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Volume 32 - Page 109 of 246 Index | Zoom | |
all leaven from the house. This symbolic purging out of the leaven is fulfilled in the
Lord's cleansing of the Temple. In connection with this there are two facts that should be
This purging of the Temple was the Saviour's first public act at Jerusalem.
The cleansing of the Temple as recorded by Matthew, Mark and Luke, came after
His public entry into Jerusalem riding upon the ass, and was His last public act in
Jerusalem before his apprehension and crucifixion, which took place, as did the
first cleansing of the Temple, just before the Passover.
In John, from under the fig tree the "Israelite indeed in whom there was no guile"
comes forth to acknowledge the Saviour as "The King of Israel" (John 1: 49). In
Matthew, after the cleansing of the Temple in Matt. 21: we have the Hosannahs of the
children, but the fig tree withers away (Matt. 21: 19, 20), and the house is left desolate
(Matt. 23: 38) until the second coming of the Lord takes place.
We do not believe that any of our readers will need detailed proof that the cleansing
described in John 2: and that recorded by Matthew are entirely distinct occurrences. As
is explained in Volume XXIX, pp. 206-212, the whole of the history of Israel, from the
time of David up to the return from the Babylonian captivity is vitally linked with the
attitude of king and people to the House of God. Mere ceremonial is of no value, but true
worship lies at the foundation of all truth. This same principle can be seen in operation
even before the overthrow of the world, for we are told that Satan, whose fall is set forth
under the figure of the King of Tyre in Ezek. 28:, was originally associated with
holy things. He later became profane, and introduced "merchandise" (Ezek. 28: 16).
Worship is the basic principle underlying the ten commandments, and the Satanic conflict
of the ages has worship as its goal (Rev. 13: 4: compare also Matt. 4: 9). It will also
be remembered that in the section of John that we are now considering the passage occurs
that speaks of worshipping the Father in spirit and in truth (John 4: 24).
In John 1: 23 John the Baptist declares that he had been sent before the Lord as a
forerunner (John 1: 23) and that this was in fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah. It
will be remembered that those sent by the Sanhedrin had enquired John as to whether
he was "Elijah" (John 1: 21) and John had replied that he was not. At the same time
Matt. 17: 10-13 shows that there was a definite relationship between John the Baptist
and Elijah, and at John's birth the angel declared that he should go before the Lord
"in the spirit and power of Elijah" (Luke 1: 17).
The Jew who knew the O.T. prophecies would not be slow in associating the Lord's
sudden appearance in the Temple with the prophecy of Malachi: "Behold I will send My
messenger and he shall prepare the way before Me: and the Lord, Whom ye seek, shall
suddenly come to His temple . . . . . He is like a refiner's fire . . . . . He shall purify the
sons of Levi . . . . . Behold I will send Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great
and dreadful day of the Lord" (Mal. 3: 1-3; 4: 5). We see therefore, that the sudden
appearance of the Lord, scourge in hand, was a public witness to His Messianic office.