Are they seen standing in some out-of-doors gathering? No, for Revelation 7:15 (ED) says that “they . . . publicly serve him day and night in his temple [na·osʹ in the Greek original text].” Well, now, does this mean that those making up this “great crowd” finally go to heaven where the God is to whom they ascribe their “salvation”? The answer generally given is Yes! Why? Because it is said to be “in his temple” (ED), or, “in his sanctuary” (Rotherham), that they render to him public service or “divine service.”
4. Around what original Greek word does the question revolve, and in what connection was it used in John 2:19-21?
4 However, does that view fit all the detailed facts set out in the last book of the Bible, Revelation? Also, as regards those who today consider themselves part of that “great crowd” that is now being formed, do they expect to go to heaven and become spirit creatures like angels? Do they even want to go to heaven? They will tell you No! and they do not consider themselves to be begotten by God’s spirit to such a heavenly hope. The question revolves around that original Greek word that is variously translated as “tent,” “temple” and “sanctuary.” For example, in the Bible account of where Jesus Christ drove the money changers and merchantmen out of Herod’s temple, the original Greek word used is na·osʹ. There we read: “Jesus answered, ‘Destroy this sanctuary [na·osʹ], and in three days I will raise it up’. The Jews replied, ‘It has taken forty-six years to build this sanctuary [na·osʹ]: are you going to raise it up in three days?’ But he was speaking of the sanctuary [na·osʹ] that was his body.” (John 2:19-21, The Jerusalem Bible) By “sanctuary,” what did those Jews mean?
5. (a) What structure could the Jews not have meant when saying it took 46 years to build it? (b) To what must the word na·osʹ in the Greek Septuagint rendering of Isaiah 66:6 apply?
5 Certainly not the inner sanctuary that contained the vestibule, the Holy and the Most Holy compartments. They meant the temple structure as a whole, including its courtyards, in one of which the money changers and merchantmen were doing business. Herod’s temple as a whole was destroyed by the Romans in 70 C.E. Unlike Solomon’s earlier temple that was destroyed in 607 B.C.E., Herod’s temple was never rebuilt. Concerning the temple in Jerusalem, Isaiah 66:6 says, with prophetic significance: “That roar from the city, that uproar in the temple [na·osʹ in the Greek Septuagint translation], is the sound of the LORD dealing retribution to his foes.” (The New English Bible) “Hark! an uproar from the city, Hark! it cometh from the temple [na·osʹ], Hark! the LORD rendereth recompense to His enemies.” (The Jewish Publication Society of America) Very plainly the temple, sanctuary, or na·osʹ, does not mean just the inner sanctuary, but the entire temple area with all its structures.
6. On Passover night of 33 C.E., what false witness did Jews give respecting Jesus and the na·osʹ of Jerusalem?
6 On Passover night, Nisan 14, of 33 C.E., certain Jews bore witness before the chief priests and the Sanhedrin, but if these witnesses lived to the year 70 C.E. they had it proved to them that their testimony against Jesus Christ that fateful night was false. They testified: “We heard him say, ‘I will throw down this temple [na·osʹ] that was made with hands and in three days I will build another not made with hands.’ “ (Mark 14:58) Their having Jesus killed did not save their temple from being thrown down completely in 70 C.E.
7. (a) How did the Jews ridicule the impaled Jesus on Calvary? (b) Where did Judas the betrayer finally throw the bribe money?
7 Later, on that same day, when the hostile Jews saw this Jesus impaled on the stake outside Jerusalem, they may have felt that he had been foiled in carrying out what they wrongly thought he had said. “So the passersby began to speak abusively of him, wagging their heads and saying: ‘O you would-be thrower-down of the temple [na·osʹ] and builder of it in three days, save yourself! If you are a son of God, come down off the torture stake!’” (Matt. 27:39, 40; Mark 15:29, 30) But before the impalement of Jesus the disciple who had betrayed him to his bloodthirsty enemies for 30 pieces of silver tried to absolve himself. This was Judas Iscariot, one of the 12 apostles. He tried to return the bribe money, but the bribers refused to take it back. Unable to clear himself in this way, what did the betrayer do? Matthew 27:5 reports: “Judas threw the money into the sanctuary [na·osʹ] and left them; then he went off and hanged himself.” (Good News Bible; The Jerusalem Bible; Young’s Literal Translation of the Holy Bible) Why did other modern Bible versions translate na·osʹ as “temple”?
8. Why, evidently, did many Bible translators use the word “temple” here instead of “sanctuary”?
8 Evidently because they recognized that the Greek word here did not mean the inner sanctuary with its porch, Holy and Most Holy, into which the high priest brought the blood of the sacrifices on the annual Atonement Day. It meant the temple with all its courts.
9. (a) So, does the “great crowd” need to be in heaven in order to serve God in his na·osʹ? (b) According to Revelation 3:12, may na·osʹ have a limited meaning?
9 Thus the “great crowd” may be said to be in the “temple,” or na·osʹ, of God and yet not be in heaven as spirit creatures with the 144,000 spiritual Israelites who make up the “little flock” of God. (Rev. 7:1-9, 15; Luke 12:32) Na·osʹ may also have a limited sense, for Jesus Christ addressed the first-century congregation in Philadelphia, Asia Minor, and said: “As for the one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple [na·osʹ] of my God; he will be secure, and will go out no more; and I will write my God’s Name on him, and he will be a citizen in the city of my God—the New Jerusalem, coming down from heaven from my God; and he will have my new Name inscribed upon him.”—Rev. 3:12, The Living Bible.
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The Greek word na·osʹ refers often to the inner sanctuary representing heaven itself
● BUT it was the entire temple (na·osʹ) that had been 46 years in the building
● It was the entire temple (na·osʹ) that was destroyed as a judgment from God
● It was from the courts of the outer temple (na·osʹ) that Jesus drove the money changers
● It was in the outer temple (na·osʹ) that Judas threw back the 30 pieces of silver
● HENCE it is consistent that the “great crowd” serve God in the earthly court of the spiritual temple