Ellen G. White Writings

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Humble Hero, Page 66

Raising the whip of cords that He had gathered up on entering the temple grounds, Jesus ordered the bargainers to leave the temple. With a zeal and severity He had never before shown, He overthrew the tables of the money-changers. The coins fell, ringing sharply on the marble pavement. No one questioned His authority. None dared stop to gather up their ill-gotten gain. Jesus did not strike them with the whip of cords, but in His hand that simple scourge seemed like a flaming sword. Officers of the temple, priests, brokers, and cattle traders, with their sheep and oxen, rushed from the place with the one thought of escaping from the condemnation of His presence.

The Temple Cleansed by the Presence of the Lord

Panic swept over the crowd, who felt the commanding presence of His divinity. Even the disciples trembled, awestruck by Jesus’ words and manner, so unlike His usual behavior. They remembered that it was written about Him, “Zeal for Your house has eaten Me up.” Psalm 69:9. Soon the courts of the temple were free from unholy commerce. Deep silence and solemnity settled on the scene of confusion. The presence of the Lord had made sacred the temple constructed in His honor.

In cleansing the temple, Jesus announced His mission as the Messiah and began His work. The temple was designed to be an object lesson for Israel and for the world. God intended that every created being should be a temple for the Creator to live in. Darkened and defiled by sin, human hearts no longer revealed the glory of the Divine One. But by the incarnation of the Son of God, God dwells in humanity, and through saving grace the heart becomes His temple again.

God planned that the temple at Jerusalem should be a continual witness to the high destiny open to every person. But the Jews did not yield themselves as holy temples for the Divine Spirit. The courts of the temple, filled with unholy trade, represented all too accurately the temple of the heart, defiled by sensual passion and unholy thoughts. In cleansing the temple, Jesus announced His mission to cleanse the heart from sin—the earthly desires, selfish lusts, and evil habits that corrupt the soul.

“The Lord, whom you seek,
Will suddenly come to His temple,
Even the Messenger of the covenant,
In whom you delight. ...“But who can endure the day of His coming?
And who can stand when He appears?
For He is like a refiner’s fire. ...
He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver;
He will purify the sons of Levi,
And purge them as gold and silver.”

Malachi 3:1-3

“Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.” 1 Corinthians 3:16, 17.

No one by himself can cast out the evil agencies that have taken possession

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