"John 2:15: ...he made a whip out of cords..."

So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. (John 2:15, NIV)

Context: Matthew 21:12-13; Mark 11:15-17; Luke 19:45-46; John 2:13-17

Did Christ sin when He drove the moneychangers out of the Temple? That's a tempting thought for those who can't understand Jesus' behavior when cleansing the temple. However, the author of Hebrews 4:15 wrote that Christ was without sin. In the second century, the Gnostic heretic, Marcion, couldn't reconcile the God of Love in Jesus Christ with the God of conquest and judgment in the Old Testament. He rejected the Old Testament. How do we reconcile Jesus' aggressive attack of the moneychangers with His words, John 2:15: ...all who draw the sword will die by the sword?" (Matthew 26:52)

God only directed forceful behavior against those who interfered with His revelation. The people God intended Israel to annihilate threatened the purity of Israel's faithfulness. The Babylonian captivity was necessary to purge Israel of idolatry and prepare the way for Jesus.

The word Paul used in Galatians 1:6-10 translated "accursed" is the word the Septuagint used to translate the Hebrew word in the Old Testament meaning devoted to destruction. It denoted a curse in which destruction would glorify God. This curse directed Israel to annihilate the people when taking possession of the Promised Land. Paul used the term to describe the curse on those who altered the Gospel.

Moneychangers in the Temple had a reputation for dishonesty. Besides changing Roman money into Hebrew coins for offerings, they inspected animals people brought for sacrifice. They often claimed animals were unfit to sacrifice and then charged a fee to exchange them for an acceptable sacrifice. However, they sold the defective to the next person.

As far as Jesus' statement that seems to conflict with His behavior when driving out the moneychangers, He stated, "...all who draw the sword will die by the sword (Matthew 26:52)," when Peter cut off the ear of the high priest's servant. Peter assumed the Messiah would be an earthly ruler who would free Judah from Rome. God doesn't force Himself upon us through governmental might. He desires to change us through a wholehearted faith.

©2003 Perry Vernon Webb. You may quote this page in part or the whole as long as you
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Email: pvwebb_family@juno.com