King's Business - 1913-07



tion that He was the Messiah, the Son of God and that as such He had a right to cleanse His Father’s house; it was a definite and distinct claim to being the One prophesied in Malachi 3:1, 2. The cleansing mentioned in the’Synoptic Gospels occurred at the close of His ministry and had quite a different purpose in view. The de­ tails of the two are different. The account here given was evidently written by an eye witness as we shall see when we come to consider the de­ tails. The temple was defiled, not merely by the uncleanness that would be inevitable from the presence of so many sheep and' cattle and pigeons, turning the court of the Gentiles into a cattle market, but still more by the covetousness and extortion that had crept in in connection with the sale of these animals. All the things sold and the business transacted had to do with the worship of the temple, the oxen and sheep and doves were for sacrifice and the money changed was the Roman and Greek money that was exchanged for the Jewish coin which circulated through Palestine and which alone the temple authori­ ties accepted as the half shekel due as the Jewish poll tax (cf. Ex. 30: 12- 16). But the Son of God will not tolerate commercialism in connection with His worship even when that commercialism has to do with things which are necessary for His service. God’s house must not be turned into “a house of merchandise” under any. pretext, tto matter how plausible. There is something very solemn in this for us today, when so often in connection with our evangelistic work those who are called to preach the Gospel and win souls are seeking to coin money by the sale of hymn books and other things connected with the meetings. If the Lord Jesus were to come to many of our modern-day re­ ligious gatherings, He would drive

quiring every male to go up at this time (Ex. 23:17; 34:23). But He also went because “the hour was come” for the beginning of His pub­ lic ministry (cf. v. 4). It was deep­ ly significant that He should begin His ministry at the Jews’ Passover because He Himself was the true Passover. One scholar calls attention to 13 points of coincidence between Christ and the Passover, another calls attention to 17, and still another to 19. Some think that this Passover is spoken of as “the Jews’ Passover (or more literally “the Passover of the Jews” ), to distinguish it from “the Christian Passover” (or Easter cele­ bration) which had become a recog­ nized institution at the time that this Gospel was written. But this is not at all clear. John was writing for Gentiles and constantly refers to Jew­ ish institutions which he explains (cf. v. 6). Some think that the Passover is spoken of as “the Passover of the Jews” to mark the fact that “the Lord’s Passover” had been degraded into a merely Jewish ceremonial, but this is forcing the words. V i, 14-16. “And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting: and when he had made a scourge of small (omit , small) cords, he drove (rather, cast)'them all out of the temple, and the sheep and the^ oxen~, and poured out the changers money, and overthrew the tables; and said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Fa­ ther’s house a house of merchandise A certain school of criticism would make this cleansing of the temple identical with that mentioned in the Synoptic Gospels, but for this there is no warrant whatever. The two are entirely different from one another. This occurred at the beginning of our Lord’s ministry and was a proclama­

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