The Clearing

Week 3 – The Clearing of the Temple / The Harrowing of Hell

Icon: The Harrowing of Hell

John 2:13-22:

When the time of the Jewish Passover was near, Jesus went up to Jerusalem, and found people in the Temple selling cattle and sheep and doves, and the money-changers doing business.  Making a whip of cords, he drove them all out—sheep and cattle as well—and knocked-over the money-changers’ coins, and turned the tables on them.  And he said to the dove-sellers, “Clear all of this out of here and stop turning my Father’s house into a den of thieves.  Then his disciples remembered the words of scripture: “I am eaten-up with zeal for your house.”  The Jews intervened and protested, “What sign can you show us that you should act like this?  Jesus answered, “Destroy this Temple, and after three days I will raise it up.”  The Jews replied that it had taken forty-six years to build this Temple.  Did he plan to raise it up again in three days?  But he was speaking of the Temple that was his body.  And after he had risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture and what he had told them.

“It is impossible to localize Hell [and] it is also impossible to name the dates at which it begins for us.  Hell is certainly not to be relegated solely to the time after death or after the last judgment.  It can draw me into its demonic field of force right now…[It] is separation from God in all its forms.  It is ultimate forsakenness.”  ~Helmut Thielicke

  • What would you include in a visualization that would localize Hell?
  • How would you express redemption in the midst of this localization?
  • How would you convey an ultimate forsakenness where hope has dawned?

The Icon Through Western Eyes by Russell M. Hart

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