The old objection against the doctrine of salvation by grace,
that it does away with the necessity of good works, and lowers
the sense of their importance (Rom. 6), although it has been
answered a thousand times, is still alleged by many. They say if
men are not saved by works, then works are not necessary. If the
most moral of men are saved in the same way as the very chief of
sinners, then good works are of no moment. And more than this,
if the grace of God is most clearly displayed in the salvation
of the vilest of men, then the worse men are the better.
The objection has no validity. The gospel of salvation by
grace shows that good works are necessary. It is true,
unchangeably true, that without holiness no man shall see the
Lord. "Neither adulterers, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor
drunkards" shall inherit the kingdom of God.
Works are "good" only when, (1) they spring from the principle
of love to God. The moral character of an act is determined by
the moral principle that prompts it. Faith and love in the heart
are the essential elements of all true obedience. Hence good
works only spring from a believing heart, can only be wrought by
one reconciled to God (Eph. 2:10; James 2:18:22). (2.) Good
works have the glory of God as their object; and (3) they have
the revealed will of God as their only rule (Deut. 12:32; Rev.
Good works are an expression of gratitude in the believer's
heart (John 14:15, 23; Gal. 5:6). They are the fruits of the
Spirit (Titus 2:10-12), and thus spring from grace, which they
illustrate and strengthen in the heart.
Good works of the most sincere believers are all imperfect,
yet like their persons they are accepted through the mediation
of Jesus Christ (Col. 3:17), and so are rewarded; they have no
merit intrinsically, but are rewarded wholly of grace.
grace of God. (1.) A chief of the tribe of Manasseh (Num.
34:23). (2.) A chief of the tribe of Asher (1 Chr. 7:39).
Grace, means of
an expression not used in Scripture, but employed (1) to denote
those institutions ordained by God to be the ordinary channels
of grace to the souls of men. These are the Word, Sacraments,
(2.) But in popular language the expression is used in a wider
sense to denote those exercises in which we engage for the
purpose of obtaining spiritual blessing; as hearing the gospel,
reading the Word, meditation, self-examination, Christian
Works, Covenant of
entered into by God with Adam as the representative of the human
race (compare Gen. 9:11, 12; 17:1-21), so styled because perfect
obedience was its condition, thus distinguishing it from the
covenant of grace. (See COVENANT OF WORKS T0000916.)
Election of Grace
The Scripture speaks (1) of the election of individuals to
office or to honour and privilege, e.g., Abraham, Jacob, Saul,
David, Solomon, were all chosen by God for the positions they
held; so also were the apostles. (2) There is also an election
of nations to special privileges, e.g., the Hebrews (Deut. 7:6;
Rom. 9:4). (3) But in addition there is an election of
individuals to eternal life (2 Thess. 2:13; Eph. 1:4; 1 Pet.
1:2; John 13:18).
The ground of this election to salvation is the good pleasure
of God (Eph. 1:5, 11; Matt. 11:25, 26; John 15:16, 19). God
claims the right so to do (Rom. 9:16, 21).
It is not conditioned on faith or repentance, but is of
soverign grace (Rom. 11:4-6; Eph. 1:3-6). All that pertain to
salvation, the means (Eph. 2:8; 2 Thess. 2:13) as well as the
end, are of God (Acts 5:31; 2 Tim. 2:25; 1 Cor. 1:30; Eph. 2:5,
10). Faith and repentance and all other graces are the exercises
of a regenerated soul; and regeneration is God's work, a "new
Men are elected "to salvation," "to the adoption of sons," "to
be holy and without blame before him in love" (2 Thess. 2:13;
Gal. 4:4, 5; Eph. 1:4). The ultimate end of election is the
praise of God's grace (Eph. 1:6, 12). (See PREDESTINATION
(1.) Of time (Gal. 4:4), the time appointed by God, and foretold
by the prophets, when Messiah should appear. (2.) Of Christ
(John 1:16), the superabundance of grace with which he was
filled. (3.) Of the Godhead bodily dwelling in Christ (Col.
2:9), i.e., the whole nature and attributes of God are in
Christ. (4.) Eph. 1:23, the church as the fulness of Christ,
i.e., the church makes Christ a complete and perfect head.
that act of grace whereby Christ took our human nature into
union with his Divine Person, became man. Christ is both God and
man. Human attributes and actions are predicated of him, and he
of whom they are predicated is God. A Divine Person was united
to a human nature (Acts 20:28; Rom. 8:32; 1 Cor. 2:8; Heb.
2:11-14; 1 Tim. 3:16; Gal. 4:4, etc.). The union is
hypostatical, i.e., is personal; the two natures are not mixed
or confounded, and it is perpetual.
an earnest temper; may be enlightened (Num. 25:11-13; 2 Cor.
7:11; 9:2), or ignorant and misdirected (Rom. 10:2; Phil. 3:6).
As a Christian grace, it must be grounded on right principles
and directed to right ends (Gal. 4:18). It is sometimes ascribed
to God (2 Kings 19:31; Isa. 9:7; 37:32; Ezek. 5:13).
Forgiveness of sin
one of the constituent parts of justification. In pardoning sin,
God absolves the sinner from the condemnation of the law, and
that on account of the work of Christ, i.e., he removes the
guilt of sin, or the sinner's actual liability to eternal wrath
on account of it. All sins are forgiven freely (Acts 5:31;
13:38; 1 John 1:6-9). The sinner is by this act of grace for
ever freed from the guilt and penalty of his sins. This is the
peculiar prerogative of God (Ps. 130:4; Mark 2:5). It is offered
to all in the gospel. (See JUSTIFICATION T0002147.)
Goodness of God
a perfection of his character which he exercises towards his
creatures according to their various circumstances and relations
(Ps. 145:8, 9; 103:8; 1 John 4:8). Viewed generally, it is
benevolence; as exercised with respect to the miseries of his
creatures it is mercy, pity, compassion, and in the case of
impenitent sinners, long-suffering patience; as exercised in
communicating favour on the unworthy it is grace. "Goodness and
justice are the several aspects of one unchangeable, infinitely
wise, and sovereign moral perfection. God is not sometimes
merciful and sometimes just, but he is eternally infinitely just
and merciful." God is infinitely and unchangeably good (Zeph.
3:17), and his goodness is incomprehensible by the finite mind
(Rom. 11: 35, 36). "God's goodness appears in two things, giving
grace, an aged widow, the daughter of Phanuel. She was a
"prophetess," like Miriam, Deborah, and Huldah (2 Chr. 34:22).
After seven years of married life her husband died, and during
her long widowhood she daily attended the temple services. When
she was eighty-four years old, she entered the temple at the
moment when the aged Simeon uttered his memorable words of
praise and thanks to God that he had fulfilled his ancient
promise in sending his Son into the world (Luke 2:36, 37).
(1.) Of form or person (Prov. 1:9; 3:22; Ps. 45:2). (2.) Favour,
kindness, friendship (Gen. 6:8; 18:3; 19:19; 2 Tim. 1:9). (3.)
God's forgiving mercy (Rom. 11:6; Eph. 2:5). (4.) The gospel as
distinguished from the law (John 1:17; Rom. 6:14; 1 Pet. 5:12).
(5.) Gifts freely bestowed by God; as miracles, prophecy,
tongues (Rom. 15:15; 1 Cor. 15:10; Eph. 3:8). (6.) Christian
virtues (2 Cor. 8:7; 2 Pet. 3:18). (7.) The glory hereafter to
be revealed (1 Pet. 1:13).
the turning of a sinner to God (Acts 15:3). In a general sense
the heathen are said to be "converted" when they abandon
heathenism and embrace the Christian faith; and in a more
special sense men are converted when, by the influence of divine
grace in their souls, their whole life is changed, old things
pass away, and all things become new (Acts 26:18). Thus we speak
of the conversion of the Philippian jailer (16:19-34), of Paul
(9:1-22), of the Ethiopian treasurer (8:26-40), of Cornelius
(10), of Lydia (16:13-15), and others. (See REGENERATION
(Gr. oikonomia, "management," "economy"). (1.) The method or
scheme according to which God carries out his purposes towards
men is called a dispensation. There are usually reckoned three
dispensations, the Patriarchal, the Mosaic or Jewish, and the
Christian. (See COVENANT T0000916, Administration of.) These
were so many stages in God's unfolding of his purpose of grace
toward men. The word is not found with this meaning in
(2.) A commission to preach the gospel (1 Cor. 9:17; Eph.
1:10; 3:2; Col. 1:25).
Dispensations of Providence are providential events which
affect men either in the way of mercy or of judgement.
This word is properly used only with reference to God's plan or
purpose of salvation. The Greek word rendered "predestinate" is
found only in these six passages, Acts 4:28; Rom. 8:29, 30; 1
Cor. 2:7; Eph. 1:5, 11; and in all of them it has the same
meaning. They teach that the eternal, sovereign, immutable, and
unconditional decree or "determinate purpose" of God governs all
This doctrine of predestination or election is beset with many
difficulties. It belongs to the "secret things" of God. But if
we take the revealed word of God as our guide, we must accept
this doctrine with all its mysteriousness, and settle all our
questionings in the humble, devout acknowledgment, "Even so,
Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight."
For the teaching of Scripture on this subject let the
following passages be examined in addition to those referred to
above; Gen. 21:12; Ex. 9:16; 33:19; Deut. 10:15; 32:8; Josh.
11:20; 1 Sam. 12:22; 2 Chr. 6:6; Ps. 33:12; 65:4; 78:68; 135:4;
Isa. 41:1-10; Jer. 1:5; Mark 13:20; Luke 22:22; John 6:37;
15:16; 17:2, 6, 9; Acts 2:28; 3:18; 4:28; 13:48; 17:26; Rom.
9:11, 18, 21; 11:5; Eph. 3:11; 1 Thess. 1:4; 2 Thess. 2:13; 2
Tim. 1:9; Titus 1:2; 1 Pet. 1:2. (See DECREES OF GOD T0001002;
Hodge has well remarked that, "rightly understood, this
doctrine (1) exalts the majesty and absolute sovereignty of God,
while it illustrates the riches of his free grace and his just
displeasure with sin. (2.) It enforces upon us the essential
truth that salvation is entirely of grace. That no one can
either complain if passed over, or boast himself if saved. (3.)
It brings the inquirer to absolute self-despair and the cordial
embrace of the free offer of Christ. (4.) In the case of the
believer who has the witness in himself, this doctrine at once
deepens his humility and elevates his confidence to the full
assurance of hope" (Outlines).
(Col. 2:14). The "blotting out the handwriting" is the removal
by the grace of the gospel of the condemnation of the law which
we had broken.
Perseverance of the saints
their certain continuance in a state of grace. Once justified
and regenerated, the believer can neither totally nor finally
fall away from grace, but will certainly persevere therein and
attain everlasting life.
This doctrine is clearly taught in these passages, John 10:28,
29; Rom. 11:29; Phil. 1:6; 1 Pet. 1:5. It, moreover, follows
from a consideration of (1) the immutability of the divine
decrees (Jer. 31:3; Matt. 24:22-24; Acts 13:48; Rom. 8:30); (2)
the provisions of the covenant of grace (Jer. 32:40; John 10:29;
17:2-6); (3) the atonement and intercession of Christ (Isa.
53:6, 11; Matt. 20:28; 1 Pet. 2:24; John 11:42; 17:11, 15, 20;
Rom. 8:34); and (4) the indwelling of the Holy Ghost (John
14:16; 2 Cor. 1:21, 22; 5:5; Eph. 1:14; 1 John 3:9).
This doctrine is not inconsistent with the truth that the
believer may nevertheless fall into grievous sin, and continue
therein for some time. (See BACKSLIDE T0000414.)
as represented by Ezekiel (1-10) and John (Rev. 4, etc.), are
the cherubim. They are distinguished from angels (Rev. 15:7);
they join the elders in the "new song" (5:8, 9); they warn of
danger from divine justice (Isa. 6:3-5), and deliver the
commission to those who execute it (Ezek. 10:2, 7); they
associate with the elders in their sympathy with the hundred and
forty-four thousand who sing the new song (Rev. 14:3), and with
the Church in the overthrow of her enemies (19:4).
They are supposed to represent mercy, as distinguished from
justice, mercy in its various instrumentalities, and especially
as connected with the throne of God, the "throne of grace."
(1 John 2:20,27; R.V., "anointing"). Kings, prophets, and
priests were anointed, in token of receiving divine grace. All
believers are, in a secondary sense, what Christ was in a
primary sense, "the Lord's anointed."
(1.) With God, consisting in the knowledge of his will (Job
22:21; John 17:3); agreement with his designs (Amos 3:2); mutual
affection (Rom. 8: 38, 39); enjoyment of his presence (Ps. 4:6);
conformity to his image (1 John 2:6; 1:6); and participation of
his felicity (1 John 1:3, 4; Eph. 3:14-21).
(2.) Of saints with one another, in duties (Rom. 12:5; 1 Cor.
12:1; 1 Thess. 5:17, 18); in ordinances (Heb. 10:25; Acts 2:46);
in grace, love, joy, etc. (Mal. 3:16; 2 Cor. 8:4); mutual
interest, spiritual and temporal (Rom. 12:4, 13; Heb. 13:16); in
sufferings (Rom. 15:1, 2; Gal. 6:1, 2; Rom. 12:15; and in glory
a prominent Christian grace (Rom. 12:3; 15:17, 18; 1 Cor. 3:5-7;
2 Cor. 3:5; Phil. 4:11-13). It is a state of mind well pleasing
to God (1 Pet. 3:4); it preserves the soul in tranquillity (Ps.
69:32, 33), and makes us patient under trials (Job 1:22).
Christ has set us an example of humility (Phil. 2:6-8). We
should be led thereto by a remembrance of our sins (Lam. 3:39),
and by the thought that it is the way to honour (Prov. 16:18),
and that the greatest promises are made to the humble (Ps.
147:6; Isa. 57:15; 66:2; 1 Pet. 5:5). It is a "great paradox in
Christianity that it makes humility the avenue to glory."
lord of grace. (1.) A king of Edom, son of Achbor (Gen. 36:38,
39; 1 Chr. 1:49, 50).
(2.) An overseer of "the olive trees and sycomore trees in the
low plains" (the Shephelah) under David (1 Chr. 27:28).
a word of Anglo-Saxon origin, and meaning "God's spell", i.e.,
word of God, or rather, according to others, "good spell", i.e.,
good news. It is the rendering of the Greek "evangelion", i.e.,
"good message." It denotes (1) "the welcome intelligence of
salvation to man as preached by our Lord and his followers. (2.)
It was afterwards transitively applied to each of the four
histories of our Lord's life, published by those who are
therefore called 'Evangelists', writers of the history of the
gospel (the evangelion). (3.) The term is often used to express
collectively the gospel doctrines; and 'preaching the gospel' is
often used to include not only the proclaiming of the good
tidings, but the teaching men how to avail themselves of the
offer of salvation, the declaring of all the truths, precepts,
promises, and threatenings of Christianity." It is termed "the
gospel of the grace of God" (Acts 20:24), "the gospel of the
kingdom" (Matt. 4:23), "the gospel of Christ" (Rom. 1:16), "the
gospel of peace (Eph. 6:15), "the glorious gospel," "the
everlasting gospel," "the gospel of salvation" (Eph. 1:13).
the giving to any one the name and place and privileges of a son
who is not a son by birth.
(1.) Natural. Thus Pharaoh's daughter adopted Moses (Ex.
2:10), and Mordecai Esther (Esther 2:7).
(2.) National. God adopted Israel (Ex. 4:22; Deut. 7:6; Hos.
11:1; Rom. 9:4).
(3.) Spiritual. An act of God's grace by which he brings men
into the number of his redeemed family, and makes them partakers
of all the blessings he has provided for them. Adoption
represents the new relations into which the believer is
introduced by justification, and the privileges connected
therewith, viz., an interest in God's peculiar love (John 17:23;
Rom. 5:5-8), a spiritual nature (2 Pet. 1:4; John 1:13), the
possession of a spirit becoming children of God (1 Pet. 1:14; 2
John 4; Rom. 8:15-21; Gal. 5:1; Heb. 2:15), present protection,
consolation, supplies (Luke 12:27-32; John 14:18; 1 Cor.
3:21-23; 2 Cor. 1:4), fatherly chastisements (Heb. 12:5-11), and
a future glorious inheritance (Rom. 8:17,23; James 2:5; Phil.
The resurrection of Jesus (Acts 17:31) is the "assurance" (Gr.
pistis, generally rendered "faith") or pledge God has given that
his revelation is true and worthy of acceptance. The "full
assurance [Gr. plerophoria, 'full bearing'] of faith" (Heb.
10:22) is a fulness of faith in God which leaves no room for
doubt. The "full assurance of understanding" (Col. 2:2) is an
entire unwavering conviction of the truth of the declarations of
Scripture, a joyful steadfastness on the part of any one of
conviction that he has grasped the very truth. The "full
assurance of hope" (Heb. 6:11) is a sure and well-grounded
expectation of eternal glory (2 Tim. 4:7, 8). This assurance of
hope is the assurance of a man's own particular salvation.
This infallible assurance, which believers may attain unto as
to their own personal salvation, is founded on the truth of the
promises (Heb. 6:18), on the inward evidence of Christian
graces, and on the testimony of the Spirit of adoption (Rom.
8:16). That such a certainty may be attained appears from the
testimony of Scripture (Rom. 8:16; 1 John 2:3; 3:14), from the
command to seek after it (Heb. 6:11; 2 Pet. 1:10), and from the
fact that it has been attained (2 Tim. 1:12; 4:7, 8; 1 John 2:3;
This full assurance is not of the essence of saving faith. It
is the result of faith, and posterior to it in the order of
nature, and so frequently also in the order of time. True
believers may be destitute of it. Trust itself is something
different from the evidence that we do trust. Believers,
moreover, are exhorted to go on to something beyond what they at
present have when they are exhorted to seek the grace of full
assurance (Heb. 10:22; 2 Pet. 1:5-10). The attainment of this
grace is a duty, and is to be diligently sought.
"Genuine assurance naturally leads to a legitimate and abiding
peace and joy, and to love and thankfulness to God; and these
from the very laws of our being to greater buoyancy, strength,
and cheerfulness in the practice of obedience in every
department of duty."
This assurance may in various ways be shaken, diminished, and
intermitted, but the principle out of which it springs can never
be lost. (See FAITH T0001302.)
(1.) To cry for help, hence to pray (Gen. 4:26). Thus men are
said to "call upon the name of the Lord" (Acts 2:21; 7:59; 9:14;
Rom. 10:12; 1 Cor. 1:2).
(2.) God calls with respect to men when he designates them to
some special office (Ex. 31:2; Isa. 22:20; Acts 13:2), and when
he invites them to accept his offered grace (Matt. 9:13; 11:28;
In the message of the gospel his call is addressed to all men,
to Jews and Gentiles alike (Matt. 28:19; Mark 16:15; Rom. 9:24,
25). But this universal call is not inseparably connected with
salvation, although it leaves all to whom it comes inexcusable
if they reject it (John 3:14-19; Matt. 22:14).
An effectual call is something more than the outward message
of the Word of God to men. It is internal, and is the result of
the enlightening and sanctifying influence of the Holy Spirit
(John 16:14; Acts 26: 18; John 6:44), effectually drawing men to
Christ, and disposing and enabling them to receive the truth
(John 6:45; Acts 16:14; Eph. 1:17).
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.
compassion for the miserable. Its object is misery. By the
atoning sacrifice of Christ a way is open for the exercise of
mercy towards the sons of men, in harmony with the demands of
truth and righteousness (Gen. 19:19; Ex. 20:6; 34:6, 7; Ps.
85:10; 86:15, 16). In Christ mercy and truth meet together.
Mercy is also a Christian grace (Matt. 5:7; 18:33-35).
Fall of man
an expression probably borrowed from the Apocryphal Book of
Wisdom, to express the fact of the revolt of our first parents
from God, and the consequent sin and misery in which they and
all their posterity were involved.
The history of the Fall is recorded in Gen. 2 and 3. That
history is to be literally interpreted. It records facts which
underlie the whole system of revealed truth. It is referred to
by our Lord and his apostles not only as being true, but as
furnishing the ground of all God's subsequent dispensations and
dealings with the children of men. The record of Adam's
temptation and fall must be taken as a true historical account,
if we are to understand the Bible at all as a revelation of
God's purpose of mercy.
The effects of this first sin upon our first parents
themselves were (1) "shame, a sense of degradation and
pollution; (2) dread of the displeasure of God, or a sense of
guilt, and the consequent desire to hide from his presence.
These effects were unavoidable. They prove the loss not only of
innocence but of original righteousness, and, with it, of the
favour and fellowship of God. The state therefore to which Adam
was reduced by his disobedience, so far as his subjective
condition is concerned, was analogous to that of the fallen
angels. He was entirely and absolutely ruined" (Hodge's
But the unbelief and disobedience of our first parents brought
not only on themselves this misery and ruin, it entailed also
the same sad consequences on all their descendants. (1.) The
guilt, i.e., liability to punishment, of that sin comes by
imputation upon all men, because all were represented by Adam in
the covenant of works (q.v.). (See IMPUTATION T0001878.)
(2.) Hence, also, all his descendants inherit a corrupt
nature. In all by nature there is an inherent and prevailing
tendency to sin. This universal depravity is taught by universal
experience. All men sin as soon as they are capable of moral
actions. The testimony of the Scriptures to the same effect is
most abundant (Rom. 1; 2; 3:1-19, etc.).
(3.) This innate depravity is total: we are by nature "dead in
trespasses and sins," and must be "born again" before we can
enter into the kingdom (John 3:7, etc.).
(4.) Resulting from this "corruption of our whole nature" is
our absolute moral inability to change our nature or to obey the
law of God.
Commenting on John 9:3, Ryle well remarks: "A deep and
instructive principle lies in these words. They surely throw
some light on that great question, the origin of evil. God has
thought fit to allow evil to exist in order that he may have a
platform for showing his mercy, grace, and compassion. If man
had never fallen there would have been no opportunity of showing
divine mercy. But by permitting evil, mysterious as it seems,
God's works of grace, mercy, and wisdom in saving sinners have
been wonderfully manifested to all his creatures. The redeeming
of the church of elect sinners is the means of 'showing to
principalities and powers the manifold wisdom of God' (Eph.
3:10). Without the Fall we should have known nothing of the
Cross and the Gospel."
On the monuments of Egypt are found representations of a deity
in human form, piercing with a spear the head of a serpent. This
is regarded as an illustration of the wide dissemination of the
tradition of the Fall. The story of the "golden age," which
gives place to the "iron age", the age of purity and innocence,
which is followed by a time when man becomes a prey to sin and
misery, as represented in the mythology of Greece and Rome, has
also been regarded as a tradition of the Fall.
(Luke 22:20), rather "New Covenant," in contrast to the old
covenant of works, which is superseded. "The covenant of grace
is called new; it succeeds to the old broken covenant of works.
It is ever fresh, flourishing, and excellent; and under the
gospel it is dispensed in a more clear, spiritual, extensive,
and powerful manner than of old" (Brown of Haddington). Hence is
derived the name given to the latter portion of the Bible. (See
The church at Ephesus (Rev. 2:6) is commended for hating the
"deeds" of the Nicolaitanes, and the church of Pergamos is
blamed for having them who hold their "doctrines" (15). They
were seemingly a class of professing Christians, who sought to
introduce into the church a false freedom or licentiousness,
thus abusing Paul's doctrine of grace (compare 2 Pet. 2:15, 16,
19), and were probably identical with those who held the
doctrine of Baalam (q.v.), Rev. 2:14.
Kingly office of Christ
one of the three special relations in which Christ stands to his
people. Christ's office as mediator comprehends three different
functions, viz., those of a prophet, priest, and king. These are
not three distinct offices, but three functions of the one
office of mediator.
Christ is King and sovereign Head over his Church and over all
things to his Church (Eph. 1:22; 4:15; Col. 1:18; 2:19). He
executes this mediatorial kingship in his Church, and over his
Church, and over all things in behalf of his Church. This
royalty differs from that which essentially belongs to him as
God, for it is given to him by the Father as the reward of his
obedience and sufferings (Phil. 2:6-11), and has as its especial
object the upbuilding and the glory of his redeemed Church. It
attaches, moreover, not to his divine nature as such, but to his
person as God-man.
Christ's mediatorial kingdom may be regarded as comprehending,
(1) his kingdom of power, or his providential government of the
universe; (2) his kingdom of grace, which is wholly spiritual in
its subjects and administration; and (3) his kingdom of glory,
which is the consummation of all his providential and gracious
Christ sustained and exercised the function of mediatorial
King as well as of Prophet and Priest, from the time of the fall
of man, when he entered on his mediatorial work; yet it may be
said that he was publicly and formally enthroned when he
ascended up on high and sat down at the Father's right hand (Ps.
2:6; Jer. 23:5; Isa. 9:6), after his work of humiliation and
suffering on earth was "finished."
one who intervenes between two persons who are at variance, with
a view to reconcile them. This word is not found in the Old
Testament; but the idea it expresses is found in Job 9:33, in
the word "daysman" (q.v.), marg., "umpire."
This word is used in the New Testament to denote simply an
internuncius, an ambassador, one who acts as a medium of
communication between two contracting parties. In this sense
Moses is called a mediator in Gal. 3:19.
Christ is the one and only mediator between God and man (1
Tim. 2:5; Heb. 8:6; 9:15; 12:24). He makes reconciliation
between God and man by his all-perfect atoning sacrifice. Such a
mediator must be at once divine and human, divine, that his
obedience and his sufferings might possess infinite worth, and
that he might possess infinite wisdom and knowlege and power to
direct all things in the kingdoms of providence and grace which
are committed to his hands (Matt. 28:18; John 5:22, 25, 26, 27);
and human, that in his work he might represent man, and be
capable of rendering obedience to the law and satisfying the
claims of justice (Heb. 2:17, 18; 4:15, 16), and that in his
glorified humanity he might be the head of a glorified Church
This office involves the three functions of prophet, priest,
and king, all of which are discharged by Christ both in his
estate of humiliation and exaltation. These functions are so
inherent in the one office that the quality appertaining to each
gives character to every mediatorial act. They are never
separated in the exercise of the office of mediator.
life; living, the name given by Adam to his wife (Gen. 3:20;
4:1). The account of her creation is given in Gen. 2:21, 22. The
Creator, by declaring that it was not good for man to be alone,
and by creating for him a suitable companion, gave sanction to
monogamy. The commentator Matthew Henry says: "This companion
was taken from his side to signify that she was to be dear unto
him as his own flesh. Not from his head, lest she should rule
over him; nor from his feet, lest he should tyrannize over her;
but from his side, to denote that species of equality which is
to subsist in the marriage state." And again, "That wife that is
of God's making by special grace, and of God's bringing by
special providence, is likely to prove a helpmeet to her
husband." Through the subtle temptation of the serpent she
violated the commandment of God by taking of the forbidden
fruit, which she gave also unto her husband (1 Tim. 2:13-15; 2
Cor. 11:3). When she gave birth to her first son, she said, "I
have gotten a man from the Lord" (R.V., "I have gotten a man
with the help of the Lord," Gen. 4:1). Thus she welcomed Cain,
as some think, as if he had been the Promised One the "Seed of
(Heb. tsebi), properly the gazelle (Arab. ghazal), permitted for
food (Deut. 14:5; compare Deut. 12:15, 22; 15:22; 1 Kings 4:23),
noted for its swiftness and beauty and grace of form (2 Sam.
2:18; 1 Chr. 12:8; Cant. 2:9; 7:3; 8:14).
The gazelle (Gazella dorcas) is found in great numbers in
Israel. "Among the gray hills of Galilee it is still 'the roe
upon the mountains of Bether,' and I have seen a little troop of
gazelles feeding on the Mount of Olives close to Jerusalem
The Hebrew word ('ayyalah) in Prov. 5: 19 thus rendered (R.V.,
"doe"), is properly the "wild she-goat," the mountain goat, the
ibex. (See 1 Sam. 24:2; Ps. 104:18; Job 39:1.)
Faith is in general the persuasion of the mind that a certain
statement is true (Phil. 1:27; 2 Thess. 2:13). Its primary idea
is trust. A thing is true, and therefore worthy of trust. It
admits of many degrees up to full assurance of faith, in
accordance with the evidence on which it rests.
Faith is the result of teaching (Rom. 10:14-17). Knowledge is
an essential element in all faith, and is sometimes spoken of as
an equivalent to faith (John 10:38; 1 John 2:3). Yet the two are
distinguished in this respect, that faith includes in it assent,
which is an act of the will in addition to the act of the
understanding. Assent to the truth is of the essence of faith,
and the ultimate ground on which our assent to any revealed
truth rests is the veracity of God.
Historical faith is the apprehension of and assent to certain
statements which are regarded as mere facts of history.
Temporary faith is that state of mind which is awakened in men
(e.g., Felix) by the exhibition of the truth and by the
influence of religious sympathy, or by what is sometimes styled
the common operation of the Holy Spirit.
Saving faith is so called because it has eternal life
inseparably connected with it. It cannot be better defined than
in the words of the Assembly's Shorter Catechism: "Faith in
Jesus Christ is a saving grace, whereby we receive and rest upon
him alone for salvation, as he is offered to us in the gospel."
The object of saving faith is the whole revealed Word of God.
Faith accepts and believes it as the very truth most sure. But
the special act of faith which unites to Christ has as its
object the person and the work of the Lord Jesus Christ (John
7:38; Acts 16:31). This is the specific act of faith by which a
sinner is justified before God (Rom. 3:22, 25; Gal. 2:16; Phil.
3:9; John 3:16-36; Acts 10:43; 16:31). In this act of faith the
believer appropriates and rests on Christ alone as Mediator in
all his offices.
This assent to or belief in the truth received upon the divine
testimony has always associated with it a deep sense of sin, a
distinct view of Christ, a consenting will, and a loving heart,
together with a reliance on, a trusting in, or resting in
Christ. It is that state of mind in which a poor sinner,
conscious of his sin, flees from his guilty self to Christ his
Saviour, and rolls over the burden of all his sins on him. It
consists chiefly, not in the assent given to the testimony of
God in his Word, but in embracing with fiducial reliance and
trust the one and only Saviour whom God reveals. This trust and
reliance is of the essence of faith. By faith the believer
directly and immediately appropriates Christ as his own. Faith
in its direct act makes Christ ours. It is not a work which God
graciously accepts instead of perfect obedience, but is only the
hand by which we take hold of the person and work of our
Redeemer as the only ground of our salvation.
Saving faith is a moral act, as it proceeds from a renewed
will, and a renewed will is necessary to believing assent to the
truth of God (1 Cor. 2:14; 2 Cor. 4:4). Faith, therefore, has
its seat in the moral part of our nature fully as much as in the
intellectual. The mind must first be enlightened by divine
teaching (John 6:44; Acts 13:48; 2 Cor. 4:6; Eph. 1:17, 18)
before it can discern the things of the Spirit.
Faith is necessary to our salvation (Mark 16:16), not because
there is any merit in it, but simply because it is the sinner's
taking the place assigned him by God, his falling in with what
God is doing.
The warrant or ground of faith is the divine testimony, not
the reasonableness of what God says, but the simple fact that he
says it. Faith rests immediately on, "Thus saith the Lord." But
in order to this faith the veracity, sincerity, and truth of God
must be owned and appreciated, together with his
unchangeableness. God's word encourages and emboldens the sinner
personally to transact with Christ as God's gift, to close with
him, embrace him, give himself to Christ, and take Christ as
his. That word comes with power, for it is the word of God who
has revealed himself in his works, and especially in the cross.
God is to be believed for his word's sake, but also for his
Faith in Christ secures for the believer freedom from
condemnation, or justification before God; a participation in
the life that is in Christ, the divine life (John 14:19; Rom.
6:4-10; Eph. 4:15,16, etc.); "peace with God" (Rom. 5:1); and
sanctification (Acts 26:18; Gal. 5:6; Acts 15:9).
All who thus believe in Christ will certainly be saved (John
6:37, 40; 10:27, 28; Rom. 8:1).
The faith=the gospel (Acts 6:7; Rom. 1:5; Gal. 1:23; 1 Tim.
3:9; Jude 1:3).
(Heb. kapporeth, a "covering;" LXX. and N.T., hilasterion;
Vulg., propitiatorium), the covering or lid of the ark of the
covenant (q.v.). It was of acacia wood, overlaid with gold, or
perhaps rather a plate of solid gold, 2 1/2 cubits long and 1
1/2 broad (Ex. 25:17; 30:6; 31:7). It is compared to the throne
of grace (Heb. 9:5; Eph. 2:6). The holy of holies is called the
"place of the mercy-seat" (1 Chr. 28:11: Lev. 16:2).
It has been conjectured that the censer (thumiaterion, meaning
"anything having regard to or employed in the burning of
incense") mentioned in Heb. 9:4 was the "mercy-seat," at which
the incense was burned by the high priest on the great day of
atonement, and upon or toward which the blood of the goat was
sprinkled (Lev. 16:11-16; compare Num. 7:89 and Ex. 25:22).
the queen of Ahasuerus, and heroine of the book that bears her
name. She was a Jewess named Hadas'sah (the myrtle), but when
she entered the royal harem she received the name by which she
henceforth became known (Esther 2:7). It is a Syro-Arabian
modification of the Persian word satarah, which means a star.
She was the daughter of Abihail, a Benjamite. Her family did not
avail themselves of the permission granted by Cyrus to the
exiles to return to Jerusalem; and she resided with her cousin
Mordecai, who held some office in the household of the Persian
king at "Shushan in the palace." Ahasuerus having divorced
Vashti, chose Esther to be his wife. Soon after this he gave
Haman the Agagite, his prime minister, power and authority to
kill and extirpate all the Jews throughout the Persian empire.
By the interposition of Esther this terrible catastrophe was
averted. Haman was hanged on the gallows he had intended for
Mordecai (Esther 7); and the Jews established an annual feast,
the feast of Purim (q.v.), in memory of their wonderful
deliverance. This took place about fifty-two years after the
Return, the year of the great battles of Plataea and Mycale
Esther appears in the Bible as a "woman of deep piety, faith,
courage, patriotism, and caution, combined with resolution; a
dutiful daughter to her adopted father, docile and obedient to
his counsels, and anxious to share the king's favour with him
for the good of the Jewish people. There must have been a
singular grace and charm in her aspect and manners, since 'she
obtained favour in the sight of all them that looked upon her'
(Esther 2:15). That she was raised up as an instrument in the
hand of God to avert the destruction of the Jewish people, and
to afford them protection and forward their wealth and peace in
their captivity, is also manifest from the Scripture account."
favour, grace, one of the wives of Elkanah the Levite, and the
mother of Samuel (1 Sam. 1; 2). Her home was at
Ramathaim-zophim, whence she was wont every year to go to
Shiloh, where the tabernacle had been pitched by Joshua, to
attend the offering of sacrifices there according to the law
(Ex. 23:15; 34:18; Deut. 16:16), probably at the feast of the
Passover (compare Ex. 13:10). On occasion of one of these "yearly"
visits, being grieved by reason of Peninnah's conduct toward
her, she went forth alone, and kneeling before the Lord at the
sanctuary she prayed inaudibly. Eli the high priest, who sat at
the entrance to the holy place, observed her, and
misunderstanding her character he harshly condemned her conduct
(1 Sam. 1:14-16). After hearing her explanation he retracted his
injurious charge and said to her, "Go in peace: and the God of
Israel grant thee thy petition." Perhaps the story of the wife
of Manoah was not unknown to her. Thereafter Elkanah and his
family retired to their quiet home, and there, before another
Passover, Hannah gave birth to a son, whom, in grateful memory
of the Lord's goodness, she called Samuel, i.e., "heard of God."
After the child was weaned (probably in his third year) she
brought him to Shiloh into the house of the Lord, and said to
Eli the aged priest, "Oh my lord, I am the woman that stood by
thee here, praying unto the Lord. For this child I prayed; and
the Lord hath given me my petition which I asked of him:
therefore I also have granted him to the Lord; as long as he
liveth he is granted to the Lord" (1 Sam. 1:27, 28, R.V.). Her
gladness of heart then found vent in that remarkable prophetic
song (2:1-10; compare Luke 1:46-55) which contains the first
designation of the Messiah under that name (1 Sam. 2:10,
"Annointed" = "Messiah"). And so Samuel and his parents parted.
He was left at Shiloh to minister "before the Lord." And each
year, when they came up to Shiloh, Hannah brought to her absent
child "a little coat" (Heb. meil, a term used to denote the
"robe" of the ephod worn by the high priest, Ex. 28:31), a
priestly robe, a long upper tunic (1 Chr. 15:27), in which to
minister in the tabernacle (1 Sam. 2:19; 15:27; Job 2:12). "And
the child Samuel grew before the Lord." After Samuel, Hannah had
three sons and two daughters.
Philemon, Epistle to
was written from Rome at the same time as the epistles to the
Colossians and Ephesians, and was sent also by Onesimus. It was
addressed to Philemon and the members of his family.
It was written for the purpose of interceding for Onesimus
(q.v.), who had deserted his master Philemon and been
"unprofitable" to him. Paul had found Onesimus at Rome, and had
there been instrumental in his conversion, and now he sends him
back to his master with this letter.
This epistle has the character of a strictly private letter,
and is the only one of such epistles preserved to us. "It
exhibits the apostle in a new light. He throws off as far as
possible his apostolic dignity and his fatherly authority over
his converts. He speaks simply as Christian to Christian. He
speaks, therefore, with that peculiar grace of humility and
courtesy which has, under the reign of Christianity, developed
the spirit of chivalry and what is called 'the character of a
gentleman,' certainly very little known in the old Greek and
Roman civilization" (Dr. Barry). (See SLAVE T0003458.)
is "any want of conformity unto or transgression of the law of
God" (1 John 3:4; Rom. 4:15), in the inward state and habit of
the soul, as well as in the outward conduct of the life, whether
by omission or commission (Rom. 6:12-17; 7:5-24). It is "not a
mere violation of the law of our constitution, nor of the system
of things, but an offence against a personal lawgiver and moral
governor who vindicates his law with penalties. The soul that
sins is always conscious that his sin is (1) intrinsically vile
and polluting, and (2) that it justly deserves punishment, and
calls down the righteous wrath of God. Hence sin carries with it
two inalienable characters, (1) ill-desert, guilt (reatus); and
(2) pollution (macula).", Hodge's Outlines.
The moral character of a man's actions is determined by the
moral state of his heart. The disposition to sin, or the habit
of the soul that leads to the sinful act, is itself also sin
(Rom. 6:12-17; Gal. 5:17; James 1:14, 15).
The origin of sin is a mystery, and must for ever remain such
to us. It is plain that for some reason God has permitted sin to
enter this world, and that is all we know. His permitting it,
however, in no way makes God the author of sin.
Adam's sin (Gen. 3:1-6) consisted in his yielding to the
assaults of temptation and eating the forbidden fruit. It
involved in it, (1) the sin of unbelief, virtually making God a
liar; and (2) the guilt of disobedience to a positive command.
By this sin he became an apostate from God, a rebel in arms
against his Creator. He lost the favour of God and communion
with him; his whole nature became depraved, and he incurred the
penalty involved in the covenant of works.
Original sin. "Our first parents being the root of all
mankind, the guilt of their sin was imputed, and the same death
in sin and corrupted nature were conveyed to all their
posterity, descending from them by ordinary generation." Adam
was constituted by God the federal head and representative of
all his posterity, as he was also their natural head, and
therefore when he fell they fell with him (Rom. 5:12-21; 1 Cor.
15:22-45). His probation was their probation, and his fall their
fall. Because of Adam's first sin all his posterity came into
the world in a state of sin and condemnation, i.e., (1) a state
of moral corruption, and (2) of guilt, as having judicially
imputed to them the guilt of Adam's first sin.
"Original sin" is frequently and properly used to denote only
the moral corruption of their whole nature inherited by all men
from Adam. This inherited moral corruption consists in, (1) the
loss of original righteousness; and (2) the presence of a
constant proneness to evil, which is the root and origin of all
actual sin. It is called "sin" (Rom. 6:12, 14, 17; 7:5-17), the
"flesh" (Gal. 5:17, 24), "lust" (James 1:14, 15), the "body of
sin" (Rom. 6:6), "ignorance," "blindness of heart," "alienation
from the life of God" (Eph. 4:18, 19). It influences and
depraves the whole man, and its tendency is still downward to
deeper and deeper corruption, there remaining no recuperative
element in the soul. It is a total depravity, and it is also
universally inherited by all the natural descendants of Adam
(Rom. 3:10-23; 5:12-21; 8:7). Pelagians deny original sin, and
regard man as by nature morally and spiritually well;
semi-Pelagians regard him as morally sick; Augustinians, or, as
they are also called, Calvinists, regard man as described above,
spiritually dead (Eph. 2:1; 1 John 3:14).
The doctrine of original sin is proved, (1.) From the fact of
the universal sinfulness of men. "There is no man that sinneth
not" (1 Kings 8:46; Isa. 53:6; Ps. 130:3; Rom. 3:19, 22, 23;
Gal. 3:22). (2.) From the total depravity of man. All men are
declared to be destitute of any principle of spiritual life;
man's apostasy from God is total and complete (Job 15:14-16;
Gen. 6:5,6). (3.) From its early manifestation (Ps. 58:3; Prov.
22:15). (4.) It is proved also from the necessity, absolutely
and universally, of regeneration (John 3:3; 2 Cor. 5:17). (5.)
From the universality of death (Rom. 5:12-20).
Various kinds of sin are mentioned, (1.) "Presumptuous sins,"
or as literally rendered, "sins with an uplifted hand", i.e.,
defiant acts of sin, in contrast with "errors" or
"inadvertencies" (Ps. 19:13). (2.) "Secret", i.e., hidden sins
(19:12); sins which escape the notice of the soul. (3.) "Sin
against the Holy Ghost" (q.v.), or a "sin unto death" (Matt.
12:31, 32; 1 John 5:16), which amounts to a wilful rejection of
Sin, a city in Egypt, called by the Greeks Pelusium, which
means, as does also the Hebrew name, "clayey" or "muddy," so
called from the abundance of clay found there. It is called by
Ezekel (Ezek. 30:15) "the strength of Egypt, "thus denoting its
importance as a fortified city. It has been identified with the
modern Tineh, "a miry place," where its ruins are to be found.
Of its boasted magnificence only four red granite columns
remain, and some few fragments of others.
Romans, Epistle to the
This epistle was probably written at Corinth. Phoebe (Rom. 16:1)
of Cenchrea conveyed it to Rome, and Gaius of Corinth
entertained the apostle at the time of his writing it (16:23; 1
Cor. 1:14), and Erastus was chamberlain of the city, i.e., of
Corinth (2 Tim. 4:20).
The precise time at which it was written is not mentioned in
the epistle, but it was obviously written when the apostle was
about to "go unto Jerusalem to minister unto the saints", i.e.,
at the close of his second visit to Greece, during the winter
preceding his last visit to that city (Rom. 15:25; compare Acts
19:21; 20:2, 3, 16; 1 Cor. 16:1-4), early in A.D. 58.
It is highly probable that Christianity was planted in Rome by
some of those who had been at Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost
(Acts 2:10). At this time the Jews were very numerous in Rome,
and their synagogues were probably resorted to by Romans also,
who in this way became acquainted with the great facts regarding
Jesus as these were reported among the Jews. Thus a church
composed of both Jews and Gentiles was formed at Rome. Many of
the brethren went out to meet Paul on his approach to Rome.
There are evidences that Christians were then in Rome in
considerable numbers, and had probably more than one place of
meeting (Rom. 16:14, 15).
The object of the apostle in writing to this church was to
explain to them the great doctrines of the gospel. His epistle
was a "word in season." Himself deeply impressed with a sense of
the value of the doctrines of salvation, he opens up in a clear
and connected form the whole system of the gospel in its
relation both to Jew and Gentile. This epistle is peculiar in
this, that it is a systematic exposition of the gospel of
universal application. The subject is here treated
argumentatively, and is a plea for Gentiles addressed to Jews.
In the Epistle to the Galatians, the same subject is discussed,
but there the apostle pleads his own authority, because the
church in Galatia had been founded by him.
After the introduction (1:1-15), the apostle presents in it
divers aspects and relations the doctrine of justification by
faith (1:16-11:36) on the ground of the imputed righteousness of
Christ. He shows that salvation is all of grace, and only of
grace. This main section of his letter is followed by various
practical exhortations (12:1-15:13), which are followed by a
conclusion containing personal explanations and salutations,
which contain the names of twenty-four Christians at Rome, a
benediction, and a doxology (Rom. 15:14-ch. 16).
the Hermes (i.e., "the speaker") of the Greeks (Acts 14:12), a
heathen God represented as the constant attendant of Jupiter,
and the god of eloquence. The inhabitants of Lystra took Paul
for this god because he was the "chief speaker."
the third book of the Pentateuch; so called in the Vulgate,
after the LXX., because it treats chiefly of the Levitical
In the first section of the book (1-17), which exhibits the
worship itself, there is, (1.) A series of laws (1-7) regarding
sacrifices, burnt-offerings, meat-offerings, and thank-offerings
(1-3), sin-offerings and trespass-offerings (4; 5), followed by
the law of the priestly duties in connection with the offering
of sacrifices (6; 7). (2.) An historical section (8-10), giving
an account of the consecration of Aaron and his sons (8);
Aaron's first offering for himself and the people (9); Nadab and
Abihu's presumption in offering "strange fire before Jehovah,"
and their punishment (10). (3.) Laws concerning purity, and the
sacrifices and ordinances for putting away impurity (11-16). An
interesting fact may be noted here. Canon Tristram, speaking of
the remarkable discoveries regarding the flora and fauna of the
Holy Land by the Israel Exploration officers, makes the
following statement:, "Take these two catalogues of the clean
and unclean animals in the books of Leviticus  and
Deuteronomy . There are eleven in Deuteronomy which do not
occur in Leviticus, and these are nearly all animals and birds
which are not found in Egypt or the Holy Land, but which are
numerous in the Arabian desert. They are not named in Leviticus
a few weeks after the departure from Egypt; but after the people
were thirty-nine years in the desert they are named, a strong
proof that the list in Deuteronomy was written at the end of the
journey, and the list in Leviticus at the beginning. It fixes
the writing of that catalogue to one time and period only, viz.,
that when the children of Israel were familiar with the fauna
and the flora of the desert" (Palest. Expl. Quart., Jan. 1887).
(4.) Laws marking the separation between Israel and the heathen
(17-20). (5.) Laws about the personal purity of the priests, and
their eating of the holy things (20; 21); about the offerings of
Israel, that they were to be without blemish (22:17-33); and
about the due celebration of the great festivals (23; 25). (6.)
Then follow promises and warnings to the people regarding
obedience to these commandments, closing with a section on vows.
The various ordinances contained in this book were all
delivered in the space of a month (compare Ex. 40:17; Num. 1:1),
the first month of the second year after the Exodus. It is the
third book of Moses.
No book contains more of the very words of God. He is almost
throughout the whole of it the direct speaker. This book is a
prophecy of things to come, a shadow whereof the substance is
Christ and his kingdom. The principles on which it is to be
interpreted are laid down in the Epistle to the Hebrews. It
contains in its complicated ceremonial the gospel of the grace
the destroyer, subduer, or fish-god, the god of the Moabites
(Num. 21:29; Jer. 48:7, 13, 46). The worship of this god, "the
abomination of Moab," was introduced at Jerusalem by Solomon (1
Kings 11:7), but was abolished by Josiah (2 Kings 23:13). On the
"Moabite Stone" (q.v.), Mesha (2 Kings 3:5) ascribes his
victories over the king of Israel to this god, "And Chemosh
drove him before my sight."
(Gr. Logos), one of the titles of our Lord, found only in the
writings of John (John 1:1-14; 1 John 1:1; Rev. 19:13). As such,
Christ is the revealer of God. His office is to make God known.
"No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which
is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him" (John
1:18). This title designates the divine nature of Christ. As the
Word, he "was in the beginning" and "became flesh." "The Word
was with God " and "was God," and was the Creator of all things
(compare Ps.33: 6; 107:20; 119:89; 147:18; Isa. 40:8).
a change from enmity to friendship. It is mutual, i.e., it is a
change wrought in both parties who have been at enmity.
(1.) In Col. 1:21, 22, the word there used refers to a change
wrought in the personal character of the sinner who ceases to be
an enemy to God by wicked works, and yields up to him his full
confidence and love. In 2 Cor. 5:20 the apostle beseeches the
Corinthians to be "reconciled to God", i.e., to lay aside their
(2.) Rom. 5:10 refers not to any change in our disposition
toward God, but to God himself, as the party reconciled. Romans
5:11 teaches the same truth. From God we have received "the
reconciliation" (R.V.), i.e., he has conferred on us the token
of his friendship. So also 2 Cor. 5:18, 19 speaks of a
reconciliation originating with God, and consisting in the
removal of his merited wrath. In Eph. 2:16 it is clear that the
apostle does not refer to the winning back of the sinner in love
and loyalty to God, but to the restoration of God's forfeited
favour. This is effected by his justice being satisfied, so that
he can, in consistency with his own nature, be favourable toward
sinners. Justice demands the punishment of sinners. The death of
Christ satisfies justice, and so reconciles God to us. This
reconciliation makes God our friend, and enables him to pardon
and save us. (See ATONEMENT T0000362.)
(1.) "Paper reeds" (Isa. 19:7; R.V., "reeds"). Heb. 'aroth,
properly green herbage growing in marshy places.
(2.) Heb. kaneh (1 Kings 14:15; Job 40:21; Isa. 19:6), whence
the Gr. kanna, a "cane," a generic name for a reed of any kind.
The reed of Egypt and Israel is the Arundo donax, which
grows to the height of 12 feet, its stalk jointed like the
bamboo, "with a magnificent panicle of blossom at the top, and
so slender and yielding that it will lie perfectly flat under a
gust of wind, and immediately resume its upright position." It
is used to illustrate weakness (2 Kings 18:21; Ezek. 29:6), also
fickleness or instability (Matt. 11:7; compare Eph. 4:14).
A "bruised reed" (Isa. 42:3; Matt. 12:20) is an emblem of a
believer weak in grace. A reed was put into our Lord's hands in
derision (Matt. 27:29); and "they took the reed and smote him on
the head" (30). The "reed" on which they put the sponge filled
with vinegar (Matt. 27:48) was, according to John (19:29), a
hyssop stalk, which must have been of some length, or perhaps a
bunch of hyssop twigs fastened to a rod with the sponge. (See
man of God, or virgin of God, or house of God. (1.) The son of
Nahor by Milcah; nephew of Abraham, and father of Rebekah (Gen.
22:22, 23; 24:15, 24, 47). He appears in person only once
(2.) A southern city of Judah (1 Chr. 4:30); called also
Bethul (Josh. 19:4) and Bethel (12:16; 1 Sam. 30:27).
Son of God
The plural, "sons of God," is used (Gen. 6:2, 4) to denote the
pious descendants of Seth. In Job 1:6; 38:7 this name is applied
to the angels. Hosea uses the phrase (1:10) to designate the
gracious relation in which men stand to God.
In the New Testament this phrase frequently denotes the
relation into which we are brought to God by adoption (Rom.
8:14, 19; 2 Cor. 6:18; Gal. 4:5, 6; Phil. 2:15; 1 John 3:1, 2).
It occurs thirty-seven times in the New Testament as the
distinctive title of our Saviour. He does not bear this title in
consequence of his miraculous birth, nor of his incarnation, his
resurrection, and exaltation to the Father's right hand. This is
a title of nature and not of office. The sonship of Christ
denotes his equality with the Father. To call Christ the Son of
God is to assert his true and proper divinity. The second Person
of the Trinity, because of his eternal relation to the first
Person, is the Son of God. He is the Son of God as to his divine
nature, while as to his human nature he is the Son of David
(Rom. 1:3, 4. Compare Gal. 4:4; John 1:1-14; 5:18-25; 10:30-38,
which prove that Christ was the Son of God before his
incarnation, and that his claim to this title is a claim of
equality with God).
When used with reference to creatures, whether men or angels,
this word is always in the plural. In the singular it is always
used of the second Person of the Trinity, with the single
exception of Luke 3:38, where it is used of Adam.
covenant lord, the name of the god worshipped in Shechem after
the death of Gideon (Judg. 8:33; 9:4). In 9:46 he is called
simply "the god Berith." The name denotes the god of the
covenant into which the Israelites entered with the Canaanites,
contrary to the command of Jehovah (Ex. 34:12), when they began
to fall away to the worship of idols.
the transliteration of the Hebrew word "tsebha'oth", meaning
"hosts," "armies" (Rom. 9:29; James 5:4). In the LXX. the Hebrew
word is rendered by "Almighty." (See Rev. 4:8; compare Isa. 6:3.)
It may designate Jehovah as either (1) God of the armies of
earth, or (2) God of the armies of the stars, or (3) God of the
unseen armies of angels; or perhaps it may include all these
champion of El; man of God, a descendant of Cain (Gen. 4:18), so
called, perhaps, to denote that even among the descendants of
Cain God had not left himself without a witness.
that extraordinary or supernatural divine influence vouchsafed
to those who wrote the Holy Scriptures, rendering their writings
infallible. "All scripture is given by inspiration of God"
(R.V., "Every scripture inspired of God"), 2 Tim. 3:16. This is
true of all the "sacred writings," not in the sense of their
being works of genius or of supernatural insight, but as
"theopneustic," i.e., "breathed into by God" in such a sense
that the writers were supernaturally guided to express exactly
what God intended them to express as a revelation of his mind
and will. The testimony of the sacred writers themselves
abundantly demonstrates this truth; and if they are infallible
as teachers of doctrine, then the doctrine of plenary
inspiration must be accepted. There are no errors in the Bible
as it came from God, none have been proved to exist.
Difficulties and phenomena we cannot explain are not errors. All
these books of the Old and New Testaments are inspired. We do
not say that they contain, but that they are, the Word of God.
The gift of inspiration rendered the writers the organs of God,
for the infallible communication of his mind and will, in the
very manner and words in which it was originally given.
As to the nature of inspiration we have no information. This
only we know, it rendered the writers infallible. They were all
equally inspired, and are all equally infallible. The
inspiration of the sacred writers did not change their
characters. They retained all their individual peculiarities as
thinkers or writers. (See BIBLE T0000580; WORD OF GOD
denounced by God against the serpent (Gen. 3:14), and against
Cain (4:11). These divine maledictions carried their effect with
them. Prophetical curses were sometimes pronounced by holy men
(Gen. 9:25; 49:7; Deut. 27:15; Josh. 6:26). Such curses are not
the consequence of passion or revenge, they are predictions.
No one on pain of death shall curse father or mother (Ex.
21:17), nor the prince of his people (22:28), nor the deaf (Lev.
19:14). Cursing God or blaspheming was punishable by death (Lev.
24:10-16). The words "curse God and die" (R.V., "renounce God
and die"), used by Job's wife (Job 2:9), have been variously
interpreted. Perhaps they simply mean that as nothing but death
was expected, God would by this cursing at once interpose and
destroy Job, and so put an end to his sufferings.
a corruption of Dumuzi, the Accadian sun-god (the Adonis of the
Greeks), the husband of the goddess Ishtar. In the Chaldean
calendar there was a month set apart in honour of this god, the
month of June to July, the beginning of the summer solstice. At
this festival, which lasted six days, the worshippers, with loud
lamentations, bewailed the funeral of the god, they sat "weeping
for Tammuz" (Ezek. 8:14).
The name, also borrowed from Chaldea, of one of the months of
the Hebrew calendar.
helper of God, or assembly of God. (1.) The third son of Nahor
(2.) Son of Shiphtan, appointed on behalf of the tribe of
Ephraim to partition the land of Canaan (Num. 34:24).
(3.) A Levite (1 Chr. 27:17).
God her oath, the mother of John the Baptist (Luke 1:5). She was
a descendant of Aaron. She and her husband Zacharias (q.v.)
"were both righteous before God" (Luke 1:5, 13). Mary's visit to
Elisabeth is described in 1:39-63.
(Gr. form Beel'zebul), the name given to Satan, and found only
in the New Testament (Matt. 10:25; 12:24, 27; Mark 3:22). It is
probably the same as Baalzebub (q.v.), the god of Ekron, meaning
"the lord of flies," or, as others think, "the lord of dung," or
an oblation, dedicated to God. Thus Cain consecrated to God of
the first-fruits of the earth, and Abel of the firstlings of the
flock (Gen. 4:3, 4). Under the Levitical system different kinds
of offerings are specified, and laws laid down as to their
presentation. These are described under their distinctive names.
Government of God
See PROVIDENCE T0003012.
fly-lord, the god of the Philistines at Ekron (2 Kings 1:2, 3,
16). This name was given to the god because he was supposed to
be able to avert the plague of flies which in that region was to
be feared. He was consulted by Ahaziah as to his recovery.
In the Old Testament used in every case, except 2 Sam. 16:23, to
denote the most holy place in the temple (1 Kings 6:5, 19-23;
8:6). In 2 Sam. 16:23 it means the Word of God. A man inquired
"at the oracle of God" by means of the Urim and Thummim in the
breastplate on the high priest's ephod. In the New Testament it
is used only in the plural, and always denotes the Word of God
(Rom. 3:2; Heb. 5:12, etc.). The Scriptures are called "living
oracles" (compare Heb. 4:12) because of their quickening power
a word not found in Scripture, but used to express the doctrine
of the unity of God as subsisting in three distinct Persons.
This word is derived from the Gr. trias, first used by
Theophilus (A.D. 168-183), or from the Lat. trinitas, first used
by Tertullian (A.D. 220), to express this doctrine. The
propositions involved in the doctrine are these: 1. That God is
one, and that there is but one God (Deut. 6:4; 1 Kings 8:60;
Isa. 44:6; Mark 12:29, 32; John 10:30). 2. That the Father is a
distinct divine Person (hypostasis, subsistentia, persona,
suppositum intellectuale), distinct from the Son and the Holy
Spirit. 3. That Jesus Christ was truly God, and yet was a Person
distinct from the Father and the Holy Spirit. 4. That the Holy
Spirit is also a distinct divine Person.
gift of God. Acts 1:23.
the lion of God. (1.) One of the chief men sent by Ezra to
procure Levites for the sanctuary (Ezra 8:16).
(2.) A symbolic name for Jerusalem (Isa. 29:1, 2, 7) as
"victorious under God," and in Ezek. 43:15, 16, for the altar
(marg., Heb. 'ariel) of burnt offerings, the secret of Israel's
lion-like, venerable. (1.) A king of Ellasar who was confederate
with Chedorlamer (Gen. 14:1,9). The tablets recently discovered
by Mr. Pinches (see CHALDEA T0000758) show the true reading is
Eri-Aku of Larsa. This Elamite name meant "servant of the
moon-god." It was afterwards changed into Rimsin, "Have mercy, O
moon-god." (2.) Dan. 2:14.
the principal deity of the ancient Greeks and Romans. He was
worshipped by them under various epithets. Barnabas was
identified with this god by the Lycaonians (Acts 14:12), because
he was of stately and commanding presence, as they supposed
Jupiter to be. There was a temple dedicated to this god outside
the gates of Lystra (14:13).
(Heb. kabhod; Gr. doxa). (1.) Abundance, wealth, treasure, and
hence honour (Ps. 49:12); glory (Gen. 31:1; Matt. 4:8; Rev.
(2.) Honour, dignity (1 Kings 3:13; Heb. 2:7 1 Pet. 1:24); of
God (Ps. 19:1; 29:1); of the mind or heart (Gen. 49:6; Ps. 7:5;
(3.) Splendour, brightness, majesty (Gen. 45:13; Isa. 4:5;
Acts 22:11; 2 Cor. 3:7); of Jehovah (Isa. 59:19; 60:1; 2 Thess.
(4.) The glorious moral attributes, the infinite perfections
of God (Isa. 40:5; Acts 7:2; Rom. 1:23; 9:23; Eph. 1:12). Jesus
is the "brightness of the Father's glory" (Heb. 1:3; John 1:14;
(5.) The bliss of heaven (Rom. 2:7, 10; 5:2; 8:18; Heb. 2:10;
1 Pet. 5:1, 10).
(6.) The phrase "Give glory to God" (Josh. 7:19; Jer. 13:16)
is a Hebrew idiom meaning, "Confess your sins." The words of the
Jews to the blind man, "Give God the praise" (John 9:24), are an
adjuration to confess. They are equivalent to, "Confess that you
are an impostor," "Give God the glory by speaking the truth;"
for they denied that a miracle had been wrought.
servant of God, (Jer. 36:26), the father of Shelemiah.
is converse with God; the intercourse of the soul with God, not
in contemplation or meditation, but in direct address to him.
Prayer may be oral or mental, occasional or constant,
ejaculatory or formal. It is a "beseeching the Lord" (Ex.
32:11); "pouring out the soul before the Lord" (1 Sam. 1:15);
"praying and crying to heaven" (2 Chr. 32:20); "seeking unto God
and making supplication" (Job 8:5); "drawing near to God" (Ps.
73:28); "bowing the knees" (Eph. 3:14).
Prayer presupposes a belief in the personality of God, his
ability and willingness to hold intercourse with us, his
personal control of all things and of all his creatures and all
Acceptable prayer must be sincere (Heb. 10:22), offered with
reverence and godly fear, with a humble sense of our own
insignificance as creatures and of our own unworthiness as
sinners, with earnest importunity, and with unhesitating
submission to the divine will. Prayer must also be offered in
the faith that God is, and is the hearer and answerer of prayer,
and that he will fulfil his word, "Ask, and ye shall receive"
(Matt. 7:7, 8; 21:22; Mark 11:24; John 14:13, 14), and in the
name of Christ (16:23, 24; 15:16; Eph. 2:18; 5:20; Col. 3:17; 1
Prayer is of different kinds, secret (Matt. 6:6); social, as
family prayers, and in social worship; and public, in the
service of the sanctuary.
Intercessory prayer is enjoined (Num. 6:23; Job 42:8; Isa.
62:6; Ps. 122:6; 1 Tim. 2:1; James 5:14), and there are many
instances on record of answers having been given to such
prayers, e.g., of Abraham (Gen. 17:18, 20; 18:23-32; 20:7, 17,
18), of Moses for Pharaoh (Ex. 8:12, 13, 30, 31; Ex. 9:33), for
the Israelites (Ex. 17:11, 13; 32:11-14, 31-34; Num. 21:7, 8;
Deut. 9:18, 19, 25), for Miriam (Num. 12:13), for Aaron (Deut.
9:20), of Samuel (1 Sam. 7:5-12), of Solomon (1 Kings 8; 2 Chr.
6), Elijah (1 Kings 17:20-23), Elisha (2 Kings 4:33-36), Isaiah
(2 Kings 19), Jeremiah (42:2-10), Peter (Acts 9:40), the church
(12:5-12), Paul (28:8).
No rules are anywhere in Scripture laid down for the manner of
prayer or the attitude to be assumed by the suppliant. There is
mention made of kneeling in prayer (1 Kings 8:54; 2 Chr. 6:13;
Ps. 95:6; Isa. 45:23; Luke 22:41; Acts 7:60; 9:40; Eph. 3:14,
etc.); of bowing and falling prostrate (Gen. 24:26, 52; Ex.
4:31; 12:27; Matt. 26:39; Mark 14:35, etc.); of spreading out
the hands (1 Kings 8:22, 38, 54; Ps. 28:2; 63:4; 88:9; 1 Tim.
2:8, etc.); and of standing (1 Sam. 1:26; 1 Kings 8:14, 55; 2
Chr. 20:9; Mark 11:25; Luke 18:11, 13).
If we except the "Lord's Prayer" (Matt. 6:9-13), which is,
however, rather a model or pattern of prayer than a set prayer
to be offered up, we have no special form of prayer for general
use given us in Scripture.
Prayer is frequently enjoined in Scripture (Ex. 22:23, 27; 1
Kings 3:5; 2 Chr. 7:14; Ps. 37:4; Isa. 55:6; Joel 2:32; Ezek.
36:37, etc.), and we have very many testimonies that it has been
answered (Ps. 3:4; 4:1; 6:8; 18:6; 28:6; 30:2; 34:4; 118:5;
James 5:16-18, etc.).
"Abraham's servant prayed to God, and God directed him to the
person who should be wife to his master's son and heir (Gen.
"Jacob prayed to God, and God inclined the heart of his
irritated brother, so that they met in peace and friendship
(Gen. 32:24-30; 33:1-4).
"Samson prayed to God, and God showed him a well where he
quenched his burning thirst, and so lived to judge Israel (Judg.
"David prayed, and God defeated the counsel of Ahithophel (2
Sam. 15:31; 16:20-23; 17:14-23).
"Daniel prayed, and God enabled him both to tell
Nebuchadnezzar his dream and to give the interpretation of it
(Dan. 2: 16-23).
"Nehemiah prayed, and God inclined the heart of the king of
Persia to grant him leave of absence to visit and rebuild
Jerusalem (Neh. 1:11; 2:1-6).
"Esther and Mordecai prayed, and God defeated the purpose of
Haman, and saved the Jews from destruction (Esther 4:15-17; 6:7,
"The believers in Jerusalem prayed, and God opened the prison
doors and set Peter at liberty, when Herod had resolved upon his
death (Acts 12:1-12).
"Paul prayed that the thorn in the flesh might be removed, and
his prayer brought a large increase of spiritual strength, while
the thorn perhaps remained (2 Cor. 12:7-10).
"Prayer is like the dove that Noah sent forth, which blessed
him not only when it returned with an olive-leaf in its mouth,
but when it never returned at all.", Robinson's Job.
servant of God, (1 Chr. 5:15), a Gadite chief.
a moral rather than an intellectual quality. To be "foolish" is
to be godless (Ps. 14:1; compare Judg. 19:23; 2 Sam. 13:13). True
wisdom is a gift from God to those who ask it (Job 28:12-28;
Prov. 3:13-18; Rom. 1:22; 16:27; 1 Cor. 1:17-21; 2:6-8; James
1:5). "Wisdom" in Prov. 1:20; 8:1; 9:1-5 may be regarded not as
a mere personification of the attribute of wisdom, but as a
divine person, "Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God"
(1 Cor. 1:24). In Matt. 11:19 it is the personified principle of
wisdom that is meant.
vision of God, the father of Joel the prophet (Joel 1:1).
face of God, father of the prophetess Anna (q.v.), Luke 2:36.
a rule of action. (1.) The Law of Nature is the will of God as
to human conduct, founded on the moral difference of things, and
discoverable by natural light (Rom. 1:20; 2:14, 15). This law
binds all men at all times. It is generally designated by the
term conscience, or the capacity of being influenced by the
moral relations of things.
(2.) The Ceremonial Law prescribes under the Old Testament the
rites and ceremonies of worship. This law was obligatory only
till Christ, of whom these rites were typical, had finished his
work (Heb. 7:9, 11; 10:1; Eph. 2:16). It was fulfilled rather
than abrogated by the gospel.
(3.) The Judicial Law, the law which directed the civil policy
of the Hebrew nation.
(4.) The Moral Law is the revealed will of God as to human
conduct, binding on all men to the end of time. It was
promulgated at Sinai. It is perfect (Ps. 19:7), perpetual (Matt.
5:17, 18), holy (Rom. 7:12), good, spiritual (14), and exceeding
broad (Ps. 119:96). Although binding on all, we are not under it
as a covenant of works (Gal. 3:17). (See COMMANDMENTS
(5.) Positive Laws are precepts founded only on the will of
God. They are right because God commands them.
(6.) Moral positive laws are commanded by God because they are
allotted by God, the first of the sons of Naphtali (Gen. 46:24).
redeemed of God, the son of Ammihud, a prince of Naphtali (Num.
snatched away by God, a descendant of Zerah (1 Chr. 9:6).
smitten by God, the son of Irad, and father of Methusael (Gen.
asked for of God, father of Zerubbabel (Ezra 3:2, 8; Neh. 12:1).
plural of Baal; images of the god Baal (Judg. 2:11; 1 Sam. 7:4).
God allots, a prince of the tribe of Asher (Num. 1:13), in the
little fish; diminutive from dag = a fish, the fish-god; the
national god of the Philistines (Judg. 16:23). This idol had the
body of a fish with the head and hands of a man. It was an
Assyrio-Babylonian deity, the worship of which was introduced
among the Philistines through Chaldea. The most famous of the
temples of Dagon were at Gaza (Judg. 16:23-30) and Ashdod (1
Sam. 5:1-7). (See FISH T0001343.)
deep-rooted hatred. "I will put enmity between thee and the
woman, between thy seed and her seed" (Gen. 3:15). The
friendship of the world is "enmity with God" (James 4:4; 1 John
2:15, 16). The "carnal mind" is "enmity against God" (Rom. 8:7).
By the abrogation of the Mosaic institutes the "enmity" between
Jew and Gentile is removed. They are reconciled, are "made one"
(Eph. 2:15, 16).
God is her oath, the daughter of Amminadab and the wife of Aaron
upright towards God, the head of the seventh division of
Levitical musicians (1 Chr. 25:14).
Word of God
(Heb. 4:12, etc.). The Bible so called because the writers of
its several books were God's organs in communicating his will to
men. It is his "word," because he speaks to us in its sacred
pages. Whatever the inspired writers here declare to be true and
binding upon us, God declares to be true and binding. This word
is infallible, because written under the guidance of the Holy
Spirit, and therefore free from all error of fact or doctrine or
precept. (See INSPIRATION T0001884; BIBLE T0000580.) All
saving knowledge is obtained from the word of God. In the case
of adults it is an indispensable means of salvation, and is
efficacious thereunto by the gracious influence of the Holy
Spirit (John 17:17; 2 Tim. 3:15, 16; 1 Pet. 1:23).
(Heb. nabi, from a root meaning "to bubble forth, as from a
fountain," hence "to utter", compare Ps. 45:1). This Hebrew word
is the first and the most generally used for a prophet. In the
time of Samuel another word, "ro'eh", "seer", began to be used
(1 Sam. 9:9). It occurs seven times in reference to Samuel.
Afterwards another word, "hozeh", "seer" (2 Sam. 24:11), was
employed. In 1 Ch. 29:29 all these three words are used: "Samuel
the seer (ro'eh), Nathan the prophet (nabi'), Gad the seer"
(hozeh). In Josh. 13:22 Balaam is called (Heb.) a "kosem"
"diviner," a word used only of a false prophet.
The "prophet" proclaimed the message given to him, as the
"seer" beheld the vision of God. (See Num. 12:6, 8.) Thus a
prophet was a spokesman for God; he spake in God's name and by
his authority (Ex. 7:1). He is the mouth by which God speaks to
men (Jer. 1:9; Isa. 51:16), and hence what the prophet says is
not of man but of God (2 Pet. 1:20, 21; compare Heb. 3:7; Acts
4:25; 28:25). Prophets were the immediate organs of God for the
communication of his mind and will to men (Deut. 18:18, 19). The
whole Word of God may in this general sense be spoken of as
prophetic, inasmuch as it was written by men who received the
revelation they communicated from God, no matter what its nature
might be. The foretelling of future events was not a necessary
but only an incidental part of the prophetic office. The great
task assigned to the prophets whom God raised up among the
people was "to correct moral and religious abuses, to proclaim
the great moral and religious truths which are connected with
the character of God, and which lie at the foundation of his
Any one being a spokesman for God to man might thus be called
a prophet. Thus Enoch, Abraham, and the patriarchs, as bearers
of God's message (Gen. 20:7; Ex. 7:1; Ps. 105:15), as also Moses
(Deut. 18:15; 34:10; Hos. 12:13), are ranked among the prophets.
The seventy elders of Israel (Num. 11:16-29), "when the spirit
rested upon them, prophesied;" Asaph and Jeduthun "prophesied
with a harp" (1 Chr. 25:3). Miriam and Deborah were prophetesses
(Ex. 15:20; Judg. 4:4). The title thus has a general application
to all who have messages from God to men.
But while the prophetic gift was thus exercised from the
beginning, the prophetical order as such began with Samuel.
Colleges, "schools of the prophets", were instituted for the
training of prophets, who were constituted, a distinct order (1
Sam. 19:18-24; 2 Kings 2:3, 15; 4:38), which continued to the
close of the Old Testament. Such "schools" were established at
Ramah, Bethel, Gilgal, Gibeah, and Jericho. The "sons" or
"disciples" of the prophets were young men (2 Kings 5:22; 9:1,
4) who lived together at these different "schools" (4:38-41).
These young men were taught not only the rudiments of secular
knowledge, but they were brought up to exercise the office of
prophet, "to preach pure morality and the heart-felt worship of
Jehovah, and to act along and co-ordinately with the priesthood
and monarchy in guiding the state aright and checking all
attempts at illegality and tyranny."
In New Testament times the prophetical office was continued.
Our Lord is frequently spoken of as a prophet (Luke 13:33;
24:19). He was and is the great Prophet of the Church. There was
also in the Church a distinct order of prophets (1 Cor. 12:28;
Eph. 2:20; 3:5), who made new revelations from God. They
differed from the "teacher," whose office it was to impart
truths already revealed.
Of the Old Testament prophets there are sixteen, whose
prophecies form part of the inspired canon. These are divided
into four groups:
(1.) The prophets of the northern kingdom (Israel), viz.,
Hosea, Amos, Joel, Jonah.
(2.) The prophets of Judah, viz., Isaiah, Jeremiah, Obadiah,
Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah.
(3.) The prophets of Captivity, viz., Ezekiel and Daniel.
(4.) The prophets of the Restoration, viz., Haggai, Zechariah,
God is his rejector, one of David's thirty-seven distinguished
heros (2 Sam. 23:25).
(A.S. and Dutch God; Dan. Gud; Ger. Gott), the name of the
Divine Being. It is the rendering (1) of the Hebrew "'El", from
a word meaning to be strong; (2) of "'Eloah", plural "'Elohim".
The singular form, "Eloah", is used only in poetry. The plural
form is more commonly used in all parts of the Bible, The Hebrew
word Jehovah (q.v.), the only other word generally employed to
denote the Supreme Being, is uniformly rendered in the
Authorized Version by "LORD," printed in small capitals. The
existence of God is taken for granted in the Bible. There is
nowhere any argument to prove it. He who disbelieves this truth
is spoken of as one devoid of understanding (Ps. 14:1).
The arguments generally adduced by theologians in proof of the
being of God are:
(1.) The a priori argument, which is the testimony afforded by
(2.) The a posteriori argument, by which we proceed logically
from the facts of experience to causes. These arguments are,
(a) The cosmological, by which it is proved that there must be
a First Cause of all things, for every effect must have a cause.
(b) The teleological, or the argument from design. We see
everywhere the operations of an intelligent Cause in nature.
(c) The moral argument, called also the anthropological
argument, based on the moral consciousness and the history of
mankind, which exhibits a moral order and purpose which can only
be explained on the supposition of the existence of God.
Conscience and human history testify that "verily there is a God
that judgeth in the earth."
The attributes of God are set forth in order by Moses in Ex.
34:6,7. (see also Deut. 6:4; 10:17; Num. 16:22; Ex. 15:11;
33:19; Isa. 44:6; Hab. 3:6; Ps. 102:26; Job 34:12.) They are
also systematically classified in Rev. 5:12 and 7:12.
God's attributes are spoken of by some as absolute, i.e., such
as belong to his essence as Jehovah, Jah, etc.; and relative,
i.e., such as are ascribed to him with relation to his
creatures. Others distinguish them into communicable, i.e.,
those which can be imparted in degree to his creatures:
goodness, holiness, wisdom, etc.; and incommunicable, which
cannot be so imparted: independence, immutability, immensity,
and eternity. They are by some also divided into natural
attributes, eternity, immensity, etc.; and moral, holiness,
champion of God, used as a proper name to designate the angel
who was sent to Daniel (8:16) to explain the vision of the ram
and the he-goat, and to communicate the prediction of the
seventy weeks (Dan. 9:21-27).
He announced also the birth of John the Baptist (Luke 1:11),
and of the Messiah (26). He describes himself in the words, "I
am Gabriel, who stand in the presence of God" (1:19).
God his salvation, a son of David, 2 Sam. 5:15 = Elishama, 1
rock of God, chief of the family of the Merarites (Num. 3:35) at
the time of the Exodus.
whom God has blessed, a Buzite, the father of Elihu, one of
Job's friends (Job 32:2, 6).
deliverance of God, the prince of Issachar who assisted "to
divide the land by inheritance" (Num. 34:26).
fortune (i.e., sent) of God, the representative of the tribe of
Zebulum among the twelve spies (Num. 13:10).
Esther, Book of
The authorship of this book is unknown. It must have been
obviously written after the death of Ahasuerus (the Xerxes of
the Greeks), which took place B.C. 465. The minute and
particular account also given of many historical details makes
it probable that the writer was contemporary with Mordecai and
Esther. Hence we may conclude that the book was written probably
about B.C. 444-434, and that the author was one of the Jews of
This book is more purely historical than any other book of
Scripture; and it has this remarkable peculiarity that the name
of God does not occur in it from first to last in any form. It
has, however, been well observed that "though the name of God be
not in it, his finger is." The book wonderfully exhibits the
providential government of God.
(Acts 17:29; Rom. 1:20; Col. 2:9), the essential being or the
nature of God.
the Omnipotent, the name of God in frequent use in the Hebrew
Scriptures, generally translated "the Almighty."