This study examines John's portrayal of Jesus as the fulfillment and replacement of the Temple. It also shows how a traditional conception of typology can be helpful for understanding the nature of the relationship between Jesus and the Temple.
Interpreters often associate John 1:14, 1:51, 2:18-22, and 4:20-24 with Jesus' replacement of the Temple. Based on these texts, one can already begin to see that he fulfills and replaces the Temple in that he is the new locus of God's presence, glory, revelation, and abundant provision for his people. In particular, John 2:18-22 clearly associates Jesus' role as the Temple with his death and resurrection.
According to Isaiah, part of God's decisive action on behalf of his people, and for revealing himself to the nations, is the lifting up of the Temple above all other temples. In John, this expectation finds its fulfillment in Jesus. John's language of lifting up and glorification marks Jesus' death, resurrection, and exaltation as climactic events through which God lifts up and glorifies Jesus, the true Temple. Jesus' death, resurrection, and exaltation are also the means by which God provides for his people. Jesus offers his flesh and blood for the life of the world and sends the Spirit to enrich believers with the benefits of his sacrificial death. In doing so, he simultaneously fulfills prophecies and patterns associated with the Passover, Feast of Tabernacles, Feast of Dedication, and the Temple.