John 2:18
Then answered the Jews and said to him, What sign show you to us, seeing that you do these things?
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(18) Then answered the Jews.—Comp. for the meaning of “the Jews” John 1:19; and for their question, Matthew 21:23. The Mosaic legislation contained a warning against the efficiency of the test by signs (Deuteronomy 13:1-3), but it was of the essence of Pharisaism to cling to it (Matthew 12:38; 1Corinthians 1:22). It supplied an easy means of rejecting the moral conviction. A sign can only be evidence to the mind open to read the underlying truth. For “an evil and adulterous generation” it has no voice, and they can, after the feeding of the thousands, still demand “What sign showest Thou?” (John 6:30). There are bigots of incredulity. Knowledge is dependent upon action and will (comp. John 7:17). There is a mental condition which no evidence can convince, for it can always demand more. “If they hear not Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead” (Luke 16:31).

John 2:18-22. Then answered the Jews — “A fact so public and remarkable as that just mentioned, could not but immediately come to the knowledge of the priests and rulers of the Jews, whose supreme council sat in a magnificent chamber belonging to the temple;” some of them, therefore, said unto him, What sign showest thou unto us, seeing thou doest these things — That is, to prove thyself authorized and commissioned to do them? This they ask because it belonged only to the magistrate, as being God’s minister and vicegerent, or to a prophet, to reform abuses in God’s worship. The authority of the magistrate they knew Christ had not, for acting as he had done; and if he alleged that he acted as a prophet, they require him to give them proof of his being such, by some miracle or prediction, to be accomplished before their eyes. But was not the thing itself a sufficient sign? His ability to drive so many from their posts, without opposition, was surely a proof of his authority to do it: he that was armed by such a divine power, must have been armed with a divine commission. The truth is, they required a miracle to confirm a miracle! This unreasonable demand Jesus did not think proper to grant them; but refers them to the miracle of his resurrection: which, however, he does in such obscure terms, as prejudiced minds could not understand, till the prediction was cleared and explained by the event. Jesus answered, Destroy this temple — Pointing probably to his body, which, with the greatest propriety, he called a temple, on account of the divinity residing in it. By a like figure of speech, the apostle calls the bodies of believers the temples of God. When Christ said, Destroy this temple, he meant, You will be permitted to destroy it, and you will destroy it: for at the very beginning of his ministry he had a clear foresight of all his sufferings, and of his death at the end of it; and yet he went on cheerfully in his work. Observe, reader, our Lord spake thus to them in parables because they were willingly ignorant, and shut their eyes against the clear light issuing from his life, his doctrine, and his miracles. For they that will not see shall not see; but shall stumble and fall, and be broken, and snared, and taken, Isaiah 8:14-15. Accordingly, the figurative speech here used by our Lord, proved such a stumbling-block to them, that it was produced in evidence against him at his trial, to prove him a blasphemer, Matthew 26:60-61. Had they, in humility, asked him the meaning of what he said, he would have informed them, and it would have been a savour of life unto life to them; but they resolved to cavil, and it proved a savour of death unto death. They that would not be convinced were hardened, and the manner of the expression of this prediction occasioned the accomplishment of the prediction itself. In his saying, In three days I will raise it up — Our Lord not only foretold his resurrection, but that it should he effected by his own power. There were others that were raised at different times from the dead, but Christ was the only person that ever raised himself! They, supposing that he spake of the temple in which they were standing, replied, Forty and six years was this temple in building — Dr. Lightfoot computes that it was just forty-six years from the founding of Zerubbabel’s temple, in the second year of Cyrus, to the complete settlement of the temple service, in the thirty- second year of Artaxerxes. The original expression, however, ωκοδομηθη ο ναος ουτος, instead of, was this temple in building, is translated by Doddridge, Heylin, and Worsley, hath been building, “proceeding on the supposition, that those who made this reply alluded to the additional buildings which the temple had received, and which had been begun by Herod, and continued by those who succeeded him in the government of Judea, to the time then present. But let it be observed, that the Jews never did, nor do to this day, speak of more than two temples possessed by their fathers; the first built by Solomon, the second by Zerubbabel. The great additions made by Herod, were considered as intended only for decorating and repairing the edifice, not for rebuilding it; for, in fact, Zerubbabel’s temple had not then been destroyed. Nor need we, I think, puzzle ourselves to make out exactly the forty-six years spoken of. Those men were evidently in the humour of exaggerating, in order to represent to the people as absurd what they had immediately heard advanced by our Lord. In this disposition, we may believe, they would not hesitate to include the years in which the work was interrupted, among the years employed in building.” — Campbell. But he spake of the temple of his body — And therefore they were entirely mistaken as to the sense of what he said; When, therefore, he was risen from the dead — Just on the third day after his crucifixion; his disciples remembered that he had said this — Which, when they heard him utter it, they did not at all understand; and they believed the Scripture, &c. — As they believed the Scriptures, which predicted the Messiah’s death, so they believed the more firmly in their Master on account of this prophecy, which, by foretelling his resurrection so long beforehand, rendered that event, when it happened, a most illustrious proof of his mission from God. Dr. Campbell translates the clause, They understood the Scripture, and the word which Jesus had spoken; observing, that the word πιστευειν, in the sacred writers, sometimes signifies, not so much to believe, as to apprehend aright. “In this sense, it is once and again employed by this writer in particular. It is not intimated here, that the disciples did not, before this time, believe the Scriptures, or their Master’s word: but that they did not, till now, rightly apprehend the meaning of either, in relation to this subject. Another instance of this application of the verb πιστευω, we have John 3:12.”2:12-22 The first public work in which we find Christ engaged, was driving from the temple the traders whom the covetous priests and rulers encouraged to make a market-place of its courts. Those now make God's house a house of merchandise, whose minds are filled with cares about worldly business when attending religious exercises, or who perform Divine offices for love of gain. Christ, having thus cleansed the temple, gave a sign to those who demanded it, to prove his authority for so doing. He foretells his death by the Jews' malice, Destroy ye this temple; I will permit you to destroy it. He foretells his resurrection by his own power; In three days I will raise it up. Christ took again his own life. Men mistake by understanding that according to the letter, which the Scripture speaks by way of figure. When Jesus was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered he has said this. It helps much in understanding the Divine word, to observe the fulfilling of the Scriptures.What sign ... - What "miracle" dost thou work? He assumed the character of a prophet. He was reforming, by his "authority," the temple. It was natural to ask by what authority this was done; and as they had been accustomed to miracles in the life of Moses, and Elijah, and the other prophets, so they demanded evidence that he had authority thus to cleanse the house of God.

Seeing that thou doest - Rather "by what title or authority thou doest these things." Our translation is ambiguous. They wished to know "by what miracle" he had shown, or could show, his right to do those things.

18-22. What sign showest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things?—Though the act and the words of Christ, taken together, were sign enough, they were unconvinced: yet they were awed, and though at His very next appearance at Jerusalem they "sought to kill Him" for speaking of "His Father" just as He did now (Joh 5:18), they, at this early stage, only ask a sign. Which of the Jews, whether some of the magistrates, or the priests, (who were more specially concerned for their profit), or the common people, or all together, is not said. They undertake not to justify their fact, nor could they deny it, but they ask him

what sign he could show them to justify his Divine authority. For this seemeth to have been their principle, that let corruptions and abuses in a church be never so great, yet they were not to be reformed, but either by the ordinary authority of the magistrate, or by all extraordinary authority from God. Such an extraordinary authority they would acknowledge in prophets; but they expected that those who pretended to such an extraordinary Divine mission, should be able to confirm that mission by some miraculous operations, as Moses did, Exodus 4:30. They had had no prophets now for four hundred years amongst them; the Jews required therefore a sign, 1 Corinthians 1:22. The papists were at the same point with the first reformers; but they mistook, for they brought no new doctrine, but still cried, To the law and to the testimony; and where the true doctrine and sacraments are upheld, there is a true church, which hath power to call and send out preachers. Then answered the Jews, and said unto him,.... They did not lay hands on him, or offer any violence to him; they did not, as the inhabitants of Nazareth did, thrust him out, and lead him to a precipice, to cast him down headlong; nor did they take up stones to stone him, as they afterwards did, when he asserted his deity: and it is surprising, that they did not rise up and destroy him at once, a single man, unarmed, and without assistance, having so highly provoked them; the restraint upon them must be his almighty power: nor do they deny what he suggested, that they had made his Father's house an house of merchandise; nor do they offer to vindicate their profanation of the temple, or object to the purging of it; only demand a proof of his right to do it: and which demand was made, not by the common people, or by the sellers of oxen, sheep, and doves, and the money changers, who were drove out, and had not spirit to rally again; but by the chief priests and elders, the sanhedrim of the nation, who had the care and government of the temple, and under whose authority the above persons acted; and whose gain and worldly interest were promoted hereby, as a like demand was afterwards made by the same persons; see Matthew 21:23;

what sign shewest thou unto us, seeing thou dost these things? they argued, that either he did these things of himself, by his own authority, and then they must be deemed rash and unjustifiable; or he did it by the authority of others: they knew it was not by theirs, who were the great council of the nation, from whom he should have had his instructions and orders, if he acted by human authority; and if he pretended to a divine authority, as they supposed he did, then they insisted upon a sign or miracle to be wrought, to prove that God was his Father, as he suggested; and that he was the proprietor and owner of the temple, and had a right to purge it, as he had done; see 1 Corinthians 1:22.

{5} Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What {h} sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things?

(5) Against those who so bind God to an ordinary calling, which they themselves most shamefully abuse, that they will not admit of an extraordinary calling, which God confirms from heaven (and they would have it extinguished, although in vain) unless it is sealed with outward and bodily miracles.

(h) With what miracle do you confirm it, that we may see the heavenly power and strength which gives you authority to speak and to act in this manner?

John 2:18-19. The same question as in Matthew 21:23, but how totally different an answer! It cannot therefore be used to confirm the supposed identity of the two events.

ἀπεκρίθ.] As in Matthew 11:25 (which see), and often, denoting what is said upon occasion of Christ’s act, and with reference thereto.

τί σημεῖον] If what He had done was to he recognised as appropriate to Him, it must be based upon a really prophetic ἐξουσία, and consequently upon divine authorization; in proof of this, they desired a special miraculous sign or act, accrediting Him as a divine messenger, and which was to be wrought by Him before their eyes, אוֹת, σημεῖον τῆς αὐθεντίας, Euthymius Zigabenus; comp. John 6:30.

δεικνύεις] dost thou bring before us, lettest us see; comp. Hom. Il. v. 244: Κρονιων

δεικνὺς σῆμα βροτοῖσιν. Od. γ. 174.

ὅτι] εἰς ἐκεῖνο, ὅτι, on, John 9:17, John 11:51, John 16:9; Mark 16:14; 2 Corinthians 1:18; 2 Corinthians 11:10. See Fritzsche ad Matt. p. 248. Consequently in the sense of quatenus, see Ast, Lex. Plat. II. 485.

ποιεῖς] The present denotes the act just performed, but which is still regarded as present.

John 2:19. λύσατε τὸν ναὸν τοῦτον, κ.τ.λ.] refers, according to the apostle’s explanation in John 2:21, to the death and resurrection of Jesus, so that he consequently means His body as the dwelling-place of God, who was in Christ (John 10:38, John 14:10-11; John 14:20, John 17:21, John 1:14), i.e. as the antitype of the temple,[142] and, in conformity with this, His violent death as the pulling down, and His resurrection as the rebuilding of it. We must therefore, according to John, suppose that Jesus, with the temple buildings before Him, to which He points (this temple here), sees in them the sacred type of His body, and with that directness of expression characteristic of the old prophets (such as we often see, e.g., in Isaiah), straightway substitutes the image for that which it represented, so that these sharp, vivid strokes, dashed down without any explanation, contain, as in a pictorial riddle, a symbolic and prophetic announcement of His resurrection,[143] as in Matthew 12:39; Matthew 16:4, and in keeping with what we are to assume throughout, viz. that He never foretold His resurrection in so many words, but only by figures and in obscure terms. The thought accordingly, divested of this figurative envelope, is, according to John, no other than this: kill me, and within three days (ἐν, see Bernhardy, p. 209; Winer, p. 361 [E. T. p. 482]) I will rise again. The imperative in the protasis is not permissive merely, which weakens the emotion, but contains a challenge; it springs from painfully excited feeling, as He looks with heart-searching gaze upon that implacable opposition which was already beginning to show itself, and which would not be satisfied till it had put Him to death. Comp. πληρώσατε, Matthew 23:32. John’s explanation is adopted by the ancients, and among modern expositors by Kuinoel, Tholuck, Hildebrand (in Hüffell’s Zeitschr. II. 1), Kling (in d. Stud. u. Krit. 1836, p. 127), Krabbe, Klee, Olshausen (at least as to their inner meaning, while the words, he thinks, were apparently simply a repelling paradox), Maier, Hasert (Ueb. d. Vorhersagungen Jesu von seinem Tode, Berlin 1839, p. 81), Hauff in the Stud. u. Krit. 1849, p. 106 ff.; Brückner (against De Wette), Laurillard, de locis ev. Joh. in quibus ipse auctor verba J. interpretat. est, Lugd. B. 1853, p. 1 ff.; Baumgarten, Maier, Baeumlein, Godet, even Luthardt (though bringing in a double meaning; by putting Jesus to death, Israel destroyed itself as the house of God, while the resurrection was the setting up of God’s spiritual house; comp. Ebrard, Lange, Riggenbach, Hengstenberg); similarly Baur, p. 137 ff., who, however (and with him Hilgenfeld), traces the expression to synoptic elements much later in point of time. But John’s explanation is abandoned, since the time of Herder (vom Sohne Gottes) and Henke (Programm 1798, in Pott, Sylloge, I. p. 8 ff.), by Eckermann, Paulus, Lücke, Schweizer, Bleek, B. Crusius, Ammon, Strauss, Gfrörer, De Wette, Ewald, Weizsacker, Schenkel, Scholten, and many others, who, with various modifications, explain the pulling down of the temple of the decay of the old temple religion, and the setting up in three days of the new spiritual theocracy so soon to be established; thus the imperative is taken by some as a challenge (as above) (Herder, Henke, Ewald), by some again as a concession (Schenkel), and by some as an hypothesis (Lücke, B. Crusius, De Wette: “Granted that ye destroy”)—according to De Wette, with allusion perhaps to the late partial pulling down of the temple by Herod. But (1) before we can assume that John of all men, who yet elsewhere was so deeply imbued with the mind of Jesus, wholly misunderstood Him, and that too at the time when he wrote his Gospel, when, consequently, the old degenerate religion had been long ago overthrown, and the new spiritual sanctuary long ago set up,—the most decisive evidence of such a misunderstanding is requisite. If this be not forthcoming, we are bound to seek the true, interpretation of any saying of Jesus from him, and especially in this case, where he distinctly gives his own explanation in opposition to the misconception of the Jews, and gives it not only as his own, but as that of the rest of the disciples likewise. (2) The accusation in Matthew 26:61, Mark 14:58 (comp. Acts 6:13) is no argument in favour of the modern interpretation, for it is based only upon the Jewish misunderstanding of the saying. (3) The place and occasion alike suggested the temple as an illustration, but they determined nothing as to the subject-matter of the comparison; a σημεῖον in general was asked for, not one bearing specially upon the temple. (4) The setting up of the spiritual temple was an event not at all dependent upon a previous λύειν of the old economy; on the contrary, a beginning had already been made, the further development of which was not the effect but the cause (the fermenting element) of the dissolution of the old theocracy: hence the relation of the protasis to the apodosis of the sentence would be neither logically nor historically correct. (5) This spiritual building up was so far from being a momentary act, and was to so great a degree a gradual development, that neither the conception of a ΣΗΜΕῖΟΝ in general, nor the words ἘΝ ΤΡΙΣῚΝ ἩΜΈΡΑΙς, which belong essentially to this conception, have any corresponding relation thereto; the latter expression, even if taken in a proverbial sense (Hosea 6:2, not Luke 13:32; but see Dissen ad Dem. de cor. p. 362), could only mean “in a few days,” and therefore would be quite unsuited to the comparison, and would even have the appearance of grandiloquence. Moreover, as the three days joined to the ἐγερῶ were always the fixed correlative of Christ’s resurrection, this ought itself to have excluded the modern explanation. (6) A new temple would of necessity have been spoken of as another (comp. Mark 14:58), but ἐγερῶ αὐτόν can only mean the same; and thus the Jews as well as John rightly understood it, for Jesus did not say ἐγερῶ ἄλλον or ἝΤΕΡΟΝ, or the like.[144] (7) It is only a seeming objection to John’s explanation, that according to N. T. theology Christ did not raise Himself from the dead, but was raised by the Father; comp. John 2:22; Acts 2:24; Acts 2:31 ff., Acts 3:15; Acts 4:10; Acts 5:30, al.; Romans 4:24; Romans 8:11; 1 Corinthians 6:14; 2 Corinthians 4:14; Galatians 1:1; Ephesians 1:21; Colossians 2:12; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; 1 Peter 1:21. Any such contradiction to the Christian mode of view, if real, must have prevented John himself above every one from referring the words to the resurrection. But the objection disappears if we simply give due weight to the figurative nature of the expression, which rests upon that visible contemplation of the resurrection, according to which the Subject that arises, whose resurrection is described as the re-erecting of the destroyed temple, must also be the Subject that erects the temple,—without affecting the further doctrine, which, moreover, does not come under consideration, that the causa efficiens, i.e. the actual revivifying power, is the father. Christ receiving His life again from the Father (John 10:17) and rising again, Himself raises up by His very resurrection the destroyed temple. See, moreover, Brückner, p. 57, and Godet. Comp. Ignat. Smyrn. 2 : ἀληθῶς ἀνέστησεν ἑαυτόν.

For ἘΓΕΊΡΕΙΝ as used of erecting buildings, see Sir 49:11; 3 Esdras 5:44, 8:81; Ael. V. H. 12, 23; Herodianus, 3, 15. 6; Jacobs ad Anthol. XII. p. 7518. the Jews] See on John 1:19.

What sign shewest thou] We have a similar question Matthew 21:23, but the widely different answer shews that the occasion is not the same. Such demands would be made often.John 2:18. Τί σημεῖον, what sign) And yet this very act was a σημεῖον, sign, which Jesus had miraculously wrought. [Of how great a number do you imagine there would be need, if all the buyers and sellers had to be immediately driven out of any market-place!—V. g. And on that account, indeed, that act was the more marvellous, inasmuch as Jesus, having just come from His baptism, had not yet ceased to be a stranger to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.—Harm., p. 161.] They require signs, to be proved by signs. They showed the same perversity, ch. John 6:30, [After His miracle of feeding 5000, they said] “What sign showest Thou then, that we may see and believe Thee?” Matthew 21:23, “The chief priests came unto Him, as He was teaching in the temple, and said, By what authority doest Thou these things? and who gave Thee this authority?”—ὅτι) seeing that, since.Verses 18,19. - The Jews therefore answered and said to him. That which the disciples thought at the very time is here recorded by one who affects at least to know their inmost minds and most confidential meditations and talk with one another. John, at least, saw the rising storm of enmity already hurtling, but says nothing. Nevertheless, as if in reply to the imperial prophetic act (which corresponded with John the Baptist's prediction of One who would come axe in hand), the Jews approached with answer (of., for this use of the word "answer," Matthew 11:25; Acts 3:12; Mark 11:14). The "answer" here is in the form of a question, which shows that they had not recognized the sign he had already given, that this temple was his "Father's house," and that he had solemnly claimed the authority of "Son" over the house. What sign showest thou, because (or, seeing that) thou doest these things? (cf. Matthew 12:38, etc.; John 6:30). Thou art bound to give us some "sign" that thou hast a right to deal thus with established customs and to assume the position of a public reformer. Upon what does thine (ἐξουσία) authority rest? Give us some miraculous proof of these high assumptions, "seeing that (quatenus) thou art doing these things," whose consequences are now so conspicuous. It might be supposed that the extraordinary effect just produced upon the crowd of traffickers was sufficient proof of power, if not of authority. The Jews were within their right in asking for these authentications; but their continuous demand for outward signs is one of the conspicuous features of their character (Matthew 12:38; 1 Corinthians 1:22). In the fundamental nature of a "sign" there is a hint of the true solution of the enigmatical saying which is the first public utterance of our Lord. He gave to the act which he was about to perform the characteristic of a "sign." It would be an outward and visible manifestation of a stupendous spiritual event. This, among other reasons, refutes the modern speculation of Herder, Ewald, Lucke, Renan, and even of Neander, Geikie, and others, that the evangelist was wrong in the explanation of this remarkable saying which he offered in the twenty-first verse. John, who, better than modern commentators can do, ought to have known what the Lord meant, declares that Jesus was speaking of "the temple of his body" when, as the context shows, he was vindicating his right to cleanse the existing temple; and by τὸν ναὸν τοῦτον, "this sanctuary," he was also pointing to and referring in some sense to the temple structure in the midst of which he and the Jews were standing. The commentators have said, "John was wrong, and was led astray by his own fancies. There was no reference to the death or resurrection of Christ. The Lord meant," say they, "as follows: 'Persist in your lawless, irreverent, unbelieving treatment of the temple, and so destroy it. Let it cease by this handling of yours from being a temple, and I will prove my right to cleanse it, and to reform, rebuke, or condemn your immoral practices in it, by building it again, or rather erecting a spiritual temple, a temple without hands, and in three days, i.e. in a short time after you have consummated your impiety, I will complete my restorative work - I will build a new temple and fill it with my glory.'" If John had not appended the twenty-first verse, "Howbeit he spake concerning the temple of his body," the above interpretation would deserve very close attention and perhaps acceptance. But there are sundry difficulties in it, even if the evangelist had not supplied the true key: - e.g. Christ does not say, "I will raise up 'another' temple or a 'spiritual' temple on the ruins of the old;" but "I will raise it up," viz. the temple which I challenge you to "destroy." Though ἐν τρισὶν ἡμέραις, "in three days," is used in this indefinite sense, in Hosea (Hosea 6:2, LXX.), yet it is the accepted term for the period of three days, which counted from the death to the resurrection of the Lord, and which in the synoptic Gospels (Matthew 12:40) is distinctly foretold to be the great "sign" given to that generation. Moreover, from the Jewish misunderstanding of the words which appear in the synoptic narrative, viz. δια, τρίων ἡμέρων, "during three days," the literal character of the time specified had laid hold, not only of the disciples, but of the multitude. Again, the erection of the spiritual temple would not be an outward and visible sign of the grace and authority of the Lord; but rather the great spiritual reality itself - invisible indeed, and requiring signs to manliest and demonstrate its own occurrence and existence. We conclude, then, that the apostle knew better than his critics, and that we are to believe that, when the Lord said to the Jews, Destroy (λύσατε, dissolve, break up) this temple, "he was speaking of the temple of his body," and at the same time linking and identifying the two temples, relating the one to the other so closely that the destruction of his body became ipso facto the demolition of the temple character of the building where they then stood. The temple of stone and gold, of stately decoration and ceremonial, derived all its true meaning from its being the gorgeous crystallization of a Divine idea embodied in his life. The temple had no value save as a meeting place for God and man, where by sacrifice and worship man might approach the Father, who declared himself to be reconciled, long suffering, and yet just. The Lord has come to the temple, but was himself One holier and "greater than the temple." God is manifested in the glory of that holy life, and man is set forth also in Christ's perfect high-priestly approach to and commerce with the excellent glory. The Lord knows that he is the Lamb, and the only begotten Son of God, and he knows also that his death is part of the awful method in which the vast designs of his righteous love will be secured. He has a baptism to be baptized with, and he is straitened until it be accomplished. He anticipates the end. As he said afterwards to Judas, "That thou doest do quickly;" so at this moment he said, Destroy this temple (of my body), and you will destroy therein the temple character of this historic embodiment of a grand prophetic hope; and I will raise it up, viz. - the temple of my body - in three days (not, I will raise it by quiet, unobserved, spirit processes in the souls of men, but) the very temple which you will bring down shall henceforth be the living and eternal temple of all the glory of God and all the possibilities of man. The great bulk of expositors of many types, who do not repudiate St. John's own words, see thus (with more or less of a double reference in it) the first main significance of the enigma. Whether our Lord pointed to his own Person as he uttered these words cannot be determined. It is said by some - If he had done so, all ambiguity would have been removed, and the misunderstanding which followed would have been impossible! Surely the Jews were not usually ready to receive parabolic truth of this kind so readily, and after their fashion were almost sure to misconceive and falsely to misrepresent it. Even the disciples did not see into its meaning until after the Resurrection (ver. 22). How could they? Verily, then, and not till then, was it seen that the sign of the Prophet Jonas had been given to that generation. Answered

Often used in reply to an objection or criticism, or to something present in another's mind, as John 19:7, or John 3:3, where Jesus answers with reference to the error in Nicodemus' mind, rather than in direct reply to his address.

Destroy this temple (λύσατε τὸν ναὸν τοῦτον)

Destroy, Literally, loosen. Wyc., undo. See on Mark 13:2; see on Luke 9:12; see on Acts 5:38. Notice that the word for temple is ναὸν, sanctuary (see on John 2:14). This temple points to the literal temple, which is truly a temple only as it is the abode of God, hence sanctuary, but with a typical reference to Jesus' own person as the holy dwelling-place of God who "was in Christ." Compare 1 Corinthians 3:16, 1 Corinthians 3:17. Christ's death was therefore the pulling down of the temple, and His resurrection its rebuilding. The imperative in destroy is of the nature of a challenge. Compare fill ye up, Matthew 23:32.

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