Letter: The correct interpretation of the Cleansing of the Temple

"Christ died not as a radical social justice warrior fighting against the system of economics or government, but because he called himself God," West Fargo resident Chris Savageau writes.

Letter to the editor FSA

Lillian Bachmeier is utterly wrong with her interpretation of the Cleansing of the Temple. There is a lot wrong with her view. I will try to be as brief as possible.

Lillian Bachmeier writes about Christ's visit to the temple, where he objected to the poor being indebted to their bank and the temple tax.

First, Miss Bachmeier’s love for the poor is admirable. However, it was not for the sack of the poor that Christ cleansed the temple. This does not mean that Christ does not care for the poor (see Matthew 25:31-46), but rather that Jesus’s anger was due to people buying and selling animals for sacrifice or exchanging currency.

Bachmeier’s argument seems to be based on the phrase “you have made it a den of robbers” (Luke 19:46). However, the proper interpretation of this phrase is found by reading the phrase before it, “My house shall be a house of prayer” (Luke 19:46).

The ancient Jewish Temple was made of four sections or courts. You can look up "jewish temple courts diagrams" online to see all of them. However, the outermost court of the temple was the Count of the Gentiles, where non-Jewish people could go and worship. In Jesus’ day, there began the wrongful practice of using the Gentile court for the business of exchanging money and selling animals for sacrifice. It is to this wrongful practice that Jesus reacts. Jesus' house is to be a house of prayer for all people, not business. It was the only place for the Gentiles to worship him at the time; to worship the one, true God. Jesus was not condemning trickle down economics or government officials, but rather condemning doing such practices in a place of worship. It was about prayer, not social justice.

Second, although this incident might have been the straw that broke the camel's back, it was not the reason Jesus was crucified. The Gospels are very clear that Jesus’ crime was blasphemy. They even show that the Jewish officials were not able to charge Jesus with the crime of “destroying the Temple” (Matt 26:61). Rather, it was the charge of being “the Christ, the Son of God” (Matt 26:63-67) in which they placed the charge of blasphemy upon him. Christ died not as a radical social justice warrior fighting against the system of economics or government, but because he called himself God. And thankfully for all of us, he was and is. As God, he died for our sins and reconciled us to the Father.


There are many more critiques of Bachmeier’s positions, but I will leave you all with this: Christ cares deeply about abortions as it is the destruction of the innocent human being in the womb. It is just untrue that climate change kills more people than abortion. Abortion has claimed over 63 million lives since 1973 just in America alone. Jesus came to give us life through his cross and resurrection, not for us to kill our own children.

Chris Sauvageau is a resident of West Fargo.

This letter does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.

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