Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a word spoken in right circumstances. Proverbs 25:11





















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Odes. This book, written in Greek, the title of which means "Songs", and which occurs in the LXX, is a collection of fifteen mainly prayers and a few songs, incorporated in fourteen chapters. It is non-canonical. Though it references the Greek translation of the Old Testament, it incorporates a number of passages from the Gospel of Luke. Thus, its author could have collected these songs and prayers as late as after the publication of Luke. Its contents are as follows: Chapter 1: The Ode of Moses in Exodus (see Exodus 15:1-19); Chapter 2: The Ode of Moses in Deuteronomy (roughly equivalent to Deut. 32:1-43); Chapter 3: The Prayer of Anna (Hannah), Mother of Samuel (roughly equivalent to 1 Sam. 2:1-10); Chapter 4: The Prayer of Ambakoum (meaning Habakkuk) (roughly equivalent to Habakkuk 3); Chapter 4: The Prayer of Isaiah (equivalent unknown, though some have linked it to the prayer of Hezekiah in Isaiah 38:9-20); Chapter 5: The Prayer of Jonah (corresponding to Jonah 2:1-9); Chapter 7: The Prayer of Azariah (correspondence unknown); Chapter 8: Hymn of the Three Children (correspondence unknown, but taken from the incident in Daniel 3); Chapter 9:45-55: Prayer of Mary, the Mother of God (corresponding to Luke 1:46-55); Chapter 9:68 (extended): The Prayer of Zacharias (corresponding to Luke 1:67-79); Chapter 10: The Song of Isaiah (correspondence unknown); Chapter 11: The Prayer of Ezekiel (correspondence unknown); Chapter 12: The Prayer of Manasseh (correspondence unknown, but see 2 Chron. 33:18); Chapter 13: The Prayer of Simeon (corresponding to Luke 2:29-32); Chapter 14: The Morning Hymn (no Biblical correspondence is known, but the first part "nearly corresponds with the sublime hymn in the post-communion service of the Church of England" (Thomas Hartwell Horne, An Introduction to the Critical Study and Knowledge of the Holy Scriptures, Vol. II, "On the Book of Psalms," p. 237. Published in 1836).

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Old Covenant. The Covenant of God with the nation of Israel mediated by Moses at Mount Sinai. It is sometimes designated (popularly) as the Mosaic Covenant and, in Hebrew terms, more frequently as "The Law" (Torah) or "The Law of Moses." It receives its designation "Old Covenant" from the promised enactment of the New Covenant (Jer. 31:31-34; Heb. 8:6-13; 9:11-15; 12:22-24). See also entries on Mosaic Covenant and Law of Moses.

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Old Earth Creationism (OEC). The belief that, although God created the Earth, He did not do so in the recent past, geologically speaking. For the purposes of our discussion "recent past" means less than 10,000 years. OECers, unfortunately, have adopted, to some degree, evolution's  philosophical underpinnings of uniformitarianism (the present is the key to the past). Consequently they would agree with Evolutionists that the earth is 4.6 billion years old, although they may not be that specific. Furthermore, OECers do not generally take the text of Genesis 1:1-31 at face value. In other words they do not read the data of Genesis 1 literally, even though they might claim that they do. Those who claim to take it literally find an ingenious exegetical stratagem to circumvent the data or redefine what it means to be "literal".  Young Earth Creationism (YEC) holds that God created the Earth in six literal days (Gen. 1:1-2:3; Exod. 20:11). YECers also believe that the early genealogies of Genesis (Gen. 5; Gen. 11) contain no gaps (see also). For the record, WordExplain believes firmly in a Young Earth Creation. Those who believe in Old Earth Creationism (OEC), however, generally speaking, do not believe in six literal days of creation, or else they believe that the Day One was qualitatively different than the subsequent days. OECers also generally believe there are gaps in the genealogies of Genesis 5 and 11 (Gen. 5; Gen. 11). They think they must do this, I fear, because they have capitulated to evolutionists' pronouncements on the age of the earth. What they apparently are unaware of, I fear, is that evolutionary scientists are not objective. They have a whole set of presuppositions that enables them to interpret the data erroneously. One of those false presuppositions, for example, is their belief in uniformitarianism. OEC, however, does not present a united front in theory. Here are some of its subdivisions:

Analogical Day Theory. A non-literal approach to the days of Genesis 1:1-2:3.  "God created the world in six days of work followed by one day of rest - but these days of divine work are an analogy rather than an identity with days of human work" (quoting Science, Faith and Vern Poythress 2).

Chaos Theory of Origins. Scholars who hold this theory are creationists, but they believe that God's original creation was marred by Satan and became a chaos, as expressed in Genesis 1:2. God's redemption/recreation of the original earth is described in Genesis 1:3-31 as occurring in six literal days, but the original creation of the earth, proponents say, was in the dateless past. This theory, which is a variation of the Gap Theory, arises, I believe, from a misinterpretation of Genesis 1:1-2. Allen P. Ross (The Bible Knowledge Commentary, OT, p. 28, viewed 9/11/10) subscribes to this theory.

Framework Hypothesis. God was not meaning to convey literal or scientific truth in Genesis 1. Rather He sought to convey a theology of creation through a literary or symbolic framework of six days.

Gap Theory Creationism holds that there is an enormous gap of time between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2. According to the theory, God created an original earth perhaps billions of years ago, but some great Divine cataclysm left the earth dark and covered with water. This was a judgment brought by God on the original earth because Satan and other angels fell and ruined the earth. Some proponents of the Gap Theory hold that a pre-Adamic race of humans existed on this initial earth. The earth's strata, the so-called "geologic ages," and the fossil record can be attributed to this gap. Gap Theorists hold that the creation of our present earth commenced with Genesis 1:3. Gap Theory Creationism cannot be supported by a straightforward reading of Genesis.

Intermittent Day Theory. The OEC view that large periods of time exist between the Biblical days of creation.

Progressive Creationism, also known as Day-Age Creationism. Proponents attempt to harmonize biblical data with the dogma of evolution. They hold that the days of creation were long spans of time, but that God created various entities and life-forms step-wise in each era ("day"). Hugh Ross and the Reasons to Believe ministry hold to Progressive Creation. See a "Creation Timeline" according to the view of Progressive Creationism. Progressive Creationism cannot be supported by a straightforward reading of Genesis.

Theistic Evolution holds to the theory of evolution as the mechanism by which God created everything. Theistic Evolution is an oxymoron, for it satisfies neither Biblical Creationism nor Evolutionary Theory. The order of God's creation in Genesis 1:1-2:3 is incompatible with the dictates of evolution. For example, according to the Biblical record God created earth, light, and vegetation before He created sun, moon and stars. This is unthinkable in evolutionary philosophy. Denis O. Lamoureaux is a Theistic Evolutionist. He does not take Genesis 1:1-31 literally, but places it in the genre of poetry, a view that is statistically indefensible. He prefers to be called an Evolutionary Creationist.

Go to a further, off-site discussion of Old Earth Creationism and its proponents. (WordExplain does not necessarily support all the data on this link.) Go to an off-site discussion of Young Earth Creationism.

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Old Sin Nature. The inherited tendency to defy God and do what is wrong. Adam and Eve were created as holy moral creatures, reflecting God's likeness and image. But the moment Adam and Eve disobeyed God they acquired a sin nature. This they passed on to their children, and this tendency to do wrong soon became evident when the couple's son Cain killed his brother Abel. Only Jesus did not inherit a sin nature. The Virgin Birth protected Him from that. Contrary to the dogmatic claim of the Vatican Church (966; Ineffabilis Deus), Mary also inherited a sin nature (Rom. 5:12; 1 John 1:8). If she were not a sinner, she would not have died. In the NT, the term "flesh" (sárx, 4561), is often synonymous with the Old Sin Nature (Rom. 8:3-8; Gal. 5:16-21; Eph. 2:3; 1 John 1:8). As a parent, I discovered quickly I never had to teach my children how to sin. They were quite able of learning how to do that on their own. A believer in Christ is given a new nature the moment he trusts in Jesus (2 Cor. 5:17). But he will never be rid of his Old Sin Nature until the moment he dies, or until Christ returns and he is granted a resurrection body without having to die first (1 Thess. 4:13-18). Thus, believers are commanded to walk by means of the Spirit, not by means of the flesh (Gal. 5:16-26).

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Old Testament. An English way of referring to the Old Covenant. Technically, "covenant" and "testament" mean the same thing. In popular usage, however, "Old Testament" refers to the 39 books of the Hebrew Bible. In the complete Bible accepted by Christians the "Old Testament" refers to the 39 books of the Hebrew Bible, while the "New Testament" refers to the 27 books written after the resurrection of Jesus Christ as reflecting the Apostolic explanation of the New Covenant. The reader should be aware that Protestants accept as genuine Old Testament Scripture only those books found in the Masoretic Text (MT), the Hebrew canon of Scripture. Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Oriental Orthodox churches include in their OT canon of Scripture a somewhat larger collection because they accept the authority of the larger canon of the Septuagint (LXX), the Greek translation of the Hebrew OT, plus a few other writings. It stands to reason, however, that if the OT Scriptures were given by God to the people of Israel, only those books written in their language are an authoritative part of the Hebrew Scriptures. The extra books found in the LXX are called the Apocrypha.

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Olivet Discourse. Jesus' lengthy explanation of the events of the end of the age as outlined in Matthew 24:1-25:46. The background of the discourse is as follows. Very near the end of Jesus' life and ministry on earth He and His disciples visited Jerusalem. The disciples remarked on the beauty of the Temple buildings (Matt. 24:1). To these comments Jesus shockingly replied that the time was coming when not one stone would be left upon another (Matt. 24:2). Subsequently, Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives to the east, looking down upon the impressive sight of Jerusalem and the Temple complex across the valley. His disciples came to him privately and asked when these things would happen, and what would be the sign of his coming, and of the end of the age (Matt. 24:3). The Olivet Discourse consists of Jesus' fairly complex answer to these three questions. Technically, he did not here answer their first question. But he did answer it Luke's version of the Olivet Discourse (Luke 21:5-36). Specifically, Jesus discussed the destruction of the Temple in Luke 21:20-24. This was fulfilled in A.D. 70.

    Specifically, Jesus spoke to His disciples (1) of the signs of the first half of the Tribulation (Matt. 24:4-14). (2) Next he revealed the signs of the last half of the Tribulation (Matt. 24:15-28). (3) Then He predicted His return (Matt. 24:29-51). This included (a) the sequence of His return (Matt. 24:29-31); (b) the timing of His return (Matt. 24:32-36); (c) the suddenness of His return (Matt. 24:37-44); and finally (d) the accountability at His return (Matt. 24:45-51). (4) Next, Jesus predicted the Judgments at His return (Matt. 25:1-46). (a) First He predicted the Judgment of Israel (Matt. 25:1-30). He did so under (i) the analogy of the wedding (Matt. 25:1-13); and also under (ii) the analogy of the journeying slave-owner (Matt. 25:14-30). Finally, Jesus concluded His Discourse with revelation concerning (b) His judgment of the nations (Matt. 25:31-46). In particular, Jesus described this judgment as occurring "when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne" (Matt. 25:31). So the judgments of Israel and of the Nations refer to those living individuals who have survived the horrors of the Tribulation. For an overview of the Olivet Discourse see the author's Analysis of the Gospel of Matthew. For a more detailed view, see the author's Annotated Outline of Matthew. For a detailed exegesis of Matthew 25:31-46, see "The Judgment of the Gentiles." For a discussion of the judgments of both Israel and the Gentiles, see "The Judgment of Survivors of the Tribulation Period at the Second Coming of Christ."

Omnipotence. The attribute of God characterizing Him as being All-Powerful. There is nothing that God cannot do consistent with His own character.  Since God is completely good, untainted by evil, He cannot, of course, do bad things.  But that is not what omnipotent means. Omnipotence means God is able to do absolutely anything consistent with His own character. God cannot, for example, lie or be unfaithful (2 Tim. 2:13; Tit. 1:2; Heb. 6:18). God’s omnipotence is displayed in His ability to create each human being and plan out their days (Psalm 139:13-16). God’s omnipotence is displayed in His ability to create the entire physical universe simply by speaking it into existence (Genesis 1). Several times in Scripture it is stated that nothing is too difficult for God (Gen. 18:14; Jer. 32:17; Matt. 19:26; Luke 1:37). The attribute of omnipotence applies equally to Jesus Christ as well as to God the Father. Jesus, for example is the Creator (John 1:3; Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:2), and He will resurrect and judge all dead people (John 5:21-29). For a more extensive discussion of God’s attributes, click here.

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Omnipresence. The attribute of God characterizing Him as being Everywhere Present. The classic passage on God’s omnipresence is found in Psalm 139:7-12. It is impossible for a human to flee from God, for He is everywhere. If one goes as far up as he can go (heaven), God is there. If one goes as far down as he can go (Sheol, the place of the dead), God is there. If one goes as far east as he can go (taking the wings of the dawn), God is there. If one goes as far west as he can go (the remotest part of the sea), God is there. Day and night are alike to God because He is everywhere. Because Jesus is God incarnate, He possesses the attribute of omnipresence also. Jesus told His followers, “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:20). In that brief statement, Jesus revealed He is both omnipresent and eternal. As far as Jesus’ body is concerned, He is presently localized in heaven. As far as His spirit is concerned, He is omnipresent. For a more extensive discussion of God’s attributes, click here.

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Omniscience. The attribute of God characterizing Him as being All-Knowing. God knows everything there is to know in all time periods – past, present, and future. The classic passage is Psalm 139:1-6. There David revealed that God had completely analyzed him and knew him thoroughly. God knows every movement and every thought.  God knows what a person is going to say before he says it. For David, this intimate knowledge seemed disconcerting and overwhelming. The amazing thing about God is that He not only knows everything actual in all three dimensions of time, He also knows everything hypothetical in all three dimensions of time! In an almost bizarre incident, Joash, king of Israel, visited Elisha before just before the prophet was to die (2 Kings 13:14-19). Elijah told him to shoot an arrow out the window. Joash did so. Elijah prophesied that Joash would defeat the Arameans at Aphek. Then Elisha instructed the king to strike the ground with an arrow. The king did so half-heartedly, striking the ground three times. Elisha was angry. God had revealed to Elisha that, had Joash struck the ground five or six times, Israel would have destroyed Aram (Syria) completely. Now as it was, there would be three victories, but Syria would not be destroyed. This passage reveals that God knows what would have happened if…  The extent of God’s knowledge is mind-boggling, to say the least! Jesus also possesses the attribute of omniscience. He knew Nathaniel, though the two had never met (John 1:48). He denounced the people of Capernaum for refusing to believe in Him despite the miracles they had witnessed. Capernaum would descend to Hades. If the miracles done in Capernaum had been performed in Sodom, the people of Sodom would have repented and the city would have remained to this day (Matt. 11:23-24). Like God the Father, Jesus knows all things actual and hypothetical in all dimensions of time.

One Hundred Forty Four Thousand, 144,000: Celibate Israeli males who have been sealed from each of the twelve tribes of Israel to perform some unspecified service for God during the Tribulation. We are told that the 144,000 will have been "sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel" (Rev. 7:4). 12,000 will be sealed from each of the twelve tribes of Israel, listed as follows: Judah, Reuben, and Gad (Rev. 7:5); Asher, Naphtali, and Manasseh (Rev. 7:6); Simeon, Levi, and Issachar (Rev. 7:7); Zebulun, Joseph, and Benjamin (Rev. 7:8). They are called "bond-servants" (literally, "slaves" (doulos, 1401) of God. apparently sealed on their foreheads so  they cannot be harmed (Rev. 7:3).

Evidently this protective sealing was only temporary, for we later find them on heavenly Mount Zion standing with the Lamb (Rev. 14:1). They are singing a special song which only they are able to learn and perform (Rev. 14:2-3). They are described as having been "purchased from the earth" (Rev. 14:3), which suggests they are no longer on earth. They are described as being chaste celibates who follow the Lamb wherever He goes (Rev. 14:4). They are also described as being utterly truthful (Rev. 14:5).

Nothing more explicit is said about the duties of these Israelis. However, I think there is a real clue in the remainder of Revelation chapter 7. In Revelation 7:9-17 we read of an innumerable multitude standing before the Lamb in heaven clothed in white robes and waving palm branches and praising God and the Lamb (Rev. 7:9-12). One of the elders in heaven informs John that this innumerable multitude of Gentiles (non-Jewish people) had come out of the Great Tribulation. They had washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb (Rev. 7:13-14). They had been martyred for the faith in Jesus during the Tribulation, and now, at last, were in a place of safety and comfort, shephereded by Jesus, the Lamb, Himself (Rev. 7:15-17). It is nowhere stated explicitly, but I believe the juxtapostion of the sealing of the 144,000 believing Jews (in Rev. 7:1-8) and the arrival in heaven of an innumerable number of martyred Gentiles (Rev. 7:9-17) is not accidental. I believe the Gentiles became believers in Jesus through the ministry of the 144,000 believing Jews. Think of 144,000 Apostle Pauls traveling around the earth and witnessing to Gentiles all over the globe. At some point, after the 144,000 sealed Jews had accomplished their task, both they and the great bulk of their converts were also put to death. That is why we see the believing Gentiles in heaven (Rev. 7:9-17) and why we see the 144,000 up in heaven following the Lamb (Rev. 14:1-5).





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Updated June 24, 2020