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Saturday, September 6, 2014

Cleansing the Temple -- New Authority -- Part 2

Jesus casts them out of His Father's House

           Jesus made a whip out of cords, and drove the sheep and cattle, doves and people out. Then He scattered the coins of the moneychangers and overturned the tables. To those who sold doves, He said, “Get these out of here. How dare you turn My Father’s house into a market!” John 2:16  These merchandisers and the people had lost reverence for God’s holy house. It must have been the power and authority of Jesus’ words that made them do as He said. Here in John, Jesus said they had made it a market. In Matthew 21:12-13 and Luke 19:45-48, He said they had turned His Father’s House into a den of thieves. In Matthew and Luke there was no whip, but in John it says that Jesus took cords and made a whip. These cords were used by the vendors to restrain the animals. Jesus set the animals free and used the cords as a means of discipline to cast the thieves and merchandizers out of His Father’s house. A cord is the symbol of binding power.  Jesus disciplines us with cords of love, and sets us free from all that binds us. 

    Jesus cleansed the temple to cleanse it of all ungodliness. He didn’t leave sin in His Father’s House. He will not leave those who love and follow Him the way we are either -- cluttered with sin. Jesus’ cleansing of the temple was a complete cleansing. Jesus too wants to cleanse us of all unrighteousness so we can walk in the fullness of the new life He has so graciously given us and has designed for us. “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple.“ 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 We are the abode of God’s Divine presence. Jesus’ zeal for us will consume Him just as the zeal for His Father’s house consumed Him. His disciples remembered that it is written, “Zeal for your house will consume Me.” Psalm 69:9 Jesus’ disciples knew that Jesus was fulfilling this scripture in their seeing and in their hearing. His disciples had not yet seen this part of Jesus’ character -- as Divine Judge. Jesus is our attorney and our Judge in the final judgment. He will win the case for us if we belong to Him. 

Jesus and the Temple Tax -- Matthew 17:24
    Although the temple belonged to Jesus as the Son of God, He paid the temple tax for not only himself but also for Peter. After Jesus and his disciples arrived in Capernaum, the collectors of the two-drachma tax (½ shekel) came to Peter and asked, “Doesn’t your teacher pay the temple tax?” “Yes, he does,“ Peter replied (Matthew 17:24) Peter didn’t know for sure whether Jesus did pay the temple tax. Perhaps out of faith or possibly fear, Peter said “Yes.“ 
    Jesus wasn’t required to pay the temple tax for atonement because He had no sin. Jesus, however, did all that the Law required to fulfill it, so He will pay the price of atonement to the temple. Spiritually, Jesus paid the price of atonement for all at the cross. Jesus is the temple of God and those who believe in Him are collectively His temple -- His sons and daughters. Jesus is not only the Temple of God not made by human hands, He is also the Son of God, King of Israel, King of all kings and the gold coin. Divine Truth is in His mouth and He paid the price of Divine atonement. According to the Law, the atonement money was to be a half shekel of silver. Jesus paid with a gold coin worth one shekel found in the mouth of a fish. Jesus paid with gold because He is Divine. Gold is always symbolic of the Divine in scripture. Jesus is the Great Fish who has Divine Truth and the price of atonement in His Mouth -- His Word.
    Jesus asked Peter a question. “Do the kings of the earth collect duty and taxes from their own sons or from others?” Peter answered, “From others.” Jesus responded, “Then the sons are exempt.” Since Jesus paid the price of atonement for us, His sons and daughters are exempt from any requirement of the Law for atonement. As Jesus paid the tax for Peter, He paid for ours by His blood.
           Jesus will pay the temple tax through His disciple Peter. He said to Peter in Matthew 17: 26-27, “But so that we may not offend them, go to the lake and throw out your line. Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a gold coin. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours.” Peter knew how to fish. His earthly occupation was fishing. Jesus uses our everyday, natural abilities to do supernatural things for His Kingdom. Peter had to do his part, but Jesus did the miracle of producing the coin. The blessing came out of the fish’s mouth. Salvation, blessing and provision come from the Living Word of God and the written Word of God -- the mouth of God -- when we obey and live it. Jesus with the help of those who love and serve Him in obedience to His Word bring blessing to Him and others. God told Moses to require a silver coin for atonement, but Jesus who is greater gave a gold coin worth double the silver coin. This gold coin was enough for Peter and Jesus -- a double portion.
           Jesus didn’t want to put a stumbling block in front of the others that might prevent them from being saved, so He paid the temple tax. Even though He was without sin, He set a good example for others to follow.
           Peter cast his fishing line into the sea and gained blessing and provision in the mouth of a fish. God cast Jesus into the sea of humanity as the Divine One who would pay the price of atonement once-for-all on the cross and bring us blessing and provision. When the Divine truth flows from our lips, it will be a blessing to those who receive it
“Destroy this temple and in three days, I will raise it up.” v19
    The Jews knew that by cleansing the temple Jesus was taking authority over it, so they demanded a sign to prove that He had the authority to do what He did with His Father’s House. When Jesus responded with the above-referenced statement, they said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?” v20 They were talking about the earthly temple made by man, but Jesus was prophesying about His Body which would soon be crucified on the cross and then He would be resurrected on the third day. When this happened, the Jews would see the sign but wouldn’t accept it! His disciples would remember His words and believe. 
    In Acts, Stephen was taken before the Sanhedrin Council because he was preaching against the Law and the temple. Acts 6:12-13: This fellow never stops speaking against this holy place and against the Law. For we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs of Moses handed down to us. Stephen spoke about Jesus’ words about the destruction of the temple and the new law of Christ -- love. Stephen then preached a scathing sermon about all that God had done for His people and the attitude of God’s people toward those God sent to deliver them. This infuriated the Sanhedrin Council so they stoned Stephen to death. 
    Jesus made the whole world His Temple through His followers. The world could not be saved until Jesus was everywhere in the hearts of His people. It was beneficial for Jesus to die so this could happen. If God only remained in the hearts of the Jews, the rest of the world would be damned to hell because the price for sin would not have been paid. This was never God’s plan. Spiritual Israel to God is all who “strive with Him” no matter what earthly tribe, tongue or nation they are from. In heaven, there will be only one nation (kingdom) under God. The earthly Israel and Jerusalem are a type and shadow of the heavenly spiritual Israel and the New spiritual Jerusalem. 
           Now while He was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many people saw the miraculous signs He was doing and believed in His Name. He did not need man’s testimony about man, for He knew what was in a man. John 2:23-25 Jesus knew human nature, so He wouldn’t entrust Himself to them.  Jesus would rely solely upon His Heavenly Father.
           All of the physical temples of God were symbol and type of God’s greatest Temple -- Jesus. Jesus’ physical body was God’s temple. So is His spiritual Body of believers. After Jesus’ resurrection, He was more than a physical body. He was a spiritual body, just as those who love and follow Jesus are being shaped, formed and recreated into His spiritual Body in preparation for our eternal life in the Heavenly Sanctuary of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. 
         Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God will be in the city, and His servants will serve Him. Revelation 22:1-3
                      The city is the New Jerusalem.
                      God and Jesus are seated on the throne.
                      The river of life -- the Holy Spirit -- flows from God
                               and Jesus.
                      The two trees of life on each side of the river are the
                               two testaments of the Word of God that bear 

                               fruit eternally.
                      The leaves of the trees of life (the pages of the Word)
                               are for the healing of the nations.
                       The great street is the highway of holiness.
    The same Truth that we eat today in the Bible will feed us eternally in this holy city -- the new, spiritual Jerusalem. The same river of life -- Holy Spirit -- will also quench our thirst for spiritual things. We will bear spiritual fruit just as we do today, and will be made whole and well forever.
    The Word of God anointed by the Holy Spirit will feed our spiritual hunger and thirst. That hunger and thirst should be with us today because we are fleshly bodies hungering and thirsting after the spiritual in Christ. 


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