Thursday, March 29, 2007


Greek Word Pronunciation: na-OS
Strong’s Number: 3485
Goodrich/Kohlenberger Number: 3724
Key Verse: “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit?” -- 1 Corinthians 6:19

Two Greek words are both translated by the one word temple. Each has a distinctive meaning and refers to a particular thing. Hieron comes from a word meaning “holy, hallowed, consecrated,” and was used of earthly things devoted or dedicated by man to a god. It was later used in the New Testament to designate the temple at Jerusalem. It includes the entire sacred enclosure with its porticos, courts, and other subordinate buildings. It is never used figuratively. Naos referred to the inner sanctuary, composed of the Holy of Holies and the Holy Place. Only priests could lawfully enter. Naos was used among heathen to denote a shrine containing the idol (Acts 17:24; 19:24). When referring to the Jerusalem temple, Josephus, Philo, the Septuagint, and the New Testament always distinguished hieron from naos. After describing the building of the naos by Solomon, Josephus wrote: “Outside the temple (naos) he constructed a sacred enclosure (hieron) in the form of a square.”

Zacharias entered the naos to burn incense (Luke 1:9), the Holy Place where the altar of incense stood. The people were “outside” in the hieron. Christ taught in the hieron (Matthew 21:23), in one of the temple porches, also expelling money changers from the hieron, the court of the Gentles (Matthew 21:12). Judas portrayed his defiance and despair by entering into the naos itself (Matthew 27:5) which was reserved for priests alone and casting down before the priests the accursed blood money. It was the veil of the naos, the curtain separating the Holy of Holies from the Holy Place, that was torn at the time of Christ’s death (Matthew 27:51). The man of lawlessness takes his seat in the naos of God (2 Thessalonians 2:4). In every instance where temple is referred to in the book of Revelation, the word is naos. Christ spoke of the naos of His body (Matthew 26:61), just as Paul spoke of the body of Christians as the naos (1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19), the inner sanctuary of the Holy Spirit. Jamieson, Fausset & Brown says: “The unseen, but much more efficient, Spirit of God in the spiritual temple now takes the place of the visible Shekinah in the old material temple. The whole man is the temple; the soul is the inmost shrine; the understanding and heart, the holy place; and the body, the porch and exterior of the edifice.”


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Anonymous said...

It is also interesting to look at the Hebrew origins of the word naos, which is navah meaning to dwell, and which comes from the root naas, which means beautiful. We might be reminded of the scripure in Isaiah "how beautiful upon the mount" (an allusion to the temple mount). The word in Hebrew here is nauvoo, which is from naas. Clearly, the place where God dwells is beautiful. For this reason the robes that the priesthhood wore were also for "glory and beauty"(Exodus 28), and in Revelation 19:8 we learn the beautiful robes of the saints in the heavenly and holy temple are symbols of righteousness. With this in mind, Pauls urging to "put on Christ (Gal 3:27) is a clear allusion to the temple and the symbolism of the priests clothing. When we put on Christ, or the new man "which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness" (Eph 3), we are beautiful as He is, purified as he is pure (1 Jn 3).