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Yeshua in Context » Aims of Yeshua, Erasing Anti-Judaism, Kingdom Future, Temple and Torah » Yeshua and the Temple

Yeshua and the Temple

Chapter 7 of Yeshua in Context is about the Temple Cleansing and chapter 14 is about Yeshua’s trial. In both of them I bring up the issue of Yeshua’s stance toward the Temple in Jerusalem. A number of excellent Christian scholars are in the habit of suggesting that Yeshua viewed the Temple as harmful or obsolete. I’d have hoped the progress of scholarship would have brought well-read people past such misinformation by now.

Two of my favorite New Testament scholars, great thinkers about historical issues and the life of Yeshua, are N.T. Wright and Raymond Brown. Alas, both are prone to make anti-Temple statements at times:

He [Jesus] was simply declaring that it [the Temple] was on its way to being redundant. . . . I think that Jesus saw himself, and perhaps his followers with him, as the new Temple (Wright, Jesus and the Victory of God, p. 426).

The first theme [in the Fourth Gospel, book of signs, chs. 2-12] is that of replacing Jewish institutions and religious views . . . the replacement of the water for Jewish purifications . . . the Temple . . . worship at Jerusalem (Brown and Moloney, An Introduction to the Gospel of John, p. 305).

Part of my aim in chapters 7 and 14 is to show that Yeshua was not opposed to the Temple itself, did not indicate that its purpose was coming to an end, and would not have disagreed with the promises in the prophets of Israel of a beautiful role for the Temple in the coming age (see Isaiah 2 as one example).

I offer here a few of several references to keep in mind when considering Yeshua’s reverence for the Temple. You can find more in the book:

(1) Yeshua called the Temple his Father’s house (Luke 2:49; John 2:16; 14:2).

(2) Yeshua acted out of zeal for God’s house (John 2:17).

(3) Yeshua upheld the ongoing sanctity of the Temple and altar (Matthew 23:19-22).

(4) There is a difference between being against the Temple and sacrifices (which he was not) and against the Temple state (the leadership with all its compromises and injustices). See my coming Audio-Commentary on Mark for more about Yeshua’s major emphasis on opposing the Temple state.

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