Support for Christianity
In Jerusalem, the Passover
Chapter 13, Great Gospel of John, Book 1
14. There he found in the temple the dealers in cattle, sheep and pigeons and the money-changers.
1. When on My arrival in Jerusalem I found that because of all the animals and their dealers some people hardly dared enter the temple as it sometimes happened that an ox went wild hurting people and damaging sacred articles, and people visiting the temple could often not bear the stench and noise and not seldom lost all their important belongings, this disgraceful situation had now become unbearable to Me. And Peter and Nathanael remarked, ‘Lord, have You no lightning and thunder left for this? Just look at it! The poor people are crying in front of the temple. They have come from distant places to honour God and because of all the oxen and sheep they cannot even get in. And many, who with great effort and danger managed to enter the temple and get out again, are complaining that inside they have been robbed of everything and almost suffocated by the stench. Ah, this is really too much and too evil! -Such a terrible nuisance should be stopped at all costs; this is even much worse than Sodom and Gomorrah.
2. These words were heard by a stranger, an old Jew who now steps up to us and says, ‘Dear friends, you do not know everything; but I myself was three years ago working as an ordinary servant in the temple where I learnt about things that made my flesh creep.’
3. Say I, ‘Friend, keep it to yourself, for I know about all that has taken place. But be assured, things have gone too far and still today you shall see God’s might and wrath in action in the temple. But do move away from the gates of the temple for a while, so that you may not be harmed when God’s might will be driving the offenders from the temple. After that they will no longer dare to perpetrate such sacrilege.’
4. Hereupon this Jew went away praising God, for after hearing Me speak thus he took Me to be a prophet, joined a group of his friends and told them what he had heard from Me. This group, consisting of several hundred people of all ages, rejoiced and began to praise God aloud for having again awakened a might prophet.
15. And He made a whip of cords and drove them all out of the temple together with their sheep and oxen. He upset the tables of the money-changers scattering their coins.
5. But I said to Peter, ‘go over there to the rope-maker, buy three strong ropes from him and bring them here.’ This Peter did immediately and brought Me three strong ropes which I promptly braided together into a strong whip. Holding this whip in My right hand I said to My disciples and all who were with me, ‘Follow Me into the temple now and be My witnesses, for God’s might and glory shall again manifest through Me before your eyes.’
6. Then I went ahead into the temple, and as I walked all in My path retreated, and all those who followed Me had a free passage although the ground was full of dung and dirt.
7. When I arrived in the last hall of the temple, where the main dealers in oxen and sheep had their animals for sale on the left side, whereas the money-changers were occupying the right side through all three halls, I took up My position on the gate-steps and spoke with a voice like thunder, ‘It is written,’ My house is a prayer house, but you are making it into a den of thieves. Who has given you the right to desecrate God’s temple like this?’
8. But they shouted, ‘We have purchased our right at a high price from the high priest and are under his protection and that of Rome.’
9. Say I, ‘You are indeed under such protection, but God’s arm is against you and your protectors. Who will protect you from Him of His arm is stretched out over you and your protectors?’
10. Say the dealers and Money-changers, ‘God is dwelling in the temple and the priests are of God. Can they go against His will? He whom they protect is also protected by God.’
11. Say I in a very loud voice, ‘What are you saying, you foolish perpetrators? Although the priests are still sitting on the chairs of Moses and Aaron, they no longer serve God, but they serve the mammon, the devil, and their right and your right is a right of the devils and not ever a diving right. Therefore, get to your feet immediately and vacate the halls, or else things will go bad with you.’
12. They began to laugh and said, ‘Just look at the impudence of this lowest of Nazarenes. -Do throw him out of the temple right away.’ Then they rose and wanted to seize Me.
13. Here I raised My right hand with the cord-whip and began to swing it over their heads with divine might. Everyone hit by the whip was immediately seized by the most violent, almost unbearable pains. This also applied to the cattle. There immediately arose a terrible howling from both men and beasts and there followed a stampede of the cattle, and whatever got in their way was trampled down. Also the dealers and buyers fled with terrible screams of pain. But I upset the money-changers’ stalls, scattering all the money they contained, and the disciples helped Me with this work.
16. Then he turned to the dealers in pigeons, “Take them out,” he said, “You must not turn My Father’s house into a market!”
14. Then I entered the temple where still many dealers in pigeons with their cages full of all kinds of pigeons were waiting for buyers. Since these dealers were usually poor people and not greedy for profit and the sale of pigeons in the temple was an old custom, although in ancient times only in the first hall of the temple, I only warned these poor, saying, ‘Take them out and do not turn My Father’s house into a market. The place for this is in the outermost court. -Thus the temple was now cleansed.
17. His disciple recalled the words of Scripture: “Zeal for thy house will destroy Me.”
15. This act caused a sensation and the disciples feared secretly that now the priesthood would soon have us seized by the Roman guard as rebels and we would hardly be able to escape the most humiliating calling to account and punishment. For it is written: “The zeal for thy house will destroy me.”
16. But I told them, ‘Do not worry. Look into the halls and you will notice how the servants and priest are eagerly busying themselves with picking up all the money-changers’ scattered money to fill their own money-bags. Because of those who have suffered losses they will be interrogating us by whose authority we did this, but secretly they do not mind at all, for this act yielded them about 1,000 shekel of gold and silver and a big amount in other money which they will never return to the owners. At present they are also too busy and have no time to a call us to account. Besides, they will not easily accept complaints in this matter, just as the ones who suffered the losses have learned their lessons and are not likely to bring an action against Me. Therefore, set your minds at rest.
17. The zeal for My house will indeed destroy Me, but not yet for quite some time. At the most some of the Jews hare will question Me, who I am and on what authority I did such a thing and will ask Me for a mark of authority. But I know that things will have to happen in this way, and that there will be no danger for us. Just look toward the curtain. Some are already standing the who want to question Me in their own interest, and they shall get the proper answer without delay.
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