In Matthew 21 verses 12 & 13, God teaches a very important lesson related to the true gospel. In the story, Jesus has entered the temple and proceeded to cast out all who sold and bought in the temple. Jesus overthrew the tables of the money-changers and the seats of them that sold doves.
No doubt, these people that sold and bought in the temple believed they were doing some "good deed" on behalf of those that visited the temple of God. They surely believed their activities were righteous in the eyes of the chief priests and scribes in so far as they allowed the buying and selling. These people were much like the man that was found picking up a few sticks on the Sabbath day. He didn't believe there was any harm or any violation of God's commandment; that there was to be no work on the Sabbath. We find this story in Numbers 15 verses 32 to 36.
Jesus then preaches the gospel to those He expelled. He declared in verse 13 "It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves". (highlight my own). Jesus has declared that God has given His commandments regarding His temple in the Bible, or written Word, of Jesus' day. Jesus is reprimanding and reproving their activities as something unholy and unrighteous and in rebellion to God's commandments.
This is no minor violation of the Law of God. Something much more sinister is playing out here. Satan himself is at work here as we shall see as we look to God's Word to reveal great truth of this earthly story.
In I Timothy 6 verse 9 & 10, God warns that they that will be rich fall into temptations and many hurtful lusts. God teaches "For the love of money is the root of all evil". Those that covet after money have erred from the faith.
In Jeremiah 7 verses 8 to 11 God uses the phrase "a den of robbers", which is essentially the same as "a den of thieves". (highlight my own) In this passage, God tells us that not only do those that come to the temple "trust lying words", they "burn incense unto Baal, and walk after other gods whom ye know not:".
Jesus is equating "buying and selling" to listening to a false gospel and worshipping a false God.
In John 2:16b, Jesus says "...make not my Father's house an house of merchandise." No wonder God warns His people in II Peter 2:3a "And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you:".
God's "house of prayer" had become so apostate at the time of Jesus' arrival they didn't recognize the Son of God when he entered the temple (church). In Mark 11 verses 17 & 18 we find another account of the "den of thieves" and it clearly documents that the scribes and the chief priests plotted to murder Jesus. This rebellious plotting had to be perpetrated by Satan. Satan's rule in the temple was very evident then, as it is in the church of our day.
Satan appears to have overrun the church and the "true gospel" but that is not possible. It only appears that way. The "true believer" will see, with eyes of faith, that the eternal church is secure in the power of God's Word...The Bible.
Only the unsaved, who bring a "false gospel" and "burn incense unto Baal" can "buy or sell" (Rev. 13:17) in the temple (church).
Can I get a witness?