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

- C -

Caiaphas. The Jewish high priest in power during Jesus' ministry (Matt. 26:3, 57; John 11:49; 18:24). He held the office from AD 18 to 36. Caiaphas was the son-in-law of Annas (John 18:13), who had been appointed high priest around AD 6 by Quirinius, the Roman governor of Syria. He served until AD 15, when he was deposed by Valerius Gratas, procurator of Judea. However, even though Caiaphas became high priest after that, Annas retained a great deal of unofficial power. It is for that reason that, at Jesus' trial, he was forced to appear first before Annas, and then before Caiaphas (John 18:13).
    Caiaphas was a member of the Jewish sect known as Sadducees (Acts 5:17). The Sadducees were often wealthy men of high position. They sought to appease their Roman rulers, and were heavily involved in politics. Sadducees were theological liberals, denying the existence of a resurrection (Matt. 22:23; Mark 12:18; Luke 20:27; Acts 4:1-2), of angels, and spirits (Acts 23:8). Jesus considered both the Pharisees and the Sadducees to be purveyors of false doctrine (Matt. 16:6, 11-12). Both the Sadducees and Pharisees were fierce opponents of Jesus, and tried to entrap Him (Matt. 16:1; 22:23-33, 34; Mark 12:18; Luke 20:27).
    Caiaphas was adamantly opposed to Jesus. After Jesus had raised Lazarus from his grave (John 11:43-44), the chief priests and Pharisees were alarmed enough to convene a council (John 11:45-47). They expressed fear that the Romans would take away their positions of power and their nation (John 11:48). Caiaphas successfully lobbied for the death penalty for Jesus (John 11:49-53; 18:14). Caiaphas was instrumental in the "trial" of Jesus (John 18:24, 28).
    After the death of Jesus, His disciples were filled with the Spirit and testified boldly of Jesus as the Jewish Messiah. Peter and John healed a man at the Temple gate (Acts 3:1-10). Peter preached a powerful message implicating the guilt of the Jewish people and their need to submit to Jesus as their Messiah (Acts 3:11-26). The Sadducees and the temple guard arrived and arrested the pair (Acts 4:1-4). The next day the rulers, elders, and scribes convened a trial, led by Annas, the high priest along with Caiaphas and John and Alexander, also of high priestly descent (Acts 4:5-7). The council threatened the disciples, but, fearful of the people, found no basis on which to punish them (Acts 4:18-22).

Caleb. Along with Joshua, one of the Twelve Spies who possessed strong faith in God's ability to grant Israel victories in the land of Canaan despite what appeared to be formidable adversaries (Num. 13:30). God called Caleb His servant, one who had a different spirit and followed Him fully (Num. 14:24). Later, Joshua gave Caleb Hebron as his inheritance (Josh. 14:13; Judges 1:20). The sad narrative of the Twelve Spies is given in Numbers 13:1-33. The sad results are given in Numbers 14:1-45.

Call, Called, Calling.  That process whereby God successfully summons to Himself those whom He has chosen for His own from eternity past.  God called the people of Israel to Himself through His promise to and covenant with Abraham. The word "call" is not used, but the concept is there (Gen. 12:1-3; 17:15-19; 28:10-15; Jer. 31:3; Hos. 11:4). Three words are used in the New Testament. These words are the verb "to call," typically translated in the past tense, as in "He (God) called" -- (kaleō, 2564); the noun "call" (klêsis, 2821); and the adjective "the called ones" (klêtos, 2822). The Apostle Paul made it clear that physical descent from Abraham was insufficient evidence of calling.  From the human side, faith is necessary (Rev. 17:14; see also Rom. 4:9-12).  Under the New Covenant (as described in the New Testament) God calls to Himself both Gentiles and Jews through faith in Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 1:24).  In the New Testament there are two different levels of call. There is a general call that is made to all men to obtain eternal life through faith in Jesus (Matt. 9:13; 22:3, 4, 8).  Most humans ignore that call.  In terms of the general call extended to all men, many are called, but few are chosen (Matt. 22:14). There is an effective call, which is the predominant theme of this definition.  The effective call is not based upon human works, but rather upon God's own purpose and grace (Rom. 8:28; 9:11; 2 Tim. 1:9). That effective call includes the process by which God draws to Himself (John 6:37, 44, 65) all whom He has chosen. His call is secured because of His foreknowledge and His predestination (Rom. 8:29-30).  In response, the humans exercise faith in Jesus (Rev. 17:14; see also John 10:24-28).  In terms of this effective call, none are lost (Rom. 8:29-30; cf. John 10:25-30). It should be noted that the Greek word for church, ekklesia (1577) means, literally, the “called out ones.” See also "Defending Election."

Return to Top

Candace, Queen of the Ethiopians: Ruler of "a kingdom located south of modern Egypt in Sudan (i.e. Nubia). It lay between the first Nile cataract at Aswan and the modern city of Khartoum, many hundreds of miles from Jerusalem" (Constable). "Candace, according to Pliny the Elder, was the hereditary name of the queens of Meroe" (Constable, citing Foakes-Jackson, p. 76). "As such it was the title of the queen mother, who at this time served as the head of the government in Ethiopia. Her personal name was evidently Amanitare (sometimes spelled Amantitere; A.D. 25-41)" (Constable, citing Piers T. Crocker). "The king of Ethiopia did not involve himself in the routine operations of his country, since his people regarded him as the 'Child of the Sun'" (Constable). "Archaeological light on this group of queens called Candace was found my [sic, he means "by"] McIver in his excavations in Nubia, 1908-1909. In the Christian period these Nubians still called their queen Candace; they fed her on milk, and regarded obesity as an attribute of royalty …" (Constable, quoting Joseph P. Free, p. 511).

Return to Top

Canaan; Canaanites. Canaan was Noah's grandson, and father of the Canaanites, who lived in the land of Canaan on the seacoast of the Eastern Mediterranean. The meaning of the Hebrew kenáan (3667), anglicized as "Canaan" is "lowland" (BDB). Also, according to BDB, he was "the fourth son of Ham [Gen. 10:6] and the progenitor of the Phoenicians and of the various nations who peopled the seacoast of Palestine ...." Canaan was also "the land west of the Jordan peopled by the descendants of Canaan and subsequently conquered by the Israelites under Joshua ...."

    Because of an indiscretion committed by his son Ham against Noah when the latter was in a drunken stupor (Gen. 9:20-24), Noah cursed Ham's son Canaan and made him a servant of servants to his brothers (Gen. 9:25-27). So in the sovereignty of God Canaanites were destined to be conquered by the descendants of Shem through the sons of Israel.

    Affirming the promise of God (Gen. 12:1-3), Abram set out for the land of Canaan (Gen. 12:4-6). God promised to give the land to Abraham's descendants (literally, his "seed") (Gen. 12:7). Later, Abram settled in the land of Canaan (Gen. 13:12). God promised to give the land to Abram and his seed forever (Gen. 13:14-17; 17:8). Later, God made a unilateral, irrevocable blood covenant with Abram to give him and his seed the land on which he was living from the "river of Egypt" to the "Euphrates River" (Gen. 15:7-18). In so doing Abraham's descendants would conquer all the inhabitants of Canaan (Gen. 15:19-21). The book of Joshua records the preparations for battle in the land of Canaan (Josh. 1:1-5:15); the campaigns of Canaan (Josh. 6:1-12:24); the tribal distribution of the conquered land of Canaan (Josh. 13:1-21:45); and the departure of the sons of Israel to settle the land of Canaan (Josh. 22:1-24:33).

    Israel has yet to possess every bit of land God promises. Undoubtedly the nation will do so during the Messiah's Millenial Kingdom. For more information on Canaan see the off-site articles, "Who were the Canaanites?" and the article, "Canaan." Clearly today, it is Muslim so-called "Palestinians" who are occupying the land of Israel, not the other way around. Most of the world is patently in error on this subject.

Return to Top

Canon. The sixty-six books of the Bible as we have them today.  The word canon means rule or standard.  It refers to the standard by which books of the Bible were considered to be authentic and worthy of being included in Scripture.  It should be recognized that no group of men or tribunal accorded authenticity to any book of the Bible.  Rather, they acknowledged that which already existed, that these books were genuine or canonical.  It is God who guided the acceptance of these sixty-six books.  Jesus, in an almost cryptic statement, accused the scribes of being guilty of the blood of all the prophets from Abel to Zechariah (Luke 11:51).  In a curious way, Jesus was confirming the thirty-nine books of the Old Testament canon.  In the Hebrew Bible, Abel’s death takes place in Genesis, the first book, and Zechariah’s death takes place in 2 Chronicles, the last book.  Significantly, Jesus did not, in his list of authorized books, include any of the apocryphal books that were in existence at that time.  In fact, the twelve (or fifteen?) books of the Apocrypha were never accepted as being on a par with Scripture by either Jesus or the Jews themselves.  The twenty-seven books of the New Testament were first officially recognized in a list by the Council of Carthage in A.D. 397.  The Apocrypha were not recognized as Deutero-Canonical (Second Canon) Scripture by the Roman Catholic Church until mid-way through the Council of Trent in 1546.  The reformers rejected this Second Canon.

Return to Top

Carnal. Fleshly, having to do with Christians who think and operate according to their own sin-contaminated flesh instead of thinking and operating by means of the Holy Spirit. The term "carnal (KJV) or "fleshly" is the Greek Adjective sárkinos (4560) "fleshly, worldly, mortal, weak" (Accordance). In the context of 1 Cor. 3:1-4, this term describes people who are (1) Christians - "brothers" (1 Cor. 3:1); (2) but not spiritual believers (1 Cor. 3:1); (3) infants in Christ (1 Cor. 3:1); (4) only able to process the milk of the Bible, but unable to digest the solid food of the Bible; (5) characterized by jealousy and strife (1 Cor. 3:3); (6) behaving like people who are merely men, but not Christians (1 Cor. 3:3); (7) characterized by a party spirit (1 Cor. 3:4).

    Elsewhere in Rom. 7:14 Paul acknowledged that, even though he was a believer normally walking by the power of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:16), he was still a Christian in a fallen human body contaminated by a sin nature. The Christian can only conquer the fallen human nature within when he walks (lives) by means of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:16-18, 22-23, 25-26). It is impossible to live a spiritual life by trying to keep the Law or by trying to keep laws (Rom. 7:14-25). The Law cannot provide the power to live a Godly life. Only the Holy Spirit can (Rom. 8:4-10).

Return to Top

Catholic Church. Properly, the Universal Church of Jesus Christ, as opposed to local churches. (The word "catholic" means "universal.") The Vatican Church prefers to think of itself as being coterminous with the Catholic Church, but that is true only if one accepts Rome's premise that its own church tradition is just as authoritative as Scripture (80,81, 82, 83, 84, 97). If one concedes that, one must concede everything Rome believes. But Rome's premise is unsupportable from Scripture, and so a great many of the conclusions the Vatican draws are also false, among them its definition of the Church.

Jesus founded the Catholic (Universal) Church at Pentecost in Jerusalem. The Church Universal spread from Jerusalem to such local churches as the ones located at Antioch, Damascus, Perga, Antioch, Iconium, Lystra, Derbe, Philippi, Thessalonica, Berea, Athens, Corinth, Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, Laodicea, and, yes, to Rome. But the church at Rome as the place of prominence was a development of later church history, not Biblical history. Nowhere in Scripture do we find that the church in Rome is coterminous with the Catholic (Universal) Church. We cannot even prove from the Bible that Peter ever arrived in Rome! According to Scripture, Rome is just another location of a local church. Rome's doctrine that it is the only true church is a confusion of the Biblical distinction between the Universal Church and local churches.

The Catholic (Universal) Church will be completed at the Rapture. It is composed of all those who have placed their trust in Jesus as the Messiah (John 3:16-18, 36; 20:30-31; 1 John 5:10-13). Of all these it is stated in Scripture that they are baptized by one Spirit into the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:12-13). It is these, whether now living or deceased since Pentecost, who comprise the Catholic (Universal) Church, whether they associate themselves with the church headquartered in the Vatican, or with Protestantism, or with Anglicanism or with the church headquartered in Constantinople

Return to Top

Chaos Theory of Origins. The interpretation that the earth as described in Genesis 1:2 was chaotic, cursed, under God's judgment, and even evil. As such it needed to be redeemed. It is my view that in some cases, certain Bible scholars have felt compelled to adjust their exegesis of Scripture to accommodate  the prounouncements of evolutionists and their view of an ancient earth. Young Earth Creationists have withstood this pressure.

One example of an advocate of the Chaos Theory is Allen P. Ross, who stated the following concerning the entire creation account (Genesis, The Bible Knowledge Commentary, Vol. 1, p. 28):

Third, the account reveals that God is a redeeming God. It records how He brought the cosmos out of chaos, turned darkness into light, made divisions between them, transformed cursing into blessing, and moved from what was evil and darkness to what was holy. This parallels the work of God in Exodus, which records His redeeming Israel by destroying the Egyptian forces of chaos. The prophets and the apostles saw here a paradigm of God’s redemptive activities. Ultimately He who caused light to shine out of darkness made His light shine in the hearts of believers (2 Cor. 4:6) so that they become new creations (2 Cor. 5:17) (emphases mine).

Two paragraphs later, Ross states his interpretation of Genesis 1:2:

The clauses in Gen. 1:2 are apparently circumstantial to Gen. 1:3, telling the world’s condition when God began to renovate it. It was a chaos of wasteness, emptiness, and darkness. Such conditions would not result from God’s creative work (bara’); rather, in the Bible they are symptomatic of sin and are coordinate with judgment. Moreover, God’s Creation by decree begins in Gen. 1:3, and the elements found in Gen. 1:2 are corrected in Creation, beginning with light to dispel the darkness (emphasis mine).

What, in the view of Ross, explains this baleful assessment of the earth? The answer can be found several paragraphs later:

It is more likely that Gen. 1:1 refers to a relative beginning rather than the absolute beginning (Merrill F. Unger, Unger’s Commentary on the Old Testament. 2 vols. Chicago: Moody Press, 1981, 1:5). The chapter would then be accounting for the Creation of the universe as man knows it, not the beginning of everything, and Gen. 1:1-2 would provide the introduction to it. The fall of Satan and entrance of sin into God’s original Creation would precede this (emphasis mine).

So Ross apparently believes that God created planet Earth at some undated, unspecified, and unrevealed time in eternity past. Satan then fell and brought sin into God’s original universe. Genesis 1:2 describes the chaotic, ruined state of the world as it existed because of Satan’s sin. Genesis 1:3-31 describes God’s reclamation of a world ruined by Satan. What this amounts to is a variation on the discredited Gap Theory theme. 

The Chaos Theory of Origins is defective. Words like “chaos” and “evil” and “symptomatic of sin” and “coordinate with judgment” are foreign concepts that have been imported into Genesis 1:2 from elsewhere in Scripture. They do not belong here in this context. The Earth of Genesis 1:1 was not in any sense flawed; rather it was merely preliminary and incomplete, and it was the way God intended to create it at that stage during Day One. Furthermore, the notion that Satan had spoiled the earth as originally created has no Scriptural support. The Scriptures are clear that sin entered the earth after the creation week, not before it (Gen. 3:1-7) and that it was by one man that sin entered the earth, not by one fallen angel (Rom. 5:12). The only earth the Bible knows of is that which was created on Day One of Creation as revealed in Genesis 1:1-5 and Exodus 20:8-11.

(Unfortunately, Ross's interpretation of Genesis 1:1-2 is a blight on an otherwise excellent OT Volume of the Bible Knowledge CommentaryDr. Thomas Constable, though he, fortunately, does not subscribe to the Chaos Theory of Origins, in my judgment, has been influenced by its terminology.)

For an extended discussion of the creation of the earth as recorded in Genesis 1:1-2:3, go to How Did Our World Get Here?

Return to Top

Charismatic Movement. An off-shoot of Pentecostalism that retains many of the same beliefs as Pentecostalism, but incorporates a much broader denominational base. The common denominator among Charismatics is their belief that a Spirit-filled Christian will manifest some or all of the miraculous gifts of the Spirit, including speaking in tongues, interpretation of tongues, healing, prophecy, apostleship, miracles, and discernment of spirits. Proponents of the Charismatic movement will cite "miraculous" anecdotes as proof of what they believe. Many years ago, a friend of mine in South Australia made the perceptive comment about the Charismatic movement, "Truth has become anecdotal, not exegetical." Opponents of the Charismatic movement are, generally speaking, called "Cessationists." Cessationists believe that the "miraculous" or "sign" spiritual gifts such as speaking in tongues, healing, and miracle working have ceased (1 Cor. 13:8-12). Generally, according to Cessationists, the terminus of the "sign gifts" was the completion of the NT Canon of Scripture. I personally maintain, for example, that if there were really prophets today, some of their utterances should be added to Scripture, for a genuine Biblical prophecy carries the same weight as Scripture. The fact that nothing has been added to the 66 books comprising the Canon of Scripture for almost 1900 years is solid grounds for questioning the validity of Biblical prophecy today, and even of the whole basis for the Charismatic movement. For further exploration of this topic read, "Do Prophets Exist Today?" and "Do Apostles Exist Today?"

Return to Top

Chemosh. The vile god of the Moabites. The Moabites were the descendants of Abraham's nephew Lot by way of an incestuous union of Lot with his elder, unnamed daughter. In collusion with her younger sister, she arranged for her father to get drunk, and then slept with him while he was too inebriated to know what was going on (Gen. 19:30-38). Out of this sorry beginning, the progeny of Moab descended into spiritual paganism. Instead of worshiping the true God, Yahweh, the Moabites fell into idolatry and adopted Chemosh as their god. The Moabites' idolatry with Chemosh is documented in Num. 21:29; Judges 11:24; and Jer. 48:7, 13, 46.
    Sadly, David's son Solomon loved many foreign women, and when he was old, these pagan wives turned his heart away from following Yahweh steadfastly (1 Kings 11:1-6). Solomon abominably introduced Chemosh worship into Israel (1 Kings 11:7-8; cf. 1 Kings 11:33 and 2 Kings 23:13). The worship of Chemosh included child-sacrifice (2 Kings 3:21-27).  Other instances of child-sacrifice include Isa. 57:5 and Ezek. 20:31, but both instances are uncertain as to which false god is in view.
    This seems particularly cruel, but a great many Americans and other people in the west are equally barbaric. We murder our own unborn children as a sacrifice to the "God of Personal Convenience." As of this writing we Americans have murdered nearly 57 million of our unborn children since 1973, the landmark decision of Roe v Wade. Unbelievably, the deluded justices of the US Supreme Court found, in the Constitution of the U. S., that women have the inalienable right to murder their own babies.

Cherub, Cherubim. An order of angels (messengers) apparently specializing in serving in the presence of God. This appears to be true in accordance with the fact that Cherubim (plural of kerûb, 3742) were chosen by God to be placed on the Ark of the Covenant, where God's presence dwelt in the Holy of Holies (Exod. 25:18-20, 22). It appears to be true in that Cherubim were associated with the presence of God in the visions of Ezekiel (Ezek. 1:4-28; 10:1-11:25). It may also be true in that the four living beings around God's throne in Rev. 4:1-5:14 may be cherubim. But we cannot argue definitively that they are. See A Selective Comparison of Angelic Beings.
    Cherub, the singular, and Cherubim, the plural, are the transliterations of the Hebrew text (
kerûb, 3742). Similarly, in its lone occurrence in the NT (Heb. 9:5), “cherubim,” cheroubím, better, cheroubín, plural of cheroúb (5502), is a transliteration of the plural of the Hebrew kerûb (3742).
    Cherubim guarded the way to the tree of life after man had sinned (Gen. 3:24).
    Satan, God’s arch enemy, was evidently a privileged cherub who, before he sinned, walked among the stones of fire on the holy mountain of God, presumably the heavenly Mount Zion, on which God’s temple and throne are situated (Ezek. 28:14). After the cherub’s sin, God cast him out of the heavenly mountain (Ezek. 28:16).
    Models of two two-winged cherubim adorned the mercy seat, the covering of the ark of the covenant (Exod. 25:17-22). God’s presence would dwell there, enthroned above the cherubim (Num. 7:89; 1 Sam. 4:4; 2 Sam. 6:2; Psa. 80:1; 99:1). Solomon constructed two gigantic cherubim to preside in the holy of holies in his temple. These cherubim were each about fifteen feet tall, and, with wings outstretched, were each about fifteen in breadth (1 Kings 6:23-28).
    Evidently cherubim can have different forms. Ezekiel saw a vision of the glory of God sitting upon a mobile platform mounted on intersecting, multi-directional wheels, powered by four angels called cherubim (Ezek. 1:4-28; 10:14, 20). Each cherub possessed four wings. Each possessed the faces of a man, a lion, a bull, and an eagle.They could tolerate fire and lightning. In what ranks as one of the saddest passages of Scripture, Ezekiel saw these same “wheel cherubim” escorting the glory of God out of Jerusalem (Ezek. 10:3-11:23). It will not again return until the construction of Ezekiel's Millennial Temple (Ezek. 40:1-43:12). See Angelology, the Study of Angels.

Chief Priests. A chiefly NT term designating the highest-ranking priests. In the OT, and according to the plan of God, there was only one high priest at a time. The terminology differs somewhat. For example, he is called, literally, the "Head (rosh, 7218) Priest" (kohen, 3548) in 2 Chron. 26:20), while he is called, literally, the "Great" (gadol, 1419) "Priest" (kohen, 3548) in Josh. 20:6. Matters are different in the NT. Since Rome had conquered Israel by this time, the "High Priest" had become a Roman political appointment. Consequently, Israel had no choice but to recognize the Roman-appointed "High Priest" while at the same time privately acknowledging the Levitical High Priest. Thus, Luke speaks of the contemporaneous high priesthood of both Annas and Caiaphas (Luke 3:2). Annas was Israel's High Priest from A.D. 6 to 15 until Roman authorities deposed him. But many Jews continued to regard him as the legitimate high priest. His son-in-law Caiaphas served as official high priest from A.D. 18 to 37 (so Constable). The term for "Chief Priest" in the NT, sometimes occurring in the singular, and sometimes in the plural is archiereus (749). This noun appears 122X in the NT. Of these, it appears 56X in the singular and 66X in the plural. In addition, Israel in the NT seems to have developed a plural cadre of leading priests, so indicated in Mark 14:53, for example. As has taken place both in the nation of Israel and in the institutional church, leaders have instituted traditions among men that are not found in Scripture.

Chiliasm. The belief in a literal 1000 year reign of Christ as depicted in Rev. 20:1-6. During this thousand-year period Satan is bound in the abyss so that he is unable to deceive the people of the world as he has done so effectively throughout human existence prior to Christ's Second Advent. Chiliasm is a synonym for Premillennialism. Those who do not believe in a literal reign of Christ for a thousand years are identified as amillennialists and post-millennialists. Amillennialists believe that to a large degree, we are already in the kingdom and that Satan is presently bound. Postmillennialists believe that the kingdom is presently being established and the world will be gradually Christianized. That is when Christ will return. Both of these alternatives to chiliasm fly in the face of reality. Satan is not presently bound. He is more and more active and succeeding in deceiving more and more people. And the world is not getting better. It is getting worse. We need Jesus to come back, to judge the wicked, and to inaugurate His kingdom that will be a fitting first step towards answering the prayer He taught us to pray, "Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done – as in heaven, so on earth!" (Matt. 6:10).

Christ. The English translation of the Greek term (Christos) for “Anointed One.”  In the New Testament, it is made clear that Jesus of Nazareth is God’s Anointed One.  Before His incarnation, Jesus existed as God’s eternal Word (Logos), or Message (John 1:1, 14; Rev. 19:13).  As such, He appeared infrequently as the Messenger of Yahweh (Angel of the LORD) in Old Testament times.  Always Deity, He was also incarnated as Man at His birth in Bethlehem (John 1:14, 18).  But it was not until Jesus’ baptism that God the Father anointed God the Son with His Holy Spirit, making Jesus the Anointed One, the Christ (Matt. 3:13-17; Mark 1:9-12; Luke 3:21-22; John 1:32-34).  In the Old Testament there were those who were anointed with oil by men, at God’s direction, to become prophets, priests, or kings (Ex. 28:41; 29:7, 21, 29; 30:30; 40:13-15; Lev. 8:12, 30; 10:7; 1 Sam. 9:27-10:1; 16:1-14; 1 Kings 19:15-16).  God anointed Jesus to be all three, Prophet, Priest, and King.  As Prophet, Jesus verbally proclaimed God’s messages to the Jewish people.  Many of His words are contained in the four Gospels, and in the Book of Revelation. By these He continues to speak through the written Word to both Jews and Gentiles.  He also authorized His apostles to be His spokesmen (John 14:25-26; 16:13).  Thus, the New Testament is in a sense a record of Christ’s pronouncements as Prophet.  As Priest, Jesus offered Himself up as the perfect Lamb of God (Isa. 53:7; John 1:29, 36; Acts 8:32; 1 Pet. 1:19; Rev. 5:6, 8, 12; 6:1; 13:8) .  As our great high priest (Psa. 110:4; Heb. 2:17; 3:1; 4:14; 5:5, 10; 6:20; 7:26-28; 8:1-3; 9:11-12; 10:21) Jesus is the only mediator between God and man (1 Tim. 2:5), and He intercedes on behalf of believers at the throne of grace (Rom. 8:33-34; Heb. 7:25; 1 John 2:1-2).  As King, Jesus is presently seated at the right hand of the Father.  But in a certain sense He lacks portfolio (a British term) in the sense that He awaits the Kingdom over which He is destined to rule as the only legitimate descendant of David.  Jesus will one day, as King in Jerusalem, have law creation (legislative), law administration (executive), and law enforcement (judicial) responsibilities.  Jesus will one day as King sit in judgment over all mankind (John 5:22-30; Rev. 20:11-15). See a more extensive discussion of Jesus as the Christ.

Return to Top

Christian(s).  A descriptive term for believers in Jesus Christ, coined at Antioch (Acts 11:26). The term is also used in Acts 26:28 and 1 Pet. 4:16. A Christian is someone who has placed his faith in Jesus Christ, and thus possesses eternal life (John 3:16; 3:36; 5:24; 6:40, 47; 10:27, 28; Acts 13:48; Rom. 6:23; 1 Tim. 1:16; 1 John 5:11-13). A Christian is someone who has received the Son, believed in His name, and thus becomes a child of God (John 1:11-13). Because He has been, through faith in Christ, born into God's family, it is said that he is "born again" (John 3:3, 7; 1 Pet. 1:23). The Holy Spirit is the one who births the believer in Christ into that spiritual life (Titus 3:5), immersing him into the Body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13). The Holy Spirit lives within every believer in Christ (Rom. 8:9), sealing each and every one as a pledge of his future inheritance and full future redemption (Eph. 1:13,14; 4:30). Christians, believers in Christ, are also identified as "saints" ("set-apart-ones") (1 Cor. 1:2; Eph. 1:15) and "brothers" (Acts 1:15, 16; 6:3; Rom. 7:1; 12:1; 1 Cor. 1:10; Eph. 6:23; Phil. 4:8; Col. 1:2; 1 Thess. 4:13; Heb. 3:1; James 1:2; 1 Pet. 1:22; Rev. 12:10; 19:10). See Christianity.

Return to Top

Christianity. The aggregate of those individuals, churches, and institutions who believe that Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ, the Anointed One, the Son of God, who came into this world to die to save sinners, but was resurrected ultimately to reign as King of Israel and King of the World. Christianity is monotheistic, believing that there is but one God who manifests Himself in three Persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Christianity has Judaism as its foundation but, unlike Judaism, believes that Jesus is the promised Messiah, King of Israel. Biblical Christianity believes that human salvation is by grace through faith apart from works (Eph. 2:8-9), and that works are the result of salvation, not the cause of it (Eph. 2:10). As in all religions, there are those who would call themselves Christians, but who may not actually be trusting in Jesus, but in something or someone else. In Biblical Christianity, true followers of Jesus will be distinguished from mere pretenders on Judgment Day. See Christian.

Return to Top

Christological. Having to do with Jesus as the Christ, i.e., the Messiah, the supremely Anointed One. The One anointed by God's Holy Spirit to be God's ultimate Prophet, Priest, King, and Judge of Israel and the world. Christology is the study of the various facets and characteristics of Jesus as God's supremely Anointed One. A synonym is Messianic.

Return to Top

Christology.  The study of the doctrines (teachings) about Jesus Christ. See WordExplain's studies on Christology.

Return to Top

Christophany. An OT appearance or manifestation of the Pre-Incarnate Christ, the Second Member of the Godhead. God Himself is spirit (pneûma, 4151) (John 4:24), and it is impossible for humans here on the earth to view spirits, who are, by definition, incorporeal. There are Scriptures which assert that no man has seen God at any time (John 1:18;1 John 4:12, 20; 1 Tim. 6:16). Yet there are other Scriptures which portray God as having a personal and visible encounter with someone (Gen. 18:1-33; Exod. 33:17-23; Deut. 34:10). Some of these instances are humans encountering the Angel of the LORD (or Angel of Yahweh) (Gen. 16:7-14; 21:15-19; 22:11-18; 31:11-13; Exod. 3:1-10; Judges 6:11-27; 13:1-23; Zech. 3:1-7). See the article The Angel of the LORD.  I believe all these instances are actually the Pre-Incarnate Christ appearing to mankind. He is called the Messenger of God in the OT. In the NT, before He became man, He was identified as the Message of God (John 1:1-3). At His incarnation He became man (John 1:14), and fully explains God (John 1:18).

Return to Top

Church.  The name corporately identifying believers in Jesus beginning with the Day of Pentecost and ending at the Rapture. The Greek noun is ekklesia (1577), which means "called out ones." These are they who, regardless of nationality, have been called by God into fellowship through His Son, Jesus ChristIn this sense, we are speaking of the Church Universal, or, the Catholic Church (which in WordExplain is to be distinguished from the Vatican Church). The Greek word ecclesia means, literally, “called out ones.”  The Church is an entity distinct from the nation of Israel.  Israel was the focus of God’s plan to redeem the world beginning with Abraham and especially with the giving of the Law to Moses.  But when Israel rejected its Messiah, God judged the nation with the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in A.D. 70.  God then dispersed the nation all over the world.  In the meantime God had made the Church His focus for redeeming the world.  The Church includes all who believe in Jesus, regardless of whether they are Jewish or Gentile.  The New Testament makes a distinction between the Church Universal (all believers in Jesus) and a local church, identified by a geographical term.  Sometimes that entity was a region (such as Galatia), but more often a city, such as Thessalonica or Rome.  It should be noted that God’s program for redemption through the Church is finite in regard to time.  When the Church is raptured to heaven, God will once again make Israel the focus of His program.  There has always been a remnant of Jewish people who believe in Jesus as their Messiah.  When Christ returns, He will gather together from all over the world believing Jews.  With them He will begin His Kingdom.  Israel will once again be the focus of God’s worldwide program.

Return to Top

Church Age. The time during which the Church exists here on earth.  On the one hand this time period is bounded by the start of the Church on the Day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit came to indwell believers and baptize them into the Body of Christ; and on the other hand, it is bounded by the Rapture, which transports the entire Church, body and soul to heaven.  There will come a time when the last person says yes to Jesus, and the Church will be complete.  At some time after that – God knows when, the Church will be called up to heaven (1 Thess. 4:13-18).  With the Church off the scene on earth, God will resume His prophesied program with Israel. God's predicted program with Israel will commence with Daniel's 70th Week, initiated by a future ruler of the Revived Roman Empire signing a seven-year peace treaty with Israel (Dan. 9:26-27). This period also includes the cataclysmic Tribulation period. See The Present Church Age for a fuller discussion.

Return to Top

Church Fathers. The term “Church Fathers” refers to church leaders in the decades and centuries after the deaths of the Apostles.  Church Fathers are divided into three groups, the Apostolic Fathers, the Ante-Nicene Fathers, and the Post-Nicene Fathers.  The Apostolic Fathers had contact with the Apostles.  This group includes Linus (2 Tim. 4:21), Clement of Rome, Ignatius, and Polycarp.  The Ante-Nicene Fathers were church leaders prior to the Council of Nicaea in AD 325.  Examples include Irenaeus, and Justin Martyr.  The Post-Nicene Fathers included Augustine, Chrysostom, Eusebius, Jerome, and Ambrose.

Return to Top

Church, Local; Local Church. A gathering of baptized believers in Christ (Acts 2:41) in a particular locality, organized with at least elders (also called overseers) (Acts 14:23; 1 Tim. 3:1-7; Titus 1:5) and perhaps also with deacons (Php. 1:1; 1 Tim. 3:8-13) , and assembling regularly for instruction in the Apostles' teaching, for fellowship, for the breaking of bread (probably Communion), and for prayer (Acts 2:42). The local church is, ideally, a microcosm of the Universal Church. In reality, however, it was expected that unbelievers would visit a gathering of a local church and hopefully become believers (1 Cor. 14:23-25). In the New Testament, local churches were typically the church of a city (Tit. 1:5) and, sometimes, the church meeting in a particular house (Rom. 16:5; 1 Cor. 16:19; Col. 4:15; Phm 1:2). As time went on, there were local churches at Jerusalem, Samaria, Damascus, Lydda, Joppa, Caesarea, Antioch, Lystra, Derbe, Iconium, Pisidian Antioch, Philippi, Thessalonica, Berea, Athens, Corinth, Ephesus, in the Galatian region, Colossae, Troas, Tyre, Ptolemais, Rome, Sidon, Puteoli, Cenchrea, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea. No one local church had any jurisdiction over another. The belief and practice that the church headquartered in the Vatican in Rome, Italy is the sole legitimate expression of Christianity and has authority over all local churches is found nowhere in Scripture, and is to be rejected as false teaching. See also the Glossary entry Local Churches under the discussion of Universal Church.

Return to Top

Circumcision. The obligatory sign of the covenant between God and Abraham and his descendants (Gen. 17).  The foreskin of all males was to be “cut around” as a sign that the male was an active participant in the covenant.  Predictably, many Israelis would rely on the circumcision of the flesh, whereas God was even more concerned about a corresponding circumcision of the heart (Rom. 2:25-29).

Return to Top

Communion. The ordinance which Christians are commanded to observe to memorialize Christ’s death (Matt 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-26; Luke 22:14-20; 1 Cor. 11:17-34). It is also called the Lord's Supper, and sometimes, the Lord's Table. The term "communion" is taken from Paul's oblique reference to the ordinance (1 Cor. 10:14-22). He states that "the cup of blessing ... is a sharing in the blood of Christ," and that "the bread which we break [is] a sharing of the body of Christ" (1 Cor. 10:16) (emphases mine). In both cases the term "sharing" is the Nominative Feminine Singular of the noun koinōnía (2842), meaning "fellowship, association, community, communion, joint participation ... the share which one has in anything, participation" (excerpted from OBU). The term "table of the Lord" comes from 1 Cor. 10:21. Communion includes bread, which memorializes Christ’s broken body, and the cup, which memorializes His shed blood. 

    For the Church, the Lord’s Supper is officially linked with the New Covenant (Jer. 31:31-34; Luke 17:19-20; 1 Cor. 11:25). Not only do the elements of Communion look backward in time to the sacrifice of Christ's body and blood on our behalf  (1 Cor. 11:23-25), but they look forward in time to Christ's return to earth (the Second Coming) (1 Cor. 11:26). 

    There are four views concerning the meaning and purpose of the elements of the Lord's Table, the bread and the wine: the Transubstantiation, Consubstantiation, Spiritual Presence, and the Memorial view. WordExplain holds to the Memorial view, believing it to be the correct understanding in obedience to Jesus' words, "Do this in remembrance of Me" (Luke 22:19; 1 Cor. 11:24, 25).

    For an off-site essay which spells out the Roman Catholic view of the Lord's Supper and why the conservative Protestant view is more Biblical, see "What is the Catholic sacrament of Holy Eucharist?" See also, "Should a non-Catholic Christian participate in a Catholic Mass?" See also the Lord’s Supper.

Communism. See Marxism.

Return to Top

Confession. Christians who sin are commanded to confess their sins to God (1 John 1:9).  To confess (from homologeo) means to say the same thing about my sin that God does.  There are two types of forgiveness for Christians, legal forgiveness and family forgiveness.  The Scriptures are clear that faith in Christ accesses eternal forgiveness and eternal life (John 3:16; 3:36; 5:24; Acts 13:38-39).  There is no condemnation (judgment) for those who are in Christ Jesus (Rom. 8:1).  But a Christian who sins falls out of fellowship with His heavenly Father.  Confession of sin is necessary for a believer to be restored to fellowship (1 John 1:3, 6-9).

Return to Top

Conscience. That sense of moral “oughtness” found within every human.  One’s conscience guides him in making “correct” moral choices (Rom. 2:15).  The human conscience (sunedeisis) is only as good as the information on which it operates.  Faulty information inevitably results in a faulty conscience.  Practicing evil can defile a conscience (Tit. 1:15).

Return to Top

Constable, Thomas. Author of Sonic Light, an exhaustive set of notes of every book of the Bible. Constable is theologically conservative, and consistently interprets the Bible literally, as its authors meant it to be interpreted. He taught at Dallas Theological Seminary for 45 years, and served as Chairman of its Bible Exposition Department for 13 years. His notes are available in .html format and also in .pdf format. He also has had his notes translated into Spanish and into Thai. His notes are heavily footnoted. They contain numerous tables and diagrams illustrating the points he is making. Constable's notes are my #1 resource in online Bible Study tools. In recent years, his notes are housed on the website of Plano Bible Chapel, a church which he himself founded and pastored for a number of years. There is a bio of Constable posted on the church's website.

Return to Top

Construct Chain in Hebrew.The grammatical construction which expresses the "of" (possessive) relationship between two nouns. "This grammatical relationship is created by placing two or more nouns side by side...." (1) Placement: "The first of the two nouns in the construct chain is called the construct noun and is said to be in the construct state. The second of the two nouns is called the absolute noun and is said to be in the absolute state. The absolute form of the noun is also its lexical form." (2) Definiteness and indefiniteness: "Construct chains are either entirely definite (the … of the …) or entirely indefinite (a … of a …). The definiteness or indefiniteness of a construct chain is determined by the absolute noun. If the absolute noun is definite, the entire construct chain is definite. If the absolute noun is indefinite, the entire construct chain is indefinite." (3) Noun definiteness: A noun is considered to be definite under three circumstances: a) "If it has the definite article .... b) If it has a pronominal suffix as in ... "my father"   c) If it is a proper noun as in ... Samuel. Credit. This glossary entry is copied almost entirely 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.

Return to Top

Consubstantiation. Consubstantiation is the belief that Christ’s body and blood are in with, and by the bread and wine used in the Lord’s Table (also known as Communion or the Eucharist). It differs from transubstantiation, which holds that the bread and wine are actually transformed into Christ’s body and blood during the sacrament. In broad terms, consubstantiation is a Lutheran view; transubstantiation a Roman Catholic view.  The Baptistic view is that the bread and wine (usually grape juice is substituted) memorialize Christ’s death. What is in question is the interpretation of Jesus’ words:  He said of the bread He offered His disciples at the Last Supper, “Take, eat; this is My body” (Matt. 26:26); He said of the cup which He offered them, “This is my blood of the covenant” (Matt. 26:28).  Catholics take these words literally; Lutherans almost literally; and Baptistic adherents take them to be metaphorical, explicitly following Christ's instructions, "Do this in remembrance of Me" (Luke 22:19; 1 Cor. 11:24, 25).

Return to Top

Conversion. The act of committing to believe in Jesus Christ.  Other terms include accepting salvation, becoming saved, being born again, accepting Christ as one’s Savior.  Conversion emphasizes the action of the believer while salvation emphasizes the accomplishment of God.  Faith in Jesus Christ is the sole condition for salvation.  Repentance is to be understood as changing one’s mind about who Jesus is.  An awareness of sin and personal need are motivations for becoming saved.  Many people are unaware of their own sinfulness and unaware of the terrible consequences of sin.  Becoming aware of these things helps motivate people to place their faith in Jesus instead of their own “goodness” or some method of working in order to gain merit.  The importance of faith in Jesus can be demonstrated in that John’s gospel incorporated 98 references to believing, but not a single reference to repentance.

Conviction. The act of the Holy Spirit of conveying a sense of guilt to people so they repent of their evil and turn to God through Jesus in repentance and faith. John 16:8 is the only NT passage which uses the verb "convict" (elegchō, 1651) with the Holy Spirit implied as its subject. In John 16:5-15 Jesus revealed that He was departing from His disciples / apostles (John 16:5). But it was to their advantage that He departed, for then He would send them the "Helper" (Parakletos, 3875, "one called alongside to help"). The NASB footnote gives further possible translations, "Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor" (John 16:7). When the Holy Spirit arrived after Jesus' departure, He would "convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment" (John 16:8). The primary sin of which the Holy Spirit will convict the world is the failure to believe in Jesus (John 16:9). The Holy Spirit will convict the world of righteousness in the sense that Jesus has been vindicated as being righteous, inasmuch as He would successfully complete His work of paying for man's sin, He would be resurrected, and He would ascend to heaven, being welcomed by God to a place of authority, mission accomplished (John 16:10)! The Holy Spirit would convict the world in regard to coming judgment inasmuch as Jesus' successful death and resurrection would release men from the power of Satan, sin having been atoned for and death having been defeated for all believers (John 16:11). Though this passage does not say so, I believe the Holy Spirit also has a convicting ministry for believers. Through the preaching of the Word of God (2 Tim. 4:2), or through the reproof of a brother (Matt. 18:15; 1 Tim. 5:20; Tit. 1:13; 2:15), the Holy Spirit convicts us believers of specific sins. The goal is for us to repent, confess our sins, and be cleansed for renewed joy and service (1 John 1:8-9).

Return to Top

Corinth, Corinthians. Corinth was an important city at the northern edge of the Peloponnesus, the southernmost third of the nation of Greece. The Peloponnesus, and thus Corinth, were joined with central Greece only by means of a narrow isthmus (now cut by a four-mile long canal). The city had three good harbors. In Paul's day, smaller ships could be hauled across the isthmus by means of a wooden track. Larger ships had to sail around the peninsula. Corinth was a seaport city, which engendered immorality with the constant influx of sailors (see 1 Cor. 5:1; 6:13, 18; 7:2). The city was noted for its Corinthian architecture, and for awhile it was known as the wealthiest and most important city in Greece. Citizens of Corinth were, of course, Corinthians, and Paul was able to found a church there on his Second Missionary Journey in about A.D. 50 (Acts 18:1-11). Paul's relationship with the Corinthian Church seems to have been more tempestuous than with any other church. There are indications of this in his first letter, but especially so in his second. Important Biblical doctrines are covered in these two letters, including treatises on marriage (1 Cor. 7), meat sacrificed to idols and Christian liberty (1 Cor. 8-10); issues in public worship, especially addressing spiritual gifts (1 Cor. 11-14); the resurrection (1 Cor. 15); and principles for Christian giving on behalf of the needy (2 Cor. 8-9).

Cornelius. A God-fearing Roman Centurion who came to faith in Christ through the agency of a heaven-sent messenger and the obedient Apostle Peter. His story is told in Acts 10:1-48. Cornelius was stationed at Caesarea. He was a member of the Italian Cohort. He was devout. He, along with his entire household, feared God. He gave gifts of mercy to the people, and he was continually petitioning God. An angel appeared to him one day, addressing him by name. Alarmed, he asked, "What is it, master?" The angel informed him that his prayers and his monetary gifts of mercy had gone up as a memorial before God. Now he was to send to Joppa for a man named Simon, also called Peter. He was staying in the home of another Simon, who lived next to the sea.

    When the heavenly messenger vanished, Cornelius summoned two servants and a devout soldier, and sent them to Joppa. The next day, as they were nearing the city, Peter went up at noon to the housetop to pray. He was hungry and thinking about eating while his hosts prepared the meal down below. But God induced Peter to fall into a trance. He saw the sky open up, and a sheet-like object was being lowered to the ground. In it were all manner of four-footed animals, reptiles, and birds. A voice came to him, "Peter, arise, kill, and eat!" Peter replied in horror that he had never eaten anything common and unclean. The voice responded, "What God has cleansed, you do not make common!" This happened three times, whereupon the object ascended up into the sky.

    Peter was perplexed. Meanwhile, just then, the travelers from Cornelius arrived at the gate and called loudly for Simon, called Peter. The Holy Spirit told Peter that three men were looking for him. He was to accompany them without misgivings, for He Himself had sent them. Peter went down to the gate and identified himself as the man they were looking for. Why had they come?

    The travelers responded that Cornelius, a centurion, who was a righteous and Godly man, well-spoken of by the entire Jewish nation, was directed by a heaven-sent messenger to send for you and to hear a message from Peter! Peter invited them in and gave them lodging.

    The next day he went with them to Caesarea, accompanied by some of the brothers from Joppa. they entered the home of Cornelius and found many people assembled. Cornelius fell at Peter's feet and worshiped him. But Peter said, "Stand up! I, too, am merely a man!"

    When Peter saw all those assembled, he began by saying that they that it was unlawful for him as a Jew to associate with a foreigner or to visit him. But God had shown him that he should not call any man common or unclean. That is why he had come along with the messengers from Cornelius without objection.

    Peter told them about Jesus of Nazareth, who was anointed by God with the Holy Spirit and power. He went about doing good and healing all oppressed by the Devil. Peter and his associates were witnesses of all He had done in the land of the Jewish people and in Jerusalem.  But the Jewish people had Him crucified. God raised Him  up on the third day. He became visible to those who believed in Him. He had ordered His followers to testify that this was the One appointed by God to be Judge of the living and the dead. Of Him all the prophets bear witness that  through His name, everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins!

    Instantly everyone in the crowd gathered placed their trust in Jesus. Immediately they all began to speak in languages they had not learned, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out upon them. Peter and the circumcised believers who had come with him were amazed that God had poured out the Holy Spirit upon (uncircumcised) Gentiles! Peter ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. The crowd asked him to stay with them for a few days and teach them more.

    This remarkable incident was the moment God used Peter officially to turn the keys of the Kingdom of the Heavens and open the doors of the Church to Gentiles who believed in Jesus. This was a watershed moment in Church History!

    This historical event also illustates nicely the principle that, when people respond favorably to the light God gives them, He gives them more light.

Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (CMB).

Return to Top

Covenant.  An agreement between one man and another or between God and man.  Another word for covenant is testament, the name used in both the Old and New Testaments.  There are various levels of Biblical covenants, including a covenant of salt (Lev. 2:13; Num. 18:19; 2 Chron. 13:5) and a covenant of blood (Gen. 15:7-18; Ex. 24:8; Zech. 9:11; Matt. 26:28; Mark 14:24; Luke 22:20; 1 Cor. 11:25; Heb. 9:18, 20; Heb. 10:29; Heb. 12:24; 13:20).  A blood covenant is the most serious commitment.  Typically ratified by the shedding of animal blood, the significance was that, if either party violated the covenant, his own life could be forfeited. Jesus ratified the New Covenant with His own blood! 

The greatest covenant is the New Covenant, an Everlasting Covenant in which God guaranteed to Israel hearts of flesh that will respond to Him and accept His forgiveness (Jer. 31:31-37; 32:36-44; 50:4-5; Isa. 55:1-3; 61:7-8; Ezek. 11:16-20; 16:60-63; 36:22-38; 37:21-28); and in which God would provide forgiveness and eternal life to any human participants regardless of their nationality by virtue of their faith in the death of His own Son (Luke 22:20; 1 Cor. 11:25; Heb. 8:6-13; 9:11-28; 12:24; 13:20-21). This covenant is a blood covenant, and in it, Jesus was the Lamb of God whose blood was shed to atone for the sins of the world (John 1:29, 36; 1 Pet. 1:18-19).  Man participates in the New Covenant by faith in Jesus and His blood (Rom. 3:24-26).

Other covenants in the Bible include God’s Covenant with Noah to spare him and his family from the Great Flood (Gen. 6:13-18); 

God’s Everlasting Covenant with Noah never again to destroy the earth by water (Gen. 9:8-17);

God’s Everlasting Covenant with Abraham promising him a land, a people, and a blessing (Gen. 12:1-3; 13:14-17;  15:1-21; 17:7, 19; 1 Chron. 16:15-18; Psalm 105:6-11); 

God’s Covenant with Abraham’s descendants, Israel, promising to be their God and protector provided they would keep His commandments (Ex. 19:1-8; 24:1-11). This is a conditional covenant. We call it the Mosaic Covenant, or more frequently, "the law of Moses" (Josh. 8:31-32; 1 Kings 2:3; 2 Kings 14:6; 2 Chron. 23:18; Ezra 3:2; Neh. 8:1; Dan. 9:11; Mal. 4:4; Luke 2:22; John 7:23; Acts 13:39; 1 Cor. 9:9; ; Heb. 10:28); or simply, "the Law" (Matt. 7:12; Luke 16:16; Acts 13:15; Rom. 3:21. It is later referred to as the Old Covenant ( 2 Cor. 3:14; Heb. 8:13; 9:1) because it was superseded by the New Covenant); 

and God’s Eternal Covenant with David guaranteeing Him a descendant with an eternal house, eternal throne, and eternal kingdom (2 Sam. 7:12-16; 23:5; 1 Chron. 17:11-14; Psalm 89:3-4, 27-29, 34-37; Luke 1:26-35).

Return to Top

Covenant Theology. [1] The system of theology that provides a grid for interpreting Scripture through three presumed Covenants, not one of which is explicitly stated in Scripture. Covenant Theologians insist these three covenants are implied by Scripture, but even they would agree that not one of these three covenants is specifically identified in Scripture. These three covenants are the underlying Covenant of Redemption (CR); the Covenant of Works (CW); and the Covenant of Grace (CG). 

The Covenant of Redemption logically precedes the other two covenants. "The CR is a covenant made among the three Persons of the Trinity to elect, atone for, and save a select group of individuals unto salvation and eternal life." I do not question the accuracy of the plan of salvation specified in the CR, but I deny that there is a "Covenant of Redemption." To say there is is to say more than the Scriptures say.

The Covenant of Works. "From a redemptive historical perspective, the covenant of works is the first covenant we see in Scripture." Covenant Theology (CT) presumes the existence of a covenant of works based upon the language of Genesis 2:16-17. If Adam and his descendants were to obey God, God would reward them with eternal life. "Life is the reward for obedience, and death is the punishment for disobedience." This," says CT, "is covenant language." But alas, no "Covenant of Works" is ever clearly stated in Scripture. I agree that God promised blessings and long life for obedience, and He promised cursings and catastrophe for disobedience (Deut 27:1-28:68). But God never promised Adam a reward of eternal life if he obeyed. He simply put a test in Adam's pathway and warned him that if he disobeyed, he would die. He already was alive in every sense of the word. But when Adam sinned, he instantly suffered Spiritual Death. Moreover the proces of Physical Death instantly began to work in his body and in the world and universe. In the end, it would take Adam 930 years to die completely in a physical sense. But death was inevitable. So an imagined CW cannot really be supported by Scripture. It is far more accurate to say that salvation has always been by grace apart from works. I am not saying that works are unimportant. I am saying that works are the result of salvation by grace, not the means of salvation by grace. God's salvatory dealing with Abraham is simple, yet profound. God told Abraham he would have as many descendants as the stars of the heavens. Abraham believed God, and God credited it to him for righteousness (Gen. 15:1-6; Rom. 4:3; Gal. 3:6; James 2:23). That has always been the way of salvation. The content of the faith may change from era to era, but not the coin of faith. 

The Covenant of Grace is the third covenant that God implemented, according to CT. God did so when Adam failed to keep the CW. "In the CG, God freely offers to sinners (those who fail to live up to the CW) eternal life and salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. We see the provision for the CG right after the fall when God prophesies the seed of the woman in Genesis 3:15." CT holds that the unconditional covenants are all outworkings of this presumed CG. But wouldn't we do better simply to take the Biblical Covenants that are mentioned as they are, and not attempt to force them into a pre-conceived arrangement that has no basis in the facts of the language of Scripture? A phantom covenant is still a phantom covenant, no matter how fiercely one tries to explain its existence. The CG is flawed in that it maintains all believers throughout all ages are saved "through faith in Jesus Christ." I maintain the facts speak otherwise. Abraham, as we have already stated, was saved because he believed God was going to give him as many descendants as the stars of heaven (Gen. 15:1-6). That doesn't sound much like believing in Christ.

There is a better way of looking at all of history. That is by using a term that the Bible does employ. The Greek word is oikonomía (3622). The KJV translated it "dispensation," and three times, "stewardship." The NASB translates it "management." in Luke 16:2, 3, 4; "stewardship" in 1 Cor. 9:17 and Eph. 3:2 and Col. 1:25;  "administration" in Eph. 1:10; 3:9; 1 Tim. 1:4. An oikonomia, in broad terms, is God's arrangement for working with different peoples at different times. By focusing on the word oikonomia, we can understand that God works in different ways with different peoples at different times.

One final comment. CT theology objects to others' accusing their proponents of believing in "Replacement Theology." In his words, the writer of this article states the following: 

Unlike Dispensationalism, Covenant Theology does not see a sharp distinction between Israel and the Church. Israel constituted the people of the God in the OT, and the Church (which is made up of Jew and Gentile) constitutes the people of God in the NT; both just make up one people of God (Ephesians 2:11-20). The Church doesn’t replace Israel; the Church is Israel and Israel is the Church (Galatians 6:16). All people who exercise the same faith as Abraham are part of the covenant people of God (Galatians 3:25-29).

For me that is a major problem prohibiting my subscribing to CT. The writer's statement simply does not square with the facts of Scripture. If we go to the very end of time as we know it, there will be at least three distinct peoples of God inhabiting New Jerusalem and New Earth. In the first place, the eternal capital city is not known as New York or New Delhi. It will be known eternally as New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:2, 10). You can't get more Israeli than that! Moreover, there will be twelve gates granting access to this gargantuan city. Each gate will bear the name of one of the twelve tribes of Israel (Rev. 21:12). This city is the capital city of redeemed Israel of all ages. We also know that New Jerusalem will be the eternal home of the Church, the Bride of Christ (Rev. 19:7-9). This can be substantiated by the fact that the twelve foundations of the city are each inscribed with the name of one of the twelve apostles of the Lamb (Rev. 21:14). There will be great numbers of Gentiles (nations) living upon New Earth who will have 24-hour a day access to the eternal city. These "nations" will be comprised of redeemed individuals who are neither part of Israel, nor part of the Church (Rev. 21:24, 26; 22:2). A consistently literal interpretation of Scripture, one that notes the details of Scripture, yields the result of three eternal peoples of God, each distinct from one another. The results of Covenant Theology, while impressive to those who hold it, do not sway those who consistently take the Bible literally.

Creation. The Biblical account of the origin of the universe, our world and all life, plant, animal, and human.  Genesis 1:1-2 does not indicate by which method God created ex nihilo the earth and the heavens in His initial act on Day One (Gen. 1:1-5). He explicitly spoke into existence light on Day One (Gen. 1:3); the expanse (atmosphere) on the Second Day (Gen. 1:6-8); dry land and vegetation on the Third Day (Gen. 1:9-13); sun, moon and stars on the Fourth Day (Gen. 1:14-19); fish and fowl on the Fifth Day (Gen. 1:20-23); and land animals and man on the Sixth Day (Gen. 1:24-31). According to Hebrews 1:3 (ESV)  the universe was created by the word of God. Genesis 1:1-2:3 reveals that God created the heavens, the earth, and everything that is in them in six literal days, not over a vast period of time.  God's command regarding the Sabbath Day confirms this (Exod. 20:8-11). 

Creation by definition precludes the doctrine of uniformitarianism, a philosophical pre-requisite for the flawed theory of evolution. Since God created a fully-formed, fully functioning universe in six literal days, the world that existed on the seventh day makes uniformitarianism utterly impossible. God spoke everything into existence in six days. There is nothing uniformitarian whatever about that. The processes at work in our world today cannot begin to explain adequately how everything began. All present processes can do is explain how that which began is operating at the present time and how it is decaying. The Big Bang is an irrational and unscientific attempt to explain how things began. Even if the Big Bang were true (and it is not), the Big Bang is not a uniformitarian process. No explosion ever observed creates things. Every observed explosion destroys things. 

Creation by definition defies the ability of man to date entities by modern radiometric dating devices. Why is that? It is because Creation demands an appearance of age discrepant with actual age. Consider this. On the seventh day an adult male and female existed on a fully-functioning earth. How old would Adam and Eve have looked? They would have appeared to be in the prime of life, say 25 years of age. The apparent age was 25, but their actual age was less than a day. Consider this. Fully mature oak, walnut, maple, and fruit trees would have abounded, the latter with fruit fully formed. The trees would have looked twenty to forty years old, but they would actually be only four days old, having been created on the third day. And if Adam had chopped one down, there would have been no growth rings! God created the stars for man's benefit, for signs, seasons, days and years (Gen. 1:14). If they were to benefit man, God would have created them with their light rays already touching earth. On the seventh day, they would be only three days old, but if Adam could have taken a Hubble Telescope out into space, he would have been able to view stars that appeared to be untold millions of light-years away, just as we can today. There was a discrepancy between the apparent age of the stars and their real age. One cannot have creation without there being a discrepancy between apparent age and actual age. The same is true in the New Testament, by the way. When Jesus created wine out of water, the newly created wine would have been only minutes old when first drunk. But its apparent age would have been many years! The headwaiter acknowledged that the bridegroom had kept the best wine until now (John 2:1-11)! You cannot have a miraculous creation without also having a discrepancy between real age and apparent age.

Creation is the only explanation of the origin of the universe that fits both the Bible and the observed facts (not the presuppositions or theories) of modern evolutionary science. The intricate balance of the earth and its systems, the place of the privileged planet in the universe, and the mind-boggling complexity of cells all doom an evolution of the existing order by random chance.  Only the actions of a supreme, omnipotent Being can account for it.  This the Bible unequivocally affirms (Gen. 1-2; Ex. 20:11; Job 38:4; Isa. 42:5; 45:18; John 1:3, 10; 1 Cor. 8:6; Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:2; Rev. 4:11).

Return to Top

Creation Science. The Biblical / Scientific discipline that interprets the facts of science to harmonize them with the Bible's clear teaching on origins and history. This means that the Bible trumps theories of man which are merely theories and cannot be supported by scientific facts and reproducible experiments. I probably have a narrower view of Creation Science than some who claim to be both scientists and Bible students. For me, Creation Science is incompatible with Old-Earth Creationism and the belief that the Flood in Genesis was not global. Creation Science disavows the Big Bang and macro-evolution. Creation Science challenges and dogma of uniformitarianism, specifically disavowed by Peter in 2 Pet. 3:3-7. According to Peter, two past facts of history, Creation and the Flood of Noah, along with the yet future fact of history, the fiery destruction of the entire Universe by God, make uniformitarianism impossible. It is impossible to have Creation without also having an apparent age that is older than actual age. By that I mean that the trees God created on the Third Day would have looked to be older than they actually were. The sun, moon, and stars created on the Fourth Day would have looked to be much older than they actually were. Man, created on the Sixty Day, would have looked to be years older than he actually was. Similarly, when Jesus turned water into wine, the finished product tasted years older than it actually was. Moreover the layers of geological strata, filled with trillions of fossils, were not the result of millions of years of layering in a uniformitarian presumption. They were actually the result of the devastating, catastrophic Flood of Noah that took place over the space of about a year. There are several Creation Science organizations with which WordExplain is familiar. This is not a complete list, but these are at least representative: Answers in Genesis; Center for Scientific Creation; Creation Ministries International; Institute for Creation Research.

Return to Top

Creed. A formal statement of what one believes.  There are several fairly concise statements of belief in the Christian Church.  These include the Apostles’ Creed, written some 150 years after the deaths of the Apostles, the Nicene Creed (A.D. 325), and the Athanasian Creed, written sometime in the fourth century A.D.  All three are, for the most part, acceptable statements of faith, with certain caveats as noted in the links above.  Many churches have their own doctrinal statement, some more and some less inclusive.  The more specific a doctrinal statement is, the more exclusive it becomes, meaning that some Christians somewhere will disagree with it.  WordExplain is comfortable with the doctrinal statement of Dallas Theological Seminary.  Here is the author’s own personal doctrinal statement, modified from the Dallas Seminary statement.

Cush. Proper name for Cush (Kush, 3568), son of Ham, son of Noah (Gen. 10:6, 7; 1 Chron. 1:8, 9). Cush was the father of the sinister, powerful Nimrod (Gen. 10:8; 1 Chron. 1:10). The descendants of Cush (Gen. 10:6-12) populated the ancient country of Cush (Gen. 2:13), probably located somewhere in what later became termed as Mesopotamia. The original land of Cush is to be distinguished from its later usage, which is tied in with the land along the upper reaches of the Nile River, the region that is translated "Ethiopia" (Esther 1:1; 8:9; Job 28:19; Psa. 68:31; 87:4; Ezek. 29:10; 30:4, 5, 9; 38:5). It is likely that descendants of Cush emigrated from Mesopotamia to Ethiopia, which was then characterized as the land of Cush.

An individual descendant of Cush was known as a Cushite (singular of Kushi, 3569). The following references to Joab's courier identify him as "the Cushite": 2 Sam. 18:21, 22, 23, 31, 32. Why the editors of the NASB did not translate the singular occurrences of Kushi as "the Ethiopian" in 2 Samuel 18 I do not know. They did translate singular instances of Kushi as "the Ethiopian" in Jer. 13:23 (referring to the [apparently dark] color of the Ethiopian's skin); in reference to a specific, named person, Ebed-Melech, the Ethiopian, a eunuch (Jer. 38:7, 10, 12; 39:16); and in reference to "the sons of Ethiopia" (Amos 9:7). When the same word (Kushi) appears in the plural, they translate it as "Ethiopians" (2 Chron. 12:3; 14:9, 12, 13; 16:8; 21:16; Dan. 11:43; Zeph. 2:12). identifies Cush as a district, near the beginning of Biblical history (Gen. 2:13), as being located "near the head of the Persian Gulf." In view of the other rivers identified in Eden (Gen. 2:10-14), that conclusion is as good as any. I would caution, however, that the topography of early earth was incredibly altered by the global deluge of Noah's day (see Dr. Walt Brown's book on the subject). It is unwise to be dogmatic. In any event the country identified as "Cush/Ethiopia" in later Bible history was far removed from modern day Iraq. "[T]he term was often used not only to include what is now known as Nubia and the Sudan (Soudan), but all the unknown country farther West and South, and also at times Northern, if not Southern, Abyssinia." As suggested previously, a likely emigration of Cushites from Mesopotamia to Africa may well account for the difference in geography.

Cyrus (559-528 BC). King of Persia, sometimes called Cyrus the Great. His name appears 23X in the OT (2 Chron. 36:22, 23; Ezra 1:1, 2, 7, 8; 3:7; 4:3, 5; 5:13, 14, 17; 6:1, 3, 14; Isa. 44:28; 45:1; Dan. 1:21; 6:28; 10:1). Cyrus reigned over Persia from 559-529 B.C. He captured Babylon in 538 (Ezra 1:1) (RSB). When Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, had conquered Jerusalem in 586 B.C., he had razed the Temple and torn down the walls of the city of Jerusalem. God raised up Cyrus to rebuild Jerusalem and begin the rebuilding of the Temple (2 Chron. 36:22-23; predicted in Isa. 44:28). This prophecy by Isaiah was written perhaps 150 years before it was fulfilled!
    King Cyrus began the practice of religious tolerance and support in the lands he conquered. For example, prompted by Yahweh, Cyrus issued a decree in 538 BC that Jewish survivors in Persia should travel to the land of Israel to build Yahweh a house (temple) in Jerusalem, Judah (Ezra 1:1-11). A list of the returning exiles was given (Ezra 2:1-70). The people gathered, constructed an altar, and offered sacrifices (Ezra 3:1-7). Soon, the foundation of the temple was laid down (Ezra 3:8-13). The local Palestinians, however, discouraged the people of Judah and frightened them from building (Ezra 4:1-4). They opposed the Jewish people during the days of King Cyrus of Persia and King Darius of Persia (Ezra 4:5). The work on the temple was stopped until 520 BC. Then, the prophets Haggai and Zechariah urged the people to resume building the temple (Ezra 5:1-2). Zerubbabel and Jeshua led the people in obeying God. In retaliation, the local Palestinians contacted King Darius of Persia asking him to stop the work (Ezra 5:3-17). King Darius searched the archives and found the original decree of King Cyrus. He ordered the local Palestinians to assist the Jewish people in rebuilding the Jewish temple (Ezra 6:1-15). The work was completed on March 12, 515 BC (RSB). For more information about Cyrus, see this off-site article, "Who was Cyrus in the Bible?"

[1] (This glossary entry is indebted largely to the article "What is Covenant Theology?", which is sympathetic toward Covenant Theology and which appears on the website of "" only for illustrative purposes.

If you have difficulty locating a file, please contact the Web Master.

Search here.

Updated May 5, 2024