Meta. Dishonest thoughts of materiality and greed. The consciousness must be cleansed from these if the body temple is to be kept pure and holy. That this cleansing of the Temple was intended for the individual is shown by the verses that follow. "But he spake of the temple of his body" (John 2:21).
So long as our body shows signs of decay it is evident that we have not cast out from the inner realms the thought butchers that kill doves, sheep, oxen, and goats for sacrifice. The allusion here is to the destructive thoughts that lie deep in the consciousness, at the very issues of life.