“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 money-changers and them that sold doves, and said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called a house of prayer for all people, but ye have made it a den of thieves. And the blind and the lame came to Him in the temple; and He healed them” (Matt. 21: 12-14).
Many events of Bible-history have a real significance in the life of the believer. That is, they have more than just a one-dimensional historical meaning. I think Olshausen once said that parables are like precious gems, cut in a way so as to shed lustre in all directions. This may be equally said for events like the Triumphal entry of Christ. When looked at very carefully, the events may be seen to have great personal relevance which bless us as we study them.
For instance, let’s view the temple as the “whole man.” Paul, addressing the saints in 1 Cor. 6: 18-20, equated the temple with the individual body, in which the Holy Ghost resides. The whole man, soul and body, form a structure which is an exact replica of the Jewish temple. Christ spoke of His body as a temple (John 2: 21). See also, 2 Peter 1: 13-14, as well as 2 Cor. 5: 1-4. The body is often likened to a tabernacle, or temple, which is set up in this world, dismantled at physical death, and “changed” when Christ comes to raise His saints from the dust. This shall occur at the end of the present age, and will inaugurate the Millennial reign of the Messiah.
If you look at the typology of the Jewish tabernacle, you’ll find the structure symolizes deep truths–truths which represent the personal walk of the believer. Solomon’s Temple also demonstrates the same. The plan of the temple is somewhat like the plan of the individual disciple. There is an outer court (body), an inner court (soul), and a “Holiest of all,” where the Spirit of God resides.
The outer court is where the word of God is preached. Here it was that Christ taught the people. “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10: 17). Whoever hears the Gospel knows that Christ stands in the court.
Christ threw the money changers out of this court, for their unlawful trafficking. I take it that the money-changers” are those divers lusts which we served when our body (=temple) was being put to unlawful use (Ephesians 2: 2-3). With the preaching of the Word, our corruptions are laid bare, and a general tumult is made. The Word of God (CHRIST) is quick and powerful (Hebrews 4: 12). He overturns the tables of our lusts (moneychangers) and false virtues (sellers of doves). Thus, when Christ enters the outer court, and preaches to us, a great change is effected.
But mere preaching is ineffectual in itself to renovate the temple. There must be a real entrance of Christ into the inner court, where is the altar and a laver. The altar is activated when Christ’s sacrifice is made real to us. Thus, the Lamb’s precious blood is sprinkled upon our consciences (Hebrews 9: 14), and the disciple participates vicariously in the sacrificial death of Christ. Then, there is a laver, in which our souls are washed in the righteousness of the Word (Hebrews 10: 22). In Solomon’s temple, the laver was placed before the altar. And Peter seems to refer to this typology when he writes: “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1: 2). Thus, one must be born by water and the Spirit (John 3: 5), ere He can participate in Christ’s sacrifice.
The altar and laver are both necessary before we can approach the sanctuary. Remember, the sanctuary is where we have real communion with Christ. It is where the table of showbread and candlestick are housed. Thus, John says: “If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin” (1 John 1: 6). While Christ our High Priest is in the Holiest place completing our atonement, we are to walk in the light– that is, remain in the sanctuary– which implies that our consciences are kept pure by the application of blood and water. This presupposes that we are “keeping His commandments” (1 John 2: 3) and “loving our brethren” (1 John 2: 9-10).
Paul says, that, in order to participate in the Lord’s Supper (which is what the Sanctuary signifies), there must be an examination of the conscience (1 Cor. 11: 28). In other words, they who are walking in darkness have no fellowship or part in the sanctuary (1 John 1: 6). And God commanded Moses (speaking of the LAVER): “For Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet thereat: When they go into the tabernacle of the congregation, they shall wash with water, that they die not” (Exodus 30: 19-20). Note that this was made a perpetual statute (Exodus 30: 21). And as we are a nation of kings and priests (1 Peter 2: 9; Rev. 1: 6; cf. Ex. 19: 5-6), this passage still applies to us!
Likewise, Peter tells us the requisites necessary to remaining in fellowship with our Lord, and being “partakers of the Divine nature” (2 Peter 1: 4-11). But he says, “He that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.” And so there is a need to return to the inner court, where we may again apply the precious blood of Christ to our hearts. While Christ is in the Holy Place making our reconciliation to God, we are to “remain in the light.”
But when He leaves the Holy Place, the Lord shall return “without sin unto salvation” (Hebrews 9: 28). At this point our atonement will be consummated, and we will be “changed.” Then we’ll have personal fellowship with Christ in His Millennial temple, which “cometh down out of heaven” (Rev. 3: 12). Then we will enter into the Holiest of All, and partake of the “hidden manna” (Rev. 2: 17). Then we will have real personal communion with our God, when we “see Him as He is” (1 John 3: 2) and “know, even as we are known” (1 Cor. 13: 12).