The Temple Intifada

Jesus “cleansed” the temple.  Why he did so is a mystery.

In the Jewish Law, Deuteronomy 14:25 allows the exchange

of a sacrifice for money and allows another animal to be

purchased for offering in the Temple.

All of the four canonical gospels tie the “cleansing”

of the temple to Jesus’ eventual crucifixion:


And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and

his disciples came to him for to shew him the

buildings of the temple. And Jesus said unto them, See

ye not all these things? Verily I say unto you, there

shall not be left here one stone upon another, that

shall not be thrown down. (Matthew 24:1-2)


The attitude itself is amazing, but his actions in the

temple itself are even more so:


And they came to Jerusalem: and Jesus went into the

temple, and began to cast out them that sold and

bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the

money-changers, and the seats of them that sold

doves…(Mark 11:15)


The ensuing riot is also related in Matthew 21:12,

Luke 19:45, and John 2:14-15. We are also later

informed that a widespread insurrection (Mark 15:7)

had taken place in the City which the “cleansing of

the Temple” was probably a part of. If so, the insurrection,

and was not spontaneous but planned as a pre-Passover

against the pro-Roman establishment.


It was less than a week before the Passover, which the

Romans always considered a tinder dry period when

anything could, and did, happen. Jews flocked in

their millions to attend this Holy Festival, for every

healthy male over the age of 12 living within ninety

miles of the Temple was compelled by the Law to attend

his God and give an account of himself. A popular uprising

would involve every Zealot in and around Jerusalem.


So why was the rebellion a failure? The beginnings of

the attempted coup are described in the canonical

Gospels where Jesus extremely publicly enters

Jerusalem riding on an ass. This tipped off the Romans

to his plans from Zechariah 9:9 which says: “Behold

thy King cometh unto thee…meek…and riding upon an

ass…!” Shouting his name and imploring him to rise

and save them from Rome”as their King and Messiah

surely would”the crowd’s acclamations became one

mighty, thunderous roar. Undoubtedly, the Romans used

this intelligence to concentrate their forces around

the Temple Mount and subdue the rebellion, executing

the leader in the process.


In Jerome’s Vulgate version of the Bible in John 18:3,

the term cohort is used to describe the size of the

military unit that came to arrest Jesus in what was the

Battle of Gethsemanie. Such Roman military units were

quite large, being 500-600 men strong, usually accompanied

by generous contingents of local auxiliaries. The gospels

confirm that elements of the temple guard accompanied the

Roman soldiers as they came to arrest Jesus in the Garden.

Around the time of the Great Persecution of Diocletian in 303

CE, Sossianus Hierocles wrote a two-volume anti-Christian

entitled The Lover of Truth. He stated that Jesus gathered 900

men and committed robberies.  The Zealots then as terrorists

do now rob enemies they deem as infidels for the holy causes that

they promote.

Certainly, Pontius Pilate expected a pitched battle

and took no chances by responding with overwhelming

force at that spot where Jesus was most vulnerable.