DISSECTING THE SCRIPTURES – No. 5
BY: DAVE and SHEILA GARNER
DECEMBER 14, 2007
When the Jewish Passover was near Jesus went up to Jerusalem and went into the temple. There He found people selling oxen, sheep and doves, and money brokers sitting in the temple. After He made a whip out of small cords, He drove out all of the sheep and the oxen from the temple. He poured out the broker’s money and turned over their tables and commanded the ones who sold the doves to take them out of the temple. And He said to them, “Make not my Father’s house a house of merchandise.” His disciples remembered what had been written, “The zeal of your house has eaten me up.” (Ps 69:9) (Matt 21:12-13; Mark 11:15-18; Luke 19:45-46)
The Jews began to say, “What sign (evidence) are you going to show us since you did this thing?” Jesus answered them and said, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.” Matt 12:40; 26:61; Mark 8:31; 14:58 (They were really asking Him to show them by whose authority did He chase out the animals and turn over the money changers tables)
The Jews said, “It took forty-six years to build this temple and He said He would raise it up in three days.” But this He spoke about the temple of His body, so when He rose again from the dead His disciples would remember He said this to them, and they would believe the holy writ and the words which Jesus had said.(Hosea 5:15; 6:1-3)
Now while Jesus was in Jerusalem during the Passover feast many said they believed to (into) His name (authority) after seeing the miracles He did, but Jesus did not commit (obligate, entrust) Himself to them. He already knew all about them and did not need anyone to tell Him, for He knew what was within man.
FOR COMPARISON: TRADITIONAL KJV
John 2:13-25, And the Jews’ Passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem, 14 And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting: 15 And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables; 16 And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise. 17 And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up. 18 Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things? 19 Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. 20 Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? 21 But he spake of the temple of his body. 22 When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said. 23 Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did. 24 But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, 25 And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man.
JESUS CLEANSES THE TEMPLE
We offer this observation for your consideration. Only the Gospel of John records the time of the “cleansing of the temple” as being in the early part of Jesus’ ministry, while Matthew, Mark and Luke record it as being His last visit to Jerusalem, just shortly before His crucifixion. John also records Jesus going to Jerusalem for a feast in John 5:1, 6:4, 7:1-8, and 10:22–11:56. John tells of Him going to the Passover feast on at least two occasions, and the Feast of Tabernacles on another visit. The other three gospels leave the impression that He was making one progressive journey toward Jerusalem and makes no mention of Him attending the Feast of Tabernacles or Passover except for the one prior to His crucifixion. As we compared the accounts with one another, we became increasingly convinced that the cleansing of the temple had to have taken place nearer the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, rather than near the end, as it was His cleansing of the temple which opened the door for His introduction into Jerusalem. The significance of the timing of this event is important in order to understand the events which followed; it set the course for their persecution of Him and His eventual crucifixion.
At the beginning of His earthly ministry, Jesus had primarily stayed in and around Galilee, but because it was the time of the “Feast of Passover,” He journeyed to Jerusalem, where observance of the feast was held once a year. When He made the whip and began to drive out the sheep and the oxen, none of the inhabitants of Jerusalem knew who He was, because He had not yet made Himself known to them. In contrast, when it was near the time of His crucifixion, the Jews already knew of His reputation and this is why the Gospel of John (11:53-54) records that He no longer walked openly among the Jews because they were plotting to kill Him. The buyers and sellers within the temple had no idea what Jesus was going to do when He came into the temple, and were not prepared to resist Him because He caught them by surprise. This was why He was not hindered when He ran the sheep and the oxen out of the temple and turned the money changers tables over. He could not have entered into the temple so freely had it been so late in His ministry, for they would have openly confronted Him. Even as it was after He had chased them out of the temple and turned over the money changers tables, they came to Him and asked Him to show them a sign to prove His authority for doing it. This is when He said, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up again.” Later on this statement was used against Him by the chief priest and elders, who used it to condemn Him. Matt. 26:61, Mark 14:58
2 Chronicles 29:15-16, They gathered their brethren and sanctified themselves and came by the words of the LORD, according to the commandment of the king to cleanse the house of the LORD. And the priests went into the inner part of the house of the LORD, to cleanse it. And all the uncleanness which they found in the temple of the LORD, they brought out into the court of the house of the LORD, and the Levites took it to carry it out abroad to the brook Kidron.
We can spiritualize this by only applying its meaning to what Jesus does for us when we ask Him into our hearts. When we ask Him into our hearts, He does come in and cleanse the temple (His Father’s house), whose temple we are, but He will never come into our hearts uninvited.
Luke 11:13, “If you then being evil, know to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to the ones who ask Him?”
1 Corinthians 3:11-18, “For no man can lay a different foundation beside (over, near) the one laid out, which is Jesus Christ (the anointed). And if any man builds gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay or stubble upon this foundation, everyone’s work becomes manifest (evident, revealed), for the day makes it plain by (in) the fire. The fire reveals what kind of works it is, for the fire test everyone’s works. If any of the works which he builds upon it, remains, he shall receive wages (compensations). If any of the works are burnt down, he loses them, but in this way he himself is saved by the fire. Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If any man waste (defiles, ruins) the temple of God, this man waste (defiles, ruins) God, for God’s temple is holy, whose temple you are. Let no man deceive himself, if any man among you thinks himself to be wise in this world, let him become a fool so he can become wise.”
There is a much larger picture being displayed here than just the one of us, as individuals being cleansed. The temple which Jesus ran the sheep and the oxen out of represented the whole religious system of that day. This symbol which was supposed to be representing His Father to the world had become filled with corruption by the weakness of man’s flesh through vise, deceit and greed. At this time Israel was Yahweh’s called out people, the only nation which worshipped Yahweh and the temple was supposed to be the symbol which glorified and lifted Him up to the world as the only living God. Instead, the temple of God and the whole religious institution which God had surely established through Moses, had been turned into a market; a place for buying and selling redemption, thus glorifying man’s carnal lust for power and his wanton desire to rule over God’s people through deceit and greed for his own personal gain.
The sheep, oxen, and doves were used to make sacrifices upon the altar for the cleansing of their sins. Each year, each family would bring doves, a sheep, or a calf, according to the situation and what they could afford, and the priest would offer it up on their behalf according to the Law of Moses, as a sacrifice to the Lord. But in this case, the doves, sheep and the oxen were being sold in the temple so the people did not have to bring their own; they purchased what they needed right there at the temple. The priest were the ones who allowed the animals to be brought in, nothing was allowed to go on in the temple without their authorization, therefore the buying and selling had to be benefiting their own personal pockets. They turned their position as priest into a money making business for their own profit, rather than that of just ministering before the Lord concerning the needs of the people. The people paid money for the sacrifice, in lieu of having to bring their own, in order to redeem themselves from their sins. In reality, the sacrifice used for the cleansing of our sins cannot be purchased with money.
After He ran the animals out and turned the money changers table over, they (it does not say who in particular) came to Him and demanded of Him a sign, showing them who gave Him the authority to chase the animals out and turn over the tables. They wanted to know who had given Him the right to do what He had done. His response was definitely just as thought provoking and challenging as His actions were in running the animals out of the temple, but they never understood it. “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up again.” Immediately they stood up in defense of their temple, the temple that represented their whole religious system. “This temple took forty-six years to build and you will build it up in three days!” They did not hear Him. Even if He had destroyed the natural temple, it would not have proven to them anything, but only serve to tear down a symbol. He was talking about the temple of His body, for He was in the grave for three days and then came out of the same grave alive and walked the face of the earth, but there was more to it than this. When He went into the grave He took the old system this temple represented and He buried it with Him in the grave. When He came out of the tomb, the old system which had been, that was full of corruption and immorality, was abolished through His willing sacrifice of Himself and the shedding of His own blood. In three days He took down the old system (natural priestly administration) and rebuilt it with a new system (spiritual priestly administration) within a temple which was not, is not, and never will be made by man’s hands.
What is ironic is, He did perform many miracles (signs and wonders) while He was in Jerusalem and if any one of those who asked Him to show them a sign, had been truly open to receive one, they would have seen and then would have become believers that He was truly sent from God. But, because of the hardness of their heart, they remained blind and therefore unable to see who He truly was, nor were they able to understand the reality of the words which He spoke to them. Many said they believed in Him because they saw the miracles He performed, but He knew it was just temporary for He knew what was in their hearts, so He put no confidence in what they said. We have attended numerous meetings where the moving of the anointing was very strong, albeit not anywhere near the magnitude of what Jesus moved in. There always seemed to be people who became excited, happy and on fire for Jesus, confessing Him to be Lord over their lives during the meetings, only to return back to the same weak spiritual condition they were dwelling in before the meetings.
It is certain that Jesus (the Living Word of God), by the power of the Holy Spirit is the only one who can cleanse our temple and make us whole. It is just as certain that the system which calls itself the present day church needs to have some sheep, oxen and doves driven out, and a few money changers’ tables turned over to awaken its members to the reality, that life can only be found by opening their doors (their hearts) to the indwelling presence of Jesus the Anointed One.
JOHN No. 5 [Dave-Sheila Garner] 12-14-07 ~ BIBLE STUDY 1