The Temple in Jerusalem was built for a holy and wonderful purpose. When Solomon built and dedicated the First Temple he prayed:
“..Whatever prayer and supplication is made by any man, or by all your people Israel, who shall each know the plague of his own heart, and spread forth his hands toward this house: then hear in heaven, your dwelling place, and forgive, and do, and render to every man according to all his ways, whose heart you know; (for you, even you only, know the hearts of all the children of men;) that they may fear you all the days that they live in the land which you gave to our fathers. “Moreover concerning the foreigner, who is not of your people Israel, when he shall come out of a far country for your name’s sake (for they shall hear of your great name, and of your mighty hand, and of your outstretched arm); when he shall come and pray toward this house; hear in heaven, your dwelling place, and do according to all that the foreigner calls to you for; that all the peoples of the earth may know your name, to fear you, as do your people Israel, and that they may know that this house which I have built is called by your name." 1 Kings 8:37-43
The Temple was called by the name of the one and only True God. It was a place of worship for all the people of the world - not just Israel. When the Temple of Solomon was no longer functioning in a way to fulfill that purpose, it was destroyed. Later, a Second Temple was built by an earnest remnant for the same original purpose. Hundreds of years later that Second Temple was expanded and rebuilt by King Herod.
It is more than odd that the Temple in Jerusalem of New Testament times was built, I should say, totally refurbished and up-scaled, by an Edomite, not a natural Jew. Herod is said to have started the building of the Temple in 19 BC, and its construction continued for at least 46 years. History agrees with the Scriptures, that Herod was a vile and greedy murderer of unbounded political ambition. He treated the Jews of his kingdom, whom he ruled with an iron hand, with disdain. He hated the God of Israel and tried his hardest to murder the Messiah, killing many innocents in the process. I could go on, listing many more grievous sins of Herod, but this is already more than enough to cause us to wonder: why would a thoroughly diabolical figure such as Herod rebuild and beautify the Temple of God?
Herod was indeed a great builder. He sponsored a number of very impressive building projects, including his own palace. Yet, none of these could rival the matchless splendor of the 37-acre Temple complex of Herod, capable of servicing the worship needs of millions of people every year. Josephus calls the Temple “the most glorious of all his” building projects (Ant 15.380). The great size and splendor of that Temple complex suggests that rebuilding the Temple was more than fulfilling some sort of political duty for Herod. From the Mount of Olives on the east, approaching pilgrims viewed in wonder the grand spectacle of the Temple Mount (Har Habayit). The presence of the Sanctuary and especially the Temple was emphasized by large pillars of smoke rising from the sacrifices during the day and great flames of fire during the evening and night, with the aroma of the burning sacrifices filling the air. Worshippers came from all over the Empire to worship there, at The House of God, in Jerusalem.
Josephus, an eye-witness, describes the mystical sight:
Now the outward face of the Temple in its front ..was covered all over with plates of gold of great weight. Thus, at the first rising of the sun, it reflected back a very fiery splendor, causing those who forced themselves to look upon it to turn their eyes away, just as they would have done at the sun’s own rays. But this Temple appeared to strangers, when they were at a distance, like a mountain covered with snow. For, as to those parts of it that were not gilt, they were exceedingly white. On its top it had spikes with sharp points, to prevent any pollution of it by birds sitting upon it. ( War 5.222-23)
A Temple was a must. The Torah required every Israelite man to make a pilgrimage to the Temple three times each year, at Passover, Shavuot, and Sukkot (Deut. 16:16-17, Exod. 23:14). The 1st century custom for those living outside of Israel, was at least one pilgrimage per lifetime, but preferably more. Those who lived close enough were to make the pilgrimage at least once per year. Besides donations and offerings, taxes and tithes were coupled with the worship of these millions of pilgrims at the Temple. A fee for entering the Temple increased the take of the moneychangers. Also, the Temple Tax of a half-shekel was required of each male, every year, from Jews all over the known world, from as far as Adiabene in the east to Spain in the west.
By now you have probably figured out why Herod invested so much in the Temple. While Herod and his elite cared not at all for the Great Name, or for the prayers and worship of people everywhere, they did care about the Temple. To them it represented the greatest money-making and prestige-raising franchise in all the world. Year after year they just kept getting richer from the religious cash cow known as the Temple of Herod.
They had turned the Temple of YHWH into a a wildly lucrative religious scam, and they could not even imagine how their religious gravy-train could ever come to an end. This was their recklessly irreverent state of mind when their stewardship of His Holy Temple came under inspection.
"Yeshua entered Yerushalayim, went into the Temple courts and took a good look at everything.." Mark 11:11 CJB
The King that Herod had tried and failed to kill had come into the Temple courts of Jerusalem, to closely inspect what was going on there. Following His inspection, He informed them that judgment would fall upon them "because you didn’t know the time of your visitation.” While that warning fell upon deaf ears, the terrible judgment He promised did come, and all of the guilty were severely punished for their evil deeds - and all of this is established in history. (Luke 19:44)
Solomon said "there is nothing new under the sun." Religious scams are still being perpetrated on earnest worshippers - often by people who should know better. Here are a few examples of people who have made huge sums from religion, from the internet article, Cashing In On Church: The Richest Mega Pastors in America [http: //www. trend-chaser.com/money/richest-mega-pastors-america/]
Janice Crouch was the daughter
of a Georgia pastor. She met and married Paul Crouch in 1957 and joined her
husband in the ministry. They teamed up with Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker to
establish the Trinity Broadcasting Network. TBN would eventually become the
largest Christian television network in the country.
Crouch was highly criticized for how she spent her network’s windfall. Crouch’s granddaughter accused her of squandering money on such luxuries as homes, private jets, and expensive wigs. Crouch died in 2016, at the age of 78, after a stroke. At the time of her passing, the network was embroiled in several lawsuits. One involved a rape and others were over financial issues. Crouch’s fortune at the time of her death was $50 million. Crouch’s son Matthew now has control over Trinity’s assets, which according to a recent tax return are now worth more than $1 billion.
Leroy Jenkins Ministries And Miracle Water
Although he was known for much
of his life as a con-artist and convicted criminal, he began Leroy Jenkins
Ministries in the 1960s anyway. He used a “miracle water” to help heal his
followers. In 2003, his ministry was hit with a big scandal when it was
discovered that the “miracle water” contained harmful chemicals (coliform
After being fined a mere $200 for selling the water without a license to do so, Jenkins took his ministry and moved to Arizona. His ministry is still located in Scottsdale. He has a musical inclination and has released many Gospel albums over the course of his ministry career. His rumored $4 million fortune continues to grow as he continues to work as an internationally recognized televangelist. A biographical film about Jenkins,The Calling, was released in 2002. Interestingly, there is a “World of Warcraft” character with the name “Leeroy Jenkins.”
Popoff was born in Berlin in
1946 and fled with his family to California at a young age. He completed his
studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and settled down in
1970. He quickly moved into television ministry where his energetic and
aggressive messages were broadcast all throughout the United States. He
became famous as a faith healer who would yell, “break free of the devil” to
some of his sickest followers.
His claims have included cures for anxiety, depression, heart conditions, and even paralysis. In mid-1980s his methods were questioned and he admitted the miracles were a hoax. He left the spotlight for 10 years but then returned to allegedly continue his shenanigans. Popoff owns a $4.5 million home in Bradbury, California, and is said to be worth a cool $10 million. He drives a Mercedez-Benz and a Porsche.
Robert Tilton was one of the architects of the televangelism and infomercials movement in the 1990s. The Texas native found much of his early success on a religious program called “Success-N-Life.” His program was set up like an infomercial meant to convince viewers to buy into his vision. The popular series was eventually broadcast in over 200 American television markets.
The show eventually brought in $80 million in annual revenue, and he’s said to be worth $50 million now. In 1991 “Primetime Live” investigated his fundraising methods and quickly accused the national television star of exploiting vulnerable people. His staff would supposedly throw away prayer requests and keep any donations.
Of course, there are many more examples.
What Luke 11 and history shows us is that there is a day of divine inspection, and where appropriate a day of judgment that follows upon those who exploit the Word of God for their own personal enrichment. Like those perpetrating the Temple scam in 1st Century Jerusalem, the scammers never seem to see that day coming, until it is too late.
Many are turned off by the religious scammers. However, they don't and never did, represent the God they claim to worship. As happened with the Temple, so today - to clear His Name He must bring judgment upon the religious scammers. The inspection has already occurred. The terrible judgment is coming soon.
Join us tonight at 8 PM CST at Tsiyon.Net for our online meeting. Consider the lesson from Mark 11.
From Eliyahu: In our last newsletter we reprinted an article revealing facts about some of the leaders of Christianity in America. A number of our readers appreciated that, so we are going to continue publishing news articles for a while, on more of the big names of Christianity in America.
Joel Osteen’s Church Has a $90 Million Annual Budget
Mega-pastor Joel Osteen may not know theology very well, but he sure knows how to rake in the bucks. To put it another way, Osteen is an expert at getting your down-on-their-luck relatives to hand over their money to his "ministry." The proof is in the pudding, so they say, because the Houston Chronicle is reporting that Lakewood Church's annual budget is around 90 million dollars a year.
Lakewood Church's fiscal budget was revealed during the newspaper's series titled "The Preacher's Son." The series "explores the origins and spectacular growth of Houston's Lakewood Church under pastor Joel Osteen." However, the Chronicle and writer Katherine Blunt decided to run a separate piece breaking down the church's budget.
According to the article, here's a rough breakdown of how Lakewood Church uses that 90 million dollar budget:
Weekly services and programs: $31.7 million
Night of Hope events: $6.7 million
TV ministry: $25.1 million
General and administrative: $11.5 million
Fundraising: $11.9 million
Mission and outreach: $1.2 million
There are two related things that I find sad, albeit not surprising, about how Osteen and company spend their many millions. Most of that big pile of money is spent on furthering Osteen's brand while a tiny fraction of it is spent on evangelizing the lost. And by a tiny fraction, I mean just a bit over 1 percent.
With 90 million dollars at their disposal, it's disgusting that a church that professes to believe and teach the Bible only manages to give 1.2 million dollars to missions and outreach.
Before ascending back to heaven, Jesus' final earthly command to his disciples was to go and preach the gospel and make more disciples. Lakewood Church's budget proves that Osteen's priorities are not Jesus' priorities. When looking at the budget, and while that measly 1.2 million dollars for missions and outreach is staring at you, it's nigh unto impossible to deny that Osteen is more concerned about Osteen than he is about seeing lost souls saved. As the Houston Chronicle pointed out in another article,
Lakewood Church is a sophisticated business enterprise. That's been a big part of Osteen's success: his adept use of corporate-style marketing and brand-building. His message is available on almost every possible platform – TV, radio, social media, books, magazines, merchandise. Even more striking is the size of the market for this product. It's a simple philosophy with a very diverse appeal.
To be clear, when the Houston Chronicle refers to Osteen's "message," they're not talking about the gospel of Jesus Christ that reveals how lost sinners can be reconciled back to their Creator God by repenting of their sins and placing their faith in Jesus. No, by Osteen's "message" the Chronicle is referring to his prosperity gospel that takes advantage of hurting people.
God hasn't called His people to live their best life now. He's called His people to take up their cross and follow Jesus, expecting persecution and hardship. On the final day of the Lord when Jesus returns, that's when Christians' "best life now" will begin.
Lakewood Church's budget is further proof that Joel Osteen is a wolf preying on Christians. His concern is for his brand and making sure the show goes on. Pouring money into reaching lost sinners around the globe is barely a blip on Osteen's radar as evidenced by the amount of money allocated to missions.
Our first parents Adam and Eve failed to run from the first false prophet named Satan in the Garden of Eden. Christians should be warning people to run from Joel Osteen, who is one of Satan's most successful false prophets.
See: Darwinian Evolution Junk Science. This series is excellent for every person who has, or may have, someone in their life who has been influenced by Evolution. When your friends consider where this idea of Evolution came from, and the misery and death it has caused, they will be shocked and repulsed by it - and we hope, will want to know the truth about where we all really came from. Don't miss this series! It will be available to all Tsiyon members at Tsiyon.Net, along with other special content, for a limited time. Sign-up is free, so invite your friends to view this now, during this introductory showing period.
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