers of doves also were among the sellers of oxen and sheep who were chased out of the Temple, to the spiritually mature believers it is clear that Jesus the Christ’s direct command to the dove sellers and His overall actions point to this Divine Truth: The promised Holy Spirit would not be able to dwell or function in an unclean Temple (He neither would be able to live in nor fill up the lives of godless men and women). By drawing attention to the merchants and moneychangers’ business-like atmosphere in God’s House, Jesus the Christ also is pointing out to us their spiritual errors, for they were putting emphasis on selling and buying inside God’s sacred House while ignoring the weightier reasons for being there—prayer and worship.
Instead of focusing on their Temple prayers, devotions and worship, during God’s appointed time for glorifying, worshipping, and praising Him, these merchants and moneychangers were focused on the ways of the world. They were focused on making more money and increasing their material gain! Their badly chosen concentration was the reason why Jesus the Christ had to remind them that God’s House was supposed to be a House of Prayer, a spiritual sanctuary, instead of the commercial center these merchants and moneychangers were making of the Temple.
The Temple’s outer court (Court of the Gentiles) is where the merchants and moneychangers were allowed to set up their booths, animal pens, cages, and tables so that out-of-town Hebrews who came from far away to give their required sacrificial offerings and pay their Temple tax could do business (where they could purchase their needed sacred lambs, oxen or doves, and exchange their countries’ coins for the required half-shekel sacred currency that they must pay into the Temple treasury). It was in this court that Jesus the Christ found the crooked merchants overcharging people and the dishonest moneychangers not giving the fair exchange rate for the foreign money they received.
These corrupt men also were treating God and the Temple as if they were brands, for they (merchants and moneychangers) were using the fact that ONLY they could provide the solutions to traveling Hebrews’ Temple problems to gain their customers’ loyalty. Indeed, since the merchants and moneychangers had a monopoly on the sacred items needed for Temple prayer, worship, and devotions, which the Hebrews traveling from a distance were unable to bring with them, these Hebrews coming from remote parts of the Holy Land, and other lands, had no other option than to rely solely on these sellers and currency exchangers to provide what they wanted.
Now, at first, it was considered to be a wonderful convenience to have sellers and currency exchangers in the outer court, as many people believed that the presence of these men with their wares would make prayers to and the worship of God in the Temple easier and more rewarding. However, by the time of Jesus the Christ, the poorer Temple worshippers were being shamefully cheated. As a result, not only did the exploitation of the poor slow down and worsen worshippers’ Temple experience, but also the merchants and moneychangers’ idolatrous commercialization of the Temple and their squabbling and shouting desecrated God’s House of Prayer.
These are the reasons why Jesus the Christ chases out the unscrupulous and covetous merchants, along with their oxen, sheep and doves, and why He overturns the tables of the dishonest and avaricious moneychangers, throwing their coins to the floor. Moreover, His actions make an irrefutable statement to present-day believers, which is: Just like the Jewish Temple is God’s holy House of Prayer, and must be treated in a holy manner, believers’ bodies are holy “temples” in which the Holy Spirit lives and moves, and must be treated in a holy manner! Lastly, Jesus the Christ’s actions are why the prayer and worship services that modern day “spiritual” leaders have commercialized (applied business methods in order to make a profit for) and branded (established a significant and distinguished presence in the marketplace) are not appropriate ways to treat the Lord’s brick and mortar houses or His human “temples.” AMEN.
“And he said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise” (John 2:16, KJV).
See also my blog entries: No Longer Acceptable To Exchange And Negotiate Inside The Temple, Robbing Believers and Prejudicing ALL Ethnic Groups, and Is Begging for Money a God Anointed Spiritual Gift?