The Temple In The Apocalypse -- By: Simon J. Kistemaker

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 43:3 (Sep 2000)
Article: The Temple In The Apocalypse
Author: Simon J. Kistemaker


The Temple In The Apocalypse

Simon J. Kistemakera

I. Introduction

The term ἰερόν (temple complex) occurs frequently in the Gospels and Acts and once in Paul’s Epistles (1 Cor 9:13). The word ναός (holy of holies) chiefly appears in John’s Apocalypse, a total of sixteen times. 1 What is the meaning of the latter word in the context of Revelation? A preliminary look reveals that the author conveys its meaning as the very presence of God. To illustrate, the expression “temple of God” appears three times (3:12; 11:1, 19), two of which (3:12 and 11:19) are in a celestial setting. Next, the saints in heaven who have come out of the great tribulation have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb and serve God day and night in heaven (7:15). Third, angels are coming forth out of (ἐκ) the temple (14:15, 17; 15:6); and John heard a loud voice coming out of (ἐκ) the temple and from (ἀπό) the throne (16:1, 17). This is the voice of God that proceeds from his very presence and sounds forth, away from the area of his throne. Last, John describes the new Jerusalem as a city without a temple, for the Lord God is its temple (21:22).

In contrast, lexicographers place the term ναός (11:1, 2) in the category of the physical temple in Jerusalem. 2 Commenting on Rev 11:1, Otto Michel writes, “In this case we are fairly obviously to think in terms of the earthly temple in Jerusalem.” 3 Similarly Udo Borse calls it a building that is made by hands and can be measured. 4 How does John use the word ναός in the Apocalypse? In order to answer this question w...

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