one who saves from any form or degree of evil. In its highest
sense the word indicates the relation sustained by our Lord to
his redeemed ones, he is their Saviour. The great message of the
gospel is about salvation and the Saviour. It is the "gospel of
salvation." Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ secures to the sinner
a personal interest in the work of redemption. Salvation is
redemption made effectual to the individual by the power of the
rock of redemption, the father of Gamaliel and prince of
Manasseh at the time of the Exodus (Num. 1:10; 2:20).
the price or payment made for our redemption, as when it is said
that the Son of man "gave his life a ransom for many" (Matt.
20:28; compare Acts 20:28; Rom. 3:23, 24; 1 Cor. 6:19, 20; Gal.
3:13; 4:4, 5: Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14; 1 Tim. 2:6; Titus 2:14; 1
Pet. 1:18, 19. In all these passages the same idea is
expressed). This word is derived from the Fr. rancon; Lat.
redemptio. The debt is represented not as cancelled but as fully
paid. The slave or captive is not liberated by a mere gratuitous
favour, but a ransom price has been paid, in consideration of
which he is set free. The original owner receives back his
alienated and lost possession because he has bought it back
"with a price." This price or ransom (Gr. lutron) is always said
to be Christ, his blood, his death. He secures our redemption by
the payment of a ransom. (See REDEMPTION T0003084.)
the purchase back of something that had been lost, by the
payment of a ransom. The Greek word so rendered is
"apolutrosis", a word occurring nine times in Scripture, and
always with the idea of a ransom or price paid, i.e., redemption
by a lutron (see Matt. 20:28; Mark 10:45). There are instances
in the LXX. Version of the Old Testament of the use of "lutron"
in man's relation to man (Lev. 19:20; 25:51; Ex. 21:30; Num.
35:31, 32; Isa. 45:13; Prov. 6:35), and in the same sense of
man's relation to God (Num. 3:49; 18:15).
There are many passages in the New Testament which represent
Christ's sufferings under the idea of a ransom or price, and the
result thereby secured is a purchase or redemption (compare Acts
20:28; 1 Cor. 6:19, 20; Gal. 3:13; 4:4, 5; Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14;
1 Tim. 2:5, 6; Titus 2:14; Heb. 9:12; 1 Pet. 1:18, 19; Rev.
5:9). The idea running through all these texts, however various
their reference, is that of payment made for our redemption. The
debt against us is not viewed as simply cancelled, but is fully
paid. Christ's blood or life, which he surrendered for them, is
the "ransom" by which the deliverance of his people from the
servitude of sin and from its penal consequences is secured. It
is the plain doctrine of Scripture that "Christ saves us neither
by the mere exercise of power, nor by his doctrine, nor by his
example, nor by the moral influence which he exerted, nor by any
subjective influence on his people, whether natural or mystical,
but as a satisfaction to divine justice, as an expiation for
sin, and as a ransom from the curse and authority of the law,
thus reconciling us to God by making it consistent with his
perfection to exercise mercy toward sinners" (Hodge's Systematic
Heb. goel; i.e., one charged with the duty of restoring the
rights of another and avenging his wrongs (Lev. 25:48, 49; Num.
5:8; Ruth 4:1; Job 19:25; Ps. 19:14; 78:35, etc.). This title is
peculiarly applied to Christ. He redeems us from all evil by the
payment of a ransom (q.v.). (See REDEMPTION T0003084.)
This word is used of the deliverance of the Israelites from the
Egyptians (Ex. 14:13), and of deliverance generally from evil or
danger. In the New Testament it is specially used with reference
to the great deliverance from the guilt and the pollution of sin
wrought out by Jesus Christ, "the great salvation" (Heb. 2:3).
(See REDEMPTION T0003084; REGENERATION T0003091.)
redemption of the Lord. (1.) The father of Zebudah, who was the
wife of Josiah and mother of king Jehoiakim (2 Kings 23:36).
(2.) The father of Zerubbabel (1 Chr. 3:17-19).
(3.). The father of Joel, ruler of the half-tribe of Manasseh
(1 Chr. 27:20).
(4.) Neh. 3:25.
(5.) A Levite (8:4).
(6.) A Benjamite (11:7).
(7.) A Levite (13:13).
First-born, Redemption of
From the beginning the office of the priesthood in each family
belonged to the eldest son. But when the extensive plan of
sacrificial worship was introduced, requiring a company of men
to be exclusively devoted to this ministry, the primitive office
of the first-born was superseded by that of the Levites (Num.
3:11-13), and it was ordained that the first-born of man and of
unclean animals should henceforth be redeemed (18:15).
The laws concerning this redemption of the first-born of man
are recorded in Ex. 13:12-15; 22:29; 34:20; Num. 3:45; 8:17;
18:16; Lev. 12:2, 4.
The first-born male of every clean animal was to be given up
to the priest for sacrifice (Deut. 12:6; Ex. 13:12; 34:20; Num.
But the first-born of unclean animals was either to be
redeemed or sold and the price given to the priest (Lev.
27:11-13, 27). The first-born of an ass, if not redeemed, was to
be put to death (Ex. 13:13; 34:20).
Resurrection of the dead
will be simultaneous both of the just and the unjust (Dan. 12:2;
John 5:28, 29; Rom. 2:6-16; 2 Thess. 1:6-10). The qualities of
the resurrection body will be different from those of the body
laid in the grave (1 Cor. 15:53, 54; Phil. 3:21); but its
identity will nevertheless be preserved. It will still be the
same body (1 Cor. 15:42-44) which rises again.
As to the nature of the resurrection body, (1) it will be
spiritual (1 Cor. 15:44), i.e., a body adapted to the use of the
soul in its glorified state, and to all the conditions of the
heavenly state; (2) glorious, incorruptible, and powerful (54);
(3) like unto the glorified body of Christ (Phil. 3:21); and (4)
immortal (Rev. 21:4).
Christ's resurrection secures and illustrates that of his
people. "(1.) Because his resurrection seals and consummates his
redemptive power; and the redemption of our persons involves the
redemption of our bodies (Rom. 8:23). (2.) Because of our
federal and vital union with Christ (1 Cor. 15:21, 22; 1 Thess.
4:14). (3.) Because of his Spirit which dwells in us making our
bodies his members (1 Cor. 6:15; Rom. 8:11). (4.) Because Christ
by covenant is Lord both of the living and the dead (Rom. 14:9).
This same federal and vital union of the Christian with Christ
likewise causes the resurrection of the believer to be similar
to as well as consequent upon that of Christ (1 Cor. 15:49;
Phil. 3:21; 1 John 3:2)." Hodge's Outlines of Theology.
Humiliation of Christ
(Phil. 2:8), seen in (1) his birth (Gal. 4:4; Luke 2:7; John
1:46; Heb. 2:9), (2) his circumstances, (3) his reputation (Isa.
53; Matt. 26:59, 67; Ps. 22:6; Matt. 26:68), (4) his soul (Ps.
22:1; Matt. 4:1-11; Luke 22:44; Heb. 2:17, 18; 4:15), (5) his
death (Luke 23; John 19; Mark 15:24, 25), (6) and his burial
(Isa. 53:9; Matt. 27:57, 58, 60).
His humiliation was necessary (1) to execute the purpose of
God (Acts 2:23, 24; Ps. 40:6-8), (2) fulfil the Old Testament
types and prophecies, (3) satisfy the law in the room of the
guilty (Isa. 53; Heb. 9:12, 15), procure for them eternal
redemption, (4) and to show us an example.
involves more than a mere moral reformation of character,
brought about by the power of the truth: it is the work of the
Holy Spirit bringing the whole nature more and more under the
influences of the new gracious principles implanted in the soul
in regeneration. In other words, sanctification is the carrying
on to perfection the work begun in regeneration, and it extends
to the whole man (Rom. 6:13; 2 Cor. 4:6; Col. 3:10; 1 John 4:7;
1 Cor. 6:19). It is the special office of the Holy Spirit in the
plan of redemption to carry on this work (1 Cor. 6:11; 2 Thess.
2:13). Faith is instrumental in securing sanctification,
inasmuch as it (1) secures union to Christ (Gal. 2:20), and (2)
brings the believer into living contact with the truth, whereby
he is led to yield obedience "to the commands, trembling at the
threatenings, and embracing the promises of God for this life
and that which is to come."
Perfect sanctification is not attainable in this life (1 Kings
8:46; Prov. 20:9; Eccl. 7:20; James 3:2; 1 John 1:8). See Paul's
account of himself in Rom. 7:14-25; Phil. 3:12-14; and 1 Tim.
1:15; also the confessions of David (Ps. 19:12, 13; 51), of
Moses (90:8), of Job (42:5, 6), and of Daniel (9:3-20). "The
more holy a man is, the more humble, self-renouncing,
self-abhorring, and the more sensitive to every sin he becomes,
and the more closely he clings to Christ. The moral
imperfections which cling to him he feels to be sins, which he
laments and strives to overcome. Believers find that their life
is a constant warfare, and they need to take the kingdom of
heaven by storm, and watch while they pray. They are always
subject to the constant chastisement of their Father's loving
hand, which can only be designed to correct their imperfections
and to confirm their graces. And it has been notoriously the
fact that the best Christians have been those who have been the
least prone to claim the attainment of perfection for
themselves.", Hodge's Outlines.
plural cherubim, the name of certain symbolical figures
frequently mentioned in Scripture. They are first mentioned in
connection with the expulsion of our first parents from Eden
(Gen. 3:24). There is no intimation given of their shape or
form. They are next mentioned when Moses was commanded to
provide furniture for the tabernacle (Ex. 25:17-20; 26:1, 31).
God promised to commune with Moses "from between the cherubim"
(25:22). This expression was afterwards used to denote the
Divine abode and presence (Num. 7:89; 1 Sam. 4:4; Isa. 37:16;
Ps. 80:1; 99:1). In Ezekiel's vision (10:1-20) they appear as
living creatures supporting the throne of God. From Ezekiel's
description of them (1;10; 41:18, 19), they appear to have been
compound figures, unlike any real object in nature; artificial
images possessing the features and properties of several
animals. Two cherubim were placed on the mercy-seat of the ark;
two of colossal size overshadowed it in Solomon's temple.
Ezekiel (1:4-14) speaks of four; and this number of "living
creatures" is mentioned in Rev. 4:6. Those on the ark are called
the "cherubim of glory" (Heb. 9:5), i.e., of the Shechinah, or
cloud of glory, for on them the visible glory of God rested.
They were placed one at each end of the mercy-seat, with wings
stretched upward, and their faces "toward each other and toward
the mercy-seat." They were anointed with holy oil, like the ark
itself and the other sacred furniture.
The cherubim were symbolical. They were intended to represent
spiritual existences in immediate contact with Jehovah. Some
have regarded them as symbolical of the chief ruling power by
which God carries on his operations in providence (Ps. 18:10).
Others interpret them as having reference to the redemption of
men, and as symbolizing the great rulers or ministers of the
church. Many other opinions have been held regarding them which
need not be referred to here. On the whole, it seems to be most
satisfactory to regard the interpretation of the symbol to be
variable, as is the symbol itself.
Their office was, (1) on the expulsion of our first parents
from Eden, to prevent all access to the tree of life; and (2) to
form the throne and chariot of Jehovah in his manifestation of
himself on earth. He dwelleth between and sitteth on the
cherubim (1 Sam. 4:4; Ps. 80:1; Ezek. 1:26, 28).
Colossians, Epistle to the
was written by Paul at Rome during his first imprisonment there
(Acts 28:16, 30), probably in the spring of A.D. 57, or, as some
think, 62, and soon after he had written his Epistle to the
Ephesians. Like some of his other epistles (e.g., those to
Corinth), this seems to have been written in consequence of
information which had somehow been conveyed to him of the
internal state of the church there (Col. 1:4-8). Its object was
to counteract false teaching. A large part of it is directed
against certain speculatists who attempted to combine the
doctrines of Oriental mysticism and asceticism with
Christianity, thereby promising the disciples the enjoyment of a
higher spiritual life and a deeper insight into the world of
spirits. Paul argues against such teaching, showing that in
Christ Jesus they had all things. He sets forth the majesty of
his redemption. The mention of the "new moon" and "sabbath days"
(2:16) shows also that there were here Judaizing teachers who
sought to draw away the disciples from the simplicity of the
Like most of Paul's epistles, this consists of two parts, a
doctrinal and a practical.
(1.) The doctrinal part comprises the first two chapters. His
main theme is developed in chapter 2. He warns them against
being drawn away from Him in whom dwelt all the fulness of the
Godhead, and who was the head of all spiritual powers. Christ
was the head of the body of which they were members; and if they
were truly united to him, what needed they more?
(2.) The practical part of the epistle (3-4) enforces various
duties naturally flowing from the doctrines expounded. They are
exhorted to mind things that are above (3:1-4), to mortify every
evil principle of their nature, and to put on the new man
(3:5-14). Many special duties of the Christian life are also
insisted upon as the fitting evidence of the Christian
character. Tychicus was the bearer of the letter, as he was also
of that to the Ephesians and to Philemon, and he would tell them
of the state of the apostle (4:7-9). After friendly greetings
(10-14), he bids them interchange this letter with that he had
sent to the neighbouring church of Laodicea. He then closes this
brief but striking epistle with his usual autograph salutation.
There is a remarkable resemblance between this epistle and that
to the Ephesians (q.v.). The genuineness of this epistle has not
been called in question.
Resurrection of Christ
one of the cardinal facts and doctrines of the gospel. If Christ
be not risen, our faith is vain (1 Cor. 15:14). The whole of the
New Testament revelation rests on this as an historical fact. On
the day of Pentecost Peter argued the necessity of Christ's
resurrection from the prediction in Ps. 16 (Acts 2:24-28). In
his own discourses, also, our Lord clearly intimates his
resurrection (Matt. 20:19; Mark 9:9; 14:28; Luke 18:33; John
The evangelists give circumstantial accounts of the facts
connected with that event, and the apostles, also, in their
public teaching largely insist upon it. Ten different
appearances of our risen Lord are recorded in the New Testament.
They may be arranged as follows:
(1.) To Mary Magdalene at the sepulchre alone. This is
recorded at length only by John (20:11-18), and alluded to by
(2.) To certain women, "the other Mary," Salome, Joanna, and
others, as they returned from the sepulchre. Matthew (28:1-10)
alone gives an account of this. (Compare Mark 16:1-8, and Luke
(3.) To Simon Peter alone on the day of the resurrection. (See
Luke 24:34; 1 Cor. 15:5.)
(4.) To the two disciples on the way to Emmaus on the day of
the resurrection, recorded fully only by Luke (24:13-35. Compare
Mark 16:12, 13).
(5.) To the ten disciples (Thomas being absent) and others
"with them," at Jerusalem on the evening of the resurrection
day. One of the evangelists gives an account of this appearance,
(6.) To the disciples again (Thomas being present) at
Jerusalem (Mark 16:14-18; Luke 24:33-40; John 20:26-28. See also
1 Cor. 15:5).
(7.) To the disciples when fishing at the Sea of Galilee. Of
this appearance also John (21:1-23) alone gives an account.
(8.) To the eleven, and above 500 brethren at once, at an
appointed place in Galilee (1 Cor. 15:6; compare Matt. 28:16-20).
(9.) To James, but under what circumstances we are not
informed (1 Cor. 15:7).
(10.) To the apostles immediately before the ascension. They
accompanied him from Jerusalem to Mount Olivet, and there they
saw him ascend "till a cloud received him out of their sight"
(Mark 16:19; Luke 24:50-52; Acts 1:4-10).
It is worthy of note that it is distinctly related that on
most of these occasions our Lord afforded his disciples the
amplest opportunity of testing the fact of his resurrection. He
conversed with them face to face. They touched him (Matt. 28:9;
Luke 24:39; John 20:27), and he ate bread with them (Luke 24:42,
43; John 21:12, 13).
(11.) In addition to the above, mention might be made of
Christ's manifestation of himself to Paul at Damascus, who
speaks of it as an appearance of the risen Saviour (Acts 9:3-9,
17; 1 Cor. 15:8; 9:1).
It is implied in the words of Luke (Acts 1:3) that there may
have been other appearances of which we have no record.
The resurrection is spoken of as the act (1) of God the Father
(Ps. 16:10; Acts 2:24; 3:15; Rom. 8:11; Eph. 1:20; Col. 2:12;
Heb. 13:20); (2) of Christ himself (John 2:19; 10:18); and (3)
of the Holy Spirit (1 Peter 3:18).
The resurrection is a public testimony of Christ's release
from his undertaking as surety, and an evidence of the Father's
acceptance of his work of redemption. It is a victory over death
and the grave for all his followers.
The importance of Christ's resurrection will be seen when we
consider that if he rose the gospel is true, and if he rose not
it is false. His resurrection from the dead makes it manifest
that his sacrifice was accepted. Our justification was secured
by his obedience to the death, and therefore he was raised from
the dead (Rom. 4:25). His resurrection is a proof that he made a
full atonement for our sins, that his sacrifice was accepted as
a satisfaction to divine justice, and his blood a ransom for
sinners. It is also a pledge and an earnest of the resurrection
of all believers (Rom. 8:11; 1 Cor. 6:14; 15:47-49; Phil. 3:21;
1 John 3:2). As he lives, they shall live also.
It proved him to be the Son of God, inasmuch as it
authenticated all his claims (John 2:19; 10:17). "If Christ did
not rise, the whole scheme of redemption is a failure, and all
the predictions and anticipations of its glorious results for
time and for eternity, for men and for angels of every rank and
order, are proved to be chimeras. 'But now is Christ risen from
the dead, and become the first-fruits of them that slept.'
Therefore the Bible is true from Genesis to Revelation. The
kingdom of darkness has been overthrown, Satan has fallen as
lightning from heaven, and the triumph of truth over error, of
good over evil, of happiness over misery is for ever secured."
With reference to the report which the Roman soldiers were
bribed (Matt. 28:12-14) to circulate concerning Christ's
resurrection, "his disciples came by night and stole him away
while we slept," Matthew Henry in his "Commentary," under John
20:1-10, fittingly remarks, "The grave-clothes in which Christ
had been buried were found in very good order, which serves for
an evidence that his body was not 'stolen away while men slept.'
Robbers of tombs have been known to take away 'the clothes' and
leave the body; but none ever took away 'the body' and left the
clothes, especially when they were 'fine linen' and new (Mark
15:46). Any one would rather choose to carry a dead body in its
clothes than naked. Or if they that were supposed to have stolen
it would have left the grave-clothes behind, yet it cannot be
supposed they would find leisure to 'fold up the linen.'"
Bible, the English form of the Greek name "Biblia", meaning
"books," the name which in the fifth century began to be given
to the entire collection of sacred books, the "Library of Divine
Revelation." The name Bible was adopted by Wickliffe, and came
gradually into use in our English language. The Bible consists
of sixty-six different books, composed by many different
writers, in three different languages, under different
circumstances; writers of almost every social rank, statesmen
and peasants, kings, herdsmen, fishermen, priests,
tax-gatherers, tentmakers; educated and uneducated, Jews and
Gentiles; most of them unknown to each other, and writing at
various periods during the space of about 1600 years: and yet,
after all, it is only one book dealing with only one subject in
its numberless aspects and relations, the subject of man's
It is divided into the Old Testament, containing thirty-nine
books, and the New Testament, containing twenty-seven books. The
names given to the Old in the writings of the New are "the
scriptures" (Matt. 21:42), "scripture" (2 Pet. 1:20), "the holy
scriptures" (Rom. 1:2), "the law" (John 12:34), "the law of
Moses, the prophets, and the psalms" (Luke 24:44), "the law and
the prophets" (Matt. 5:17), "the old covenant" (2 Cor. 3:14,
R.V.). There is a break of 400 years between the Old Testament
and the New. (See APOCRYPHA T0000263.)
The Old Testament is divided into three parts:, 1. The Law
(Torah), consisting of the Pentateuch, or five books of Moses.
2. The Prophets, consisting of (1) the former, namely, Joshua,
Judges, the Books of Samuel, and the Books of Kings; (2) the
latter, namely, the greater prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and
Ezekiel, and the twelve minor prophets. 3. The Hagiographa, or
holy writings, including the rest of the books. These were
ranked in three divisions:, (1) The Psalms, Proverbs, and Job,
distinguished by the Hebrew name, a word formed of the initial
letters of these books, "emeth", meaning truth. (2) Canticles,
Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, and Esther, called the five
rolls, as being written for the synagogue use on five separate
rolls. (3) Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, and 1 and 2 Chronicles.
Between the Old and the New Testament no addition was made to
the revelation God had already given. The period of New
Testament revelation, extending over a century, began with the
appearance of John the Baptist.
The New Testament consists of (1) the historical books, viz.,
the Gospels, and the Acts of the Apostles; (2) the Epistles; and
(3) the book of prophecy, the Revelation.
The division of the Bible into chapters and verses is
altogether of human invention, designed to facilitate reference
to it. The ancient Jews divided the Old Testament into certain
sections for use in the synagogue service, and then at a later
period, in the ninth century A.D., into verses. Our modern
system of chapters for all the books of the Bible was introduced
by Cardinal Hugo about the middle of the thirteenth century (he
died 1263). The system of verses for the New Testament was
introduced by Stephens in 1551, and generally adopted, although
neither Tyndale's nor Coverdale's English translation of the
Bible has verses. The division is not always wisely made, yet it
is very useful. (See VERSION T0003768.)
has been well defined as "the measured language of emotion."
Hebrew poetry deals almost exclusively with the great question
of man's relation to God. "Guilt, condemnation, punishment,
pardon, redemption, repentance are the awful themes of this
In the Hebrew scriptures there are found three distinct kinds
of poetry, (1) that of the Book of Job and the Song of Solomon,
which is dramatic; (2) that of the Book of Psalms, which is
lyrical; and (3) that of the Book of Ecclesiastes, which is
didactic and sententious.
Hebrew poetry has nothing akin to that of Western nations. It
has neither metre nor rhyme. Its great peculiarity consists in
the mutual correspondence of sentences or clauses, called
parallelism, or "thought-rhyme." Various kinds of this
parallelism have been pointed out:
(1.) Synonymous or cognate parallelism, where the same idea is
repeated in the same words (Ps. 93:3; 94:1; Prov. 6:2), or in
different words (Ps. 22, 23, 28, 114, etc.); or where it is
expressed in a positive form in the one clause and in a negative
in the other (Ps. 40:12; Prov. 6:26); or where the same idea is
expressed in three successive clauses (Ps. 40:15, 16); or in a
double parallelism, the first and second clauses corresponding
to the third and fourth (Isa. 9:1; 61:10, 11).
(2.) Antithetic parallelism, where the idea of the second
clause is the converse of that of the first (Ps. 20:8; 27:6, 7;
34:11; 37:9, 17, 21, 22). This is the common form of gnomic or
proverbial poetry. (See Prov. 10-15.)
(3.) Synthetic or constructive or compound parallelism, where
each clause or sentence contains some accessory idea enforcing
the main idea (Ps. 19:7-10; 85:12; Job 3:3-9; Isa. 1:5-9).
(4.) Introverted parallelism, in which of four clauses the
first answers to the fourth and the second to the third (Ps.
135:15-18; Prov. 23:15, 16), or where the second line reverses
the order of words in the first (Ps. 86:2).
Hebrew poetry sometimes assumes other forms than these. (1.)
An alphabetical arrangement is sometimes adopted for the purpose
of connecting clauses or sentences. Thus in the following the
initial words of the respective verses begin with the letters of
the alphabet in regular succession: Prov. 31:10-31; Lam. 1, 2,
3, 4; Ps. 25, 34, 37, 145. Ps. 119 has a letter of the alphabet
in regular order beginning every eighth verse.
(2.) The repetition of the same verse or of some emphatic
expression at intervals (Ps. 42, 107, where the refrain is in
verses, 8, 15, 21, 31). (Compare also Isa. 9:8-10:4; Amos 1:3, 6,
9, 11, 13; 2:1, 4, 6.)
(3.) Gradation, in which the thought of one verse is resumed
in another (Ps. 121).
Several odes of great poetical beauty are found in the
historical books of the Old Testament, such as the song of Moses
(Ex. 15), the song of Deborah (Judg. 5), of Hannah (1 Sam. 2),
of Hezekiah (Isa. 38:9-20), of Habakkuk (Hab. 3), and David's
"song of the bow" (2 Sam. 1:19-27).
cutting around. This rite, practised before, as some think, by
divers races, was appointed by God to be the special badge of
his chosen people, an abiding sign of their consecration to him.
It was established as a national ordinance (Gen. 17:10, 11). In
compliance with the divine command, Abraham, though ninety-nine
years of age, was circumcised on the same day with Ishmael, who
was thirteen years old (17:24-27). Slaves, whether home-born or
purchased, were circumcised (17:12, 13); and all foreigners must
have their males circumcised before they could enjoy the
privileges of Jewish citizenship (Ex. 12:48). During the journey
through the wilderness, the practice of circumcision fell into
disuse, but was resumed by the command of Joshua before they
entered the Promised Land (Josh. 5:2-9). It was observed always
afterwards among the tribes of israel, although it is not
expressly mentioned from the time of the settlement in Canaan
till the time of Christ, about 1,450 years. The Jews prided
themselves in the possession of this covenant distinction (Judg.
14:3; 15:18; 1 Sam. 14:6; 17:26; 2 Sam. 1:20; Ezek. 31:18).
As a rite of the church it ceased when the New Testament times
began (Gal. 6:15; Col. 3:11). Some Jewish Christians sought to
impose it, however, on the Gentile converts; but this the
apostles resolutely resisted (Acts 15:1; Gal. 6:12). Our Lord
was circumcised, for it "became him to fulfil all
righteousness," as of the seed of Abraham, according to the
flesh; and Paul "took and circumcised" Timothy (Acts 16:3), to
avoid giving offence to the Jews. It would render Timothy's
labors more acceptable to the Jews. But Paul would by no means
consent to the demand that Titus should be circumcised (Gal.
2:3-5). The great point for which he contended was the free
admission of uncircumcised Gentiles into the church. He
contended successfully in behalf of Titus, even in Jerusalem.
In the Old Testament a spiritual idea is attached to
circumcision. It was the symbol of purity (Isa. 52:1). We read
of uncircumcised lips (Ex. 6:12, 30), ears (Jer. 6:10), hearts
(Lev. 26:41). The fruit of a tree that is unclean is spoken of
as uncircumcised (Lev. 19:23).
It was a sign and seal of the covenant of grace as well as of
the national covenant between God and the Hebrews. (1.) It
sealed the promises made to Abraham, which related to the
commonwealth of Israel, national promises. (2.) But the promises
made to Abraham included the promise of redemption (Gal. 3:14),
a promise which has come upon us. The covenant with Abraham was
a dispensation or a specific form of the covenant of grace, and
circumcision was a sign and seal of that covenant. It had a
spiritual meaning. It signified purification of the heart,
inward circumcision effected by the Spirit (Deut. 10:16; 30:6;
Ezek. 44:7; Acts 7:51; Rom. 2:28; Col. 2:11). Circumcision as a
symbol shadowing forth sanctification by the Holy Spirit has now
given way to the symbol of baptism (q.v.). But the truth
embodied in both ordinances is ever the same, the removal of
sin, the sanctifying effects of grace in the heart.
Under the Jewish dispensation, church and state were
identical. No one could be a member of the one without also
being a member of the other. Circumcision was a sign and seal of
membership in both. Every circumcised person bore thereby
evidence that he was one of the chosen people, a member of the
church of God as it then existed, and consequently also a member
of the Jewish commonwealth.
ANGEL, a word signifying, both in the Hebrew and Greek, a "messenger,"
and hence employed to denote any agent God sends forth to
execute his purposes. It is used of an ordinary messenger (Job
1:14: 1 Sam. 11:3; Luke 7:24; 9:52), of prophets (Isa. 42:19;
Hag. 1:13), of priests (Mal. 2:7), and ministers of the New
Testament (Rev. 1:20).
It is also applied to such impersonal agents as the pestilence
(2 Sam. 24:16, 17; 2 Kings 19:35), the wind (Ps. 104:4).
But its distinctive application is to certain heavenly
intelligences whom God employs in carrying on his government of
the world. The name does not denote their nature but their
office as messengers. The appearances to Abraham at Mamre (Gen.
18:2, 22. Compare 19:1), to Jacob at Peniel (Gen. 32:24, 30), to
Joshua at Gilgal (Josh. 5:13, 15), of the Angel of the Lord,
were doubtless manifestations of the Divine presence,
"foreshadowings of the incarnation," revelations before the
"fulness of the time" of the Son of God.
(1.) The existence and orders of angelic beings can only be
discovered from the Scriptures. Although the Bible does not
treat of this subject specially, yet there are numerous
incidental details that furnish us with ample information. Their
personal existence is plainly implied in such passages as Gen.
16:7, 10, 11; Judg. 13:1-21; Matt. 28:2-5; Heb. 1:4, etc.
These superior beings are very numerous. "Thousand thousands,"
etc. (Dan. 7:10; Matt. 26:53; Luke 2:13; Heb. 12:22, 23). They
are also spoken of as of different ranks in dignity and power
(Zech. 1:9, 11; Dan. 10:13; 12:1; 1 Thess. 4:16; Jude 1:9; Eph.
1:21; Col. 1:16).
(2.) As to their nature, they are spirits (Heb. 1:14), like
the soul of man, but not incorporeal. Such expressions as "like
the angels" (Luke 20:36), and the fact that whenever angels
appeared to man it was always in a human form (Gen. 18:2; 19:1,
10; Luke 24:4; Acts 1:10), and the titles that are applied to
them ("sons of God," Job 1:6; 38:7; Dan. 3:25; compare 28) and to
men (Luke 3:38), seem all to indicate some resemblance between
them and the human race. Imperfection is ascribed to them as
creatures (Job 4:18; Matt. 24:36; 1 Pet. 1:12). As finite
creatures they may fall under temptation; and accordingly we
read of "fallen angels." Of the cause and manner of their "fall"
we are wholly ignorant. We know only that "they left their first
estate" (Matt. 25:41; Rev. 12:7,9), and that they are "reserved
unto judgement" (2 Pet. 2:4). When the manna is called "angels'
food," this is merely to denote its excellence (Ps. 78:25).
Angels never die (Luke 20:36). They are possessed of superhuman
intelligence and power (Mark 13:32; 2 Thess. 1:7; Ps. 103:20).
They are called "holy" (Luke 9:26), "elect" (1 Tim. 5:21). The
redeemed in glory are "like unto the angels" (Luke 20:36). They
are not to be worshipped (Col. 2:18; Rev. 19:10).
(3.) Their functions are manifold. (a) In the widest sense
they are agents of God's providence (Ex. 12:23; Ps. 104:4; Heb.
11:28; 1 Cor. 10:10; 2 Sam. 24:16; 1 Chr. 21:16; 2 Kings 19:35;
Acts 12:23). (b) They are specially God's agents in carrying on
his great work of redemption. There is no notice of angelic
appearances to man till after the call of Abraham. From that
time onward there are frequent references to their ministry on
earth (Gen. 18; 19; 24:7, 40; 28:12; 32:1). They appear to
rebuke idolatry (Judg. 2:1-4), to call Gideon (Judg. 6:11, 12),
and to consecrate Samson (13:3). In the days of the prophets,
from Samuel downward, the angels appear only in their behalf (1
Kings 19:5; 2 Kings 6:17; Zech. 1-6; Dan. 4:13, 23; 10:10, 13,
The Incarnation introduces a new era in the ministrations of
angels. They come with their Lord to earth to do him service
while here. They predict his advent (Matt. 1:20; Luke 1:26-38),
minister to him after his temptation and agony (Matt. 4:11; Luke
22:43), and declare his resurrection and ascension (Matt.
28:2-8; John 20:12, 13; Acts 1:10, 11). They are now ministering
spirits to the people of God (Heb. 1:14; Ps. 34:7; 91:11; Matt.
18:10; Acts 5:19; 8:26; 10:3; 12:7; 27:23). They rejoice over a
penitent sinner (Luke 15:10). They bear the souls of the
redeemed to paradise (Luke 16:22); and they will be the
ministers of judgement hereafter on the great day (Matt. 13:39,
41, 49; 16:27; 24:31). The passages (Ps. 34:7, Matt. 18:10)
usually referred to in support of the idea that every individual
has a particular guardian angel have no such meaning. They
merely indicate that God employs the ministry of angels to
deliver his people from affliction and danger, and that the
angels do not think it below their dignity to minister even to
children and to the least among Christ's disciples.
The "angel of his presence" (Isa. 63:9. Compare Ex. 23:20, 21;
32:34; 33:2; Num. 20:16) is probably rightly interpreted of the
Messiah as the guide of his people. Others have supposed the
expression to refer to Gabriel (Luke 1:19).
a contract or agreement between two parties. In the Old
Testament the Hebrew word "berith" is always thus translated.
"Berith" is derived from a root which means "to cut," and hence
a covenant is a "cutting," with reference to the cutting or
dividing of animals into two parts, and the contracting parties
passing between them, in making a covenant (Gen. 15; Jer. 34:18,
The corresponding word in the New Testament Greek is
"diatheke", which is, however, rendered "testament" generally in
the Authorized Version. It ought to be rendered, just as the
word "berith" of the Old Testament, "covenant."
This word is used (1) of a covenant or compact between man and
man (Gen. 21:32), or between tribes or nations (1 Sam. 11:1;
Josh. 9:6, 15). In entering into a convenant, Jehovah was
solemnly called on to witness the transaction (Gen. 31:50), and
hence it was called a "covenant of the Lord" (1 Sam. 20:8). The
marriage compact is called "the covenant of God" (Prov. 2:17),
because the marriage was made in God's name. Wicked men are
spoken of as acting as if they had made a "covenant with death"
not to destroy them, or with hell not to devour them (Isa.
(2.) The word is used with reference to God's revelation of
himself in the way of promise or of favour to men. Thus God's
promise to Noah after the Flood is called a covenant (Gen. 9;
Jer. 33:20, "my covenant"). We have an account of God's
covernant with Abraham (Gen. 17, compare Lev. 26:42), of the
covenant of the priesthood (Num. 25:12, 13; Deut. 33:9; Neh.
13:29), and of the covenant of Sinai (Ex. 34:27, 28; Lev.
26:15), which was afterwards renewed at different times in the
history of Israel (Deut. 29; Josh. 1:24; 2 Chr. 15; 23; 29; 34;
Ezra 10; Neh. 9). In conformity with human custom, God's
covenant is said to be confirmed with an oath (Deut. 4:31; Ps.
89:3), and to be accompanied by a sign (Gen. 9; 17). Hence the
covenant is called God's "counsel," "oath," "promise" (Ps. 89:3,
4; 105:8-11; Heb. 6:13-20; Luke 1:68-75). God's covenant
consists wholly in the bestowal of blessing (Isa. 59:21; Jer.
The term covenant is also used to designate the regular
succession of day and night (Jer. 33:20), the Sabbath (Ex.
31:16), circumcision (Gen. 17:9, 10), and in general any
ordinance of God (Jer. 34:13, 14).
A "covenant of salt" signifies an everlasting covenant, in the
sealing or ratifying of which salt, as an emblem of perpetuity,
is used (Num. 18:19; Lev. 2:13; 2 Chr. 13:5).
COVENANT OF WORKS, the constitution under which Adam was
placed at his creation. In this covenant, (1.) The contracting
parties were (a) God the moral Governor, and (b) Adam, a free
moral agent, and representative of all his natural posterity
(Rom. 5:12-19). (2.) The promise was "life" (Matt. 19:16, 17;
Gal. 3:12). (3.) The condition was perfect obedience to the law,
the test in this case being abstaining from eating the fruit of
the "tree of knowledge," etc. (4.) The penalty was death (Gen.
This covenant is also called a covenant of nature, as made
with man in his natural or unfallen state; a covenant of life,
because "life" was the promise attached to obedience; and a
legal covenant, because it demanded perfect obedience to the
The "tree of life" was the outward sign and seal of that life
which was promised in the covenant, and hence it is usually
called the seal of that covenant.
This covenant is abrogated under the gospel, inasmuch as
Christ has fulfilled all its conditions in behalf of his people,
and now offers salvation on the condition of faith. It is still
in force, however, as it rests on the immutable justice of God,
and is binding on all who have not fled to Christ and accepted
CONVENANT OF GRACE, the eternal plan of redemption entered
into by the three persons of the Godhead, and carried out by
them in its several parts. In it the Father represented the
Godhead in its indivisible sovereignty, and the Son his people
as their surety (John 17:4, 6, 9; Isa. 42:6; Ps. 89:3).
The conditions of this covenant were, (1.) On the part of the
Father (a) all needful preparation to the Son for the
accomplishment of his work (Heb. 10:5; Isa. 42:1-7); (b) support
in the work (Luke 22:43); and (c) a glorious reward in the
exaltation of Christ when his work was done (Phil. 2:6-11), his
investiture with universal dominion (John 5:22; Ps. 110:1), his
having the administration of the covenant committed into his
hands (Matt. 28:18; John 1:12; 17:2; Acts 2:33), and in the
final salvation of all his people (Isa. 35:10; 53:10, 11; Jer.
31:33; Titus 1:2). (2.) On the part of the Son the conditions
were (a) his becoming incarnate (Gal. 4:4, 5); and (b) as the
second Adam his representing all his people, assuming their
place and undertaking all their obligations under the violated
covenant of works; (c) obeying the law (Ps. 40:8; Isa. 42:21;
John 9:4, 5), and (d) suffering its penalty (Isa. 53; 2 Cor.
5:21; Gal. 3:13), in their stead.
Christ, the mediator of, fulfils all its conditions in behalf
of his people, and dispenses to them all its blessings. In Heb.
8:6; 9:15; 12:24, this title is given to Christ. (See
(Heb. verb shabbath, meaning "to rest from labour"), the day of
rest. It is first mentioned as having been instituted in
Paradise, when man was in innocence (Gen. 2:2). "The sabbath was
made for man," as a day of rest and refreshment for the body and
of blessing to the soul.
It is next referred to in connection with the gift of manna to
the children of Israel in the wilderness (Ex. 16:23); and
afterwards, when the law was given from Sinai (20:11), the
people were solemnly charged to "remember the sabbath day, to
keep it holy." Thus it is spoken of as an institution already
In the Mosaic law strict regulations were laid down regarding
its observance (Ex. 35:2, 3; Lev. 23:3; 26:34). These were
peculiar to that dispensation.
In the subsequent history of the Jews frequent references are
made to the sanctity of the Sabbath (Isa. 56:2, 4, 6, 7; 58:13,
14; Jer. 17:20-22; Neh. 13:19). In later times they perverted
the Sabbath by their traditions. Our Lord rescued it from their
perversions, and recalled to them its true nature and intent
(Matt. 12:10-13; Mark 2:27; Luke 13:10-17).
The Sabbath, originally instituted for man at his creation, is
of permanent and universal obligation. The physical necessities
of man require a Sabbath of rest. He is so constituted that his
bodily welfare needs at least one day in seven for rest from
ordinary labour. Experience also proves that the moral and
spiritual necessities of men also demand a Sabbath of rest. "I
am more and more sure by experience that the reason for the
observance of the Sabbath lies deep in the everlasting
necessities of human nature, and that as long as man is man the
blessedness of keeping it, not as a day of rest only, but as a
day of spiritual rest, will never be annulled. I certainly do
feel by experience the eternal obligation, because of the
eternal necessity, of the Sabbath. The soul withers without it.
It thrives in proportion to its observance. The Sabbath was made
for man. God made it for men in a certain spiritual state
because they needed it. The need, therefore, is deeply hidden in
human nature. He who can dispense with it must be holy and
spiritual indeed. And he who, still unholy and unspiritual,
would yet dispense with it is a man that would fain be wiser
than his Maker" (F. W. Robertson).
The ancient Babylonian calendar, as seen from recently
recovered inscriptions on the bricks among the ruins of the
royal palace, was based on the division of time into weeks of
seven days. The Sabbath is in these inscriptions designated
Sabattu, and defined as "a day of rest for the heart" and "a day
of completion of labour."
The change of the day. Originally at creation the seventh day
of the week was set apart and consecrated as the Sabbath. The
first day of the week is now observed as the Sabbath. Has God
authorized this change? There is an obvious distinction between
the Sabbath as an institution and the particular day set apart
for its observance. The question, therefore, as to the change of
the day in no way affects the perpetual obligation of the
Sabbath as an institution. Change of the day or no change, the
Sabbath remains as a sacred institution the same. It cannot be
If any change of the day has been made, it must have been by
Christ or by his authority. Christ has a right to make such a
change (Mark 2:23-28). As Creator, Christ was the original Lord
of the Sabbath (John 1:3; Heb. 1:10). It was originally a
memorial of creation. A work vastly greater than that of
creation has now been accomplished by him, the work of
redemption. We would naturally expect just such a change as
would make the Sabbath a memorial of that greater work.
True, we can give no text authorizing the change in so many
words. We have no express law declaring the change. But there
are evidences of another kind. We know for a fact that the first
day of the week has been observed from apostolic times, and the
necessary conclusion is, that it was observed by the apostles
and their immediate disciples. This, we may be sure, they never
would have done without the permission or the authority of their
After his resurrection, which took place on the first day of
the week (Matt. 28:1; Mark 16:2; Luke 24:1; John 20:1), we never
find Christ meeting with his disciples on the seventh day. But
he specially honoured the first day by manifesting himself to
them on four separate occasions (Matt. 28:9; Luke 24:34, 18-33;
John 20:19-23). Again, on the next first day of the week, Jesus
appeared to his disciples (John 20:26).
Some have calculated that Christ's ascension took place on the
first day of the week. And there can be no doubt that the
descent of the Holy Ghost at Pentecost was on that day (Acts
2:1). Thus Christ appears as instituting a new day to be
observed by his people as the Sabbath, a day to be henceforth
known amongst them as the "Lord's day." The observance of this
"Lord's day" as the Sabbath was the general custom of the
primitive churches, and must have had apostolic sanction (compare
Acts 20:3-7; 1 Cor. 16:1, 2) and authority, and so the sanction
and authority of Jesus Christ.
The words "at her sabbaths" (Lam. 1:7, A.V.) ought probably to
be, as in the Revised Version, "at her desolations."
Ephesians, Epistle to
was written by Paul at Rome about the same time as that to the
Colossians, which in many points it resembles.
Contents of. The Epistle to the Colossians is mainly
polemical, designed to refute certain theosophic errors that had
crept into the church there. That to the Ephesians does not seem
to have originated in any special circumstances, but is simply a
letter springing from Paul's love to the church there, and
indicative of his earnest desire that they should be fully
instructed in the profound doctrines of the gospel. It contains
(1) the salutation (1:1, 2); (2) a general description of the
blessings the gospel reveals, as to their source, means by which
they are attained, purpose for which they are bestowed, and
their final result, with a fervent prayer for the further
spiritual enrichment of the Ephesians (1:3-2:10); (3) "a record
of that marked change in spiritual position which the Gentile
believers now possessed, ending with an account of the writer's
selection to and qualification for the apostolate of heathendom,
a fact so considered as to keep them from being dispirited, and
to lead him to pray for enlarged spiritual benefactions on his
absent sympathizers" (2:12-3:21); (4) a chapter on unity as
undisturbed by diversity of gifts (4:1-16); (5) special
injunctions bearing on ordinary life (4:17-6:10); (6) the
imagery of a spiritual warfare, mission of Tychicus, and
valedictory blessing (6:11-24).
Planting of the church at Ephesus. Paul's first and hurried
visit for the space of three months to Ephesus is recorded in
Acts 18:19-21. The work he began on this occasion was carried
forward by Apollos (24-26) and Aquila and Priscilla. On his
second visit, early in the following year, he remained at
Ephesus "three years," for he found it was the key to the
western provinces of Asia Minor. Here "a great door and
effectual" was opened to him (1 Cor. 16:9), and the church was
established and strengthened by his assiduous labors there
(Acts 20:20, 31). From Ephesus as a centre the gospel spread
abroad "almost throughout all Asia" (19:26). The word "mightily
grew and prevailed" despite all the opposition and persecution
On his last journey to Jerusalem the apostle landed at
Miletus, and summoning together the elders of the church from
Ephesus, delivered to them his remarkable farewell charge (Acts
20:18-35), expecting to see them no more.
The following parallels between this epistle and the Milesian
charge may be traced:
(1.) Acts 20:19 = Eph. 4:2. The phrase "lowliness of mind"
occurs nowhere else.
(2.) Acts 20:27 = Eph. 1:11. The word "counsel," as denoting
the divine plan, occurs only here and Heb. 6:17.
(3.) Acts 20:32 = Eph. 3:20. The divine ability.
(4.) Acts 20:32 = Eph. 2:20. The building upon the foundation.
(5.) Acts 20:32 = Eph. 1:14, 18. "The inheritance of the
Place and date of the writing of the letter. It was evidently
written from Rome during Paul's first imprisonment (3:1; 4:1;
6:20), and probably soon after his arrival there, about the year
62, four years after he had parted with the Ephesian elders at
Miletus. The subscription of this epistle is correct.
There seems to have been no special occasion for the writing
of this letter, as already noted. Paul's object was plainly not
polemical. No errors had sprung up in the church which he sought
to point out and refute. The object of the apostle is "to set
forth the ground, the cause, and the aim and end of the church
of the faithful in Christ. He speaks to the Ephesians as a type
or sample of the church universal." The church's foundations,
its course, and its end, are his theme. "Everywhere the
foundation of the church is the will of the Father; the course
of the church is by the satisfaction of the Son; the end of the
church is the life in the Holy Spirit." In the Epistle to the
Romans, Paul writes from the point of view of justification by
the imputed righteousness of Christ; here he writes from the
point of view specially of union to the Redeemer, and hence of
the oneness of the true church of Christ. "This is perhaps the
profoundest book in existence." It is a book "which sounds the
lowest depths of Christian doctrine, and scales the loftiest
heights of Christian experience;" and the fact that the apostle
evidently expected the Ephesians to understand it is an evidence
of the "proficiency which Paul's converts had attained under his
preaching at Ephesus."
Relation between this epistle and that to the Colossians
(q.v.). "The letters of the apostle are the fervent outburst of
pastoral zeal and attachment, written without reserve and in
unaffected simplicity; sentiments come warm from the heart,
without the shaping out, pruning, and punctilious arrangement of
a formal discourse. There is such a fresh and familiar
transcription of feeling, so frequent an introduction of
coloquial idiom, and so much of conversational frankness and
vivacity, that the reader associates the image of the writer
with every paragraph, and the ear seems to catch and recognize
the very tones of living address." "Is it then any matter of
amazement that one letter should resemble another, or that two
written about the same time should have so much in common and so
much that is peculiar? The close relation as to style and
subject between the epistles to Colosse and Ephesus must strike
every reader. Their precise relation to each other has given
rise to much discussion. The great probability is that the
epistle to Colosse was first written; the parallel passages in
Ephesians, which amount to about forty-two in number, having the
appearance of being expansions from the epistle to Colosse.
Eph 1:7; Col 1:14
Eph 1:10; Col 1:20
Eph 3:2; Col 1:25
Eph 5:19; Col 3:16
Eph 6:22; Col 4:8
Eph 1:19-2:5; Col 2:12,13
Eph 4:2-4; Col 3:12-15
Eph 4:16; Col 2:19
Eph 4:32; Col 3:13
Eph 4:22-24; Col 3:9,10
Eph 5:6-8; Col 3:6-8
Eph 5:15,16; Col 4:5
Eph 6:19,20; Col 4:3,4
Eph 5:22-6:9; Col 3:18-4:1
"The style of this epistle is exceedingly animated, and
corresponds with the state of the apostle's mind at the time of
writing. Overjoyed with the account which their messenger had
brought him of their faith and holiness (Eph. 1:15), and
transported with the consideration of the unsearchable wisdom of
God displayed in the work of man's redemption, and of his
astonishing love towards the Gentiles in making them partakers
through faith of all the benefits of Christ's death, he soars
high in his sentiments on those grand subjects, and gives his
thoughts utterance in sublime and copious expression."