El Greco: Christ Driving the Traders out of the Temple

This is El Greco’s Christ Driving the Traders out of the Temple, painted around 1600, exhibited at London’s National Gallery. The scene is familiar enough; Christ cleanses the Jewish temple from they who would turn it into a den of thieves. The artist, however, has included a clever parallel. On the picture’s top left, a scene is carved into the temple’s wall depicting Adam and Eve being driven out of Eden after the Fall. Eden, that great temple to the Creator God, was cleansed after man’s spoliation, with its malefactors escorted off the premises. Here the scene is repeated. Herod’s temple, sullied by the greed and avarice of the money changers, is cleansed once again by God’s righteous judgement. This too anticipates the time out planet will be cleansed of sin; they who refused God’s grace will be ushered away:

And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practise lawlessness!’

Matthew 7:23