cite the cleansing of the temple to justify violence: And
making a whip of cords, he drove them all, with the sheep and oxen,
out of the temple; and he poured out the coins of the money-changers
and over -
turned their tables. (Jn. 2:15, RSV)
He drove out the men, with the sheep and the oxen. It
was a violent scene of righteous anger as Jesus lifted his whip and lashed
out! Many artists, including
Greco, reinforce this
scene. Search the web and you find examples where preachers, scholars
and other churchmen interpret the scene thusly. The vision of this
scene is a great comfort to soldiers of Christian states at war, who only
lash out, as did Jesus, at the enemies of Truth and justice in a good and
righteous cause. If good men do not fight evil men, Christian civilization
will collapse! For example, WW II was the good war in which God gave
the victory to those who truly follow Jesus. But behold, what great
violence a little whip can yield!
But I say
to you, Do not resist one who is evil. But if any one strikes you on
the right cheek, turn to him the other also;(Matt. 5:39) If the men to whom he spoke,
in the temple cleansing, were evil, would it not be inconsistent, to
say the very least, for Jesus to lash out at them? He also says, Love your neighbor, and Love
your enemies. Is this consistent with lashing them with a whip?
The image of an executioner comes to mind, lashing out to apply the 40
lashes less one, and leaving a back of flayed and bleeding flesh. Can we
place Jesus in this image? Many can, for they are many who
promote the false teaching.
scene is without reason because the whip is an effective weapon only
if its victim is bound. It is a useless weapon against even one unbound
man, but Jesus faced many.
They yielded to his authority? Unreasonable again, for those
men surely hated Jesus and would not obey him. Christians do not obey Jesus today; why
would one think the Jews in the temple would obey him?
Another version reads:
So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both
sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned
their tables.(Jn. 2:15, NIV)
Check the bold word above and compare with the one in the
first column. Know also that there is no them in the Greek, and
you see that the RSV is a botched version. The phrase, both sheep and
cattle merely defines the all in the preceeding phrase in
order that we may know that he did not attack the men! Jesus never
struck another, except with his words, and we must listen now lest
we also be struck at the Last Judgment!
It helps here to have been reared on a farm. Herding
the cows from pasture to the barn at night was my chore. I took a rawhide
whip and had much fun poping the cows if they got out of line. It is very
effective. But I don't advise raising a whip against any man; he
will choke you with it! more