Part 2 Investing in Diana
The word ekklesia is not always translated into “Church”. One source of confusion is because ekklesia is not a proper name, but a descriptive noun. Wycliffe calls all ekklesias “churche”, while, Tyndale always calls them “congregation”.
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 in context where the Bible was speaking of a governmental assembly in Ephesus, not the religious body of Christ. 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].
For ye have brought hither these men, which are neither robbers of churches, nor yet blasphemers of your goddess. Acts 19:37
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 legus1 ,which is the Latin word that deals with “binding together”, from which we get words like “legal” and “legislate”. “Sacred” is defined as “dedicated to or set apart for the worship…” And worship2 has to do with “allegiance” and “homage”. Our understanding of such terms is different than their meaning at the time the Bible was written.
What was this “church” that claimed to have been robbed by these “Christians”? The assembly at Ephesus was fashioned according to the doctrines of Diana, e.g. Artemus in the Asiatic traditions. It’s center was a massive temple similar in design to the front of the US treasury. It could seat over 24,000 people. Each of its 127 columns had been contributed by a different king, as 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 bank more than a religious institution. 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.
It also provided social insurance through a system of Qurban or as an underwriter. 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 national and international basis. It was not unlike the World Bank or IMF.
This reference to a temple as a bank is not uncommon. The temples in Egypt acted much like a bank: issuing script, coining forms of usurious money, making loans, and collecting interest. These temples of ancient times also acted as investment houses for mining, trade, and even military ventures. Great returns could be had with such investments in temples like Janus and Diana. Governments, like any other business, had a need for banks.
Temples also acted as welfare systems for the poor in order to gain popularity among the common man. The contributions guaranteed a social security in case of disability, or even old age, relieving the family of that responsibility. The patrons of the temples were the assembly of its members, who would often meet to decide terms and matters of the business of the temple. The Temple of Diana could seat over 24,000 investors, or their representatives, at one time, which included smaller member banks or kirke.
No one suspected these Christians of breaking into the vault of Diana’s treasury, but it was clear that they were considered a threat. This idea becomes less strange to our thinking when we realize that the tables that Jesus turned over in the Golden Temple of Herod were also “banks”3 and the moneychangers were part of the national bankers' or royal treasury.
Those ministers did not steal the money from Diana’s bank vault, but they stole the hearts and souls of the people in that centralized and usurious pagan system. This was affecting revenue, which required a steady increase of investors to thrive.
Judea had also adopted the Roman system of Qurban, called in the Bible, Corban. This required funds to be contributed to care for the people. These funds did not sit idle, but were invested to create a profitable return. Like any tontine system of entitlements, new funds were always coming in to pay for any entitlement demands made on the temple, while invested funds were still at work. Great profits could be had, vast sums crossed the temple’s tables, administrative fees were collected. Public buildings, including temples, were built in other parts of the world with surplus. With guaranteed revenue, soon borrowing against the future was possible. If investment money dried up, an economic depression, or even a panic, was likely.
The need for a social systems of welfare and security have always been a part of society. It is the left hand of governance. The Levites were vested with this office and the Porters or Gatekeepers of the Old Testament managed the funds of that different kind of system. It was not based on centralized wealth or power, but a network of charity and service.
For centuries, this left hand of government had been chosen by the people in patterns of tens. Ten families choose one minister, ten ministers choose one minister, so on and so forth. Most charity was handled locally. The greatest servants of servants worked at more national needs, calling for grander contributions. This network of tens, hundreds, and thousands were not restricted to centralized temples and mountains for their daily worship and offerings. They could attend local needs or national problems quickly and efficiently. Investment was in the people themselves, which was the treasure of the nation.
Simply by withdrawing support, a minister could be terminated by his immediate constituency who maintained that right. There was no top-down authority or entrenched appointees. There was no going up by steps nor centralization of any national common purse.
The right hand of government was to protect all from lawbreakers, both domestic and foreign. In the days when there was no king in Israel, every man did according to his own God-given conscience.4 Israel was a nation of freemen; God was their king.5 Every household was a part of the neighborhood watch, the jural courts, and the national militia.
1lex, legis, See “Law vs Legal” or “The Covenants of the gods”
2 See Appendix 3 What is worship
3The word for “table” of the moneychangers which Jesus overthrew is the same word for “bank” in Luke 19:23 In the Greek today the word trapezia still means bank. Bank is from the Italian banca meaning bench.
4Jud 17:6 In those days [there was] no king in Israel, [but] every man did [that which was] right in his own eyes.
51 Samuel 12:12 … ye said … a king shall reign over us: when the LORD your God [was] your king.