April 8, 2020

The Cleansing of the Temple



As the Savior entered and cleansed the Temple after arriving with his disciples for his last Passover, he teaches us a powerful message. The Lord’s honor and respect for the temple shows us how we too can become clean and pure through the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

According to Matthew and Luke, the cleansing of the temple took place on Sunday immediately after the triumphal entry. Mark, however, places the cleansing on Monday, the following day. Jesus and His disciples had come to celebrate the Passover, which would begin in just a few days. As they entered the city, they would have first likely entered through the southern gate of Jerusalem near the Pool of Siloam. They would then ritually wash in this pool or one of the many other mikvahs or ritual pools in Jerusalem. Jesus and His disciples would have then climbed the hundreds of steps up the Tyropoeon Valley until they arrived at the base of the Temple Mount.

The Temple itself was on a massive platform about 35 acres in size built over the top of Mount Moriah creating a large courtyard for the hundreds of thousands of pilgrims that arrived during Passover. As the Savior and his disciples entered the large court of the Gentiles, they encountered the money changers who were selling items and exchanging money in the house of God!

Tyrian shekel coin used to pay the temple tax
All Jewish males were required by the Law of Moses to offer a half shekel of silver once a year to help support the Temple. Because of the command against graven images, coins made in Palestine were minted with only depictions of nature such as grapes or sheaves of wheat. However, because the Temple authorities mandated only the purest of silver, these local and less pure coins were required to be exchanged for the Roman shekel and half shekel. These coins were minted with the image of the Greek divine hero Heracles. They also included the phrase "of Tyre the holy [city] and [city] of refuge." Many Jews found this requirement by the Temple leadership to be highly offensive since these coins were stamped with a pagan image and words denoting that Tyre, not Jerusalem, as the Holy City. In addition, these money changers charged an exchange rate of about 8%, much of which likely was pocketed by the corrupt temple leadership.

Jesus, upon seeing the money-making endeavors in the temple, made a whip from cords and began overturning the tables and driving out the money changers. In a loud voice, the Savior proclaimed: “It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves” (Matthew 21:13). This is one of the few examples in the Gospels where Jesus shows true righteous indignation. The Temple was to be a sacred place designed to help Israel come closer to God, yet, the Jewish leadership were using it just to make a profit and gain worldly power.

Cleansing the home of leaven products
Within the context of the events of Passover the timing of this cleansing is highly significant. Leading up to Passover, which would be only in a few days, Jews were to cleanse their homes of all leaven products. This ritual dates back to the time of the Exodus when the Israelites fled Egypt. In their haste to leave captivity, they did not have time to allow their dough to rise. To commemorate their haste, just prior to Passover, families scour their home until they have removed all traces of leaven. The Bible states, "seven days shalt thou eat unleavened bread therewith … for thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt in haste: that thou mayest remember the day when thou camest forth." (Deuteronomy 16:3). The seven days without leaven began the day after Passover and was called the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

Jews saw this time of cleansing their homes of leaven as a time of preparation in which they not only physically prepared, but also spiritual prepared. Leaven was often seen as a symbol of impurity or corruption because of how quickly it can spoil. A small amount of leaven raising an entire batch of bread was seen as symbolic of how a small amount of corruption could lead someone into darkness. This cleansing was a time of inner reflection and repentance so they could more fully enjoy the joyous festival of Passover.

Thus, as hundreds of thousands of Jews were cleansing their own homes of leaven, a symbol of impurity, Jesus cleanses his Father’s house of corruption. Desiring to properly prepare for this most sacred of weeks, Jesus does exactly as the Law prescribed. While Passover was a time to celebrate the miraculous story of the Exodus and deliverance from Egyptian bondage, little did these Jews know that this man who was cleansing the temple, would be their true source of complete deliverance.

Just as the Jews were commanded to cleanse their homes, and Christ cleansed the temple, so too should our own temples be cleansed, even our body and spirit. Paul taught “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? … for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are” (1 Corinthians 3:16-17). How beautiful the message of the cleansing of the temple that teaches us that just as Jesus cleansed the ancient temple, it is only through Him that we can also be cleansed. As we repent of our sins and come unto Him, He will cleanse us of all impurity! Only once we are purified through His atonement can we then truly enjoy perfect deliverance through Christ, our Passover Lamb.

8 comments:

  1. Thank you for all your time and research. by sharing this information you have really changed my feelings about the Holy Week.

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    1. Krista, glad you enjoyed the video! That has been my hope, to help others better appreciate the significance of the events of Holy Week!

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  2. I LOVE THESES VIDEOS AND THE COMMENTATOR VOICE CAPTURES YOUR ATTENTION WITH THE SINCERITY AND COMPASSION IN HIS VOICE. THANKS FOR THE INFORMATIVE INFORMATION YOU HAVE PROVIDED'

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    1. So wonderful to hear that you enjoy the videos and my narration! Always nice to know that people appreciate them! Hope you had a wonderful Easter!

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  3. Dear Brother,
    With your permission can we dub your videos in indian Languages?
    Kindly guide for the sake of Gospel your videos will help millions of people in india who doesn't understand Englis.

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    1. Soju, I can't give permission to re-upload my videos as I have content that I have licensed that I don't own rights to. I have permission to use it, but I can't give that permission to others. That said, I always have a link in the description which will allow you to add subtitles to any of my videos. Hope that helps.

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  4. Love your videos... are they available in Spanish? If not, do you have the script written out so that I can translate it? I am preparing a series on the Sanctuary. Love the videos you have on it... my email is nona144000@yahoo.com

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  5. Beautifully done! God bless you.
    http://ldolphin.org/cleansings.html

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