The Cleansing of the Temple

by Teresa (Kendall) Grosboll

The Reception or Rejection of the Holy Spirit

In Jesus’ day there were thieves and robbers in the temple. Just imagine! The temple, the beautiful sacred building that God had established, where the sacrificial ordinances that He had ordained were preformed, was defiled. Most of the Jewish leaders became thieves and robbers. They told the people that there could be no forgiveness of sin without the shedding of the blood of animals, which was true, but they then devised a system where the people would be forced to buy the sacrifices at exorbitant prices.

Looking at it two thousand years later it seems a very bold and defiant act of the priests and rulers. How dare they presume to profane the holy temple of the Lord! Did they think they could continue in such a course without incurring the justice and judgments of God?

Nicodemus was a witness at the cleansing of the temple when all the robbers and thieves were forced out. This occasion, at the beginning of Christ’s ministry, could very well have been his first opportunity of personal contact with Jesus. Desire of Ages tells us, “He [Nicodemus] was a witness of the scene when Jesus drove out the buyers and the sellers; he beheld the wonderful manifestation of divine power; he saw the Saviour receiving the poor and healing the sick; he saw their looks of joy, and heard their words of praise; and he could not doubt that Jesus of Nazareth was the Sent of God” DA 168.

The Too Timid Believer

Nicodemus was drawn to the Saviour. He himself had been greatly distressed by the profanation of the temple. He was impressed with the words that Jesus spoke and went to the Scriptures to study anew the prophecies of the Messiah. As he studied, the conviction that Jesus was the Messiah became stronger and stronger, until he sought an interview with Jesus in the night season. Oh, friends, how wonderful it was! Though the Jewish nation was in deep spiritual apostasy, there was one, a leader in Israel, who accepted the drawing of the Holy Spirit at the beginning of Christ’s ministry.

Though Nicodemus probably had many things to unlearn because of his education in the pharisaical schools and because of his position (which kept him from becoming one of Christ’s disciples while He was yet alive on earth) Jesus was acquainted with the soil into which He had cast the seed. Nicodemus sought the Saviour, and Christ was able to speak with him because he accepted the working of the Holy Spirit upon his heart.

Yes, it is too bad that he was so timid that he would not hold an interview with the Son of God by day. The opportunity of his lifetime was before him, but the political church system of the day kept him back from openly associating himself with Jesus. Today we see similar circumstances. Many Seventh- day Adventists believe the truth, but they are not willing to stand with those who are upholding truth in the midst of one of the greatest apostasies among God’s people that has ever been. These timid people may well be saved in the end. Nicodemus was saved, but he realized after the crucifixion that he had missed the golden opportunity of his life by not closely and openly associating himself with Jesus.

Dear friend, if you are one who is afraid to stand with those you know are teaching and preaching the truth for fear of what others may say or think, remember Nicodemus. Yes, he did a wonderful work, but what could have been accomplished for the cause of truth had Nicodemus gone to the forefront while Jesus was still living on earth? No doubt, he reasoned with himself that because of his exalted position in the Jewish nation he could have some influence over the priests and rulers that were not sympathetic to Jesus and His cause. He could protect Jesus while continuing in his present position. After all, being a member of the Sanhedrin was no unimportant position, and he was respected by all. This reasoning carried the day with Nicodemus and is no doubt accomplishing the same results with some today. But at what cost? Not only was Nicodemus himself bitterly disappointed when, after the crucifixion he saw his fallacious reasoning and the opportunity that he had lost— nevermore to return, but the cause of God also suffered by his timidity and inaction. Oh! May God break through the heart barriers of those today who are allowing the current political system in our church to influence their reasoning and keep them from associating with those who are teaching and preaching the truth at personal risk and peril.

We are thankful, although Nicodemus was too timid to seek an interview by day, that at least he went by night. The seeds of truth that were sown in his heart he hid. “For three years there was little apparent fruit” DA 176 But, “after the Lord’s ascension, when the disciples were scattered by persecution, Nicodemus came boldly to the front. He employed his wealth in sustaining the infant church that the Jews had expected to be blotted out at the death of Christ. In the time of peril he who had been so cautious and questioning was firm as a rock” DA 177.

The Unbelievers

There were others there at the temple besides Nicodemus, however, whose heart response to the conviction of the Holy Spirit was not the same as that of Nicodemus. The priests and other rulers were there and they, too, saw Jesus drive out the buyers and sellers. They, too, beheld the wonderful manifestations of divine power. They, too, saw Jesus receiving the poor and healing the sick. And they, too, saw the looks of joy, and heard the words of praise. But in them it roused, not an interest to further study the prophetic writings, but a “determined hatred” DA 16.

You see, the money changing provided a fraudulent source of revenue for the priests. Notwithstanding, they “were exceedingly proud of their piety. They rejoiced over their temple, and regarded a word spoken in its disfavor as blasphemy; they were very rigorous in the performance of ceremonies connected with it; but the love of money had overruled their scruples. They were scarcely aware how far they had wandered from the original purpose of the service instituted by God Himself’ DA 155.

“The courts of the temple at Jerusalem, filled with the tumult of unholy traffic, represented all too truly the temple of the heart, defiled by the presence of sensual passion and unholy thoughts” DA 161.

The temple could never fulfill its divine purpose until it was cleansed. Neither can we fulfil our divine purpose until we are cleansed from sin. “The days of purification of the church are hastening on apace. God will have a people pure and true. In the mighty sifting soon to take place we shall be better able to measure the strength of Israel. The signs reveal that the time is near when the Lord will manifest that His fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly purge His floor” 5T 80.

Well could the words of Jeremiah been spoken to the priests and money changers, “Do not trust in these lying words, saying, ‘The temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord are these.” ‘ “Behold, you trust in lying words that cannot profit. Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, burn incense to Baal, and walk after other gods whom you do not know, and then come and stand before Me in this house which is called by My name, and say, ‘We are delivered to do all these abominations’? Has this house, which is called by My name, become a den of thieves in your eyes? Behold, I, even I, have seen it. ‘ says the Lord.” Jeremiah 7: 4, 8- 11.

And what of us today? “In the defilement and cleansing of the temple we have a lesson for this time. The same spirit that existed among the Jews, leading them to substitute gain for godliness, and outward pomp for inward purity, curses the Christian world today. It spreads like a defiling leprosy among the professed worshipers of God. Sacred things are brought down to a level with the vain matters of the world. Vice is mistaken for virtue, and righteousness for crime. Temporal business is mingled with the worship of God. Extortion and wicked speculation are practiced by those who profess to be servants of the Most High” 2SP 123.

Can you imagine anything worse at the time of Christ? The very system that God Himself established became so corrupted by priests and rulers that the opposite purpose from that for which it was designed was being accomplished. “The ordinances which God Himself had appointed were made the means of blinding the mind and hardening the heart” DA 36.

Can you imagine how God must have felt? In giving the sanctuary and its services to His people, He gave them the most wonderful gift that He could give them before He sent His only Son to die for their sins. He longed for that gift to help prepare them for His Son. He desired His people to search out its great truths. In designing it, He thought through the lesson of every detail. Yet, the symbolic value of the sacrifices “were now perverted and misunderstood. Spiritual worship was fast disappearing” DA 157.

So far had the Jewish nation wandered from God that “the worshipers offered their sacrifices without understanding that they were typical of the only perfect Sacrifice. And among them, unrecognized and not honored, stood the One symbolized by all their service” DA 157.

Turning Blessings Into Curses

God specializes in turning curses into blessings, but in a time of apostasy, men turn blessings into curses. In his last sermon, Marshall Grosboll spoke of the danger of Seventh- day Adventists turning our Church organization from a blessing into a curse. That which God has designed to be a blessing can become a curse if it is perverted. The divinely instituted services and the biblical instruction itself had been perverted by the Jews until the blessing had become a curse— they had the symbol but not the reality. They sacrificed the animals but rejected the One to whom their entire service pointed. They had the typical priest but rejected the real High Priest. The same thing can happen today. We have the symbol of the three angels everywhere, but if we are not daily preparing for the judgment, the first angel’s message has not done its work in our hearts. Some professed Adventists today do not even believe in an investigative judgment that began in 1844. What good does the symbol do if we do not live out what we professed at our baptism to believe? If we bring the teachings and practices of Babylon right into professed Seventh- day Adventist, churches the second angel’s picture on our stationary or in front of our churches is a mockery. If we do not believe that a person can keep the law of God perfectly through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, what good does it do to have a picture of the third angel outside the church or on our stationary? We will never risk imprisonment and death in the time of a worldwide Sunday law if we do not believe that God’s law can be perfectly kept. It would be better to not even make a profession than to profess and then hypocritically not experience what we profess. It would be better if a person knew he was lost than to have a false security created by maintaining the forms of religion while the vital power of the gospel is not being experienced. One of the great earmarks of all apostasies is that professed Christians maintain the symbols, the profession, the outward forms of religion, while the vital godliness— which alone is of eternal value— is neglected.

God’s Solution

If you were God, what would you have done? “The ordinances which God Himself had appointed were made the means of blinding the mind and hardening the heart. God could do no more for man through these channels. The whole system must be swept away” DA 36. “Christ’s work was to establish an altogether different worship” DA 157.

Holy Wrath

“Slowly descending the steps, and raising the scourge of cords gathered up on entering the enclosure, He [Christ] bids the bargaining company depart from the precincts of the temple. With a zeal and severity He has never before manifested, He overthrows the tables of the moneychangers. The coin falls, ringing sharply upon the marble pavement. None presume to question His authority. None dare stop to gather up their ill- gotten gain. . . . A panic sweeps over the multitude, who feel the overshadowing of His divinity. Cries of terror escape from hundreds of blanched lips. Even the disciples tremble” DA 158.

I wonder how many of us, if we had been in the temple, would have said, “I really think Jesus handled that situation with the priests, rulers and money changers in the temple today a little too severely. I believe it could have been handled in a more diplomatic manner. Don’t you think Jesus should have gone and talked privately to the leaders before coming out so boldly against them? I realize the priests and rulers haven’t been doing everything right and I don’t condone it for a minute, but wasn’t’t that going a bit too far?” Oh, friends, that may sound sarcastic, but I fear that some are echoing these very sentiments today.

We read of Jesus, “He was filled with holy wrath as He saw the Jewish leaders teaching for doctrines the commandments of men, and He spoke to them with the authority of true greatness. With terrible power He denounced all artful intrigue, all dishonest practices. He cleansed the temple from its pollution, as He desires to cleanse our hearts from everything bearing any resemblance to fraud. The truth never languished on His lips. With fearlessness He exposed the hypocrisy of priest and ruler, Pharisee and Sadducee” Voice in Speech and Song 95. We must each ask ourselves the question, Where would we have stood the day that Jesus cleansed the temple? Remember that even the disciples were surprised at His severity. Could it be that we, along with the Jews in Christ’s day, have become so hardened from the daily occurrence of sin among God’s professed people that when God performs a work of cleansing and purifying we find it too hard to accept. Or, like the disciples, we are surprised at the means that He chooses to use to accomplish His purposes for His people?

The Aftermath

Let us look at the aftermath of the cleansing of the temple. “Soon the tumultuous throng with their merchandise are far removed from the temple of the Lord. The courts are free from unholy traffic, and a deep silence and solemnity settles upon the scene of confusion” DA 158.

The Temple of the Heart

At last, the temple was fulfilling the purpose for which is was designed. It was to be “an object lesson for Israel and for the world. From eternal ages it was God’s purpose that every created being, from the bright and holy seraph to man, should be a temple for the indwelling of the Creator” DA 161. The temple was intended to be a symbol of the heart. Could the temple in Jerusalem in Jesus’ day, a symbol of the heart, really be a sacred temple when it was polluted and defiled with the sins of deception and fraud? It was the presence of Jesus that made the temple sacred.

Jesus did not abide in the temple at the same time as the money changers and the priests.

When Jesus came in, they left. Neither will Christ abide in the heart with sin. “Christ does not abide in the heart of the sinner” ST 8/ 16/ 05. “God does not live in the sinner. The Word declares that He abides only in the hearts of those who love Him and do righteousness. God does not abide in the heart of the sinner; it is the enemy who abides there” Sermons and Talks 343. “In cleansing the temple from the world’s buyers and sellers, Jesus announced His mission to cleanse the heart from the defilement of sin,— from the earthly desires, the selfish lusts, the evil habits, that corrupt the soul” DA 161.

There is one difference between the cleansing of the earthly temple and that of the cleansing of the heart. In the cleansing of the temple on earth, Christ made a whip of cords and drove out the money changers and the priests and rulers without their permission. In the temple of our heart “He will not force an entrance. He comes not into the heart as to the temple of old; but He says, ‘Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him. ‘ Rev. 3: 20” DA 161. “How willing is Christ to take possession of the soul temple if we will let Him! He is represented as waiting and knocking at the door of the heart. Then why does He not enter? It is because the love of sin has closed the door of the heart. As soon as we consent to give sin up, to acknowledge our guilt, the barrier is removed between the soul and the Saviour” 1SM 325. Friend, if you want to be cleansed by the Spirit of Christ from every defilement of sin, you must open your heart’s door to Him by consenting to give sin up and acknowledge your guilt. “No man can of himself cast out the evil throng that have taken possession of the heart. Only Christ can cleanse the soul temple” DA 161. “It is necessary that Jesus should occupy His temple in the human heart every day, and cleanse it form the defilement of sin” Redemption 82. He longs to exercise His power to expel evil from your heart as He expelled the money changers from the temple of old. Will we let Him do it? If we really love righteousness and want to be free from every defiling habit that has hold of our lives, we should be glad that Christ’s demeanor in the temple was so stern and powerful. He wants to use that power in our heart.

The Living Temple— The Church

Not only was the temple in Jerusalem representative of the temple of our hearts and minds, but it also represented the church. “The church of Christ is spoken of as a holy temple. Says the apostle, ‘Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow- citizens with the saints, and of the household of God, and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner- stone; in whom all the building fitly framed together groweth into an holy temple in the Lord; in whom ye also are builded together for a habitation of God through the Spirit’ [Ephesians 2: 19- 22]” RH 6/ 5/ 88. (See also 1 Cor. 3: 9- 17; Heb. 3: 6; 1 Pet. 2: 1- 10; Isa. 28: 6; 60: 12; Zech. 6: 12,15.)

Living Stones

God had a plan for the earthly temple in Jerusalem, and He has a plan for the spiritual temple as well. Christ is represented as the chief Cornerstone and “all the followers of Christ are represented as stones in the temple of God. Every stone, large or small, must be a living stone, emitting light and fitting into the place assigned it in the building of God. How thankful we should be that a way has been opened whereby we may each have a place in the spiritual temple!” RH 6/ 5/ 88.

“His church is to be a temple built after the divine similitude, and the angelic architect has brought his golden measuring rod from heaven, that every stone may be hewed and squared by the divine measurement and polished to shine as an emblem of heaven, radiating in all directions the bright, clear beams of the Sun of Righteousness.” TM 17.

“We want the cleaver of truth to do its work for us. We are taken from the quarry of the world. The material must not be a dead substance but living souls, and these souls must be brought out of the quarry of the world, where the hand of God can fit them for the temple in heaven. We are here as probationers, and we must pass under the hand of God. All rough edges and rough surfaces must be stones fitted for the building. We are brought into church capacity with defects of character, but we must not retain them. We must be fitted and squared for the building. We must be ‘laborers together with God, ‘ for we are ‘God’s husbandry, ‘ we are ‘God’s building. ‘ In view of this we must see that our temple is not defiled with sin. We should be lively stones, not dead ones, but live ones that will reflect the image of Christ. We must be worshipers in spirit and in truth” 3MR 231.

We are each one a temple, a lively stone. All these lively stones together make up the spiritual temple, or the church. How does this temple fit together, or how is the church to work together? “The word of God represents the power of the Christian church to be an individual dependence upon Christ and unity between the members. The union between the members of the church and the leader is illustrated by a temple and its foundation. The whole weight of the temple rests upon the foundation, without which it could not stand. So the members of the church of Christ are to build upon Him; for He is the only true foundation” 5MR 374.

Christ the Center

The problem with the earthly temple and its services at the time of Christ was that He was no longer made the center of all its ceremonies and services. After the temple had been twice cleansed and twice again deified, after the divine presence had been rejected and refused, the temple was destroyed. Though at one time a place of habitation for the Most High, it was, after the rejection of Christ, no more than a building. Remember, it was the presence of Christ that made the temple sacred (DA 161). It was not the forms ceremonies and services in themselves that were of merit and benefit; it was what they represented that was so important. Jesus sought earnestly to teach this lesson to the Jews before it was forever to late. “Christ’s prediction regarding the destruction of the temple was a lesson on the purification of religion, by making of none effect forms and ceremonies. He announced Himself greater than the temple, and stood forth proclaiming, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. ‘ He was the one in whom all the Jewish ceremony and typical service was to find its fulfillment. He stood forth in the place of the temple; all the offices of the church centered in Himself alone” FE 399.

Human Authority in the Temple

If there is a conflict between the human keepers of the temple and Christ, who is the Christian to obey? There was a conflict in Christ’s day. The keepers of the temple laid many human restrictions and rules on the people. The authorities at the temple would not have wanted the people to read any literature, watch any videos or go to any meetings which were not approved by “properly constituted church authority.” But Christ set His followers free (see Matthew 12: 1- 8) from these rules and restrictions. It was not Christ’s will that any of His followers should ever again be subject to proscribed human rules of religion.

“The disciples were to teach what Christ had taught. That which He had spoken, not only in person, but through all the prophets and teachers of the Old Testament, is here included. Human teaching is shutout. There is no place for tradition, for man’s theories and conclusions, or for church legislation. No laws ordained by ecclesiastical authority are included in the commission. None of these are Christ’s servants to teach” DA 826.

Jesus came to set the captives free. In the church during the time of the apostles there was a constant effort to again bring men and woman under the control of human religious rules and regulations. The apostle Paul was set for the defense of the gospel. (See Galatians 5 and Colossians 2).

The exaltation of human authority until divine authority becomes secondary has been the curse of the professed church in all ages. The great apostasy (II Thessalonians 2) was largely the result of exalting human authority until church legislation was considered more important, authoritative and dependable than the Word of God. This hypothesis is even substantiated by the Catholics themselves. The Archbishop of Reggio, at the Council of Trent stated: “The Protestants claim to stand upon the written word only. They profess to hold the Scripture alone as the standard of faith. They justify their revolt by the plea that the Church has apostatized from the written word and follows tradition. Now the Protestant’s claim, that they stand upon the written word only, is not true. Their profession of holding the Scripture alone as the standard of faith, is false. PROOF: The written word explicitly enjoins the observance of the seventh day as the Sabbath. They do not observe the seventh day, but reject it. If they do truly hold the Scripture alone as their standard they would be observing the seventh day as is enjoined in the Scripture throughout. Yet they not only reject the observance of the Sabbath enjoined in the written word, but they have adopted and do practice the observance of Sunday, for which they have only the tradition of the Church. Consequently the claim of ‘Scripture alone as the standard’ fails; and the doctrine of ‘Scripture and tradition’ as essential, is fully established, the Protestants themselves being judges” Rome’s Challenge 27.

There is every danger that Protestants, including Seventh- day Adventists, will in practice do the same thing while they verbally deny it, through making of church creeds, church manuals and policies until these are followed in place of the Word of God. It was this very fear that caused our church leaders in 1883 to reject the idea of having a church manual. The very fact that we have a church manual today would, no doubt, be looked upon by our pioneers (who got along without one for nearly 100 years) as a mark of apostasy.

When the devil has been unsuccessful in getting the professed people of God to exalt church authority above the divine authority of God’s Word, he has attempted to cause the same result by a variant of the same false teaching. Men who saw that the exaltation of church authority resulted in terrible abuses went to the opposite extreme of saying that they would not counsel with their brethren at all because they were taught directly by the Holy Spirit. This happened in the days of Luther. “Counterfeit holiness, spurious sanctification, is still doing its work of deception. Under various forms it exhibits the same spirit as in the days of Luther, diverting minds from the Scriptures and leading men to follow their own feelings and impressions rather than to yield obedience to the law of God. This is one of Satan’s most successful devices to cast reproach upon purity and truth” GC 193. They would accept no man’s say- so. Thus they were subject to no authority but their own minds. This reaction to the abuse of church authority has led to much fanaticism among Christians and has also led to the development of atheistic socialism.

God’s professed people today are still subject to these snares. The one extreme is the exaltation of human authority— an attempt to enforce the will of the clergy or church leaders upon all by means of what is commonly called “properly constituted church authority.” From whom are we to obtain council? Only from those who give evidence of being led by the Holy Spirit. “God is dishonored and the gospel is betrayed when His servants depend on the counsel of men who are not under the guidance of the Holy Spirit” DA 354.

In Jesus’ day, what was thought to be properly constituted church authority was made null and void by the teaching and practice of Jesus. (See AA 199; Matthew 15: 14; 16: 10- 23; 1SM 406).

A Cleansing Again

Christ has promised to again cleanse the temple. We have learned that Christ does not cleanse the heart as He cleansed the earthly temple, but what about the spiritual temple, His church? “He will purify His church even as He purified the temple at the beginning and close of His ministry on earth” Kress Collection 114.

There are some interesting things to note in the first cleansing of the earthly temple. First of all, when Christ came into the temple with His divine presence, who was it that fled? It was the priests, rulers, money changers and the crowd that fled. Christ had read the deceitfulness of their hearts. “They felt as if before the throne of the eternal Judge, with their sentence passed on them for time and for eternity” DA 162. They could not endure His presence, the divine, spotless Son of God. How sad it was. Jesus loved them. He longed to save them. And for a time they were even “convinced that Christ was a prophet; and many believed Him to be the Messiah. The Holy Spirit flashed into their minds the utterances of the prophets concerning Christ. Would they yield to this conviction? Repent they would not. . . . Because Christ discerned their thoughts they hated Him. . . . They determined to challenge Him as to the power by which He had driven them forth, and who gave Him this power” DA 162.

The Majority

Yes, the priest and rulers fled. But they were not alone. The majority of the people went with them. Ellen White refers to them as, “the crowd.” When contrasted to the priest, she says, “The people were comparatively innocent” DA 164. “The sin of the desecration of the temple rested, in a great degree, upon the priests. It was by their arrangement that the court had been turned into a market place Ibid. 163, 164. But, please notice what it was that led them to reject the Saviour. “With them [the people] the influence of the priests and rulers was paramount” Ibid. 164. Oh, friends, when will we ever learn not to put men in the place of God, whoever they be or whatever position they might hold. The majority of the people in Jerusalem lost their salvation because they made flesh their arm. “They regarded Christ’s mission as an innovation, and questioned His right to interfere with what was permitted by the authorities of the temple. They were offended because the traffic had been interrupted, and they stifled the convictions of the Holy Spirit” Ibid.

The Poor

Both the priests and the people rejected the pleadings of the Holy Spirit. Would there be any who would accept the working of the Holy Spirit upon the heart? “When they fled, the poor remained behind; and these were now looking to Jesus, whose countenance expressed His love and sympathy. With tears in His eyes, He said to the trembling ones around Him: Fear not; I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify Me. For this cause came I into the world” DA 163.

It was a wonderful time for the poor. They had found a Friend in Jesus. They told Him all their sorrows and woes. They brought to Him their sick to be healed and their children to be blessed. “Hope and gladness filled their hearts. Peace came to their minds. They were restored soul and body, and they returned home, proclaiming everywhere the matchless love of Jesus” Ibid. like Nicodemus, the seeds of truth had been hidden in their hearts and at the crucifixion they did not join with the maddened throng. After Jesus’ death they listened to the apostles and became “agents of God’s mercy, and instruments of His salvation” Ibid.

The poor had accepted the working of the Holy Spirit upon their hearts, and if we are to accept the working of the Holy Spirit upon our hearts, we too must become poor— poor in spirit. Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” Matthew 5: 3.

The Cleansing of the Review

It is an interesting fact that those who professed to be the people of God fled from His presence when He cleansed the earthly temple. Friends, we have just read that He is going to cleanse the spiritual temple (the church) “as or in the same way He cleansed the earthly. How will it be today? The cleansing is going to happen, friends. Of the fire at the Review office in Battle Creek, Ellen White wrote, “Three nights before the Review office burned, I was in an agony that words cannot describe. I could not sleep. I walked the room, praying to God to have mercy upon His people. Then I seemed to be in the Review office with the men who have the management of the institution. I was trying to speak to them and thus to help them. One of authority arose and said, ‘You say, The temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord are we; therefore, we have authority to do this thing and that thing and the other thing. But the work of God forbids many of the things that you propose to do. ‘ At His first advent, Christ cleansed the Temple. Prior to His second advent He will again cleanse the temple. He was there cleansing the temple. Why? Because commercial work had been brought in, and God had been forgotten. With hurry here and hurry there and hurry somewhere else, there was no time to think of heaven. The principles of God’s law were presented, and I heard the question asked, ‘How much of the law have you obeyed? ‘

Then the word was spoken, ‘God will cleanse and purify His temple in His displeasure.” ‘ PM 170, 171.

The cleansing of the Review office involved judgments from God. If God cleansed the Review by fire because of what was happening then, what, friends, are we to expect today? Inspiration tells us, “Brethren, God is in earnest with us. I want to tell you that if after the warnings given in these burnings the leaders of our people go right on, just as they have done in the past, exalting themselves, God will take the bodies next. Just as surely as He lives, He will speak to them in language that they cannot fail to understand” PM 171.

He Will Thoroughly Purge His Floor

“Just how soon this refining process will begin we cannot say, but it will not be long deferred. He whose fan is in His hand will cleanse His temple of its moral defilement. He will thoroughly purge His floor” TM 373.

Oh, friends, when Jesus comes to cleanse the temple, what will He find? Jesus cleansed the earthly temple two times before it was eventually destroyed because it had been a means of blinding men’s eyes and hardening their hearts. He cleansed the institutions at Battle Creek by fire more than once. Do we realize what is coming, friends? It is Jesus’ plan to cleanse sin from the temple of our hearts and from our church. If we will not let go of sin, we must be destroyed with it. May God help us make the needful preparation that when the cleansing comes we will not be destroyed.

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