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By R.A. Rajotte
Cleansing of the Temple
As per the Gospels Shortly after being proclaimed as a king by the Jews, Jesus caused a riot in the temple by overturning tables and swinging a lash at people.
John 2:15 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.
Soon after the temple riot and just shortly before his arrest at the Garden of Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives, the gospels have Jesus telling his apostles to sell their cloaks and buy swords.
Luke 22:36 He said to them, 'But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.'
'Mark 11:15 On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple courts and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, 16 and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts.'
The temple courts were a relatively huge area which clearly implies that force would be neccessary, and that of many men to enforce the temple cleansing.
Neither Mark nor the other Gospels state for how long the temple was occupied / closed to commerce by Jesus and his followers but it is notable that the incident was only days before his crucifixion.
Insurrection at Gethsemane
Jesus was captured as per the Gospel narrative at the Garden of Gethsemane by a cohort of men after being 'betrayed' by Judas Iscariot . To the modern reader, a cohort is a undetermined number of men / Roman Centurions or Soldiers. In actuality a Roman Cohort was a fairly precise number. A Roman Legion was on the average 6,000 soldiers, a cohort was 1/10th of a Legion, making a cohort 500-600 soldiers.
The Roman Authorities certainly did not send 500 soldiers to arrest a simple Pacifist missionary who preached peace and love. The 500 soldiers were dispatched to quell the insurrection in which Jesus was arrested as an insurrectionist. The Book of Mark states, in chapter 15 verse 7 that A man called Barabbas was in prison with the insurrectionists who had committed murder in the uprising. Bar-abbas , son of the Father was in fact an allegorical reference to Jesus himself - See Jesus Barabbas
Non Biblical Historical Records
The Historian Josephus may being making a reference to this insurrection in the following passage:
'...about this time, someone came out of Egypt to Jerusalem, claiming to be a prophet. He advised the crowd to go along with him to the Mount of Olives, as it was called, which lay over against the city, and at the distance of a kilometer. He added that he would show them from hence how the walls of Jerusalem would fall down at his command, and he promised them that he would procure them an entrance into the city through those collapsed walls. Now when Felix was informed of these things, he ordered his soldiers to take their weapons, and came against them with a great number of horsemen and footmen from Jerusalem, ...'
The version above however goes on to differ greatly, in that the Egyptian escapes and is not heard from again, which bears some similarities to an apocryphal version of the crucifixion in which Jesus survives and a substitute [Simon of Cyrene] is crucified in his place.
Josephus also mentions a rebel leader named Jesus who was the leader of a 'seditious mob of Mariners'. Some have suggested that this is a veiled reference to the Nazarenes which translates to 'little fishes' and the gospels make no attempt to veil the fact that many of Jesus followers were mariners or fishermen.
Matthew 4:18 to 22 18 As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 19 'Come, follow me,' Jesus said, 'and I will send you out to fish for people.' 20 At once they left their nets and followed him. 21 Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, 22 and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.