Destroy This Temple

Q. Recently I stumbled upon John 2:18-19 and need some clarification. Was John prophesying to a future generation instead of his own? Is it possible that The Lord spoke to the end times generation through him in this verse, while John himself was unaware of this and believed himself to be upon the last hour?

A. John 2:18-19 says, Then the Jews demanded of him, “What miraculous sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?” Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.”

Jesus was using a metaphor, speaking of His body rather than a literal temple. Later Paul would confirm that our bodies are the Temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 3:16, 1 Cor. 6:19). When Jesus spoke of the destruction of “this temple” He was referring to the death of His body. Saying He would raise it again in 3 days symbolized bringing it back to life again in the resurrection. In response to a similar request for a miraculous sign He called this the sign of the prophet Jonah (Matt. 12:38-40).

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