The Cleansing of the Temple – Fact or Fiction

The Cleansing of the Temple - Fact or Fiction

The Cleansing of the Temple – All four gospels give an account of an indignant Jesus striding boldly into the temple for the purpose of forcefully cleaning out what he referred to as “a den of thieves.” Once there he proceeded to literally wreck the place. But this much repeated story has problems, big problems. First, none of the gospel accounts agrees with the others as to exactly what took place. According to Mark 11:15-18 he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold and those who bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold doves; and he would not allow any one to carry anything through the temple. Matthew 21:12-16 repeats Mark but adds, “The blind and the lame came to him in the temple, and he healed them.” Luke 19:45, tells us only that he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold and those who bought. In John 2:14-15 not only did he drive out the dove sellers and the moneychangers; he also drove out all those selling sheep and oxen. Then the writer of John tells us that he “Then made a whip of cords, he drove them all, with the sheep and the oxen, out of the temple and proceeded to pour out the coins of the money-changers and overturn their tables.”

The second problem is one of timing. When exactly did the temple cleansing take place? According to the synoptic gospels it was at the end of Jesus’ ministry shortly before his death. In John, however, it took place three years earlier at the beginning of his minister. Were there two cleansings?

A third problem surfaces when we realize that the gospel writers obviously had no concept of the true size of the temple. It was huge by the standards of those days covering in excess of thirty-five acres, enough space to accommodate thirty-four football field. In order, therefore, to actually carry out the acts as described in the gospels Jesus would had to have been accompanied by a large group of armed followers since armed guards were always stationed in the temple for the purpose of keeping things moving smoothly. Yet, according to the gospel accounts Jesus acted alone.

The animal sellers and moneychangers, referred to by Jesus as thieves and robbers, were in fact operating legitimate business providing much needed services. First, they offered pre-approved sacrificial animals so the worshipers, some of whom had walked for long distances, would not have to bring their own. Second, for the purchase of these animals and other temple items only Jewish money could be used because Roman money, then if general circulation, was stamped with “adulterous” images of Caesar. So, there was a real need for the moneychangers as well as the animal sellers.

This story has to be pure fiction.

Sources: Funk, Robert W., and the Jesus Seminar, The Acts of Jesus, Polebridge Press, 1998, page 121.
Price, Robert M., The Incredible Shrinking Son of Man, Prometheus Books, 2003, page 295.
Remaberg, John E., The Christ, Prometheus Books, 1994, page 301.
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3 Responses to The Cleansing of the Temple – Fact or Fiction

  1. allen993 says:

    I Believe The Cleansing Of The Temple Of Jerusalem Is A True Fact That Jesus Did Fulfill The
    Scriptures Of Cleansing Of The Temple Of The God Of Israel His Heavenly Father And The Ri
    se Of Christianity And The Teachings Of Jesus Christ Foretelling The Worship And Prayer Of
    His Father In The Holy Temple Of Jerusalem! Jesus Is The Body Of The Temple!!! Amen!

    PS The Cleansing Of The Temple Is A Holy Symbol Of Faith!!!

    • “I Believe The Cleansing Of The Temple Of Jerusalem Is A True Fact That Jesus Did Fulfill The Scriptures Of Cleansing Of The Temple”?

      Jesus fulfilled Scriptures of cleansing the temple? Christians use Malachi 3:1 as a proof text. In the “New Testament” the end of Malachi serves as a proof text to identify John the Baptist with Elijah.

      There is no Jerusalem Post from the year 30 CE, there are no historical writings for us to consult, only the words of the “New Testament”. Had the New Testament been a book written by historians as the events were unfolding, we might be inclined to take it at face value. However, the New Testament was written by those who already believed that Jesus was the messiah; it was written not as a historical document, but rather, as a defense of their claims that he is the messiah.

      Although a Christian might say that the violence done by Jesus in the Temple might have been justified, the verse in Isaiah 53 (a Christian proof text) describes one who had done ‘no violence’ at all?

      Furthermore, those who “bought and sold in the Temple,” were there because of Gd’s command. In Deuteronomy 14:24-26, Gd told the Jews to sell the animal they wanted to sacrifice for money, take the money to Jerusalem, and then after changing the money to the local currency, buy the same animal. Therefore the money changers and sellers of sacrificial animals were supposed to be there, as commanded by Gd:

      DEUTERONOMY 14:24-26
      And if the way be too long for thee, so that thou art not able to carry it; or if the place be too far from thee, which the Etrnl thy Gd shall choose to set his name there, when the Etrnl thy Gd hath blessed thee: 25 Then shalt thou turn it into money, and bind up the money in thine hand, and shalt go unto the place which the Etrnl thy Gd shall choose: 26 And thou shalt bestow that money for whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul desireth: and thou shalt eat there before the Etrnl thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household.

      There are other places in the New Testament that describes Jesus’s violence. Bear in mind, the New Testament is the Book of Catholicism, it is NOT scripture, it is added to the Hebrew bible contrary to what Gd commanded in Deuteronemy 4:2

      Deu 4:2 Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.

      So by saying Malachi 3:1 is “scripture” and therefore “the Word of Gd”, read in context… Malachi 3:6 For I the LORD change not;
      In other words, don’t add to the TaNaCH! Not the New Testament, nor the Book of Mormon, nor the Book of Twilight (Proof text for the existence of Vampires) Worship the Father, the Creator.

      Idolatry is not what you believe, it’s what you do.

      PS: In the entire first Christian century Jesus is not mentioned by a single Greek or Roman historian, religion scholar, politician, philosopher or poet. His name never occurs in a single inscription, and it is never found in a single piece of private correspondence. Zero! Zip references!

      May you, no matter what your faith, be inscribed in the book of life.

      Peace, Love and Light

  2. allen993 says:

    I Believe It Is A True Fact Of The Cleansing Of The Temple!!!

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