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Could a non-Jewish Christian enter the Temple?


blueadept

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So my question is, could a non-Jewish Christian enter the Temple?

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Depends upon what you mean by "the Temple." Such a visitor could

probably have entered the "court of the Gentiles," but not the inner

courts of the temple complex -- unless a circumcised convert to

Judaism. There was evidently a period when such Jewish converts

(who professed Jesus to be the Messiah) could have entered the

inner courts -- but not "The House of the Lord," since a convert was

not of the house of Levi.

There was a period of chaos in and around the Temple, shortly before

it fell to Roman destruction. Some old traditions mention James the Just

as having temporarily been the High Priest during part of the chaotic

period. If there is any truth in these traditions, then James may have

departed slightly from standard Jewish custom, allowing "Melchizedekian"

priests (not of Levi) into "The House of the Lord," and -- possibly -- even

uncircumcised Gentile Jesus-followers into the inner courts. All of this

is very speculative, but is the only circumstance I can think of, whereby

a non-Jewish "Christian" might have passed beyond the court of the Gentiles.

UD

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Depends upon what you mean by "the Temple." Such a visitor could

probably have entered the "court of the Gentiles," but not the inner

courts of the temple complex -- unless a circumcised convert to

Judaism. There was evidently a period when such Jewish converts

(who professed Jesus to be the Messiah) could have entered the

inner courts -- but not "The House of the Lord," since a convert was

not of the house of Levi.

When I checked my NAB Acts 2:46, it referred to 'Temple area' versus the KJV where it refers to just the 'Temple.' So your explanation makes perfect sense to me.

There was a period of chaos in and around the Temple, shortly before

it fell to Roman destruction. Some old traditions mention James the Just

as having temporarily been the High Priest during part of the chaotic

period. If there is any truth in these traditions, then James may have

departed slightly from standard Jewish custom, allowing "Melchizedekian"

priests (not of Levi) into "The House of the Lord," and -- possibly -- even

uncircumcised Gentile Jesus-followers into the inner courts. All of this

is very speculative, but is the only circumstance I can think of, whereby

a non-Jewish "Christian" might have passed beyond the court of the Gentiles.

UD

I agree with this speculation of the practices of the early non-Jewish Christian.

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When I checked my NAB Acts 2:46, it referred to 'Temple area' versus the KJV where it refers to just the 'Temple.' So your explanation makes perfect sense to me.

The distinction between hieros (outer courts) and naos (inner sanctuary) is clear in Greek, though both are translated as "temple" in the KJV. Gentiles could enter the out "court of the Gentiles" only. Since Jews, and not Christians, controlled the temple, there is no way to know what a Christian-controlled temple would have been like. We do know, however, that people who had not been baptized were required to leave churches during the Eucharist among early Christians, so it is likely that some type of restrictions would have applied.

See Acts 21:26ff for an account of what occurred when the Jews thought Paul had brought a Gentile into the inner courts.

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