John 2:12-17 Revised Standard Version (RSV)
12 After this he went down to Caper′na-um, with his mother and his brothers and his disciples; and there they stayed for a few days.
Jesus Cleanses the Temple
13 The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers at their business. 15 And making a whip of cords, he drove them all, with the sheep and oxen, out of the temple; and he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. 16 And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; you shall not make my Father’s house a house of trade.” 17 His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for thy house will consume me.”
Please allow me to continue my thoughts about the temple of God, and the churches that we attend. And, since we who have been born again are temples of God’s Holy Spirit, the homes where we reside should also be considered as being holy places where God’s Spirit dwells. (Post 082214, A House Of Prayer) (John 14:20;1 Corinthians 6:19-20). If, neither our churches, nor our homes, are holy places, we are in serious spiritual trouble.
John 14:20 New King James Version (NKJV)
20 At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20New King James Version (NKJV)
19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.
The following paragraphs that are marked by * are taken from Post 082214, and are relevant to this post. The dates that are shown for the two temple cleansing events are taken from the Scofield Study Bible.
* Scripture records two instances of Jesus finding a lack of reverence for God’s Temple. John 2:13-21 tells of the first instance, which took place in the year of 30 A.D. In 082214, we discussed the events of 33 A.D., which are shown in Matthew 21:12-13. In Matthew’s account, we see that Jesus went into “temple of God,” immediately after his triumphal entry into Jerusalem, as his final days of life were unwinding. The temples of God are identified as being, Solomon’s Temple, Zerubbabel’s Temple, Herod’s Temple, The Tribulation Temple, and The Millennial Temple. A temple of God is first and foremost a sanctuary and a symbolic dwelling place for God. The temple was established for the honor and glory of God, and for worship, adoration, praise, and prayer.
* When Jesus entered the temple, he passed through a large gate that led to a series of courts. One of the most outermost courts was the court of the Gentiles. It was there, as opposed to the temple itself, that Jesus came upon people who were exchanging currency and were selling animals. (Matthew 21:12-13).
The following 082314 post relates to the first time that Jesus cleansed the Temple in Jerusalem in 30 A.D., and is taken from John 2:12-25.
This event of the cleansing of the temple occurred early in the ministry of Jesus. His first recorded miracle, which took place at the wedding in Cana, where Jesus turned water into wine, had happened only a few days earlier. After leaving Cana, Jesus went to Jerusalem to observe the feast of Passover.
It is easy to understand that when Jesus went to Jerusalem for Passover, that He was very disturbed to the point of His cleansing the temple. He saw merchants selling livestock in the temple, so He drove the livestock out. He saw the money changers, so He turned over their tables. It probably wasn’t very long until the same events of sacrilege appeared again.
In verse 14, we read the words, “in the temple.” If the acts of commerce that were taking place inside of the temple had been taking place outside of the temple, Jesus probably would have done nothing. We need to remember the purpose of God’s House, which are worship, prayer, and things of worship. Things that are not of God or worship, or are disruptive, or make you forget that you are in God’s house … such things have no place in the House of God.
The reason for the livestock and money changers being in Jerusalem were valid. Jews who were traveling from out of town would have had a great deal of difficulty in carrying their livestock with them for the required animal sacrifices. It was easier for them to purchase the animals once they arrived at Jerusalem. There was also a temple tax that the Jews had to pay. The money changers were able to exchange foreign coins for those that would be acceptable for the temple tax.
The booths for the animal sales, and for the coin exchanges, had previously been set up across the Kidron Valley, on the slopes of the Mount of Olives; that was an acceptable distance from the temple. However, for the sake of convenience, the outer court of the temple and the court of the Gentiles, had been changed from a place of worship and prayer into a place of business. When Jesus walked into the temple, the House of God, and saw that it was being used for something other than which it had been spiritually designed, He placed a whip in His hand and began to act appropriately.
The actions that Jesus took of driving the animals out of the temple, as well as kicking over the tables of the merchants and scattering their coins, was a real attention-getter. But, it was not a fit of fury or rage. His actions were a zeal for the activity that the temple was designed to take place, which was the worship of God.
I would like for you to imagine that you had gone to your place of worship on a Sunday morning, or on any other day of the week. And, when you went into the sanctuary to pray you were not able to place your thoughts on God because of the loud and continuous sounds of the bleating of sheep and goats. That was exactly what was going on when Jesus walked into the temple in Jerusalem. Those holy grounds that had been set apart for the worship of God had become a scene of chaos. In an effort to meet the physical needs of the traveling Jews, the ability of the people to effectively worship God, and have an intimate time of prayer, had been greatly impaired.
In any church setting, it is important for people to fellowship. But, as the time of worship nears, it is time for God’s people to prepare their hearts for the time of worship that will follow. We need to understand that when we come together for worship of God, we need to consider the place that we meet to be holy ground. It is a time for prayer. It is a place for worship. Consider this thought. Take your animals, and anything else that is not of worship, across the street. We need to remember that we are in God’s House, and it is a serious thing to get in the way of worshiping God.
With the teaching of Jesus fresh in our minds, we should ask ourselves how we might be found using our places of worship in ways that are like “the bleating of sheep and oxen.” We need to consider the ways that we may be bringing into our sanctuaries things that are not of worship, prayer, and things of God. A lot of territory can be covered as we consider this matter. In order for us to visualize the reality of the teaching, we will have to “get honest” with ourselves. A lack of total honesty will do nothing but mask that which may be an obvious “bleating of sheep and oxen.”
Consider the description of myself that I wrote in the previous post, 082214, A House Of Prayer. Remember the statement that I made about not having an ax to grind; that statement is unchanged. If I were to be the approving official for allowing groups of people to meet in a church sanctuary, I definitely would not permit access to the following groups. I will use the acronyms that the groups use for their own use. Since you have computers, your can check out the groups. So, here it goes. I would not allow LGBT, NARAL, KKK, NAMBLA, NOW, Labor Unions Planned Parenthood, or Democrat Party meetings. I spend a lot of time watching news broadcasts and listening to news reports. In my opinion, each of the above mentioned groups have demonstrated either a history of filth of language, or a violence of speech. Why should we have a group using our sanctuaries to promote same-sex marriage, violence against other people, or the ending of the lives of unborn babies? A well known church allowed a “pro choice” group to meet in its church building. The reason that was given was,”they needed someplace to meet.” No! They don’t need to meet in a building that is called a church. The congressman that represents my town is a Democrat. The two senators who represent my state are Republicans. I have almost daily phone calls to all three of those offices. All of those people know how I feel about the things that are affecting God’s people, such as abortion and same-sex marriage, and other un-Godly things that our government is trying to force upon God’s people. We have good conversations. The people that I speak with are cordial to me, just as I am to them.
Let’s carry this discussion a bit closer to home. A pastor, who was many years my senior, once told me about the times that he would be preparing his congregation for the remembrance of the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus. During some of those times, there would be women sitting on the front pew of the church who were “showing their glory.” There have been times when I have seen younger women wearing short and tightly fitting shorts that were not appropriate for cutting grass. Consider how we would dress if we were asked to attend a formal dinner. We should ask ourselves if we would dress more nicely for a meeting with a president, governor, or a member of congress, than we would for worship in God’s House. Women need to remember that men are attracted to them. Women who dress in a way that creates a distraction in the eyes of a man should reconsider the way that they dress in church, and out of church. Let’s not stop there. The vulgar music that is heard blaring from car “sound systems” is very disrespectful to those who are forced to listen to that “noise.” Young men who persist in wearing their pants below their underwear are equally disrespectful; they need to grow up!
Much of this post may be confusing to those people who have not been born again. Consider the following scriptures.
1 Corinthians 1:18 New King James Version (NKJV)
18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
1 Corinthians 2:14 New King James Version (NKJV)
14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
These two scriptures tell us that if a person has not been born again, many of the things that I have written are meaningless to that person. If you are such a person, I invite you to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior; He will do the rest.
John 3:16-18 New King James Version (NKJV)
16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
For those of us who have been born again, “the field is white unto harvest.”
John 4:35 New King James Version (NKJV)
35 Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!
Consider the following verses that relate to holiness.
1 Peter 1:16 New King James Version (NKJV)
16 because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”
Philippians 4:8 Living Bible (TLB)
8 And now, brothers, as I close this letter, let me say this one more thing: Fix your thoughts on what is true and good and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely, and dwell on the fine, good things in others. Think about all you can praise God for and be glad about.
Consider the aspect of revival in the following video that is presented by Robin Mark. We need revival in our nation, churches, and our homes, or we may not have a nation that allows freedom of worship and other freedoms with which we have become accustomed. Consider Isaiah 60:1
Isaiah 60:1 Living Bible (TLB)
1 Arise, my people! Let your light shine for all the nations to see! For the glory of the Lord is streaming from you.
Revival – Robin Mark
I Hear The Voice Of One Crying
References: St. Andrews’s Expositional Commentary, John, R.C. Sproul – Author; The Reformation Study Bible, R.C. Sproul – General Editor; Scofield Study Bible; Mac Arthur Study Bible; Holman Christian Standard Bible; Ryrie Study Bible; Key Word Hebrew-Greek Study Bible; The Pulpit Commentary, Isaiah; Zola Levitt Video Teachings Of The Temples; Jimmy De Young’s Daily Devotionals, Ezra; Bible Gateway.com
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