The Temple of His Body, The People for His Pleasure; Part 1

John 2:12-35

“After this He went down to Capernaum, He and His mother, and His brothers, and His disciples; and there they stayed a few days. And the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. And He found in the temple those who were selling oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers seated. And He made a scourge of cords, and drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen; and He poured out the coins of the money changers, and overturned their tables; and to those who were selling the doves He said, ‘Take these things away; stop making My Father’s house a house of merchandise.’ His disciples remembered that it was written, ‘ZEAL FOR YOUR HOUSE WILL CONSUME ME.’ The Jews therefore answered and said to Him, ‘What sign do You show to us, seeing that You do these things?’ Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’ The Jews therefore said, ‘It took forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?’ But He was speaking of the temple of His body. When therefore He was raised from the dead, His disciples remembered that He said this; and they believed the Scripture, and the word which Jesus had spoken. Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name, beholding His signs which He was doing. But Jesus, on His part, was not entrusting Himself to them, for He knew all men, and because He did not need anyone to bear witness concerning man for He Himself knew what was in man.”

It’s important to look for Jesus in the Old Testament but it is also important to look for Jesus in the New Testament, especially in the life of Jesus. That should go without saying but we tend to look for ourselves in Scripture and not the Old Testament promises of Jesus in Jesus. We should see the types and shadows in the Old Testament tutor and the substance of fulfillment in the New. We look for Jesus in the Law and prophets and should see him fulfilling these things as he walks the earth. John was very determined to make this point when he wrote, “and the Word became flesh and tabernacled among us.”

Here, we utilize the CAGED method of Biblical hermeneutics because we keep the Bible caged with our taught traditions, presuppositions and preconceived notions. CAGED: Context, Aspirations of Author, Genre, Examples and Divide rightly the word of truth. Unless you are learning for yourself, you only know what you have been taught.

Therefore we must examine examples of imagery, types, shadows and even shapes and most remarkably, navigation, in the Old Testament to understand what takes place in the New Testament. There is nothing New in the New Testament because the Old Testament not only foretells the future in itself but also fortells the New Testament narrative. Jesus is all over the Old Testament and as we have seen, John made this crystal clear, therefore he is all over the New, as the Old Testament promised.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being by Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not ccomprehend it...And the Word became flesh, and tabernacled among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. John bore witness of Him, and cried out, saying, ‘This was He of whom I said, “He who comes after me chas a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.”‘ For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace. For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ. No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten God, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.”

John quickly and concisely, from the beginning, lets the reader know that Jesus was YHWH. It is also a theme throughout his gospel account. We looked at the “I AM’s” last time and Lord willing, we will examine them more fully in the future. Quickly let’s look at another “I Am” scenario found in John as it will help us better understand John’s aspiration to his audience. Because it goes much deeper than the milk of the deity of Jesus. Honestly, sorry Jehovah’s Witnesses, the deity of Jesus is rudimentary, elementary, it is a basic, foundational, historical fact that cannot be ignored or explained away. John argued for the deity of Jesus, to be sure, but his argument and aspiration goes much deeper than the deity of Jesus.

The following is from a much larger exchange between Jesus and the Pharisees, which, Lord willing, we will examine with greater detail in the future: “The Jews answered and said to Him, ‘Do we not say rightly that You are a Samaritan and have a demon?’ Jesus answered, ‘I do not have a demon; but I honor My Father, and you dishonor Me. But I do not seek My glory; there is One who seeks and judges. Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he shall never see death.’ The Jews said to Him, ‘Now we know that You have a demon. Abraham died, and the prophets also; and You say, “If anyone keeps My word, he shall never taste of death.” Surely You are not greater than our father Abraham, who died? The prophets died too; whom do You make Yourself out to be?’ Jesus answered, ‘If I glorify Myself, My glory is nothing; it is My Father who glorifies Me, of whom you say, “He is our God;” and you have not come to know Him, but I know Him; and if I say that I do not know Him, I shall be a liar like you, but I do know Him, and keep His word. Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.’ The Jews therefore said to Him, ‘You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?’ Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.’ Therefore they picked up stones to throw at Him; but Jesus hid Himself, and went out of the temple.”

The picking up of stones is proof that they understood what Jesus was saying but also proof that they didn’t believe in what he said. Because they wanted to kill Jesus for blasphemy, this is proof that Jesus claimed to be God–one with the father. They neither believed Jesus nor the Law and prophets. Neither do the Jehovah’s Witnesses nor many mega-church pastors. Again, the picking up of stones is proof. In not believing Jesus they exposed themselves as not believing the Law and prophets because Jesus fulfilled the Law and prophets and pointed to Abraham, whom he knew. This is extremely important and foundational to faith, yet lost in modern evangelical enclaves; Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament. Remember John wrote also that “no man has seen the father at any time, the only begotten God, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.” Ergo if they don’t recognize or believe Jesus, they don’t know God. Jesus, himself told them this. Again, this is elementary, it’s the pure milk of the Word. Get ready for some steak. Because I am sure that some have no idea what any of this has to do with John’s historical narrative of Jesus chasing out the money changers.

But before we delve too deeply into John’s account of Jesus driving out the money exchangers in the temple, there is usually a question asked about this scene. Is this event listed early on in John’s gospel account, the same event listed late in Matthew’s? Answer: I don’t know and it doesn’t matter. Neither John nor Matthew wrote purely chronologically and I don’t either. What is more important than the exact timing is the relative timing. That is, whether the same story or not, Jesus did these things, at least once, while he walked or, tabernacled, on earth. What is of utmost importance is the themes which coincide with the continuing context. You will see this develope, Lord willing, as we continue. Be prepared to put aside your presuppositions and preconceived notions. Prophecy is not about Israel but about Jesus.

Luke writes the following (abridged version) which happened after the resurrection: “And behold, two of them were going that very day to a village named Emmaus, which was about seven miles from Jerusalem…And it came about that while they were conversing and discussing, Jesus Himself approached, and began traveling with them. But their eyes were prevented from recognizing Him. And He said to them, “What are these words that you are exchanging with one another as you are walking?” And they stood still, looking sad. And one of them, named Cleopas, answered and said to Him, ‘Are You the only one visiting Jerusalem and unaware of the things which have happened here in these days?’ And He said to them, ‘What things?’ And they said to Him, ‘The things about Jesus the Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word in the sight of God and all the people, and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him up to the sentence of death, and crucified Him. But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, it is the third day since these things happened…’ He said to them, ‘O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?’ And beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures… He took the bread and blessed it, and breaking it, He began giving it to them. And their eyes were opened and they recognized Him; and He vanished from their sight. And they said to one another, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was iexplaining the Scriptures to us?” And they rose that very hour and returned to Jerusalem, and found gathered together the eleven and those who were with them, saying, ‘The Lord has really risen, and has appeared to Simon.’ And they began to relate their experiences on the road and how He was recognized by them in the breaking of the bread. ”

Awesome! Until they broke bread, the representation of Jesus’ broken body, they didn’t recognize him. Even so, Jesus taught them the Scriptures, namely, the Law and prophets, which were about him and not Israel and certainly not the prophecy pundits of this generation. If you can believe that, the Scripture will show you how.

Today’s text is a famously familiar feat–Jesus chasing people with a whip, driving them out of the temple. Since context is king, let’s consider the context once again, consider the continuing context and then explore examples. Jesus went to Capernaum for a while, where Peter moved into His mother in-law’s house (more on this next time), then went with his entourage to the Passover at the temple. Remember John wrote that “the word became flesh and tabernacled among us.” Remember also that John wrote, “no man has seen the father at any time, the only begotten God, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.” Also keep it in mind that Jesus said “I AM” a lot, in John’s gospel account–an obvious allusion to, and a claim to be, YHWH. If we see God on earth in the Old Testament, we are seeing Jesus–preincarnate if you will, but still, Jesus.

Where have we seen God dwell or tabernacle on earth in the Old Testament? We saw him in the garden that was in Eden, we saw him in the Tabernacle and we saw him in the Temple. In these places, God lived amongst humans. Let’s explore these examples.

“And the LORD God planted a garden toward the east, in Eden; and there He placed the man whom He had formed. And out of the ground the LORD God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Now a river flowed out of Eden to water the garden; and from there it divided and became four rivers. The name of the first is Pishon; it flows around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. And the gold of that land is good; the bdellium and the onyx stone are there. And the name of the second river is Gihon; it flows around the whole land of Cush. And the name of the third river is Tigris; it flows east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the Euphrates. Then the LORD God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it.”

We also read that the Lord, whom we know is Jesus because of what we have read in John’s gospel account, used to dwell or walk in the garden. Notice; “And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.” We know why they hid themselves–because they had sinned against God by believing the serpent. After this, the Lord said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, Cursed are you more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly shall you go, And dust shall you eat All the days of your life; And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel.” And then God expelled Adam and Eve from the garden but made a sacrifice to properly clothe them.

Notice; “Then the LORD God said, ‘Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, lest he stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever‘— therefore the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken. So He drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim, and the flaming sword which turned every direction, to guard the way to the tree of life.”

We also take note of the curse to the serpent, specifically the enmity between his seed and the seed of the woman. Add this to the list of things to remember, which will grow exponentially as we explore examples but like a puzzle, all the pieces fit.

Moving on to the Tabernacle–another dwelling of God on earth, because it contained the Ark of the Covenant. “And this is the contribution which you are to raise from them: gold, silver and bronze, blue, purple and scarlet material, fine linen, goat hair, rams’ skins dyed red, porpoise skins, acacia wood, oil for lighting, spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense, onyx stones and setting stones, for the ephod and for the breastpiece. And let them construct a sanctuary for Me, that I may dwell among them. According to all that I am going to show you, as the pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of all its furniture, just so you shall construct it. And they shall construct an ark of acacia wood two and a half acubits long, and one and a half cubits wide, and one and a half cubits high. And you shall overlay it with pure gold, inside and out you shall overlay it, and you shall make a gold molding around it. And you shall cast four gold rings for it, and fasten them on its four feet, and two rings shall be on one side of it and two rings on the other side of it. And you shall make poles of acacia wood and overlay them with gold. And you shall put the poles into the rings on the sides of the ark, to carry the ark with them. The poles shall remain in the rings of the ark; they shall not be removed from it. And you shall put into the ark the testimony which I shall give you. And you shall make a mercy seat of pure gold, two and a half cubits long and one and a half cubits wide. And you shall make two cherubim of gold, make them of hammered work at the two ends of the mercy seat. And make one cherub at one end and one cherub at the other end; you shall make the cherubim of one piece with the mercy seat at its two ends. And the cherubim shall have their wings spread upward covering the mercy seat with their wings and facing one another; the faces of the cherubim are to be turned toward the mercy seat. And you shall put the mercy seat on top of the ark, and in the ark you shall put the testimony which I shall give to you. And there I will meet with you; and from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are upon the ark of the testimony, I will speak to you about all that I will give you in commandment for the sons of Israel.”

And of the Temple we read; “Now it came about in the four hundred and eightieth year after the sons of Israel came out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel, in the month of Ziv which is the second month, that he began to build the house of the LORD. As for the house which King Solomon built for the LORD, its length was sixty cubits and its width twenty cubits and its height thirty cubits…Now the word of the LORD came to Solomon saying, ‘Concerning this house which you are building, if you will walk in My statutes and execute My ordinances and keep all My commandments by walking in them, then I will carry out My word with you which I spoke to David your father. And I will dwell among the sons of Israel, and will not forsake My people Israel’…Then he prepared an inner sanctuary within the house in order to place there the ark of the covenant of the LORD. And the inner sanctuary was twenty cubits in length, twenty cubits in width, and twenty cubits in height, and he overlaid it with pure gold. He also overlaid the altar with cedar. So Solomon overlaid the inside of the house with pure gold. And he drew chains of gold across the front of the inner sanctuary; and he overlaid it with gold. And he overlaid the whole house with gold, until all the house was finished. Also the whole altar which was by the inner sanctuary he overlaid with gold. Also in the inner sanctuary he made two cherubim of olive wood, each ten cubits high.”

Question: was Jesus surrounded by Gold and Cherubim as he walked up to the temple? Because when we look at the former dwellings of God we see Gold and Cherubim. But we should also see much more.

Notice the progression from paradise, which was lost and guarded by cherubim to the temporary tent of the tabernacle to the slightly more permanent dwelling of God in the temple. Now look at the exchange we saw in John, after Jesus hand-makes an impromptu whip and overturned the tables.

“The Jews therefore answered and said to Him, ‘What sign do You show to us, seeing that You do these things?’ Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’ The Jews therefore said, ‘It took forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?’ But He was speaking of the temple of His body. When therefore He was raised from the dead, His disciples remembered that He said this; and they believed the Scripture, and the word which Jesus had spoken.”

Let’s explore this with examples. Matthew 12:6; “something greater than the temple is here.” But what was the context of this statement. Notice; “At that time Jesus went on the Sabbath through the grainfields, and His disciples became hungry and began to pick the heads of grain and eat. But when the Pharisees saw it, they said to Him, ‘Behold, Your disciples do what is not lawful to do on a Sabbath.’ But He said to them, ‘Have you not read what David did, when he became hungry, he and his companions; how he entered the house of God, and they ate the consecrated bread, which was not lawful for him to eat, nor for those with him, but for the priests alone? Or have you not read in the Law, that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple break the Sabbath, and are innocent? But I say to you, that something greater than the temple is here.'”

We see that the followers of Jesus Christ are to the priests as Jesus is to the temple. As the author of Hebrews wrote, “Now the main point in what has been said is this: we have such a high priest, who has taken His seat at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, minister in the sanctuary, and in the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, not man. For every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices; hence it is necessary that this high priest also have something to offer. Now if He were on earth, He would not be a priest at all, since there are those who offer the gifts according to the Law; who serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things, just as Moses was warned by God when he was about to erect the tabernacle; for, ‘SEE,’ He says, ‘THAT YOU MAKE all things ACCORDING TO THE PATTERN WHICH WAS SHOWN YOU ON THE MOUNTAIN.’ But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises.”

Jesus arrived at his former dwelling place on earth, saw the wickedness and made a multi-tailed whip and chases the people out, on the Passover no less. What I can’t get over is that the Jews want to know where Jesus got the authority to do this. Shouldn’t they have driven these people out themselves? If the people present couldn’t see the error in buying sacrifices they obviously would not see Jesus for who he was. They didn’t respect the temple for being the temple, why would I expect them to see the true temple, the true tabernacle and the paradise that is Jesus. And it is sad to say that our modern-day prophecy-pundits proclaim a similar sentiment. They neither see Jesus in his completeness nor understand his fulness. Jesus had complete victory on the cross and has established his dominion over the earth.

We are more worried about what happens in Israel than we are about our call to make disciples of the kingdom. I’m guilty of this myself as I work to shed the dubious dogma of dispensationalism. I still think of the gospel as a get-out-of-hell-free card, while there’s still time. We preach a wrong gospel, one that says the world is going to hell very soon; escape while you can. But the gospel of the kingdom says that Jesus came to save the world and he reigns supreme over his creation. Problem; he leaves the leg-work in our hands. Good news; he gave us his Spirit. But I am getting way ahead of myself.

Jump back to the beginning of John’s gospel account and reread the following: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being by Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not ccomprehend it.

If there is nothing new in the New Testament, where did John get all this literary language and imagery? Imagery of which he also uses in another one of his compositions.

“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He shall dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be among them, and He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there shall no longer be any death; there shall no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.’ And He who sits on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.’ And He said, ‘Write, for these words are faithful and true.’ And He said to me, ‘It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost. He who overcomes shall inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son. But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.’ And one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues, came and spoke with me, saying, ‘Come here, I shall show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.’ And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God. Her brilliance was like a very costly stone, as a stone of crystal-clear jasper. It had a great and high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels; and names were written on them, which are those of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel. There were three gates on the east and three gates on the north and three gates on the south and three gates on the west. And the wall of the city had twelve foundation stones, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. And the one who spoke with me had a gold measuring rod to measure the city, and its gates and its wall. And the city is laid out as a square, and its length is as great as the width; and he measured the city with the rod, ffifteen hundred miles; its length and width and height are equal. And he measured its wall, seventy-two yards, according to human measurements, which are also angelic measurements. And the material of the wall was jasper; and the city was pure gold, like clear glass. The foundation stones of the city wall were adorned with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation stone was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, chalcedony; the fourth, emerald; the fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, topaz; the tenth, chrysoprase; the eleventh, jacinth; the twelfth, amethyst. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; each one of the gates was a single pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass. And I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God, the Almighty, and the Lamb, are its temple. And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine upon it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb. And the nations shall walk by its light, and the kings of the earth shall bring their glory into it. And in the daytime (for there shall be no night there) its gates shall never be closed; and they shall bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it; and nothing unclean and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”

Perhaps I need to rethink my claim that there is nothing new in the New Testament because that all seems very new. Except that it isn’t, accept that it isn’t. We’ve seen much of it today. For time’s sake let’s look at one more passage from our Old Testament tutor.

“For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; And the former things shall not be remembered or come to mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in what I create; For behold, I create Jerusalem for rejoicing, And her people for gladness. I will also rejoice in Jerusalem, and be glad in My people; And there will no longer be heard in her The voice of weeping and the sound of crying. No longer will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, Or an old man who does not live out his days; For the youth will die at the age of one hundred And the one who does not reach the age of one hundred Shall be thought accursed. And they shall build houses and inhabit them; They shall also plant vineyards and eat their fruit. They shall not build, and another inhabit, They shall not plant, and another eat; For as the lifetime of a tree, so shall be the days of My people, And My chosen ones shall wear out the work of their hands. They shall not labor in vain, Or bear children for calamity; For they are the offspring of those blessed by the LORD, And their descendants with them. It will also come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear. The wolf and the lamb shall graze together, and the lion shall eat straw like the ox; and dust shall be the serpent’s food. They shall do no evil or harm in all My holy mountain,’ says the LORD.”

The prophecy pundits have a problem with this particular passage amongst a myriad of others, as do the amillenialists. The problem is that people die in the new heavens and new earth. They have another problem, other than the lion doesn’t lay down with the lamb but it is the wolf which grazes with the lamb. This is all supposed to take place in the millenial kingdom and not the new heavens and the new earth. Another problem; dust shall be the serpent’s food. Which brings us back to the beginning. Next time. Next time we will expose the prophecy pundits and the unadulterated truth about Jesus and his people.

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