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Theological Dictionary: K - Z

Raphaele Dechirante

Kenosis

This is a teaching concerning Jesus' incarnation. The Kenosis attempts to solve some paradoxes between the nature of God and of man as united in Jesus. For example, how could an all knowing God become a baby, or how could God be tempted? The Kenosis maintains that God when becoming a man divested Himself of some qualities of being a man. In a sense, the Kenosis is God minus something e.g. God subtracting some qualities of deity to become a man. The Hypostatic Union is God plus something e.g. God adding human nature to Himself. The Kenosis, then, jeopardizes the true incarnation because it puts in doubt the full indwelling of God among men in the person of Jesus. (Compare with Hypostatic Union.)

Kingdom of God

The kingdom of God and the kingdom of heaven seem to be variations of the same idea. A kingdom implies a king. Our king is Jesus. Jesus said His kingdom was not of this world (John 18:36). Jesus' authority did not come from man but from God (Luke 22:29). Entrance into the kingdom of God is by a new birth (John 3:5), repentance (Matthew 3:2), and the divine call (1 Thessalonians 2:12). We are told to seek the kingdom of God first (Matthew 6:33) and to pray for its arrival (Matthew 6:10). "The kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit" (Romans 14:17). It is also a future kingdom where full rulership in the actual presence of the king Jesus will occur when He returns to earth. Jesus' adding to Himself the nature of man by becoming one of us is known as the Hypostatic Union. Errors dealing with the relationship of Jesus' two natures are: 1) Monophycitism which states that Jesus' two natures combined into one new one; the problem here is that neither God nor man was represented in Christ. 2) Nestorianism which states that the two natures of Christ were so separated from each other that they were "not in contact;" the problem here is that worship of the human Jesus would then not be allowed. 3) Eutychianismis similar to Monophycitism. It states that Christ's natures were so thoroughly combined -- in a sense scrambled together -- that a new third thing emerged; the problem is this implies that Jesus was not truly God nor man, therefore unable to act as mediator.

Law

The Law is God's instructions concerning the moral, social, and spiritual behavior of His people found in the first five books of the Bible. The Law is the very reflection of the nature of God because God speaks out of the abundance of what is in Him. Therefore, since God is pure, the Law is pure. Since God is holy, the Law is holy. The Law consists of the 10 commandments (Exodus 20), rules for social life (Exodus 21:1-23:33), and rules for the worship of God (Exodus 25:1-31:18). It was a covenant of works between God and man and was (and is) unable to deliver us into eternal fellowship with the Lord because of Man's inability to keep it. The Law is a difficult taskmaster because it requires that we maintain a perfect standard of moral behavior. And then when we fail, the Law condemns us to death. We deserve death even if we fail to keep just one point of the law: "For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all" (James 2:10). The law made nothing perfect (Hebrews 7:19). That is why the Law has shown us our need for Jesus and the free gift we receive through Him (Galatians 3:24).

Man

Man is the creation of God. It is man alone who reflects God. The first man, Adam, was made in God's image (Genesis 1:26, 27), and placed in the Garden of Eden for the purpose of enjoying the fellowship of the Lord and fulfilling the purpose of God's creation. He was told to "be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky, and over every living thing that moves on the earth" (Genesis 2:28). When Adam and Eve sinned, all of humanity fell with them (Romans 5:12-21). Adam represented all humanity: "In Adam all die..." (1 Corinthians 15:22). As a result of Adam's disobedience, condemnation resulted to all men (Romans 5:18). Therefore we are by nature children of wrath (Ephesians 2:3). We do not seek God (Romans 3:11) nor can we understand the spiritual things of God (1 Corinthians 2:14). Since this is the condition of man in his natural state, salvation is then impossible for us to achieve (Matthew 19:26). That is why we need the free gift of salvation (Romans 6:23) given by God to Christians through faith in Jesus' sacrifice on the cross.

Mediation, Mediator

A mediator is someone who intervenes, someone who conveys and conciliates. The word "mediator" is not found in the O.T., but its principle is. God gave the Law to the people through a mediator, Moses (Galatians 3:19), who was a type of the true mediator, Jesus. The word occurs only a few times in the N.T.: 1 Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 8:6; 9:15; 12:24. It is in the N.T. that the true nature of mediation is understood in the person of Jesus Christ. He is the mediator of a better covenant (Hebrews 8:6). He was able to become our mediator by becoming man (John 1:1,14) and dying as our substitute (1 Peter 1:18,19; 2:24). He reconciled us to God (Ephesians 2:16).

Mercy

Mercy is the act of not meeting justice when that justice is punitive. Because of our sinfulness we deserve death and eternal separation from God (Romans 6:23; Isaiah 59:2), but God provided an atonement for sin and through it shows us mercy. That is, He does not deliver to the Christian the natural consequence of his sin which is damnation. That is why Jesus became sin on our behalf (2 Corinthians 5:21) and bore the punishment due to us (Isaiah 53:4-5). It was to deliver us from damnation. (Compare with Justice and Grace.) God saved us according to His mercy (Titus 3:5) and we can practice mercy as a gift (Romans 12:8). "Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need" (Hebrews 4:16).

Messiah

Messiah is a Hebrew word. It means "anointed one." It is the equivalent of the N.T. word "Christ" which also means "anointed." Jesus, as the messiah, was anointed by God (Matthew 3:16) to carry out His three-fold ministry of Prophet, Priest, and King. As the messiah He has delivered the Christian from the bonds of sin and given to him eternal life. In that sense, messiah means deliverer, for He has delivered us. The Messiah was promised in the O.T. in the seed of the woman (Genesis 3:15).

Millennium

Literally, this word means 1000 years. In the study of end times doctrines (eschatology) the millennium is the duration of Christ's rule over the earth. The debate has been over when the millennium will take place. The terms that have arisen out of this debate are premillennialism, amillennialism, and postmillennialism. Premillennialism teaches that the millennium is yet future and that upon Christ's return He will set up His earthly kingdom. Amillennialism teaches that the millennium is a figurative period and that Christ's rule began when He first became man. Postmillennialism teaches that through the preaching of the Word of God, the world will be converted and will then usher in Christ and the kingdom of God. There are good arguments for each position.

Miracle

A miracle is an out-of-the-ordinary direct and divine intervention in the world. Examples would be the parting of the Red Sea, Jesus walking on water, the resurrection of Lazarus, etc. Some hold that it is a violation of the natural order of physical laws. Others maintain that there is no such violation upon God's part but only a natural manifestation of His work. They are also known as powers and signs (Mark 9:39; Acts 2:22, 19:11) and mighty works (John 10:25-38). They are a manifestation of the power of God over nature (Josh. 10:12-14), animals (Numbers 22:28), people (Genesis 19:26), and illness (2 Kings 5:10-14). They are produced by God's power (Acts 15:12), Christ's power (Matthew 10:1), and the Holy Spirit's power (Matthew 12:28).

Monergism

The teaching that God alone is the one who saves. It is opposed to synergism which teaches that God and man work together in salvation. Cults are synergistic. Christianity is monergistic.

Monophycitism

This is an error regarding the two natures of Jesus (See Hypostatic Union). It states that Jesus' two natures are combined into one new one; the problem here is that neither God nor man was represented in Christ but a new third thing. (Other errors regarding the two natures of Christ are Nestorianism and Eutychianism.)

Monolatry

The belief that there is more than one God, but only one is served and worshiped. Mormonism is an excellent example of monolatry. It teaches the existence of many Gods of many worlds, yet worships only the one of this planet. Therefore, monolatry is a division of polytheism, the belief in many gods. It is a teaching contrary to Scripture. See Isaiah 43:10; 44:6,8; 45:5-6.

Monotheism

The belief that there is only one God in all places at all times. There were none before God and there will be none after Him. Monotheism is the teaching of the Bible (Isaiah 43:10; 44:6,8; 45:5,14,18,21,22; 46:9; 47:8).

Nestorianism

States that the two natures of Christ were so separated from each other that they were "not in contact"; the problem here is that worship of the human Jesus would then not be allowed. (See also Hypostatic Union, Eutychianism, and Monophycitism.)

Occult

Occult means "hidden". It covers practices that are not approved of by God e.g., astrology (Isaiah 47:13), casting spells (Deuteronomy 18:11), consulting with spirits (Deuteronomy 18:11), magic (Genesis 41:8), sorcery (Exodus 22:8), witchcraft (Deuteronomy 18:10), and spiritism (Deuteronomy 18:11). Occult practices such as Ouija boards, tarot cards, astrology charts, contacting the dead, seances, etc. are to be avoided by the Christian.

Omnipotence

An attribute of God alone. It is the quality of having all power (Psalm 115:3). He can do all things that do not conflict with His holy nature. God has the power to do anything He wants to.

Omnipresence

An attribute of God alone. It is the quality of being present in all places at all times (Jeremiah 23:23,24). He is not bound by time and space. This does not mean that nature is a part of God and is, therefore, to be worshiped. Creation is separate from God, but not independent of Him.

Omniscience

An attribute of God alone. It is the quality of having all knowledge (Isaiah 40:14). Omnipotence, Omnipresence, and Omniscience represent the nature of God concerning His relation to the creation.

Oracles

Oracles are the divine revelations given to God's people. God's method of communicating these oracles varied from dreams and visions (Numbers 12:6-8), to wisdom (Proverbs 30:1), and even the Urim and Thummim (Numbers 27:21; 1 Samuel 14:3-37).

Original Sin

This is a term used to describe the effect of Adam's sin on his descendants (Romans 5:12-23). Specifically, it is our inheritance of a sinful nature from Adam. The sinful nature originated with Adam and is passed down from parent to child. We are by nature children of wrath (Ephesians 3:2). \par \par 1. The Urim and Thummim were placed in the breastplate of the high priest (Exodus 28:30) and were used as a means of communication with God. They mean "light" and "perfection". Unfortunately, they are not described anywhere in the Bible. Some theories maintain that they were twelve stones that made up part of the high priests garments. The process of the communication with God is not given either.

Pantheism

This is an identification of the universe with God. With this view there is a blurring of the distinction between the Creator and the creation as well as an attack upon the personality and nature of God. Pantheism tends to equate God with the process of the universe and states that the universe is God and God is the universe. This is not true because God is the creator of the universe (Isaiah 44:24) and therefore separate from it.

Pelagianism

The teaching of a monk named Pelagius in the fifth Century. He taught that man's will has and still is free to choose good or evil and there is no inherited sin (through Adam). Every infant born into the world is in the same condition as Adam before the fall and becomes a sinner because he sins. This is opposed to the Biblical teaching that we are by nature children of wrath (Ephesians 3:2) and that we sin because we are sinners. Pelagius said we are able to keep the commandments of God out of our own abilities because God has given us the ability. Therefore, there is no need of redemption and the crucifixion of Jesus is merely a supreme example of love, humility, obedience, and sacrifice. This heresy has its relatives in the form of the cults that deny the total dependence upon God and maintain that salvation is obtainable through our own efforts. (Compare to Arminianism and Calvinism.)

Pentateuch

This word is from the Greek penta , "five" and teuchos , "a tool". It refers to the first five books of the Bible known as Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. All five were authored by Moses and are also known as "the Law".

Pentecost

The word comes from the Greek which means fifty. So, Pentecost was a celebration on the fiftieth day after Passover. It was a culmination of the feast of weeks (Exodus 34:22,23). Pentecost in the N.T. is the arrival of the Holy Spirit for the church (Acts 2). At Pentecost the disciples of Jesus were gathered and upon the filling of the Holy Spirit, they heard a great wind and spoke in tongues as tongues of fire that settled upon them. The significance of the fire can be found in recognizing it as a symbol of the dwelling of the Spirit of God (Exodus 19:18; 1 Peter 4:14).

Pneumatology

The study of the Holy Spirit, His person, works, relation to the Father and Son, relation to man, ministry in salvation and sanctification, conviction, and indwelling.

Polytheism

The teaching that there are many gods. In the Ancient Near East the nation of Israel was faced with the problem of the gods of other nations creeping into the theology of Judaism and corrupting the true revelation of God. Baal was the god of rain and exercised a powerful influence over the religion of many pagan cultures and even into the Jewish community. This is so because rain was essential to survival. Rain meant the crops would grow, the animals would have water, and the people would be able to eat. If there was no rain, death prevailed. Such visible realities often carried the spiritual character of the nation of Israel into spiritual adultery, that is, worshiping other gods. The Bible does recognize the existence of other gods, but only as false gods (1 Corinthians 8:5; Galatians 4:8) and clearly teaches that there is only one true God (Isaiah 43:10; 44:6, 8; 45:5, 18, 21, 22; 46:9). (See Monotheism.)

Postmillennialism

The belief that through the preaching of the word of God, the entire world will be converted to Christianity and this will usher in the kingdom of Christ. This is when Christ will return.

Prayer

A privilege and an obligation of the Christian where we communicate with God. It is how we convey our confession (1 John 1:9), requests (1 Timothy 2:1-3), intercessions (James 5:15), thanksgiving (Philippians 4:6), etc., to our holy God. We are commanded to pray (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Some personal requirements of prayer are a pure heart (Psalm 66:18), belief in Christ (John 14:13), and according to God's will (1 John 5:14). We can pray standing (Nehemiah 9:5), kneeling (Ezra 9:5), sitting (1 Chronicles 17:16-27), bowing (Exodus 34:8), and with lifted hands (1 Timothy 2:8).

Predestine, Predestination

The doctrine that God has fore-ordained all things which will come to pass yet He is not the author of sin. He does, however, use sinful things for His glory and purpose. For example, the crucifixion was brought about by sinful men who unrighteously put Jesus to death (Acts 4:27); yet, in that death, we are reconciled to God (Romans 5:10). Predestination maintains that God is the one who wills who will be saved (Romans 9:16) and that it is not up to the desire of the person (John 1:13). God is the one who ordains the Christian into forgiveness, "...and as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed" (Acts 13:48). Also, "For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren; and whom He predestined, these he also called; and who He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified" (Romans 8:29-30). Further verses to examine are Ephesians 1:4,11; Romans 9. (See also Election and Sovereignty.)

Premillennialism

This is a teaching concerning the end times (eschatology). It says that there is a future millennium (1000 years) where Christ will rule and reign over the earth. At the beginning of the millennium Satan and his angels will be bound and peace will exist on the entire earth. At the end of the 1000 years Satan will be released in order to raise an army against Jesus. Jesus will destroy them and then the final judgment will take place with the new heavens and the new earth being made.

Prophet

Someone who is the mouthpiece of God. He stands between God and man to communicate to man the word of God. When the prophet spoke as the mouthpiece he was inspired and without error. The prophet, though, is not a puppet or a mindless repeater of what he hears. Instead, he retains his own will, mind, and thoughts as he speaks for God. God would put His words in their mouths (Deuteronomy 18:18; Jeremiah 1:9). A prophet was God's servant (Zechariah 1:6) and messenger (2 Chronicles 36:15). The prophecies fell into three categories: concerning the destiny of Israel, the messianic prophecies, and eschatological prophecies. The term Law and Prophets refers to the writings of the O.T. divided into two categories. The Law is the Pentateuch, or Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. The Prophets are all the rest of the O.T. books.

Propitiation

This means the turning away of wrath by an offering. It is similar to expiation but expiation does not carry the nuances involving wrath. For the Christian the propitiation was the shed blood of Jesus on the cross. It turned away the wrath of God so that He could pass "over the sins previously committed" (Romans 3:25). It was the Father who sent the Son to be the propitiation (1 John 4:10) for all (1 John 2:2).

Purgatory

A doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church. Purgatory is the belief that there exists a place after death where some of the sins of people are purged through suffering. After a period of time corresponding to the suffering necessary for the sins committed, the person is then set free and enters heaven. "Gifts or services rendered to the church, prayers by the priests, and masses provided by relatives or friends in behalf of the deceased can shorten, alleviate or eliminate the sojourn of the soul in purgatory." This is a doctrine rejected by the Protestant church. It reflects the misunderstanding of the atonement of Christ as well as adding insult to the finished work of the cross. Purgatory is the teaching that we might perfect ourselves and remove sin through our sufferings. If that were possible, then why did Christ need to die? Galatians 2:21 says, "I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!" (NIV) Additionally, on the cross Jesus said, "It is finished" (John 19:30). In the Greek, this was an accounting term which meant a debt was paid in full. If the payment for our sins was paid in full on the cross, then how could purgatory be a reality -- especially when the scriptures do not mention it and even contradict it: "Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment" (Hebrews 9:27).

Rapture

The rapture is an eschatological (end times) event where upon the return of Christ the true believers who are "alive and remain shall be caught up together with them [those who already died as Christians] in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air..." (1 Thessalonians 4:17). This is the time of the resurrection where the Christian receives his resurrected body. First to receive their new bodies are those who have died as Christians, and then "those who are alive and remain." There is much debate over the time of the rapture. Does it occur at the beginning, in the middle, or at the end of the tribulation period? (See Tribulation.)

Reconcile, Reconciliation

Reconciliation is changing for the better a relationship between two or more persons. Theologically it refers to the change of relationship between God and man. We are naturally children of wrath (Ephesians 2:3), and are at enmity with God (Ephesians 2:11-15); but, "...we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son..." (Romans 5:10). Because of the death of Jesus, the Christian's relationship with God is changed for the better. We are now able to have fellowship with Him (1 John 1:3) whereas before we could not. So, we are reconciled to Him (Romans 5:10-11). The problem of sin that separates us from God (Isaiah 59:2) has been addressed and removed in the cross. It was accomplished by God in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:18).

Redemption

Redemption means to free someone from bondage. It often involves the paying of a ransom, a price that makes redemption possible. The Israelites were redeemed from Egypt. We were redeemed from the power of sin and the curse of the Law (Galatians 3:13) through Jesus (Romans 3:24; Colossians 1:14). We were bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:20; 7:23).

Repentance

To repent means to turn. In the N.T. repentance means to turn from sin. We were called by God to turn from sin. In fact, all men everywhere are commanded by God to repent of their sins (Acts 17:30). God's longsuffering leads us to repentance (2 Peter 3:9) as does His kindness (Romans 2:4). There is true and false repentance, "For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation; but the sorrow of the world produces death" (2 Corinthians 7:10).

Resurrection, resurrection bodies

Resurrection means to be raised from the dead (John 5:28,29). The word is used in different contexts in the Bible. Lazarus was raised from the dead (John 11:43). This is a resurrection, but it is not part of the resurrection that occurs when we receive our new bodies when Christ returns (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18), on the last day (John 6:39-44) when the last trumpet is blown (1 Corinthians 15:51-55). Lazarus died again. The resurrection of Jesus is promissory in that as we know He was raised, so we will be raised also. In that context, Jesus is the only one who has received a resurrected body. That is why He is called the first-fruit from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:20-23). We will receive our bodies either at the rapture or when Jesus returns to earth. The resurrected body is not subject to death or sin. We know very little about it except what was was manifested by Jesus after His resurrection; namely, that He was able to move about as He desired -- in and out of rooms without the use of doors. Other than that, the rest is conjecture. (See 1 Corinthians 15).

Revelation

This means the disclosure of something that was unknown. There are two types of revelation: natural and special. Natural revelation is that which is revealed about God through what we can see in creation (Romans 1:20). Through creation we may learn that there is a God, that He is in control, that He has an order, and that He is concerned for our welfare. However, through natural revelation, we are not able to discover the plan of salvation. That comes from special revelation. Special revelation is that which is given to us through Prophets, the Bible, and even visions and dreams (Numbers 12:6-8). The ultimate in revelation is the incarnation of Jesus because He came to reveal the Father to us (Matthew 11:27; Luke 10:22; Hebrews 1:1-3) and to communicate to us the gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) by which comes salvation.

Righteousness

Righteousness is an attribute of moral purity belonging to God alone (John 17:25). It is He alone who is truly righteous. No one in the world is righteous in the eyes of the Lord, that is, except the Christian. We are counted righteous in the eyes of God when we receive Jesus by faith (Philippians 3:9). Our righteousness is based on what Jesus did on the cross. The righteousness that was Christ's is counted to us. We, then, are seen as righteous in the eyes of God. Though we are actually worthy of damnation, we are made righteous (Isaiah 61:10) by Jesus' sacrifice on the cross. As a result, will spend eternity in the presence of the holy, pure, loving, kind, gentle, and righteous God. Our righteousness.

Sacrament

A visible manifestation of the word. The bread and wine in the Lord's Supper are considered sacraments in that they are visible manifestations of the covenant promise of our Lord: "In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, 'This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.'" (Luke 22:20).

God, in the O.T. used visible signs along with His spoken word. These visible signs, then, were considered to have significance. "Among the O.T. sacraments the rites of circumcision and the Passover were stressed as being the O.T. counterparts of baptism (Colossians 2:22-12) and the Lord's Supper (1 Corinthians 5:7)."

Salvation

Salvation is the deliverance from sin. When someone appeals to God and seeks forgiveness in Jesus, his sins are removed. He is cleansed. His relationship with God is restored, and he is made a new creature (2 Corinthians 5:17). All of this is the work of God, not man. Salvation is a free gift (Romans 6:23). We are saved from damnation. When anyone sins, and we all have (Romans 3:23; 6:23), he deserves eternal separation from God (Isaiah 59:2). Yet, because of His love and mercy, God became a man (John 1:1,14) and bore the sins of the world in His body on the cross (1 Peter 2:24; 1 John 2:2). We are forgiven when we realize there is nothing we can do to merit the favor of God and put our trust in what Jesus did for us on the cross (Ephesians 2:8-9; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4). Only God saves. The only thing we bring to the cross is our sin. Both God the Father (Isaiah 14:21) and Jesus (John 4:42) are called Savior; that is, deliverer from sin. Remember, it was the Father who sent the Son (1 John 4:10) to be the Saviour.

Sanctify, Sanctification

To sanctify means to be set apart for a holy use. God has set us apart for the purpose of sanctification not impurity (1 Thessalonians 4:7) and being such we are called to do good works (Ephesians 2:10). Christians are to sanctify Christ as Lord in their hearts (1 Peter 3:15). God sanctified Israel as His own special nation (Ezekiel 37:28). People can be sanctified (Exodus 19:10,14) and so can a mountain (Exodus 19:23), the Sabbath day (Genesis 2:3), the tabernacle (Exodus 20:39), and every created thing is sanctified through the word of God and prayer (1 Timothy 4:4).

Sanctification follows

(See Justification). In justification our sins are completely forgiven in Christ. Sanctification is the process by which the Holy Spirit makes us more like Christ in all that we do, think, and desire. True sanctification is impossible apart from the atoning work of Christ on the cross because only after our sins are forgiven can we begin to lead a holy life.

Scriptures

The scriptures are, quite simply, the Bible which consists of 39 books in the Old Testament and 27 in the New Testament. Each one is inspired, without error, and is completely accurate in all things it addresses. The entire Bible, though written by many people over thousands of years is totally in harmony in all its teachings. This is because each book of the Bible is inspired.

Second Coming, The

The Second Coming is a term applied to the return of Christ. If there is a second coming, it follows that there must have been a first. The first coming of Christ was His incarnation when He was born. At the second coming of Christ every eye will see Him (Revelation 1:7) as He descends from heavens in the clouds (Matthew 24:30; Mark 14:62).

Septuagint, The

The Septuagint is the Greek translation of the Old Testament. The Old Testament was originally written in Hebrew. It was during the reign of Ptolemy Philadelphus (285-246 B.C.) That the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible, were translated into Greek. Shortly afterwards the rest of the Old Testament was also translated. This translation was done by approximately 70 translators. Hence, the Septuagint is known by the letters LXX, the Roman numerals for seventy.

Sin

Sin is anything that is contrary to the law or will of God. For example: if you lie, you have sinned. Why? Because God has said not to lie (Exodus 20:16). If you do what God has forbidden, then you have sinned. In addition, if you do not do what God has commanded, you sin (James 4:17). Either way, the result is eternal separation from God (Isaiah 59:2). Sin is lawlessness (1 John 1:3) and unrighteousness (1 John 5:17). Sin leads to blindness (John 9:41) and death (Romans 6:23).

Paul, in the book of Romans, discusses sin. He shows that everyone, both Jew and Greek, is under sin (Romans 3:9). He shows that sin is not simply something that is done, but a condition of the heart (Romans 3:3:10-12). In Ephesians Paul says that we are "by nature children of wrath" (Romans 2:3). Yet, "while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly" (Romans 5:6).

Son of God

This is a title of Jesus. It implies His deity (John 5:18) because the title is one of equality with God. In the O.T. it was figuratively applied to Israel (Exodus 4:22). In the N.T. it is applied to Christ (Luke 1:35). It has many facets, for example: It shows that He is to be honored equally with the Father (John 5:22-23). That He is to be worshiped (Matthew 2:2,11;14:33;28;9; John 9:35-38; Hebrews 1:6); called God (John 20:28; Hebrews 1:8); prayed to (Acts 7:55-60; 1 Corinthians 1:1-2).

Soteriology

The study of the doctrine of salvation. It is derived from the Greek word soterious which means salvation. Some of the subjects of soteriology are the atonement, imputation, and regeneration.

Soul Sleep

The teaching that when a person dies his soul ceases to exist. On the final judgement day he is brought back to life and judged. This is not a heresy, only an error of interpretation. The Bible is not specific on the condition of the person after death and between the resurrection, however, there are scriptures that strongly suggest man's continued self-awareness and continued existence after death (Luke 16:19-31; 2 Corinthians 5:1-10; Philippians 1:21-23).

Sovereignty

The right of God to do as He wishes (Psalm 50:1; Isaiah 40:15; 1 Timothy 6:15) with His creation. This implies that there is no external influence upon Him and that He also has the ability to exercise His right according to His will.

Spiritual Gifts

Spiritual gifts are gifts given by Jesus to His church. Spiritual gifts are discussed in 1 Corinthians 12-14 and Romans 12. They vary in degree and nature. There are some that are obviously supernatural in the usage: speaking in tongues, discerning of spirits, healing, etc. There are others that are not so supernatural: administrations, help, admonition, etc. There is debate over the continuance of the gifts. Some say that the gifts have ceased because we now have the Bible. They argue that the gifts were used for the building of the body of Christ during the beginning of the Christian church when the Bible was not complete. Since the Bible is complete there is no further need for the revelatory gifts, that is, gifts that give revelatory like speaking in tongues and the interpretation of tongues. Others maintain that the gifts are all for today though to a lesser degree. There are good arguments on both sides.

Synagogue

A Jewish house of worship. Traditionally the first synagogues were established during the Babylonian exile. The early synagogues had a place in the center of the room where the sacred scrolls were kept and from where they were read. It is from the worship order established in synagogues that our modern church patterns of reading and expounding upon scripture from the pulpit are derived.

Synergism

The teaching that we cooperate with God in our efforts of salvation. This is opposed to monergism which is the teaching that God is the sole agent involved in salvation. Cults are synergistic in that they teach that God's grace combined with our efforts are what makes forgiveness of sins possible.

Tabernacle

The tabernacle was the structure ordered built by God so that He might dwell among His people (Exodus 25:8). It was to be mobile and constructed to exacting specifications. It is referred to in Exodus 25-27, 30-31, 35-40; Numbers 3:25ff.; 4:4 ff.; 7:1ff. In all of scripture more space is devoted to the tabernacle than any other topic. Many books have been written on the spiritual significance of the tabernacle, how it represented Christ, and how it foretold the gospel. The tabernacle consisted of the outer court and the tabernacle. The outer court was entered from the East in which were the altar of burnt offering (Exodus 27:1-8) and the bronze laver (Exodus 30:17-21). The tabernacle stood within the court (Exodus 26:1 ff.). It was divided into two main divisions: the holy place and the holy of holies which were separated by a veil (Exodus 26:31 ff.), the same veil that was torn from top to bottom at the crucifixion of Jesus (Matthew 27:51). Where the veil had represented the barrier separating sinful man from a holy God (Hebrews 9:8), its destruction represented the free access sinners have to God through the blood of Christ (Hebrews 10:19 ff.). The tabernacle was a place of sacrifice. The holy place contained three things: first, a table on which was placed the shewbread, the bread of the presence (Exodus 25:23-30), second, a golden lampstand (Exodus 25:31-40) and third, an altar of incense (Exodus 30:1-7). In the holy of holies was the ark of the covenant which contained the Ten Commandments (Exodus 25:16). The holy of holies was entered only once a year by the high priest who offered sacrifice for the nation of Israel.

Temptation

That which moves us to sin. God cannot be tempted (James 1:13). But we can be tempted by our lusts (James 1:13-15), money (1 Timothy 6:9), lack of self examination (Galatians 6:1), and the boastful pride of life (1 John 2:16), to name a few. We are commanded to pray to be delivered from temptation (Matthew 6:13) for the Lord is capable of delivering us from it (2 Peter 2:9).

Testament

The word 'testament' is a derivation of the Latin word testamentum, which was used in Jerome's Vulgate to translate the Hebrew word b'rith, covenant. The Greek equivalent is diatheke, which also means covenant. The word has come to be used in describing the two main divisions of the Bible: The Old Testament and The New Testament. It should be understood then, that the Bible is generally to be looked at as a covenant between God and man. 'Testament' is one of several hundred words that have changed meaning since King James' time.

Tetragrammaton

This is a term applied to the four Hebrew letters that make up the name of God. In English the letters are basically equivalent to YHWH. It is from these four letters that the name of God is derived and has been rendered as Yahweh and Jehovah. The true pronunciation of God's name has been lost through lack of use, because the Jews, who were first given the name of God, would not pronounce it out of their awe and respect for God.

Theism

The teaching that there is a God and that He is actively involved in the affairs of the world. This does not necessitate the Christian concept of God, but includes it. (Compare to Deism.)

Theodicy

The study of the problem of evil in the world. The issue is raised in light of the sovereignty of God. How could a holy and loving God who is in control of all things allow evil to exist? The answer has been debated for as long as the church has existed. We still do not have a definitive answer and the Bible does not seek to justify God's actions. It is clear that God is sovereign, and that He has willed the existence of both good and evil, and that all of this is for His own glory. Proverbs 16:4 says, "The LORD works out everything for his own ends -- even the wicked for a day of disaster"; Isaiah 45:7 says, "I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the LORD, do all these things."

Theology

The study of God, His nature, attributes, character, abilities, revelation, etc. True theology is found in the Bible which is the self-revelation of God.

Theophany

A theophany is a visible and sometimes physical manifestation of God usually restricted to the Old Testament. God has appeared in dreams (Genesis 20:3-7; 28:12-17), visions (Genesis 15:1-21; Isaiah 6:1-13), as an angel (Genesis 16:7-13; 18:1-33). There is a manifestation known as the Angel of the Lord (Judges 6:20 f.) and seems to have characteristics of God Himself (Genesis 16:7-9; 18:1-2; Exodus 3:2-6; Josh. 5:14; Judges 2:1-5; 6:11). Such characteristics as having the name of God, being worshiped, and recognized as God has led many scholars to conclude that the angel of the Lord is really Jesus manifested in the Old Testament. This does not mean that Jesus is an angel. The word "angel" means messenger. Some examples of theophanies are found in Genesis17:1; 18:1; Exodus 6:2-3; 24:9-11; Numbers 12:6-8.

Total Depravity

The doctrine that fallen man is completely touched by sin and that he is completely a sinner. He is not as bad as he could be, but in all areas of his being, body, soul, spirit, mind, emotions, etc., he is touched by sin. In that sense he is totally depraved. Because man is depraved, nothing good can come out of him (Romans 3:10-12) and God must account the righteousness of Christ to him. This righteousness is obtainable only through faith in Christ and what He did on the cross. Total depravity is generally believed by the Calvinist groups and rejected by the Arminian groups.

Transcendence

A theological term referring to the relation of God to creation. God is "other," "different" from His creation. He is independent and different from His creatures (Isaiah 55:8-9). He transcends His creation. He is beyond it and not limited by it or to it.

Transfiguration

This refers to the mysterious change that occurred to Jesus on the mount: "Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white." (Matthew 17:1-2). The transfiguration preceded Jesus' time on the cross and may have been the Father's preparatory provision to strengthen Jesus as He prepared to bear the sins of the world.

Tribulation, The

According to premillennialism, this is a 7 year period that immediately precedes the return of Christ and the millennial kingdom of His rule which lasts for 1000 years. It will be a time of great peace (the first 3.5 years) and great war (the second 3.5 years) when the Antichrist rules over many nations. At the mid-point of the tribulation (at the end of the first 3.5 years) the Antichrist will proclaim himself worthy of worship. Many will bow down and worship the Antichrist and many will refuse. Those who refuse to worship the Antichrist will be killed. The second half of the tribulation is called the Great Tribulation. It will involve the whole world (Revelation 3:10). There will be catastrophes all over the world. (See Matthew 24; Mark 13; Luke 17.)

Trichotomy

The teaching that the human consists of three parts: body, soul, and spirit. (Compare with Dichotomy.)

Trinity

The word "trinity" is not found in the Bible. Nevertheless, it is a word used to describe one fact the Bible teaches about God: Our God is a Trinity. This means there are three persons in one God, not three Gods. The persons are known as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit and they have all always existed as three separate persons. The person of the Father is not the same person as the Son. The person of the Son is not the same person as the Holy Spirit. The person of the Holy Spirit is not the same person as the Father. If you take away any one, there is no God. God has always been a trinity from all eternity: "From everlasting to everlasting, Thou art God" (Psalm 90:2). God is not one person who took three forms, i.e., the Father who became the Son, who then became the Holy Spirit. The Bible says there is only one God. Yet, it says Jesus is God (John 1:1,14); it says the Father is God (Philippians 1:2); and it says the Holy Spirit is God (Acts 5:3-4). Since the Son speaks to the Father, they are separate persons. Since the Holy Spirit speaks also (Acts 13:2), He is a separate person. There is one God who exists in three persons. The following chart should help you understand how the Trinity doctrine is derived.

T H E T R I N I T Y

FATHER ~ SON ~HOLY SPIRIT

Called God: Philippians 1:2; John 1:1,14; Colossians 2:9; Acts 5:3-4

Creator: Isaiah 64:8; 44:24; John 1:3; Colossians 1:15-17; Job 33:4,26:13

Resurrects: Thessalonians 1:10; John 2:19, 10:17; Romans 8:11

Indwells: Corinthians 6:16; Colossians 1:27; John 14:17

Everywhere: Kings 8:27; Matthew 28:20; Psalm 139:7-10

All knowing: John 3:20; John 16:30; 21:17; 1 Corinthians 2:10-11

Sanctifies: Thessalonians 5:23; Hebrews 2:11; 1 Peter 1:2

Life giver: Genesis 2:7; John 5;21; John 1:3; 5:21; Corinthians 3:6,8

Fellowship: John 1:3; 1 Corinthians 1:9; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Philippians 2:1

Eternal: Psalm 90:2; Micah 5:1-2; Romans 8:11; Hebrews 9:14

A Will: Luke 22:42; Luke 22:42; Corinthians 12:11

Speaks: Matthew 3:17; Luke 9:25; Luke 5:20; 7:48;Acts 8:29; 11:12; 13:2

Love: John 3:16; Ephesians 5: 25; Romans 15:30

Searches the heart: Jeremiah 17:10; Rev. 2:23; Corinthians 2:10

We belong to: John 17:9; John 17:6

Saviour: Timothy 1:1; 2:3; 4:10; Timothy 1:10; Titus 1:4; 3:6

We serve: Matthew 4:10; Colossians 3:24

Believe in: John 14:1; John 14:1

Gives joy: John 15:11; Romans 14:7

Judges: John 8:50; John 5:21,30

Type, Typology

A type is a representation by one thing of another. Adam was a type of Christ (Romans 5:14) and so was Isaac (Hebrews 11:19). The passover was a type of Christ (1 Corinthians 5:7). There are many types in the Bible and most of them are too extensive and deep to be listed. An example of a typology follows: Isaac a type of Jesus.

ISAAC AS A TYPE OF JESUS

Only begotten Son: Genesis 22:2; John 3:16

Offered on a mountain, hill: 22:2 Matthew 21:10

Took donkey to place of sacrifice: 22:3 Matthew 21:2-11

Two men went with him: 22:3 Mark 15:27; Luke 23:33

Three day journey. Jesus: three days in the grave: 22:4 Luke 24:13-21

Son carried wood on his back up hill: 22:6 John 19:17

God will provide for Himself the lamb: 22:8 John 1:29

Son was offered on the wood: 22:9 Luke 23:33

Ram in thicket of thorns: 22:13 John 19:2

The seed will be multiplied: 22:17 John 1:12; Isaiah 53:10

Abraham went down, Son did not, "not mentioned.": 22:19 Luke 23:46

Servant gets bride for son: 24:1-4 Ephesians 5:22-32; Rev. 21:2,9; 22:17

The bride was a beautiful virgin: Corinthians 11:2

Servant offered ten gifts to bride: Romans 6:23; 12; 1 Corinthians 12

Universalism

The belief that every person will be saved, regardless of what sins the person committed and whether he repents or not.

Word, The

In Greek the word for "word" is logos. It is used in many places, but of special interest is how it is used of Jesus. In John 1:1 it says, "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God." The Word is divine and the word "became flesh and dwelt among us" (John 1:14). In other words, Jesus is the Word of God who represents God to us and us to God. The term is also used to describe the Scriptures (Romans 9:6; Hebrews 4:12), Christ's teaching (Luke 5:1), and the gospel message (Acts 4:31).

The Word of God:

is inspired:

"All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness" (2 Timothy 3:16).

is truth:

"The sum of Thy word is truth" (Psalms 119:160).

makes free: "...If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of mine; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32).

produces faith:

"So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ" (Romans 10:17, NASB).

judges:

"For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart" (Hebrews 4:12).

Worship

The obligation of God's creation to give to Him all honor, praise, adoration, and glory due Him because He is the holy and divine creator. Worship is to be given to God only (Exodus 20:3; Matthew 4:10). Jesus, being God in flesh (John 1:1,14; Colossians 2:9), was worshipped (Matthew 2:2,11; John 9:35-40; Hebrews 1:6).

Wrath

Biblically, it is the divine judgment upon sin and sinners. It does not merely mean that it is a casual response by God to ungodliness, but carries the meaning of hatred, revulsion, and indignation. God is by nature love (1 John 4:16), however, in His justice He must punish sin. The punishment is called the wrath of God. It will occur on the final Day of Judgment when those who are unsaved will incur the wrath of God. It is, though, presently being released upon the ungodly (Romans 1:18-32) in the hardening of their hearts. Wrath is described as God's anger (Numbers 32:10-13), as stored up (Romans 2:5-8), and as great (Zechariah 7:12). The believer's deliverance from God's wrath is through the atonement (Romans 5:8-10). "For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Thessalonians 5:9).

X-Y-Z

Not applicable in the Dictionary