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WHY JESUS CLEANSED THE TEMPLE TWICE!

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Evening, October 27, 2019

“And the Jews' passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem, And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting: And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers' money, and overthrew the tables; And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father's house an house of merchandise. And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up” (John 2:13-17; page 1116 Scofield).


You will not hear a sermon like this today. It presents the real Jesus – not the feminized “Victoria’s Secret” Jesus of today! John chapter 2 gives us the first cleansing of the Temple by the Lord Jesus Christ. Dr. John R. Rice said, “He made a whip out of cords and drove all out of the Temple, and the sheep and the oxen. He poured out the changer’s money and overthrew the tables...” (Rice, The Son of God, p. 55). Dr. Rice said that people today “think preachers ought not to fight sin. They [do not] like what Jesus did with that whip in verse 15” (ibid.).

This is the radical side of Jesus, the Lion of Judah! He beats the money changers out of the Temple with a whip. He pours out their money on the floor. He throws their tables down, violently breaking them to pieces. The Temple leaders are “blown away” by the Lion of Judah, who is Jesus Christ our Lord. He is rude! He has a volcanic temper! He is untamed! He is a wild man! He is not a pussyfooting charismatic! He is not a verb-parsing evangelical! He is a wild and furious, roaring lion!!! “His eyes [are] red with wine, and his teeth white with milk!... He couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up?” (Genesis 49:12, 9; p. 68).

When they were new and in full vigor the converted Hippies sang until the blood ran down their throats:

The Lion of Judah
   Shall break every chain
And give to us the victory
   Again and again!

But the new-evangelical wimps couldn’t stand it! Soon they castrated them, and made them sing a different song,

Gentle Jesus, meek and mild,
Come and bless your little child.

And that was what Francis Schaeffer called, “The Great Evangelical Disaster”!!!

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But God is not a weak evangelical! And God is not a verb-parsing Fundamentalist! Dr. David Wells is my kind of theologian! Wells has the guts to cry out that evangelicalism “has turned from dependence on God to management of God...But God has never been managed [or] tamed...God is always angular and will not be made smooth. He is always sovereign over the church, and will not be subject to it or manipulated by it. His smoothness in the evangelical world is the surest sign that it is not His truth – that is driving evangelicalism – what the church now needs is not revival, but reformation!” (Dr. David F. Wells, No Place for Truth, p. 296). Reformation now! Reformation tomorrow! Reformation forever! George Wallace was wrong to say “segregation.” I voted for a, better man. But there is a way to apply it.

Segregation from evangelicals now!
Segregation from evangelicals tomorrow!
Segregation from evangelicals forever!

Lester Roloff, on the last day of his life, preached on this text,

“He stood in the midst of the ground, and defended it, and slew the Philistines: and the Lord wrought a great victory” (II Samuel 23:12; p. 382).

We may have Trump, but we need Lester Roloff! Where is he? Oh God, where is the smart man, with a good brain and a big voice – to stand like Gideon against the evangelical Philistines? WHERE IS JOHN CAGAN TONIGHT? God help us! Sing the Lion of Judah!

The Lion of Judah
   Shall break every chain
And give to us the victory
   Again and again!

Is there not a young man here tonight to do that? Is there not a young man here who will throw out the dreams of an easy life – and take the place of John Cagan, and preach the Lion of Judah to a weak and introverted evangelical disaster? Who will do it? What young man will say, “I’ll try?” Close your eyes. Put up your hand son if you’ll try! Sing it again!

The Lion of Judah
   Shall break every chain
And give to us the victory
   Again and again!

Why did Jesus, the Lion of Judah, clean out the Temple first thing out of the box? Why did He start His ministry with this fight? It was to reveal to His Disciples that He would be rejected as the Messiah. The Disciples remembered Psalm 69:9, “The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up” (p. 631). They also remembered Jesus’ veiled reference to His resurrection from the dead.

“When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said” (John 2:22; p. 1117).

Now we come to Jesus’ second cleansing of the Temple.

Virtually all scholars say this was Jesus’ second cleansing of the Temple. Please turn to Matthew 21:12-13.

“And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves” (Matthew 21:12-13; p. 1028).

Dr. McGee said, “He was making the final public presentation of Himself to the people” (Thru the Bible, volume 4, p. 111). Only the blind and lame saw that He was the Saviour. Verse 14 says, “And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them” (Matthew 21:14). The young people cried out worshipping Him, “Hosanna to the Son of David” (21:15). But the chief priests and scribes “were sore displeased” (21:15). For the last time, they rejected the Lord Jesus as their Messiah and Saviour. “The multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet [from] Galilee” (Matthew 21:11; p. 1028). They only thought of Him as a prophet. The Scofield note says, “With no welcome from the official representatives of the nation, He was soon to hear the multitude shout: ‘Crucify Him.’” And Jesus said,

“Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof” (Matthew 21:43; p. 1029).

Dr. McGee said, “The church is that ‘holy nation’” (ibid., p. 114). The Roman army of Titus came and destroyed Jerusalem in 70 A.D.

Yet God has an everlasting covenant with the nation of Israel. And so, the Apostle Paul said, “Blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved” (Romans 11:25, 26; pp. 1205-1206). Dr. John MacArthur correctly says, “God’s sovereign election of Israel...is unconditional and unchangeable because it is rooted in [God's] immutable nature and expressed in the unilateral, eternal Abrahamic Covenant” (The MacArthur Study Bible, note on Romans 11:29). “And so all Israel shall be saved” (Romans 11:26). Dr. W. A. Criswell said, “The Jewish nation of the millennial era will turn to Christ in mass, thus realizing God’s elective purpose for Israel” (The Criswell Study Bible, note on Romans 11:26).

This closes my message tonight on the two cleansings of the Temple by our Lord Jesus Christ. There is nothing left to say but to give you some final thoughts. David Murrow has written a great book called Why Men Hate Going to Church (Thomas Nelson, 2011; I recommend the updated version).

Murrow shows that men and young adults from 18-35 are leaving our churches in droves because evangelicals only preach on “the Lamb of God,” and hardly ever on “the Lion of Judah” – seen in the two cleansings of the Temple, and in many other places in the Bible. Murrow says, “Here’s something that few people realize: Lion-Jesus isn’t the exception; He’s the rule. See for yourself. Grab a [New Testament] and a highlighter and mark all the places where Jesus is tender, loving and kind. Then take another highlighter and mark the verses where [Jesus] is tough, challenging and wild. You’ll be shocked at how much of the Lion you find. Nevertheless most churches have locked the Lion of Judah away in the attic, like some crazy uncle” (Murrow, ibid., p. 48).

Because [evangelicals] believe Jesus is [only] the Lamb, they think every experience in church must be pleasant. They split their churches and leave when the pastor preaches on sin and judgment. One woman said, “We have such a sweet little pastor now. He never raises his voice or condemns sin!” That is an actual statement. Murrow says that such preachers speak on only half of Jesus – the half that doesn’t wake sinners up! No wonder young adults and men say such things as “church is boring.” “It’s irrelevant.” “It’s full of hypocrites.” Evangelicals are afraid of preaching that is challenging rather than boring. Scared to death of preaching that is relevant in this sinful culture. Preachers who try their best to coddle hypocrites – instead of saying to them what Jesus said, “Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?” (Matthew 23:33 [p. 1032], etc.).

One Fuller Seminary new-evangelical wrote a book (“Love Wins”) in which he said the mass killer Adolf Hitler will be in Heaven. IF HITLER IS IN HEAVEN – I DON’T WANT TO GO THERE! Get that? If that weak Fuller graduate is right – I do not want to go to Heaven! And neither would any red-blooded American. No wonder our young people and our men are fleeing from those dainty little preachers, with their women’s teas and soft songs about a sweet baby Jesus! Get Murrow’s book, preacher! Read it and stop being a little pee-wee like the apostate Chan! I don’t want to go to Heaven with pee-wees like that! I want to see strong and red-blooded men like Tyndale, Luther, and the martyrs and Apostles of Jesus Christ! Men and women who are not afraid to drown out the hypocrites with “Onward Christian Soldiers, Marching as to War!” Preach and pray and sing until the hypocrites flee for their lives!!! That is the first application of Christ cleansing the Temple.

Here is another application – why two cleansings? The reason is that the first cleansing didn’t clean out all the hypocrites! There had to be two to clean out the Temple. There has to be more than two to clean out all the hypocrites in this day of evangelical apostasy!!!

Here is another one – why two cleansings? Because too many of those people faked it. They pretended to have salvation testimonies, but they plagiarized them from others! Some of them flat-out lied. One young man said, “Christ gave His life for me, and for this I give my all to Him. How can I ever sufficiently proclaim His love and mercy?...Jesus is my ambition and direction...Christ came to me, and for this I will not leave Him.” But He did anyway! He left Christ in the dust for a high-paying job as a lawyer! That young man is my friend. I say to him as his pastor – “Son, you need to have your Temple cleansed a second time! The first time was sheer hypocrisy!!!”

The young woman who played the piano said, “Jesus pardoned and forgave me all of my sin. My record is stamped ‘Not Guilty’ with His own Blood.” Great words! But she walked away from the church a few days before Christmas, leaving her church without any Christmas music! Is that woman saved? Not on your life! She needs to have her Temple cleansed a second time. The first time only made her a sin-doomed hypocrite! Tell them I said that and leave it on the tape! Needless to say those two “testimonies” will not appear in the second edition of my autobiography! I doubt if they are listed in the Lamb’s book of life either! Not unless they have a real conversion!

The old-time Methodists said there had to be two works of grace – one for salvation, and the other for sanctification. I don’t believe that. But I’m glad they did. They were more right than wrong! They were soldiers of the Cross! They were mighty men and women for God and His crucified Son.

The old time evangelicals like Moody and Torrey believed in two works of grace – one for salvation, and the other a baptism with the Holy Ghost for power. Tozer believed that! But who believes it today? They produced soldiers of the Cross. They produced mighty men and women for God and His crucified Son!

Where can we find young men and women like that today? We will find them at every altar, where a young man or woman truly bows before the Son of God, and yield their hearts to Him, the Lamb of God and the Lion of Judah are one! Amen. Stand and sings “Am I a Soldier of the Cross?” Sing it!

Am I a soldier of the cross, A follower of the Lamb;
And shall I fear to own His cause, Or blush to speak His name?

Must I be carried to the skies On flowery beds of ease,
While others fought to win the prize, And sailed through bloody seas?

Are there no foes for me to face? Must I not stem the flood?
Is this vile world a friend to grace, To help me on to God?

Sure I must fight, if I would reign; Increase my courage, Lord!
I’ll bear the toil, endure the pain, Supported by Thy Word.
   (“Am I a Soldier of the Cross?” by Dr. Isaac Watts, 1674-1748).