Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

John 2:19

Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up."
New American Standard

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Jesus, the Christ;   Jesus Continued;   Power;   Temple;   Scofield Reference Index - Miracles;   Resurrection;   Thompson Chain Reference - Mortality-Immortality;   Resurrection;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Christ Is God;   Power of Christ, the;   Resurrection of Christ, the;   Temple, the First;   Trinity, the;   Types of Christ;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Temple;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Resurrection;   Signs;   Temple;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Church, the;   Jesus Christ;   Temple;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Marriage;   CARM Theological Dictionary - Trinity;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Resurrection of Christ;   Temple;   Temple, Herod's;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Gospels;   Jesus Christ;   Jonah;   Jordan;   Miracles;   Tabernacle;   Veil of the Temple;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Fulfill;   Herod;   Jesus, Life and Ministry of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Faith;   Marriage;   Mary;   Number;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Building ;   Caesarea Philippi;   Consciousness;   Dates (2);   Dedication, Feast of ;   Enthusiasm;   Eschatology (2);   False Witness;   Foresight;   Impotence;   Jonah ;   Last Supper;   Law (2);   Libertines;   Luke, Gospel According to;   Manliness;   Metaphors;   Mission;   Numbers (2);   Omnipotence;   Poet;   Temple (2);   Trial of Jesus;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - New Testament;   Temple, the;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Cana;   Christ;   Passover;   Resurrection;   Temple;   Veil;   Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types - Building;   Christ;   Destroy;   Temple;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Christ, the Exaltation of;   Jesus Christ, the Arrest and Trial of;   Logos;   Omnipresence;   Person of Christ;   Resurrection of Jesus Christ, the;   Stephen;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - New Testament;  
Devotionals:
Daily Light on the Daily Path - Devotion for June 4;   Every Day Light - Devotion for October 16;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Destroy this temple - Τον ναον τουτον, This very temple; perhaps pointing to his body at the same time.

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Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on John 2:19". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/john-2.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Destroy this temple - The evangelist informs us John 2:21 that by “temple,” here, he meant his body. It is not improbable that he pointed with his finger to his body as he spoke. The word “destroy,” used here in the “imperative,” has rather the force of the “future.” Its meaning may thus be expressed: “You are now profaners of the temple of God. You have defiled the sanctuary; you have made it a place of traffic. You have also despised my authority, and been unmoved by the miracles which I have already performed. But your wickedness will not end here. You will oppose me more and more; you will reject and despise me, until in your wickedness you will take my life and ‹destroy‘ my body.” Here was therefore a distinct prediction both of his death and the cause of it. The word “temple,” or “dwelling,” was not unfrequently used by the Jews to denote the “body” as being the residence of the spirit, 2 Corinthians 5:1. Christians are not unfrequently called the temple of God, as being those in whom the Holy Spirit dwells on earth, 1 Corinthians 3:16-17; 1 Corinthians 6:19; 2 Corinthians 6:16. Our Saviour called his body a temple in accordance with the common use of language, and more particularly because “in him the fulness of the Godhead dwelt bodily,” Colossians 2:9. The temple at Jerusalem was the appropriate dwelling-place of God. His visible presence was there especially manifested, 2 Chronicles 36:15; Psalm 76:2. As the Lord Jesus was divine - as the fulness of the Godhead dwelt in him so his body might be called a “temple.”

In three days I will raise it up - The Jews had asked a “miracle” of him in proof of his authority that is, a proof that he was the Messiah. He tells them that a full and decided proof of that would be his “resurrection from the dead.” Though they would not be satisfied by any other miracle, yet by this they ought to be convinced that he came from heaven, and was the long-expected Messiah. To the same evidence that he was the Christ he refers them on other occasions. See Matthew 12:38-39. Thus early did he foretell his death and resurrection, for at the beginning of his work he had a clear foresight of all that was to take place. This knowledge shows clearly that he came from heaven, and it evinces, also, the extent of his love that he was “willing” to come to save us, knowing clearly what it would cost him. Had he come “without” such an expectation of suffering, his love might have been far less; but when he fully knew all that was before him, when he saw that it would involve him in contempt and death, it shows compassion “worthy of a God” that he was willing to endure the load of all our sorrows, and die to save us from death everlasting. When Jesus says, “‹I‘ will raise it up,” it is proof, also, of divine power. A mere “man” could not say this. No deceased “man” can have such power over his body; and there must have been, therefore, in the person of Jesus a nature superior to human to which the term “I” could be applied, and which had power to raise the dead - that is, which was divine.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on John 2:19". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/john-2.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.

What Jesus meant by this is plainly given in John 2:21, "He spake of the temple of his body"; but such a simple answer is rejected by some. This pointed reference to his own death, burial and resurrection cannot be allowed by those who would spiritualize every historical fact out of this Gospel. As one has declared:

"Destroy" is a prophetic command meaning, "Go on as you are doing and you will bring this temple down in ruins (at the hands of Rome); but in a brief time (three days) I will raise up another center of worship." Jesus is predicting that through his work there will arise a new spiritual building in which the new Israel, the Church, will worship God![18]

Of course, such an interpretation is sheer nonsense. In Jesus' true words, the same temple envisaged as destroyed is exactly the same one Jesus promised to raise up in three days; and added to that obvious fact is the emphatic statement of the inspired evangelist himself that Jesus "spake of the temple of his body"!

This verse shows that Jesus fully knew the consequences of casting out the money-changers; and, by this prophecy, he clearly foretold that they would indeed put him to death and that he would rise from the dead on the third day. This statement made in response to the demand for a sign is similar in the Lord's answer to the demand of the Pharisees recorded in Matthew 12:38ff. In both instances, the only sign the Pharisees were promised was the Lord's own death, burial, and resurrection; but here he used the analogy of the destroyed temple raised again in three days, while there the "sign of the prophet Jonah" had exactly the same meaning!

ENDNOTE:

[18] A. M. Hunter, op. cit., p. 34.

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Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on John 2:19". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/john-2.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Jesus answered and said unto them,.... In a dark and enigmaticai way, though very properly and pertinently; since it was with respect to the temple, and his power over it, and right to purge it, that a sign was required of him:

destroy this temple; pointing, as it were, with his finger to his body; for of that he spake, as appears from John 2:21, the dissolution of which, by death he means, the separation of his soul from his body, though not of either from his divine person: and it is to be understood, not as a command, or a grant, or as an exhortation, and advice to them, to kill his body; but rather as a prophecy of what they would do; or as putting the case, that should they, as he knew they would, destroy his body, then says he, as a sign of having a power to do what I have done,

in three days I will raise it again; by which he would appear to be the Son of God, with power, that had power of laying down his life, and taking it up again; and is the very sign, namely, his resurrection from the dead on the third day, he gives the Jews, when they sought one of him at another time, and upon another occasion.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on John 2:19". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/john-2.html. 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Destroy this temple, etc. — (See on Mark 14:58, Mark 14:59).

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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on John 2:19". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/john-2.html. 1871-8.

John Lightfoot's Commentary on the Gospels

19. Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.

[Destroy this Temple.] I. Christ showeth them no sign that was a mere sign, Matthew 12:39. The turning of Moses' rod into a serpent, and returning the serpent into a rod again; the hand becoming leprous, and restored to its proper temperament again; these were mere signs; but those wonders which Moses afterward wrought in Egypt were not mere signs, but beneficent miracles; and whoever would not believe upon those infinite miracles which he wrought, would much less have believed upon mere signs. And, indeed, it was unbecoming our blessed Lord so far to indulge to their obstinate incredulity, to be showing new signs still at every beck of theirs, who would not believe upon those infinite numbers he put forth upon every proper occasion.

II. Matthew 12:39,40. When they had required a sign, Christ remits them to the sign of the prophet Jonah; and he points at the very same sense in these words, Destroy this Temple, &c.: that is, "My resurrection from the dead will be a sign beyond all denial, proving and affirming, that what I do I act upon divine authority, and that I am he who is to come (Rom 1:4). Further than this you must expect no other sign from me. If you believe me not while I do such works, at least believe me when I arise from the dead."

He acted here, while he is purging the Temple, under that notion as he was the authorized Messiah, Malachi 3:1,3, and expressly calls it "his Father's house," verse 16. Show us therefore some sign, (say the Jews,) by which it may appear that thou art the Messiah the Son of God; at least, that thou art a prophet. I will show you a sufficient sign, saith Christ: destroy this temple, viz. of my body, and I will raise it from the dead again; a thing which was never yet done, nor could be done by any of the prophets.

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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Lightfoot, John. "Commentary on John 2:19". "John Lightfoot Commentary on the Gospels". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jlc/john-2.html. 1675.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Destroy this temple (λυσατε τον ναον τουτονlusate ton naon touton). First aorist active imperative of λυωluō to loosen or destroy. It is the permissive imperative, not a command to do it. Note also ναοςnaos not ιερονhieron the sanctuary, symbol of God‘s ναοςnaos in our hearts (1 Corinthians 3:16.). There is much confusion about this language since Jesus added: “And in three days I will raise it up” (και εν τρισιν ημεραις εγερω αυτονkai en trisin hēmerais egerō auton). Those who heard Jesus, including the disciples till after the resurrection (John 2:22), understood the reference to be to Herod‘s temple. Certainly that is the obvious way to take it. But Jesus often spoke in parables and even in enigmas. He may have spoken of the literal temple as a parable for his own body which of course they would not understand, least of all the resurrection in three days.

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The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)
Bibliographical Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on John 2:19". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/john-2.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.

This temple — Doubtless pointing, while he spoke, to his body, the temple and habitation of the Godhead.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on John 2:19". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/john-2.html. 1765.

The Fourfold Gospel

Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up1.

  1. Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. John here records this saying, and Matthew (Matthew 26:61) and Mark (Mark 14:58) tells us how at the trial it was twisted into a charge against Christ; thus the evangelists supplement each other. For the temple in this sentence used the word "naos," or sanctuary, the structure which was peculiarly the seat of God's presence. The sanctuary was a figure or symbol of the body of Christ, and the words of Jesus were a covert prediction that as they were desecrating the symbol so would they destroy his body, which it symbolized. They reverenced the Spirit of God neither as it dwelt in the sanctuary nor as it dwelt in the body of Christ. The body of Jesus was a temple (Colossians 2:9), and Christians and the church are also temples (1 Corinthians 3:16,17; 1 Corinthians 6:19; 2 Corinthians 5:1; 2 Peter 1:13). God's temples cannot be permanently destroyed. They are "raised up".

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website. These files were made available by Mr. Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.
Bibliographical Information
J. W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton. "Commentary on John 2:19". "The Fourfold Gospel". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tfg/john-2.html. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

Разрушьте храм сей. Это иносказательное выражение. И Христос намеренно изъясняется так туманно, поскольку считает присутствующих недостойными прямого ответа. Как и в другом месте Он говорит, что обращается к ним в притчах, поелику они не могут принять тайны небесного царства (Мф.13:13). Христос, во-первых, отказывает им в требуемом знамении. Он поступает так или потому, что это не принесло бы пользы, или потому, что еще не пришло подходящее время. Между тем, Он иногда отвечал даже не неуместные просьбы. Итак, для Его отказа должна была быть основательная причина. Кроме того, Он хочет сказать, что Его власть подтверждается не каким-то обычным чудом и знамением, и тем самым лишает их всяческих оправданий. Ибо доказательством божественной силы Христа могло быть лишь Его воскресение из мертвых. Однако Он говорит об этом иносказательно, не удостаивая их ясным обетованием. В итоге, Христос обращается с неверующими так, как они этого достойны, и одновременно отводит всякий повод для пренебрежения Своей личностью. Еще не стало очевидным их упорство, но Христос знал подлинную суть их настроений. Однако можно спросить: Христос сотворил множество разных чудес, почему же здесь Он говорит лишь об одном? Отвечаю: Он умолчал о других чудесах, потому что одно только воскресение могло заслонить уста Его противников. Кроме того, Он не хотел, чтобы сила Божия подвергалась их насмешкам. Поэтому даже о славе воскресения Своего Он говорит здесь иносказательно. В-третьих, я утверждаю, что Христос сказал именно то, что подходило для того случая. Он показывает этими словами, что Ему принадлежит вся власть в отношении храма. Ведь Он мог даже создать заново этот храм.

Хотя Христос употребляет слово «храм» в определенном контексте, тело Его также вполне уместно и достойно зовется храмом. Тело каждого из нас зовется скинией из-за того, что в нем обитает душа (2Кор.5:4), тело же Христово было обиталищем Его божества. Мы знаем, что Сын Божий так облекся в нашу природу, что в воспринятой Им плоти как в святилище обитало вечное божественное величие. Несторий злоупотребляет этим местом, чтобы доказать, будто не один и тот же Христос является Богом и человеком. Однако его измышления легко опровергнуть. Он рассуждал так: Сын Божий обитал во плоти как в храме. Значит обе Его природы были настолько разделены, что Бог и человек не могли быть в Нем одним и тем же лицом. Но этот довод можно применить и к человеку. Ведь отсюда будет следовать, что человек, душа которого обитает в теле как в скинии, также не является одним лицом. Посему весьма неуместно использовать данное выражение для отрицания во Христе единства лица. Кроме того, следует отметить, что наши тела также зовутся храмом Божиим (1Кор.6:19), однако в ином смысле. А именно потому, что Бог обитает в нас силою и благодатью Своего Духа. Во Христе же полнота божества жила телесно, так что Он воистину был Богом, явившимся во плоти.

Воздвигну его. Здесь Христос приписывает славу воскресения Себе Самому, хотя Писание повсюду свидетельствует, что это дело Бога Отца. Но эти два утверждения совершенно согласны друг с другом. Ведь Писание приписывает Отцу воскресение Сына из мертвых, дабы возвысить в наших глазах силу Божию. Здесь же Христос особым образом упоминает как раз о Своем божестве. Апостол Павел примиряет оба этих утверждения (Рим.8:11), называя Дух, Которого он делает автором воскресения, то Духом Христа, то Духом Отчим.

 

 

 

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on John 2:19". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/john-2.html. 1840-57.

Frédéric Louis Godet - Commentary on Selected Books

Ver. 19. "Jesus answered and said unto them: Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." This answer of Jesus is sudden, like a flash of lightning. It springs from an immeasurable depth; it illuminates regions then completely unexplored by any other consciousness than His own. The words: Destroy this temple, characterize the present and future conduct of the Jews in its innermost significance, and the words: In three days I will raise it up, display all the grandeur of the person and of the future work of Jesus. This mysterious saying involves the following difficulty: on the one hand, the connection with what precedes prompts us to refer the words, this temple, to the temple properly so called, which Jesus had just purified; on the other, the evangelist"s interpretation (John 2:21) obliges us to apply them to the body of Jesus. Some, as Lucke and Reuss, cut the Gordian knot by declaring that there is a conflict which cannot be settled between scientific exegesis and the apostle"s explanation, and by determining that there is an advance of the first beyond the second. Baur administers a severe lecture to Lucke for irreverence towards the apostolic exegesis, of which this view gives evidence. In fact, according to Baur, this saying being partly the creation of the evangelist himself, he must know better than any one, better than Lucke, what is its true meaning!

The historical truth of this saying of Jesus is guaranteed: 1. By the declaration of the false witnesses (Matthew 26:61; Mark 14:57-58), which proves that, although the recollection of the circumstances in which it was pronounced may have been effaced, the expression itself had remained deeply engraved on the memory, not only of the disciples, but of the Jews. 2. By Acts 6:14, where Stephen"s accusers said: "We have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this place and shall change the customs which Moses gave to us." Stephen could not have spoken thus except on the foundation of a positive declaration of Jesus. 3. By the originality, the conciseness, and even the obscurity of the saying.

The first clause cannot contain an invitation to the Jews directly to destroy the temple, not even in the hypothetical sense of de Wette: "If you should destroy." This supposition would be absurd; no Israelite would have thought of laying his hand on the sacred edifice. The word destroy should, therefore, be taken in the indirect sense: to bring about, by continuing in the course which you are following, the destruction of the theocracy and that of the temple. But what is the offense by which Israel can provoke this final chastisement? Modern interpretation,—"scientific exegesis," as Lucke says,—answers: By continually increasing moral profanations, such as that against which Jesus had just protested. This answer is insufficient. Simple sins of this kind could prepare, but not decide, this catastrophe. The Old Testament assigns a more positive cause for the final ruin of Israel; it is the rejection and murder of the Messiah. Zechariah announces this crime, when describing (Zechariah 12:10) the mourning of the Israel of the last days, lamenting the murderous sin against Jehovah whom they have pierced. Daniel, Daniel 9, says: "The Messiah shall be cut off....and the people of a prince who shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary;" a passage which Matthew (Matthew 24:15-16) applies to the circumstances of his time. The means for Israel of destroying its temple, are, to the view of Jesus, to put the Messiah to death. The appearance of the Messiah is the purpose of the theocratic institution. The Messiah being once cut off, it is all over with Israel and consequently with the temple. The people and the priesthood may indeed still exist for a while after this; but all this is nothing more than the carcase over which the eagles of the divine judgment gather themselves (Matthew 24:28). Why, at the moment when Jesus expires, is the veil of the temple rent? It is because, in reality, there is no longer a Most Holy place, no longer a Holy place, no longer courts, sacrifice, priesthood; the temple, as Jehovah"s temple, has ceased to exist.

When He says "Destroy this temple," therefore, it is, indeed, of the temple properly so called, that Jesus speaks; but He knows that it will be in His own person, that this destruction, so far as it depends on the Jews, will be consummated. It is on His body that they will cause the blow to fall, which will destroy their sanctuary. The imperative λύσατε is not, then, merely concessive: "If it happens that you destroy." It is of the same kind with that other imperative, "What thou hast to do, do quickly" (John 13:27). When the fruit of perversity, collective or individual, is ripe, it must fall. Comp. also the πληρώσατε, Matthew 23:32.

The meaning of the second clause follows from that of the first. If the death of Jesus is the real destruction of the temple, the restoration of the latter can consist only in the resurrection of Jesus Himself. Jesus once said: "Here is more than the temple" (Matthew 12:6). His body was the living and truly holy dwelling of Jehovah; the visible sanctuary was the anticipatory emblem of this real temple. It is, therefore, really, in Him, in His body, that this supreme crisis will be effected. The Messiah perishes; the temple falls. The Messiah lives again; the true temple rises again; in a new form, beyond doubt. For in the Kingdom of God, there is never a simple restoration of the past. He who speaks of rising anew speaks of progress, reappearance in a higher form. The word ἐγείρειν, to waken up, to raise up, is perfectly suitable here. For it may be applied at once to a resurrection and a construction (see Meyer). The expression: in three days, the authenticity of which is guaranteed in a very special way by the statement of the false witnesses ( διὰ τριῶν ἡμερῶν, Matthew 26:61; Mark 14:58), receives in our explanation its natural meaning; for, in an historical situation so solemn as this, it is impossible to see only a poetic or proverbial form for saying: "in a very short time," as Hosea 6:2, or Luke 13:31. A demonstrative miracle has been demanded of Jesus, as a sign of His competency. We know from the Synoptics that Jesus always rejected such demands, which renewed for Him the third temptation in the wilderness.

But there was a miracle, one only, which He could promise, without condemning Himself to the role of a wonder-worker, because this miracle entered as a necessary element into the very work of salvation: it was His resurrection. Thus it is to this sign that He in like manner appeals, in similar cases, in the Synoptics (Matthew 12:38-40; Matthew 16:4). We come also here upon one of those profound analogies which, beneath the difference of the forms, blend into one whole the representation of the Synoptics and that of John. It is by the reparative power which He will display, when the Kingdom of God shall have sunk down, in a sense, even to nothing, that Jesus will prove the competency for reformation which He has just arrogated to Himself at this hour. This explanation answers thus to the natural meaning of the expressions of the text, to the demands of the context, and finally to the evangelist"s interpretation.

The following is the meaning at which modern exegesis has arrived, by following, as Lucke says, "the laws of philological art." It is best set forth, as it seems to us, by Ewald (Gesch. Christi, p. 230): "All your religion, resting upon this temple, is corrupted and perverted; but He is already present, who, when it shall have perished as it deserves, shall easily restore it in a more glorious form, and shall thus work, not one of those common miracles which you ask for, but the grandest of miracles." In this explanation, the temple destroyed is Judaism; the temple raised up is Christianity; the act of raising it up is Pentecost, not the resurrection. We shall not say that this sense is absolutely false; it is so only so far as it is given as the exact expression of the thought of Jesus at this moment. What condemns it is: 1. That the transformation of the economy of the letter into that of the Spirit is not a sign, but the work itself. It is necessary that the event indicated by Jesus should have an external character, in order to be adapted to the demand which was addressed to Him; 2. It is impossible, from this point of view, to interpret naturally the words: in three days. The passages (Hosea 6:2 and Luke 13:31) do not sufficiently justify the figurative sense which must, in that case, be given to them here; 3. The temple raised up would be entirely different from the temple destroyed; but the pronoun αὐτόν (it), demands that there should, at least, be a relation between the one and the other (the body of Jesus destroyed and raised again). Objection is made to the meaning which we have proposed, that the Jews could not have understood so mysterious a reply. Assuredly, they did not see in the temple, of which Jesus spoke, anything but the material edifice, and they represented to themselves the sign promised by Him as the magical appearance of a new and supernatural temple (Mark 14:58). But we shall see that, in dealing with evil-disposed persons, the method of Jesus is to throw out enigmas and to reveal the truth only while veiling it; comp. the explanation of Jesus respecting the use of parables (Matthew 12:11-16). Here is a secret of the profoundest pedagogics.

Objection is also made, that Jesus could not, so long beforehand, know of His death and resurrection. But in the Synoptics, also, He very early announces the tragical end of His Messianic ministry. It is during the first days of His activity in Galilee, that He speaks of the time "when the bridegroom will be taken away, and when the disciples will fast" (Mark 2:19-20). Had Jesus, then, never read Isaiah 53, Daniel 9, Zechariah 12, etc.? Now, if He foresaw His death, He must have been assured also of His resurrection. He could not suppose that the bridegroom would be taken away, not to be restored.

Finally, it is objected, that, according to the Scriptures, it is not Jesus who raised Himself. But the receptivity of Jesus, in the act of His resurrection, was not that of passivity. He says Himself (John 10:17-18): "I give up my life, that I may take it again...I have the power to give it up, and I have the power to take it again." He lays hold, as in all His miracles, of the divine omnipotence, and this becomes thereby active in Him.

Renan has seen in this utterance, so original and so profound, only a whim: "One day," he says, "His ill-humor against the temple drew from Him an imprudent word." He adds: "We do not know, indeed, what sense Jesus attached to this word, in which His disciples sought forced allegories" (Vie de Jesus, p. 367). Where Renan sees a proof of the ill-humor of Jesus against the temple, the immediate witnesses found one of the zeal for the house of God, which devoured their Master. Which has better understood Jesus? As for the explanation given by John (John 2:21), we shall hope that every serious reader will find in it something else than a "forced allegory."

Weiss does not think it is possible to defend the complete authenticity of the expression of Jesus, as it has been preserved for us by John. If Jesus expressed Himself thus, he must, at the same time, have pointed to His body with His finger, and this gesture would have been sufficient to render the misapprehension of the Jews (John 2:20) impossible. Besides, the interpretation which Mark gives of the saying of Jesus (Mark 14:58), leads one to suppose that its real meaning was a little different from that which we find in John. To the demand of the Jews relative to His competency to purify the temple (John 2:18), Jesus is said to have answered, that for the outward temple He would substitute the habitation of God in the spirit. It was John, according to Weiss, who introduced afterwards into the quite simple answer of Jesus, the two ideas of His death and His resurrection. This hypothesis could be taken into consideration only if the difficulty presented by the saying of Jesus, as we have it, were insurmountable. But we believe that we have shown that it is not so. At the foundation, the true ground of this supposition is, that according to this author, Jesus must not have predicted beforehand His death and resurrection.

How did Jesus discover in this question, apparently so innocent: "What sign showest thou?" the prelude of the catastrophe which was to put an end to His own life, and, by that means, to the theocracy itself? We know from John 2:3-4, with what penetration Jesus seized upon the moral bearing of the words which were addressed to Him. We have also cited Luke 4:22, where it was enough for Jesus to hear the critical reflection on the part of the inhabitants of Nazareth: "Is not this the son of Joseph?" in order to His announcing to them His near rejection, not only on their part (John 2:23), but on the part of the whole people (John 2:24-25). In the most fugitive impression of His interlocutors, the perspicacious eye of Jesus discerned the principle of the great final decision. By this characteristic feature, also, we verify in the Jesus of the Synoptics and of John, one and the same Jesus.

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Godet, Frédéric Louis. "Commentary on John 2:19". "Frédéric Louis Godet - Commentary on Selected Books". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsc/john-2.html.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

19 Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.

Ver. 19. Destroy this temple] This was the same in effect with that sign of the prophet Jonah, Matthew 12:39-40. His resurrection was a plain demonstration of his Deity, Superas evadere ad auras, hic labor, hoc opus est, befitting a God, Romans 1:4.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on John 2:19". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/john-2.html. 1865-1868.

Sermon Bible Commentary

John 2:19

The Destroyers and the Restorer.

This is our Lord's answer to the Jewish request for a sign which should warrant His action in cleansing the Temple. "Destroy this temple," said our Lord, as His sufficient and only answer to the demand for a sign; "and in three days I will raise it up." We see in these words—

I. An enigmatical forecast of our Lord's own history. Notice, (1) that marvellous and unique consciousness of our Lord as to His own dignity and nature. "He spake of the temple of His body." Think that here is a Man, apparently one of ourselves, walking amongst us, living the common life of humanity, who declares that in Him, in an altogether solitary and peculiar fashion, there abides the fulness of Deity. And not only does the fulness abide, but in Him the awful remoteness of God becomes for us a merciful presence; the infinite abyss and closed sea of the Divine Nature hath an outlet and becomes a river of water of life. And as the ancient name of that Temple was the tent of meeting, the place where Israel and God, in symbolical and ceremonial form, met together, so in inmost reality in Christ's nature, Manhood and Divinity cohere and unite; and in Him all of us—the weak, the sinful, the alien, the rebellious—may meet our Father. (2) Still further, notice how we have here, at the very beginning of our Lord's career, His distinct prevision of how it was all going to end. The Shadow of the Cross fell upon His path from the beginning, because the Cross was the purpose for which He came. He knows that He goes up to be the lamb of the offering, and knowing it, He goes. (3) We have here our Lord's claim to be Himself the Agent of His own Resurrection. "I will raise it up at the last day." He is the Lord of the Temple as well as the Temple.

II. We see here, in the next place, a prophetic warning of the history of the men to whom He was speaking. Christ's death having realised all which Temple worship symbolised, that which was the shadow was put away when the substance appeared. The destroyed Temple disappears, and out of the dust and smoke of the vanishing ruins, there rises, beautiful and serene, though incomplete and fragmentary and defaced with many a stain, the fairer reality, the Church of the living Christ.

III. We have here a foreshadowing of our Lord's world-wide work as the restorer of man's destructions. If you will put yourselves in His hands and trust yourselves to Him, He will take away all your incompleteness, and will make you, body, soul, and spirit, temples of the Lord God; as far above the loftiest beauty and whitest sanctity of any Christian character here on earth as is the "building of God, the house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens," above "the earthly house of this tabernacle."

A. Maclaren, Christian Commonwealth, April 20th, 1886.

References: John 2:19.—Clergyman's Magazine, vol. i., p. 46; J. Keble, Sermons from Easter to Ascension Day, p. 54. John 2:19-22.—D. Fraser, Metaphors of the Gospels, p. 257. John 2:21.—G. Brooks, Outlines of Sermons, p. 403; Homilist, 3rd series, vol. v., p. 286. John 2:23.—C. W. Furse, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxviii., p. 321. John 2:23-25.—T. Hammond, Ibid., vol. xiii., p. 165. John 2:24.—Homiletic. Quarterly, vol. iv., p. 424. John 2:24, John 2:25.—G. T. Coster, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xvi., p. 116; A. F. Muir, Ibid., vol. xvii., p. 365.

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Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on John 2:19". "Sermon Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/sbc/john-2.html.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

John 2:19. Destroy this temple, The miracle which our Lord had already performed, in driving the buyers and sellers out of the temple, was sufficient to convince them of the authority by which he made this reformation, if they were to have been convinced by any miracle at all. Therefore our Lord, instead of satisfying their unreasonable demands, refers them to the great miracle of his resurrection; but refers them to it in such obscure terms, as prejudiced minds could not understand, till the prophesy itself was cleared and explained by the event; yet, if he either pointed to his body, or alluded to their commonly received opinions, one would wonder that they should have mistaken his meaning so far, as to suppose that he meant the temple in which they were at that time assembled. The temple itself was supposed to be inhabited by the Divinity, and to derive its holiness from that circumstance; but as the Divinity dwelt in the body of Christ, that body deserved the name of temple more justly than the building made with hands. One of the rabbies says expressly, that the Messiah, the holy Son of David, is the Holy of Holies; and if that opinion existed in the time of Christ, as probably it might, there could be no great obscurity in the application of this term then. By a similar figure of speech, the apostle calls the bodies of believers—the temple of God, on account of the inhabitation of the Holy Ghost. See Mark 14:58. Instead of destroy this temple, Dr. Heylin reads, ye will destroy. In the prophetic stile, says he, the imperative is often used for the future.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on John 2:19". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/john-2.html. 1801-1803.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

19.] This answer of our Lord has been involved in needless difficulty. That [in uttering the words τὸν ναὸν τοῦτον] He pointed to His own Body, is inconceivable;—for thus both the Jews and His own disciples must have understood Him, which (see John 2:20; John 2:22) neither of them did. That He implied [in saying λύσατε τ. ν. τ.] that their lawless proceedings in the temple would at last bring it to an end, is equally inconceivable; both on account of the latter part of His declaration, which would thus have no meaning,—and because of the use of the word ναός,—which was the holy and the holiest place, the temple itself,—as distinguished from τὸ ἱερόν, the whole enceinte of the sacred buildings. Stier has well remarked (i. 48, 49, edn. 2) that our Lord in this saying comprehended in the reality,—His own Body, its type and symbol,—the temple then before them. That temple, with all its ordinances and holy places, was but the shadow of the Christian Church;—that, the type of the Body of the Lord, represented the Church, which is veritably His Body. And so the saying was fulfilled by the slaying of His actual Body, in which rejection of Him the destruction of the Jewish temple and city was involved,—and the raising of that Body after three days, in which resurrection we, all the members of His new glorified Body, are risen again. It is for want of keeping in mind this width and depth of the Lord’s sayings, that so many Commentators have fallen into error here and elsewhere in interpreting them. Most of the best German expositors, e.g. Lücke, Neander (L. J. 283), and even Olshausen, find insuperable difficulty in the exposition given by the Evangelist of these words, and even contend that it could not have been the right one. But surely those who believe the Apostles to have been under the special influence of the Holy Spirit in their work of witnessing to and bringing out the truth of the sayings and doings of the Lord, cannot take this ground. It is a wholly distinct matter from a chronological inaccuracy, or a report of the same occurrence varying in minor details; such things the Spirit may have, and has as matter of fact, for special reasons permitted in the Evangelists; but we have here,—assumed the genuineness of our Gospel, on which none of these writers have a doubt,—the positive declaration of an Apostle (and what an Apostle) of the meaning of the Lord’s saying;—which I do not think we are at liberty to question, on any, even the most moderate view, of the inspiration of the Scriptures. The difficulties attending the interpretation are,—besides the double meaning which I have treated above,—(1) the use of the imperative, as applied to the death of Christ. Olshausen contends that it must be mandatory, and cannot be hypothetical. But surely Matthew 12:33 is an instance in point, as adduced by De Wette, for the hypothetical meaning: and usages exactly like that in our text are found in the reff. (v): see Winer, Gram. edn. 6, § 43. 2. (2) The words ἐγερῶ αὐτόν,—seeing that the resurrection of the Lord is ever spoken of as the work of the Father. Yes,—but by power committed to Christ Himself: see ch. John 10:18, where this is distinctly asserted; and ch. John 6:39-40; John 6:44, where it is implied, for He is the first fruits of them that sleep,—and (though the whole course of His working was after the will of the Father,—and in the Spirit, which wrought in Him) strictly and truly raised Himself from the dead in the sense here intended. (3) The utterance of such a prophecy at so early a period of His official life. But it was not a prophecy known and understood,—but a dark saying, from which no one could then draw an inference as to His death or resurrection. The disciples did not understand it; and I cannot agree with Stier that the Jews could have had any idea of such being His meaning. Chrys. (Hom. xxiii. in Joan. p. 134) says, πολλὰ τοιαῦτα φθέγγεται τοῖς μὲν τότε οὐκ ὄντα δῆλα, τοῖς δὲ μετὰ ταῦτα ἐσόμενα. τίνος δὲ εἵνεκεν τοῦτο ποιεῖ; ἵνα δειχθῇ προειδὼς ἄνωθεν τὰ μετὰ ταῦτα, ὅταν ἐξέλθῃ καὶ τῆς προῤῥήσεως τὸ τέλος, ὃ δὴ καὶ ἐπὶ τῆς προφητείας ταύτης γέγονεν. Lücke remarks, that the circumstance of the words being spoken so long before his trial by the Sanhedrim, would make it more easy for the false witnesses to distort them. This they did, but not so as to agree with one another. They reported it, ‘I can destroy,’ &c., which makes a wide difference, and represents our Lord as an enemy of the temple (Matthew 26:61), and some added to τὸν ν. τ.,τ. χειροποίητον, and that He would raise another ἀχειροποίητον (Mark 14:58).

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Alford, Henry. "Commentary on John 2:19". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/john-2.html. 1863-1878.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

John 2:19. λύσατε, destroy) On account of this very deed, namely, the cleansing of the temple, they afterwards destroyed the temple of His body. Matthew 21:23 [see above], Matthew 21:46, “They sought to lay hands on Him;” Matthew 27:40, [They that passed by reviled, saying] “Thou that destroyest the temple and buildest it in three days, save Thyself;” Matthew 26:61, [False witnesses said, in His trial before Caiaphas] “This fellow said, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days.” Destroy, i.e. if you destroy: or rather, you will destroy. A similar use of the Imperative [occurs] Sirach 30:9; Sirach 33:26, Soothe your little son, etc. [= you will soothe],— τὸν ναόν, the temple) The body of Jesus, about to be raised again, is the temple and dwelling-place of the Godhead. Therefore Jesus is the Lord of the temple at Jerusalem, which was the type of the body of Jesus.— τοῦτον, this) There is no doubt but that Jesus supplied that which the Evangelist adds, John 2:21, by the employment of a nod or gesture, unobserved by the Jews.—(47) ἐγερῶ, I will raise it up) A suitable word, [both] concerning the edifice of stone, and concerning the temple of His body. It recurs at verse 22. This is a grand declaration of His, I can do what I please with the temple of My body: ch. John 10:17-18, “No man taketh it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again;” and so also I can do what I please with this temple made of stone and wood. He puts off those demanding the sign: comp. ch. John 8:28, “When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am He, and that I do nothing of myself:” nor, however, even in the time then being did He perform no signs; John 2:23, “Many believed on His name, when they saw the miracles which He did.”

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on John 2:19". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/john-2.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Our Saviour refuseth to give them any sign, but that of his resurrection the third day from the dead. This was the sign to which he afterwards refers the Pharisees, Matthew 12:39 Luke 11:29. Our Saviour’s words must not be understood as commanding or licensing them to destroy him, but as foretelling what they would do. It is in Scripture very ordinary to use the imperative mood for the future tense of the indicative; see Genesis 42:18 Deuteronomy 32:50 Isaiah 8:9,10 54:1 John 13:27.

Destroy, is as much as, I know you will destroy, or, If you do destroy this temple, I will build it up in three days. The resurrection of Christ from the dead is ordinarily in Scripture attributed to the Father; but here Christ saith he would do it; and the Spirit, by whom he is said to have been quickened, equally proceedeth both from the Father and the Son. Nor is this the only text where it is attributed to Christ; see John 20:17,18. It was the work of the Trinity, out of itself, and so the work of all the three Persons. These words were three years after this made a great charge against Christ, Matthew 26:61; but they reported them thus, This fellow said, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days. He said only, this temple, meaning his body.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on John 2:19". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/john-2.html. 1685.

Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture

Во время суда власти обвиняли Иисуса (Мк. 14:29, 58) в том, что Он делал угрожающее храму заявление, и открыли тем самым свое непонимание ответа Иисуса. И снова Евангелие от Иоанна дополняет другие Евангелия в этом месте тем, что указывает на таинственную ссылку Иисуса на Свое Воскресение. Поскольку Иисус говорил притчами, Его загадочное утверждение, вероятнее всего, предназначалось для того, чтобы открыть истину Своим ученикам, но скрыть его значение от неверующих, которые задали Ему вопрос (Мф. 13:10, 11). Однако ученики только после Его Воскресения поняли истинный смысл этого утверждения (ст. 22; ср. Мф. 12:40). Что еще более важно, смертью и Воскресением Христа было прекращено поклонение в Иерусалимском храме (ср. 4:21), и новым местом поклонения стали сердца людей, организованных в духовный храм, названный церковью (Еф. 2:19-22).

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MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on John 2:19". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/john-2.html.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

This temple; meaning his body, verse John 2:21.

I will raise it up; Jesus Christ had power to raise his own dead body to life, and actually did raise it on the third day after his death, according to his prediction. Matthew 12:40; Romans 1:4.

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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on John 2:19". "Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/john-2.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

19.Destroy this temple—Our Lord gives them a sign, and at the same time a test. They are welcome to try the experiment. It was a suitable sign too; for as his mastery over the temple was the very point in question, he tells them he can rebuild the temple in a much shorter time than they can destroy it. Herein he asserts, as the eternal Son of God, his absolute omnipotence. It is this they understand; and they are so deeply impressed with the utterance that it meets him afterwards as a charge, namely, at his trial before their tribunal! That this was a true but not the only meaning will soon appear.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on John 2:19". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/john-2.html. 1874-1909.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

‘Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy the Temple and in three days I will raise it up”.’

Jesus’ reply is straight and simple, ‘Destroy this Temple and in three days I will raise it up.’ This enigmatic reply brings them up short. They had not expected Him to tell them to destroy the Temple in order that He might give them a sign. They were not, of course, aware that within forty years the Temple would actually be destroyed as a result of their activities. Nor were they aware that for multitudes the crucified and risen Jesus would by then have replaced the Temple and its sacrifices. That the statement was generally remembered comes out in the fact that Jesus would later be charged with having said such things as, ‘I am able to destroy the Temple of God and rebuild it in three days’ (Matthew 26:61) and ‘I will destroy this Temple that is made with hands and in three days I will build another made without hands’ (Mark 14:58), both of which appear to be distorted repetitions of these words. Here is one example where the Synoptics assume material contained in John’s Gospel.

We may also see in this an indication of Jesus’ sense of humour. We can almost see Him saying it, with tongue in cheek. They had asked for a sign so He would offer them one. ‘Let them but destroy the Temple and He would rebuild it within three days.’ And then waiting to observe what their reaction would be. If they took Him literally they would then have to destroy their Temple in order to prove whether He was genuine or not. If they did not He could point to their unwillingness to cooperate with Him as removing from Him any obligation to provide a sign. But it did mean that they could not accuse Him of refusing them a sign. On the other hand it also had a deeper meaning, and He knew exactly what He meant. He was referring to His own coming death and resurrection.

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on John 2:19". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/john-2.html. 2013.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

Jesus gave them a sign but not the kind they wanted. They wanted some immediate demonstration of prophetic authority. Instead Jesus announced a miracle that would vindicate His authority after He died.

"As for "the sign," then and ever again sought by an "evil and adulterous generation"-evil in their thoughts and ways and adulterous to the God of Israel-He had then, as afterwards, only one "sign" to give: "Destroy this Temple, and in three days I will raise it up." Thus He met their challenge for a sign by the challenge of a sign: Crucify Him, and He would rise again; let them suppress the Christ, He would triumph. A sign this which they understood not, but misunderstood, and by making it the ground of their false charge in His final trial, themselves unwittingly fulfilled." [Note: Edersheim, 1:375.]

Why was Jesus not more cooperative? First, He controlled when as well as how He would act under the Father"s authority, and the time was not yet right for a dramatic sign (cf. John 2:4). Second, these Jews had already demonstrated that they had no real interest in justice, only in discrediting Jesus ( John 2:18). They did not sincerely want a sign. They would not have acknowledged Jesus" authority even if He had performed a miracle for them.

The Jews thought that Jesus was offering to rebuild Herod"s temple within three days if they would knock it down. His ability to do so would have been a miraculous enough sign for any of them. Furthermore it would have demonstrated His authority to regulate temple service. However they were unwilling to fulfill their part of the sign. By suggesting this action Jesus was also implying that the old temple and its service had served its purpose. He had come to establish a new temple and a new way of worship.

Why did Jesus answer enigmatically (with a riddle) rather than clearly? Why did He not say, Destroy my body, and I will raise it up in three days? Jesus was replying to unbelief the way He often did, in parabolic language. He wanted to hide revelation from the unbelieving but to reveal it to believers.

The Sanhedrin used Jesus" words about destroying the temple as a capital charge against Him at His trial ( Matthew 26:61; Mark 14:58; cf. Matthew 27:40; Mark 15:29). This was unfair, however, because Jesus had said, "You destroy the temple," not, "I will destroy the temple." Furthermore Jesus was speaking of His body primarily, not the temple.

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on John 2:19". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/john-2.html. 2012.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

John 2:19. Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple. The most important point for the understanding of this verse is the distinction between the two words which the English Bible renders ‘temple.’ The word used in John 2:14-15 denotes generally the whole area within the walls, and here especially the outermost space in the sacred enclosure; while the latter signifies the holy place, and the holy of holies. The sanctity of the temple-court has been vindicated; the true temple, the sanctuary, the dwelling-place of Jehovah; has not been mentioned in the narrative until now. But even this very significant change of expression would not render the meaning plain, for the words were intended to be enigmatical—to be understood after, and not before, the event which fulfilled them. If we would understand them, we must take them in connection with John 2:21, ‘But He spake of the temple of His body.’ To the English reader they seem merely to convey a warning that, if the Jews go on with such profanation as that which Jesus had checked, they will bring the temple to ruin. But it is of the sanctuary that He speaks, not of the temple-court which had sustained the desecration. When therefore He says, ‘Go on in your present way, and by so doing destroy this temple,’ He means that their rejection of Himself shall culminate in their consigning to destruction the temple of His body. The essence of the temple is, that it is the dwelling-place of God: His body is God’s temple, for in Him ‘dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.’ The material temple had been for ages the type of His body, in which God first truly manifested Himself to man. The continuance of the temple was no longer needed when the living temple was reared; but it was by the destruction or the latter that the destruction of the former was brought about,—its destruction, that is, as the dwelling-place of God. In the holiest place, behind the veil, Jehovah had dwelt: when the Lord Jesus was crucified, the veil was rent, the holy of holies was thrown open, and by being thrown open was shown to be God’s habitation no longer. Our Lord therefore might well use words which relate at once to His body and to the temple, such being the connection between the two.

And in three days I will raise it up.—His crucifixion involved the total destruction of the Jewish temple and polity. No longer will there be a special place in which God’s glory will be revealed, to which God’s worshippers will come,-a place in which are national distinctions, a court of the Gentiles, a court of Israel, a court of the priests. His resurrection will establish a new temple, a new order of spiritual worship. He Himself, as raised and glorified Messiah, will be the Cornerstone of a spiritual temple, holy in the Lord. This is one of the many passages in the Gospel which show to us how perfectly all the future of His history was anticipated by our Lord (see chap. John 3:14, etc.). There is no real difficulty in the words, ‘I will raise it up;’ chap. John 10:17-18, furnishes a complete explanation.

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on John 2:19". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/john-2.html. 1879-90.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Destroy, &c. The Lord"s enemies remembered His words, and perverted them: saying, "I will destroy", &c. See Matthew 26:61; Mark 14:58.

this. See on Matthew 16:18.

Temple. Greek. naos. See note on Matthew 23:16.

raise . . . up. Greek. egeiro. App-178.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on John 2:19". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/john-2.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.

Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple - not now the mere temple-court [ hieron (Greek #2411)], but the temple proper [ naos (Greek #3485)],

And in three days I will raise it up. See the notes at Mark 14:58-59.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on John 2:19". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/john-2.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(19) Here, as in Matthew 12:38, a sign is given referring to His resurrection. The sign is in its nature an enigma, meaningless to him who does not seek to understand it, but full of meaning for him who earnestly examines into the thing signified, and in such a form as impresses itself on the memory and educates the moral powers. We have had an example of this enigmatic teaching in John 1:15; John 1:27; John 1:30. We shall meet with others. (Comp. John 4, 6; John 16:25.) The enigma turns in the present case upon the double sense of the word “temple.” It meant the sacred shrine of the Deity, the Holy and Most Holy place, as distinct from the wider Temple area. But the true shrine of the Deity was the body of the Incarnate Word. The Temple of wood and stone was but the representative of the Divine Presence. That Presence was then actually in their midst. They had no reverence for the one; for, like its outer courts, it had become a house of merchandise, and was fast becoming a den of thieves. This very demand for an outward sign, while all around them feel a spiritual power, shows they have as little reverence for the other. They will destroy the real shrine; the shrine of wood and stone even will not be left to represent a Presence no longer among them. He will raise up the temple of His body the third day, and in that resurrection will be the foundation stone of the spiritual temple for the world. The use of the word “temple” by the Jews in this double sense is attested by their interpretation of the Old Testament. We have an example of the use of “tabernacle” in a parallel sense in John 1:14 (comp. 2 Peter 1:13-14), and the full idea of a spiritual worship and presence in John 4:21-24. The sign may have been suggested by the double thought then present—the Jews destroying the sanctity of the material Temple, the disciples seeing in Him one consumed by zeal for it. (Comp. 1 Corinthians 3:16-17.)

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on John 2:19". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/john-2.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.
Destroy
Matthew 26:60,61; 27:40; Mark 14:58; 15:29
and in
Matthew 12:40; 27:63
I will
5:19; 10:17,18; 11:25; Mark 8:31; Acts 2:24,32; 3:15,26; Romans 4:24; 6:4; Romans 8:11; 1 Corinthians 15:3,4,12; Colossians 2:12; 1 Peter 3:18
Reciprocal: 1 Kings 6:1 - build;  1 Chronicles 17:12 - He shall;  2 Chronicles 7:16 - eyes;  Psalm 56:5 - they;  Zechariah 6:12 - he shall build;  Matthew 12:6 - GeneralMatthew 16:21 - and be;  Matthew 17:23 - the third;  Matthew 28:6 - as;  Mark 9:10 - what;  Mark 9:31 - The Son;  Mark 16:6 - he is risen;  Luke 9:44 - for;  Luke 24:8 - GeneralJohn 11:17 - four;  Acts 13:30 - GeneralHebrews 9:24 - the holy;  Revelation 21:22 - the Lamb

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on John 2:19". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/john-2.html.

Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms

Ver. 19. "Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up."

It is evident that these words are not to be referred, as they have been by many, on the ground of an erroneous view of ver. 21, merely to Christ's death and resurrection, setting aside entirely all reference to the temple, usually so called. The reference to the material temple, is rendered necessary by the fact, that only on this hypothesis does the sign stand in close connection with the proceeding which it is to vindicate. It was with respect to the material temple that Christ had taken upon Him full authority; He can therefore appeal only to a fact in the future which will prove His authority over this temple. Further, the hypothesis, that Jesus, when He spoke these words, pointed to His body, is refuted by the circumstance, that then the Jews could not so have understood Him, as we find they did, not merely here in ver. 20,but also in Matthew 26:61; Matthew 27:40, and Mark 14:57-59. But if He did not thus do, by this temple could be understood primarily, only the temple in which the transaction had taken place. A third reason is, that it seems impossible to separate these words from those in Matthew 24:2, where our Lord, in reference to the material temple, says to the disciples, "See ye not all these things? Verily I say unto you. There shall not be left here one stone upon another, ὃς οὐ μὴ καταλυθήσεται." Finally, it is said in Acts 6:13-14, ἔστησάν τε μάρτυρας ψευδεῖς λέγοντας, ὁ ἄνθρωπος οὗτος οὐ παύεται λαλῶν ῥήματα κατὰ τοῦ τόπου τοῦ ἁγίου [ τούτου] καὶ τοῦ νόμου· ἀκηκόαμεν γὰρ αὐτοῦ λέγοντος ὅτι ἰησοῦς ὁ ναζωραῖος οὗτος καταλύσει τὸν τόπον τοῦτον καὶ ἀλλάξει τὰ ἔθη ἃ παρέδωκεν ἡμῖν ΄ωϋσῆς. The false testimony consisted in this, that the false witnesses laid the causality of the destruction entirely on Jesus. Thus much however follows from the passage, that Stephen understood the impending destruction of the temple to be announced m the declaration of our Lord, and that, therefore, he did not refer it only to the body of Christ.

On the other hand, that we are not to stop with the reference to the material temple, is shown by the impossibility of this sense, as already made prominent by the Jews, and by the preposterous character of the declaration thus rendered; and that the reference, emphasized by John, to Christ's body, His death and resurrection, really exists, is shown by the mention of the three days, and by the comparison of our Lord's declaration m Matthew 12:39-40, according to which the sign of the prophet Jonah, or a repetition of it, should be given to the Jews. "For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth;" and as Jonah afterwards appeared for I sign of judgment to the Ninevites, so also will the Son of man, after He has left the heart of the earth, appear for a sign of judgment unto this generation. Cf. Matthew 16:4

It has been already pointed out elsewhere, that we shall labour in vain in the solution of this sacred enigma, which he Saviour here presents before the Jews, so long as we fail to recognise the essential identity of the temple, the appearance of Christ in the flesh, and the Church of the New Testament. The meaning was there thus determined: "If you shall once (that which ye will do, ye shall do) destroy the temple of My body, and in and with it this outward temple, the symbol and pledge of the kingdom of God among you, then will I in three days raise up again the temple of My body, and in and with it the essence of the outward temple, the kingdom of God."

"That John," it was remarked, "assumed a close relation between the appearance of Christ and the temple, is evinced already in John 1:14. That the identity of the outward temple and the kingdom of God was not far removed from the coarse understanding of the Jews, is shown by Mark 14:58, where the witnesses thus render the words of Christ: ὅτι ἐγὼ καταλύσω τὸν ναὸν τοῦτον τὸν χειροποίητον καὶ διὰ τριῶν ἡμερῶν ἄλλον ἀχειροποίητον οἰκοδομήσω. This rendering, apart from the malicious change of λύσατε into ἐγὼ καταλύσω, is correct, but not complete. Of the three references, two only are apprehended; the third, to the body of Christ, is overlooked. This is made prominent by John in his mode of intimation, as being that which is least clear; and only a misapprehension of his usual manner in such cases, could mislead one to the opinion, that he intended to deny the two other references.

The signification of the temple is shown by the name, which it bore in its most ancient form, Ohel Moed,—the tabernacle of congregation, the place where God met with His people. Cf. Exodus 25:22; Exodus 29:43 : "And there I will meet with the children of Israel, and he shall be sanctified by My glory." Numbers 17:4 (Heb. ver. 19): "In the tabernacle of the congregation, where I will meet with you." Such a meeting was not merely a temporary one, when at the chief feasts the people assembled personally in the sanctuary. Rather does Jehovah ever meet with His people in the sanctuary. He is always there present, and ready to receive His own; and His own can come to Him spiritually and dwell with Him, even when personally they are far removed from the sanctuary. It is of significance in this reference, that in the prayer of Solomon at the dedication of the temple, 1 Kings 8:44; 1 Kings 8:48, it is promised, that the prayers of those also shall be heard, who are outwardly separated from the temple, but pray with the body and mind turned towards it. But Leviticus 16:16 is decisive; for, according to this, all the children of Israel dwell spiritually with the Lord in His tabernacle, which consequently is no other than an embodiment of the Church. Decisive, also, are many passages in the Psalms, in which it is designated as the highest privilege of believers, that they dwell with the Lord in His temple, and thus also dwell with Him, when they are personally far removed from it. Cf., e.g., Psalms 84:4 : "The bird hath found an house, and the swallow a nest for herself, thine altars, O Lord of Sabaoth."

The bird and swallow are an emblem of believers in their weakness and helplessness.

Ver. 5: "Blessed are they that dwell in Thy house;" where the dwellers in the house of God are not "its constant visitors," but members of the household of God in a spiritual sense. Psalms 27:4 : "One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after, that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life." Psalms 23:6 : "I dwell in the house of the Lord my whole life long." Psalms 15:1; Psalms 27:5; Psalms 61:4, "I will abide in Thy tabernacle for ever;" Psalms 63:2. In Psalms 52, a Psalm which, according to the superscription, was sung far from the sanctuary, it is said in ver. 8, "But I am like a green olive-tree in the house of God;" and according to Psalms 92:13, all believers are planted in the house of the Lord. All these passages serve for a commentary to the name Ohel Moed, and show that the meeting together was at the same time a dwelling together, the intercourse being an unbroken one. In the prophets also, we find the same representation. "Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?"—thus do the godless exclaim (Isaiah 33:14), when terrified by the mighty judgments of the Lord. They do so from the conviction, that all Israelites dwell with the Lord, or in His sanctuary, cf. Psalms 5:4; and explain this privilege, according to the experience they have just had of the character of the Lord, as an extremely dangerous one. The temple appears as the spiritual dwelling-place of Israel also in Matthew 23:38 : the house in which the Lord has hitherto dwelt with them is now to be left desolate, the presence of the Lord departing from it.

The temple being thus the symbol and pledge of the connection of God with His people, it will appear quite natural that the temple should occur repeatedly as a mere emblem of the Church. We find such passages even in the Old Testament. In Jeremiah 7:14, the unbelieving covenant-people are upbraided for the assumption of the prerogative of the believing, of being the temple of the Lord. In Zechariah 6:12, it is said of the Messiah, "He shall build the temple of the Lord"—the Church. In Zechariah 7:3 also, the Church of God is designated by the name of the house of God. In Ephesians 2:19, believers are declared to be of the household of God; as formerly the Jews only were, but now are also the Gentile Christians. The fact that the temple is now destroyed, does not alter the case, since it was only a symbol. Cf. vers. 21, 22; 1 Corinthians 3:16; 2 Corinthians 6:16; 1 Timothy 3:15; 1 Peter 2:5.

The connection of God with His people having formed the heart of the sanctuary, this must have been not merely an emblem of the Church, but at the same time a type of the advent of Christ, in which this connection was truly completed, and in which the Church received its necessary foundation. In Christ, God dwelt truly and really among His people. He took upon Him flesh and blood among them and from them; and the Church of the New Testament is only the continuation of His appearance in the flesh, since to His own He is the true Immanuel always unto the end of the world. This typical relation of the temple to Christ is indicated not only by John, John 1:14, but also by Paul in Colossians 2:9; Colossians 1:19.

The word, "destroy," is not to be attenuated into a mere prediction of that which will be. It is to be placed under the same point of view as the command to Judas, "What thou doest, do quickly;" and the word in Matthew 23:32, πληρώσατε τὸ μέτρον τῶν πατέρων ὑμῶν. When the Jews changed λύσατε into ἐγὼ καταλύσω, they had rightly discovered that Jesus attributed to Himself a causality in this; their wickedness consisted in entirely setting aside their own participation. No one disappoints God. What the sinner will do, that he is to do. "From this we may learn," says Anton, "how the counsel of God manifests itself in such cases. It seems as though the Almighty gave this and that entirely into the power of men, as was especially the appearance in the Passion of Christ. Then His enemies rejoiced, and thought, Now all will be right." We may doubtless say, that there is a sacred irony in the word λύσατε. They think to put a finishing stroke to the work of Christ, and are themselves only the instruments in His hand.

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Hengstenberg, Ernst. "Commentary on John 2:19". Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/heg/john-2.html.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

19.Destroy this temple. This is an allegorical mode of expression; and Christ intentionally spoke with that degree of obscurity, because he reckoned them unworthy of a direct reply; as he elsewhere declares that he speaks to them in parables, because they are unable to comprehend the mysteries of the heavenly kingdom, (Matthew 13:13.) But first he refuses to them the sign which they demanded, either because it would have been of no advantage, or because he knew that it was not the proper time. Some compliances he occasionally made even with their unreasonable requests, and there must have been a strong reason why he now refused. Yet that they may not seize on this as a pretense for excusing themselves, he declares that his power will be approved and confirmed by a sign of no ordinary value; for no greater approbation of the divine power in Christ could be desired than his resurrection from the dead. But he conveys this information figuratively, because he does not reckon them worthy of an explicit promise. In short, he treats unbelievers as they deserve, and at the same time protects himself against all contempt. It was not yet made evident, indeed, that they were obstinate, but Christ knew well what was the state of their feelings.

But it may be asked, since he performed so many miracles, and of various kinds, why does he now mention but one? I answer, he said nothing about all the other miracles, First, because his resurrection alone was sufficient to shut their mouth: Secondly, he was unwilling to expose the power of God to their ridicule; for even respecting the glory of his resurrection he spoke allegorically: Thirdly, I say that he produced what was appropriate to the case in hand; for, by these words, he shows that all authority over the Temple belongs to him, since his power is so great in building the true Temple of God.

This temple. Though he uses the word temple in accommodation to the present occurrence, yet the body of Christ is justly and appropriately called a temple. The body of each of us is called a tabernacle, (2 Corinthians 5:4; 2 Peter 1:13,) because the soul dwells in it; but the body of Christ was the abode of his Divinity. For we know that the Son of God clothed himself with our nature in such a manner that the eternal majesty of God dwelt in the flesh which he assumed, as in his sanctuary.

The argument of Nestorius, who abused this passage to prove that it is not one and the same Christ who is God and man, may be easily refuted. He reasoned thus: the Son of God dwelt in the flesh, as in a temple; therefore the natures are distinct, so that the same person was not God and man. But this argument might be applied to men; for it will follow that it is not one man whose soul dwells in the body as in a tabernacle; and, therefore, it is folly to torture this form of expression for the purpose of taking away the unity of Person in Christ. It ought to be observed, that our bodies also are called temples of God, (1 Corinthians 3:16, and 1 Corinthians 6:19; 2 Corinthians 6:16) but it is in a different sense, namely, because God dwells in us by the power and grace of his Spirit; but in Christ the fullness of the Godhead dwells bodily, so that he is truly God manifested in flesh, (1 Timothy 3:16.)

I will raise it up again. Here Christ claims for himself the glory of his resurrection, though, in many passages of Scripture, it is declared to be the work of God the Father. But these two statements perfectly agree with each other; for, in order to give us exalted conceptions of the power of God, Scripture expressly ascribes to the Father that he raised up his Son from the dead; but here, Christ in a special manner asserts his own Divinity. And Paul reconciles both.

If the Spirit of Him, that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you,
(
Romans 8:11.)

While he makes the Spirit the Author of the resurrection, he calls Him indiscriminately sometimes the Spirit of Christ, and sometimes the Spirit of the Father.

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on John 2:19". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/john-2.html. 1840-57.