Posted by: Adjams | April 24, 2007

Why did Jesus use Violence to Cleanse the Temple?

Matthew 21:12-13 (New American Standard Bible)

12 And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves.
13 And He said to them, “It is written, ‘MY HOUSE SHALL BE CALLED A HOUSE OF PRAYER'; but you are making it a ROBBERS’ DEN.”

Mark 11:15-18

15 Then they came to Jerusalem. And He entered the temple and began to drive out those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves;

16 and He would not permit anyone to carry merchandise through the temple.

17 And He began to teach and say to them, “Is it not written, ‘ MY HOUSE SHALL BE CALLED A HOUSE OF PRAYER FOR ALL THE NATIONS’? But you have made it a ROBBERS’ DEN.”

18 The chief priests and the scribes heard this, and began seeking how to destroy Him; for they were afraid of Him, for the whole crowd was astonished at His teaching.

Luke 19:45-47

45 Jesus entered the temple and began to drive out those who were selling,

46 saying to them, “It is written, ‘AND MY HOUSE SHALL BE A HOUSE OF PRAYER,’ but you have made it a ROBBERS’ DEN.”

47 And He was teaching daily in the temple; but the chief priests and the scribes and the leading men among the people were trying to destroy Him,

John 2:13-16
13 The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.

14 And He found in the temple those who were selling oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables.

15 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;

16 and to those who were selling the doves He said, “Take these things away; stop making My Father’s house a place of business.”

Can one man clear a the temple?
One man using a weapon, even a non-lethal weapon such as an animal scourge, can clear a room pretty quickly. Especially if the other people in the room are unarmed, surprised, and (as disarmed subjects of a foreign dictatorship) used to being be submissive to force. The room-clearing is all the easier if the man with the weapon has a strong and fearless personality. It even easier if the man is backed by a wildly cheering crowd in a religious frenzy (such as the crowd that had, in Matthew’s version, just welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem and proclaimed him the messiah).

So here is probably the “best” non pacifist Text. It is an important event in the life of Jesus obviously because it was one of the few events recorded in all four Gospels.

So what are we to learn from this? Well I think if we consider the importance of Jesus’s position, we can take in the text and see what was accomplished with the cleansing of the Temple. But what of his violent behavior? Since this is posted in the Counter Arguments and Difficult questions sections, I will leave it up to the responses to answer these questions.

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Responses

  1. M-w.com “violence” – 1 a : exertion of physical force so as to injure or abuse (as in warfare effecting illegal entry into a house) b : an instance of violent treatment or procedure

    Did Jesus hurt anyone or attack anyone in the temple? Why do we say that he used violence? Perhaps he starled people and cause the amount of commotion to get people out. I don’t think his intention was to “get” the bad guys or something.

    Afterall, the next verse that you didn’t quote above, John 2:17 gives the reason for Jesus’ actions

    “His disciples remembered that it was written, “ZEAL FOR YOUR HOUSE WILL CONSUME ME.”

    Like Smajda going after a Christmas Tree in a church, Jesus cleared out the abominations in his Father’s house.

  2. Victor,
    First of all I think the instance here can easily fall into the b part of the definition (an instance of violent treatment or procedure). especially when you look up the definition of violent
    M-W.com Violent- 1 : marked by extreme force or sudden intense activity.
    Second even when you looked up the Definition of violence at M-W.com, did you over look the 3 definition?
    3 a : intense, turbulent, or furious and often destructive action or force b : vehement feeling or expression c : a clashing or jarring quality :
    This was a violent action.
    If I was in the temple today and I had a gun with blanks and shot it towards people, would the fact that I didn”t hurt anyone make it a no-violent action? Would that be the deed of a pacifist?

    Sure he had reasons for his actions, and that is not what what I’m questioning, I’m questioning if this method is an example that is laid out out before us.
    Are we permitted to clear out abominations from our fathers house in like manner?
    Do we have permission to take this and apply this to other aspects of our life?

    … because if we are, guess whats happening next Christmas :)

    • Yes we do, but the deal is WE ARE THE TEMPLE! So we should have just as much zeal about keeping our Fathers house pure. The Church Building is just that A building, nothing more nothing less. It is just a place where the Body of Christ meets not where the Spirit of God dwells.

  3. Perhaps one could say Jesus used force, but I wouldn’t accuse him of violence per se. In addition, the Scripture does not say that he hit anyone (or even the animals for that matter) with the whip. He may have just made a lot of noise or perhaps he did use it to get the larger animals moving. Either way, I don’t see anything inconsistent with his teachings here.

    Futhermore, nowhere in Scripture is the cleansing-of-the-temple episode held up as an example that we are to imitate. Most scholars understand this activity of Jesus in parallel with the prophetic object lessons of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, etc. Jesus here is clearing out the temple to demonstrate his zeal as the only begotten son coming home to his father’s house seeing people taking advantage of the innocent. In addition the cleansing of the temple foreshadows its eventual destruction (which is prophesied in John 2).

    So, I would say (1) it is obtuse and exegetically impossible to use the cleansing of the temple as an argument for violence by modern Christians (2) it cannot be definitely proved that Jesus actually used violence against his enemies.

  4. I concur with the parallel to the living parables of other prophets. Let us not forget that Jesus will return to slay the wicked. That is his right, and not ours until he gives us that command. He has given us commands of peace until his day. I agree with Sean’s two points. If anything, this should teach Christians to have zeal for integrity and not compromising the church with today’s culture.

  5. How would those who take this as an example of Jesus using violence and dumbing down his teachings on peace apply this principle to their lives? Would they suggest yelling at preachers who teach false doctrine during their sermon? Would they advocate getting out the whips when a church uses their funds in an ungodly manner? Perhaps they would forcefully remove those who attend on a Sunday who fall asleep during a sermon?

    I don’t see what practical application they could take from this record which would not contradict Jesus’ clear teaching on peace, gentleness, and love in other sections.

    • Jesus spent every day in the temple. EVERY DAY. Why on this day did he decide to get upset and clear it. Perhaps because of the place he was at in his ministry – almost the very end. He was saying “wake up people! This is not what church is about! Be alive, be active, be accountable or you will die like the fig tree (another part of that story, a frame if you will). Notice he did it where he spent every day, not against another group like the prostitutes or camel tenders, gate keepers, not even the Romans who held the Israelites with an iron grip.

  6. I think Christians can take this as an example that sometimes one can use the necessary means to accomplish the task, that there is such a thing as righteous anger. That if you have the authority and the right to do so, you can use violent methods like Jesus resorted to when cleansing the temple. (Sean we already looked up the definition, you don’t have to hurt someone to be violent.) I don’t think many Christians will buy into the “but thats Jesus” Argument. That there are certain situations that warrant an physical response. So if Jesus was our example on how to live our lives, we can look at this record and see that Jesus reasoned that violence was a reasonable course of action, that blessed are the Gentle is something that can be compromised under the appropriate circumstances (like the laws about the show-bread, the woman caught in adultery, or performing a physicians duties on the sabbath, circumcision on the sabbath, etc.)

    So i think the question to answer is…
    How did Jesus’s behavior in the temple fall inline with his teachings on peace, meekness, gentleness, and love in other sections?

  7. I don’t think that “blessed are the gentle is coming that can be compromised under the appropriate circumstances” is true – at least not based on the examples you gave.

    Jesus’ commands cannot be compromised nor do they contradict each other. The examples you listed were spoken of by Jesus to the Pharisees(and co) whose traditions were breaking the true laws of God. Jesus also gives us new covenant commands to follow and he deals with that in those situations by raising his teachings over Moses – based on the heart of a situation.

    In the temple situation is Jesus teaching us something? Or are we assuming that we might follow his example because of the general principle that we should “be like Christ.”

  8. Are the beatitudes Commands or blessings?
    I was careful not to pick examples where they where actual Laws and not traditions of the pharisees. Stoning the adulturess woman wsa in the law. The Sabath was the Law and so was circumsision. The show bread problem happened befor the pharasee’s.
    I thought the Law wasn’t done away with until Christ’s Death? Can it not be said that by making a blanket statment against non violence you are not observing the heart of the situation?

  9. This is an interesting, related article:

  10. I take the beattitudes as statements of fact linked to promised reward. For example, those who are meek are blessed and they will inherit the land. In this case, Jesus is not telling his hearers to become meek, rather he is addressing the meek and giving them hope (i.e. to inherit the land). The implication is that if one is not meek (i.e. one who fights back) then he will not inherit the land. These are perhaps even stronger than commands in this sense. Furthermore, I don’t think we can pick which beattitudes naturally apply to our personality. Those who have received the gospel of the kingdom are the meek, the poor, the merciful, etc. Prideful people would resist the gospel.

    As to Jesus demonstration in the temple, if we take this as a prophetic enactment meant to illustrate a greater truth, then the whole idea of imitating this action is moot. Furthermore, Jesus did keep the mosaic law. But there is nothing in the law which requires violence or vengefulness. Regardless, Jesus has commanded us to “love your enemies.” This clear command is the standard by which all who claim to follow Jesus will be judged on the last day.

  11. Sean,
    Just for clarity’s sake, can you elaborate on what Jesus was prophetically enacting, and the greater truth he was illustrating?

  12. Bart Ehrman seems to suggest that Jesus clearing the temple was a symbolic apolcalyptic parable of the coming kingdom. I tend to agree with him, for it seems that this disturbance is what got the religious leaders upset to the point to arresting Jesus.

    The prophets did these sort of things all the time.

    Ezekiel for example was told to take a brick, inscribe on it “Jerusalem”, and to lay seige to it, as symbolism as to what was going to happen.

    Hosea had to marry a prostitute as another symbol of Isreal’s unfaithfullness.

    Jesus is just asking like any ole’ Jewish prophet!

    Dustin

  13. Most find the Olivet Discourse (Mk 13, Mt 24, Lk 21) to be in the same vein as Jeremiah’s preaching against the first temple.

  14. Sorry for playing devils advocate there for a while. I just wanted to clear up some of the other points of view that I have heard about this particular point in Jesus’s life.

  15. Check this quote out:

    Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium by Bart D. Ehrman, pg 213

    In view of Jesus’ overarching message of the coming destruction when the Son of Man arrives, perhaps then it is best to see Jesus’ action in the Temple as a kind of prophetic gesture, an enacted parable, in which he demonstrated on a small scale what was soon to happen in a big way on the coming day of judgment. The Temple was going to be destroyed.

    Taking Jesus’ symbolic enacted demonstration of prophetic judgment as normative for us or as an excuse to overturn his clear teachings on nonviolence is patently wrong.

  16. Regardless of how we treat and interpret this episode in the life of Jesus, the world would be a much nicer place to live if all of us had just one similar episode recorded in our own histories…

  17. I believe you’re over complicating the message Jesus give us here. His messages were simple enough for all to understand.

    In order to understand this episode we have to look at His journey before hand.

    He surrounded himself with all kinds of sinners. Thieves, prostitutes, tax collectors, even people possessed by the devil, yet he embraced them with love, pity and forgiveness.

    Even the soldiers who cursed, whipped and insulted him afterwards were given forgiveness and love.

    Yet of all these episodes when He cleared the temple it was so out of character. Why?

    We have to look now at historical fact. You had to use a certain currency to make sacrifice or give offering at the temple. When people came from all over they had to exchange that currency for the accepted one. The money changers were like the stock brokers of ancient times. They were prone to cheating for profit and angering the customer for felt cheated. The foundation of GREED!

    The message is Christ had no tolerance for a capitalistic system that used the word business to justify the sin of greed and cheating of his neighbor, most of all in the house of his father which was an even bigger insult.

    Businessmen are the only people this Prince of Peace used violent force against, that’s a very powerful message of how you should do business with your neighbor.

  18. Thanks for your points, David. The greed of the people is no doubt the surface reason for Jesus’ reaction, but I wonder if there was something deeper, more prophetic about his actions. In fact, if he was just flipping over tables and driving animals out of the temple because of the greedy people then it makes the scene look like Jesus just lost his temper.

    Either way it is quite certain that Jesus did not use violence on the people (the Greek is clear on this). He used it on the animals, if one could call it violence.

  19. David:

    “Yet of all these episodes when He cleared the temple it was so out of character.”

    I don’t believe it was out of character at all. Jesus also made biting and accusing comments to the Pharisees. Not just once, but over and over. All these actions are a part of who Jesus is.

    When Jesus asked Peter who people said he was, Peter replied that the people thought Jesus was a prophet. Surely Jesus was a prophet, only he was more as well.

    This is what prophets do in the Jewish way of doing things. They keep the leaders (Pharisees and Saducees) in line, and they pronounce judgment for sin. Jeremiah the prophet did exactly what Jesus did – pronounce judgment on the temple.

    • Not out of character at all–As the righteous Man-God. Jesus’ ways are always in-character. Some have just limited their viewpoints, but Scripture must be taken as a whole–the God who said, “Blessed are the meek…” is the same God who, yes, in meekness, for what is meekness but self-control, drove the merchants from from the Court of the Gentiles with a scourge.

      He is the same God who sent the Flood, struck down the prophets of Baal through Elijah and told the Syro-Phonecian woman that He was sent only to Israel.

      What is certain is that God is a vengeful God and that His Mercy is all that prevents anyone from the just punishment they deserve.

      How grateful we are then, who are the saved from His terrible wrath, for our God is an all consuming fire.

      Certain then that none shall escape the just penalty of their sin, we are able therefore to forgive all who sin against us knowing and leaving space for God’s vengeance.

      How marvelous this little window into the future–this apocalypse of the cleansing of the Temple–a small yet telling demonstration of Lord’s ways against all who would subvert His worship–especially to we the uncircumcised–the people who have not called on God now brought close according the Lord’s marvelous ways.

  20. It’s a shame there is not more intellectual honesty in dealing with these important topics.

    If Jesus’s teaching on the subject were “clear teachings” or if “His messages were simple enough for all to understand.” then there would be no need for these discussions and you have discredited your own efforts here.

    And it appears that someone has not read the law:
    “Furthermore, Jesus did keep the mosaic law. But there is nothing in the law which requires violence or vengefulness.”

    What about killing a disobedient child, killing the murderer, etc? Which one of you removed these from God’s word?

    The site is built upon straw-man arguments. One of the primary points being that people who don’t believe as you don’t see the kingdom as being an effectual kingdom on earth.

    Many people see it as being effectual IN the earth but not OF the earth. Until you understand the difference, you cannot pretend to build up false images of your opponents and then knock them down with your simplistic opinions.

    I was hoping for a more scripturally reasoned discussion.

  21. Welcome, Bob, to LoveYourEnemies. I think you raise some valid points that we need to take into consideration. However, one thing that you said deeply concerns me–that we are constructing straw-man arguments . This is something we have specifically worked against. The last thing we want to do is mis-represent the pro-violence mainstream of modern and historic Christianity.

    Bob, I’d like to propose a solution to satisfy your obvious consternation at our misunderstanding of the issue: why don’t you write an article or more and email it to me. I will post it on your behalf under the Counter Arguments section. Just email me here RadicalReformer(at)gmail(dot)com

    • This is one of the few sensible things I’ve heard in questioning people’s faith. I’m not going to defend mine for it is mine alone(I was raised Baptist, but my comparative study of world religions and various groups of Christianity has caused me to no long associate with any particular group. You may for this think me aimless, but my faith is strong and has served me well), but a place that accepts even those that would yell at the top of their lungs you are wrong and listen is the only thing that can save the church in general. For that I say thank you.

  22. I think you’re misunderstanding my point, when I said simple message.

    To me it’s very clear. The unchecked dishonesty in the hearts of men is a very big contributor to the down fall of others. It’s a domino effect I believe he despised.

    We weren’t put on earth to devise the best ways to cheat and gain from each other. Christ preached that we were in this together and it was mandatory for us to watch over each other.

    Using the temple as a center for “accepted” economics infuriated him to the point of violence because of the intent.

    He may not have whipped the man, but he definitely was chastising the “system”.

    Only a simple man’s opinion…

  23. Maybe, I just have too high of a view of Jesus, but when you say that Jesus got “infuriated…to the point of violence” it makes it sound like Jesus just flew off the handle in an outburst of anger. How does this fit with the Scriptures that declare him to be without sin?

  24. To me it’s not you’re high expectations. I think we forget that Christ was born of human flesh also. Which even as the professed Son of God may have encumbered him with all the natural temperaments and short comings the human side implies?
    It’s actually quite interesting to think he may have contended with all the tribulation we as humans suffer everyday.
    It’s possible he was exhibiting a more human side of himself. I think there were other times in His life he exhibited the human side, the temptation in the desert, the questioning of mission in the Garden of Gethsemane, the wedding party to mention a few.
    Maybe they were reminders he knew what we deal with, like a “Been there – done it.”

    • Nature is Gods bidding, it too is unpredictable and a storm/rainfall can hit on a clear day. we were created in the likeness of god. As so were all creatures created with a likeness. There are times for peace and times for war. Submissiveness and pacifism has its place. You never interrupt and enemy in the middle of a mistake. They will do themselves in. However when a proper opportunity to strike shows itself, I would believe the righteous man would stand his ground for the greater good. He is a man as Moses was a man. We are just men. Hopefully all for the naturalness of man. Striving to understand what temperance means. To use the word infuriated doesn’t denote that Jesus lost his cool it merely means that it filled him with anger. And he must’ve clearly directed it at someone/or something(not without a cause, hence not losing his cool). There’s a journey and on it you encounter lot’s of choices (ADAM AND EVE) we look at these lives and we must compare them with our own in a chaotic abstract world. Use their relationships to understand yourself. and don’t get caught up in the God’s son part and look at him as a man then you can repair yourself and walk with him. I agree he dealt with the tribulations of humans, wasn’t it about compassion and honesty. When we prize things and build idols we stray away from what matters. We begin to lose our greatest human traits ; love and compassion. Defending the weak and standing up for those who cannot defend themselves is just the alpha going to fight the wild to protect the flock. It would be a sin not to intervene in some instances. I don’t think it’s a reminder of “been there done that” Jesus was an activist for the people, he was righteous end of story. great guy everyone go get some wine relax by the fire and for God’s sake no more monkey business you filthy animals!

  25. Jesus went to get the cords needed to make a whip.

    He used it as a symbol of authority, and to let them know that he meant business. I’m sure He would slam his whip against the walls to startle them into submission. He wasn’t going to hit anybody, because He is not violent in nature.

    He threw the coins out of the Temple so that they would be forced to get their money out of there.

    He flipped the tables and chairs over so that they would have to carry them out and leave.

    So where’s the violence in that? Does it sound like Jesus “losing his temper”?

  26. Simple answer: he never hit anyone.

    The only book where Christ supposedly hits anyone with a whip is John, and several of the newer translations of the Bible address a problem with the text in John, namely that John’s Gospel says “he drove them out WITH the sheep and the oxen” where a more precise translation would say “he drove them out, both the sheep and the oxen”. Full disclosure, though: I am no Greek scholar, and am relying on Rev. Charles Emmanuel McCarthy, plus my ability to read English. :)

  27. It seems like a major hang up of this whole discussion is the word “violence.” Are we (and was Jesus) committed to “principled nonviolence” or was Jesus committed to love (in no simple sentimental sense)? “Non/violence” is something we can define (or use the dictionary) and then use to judge another’s actions. While it MIGHT be great for us to be committed to nonviolence for Jesus’ sake, it might be better if something that other people identified as “nonviolence” (better yet “peace”) in our lives grew out of our commitment to follow Jesus.
    However, Jesus’ life and teachings are the standard, not dictionary definitions of “violence.”
    The same could be said for “pacifism.” While I consider myself a pacifist, I am most committed (I hope) to Jesus life and teachings. I can therefore imagine a scenario in which I MIGHT do something that we would identify as “violent” to allow myself or someone else to escape being killed because killing would have very dire consequences for “my enemy.” It is in my enemy’s best interest (shalom) to prevent ANY killing intentions from coming to fruition if I can do so without killing anyone myself. I’m not some Christian martial artist or something, I’m aware of the potential problems of such a position. I don’t practice for violence, but my commitment to Jesus transcends any commitment to “pacifism” or “nonviolence.” Maybe the cleansing of the Temple WAS violent. Maybe an ox stepped on somebody’s foot. Who cares? Jesus loved. Love your enemies.

    • Great answer we think a lot alike I love your broader view and break down of definitions. Good stance. I am a crazy jewish baptist buddhist martial artist LOL

  28. Whether the passage in John is rendered to mean He drove them out AND or drove them out BOTH, seems to depend on how one translates the primary article “te”.

    Thayer’s Lexicon has this to say,

    …differing from the particle kai in that the latter is conjunctive, te adjunctive … kai introduces something new under the same aspect yet as an external addition, whereas te marks it as having an inner connection with what preceeds;

    Thus the sheep and oxen is connected with that which was driven out, Jesus didn’t drive them out “and also” but drove them out “both…”. also, the Greek simply says, “pantas exebalen ek”, or “all were driven out”, in which case–and I’m not pretending to be a Greek expert here–I’m wagering that the text is saying all of the sheep and the oxen were driven out, i.e. all of the sacrificial animals which were kept in the Temple (which had to be exchanged for the animals which were brought to the Temple–for a charge, of course) were driven out.

    Jesus here refuses to allow these “robbers” to make a mockery of the Temple by not only cheating honest worshipers by having a ridiculous exchange rate between Roman currency and Temple currency, but also by taking the sacrificial animals from the pilgrims–saying they were not good enough–charing money so they could get an animal from the Temple, and then (basically) turning it around and selling the animals taken to new worshipers as they came.

    The entire system was a corrupt system of oppression against the worshipers, and it particularly hit the poor the hardest (obviously) so Jesus rebukes the entire system, fashions a whip, turns over the tables, and drives all the animals from the Temple.

    It may have been an act of subversive sabotage, but not an act of violent force. Like the priests who broke into a federal building and burnt draft papers during the Vietnam War.

  29. It was about time ! How much crap can one man stand anyway? Afterall, hes only human. Being constantly passive will not always earn you the respect of some. If it takes a “show of strength ” to get your message across, then, by all means. I’m sure people took him a bit more serious after that. Those people pushed him, so, he pushed back. Sometimes you have to speak the language that some only know.

  30. To Bob…and anyone else looking for “intellect”….which is what the “Pharisees & Sadducees” had …..which we are commanded to listen to them, but not do as they do…….

    First of all, we are not Jesus. So what Jesus does, does not mean we can do those things, unless He gives us a command, authority, instruction, etc.

    But we are to follow the “Commands”, with common sense:
    “Saving an animal out of a pit….on the sabbath” – paraphrasing Jesus:Matthew 12:11-12

    We(you and me/us, black, white, yellow, etc) have been bought….ALL OF US.
    I hate to say it, but white people have a problem with this in america. They don’t know how it feels to be “enslaved” to another race, or to feel like a minority here. People need to understand that the Jews were like the Blacks were of today…….Enslaved…under someone else’s rule, having someone else come into their land and setup shop and rule.

    When you are in possession of someone……you ultimately make the rules. No matter how other’s interpret them. What you say Goes……..”Romans, ruling the Jews…but “Allowing them “freedom of religion””.

    Now, if you owned a HOUSE…..and your Son came home and seen your 2 neighbors(who you commanded to clean ur house in exchange for food, shelter, etc) using your home as a pornography shooting session, he would have a choice: to Join in the Action or Kick everybody OUT.

    Now, knowing your father’s values, you would make a decision. A righteous son would have them out of there. A disobeying son would join in the action.

    So, Jesus is having ZEAL for his Father’s House…..simple(no intellect needed to comprehend).

    Now the next point…..the point i feel everybody is not even hitting on……”Most people don’t truely know the bible…….I mean, they haven’t read all the books………Once u Read all the books of the Bible, you’ll start to understand and see how/why things are the way they are………but you have to understand that you don’t RUN YOURSELF like you think you run yourself…….We are Bought!

    “HOUSE OF ROBBERS”
    Malachi 3:8-9
    No Intellectuals needed:
    Malachi 3:10
    “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse…”

    From my study….ROBBERS in this form generally refers to the misusage of tithing and offering. Actually…..the not giving of tithes and offerings. If you don’t give Tithes & Offerings you are Robbing God.

    Acts 5:1-4[my phrasing]
    #1 If you are “real about this”, sell ur possessions and bring the money to the apostles

    #2 If you truly believe, don’t hold back part of it….which is basically “unfaithfulness”.

    #3 Since you tried to “lie” to the “Holy Ghost”…….Double Shame on you(God took away the man and his wife)…..Alot of People are doing this all day everyday.
    Its’s what I call plotting.

    “They want to look like they are doing the right thing”

    If I make $100 today, I would love to take my 10% or more on the same day I got it. That’s just me. I feel if it’s in God’s House sooner, it can be put to work sooner.

    “Shouldn’t hold a man’s wages overnight…..but America has done this to the EXTREME…..a whole week or even “bi-weekly”. Like, I can’t get my money for 2 whole weeks????……..The sooner I get my money…….the sooner I can have it work for me(Jesus’s parable about the 10 talents, 5 talents & 1).

    HOUSE OF PRAYER
    I think it’s totally ashame that I can’t goto Church everyday to pray or to take an offering, or to make a tithe offering. It can only be done on “Sunday”(typically in america). Why isn’t the HOUSE OF PRAYER open all day for people??????

    So, say I was having a bad day, and I wanted to goto the Church to “pray” I couldn’t even go pray because of all the comotion of “business”.[what's tied to business: greed, deceit, lies, love of money, false intentions]

    Not only that “EYEBALLZZZZZ” people……
    When people see you “handling alot of money”, all kinds of cog wheels start turning…….That’s why “offering and tithes” are taken to the “storehouse”…..Not “John & Salley’s FundRaiser” or “Willie’s Good People Campaign”.

    People don’t understand that it’s a distraction to praying…..A MEETING WITH GOD is how I look at the prayer house and praying. You are having a private meeting with God.

    I get mad everytime I see cd’s sold inside of Churches. Even if it is Gospel Music. It shouldn’t be sold in the church(it should be given to the people….because theoritcally the Church should have money to press up cd’s for “the choir”.

    Their are plenty of stores and distribution channels to buy things,I know i’m in the music business, but a church should not be setup for the distribution of “Profit Making Items”. It would make it a “business” then if it were.

    Everything Jesus taught was meant for everyone to understand……….but if you let Satan come at you with “confusion” then you will be duped everytime. “GOD is not the author of confusion”…..maybe “Secrets”…those are HIS RIGHTS as Owners of us. He may withhold secrets……..but He hasn’t confused us……who “LISTEN”…..Jesus said if you have hears ear.

    Matthew 11:28-30
    Everything is simple[JESUS SAID MY YOKE IS EASY & BURDEN LIGHT]

    So I think alot of us Christians have been duped because of our own personal desires.

    OUR PERSONAL DESIRES get in the way of everything…..Stop trying to add to the word to mold it…….let the word mold you.

    It could be ur career molding you as well that’s hindering you from understand the bible verses.
    Alot of times, we have to let go of our “world” and “submit” to God’s Desires.

  31. This description from the book “Desire of Ages” seems to me to most accurately describe what actually happened in the cleansing of the temple:

    “As Jesus came into the temple, He took in the whole scene. He saw the unfair transactions. He saw the distress of the poor, who thought that without shedding of blood there would be no forgiveness for their sins. He saw the outer court of His temple converted into a place of unholy traffic. The sacred enclosure had become one vast exchange.”

    “Christ saw that something must be done. Numerous ceremonies were enjoined upon the people without the proper instruction as to their import. The worshipers offered their sacrifices without understanding that they were typical of the only perfect Sacrifice. And among them, unrecognized and unhonored, stood the One symbolized by all their service. He had given directions in regard to the offerings. He understood their symbolical value, and He saw that they were now perverted and misunderstood. Spiritual worship was fast disappearing. No link bound the priests and rulers to their God. Christ’s work was to establish an altogether different worship.

    “With searching glance, Christ takes in the scene before Him as He stands upon the steps of the temple court. With prophetic eye He looks into futurity, and sees not only years, but centuries and ages. He sees how priests and rulers will turn the needy from their right, and forbid that the gospel shall be preached to the poor. He sees how the love of God will be concealed from sinners, and men will make merchandise of His grace. As He beholds the scene, indignation, authority, and power are expressed in His countenance. The attention of the people is attracted to Him. The eyes of those engaged in their unholy traffic are riveted upon His face. They cannot withdraw their gaze. They feel that this Man reads their inmost thoughts, and discovers their hidden motives. Some attempt to conceal their faces, as if their evil deeds were written upon their countenances, to be scanned by those searching eyes.

    “The confusion is hushed. The sound of traffic and bargaining has ceased. The silence becomes painful. A sense of awe overpowers the assembly. It is as if they were arraigned before the tribunal of God to answer for their deeds. Looking upon Christ, they behold divinity flash through the garb of humanity. The Majesty of heaven stands as the Judge will stand at the last day,–not now encircled with the glory that will then attend Him, but with the same power to read the soul. His eye sweeps over the multitude, taking in every individual. His form seems to rise above them in commanding dignity, and a divine light illuminates His countenance. He speaks, and His clear, ringing voice–the same that upon Mount Sinai proclaimed the law that priests and rulers are transgressing–is heard echoing through the arches of the temple: “Take these things hence; make not My Father’s house an house of merchandise.”

    “Slowly descending the steps, and raising the scourge of cords gathered up on entering the enclosure, He bids the bargaining company depart from the precincts of the temple. With a zeal and severity He has never before manifested, He overthrows the tables of the money-changers. The coin falls, ringing sharply upon the marble pavement. None presume to question His authority. None dare stop to gather up their ill-gotten gain. Jesus does not smite them with the whip of cords, but in His hand that simple scourge seems terrible as a flaming sword. Officers of the temple, speculating priests, brokers and cattle traders, with their sheep and oxen, rush from the place, with the one thought of escaping from the condemnation of His presence.

    “A panic sweeps over the multitude, who feel the overshadowing of His divinity. Cries of terror escape from hundreds of blanched lips. Even the disciples tremble. They are awestruck by the words and manner of Jesus, so unlike His usual demeanor. They remember that it is written of Him, “The zeal of Thine house hath eaten Me up.” Ps. 69:9. Soon the tumultuous throng with their merchandise are far removed from the temple of the Lord. The courts are free from unholy traffic, and a deep silence and solemnity settles upon the scene of confusion. The presence of the Lord, that of old sanctified the mount, has now made sacred the temple reared in His honor.”

  32. One point I want to make….

    I keep hearing, “He didn’t hit anyone.” and “He was just using the ‘whip’ to make noise and startle people.” The only problem I have is this…

    Christ didn’t make a “whip” he made a “Scourge”. See the wiki article here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scourge

    This kind of weapon is just that, a weapon. It was used to inflict pain and injury, period. It is not designed like a bull whip that will make a snapping noise by breaking the sound barrier. In fact, you can try all you want to make this thing make a startling noise and you’re not going to be very successful. So in my opinion, one doesn’t “make a scourge of leather” with the intent to just “scare people with the sound” not to mention the fact that it wouldn’t be very effective at all. Chances are, based on the weapon he chose, I find it very hard to believe that Christ didn’t use physical force here.

    And also.. another point.. even if didn’t, who ever said that you had to inflict physical harm on another human being in order for your actions to be interpreted as “violent”? The definitions at the beginning of this thread alone refute that view.

  33. Matthew,

    I dont think jesus needed to break the sound barrier to scare people or drive people out with a scourge. I just needed to drive out the animals, and the items that the moneychangers had and turn tables, with the same authority that he had while teaching.
    I agree with what you said about the physical harm not being necessary for violence, i think people were confused at the beginning of the thread by what was being said in the title, and I think there was an understanding (eventually) that the word violence is appropriate.

    However, the conclusion that was drawn was that Jesus was not necessarily inflicting harm or physically abusing people in this event. Taking a scourge and whipping people is probably not an example of love.

  34. he didn’t hit people (period)

    we need to stop using this account in the life of our lord as justification for violence our fellow humans

  35. Here are some things that I am struggling with in regards to force/violence/self-defense/pacifism:

    In Seans post on April 26, 2007 he said the Jesus actions in the Temple were not meant to imitated. I whole heartedly disagree with this statement. Here, Sean has basicallys said that Jesus operates on a “Do as I say, not as I do” philosophy. To keep with the cliche strategy I would say that at all times, in all circumstances and to all people, Jesus “practiced what he preached.”

    Anger itself is NOT a sin, it is an emotion. There are other examples in the Bible that portray Jesus being angry – i.e. Mk 3:5. It is not anger that is a sin but it is the actions taken as result of anger that could result in sin.

    If we hold to our belief that Jesus was completely human yet without sin we must conclude that because Jesus was, at times, angery then anger must not be a sin. If use of (or the show of) force (i.e. – clearing the temple) was imployed by Jesus then we must conclude that such is not a sin.

    In addition to the clearing of the Temple many want to use the Sermon on the Mount as a defense for pacifism. The verses in question are found in Mt 5:38-42. It is here that we hear Jesus say, “You have heard it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, Do not resist and evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheeck, turn to him the other also . . . ”

    There is considerable debate surrounding the context of these words. Some scholars and historians believe Jesus was simply restating the original intent of the law as stated in Ex 21:24; Lev 24:20; Dt 19:21. This law had been perverted by man into a justification for taking revenge on those who had wronged them. In this context Jesus would be saying that citizens should not take justice into their own hand, that is what governments are for (Rom 13:4).

    Another defense many use pacifism is the story of Peter cutting-off the ear of the High Priests servant in garden (Mt. 10:51; Mk 14:47; Lk 22:50; Jn 18:10). In defense some point to Jesus healing the servants ears as justication for pacifism. In the account as told by John 18:11 the verbal rebuke given to Peter is “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?” Jesus rebuked Peter because if Peter defended Jesus he would not be able to fulfill the mission the Father had given him. The rebuke was not because Peter was willing to use the sword in self-defense.

    Some also point to Jesus’ words of, “Those who live by the sword die by the sword.” This is a statement of fact, not a command. If you fight in a war you are likely to die in war; are you willing to make that sacrifice?

    It is interesting to see what happened just prior to the “garden incident” according to Luke 22. Speaking figuratively Jesus tells his disciples to “sell you cloak and buy [a sword].” What is interesting is the disciples response, “See, Lord, here are two swords.” Where did these two swords come from? It appears to me that they had the swords with them. The Jewish New Testament Commentary states that swords were common items among those we traveled in order to defend themselves from “highwaymen.” Does Jesus rebuke the disciples for having the swords? No, he rebukes them for missing his point; for failing to realize that he was speaking firguratively. From this I believe that use of force in self-defense not against the commandments of God.

    In terms of warfare on behalf of nation-states I refer to Romans 13:1-7. Here Paul clearly relates that all governing authorities, good or bad, has been established by God. He also clearly states that God gave the government “the sword” for reason (v.4). Paul clearly states that God has given permission to nations to enforce laws and to provide self-defense.

    Many will say that Christians should not participate in warfare. If this is the case why did John the Baptist not tell the centurion to resign his position? JtB actually told the centurion to be happy with his wages as a soldier! (Mk. 3:14)

    Why did Jesus not tell the Roman Soldier that he should resign his post? Instead Jesus speaks about the soldiers great faith! (Mt. 8:5-13)

    God used warfare in the Old Testament as a means of punishment for Israel and other nations (Judges 5:8). At times he used his nation, of his people, in order to bring this punishment upon others. In Hebrews 13:8 it states that, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and for ever.” If this is the case then God could still use war, carried out by his people, to inflict punishment. War will always be with us because of sinful man (James 4:1).

    These are some the things I things that cause me to question the pacifist way. It appears there are some times when force is “permitted.” (Ecc 3:8)

  36. I’d love to respond to your thoughts in more detail, and I will when I get some time. However, for now I simply have two questions for you:

    Is killing someone loving? (cf. description in 1 Cor 13)

    If I intentionally disobey Jesus’ command to love my enemies then doesn’t that mean that Jesus is not really my lord? (Lk 6.46)

  37. Sean:

    Thanks for your reply. Please let me clarify my previous post. In no way am I advocating aggressive force nor am I stricktly speaking of killing. Violence, in any form, should be the last resort. My struggle is mainly with self-defence, defense of others and pre-emptive strikes (war).

    In answer to your two questions . . .

    1. “Is killing someone loving? (cf. description in 1 Cor 13)”

    Your closed-ended question is mis-leading to those would read only my answer. To answer your question as posed to me, “No, killing someone is not loving.” Unfortunately, we do not live in a “closed-ended world.” At times we will be forced to choose the lesser of two evils.

    For instance, if you witnessed a car-jacking taking place does your fear of disobeying Jesus’ command to love your neighbor excuse you from taking action? If so, why?

    What about the person whose car is being stolen, are they not also your neighbor? If not, why?

    Which is the greater sin: Committing a violent act (not neccesarily killing) against the perpatrator or your failure to act on behalf of your innocent brother or sister? Why?

    Can a Christian priviledge his desire to be free from sin over his responsiblity to save the life of another? If so, then why?

    If we fail to act on another’s behalf does that make us any better than those of the world? If so, how and why?

    2. If I intentionally disobey Jesus’ command to love my enemies then doesn’t that mean that Jesus is not really my lord? (Lk 6.46)

    Again, another closed-ended question that does allow for an adequate answer. The way the question is formatted leads the responder to answer in the affirmative. However, I believe the answer to be NO.

    Using the logic posed in this question one would have to conclude that no human has ever had, or has, Jesus as their lord. For who among us, other than Jesus himself, has ever been without sin?

    While following the commands of Christ are extremely important we must remember that we are not justified by law but, rather, by faith in Jesus Christ alone (Gal. 2:16). “I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!” (Gal. 2:21)

    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    Closed-ended questions like those posed to me do not allow for an honest response or dialogue. Take a look at the question posed to Jesus by the disciples in John 9:1-5. The disciples asked Jesus who had committed a sin, the blind man or the blind man’s parents? If Jesus were to directly answer the question it would immediately imply guilt on one of the parties. However, Jesus did not fall into this trap, he answered with a third alternative that was not given by the disciples.

    The formatting of the above questions was leading me to answer with simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ when in reality the questions were worthy of so much more.

  38. I was not trying to be difficult with my questions. I was just trying to find out if you thought killing people was loving or not. Many people since Augustine have said yes! I’m glad you are in agreement with 1 Cor 13 that love is not rude.

    On to my second question. Is Jesus your lord if you intentionally disobey him? You say yes because we all sin. I think I disagree with you on this one. What makes him my lord is my submission to his commands. Here is what he said:

    Luke 6:46 “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?

    If we follow your advice then every time it might get too difficult or dangerous then we can disobey Jesus but still be ok. This can’t be right. We need to trust that the third option will be there in the moment. There are many stories of when someone was able to non-violently bring a dangerous situation to a redemptive conclusion by doing something out of the ordinary–walking by the spirit. This is what Jesus always did. But if we premeditate to disobey Jesus ahead of time then we are simply not open to the possibility of God’s creative influence in the scary situations of life.

    We have to recommit ourselves. We need to confess that love is more powerful than violence. Must of us don’t really believe that. This, however, is the lesson of the cross. God’s love is more powerful than a world of cruelty, oppression, and torture devices. Love is more powerful, not because it is sentimental, nor even because it has a mysterious power to transform hearts, but because God, the mighty one, endorses it.

  39. Sean:

    To be completely honest it appears to me that you are a promoter of legalism. I asked you several difficual quesitons in my first post that have remained unanswered. The only answers I find from you in reviewing this site are all “legal” or based on weak evidence, i.e. – “There are many stories of when someone was able to non-violently bring a dangerous situation to a redemptive conclusion by doing something out of the ordinary–walking by the spirit.” Throwing undocumented and broad based examples such as this makes for an extremely weak arguement. For example, I could just as easily find many instances in which Christians tried “non-violence” and were killed along with those with them.

    No doubt that we should obey the laws of Christ. However, life is not always “black and white.” The law is there to make us conscience of sin (Rom. 3:20; Rom. 8:20); we are not justified by law but only by faith in Jesus Christ (Gal. 2:16; Rom. 8:20-21).

    The Pharisees tried to accuse Jesus of not obeying the law and He asked them, which I now ask you, “I ask you, which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save a life or to destroy it?” (Luke 6:6-9) It’s not about the law and its not about us; its about Him, others and your heart.

    To me your arguments seem exteremly selfish. It appears you would rather keep yourself from sinning that helping your neightbor. You accuse me of not loving my enemy but you are completely ignoring your neighbor! Do we as Christians really have right to privilege our fear of sinning over saving a life of our neighbor? Is this Christ-like? Could you see Jesus bypassing the man with the shriveled hand just so he would not break the law? Jesus chose to break the law of the Jews (of which he was one) which was given by his Father in order to help another. Law vs. people. Applying your logic to Jesus and the man with the shriveled hand one must conclude that Jesus did not love his Father because Jesus broke God’s command not to labor on the Sabbath! Again its not all about the law; its about faith in Jesus Christ.

    “We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. We also know that law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for adulterers and perverts, for slave traders and liars and perjurers–and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine that conforms to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.” – 1 Timothy 1:8-10

    The laws are given to show us what is right and wrong; not to justify us before God. There are times, just like with Jesus, the Pharisees and the man with the shriveled hand, that we will have to choose which is more important: the law or people. Enemy or neighbor? Selfishly holding back in order to avoid sin or showing love to our neighbor? Saving ourself from sin or committing violence angainst another individual to save many others?

    I am in no way arguing for, or trying to justify, breaking the commands of Christ whenever we feel like. God gave us brains and the ability to reason for a purpose. There are times when we will have to make very difficult, split second decisions and I believe God expects us to use the gifts he gave us. I refuse to condemn others who have found themselves in life and death situations when I have never been there myself. Its so easy for us to condemn when we have never experienced it. Talk can be very cheap.

    Thanks for answering some of my questions.

    Been fun.

    God bless.

  40. PC,
    How is Sean not loving his neighbor exactly. You point out the the world is not black and white and yet you create a dichotomy which Sean has addressed already when he said that there will be a third option. I don’t think anyone has put forth the idea that christians should ignore the needs of a neighbor in distress and not intercede when help is needed (other than Yourself and Matthew accusing the authors and supporters of this site.) I think what Sean puts forth (or at least what i’ll put forth) is that if there is an opportunity to help our neighbor while not forsaking the command to love our enemy, that opportunity should be taken. Do you agree?

  41. John Paul:

    Thanks for entering the debate. Let me explain where I am coming from so that you understand my intentions. My brother-in-law recently converted to the Anabaptist tradition largely due to The Kingdom that Turned the World Upsidedown by David Bercot. After reading the book myself and speaking in-depth with my brother-in-law I was deeply disturbed by what I was seeing and hearing. However, Bercot did raise some valid points and made me think more in-depth about my own beliefs. I came here looking to discuss some the issues that I am struggling with or do not completely agree with in order to better understand what it is my brother-in-law beleives.

    Having said all that let me address your comments. I disagree that Sean has already addressed my “dichotomy” by saying that there will be third option. Sean’s defense is simply that there are “many stories of when someone was able to non-violently bring a dangerous situation to a redemptive conclusion by doing something out of the ordinary–walking by the spirit.” This is not very convicing as I am sure that I would be able to find many instances in which such methods failed. He offers absolutely not support for his agruement. It is so easy to make such statements without giving them much thought or doing the research necessary to confirm and prove that such a method is effective. This is nothing but Sean’s personal opinion yet he preaches it as gospel fact.

    I concede the point the no one “has put forth the idea that christians should ignore the needs of a neighbor in distress and not intercede when help is needed.” While they have not “put [it] forth” they have implied it by ingnoring the questions raised about their neighbors. By ingnoring quesitons about the neighbor one would naturally come to the conclusion that it is of little consequence; not worthy of an answer.

    Finally, to answer your question at the end of your post I would say, “Yes.” In my mind there has never been a debate about that. If there is an opportunity to help your neighbor while also loving your enemy then of course we should take such a path. My point has been about those instances in which such an opportunity does not present itself?

    Put youself in Columbine or VirginiaTech. When a “madman” has several automatic weapons in his his possession and his shooting anyone in his site what is a Christian to do? If you simply distact the shooter he will most likely just shoot you and continue on his rampage. In such a situation do you have the right to privilege your own fear of sin over the lives of your neighbors? Or, can we take action, can we do harm to one, in order to save the lives of many?

  42. Let me first (and quickly for it is past my bedtime) answer your question about putting myself in the columbine/ virginia tech situation. First of all i do know somebody personally who has had a gun pointed at them and a knife pulled on them. In both instances he commanded them in the name of Jesus Christ to lay down their arms and they did so, one of them wound up crying in his arms within minutes. I can point you towards the ministries web site and give you the mans email address if you’d like. (I’m not saying this just to you PC, but to any other potential future readers.)

    The name of Jesus is the most powerful name on all the earth. To assume that such a strategy would not work I dare say is to assume that God will not intervene. I believe that my God can and will deliver me in such a circumstance.

    But lets throw that strategy out for whatever reason (arguments sake.) Again, you have given me 3 options now: do nothing, distract him (your shoelace is untied?,) or harm (do you mean kill?) him. I personally am not opposed to hitting such an individual over the head with a cast-iron frying pan in such an instance. But for lack of such a device, wrestling the gun from his hand. Physically subdue him sure, im all for it. To stand by and watch people suffer while I was being religious would kind of sound like the some of the characters in the Samaritan Parable…

    I would like to address the last thing you said. We are Christians. We are Gods representatives of Christ on earth in this and God willing the coming age when he returns. We are to be saving lives. But we don’t save lives by stopping people from getting shot, we save lives by preaching the Gospel with others. We save lives by doing this. We don’t stand by idly while people are destroying themselves and others. And we certainly don’t destroy others in the process. I pray that I would never send anyone to hell, because Jesus shed blood and died as much for that person as the next, and I would not want to take away someone’s chance of getting saved.

  43. I think we have two dilemas. The first is that the “God” whom we are taught about in western society is, by all accounts, socially, politically, and individually, diestic. He, by the definition given by others *does not* intervene. We have to shed ourselves of this notion. The true God of the Scripture is, by definition, one who intervenes. His non-intervention is seen (by both Jewish and Christian theologian alike) as an anomaly and out of character.

    Secondly, we are to continue Jesus’ story after him. When Jesus says in the last supper that many more things will be done after he is gone, I think this is what he is talking about. He is talking about his followers acting on his story. Believing in the God who intervenes in the daily world to produce something non-ordinary. To flex his muscle. And, if we have any evidence at all to go by, it is the *success* of his Son, in a situation in which no one would normally have faith in! A crucified messiah claimant was extremely common during the first and century century. Yet, something set Jesus apart. How he lived, the story he continued to live is what it was. And we are to live in that story. We are to emulate it.

    Did Jesus, in any way support war against Rome? The murder of any individual? What was his whole ministry geared towards? Wholeness, healing, reconciliation with man and God. These are the things that should now characterize us – not war and violence. To postulate otherwise is to miss the entire narrative.

  44. PC.
    I am looking back at your post from August 21st and want to respond to something you said.

    I have not problem with Jesus operating on as you say “do has he says not as he does philosophy. I don’t think anyone but Jesus could go around saying “your sins are forgiven.” Look at the other prophets of the old covenant. I don’t believe that anybody but nathan would have or should have confronted david in the manner that he was confronted but a prophet of God. It would not be anyone else’s place to take such actions.

    There are some verses that you bring up in that post that would be best be addressed in the Scriptures section under the appropriate articles.

    However I will quickly address your statement regarding Romans 13 (since I don’t see an article for it.) God does clearly have his hand in world events and has established nations (from babylon to america.) However I dont see how you equate giving permission to nations to enforce laws and provide self defense with giving Christians the same. And I would disagree that God would use his people (if by his people you mean us Christians in this currant age) to inflict punishment, carry out war. Christ commands to Love his enemies and to the other new commandments given by him supersede the previous commands and actions. War will always be with us, as will sin… but that doesn’t mean we can participate.

    Sean did say that he would get to some of your questions when he got some time (notice the brevity of his comments as of late…) but im sure if you asked him nicely he would chime in with some of his thoughts :)

  45. John Paul:

    I am extremely disturbed by your claim that Jesus does in fact operate on a “Do as I say, not as I do” philosophy! Where is your scriptural evidence for this? Are you meaning to imply or say that Jesus was a hypocrite?

    “I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.” – John 13:15

    Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children. – Ephesians 5:1

    Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus. – Philippians 2:5

    . . . Forgive just as the Lord forgave you. – Col. 3:13

    . . . Christ suffered for you, leaving you and example, that you should follow in his steps. – 1 Peter 2:21

    . . . Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude . . . – 1 Peter 4:1

    Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did. – 1 Peter 2:6

    Everywhere I look we are told to imitate Christ. Nowhere can I find where it says not to follow the example of Jesus. Please, help me out here. I just don’t see it.

    To me this is a clear example of manipulating scripture in order to justify one’s position. No where in scripture does it urge us not to be imitators of Christ!

    As a defense for your argument you say, “I don’t think anyone but Jesus could go around saying ‘your sins are forgiven.'” I urge you not to confuse “powers” with actions or attitudes. People can go around saying “your sins are forgiven” all they want. In fact many people do; they are referred to in the Bible as false teachers or false prophets. They can say what they want but there is only ONE who can actually forgive sins.

    I find it interesting that in order to justify the position on this site’s debate you refer to the Cleansing of the Temple as an example. “So if Jesus was our example on how to live our lives, we can look at this record and see that Jesus reasoned that violence was a reasonable course of action . . . (Apr. 26, 2007).” Yet in your last response to me you say you do not have a problem with Jesus operating on such a philosophy, thus implying that the cleansing was not an example for us to follow. Which is it? Either we can use it as an example or we can not.

    Now, back to the subject of this thread: violence. I actually believe that we are in agreement. When I have referred to “violence” or “harm” I do not mean killing, but nor did I intend to eliminate it. We both agree that a non-violent approach should be taken if possible. We both agree that one could possibly find himself in a situation in which some form of violence (whether tackling, skillet to the head or, in very extreme and rare circumstances, killing) may be necessary. This is my point; this is what I have been trying to “get at.”

    I would like to address your response on Romans 13 but I have other work to do right now. Maybe I can get at it tomorrow.

    God bless.

  46. PC,
    Quickly with regards to my comments at the beginning of the post.
    If you read my comment from May 25th, you will see I was playing devils advocate their for a while. Sorry for the confusion.

    I do not think Jesus was a hypocrite. What I was getting at is I don’t think that this is a circumstance in Jesus’s life where I would do what he did. I am not a prophet, the vast majority of Christians are not prophets. This is a prophetic gesture and like Nathan, it is not my role to act in such a manor. I honestly do not believe that Christ would approve of me going to the temple mount today or anywhere else to clean house. He is Christ and he is different. Im not going to imitate him when he comes in Judgement either nor do I think others should unless specifically told so.

    Jesus was given the authority to forgive sins, and I would also say he was given the authority to cleans the temple. I do not believe we have been given that authority.

    There is a day coming when the enemies of Christ will no longer be loved by him. I don’t think of this as hypocrisy do you?

    and

    We do not both agree that killing is necessary in rare or extreme circumstances. I believe as Christians, the thought of killing someone in any circumstance should be eliminated.

  47. John Paul:

    I believe we have yet another misunderstanding. You are arguing about literally cleansing the Temple and I am arguing about those rare instances when acts of violence may be justified, using the Temple cleansing as an example.

    I don’t think any of us would take Jesus’ example literally and go around cleansing churches in the way He did nor can any of us forgive sins as He does. My argument has simply been that if there is a time when violence was appropriate for Christ then it should follow that there may also be times when violence may be appropriate for Christians. As I stated in my Sept. 4 post, throughout the New Testament we are instructed to follow the example of Christ. I cannot find a single passage that says we are not to be imitators of Him. Therefore, to say in your Sept. 3 post that you “have no problem with Jesus operating [on a] ‘do has he says not as he does philosophy’” is hypocritical. The definition of a hypocrite is, “a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings.” To say that Christ does not practice what he preaches is calling Jesus a hypocrite!

    I am intrigued by your disagreement with me about the extremely rare circumstances in which a Christian might be justified in killing a fellow human being. In your Sept. 3 post you stated:

    “I personally am not opposed to hitting such an individual over the head with a cast-iron frying pan in such an instance. But for lack of such a device, wrestling the gun from his hand. Physically subdue him sure, im all for it.”

    I find it interesting that you are willing to hit someone with a cast-iron skillet but would not be willing, under any circumstance, to kill. Where does this proverbial “line in the sand” come from between violence and killing? The whole basis of this site’s argument against violence is Matthew 5:44. In your strict and literal interpretation of this verse where do you get that it is okay to commit certain acts of violence but not others? Your position appears to be very arbitrary to me.

  48. PC,
    I am talking about you not using the cleansing of the temple as an example for being justified using violence.

    I don’t think any of us would take Jesus’ example literally and go around cleansing churches in the way He did nor can any of us forgive sins as He does.

    why not? Why can you use this as an example for violence being necessary sometimes and others cant use it as and example to clean house in a church?

    Why can’t I forgive sins as he does?

    The cast iron skillet thing was used in an example where all other Christian methods failed and we had a choice between loving our neighbor and loving our enemy. Did Jesus believe in a strict and literal interpretation of the command to not do any work on the Sabbath and to keep it holy? So did the Jews, and yet they had no problem doing the work on the sabbath that was needed to follow the command of circumcising newborns on the eighth day.

    I find it interesting that you don’t see a line between using force (violence if you will) and using deadly force. I think there is a world of difference! The main one being, killing somebody while still in their sin will more likely than not send them to hell. While using non deadly force (subduing them) gives them a chance to be saved. (See the link in the September 3rd post.)

  49. John Paul:

    You are twisting my words. I did not say that we could not, or should not, cleanse the Temple in the way Jesus did, I said “I don’t think any of us would . . .” What I meant by this is that I believe a Christian brother would first try peaceful means to cleanse the Temple rather than just waking in and immediately began flipping tables and snapping a whip. Similarly, I believe that a Christian brother would first try peaceful means, if at all possible, in any situation. However, we must acknowledge that there are situations in which violence may be the only solution.

    As for your question: “Why can’t I forgive sins as he does?” Christ is the only one that has been given the power and authority to truly forgive sins. We can forgive those who sin against us but they are not truly forgiven until they are forgiven by Christ. Have you now changed your mind on this issue? On your Sept. 3 post you stated, “I don’t think anyone but Jesus could go around saying ‘your sins are forgiven.’” In your Sept. 4 post, when speaking about cleansing the Temple and forgiving sins, you said, “I do not believe we have been given that authority.”

    I’m sorry but I do not understand what you were trying to communicate in regards to the “cast iron skillet thing” and the literal interpretation of laws. Jesus did not believe in the strict and literal interpretation of the law in regards to working on the Sabbath. There are many instances, some of which I have quoted in previous posts, where Jesus healed on the Sabbath. (Matt. 12:10-13; Luke 13:10-17; Luke 14:2-5; John 5:15-18; John 7:21-24). Note that in all of these instances other Jews condemned Jesus for doing this “work” on the Sabbath.

    I see how you may have miss understood what I was saying in regards to the line between force/violence and killing/deadly force. I do see a huge difference and the use of deadly force must be carefully considered from all angles. The point I was trying to make is from your perspective, where does that line in the various degrees of violence come from? Using your argument would not any form of violence be wrong? In the logic that you have personally used in past posts, where does the “right” to commit violent, but not deadly, acts come from? I just don’t see based upon your past logic how hitting a man with a cast iron skillet can be justified but deadly force can not.

    Of course, no Christian would want to send anyone to hell! Referring back to my example of the Virginia Tech killings and assuming the only way to stop the sniper would with deadly force, do you have the right not to use such force in order that you are not “responsible” for sending the shooter to hell? If you were to take such action, would you really be responsible for sending the sniper to hell or did his actions in life dictate his destination? Even if you think you are responsible for the snipers final destination do you have the right to privilege your own fear of sin over the lives of others (loving others)?

  50. You are twisting my words. I did not say that we could not, or should not, cleanse the Temple in the way Jesus did, I said “I don’t think any of us would . . .”

    It’s not my intention to twist your words. I misunderstood you. I thought we had a consensus.
    So you think that there are times that we could or should use this example in jesus’s life as a time to do as he did. This prophetic gesture? What im asking is if its ok to do exactly as Jesus did in this situation as opposed to what you are are suggesting and taking what jesus did in this situation and extending it to other situations. Did jesus try peaceful means to cleans the temple first? there are four records of this event, none of which says Jesus tries a peaceful approach first. why would you expect a christian brother to do so if there is no record of Jesus doing this.

    we must acknowledge that there are situations in which violence may be the only solution.(emphasis added)

    Here is where I really think we are at ends. You say only solution here where I have clearly stated the amazing options we have as christians earlier. Something I have yet to hear you comment on and beg you to look at again (see my 1am Sept third post,) and meditate on what has been brought up.

    Have you now changed your mind on this issue?

    I have not. I wanted your opinion on this issue since with what you seem to be asserting is that Jesus did it so I can do it, or Jesus is a hypocrite.

    Christ is the only one that has been given the power and authority to truly forgive sins.

    And im saying that Jesus has been given the authority to cleanse the temple in the manner that he did. What I am doing is trying to show that Jesus has the authority to do things that we do not (have the authority to do.)

    I’m sorry but I do not understand what you were trying to communicate in regards to the “cast iron skillet thing” and the literal interpretation of laws.

    What I am trying to communicate is that Jesus was able to harmonize seemingly contradictory laws and commands by obeying the greater command sometimes even for the sake of apparently breaking a law. Another point, of course is Romans 13 where we must obey the laws of the land, however when that law is different than Gods law (the greater law,) we must obey the greater law. The same with the sabbath and circumcision.
    the line of using deadly force comes from working the word and coming to logical conclusion.
    If all else fails and I have to use force to subdue someone, I do not believe that I have disobeyed Jesus’s command to love my enemies. I don’t believe you can follow this mentality all the way through to the extreme of using deadly force. Because at this point, you have taken away the opportunity to find salvation through Jesus Christ. which is the ultimate act of not loving somebody.

  51. Question 1 from John Paul: “What im asking is if its ok to do exactly as Jesus did in this situation as opposed to what you are are suggesting and taking what jesus did in this situation and extending it to other situations. Did jesus try peaceful means to cleans the temple first?”

    Yes, Jesus did try peaceful means to cleanse the temple first; this was a major portion of his ministry on earth. The Jews knew exactly where Jesus stood and the issue but they refused to listen to him. Even God’s prophets foretold the Jews that the Temple was to be “house of prayer” but that they would turn it into a “den of robbers” (Isa. 56:7; Jer. 7:11; Matt. 21:13).

    I’m sure there may be some extenuating circumstance where literally following Jesus’ example here would be justified; I cannot think of any off-hand but I am not going to say never as I am not a prophet. I believe Jesus Christ was an infallible human while on earth. We have been called to be imitators of Christ and to follow his example (2 Cor. 11:1; see my Sept. 4 post). Therefore, (1) if Christ was justified in what you agree to be violent act, (2) you believe that Christ was the only perfect human being, (3) if we are called to imitators of Christ, then it must logically follow that violent acts can, under extenuating circumstances, be justified.

    Question 2 from John Paul: “Here is where I really think we are at ends. You say only solution here where I have clearly stated the amazing options we have as christians earlier. Something I have yet to hear you comment on and beg you to look at again (see my 1am Sept third post,) and meditate on what has been brought up.”

    Just as you can give examples of those who have had success in prayer and using the name of Jesus Christ I can point to those instances where that has failed. Are you telling me that no one was praying after the first plane hit the World Trade Center? Are you telling me no one was praying after they received phone calls from those on United 93? Are you telling me no one was praying or using the name of Jesus in the church shootings over the past several years? What about the countless missionaries who have lost their lives fighting on the front lines of the great spiritual battle?

    Again, let me perfectly clear: I’m am not promoting violence as a first option. If there appears to be a peaceful solution then that option should be exercised. But there are rare times when violence could be justified.

    From John Paul: “I have not. I wanted your opinion on this issue since with what you seem to be asserting is that Jesus did it so I can do it, or Jesus is a hypocrite.”

    As I stated in my last post, I do not have the power to truly forgive sins, to wipe one’s sins away, only Christ can do that. However, I can, much like Christ, forgive those who sin against me. In this way I can do as Christ has done and forgive. Jesus was no hypocrite, he was the perfect example. His words and actions were always in alignment.

    From John Paul: “And im saying that Jesus has been given the authority to cleanse the temple in the manner that he did. What I am doing is trying to show that Jesus has the authority to do things that we do not (have the authority to do.)”

    If your church has been corrupted you do not believe you have any authority to try to cleanse it? If my church became corrupted I would take action to try to resolve it, I just wouldn’t ignore it. Was it Jesus’ actions that cleansed the Temple or was it his words, power and authority given to him by the Father. Can I actually cleanse my church? No, but I can take action to began the healing process and allow the Holy Spirit to do his work in truly cleansing the church.

    From John Paul: “If all else fails and I have to use force to subdue someone, I do not believe that I have disobeyed Jesus’s command to love my enemies. I don’t believe you can follow this mentality all the way through to the extreme of using deadly force. Because at this point, you have taken away the opportunity to find salvation through Jesus Christ. which is the ultimate act of not loving somebody.”

    O.K., here is where I do not understand your logic. Back to the example I gave about Virginia Tech several posts ago; if you were there you would try to subdue the shooter. Given the mental state of the shooter he would probably shoot you before you even got close enough to subdue him. Then what? He just carries on shooting people at random. What about the opportunity for all of his other victims “to find salvation through Jesus Christ.” Who was concerned about them? Who loved the victims? Again I ask the question: Do you have the right to privilege your fear of sin over the lives of others? Maybe I should ask it this way: Do you have the right to privilege your fear of sin, and the possible salvation of the shooter over the opportunity of salvation for the 32 innocent bystanders?

  52. Jesus’ action in the temple was prophetic. It did not have a lasting impact to actually cleanse it. The greedy money lenders and company came back very soon. The value of Jesus’ declaration was prophetic. Just look at Jeremiah and Ezekiel and read about the various enacted prophecies they did. We should not look at this act as normative anymore than saying walking around for a year naked (like Isaiah did) should be normative behavior. Jesus is a prophet doing what prophets do…simple as that.

    Now when it comes to instruction, to following Jesus…we have a clear unquestionable command, “love your enemies.” Simple. If we obey then we are his disciples, if not then we are hypocrites.

  53. When it comes to instruction, to following Jesus . . . we have a clear unquestionable command, “LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.” Simple. If we obey then we are his disciples, if not then we are hypocrites.

    Argument works both ways, Sean.

    When these two commands, love your enemy & love your neighbor, come together and we have to chose one or the other what are we to do? This is not so simple is it? No one on this post has been able to answer this quesion yet. Nor have they been able to answer the similar question that I have repeatedly ask, Do we have the right to preference our own fear of sin over the lives of others?

    Please be careful how harshly you judge others. While I truly believe that you are not trying to be judgemental but rather are concerned about the enternal well being of others, such harsh stances often come back to haunt the “Christian community” as a whole. Instances like these are why many consider Christians to be among the most hypocritical of all people. We find it easy to judge others when we have never been in a situation similar to theirs, yet, when we find ourselves in a such a situation we learn very quickly that making snap judgements in difficult situations is not so simple.

  54. I think the whole concept of Jesus getting angry is because he said, that this was the HOUSE OF PRAYER. I believe this is what he wanted us to know and not be like them. How many churches today sell CD’s, books, etc, have rummage sales, cake sales and the likes. Isn’t this the same thing they were doing. FOR MONEY????? Churches today are like a business. Do you think God would approve of this??

  55. Ann, What significance do you attach to the rest of that quotation from Isaiah 56:7? To the location of the animal trade in the “Court of the Gentiles.”

    What other indications are there in Jesus words that other outsiders (like the Samaritan woman) should know the gospel of peace?

  56. I found this site because I was looking for some discussion on whether it’s okay for a church to have bake/craft sales. I see that Ann thinks it isn’t. I grew up in a church where those things weren’t allowed and it got to the point where people didn’t think they could even buy tickets to a church dinner in the church building.

    I think a tea and craft sale can be a great way of building a relationship with the community – to bring in people who might never come to a service, show them how friendly the members are and let them know about the programs available. No one is cheating or exploiting anyone. It also brings the church members together and helps them get to know each other better as they plan the event. And usually, these things are held in the gym or hall not in the sanctuary. Because Jesus was particularly concerned about women and widows, I think He would approve of giving them a chance to sell their crafts. Almost all the people who rented tables at our craft sale were women trying to support themselves and make ends meet.

    I think many people have missed the whole point of this incident of Jesus in the temple. He said they had made it a “den of thieves”, because they were cheating people and exploiting the poor, not because they were selling things. I thought of a point not mentioned yet. When Jesus was born, Mary and Joseph went to the temple and gave a sacrifice and they would have had to buy it there. Where else could one get a sacrifice? They couldn’t bring doves all the way from Nazareth. Chances are, they paid too much.

    Jesus was always concerned about the treatment of women and widows and he saw how they were being cheated here. Also, foreigners who didn’t speak the language or understand the rate of exchange for currency were taken advantage of. Truly, the temple had become a den of thieves.

    I’m quite sure Jesus didn’t hit anyone with the whip but He needed it to overturn the tables. He could have gone around lifting them up or pushing them over but the whip was much more efficient. It would wrap around the table legs and He could pull it over. Simple. I think that overturning the tables was a symbol that soon the whole system of sacrifice was about to be overturned. They had forgotten the meaning and purpose of the sacrifice and had turned it into a profitable scam. He had every right to be angry about this and I think He did everything in a deliberate and controlled manner, with strength and authority. He did not have a temper tantrum. He drove out the sacrificial animals and let the doves go free because He was soon to take their place as the Ultimate and Perfect Sacrifice.

  57. well put Linda

  58. I would provide a completely cultural perspective of this post that would be understood by a different segment of the Church, but believe it’s meaning may be lost after reading the comments above.

    Nothing against the comments. I enjoy and agree with them. I just don’t want to confuse anyone.

    Years ago while discussing this chapter with my father who is a minister, I translated it so the audience it was being delivered to may understand it better and become more interested in Jesus.

    Anyway, good article.

  59. once again, a definitional argument in the opening comments…how boring.

    definitional argument is an argument of the smart.

    but not of the wise.

    lot’s of smart people here. none wise.

    jesus’ act of clearing/cleansing was real at the time, and not symbolic. he didn’t hurt or kill anyone.

    we now reference his act, and many will use the symbolism and compare their own acts or a lack there of in others.

    yawn.

    people…. threads like these don’t add anything to the hope column.

    somebody found an example of Jesus acting vigorously and angry.

    then watch all the spin that comes behind it.

  60. blah,

    Do you have an answer to the question asked by the original post?

    Your comments are vauge and inconclusive, I’m having a hard time seeing the wisdom you are offering, so can you elaborate?

    Have you read any more past the first three comments?

    And there is quite a bit of arrogance in your tone.
    This is a website for christians by christians, we are all brothers and sisters here so I would ask you to be a bit more respectful.

  61. I see everyone’s narrow definition of violence as a “cop-out” to addressing the real issue. The fact that he didn’t actually hit anyone (which is debatable, just because the gospels don’t tell the detail doesn’t mean it did not occur) doesn’t exclude him from acting violently. His actions are violently threatening. If he were to act that way today he would be charged with assault which is the threat of violence caused by an immediate show of force. I wonder what may have happened to one of those merchants if they were to stand their ground and not leave the temple. I believe Jesus would have struck him or at least some of Jesus’ followers, caught-up in the moment, would have resorted to laying their hands on the merchant to violently remove him from the temple.

  62. You’re right, EB, and I’ve wondered about that very thing. All 4 evangelists tell the story, and they are slightly different, though. John is the only one to mention a whip. If you go to biblegateway.com, you can read them in 20 different English versions and they are somewhat inconclusive whether Jesus used the whip only on the animals or did he whip the merchants, too. Several say, “He drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle.” And while that seems clear to some writers, it can be vague and misleading to a reader. It is a weakness of language.

    Of the few translations I took time to read in there, though, at least one took the trouble to word it very differently. Today’s English Version/ Good News Bible says: “[he] drove all the animals out of the temple, both the sheep and the cattle.” This version was a complete retranslation released beginning in 1966 by the American Bible Society. To be fair, Christians started seeing it as an assault because the old King James Bible has a wording that would suggest it: “He drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep and the oxen”– which suggests he violently threw out the sellers, too.

    But thinking about it deeper, I began to realize why it could not have been an assault. The temple had their own police—the temple guards had jurisdiction in the temple, but no authority to try or execute someone they arrested. They wouldn’t want a person who demonstrated violence hanging around their public palace every day and would have ushered him out pretty quickly, if not at that time because of the crowd, the next day when the crowd was lighter. As it is, the chief priests had to trump up charges of blasphemy to bring Jesus up before Pilate who had the true authority execute, and that would be a pretty weak case to him. Pilate didn’t hesitate to use his authority either; there were thousands of crosses throughout Israel and around the temple as warnings to the Jews in Jesus’ day. The Jews never charged Him with assault or violent behaviour, but there should have been plenty of witnesses to such a crime if it happened that way. Of course, the charges never stuck with Pilate, and no witnesses of an assault, or merchants, who had an interest in being back in “the temple money business,” testified and Pilate washed his hands of the case.

    Nobody really knows why John included this detail of a whip or a scourge; it is far out of character of everything else in Jesus’ life’s story. We know John’s gospel is very different– written to show that Jesus was the Messiah, and perhaps he put this in there to show Jesus’ zeal. (John 2:17 referencing Ps 69:9). Ironically, all 4 of the gospels use this story to show that the commercialism in the temple was ultimately blasphemy from Jesus’ perspective.

  63. I know this is simple and I am not a scholar, but it occurred to me today that maybe Jesus was overturning the tables as a way of saying that all of this purchasing their forgiveness was about to end because He was about to purchase it for them. He was getting ready to lay down his own life for all of them and allow each of them to come boldly before the throne of God without guilt or shame, and He was going to make it a FREE GIFT. Now that is love!

  64. I’m sorry that I haven’t had the time to read everyone’s response yet, but Yahushua’s (aka Jesus) attitude at the Temple (of Yahweh) was one of anger and rightly so. Why do people think that being a follower of Yahushua means that you can’t have righteous anger for a righteous cause? Scriptures never teach us to not have anger, just that there must be a cause. Let’s take this story, and I use his name out of respect, meaning Yahushua, because that was his given name. I’m not meaning anything bad for you using Jesus, okay?

    Look at this:

    Mar 3:1 And again He (Yahushua) entered into the synagogue. And there was a man who had a withering of the hand.
    Mar 3:2 And they (Jewish religious leaders) watched Him, whether He will heal him on the sabbaths, that they might accuse Him.
    Mar 3:3 And He said to the man who had a withering of the hand, Rise up into the middle.

    Mar 3:4 And He (Yahushua) said to them, Is it lawful to do good on the sabbaths, or to do evil? To save a nephesh (soul), or to kill? But they were silent.

    Mar 3:5 And having looked around on them WITH ANGER, being greatly grieved over the hardness of their heart, He said to the man, Stretch out your hand! And he stretched out, and his hand was restored sound as the other.

    See, Yahushua looked on them with anger. Why? Because they had a hard heart, a hard mind. These so-called religious leaders were always trying to trip him up with their man-made beliefs. You have to mentally place your mind and self into his day and time and understand what was going on. For one thing, the religious leaders of his day and time, had 39 additional man-made laws surrounding the sabbath, which ended up making people break the sabbath and created a burden. Yahushua was against this.

    Next, anytime to be healed would be on the sabbath or any of the sabbaths for that matter, meaning the high sabbaths. This would be the higher meaning of complete healing on Yahweh’s sabbaths. So they were so hard-hearted in this. It made Yahushua angry, which anyone could understand because they lacked mercy.

    Another, must be angry with cause, not without cause.

    Mat 5:22 But I say to you, Everyone who is angry with his brother WITHOUT CAUSE shall be liable to the Judgment. And whoever says to his brother, Raca, shall be liable to the sanhedrin; but whoever says, Fool! shall be liable to be thrown into the fire of Ghenna.

    Then here: Eph 4:26 “Be angry but do not sin;” do not let the sun go down on your wrath, LXX-Psa. 4:4; MT-Psa. 4:5

    The meaning of the sun going down on your anger is another way of saying, don’t hang on to it. Solve it, let it go, and don’t hang on to it too long.

    Yahushua the messiah had every right to be angry and turn over the tables of the money changers. Remember he stated:

    17 And He began to teach and say to them, “Is it not written, ‘ MY HOUSE SHALL BE CALLED A HOUSE OF PRAYER FOR ALL THE NATIONS’? But you have made it a ROBBERS’ DEN.”

    Personally this same thing would happen today and will happen today.

  65. I think Jesus was simply fulfilling one of the many prophecies that the Messiah was going to. The violent/zealous behavior was prophesied to happen because he is the Christ. Furthermore, I don’t think it was contradictory to any of his teachings, rather a further extension of it.
    One thing I think we can all agree on is Christ’s love for the Father lead was a big proponent for him clearing out the temple because the temple is suppose to be a place of worship to God.

    One application I think Christians may take from this is, “Do we have the same zeal as Jesus to stand against and clear out the the things in our life/ our bodies/God’s temple in order to be pleasing to God?”

    Yey or nay?

  66. I’ve read through the whole thread (pant, pant).

    Here are a few additional observations. Each of the four gospel writers were inclined to write up this historical event, though each seemed to use the facts to emphasize a different point or idea.

    Mark, whom I believe wrote first, described the event. He did not note that anyone present responded to Jesus’ violence. Jesus made a scene in the temple courts and then TAUGHT the people. The priests and law teachers heard what he TAUGHT and looked for a way to kill him because the crowd was amazed at what he TAUGHT. No indication here that they were concerned about the mess he made or the emotions he may have stirred up.

    This perspective lends itself to the possibly prophetic actions of Jesus, which were followed by teaching that amazed the crowd and greatly threatened the insecurities of the chief priests and teachers of the law.

    Matthew closly mirrors Marks version of the story. But he added that, on the heals of his tossing and turning, the blind and lame came to him at the temple and were healed. In this version the chief priests and teachers of the law saw the “wonderful things he had done” and heard the Messianic response of the children and were disturbed not by the violence or by his teaching, but by his healing and the worrisome response and witness of the children.

    Luke offers a much less detailed account of the event. Yet he points out that Jesus continued to return to the temple and continued to teach daily – and his charismatic teaching drew the people and seriously offended the temple leadership.

    Last and late John offers his version of the story with a totally different spin than any of the other three. He opens up the possiblility of a different chronology – even a different event. (I’ll set that aside for scholars to chew on.) John connects Jesus’ actions to a different prophecy, not mentioned by any of the others – “zeal for your house will consume me” and ignores the prophetic links mentioned by the others.

    I think it is from John’s offering that we allow ourselves to imagine anger was motivating Jesus’ actions. I think that conclusion is way open to question. I’ve been consumed by zeal at bible studies, sporting events and museum exhibitions. In none of them was my zeal considered anger. In any event John offers this nugget. Jesus had the self control to not let the doves go free. (They would have been difficult to re-collect, I expect). Evidently his primary purpose was not to inhibit commerce, not even greedy commerce.

    In John’s rendition the response of the “Jews” was to ask for a sign of his authority. No mention of ‘whose going to clean up this mess’ or even a plan to kill him or to be concerned about his teaching or his effect on the children.

    It seems apparent that Jesus’ time in the temple that day made a memory that is worthy of reflection and offered some activity and teaching that inspired the gospel writers to digest and include in their good news stories. None of them, though, seemed preoccupied with interpretting the forcefulness of Jesus’ actions in the temple that day as violence.

  67. I do not know if it was addressed, but Jesus fully God and fully man. Vengeance and wrath are a part of God’s nature. What if Jesus did injured a bunch of people? That would certainly not be a good argument against non-violence. God struck down Ananias and Sapphira for lying to the Holy Spirit, should we also strike people down when they are caught lying to God? If so, Bakker and Swaggart are long over due for a lynching!

    If we were to imitate God in every instance we would be disobedient, we are told to not be wrathful and vengeful but in the same sentence it is stated that vengeance is God’s.

  68. Can anyone tell me if there is Biblical basis with this or another passage concerning the use of building (temple) for the personal business of staff members used to supplement their income? (Tutoring / Instructing / ) Say it is easily identified that 15% of the use of the building is solely for this purpose. Does the congregation have a reasonable expectation that fair compensation for that use be returned to the church? Or even a modest price which is really only symbolic for the purpose of making sure that those that use the building are doing so with the thought in mind that this is costing their brothers and sisters in utility costs. Say the church is short enough on income that this 15% added cost is an added burden? What if the income of the pastor is equal to the average salary of the community (county) What if it is below… does it make a real difference?

  69. Actually Jesus did not hurt anyone. If you look up the word “drove” or ‘drive’ it doesn’t implicate that he used violence at all. If you think about it, or do some research, the way the jews had their temple set up in those days in the outside courts, pretty much resembled a market place with sheep, goats, birds and other animals they used for sacrifices. There were a great amount of live stock and for one man to be able to drive them all out efficiently I think there had to be some kind of intimidation to get the animals moving.. I mean, since the money changers weren’t gonna do it as they were running out, it would only make sense. The people didn’t need a wip when Jesus told them to get out. He “spoke as one having authority”, and multiple times after that, everytime they had something smart to say or catch him with, Jesus shut them up quick with his answers.

  70. A few months ago I meditated on the temple events and came across a key word which agrees much with Miss Brown’s thoughts. I posted my observations on the polyventure website. The key word is “said”. check out my thoughts here: http://www.polyventurepublications.com/cleansingofthetemple.htm

  71. after much digesting it was obvious Jesus sees and knows all anyone wanting to come into the Fathers presence must do so in offering through him what do you think will happen to some at his second coming His will will be done

  72. As an atheist I still have a deep respect for Jesus and the old Christianity under the Roman rule. I think the interpretation if this episode is – NEVER use any kind of violence against any human beings with the ONLY exception of fighting corrupted moneylenders and bankers who spoil sacred values of society.

    • John and Jerin,
      You 2 are absolutely right.
      I am a proud Christian and the way I see things is that YES, Jesus was violent and with good reason. I see no reason to apologize about this exception.
      Money-changers and parasites of the government are NOT allowed in God’s house. That is the lesson to be learned from Jesus’ example.

  73. Hello, friends, My name is Jerin. I am from India, where we do have small animals to big animals……Oxen, Cows, Elephants etc. The point that I try to bring is that the driving of animals is never done with words or massage or even pushing. Now you cannot bring a tractor just to pull the animals as it cost even more than the price of animals itself over the large distances. My point is growing up in a farm I haven’t seen a single farmer who has not used a stick or a whip to drive the animals away or to some destination. Jesus did the same is my point. there was zero violence. His feeling was more like to see your house one day all of a sudden you see filled with your son’s friends who were invited with booze wrecking the house in your absence. You yell at the m saying I want the house to be clear before I count up to or something similar, followed by a serious punishment/Discussion with your son trying to reason with him and make him see why it was wrong. That is exactly what happened in there. Only in this case as its got to do with the Lord’s Temple he might have probably felt like his house on fire and he was trying to put it out. Something to think about…………

  74. America the Pitiful the “righteous” continent of “Manifest Destiny” used violence since its inception to enslave and overthrow and now as we push our false sense of PSALM 2 freedom, materialistic values and gay rights around the globe we are slouching toward and becoming Sodom & GAmerica the modern Roman Empire State the modern Tower of Babel.
    GEN 11
    1 And the whole earth was of one language and of one speech.( ENGLISH )
    4 And they said, Come, let us build us a city, and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven, and let us make us a name; lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.

    HABAKKUK 2
    9 Woe to him that getteth an evil gain for his house, that he may set his nest on high, that he may be delivered from the hand of evil!
    10 Thou hast devised shame to thy house, by cutting off many peoples, and hast sinned against thy soul.
    11 For the stone shall cry out of the wall, and the beam out of the timber shall answer it.
    12 Woe to him that buildeth a town with blood, and establisheth a city by iniquity!

    GEEZ…kinda sounds like not only what we did to the American Indians but to the Hawiians also ! ! !………………………………………..

    15 Woe unto him that giveth his neighbor drink, to thee that addest thy venom, and makest him drunken also, that thou mayest look on their nakedness!
    16Thou art filled with shame, and not glory: drink thou also, and be as one uncircumcised; the cup of Jehovah’s right hand shall come round unto thee, and foul shame shall be upon thy glory.

  75. Thank you Caucazhin for visiting the site and commenting, however I am not quite sure what your comment has to do with the article or the other comments on the article?

    • Yes Jesus got angry and used violence to clear the temple. His method of clearing the temple may be defined as violent – but he did not hurt anyone. He only disrupted the activities of the money changers – by overturning tables and cracking a type of whip to clear people from the area. He did not use a sword or a spear to kill or injure those people to teach them (or us) a lesson. And he never condoned that type of personal violence.

      Anyone – please correct me if I am wrong but nowhere in the New Testament does Jesus hurt or kill anyone – whether its in rebuke or angered or for any reason.

      To Westboro Baptist Church – This is why “God did not send the shooter”.

  76. I sense that throughout the discussion of violence and Christianity the distinction is rarely made between lethal and non-lethal violence. For the sake of this argument and to read the responses of my brothers and sisters in Christ, I offer this query:

    Is non-lethal force in the defense of self or others in life-threatening situations consistent with Christ’s teachings?

    I am entertaining the possibility that it may be. Christians are instructed to love our neighbors AS oursevles. Therefore, we should not treat others as we would not wish to be treated and vice versa.

    The parable of the good samaritan clearly demonstrates that our enemies are our neighbors too, and, furthermore, Christ admonished us to love our enemies. Therefore, killing cannot be an act of love, for it both extinguishes life and threatens the eternal security of those whom we would kill.

    Similarly, however, I cannot in good conscience say that allowing my neighbor to be killed is loving them. For no greater love has man than that he lay down his life for his friends.

    Therefore, I propose that using non-lethal force against an aggressor in life threatening situations is an act of love for both the victim (through saving the life) and the agressor (through sparing the life, attempting to minimize harm, and preventing actions that would bring suffering to all parties involved).

    Such a position is, I offer, consistent with the commands to love my neighbor, love my enemy, and do unto others as I would have them do unto me. In the event that I, for whatever reason, became violent to the point of threatening someone’s life, I can honestly say in my current state of mind that I would be grateful to them if they stopped me while trying to preserve my life.

    • Interestingly enough, later today after I wrote this post I had several experiences that have led me to question this position. Firstly, I heard a Christian song that spoke of not gaining the whole world to lose one’s soul. This instantly made me think defending my worldy possessions and loved ones. Additionally, the song spoke of all eyes being on God, and I immediately thought of Stephen’s martyrdom and how even in the face of being murdered he looked only to God and gave him glory.

      I also read John chapters 11-21 today and took notes. I thought it particularly appropriate that I was reading how Jesus prepared for his own death, as well as his teachings concerning how we as Christians are to face death and violence. Needless to say there were many commands and statements from Christ that led me to rethink my position and ponder the possibility of the holy spirit communicating an important message to me. Either way this text is extremely useful for discussing what the appropriate measures are for Christians facing death, and I encourage all of you to re-read it.

      Despite my reservations, I am still interested to see what my brothers and sisters think of my previous query.

    • Joe, I totally understand the dilimna concerning the sanctity of life, protecting life in a non-violent way, and sacrificing our lives that others may live. When I think on these things, somehow our Lord’s words in Matt. 5:39 always comes to mind, and I can’t get past the command: “Do not resist an evil person”.

      • Thank you Carl. It is certainly a hard lesson ot contemplate resisting the instinct to defend oneself and family or property. As Christ said, however, “man does not live on bread alone”. In regards to this conversation, just as Christ rejected his hunger to glorfiy God, so too may we also be required to reject the impulse of violence in order to glorify God.

        It is certainly an important discussion, and while I am not fully convinced of any one position yet, I am working towards a fuller understanding of Christ’s teachings and example.

        The image of Stephen’s martyrdom remains vivid in my own mind as I ponder this topic, and his faith in looking to God in the midst of his own death, as well as God’s faith in granting him peace is inspiring.

  77. I’m not sure if this has been mentioned yet in this discussion

    New International Version (©1984) Matthew 6:24
    “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.”

    I think Jesus was living this out when he did this. Personally, I have strong negative feelings against almost anything financial, and this is because this verse has been secured in me and I feel passionately about it. Jesus may have had strong opinions that they were serving wealth in God’s temple, a place for serving God.

  78. An earlier analogy was given by John Paul about how shooting blanks at people in the Temple which is construed as violence implies that Jesus was violent when he whipped to chase people out and overturned tables of the vendors selling doves to many poor people who puchased them for sacrifice because they believed they needed to do that (he dove was the most affordable). Picture this: you (or an average man) returns home, and finds that all your loved ones, some in impoverished and vulnerable situation, being hypnotized/won over by the lies by a group of cult/fortune teller to believe that their salvation/fortune lay in parting with their money to buy some magic stone which will save their lives. Would you not take the broom, or even a whip if you have one, to chase these lying, cheating, low-lives out immediately, so that you can save your loved ones?
    This analogy more accurately reflects Jesus’ actions, and not the one John Paul gave about taking a gun loaded with blanks and shooting (randomly) in the temple. What Jesus did was not violent. The moneylenders and dove sellers are invaders to the house of God, How do you chase out the invaders? You use force, if you can. But you are not violent if you do that. The invaders are the ones who have used violence, because they have violated your own, and your loved ones’, personal and safe space.

    • Hello Ally yap, welcome to the discussion.
      First I want to say that It’s not my firing blanks analogy that is implying that Jesus is using violence, the very title of the post is doing that! And I would would go further by saying that its not just implying but implicitly stating it as so.

      The analogy was there to serve a purpose of addressing Victors comment wether or not somebody needed to inflict harm in order for it to be defined as a violent act.

      (A very quick aside, I don’t know where you got the word random from out of my analogy, I looked for it and cant find it. It doesn’t fit or suit my analogy at all.)

      The earliest comments of this thread addresses the definition of violence, with several authors from the blog wrestling with it, even having some of the same thoughts you had in your post. As much as we may or may not like it, Jesus committed a violent act that day. Yes he used force (violence is a KIND of force.) but it was a violent force.

      Lastly, with regards to your last point on who was really using violence. I think you are confusing the word violence with aggression (which, according to the definition I looked up, requires the element of non-provocation.) And I would agree, the moneychangers provoked the action. Nevertheless, a violent action.

      So I would disagree, even in your analogy, the person still being aggressed upon, is using a violent action to help their family.

  79. Why word the question as if we know Jesus used violence in the temple? Anyone who’s read any books on the biblical basis of Christian pacifism will know that not all interpreters even concede that scripture says Jesus used violence in the temple.

  80. I think it could be an analogous… Jesus is God don’t forget, and the temple is representative of heaven, It gives us a picture of how God will deal with evil, It will be driven out and will have no place in his kingdom of heaven.

  81. I feel that this message is simply saying that we all have some “tables” in our own lives that we need to overturn and make things right.

  82. I have a question. Ecc. 3 says everything that is, already has been , and everything that will be, already was. and rev 1 says Jesus is. was. and is to come. And john 1 says jesus is the whole word made flesh. so then, is it christ who acted as the old prophets or the old prophets who acted as christ?

  83. When I talk about Christian pacifism, invariably an opponent will opine that Jesus Himself used violence as they cite His “rampage” in the Jewish Temple when He overturned tables.

    So, Jesus overturned some tables and that’s considered violent? Really? This event actually and clearly demonstrates the fact that he’s totally non-violent. Notice, he walks into the Temple, discovering people who are profaning the Holy Place, but rather than attacking the “evil” people who are desecrating the temple, he shows restraint by simply flipping over a few inanimate objects. No person was injured. If he were truly a violent person, like a Jewish zealot or a modern jihadi, he’d have drug those dudes out of the temple, stuck them on their knees, read some sort of statement, and then whacked off their heads while crying out, “Allah’u akbar, Allah’u akbar, Allah’u akbar.” Now that would have been violent…

    The fact of the matter is, Jesus’ restraint proved his pacifism.

  84. Let me say, If you and your wife went on a vacation and left your 19 year old college son to watch the house while your on a vacation. Then your college son puts on a big house party and invites 60 of his friends. They had Alcohol drinks, Sex, Gambling and Drugs, Then want would you do if you opened your front door house and seen all of this was happening!


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