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  • NT Temple: Hieron or Naos

    In trying to decipher when the NT speaks of a physical temple (made with hands) and when it is a spiritual temple (not made with hands); I have come across a distinction between the two words used for temple. It seems that "hieron" is only used in the Gospels and Acts and one time in Corinthians; and that each time it referred to the physical building.

    "Naos" on the other hand is used to describe the spiritual temple in all cases in the Epistles and in the Book of Revelation. A problem comes up, however, if your eschatology lends itself to a physical temple being built and a man of sin sitting in it, as in 2 Thes. 2:3-4.

    I have always been taught that the man of perdition was the spirit of antichrist that attempts to rule in the temple ("naos") of the Holy Ghost, in other words our bodies (1 Cor. 6:19-20). And that eventually when we renew our minds, the carnal mind is exposed and we see that the man of sin, is us whenever we try to be God in His Temple.

    I am not trying to argue eschatology in this section. I want to ask why is "naos" used instead of "hieron" if this is referring to a physical and not spiritual temple? (and for that matter all of Revelation uses "naos" instead of "hieron" too)

    I know a little Greek, but not enough to explain this phenomenon. Perhaps one of you scholars can clear it up, without delving too far into eschatology. Perhaps its all just coincidence, but I have my doubts.

  • #2
    Re: NT Temple: Hieron or Naos

    It could just be the preferred term of the individual writer. We can't make a systematic interpretation based on just two words, especially when the two overlap to a degree. Both 'hieron' and 'naos' are used of the physical temple, particularly in the gospels, so just because 'naos' may be used figuratively in many cases of the epistles, doesn't mean it automatically is figurative in every case since it can and does refer to the physical temple in the gospels.

    What should be noted is how that particular writer uses the word throughout his letters. In this case, it's Paul: does Paul use 'naos' in a consistent way, whether of a physical temple or a spiritual one, or does he use it with both meanings depending on context?

    We do see that in every other cases, Paul does consistently used 'naos' to refer to the Church 'temple', which is one good (but not absolute) indication that the 'temple' in 2 Thessalonians may be a non-physical temple.
    To This Day

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    • #3
      Re: NT Temple: Hieron or Naos

      Originally posted by markedward View Post
      It could just be the preferred term of the individual writer. We can't make a systematic interpretation based on just two words, especially when the two overlap to a degree. Both 'hieron' and 'naos' are used of the physical temple, particularly in the gospels, so just because 'naos' may be used figuratively in many cases of the epistles, doesn't mean it automatically is figurative in every case since it can and does refer to the physical temple in the gospels.

      What should be noted is how that particular writer uses the word throughout his letters. In this case, it's Paul: does Paul use 'naos' in a consistent way, whether of a physical temple or a spiritual one, or does he use it with both meanings depending on context?

      We do see that in every other cases, Paul does consistently used 'naos' to refer to the Church 'temple', which is one good (but not absolute) indication that the 'temple' in 2 Thessalonians may be a non-physical temple.
      Maybe I missed a reference. But I am pretty sure naos is not used in the Gospels or Acts at all. These were all references to physical temples. Even when Jesus was speaking of His death and Resurrection, using the temple being destroyed and built up again in 3 days, He was still referring to the physical temple they were actually looking at, at that time.

      Paul uses "heiron" only one time, and that reference is obviously concerning a physical temple. 1 Cor. 9:13 he speak's concerning minister's in the holy place in a literal temple. Context makes it clear, he is not referring to temple of the Holy Ghost.

      So the question remains; why not use "heiron" in 2 Thess. 2:3-4 if we are so certain this is a physical temple?

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      • #4
        Re: NT Temple: Hieron or Naos

        Maybe I missed a reference. But I am pretty sure naos is not used in the Gospels or Acts at all.
        'Naos' is used in: Matthew 23.16-17,21,35; 26.61; 27.5,40,51; Mark 14.58; 15.29,38; Luke 1.9,21-22; 23.45; and John 2.19-21.

        The only times 'naos' is used in reference to a specifically spiritual temple in these cases is John 2.19 and 2.21. The rest refer to the physical temple in Jerusalem.
        To This Day

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        • #5
          Re: NT Temple: Hieron or Naos

          Originally posted by Luciano Vinci View Post
          In trying to decipher when the NT speaks of a physical temple (made with hands) and when it is a spiritual temple (not made with hands); I have come across a distinction between the two words used for temple. It seems that "hieron" is only used in the Gospels and Acts and one time in Corinthians; and that each time it referred to the physical building.

          "Naos" on the other hand is used to describe the spiritual temple in all cases in the Epistles and in the Book of Revelation. A problem comes up, however, if your eschatology lends itself to a physical temple being built and a man of sin sitting in it, as in 2 Thes. 2:3-4.

          I have always been taught that the man of perdition was the spirit of antichrist that attempts to rule in the temple ("naos") of the Holy Ghost, in other words our bodies (1 Cor. 6:19-20). And that eventually when we renew our minds, the carnal mind is exposed and we see that the man of sin, is us whenever we try to be God in His Temple.

          I am not trying to argue eschatology in this section. I want to ask why is "naos" used instead of "hieron" if this is referring to a physical and not spiritual temple? (and for that matter all of Revelation uses "naos" instead of "hieron" too)

          I know a little Greek, but not enough to explain this phenomenon. Perhaps one of you scholars can clear it up, without delving too far into eschatology. Perhaps its all just coincidence, but I have my doubts.
          There is no phenomenon to explain. The Greek word ι'ερόν (hieron) is used in the New Testament of the temple at Jerusalem, including the whole precinct with its buildings, courts, etc. It is also used of temples in the generic sense, as in 1 Cor. 6:9. The Greek word ναός (naos) is used of the temple in Jerusalem (Matt. 23:16, 27, 21, 35; 26:61 by way of misunderstanding; Matt. 27;5, 40 by way of misunderstanding, 51; Mark 14:58 by way of misunderstanding; 15:29, 38 by way of misunderstanding; Luke 1:9, 21, 22; 23:45), temples generally, a heavenly sanctuary (especially in Revelation), and of Christís body (John 2:19; see also where the use of the word by Jesus was misunderstood by the Jews as noted above), and the Christians body (1 Cor. 6:19). Both words always refer to physical rather than spiritual temples.

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          • #6
            Re: NT Temple: Hieron or Naos

            Originally posted by Jemand View Post
            There is no phenomenon to explain. The Greek word ι'ερόν (hieron) is used in the New Testament of the temple at Jerusalem, including the whole precinct with its buildings, courts, etc. It is also used of temples in the generic sense, as in 1 Cor. 6:9. The Greek word ναός (naos) is used of the temple in Jerusalem (Matt. 23:16, 27, 21, 35; 26:61 by way of misunderstanding; Matt. 27;5, 40 by way of misunderstanding, 51; Mark 14:58 by way of misunderstanding; 15:29, 38 by way of misunderstanding; Luke 1:9, 21, 22; 23:45), temples generally, a heavenly sanctuary (especially in Revelation), and of Christ’s body (John 2:19; see also where the use of the word by Jesus was misunderstood by the Jews as noted above), and the Christians body (1 Cor. 6:19). Both words always refer to physical rather than spiritual temples.
            Nice job clearing it up.

            However, I don't know what you mean by both words "always" referring to physical rather than spiritual temples. Whether you take the term that we are the temple of God or of the Holy Ghost (1 Cor. 3:16; and 6:19) individually or corporately, it still seems to imply a spiritual temple. And, 1 Peter 2:5, while not mentioning the exact word temple, says we are living stones that are built into a "spiritual" house, to offer up "spiritual" sacrifices. I don't look like a "physical" living stone, so I don't see how I can be a part of a "physical" house or temple.

            Lastly, I believe Paul to be one of the smartest men to ever live, besides the great direct revelation he received from God. I don't understand how he could have possibly used the wrong word (naos) to refer to the temple in Jerusalem (as in 2 Thess. 2:3-4), unless he was referring to a physical temple built elsewhere (which is doubtful), or as I have purposed: the temple there refers to the individual and the corporate body of believers that have allowed the man of perdition free reign in their temple.

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            • #7
              Re: NT Temple: Hieron or Naos

              Originally posted by Luciano Vinci View Post
              I don't know what you mean by both words "always" referring to physical rather than spiritual temples. Whether you take the term that we are the temple of God or of the Holy Ghost (1 Cor. 3:16; and 6:19) individually or corporately, it still seems to imply a spiritual temple. And, 1 Peter 2:5, while not mentioning the exact word temple, says we are living stones that are built into a "spiritual" house, to offer up "spiritual" sacrifices. I don't look like a "physical" living stone, so I don't see how I can be a part of a "physical" house or temple.
              Hi Luciano,

              If I'm reading Jemand correctly, physical temple means physical structure, whether a building, a human body, or the group of humans comprising the church. Spiritual, to me, implies unseen & without physical substance.

              blessings,

              Watchman
              Sunset remembers Eden...sunrise prophesies its return.

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              • #8
                Re: NT Temple: Hieron or Naos

                Originally posted by Luciano Vinci View Post
                In trying to decipher when the NT speaks of a physical temple (made with hands) and when it is a spiritual temple (not made with hands); I have come across a distinction between the two words used for temple. It seems that "hieron" is only used in the Gospels and Acts and one time in Corinthians; and that each time it referred to the physical building.

                "Naos" on the other hand is used to describe the spiritual temple in all cases in the Epistles and in the Book of Revelation. A problem comes up, however, if your eschatology lends itself to a physical temple being built and a man of sin sitting in it, as in 2 Thes. 2:3-4.

                I have always been taught that the man of perdition was the spirit of antichrist that attempts to rule in the temple ("naos") of the Holy Ghost, in other words our bodies (1 Cor. 6:19-20). And that eventually when we renew our minds, the carnal mind is exposed and we see that the man of sin, is us whenever we try to be God in His Temple.

                I am not trying to argue eschatology in this section. I want to ask why is "naos" used instead of "hieron" if this is referring to a physical and not spiritual temple? (and for that matter all of Revelation uses "naos" instead of "hieron" too)

                I know a little Greek, but not enough to explain this phenomenon. Perhaps one of you scholars can clear it up, without delving too far into eschatology. Perhaps its all just coincidence, but I have my doubts.
                Why the surprise? The first three chapters of Luke completely center around the physical temple, and the faithfulenss of Joseph and Mary's (and family) consistent aliyah to the Temple accordinig to God's proscribed Moedim. Jesus was only 12 when He was found in the Temple tending to His Father's business (where else woulld He be?). Jesus also said in the Gospels that's where the presence of God dwelled. A real physical Temple will descend from heaven to that very spot according to the Bible in sometime in the future? I think if there is a suprise to behold, it is the surprise that those who fall into Platoism that proposes the physical is not as "real" as the spiritual will discover that both are reality.
                Those who seek God with all their heart will find Him and be given sight. Those who seek their own agenda will remain blind.

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                • #9
                  Re: NT Temple: Hieron or Naos

                  Hi:

                  My understanding is that ναος (transliterates to "naos") is used for the temple building itself (without the courts for priests, Israelites, women). The word ιερον (transliterates to "ieron") is used for the temple building itself plus the courts.

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                  • #10
                    Re: NT Temple: Hieron or Naos

                    Originally posted by Watchman View Post
                    Hi Luciano,

                    If I'm reading Jemand correctly, physical temple means physical structure, whether a building, a human body, or the group of humans comprising the church. Spiritual, to me, implies unseen & without physical substance.

                    blessings,

                    Watchman
                    The problem with physical structures is that they are seen, they are corruptible, they become defiled, and they die out. The things which are seen are temporal (i.e. the temple, our bodies), the things unseen are eternal (2 Cor. 4:18). Our inheritance, however, is incorruptible, undefiled, and doesn't fade away, reserved for us in heavenly places (1 Pet. 1:4). And we know that if this tabernacle (whether our body or a temple) is dissolved, we have a building of God, not made with hands, eternal in the heavens (2 Cor. 5:1).

                    So yes, a spiritual temple is without physical substance, but it is just as real or more real than what our eyes can see. The Jerusalem which can be seen, is Hagar, a bondwoman, corrupted, defiled and fading away, but the Jerusalem (which is unseen) is above, and free, and the mother of us all (Gal. 4:26).

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: NT Temple: Hieron or Naos

                      Originally posted by ZDOxcar View Post
                      Hi:

                      My understanding is that ναος (transliterates to "naos") is used for the temple building itself (without the courts for priests, Israelites, women). The word ιερον (transliterates to "ieron") is used for the temple building itself plus the courts.
                      That is a common understanding, probably due to the definitions found in the “Greek Dictionary of the New Testament” found in the back of Strong’s concordance, and in Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon. However, several prominent scholars have published research that shows that the Greek word ναος is sometimes used in the New Testament (Matt. 23:17, 35; 27:5, 40; Marl 14:58) for the entire temple precinct. Please see the Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and other Early Christian Literature, Third Edition, revised and edited by Frederick William Danker and based upon Walter Bauer’s lexicon and previous English editions (1957 and 1979) by W. F. Arndt, F. W. Gingrich, and F. W. Danker published by The University of Chicago Press in 2000.
                      Last edited by Jemand; Jan 21st 2012, 09:52 PM. Reason: Typo corrected-- "(" added before "Matt. 23:17"

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: NT Temple: Hieron or Naos

                        Originally posted by ZDOxcar View Post
                        Hi:

                        My understanding is that ναος (transliterates to "naos") is used for the temple building itself (without the courts for priests, Israelites, women). The word ιερον (transliterates to "ieron") is used for the temple building itself plus the courts.
                        So, IF there is to be a future literal 'temple' in Jerusalem...women would not be allowed to go there and worship, but the men would??? (I don't see a literal, future physical 'temple' being constructed where there would again be sacrifices offered anyway, but just wondering, ZDOxcar.)
                        My favorite scripture: Malachi 3:16

                        "Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name!" (Every time we speak of the Lord, or even THINK of him--its written down in a book of remembrance!)

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                        • #13
                          Re: NT Temple: Hieron or Naos

                          Originally posted by Diggindeeper View Post
                          So, IF there is to be a future literal 'temple' in Jerusalem...women would not be allowed to go there and worship, but the men would??? (I don't see a literal, future physical 'temple' being constructed where there would again be sacrifices offered anyway, but just wondering, ZDOxcar.)
                          Hi Diggindeeper:

                          I'm not sure how you're getting from what I had mentioned to your question????

                          Possibly my comment needs some clarification - my understanding is the "temple" consisted of several parts, one being where the Holy of Holies, Most Holy, altar of incense (this is what I've always thought of as "naos", and I've seen it called the Sanctuary). Then outside of the Sanctuary was the Priests' Court and the Israel Court. Then it looks like there's a wall between the Priests' Court and the Women's Court (with the Nicanor Gate leading from the Women's Court to the Priests' Court). So the "ieron" was the entire area (Sanctuary, Priests' Court, Israel Court, Women's Court), while the "naos" was referring to Sanctuary (which is inside of the "ieron").

                          Some examples helps me discern the two words:

                          #1: John 2:14 In the temple ("ieron") courts he found men selling cattle, ...
                          John uses "ieron" since clearly the area was NOT the Sanctuary

                          #2: Luke 1:9 he was chosen by lot, ..., to go into the temple ("naos") of the Lord and burn incense
                          Use of the word "naos" since he was to burn incense at the "altar of incense", which is in the Sanctuary

                          #3: Rev 11:19 Then God's temple ("naos") in heaven was opened, and within his temple was seen the ark of his convenant.
                          Use of the word "naos" since the ark was kept in the Sanctuary

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: NT Temple: Hieron or Naos

                            Originally posted by Jemand View Post
                            That is a common understanding, probably due to the definitions found in the “Greek Dictionary of the New Testament” found in the back of Strong’s concordance, and in Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon. However, several prominent scholars have published research that shows that the Greek word ναος is sometimes used in the New Testament Matt. 23:17, 35; 27:5, 40; Marl 14:58) for the entire temple precinct. Please see the Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and other Early Christian Literature, Third Edition, revised and edited by Frederick William Danker and based upon Walter Bauer’s lexicon and previous English editions (1957 and 1979) by W. F. Arndt, F. W. Gingrich, and F. W. Danker published by The University of Chicago Press in 2000.
                            That's great info - I'll look at those verses.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: NT Temple: Hieron or Naos

                              Originally posted by Luciano Vinci View Post
                              In trying to decipher when the NT speaks of a physical temple (made with hands) and when it is a spiritual temple (not made with hands); I have come across a distinction between the two words used for temple. It seems that "hieron" is only used in the Gospels and Acts and one time in Corinthians; and that each time it referred to the physical building.

                              "Naos" on the other hand is used to describe the spiritual temple in all cases in the Epistles and in the Book of Revelation. A problem comes up, however, if your eschatology lends itself to a physical temple being built and a man of sin sitting in it, as in 2 Thes. 2:3-4.

                              I have always been taught that the man of perdition was the spirit of antichrist that attempts to rule in the temple ("naos") of the Holy Ghost, in other words our bodies (1 Cor. 6:19-20). And that eventually when we renew our minds, the carnal mind is exposed and we see that the man of sin, is us whenever we try to be God in His Temple.

                              I am not trying to argue eschatology in this section. I want to ask why is "naos" used instead of "hieron" if this is referring to a physical and not spiritual temple? (and for that matter all of Revelation uses "naos" instead of "hieron" too)

                              I know a little Greek, but not enough to explain this phenomenon. Perhaps one of you scholars can clear it up, without delving too far into eschatology. Perhaps its all just coincidence, but I have my doubts.


                              Dear Friend,
                              there is a reason for the two different words naos and hieron and they somewhat correspond to your understanding. Naos is the place where the deity was thought to dwell; in the case of the Jerusalem temple, the ark of the convenant was held in the most holy place which was the inner chamber of the naos, into which only the high priest could enter annually, and was access via the holy place where the priests ministered for holy days. Thus, the naos is the temple proper, the inner sactuary or shrine. This compares to hieron which is used of the whole temple precincts with their porticos, courts, colindates etc, but also included the naos in the concenpt; the naos was found in the centre of the hieron.

                              Thus, when you were mentioning physical temple, hieron is often used (but naos could also be used in referencing the physical temple sanctuary too). However, naos alone is used as the spiritual temple of the holy spirit as the body of individuals and also of the "church" being a holy temple .

                              Hope that helps.

                              Yours in His Name Love & Service,

                              Madagoo

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