Mark 11:16-20

Mark 11:16 (KJB)
And would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the temple.

Jesus also stopped the people from using the temple as a shortcut into the city to conduct their business. The term “vessel” could refer to any kind of utensil or implement. Not only did they abuse the sanctity of the temple by making it a den of thieves but they also allowed it to be a highway for commerce. I am sure the scribes and Pharisees got their “donations” from people who came through the temple as a shortcut because the faster the merchants got their goods in, the faster they could sell and the more they sold, the bigger the donation to the temple.

Mark 11:17 (KJB)
And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves.

(Isa 56:7 KJV) Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people. (Jer 7:11 KJV) Is this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, even I have seen it, saith the LORD. Jesus then condemns the activities in the temple by using two scripture verses stating that His house shall be a house of prayer but they had turned it into a den of thieves. Now before we condemn those schemers of old, what about the modern church. Look at the charismatic preachers with their multi-million dollar mansions and bank accounts. Their salaries are in the millions while they promise the dumb sheep in the pews that if they give more, God will bless them mightily. How much of a brain do you have to have when you are a member of a charismatic church for 20 years and you are driving an old Chevy and the pastor drives a Mercedes. Obviously the prosperity teaching is false. In fact the whole charismatic movement is false. How come some of the pastors wear glasses? Why do these churches have cemeteries? Some questions to ask the next time your pastor wants you to live in poverty while he lives in luxury. Then there are non-charismatic churches where pastors are paid big money and ministries where family members are placed on the board to increase income without getting a raise. What about the smaller churches with their Chinese auctions and some even have Las Vegas night or comedy clubs. On the last day they will be overturned but there will be no more time for repentance. The modern church has been turned from a house of prayer into a social club and there will be eternal consequences by false preachers who have done this and the apathetic sheep who have allowed it.

Mark 11:18 (KJB)
And the scribes and chief priests heard it, and sought how they might destroy him: for they feared him, because all the people was astonished at his doctrine.

Once Jesus had attacked the moneychangers and merchants in the temple, that had cut into the profits of the religious leaders so all factions had now joined together to find a way to destroy Jesus. The other thing that caused them grief was the fact that when Jesus taught, His teachings had caused astonishment among the people, that is, they were hearing the truth which was diametrically opposed to the false teachings of the religious leaders. The truth is always hated by false teachers because it tends to bring to light their false teachings and schemes. Matthew reports that there was the blind and the lame which came into the temple and Jesus healed them. (Mat 21:14 KJV) And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them. That also caused another time of praise of Jesus for the miracles He had performed and that too scared the religious leaders. The big focus right now was how to get rid of Jesus.

Mark 11:19 (KJB)
And when even was come, he went out of the city.

At the end of each day when the gates were shut, Jesus had retired with His disciples back to Bethany. He may also have spent the night on the Mount of Olives which would not have been a strange thing because many travelers would stay the night outside. Jesus had spent the entire day in the temple teaching.

Mark 11:20 (KJB)
And in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots.

The disciples, as usual, not seeking the symbolic meaning of the withered tree only looked at it and were curious to see how it withered so fast. It seems even at this point, a few days away from the crucifixion, they were still looking at things from a fleshly perspective but that was about to change in about 54 days.