(Back to Teachings)


The treasure room of the Temple

by Jean-Louis Coraboeuf

"Jesus spoke these words while speaking in the temple near the place where the offerings were put" (John 8:20 NIV).

Jesus came to Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot) and taught in the Temple. It was the last day of the feast, literally "on the last and greatest day of the feast" (John 7:37). This day is called Hoshana Rabbah, that is to say "Great Salvation".

Hoshana Rabbah

This day is the high point of the feast for, during the seven preceding days, a priest had carried water in a golden pitcher, from the pool at Siloam to the Temple for final ceremony (the last day) led by the High Priest. This water symbolised the prayers which would start on this day and the Holy Spirit which would be poured out on the people of Israel.

On this day, the High Priest must pour out the water into the bowl of the Temple while the players blew the golden trumpets, the Levites chanted hymns and the pilgrims waved palm branches and sang praises, this psalm "O Lord save us [Hebrew word Hoshana]! O Lord grant us success. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord (that is The Messiah). From the house of the Lord we bless you. The Lord is God and he has made his light shine upon us" (Psalm 118:25-27). It was the day of prayers for the redemption of sins, for the salvation of God's people.

Jesus chose this day then to stand in the Temple and shout "If a man is thirsty let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me as the Scriptures has said streams of living water will flow from within him" (John 7:37-38), so "By this he meant the Spirit whom those who believe in him were later to receive" (John 7:39). Then Jesus spoke again "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in the darkness but will have the light of life" (John 8:12). And he testified to himself "You do not know me or my father. If you know me you would know my father also" (John 8:19).

The place where the treasure was

In order to know exactly what Jesus was doing it is necessary to put aside the verses from John 7:53 to John 8:11 (put in brackets in some versions) which cut in half the narrative of what Jesus was doing in the Temple.

It is written that Jesus stood in "the place where the treasure was", literally "the public treasure room". It was a place open to the public, but under the surveillance of guards. Jesus stood there in this solemn day, in the place where the pilgrims came to leave their offerings, their gold, and to join in the feast. It is there that he fulfilled a prophetic act, he filled the treasure room of the Temple, with Truth by proclaiming "I AM" (John 8:28), and many believed in him (John 8:30). It is why he said to them, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free" (John 8:31-32).

An exchange of treasures

Jesus, who saw the pilgrims come and put their offerings in the treasure room said to them "Come and put your human treasure in the Temple, and take anew this treasure that I offer, the living water of my Spirit (John 7:37-39), the Light of life (John 8:12), and the knowledge of God the Father (John 8:13-29)". It is how he proposes to fill our living temple (1 Corinthians 6:19) with the treasures of God which will change our life. Isn't it what he as already said about prayer: "When you pray, go into your room (tameion, place where you have your treasures), close the door and pray to your Father who is unseen. Then your Father who sees what is done in secret, will reward [apidomi, give back, return, give as compensation] you" (Matthew 6:6).

It was the culminating point of the feast, the Chief Priest offered the expiation of the sins of the past year, an act to be repeated without ceasing, and Jesus offered to be "the Way" which leads to eternal life, once for all. It is why he explained these things very clearly:

  • I am the Light of the world,

  • I am the Way which leads to the Heavenly Father,

  • I will send you the awaited Holy Spirit.

We therefore always have the choice to lay down our personal treasures at Jesus' feet and receive God's treasures through Him. On this important day of the Feast of Tabernacles, many believed in Jesus (John 8:30). Hoshana Rabbah was considered the day of the last chance to see sins forgiven and to receive the assurance of having one's name written in the Book of Life. Jesus is our last chance, the only one who enables us to receive forgiveness for our sins and to see our name written in the Book of Life.

At Rosh-Hashana (the first day of the Jewish year), the Jews "ask to be written in the Book of Life" (see Revelation 20:12), and at Yom-Kippur (the day of Great Forgiveness, being 10 days after Rosh-Hashana), they hope that the inscription will be "sealed"; however according to Jewish Tradition, there still remains an opportunity of forgiveness until Hoshana Rabbah. But in accepting Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord, all is accomplished in a permanent way. Hallelujah!

(Back to Teachings)