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Matthew 21:12

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Jesus went into the temple of God, etc. - "Avarice," says one, "covered with the veil of religion, is one of those things on which Christ looks with the greatest indignation in his Church. Merchandize of holy things, simoniacal presentations, fraudulent exchanges, a mercenary spirit in sacred functions; ecclesiastical employments obtained by flattery, service, or attendance, or by any thing which is instead of money; collations, nominations, and elections made through any other motive than the glory of God; these are all fatal and damnable profanations, of which those in the temple were only a shadow." Quesnel.

Money-changers - Persons who furnished the Jews and proselytes who came from other countries, with the current coin of Judea, in exchange for their own.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible
Verses 12-22

This paragraph contains the account of the barren fig-tree, and of the cleansing of the temple. See also Mark 11:12-19; Luke 19:45-48.

Matthew 21:12

And Jesus went into the temple of God … - From Mark 11:11-15, it is probable that this cleansing of the temple did not take place on the day that he entered Jerusalem in triumph, but on the day following.

He came and looked round upon all things, Mark says, and went out to Bethany with the twelve. On the day following, returning from Bethany, he saw the fig-tree. Entering into the temple, he purified it “on that day;” or perhaps he “finished” the work of purifying it on that day, which he commenced the day before. Matthew has mentioned the purifying of the temple, which was performed, probably, on two successive days, or has stated the “fact,” without being particular as to the order of events. Mark has stated the order more particularly, and has “divided” what Matthew mentions together.

The “temple of God,” that is, the temple dedicated and devoted to the service of God, was built on Mount Moriah. The first temple was built by Solomon, about 1005 years before Christ, 1 Kings 6:38. David, his father, had contemplated the design of building it, and had prepared many materials for it, but was prevented because he had been a man of war, 1 Chronicles 22:1-9; 1 Kings 5:5. This temple, erected with great magnificence, remained until it was destroyed by the Babylonians under Nebuchadnezzar, 584 years before Christ, 2 Chronicles 36:6-7, 2 Chronicles 36:19.

After the Babylonian captivity the temple was rebuilt by Zerubbabel, but with vastly inferior and diminished splendor. The aged people wept when they compared it with the glory of the former temple, Ezra 3:8, Ezra 3:12. This was called the “second” temple. This temple was often defiled in the wars before the time of Christ. It had become much decayed and impaired Herod the Great, being exceedingly unpopular among the Jews on account of his cruelties (see the notes at Haggai 2:9. On this building Herod employed 18,000 men, and completed it so as to be suitable for use in 9 years, or about 8 years before Christ. But additions continued to be made to it, and it continued increasing in splendor and magnificence until 64 a.d. John says John 2:20, “forty and six years was this temple in building.” Christ was then 30 years of age, which, added to the 16 years occupied in repairing it before his birth, makes 46 years.

The word “temple” was given not merely to the sacred edifice or house itself, but to all the numerous chambers, courts, and rooms connected with it on the top of Mount Moriah. The temple itself was a small edifice, and was surrounded by courts and chambers half a mile in circumference. Into the sacred edifice itself our Saviour never went. The high priest only went into the holy of holies, and that but once a year, and none but priests were permitted to enter the holy place. Our Saviour was neither. He was of the tribe of “Judah,” and he consequently was allowed to enter no further than the other Israelites into the temple. The works that he is said to have performed in the temple, therefore, are to be understood as having been performed in the courts surrounding the sacred edifice. These courts will now be described. The temple was erected on Mount Moriah. The space on the summit of the mount was not, however, large enough for the buildings necessary to be erected. It was therefore enlarged by building high walls from the valley below and filling up the space within. One of these walls was 600 feet in height. The ascent to the temple was by high flights of steps. The entrance to the temple, or to the courts on the top of the mount, was by nine gates, all of them extremely splendid. On every side they were thickly coated with gold and silver. But there was one gate of special magnificence: this was called the Beautiful Gate, Acts 3:2. It was on the east side, and was made of Corinthian brass, one of the most precious metals in ancient times. See the Introduction to 1Corinthians, section 1. This gate was 50 cubits, or 75 feet, in height.

The whole temple, with all its courts, was surrounded by a wall about 25 feet in height. This was built on the wall raised from the base to the top of the mountain, so that from the top of it to the bottom, in a perpendicular descent, was in some places not far from 600 feet. This was particularly the case on the southeast corner; and it was here, probably, that Satan wished our Saviour to cast himself down. See the notes at Matthew 4:6.

On the inside of this wall, between the gates, were piazzas or covered porches. On the eastern, northern, and western sides there were two rows of these porches; on the south, three. These porches were covered walks, about 20 feet in width, paved with marble of different colors, with a flat roof of costly cedar, which was supported by pillars of solid marble, so large that three men could scarcely stretch their arms so as to meet around them. These walks or porches afforded a grateful shade and protection to the people in hot or stormy weather. The one on the east side was distinguished for its beauty, and was called Solomon‘s porch, John 10:23; Acts 3:11. It stood over the vast terrace or wall which he had raised from the valley beneath, and which was the only thing of his work that remained in the second temple.

When a person entered any of the gates into this space within the wall he saw the temple rising before him with great magnificence; but the space was not clear all the way up to it. Going forward, he came to another wall, enclosing considerable ground, considered more holy than the rest of the hill. The space between this first and second wall was called “the court of the Gentiles.” It was so called because Gentiles might come into it, but they could proceed no further. On the second wall and on the gates were inscriptions in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, forbidding any Gentile or unclean person from proceeding further on pain of death. This “court” was not of equal dimensions all the way round the temple. On the east, north, and west it was quite narrow. On the south it was wide, occupying nearly half of the whole surface of the hill. In this court the Gentiles might come. Here was the place where much secular business was transacted. This was the place occupied by the buyers and sellers, and by the money-changers, and which Jesus purified by casting them out.

The enclosure within the second wall was nearly twice as long from east to west as from north to south. This enclosure was also divided. The eastern part of it was called “the court of the women;” so called because women might advance thus far, but no farther. This court was square. It was entered by three gates; one on the north, one on the east directly opposite to the Beautiful gate, and one on the south. In passing from the court of the Gentiles to that of the women, it was necessary to ascend about 9 feet by steps. This court of the women was enclosed with a double wall, with a space between the walls about 15 feet in width, paved with marble. The inner of these two walls was much higher than the one outside. The court of the women was paved with marble. In the corners of that court were different structures for the various uses of the temple. It was in this court that the Jews commonly worshipped. Here, probably, Peter and John, with others, went up to pray, Acts 3:1. Here, too, the Pharisee and publican prayed - the Pharisee near the gate that led forward to the temple; the publican standing far off, on the other side of the court, Luke 18:9-14. Paul also was seized here, and charged with defiling the temple by bringing the Gentiles into that holy place, Acts 21:26-30.

A high wall on the west side of the court of the women divided it from the court of the Israelites, so called because all the males of the Jews might advance there. To this court there was an ascent of fifteen steps. These steps were in the form of a half circle. The great gate to which these steps led was called the gate “Nicanor.” Besides this, there were three gates on each side, leading from the court of the women to the court of the Israelites.

Within the court of the “Israelites” was the court of the “priests,” separated by a wall about 1 1/2 foot in height. Within that court was the altar of burnt-offering and the laver standing in front of it. Here the priests performed the daily service of the temple. In this place, also, were accommodations for the “priests” when not engaged in conducting the service of the temple, and for the Levites who conducted the music of the sanctuary.

The temple, properly so called, stood within this court. It surpassed in splendor all the other buildings of the holy city; perhaps in magnificence it was unequalled in the world. It fronted the east, looking down through the gates Nicanor and the Beautiful Gate, and onward to the Mount of Olives. From the Mount of Olives on the east there was a beautiful and commanding view of the whole sacred edifice. It was there that our Saviour sat when the disciples directed his attention to the goodly stones with which the temple was built, Mark 13:1. The entrance into the temple itself was from the court “of the priests,” by an ascent of twelve steps. The “porch” in front of the temple was 150 feet high and as many broad. The open space in this perch through which the temple was entered was 115 feet high and 37 broad, without doors of any sort, The appearance of this, built, as it was, with white marble, and decorated with plates of silver, from the Mount of Olives was exceedingly dazzling and splendid. Josephus says that in the rising of the sun it reflected so strong and dazzling an effulgence that the eye of the spectator was obliged to turn away. To strangers at a distance, it appeared like a mountain covered with snow, for where it was not decorated with plates of gold it was extremely white and glistening.

The temple itself was divided into two parts. The first, called the “sanctuary” or holy place; was 60 feet in length 60 feet in height, and 30 feet in width. In this was the golden candlestick, the table of showbread, and the altar of incense. The “holy of holies” or the “most holy place,” was 30 feet each way. In the first temple this contained the ark of the covenant, the tables of the law, and over the ark was the mercy-seat and the cherubim. Into this place no person entered but the high priest, and he but once in the year. These two apartments were separated only by a vail, very costly and curiously performed. It was this vail which was rent from the top to the bottom when the Saviour died, Matthew 27:51. Around the walls of the “temple,” properly so called, was a structure three stories high, containing chambers for the use of the officers of the temple. The temple was wholly leveled to the ground by the Romans under Titus and Vespasian, and was effectually destroyed, according to the predictions of the Saviour. See the notes at Matthew 24:2. The site of it was made like a plowed field. Julian the apostate attempted to rebuild it, but the workmen, according to his own historian, Ammianus Marcellinus, were prevented by balls of fire breaking out from the ground. See Warburton‘s “Divine Legation of Moses.” Its site is now occupied by the Mosque of Omar, one of the most splendid specimens of Saracenic architecture in the world.

And cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple - The place where this was done was not the temple itself, but the outer court “or the court of the Gentiles.” This was esteemed the least sacred part of the temple; and the Jews, it seems, did not consider it profanation to appropriate this to any business in any way connected with the temple service. The things which they bought and sold were at first those pertaining. to the sacrifices. It is not improbable, however, that the traffic afterward extended to all kinds of merchandise. It gave rise to much confusion, noise, contention, and fraud, and was exceedingly improper in the temple of the Lord.

The tables of the money-changers - Judea was subject to the Romans. The money in current use was Roman coin; yet the Jewish law required that every man should pay a tribute to the service of the sanctuary of “half a shekel,” Exodus 30:11-16. This was a Jewish coin, and the tribute was required to be paid in that coin. It became, therefore, a matter of convenience to have a place where the Roman coin might be exchanged for the Jewish half shekel. This was the “professed” business of these men. Of course, they would demand a small sum for the exchange; and, among so many thousands as came up to the great feasts, it would be a very profitable employment, and one easily giving rise to much fraud and oppression.

The seats of them that sold doves - Doves were required to be offered in sacrifice - Leviticus 14:22; Luke 2:24 - yet it was difficult to bring them from the distant parts of Judea. It was found much easier to purchase them in Jerusalem. Hence, it became a business to keep them to sell to those who were required to offer them.

Mark adds Mark 11:16 that he “would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the temple.” That is, probably, any of the vessels or implements connected with the traffic in oil, incense, wine, etc., that were kept for sale in the temple.

Matthew 21:13

And said It is written … - This is written in Isaiah 56:7. The first part of this verse only is quoted from Isaiah. The rest - “but ye have made it a den of thieves” - was added by Jesus, denoting their abuse of the temple. Thieves and robbers live in dens and caves. Judea was then much infested with them. In their dens thieves devise and practice iniquity. These buyers and sellers imitated them. They made the temple a place of gain; they cheated and defrauded; they took advantage of the poor, and, by their being under a necessity of purchasing these articles for sacrifice, they “robbed” them by selling what they had at an enormous price.

The following reasons may be given why this company of buyers and sellers obeyed Christ:

1.They were overawed by his authority, and struck with the consciousness that he had a right to command,

2.Their own consciences reproved them; they knew they were guilty, and they dared make no resistance.

3.The people generally were then on the side of Jesus, believing him to be the Messiah.

4.It had always been the belief of the Jews that a “prophet” had a right to change, regulate, and order the various affairs relating to external worship. They supposed Jesus to be such, and they did not dare to resist him.

Mark and Luke add, that in consequence of this, the scribes and chief priests attempted to put him to death, Mark 11:18-19; Luke 19:47-48. This they did from “envy,” Matthew 27:18. He drew off the people from them, and they envied and hated him. They were “restrained,” then, for the fear of the people; and this was the reason why they plotted “secretly” to put him to death, and why they afterward so gladly heard the proposals of the traitor, Matthew 26:14-15.

Matthew 21:15, Matthew 21:16

When the chief priests … - The chief men of the nation were envious of his popularity.

They could not prevent it; but, being determined to find fault, they took occasion to do so from the shouts of the children. People often are offended that “children” have anything to do with religion, and deem it very improper that “they” should rejoice that the Saviour has come. Our Lord Jesus viewed this subject differently. He saw that it was proper that they should rejoice. they are interested in the concerns of religion, and before evil principles get fast hold of their minds is a proper time for them to love and obey him. The Lord Jesus silenced those who made the objection by appealing to a text of their own Scriptures. This text is found in Psalm 8:2. The quotation is not made directly from the Hebrew. but from the Greek translation. This, however, should create no difficulty. The point of the quotation was to prove that “children” might offer praise to God. This is expressed in both the Hebrew and the Greek.

Matthew 21:17

Bethany - See the notes at Matthew 21:1.

Matthew 21:19

And when he saw a fig-tree in the way … - This tree was standing in the public road.

It was therefore common property and anyone might lawfully use its fruit. Mark says Mark 11:13, “Seeing a fig-tree afar off, having leaves, he came,” etc. Not far off “from the road,” but at a considerable distance from the place where he was. Having loaves, and appearing healthy and luxuriant, they presumed that there would be fruit on it. Mark says Mark 11:13, “he came, if haply he might find anything thereon.” That is, judging from the “appearance” of the tree, it was “probable” that there would be fruit on it. We are not to suppose that our Lord was ignorant of the true condition of the tree, but he acted according to the appearance of things; being a man as well as divine, he acted, of course, as people do act in such circumstances.

And found nothing thereon but leaves only - Mark Mark 11:13 gives as a reason for this that “the time of figs was not yet.” That is, the time “of gathering” the figs was not yet, or had not passed. It was a time when figs were ripe or suitable to eat, or he would not have gone to it, expecting to find them; but the time of gathering them had not passed, and it was to be presumed that they were still on the tree. This took place on the week of the Passover, or in the beginning of April. Figs, in Palestine, are commonly ripe at the Passover. The summer in Palestine begins in March, and it is no uncommon thing that figs should be eatable in April. It is said that they sometimes produce fruit the year round.

Mark Mark 11:12-13 says that this took place on the morning of the day on which he purified the temple. Matthew would lead us to suppose that it was on the day following. Matthew records briefly what Mark records more “fully.” Matthew states the fact that the fig-tree was barren and withered away, without regarding minutely the order or the circumstances in which the event took place. There is no contradiction, because Matthew does not affirm that this took place on the morning after the temple was cleansed, though he places it in that order; nor does he say that a day did not elapse after the fig-tree was cursed before the disciples discovered that it was withered, though he does not affirm that it was so. Such circumstantial variations, where there is no positive contradiction, go greatly to confirm the truth of a narrative. They show that the writers were honest men, and did not “conspire” to deceive the world.

And said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee … - Mark calls this “cursing” the tree Mark 11:21. The word “curse,” as used by him, does not imply “anger,” or disappointment, or malice. It means only “devoting it to destruction,” or causing it to wither away. All the “curse” that was pronounced was in the words “that no fruit should grow on it.” The Jews used the word “curse” not as always implying “wrath or anger,” but to devote to “death,” or to any kind of destruction, Hebrews 6:8. It has been commonly thought that the Saviour performed this miracle to denote the sudden “withering away” or destruction of the Jewish people. They, like the fig-tree, promised fair. That was full of leaves, and they full of professions. Yet both were equally barren; and as that was destroyed, so they were soon to be. It was certain that this would be a good “illustration” of the destruction of the Jewish people, but there is no evidence that Jesus intended it as such, and without such evidence we have no right to say that was its meaning. “And presently the fig-tree withered away.” That is, before another day. See Mark. It is probable that they were passing directly onward, and did not stop then to consider it. Matthew does not affirm that it withered “away in their presence,” and Mark affirms that they made the discovery on the morning after it was “cursed.”

Matthew 21:20

And when the disciples saw it - That is, on the morning following that on which it was cursed, Mark 11:20.

They marveled, saying … - Peter said this, Mark 11:21 Matthew means only to say that this was said to him; Mark tells us which one of them said it.

Matthew 21:21

Jesus answered and said … - Jesus took occasion from this to establish their faith in God, Mark 11:22

He told them that any difficulty could be overcome by faith. To remove a mountain denotes the power of surmounting or removing any difficulty. The phrase was so used by the Jews. There is no doubt that this was “literally” true - that if “they had the faith of miracles,” they could remove the mountain before them - the Mount of Olives - for this was as easy for God to do by them as to heal the sick or raise the dead. But the Saviour rather referred, probably, to the difficulties and trials which they would be called to endure in preaching the gospel.

Matthew 21:22

And all things … - He adds an encouragement for them to pray, assuring them that they should have all things which they asked.

This promise was evidently a special one, given to them in regard to working miracles. To them it was true, but it is manifest that we have no right to apply this promise to ourselves. It was desired especially for the apostles; nor have we a right to turn it from its original meaning. There are other promises in, abundance on which we “may” rely in prayer, with confident assurance that our prayers will be heard. Compare the notes at Matthew 7:7-11.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Christ found some of the courts of the temple turned into a market for cattle and things used in the sacrifices, and partly occupied by the money-changers. Our Lord drove them from the place, as he had done at his entering upon his ministry, Joh 2:13-17. His works testified of him more than the hosannas; and his healing in the temple was the fulfilling the promise, that the glory of the latter house should be greater than the glory of the former. If Christ came now into many parts of his visible church, how many secret evils he would discover and cleanse! And how many things daily practised under the cloak of religion, would he show to be more suitable to a den of thieves than to a house of prayer!
Ellen G. White
Early Writings, 171

Some of the disciples had gained confidence to enter where Jesus was and witness His trial. They expected that He would manifest His divine power, and deliver Himself from the hands of His enemies, and punish them for their cruelty toward Him. Their hopes would rise and fall as the different scenes transpired. Sometimes they doubted, and feared that they had been deceived. But the voice heard at the mount of transfiguration, and the glory they there beheld, strengthened their faith that He was the Son of God. They called to mind the scenes which they had witnessed, the miracles which they had seen Jesus perform in healing the sick, opening the eyes of the blind, unstopping the deaf ears, rebuking and casting out devils, raising the dead to life, and even calming the wind and the sea. They could not believe that He would die. They hoped that He would yet rise in power, and with His commanding voice disperse that bloodthirsty multitude, as when He entered the temple and drove out those who were making the house of God a place of merchandise, when they fled before Him as if pursued by a company of armed soldiers. The disciples hoped that Jesus would manifest His power and convince all that He was the King of Israel. EW 171.1

Judas was filled with bitter remorse and shame at his treacherous act in betraying Jesus. And when he witnessed the abuse which the Saviour endured, he was overcome. He had loved Jesus, but had loved money more. He had not thought that Jesus would suffer Himself to be taken by the mob which he led on. He had expected Him to work a miracle, and deliver Himself from them. But when he saw the infuriated multitude in the judgment hall, thirsting for blood, he deeply felt his guilt; and while many were vehemently accusing Jesus, Judas rushed through the multitude, confessing that he had sinned in betraying innocent blood. He offered the priests the money which they had paid him, and entreated them to release Jesus, declaring that He was entirely innocent. EW 171.2

For a short time vexation and confusion kept the priests silent. They did not wish the people to know that they had hired one of the professed followers of Jesus to betray Him into their hands. Their hunting Jesus like a thief and taking Him secretly, they wished to hide. But the confession of Judas, and his haggard, guilty appearance, exposed the priests before the multitude, showing that it was hatred that had caused them to take Jesus. As Judas loudly declared Jesus to be innocent, the priests replied, “What is that to us? see thou to that.” They had Jesus in their power, and were determined to make sure of Him. Judas, overwhelmed with anguish, threw the money that he now despised at the feet of those who had hired him, and, in anguish and horror, went and hanged himself. EW 172.1

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Ellen G. White
The Great Controversy, 127

The Roman Church had made merchandise of the grace of God. The tables of the money-changers (Matthew 21:12) were set up beside her altars, and the air resounded with the shouts of buyers and sellers. Under the plea of raising funds for the erection of St. Peter's Church at Rome, indulgences for sin were publicly offered for sale by the authority of the pope. By the price of crime a temple was to be built up for God's worship—the cornerstone laid with the wages of iniquity! But the very means adopted for Rome's aggrandizement provoked the deadliest blow to her power and greatness. It was this that aroused the most determined and successful of the enemies of popery, and led to the battle which shook the papal throne and jostled the triple crown upon the pontiff's head. GC 127.1

The official appointed to conduct the sale of indulgences in Germany—Tetzel by name—had been convicted of the basest offenses against society and against the law of God; but having escaped the punishment due for his crimes, he was employed to further the mercenary and unscrupulous projects of the pope. With great effrontery he repeated the most glaring falsehoods and related marvelous tales to deceive an ignorant, credulous, and superstitious people. Had they possessed the word of God they would not have been thus deceived. It was to keep them under the control of the papacy, in order to swell the power and wealth of her ambitious leaders, that the Bible had been withheld from them. (See John C. L. Gieseler, A Compendium of Ecclesiastical History, per. 4, sec. 1, par. 5.) GC 127.2

As Tetzel entered a town, a messenger went before him, announcing: “The grace of God and of the holy father is at your gates.”—D'Aubigne, b. 3, ch. 1. And the people welcomed the blasphemous pretender as if he were God Himself come down from heaven to them. The infamous traffic was set up in the church, and Tetzel, ascending the pulpit, extolled the indulgences as the most precious gift of God. He declared that by virtue of his certificates of pardon all the sins which the purchaser should afterward desire to commit would be forgiven him, and that “not even repentance is necessary.”—Ibid., b. 3, ch. 1. More than this, he assured his hearers that the indulgences had power to save not only the living but the dead; that the very moment the money should clink against the bottom of his chest, the soul in whose behalf it had been paid would escape from purgatory and make its way to heaven. (See K. R. Hagenbach, History of the Reformation, vol. 1, p. 96.) GC 127.3

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Ellen G. White
The Great Controversy, 474

Peter says: “Abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.” 1 Peter 2:11. Every sinful gratification tends to benumb the faculties and deaden the mental and spiritual perceptions, and the word or the Spirit of God can make but a feeble impression upon the heart. Paul writes to the Corinthians: “Let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” 2 Corinthians 7:1. And with the fruits of the Spirit—“love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness”—he classes “temperance.” Galatians 5:22, 23. GC 474.1

Notwithstanding these inspired declarations, how many professed Christians are enfeebling their powers in the pursuit of gain or the worship of fashion; how many are debasing their godlike manhood by gluttony, by wine drinking, by forbidden pleasure. And the church, instead of rebuking, too often encourages the evil by appealing to appetite, to desire for gain or love of pleasure, to replenish her treasury, which love for Christ is too feeble to supply. Were Jesus to enter the churches of today and behold the feasting and unholy traffic there conducted in the name of religion, would He not drive out those desecrators, as He banished the money-changers from the temple? GC 474.2

The apostle James declares that the wisdom from above is “first pure.” Had he encountered those who take the precious name of Jesus upon lips defiled by tobacco, those whose breath and person are contaminated by its foul odor, and who pollute the air of heaven and force all about them to inhale the poison—had the apostle come in contact with a practice so opposed to the purity of the gospel, would he not have denounced it as “earthly, sensual, devilish”? Slaves of tobacco, claiming the blessing of entire sanctification, talk of their hope of heaven; but God's word plainly declares that “there shall in no wise enter into it anything that defileth.” Revelation 21:27. GC 474.3

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Ellen G. White
The Publishing Ministry, 111.2

The Lord desires to have in the office of publication a volunteer company of workers of clear discernment who will see the need of repentance. The old-time spirit of self-sacrifice must be revived. The office needs men who will see that a new order of things must be brought in, men who will cleanse the office, as Christ cleansed the Temple courts of greedy, selfish buyers and sellers.—Manuscript 12, 1902. PM 111.2

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Ellen G. White
The Publishing Ministry, 135.2

Fewer Overseers—More Faithful Doers—The superintendent of the publishing house is a watchman, to guard its interests. In order that he may do this, he must not have various other responsibilities placed upon him. Brethren, you should lighten the burdens that Brother Jones [C. H. Jones was for about fifty years manager of the Pacific Press. He was appointed as one of the first Trustees of the Ellen G. White Estate Board.] is carrying outside the office. He is only a mortal man, and if he does his duty fully in the office, he has all that one man can possibly attend to. Without faithful supervision from him, some things will not receive the attention that they should have, and will go sadly wrong. Be careful how you place work upon him relative to the burdens of the church. He should have one to stand by his side who is reliable, devoted, and God-fearing, that nothing connected with the office may be neglected. But men have been placed in charge of the work at the office who act more as overseers than as interested, unselfish workers. If there were fewer overseers, and more faithful doers of the work, there would be a marked improvement in the managing force in the office. If Brother Jones has for his co-workers mere overseers, who shun work, choosing to tell others what to do, he might better stand alone.—Manuscript 14, 1891. (Special Testimonies Concerning the Work and Workers in the Pacific Press, 21.) PM 135.2

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, 423

Those engaged in the work of God cannot serve His cause acceptably unless they make the best use possible of the religious privileges they enjoy. We are as trees planted in the garden of the Lord; and He comes to us seeking the fruit He has a right to expect. His eye is upon each of us; He reads our hearts and understands our lives. This is a solemn search, for it has reference to duty and to destiny; and with what interest is it prosecuted. Let each of those to whom are committed sacred trusts inquire: “How do I meet the inspecting eye of God? Is my heart cleansed from its defilement? or have its temple courts become so desecrated, so occupied with buyers and sellers, that Christ finds no room?” The bustle of business, if continuous, will dry up spirituality and leave the soul Christless. Although they may profess the truth, yet if men pass along day by day with no living connection with God, they will be led to do strange things; decisions will be made not in accordance with the will of God. There is no safety for our leading brethren while they shall go forward according to their own impulses. They will not be yoked up with Christ, and so will not move in harmony with Him. They will be unable to see and realize the wants of the cause, and Satan will move upon them to take positions that will embarrass and hinder. 5T 423.1

My brethren, are you cultivating devotion? Is love of religious things prominent? Are you living by faith and overcoming the world? Do you attend the public worship of God? and are your voices heard in the prayer and social meeting? Is the family altar established? Do you gather your children together morning and evening, and present their cases to God? Do you instruct them how to become followers of the Lamb? Your families, if irreligious, testify to your neglect and unfaithfulness. If, while you are connected with the sacred cause of God, your children are careless, irreverent, and have no love for religious meetings or sacred truth, it is a sad thing. Such a family exerts an influence against Christ and against the truth; and “he that is not with Me is against Me,” says Christ. The neglect of home religion, the neglect to train your children, is most displeasing to God. If one of your children were in the river, battling with the waves and in imminent danger of drowning, what a stir there would be! What efforts would be made, what prayers offered, what enthusiasm manifested, to save the human life! But here are your children out of Christ, their souls unsaved. Perhaps they are even rude and uncourteous, a reproach to the Adventist name. They are perishing without hope and without God in the world, and you are careless and unconcerned. 5T 423.2

What example do you give your children? What order do you have at home? Your children should be educated to be kind, thoughtful of others, gentle, easy to be entreated, and, above everything else, to respect religious things and feel the importance of the claims of God. They should be taught to respect the hour of prayer; they should be required to rise in the morning so as to be present at family worship. 5T 424.1

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Ellen G. White
The Upward Look, 362.5

In many cases the dearth of means felt is in accordance with God's plan, that His work may be carried forward in the same way that the Majesty of heaven carried it forward. Economy, self-denial, and self-sacrifice are ever to be revealed. Until the end of time the church will have to strive with difficulties, that God's work may stand out pure and clean, untainted with fraud or intrigue. Every institution God will cleanse by driving out the buyers and sellers. UL 362.5

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Ellen G. White
Christ's Object Lessons, 273

When their terror was abated, the priests and elders, returning to the temple, had found Christ healing the sick and the dying. They had heard the voice of rejoicing and the song of praise. In the temple itself the children who had been restored to health were waving palm branches and singing hosannas to the Son of David. Baby voices were lisping the praises of the mighty Healer. Yet with the priests and elders all this did not suffice to overcome their prejudice and jealousy. COL 273.1

The next day, as Christ was teaching in the temple, the chief priests and elders of the people came to Him and said, “By what authority doest Thou these things? and who gave Thee this authority?” COL 273.2

The priests and elders had had unmistakable evidence of Christ's power. In His cleansing of the temple they had seen Heaven's authority flashing from His face. They could not resist the power by which He spoke. Again in His wonderful deeds of healing He had answered their question. He had given evidence of His authority which could not be controverted. But it was not evidence that was wanted. The priests and elders were anxious for Jesus to proclaim Himself the Messiah that they might misapply His words and stir up the people against Him. They wished to destroy His influence and to put Him to death. COL 273.3

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Ellen G. White
Fundamentals of Christian Education, 174

There are two classes of educators in the world. One class are those whom God makes channels of light, and the other class are those whom Satan uses as his agents, who are wise to do evil. One class contemplates the character of God, and increases in the knowledge of Jesus, whom God hath sent into the world. This class becomes wholly given up to those things which bring heavenly enlightenment, heavenly wisdom, to the uplifting of the soul. Every capability of their nature is submitted to God, and their thoughts are brought into captivity to Christ. The other class is in league with the prince of darkness, who is ever on the alert that he may find an opportunity to teach others the knowledge of evil. If place is made for him, he will not be slow to press his way into heart and mind. FE 174.1

There is great need of elevating the standard of righteousness in our schools, to give instruction after God's order. Should Christ enter our institutions for the education of the youth, He would cleanse them as He cleansed the temple, banishing many things that have a defiling influence. Many of the books which the youth study would be expelled, and their places would be filled with others that would inculcate substantial knowledge, and abound in sentiments which might be treasured in the heart, in precepts that might govern the conduct. Is it the Lord's purpose that false principles, false reasoning, and the sophistries of Satan should be kept before the mind of our youth and children? Shall pagan and infidel sentiments be presented to our students as valuable additions to their store of knowledge? The works of the most intellectual skeptic are works of a mind prostituted to the service of the enemy, and shall those who claim to be reformers, who seek to lead the children and youth in the right way, in the path cast up, imagine that God will be pleased with having them present to the youth that which will misrepresent His character, placing Him in a false light before the young? Shall the sentiments of unbelievers, the expressions of dissolute men, be advocated as worthy of the student's attention, because they are the productions of men whom the world admires as great thinkers? Shall men professing to believe in God, gather from these unsanctified authors their expressions and sentiments, and treasure them up as precious jewels to be stored away among the riches of the mind?—God forbid. FE 174.2

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Ellen G. White
Medical Ministry, 122-3

The exorbitant price charged by physicians in this country [Australia], when called upon to attend suffering humanity is robbery, fraud. God gave physicians their wisdom and skill. It is not man who saves life; it is the Great Restorer. But poor men are often charged for services they never received.... MM 122.1

God calls for physicians who will make reforms in the methods of treating the sick. He calls for physicians who will cooperate with Him. He calls for righteous judgment among medical practitioners, who are acting in His stead. The physician who loves his brother as he loves himself will not charge exorbitant prices. A change must take place. It is just as essential that there be reforms in medical lines as in other business lines. There is grave overreaching in the charges made by lawyers and doctors. The Lord views all these things. No tradition, custom, or practice condemned by God must be followed by the believing physician. He is God's servant, working in Christ's stead, as His representative, and his work, his weights and measures, pass in review before God. The commandments of God must be the physician's standard. He must measure his daily life by principles of the law. MM 122.2

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Ellen G. White
The Publishing Ministry, 167.5

“Christ sorrows and weeps over our churches, over our institutions of learning, that have failed to meet the demand of God. He comes to investigate in Battle Creek, which has been moving in the same track as Jerusalem. The publishing house has been turned into desecrated shrines, into places of unholy merchandise and traffic. It has become a place where injustice and fraud have been carried on, where selfishness, malice, envy, and passion have been borne sway. Yet the men who have led into this working upon wrong principles are seemingly unconscious of their wrong course of action. When warnings and entreaties come to them, they say, Doth He not speak in parables? Words of warning and reproof have been treated as idle tales.”—Letter 31, 1898. PM 167.5

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Ellen G. White
The Publishing Ministry, 171

In the visions of the night I saw a sword of fire hung out over Battle Creek. PM 171.1

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 171.2

God is watching us to see if we will humble ourselves before Him as little children. I speak these words now that we may come to Him in humility and contrition and find out what He requires of us.—Manuscript 11, 1903. PM 171.3

A Fulfillment of Warnings—Today I received a letter from Elder Daniells [General Conference president] regarding the destruction of the Review office by fire. I feel very sad as I consider the great loss to the cause. I know that this must be a very trying time for the brethren in charge of the work and for the employees of the office. I am afflicted with all who are afflicted. But I was not surprised by the sad news, for in the visions of the night I have seen an angel standing with a sword as of fire stretched over Battle Creek. Once, in the daytime while my pen was in my hand, I lost consciousness, and it seemed as if this sword of flame were turning first in one direction and then in another. Disaster seemed to follow disaster [Seventh-day Adventist fires in Battle Creek destroyed not only the sanitarium building and the Review and Herald factory but also the Haskell orphan home. And there were other fires of less consequence. No more convincing disapproval of the status quo could have been provided by the Master Overseer of the work than these calamities.] because God was dishonored by the devising of men to exalt and glorify themselves.... PM 171.4

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Ellen G. White
Selected Messages Book 2, 118

The prophet says, “I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils” (Revelation 18:1, 2). This is the same message that was given by the second angel. Babylon is fallen, “because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication” (Revelation 14:8). What is that wine?—Her false doctrines. She has given to the world a false sabbath instead of the Sabbath of the fourth commandment, and has repeated the falsehood that Satan first told Eve in Eden—the natural immortality of the soul. Many kindred errors she has spread far and wide, “teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Matthew 15:9). 2SM 118.1

When Jesus began His public ministry, He cleansed the Temple from its sacrilegious profanation. Among the last acts of His ministry was the second cleansing of the Temple. So in the last work for the warning of the world, two distinct calls are made to the churches. The second angel's message is, “Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication” (Revelation 14:8). And in the loud cry of the third angel's message a voice is heard from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities” (Revelation 18:4, 5).—The Review and Herald, December 6, 1892. 2SM 118.2

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Ellen G. White
SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 7 (EGW), 985

After the truth has been proclaimed as a witness to all nations, every conceivable power of evil will be set in operation, and minds will be confused by many voices crying, “Lo, here is Christ; lo, He is there. This is the truth, I have the message from God, He has sent me with great light.” Then there will be a removing of the landmarks, and an attempt to tear down the pillars of our faith. A more decided effort will be made to exalt the false sabbath, and to cast contempt upon God Himself by supplanting the day He has blessed and sanctified. This false sabbath is to be enforced by an oppressive law. 7BC 985.1

Satan and his angels are wide awake and intensely active, working with energy and perseverance through human instrumentalities to bring about his purpose of obliterating from the minds of men the knowledge of God. But while Satan works with his lying wonders, the time will be fulfilled foretold in the Revelation, and the mighty angel that shall lighten the earth with his glory will proclaim the fall of Babylon, and call upon God's people to forsake her (The Review and Herald, December 13, 1892). 7BC 985.2

(Ch. 14:8.) Part of a Series of Events—The message in regard to the fall of Babylon must be given. God's people are to understand in regard to the angel who is to lighten the whole world with his glory, while he cries mightily, with a loud voice, “Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen.” The solemn events which are now taking place belong to a series of events in the chain of history, the first link of which is connected with Eden. Let the people of God prepare for what is coming upon the earth. Extravagance in the use of means, selfishness, heresies, have taken the world captive. For centuries satanic agencies have been at work. Will they now give up without a struggle (Manuscript 172, 1899)? 7BC 985.3

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, 471-2

In Christ's commission to His disciples He tells them: “Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” If this is the fearfully responsible work of God's ministers, how important that they give themselves wholly to it and watch for souls as they that must give an account. Should any separate or selfish interest come in here and divide the heart from the work? Some ministers linger about their homes, and run out on the Sabbath, and then return and exhaust their energies in farming or in attending to home matters. They labor for themselves through the week, and then spend the remnant of their exhausted energies in laboring for God. But such feeble efforts are not acceptable to Him. They have no mental or physical strength to spare. At best their efforts are feeble enough. But after they have been engrossed and entangled all through the laboring days of the week with the cares and perplexities of this life, they are wholly unfitted for the high, the sacred, the important work of God. The destiny of souls hangs upon the course they pursue and the decisions they make. How important then that they should be temperate in all things, not only in their eating, but in their labor, that their strength may be unabated and devoted to their sacred calling. 1T 471.1

A great mistake has been made by some who profess present truth, by introducing merchandise in the course of a series of meetings and by their traffic diverting minds from the object of the meetings. If Christ were now upon earth, He would drive out these peddlers and traffickers, whether they be ministers or people, with a scourge of small cords, as when He entered the temple anciently “and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the money-changers, and the seats of them that sold doves, and said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.” These traffickers might have pleaded as an excuse that the articles they held for sale were for sacrificial offerings. But their object was to get gain, to obtain means, to accumulate. 1T 471.2

I was shown that if the moral and intellectual faculties had not been clouded by wrong habits of living, ministers and people would have been quick to discern the evil results of mixing sacred and common things. Ministers have stood in the desk and preached a most solemn discourse, and then by introducing merchandise, and acting the part of a salesman, even in the house of God, they have diverted the minds of their hearers from the impressions received, and destroyed the fruit of their labor. If the sensibilities had not been blunted, they would have had discernment to know that they were bringing sacred things down upon a level with common. The burden of selling our publications should not rest upon ministers who labor in word and doctrine. Their time and strength should be held in reserve, that their efforts may be thorough in a series of meetings. Their time and strength should not be drawn upon to sell our books when they can be properly brought before the public by those who have not the burden of preaching the word. In entering new fields it may be necessary for the minister to take publications with him to offer for sale to the people, and it may be necessary in some other circumstances also to sell books and transact business for the office of publication. But such work should be avoided whenever it can be done by others. 1T 472.1

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, 252

Wrongs perpetrated by believers in the truth bring great weakness upon the church. They are stumbling blocks in the way of sinners and prevent them from coming to the light. Brother, God calls you to come out fully upon His side and let your works show that you regard His precepts and keep inviolate the Sabbath. He bids you wake up to your duty and be true to the responsibilities that devolve upon you. These solemn words are addressed to you: If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on My holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honorable; and shalt honor Him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.” 4T 252.1

Like many of our brethren, you are becoming entangled with the transgressors of God's law, viewing matters in their light and falling into their errors. God will visit with His judgments those who are professedly serving Him, yet really serving mammon. Those who disregard the Lord's express injunction for their personal advantage are heaping future woe upon themselves. The church in ----- should inquire closely if they have not, like the Jews, made the temple of God a place of merchandise. Christ said: “It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.” 4T 252.2

Are not many of our people falling into the sin of sacrificing their religion for the sake of worldly gain; preserving a form of piety, yet giving all the mind to temporal pursuits? God's law must be considered first of all and obeyed in spirit and in letter. If God's word, spoken in awful solemnity from the holy mountain, is lightly regarded, how will the Testimonies of His Spirit be received? Minds that are so darkened as not to recognize the authority of the Lord's commandments given directly to man can receive little good from a feeble instrument whom He has chosen to instruct His people. 4T 252.3

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, 67

The Saviour has oft visited you in Battle Creek. Just as verily as He walked in the streets of Jerusalem, longing to breathe the breath of spiritual life into the hearts of those discouraged and ready to die, has He come to you. The cities that were so greatly blessed by His presence, His pardon, His gifts of healing, rejected Him; and just as great, yea, greater, evidence of unrequited love has been given in Battle Creek. Has Christ not loaded down His church with benefits and blessings? Has He not sent His servants with messages of pardon and righteousness, to be freely given to all who will receive them? 8T 67.1

Jerusalem is a representation of what the church will be if it refuses to walk in the light that God has given. Jerusalem was favored of God as the depositary of sacred trusts. But her people perverted the truth, and despised all entreaties and warnings. They would not respect His counsels. The temple courts were polluted with merchandise and robbery. Selfishness and love of mammon, envy and strife, were cherished. Everyone sought for gain from his quarter. Christ turned from them, saying: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem,” how can I give thee up? “How often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!” Matthew 23:37. 8T 67.2

So Christ sorrows and weeps over our churches, over our institutions of learning, that have failed to meet the demand of God. He comes to investigate in Battle Creek, which has been moving in the same track as Jerusalem. The publishing house has been turned into desecrated shrines, into a place of unholy merchandise and traffic. It has become a place where injustice and fraud have been carried on, where selfishness, malice, envy, and passion have borne sway. Yet the men who have been led into this working upon wrong principles are seemingly unconscious of their wrong course of action. When warnings and entreaties come to them, they say: “Doth she not speak in parables?” Words of warning and reproof have been treated as idle tales. 8T 67.3

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, 92

The Lord has instructed me that those who cannot see the wickedness of co-operating with Satan by publishing his falsehoods might better seek some work in which they will not ruin our youth, body and soul. There is danger that the standard of truth and righteousness will be so lowered that God will bring His judgments upon the wrongdoers. 8T 92.1

It is high time that we understood what spirit has for years been controlling matters at the Review and Herald office. I am horrified to think that the most subtle phase of spiritualism should be placed before the workers, and that in a way calculated to confuse and perplex the mind. Be assured that Satan will follow up the advantage thus given him. 8T 92.2

The Review and Herald office has been defiled as the temple was defiled, only the result has been tenfold more disastrous. Overturning the tables of the money-changers, Christ drove the sheep and cattle from the precincts of the temple, saying: “It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.” Matthew 21:13. Worse even than the defilement of the temple has been the defilement of the publishing house by the printing of matter which should never have been placed in the hands of the workers in God's institution. 8T 92.3

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 9, 228

Soon there is to be trouble all over the world. It becomes everyone to seek to know God. We have no time to delay. With earnestness and fervor the message must be given: “Ho, everyone that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.” Isaiah 55:1. “Thus saith the Lord, Keep ye judgment, and do justice: for My salvation is near to come, and My righteousness to be revealed. Blessed is the man that doeth this, and the Son of man that layeth hold on it; that keepeth the Sabbath from polluting it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil.” Isaiah 56:1, 2. 9T 228.1

God's love for His church is infinite. His care over His heritage is unceasing. He suffers no affliction to come upon the church but such as is essential for her purification, her present and eternal good. He will purify His church even as He purified the temple at the beginning and close of His ministry on earth. All that He brings upon the church in test and trial comes that His people may gain deeper piety and more strength to carry the triumphs of the cross to all parts of the world. He has a work for all to do. There must be constant enlargement and progress. The work must extend from city to city, from country to country, and from nation to nation, moving continually onward and upward, established, strengthened, and settled. 9T 228.2

*****

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Ellen G. White
The Desire of Ages, 589-93

This chapter is based on Matthew 21:12-16, 23-46; Mark 11:15-19, 27-33; Mark 12:1-12; Luke 19:45-48; Luke 20:1-19.

At the beginning of His ministry, Christ had driven from the temple those who defiled it by their unholy traffic; and His stern and godlike demeanor had struck terror to the hearts of the scheming traders. At the close of His mission He came again to the temple, and found it still desecrated as before. The condition of things was even worse than before. The outer court of the temple was like a vast cattle yard. With the cries of the animals and the sharp chinking of coin was mingled the sound of angry altercation between traffickers, and among them were heard the voices of men in sacred office. The dignitaries of the temple were themselves engaged in buying and selling and the exchange of money. So completely were they controlled by their greed of gain that in the sight of God they were no better than thieves. DA 589.1

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Ellen G. White
Selected Messages Book 3, 406

As God called the children of Israel out of Egypt, that they might keep His Sabbath, so He calls His people out of Babylon that they may not worship the beast nor his image. The man of sin, who thought to change times and laws, has exalted himself above God by presenting this spurious sabbath to the world; the Christian world has accepted this child of the Papacy, and cradled and nourished it, thus defying God by removing His memorial and setting up a rival sabbath. 3SM 406.1

A More Decided Effort to Exalt Sunday—After the truth has been proclaimed as a witness to all nations, at a time when every conceivable power of evil is set in operation, when minds are confused by the many voices crying, “Lo, here is Christ,” “Lo, He is there,” “This is truth,” “I have a message from God,” “He has sent me with great light,” and there is a removing of the landmarks, and an attempt to tear down the pillars of our faith—then a more decided effort is made to exalt the false sabbath, and to cast contempt upon God Himself by supplanting the day He has blessed and sanctified. 3SM 406.2

While Satan Works the Angel of Revelation 18 Proclaims His Message—This false sabbath is to be enforced by an oppressive law. Satan and his angels are wide awake and intensely active, working with energy and perseverance through human instrumentalities to bring about his purpose of obliterating the knowledge of God. While Satan is working with his lying wonders, the time has come [that was] foretold in the Revelation, when the mighty angel that shall lighten the earth with his glory will proclaim the fall of Babylon and call upon God's people to forsake her.... 3SM 406.3

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 9, 75

“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 the seats of them that sold doves, and said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves. 9T 75.1

“And the blind and the lame came to Him in the temple; and He healed them. And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that He did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the Son of David; they were sore displeased, and said unto Him, Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings Thou hast perfected praise?” Matthew 21:12-16. 9T 75.2

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