The Court

Why the Court? This is an English means of expressing the Greek word transliterated as Bema. It is often translated judgement seat or tribunal. I will use Court, though, because it captures a range of meanings that can be understood in the Greek.

Why mention the Court? The area of Orthodox Temples were the Altar is located is named Bema in Greek. Why is this area called Bema? Because it is the Holy of holies, the symbol of the dwelling of God and the centre of His reign. Thus, the area is also defined by something other than the Altar, even though it is correct to define it by the Altar. A royal court is defined by the throne upon which we identify the sovereign. Thus also the Court of a Christian temple is identified by the throne. The throne is what chiefly identifes this area of the temple, not the Altar, which has is set before the throne, thus fulfilling the mystery of the dispensation of Christ.

So, when we build temples we must place a throne in this area and an altar before it, so it truly becomes the symbol of the dwelling and reign of God. It is not the Cross that is to be located at the eastern end but the Throne.


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