Silver Coins

“Consecrate to me every firstborn male…..whether human or animal” (Exodus 13:2)

In the days of the Temple, shekels were used in a ceremony called the Pidyon Ha Ben.  A strange phrase to us, but not to God or the Hebrews.  The phrase means the Redemption of the Son.  So, what was that about?  God had told the Hebrews that the first fruits of the harvest belonged to him.  Whether they came from the soil or from a tree.  He also told them that the first born of animals belonged to him.  Furthermore, God commanded that the firstborn males were to be his as well.  The first fruits represented the entire harvest.  The first born of animals represented the entire flock.  The firstborn male was a representation of all who were to follow.  All first fruits or firstborn were considered holy and needed to be dedicated to the Lord.  That is why they were all brought to the Temple of the Lord.

So, what happened to all the first fruits and firstborn once they were brought to the Temple?  The fruits were a gift to the priests for consumption.  The firstborn animals were sacrificed.  But what about the firstborn sons?  Those sons were to belong to the Temple, and therefore placed into the priesthood.  That does not necessarily mean that they stayed and lived in the Temple all their lives.  (Although, that was true for Samuel in the Old Testament).  Usually, those sons did not stay at the Temple because they were redeemed back by their father.  But he had to pay a redemption price of silver coins to the priests.  It is that redemption price that was referred to as the Pidyon Ha Ben. 

This practice of Pidyon Ha Ben became very significant in Christ’s life.  As Passover drew near to what would become known as Passion Week, the priests of the Temple plotted Jesus’ death.  Their sinister plan involved getting one of Jesus’ disciples to turn him over to them at a set time.  They did so by paying that disciple thirty pieces of silver.  Have you ever wondered where those thirty pieces of silver came from?  They came from the Temple treasury, the treasury that for ages had been filled with the silver coins from the Pidyon Ha Ben.  For the first time in the history of the Temple, the priesthood spent some of those silver coins from the Temple treasury to purchase a human life.  But here is the important thing about this transaction.  Colossians 1:15 tells us that Jesus Christ was “the firstborn of all creation.”  That means that without being aware of it, the priests were, in effect, returning the ransom money of the Pidyon Ha Ben, by purchasing the firstborn Son of God with their silver coins.  This tells us how much these priests hated the Messiah.  

But God had a higher plan.  Once the priests paid Judas to betray the Messiah with silver coins from the Temple treasury, the Messiah became the possession of the priests, just as once a father paid the Pidyon Ha Ben, the firstborn belonged to him.  That transaction then meant that Jesus was purchased by the priests into the priesthood.  That is very significant, because Hebrews chapter 4 tells us that Jesus Christ is our great high priest.   Therefore, when Christ died on the cross, he was offered up as our high priest.  All it took on the part of mankind to place Jesus Christ into the position of Priest were a few silver coins seized from the Temple treasury by a few Priests whose hearts were full of hatred.  Thus, without knowing it, their hatred for Christ fulfilled the prophecy of Jesus priesthood.