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

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Aaron. The brother of Moses, and the first High Priest. When Moses claimed to be unable to speak properly, God supplied Aaron to be his spokesman (Exod. 4:14). The two went together repeatedly to request Pharaoh to let God's people go (Exod. 5:1, 4; 7:10). Later, God called Aaron to be high priest of Israel. His four sons were to be priests under him (Exod. 28:1-29:46). Since Aaron and his sons were from the tribe of Levi, the men of the tribe of Levi were selected to assist the priests in the duties of maintaining the tabernacle and the temple and the offering of various offerings on behalf of the people. These men were called "Levites."

Abijah, Abijam, King of Judah (913-911 BC). (1 Kings 15:1-8; 2 Chronicles 13:1-22). Abijam and Abijah are alternate spellings of the name of the same person. Abijam was the son of Rehoboam and Maacah (2 Chron. 11:18-20). He reigned as king of Judah three years. His mother's name was Maacah, daughter of Abishalom (1 Kings 15:1-2). According to 2 Chron. 13:2, his mother's name was Micaiah, daughter of Uriel of Gibeah. RSB resolves this apparent conflict by demonstrating that Maacah and Micaiah are alternate spellings of the same name (see 2 Chron. 11:20). Maacah / Micaiah was the grandaughter of Abishalom (= Absalom), whose daughter Tamar married Uriel. He walked in the sins of his father Rehoboam, and his heart was not wholly devoted to the LORD as had been the heart of his (great-grand) father David (1 Kings 15:3). Yet for David's sake, God gave him (David) a "lamp" in Jerusalem (1 Kings 15:4-5).
    There was war between Abijam and Jeroboam (1 Kings 15:7; 2 Chron. 13:2). Abijah made a strong case against Jeroboam and Israel, stating that the line of David was the chosen line of God (2 Chron. 13:4-5). Jeroboam
had made golden calves as gods for Israel (2 Chron. 13:8), and he had driven out the priests of the LORD, the sons of Aaron, and the Levites. Moreover, he had made illegitimate people as priests (2 Chron. 13:9). Judah had not forsaken God (2 Chron. 13:10-11), and God would give Judah the victory (2 Chron. 13:12). But Jeroboam had set an ambush behind Judah in addition to the Israeli forces in front (2 Chron. 13:13). When Judah was attacked from both the front and the rear, they cried to the LORD and the priests blew their trumpets (2 Chron. 13:14). When Judah raised the war cry, God routed Jeroboam and his Israeli army before Abijah and Judah. When the sons of Israel fled from Judah, God gave them into the hands of Judah, and the Israelis lost 500,000 troops (2 Chron. 13:15-17)! The sons of Israel were subdued, and the sons of Judah conquered because they trusted in Yahweh, the God of their fathers (2 Chron. 13:18). Abijah pursued Jeroboam and captured several cities, including Bethel, Jeshanah, and Ephron (2 Chron. 13:19). Jeroboam did not recover during the days of Abijah. Yahweh struck him and he died (2 Chron. 13:20). Abijah, on the other hand, became more powerful (2 Chron. 13:21-22). After a very short reign, Abijam also died, and his son Asa became king of Judah in his place (1 Kings 15:8; 2 Chron. 14:1).

Abner. General of King Saul, first king of Israel (1 Sam. 14:50). After the death of Saul, Abner engineered the reign of Saul's son, Ish-bosheth to be King over all Israel, excluding Judah (2 Sam. 2:8-10). But Ish-bosheth accused Abner of sleeping with his father Saul's concubine, Rizpah (2 Sam. 3:6-7). Infuriated, Abner determined to deliver the Northern Kingdom to David (2 Sam. 3:8-11). David warmly accepted Abner (2 Sam. 3:12-21), but Joab and Abishai murdered Abner for having killed their brother Asahel in the civil war that had broken out between the house of David and the house of Saul (2 Sam. 3:26-30).

Abomination of Desolation. In a most important prophecy, the angel Gabriel revealed to Daniel a chronology of seventy sevens of years (Dan. 9:24-27). There is apparently an ongoing break between the 69 sevens of years and the final, or 70th seven of years. There is a "prince who is to come" who is the subject of Daniel 9:27. He is necessarily connected with a revived Roman Empire. We know this because "the people of the prince who is to come" would be the ones to "destroy the city and the sanctuary" (Dan. 9:26). This was fulfilled when the Roman army under General Titus destroyed the city of Jerusalem and the Jewish temple in A.D. 70. This yet future prince "will make a firm covenant with the many for one week" (i.e., a defined period of seven years). "The many" apparently refers to the people of Israel. Yet "in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering" (Dan. 9:27). Gabriel continued, "and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate." This rather cryptic statement denotes something abominable that desolates the temple.

     In a preliminary fulfillment of this prophecy, the Seleucid ruler Antiochus Epiphanes invaded Jerusalem in 168 B.C. He erected an idol of Zeus and sacrificed a sow on the altar, thus desecrating it (see Constable's Notes on Daniel, p. 93). This idol became known to Jewish people as "the abomination of desolation." But Antiochus' abominable actions did not exhaust this prophecy. Jesus, in His "Olivet Discourse" concerning the end of the age, stated, "Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains" (Matt. 24:15-16). Flight would be necessary because then there will be "great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will" (Matt. 24:21). Jesus' prediction means that there will be a yet future fulfillment of the "abomination of desolation." Some contend that the destruction of the temple by Titus in A.D. 70 fulfilled Jesus' prediction. But the evidence does not support their claim.

     The Apostle Paul spoke further about this sinister event. He spoke of the revealing of "the man of lawlessness" also identified as "the son of destruction who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God" (2 Thess. 2:3b-4). So the ultimate fulfillment of the "Abomination of Desolation" will take place when the future False Messiah (Antichrist) enters a rebuilt Jewish temple and seats himself therein describing himself as "God come in the flesh," a diabolical misrepresentation of the True Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth. Thus violating his seven-year peace treaty with Israel, this man of lawlessness will embark upon a ferocious persecution of Israel. This apparently will take place during the last half of the Tribulation period.

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Abram, Abraham.  Father of the people of Israel; father of Arabs who are descendants of Ishmael; spiritual father of all who believe in God and His Son Jesus.  His initial name, Abram, means “Exalted Father.”  God later gave him the name Abraham, “Father of Multitudes” (Gen. 17:1-8) when he had only one son, Ishmael, who was not the child of promise.  Abraham was the man God singled out through whom He would bless the world.  The ultimate descendant of Abraham through whom God would bless the world is Jesus the Christ (Gal. 3:13-14).

    The first we hear about Abram is that he lived, with his wife Sarai, in Ur of the Chaldees. The details of their move from Ur to Canaan seem a little murky. Here is the order of events as I see them: (1) Yahweh spoke to Abram (Gen. 12:1-3) when he was in Ur of the Chaldees (Gen. 15:7; Acts 7:2). God commanded him to leave his country, his father’s house, and his relatives to the land He would show him (Gen. 12:1). (2) Terah, Abram’s father, must have heard from Abram what Yahweh had told his son. (3) Apparently also affirming his faith in Abram’s new God, Terah took Abram, his now fatherless grandson Lot, and Sarai, his daughter-in-law and headed for Canaan, departing from Ur of the Chaldees (Gen. 11:31). (4) For reasons unstated in the text, the trip to Canaan stalled in Haran, well-situated in the “Fertile Crescent” (Gen. 11:31). (5) Subsequently, Terah died (Gen. 11:32) (6) This freed Abram to continue on his journey to Canaan, now accompanied only by his wife Sarai and his nephew Lot (Gen. 12:4-5).

The details of God's promise to childless include LAND – the land of Canaan; NATION – God would make of presently childless Abram and his descendants a great nation, the nation of Israel, as history unfolded; and BLESSING – God would bless Abram and his descendants, and through Abram, God would bless all the nations of the earth. Finally the promise included PROTECTION – God would bless those who blessed Abram, and He would curse those who cursed him (Gen. 12:1-3). This promise God later strengthened into an irrevocable and unilateral covenant (Gen. 15:1-21). We call this covenant the Abrahamic Covenant.

Because the couple remained childless, Sarai finally convinced her husband to take her slave-girl Hagar as a concubine. Her male child was to be deemed Sarah's contribution to the marriage. Hagar indeed conceived a son, named Ishmael. Later on, God revealed to both Abram, whom God renamed Abraham (Gen. 17:1-14) and Sarai , whom God renamed Sarah, that He would visit the couple and Sarah herself would bear a son (Gen. 17:15-19; 18:1-15). The miracle occurred, and Isaac, the son of promise was born (Gen. 21:1-7). There was inevitably conflict in the family, and Sarai demanded the departure of the slave girl and her son. Ishmael would not compete with her son Isaac for God's blessings (Gen. 21:8-10)! Though this pained Abram greatly, he listened to God tell him to send away the slave girl and her son (Gen. 21:11-14). Through the Angel of the LORD, God revealed to Hagar that her son would become a great nation (Gen. 21:15-21). God later confirmed the Abrahamic blessing to Isaac (not his  half-brother, Ishmael) (Gen. 26:1-5), and to Isaac's son Jacob (not his twin brother, Esau) (Gen. 28:10-17).

The New Testament makes a great point that Abraham's faith, not his works, nor his circumcision, nor his keeping of the Law (which would come hundreds of years later) was what God used to justify him (Gen. 15:6; Rom. 4:1-25; Gal. 3:6-9; Heb. 11:8, 17). James argued that Abraham's works vindicated the reality of his faith (James 2:21-24).

Abraham is listed in the "Faith Hall of Fame" (Heb. 11:1-40) as a tremendous example of living by faith (Heb. 11:8-19).

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Abrahamic Covenant.  God’s eternal, legal commitment to Abraham to bless him and to bless the world through his descendants in their land. Go here for a complete discussion of the Abrahamic Covenant.

The foundation of the Abrahamic Covenant is God's promise as found in Genesis 12:1-3. (1) Abram was to depart for the land Yahweh would show him (Gen. 12:1).  (2) He would make of Abram a great nation (descendants) (Gen. 12:2). (3) He will bless Abram, and Abram is to be a blessing. He will bless those who bless Abram, and He will curse those who curse him. In Abraham all the families of the earth will be blessed (Gen. 12:2-3).

Once Abram settled in the land of Canaan (Gen. 13:12), Yahweh told him to look in all directions. All the land he could see, Yahweh gave to him  and his descendants forever. Yahweh would make Abram's descendants as innumerable as the dust of the earth. He was to walk through the length and breadth of the land (Gen. 13:14-17).

After Abram's daring rescue of Lot (Gen. 14), Yahweh promised to protect and reward him (Gen. 15:1). When Abram queried his lack of a biological heir, Yahweh promised him descendants as innumerable as the stars (Gen. 15:2-6). Then Yahweh declared he had brought Abram from Ur of the Chaldeans to give him "this land to possess it" (Gen. 15:7).  Abram asked how he could know this was going to happen (Gen. 15:8). Yahweh responded by formalizing His promise to Abram through a blood covenant (Gen. 15:9-11) in which Yahweh obligated Himself alone to fulfill it (Gen. 15:17). This means that the Abrahamic Covenant is unconditional. The  features of this covenant were the northeastern and southwestern borders of the land which Yahweh had given to Abram's descendants (Gen. 15:18). It also specified the ethnic cleansing this would entail (Gen. 15:19-21).

When Abram was ninety-nine, Yahweh appeared to him and instructed him to walk before Him in blamelessness. Then Yahweh said that He would establish, in the sense of confirm, or implement His covenant with Abram. As a  sign of Yahweh's working, his name would be changed to Abraham, meaning "Father of a Multitude." This would be appropriate because He would make Abraham's descendants so numerous he would become "father of a multitude of nations." Nations and kings would issue forth from him (Gen. 17:1-6). The covenant Yahweh was establishing with Abraham and his descendants "throughout their generations" was to be an "everlasting covenant" (Gen. 17:7). Yahweh would give to Abraham and his descendants "all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession" (Gen. 17:8). In turn, Abraham and his male descendants and slaves were to bear the sign of circumcision in their male organs "for an everlasting covenant" (Gen. 17:10-14). God then revealed another sign. Sarai ("My Princess") was to have her name changed to Sarah ("Princess") in honor of the fact that royalty would issue from her. God would bless her and give Abraham a son by her. Then He would bless her and she would become a mother of nations and kings (Gen. 17:15-16). Laughing, Abraham requested that his son Ishmael might live before God. God said, "No." He revealed that Sarah would bear a son whom Abraham was to name Isaac ("he laughs"). God would establish His covenant with Isaac "for an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him" (Gen. 17:17-19). Having heard Abraham's request, God would indeed bless Ishmael, multiplying him exceedingly, but His covenant He would establish with Isaac, whom Sarah would bear next year (Gen. 17:20-21). Later on, God authorized a parting of the ways between Abraham and Sarah and Isaac, on the one hand, and Hagar and Ishmael, on the other (Gen. 21:1-14). Comforting Abraham, who was deeply distressed, God assured him that it was through Isaac that his descendants would be named. Still, God would make a nation of the "son of the maid" because he also was a descendant of Abraham (Gen. 21:12-13).

As Yahweh had revealed (Gen. 17:15-21), Isaac was the Divinely chosen son of Abraham, and it was he who inherited the Abrahamic Covenant (Gen. 26:1-6). Isaac was to stay in the land. If he stayed in the land, Yahweh would bless him. He would give Isaac and his descendants "all these lands," establishing with him the oath He had made with his father Abraham. He would multiply Isaac's descendants as the stars of heaven, and would give his "descendants all these lands." By Isaac's descendants "all the nations of the earth" would be blessed."

When Jacob was fleeing to Syria to save his life and find a wife, Yahweh appeared to him in a dream as the God of Abraham and Isaac. He told him  that the land on which he lay, He would give to Jacob and his descendants. His descendants would be as numerous as the dust of the earth, and in him and his descendants all the families of the earth would be blessed (Gen. 28:10-15).

The Abrahamic Covenant is the foundational covenant for both the Davidic Covenant and the New Covenant. It would be with the descendants of Abraham's grandson Jacob that Yahweh would establish the Mosaic Covenant, the Law, known in Hebrew circles as the Torah.

See a complete discussion of the Abrahamic Covenant.

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Absalom, Abishalom. Undisciplined son of David who rebelled against his father, overthrew him in a coup d'état, and was killed by David's favored general, Joab in the civil war that followed. Absalom is called Abishalom twice (1 Kings 15:2, 10). Absalom spent four years (980-976 BC) preparing for his overthrow of his father, David (2 Sam. 15:1-7).

Absolute Noun. When two Hebrew nouns are side by side, they are said to be in a Construct Chain, and the second noun is said to be the Absolute Noun. The Construct Chain is a grammatical construction which expresses the "of" (possessive) relationship between two nouns. The Absolute form of a noun is its lexical state. See also "Construct Chain." This definition is adapted from  "Basics of Biblical Hebrew by Gary D. Pratico and Miles V. Van Pelt, Chapter 10 - Construct Chain. See that link for examples in Hebrew with explanations in English.

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Abyss. A deep unbounded place, location unknown, that serves as a temporary prison for certain fallen angels. Abyss is usually translated “bottomless," frequently in conjunction with "pit” in the AV. Evidently most fallen angels, also known as demons, are free to roam the earth. Certain demons begged Jesus not to send them into the abyss when He cast them out of the demoniac of the Gerasenes (Luke 8:31). Locust-like demons are presently imprisoned in the abyss, awaiting their release upon the earth in the Tribulation (Rev. 9:1-12). The false messiah, or Antichrist who is to rule the world briefly, is described as coming out of the abyss (Rev. 11:7; 17:8). Satan is thrown into the abyss and chained there for a thousand years (Rev. 20:1-3, 7), the duration of Christ’s Millennial reign. All fallen angels will ultimately be cast into eternal fire (Matt. 25:41; Rev. 20:10).

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Accordance Bible Software. Accordance is "The most comprehensive Bible software platform on the market." It features a "Workspace," in which you can "organize your Bible study with multiple tabs, panes, and zones;" "Tagged Texts." The user may "hover over a word to get cross-highlighting and Instant Details," such as instant parsing. There are "Analytics," wherein one can "Discover patterns and trends throughout the Bible." WordExplain purchased Accordance in late 2022. References to it show up in work done since that time. See the Website.

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Accretions. Beliefs, doctrines, policies, and practices not found in the New Testament Church, but which have been incrementally added on through decades and centuries as authoritative dogma for the church of today. By way of illustration, a ship passes through the waters of the ocean. Over a period of  time, barnacles attach themselves to the ship. They slow the speed of the ship and adversely affect its efficiency and performance. In that framework, accretions are barnacles which are sometimes deliberately, sometimes by default allowed to attach themselves to the sleek and efficient hull of the New Testament Scriptures, which alone are God-breathed and able to make one wise unto salvation (2 Tim. 3:15-17). If the Apostles could return to the earth today and view what passes for correct and binding doctrine in many Protestant churches, but even more in Greek Orthodox churches, and especially in the Roman Catholic Church, they would be appalled. They would shriek, "You people kept adding on and adding on and adding on to the Scriptures. Who gave you the authority to do that? Tragically, in many places you have made the Word of God of no effect by your traditions!!"

My personal experience has been largely in independent Bible churches or community churches. Let me cite some examples of accretions. Church Board. Where did this terminology come from? Not from the New Testament. Chairman of the Church Board. You won't find him in Scripture. Parliamentary Procedure. Where do you find this in the New Testament? Secretary of the Church Board. You won't find him or her in Scripture. Treasurer of the Church. Do you find this office in the New Testament? Annual Meeting. Where did this come from? Church By-Laws. Do you find them in the New Testament? Election of officers. Where does that come from? Here is the truth. In America, for a church to exist as a corporation, it has to conform to the laws of incorporation of the state in which it resides. So all these terms stem, not from the Bible, but from business law! The problem comes about when church members think that business law is just as authoritative as Scripture. And many times church members allow it to trump Scripture.

When someone says, "A loving God can't disapprove of homosexuality!" he has allowed the barnacle of a politically correct cultural trend to trump Scripture. When a disenchanted husband says, "I can't believe God wants me to stay in this marriage" he is allowing culture to trump what the Bible says. When someone utters, "A loving God couldn't possibly send someone to hell for eternity!", he is letting the barnacle of his cultural definition of fairness trump the Bible. When a woman says, "I am a lot more gifted in the Scriptures than most men in my church. I can't believe God would not permit a woman to be a pastor!" she is allowing the dogma of Feminism to trump Scripture.

As bad as that may be, Roman Catholicism is even worse. The particulars are too extensive to enumerate. If you wish, go to the following article, "Elements of Roman Catholicism that Cannot Be Proven from Scripture."

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Accusative Case. In NT Koine Greek, generally, the case of the noun that receives the action of the verb.

The accusative case is the case of the direct object, receiving the action of the verb. Like the other cases, the accusative has a wide variety of uses, but its main function is as the direct object of a transitive verb. The direct object will most often be in the accusative case. For example: "As newborn babes, long for the guiless [sic] milk of the word" (1 Peter 2:2). The word "milk" is in the accusative case and is functioning as the direct object of the transitive verb "long for" (or "desire") (Corey Keating,, Accusative Case).

There are other instances, of course, in which there is, technically, no direct object in view. The Accusative Case can also designate the object of a preposition. For example, in Eph. 1:19, the greatness of God's power for believers is in accordance with the working ....." "In accordance with" translates the preposition katá (2596), and "working" (enérgeia, 1753) appears in the Accusative case as the object of the preposition katá.

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Active Voice. The aspect of Greek verbs that indicates that the subject of the sentence is performing the action of the verb. For example, in Eph. 3:17, we read, "so that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith ...." "May dwell" is the Aorist Active Infinitive of katoikéō (2730). Since the subject of the sentence is "Christ," it is appropriate that the verb is Active in Voice, indicating that it is Christ who performs the action of the verb, and is the one who dwells in the readers' hearts by faith. In short, Voice indicates who is performing the action of the verb. The other two voices are Middle Voice and Passive Voice.

Acts of the Apostles. The book of the Bible, written by Luke, that outlines the spread of the Good News about Jesus across the Roman Empire during the First Century A.D. The theme of the book is "Evangelism: The Apostolic Evangelism Concerning Jesus the Messiah of Jewish and Gentile People in the Roman Empire." See the author's Brief Outlines of Acts; Analysis of Acts; and Annotated Outline of Acts. The key verse of Acts is Acts 1:8, Jesus' command for His followers to be His witnesses throughout the world. The most important figure in the first half of Acts is the Apostle Peter (Acts 1:1-12:25). The most important figure in the second half of Acts is the Apostle Paul (Acts 13:1-28:31). The author of the book is Luke, the physician (Col. 4:14), who evidently accompanied Paul on several portions of his missionary journeys, referring to himself in the "we" sections of Acts (Acts 16:10-40; 20:5-21:18; 27:1-28:16). There are early church fathers who attributed the history to Luke, among them, Irenaeus, about 180 A.D. Acts is a companion and follow-up composition to the Gospel of Luke, both written to Theophilus (Luke 1:1-4; Acts 1:1-2).

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Adam. The man God created; the first man. The name Adam, 'âdâm (121) actually is a transliteration of the Hebrew word for man, 'âdâm (120). God created man in His own likeness and image (Gen. 1:26). Part of that likeness is limited sovereignty. God assigned Adam a limited sovereignty over the earth and its animals (Gen. 1:26-28). Also as part of that sovereignty, God instructed Adam to name the animals God had created (Gen. 2:19-20). That process enabled Adam to see he had no suitable helper. So God created Eve from Adam's rib (Gen. 2:20-25). God also assigned Adam to cultivate the Garden of Eden (Gen. 2:15). Moreover, He tested Adam, permitting him to eat fruit from any tree in the Garden except from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If he disobeyed, he would die instantly (Gen. 2:16-17). Adam did not stop his wife from eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Deceived by Satan, inhabiting a serpent, she ate and gave to her husband, and he likewise ate (Gen. 3:1-7). They died spiritually instantly, for they were now alienated from God and hid from Him (Gen. 3:8-10). God meted out appropriate punishments to the Serpent, to Eve, and to Adam, and barred them from the Garden of Eden so they could not eat from the Tree of Life and live forever in their fallen condition. Adam is the Federal Head of all humanity. When he sinned, all mankind sinned (Rom. 5:12). From Adam and his sin has come all the misery and dysfunction in the world and humanity and the animal kingdom -- physical death, decay, disease, hatred, enmity, deceit, immorality, envy, and the like. Ultimately Adam died physically at the age of 930 years (Gen. 5:3-5).

Adonay (sometimes spelled Adonai): Lord or Master. Almost always this noun appears in the Hebrew text as a proper noun reserved for God, who is designated one's Lord or Master. The Hebrew word is 'ădônây (136). It appears 439X in the OT, an astonishing number of times (222) in the book of Ezekiel alone. The next closest number of appearances is in the book of Psalms (54X).

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Adoption. The act whereby God assigns the status of "adult sons" to certain individuals and groups. The Greek word is huiothesia (5206), which likely is a combination of the noun huios (5207), "son," and the verb tithêmi (5087), to "place," "make," or "establish." Accordingly, the NASB uniformly translates each of the 5 occurrences as "adoption as sons." The term does not precisely correspond with our English idea of adoption. In English, one can legally adopt an infant without granting the child an adult status. In Biblical terms, however, in huiothesia God grants his sons an adult standing with all the rights and privileges thereof. In Romans 9:4 huiothesia refers to the elevated status God granted the nation of Israel simply on the basis of Israelis being descendants of Israel (Jacob). (This adoption of Israelis as sons is reason enough, by itself, to reject the nondispensational notion of replacement theology, whereby the Church is said to supersede or replace the nation of Israel.) In Rom. 8:15 and Eph. 1:5, huiothesia refers to the adult standing as sons that God grants to all who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ, even irrespective of their relation to the Law of Moses (Gal. 4:5). In Rom. 8:23 huiothesia is seen as the fully mature and complete status that all of us believers in Jesus long for, and will one day be granted - the redemption of our bodies from all the deleterious effects of sin and death.

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Advent.  The coming of Jesus Christ into this world. 

First Advent. The First Coming of Jesus Christ into this world. At His First Advent, Jesus came to be Savior.  He was supernaturally conceived within and born of the virgin Mary, a descendant of King David,  in the town of Bethlehem just as had been predicted (Isa. 7:14; Micah 5:2; 2 Sam. 7:8-17; Luke 1:26-38; 2:1-20; Matt. 1:18-25). He became the Jewish Messiah when He was anointed with the Holy Spirit (Isa. 11:1-2; 42:1; 61:1) at His baptism (Matt. 3:16-17; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21-22; John 1:32-34). Empowered by the Holy Spirit, Jesus passed with flying colors every temptation wherewith Satan attempted to disqualify Him (Matt. 4:1-11; Mk. 1:12-13; Luke 4:1-13). Empowered by the Holy Spirit, He went everywhere in Galilee and Judea proclaiming, as God's ultimate Prophet, the Good News of the Kingdom, urging the Jewish people to repent preparatory to entering His Kingdom (Matt. 4:17, 23; 9:35; Mark 1:14-15; Luke 4:43; 8:1). He healed the sick and cast out demons (Matt. 4:23-25; 8:16; 9:35; 14:14; 15:30; 19:2; 21:14; Mark 1:34; 3:10; Luke 4:40; 7:21; Acts 10:38). But only a few of the Jewish people accepted Him as their Messiah (John 1:10-13), though multitudes were enthralled with His words and His miracles (Matt. 4:25; Mark 3:7-8; Luke 6:17; John 11:47-48; 12:17-19). The people as a whole remained noncommittal, and the hostile Jewish leaders, including the chief priests, scribes, and most of the Jewish Sanhedrin (Ruling Council), persuaded a mob to call for His crucifixion (Matt. 27:22-23; Mark 15:13-14; Luke 23:18-23; John 19:6, 15). Jesus died on the Jewish Passover (Matt. 27:35; Mark 15:24-25; Luke 23:33; John 19:16-23) as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29, 36). After three days, God miraculously raised Him from the grave (Matt. 28:1-10; Mark 16:1-14; Luke 24:1-48; John 20:1-29). He showed Himself alive to selected followers, commissioned His followers to be His witnesses (Matt. 28:16-20; Mark 16:15-16; Luke 24:46-49; Acts 1:8), and ascended to heaven (Mark 16:19; Luke 24:50-51; Acts 1:9-11), where He sits in power at the Father's right hand, awaiting the moment when He is given the signal to return to earth, where His enemies will be made a footstool for His feet (Psalm 110:1; Dan. 7:13-14; Matt. 26:64; 1 Cor. 15:25; Eph. 1:20-22; Col. 3:1; Heb. 1:8; 8:1; 10:12; 12:2; Rev. 19:11-21).

Second Advent. The Second Coming of Jesus Christ into this world. At His Second Advent, Jesus will return as Sovereign.  Jesus’ Second Advent is in two stages.  First, He will come to claim the Church as His Bride and take her back to heaven to be with Him.  This event is commonly called the Rapture. We call this aspect of Christ's return "Reunion." After at least a seven-year hiatus, called the Tribulation, Jesus will return with His Bride to conquer His enemies and reign as King of Israel and King of the world. We call this aspect of Christ's Return "Retribution." See The Second Coming of Christ for a much more extensive treatment of the subject.

Advent Season. That portion of the liturgical year which celebrates the First Advent of Jesus Christ into this world. The Advent Season begins on the fourth Sunday before December 25, the Sunday between November 27 and December 3 inclusive. Many churches use an Advent wreath with four Advent candles, the first of which is lit on the first Sunday, with an additional candle being lit each succeeding Sunday of Advent. Appropriate Scriptures are read in connection with the birth of Jesus, and appropriate Christmas carols are sung.

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Advocate. The role of Jesus Christ in representing believers as attorney for the defense before the Father (1 John 2:1, 2). The word translated "Advocate" (in the NASB) is the noun paraklêtos (3875). The word paraklêtos is used five times in the NT. Four of those five instances (John 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7) refer to the Holy Spirit. This instance alone (1 John 2:1) refers to Jesus Christ. According to Friberg, the basic idea of this "verbal adjective" is "one called alongside to help." Friberg gives two categories of usage: "(1) as a legal technical term, as one who appears in another's behalf advocate, defender, intercessor (1 John 2:1); (2) as one who gives protection, help, and security helper, comforter, counselor (John 14:16)." Clearly, 1 John 2:1 presents Jesus' ministry here as an Attorney for the Defense before the Father. It is always best if a believer does not sin. But if a certain believer does sin (third class, hypothetical condition), we (plural) have a Defense Attorney or Counsel before the Father. And our counsel is not a sleazy lawyer. He is Jesus Christ, the Righteous One (1 John 2:1). Not only is He a righteous Lawyer, He is a  self-sacrificial Lawyer! He offered Himself up as the propitiation (legal satisfaction) (hilasmos, 2434) for our sins (1 John 2:2)! Moreover, since His death has infinite value, He is the legal satisfaction for the sins of the entire world (1 John 2:2)! That fact puts to rest the contention of Reformed Theology that Jesus' death provided only for "Limited Atonement."

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Ahab (874-853 BC). Evil seventh King of the divided Northern Kingdom of Israel, son of evil King Omri (1 Kings 16:25, 28), and husband of evil Jezebel, daughter of Ethbaal, King of the Sidonians (1 Kings 16:31). His marriage to Jezebel seems to have brought out the worst in Ahab. In fact, the Scriptures state that Jezebel incited Ahab to do evil (1 Kings 21:25). After his marriage to her, Ahab not only continued to walk in the sins of Jeroboam, son of Nebat, retaining the golden calf idols at Dan and Bethel, but he deliberately chose to serve Baal and worship him (1 Kings 16:31). He built a temple for Baal in Samaria and erected an altar for Baal within the temple (1 Kings 16:32). He also built the Asherah (1 Kings 16:33). He allowed his queen, Jezebel, to murder the prophets of the LORD (1 Kings 18:4) and to subsidize 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of the Asherah (1 Kings 18:19).

    Much of Ahab's life intertwined with the prophet Elijah. Elijah is introduced in the narrative as confronting Ahab, "As the LORD, the God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, surely there will be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word" (1 Kings 17:1). This was, in the context, a punishment on Israel for the horrendous idolatry introduced by Ahab. When Elijah finally revealed himself to Ahab after many months of drought, the latter accused the prophet of being "the troubler of Israel" (1 Kings 18:17). Elijah responded, "I have not troubled Israel, but you and your father's house have, because you have forsaken the commandments of the LORD, and you have followed the Baals" (1 Kings 18:18). Then Elijah told Ahab to gather all Israel together at Mount Carmel together with 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of the Asherah, who eat at Jezebel's table" (1 Kings 18:19). Elijah was issuing a challenge to Ahab to permit Israel to watch and see who were false prophets and who was the true prophet; who was the false god, and who was the true God! The false prophets could not call down fire from Baal to consume the offering, but the true God of Elijah could and did! Elijah had the 450 false prophets of Baal put to death!

    Ben Hadad, King of Aram, allied himself with 32 other kings and besieged Samaria and fought against it. God provided Ahab a miraculous victory (1 Kings 20:1-21). At the turn of the year, Aram returned to fight against Israel again, thinking that Israel's God was a God of the mountains, but not of the valleys (1 Kings 20:22-27). Again, God provided Ahab a miraculous victory (1 Kings 20:28-30). Ben Hadad escaped alive and pled for mercy from Ahab. Ahab foolishly granted him mercy and signed a covenant with him (1 Kings 20:30-34). A prophet of the LORD confronted Ahab. Since Ahab had preserved alive Ben Hadad, whom God had devoted to destruction, Ahab's life would be required instead of the life of Ben Hadad (1 Kings 20:35-43).

    Later, Ahab desired the vineyard of Naboth of Jezreel. Naboth refused to sell it. Ahab sulked (1 Kings 21:1-4). Jezebel arranged false testimony against Naboth that resulted in his death (1 Kings 21:5-14). Then Jezebel told Ahab to take possession of Naboth's vineyard (1 Kings 21:15-16). God sent Elijah to reprimand Ahab in his ill-gotten vineyard. He predicted Ahab's demise and also prophesied, "The dogs will eat Jezebel in the district of Jezreel" (1 Kings 21:17-24). When Ahab humbled himself before God, the word of the LORD came to Elijah that, since Ahab had humbled himself, the demise of his line would not happen in his days, but in the days of his son (1 Kings 21:27-29).

    Three years passed, and there was yet another war against Aram. King Jehoshaphat of Judah allied himself with Ahab. Ahab received assurance from false prophets that he would win, but a true prophet, Micaiah prophesied the scattering of Israel like sheep without a shepherd (1 Kings 22:1-28). Jehoshapat put on his kingly robes, while Ahab disguised himself. In the battle, a certain archer drew his bow at random, and the arrow struck the king of Israel in a joint of his armor. His blood pooled at the bottom of his chariot, and he died (1 Kings 22:29-37). They washed the blood out by the pool of Samaria, and dogs licked up the blood (1 Kings 22:38), just as Elijah had prophesied (1 Kings 21:17-19). Ahab slept with his fathers, and Ahaziah his son became King in his stead (1 Kings 22:40).

    Ahab did more to provoke the LORD God of Israel than all the kings who were before him (1 Kings 16:33). What a horrible epitaph!

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Ahaziah, King of Israel (853-852 BC). King Ahaziah, son of Ahab (1 Kings 22:40) and Jezebel, was king over Israel for only two years, from 853-852 BC (1 Kings 22:51). He was an evil king who followed in the idolatry of Jeroboam, son of Nebat, who had instituted the worship of golden calves at Dan and Bethel (1 Kings 22:52). He also followed his father and mother, worshiping Baal (1 Kings 22:52-53). He tried, unsuccessfully, to cooperate with Jehoshaphat, King of Judah, in a sailing venture, but Jehoshaphat refused after his ships were broken as a judgment from God (1 Kings 22:48-49; 2 Chron. 20:35-37).

    At some point Ahaziah fell through the lattice in his upper chamber in Samaria, and was significantly injured. He sent messengers to inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron, as to whether he would survive. Directed by an angel, Elijah informed the messengers that Ahaziah would indeed die. When the messengers reported back to Ahaziah, he sent a contingent of 50 soldiers to capture him. Fire came down from heaven and destroyed them. So Ahaziah sent another group of 50. Again, fire consumed them. Ahaziah sent a third group of 50. This captain pled for his life, and the angel told Elijah he could trust this commander. So Elijah went with him and told Ahaziah he would not recover, but would die (2 Kings 1:1-18). Indeed, he did so.

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Ahaziah (841 BC), King of Judah. This Ahaziah, in some translations called Jehoahaz, was the nephew of King Ahaziah of Israel through his mother, Athaliah, the evil daughter of the evil King Ahab and Queen Jezebel of Israel. He was the son of Jehoram, the evil son of the righteous King Jehoshaphat of Judah. This Ahaziah walked in the way of the house of Ahab, and perpetrated great evil in the sight of God. He reigned but one year at the age of 22 (841 BC) (2 Kings 8:26-27). He allied himself with King Joram in a war against the king of Aram. Joram was wounded and returned to Jezreel to recover from his wounds. Ahaziah went there to visit him (2 Kings 8:28-29). Meanwhile a prophet anointed Jehu to be king over Israel. Jehu was to strike the house of Jehu, his master. The whole house of Ahab would perish, and dogs would eat Jezebel in the territory of Jezreel, and none would bury her (2 Kings 9:1-10). Jehu obeyed immediately. He killed Joram in his chariot, and killed Ahaziah also. He had people throw down Jezebel from an upper window. He blood splattered on the wall and on the horses, and he trampled her under foot. When they went to bury her, the dogs had eaten the flesh of Jezebel just as the prophet had prophesied (2 Kings 9:11-37). See also 2 Chron 22:8-9.

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Ahijah, the Prophet from Shiloh. He predicted the rise and fall of the house of Jeroboam, first king of the Northern Kingdom of the divided nation of Israel. Because King Solomon foolishly married many women from various surrounding nations, his wives drew his heart away from God and he began to aid his wives in worshiping their false gods. God judged Solomon by telling him that he would, in the days of his son, tear the kingdom away from him and give it to his servant, leaving his son only one tribe (1 Kings 11:1-13). That servant was Jeroboam (1 Kings 11:26).

    Once, when Jeroboam was outside Jerusalem, the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite found him. Ahijah took off his new cloak, tore it in twelve pieces, and told Jeroboam to take ten for himself. This signified that God would take ten tribes away from Solomon and give them to Jeroboam, leaving Solomon's son one tribe (1 Kings 11:28-32). He would do this because under Solomon, Israel had begun worshiping false gods (1 Kings 11:33). If Jeroboam, as king of Israel, obeyed God, God would give him an enduring house (1 Kings 11:37-38).

    When Solomon died, the people of Israel, led by Jeroboam, asked Solomon's son Rehoboam to lighten the burden of the people. Rehoboam refused to do so, and ten tribes of Israel revolted against Rehoboam and crowned Jeroboam as king. Unfortunately, Jeroboam refused to obey God. For political purposes he constructed golden calves in Bethel and Dan, saying these were Israel's gods who had brought them out of Egypt. He did this to prevent people from traveling to Jerusalem to worship and transferring their loyalty to Rehoboam. To sustain his false worship he appointed his own priesthood to offer sacrifices away from Jerusalem on an altar he had constructed (1 Kings 12:1-33). An unnamed prophet from Judah pronounced a judgment upon Jeroboam's altar and his priesthood at the hand of a future king of Judah named Josiah. The prophet gave a very convincing sign (1 Kings 13:1-6). Nevertheless, Jeroboam did not repent of his evil ways (1 Kings 13:33-34).

    Years later, Jeroboam's son Abijah became sick. Jeroboam asked his wife to disguise herself and travel to Shiloh and inquire of Ahijah the prophet as to whether or not the child would live. His wife obeyed, but God told the now-blind Ahijah her true identity. Before she had a chance to inquire, Ahijah indicted her evil husband for his idolatry and for having done more evil than all who were before him. God would bring calamity upon Jeroboam's entire house. Anyone belonging to Jeroboam who died in the city, the dogs would eat; those of his house who died in the field the birds would eat. When she arrived home, the child would die. He alone of Jeroboam's family would be buried in a grave in a normal fashion, because in him alone something good was found toward the LORD in the whole house of Jeroboam (1 Kings 14:1-14). Israel would be carried captive beyond the Euphrates River for the sin of Jeroboam (1 Kings 14:15-16). The child died just as Ahijah predicted (1 Kings 14:17-18).

    Ultimately, the LORD struck Jeroboam, and he died (2 Chron. 13:20). Jeroboam's son Nadab became king over Israel, but he did evil in God's sight and walked in the way of his father. Baasha of the house of Issachar assassinated him. As soon as he became king, he struck down all the household of Jeroboam according to the word of the LORD which He had spoken by His servant Ahijah the Shilonite, and because of Jeroboam's sins which he sinned, and by which he had made Israel to sin, and because of his provocation with which he had provoked the LORD God of Israel to anger (1 Kings 15:25-30).

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AIDS. Acquired Immune Deficiency Sindrome.  Each person inherits a sin nature from his parents, traceable all the way back to Adam and Eve, our first parents.  Because of our inherited sin nature, each of us has a built-in tendency to sin, to violate God’s standards.  Sin leads inevitably to death.  There is only one cure, being born again through the power of God’s Spirit into the family of God by faith in Jesus Christ (John 1:11-13; 3:1-8, 16-18).

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Aliyah. The return of Jewish people to the land of Canaan, promised by God in perpetuity to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and their descendants. Ultimately, only those Israelis who submit to God's Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth, will make their home in New Jerusalem in connection with the land of Israel on New Earth.

Before the fledgling nation of Israel ever entered the Promised Land the first time, God through Moses outlined the necessity of obeying the commandments (Torah) He had given them. When the people crossed the Jordan River, half the tribes were to stand on Mount Gerizim to bless the people if they obeyed, and the other half were to stand on Mount Ebal to curse the people for disobedience (Deut. 27:1-13). The curses are contained in Deuteronomy 27:14-26 and resumed in Deuteronomy 28:15-19. The blessings for obedience are spelled out in Deuteronomy 28:1-14. The tragic consequences of disobedience (the specific terms of the curses) are spelled out in graphic language in Deuteronomy 28:20-68. Included in those consequences for disobedience are dispersion to foreign lands all around the world. This condition of dispersion and the ones so dispersed are called the Diaspora. Yet if the people, in the lands to which they had been banished, would repent of their evil, Yahweh will restore them back to the Promised Land of Israel (Deut. 30:1-5), and He will circumcise their hearts to love Him and serve Him (Deut. 30:6), and He will prosper them in their land (Deut. 30:7-10).

Historically, significant dispersions as a consequence of Israel's idolatry and disobedience have occurred a number of times. The Northern Kingdom of Israel was conquered by Assyria and taken into captivity in 722 B.C. There were no returns. The Southern Kingdom of Judah was conquered by Babylon, and the vast majority of Jewish people were deported to Babylon in three waves: 606, 597, and 586 B.C. This Exile lasted seventy years, as predicted by the prophet Jeremiah (Jer. 25:12). At the decree of Cyrus, King of Persian in 538 B.C. (Ezra 1:1-4), Sheshbazzar (likely the Babylonian name of Zerubbabel) led the first group of exiles back to Israel in 536 B.C. (Ezra 1:5 - 2:70). These exiles began reconstruction of the Jewish Temple (Ezra 3:7-13). In 458 B.C. Ezra the priestly scribe led a second wave of exiles back to Israel under the reign of Artaxerxes, King of Persia (Ezra 7:1 - 8:36). Ezra conducted what might be called a revival (Ezra 9:1 - 10:44). Nehemiah's return in 444 B.C., also under the reign of Artaxerxes I, marks a third return. Nehemiah led the returned exiles in rebuilding the wall of the city of Jerusalem (Neh. 1:1 - 7:73).

In a most significant event in Jewish history, Jesus of Nazareth offered Himself as Jewish King over a space of three years. The people of Israel rejected Him, crucifying Him as a blasphemer. Within forty years following Jesus' ascension to the right hand of God, the Roman army destroyed the city of Jerusalem and Herod's temple in A.D. 70. Within a few years, the Jewish people had been scattered over the face of the globe.

God, in His sovereignty, has engineered a series of Jewish returns to the land. But most of the Jewish people in Israel have made little pretense of a relationship with God, and even fewer have placed their faith in Jesus as their Messiah.

All that will change, and, perhaps, fairly soon. Isaiah 59:20-21. “A redeemer will come to Zion, and to those who turn from transgression in Jacob,” declares the LORD. “As for Me, this is My covenant with them,” says the LORD: “My Spirit which is upon you, and My words which I have put in your mouth shall not depart from your mouth, nor from the mouth of your offspring, nor from the mouth of your offspring’s offspring,” says the LORD, “from now and forever.” Romans 11:26-27. Historically, Jesus the Christ did die for the sins of Israel (and the world) in Zion. But national Israel remains in unbelief. Doubtless the time is coming when Jesus will return to Zion (Zech. 14:4) and will bring repentance to Israel (Zech. 12:10-13:1). He will gather all Israelis together from all over the world (Isa. 11:11-16; 14:1-2; 43:5-6; 49:22-23; 60:4, 9; Ezek. 20:33-34, 41-44; 36:24-36; Hos. 3:4-5 ). He will remove the rebels (Ezek. 20:33-38). There will be national repentance and national salvation (Ezek. 16:60-63; 20:43-44; Zech. 12:10-13:1), and redeemed Israel will assume its God-ordained role as leader of all the nations ( Isa. 60:10-14; 61:5,7-9; 66:23) under the global rule of Messiah Jesus (Isa. 2:1-4; Zech. 14:9; Rev. 19:11-20:6; 21:1-22:5)! What a glorious time that will be!

For an examination of Aliyah from a secular Jewish point of view, see Aliyah to Israel, published by the Jewish Agency for Israel. For a discussion of Aliyah from a Christian viewpoint, see Comforting Israel through Aliyah.

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Already Not Yet. The somewhat self-contradictory mantra proclaiming that aspects of Christ's kingdom are already here, but His kingdom to its fullest extent is not yet here. 

    According to George Eldon Ladd, Princeton theologian Gerhardus Vos first proposed this explanation of the kingdom of God early in the 20th century. Others cite Oscar Cullman. Ladd himself expanded on this representation of the kingdom in his book The Gospel of the Kingdom: Scriptural Studies in the Kingdom of God (first published in 1959, reprinted as a paperback in 1990). Ladd popularized his ideas in his book The Theology of the New Testament (published in 1974 and republished in 1993 as a paperback). Kingdom Theology and "Inaugurated Eschatology" are two systems that incorporate "already, not yet." "Already, not yet" has, in my view, gained widespread acceptance even in previously dispensational quarters because of dialogue between dispensationalists and amillennialists in the 1980's. As it typically occurs in a dialogue, one side compromises, but the other does not. In this instance, dispensationalists compromised their position. What came to be known as Progressive Dispensationalism began touting the line that Jesus was already seated on David's throne up in heaven. How Christ's throne up in heaven could be misconstrued as David's throne when David was only seated on an earthly throne has always been beyond my comprehension. 

    A variety of different groups within Christianity employ the mantra, "already, not yet," for different reasons. Charismatics use it to justify their perception of signs and wonders and the presence today of such gifts as healing and miracle-working. Amillennialists use it to justify their belief that there is no literal millennium, supported by a nonliteral exegesis of prophetic passages, including, but not limited to Rev. 20:1-6. Historical Premillennialists use it to justify their belief that we are presently in the kingdom of God. Progressive Dispensationalists use it to justify their belief that Jesus is already reigning as King, sitting on David's throne in heaven.

    Some of these groups, at least, base their theology on (what I believe to be) a mistaken interpretation that both John and Jesus stated that the "Kingdom of the Heavens" had arrived in the person and presence of Jesus (Matt. 3:2; 4:17, 23; 10:7; Mark 1:15; Luke 10:9; 11:20). A careful reading of the text reveals that both John and Jesus stated that the kingdom of the heavens had drawn near, not that it had arrived. The state of having drawn near implied both a spatial nearness and a chronological nearness. But Jesus' offer of the kingdom to Israel was conditioned upon Israel's meeting the necessary requirements, including spiritual preparation and an acceptance of Jesus as king. The nation as a whole never met those requirements, and Jesus' preaching changed.He began to predict He would be killed (Matt. 12:38-40; 17:9, 12, 22). And He predicted what matters would be like in the intervening time between His First Advent and His Second Advent. The parables of Matthew 13:10-51 describe, in story form, the course of this inter-advent period. His presentation of Himself as Israel's King at His so-called "Triumphal Entry" (Matt.  21:1-11; Luke 19:28-40) turned out to be an exercise in Israeli apathy. Jesus Himself wept over the judgment to befall the city for not recognizing the significance of His visitation (Luke 19:41-44). In a few days Israel killed their King and asked for His blood to be upon them and their children (Matt. 27:25), the most ghastly prayer any leaders and parents have ever prayed. Jesus had been anointed by God to be King (Matt. 3:13-17; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21-22; John 1:31-34), but He has never been crowned King by the nation of Israel. To this day that awaits the future (Zech. 12:10-13:1; 14:9).

    Scriptures can be adduced which demonstrate that the kingdom was still future from the vantage point of the speaker. Jesus predicted that when He sat upon His throne in the "regeneration," His 12 disciples would sit on 12 thrones judging the 12 tribes of Israel (Matt. 19:27-28). That has not yet happened. The kingdom was still future then, and it is still future now. James and John, through their mother, requested that they would have prominent positions in Jesus' kingdom (Matt. 20:20-23). They expected Jesus' kingdom to appear in the (near) future. As Jesus and His disciples drew near to Jerusalem, He told them a parable to dispel their belief that His kingdom was going to appear any time soon (Luke 19:11-27). Later, Jesus stated that He would not sit on His glorious throne until the time would come when "the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him" (Matt. 25:31). Even more to the point, after Jesus' death and after His resurrection, He had to dispel His disciples' belief that He was, at this point, going to restore the Kingdom to Israel (Acts 1:3-6). Jesus did not tell them they were in error, but that the timing of that event was the Father's business, not theirs (Acts 1:7). Meanwhile, their ongoing task was to recruit people for His kingdom (though He did not use those precise words) (Acts 1:8). They were to be His witnesses.

    What can we learn about the kingdom of God in the epistles? Michael Vlach has written an excellent article entitled, "The Kingdom of God in Paul's Epistles." In  the article he notes that, though Paul did not use the word "kingdom" in 2 Tim. 2:12, he presents Christ's reign as future (2 Tim. 2:10-13). In 2 Tim. 4:1 Paul associates Jesus' kingdom with His appearing (epiphaneia, 2015). In 2 Tim. 4:18 Paul is confident that the Lord will rescue him from "every evil deed" and will bring him "safely to His heavenly kingdom." Paul does not see either himself or his fellow Christians as already being in the kingdom. It is future.

    The writer of the book of Hebrews repeatedly argues, not that Jesus is seated in heaven at the right hand of the Father as king, but rather as priest. He repeatedly emphasizes Jesus' present (high) priesthood (Heb. 2:17; 3:1; 4:14-15; 5:5-6, 10; 6:20; 7:11-28; 8:1-2; 9:11-14, 24-28; 10:21).

    So the proper conclusion is that Jesus' kingdom as the Son of David is wholly future. He has been anointed by God to be King, so He is presently the Messiah, the Christ. But He is not yet King. While He is presently in heaven He is performing His High Priestly duty of intercession (Psa. 110:4; Heb. 7:23-25), but He is not yet reigning as King. He sits at His Father's right hand, waiting until His enemies are made a footstool for His feet (Psa. 110:1). That will be fulfilled only when He returns to reign from Mount Zion here upon earth (Psa. 110:2). So we find that the mantra "Already, not yet" is an incorrect mantra. Jesus' reign must be upon the earth, not from heaven. Jesus is presently serving as Priest, not King. His Kingly rule awaits His return to earth. See the article,  Not Already, Not Yet.

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Amalek, Amalekites. The son of Esau's son Eliphaz (Gen. 36:12). The sons of Amalek, Amalekites, became inveterate enemies of Israel. According to the RSB in the note at Gen. 14:5-7, "all the country of the Amalekites was between the Negev (the desert area of southern Judah) and Sinai." Israel first encountered the Amalekites in battle at Rephidim (Exod. 17:8). The Israelis won a decisive victory with God's supernatural help (Exod. 17:8-13). God's attitude against Amalek is graphically stated in Exod. 17:14-15. See the territory of Amalek on a map.

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Amaziah, King of Judah (796-767 BC). A mostly good king of Judah, descendant of the chamelon-like Joash, and father of Uzziah (also known as Azariah).

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Amillennialism.  The theological position that denies the existence, in the future, of a literal one thousand year reign of Christ (Rev. 20:1-6) upon the present earth from the present day city of Jerusalem.  The prefix “a” means “not” or “non.”  Amillennialism necessitates “spiritualizing” passages that expound prophetic themes.  Prophetic passages which speak of the glories of Christ's future kingdom (such as Isaiah 2:1-4; 11:1-10; 60:1-22; 61:1-9; 65:20-23; 66:18-23)  are said to be “figurative,” "metaphorical," "ideal," or “symbolic.” 

For example, there are those who claim that we are presently in Christ's kingdom here on earth, and that the reference to a thousand-year reign of Christ in Rev. 20:1-7 is merely a "symbolic number". (See "The Amillennial View of the Binding of Satan" by Rev. Carl A. P. Durham, employing that explanation in that passage.) (I might counter that, though numbers in Revelation may have some further significance in certain cases, all the numbers are meant to be taken literally. For example, seven angels means seven angels, not six or eight; seven churches means seven churches, not nine or ten; twenty-four elders means twenty-four elders, not thirty; and so one thousand years means one thousand years, not nearly two thousand and still counting.) 

Amillennialists use a hermeneutic based on their presupposition of New Testament priority over the Old. They thus take the position that any New Testament Scripture trumps Old Testament Scripture on any prophetic events. In this way they deprive the Old Testament prophecies of the distant future of their real significance. It is more accurate to say that NT Scriptures can expand on and amplify OT prophecies, but they cannot either alter or invalidate the promises and predictions asserted in the Old.

Amillennialists often lump many O. T. "eschatological" prophecies into the same time frame. This unfortunately results in irreconcilable anomalies, such as the portrayal of a detailed physical  temple in Ezekiel 40:1-46:24 versus the portrayal of no physical temple whatsoever as predicted in Revelation 21:22. C. J. H. Wright (The Message of Ezekiel, pp. 341-342) dismisses this irreconcilable difficulty as follows: " seems to me that Christian interpretations of Ezekiel which insist that there will yet be a literal and physical fulfillment of his vision by the actual building of another temple in Jerusalem, with accompanying miraculous transformations in the geography of Palestine to enable a river to flow down to the Dead Sea, are out of line with the New Testament’s own interpretation, which relates the prophetic hope to its messianic fulfillment in Jesus." In so doing he simply dismisses the irreconcilable anomaly with a wave of his theological wand of symbolism.

Amillennialism results in “Replacement Theology,” in which the present nation of Israel has no meaningful relationship to end-time events since, in the view of Amillennialists, the Church has forever replaced Israel.  Another term for "Replacement Theology" is "Supersessionism," which holds that the Church has superseded Israel. It is difficult to read Paul's apology for Israel in Romans 9:1-11:36 and make any sense out of it if, in fact, the Church has permanently superseded IsraelIf Amillennialism is true, countless passages like Isaiah 2:1-4; Isa. 11; Isa. 60, Zechariah 12:1-14:21, and Revelation 6:1-22:21 cannot be taken at face value – they mean something other than what the writers or the readers in the day they were written would have taken them to mean.  In the view of WordExplain, Amillennialism results from a faulty, inconsistent hermeneutic, or method of interpreting the Scriptures.

For a fairly succinct portrayal of eschatology and the end times from an Amillennial view point (written September, 1989), see "The 'End Times': A Study on Eschatology and Millennialism" - A Report on Theology and Church Relations of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4. WordExplain does not agree with this study. For a presentation of "Inaugurated Millennialism," see The Book of Revelation: A Commentary on the Greek Text (New International Greek Testament Commentary) by Gregory K. Beale of Wheaton College. His lengthy title for Revelation 20:1-15, as found on p. xv of the Table of Contents, reads as follows: "The Millennium Is Inaugurated during the Church Age as God Limits Satan’s Deceptive Powers and as Deceased Christians Are Vindicated by Reigning in Heaven. The Millennium Is Concluded by a Resurgence of Satan’s Deceptive Assault against the Church and the Final Judgment." As can be readily seen, Beale does not employ the term "Millennium", which means "thousand years" literally, as, according to him, the "Millennium" has already been inaugurated and we are living in it today. Already, according to Beale, we have been in the "Millennium" for nearly two thousand years, and we are still counting, for Christ has not yet returned. That, according to him, is the "Inaugurated" sense of the Millennium. Use whatever term he wishes, Beale is, nonetheless, Amillennial, since he denies Christ's future reign on the present earth from present-day Jerusalem for a thousand years. WordExplain, of course, does not agree with Beale's position.

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Ammon, Ammonites, Sons of Ammon. Son of Lot by his unnamed younger daughter (Gen. 19:30-38). His mother called him Ben-Ammi (1151), literally, "Son-of-My-People" (Gen. 19:38), a name which echoes his incestuous origins. His descendants were called "Sons-of-Ammon" (Bene, 1121 Ammon, 5983) (Gen. 19:38). Ammon may mean "Son of my Kin." The hyphenated Hebrew "Sons-of-Ammon" is the typical manner in which the people of Ammon are identified in the OT. The designation is used 104X in the OT (for example, Gen. 19:38; Num. 21:24; Deut. 2:19; Josh. 12:2; Judges 3:13; 1 Sam. 12:12, etc.). The adjectival proper name "Ammonite" (Ammoni, 5984), is used much less frequently, 22X. [Hebrew word searches do not differentiate between the root of the masculine "Ammonite" (Ammoni, 5984) and the root of the feminine "Ammonitess" (Ammonith, 5985). With regard to the latter, in the NASB, Naamah is identified as "the Ammonitess" in 1 Kings 14:21, 31; and 2 Chron. 12:13; Shimeath is identified as "the Ammonitess" in 2 Chron. 24:26; and in Neh. 13:23, the NASB translation is "(women) ... of Ammon." The presence of Ketiv and Qere readings here conflates the number of Hebrew occurrences.]  

The original territory of the Ammonites was on the eastern border of, and adjacent to the Dead Sea, bounded on the north by the Jabbok River (Deut. 3:16), and on the south by the Arnon River, at least according to the king of the Sons of Ammon during the time of Jephthah (Judges 11:13). However, the Biblical account states that land north of the Arnon had originally belonged to Moab (Num. 21:26), the kingdom to the south of Ammon. At some time prior to Israel's conquest of the Eastern bank of the Jordan (Transjordan), however, the Amorites, under King Sihon, had conquered the westernmost portion of the land of the Sons of Ammon, as well as the northern portion of Moab (Num. 21:26). All this territory was adjacent to the Dead Sea. Thus, prior to the time of Israel's conquest of any land in Canaan, the Arnon River was the border between Moab and the Amorites (Num. 21:13). When Israel entered the land of Transjordan, messengers requested of King Sihon a peaceful passage of Israel through the land of the Amorites (Num. 21:21-22). Sihon refused, and attacked Israel. Israel won the war and took possession of the Amorite land that had been conquered by Sihon, king of the Amorites (Num. 21:21-31).

When Israel conquered land in Transjordan, the people were forbidden to conquer any land belonging to the sons of Ammon, descended as they were from Lot (Deut. 2:19, 37; 3:16). The sons of Gad inherited half the land of the sons of Ammon (Josh. 13:24-25). However, this was land that had previously been wrested from the sons of Ammon by the Amorites under Sihon, king of Heshbon (Josh. 13:27). At various subsequent times in Israel's history, there was war between Israel and the sons of Ammon and subjugation (Judges 3:13; 10:7-9). This was because of Israel's idolatry with the gods of their neighbors (Judges 10:6). After repentance (Judges 10:10-16), God delivered Israel  (Judges 10:17-11:33). This cycle repeated itself time and time again. At various times the kings of Israel fought against the sons of Ammon (1 Sam. 11:11; 14:47; 2 Sam. 8:12; 10:1-19). Even after Israel's return from exile there were ongoing problems with the Ammonites (Ezra 9:1; Neh. 2:10, 19; 4:3, 7; 13:1)  Yahweh promised punishment upon the sons of Ammon because of their treatment of Israelis (Amos 1:13). This punishment included utter desolation (Zeph. 2:8-9). Ultimately, Israel will possess the land of the sons of Ammon in the Millennial Kingdom (Zeph. 2:9).

Amorites. An ancient Canaanite ethnicity descended from one of the sons of Canaan (Gen. 10:15-16). The Amorites appear to have lived in an extended area of the land of Canaan. In Abram's day, there were Amorites living in Hazazon Tamar (Gen. 14:7), later identified as Engedi (2 Chron. 20:2), situated on the western shore of the Dead Sea. However, at the time of the invasion described in Genesis 14:1-12, Abram was living at the Oaks of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol and Aner (Gen. 14:13). The Oaks of Mamre has been identified with the city of Kenath (Num. 32:42), a city in Bashan, situated on the East side of the Jordan River, ENE of the Sea of Galilee, and thus farther north than Engedi.

Centuries later, when Moses sent out the twelve spies, they reported that Amorites were living in the hill country, while the Canaanites were living by the [Mediterranean] Sea and alongside the Jordan River (Num. 13:29).When Israel conquered the land of Canaan, they dispossessed the Amorites living on the East side of the Jordan. Heshbon, for example, was the city of Sihon, king of the Amorites, just north of the land of Moab (Num. 21:13, 25-26), farther to the south of Kenath, ENE of the Dead Sea. Working its way northward, Israel subsequently conquered Og, king of Bashan and sixty other cities (Deut. 3:1-7). Og was also identified as an Amorite king (Num. 21:33; 32:33; Deut. 1:4; 3:1-4, 8-13). When God entered into a unilateral covenant with Abram, that which we call the Abrahamic Covenant, He revealed that, in the fourth generation, Abraham's descendants would return and conquer the land of Canaan. It was not yet time for the Amorites to be conquered, because their iniquity was not yet complete (Gen. 15:16). The Amorites were just one ethnic / national group that Israel would destroy as the nation possessed the land that God covenanted to give her (Gen. 15:17-21).This suggests that God gives nations and ethnicities time to repent of their evil. When they do not do so, God will send in another people to conquer them and subjugate them as a means of Divine discipline and judgment.

At the date of this writing, America's quotient of evil is rising (Rom. 1:18-32). Some day she will have filled her quota of rebellion against God. He will send in enemies to conquer. I believe that judgment is already in process. I can see Marxists and Muslims and an army from the south invading our country and taking it over.

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Anabaptism. The belief that infant baptism is not Biblical, for Biblical baptism requires faith in Christ, an impossibility for infants. This necessitated a "re-baptism" of adults who had been baptized as infants. When the Reformation introduced by Luther in Germany made its way into other countries, such as Switzerland, the idea of the necessity of re-baptizing adults who now believed in Jesus began to take hold. Some of the early proponents of  believer's baptism for adults who had previously been baptized as infants included men in Switzerland such as Conrad Grebel, Felix Mantz, and George Blaurock.  Initially supporting their theology, Ulrich Zwingli  ultimately sided with a "State" Church. He believed that the  specter  of  Anabaptism would split the church, and he began to cooperate with those who opposed the Anabaptists. Sadly, he supported the violent persecution and even murder of his fellow believers.  In the long run, the  diversely ordered "Baptist" associations emerged. These adamantly opposed any concept of state church, holding that each local church was independently and autonomously governed. And, of course, they staunchly adhered to the necessity of "believer's baptism," not infant baptism. They observe infant dedications, but not infant baptisms. I, as the author and editor of WordExplain, admit to a long history of association with churches of a "baptistic" mind-set.

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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.... According to the Analogical Day interpretation the description of creation represents an analogy between the work of God stretching over six divine days followed by a day of rest, and the work of humans in understandable terms, laying groundwork for both the Sabbath day and the Jubilee year commanded in Leviticus. God speaks and teaches through analogy and thus accommodates his revelation to human understanding" (quoting Science, Faith and Vern Poythress 2).

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Ananias of Damascus. A disciple at Damascus who was instructed by the Lord to lay hands on Saul so that he might receive his sight (Acts 9:10-11). We only know of this Ananias from the text of Acts 9:10-19. Saul had been on his way to capture disciples of the Lord, those who were "belonging to the Way," in Damascus, both men and women, and bring them bound to Jerusalem (Acts 9:1-2). As he was traveling he was struck to the ground by a blinding light from heaven (Acts 9:3-4). He heard a voice asking him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?" (Acts 9:4). Saul asked, "Who are You, Lord?" (Acts 9:5). The voice answered, "I am Jesus whom you are persecuting" (Acts 9:5). The voice told him to get up and proceed to the city of Damascus, where further instructions would be given to him (Acts 9:6). Saul got up, but having been blinded, he needed those traveling with him to lead him by the hand into Damascus. He was there three days without sight, and took neither food nor liquid (Acts 9:8-9).

    Meanwhile, in a vision, the Lord spoke to a disciple named Ananias (Acts 9:10). He told him to go to Straight Street, and to inquire at the house of Judas for a man named Saul of Tarsus, who was in the home, praying (Acts 9:11). Saul had seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming to lay his hands on him so that he could once again see (Acts 9:12). Ananias protested to the Lord that this Saul was a dangerous man who had been given authority to bind all that call on Jesus' name (Acts 9:13-14). The Lord responded to Ananias that he must go, for this Saul was a chosen instrument of His to bear His name before the Gentiles, before kings, and before the sons of Israel. The Lord would show Saul how much he would be forced to suffer for His name's sake (Acts 9:15-16). Ananias obeyed, found the house, and entered it. He laid his hands on Saul and said, "Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road by which you were coming, has sent me so you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 9:17). Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul's eyes. He got up and was baptized, ate, and received strength (Acts 9:18-19). We hear about Ananias once again in Paul's personal defence before the enraged Jews of Jerusalem (Acts 22:12-16). We never hear of Ananias again.

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Ananias and Sapphira. A couple in the early church who sold a property and pretended to give all the proceeds to the Apostles, but in reality withheld some of the sale for their personal use. They were dishonest, and paid for their grandstanding with their lives (Acts 5:1-11). The background of the narrative is the unity and sharing of the church early in its early history (Acts 4:32-35). The early Christians did not claim that their private property was their own, but were willing to share. The owners of lands and houses would sell them and bring the proceeds to the Apostles to be distributed according as any had need. One such example was Barnabas, from the island of Cyprus. He owned land, sold it, brought the money, and laid it at the feet of the Apostles (Acts 4:36-37).

A man named Ananias, with the full knowledge of his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of land, but laid only a portion of the money at the feet of the Apostles. Peter addressed him, "Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and withhold some of the proceeds of the sale? Before you sold it, didn't it belong to you? And the same afterwards? Why did you do this? You have not lied to men, but to God!" (Acts 5:1-4). Upon hearing this, Ananias fell down dead. Great fear came upon all who heard of this. The young men arose, covered him, took him out, and buried him (Acts 5:5-6). Three hours later Sapphira came in aware of nothing that had happened. Peter asked her, "Did you sell the land for such and such a price?" She replied, "Yes, that was the price." Peter continued, "Why is it that you have agreed together to put the Spirit of the Lord to the test? The feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also." Immediately she fell at his feet and breathed her last. The young men came in, found her dead, and carried her out and buried her beside her husband. Here is the understatement: "And great fear came over the whole church, and over all who heard these things" (Acts 5:7-11).

    An assessment: The sin of Ananias and Sapphira was pretending to do something they had not done in order to receive applause from men while still enjoying some future benefit of retaining cash on which to live. They died for their hypocrisy. In my opinion these stunning deaths were God's way of keeping the Church pure at this early stage. I presume Ananias and Sapphira were true believers, ones whom we will see in heaven. I believe they were guilty of committing sin that leads to physical death (1 John 5:16-17).

Anarthrous. The noun or adjective or participle appears without the article. Generally, anarthrous designations indicate a condition or quality, while designations with the article point to a specific individual or entity. For example, the adjective diábolos (1228), "slanderous" appears anarthrously in 1 Tim. 3:11; 2 Tim. 3:3; Tit. 2:3, and it is translated in the NASB each time as "malicious gossips." Most of the time diábolos appears with the article (e.g. Matt. 4:1), and it refers to the specific slanderous one, "the Devil."

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Angel, Angels. Angels are messengers of God. Both the Hebrew word for angel (malak, 4397) and the Greek word for angel (aggelos, 32) mean "messenger." Unfortunately, in my view, in both instances the translators of the OT and NT would have been better off to translate both words as that which they really are, "messenger." Let the context determine the nature of the messenger. As it stands, translators have used the untranslated Greek word aggelos, "angel" to stand for both the OT and NT words. 

Angels serve God by carrying out His will (Psa. 103:20) and informing men of God’s will (Luke 2:8-14). They are especially sent to those who will inherit salvation (Heb. 1:13-14). When angels appear to humans, they often look like men (Judges 13:2-18; Luke 24:4).  Yet they have a supernatural aura about them that makes men fearful (Judges 13:19-23; Luke 24:5).  Angels have supernatural power (Gen. 19:1-25).  There are different ranks of angels, including cherubim (Gen. 3:24; Ezek. 10:1-20; 11:22; 28:14); seraphim (Isa. 6:2, 6); and archangels (1 Thess. 4:16; Jude 1:9). Two angels are named: Gabriel (Dan. 8:16; 9:21; Luke 1:19, 26) and Michael (Dan. 10:13, 21; 12:1; Jude 1:9; Rev. 12:7). Jesus appeared infrequently in the Old Testament as the Angel of Yahweh. 

Satan (Job 1:6-9, 12-13; 2:1-7; Zech. 3:1-2; Matt. 4:10; Mark 1:13), also known as the devil (Matt. 4:1; 13:39; John 8:44; 1 Pet. 5:8) was created as a cherub (Ezek. 28:11-15), a good angel.  But Satan became self-obsessed, prideful, and rebellious (Isa. 14:12-14; Ezek. 28:16-19).  He drew other angels with him in his rebellion (Rev. 12:3-4).  The elect (chosen) angels have remained true to God (1 Tim. 5:21). God has no plan to redeem fallen angels (Matt. 25:41; Rev. 20:10), also known as  unclean spirits (Matt. 10:1; 12:43; Mark 1:26-27) and demons (Lev. 17:7; Deut. 32:17; Psa. 106:37; Matt. 7:22; 8:31; 9:34; Mark 1:34, 39).

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Angels, Fallen. See the Glossary entry Fallen Angels.

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Angel of the LORD; Angel of Yahweh. There is a special angel who appeared at various times in the OT. He is identified as the Angel of the LORD, or the Angel of Yahweh. In his various appearances he is identified not only as "the angel of Yahweh," but, variously, as Yahweh Himself or as Elohim. He receives worship. In the NT, references to the Angel of Yahweh disappear. It makes sense to view the Angel of Yahweh as the pre-incarnate Messiah. See The Angel of Yahweh (html). See the .pdf version.

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Angelology. The study of angels, based on evidence derived from Scripture.  Angelology examines angels in the Old and New Testaments, the tasks of angels, the various categories of angels, the nature of the Angel of Yahweh in the Old Testament, and the ministry of angels in relation to Christ.

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Annas. Powerful high priest of Israel in the days of Jesus. He was appointed high priest around AD 6 by Quirinius, Roman governor of Syria. He served officially until AD 15, when he was removed from office by Valerius Gratas, procurator of Judea. Caiaphas, son-in-law of Annas, was appointed high priest and served from AD 18 to 36. Even though Caiaphas was the official high priest during that time, Annas still was recognized also as high priest by the Israeli citizenry. Consequently Luke identified both Annas and Caiaphas as high priest (Luke 3:2). At Jesus' pseudo trial, the leaders led Him first to Annas (John 18:13). Annas had no legal standing before Rome to bring any charges, so he sent Jesus to be tried before Caiaphas (John 18:24). Even after Jesus' departure to heaven, Luke recognized Annas as high priest. Luke also mentions Caiaphas, John, and Alexander, all of whom were of high priestly descent (Acts 4:6).

    While I was attending Dallas Theological Seminary from 1969-1974, I took several classes under Dr. J. Dwight Pentecost. I remember him discussing Jesus' cleansing of the temple (John 2:13-22). Addressing all the oxen, sheep, and doves being sold in the temple along with the money-changers, Pentecost referred whimsically to "Annas' Bazaar." By that he meant that the high priest (and perhaps some of his associates) made a substantial profit from the selling of animals. Jesus drove the animals out of the temple, overthrew the money-changers' tables, and ordered, "Take these things away! Stop making my Father's house a place of business!" (John 2:15-16). This was a corrupt business, and it is no wonder that "the Jews" were upset with Jesus and asked him what authority he had to disrupt their business (John 2:18)!

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Anointed One. A literal translation of the Hebrew Messiah and the Greek Christos.  In the Old Testament there were priests, prophets, and kings who were anointed.  Typically, the term “Anointed” referred to the king.  The ultimate reference is to the Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth.  The Anointed One is seen as the ultimate King whose reign will never end.  His kingdom will extend around the world, and will last for a thousand years.  In the final analysis the Anointed One will return the kingdom back to the Father.  The two will reign as Co-Regents from the throne in New Jerusalem, the capital of New Earth (Rev. 21:1-22:5).

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Anthropology. The study of man based on information derived from the Bible.  Anthropology deals with the origin of man, the origin of the world in which he lives, the nature of man as being created in the image of God, the nature of Adam as federal head of the human race, and the nature of man’s dominion over the earth.

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Antichrist. The Greek anti means, in this case, both instead of and against the true Christ, or Messiah.  The actual term “antichrist” is used only by the Apostle John in his first and second letters.  There is the specific Antichrist 1 John 2:18), but down through the Church Age there are those who continually exhibit the spirit of Antichrist (1 John 2:22; 4:3; 2 John 1:7).  The Antichrist will be a charismatic, Satanically inspired world leader who will emerge on the world scene at the beginning of the Tribulation from a revived Roman Empire.  Through diplomatic success he will gain international attention and power.  He will begin the seven-year Tribulation period by finalizing a seven-year peace treaty with Israel (Dan. 9:27) and, perhaps, the “Palestinians.”  Mid-way through the seven years he will break the treaty, and set himself up as the true Christ, God come in the flesh in the temple in Jerusalem (2 Thess. 2:3-4).  The Bible describes him as “the man of lawlessness” who will be able to deceive the world with his miraculous powers (2 Thess. 2:1-12).  He is also described as a beast who will develop a totalitarian empire in which he briefly gains control of the entire world, limiting commercial transactions to those only who subscribe to his numbering system and worship him (Rev. 13).  Christ will destroy him at His return, depositing him and his false prophet mouthpiece in the Lake of Fire (Rev. 19:19-20).

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Antinomianism. The belief and practice that one is above laws and standards, and can do whatever he pleases. The term combines two Greek words, "anti," meaning "against," and "nomos," (3551) meaning "law." It is true that, with Christ's death and resurrection, He is the end of the Mosaic Law for righteousness (Rom. 10:4; Gal. 3:23-25; Eph. 2:15). However, it is not true that Christians can live any way they please. Continuing in sin is unthinkable for the Biblical Christian (Rom. 6:1-2). Christians are to present their bodies as living sacrifices to God, not conforming to this world, but allowing their minds to be transformed into Biblical thinking and action (Rom. 12:1-2). Antinomianism is unbiblical and is disastrous. Christians are to be filled with the Holy Spirit (Eph. 5:18), and are to exhibit the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:16-18; 22-23). People who live according to the flesh will not inherit the kingdom of God (Gal. 5:19-21).

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Anti-Semitism or Antisemitism. An irrational, almost inexplicable, and certainly unbiblical animus against Jewish people and the State of Israel. German scholar Dietz Bering of the University of Cologne writes (p. 5) that, to antisemites, "Jews are not only partially but totally bad by nature, that is, their bad traits are incorrigible. Because of this bad nature: (1) Jews have to be seen not as individuals but as a collective. (2) Jews remain essentially alien in the surrounding societies. (3) Jews bring disaster on their 'host societies' or on the whole world, they are doing it secretly, therefore the anti-Semites feel obliged to unmask the conspiratorial, bad Jewish character.”
    Adolf Hitler, with his murder of six million Jewish people during the Holocaust, is a prime example of Anti-Semitism. But there exists, even in religious circles a palpable, if not as blatant hostility. Late in life, Martin Luther, the leader of the Protestant Reformation, was beset by Anti-Semitism. In my opinion, his views of Jewish people set a tone for Lutheran Christians in Germany in the first half of the 20th Century to ignore the cruelty of Hitler and the horrors of the Holocaust. Also in my view, the majority of the denominations and strains of Christianity retain an anti-Israeli bias. This is due to their failure to interpret Biblical prophecies literally. Sadly, most Christians believe that the Church is the replacement of Israel, that it is the new Israel. Most of churches end up being pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel, and anti-Zionist. One such example is the stance taken by former Southern Baptist Sunday School teacher and former President Jimmy Carter. These churches and individuals cannot possibly be interpreting Isa. 60:1-22 literally.
    The truth is that Israel will exist into eternity (Jer. 31:35-37). One day, under the terms of the New Covenant, all Israel will come to know God and live in obedience to Him and His Messiah (Jer. 31:31-34; Isa. 59:20-21; Rom. 11:25-32). In the Eternal State, Israel will be the greatest nation, and its capital city, New Jerusalem, will be inhabited by redeemed Israelis and true members of the Universal Church. Redeemed Gentiles will inhabit New Earth, giving allegiance to the co-Regents, God and Christ. God is an eternal Zionist, and His followers ought to follow His lead. (See the article, "Is God a Zionist?") (See also the book, Future Israel: Why Christian Anti-Judaism Must Be Challenged by Barry Horner.)

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Antisupernaturalism. The view of atheism, secular humanism, and scientific naturalism, that there is no such thing as the supernatural.  Everything that exists can be explained in terms of natural, observable phenomena.  Sometimes antisupernaturalism shades over into religion and the study of the Scriptures.  Theological antisupernaturalists deny the existence of the supernatural in the Bible.  Consequently they deny the historicity of Genesis 1:1-11:32, which includes such supernatural events as creation, the fall of man, the flood, and the confusion of languages at the tower of Babel.  They deny the reality of any miracles, such as the ten plagues of Moses or the miracles of Elijah and Elisha or Christ and the apostles.  They deny the reality of predictive prophecy, and seek to “late-date” books so that the events ostensibly predicted occurred after the writing of the book.  The book of Daniel for example, which claims to be written in the 6th century B. C. by Daniel has extensive prophecy (especially including Dan. 11:1-45), much of which has been fulfilled with unerring accuracy through the intrigues of the Ptolemies and Seleucids.  Antisupernaturalists, denying the possibility of predictive prophecy, late-date the book of Daniel to 175 B.C., after the fulfillment of the events predicted by Daniel.  Theological antisupernaturalists classify much of the Bible as myth, by which they mean it contains a nice story with theological value, but that it cannot be regarded as having substantial historical value.  They essentially take the position, in fact, that nothing in the Bible is to be believed unless it can be verified or corroborated by secular history.  Needless to say, Antisupernaturalism is outside the pale of orthodoxy, for the Bible is filled with the supernatural from the first page to the last.  Antisupernaturalists’ view of Scripture is sharply at variance with that of Jesus, who said, “until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished (Matt. 5:18).”

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Aorist. The default tense of Koine Greek, the language of the New Testament. The kind of action is "simple" or "summary". It generally refers to point (punctiliar) action, often (in the Indicative mode), but not always, in past time. It must be remembered that all definitions of the Aorist tense are determined by the context, and one must be wary of making unqualified generalizations. The indicative Aorist is the typical tense in narrative literature. Sometimes it has a timeless aspect (Gnomic Aorist). Sometimes it has a future orientation or even a present orientation. Oftentimes its orientation is timeless. It is to be distinguished from the Present or Imperfect tenses, the former indicating continuous action in the present, the latter of continuous action in the past. It is also to be distinguished from the Perfect tense, which refers to completed action. The Aorist tense cannot be said to indicate action that is "once for all." That inference must be drawn from the context, not from the inherent nature of the tense of the verb. See an off-site discussion of Greek verb tenses.

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Apocalypse.  Another name for the book of Revelation.  Apocalypse is a transliteration of the opening Greek word of the book of Revelation, Apokalupsis, meaning, “unveiling.”  Understood properly, the book of Revelation is the unveiling of Jesus Christ in all His heavenly glory, and it is also an unveiling of the future by Him.

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Apocalyptic Literature. "Symbolic visionary prophetic literature ... consisting of visions whose events are recorded exactly as they were seen by the author and explained through a divine interpreter, and whose theological content is primarily eschatological." This definition is culled from Ralph Alexander, Abstract of “Hermeneutics of Old Testament Apocalyptic Literature,” doctor’s dissertation, p. 1, as quoted by John F. Walvoord, in his Introduction to his commentary on Daniel: The Key to Prophetic Revelation

    J. Dwight Pentecost, in his Introduction to his commentary on Daniel , The Bible Knowledge Commentary, OT, p. 1323, discussed  the "Literary Form" of Daniel, "the first great book of apocalyptic literature in the Bible. The Greek word apokalupsis, from which comes the English 'apocalypse,' means an unveiling, a disclosing, or a revelation." According to Pentecost, "Apocalyptic literature in the Bible has several characteristics: (1) In apocalyptic literature a person who received God's truths in visions recorded what he saw. (2) Apocalyptic literature makes extensive use of symbols or signs. (3) "Such literature normally gives revelation concerning God's program for the future of His people Israel. (4) Prose was usually employed in apocalyptic literature, rather than the poetic style which was normal in most prophetic literature."

    Pentecost continued, "In addition to Daniel and Revelation, apocalyptic literature is found in Ezekiel 37:1-48:35 and Zechariah 1:7 - 7:8. In interpreting visions, symbols, and signs in apocalyptic literature, one is seldom left to his own ingenuity to discover the truth. In most instances an examination of the context or a comparison with a parallel biblical passage provides the Scriptures' own interpretation of the visions or the symbols employed. Apocalyptic literature then demands a careful comparison of Scripture with Scripture to arrive at a correct understanding of the revelation being given."

    I would add one caveat to Pentecost's characteristic #3.  While the future of Israel is in view in the Book of Revelation, it is not only the future of Israel that is in view. Revelation records the future of Israel, of the Church, of the redeemed of all ages, and of the unredeemed of all ages. It also reveals God's systematic judgment of the people and of the planet Earth, and, indeed, of the entire cosmos. It records the unmitigated doom of God's arch-enemy, Satan. It records the eternal horror of the unredeemed of all ages, and it records the eternal bliss of the redeemed of all ages in New Jerusalem in association with New Earth in New Cosmos.

     Unfortunately, I have seen the term "Apocalyptic Literature" misused and abused. For more information on apocalyptic literature, go to "The Use and Abuse of Apocalyptic Literature."

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Apocrypha. Books revered by the Jewish people, but never considered on a par with Scripture. The Apocryphal books were written, most likely, between 200 B.C. and A.D. 100. The word apocrypha means that which is "hidden" or "concealed." There are various lists of Apocryphal books, numbering from twelve to fifteen. One such list includes the following books which appear in the Septuagint (abbreviated as LXX), which is the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament and other "sacred" writings: 1 Esdras, Judith, Tobit, 1 Maccabees, 2 Maccabees, 3 Maccabees, 4 MaccabeesSirach (Ben Sira, Ecclesiasticus), Psalms of Solomon, Wisdom of Solomon, Baruch, Epistle of Jeremiah, Susanna, and Bel and the Dragon. (This list of Apocryphal books appearing in the LXX is obtained from Bibloi 8.02 [Bible software], published by Silver Mountain Software copyrighted May 27, 2007. 2 Esdras (the Greek translation of Ezra) is not Apocryphal, because it incorporates Biblical Ezra-Nehemiah in one book.) Some parts of the Apocryphal books are labeled variously as didactic (teaching) (Wisdom of Solomon), religious novel (Tobit), romantic novel (Judith), historical (1 Maccabees), and legendary (Bel and the Dragon), or in some cases, a combination of genres.  

    Are the Apocryphal books to be considered as "Scripture?" There are a number of facts which would lead us to answer that question, "No."

    (1) These books were never included in the Hebrew canon of Scripture. Josephus, for example, referred to the same canon of OT Scripture which we know today. In fact, the bulk of the Apocryphal books were written first in the Greek language, and initially appeared only in that language. For that reason it is impossible that they can ever be considered part of the Hebrew canon of Scripture.

    (2) Jesus Christ did not include the Apocryphal books in His canon of Scripture as revealed in Matt.  23:35 and Luke 11:51. 

    (3) The writers of the New Testament never quoted any apocryphal books as Scripture. This is in contrast to their frequent quotation from almost every book of the Old Testament.Historically, the early church understood that these Apocryphal books did not have the status of Scripture. 

    (4) Historically, the post-Apostolic church did not treat the Apocrypha as Scripture. Writers such as Josephus and Philo did not do so. Neither did the Jewish Council at Jamnia, around 90 A.D. Neither did Origen. Jerome, editor of the Latin Vulgate version that remains the basis of today's Roman Catholic version, argued that the books were "apocryphal" and not to be included in the canon of Scripture.

    (5) It was not until during the tri-partite Council of Trent (1545-1563) on April 8, 1546 that the Roman Catholic Church officially canonized the Apocryphal books as being Deutero Canonical (meaning a second canon, or standard of Scriptures). The RC Church did so in reaction to the Reformers, who treated the books as non-canonical. But the dogmatic opinion of fallible men cannot make the fallible Apocrypha infallible.

    Some modern versions, such as the Revised Standard Version and New Revised Standard Version also incorporate the Apocrypha. Credit for some aspects of this glossary entry goes to Robert J. Sargent and his article, Canonization: The Apocrypha. There are several on-line renderings of the Septuagint. One of them is the New English Translation of the Septuagint (NETS). For a brief treatment of the Apocrypha offsite, see The Apocryphal Books. Some of this article was derived from this source. See also, "What are the Apocrypha / Deuterocanonical books?"

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Apollos. An eloquent, Biblically-grounded Hellenistic Jew from Alexandria, Egypt, who became a well-known evangelist and leader in the NT Church. We first hear of him when Paul had embarked upon his 3rd Missionary Journey (Acts 18:22-23). At this time Apollos arrived in Ephesus (Acts 18:24). His understanding about Jesus was accurate, but limited, for in this transitional time indicated in the Book of Acts (Acts 18:24-26; 19:1-7), he was acquainted only with truth in connection with the baptism of John the Immerser (Acts 18:24). Apollos was speaking out boldly in the synagogue in Ephesus (Acts 18:26). Priscilla and Aquila, a devout Christian couple, heard him speak and sensed some deficiencies in his understanding about the Messiah (Acts 18:26). They, having previously sat under the ministry of Paul in Corinth (Acts 18:1-4, 18-19), were better informed, and they discreetly took him aside and gave him a fuller understanding of Christianity (Acts 18:26). Apollos had a missionary spirit. He desired to communicate truth about Jesus in Achaia, and the brothers in Ephesus encouraged him to go, writing a letter of introduction on his behalf (Acts 18:27). He was a real asset to the church in Achaia and especially Corinth (Acts 18:27; 19:1). He helped those who had believed through grace, and he spoke out powerfully, presumably in the synagogues, counteracting Jewish opposition to Jesus, and demonstrating from the Scriptures that Jesus was, indeed, the Jewish Messiah (Acts 18:28).

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Apostasy. A specific time of global rebellion against Yahweh and His Messiah. The English word apostasy comes from the Greek apostasia (646), which is used only twice in the NT. In the first instance, Luke used it in Acts 21:21, where it was being reported that Paul was "teaching all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children nor to walk according to the customs" (emphasis mine). There apostasia referred to a departure from Moses, circumcision, and the customs of Judaism. In the other instance, 2 Thessalonians 2:3, it refers to the future, specific, global departure from any semblance of Judeo-Christianity and associated values.  Paul termed it "the apostasy." The spirit of that apostasy has always been present. The Psalmist spoke of it in Psalm 2:1-3:

Why are the nations in an uproar and the peoples devising a vain thing? The kings of the earth take their stand, and the rulers take counsel together against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying, “Let us tear their fetters apart and cast away their cords from us!”

So the spirit of that apostasy has always been present. Presently, during the Church Age, the Holy Spirit in the Church has been restraining that spirit of lawlessness. But at the end of the Church Age, God will remove His Spirit from the earth as indwelling the Church, and there will be nothing left to prevent that great Apostasy. The world will throw off all restraints. The world will be primed to accept the charismatic leadership of a rising world leader the Bible variously terms as "The Prince who is to Come" (Dan. 9:26), "The Lawless One" (2 Thess. 2:8), "The Man of Lawlessness" (2 Thess. 2:3), "The Beast" (Rev. 13:1-4, 12, 14-15, 17-18; 19:20; 20:10) and "The Antichrist" (1 John 2:18). He will facilitate the global apostasy, proclaiming Himself to be God and elevating himself above anything that is called God (2 Thess. 2:4). His revelation, or unveiling (2 Thess. 2:3, 6, 8), will begin the Tribulation, to which Paul referred as "the Day of the Lord" (1 Thess. 5:2; 2 Thess. 2:2).

Jesus Christ will terminate this great Apostasy when He returns in Retribution (Zech. 14:1-15; 2 Thess. 1:7-10; 2 Thess. 2:8; Rev. 19:11-21).

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Apostle, Apostles. An apostle is one who is sent on a mission. The Greek verb apostéllō (649) means, "I send." An apostle (apóstolos, 652) is a "sent one." The noun apóstolos (652) is used 80 times in the NT. Far and away the highest occurrence is found in the book of Acts, where Luke used it 28 times. Surprisingly, the noun appears infrequently in the Gospels. It is to be found in Matt. 10:2, where the Apostles are named. It appears in Mark 6:30, and in a non-technical sense in John 13:16. Luke used apóstolos more frequently than any other Gospel writer (Luke 6:13; 9:10; 11:49; 17:5; 22:14; 24:10). 

    Both words can be used in a general, non-technical sense, and of course, both can be used in a technical sense. For example, the verb apostéllō (649) is used in a non-technical sense in Matt. 21:1; Mark 11:1; 14:13. The noun apóstolos (652) is used in a non-technical sense in Acts 14:14 and 2 Cor. 8:23; Phil. 2:25.  Similarly, both words can be used in a technical sense, as referring specifically to the twelve individuals whom Jesus personally chose and whom He sent on preaching/healing/exorcism missions. For example, the verb apostéllō (649) is used in a technical sense in Matt. 10:5, 16; Mark 3:14; 6:7; Luke 9:1-2; 10:1-3; 22:35; John 4:38; 17:18; 20:21; 1 Cor. 1:17.

    Most often in the NT, the word apóstolos, "apostle" (652) is used in a technical sense of the twelve original apostles. In order to qualify as an official Apostle, a follower (or learner or disciple) of Jesus had to be hand-picked by Jesus (Luke 6:13), and thus necessarily personally saw Him. In addition, Jesus gave each of the twelve Apostles the authority and power to perform miracles as an authenticating sign of his apostleship (Acts 2:43; 5:12; 2 Cor. 12:12). After the demise of Judas, the remaining eleven apostles, led by Peter, selected by lot Matthias as Judas' successor (Acts 1:15-26). In my opinion, Matthias was man's choice, not the choice of Jesus. I believe the risen Lord hand-picked Saul of Tarsus as His twelfth Apostle (Acts 9:1-18). He became, of course, the Apostle Paul (Rom. 1:1; 1 Cor. 1:1; 4:9; 15:9; 2 Cor. 1:1; Gal. 1:1; Eph. 1:1; Col. 1:1; 1 Tim. 1:1; 2:7; 2 Tim. 1:1, 11; Tit. 1:1).  Though others were sent, even by the Holy Spirit, only the original Eleven plus Paul qualify as the bona fide Apostles. They were the foundation of the Church (Eph. 2:20), and it is their names who are inscribed upon the twelve foundations of New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:14). By definition there can be no legitimate Apostles in the Church on earth today. One more thing. Though the Apostles could pass on their teaching to others, there is no hint in Scripture that they could pass on their authority. See Apostolic Succession. Not surprisingly, we find the existence of "false apostles" in the NT (2 Cor. 11:13; Rev. 2:2).

    A related, but completely separate part of this discussion is the fact that God's greatest Apostle (Sent One) was Jesus. The writer of Hebrews called him "the Apostle and High Priest of our confession" (Heb. 3:1). The writer used the noun apóstolos (652) in describing Jesus. A surprising number of times the NT writers used the verb apostéllō (649) in describing the Father's having sent the Son. These include Matt. 10:40; 15:24; 21:37; Mark 9:37; 12:6; Luke 4:18, 43; 9:48; 10:16; 13:34; John 3:17; 5:36, 38; 6:29, 57; 7:29; 8:42; 10:36; 11:42; 17:3, 8, 18, 21, 23, 25; 20:21; Acts 3:20, 26; 1 John 4:9, 10, 14.

See the Glossary Entry on the Apostle John.

See the Glossary Entry on the Apostle Paul.

See the Glossary Entry on the Apostle Peter.

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Apostolic Succession. The exegetically flawed belief that there is an unbroken line of apostolic authority passed on from the original apostles to selected church leaders today. I do not know all the segments of Christianity that claim, to some degree, apostolic succession. But I do know that the Vatican Church claims it. In fact, they claim, on the basis of apostolic succession, that the pope and the bishops in communion with him are the sole interpreters of Scripture (85, 100)! But followers of the Vatican (Roman Catholics) are not alone in their claim of apostolic succession. The Lutheran Orthodox Church, the Orthodox Church, and the Episcopal Church all hold to apostolic succession. So also, in some way does the Missouri Synod Lutheran Church, which authorizes its pastors to grant forgiveness of sins to congregants based upon their confession. This dogma is based  upon Christ's instructions to His first apostles. It is not difficult to refute Apostolic Succession. The original apostles could transmit their teaching as recorded in Scripture on to their followers. But they were not authorized to pass on their authority. That is Jesus' prerogative and His alone. There is no evidence that any other than the original twelve apostles (less Judas, plus Paul) were authorized by Jesus with apostolic authority. It is Scripture that is inspired (2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Pet. 1:20-21). The interpretations and opinions and traditions of man are not.

Aquila and Priscilla. A Jewish couple who became Christians and assisted the Apostle Paul in ministry. When we first meet this couple they had just been evicted from Rome by Emperor Claudius because they were Jewish. Aquila was originally from Pontus, but had moved to Rome until the Emperor's edict (Acts 18:1-2). That forced them to relocate elsewhere, and they found themselves in Corinth. They were tent-makers by trade, and happened to meet the Apostle Paul on his Second Missionary Journey. He also was a tent-maker, and the threesome formed a working partnership (Acts 18:3). In the process Paul evidently led the couple to faith in Christ (Acts 18:4). Paul stayed in Corinth about eighteen months (Acts 18:11), then left for Syria. With him were Aquila and Priscilla (Acts 18:18). En route to Syria, Paul left Aquila and Priscilla in Ephesus, and sailed onward (Acts 18:19).
    Aquila and Priscilla kept busy serving the Lord. They hosted a church in their own home, and they sent their greetings to the church in Corinth when Paul wrote 1 Corinthians to the church there (1 Cor. 16:19).
    At some point, Apollos, a native of Alexandria, moved to Ephesus. He was eloquent, and taught accurately in the synagogue concerning Jesus, even though he knew only the truths taught by John the Immerser. Priscilla and Aquila took him aside and filled in the missing gaps in his theology so he could communicate the way of God more accurately (Acts 18:24-26).
    Evidently Prisca (Priscilla is the diminutive form of her name) and Aquila had moved back to Rome by the time Paul wrote his letter to the Romans (AD 57-58). Consequently, when Paul sent greetings to people in the church he knew, he included Prisca and Aquila (Rom. 16:3-5). Paul states that the couple had risked their own lives to save his own life. They continued their church hosting ministry, offering up their own home to house a portion of the church in Rome (Rom. 16:5).
    By AD 67, the couple had evidently returned to Ephesus. In Paul's final letter of which we have a record, he asked Timothy to greet the couple (2 Tim. 4:19). May God help each of us, like Aquila and Priscilla, to continue to serve the Lord all of our lives!

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Aram, Arameans; Syria, Syrians. Aram (758) is used exclusively in the OT; Syria, suria (4947), in the NT. Aram has been an inveterate enemy of Israel, presently just as much as in Biblical times. King David repeatedly defeated the Arameans (2 Sam. 8:5-14; 10:6-19). Later, Ben-hadad, King of Aram besieged Samaria (1 Kings 20:1-12). An unnamed prophet predicted, by the word of the LORD, an Israeli victory. This turned out to be so. The Israelis killed the Arameans with a great slaughter (1 Kings 20:13-21). Once again, guided by men of God, the sons of Israel miraculously defeated the forces of Aram (1 Kings 20:22-30). Because of Ahab's mis-placed mercy toward Ben-hadad, a prophet predicted Ahab's demise (1 Kings 20:31-43). He ultimately died in a battle against the Arameans (1 Kings 22:1-40). There were other battles, between the Arameans and Israel, but this is at least a representative sample. Today, Syria cooperates with Iran to arm anti-Israeli Palestinian terrorist entities such as Hamas (based in Gaza) and Hezbollah (based in Lebanon). (See also The Iran Primer.)

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Archangel. Chief Angel (Messenger) or Ruling Angel (Messenger). All angels are messengers, and this messenger is a chief messenger or ruling messenger. (See archaggelos, 743.) The term archangel appears only twice in the NT (1 Thess. 4:16; Jude 1:9). 1 Thess. 4:16 uses no article, referring, literally, to "voice (or sound) of archangel." Jude 1:9 speaks of "Michael the archangel." This may indicate that Michael is the only archangel. However, Daniel 10:13 refers to "Michael, one of the chief princes." This probably indicates that there are multiple archangels. Only one is named, however, and that is Michael. Gabriel is the only other named angel, but he is never identified as an archangel. The only angel we know is an archangel, or ruling angel is Michael. It is fruitless to identify any other archangels.

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Ark of the Covenant. The gold overlaid box or chest in which were housed the two tablets of stone called the Ten Commandments (Exod. 25:16). The noun "ark" is 'ārôn (727) (Exod. 25:10). Aaron's rod that budded was also placed in the Ark (Num. 17:8-10), along with a golden urn of manna (Exod. 16:33-34; Heb. 9:4). The lid of the Ark was also overlaid with gold. Affixed on its top were two cherubim facing one another, fashioned of gold. God's presence dwelt between the cherubim. This place was called the Mercy Seat (Exod. 25:17-22). It was there that, once a year, the high priest brought a blood sacrifice to atone for the sins of the people and of himself (Lev. 16:2-34). God was thereby propitiated by the substitutionary death of animals on behalf of man. The fact that the offering had to be brought annually demonstrated that the blood of animals can never truly pay for human sin. The blood atoned for (covered over), but did not actually forgive sins. Only Jesus' offering of His own blood once and for all truly paid for human sin (Heb. 7:26-27; 9:11-14). The sacrifice of Jesus must be accepted by each human being in order for it to be effective.

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Ark of Noah. The huge box or chest built by Noah and his sons designed to safely house Noah's entire family and representatives of all land and air animals during the Great Flood (Gen. 6:14). The noun for "ark" is tēḇâ (8392). This huge barge was not designed for sailing anywhere, but for maximum stability in this greatest of all floods. It measured 300 cubits long (450 feet), 50 cubits wide (75 feet), and 30 cubits in height (45 feet) (Gen. 6:15). Noah brought two of every kind of animal into the ark to keep them alive during the Flood (Gen. 6:19-20; 7:8-9).

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Armageddon. The place of the Final World War on earth before Christ’s return. Appearing only in Revelation 16:16 in the Bible, the name is transliterated from Greek, which in turn is transliterated from two words in Hebrew, Har Magedon, which means Mount or Hill of Megiddo. There is no known Mountain of Megiddo, but there are many hills in that area which overlook the Plain of Megiddo, also known as the Great Plain of Esdraelon, about sixty miles north of Jerusalem. The Plain of Esdraelon (Megiddo) stretches NW to SE bounded on the SW by the Carmel Range and on the NE by Mt. Gilboa and Mt. Tabor. Har Megiddo is “generally identified as the fortress overlooking a pass through the Carmel Range into Galilee” (Friberg Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament). More than two hundred battles have been fought in that region. In Revelation 16:13-16, it is said that demonic spirits will lure “the kings of the whole world, to gather them together for the war of the great day of God, the Almighty…. And they gathered them together to the place which in Hebrew is called Har-Magedon” (Rev. 16:14, 16). Apparently in the process, the Euphrates River will have been dried up by the contents of the sixth angel’s bowl in order to enable the “kings from the east” to move into the holy land to this colossal battle (Rev. 16:12). It would seem that the motivation of the world’s kings is to summarily dispose of Israel. God’s over-arching plan, however, is to seduce the armies of the earth’s nations to deploy into Israel in order that He might destroy them Himself (Zech. 12:1-9) preparatory to Jesus’ reign as King of Israel and King of the World (Zech. 14:1-9). In popular thinking, Armageddon has come to mean the end-time cataclysm(s) marking the end of the age and civilization as we know it, but that does not really fit the Biblical representation.

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Artaxerxes I (465-424 BC). King of Persia from about 465 to 424 BC. He was the third son of Xerxes I and grandson of Darius I (the Great). In Greek sources he was surnamed Longimanus ("long-handed"), allegedly because his right hand was longer than his left. During his reign he completed the Hall of 100 Columns at Persepolis. Of most interest to Bible students is his relationship with Judah and Jerusalem.
    In the early part of his reign, there was Palestinian opposition to Jewish attempts to rebuild Jerusalem and restore the temple. King Cyrus had originally issued a decree authorizing the rebuilding of the Jewish Temple in 538 BC. Palestinian opposition included a letter to Artaxerxes defaming the Jewish people. Artaxerxes gave credence to the one-sided letter, and issued a decree that the rebuilding of Jerusalem cease (Ezra 4:7-23). Some years later, Nehemiah was cupbearer to King Artaxerxes in the twentieth year of his reign (445 BC). Nehemiah heard of the horrible plight of Jerusalem (Neh. 1:1-4). He prayed to God for a receptive hearing from King Artaxerxes (Neh. 1:5-11). Artaxerxes acted favorably on behalf of Nehemiah and issued an all-important decree allowing him to return to Jerusalem to begin the process of rebuilding the walls and gates of the city (Neh. 2:1-9). So Nehemiah 1:1-7:4 gives the history of rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem.
    In the end, King Artaxerxes, who had initially been an opponent of the Jewish people, was changed by the positive influence of Nehemiah and by the grace of God, and the work of rebuilding Jerusalem proceeded apace.

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Asa (911-870 BC). A mostly good king in the Davidic line of Judah. He was the son of the compromised Abijah (1 Kings 15:3, 8; 2 Chron. 14:1) and grandson of the evil Rehoboam, first king of the divided kingdom of Judah. His son was the mostly Godly King Jehoshaphat (2 Chron. 17:1). Asa reigned 41 years in Jerusalem (1 Kings 15:10). He did what was right in the sight of God, like David  his "father" (1 Kings 15:11; 2 Chron. 14:2-7). He removed the male cult prostitutes from the land, and removed all the idols his fathers had made (1 Kings 15:12). He removed Maacah his mother as queen mother because she had made a horrible Asherah image. He cut down her image and burned it in the brook Kidron (1 Kings 15:13). There were high places he failed to remove (1 Kings 15:14). Yet he was devoted to Yahweh all his days (1 Kings 15:14). He brought silver and gold and other utensils into the temple (1 Kings 15:15).

    The LORD gave him peace for ten years in the early part of his reign (2 Chron. 14:1, 6-7). Later, with the help of the LORD, Asa defeated Zerah the Ethiopian, who invaded with a huge army (2 Chron. 14:9-15). Under the influence of the prophet Azariah (2 Chron. 15:1-7), Asa led Judah to worship God whole-heartedly, and there was no more war until the 35th year of his reign (2 Chron. 15:8-19). In the 36th year of Asa's reign, Baasha, king of Israel, invaded Judah.. Sadly, instead of trusting in God, Asa bribed Ben Hadad, king of Aram, to invade Israel to force Baasha to withdraw (1 Kings 15:16-22; 2 Chron. 16:1-6). His treaty was successful, but the LORD noticed (2 Chron. 16:9). Hanani the seer informed Asa that he had acted foolishly. As a penalty, he would now experience wars (2 Chron. 16:7-9). Asa did not humble himself. He was angry with the seer and put him in prison. He also oppressed some of the people (2 Chron. 16:10). In the 39th year of his reign he became diseased in his feet. He did not seek the LORD, however, but sought his physicians. They could not help, and he died in the 41st year of his reign (2 Chron. 16:11-14). The epitaph for Asa is that he started well in following the LORD, but he did not finish well.

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Ascension of Christ. The historical event of Jesus Christ having ascended up to heaven to take His seat at the right hand of God the Father. The Gospels are explicit that after His resurrection, both angels and Jesus Himself instructed His disciples to meet Him in Galilee (Matt. 28:7, 10, 16; Mark 16:7). No doubt He intended to remove Himself and His vulnerable apostles away from the prying eyes of the murderous Sanhedrin back in Jerusalem. He presented Himself alive after His suffering by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days, teaching them concerning the kingdom of God (Acts 1:1-3). Then He ordered them to return to Jerusalem, and to wait for the arrival of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:4-5). He assigned them to recruit disciples for His coming Kingdom after the Holy Spirit had come upon them (Matt. 28:18-20; Luke 24:44-49; Acts 1:6-8). Then He led them out of the city as far as Bethany and the Mount of Olives (Luke 24:50; Acts 1:12). There He lifted up His hands and blessed them. While He was blessing them, He parted from them and was carried up into heaven (Luke 24:50-51) and a cloud received Him out of their sight (Acts 1:9). As they were gazing up intently into the heavens, two men in white clothing stood beside them. They said, "Men of Galilee,  why do you stand looking up into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken from you up into heaven will come in just the same way as you have seen Him go into heaven!" (Acts 1:10-11). Indeed He will (Zech. 14:1-4)! Right now Jesus is seated at the right hand of God the Father (Psa. 110:1; Luke 22:69; Acts 2:33; 5:31; 7:55, 56; Rom. 8:34; Eph. 1:20; Col. 3:1; Heb. 1:3; Heb. 1:13; 8:1; 10:12; 12:2; 1 Pet. 3:22). There He is waiting until His enemies be made a footstool for His feet (Psa. 110:1-3; 5-7), and serving as the Great High Priest after the order of Melchizedek (Psalm 110:4; Heb. 5:6, 10; 6:20; 7:17, 21) continually interceding on behalf of those who draw near to God through Him (Heb. 7:24-25).

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Asceticism.  A legalistic self-denial of legitimate pleasure (1 Tim. 4:1-5).  Asceticism is inspired by demons and is incompatible with the grace of God.

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Asherah, Ashtoreth. Asherah is a transliteration of the Hebrew Asherah (842), plural Asherim (Exod. 34:13). Another name is Ashtoreth (1 Kings 11:5, 33; 2 Kings 23:13). These were symbols of the Babylonian / Phoenician goddess Astarte, also adopted by Canaanites as the goddess of fortune and happiness, supposed consort of Baal. These idols consisted of a sacred tree or pole set up near an altar. Since trees were a part of this idolatrous worship, the symbols were often found among a grove of trees on a "high hill" (1 Kings 14:23; 2 Kings 17:10) or on "high places" (2 Chron. 17:6). Evil King Manasseh of Judah even installed a carved Asherah pole in the Temple (2 Kings 21:3, 7)! Ahab made "the Asherah" (1 Kings 16:33), greatly provoking the LORD. There were 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of the Asherah whom the Israeli government subsidized, for they sat at Jezebel's table (1 Kings 18:19). Yahweh promised that one day He would root out all the Asherim from Israel and destroy her cities in the process (Micah 5:14).

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Assurance of Salvation. The settled conviction that one possesses eternal life and fears no condemnation in the Divine Court of Justice because he has placed his faith in the all-sufficient sacrifice of Jesus for his sins on the cross of Calvary. It is probably accurate to say that there are Christians who are going to heaven, but lack assurance they are headed there. I believe the Scriptures teach the Eternal Security of the believer. But one can be eternally secure and not know it. Assurance of Salvation is knowing that one is Eternally Secure in Christ.

    There are various reasons why Christians do not have assurance of their salvation. They may question if they went through the right procedure. But the main reason for lack of assurance is incorrect teaching on the subject. Here are some Scriptures that clearly teach that we can be assured of our salvation. In sum, these Scriptures teach that our assurance rests on what Jesus has done for us, not on what we have done for Jesus.

If we trust in Jesus, we have eternal life. John 3:16-18, 36; 1 John 5:11-13.

If we trust in Jesus, we are forgiven of all of our sin. Acts 10:43; 13:38-39.

If we receive Jesus, we are born into God's family. John 1:11-13.

If we are in Christ, there is no judgment for our sins. John 5:24; Rom. 8:1

We are saved by grace through faith in Christ, completely apart from any works we might perform. Eph. 2:8-9. Good works are the natural result of our salvation, not the cause of it. Eph. 2:10.

If we trust in Jesus, it is because God has an extensive plan from eternity past. He foreknew us as His own; He predestined us to be conformed to the image of His Son; He called us to Himself; He justified us; and He has glorified us (Rom. 8:29-30). That is a major reason why all things work together for good in our lives (Rom. 8:28).

See an excellent off-site article on Assurance of Salvation. (I may not agree with every sentence of the article, but in the main, it is exceedingly well-written.)

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Assyria. The Hebrew proper name Ashshur (804), used 151X in the OT. It most often refers to the land (Gen. 2:14) or the people (2 Kings 19:35; Isa. 19:23) or the nation (2 Kings 15:20) of Assyria. Rarely, it refers to the second son of Shem, son of Noah (Gen. 10:22). Ashshur appears to be the primitive capital city of the nation that came to be known as Assyria (its Greek name). It was situated on the west bank of the Tigris River. Calah and Nineveh, founded by Nimrod (Gen. 10:8-12), became major cities of the Assyrian Empire. They were also situated on the Tigris River. BibleHub has a Biblical Map and an Encyclopedia article on Assyria.

    Assyria existed as a geo-political entity with varying degrees of dominance from about 2500 B.C. to about 605 B.C. The primary area of the Assyrian Kingdom included portions of Northern modern day Iraq, North Eastern Syria, and Southeastern Turkey. At its height, between 824 BC and 671 BC, Assyria conquered such countries as Egypt, Babylonia, Persia, Phoenicia, Syria, Arabia, Israel, Judah, Edom, Moab, and Cyprus.

    As Assyria became a mighty Middle Eastern Empire, it developed into a major threat to both Israel and Judah. This was true to such an extent that the prophet Jonah, when ordered by God to preach a message of judgment to the people of Nineveh, Assyria's capital city (Jon. 1:1-2), fled the other direction (Jon. 1:3). He did so because he was afraid the people would repent and avert the judgment God had planned against Assyria. He wanted Assyria removed as a threat to Israel. But God, in His Sovereignty, prevailed against Jonah (Jon. 1:4-2:10), and Jonah finally preached his message to Nineveh (Jon. 3:1-4). Just as he had feared, Nineveh did repent (Jon. 3:5-9), and God averted His judgment (Jon. 3:10). Nineveh and Assyria lived to see another day. 

    Assyria ultimately conquered Israel in 722 B.C., deporting its surviving citizens to other countries (2 Kings 15:29; 17:1-23). Assyria repopulated the land of Israel with foreigners who knew nothing of the true God. But a priest was called upon to convert them. The foreigners accepted the worship of Yahweh but did not cease from their previous religions (2 Kings 17:24-41). These people became the fore-runners of the Samaritans, whom full-blooded Israelis despised in Jesus' day.

     In Zeph. 2:13, Zephaniah predicted that Yahweh would destroy Assyria. Ultimately Assyria was overthrown by Babylon in 605 B.C. From that point on Babylon became the major world empire of the Middle East. 

    In the future there will be amity between Israel and Assyria (Iraq/Iran) (Isa. 11:16; 19:23). That fulfillment awaits the arrival of Jesus’ Millennial Kingdom. Not until then will Israel have an abiding peace, surrounded as she is today by a sea of hostile neighbors.

Athaliah (841-835 BC). Evil queen of Judah, daughter of King Ahab, wife of evil King Jehoram of Judah, sister of evil King Jehoram of Israel, son of Ahab,and mother of wicked King Ahaziah of Judah. When her son Ahaziah was killed by Jehu, she rose up and destroyed all the royal offspring so she could be Queen of Judah alone (2 Kings 11:1). But Jehosheba, daughter of King Joram of Israel, the sister of Ahaziah, and wife of Jehoiada the priest (2 Chron. 22:11) took Joash, the sole surviving son of Ahaziah and his nurse and hid them both in the bedroom so they were not killed (2 Kings 11:2). Jehoiada and Jehosheba hid Joash in the temple for six years while murderous Athaliah reigned as imposter queen (2 Chron. 22:12).

    In the seventh year, Jehoiada took captains of hundreds and entered into a covenant with them (2 Chron. 23:1). They went throughout Judah and gathered all the Levites and brought them to Jerusalem (2 Chron. 23:2). They all made a covenant with the king in the house of God. Jehoiada stationed all the priests and Levites to protect the young king (2 Chron. 23:3-7). Jehoiada stationed all the priests and Levites around the king, some with weapons. They brought out the king's son and put the crown on him, gave him the testimony, and made him king. Jehoiada and his sons anointed him and said, "Long live the king" (2 Chron. 23:8-11).

    When Athaliah heard all the noise, she came to the temple. When she saw what was going on, she yelled, "Treason! Treason!" (2 Chron. 23:12-13). At Jehoiada's command, the soldiers brought her to entrance of the king's house and executed her (2 Chron. 23:14-15).

    Jehoiada made a covenant between himself, the people and the king, that they would be the LORD's people. Then the people went to the house of Baal, tore it down along with its altars and images. They killed Mattan the priest before the altars. The people brought the king from the house of the LORD to the kings's house, and placed him upon the throne. All the people of the land rejoiced, and the city was quiet. For they had put Athaliah to death with the sword (2 Chron. 23:16-21).

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Atonement.  In the Old Testament the word kaphar (3722), in its most basic sense, means, “to cover” (Gen. 6:14). Since the natural consequence of sin is death, only death can atone (kaphar, 3722) for, or cover sin (Lev. 17:11).  Animal sacrifices “covered” Israelis’ sins in the Old Testament, but could never pay for them. The English word "atonement" carried with it the idea of "reconciliation" ("at-one-ment") between two estranged parties, namely God and man. In that sense, the English word "reconciliation" comes closest to the English meaning of the English word, "atonement." However, the Hebrew word kaphar does not mean "reconciliation," but rather conveys the idea of "covering over."

In the New Testament, Jesus Christ is God’s perfect lamb (John 1:29, 34) that was sacrificed to pay for the sins of the entire world.  Because Jesus is man, His death can pay for human sin.  Because He is God, He was able to live a sinless life.  His death has infinite value and can pay for all human sin.  The atonement, of course, is of value only to those who, through faith in Jesus, accept it. The reader should be aware that atonement is an OT word, not a NT word. We sometimes use the word "atonement" when discussing Christ's substitutionary death, but when we do so, there is no Greek word used in the NT to correspond with that concept. In the LXX, the Greek version of the Hebrew OT, exilaskomai is used to translate the Hebrew kaphar. But exilaskomai is never used in the NT. The English word "atonement" is used only one time in the NT in the King James Version (Rom. 5:11, KJV) (but not, for example, in Rom. 5:11 in the NASB). The Greek word in Rom. 5:11, however, is katallagê, 2643).

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Updated May 6, 2024