Thursday, March 9, 2017

Revelation 7:14,15 - The Great Multitude in the Temple

Therefore are they before the throne of God, they serve him day and night in his temple (Greek transliterated, NAOS). He who sits on the throne will spread his tent over them. - (Revelation 7:15, World English)
Some have claimed that the great multitude are are pictured as being in heaven in Revelation 7:15 since it depicts them as being "in his temple". It is claimed that the Greek word used is NAOS, which refers to the inner temple or temple sanctuary, rather than HIERON which is the outer courtyard of the temple. Based on this, it is then claimed that the great multitude are not on the earth, but that they are in NAOS, the center of the temple, the temple sanctuary; that is, they are in heaven itself with the 144,000.

The assumption appears to be that in the book of Revelation, the Greek word transliterated as NAOS means to be in the literal heaven where God is, and where the angels always see the face of God. -- Matthew 6:9; 18:10.

First, often in the book of Revelation, "heaven" represents the religious elements on earth, which, before Satan is abyssed, is not necessarily all made up of saints.

Second, as best as we have been able to determine NAOS includes all three areas as originally represented by the tabernacle. Solomon's temple had an outer and inner courtyard. The inner courtyard corresponds to the courtyard of the tabernacle. Additionally, Herod's temple had several added courtyards, even one for the Gentiles. It is possible that the court outside the temple that is referenced for symbolic purposes in Revelation 11:2. Regardless, the word "NAOS" evidently sometimes refers to the temple proper, but it appears to also be used of all of Herod's temple. -- John 2:19,20; Matthew 27:5*
http://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/gills-exposition-of-the-bible/matthew-27-5.html
http://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/gills-exposition-of-the-bible/john-2-20.html

Nevertheless, we believe that the great multitude do serve as priests in the temple inner courtyard, and are thus typified by the tribe of Levi; we do not, however, agree with Brother Russell that the great multitude, nor any of the sanctified who fail to be sealed as one of the 144,000, will receive celestial bodies in the resurrection. Having been justified and sanctified (consecrated) by the blood of the new covenant (Matthew 6:28; Mark 14:28; Luke 22:20; Romans 5:9; 1 Corinthians 11:25; Hebrews 10:29), which gives life on the earthly, not the heavenly plane, they simply remain on the earthly plane since they fail to attain the prize of joint-heirship with Christ. Brother Russell suggested that the "ancient worthies" could receive spiritual bodies after the thousand years, based on the idea that they would be represented as the camp of Revelation 20:9, which camp Russell interpreted to mean a temporary earthly life as opposed to a heavenly celestial life. Some would apply this also to those "consecrating between the ages". We cannot say that Russell is either right or wrong on this, but we can only say that this would seem to read a lot into the scripture that is not actually supported by what is actually written.

Revelation 7:15 "For this reason, they are before the throne of God ; and they serve Him day and night in His temple (NAOS); and He who sits on the throne will spread His tabernacle (Skenoo) over them.

One can check the usage of the following words online:
Revelation 1:1 Then there was given me a measuring rod like a staff ; and someone said, "Get up and measure the temple (NAOS) of God and the altar, and those who worship in it.

Revelation 1:2 "Leave out the court which is outside the temple (NAOS) and do not measure it, for it has been given to the nations; and they will tread under foot the holy city for forty-two months."

Outside the temple proper of Solomon's temple was the outer courtyard. Outside Herod's temple were several other "courtyards" that were even beyond the courtyard that corresponds to the "outer courtyard" of Solomon's temple, including one called the courtyard of the Gentiles.

Should we, however, conclude that NAOS in Revelation 1:2 literally means "in heaven" where the angels see the face of God? Was John told to measure the place where the angels see the face of God?

Of course, the usage of NAOS in the book of Revelation depends on what one would see as the fulfillment of these verses, etc.

Whatever is meant by the symbolic NAOS of Revelation 7:15, it does not necessarily mean that one who is serving there is in heaven where the angels see the face of God.
A quote is given from Brother Charles Taze Russell regarding the "great multitude":
They will have everlasting spirit life, as angels have it; but will lose the prize of immortality. They will serve God in his temple, and stand before the throne, having palms in their hands (Revelation 7:9-17); but though that will be glorious, it will not be so glorious as the position of the “little flock” of over-comers, who will be kings and priests unto God, seated with Jesus in the throne as his bride and joint heir, and with him crowned with immortality. --Studies in the Scriptures Volume 1 Study XI page 214.
We are aware of what Brother Russell believed concerning this. His idea was based on the assumption that to be consecrated meant that one had already sacrificed all right to human life. We disagree with Brother Russell regarding this. To become a new creature, a son of God, means that one is accounted as being on the same plane as a sinless son of god as Adam before Adam sinned. -- Luke 3:38.

The old creation is the generation through Adam, which creation was subjected to vanity and a bondage of corruption due to the sin of Adam (Ecclesiastes 1:1; Romans 5:12-19: 8:20-22; Ephesians 1:1:1-3); the new creation is the re-generation through Jesus (Isaiah 65:17; 66:22; Matthew 19:28; John 3:3-5; Acts 3:21; 1 Corinthians 6:11; 2 Corinthians 5:17: Ephesians 2:1-10; Titus 3:5; 2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 21:1-5), which makes one a son of God as was Adam before Adam sinned. -- Luke 3:38.

One becomes a new creature in Christ through regeneration; being a new creature in Christ, does not mean that one has attained the prize to which one has been called, nor does it mean that one has given up all earthly rights. The sanctification through the blood of the new covenant does not place one as having life in heaven, but one is reckoned as justified to earthly life. The prize is not first given and then taken away if one fails to attain; the prize is given only if one attains to the perfection that is spoken of, one who is not just made alive in Christ, but who completes his agreement to sacrifice through joint-suffering with Christ. -- Romans 8:16,17; Philippians 3:12-14.

All of the new creatures in Christ are included in the temple (NAOS) of God in 1 Corinthians 3:16, whether they have attained the mark of the prize or not. The first step in consecration is justification, regeneration to a new life; justification/sanctification (consecration) by the new covenant blood/body/offering of Jesus, however, only gives life on the earthly plane, since that is what Adam lost.

Thus, we read: "Whom he called, them he also justified. Whom he justified, them he also glorified." (Romans 8:30) Those justified are glorified, not with the celestial glory, but the terrestrial glory that God gave to Adam before Adam sinned.

In 2 Corinthians 5:17, the regeneration as new creatures by means of Christ is based on the ransom sacrifice of Jesus, not on our own sacrifice; nevertheless, without that blood of the new covenant that gives justification and consecration, one cannot enter into the either the Holy or Most Holy. (Luke 22:20; Romans 3:24; 5:9; 1 Corinthians 11:25; 12:24; Hebrews 10:10,20,29; One is regenerated through faith in the blood of Jesus, and is thus a son of God, a new creature in Christ, accounted as belonging to the age to come.

Brother Russell himself acknowledged that the ransom sacrifice of Jesus does not give one life in heaven, but rather it reckons one as justified on the plane of life on earth, that which Adam lost. Nevertheless, the application of the blood of the covenant belongs to the age to come. Nevertheless, the scriptures, however, speak of regeneration in two time periods: that which takes place in this age (Titus 3:5), and that which is yet to take place in the age to come, when the whole creation now under subjection to vanity and corruption "will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God." -- Matthew 19:28; John 12:47,48; Romans 8:21.

Some have place a lot of emphasis on the Greek word transliterated as "EK" in Revelation 7:14. The claim is that the word "EK" classifies the great multitude as having come "out" of the great tribulation, lifted up to receive life in the heavens. This is thought to exclude the great multitude from being of those who survive the transition into the age to come.

Revelation 7:14
kai eireeka autw kurie mou su oidas kai
AND I HAVE SAID TO HIM LORD OF ME, YOU HAVE KNOWN. AND
2532 2064_5 0846_5 2962 1473_2 4771 1492_5 2532
eipen moi houtoi eisin hoi erchomenoi ek tees
HE SAID TO ME THESE ARE THE (ONES) COMING OUT OF THE
1511_7 1473_4 3778_91 1510_5 3588 2064 1537 3588
thlipsews tees megalees kai eplunan tas stolas
TRIBULATION THE GREAT, AND THEY WASHED THE ROBES
2347 3588 3173 2532 4150 3588 4749
autwn kai eleukanan autas en tw haimati tou
OF THEM AND THEY WHITENED THEM IN THE BLOOD OF THE
0846_92 2532 3021 0846_96 1722 3588 0129 3588
arniou
LAMB.
0721

The word "EK" (Strong's #1537) does not, of itself, designate that those who come "out of" the great tribulation are given life in heaven.

The word "EK" is used in the Bible, and even in the book of Revelation, in many different ways:
http://www.studylight.org/lex/grk/gwview.cgi?n=1537

Coming out of an experience such as the great tribulation can mean that they have lived through that experience. Having come out of the great tribulation does not, of itself, designate that the great multitude will be given celestial bodies, or that such are "lifted up to receive" life in heaven where the angels see the face of God. Nevertheless, the word "EK" in Revelation 7:14 could refer to their consecration while still in the time period of the great tribulation, but it would not follow that such consecration would mean that they are "lifted up" to receive celestial bodies in their resurrection.

As we have shown elsewhere, Revelation 7 is not dealing with Israel after flesh, but rather the Israel of faith. In Revelation 7:9, the great multitude is depicted as having come "out of" all tribes, tongues and nations. This is in contrast with Revelation 7:4-8, in which the 144,000 are said to be sealed "out of" each of the twelve tribes listed. Corresponding this with Israel when they came "out of" Egypt would mean that the 12 tribes correspond to the twelve tribes of Israel, the 144,000 correspond to the firstborn of Israel, and the "great multitude" corresponds to the "mixed multitude" (Exodus 12:38) that came "out of" Egypt and joined themselves to, and became part of the tribes of Israel. And thus, there are three classes that make up the Israel of faith, often referred to as "spiritual" Israel.

See the studies:
The 144,000 and the Twelve Tribes
The Great Multitude
With What Kind of Body Will We Be Raised?
The Manner of the Resurrection
Jesus Died a Human Being - Raised a Spirit Being


Comment from old site:

3 points of interest with regards to “The great multitude”

1) they have palm branches in their hands, this reminds me of the festival of Booths or Tabernacles and also the scripture found at Zech 14:16-18

Zec 14:16 And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles.

Also Rev 7:17 no more tears, suffering or death and this of course goes hand in hand with Rev 21:4 KJV And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.and Isaiah

Also Isa 25:8 He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it.

Not to mention they are standing before the throne just as is recorded in Revelation 20 of those resurrected during the mellinial age.

They have washed their robes! This reminds us of those who do so in Revelation 22:14
King James Version Re 22:14 Blessed are they that wash their robes, that they may have the right to come to the tree of life, and my enter in by the gates into the city.

I believe these are those spoken of who recognize that Jehovah is with Israel and after Armegeddon join themselves to that nation the are the ones who learn War no more according to Isaiah chp 2 and Micah 4

American Standard Version Zec 8:23 Thus saith Jehovah of hosts: In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold, out of all the languages of the nations, they shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.
These do not wash their robes before Armegeddon nor do they go up and celebrate the festival of booths but they do this during the mellinium