Friday, May 31, 2013

A Discussion About NAOS and HIERON (The Great Crowd)

I believe that NAOS and hIERON semantically overlap. In fact, I think that they overlap considerably and at times are barely distinguishable from one another. Of course there are many that do not hold these views, and I now wish to cite two such authorities. I will explore this question within the context of a broader question about the great crowd of Rev. 7:9ff.

Commenting on the "the man of sin" (ANQRWPOS THS ANOMIAS), David J. Williams writes: "He is described in the language of the OT as setting himself up in God's temple, not literally, but in a figure. But this is not a figure of the church, which is sometimes called the temple (cf. 1 Cor. 3:16; Eph. 2:21). He also is proclaiming himself (APODEIKNUMI can have this sense) to be God (v 4; cf. Isa. 14:13; Ezek. 28:2; Dan. 7:25; 8:9-12; 11:36-39). Temple is NAOS, denoting the Holy of Holies, the inner sanctum of the temple in Jerusalem (in contrast with hIERON, which embraced the whole temple precinct) in which it was believed God dwelled" (Williams, page 125).

So where does the "man of sin" sit? Does he position himself in the figurative "building" where worship to God is carried on and where God is said to dwell symbolically? Or does he "sit" in the SANCTUM SANCTORUM DEORUM?

The phrase APODEIKNUNTA hEAUTON hOTI ESTIN QEOS could indicate that ANQRWPOS THS ANOMIAS is depicted as sitting in the "whole temple precinct" and thus it could be said to semantically overlap with hIERON.

But let us consider another example (John 2:19). Baptist Professor Gerald Borchert writes:

"Jesus' response--'destroy [LUSATE could mean 'tear down'] this temple [NAOS, the inner segment of a temple], and I will raise [EGERW could mean 'rebuild'] it again in three days'--was completely misunderstood by the Jews" (Borchert, page 165. Words in brackets original).

Interestingly, Borchert avers that NAOS refers to "the inner segment of a temple" and applies this definition to the figurative use of NAOS in John 2:19. But I highly doubt that NAOS means "the inner segment of a temple" in 2:19. In the very next passage, the Jews wonder how Jesus can tear down and then rebuild a temple that took "forty-six years" to complete (John 2:20). Did it take forty-six years to build the inner sanctum? This Johannine account seems to be using NAOS to denote "the whole temple precinct."

Probably some of the most problematic passages are found in Revelation, however. One is Rev. 7:15 wherein the "great multitude" are said to be rendering LATREIA (LATREUOUSIN) day and night EN TWi NAWi AUTOU. What does NAOS denote here? BAGD says that NAOS in Rev. 7:15 denotes the "heavenly sanctuary." David Aune (when explaining 7:15) claims that "the worship of God in the heavenly temple by heavenly beings continues unendingly" (52B:475). Can this rightly be said of the great crowd? Are they too in "the heavenly sanctuary"?

Trying to look at this subject as dispassionately as possible, I must say that the answer is not easy. Nevertheless, I will posit some reasons to view the "great crowd" as a group of individuals who survive God's execution of judgment and continue to live on earth after this execution of justice.

The "great crowd" comes out of the "great tribulation" (Rev. 7:14). This could very well imply that these individuals are survivors of Jehovah's divine judgment and they will live forever under the rule of His benevolent kingdom. But let's look a little closer at this account.

Rev. 7:15 exclaims that "the One seated on the throne will spead his tent over them." In Rev. 21:3, 4, a comparable utterance is made about those who evidently make up the new earth: "The tent of God is with mankind, and he will reside with them, and they will be his peoples. And God himself will be with them."

Notice that this exclamation is made after the New Jerusalem is seen "coming down out of heaven from God." Presumably, she (the holy city) figuratively comes to the earth, and it is in this sense that God dwells with mankind. But I have argued elsewhere (in agreement with Barnes' notes on the New Testament) that the holy city does not actually come to earth, but figuratively rests on a visionary mountain. In any event, it seems safe to declare that New Jerusalem will benevolently influence future earthly conditions.

Rev. 7:16, 17 reports that the great crowd "will hunger no more nor thirst anymore . . . And God will wipe out every tear from their eyes." Rev. 21:4 similarly tells us that God "will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away."

Furthermore, the Lamb shepherds and progressively guides the great multitude to "fountains of waters of life." Yet those who inhabit New Jerusalem, where God and the Lamb serve as the new Temple, do not have to be led to "fountains of waters of life." In fact, "a river of water of life, clear as crystal" flows from the "throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of "the broad way of New Jerusalem (Rev. 22:1, 2). Therefore instead of being led to waters of life--those who inhabit the heavenly city of New Jerusalem are said to provide these waters. Thus I conclude that the great crowd is an earthly class. Nevertheless, I'm not trying to be dogmatic. There are exegetical issues with Rev. 7:15 that we must continue to examine. What does it mean for the multitudinous group of Revelation 7 to be standing before God's throne? I would like to research that point further. Nonetheless, these points should help all to see why I continue to affirm that the great crowd will live forever on earth. There are other reasons, but this explanation should suffice for now.


Kieran Duffy said...

Thank you, just came across naos, stopped me a bit.

Edgar Foster said...

Here is something else I also wrote on NAOS and the Hebrew HEKHAL some years ago:

HEKHAL can denote: a large house, a palace, a temple, a nave, a sanctuary or a tabernacle. The LXX uses NAOS to render the Hebrew HEKHAL. At 2 Kings 24:13; 2 Chronicles 3:17; Jer. 50:28; Hag. 2:15; Zech. 6:12-15, HEKHAL evidently refers to the entire temple edifice (not to just the Temple proper), though it is unequivocally used for the Most Holy in 1 Kings 6:5, 17; 7:50. There is also a related Aramaic term HEKHAL, which could be a
loanword from the Sumerian language via the Akkadian tongue (cf. Ezra 4:14; Dan. 4:4). The Aramaic word can refer to a palace or a temple (Dan. 5:2-5).

Based on the OT usage and the writings of Josephus and Philo, it would seem that HEKHAL/NAOS can mean "the entire temple edifice" (not by "extension" only).

Kieran Duffy said...

Thats great information. I always look forward to your entries, thank you.

Anonymous said...

Edgar I always enjoy your posts and have been looking for examples where Josephus uses naos for the entire temple edifice. It has been very difficult to search through Wars and Antiquities.

Do you have any specific references you can please share from his works for me to reference.

Edgar Foster said...

Dear Anonymous,

Thank you. I know that BAGD (the old one) and its update (BDAG) have references in the entry for NAOS. One place that I encountered is Against Apion 2.119. I have not checked to see if the updated version of the lexicon changes that reference, but that's what I had in my notes. See also Antiquities of the Jews 15.380. Hope these help.


Anonymous said...

Edgar, thank you for your time in responding to my request for references where Josephus uses naos for the entire complex, I need to invest in obtaing BDAG.

All the best.

Edgar Foster said...

You're welcome, anonymous. And BDAG really is worth purchasing, although it may be difficult to find an inexpensive copy of the work.