What does God mean in the Bible?

Greek / Hebrew Translation Occurance
θεοῦ a god or goddess 651
θεὸς a god or goddess 219
אֱלֹהֵ֣י (plural). 166
θεῷ a god or goddess 154
אֱלֹהִ֖ים (plural). 107
אֱלֹהֶ֔יךָ (plural). 77
θεόν a god or goddess 74
אֱלֹהֵ֥י (plural). 74
θεὸν a god or goddess 70
θεός a god or goddess 66
יְהוִ֔ה the proper name of the one true God. 66
אֱלֹהִים֙ (plural). 65
אֱלֹהֶ֖יךָ (plural). 63
יְהוִֽה the proper name of the one true God. 59
הָאֱלֹהִ֖ים (plural). 57
הָאֱלֹהִ֑ים (plural). 52
אֱלֹהִ֑ים (plural). 50
אֱלֹהִֽים (plural). 50
הָאֱלֹהִ֔ים (plural). 48
אֱלֹהִ֔ים (plural). 47
יְהוִ֑ה the proper name of the one true God. 40
אֱלֹהֵיכֶֽם (plural). 38
הָאֱלֹהִֽים (plural). 38
אֱלֹהִ֗ים (plural). 36
אֱלֹהֶ֑יךָ (plural). 35
אֱלֹהִ֣ים (plural). 34
אֱלֹהֶ֙יךָ֙ (plural). 34
אֱלֹהִ֥ים (plural). 32
אֱ֭לֹהִים (plural). 32
הָֽאֱלֹהִ֔ים (plural). 30
אֱלֹהֵ֑ינוּ (plural). 29
אֱלֹהִ֛ים (plural). 29
אֱלֹהֵ֔ינוּ (plural). 29
אֵ֑ל god 29
אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ (plural). 28
אֵ֣ל god 27
אֱלֹהֵ֤י (plural). 27
יְהוִ֗ה the proper name of the one true God. 26
אֱלֹהֶֽיךָ (plural). 25
אֱלֹהֵ֖ינוּ (plural). 23
הָֽאֱלֹהִים֙ (plural). 22
אֱ֝לֹהִ֗ים (plural). 21
אֱלֹהֵֽי־ (plural). 21
יְהוִה֒ the proper name of the one true God. 20
הָאֱלֹהִ֗ים (plural). 20
אֱלֹֽהֵיכֶ֔ם (plural). 20
אֱל֣וֹהַּ God. 19
אֱלֹהֶ֗יךָ (plural). 19
אֱלֹהֵ֗ינוּ (plural). 19
אֱלֹהֶ֜יךָ (plural). 19
אֵ֥ל god 18
אֱלֹהֵיכֶ֖ם (plural). 17
אֱלֹהִ֜ים (plural). 17
אֱלֹהָֽי (plural). 17
לֵאלֹהִֽים (plural). 17
אֱלֹהֵ֙ינוּ֙ (plural). 15
אֱלֹהֵיכֶ֑ם (plural). 15
אֱלֹהֶ֛יךָ (plural). 15
יְהוִ֖ה the proper name of the one true God. 14
אֱלֹהֵיהֶֽם (plural). 13
הָאֱלֹהִ֛ים (plural). 13
יְהוִה֙ the proper name of the one true God. 13
אֵ֖ל god 13
אֱלֹהָ֑י (plural). 12
אֱלֹהֵי֙ (plural). 12
אֱ‍ֽלֹהִ֗ים (plural). 12
אֵֽל god 11
אֱלֹהֵיהֶ֑ם (plural). 11
אֱלֹהָֽיו (plural). 11
יְהֹוִ֗ה the proper name of the one true God. 11
אֱלֹהַ֖י (plural). 11
אֱלֹהִ֤ים ׀ (plural). 11
אֱלֹהָ֑יו (plural). 11
אֱלֹהֵ֨י (plural). 10
הָאֱלֹהִים֙ (plural). 10
אֱלֹהֵ֖י (plural). 10
אֱלֹֽהֵיכֶם֙ (plural). 9
אֱלֹהָ֔יו (plural). 9
אֱלֹ֣הֵיכֶ֔ם (plural). 9
לֵֽאלֹהִ֔ים (plural). 9
אֱלֹהֵיכֶ֔ם (plural). 8
אֵ֔ל god 8
הָֽאֱלֹהִ֑ים (plural). 8
יְהוִ֛ה the proper name of the one true God. 8
הָאֱלֹהִ֜ים (plural). 8
יְהֹוִֽה Jehovah—used primarily in the combination ‘Lord Jehovah’. 8
אֱלֹהַי֙ (plural). 8
אֵֽל־ god 8
אֱ֝לֹהַ֗י (plural). 7
אֱלֹהֵיהֶ֖ם (plural). 7
אֱלֹהָ֖יו (plural). 7
אֵ֤ל god 7
אֵ֭ל god 7
הָ֣אֱלֹהִ֔ים (plural). 7
אֱלָהָ֖א god 7
אֱלֹהֵ֛ינוּ (plural). 7
אֱלֹהַ֔י (plural). 7
אֱלָהָ֣א god 7
אֱלָ֣הּ god 7
אֱלָהָ֥א god 6
אֱלֹהִ֨ים ׀ (plural). 6
אֱלֹהָ֔י (plural). 6
אֱלֹֽהֵיהֶ֑ם (plural). 6
לֵאלֹהִ֑ים (plural). 6
אֱלֹהֵיכֶ֛ם (plural). 6
אֱלֹהָֽיִךְ (plural). 6
לְאֵ֣ל god 6
אֱלֹהִים֮ (plural). 5
אֱ‍ֽלֹהַ֗י (plural). 5
אֱלֹהֵיהֶ֔ם (plural). 5
אֱ֭לוֹהַּ God. 5
אֱלֹהַ֗י (plural). 5
אֱלֹֽהֵיכֶ֗ם (plural). 5
אֱלֹהָיו֙ (plural). 5
אֱלֹ֘הֵ֤י (plural). 5
אֱלֹ֫הִ֥ים (plural). 5
אֱלֹהִ֥ים ׀ (plural). 4
לֵאלֹהֵ֥י (plural). 4
אֱלָ֨הּ god 4
אֵל֙ god 4
אֱלֹהֵיכֶ֗ם (plural). 4
אֱלֹֽהֵיכֶ֖ם (plural). 4
אֱ֭לֹהַי (plural). 4
יְהוִ֜ה Jehovah—used primarily in the combination ‘Lord Jehovah’. 4
! יְהוִ֔ה Jehovah—used primarily in the combination ‘Lord Jehovah’. 4
אֱלֹהֵ֧י (plural). 4
אֱלֹהַ֛י (plural). 4
לֵֽ֭אלֹהִים (plural). 4
לֵאלֹהֵ֖י (plural). 4
לֵֽאלֹהִ֑ים (plural). 4
אֱ֝ל֗וֹהַּ God. 4
לֵאלֹהִ֣ים (plural). 4
אֱלֹהֵיכֶם֙ (plural). 4
אֵ֝֗ל god 4
θεὸς» a god or goddess 3
אֵל־ god 3
בֵּֽאלֹהִ֔ים (plural). 3
לְאֵ֥ל god 3
אֱלֹהֵ֤ינוּ (plural). 3
הָאֱלֹהִ֤ים (plural). 3
אֱלֹהֶיךָ֮ (plural). 3
יְהֹוִ֔ה Jehovah—used primarily in the combination ‘Lord Jehovah’. 3
אֱלֹֽהֵיכֶ֑ם (plural). 3
אֱלֹהִ֤ים (plural). 3
בֵּאלֹהֵ֣י (plural). 3
הָאֱלֹהִים֒ (plural). 3
אֱלֹהֵ֜ינוּ (plural). 3
לֵאלֹהֵֽינוּ (plural). 3
؟ אֱלֹהֶֽיךָ (plural). 3
؟ אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ (plural). 3
θεοῦ⧽ a god or goddess 3
אֱלֹהִים֒ (plural). 3
יְהֹוִ֣ה the proper name of the one true God. 3
יְהֹוִ֑ה the proper name of the one true God. 3
וְהָאֱלֹהִ֖ים (plural). 3
אֱלָ֥הּ god 3
אֱ֝ל֗וֹהַ God. 3
אֱלֹהִ֧ים ׀ (plural). 3
אֵלִ֣י god 3
אֱל֑וֹהַּ God. 3
הָֽאֱלֹהִ֗ים (plural). 3
לֶאֱלָ֣הּ god 3
אֱלָהָ֗ךְ god 3
הָֽאֱלֹהִ֛ים (plural). 2
אֱלֹהֶ֨יךָ (plural). 2
אֱ֠לֹהִים (plural). 2
הָאֱלֹהִ֣ים (plural). 2
אֱ‍ֽלֹהִ֡ים (plural). 2
וֵאלֹהֵ֥י (plural). 2
אֱלֹהָ֗י (plural). 2
אֱלֹ֣הֵיהֶ֔ם (plural). 2
וֵֽאלֹהִ֞ים (plural). 2
הָֽאֱלֹהִֽים (plural). 2
הָֽאֱלֹהִ֖ים (plural). 2
אֱלֹֽהֵיכֶם֒ (plural). 2
אֱלֹֽהֵיכֶ֜ם (plural). 2
מֵאֱלֹהָֽי (plural). 2
אֱלֹ֣הֵי (plural). 2
؟ אֱלֹהִ֑ים (plural). 2
؟ אֱלֹהֵיכֶֽם (plural). 2
אֱלֹהָ֥יו (plural). 2
אֱלֹהֶ֑֗יךָ (plural). 2
בֵּֽאלֹהִ֑ים (plural). 2
אֱלֹהָ֛יו (plural). 2
בֵּֽ֭אלֹהִים (plural). 2
לֵ֭אלֹהִים (plural). 2
אֱלֹהֶ֤יךָ (plural). 2
הָאֱלֹהִים֮ (plural). 2
הָֽאֱלֹהִ֜ים (plural). 2
אֱלֹהִ֨ים (plural). 2
אֱלֹהָ֗יו (plural). 2
וֵֽאלֹהָֽי (plural). 2
לֵֽאלֹהִֽים (plural). 2
וֵאלֹהֵ֣י (plural). 2
אֱלֹהָיו֒ (plural). 2
אֱלֹהָיו֮ (plural). 2
אֱ֠לֹהֶיךָ (plural). 2
יְהוִ֡ה Jehovah—used primarily in the combination ‘Lord Jehovah’. 2
אֵ֕ל god 2
אֱלָהָא֙ god 2
בֵּֽאלֹהִ֥ים (plural). 2
אֱלֹהֵ֪י (plural). 2
אֱלֹֽהֵיהֶ֔ם (plural). 2
! יְהוִ֗ה Jehovah—used primarily in the combination ‘Lord Jehovah’. 2
אֱלֹהַ֥י (plural). 2
אֱלֹהֵ֥ינוּ (plural). 2
אֵל֮ god 2
אֱלֹהַ֑י (plural). 2
הָאֵ֖ל god 2
הָ֭אֵל god 2
אֵ֣לִי god 2
הָאֵ֥ל god 2
יְ֠הוִה the proper name of the one true God. 2
אֱלָ֔הּ god 2
וְ֝אֵ֗ל god 2
הָאֵ֤ל god 2
הַלְאֵ֥ל god 2
לָ֭אֵל god 2
מֵאֵֽל god 2
לָאֵ֥ל god 2
הָאֵ֨ל god 2
יְהֹוִה֙ Jehovah—used primarily in the combination ‘Lord Jehovah’. 2
אֵלִ֖י god 2
؟ אֵ֑ל god 2
אֵ֧ל god 2
אֱלֹהַ֔יִךְ (plural). 2
הָאֵל֙ god 2
יְהוִה֮ Jehovah—used primarily in the combination ‘Lord Jehovah’. 2
וֵאלֹהַ֖יִךְ (plural). 2
אֱלָ֧הּ god 2
אֱל֣וֹהַ God. 2
אֱלֹהֵיהֶ֛ם (plural). 2
לֵאלֹהֵ֣י (plural). 2
אֱלָהָ֑ךְ god 2
אֱלָהֲכֹ֖ם god 2
θεὸς] a god or goddess 2
אֱלֹהֵ֣ינוּ (plural). 2
؟ אֱלֹהֵיהֶֽם (plural). 2
אֱלָהָא֮ god 2
מֵֽאֱלֹהֶ֑יךָ (plural). 2
וֵאלֹהֵ֖י (plural). 2
θεὸς) a god or goddess 2
הָאֱלֹהִ֧ים ׀ (plural). 2
אֱלָהֵֽהּ god 2
؟ אֱל֣וֹהַ God. 2
אֱלָהָ֤א god 2
כֵּֽאלֹהִ֔ים (plural). 2
אֱלָהִ֥ין god 2
אֱלֽוֹהַּ God. 2
הָאֱלֹהִ֨ים ׀ (plural). 2
הָאֱלֹהִ֡ים (plural). 2
לֵאלֹהֵ֑ינוּ (plural). 2
מֵּאֱלֹהֶ֖יךָ (plural). 2
אֱלֹהַ֣יִךְ (plural). 2
אֱלֹהֶ֣יךָ ׀ (plural). 2
לֵאלֹ֣הֵיהֶ֔ם (plural). 1
בֵּֽאלֹהֵ֑ינוּ (plural). 1
אֱ֝לֹהֵ֗ינוּ (plural). 1
؟ לֵאלֹהֵ֣י (plural). 1
לֵאלֹהָֽיו (plural). 1
؟ אֱלֹהָ֑יִךְ (plural). 1
לֵֽאלֹהָיו֙ (plural). 1
בֵּֽאלֹהִ֗ים (plural). 1
מֵאֱלֹהֶֽיךָ (plural). 1
אֱלֹֽהֵיהֶם֙ (plural). 1
לֵאלֹהִ֖ים (plural). 1
אֱלֹהֵ֧ינוּ (plural). 1
אֱלֹהָ֜יו (plural). 1
אֱלֹהָ֣יו (plural). 1
לֵֽאלֹהָ֔יו (plural). 1
לֵ֝אלֹהִ֗ים (plural). 1
אֱלֹהַ֣י (plural). 1
! אֱלֹ֫הִ֥ים (plural). 1
לֵֽאלֹ֫הֵ֥ינוּ (plural). 1
! אֱלֹהַ֗י (plural). 1
אֱלֹהַי֮ (plural). 1
בֵֽאלֹהִ֬ים (plural). 1
מֵאֱלֹהֵ֥י (plural). 1
אֱלֹהֵ֬י (plural). 1
וּ֝בֵֽאלֹהַ֗י (plural). 1
אֱלֹהַ֪י (plural). 1
לֵאלֹהֵ֣ינוּ (plural). 1
לֵאלֹהִים֮ (plural). 1
הָֽאֱלֹהִ֟ים (plural). 1
לֵֽאלֹהַ֣י (plural). 1
לֵֽאלֹהֵ֣י (plural). 1
וֵ֖אלֹהֵ֣ינוּ (plural). 1
וֵֽאלֹהֵ֥ינוּ (plural). 1
לֵאלֹהַ֣י (plural). 1
؟ אֱלֹהִֽים (plural). 1
אֱלֹהֶ֣יהָ (plural). 1
בֵּֽאלֹהִים֮ (plural). 1
לֵֽאלֹהֵיכֶֽם (plural). 1
אֱ֠לֹהֵינוּ (plural). 1
אֱ֭לֹהֶיךָ (plural). 1
ἄθεοι without God 1
؟ אֱ‍ֽלֹהֵ֫יהֶ֥ם (plural). 1
אֱלֹ֘הִ֤ים (plural). 1
וְגָ֥עַר (Qal) to rebuke 1
יֱהֹוִ֡ה the proper name of the one true God. 1
יֱהוִ֔ה the proper name of the one true God. 1
יְהוָֽה the proper name of the one true God. 1
יְחַלֵּ֥ק to divide 1
חֲכַ֣ם wise 1
זָ֑ר to be strange 1
אֶהְיֶ֥ה to be 1
יִדְרֹ֑שׁ to resort to 1
וַיֹּ֕אמֶר to say 1
יְהֹוִ֖ה Jehovah—used primarily in the combination ‘Lord Jehovah’. 1
וַיֹּ֣אמֶר to say 1
יַאֲמִ֑ין to support 1
אֱלוֹהֵ֥י God. 1
אֱלוֹהַ֣י God. 1
אֱל֫וֹהָ֥י God. 1
אֱל֥וֹהַּ ׀ God. 1
אֱל֨וֹהַּ God. 1
מֵאֱל֣וֹהַ God. 1
לֶאֱל֣וֹהַּ God. 1
יְ֝הוִ֗ה the proper name of the one true God. 1
! יְהוִ֑ה Jehovah—used primarily in the combination ‘Lord Jehovah’. 1
؟ אֱל֣וֹהַּ God. 1
נָטַ֖ל to lift 1
יָשִׁ֖ית to put 1
רַ֥ב much 1
צַ֭דִּיק just 1
וְהֵֽעָתֶר־ to pray 1
וְעַתָּ֖ה now. 1
נָתַ֣ן to give 1
נָתַ֛ן to give 1
נָשָׂ֗אתִי to lift 1
וּמָשַׁ֣ךְ to draw 1
יֱהוִה֙ Jehovah—used primarily in the combination ‘Lord Jehovah’. 1
הַמַּלְאָ֔ךְ messenger 1
יִשְׂרָאֵֽל the second name for Jacob given to him by God after his wrestling with the angel at Peniel. 1
יֵיטִ֖יב to be good 1
וְלֵיהוִ֥ה Jehovah—used primarily in the combination ‘Lord Jehovah’. 1
יְה֘וִ֤ה Jehovah—used primarily in the combination ‘Lord Jehovah’. 1
יְהוִ֤ה Jehovah—used primarily in the combination ‘Lord Jehovah’. 1
יְהוִ֣ה Jehovah—used primarily in the combination ‘Lord Jehovah’. 1
! יְהֹוִ֔ה Jehovah—used primarily in the combination ‘Lord Jehovah’. 1
יְהוִ֤הּ‪‬‪‬ Jehovah—used primarily in the combination ‘Lord Jehovah’. 1
אֱל֨וֹהַּ ׀ God. 1
וֶ֝אֱל֗וֹהַּ God. 1
אֱ֭לֹהֵינוּ (plural). 1
אֱלֹ֘הִ֥ים (plural). 1
אֱלֹ֫הָ֥י (plural). 1
אֱלֹהִ֪ים (plural). 1
! אֱלֹהִ֪ים (plural). 1
אֱ֝לֹהֵ֗י (plural). 1
לֵאלֹהָֽי (plural). 1
לֵֽאלֹ֫הִ֥ים (plural). 1
לֵֽאלֹהִים֮ (plural). 1
לֵ֝אלֹהִים (plural). 1
בֵּאלֹ֫הִ֥ים (plural). 1
אֱ‍ֽלֹהֵ֫יכֶ֥ם (plural). 1
בֵּֽאלֹהִֽים (plural). 1
(אֱלֹהִ֤ים ׀) (plural). 1
לֵֽאלֹהִ֣ים (plural). 1
בֵּֽאלֹהִ֣ים (plural). 1
בֵּאלֹהִ֣ים (plural). 1
בֵּאלֹהִים֮ (plural). 1
אֱלֹהֶ֣יךָ (plural). 1
אֱלֹהִ֓ים ׀ (plural). 1
וֵאלֹהָ֑י (plural). 1
וֵ֭אלֹהִים (plural). 1
؟ כֵּֽאלֹהִֽים (plural). 1
אֱל֗וֹהַּ God. 1
؟ אֱלֹהִ֗ים (plural). 1
לֶ֭אֱלוֹהַּ God. 1
אֱל֙וֹהַּ֙ God. 1
אֱל֙וֹהַ֙‪‬ God. 1
אֱלֹ֔הַ God. 1
וְלֶאֱל֜וֹהַּ God. 1
וְלֶאֱלֹ֙הַּ֙ God. 1
אֱל֖וֹהַּ God. 1
אֱל֙וֹהַ֙ God. 1
אֱלֹהַ֛יִךְ (plural). 1
בֵֽאלֹהִ֗ים (plural). 1
אֱלֹהֶ֖יהָ (plural). 1
לֵֽאלֹהֵ֑ינוּ (plural). 1
אֱלֹהֵינוּ֮ (plural). 1
וֵ֝אלֹהַ֗י (plural). 1
הָאֱלֹ֫הִ֥ים (plural). 1
וֵאלֹהָֽי (plural). 1
בֵאלֹהִים֒ (plural). 1
בֵּאלֹהִ֑ים (plural). 1
בֵּֽאלֹ֫הִ֥ים (plural). 1
אֱ‍ֽלֹֽהֵיהֶ֔ם (plural). 1
אֱלֹהַ֥י ׀ (plural). 1
בֵאלֹהִ֑ים (plural). 1
הָאֵ֪ל ׀ god 1
לֵאלָֽהֲהֽוֹן god 1
אֱלָהֲהוֹן֙ god 1
אֱלָהִֽין god 1
אֱלָהַ֙נָא֙ god 1
אֱלָהֲכ֗וֹן god 1
אֱלָ֤הּ god 1
לֶאֱלָ֥הּ god 1
אֵ֝לִ֗י god 1
וְאֵ֥ל god 1
אֱלָ֣ה god 1
הָ֤אֵ֣ל ׀ god 1
הָ֘אֵ֤ל god 1
אֵלִ֥י god 1
לָ֝אֵ֗ל god 1
אֵ֨ל ׀ god 1
לְאֵ֪ל god 1
אֵ֭לִי god 1
הָאֵ֗ל god 1
אֱלָהֲה֗וֹן god 1
אֱלָהִ֔י god 1
שֶׁ֤אֵ֣ל god 1
לֶאֱלָ֪הּ god 1
הָֽאֱלֹהִ֧ים (plural). 1
בֵּאלֹהִים֙ (plural). 1
מֵאֱלֹהַ֜י (plural). 1
אֱלָהָ֤ךְ god 1
אֱלָהָ֔ךְ god 1
אֱלָהֲהֹ֖ם god 1
אֱלָהָ֖ךְ god 1
וֵֽאלָהָ֞א god 1
אֱלָהָֽא god 1
אֱלָהִ֤ין god 1
אֱלָהֲהֹ֗ם god 1
אֱלָהָ֔א god 1
אֱלָהֵ֣הּ god 1
בֵּאלָהֵֽהּ god 1
אֱלָהִ֞י god 1
אֱלָהֵ֔הּ god 1
וְלֵֽאלָהָ֞א god 1
אֱלָהִ֖ין god 1
אֱלָהִ֣ין god 1
הָאֵל֮ god 1
! אֵ֑ל god 1
אֱלֹהֵי֩ (plural). 1
θεῷ» a god or goddess 1
אַחֵ֪ר another 1
אֲבִ֣יר strong 1
φιλόθεοι loving God. 1
θεοστυγεῖς hateful to God 1
θεοσεβὴς worshipping God 1
θεοσέβειαν reverence towards God’s goodness. 1
θεοῦ〉 a god or goddess 1
[θεοῦ] a god or goddess 1
θεός] a god or goddess 1
כָּאֵ֖ל god 1
θεοῦ} a god or goddess 1
θεῷ] a god or goddess 1
θεοῦ] a god or goddess 1
θεέ a god or goddess 1
‹θεοῦ› a god or goddess 1
θεω a god or goddess 1
θεόπνευστος inspired by God. 1
θεομάχοι fighting against God 1
θεομαχῶμεν⧽ to fight against God. 1
הָאֵ֕ל god 1
אֵלִי֙ god 1
אֵ֤ל ׀ god 1
לָאֵ֣ל god 1
מֵאֵ֣ל god 1
אֵלִ֗י god 1
אֵ֚ל god 1
؟ אֵֽל god 1
הַ֭אֵל god 1
؟ כָּאֵ֥ל ׀ god 1
לָאֵֽל god 1
לָאֵ֑ל god 1
וְ֭אֵל god 1
בְּאֵ֣ל god 1
؟ הַ֭לְאֵל god 1
וְהָאֵל֙ god 1
אֵ֛ל god 1
הָאֵ֣ל ׀ god 1
מֵאֵ֨ל god 1
וְאֵ֣ל god 1
לָאֵ֞ל god 1
לָאֵל֙ god 1
וְאֵ֤ל god 1
וְהָאֱלֹהִים֙ (plural). 1
אֱ֠לֹהֵי (plural). 1
הָאֱלֹהִ֨ים (plural). 1
אֱלֹהִ֕ים (plural). 1
בֵּֽאלֹהֶ֑יהָ (plural). 1
וֵאלֹהִ֤ים (plural). 1
בֵּאלֹהֶ֣יךָ (plural). 1
בֵּאלֹהֵ֥י (plural). 1
לֵאלֹהֽוֹ (plural). 1
הָֽאֱלֹהִ֡ים (plural). 1
וֵֽאלֹהֵ֤י (plural). 1
אֱלֹ֨הֵיכֶ֜ם (plural). 1
לֵֽאלֹהִים֙ (plural). 1
וּמֵאֱלֹהַ֖י (plural). 1
؟ לֵֽאלֹהִֽים (plural). 1
וֵֽאלֹהֵ֨י (plural). 1
וֵֽאלֹהֵ֣י (plural). 1
: אֱלֹהִ֗ים (plural). 1
וֵֽאלֹהֵ֖י (plural). 1
אֱלֹהִ֞ים (plural). 1
וְהָ֣אֱלֹהִ֔ים (plural). 1
בֵֽאלֹהִים֙ (plural). 1
אֱלֹהִים֩ (plural). 1
! אֱלֹהֵיכֶֽם (plural). 1
וּבֵאלֹהֵ֤י (plural). 1
אֱלֹהֵ֨ינוּ (plural). 1
מֵֽאֱלֹהָ֔יו (plural). 1
הָאֱלֹהִ֞ים (plural). 1
אֱלֹהֵיכֶ֜ם (plural). 1
אֱלֹֽהֵיכֶֽם (plural). 1
בֵּאלֹהֵיכֶֽם (plural). 1
אֱלֹהֵיכֶם֮ (plural). 1
؟ אֱלֹהֵ֖ינוּ (plural). 1
מֵאֱלֹהִֽים (plural). 1
מֵאֱלֹהִ֑ים (plural). 1
אֱלֹהַ֖יִךְ (plural). 1
וֵאלֹהַ֖י (plural). 1
הַאֱלֹהֵ֧י (plural). 1
אֱלֹהָ֑יִךְ (plural). 1
؟ אֱלֹהֵ֙ינוּ֙ (plural). 1
אֱלֹהֵיכֶ֤ם (plural). 1
וּבֵאלֹהָ֖יו (plural). 1
؟ אֱלֹהָ֣יו (plural). 1
בֵּֽאלֹהַ֔י (plural). 1
וֵאלֹהַ֙יִךְ֙ (plural). 1
בֵּאלֹהָֽיו (plural). 1
מֵאֱלֹהֵ֖ינוּ (plural). 1
לֵֽאלֹהֵיכֶ֑ם (plural). 1
לֵאלֹהֵ֨י (plural). 1
בֵֽאלֹהִ֜ים (plural). 1
הָאֱלֹהִ֥ים ׀ (plural). 1
מֵהָֽאֱלֹהִים֙ (plural). 1
בֵּאלֹהִ֖ים (plural). 1
וּמֵֽאֱלֹהִ֗ים (plural). 1
לֵֽאלֹהֵ֤י (plural). 1
וְהָאֱלֹהִ֗ים (plural). 1
אֱלֹהִ֣ים ׀ (plural). 1
؟ הָאֱלֹהִ֛ים (plural). 1
בֵּאלֹהִֽים (plural). 1
אֱ‍ֽלֹהֵיכֶ֔ם (plural). 1
בֵאלֹהִ֖ים (plural). 1
כֵּאלֹהֵֽינוּ (plural). 1
אֱלֹהֵ֛י (plural). 1
אֱלֹהֵיהֶ֗ם (plural). 1
؟ הָאֱלֹהִ֑ים (plural). 1
(אֱלֹהִ֜ים) (plural). 1
בֵּאלֹהֵ֖י (plural). 1
מֵהָאֱלֹהִ֖ים (plural). 1
לֵאלֹהִ֤ים (plural). 1
לֵֽאלֹהָ֑יו (plural). 1
וֵאלֹהִ֖ים (plural). 1
לֵ֠אלֹהֵינוּ (plural). 1
וְהָאֱלֹהִ֣ים (plural). 1
בֵאלֹהֵ֔ינוּ (plural). 1
؟ אֱלֹהִ֣ים (plural). 1
לֵֽאלֹהֵיכֶ֖ם (plural). 1
לָאֱלֹהִ֖ים (plural). 1
אֱלֹהֶ֑֔יךָ (plural). 1
! אֱלֹהֵיכֶ֑ם (plural). 1
הָאֱלֹהִים֩ (plural). 1
לֵֽאלֹהִ֗ים (plural). 1
אֱלֹהֶ֤֙יךָ֙ (plural). 1
מֵאֱלֹהִ֥ים (plural). 1
אֱלֹהֶֽ֗יךָ‪‬ (plural). 1
לֵֽאלֹהִ֜ים (plural). 1
אֱלֹהֶ֧יךָ (plural). 1
אֱלֹהֶ֥יךָ (plural). 1
אֱלֹהֵיכֶ֥ם (plural). 1
θεοδίδακτοί taught of God. 1
בֵּאלֹהַ֖י (plural). 1
הָֽאֱלֹהִים֮ (plural). 1
הַאֱלֹהִ֥ים (plural). 1
יְֽשַׁלַּח־ to send 1

Definitions Related to God

G2316


   1 a God or goddess, a general name of deities or divinities.
   2 the Godhead, trinity.
      2a God the Father, the first person in the trinity.
      2b Christ, the second person of the trinity.
      2c Holy Spirit, the third person in the trinity.
   3 spoken of the only and true God.
      3a refers to the things of God.
      3b his counsels, interests, things due to him.
   4 whatever can in any respect be likened unto God, or resemble him in any way.
      4a God’s representative or viceregent.
         4a1 of magistrates and judges.
         

H430


   1 (plural).
      1a rulers, judges.
      1b divine ones.
      1c angels.
      1d gods.
   2 (plural intensive—singular meaning).
      2a God, goddess.
      2b godlike one.
      2c works or special possessions of God.
      2d the (true) God.
      2e God.
      

H3069


   1 Jehovah—used primarily in the combination ‘Lord Jehovah’.
      1a equal to 03068 but pointed with the vowels of 0430.
      

H410


   1 God, God-like one, mighty one.
      1a mighty men, men of rank, mighty heroes.
      1b angels.
      1c God, false God, (demons, imaginations).
      1d God, the one true God, Jehovah.
   2 mighty things in nature.
   3 strength, power.
   

H433


   1 God.
   2 false God.
   

H426


   1 God, God.
      1a God, heathen deity.
      1b God (of Israel).
      

H5414


   1 to give, put, set.
      1a (Qal).
         1a1 to give, bestow, grant, permit, ascribe, employ, devote, consecrate, dedicate, pay wages, sell, exchange, lend, commit, entrust, give over, deliver up, yield produce, occasion, produce, requite to, report, mention, utter, stretch out, extend.
         1a2 to put, set, put on, put upon, set, appoint, assign, designate.
         1a3 to make, constitute.
      1b (Niphal).
         1b1 to be given, be bestowed, be provided, be entrusted to, be granted to, be permitted, be issued, be published, be uttered, be assigned.
         1b2 to be set, be put, be made, be inflicted.
      1c (Hophal).
         1c1 to be given, be bestowed, be given up, be delivered up.
         1c2 to be put upon.
         

H312


   1 another, other, following.
      1a following, further.
      1b other, different.
      

H6662


   1 just, lawful, righteous.
      1a just, righteous (in government).
      1b just, right (in one’s cause).
      1c just, righteous (in conduct and character).
      1d righteous (as justified and vindicated by God).
      1e right, correct, lawful.
      

H1875


   1 to resort to, seek, seek with care, enquire, require.
      1a (Qal).
         1a1 to resort to, frequent (a place), (tread a place).
         1a2 to consult, enquire of, seek.
            1a2a of God.
            1a2b of heathen gods, necromancers.
         1a3 to seek deity in prayer and worship.
            1a3a God.
            1a3b heathen deities.
         1a4 to seek (with a demand), demand, require.
         1a5 to investigate, enquire.
         1a6 to ask for, require, demand.
         1a7 to practice, study, follow, seek with application.
         1a8 to seek with care, care for.
      1b (Niphal).
         1b1 to allow oneself to be enquired of, consulted (only of God).
         1b2 to be sought, be sought out.
         1b3 to be required (of blood).
         

H7227


   1 much, many, great.
      1a much.
      1b many.
      1c abounding in.
      1d more numerous than.
      1e abundant, enough.
      1f great.
      1g strong.
      1h greater than adv.
      1i much, exceedingly.
   2 captain, chief.
   

G5377


   1 loving God.
   

G2315


   1 inspired by God.
      1a the contents of the scriptures.
      

G2313


   1 to fight against God.
   

G2314


   1 fighting against God, resisting God.
   

G2318


   1 worshipping God, pious.
   

G2319


   1 hateful to God, exceptionally impious and wicked.
   

G112


   1 without God, knowing and worshipping no God.
   2 denying the gods, esp.
   the recognised gods of the state.
   3 godless, ungodly.
   4 abandoned by the gods.
   

G2312


   1 taught of God.
   

H6279


   1 to pray, entreat, supplicate.
      1a (Qal) to pray, entreat.
      1b (Niphal) to be supplicated, be entreated.
      1c (Hiphil) to make supplication, plead.
      

H559


   1 to say, speak, utter.
      1a (Qal) to say, to answer, to say in one’s heart, to think, to command, to promise, to intend.
      1b (Niphal) to be told, to be said, to be called.
      1c (Hithpael) to boast, to act proudly.
      1d (Hiphil) to avow, to avouch.
      

H46


   1 strong, mighty—used only to describe God.
   2 the Strong—old name for God (poetic).
   

H3478


   1 the second name for Jacob given to him by God after his wrestling with the angel at Peniel.
   2 the name of the descendants and the nation of the descendants of Jacob.
      2a the name of the nation until the death of Solomon and the split.
      2b the name used and given to the northern kingdom consisting of the 10 tribes under Jeroboam; the southern kingdom was known as Judah.
      2c the name of the nation after the return from exile.
      Additional Information: Israel = “God prevails”.
      

H4397


   1 messenger, representative.
      1a messenger.
      1b angel.
      1c the theophanic angel.
      

H3068


   1 the proper name of the one true God.
      1a unpronounced except with the vowel pointings of 0136.
      Additional Information: Jehovah = “the existing One”.
      

H1605


   1 (Qal) to rebuke, reprove, corrupt.
   

H5375


   1 to lift, bear up, carry, take.
      1a (Qal).
         1a1 to lift, lift up.
         1a2 to bear, carry, support, sustain, endure.
         1a3 to take, take away, carry off, forgive.
      1b (Niphal).
         1b1 to be lifted up, be exalted.
         1b2 to lift oneself up, rise up.
         1b3 to be borne, be carried.
         1b4 to be taken away, be carried off, be swept away.
      1c (Piel).
         1c1 to lift up, exalt, support, aid, assist.
         1c2 to desire, long (fig.
         ).
         1c3 to carry, bear continuously.
         1c4 to take, take away.
      1d (Hithpael) to lift oneself up, exalt oneself.
      1e (Hiphil). 1e1 to cause one to bear (iniquity). 1e2 to cause to bring, have brought.
         

H2450


   1 wise, wise (man).
      1a skilful (in technical work).
      1b wise (in administration).
      1c shrewd, crafty, cunning, wily, subtle.
      1d learned, shrewd (class of men).
      1e prudent.
      1f wise (ethically and religiously).
      

H3190


   1 to be good, be pleasing, be well, be glad.
      1a (Qal).
         1a1 to be glad, be joyful.
         1a2 to be well placed.
         1a3 to be well for, be well with, go well with.
         1a4 to be pleasing, be pleasing to.
      1b (Hiphil).
         1b1 to make glad, rejoice.
         1b2 to do good to, deal well with.
         1b3 to do well, do thoroughly.
         1b4 to make a thing good or right or beautiful.
         1b5 to do well, do right.
         

H5190


   1 to lift, bear, bear up.
      1a (Qal) to lift, lift over, lift upon, set up.
      1b (Piel) to bear up.
      

H7896


   1 to put, set.
      1a (Qal).
         1a1 to put, lay (hand upon).
         1a2 to set, station, appoint, fix, set mind to.
         1a3 to constitute, make (one something), make like, perform.
         1a4 to take one’s stand.
         1a5 to lay waste.
      1b (Hophal) to be imposed, be set upon.
      

H2114


   1 to be strange, be a stranger.
      1a (Qal).
         1a1 to become estranged.
         1a2 strange, another, stranger, foreigner, an enemy (participle).
         1a3 loathsome (of breath) (participle).
         1a4 strange woman, prostitute, harlot (meton).
      1b (Niphal) to be estranged.
      1c (Hophal) to be a stranger, be one alienated.
      

H4900


   1 to draw, drag, seize.
      1a (Qal).
         1a1 to draw (and lift out), drag along, lead along, drag or lead off, draw down.
         1a2 to draw (the bow).
         1a3 to proceed, march.
         1a4 to draw out or give (a sound).
         1a5 to draw out, prolong, continue.
         1a6 to trail (seed in sowing).
         1a7 to cheer, draw, attract, gratify.
      1b (Niphal) to be drawn out.
      1c (Pual).
         1c1 to be drawn out, be postponed, be deferred.
         1c2 to be tall.
         

H2505


   1 to divide, share, plunder, allot, apportion, assign.
      1a (Qal).
         1a1 to divide, apportion.
         1a2 to assign, distribute.
         1a3 to assign, impart.
         1a4 to share.
         1a5 to divide up, plunder.
      1b (Niphal).
         1b1 to divide oneself.
         1b2 to be divided.
         1b3 to assign, distribute.
      1c (Piel).
         1c1 to divide, apportion.
         1c2 to assign, distribute.
         1c3 to scatter.
      1d (Pual) to be divided.
      1e (Hiphil) to receive a portion or part.
      1f (Hithpael) to divide among themselves.
   2 to be smooth, slippery, deceitful.
      2a (Qal) to be smooth, slippery.
      2b (Hiphil).
         2b1 to be smooth.
         2b2 to flatter.
         

H7971


   1 to send, send away, let go, stretch out.
      1a (Qal).
         1a1 to send.
         1a2 to stretch out, extend, direct.
         1a3 to send away.
         1a4 to let loose.
      1b (Niphal) to be sent.
      1c (Piel).
         1c1 to send off or away or out or forth, dismiss, give over, cast out.
         1c2 to let go, set free.
         1c3 to shoot forth (of branches).
         1c4 to let down.
         1c5 to shoot.
      1d (Pual) to be sent off, be put away, be divorced, be impelled.
      1e (Hiphil) to send.
      

H539


   1 to support, confirm, be faithful.
      1a (Qal).
         1a1 to support, confirm, be faithful, uphold, nourish.
            1a1a foster-father (subst.
            ).
            1a1b foster-mother, nurse.
            1a1c pillars, supporters of the door.
      1b (Niphal).
         1b1 to be established, be faithful, be carried, make firm.
            1b1a to be carried by a nurse.
            1b1b made firm, sure, lasting.
            1b1c confirmed, established, sure.
            1b1d verified, confirmed.
            1b1e reliable, faithful, trusty.
      1c (Hiphil).
         1c1 to stand firm, to trust, to be certain, to believe in.
            1c1a stand firm.
            1c1b trust, believe.
            

G2317


   1 reverence towards God’s goodness.
   

Frequency of God (original languages)

Frequency of God (English)

Dictionary

Easton's Bible Dictionary - Judgments of God
The secret decisions of God's will (Psalm 110:5 ; 36:6 ).
The revelations of his will (Exodus 21:1 ; Deuteronomy 6:20 ; Psalm 119:7-175 ).
The infliction of punishment on the wicked (Exodus 6:6 ; 12:12 ; Ezekiel 25:11 ; Revelation 16:7 ), such as is mentioned in Genesis 7 ; 19:24,25 ; Judges 1:6,7 ; Acts 5:1-10 , etc.
People's Dictionary of the Bible - God
God. The name of the Creator and the supreme Governor of the universe. He is a "Spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth." He is revealed to us in his works and providential government, Romans 1:20; but more fully in the Holy Scriptures and in the person and work of his only begotten Son, our Lord. 1. Names. There are three principal designations of God in the Old Testament—Elohim, Jehovah (Javeh), and Adonai. The first is used exclusively in the first chapter of Genesis; chiefly in the second book of Psalms, Psalms 42:1-11; Psalms 43:1-5; Psalms 44:1-26; Psalms 45:1-17; Psalms 46:1-11; Psalms 47:1-9; Psalms 48:1-14; Psalms 49:1-20; Psalms 50:1-23; Psalms 51:1-19; Psalms 52:1-9; Psalms 53:1-6; Psalms 54:1-7; Psalms 55:1-23; Psalms 56:1-13; Psalms 57:1-11; Psalms 58:1-11; Psalms 59:1-17; Psalms 60:1-12; Psalms 61:1-8; Psalms 62:1-12; Psalms 63:1-11; Psalms 64:1-10; Psalms 65:1-13; Psalms 66:1-20; Psalms 67:1-7; Psalms 68:1-35; Psalms 69:1-36; Psalms 70:1-5; Psalms 71:1-24; Psalms 72:1-20, called the Elohim Psalms, and occurs alternately with the other names in the other parts of the Old Testament. It expresses his character as the almighty Maker and his relation to the whole world, the Gentiles as well as the Jews. The second is especially used of him in his relation to Israel as the God of the covenant, the God of revelation and redemption. "Adonai," i.e., my Lord, is used where God is reverently addressed, and is always substituted by the Jews for "Jehovah," which they never pronounce. The sacred name Jehovah, or Yahveh, is indiscriminately translated, in the Common Version, God, Lord, and Jehovah. 2. The Nature of God. God is revealed to us as a trinity consisting of three Persons who are of one essence, Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14; John 1:1-3—God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. To the Father is ascribed the work of creation, to the Son the redemption, to the Holy Spirit the sanctification; but all three Persons take part in all the divine works. To each of these Persons of the Trinity are ascribed the essential attributes of the Supreme God. Thus, the Son is represented as the Mediator of the creation. John 1:3; Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 1:4. 3. The unity of the Godhead is emphasized in the Old Testament, while the trinity is only shadowed forth, or at best faintly brought out. The reason for the emphasis of the unity of the Godhead was to show the fallacy of polytheism and to discourage idolatry, which the heathen practiced. God is denominated "one Lord." Deuteronomy 6:4. Over against the false deities of the heathen, he is designated the "living" God. This belief in God as one was a chief mark of the Jewish religion.—Condensed from Schaff.
Holman Bible Dictionary - Hill of God
(Hebrew Gibeath-elohim ) Site of a Philistine garrison and of a place of worship. Here Saul met a band of ecstatic prophets and joined them in their frenzy (1 Samuel 10:5 ).
Holman Bible Dictionary - Immutability of God
(ihm myoo ta bihl' ih tee) The unchangeability of God; in biblical theology, a reference to God's unchanging commitment and faithfulness to the salvation of humanity.
Secular Philosophical Thought In secular thought—God's immutability connotes innate divine perfection and completeness. Since God is complete in and of Himself, relation to anything other than Himself is an addition to His completeness, an addition which is a philosophical impossibility. Since relationship requires change or response on the part of the beings in relationship, God, perfectly complete and completely perfect, cannot relate to that which is outside Himself. This kind of God, who is possessed by an immutability which prohibits relationship to His creation, is not the God portrayed by the Bible.
Biblical Teaching God, as the Scriptures portray Him, responds to the needs of His creation and, therefore, changes in the sense that He relates to what is not God. The biblical idea of immutability is couched in the constancy of God's self-revelation to humanity: He is holy (Joshua 24:19 ), jealous (Exodus 20:5 ), zealous, (Isaiah 9:7 ), beneficent (Psalm 107:1 ); and righteous (Exodus 9:27 ). God expresses wrath, though He is “slow to anger” (Nehemiah 9:17 ). He expresses love (Proverbs 3:12 ) in the election of His people for service (Hosea 11:1 ; Matthew 28:19-20 ; Ephesians 1:4 ) and by sending His one and only Son as the Savior of the world (John 3:16 ; Romans 5:8 ; 1 John 4:9-10 ). The God of the Bible is the constant, unchangeable God in His revelation and response to humanity. He gives His name as “I am that I am” (lit. “I will be what I will be,” Exodus 3:14 ). He is the God who is and will be what He has already been in the past: “the Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob this is my name for ever” (Exodus 3:15 ).
The greatest religious significance of the unchanging God is His eternal stance of salvation toward His creation. He is eternally faithful to His people. He therefore repents of judgment when persons answer His call to obedience, as did the Ninevites in Jonah 3 . The unchanging God of salvation is the eternal, free God who reveals Himself in the eternal Son (John 1:1 ,John 1:1,1:18 ). As such, he is the immutable God who comes to seek and save the lost (Mark 10:45 ), the God who is the same “yesterday, and to day, and for ever (Hebrews 13:8 ).
Walter D. Draughon III
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - For the Greater Glory of God
= Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam (For the greater glory of God) Motto of the Society of Jesus, glory meaning the greatest service possible.
Holman Bible Dictionary - Image of God
A biblical description of the unique nature of human beings in their relationship to the Creator God.
“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” (Genesis 1:26 ). This passage contains a key to the understanding of humans and their nature. Scholars through the ages have sought to unravel the mystery of that statement. The psalmist asked, “What is man?” (Psalm 8:4 ). Philosophers, theologians, psychologists, and anthropologists have constantly explored that topic. All have realized that the human being “is fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14 ).
A Special Creation According to the Scriptures, humans are not an evolutionary accident but a special creation. Human beings were purposefully produced by God to fulfill a preordained role in His world. They have peculiar qualities that somehow reflect the nature of God Himself and set them apart and above all other created beings.
Image and Likeness Some Bible students have tried to make a distinction in the meaning of “image” and “likeness.” Image has been considered the essential nature of humans as God's special creation, and likeness as reflecting this image in such qualities as goodness, grace, and love. They maintain that humankind in the Fall retained the image but lost the likeness. The two words, however, seem to identify the same divine act. The repetition represents the Hebrew literary style of parallelism used for emphasis. The Hebrew selem or image refers to a hewn or carved image ( 1 Samuel 6:5 ; 2 Kings 11:18 ) like a statue, which bears a strong physical resemblance to the person or thing it represents. The word likeness , demuth , means a facsimile. Compare 2 Kings 16:10 , “fashion” or “pattern” (NAS), “sketch” (NIV, REB), “exact model” (TEV). Neither of the words imply that persons are divine. They were endowed with some of the characteristics of God. There is a likeness but not a sameness.
Persons as Body-Soul Many different views seek to explain the nature of the likeness. Genesis 2:7 says, “the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” In creation God endowed persons with a spiritual aspect of life. This passage says that man became a soul, not that he had a soul. A person is both body and soul, or more accurately, body-soul. The Old Testament supports this holistic view of persons who are not segmented into parts known as body, soul, and spirit. Genesis 1:20 uses the Hebrew expression, nephesh chayah , “living soul” for “moving creature that has life,” that is the animals. Compare Genesis 1:24 ; Genesis 9:10 ,Genesis 9:10,9:16 ; Leviticus 11:10 .
Early theologians were greatly influenced by Greek philosophy in their interpretation of the image of God. The Greeks separated between the material and the spiritual. They saw an individual as a spirit being living in a physical body. This Greek dualism was the background out of which the early Christian theologians drew their understanding. The church fathers believed that the image of God resided in the soul or the spirit of each person.
Humankind as Persons Who are humans? The Bible portrays them as self-conscious, willful, innovative entities who, under God, preside over their environment. In other words, they are persons. God made each male and female a person in the likeness of His own personhood. Nothing else in all creation can be called a person. Personhood encompasses individuals in their entirety, body and spirit, as rational, loving, responsible, moral creatures.
Reflections of Personhood A man or woman is a person, as God is a Person. Such personal uniqueness is reflected in self-awareness and God-awareness. Human individuality is implied in personhood. God said “I am that I am” (Exodus 3:14 ). Persons also are separate entities with individual personalities, sets of values, inclinations, and responsibilities. Every human being is an original.
Humans created in God's image share His rational nature. People have the power to think, analyze, and reflect even upon abstract matters. They cannot be defined by or confined to material attributes. As God is spiritual (John 4:24 ), persons are spiritual. This spiritual kinship makes possible communication with God.
The Bible teaches that human beings have purpose. They have an instinctive need to be something and to do something. They have a responsible intuition and an inner call to duty. The human race has a unique sense of “oughtness.” Humans are moral creatures. They can and do make moral judgments (Genesis 2:16-27 ). Persons have a censoring conscience which they may defy. They are choice makers; they can obey their highest instincts or follow their most morbid urges. A human is the only creature who can say no to God. Humans are autonomous persons. God endowed them with the freedom to govern their own lives.
This same autonomy makes possible fellowship with God. No person could have a meaningful relationship with a robot. Real fellowship can take place only between two authentic persons. God created “man” in His own image because He wanted a relationship with another sovereign person. See Body ; Creation ; Flesh ; Humanity ; Soul ;
Vernon O. Elmore
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - Lamb of God (2)
A formula recited thrice by the priest at Mass (excepting on Good Friday and Holy Saturday) and occurring shortly before Communion near the end of the Canon and after the prayer "Haec commixtio," etc. The priest repeats thrice, "Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi" (Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world), twice, adding "miserere nobis" (have mercy on us) and the third time, "dona nobis pacem" (grant us peace), and in Requiem Masses or "miserere nobis" substitutes "dona eo [1] requiem" (grant him [2] rest) the third time adding the word "sempiternam" (eternal rest). He strikes his breast at each repetition excepting in a Requiem Mass when he keeps his hands clasped. The formula is based on the words found in John 1, and its symbolism is traced through more than thirty references in the Apocalypse. It appears to have been introduced into the Mass about the end of the 6th century when it was sung only once by the clergy and people, and later twice. In the 12th century it appears in its present form, although many churches retained the older "have mercy on us" for the third ending, a custom still kept in the Basilica of Saint John Lateran, Rome. The variation in the Requiem Mass is traced back to the 12th century. Before giving Holy Communion during or outside of Mass, the priest elevates a particle of the Host before the faithful, saying "Ecce Agnus Dei, ecce qui tollit peccata mundi; Domine non sum dignus," etc. At the end of the Litany of the Saints and the Litany of Loretto the formula appears "Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, Parce nobis Domine" (Spare us, O Lord), then "Exaudi nos, Domirte" (Graciously hear us, O Lord) and finally "Miserere nobis." In the Litany of the Holy Name of Jesus the name Jesu is added to the last word, and Jesu is substituted for Domine in the two previous endings.
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - Assemblies of God
A religious organization incorporated in Arkansas and in Missouri in 1914. An individual and evangelistic type of mission began in a number of churches, missions, and assemblics after the great revival in 1907. In 1914 a meeting was called and a group banded together under the name Assemblies of God. Basing their teaching on the Arminian doctrine, they emphasize the inspiration of the Scriptures. Although loyal to the government of the United States, they claim that, as followers of the Prince of Peace, they cannot take part in war. They are governed by a combination of the Congregational and Presbyterian systems. They have two periodicals. In 1925 there were in the United States: 1155 ministers; 900 churches; and 50,386 communicants.
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - Lamb of God
A title applied to Our Lord by Saint John the Baptist (John 1,29,36). He Isaiah 29 times called "the Lamb" in the Apocalypse. The title suggests the idea of a victim offered for sins; it probably goes back to Isaias, 53,7, where the Servant of the Lord, i.e.,the Messias, is spoken of as "led as a sheep to the slaughter and dumb as a lamb before His shearer." In 1Corinthians 5:7,1 Peter 1:19, however, Our Lord is called a "lamb", with reference to the paschal lamb; Saint John also regards the paschal lamb as symbolic of Christ, a victim for sin.
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - Children of God
A title of the faithful in virtue of special adoption by God; also used by Our Lord in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5) with special reference to peacemakers.
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - Day of Mary Mother of God
A title still commonly used in Ireland and elsewhere for the feast of the Assumption, August 15,. "Day of Mary Mother of God" is the primitive title for the feast. The old Armenian calendar (5th century) carried it for the date corresponding to August 15, under the title of the "Annunciation of the Mother of God" referring to the decree of the Council of Ephesus (c.431) which declared as a dogma of faith that Mary was truly the Mother of God.
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - John of God, Saint
Confessor, Founder of the Brothers Hospitallers, born Montemor Novo, Portugal, 1495; died Granada, Spain, 1550. His early life was unsettled and nomadic. He worked as a shepherd in Castile. After serving in Charles V's army he lived in Africa for some time and later, returning to Spain, peddled religious books and pictures in Gibraltar. The Infant Jesus, appearing to him, addressed him as "John of God," and bade him go to Granada. There, won over to the religious life by the teaching and example of Blessed John of Avila, he devoted himself to caring for the sick, and founded, for that purpose, the Grand Hospital at Granada and the Brothers Hospitallers. Patron of the sick and of hospitals, of printers and booksellers. Emblems: alms, a heart, crown of thorns. Canonized, 1690. Relics at Granada. Feast, Roman Calendar, March 8,.
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - Name of God
God is the name of the Supreme Being, the Creator, Lord, and Ruler of the Universe, as well as moral Ruler of mankind. It is a proper name, as God is one and unique, and infinite in all perfection; yet it was mistakenly used of many false and putative "gods," and so became in a sense plural or common.
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - Great God, Whatever Through Thy Church
Hymn written by an anonymous author, and found in "Hymns for the Year," 1867.
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - Jesus! my Lord, my God, my All!
Hymn written in the 19th century by Reverend F. W. Faber.
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - Kingdom of God
Not only a place or goal to be attained, but an influence under which our minds come when we are one with Christ and acting under His ideals; the sway of Grace, in our hearts; the rule of God in the world, Thy kingdom come; the place where God reigns; the goal at which we have to aim; the Church, which exercises this influence, administers the sacraments as a means of this grace, upholds even in persecution the laws of God, tabernacles the Body and Blood of His Divine. Soul, and keeps its members on the way of their pilgrimage to the heavenly country or kingdom. Inasmuch as the Church Militant on earth and the Church Suffering in Purgatory are of their very nature temporal, the complete and ultimate concept of the Kingdom of God finds its perfect realization in the attainment of the Spirit of Christ by the members of the Church Triumphant in Heaven. This consists in the complete union of minds and wills, with the Trinity, which God as Eternal King gives to the blessed in Heaven.
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - Dominic of the Mother of God
Passionist theologian, born near Viterbo, Italy, 1792; died near Reading, England, 1849. He established the Passionist Order in England, and received into the Church a number of remarkable converts of the Oxford Movement, among them John Dobree Dalgairns and John Henry Newman. His writings include works on philosophy and theology, several devotional books, and a letter on Anglican difficulties.
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - Christian Union Church of God
Religious organization founded in Tennessee, August 1886, under name "Christian Union," reorganized in 1902 under name "Holiness Church," and in 1907 adopted the name "Church of God." They follow the teachings of Arminius, and also are in accord with the Methodist bodies. The requisites for membership are "profession of faith in Christ, experience of being 'born again,' bearing the fruits of a Christian life, and recognition of the obligation to accept and practise all the teachings of the church." The Lord's Supper, water baptism by immersion, and foot-washing are the sacraments observed by this body. The government is described as "a blending of congregational and episcopal, ending in theocratical, by which is meant that every question is to be decided by God's Word." The chief ruler is the pastor of the local church. They publish one periodical. According to the last census there were in the United States 923 ministers, 666 churches, and 21,076 communicants.
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - Names of God
Some of the titles of God are names, others attributes. It is not always easy to distinguish between them. The following are found in Holy Scripture:
Almighty, Genesis 17:1
Benign, II Esdras 9:17
Blessed, Genesis 14:20
Creator, 2Machabees 1:24
Everlasting, Isaiah 40:28
Father, Matthew 6:9
First and Last, Isaiah 44:6
God of Peace, Romans 15:33
God of Vengeance, Psalms 93:1
Great, Psalms 76:14
Helper, Isaiah 50:9
Hidden, Isaiah 45:15
Holy, Apocalypse 4:8
Hope, Romans 15:13
I am who am, Exodus 3:14
Immortal, 1 Timothy 1:17
Invisible, Colossians 1:15
Jealous, Exodus 20:5
Judge, Psalms 7:12
Just, Isaiah 45:21
Life Eternal, 1 John 5:20
Living God, Daniel 6:26
Lord of Hosts, Isaiah 5:7
Lord, Psalms 117:27
Merciful, Exodus 34:6
Most High, Luke 1:32
Most Strong, Genesis 46:3
Protector, Psalms 30:3
Redeemer, Psalms 18:15
Salvation, Apocalypse 19:1
Saviour, Psalms 24:5
Spirit, John 4:24
Strength, Apocalypse 7:12
True, Jeremiah 10:10
In his celebrated treatise, The Names of God (New York, 1912), Lessius has many others, not taken from Scripture but principally from the liturgy, with brief explanations.
Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Son of God, Son of Man
SON OF GOD, SON OF MAN . See Person of Christ, I. §§ 3 . 4 .
Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Sons of God
SONS OF GOD . See Children of God.
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - Father, God the
The First Person of the Blessed Trinity. He is truly Father as He begets a co-eternal and co-equal Son, to whom He imparts the plenitude of His Nature and in Whom He contemplates His own perfect image. By nature God is Our Creator and Lord, and we are His creatures and subjects. By sin we are His enemies and deserve His chastisements. By grace, however, He lovingly pardons us, adopts us as sons, and destines us to share in the life and beatitude of His only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ. Thus by Divine adoption God is Our Father and we are His children. This adoption is effected through sanctifying grace, a Divine quality or supernatural habit infused into the soul by God, which blossoms into the vision of glory in life eternal.
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - Doings of God Through the Franks
The title adopted by Guibert de Nogent (died c.1124)for his history of the First Crusade. He infuses an epic coloring into his contemporary account of the Crusades, and shows the profound impression created throughout Europe by the conquest of the Holy Land. The title reveals the use of the word Frank by the Orientals to indicate the Crusaders.
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - Mother of God
Title of Our Lady first used by Saint Elizabeth at the Visitation, "And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me," (Luke 1:43). Found in early liturgical prayers, according to Saint Cyril (5th century), this term Theotokos (bearing God) was perfectly familiar to the ancient fathers. It was employed by Saint Ignatius of Antioch (c.90) and Saint Athanasius (c.373) and finally sanctioned at the Council of Ephesus (431).
Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Unknown God
UNKNOWN GOD . St. Paul, wandering along the streets of Athens, saw an altar bearing the dedication, ‘To an Unknown God’ ( Acts 17:23 ). He used this as the text of his sermon before the Areopagus. There is evidence in other ancient writers in favour of the existence of such a dedication, and the conjecture may be permitted that the altar was erected as a thank-offering for life preserved in some foreign country, the name of the proper divinity of which a very important thing in Greek ritual was unknown to the person preserved.
A. Souter.
Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Day of the Lord, God, Christ, the
Expression, often in the context of future events, which refers to the time when God will intervene decisively for judgment and/or salvation. Variously formulated as the "day of the Lord" (Amos 5:18 ), the "day of our Lord Jesus Christ" (1Col 1:8; cf. 2Col 1:14), the "day of God" (2 Peter 3:12 ; Revelation 16:14 ), or "the last day(s), " the expression highlights the unmistakable appearance of God. God will make visible his rule of righteousness by calling for an accounting by the nations as well as individuals, dispensing punishment for some and ushering in salvation for others.
In the Old Testament the expression "day of the Lord" occurs eighteen times in prophetic literature, most often in the books of Joel and Zephaniah. It is not found in Daniel. A similar expression that stands close to it is "on that day, " which occurs 208 times in the Old Testament; half the occurrences are in the prophets. In the New Testament, equivalent expressions, such as "day of Jesus Christ, " are found in 1 Corinthians 1:8 ; 2 Corinthians 1:14 ; Philippians 1:6,10 ; and 2 Peter 3:10,12 . "Day of the Lord" appears in 2 Thessalonians 2:2 .
Origin of the Expression . The origin of the expression is in dispute. Some suggest that it is anchored in creation vocabulary (e.g., the seventh day as especially God's day). Others point to Israel's history, theologically interpreted. Scholars have suggested a cultic ritual, such as the day of a king's enthronement, as providing the setting for the expression. More likely, however, is the proposal that the wars of the Lord in Israel's history serve as the background, since battle images abound (Joel 3:9-10 ; Revelation 16:14 ) and issues of jurisdiction and authority are central to the day of the Lord.
The Quality of the Day . A cluster of various meanings belong to the expression, "day of the Lord." Its first occurrence (Amos 5:18 ), for example, does not refer to the end of the world; in the New Testament, however, such a meaning emerges.
In biblical thought the character or quality of a day (time period) was of greater importance than its date (the numerical quantity in a sequence). From the first mention of the expression by Amos (although some date Obadiah 15 and Joel earlier), the notion of divine intervention, of a "God who comes" is evident. Israel anticipated that for them God's coming would hold favorable prospects, that it would be a day of light. Amos announces that, given Israel's great evil, God's coming will signal for them disappointment and calamity, a day of darkness. Predominant in the divine intervention is the awesome presence of the Almighty. It is as though God not only comes on the scene, but fills the screen of all that is. His presence totally dominates. Human existence pales before this giant reality. On that day, "all hands will go limp, every man's heart will melt" (Isaiah 13:7 ). At a later time the descriptions move beyond human experience. The cosmos will go into convulsions. In stereotyped language it is said that the sun will refuse to give its light, the moon and the stars will cease to shine (Isaiah 13:10 ). Joel, preoccupied with the subject, cites wonders in heaven and on earth, including the moon turning to blood (Joel 2:30-31 ).
In the New Testament the appearance of God is more distinctly the coming of Christ, specifically the return of Christ, his second coming. Paul's mention of the "day of our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Corinthians 1:8 ) is likely the day of "the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him" (2 Thessalonians 2:1 ). Whether the day is the parousia, or the climax of history and all things as in the "day of God" when the dissolution of the heavens occurs (2 Peter 3:12 ), the "day" will be characterized by the unquestioned and unmistakable presence of Almighty God.
As depicted by Joel, the day of the Lord means decision: "Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision" (3:14). A verdict will be rendered. God will adjudicate peoples. His decision for some nations, such as Tyre, Sidon, Moab, Philistia, and Assyria, will be punishment (Joel 3:4-13 ; cf. Zephaniah 2:6-15 ). Divine judgment will be executed. On that day a decision will be rendered against everything proud (Isaiah 2:12-18 ). God Acts with dispatch as he judges nations in the Valley of Jehoshaphat (Joel 3:2,12-13 ). The decision for others will have a saving dimension, for God's promise of blessing will be activated and realized (Joel 3:18-21 ).
The Calendaring of the Day . The "day of the Lord" is not a one-time occurrence. Days of the Lord, while often represented in the Bible as in the future, are not limited to the future. There have been days of the Lord in the past. The catastrophe of the fall of Jerusalem in 587 b.c. was described as a "day of the Lord" (Lamentations 2:21 ). Isaiah says that the day of the Lord will involve the fall of Babylon. God's agency will be recognized, for he will "make the heavens tremble; and the earth will shake from its place" (Isaiah 13:13 ). God's immediate agent will be the Medes whom he will stir up against Babylon; their action will be decisive. "Babylon, the jewel of kingdoms, the glory of the Babylonians' pride, will be overthrown by God like Sodom and Gomorrah" (13:19). Historically, that event is to be dated to 539 b.c. Joel, in turn, describes a grasshopper plague that for him represents the day of the Lord as imminent, even immediate. The day of Pentecost, now history, is described as the day of the Lord (Acts 2:16-21 ).
Still, for the prophets and for many of the New Testament writers, the day of the Lord points to the future. That future may be centuries distant, as in Isaiah's prophecy about Babylon (chap. 13) or Joel's prophecy about the Spirit (2:28-32), or it may be in the far distant future. Isaiah's language about the universal humiliation of the lofty and arrogant indicates a grand finale, possibly at the end of history (2:12-18). The New Testament, while speaking of the Christ event as a day of the Lord (Acts 2:16-21 ), also speaks of the anticipated day of Christ as his return (2 Thessalonians 2:1-2 ), which is yet, after almost two thousand years, still future. The surprise factor (it will come "like a thief in the night") is a marked feature of the day in the New Testament (1 Thessalonians 5:2,4 ; 2 Peter 3:10 ). Eventually the day of the Lord (God) came to mean the termination of the world.
The Day of the Lord as a Day of Calamity . The day of the Lord means destruction of the godless. With metaphor the prophets excel in describing the calamitous aspect of day of the Lord. Amos speaks of it as a day of darkness (5:18). Joel depicts it as a day of clouds and thick darkness (2:2). Zephaniah's description (1:15-16a) is vivid as he mixes direct description and metaphor:
That day will be a day of wrath, A day of distress and anguish A day of trouble and ruin, A day of darkness and gloom, A day of clouds and blackness A day of trumpet and battle cry. Isaiah describes a massive leveling; whatever is lofty will be brought low (2:12-17). A frequent metaphor is war. Isaiah invokes the war model to characterize the day of the Lord—"The Lord Almighty is mustering an army for war" (13:4). With war comes fear and cruelty. The opponents are afraid; "pain and anguish will grip them They will look aghast at each other" (13:8). Joel describes the Lord's army: "They charge like warriors; they scale walls like soldiers. They all march in line" (2:7). Their effectiveness is telling: "Before them fire devours, behind them a flame blazes. Before them the land is like the garden of Eden, behind them, a desert waste" (2:3). The effect is awesome: "Before them the earth shakes, the sky trembles" (2:10). Zephaniah, emphasizing the destructive nature of that day, compares it to a sacrifice (1:8). In keeping with the motif of fire, the Septuagint renders Malachi 3:19 : "For the day of the Lord is coming burning like an oven." The New Testament only confirms the destructive character of the "day" (1 Thessalonians 1:9-10 ). The author of 2Peter reiterates the theme of fire and explains that by fire the earth and the elements themselves will be destroyed. The heavens will disappear, also by fire (2 Peter 3:10-11 ).
The elaborate description of the day of the Lord in Joel is about calamity for Israel. Drought has paralyzed the economy (1:4-12), brought the giving of gifts in worship to a halt (1:13), and jeopardized even the survival of animals (1:18). To forestall total disaster the prophet calls for a fast (1:14; 2:12). Amos depicts a day of darkness for Israel. The reason for such calamity lies in Israel's failure to do justice (5:7,10-12) and her devotion to gods other than Yahweh (5:25-27). Zephaniah announces that great distress will come on the people, to the point that "their blood shall be poured out like dust." He explains that nothingneither silver nor goldwill be able to save them (1:17-18). It is because the people have been violent and deceitful that such calamity will come (1:9,17). The "day of the Lord" is focused, then, on Israel. Even though they expected their righteousness to be vindicated against their enemies, they were to discover that God's righteousness entailed his move against them.
Early descriptions of the day are found in the oracles against the nations. Joel graphically depicts a roll call of Tyre, Sidon, and Philistia. They will be judged on the basis of their treatment of Israel, the people of God. These nations are indicted for appropriating parts of the land of Israel (3:2), for inhumane treatment of young boys and young girls (3:3,6), for traffic in slavery (3:6), and for expropriating temple articles (3:5). Obadiah announces that the deeds of the nations will return on their own heads (v. 15). Zephaniah's roll call is more extensive (Gaza, Moab, Ethiopia, Assyria) and the accusations include reproaching God's people (2:8,10) and arrogance (2:15). Zechariah's announcement about the day of the Lord includes a battle with nations (14:3; cf. Revelation 16:14 ). More universally Isaiah lumps together all those who are proud, lofty, and arrogant: "The loftiness of man shall be bowed down and the haughtiness of men shall be brought low" (2:17). In the same vein, Paul associates the second coming of Christ with destructive power (1 Thessalonians 5:2-3 ).
The outcome, according to Isaiah, is the massive abolition of idols (2:18,20). Threatened by God's fury, men and women will seek refuge in rocks (Isaiah 2:21 ). One striking consequence of the day of the Lord for nations will be a recognition of Yahweh (Joel 3:17 ), but not without desolation (Zephaniah 2:13-14 ) and death (Zephaniah 2:12 ).
The day of the Lord also affects the natural order. The plague of locusts in Joelwhether a pointer to the day of the Lord or itself a "day of the Lord"brings unproductive conditions for trees and vines and jeopardizes the survival of animals (1:12,18). An upheaval of cosmic proportions means changes in the sun, moon, and stars (2:30). Some hold that these luminaries are symbolic, as often in the ancient Near East, of potentates and governmental powers. While there is no direct evidence that civil powers are intended, it must be understood that the authors were describing the indescribable, and that rigorous literalism need not always be required. Still, an overriding impression is that the day of the Lord will powerfully affect nature.
The Day as Salvation . While the judgment dimension is dominant in descriptions of the day of the Lord, the salvation dimension, although less emphasized, is nevertheless present. Some metaphors for the day are negative. Other metaphors are positive. It is a time of return to paradise (Isaiah 35:1-10 ). The mountains will drip with new wine and the hills will flow with milk (Joel 3:18 ). The setting is as a day of abundant harvest (Joel 2:24 ).
The day of the Lord brings salvation for Israel. Drought and disaster drive Israel to their knees. They cry for God's mercy (Joel 2:17 ), and he answers. Salvation follows judgment. God forcibly and effectively removes the enemy (2:20). Salvation consists in abundance of grain, new wine, and oil, "enough to satisfy you fully" (2:19; cf. 2:24,26). In the words of Zephaniah, God will "restore their [1] fortunes" (2:7), an expression that implies the restoration of a desirable situation, a recovery of what has been lost. To God's saving activity will belong his pouring forth of his Spirit on all people (Joel 2:29 ). In the words of Zephaniah, "The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love" (3:17). It will mean that "everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved" (Joel 2:32 ).
In the New Testament the day of the Lord is more precisely the day of Jesus Christ and especially the manifestation of his glory. While this revelation of the person of Jesus spells calamity for unbelievers, for believers it means to be caught up to be with Christ their redeemer forever (1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:3 ). Such a prospect leads to joyous expectation and fervor. With this prospect and other promises in mind, Paul urges Christians to persevere (1 Corinthians 1:8 ).
The day of the Lord portends salvation for the nations. Announcements about favorable prospects for Gentiles, while considerable, are not often found in conjunction with language about the day of the Lord. Still, pictures of Gentile response given elsewhere (such as Psalm 96 ) are reinforced by Zephaniah's classic description of the day of the Lord: "From beyond the rivers of Cush my worshipers, my scattered people, will bring me offerings" (3:10; cf. 3:9). The same prophet also portrays nations, each in their own place, bowing down to the Lord (2:11). Such a day is on the far side of the day of judgment, a situation true for peoples generally but also for the individual. Paul urges the church at Corinth to discipline the immoral person so that at the day of the Lord his spirit may be saved (1 Corinthians 5:5 ).
The day of the Lord will transform nature. For God's people, Israel, the day of the Lord will mean physical abundance and spiritual blessing. Nature will be affected. Joel addresses an oracle to the earth, calling on it not to fear, and promises that it will be fertile and productive (2:22) so that threshing floors will be filled with grain and vats will overflow with new wine (2:24). Although the new heaven and earth are not in the Old Testament specifically connected to the day of the Lord (Isaiah 65:17-25 ), that connection is made in 2 Peter 3:13 . The old world has passed away to be replaced by a new heaven and a new earth. The table below sketches the nature of the day of the Lord as described by the preexilic prophets.
Theological Significance . The theological significance of the day of the Lord may be summarized along three lines of thought. First, without question, the day of the Lord is a day of God's vindication. In the battle between evil and God, it is God who is victorious and vindicated. He is the ultimate power to whom is given the final word and against whom no force can stand (Isaiah 2:17 ). God's summons of the nations for an accounting in Joel 3 and Zephaniah and the description of the cosmos being annihilated through fire ( 2 Peter 3:10-13 ) are two impressive ways of insisting on the truth that God is fully in charge. The preview of the day of the Lord, as in the destruction of Babylon or at the time of the Christ-event, including the day of Pentecost, already shows evidence of God's extraordinary work and power, so that the day of the Lord at the end of history is quite beyond human description.
Second, the day of Yahweh addresses the question of theodicynot only the existence of evil, but especially undoing the havoc that it brings and making all things right. Ambiguities will be resolved. The message of the day of the Lord is that evil be trounced and evildoers will in the end receive their due. There is justice after all. God will settle his accounts with all that is godless and anti-God, arrogant and pridefully hostile against the Almighty. On the other hand, the scenes about God's blessing and the recovery of an Edenic paradise have and will continue to offer hope for those whose trust is in God (2 Peter 3:13 ).
Third, the certain coming of that day with its dark side of judgment and its bright side of a giant transformation encompassing human beings, human society, the world's physical environment, and the cosmos as such, calls on believers especially to live in its light. The purpose of discussions about the day of the Lord, past or future, is to illumine the present. Peter's question is rhetorical but pointed. In view of the coming day of the Lord, "What kind of people ought you to be?" (2 Peter 3:11 ).
Elmer A. Martens
See also Day ; Judgment, Day of
Bibliography . G. Brauman and C. Brown, NIDNTT, 2:887-88,890-91; E. Delling, TDNT, 2:943-53; A. J. Everson, JBL 93 (1979): 329-37; E. Jenni, IDB, 1:784-85; W. C. Kaiser, Jr., Toward an Old Testament Theology ; E. A. Martens, God's Design ; R. L. Mayhue, Grace Theological Journal 6 (1985): 231-46; W. Van Gemeren, Interpreting the Prophetic Word ; G. von Rad, Old Testament Theology, 2:119-25; B. Witherington, Jesus, Paul and the End of the World: A Comparative Study in New Testament Eschatology .
CARM Theological Dictionary - Image of God
Man was made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26). The image of God is generally held to mean that people contain within their nature elements that reflect God's nature: compassion, reason, love, hate, patience, kindness, self-awareneness, etc. Though we have a physical image, it does not mean that God has one. Rather, God is spirit (John 4:24), not flesh and bones (Luke 24:39).
Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Children of God
See Adoption
CARM Theological Dictionary - 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 OT it was figuratively applied to Israel (Exodus 4:22). In the NT 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; Mat 2:11; Mat 14:33; John 9:35-38; Hebrews 1:6); called God (John 20:28; Colossians 2:9; Hebrews 1:8); prayed to (Acts 7:55-60; 1 Corinthians 1:1-2).
Easton's Bible Dictionary - Decrees of God
"The decrees of God are his eternal, unchangeable, holy, wise, and sovereign purpose, comprehending at once all things that ever were or will be in their causes, conditions, successions, and relations, and determining their certain futurition. The several contents of this one eternal purpose are, because of the limitation of our faculties, necessarily conceived of by us in partial aspects, and in logical relations, and are therefore styled Decrees." The decree being the act of an infinite, absolute, eternal, unchangeable, and sovereign Person, comprehending a plan including all his works of all kinds, great and small, from the beginning of creation to an unending eternity; ends as well as means, causes as well as effects, conditions and instrumentalities as well as the events which depend upon them, must be incomprehensible by the finite intellect of man. The decrees are eternal (Acts 15:18 ; Ephesians 1:4 ; 2 th 2:13 ), unchangeable (Psalm 33:11 ; Isaiah 46:9 ), and comprehend all things that come to pass (Ephesians 1:11 ; Matthew 10:29,30 ; Ephesians 2:10 ; Acts 2:23 ; 4:27,28 ; Psalm 17:13,14 ). The decrees of God are (1) efficacious, as they respect those events he has determined to bring about by his own immediate agency; or (2) permissive, as they respect those events he has determined that free agents shall be permitted by him to effect.
This doctrine ought to produce in our minds "humility, in view of the infinite greatness and sovereignty of God, and of the dependence of man; confidence and implicit reliance upon wisdom, rightenousness, goodness, and immutability of God's purpose."
Easton's Bible Dictionary - God
(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 ( Psalm 14:1 ). The arguments generally adduced by theologians in proof of the being of God are:
The a priori argument, which is the testimony afforded by reason.
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 Exodus 34:6,7 . (see also Deuteronomy 6:4 ; 10:17 ; Numbers 16:22 ; Exodus 15:11 ; 33:19 ; Isaiah 44:6 ; Habakkuk 3:6 ; Psalm 102:26 ; Job 34:12 .) They are also systematically classified in Revelation 5:12,7:12 .
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, goodness, etc.
Easton's Bible Dictionary - Word of God
(Hebrews 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; BIBLE .) 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 Timothy 3:15,16 ; 1 Peter 1:23 ).
Easton's Bible Dictionary - Kingdom of God
(Matthew 6:33 ; Mark 1:14,15 ; Luke 4:43 ) = "kingdom of Christ" (Matthew 13:41 ; 20:21 ) = "kingdom of Christ and of God" (Ephesians 5:5 ) = "kingdom of David" (Mark 11:10 ) = "the kingdom" (Matthew 8:12 ; 13:19 ) = "kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 3:2 ; 4:17 ; 13:41 ), all denote the same thing under different aspects, viz.: (1) Christ's mediatorial authority, or his rule on the earth; (2) the blessings and advantages of all kinds that flow from this rule; (3) the subjects of this kingdom taken collectively, or the Church.
Easton's Bible Dictionary - River of God
(Psalm 65:9 ), as opposed to earthly streams, denoting that the divine resources are inexhaustible, or the sum of all fertilizing streams that water the earth (Genesis 2:10 ).
Charles Spurgeon's Illustration Collection - God: Acting as a Father
A king is sitting with his council deliberating on high affairs of state involving the destiny of nations, when suddenly he hears the sorrowful cry of his little child who has fallen down, or been frightened by a wasp; he rises and runs to his relief, assuages his sorrows and relieves his fears. Is there anything unkingly here? Is it not most natural? Does it not even elevate the monarch in your esteem? Why then do we think it dishonorable to the King of kings, our heavenly Father, to consider the small matters of his children? It is infinitely condescending, but is it not also superlatively natural that being a Father he should act as such?
Easton's Bible Dictionary - Goodness of God
A perfection of his character which he exercises towards his creatures according to their various circumstances and relations (Psalm 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 (Zephaniah 3:17 ), and his goodness is incomprehensible by the finite mind (Romans 11 :: 3536,36 ). "God's goodness appears in two things, giving and forgiving."
Holman Bible Dictionary - Finger of God
A picturesque expression of God at work. The finger of God writing the Ten Commandments illustrated God's giving the law without any mediation (Exodus 31:18 ; Deuteronomy 9:10 ). Elsewhere the finger of God suggests God's power to bring plagues on Egypt (Exodus 8:19 ) and in making the heavens (Psalm 8:3 ). Jesus' statement “If I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you” (Luke 11:20 ) means that since Jesus cast out demons by the power of God, God's rule had become a reality among His hearers.
Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Truce of God
A scheme set on foot for the purpose of quelling the violence and preventing the frequency of private wars, occasioned by the fierce spirit of the barbarians in the middle ages. In France, a general peace and cessation from hostilities took place A. D. 1032, and continued for seven years, in consequence of the methods which the bishop of Aquataine successfully employed to work upon the superstition of the times. A resolution was formed, that no man should, in time to come, attack or molest his adversaries during the seasons set apart for celebrating the great festivals of the church, or from the evening of Thursday in each week to the morning of Monday in the week ensuing, the intervening days being consecrated as particularly holy; our Lord's passion having happened on one of those days, and his resurrection on another. A change in the dispositions of men so sudden, and which proposed a resolution so unexpected, was considered as miraculous; and the respite from hostilities which followed upon it was called the Truce of God. This cessation from hostilities during three complete days every week, allowed a considerable space for the passions of the antagonists to cool, and for the people to enjoy a respite from the calamities of war, and to take measures for their own security.
Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Son of God
A term applied in the Scriptures not only to magistrates and saints, but more particularly to Jesus Christ. Christ, says Bishop Pearson, has a fourfold right to this title.
1. By generation, as begotten of God, Luke 1:35 .
2. By commission, as sent by him, John 10:34 ; John 10:36 .
3. By resurrection, as the first born, Acts 13:32-33 .
4. By actual possession, as heir of all, Hebrews 1:2 ; Hebrews 1:5 . But, besides these four, many think that he is called the Son of God in such a way and manner as never any other was, is, or can be, because of his own divine nature, he being the true, proper, and natural Son of God, begotten by him before all worlds, John 3:16 . Romans 8:3 . 1 John 4:9 .
See article GENERATION ETERNAL, and books there referred to.
Easton's Bible Dictionary - Foreknowledge of God
Acts 2:23 ; Romans 8:29 ; 11:2 ; 1 Peter 1:2 ), one of those high attributes essentially appertaining to him the full import of which we cannot comprehend. In the most absolute sense his knowledge is infinite (1 Samuel 23:9-13 ; Jeremiah 38:17-23 ; 42:9-22 , Matthew 11:21,23 ; Acts 15:18 ).
Charles Spurgeon's Illustration Collection - God: Love of
All things that are on earth shall wholly pass away, Except the love of God, which shall live and last for aye. The forms of men shall be as they had never been; The blasted groves shall lose their fresh and tender green; The birds of the thicket shall end their pleasant song, And the nightingale shall cease to chant the evening long; The kine of the pasture shall feel the dart that kills, And all the fair white flocks shall perish from the hills; The goat and antlered stag, the wolf and the fox, The wild boar of the wood, and the chamois of the rocks, And the strong and fearless bear, in the trodden dust shall lie; And the dolphin of the sça, and the mighty whale shall die, And realms shall be dissolved, and empires be no more; And they shall bow to death, who ruled from shore to shore;
And the great globe itself (so the holy writings tell), With the rolling firmament, where the starry armies dwell, Shall melt with fervent heat: they shall all pass away, Except the love of God, which shall live and last for aye.
William Cullen Byarn
Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Children of God, Sons of God
Amongst the many ways current in antiquity of expressing the relationship existing between God and man (Creator, King, Lord, Husband, Father), two were derived from human relationships of the family life-God is the Husband or Bridegroom of His people, or He is their Father. With the former we are not now concerned. The latter plays a large part in the teaching of the NT. It will be convenient to examine this teaching under four heads: (1) the doctrine of St. Paul, (2) that of the Johannine writings, (3) that of 1 Peter, (4) that of the remaining books.
1. St. Paul.-It is natural that we should find in this writer, who was the champion and protagonist of the movement for the extension of Christianity to the Gentiles, the most unrestricted expression in the NT of the sonship of mankind as related to God. In Acts 17:28 he bases an argument upon the phrase of the poet Cleanthes ‘for we are his offspring.’ If Ephesians 3:15 ‘the Father from whom every family in heaven and earth is named’ should more rightly be translated ‘of whom all fatherhood in heaven and earth is named,’* [1] we have here the thought that Fatherhood is an element in the very being of God, and that all other forms of paternity are derived from Him. The words of Ephesians 4:6 ‘one God and Father of all’ will then be naturally interpreted of this universal Fatherhood of God, It is, however, natural enough that in a Christian writer this conception of the universal Fatherhood of God should find little emphasis, and that it should be of infrequent occurrence, for the conception of sonship was wanted to express a closer and more vital relationship than that between God and unredeemed humanity. St. Paul, therefore, generally uses it to denote the relationship between God and the disciples of Christ, whether Jews or Gentiles. Writing in the stress of the Jewish controversy, he finds it necessary to vindicate the claims of the Gentile Christians to the name ‘children or sons of God.’ Gentile Christians are ‘children of promise’ (Galatians 4:28). It is they who as ‘children of promise’ are Abraham’s seed (Romans 9:8). And this sonship had been foretold by Hosea (Romans 9:25). To express the process by which the Christian becomes a son of God, St. Paul takes from current Greek and Roman terminology the metaphor of ‘adoption’:† [2] so in Romans 8:15 ‘ye received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father’; so again in Galatians 4:4-6 ‘God sent forth his Son … that we might receive the adoption of sons … and because ye are sons, God sent forth the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, Abba, Father.’ The metaphor occurs twice besides in connexion with the genesis of the idea of adoption in the mind of God, and with its complete realization in the future. In Ephesians 1:5 St. Paul speaks of God as ‘having foreordained us unto adoption as sons through Jesus Christ unto himself.’ In Romans 8:23 he speaks of Christians who have the first-fruits of the Spirit, who therefore have already received in some measure the spirit of adoption, as ‘waiting for our adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.’ He seems to mean that only at the resurrection, when the body rises incorruptible, will the process of adoption be really completed, and made manifest. Adoption to sonship, then, according to St. Paul, presupposes the revelation of the Son of God: ‘God sent forth his Son that we might receive the adoption of sons’ (Galatians 4:6). It was effected by the imparting to the disciple of the Spirit of the incarnate Son, or, in other words, of the Spirit of God. ‘God sent forth the Spirit of his Son into our hearts’ (Galatians 4:5); ‘As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God’ (Romans 8:14). This involves real likeness to the Son of God: ‘He foreordained them to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the first-born amongst many brethren’ (Romans 8:29). Cf. such passages as 2 Corinthians 3:16 ‘we all … are being changed into the same image.’ At the unveiling or apocalypse of Christ there will also be an unveiling, or manifestation, of the sons of God (Romans 8:19), in which in some sense the whole created universe will share (Romans 8:21). Lastly, adoption involves fellowship with the Son of God (1 Corinthians 1:9) and joint participation with Him in present suffering, and in future glory (Romans 8:16 f.).
2. Johannine writings.-In this literature the terms ‘the Father,’ ‘the Son’ are most characteristically used to express the relationship between God and the Word of God incarnate in Jesus Christ. Whether God is spoken of as the Father of all men is doubtful. The same question arises here as in the Synoptic Gospels. There Christ speaks repeatedly to His disciples of God as ‘your Father’: in Mt. commonly, e.g. Matthew 5:16; Matthew 5:45; Matthew 5:48; in Mk., twice, Mark 11:25-26; in Lk., thrice,Luke 6:36; Luke 12:30; Luke 12:32. They are to address Him in prayer as ‘our Father’ (Matthew 6:9) or ‘Father’ (Luke 11:2). They are so to imitate Him that they may be His sons (Matthew 5:45, Luke 6:35).
In the Fourth Gospel we find for ‘your Father’ the simple ‘the Father.’ Of course we may read into these phrases the idea of the universal Fatherhood of God; and the general tenour of Christ’s teaching, interpreted in the light of history, makes it certain that He meant to imply this. But we must remember that He was speaking to Jews, who had long been accustomed to think of God’s Fatherhood as a term specially applicable to the pious Jew, or to the Jewish nation. His hearers would not, therefore, necessarily have read a universalistic sense into His words, and He nowhere explicitly speaks of God as Father of all men outside His own disciples (members of the Jewish nation). The nearest approximation to this would be His use of ‘the Father’ in speaking to the Samaritan woman (John 4:21; John 4:23). For the term ‘Father’ as applied to God in the OT and in the later Jewish pre-Christian literature, where it is generally used to denote the relationship between God and the individual pious Jew, see W. Bousset, Rel. des Jud., Berlin, 1903, p. 355ff.; G. Dalman, The Words of Jesus, Eng. translation , Edinburgh, 1902, p. 184ff. The phrase, ‘the children of God who were scattered abroad’ (John 11:52), probably refers to the members of the Gentile churches of the writer’s own period. These became ‘children of God’ when they became Christians. In connexion with sonship as used of the relation between God and the disciple of Christ the most characteristic feature of the Johannine writings is the use of the metaphor of re-birth. In John 1:12 f. it is said that those who receive the incarnate Word, or who believe on His name, are given authority to become children of God. (It is just possible that we have here an allusion to the Pauline conception of son-ship by adoption.) Then follows a description of the process by which this position of ‘children’ was reached. They were begotten, not along the lines of physical birth, but ‘of God.’ There is a very interesting variant reading (Western) which makes these words descriptive not of the spiritual birth of the Christian disciple, but of the birth in a supernatural manner (‘not of a husband’) of the Word, who thus became flesh. And even if that be not the original reading, it would seem that the writer in choosing terms in which to describe the spiritual birth of the disciple has selected terms which presuppose acquaintance with the tradition of the birth from a virgin. The disciple, like the Lord Himself, was born, not by physical generation, nor of fleshly passion, nor at the impulse of a human husband, but of God. In John 3:3 the necessity of thus being born from above, or anew, is once more emphasized. In John 3:5 the birth is described as a begetting of the Spirit which takes place at baptism (‘of water,’ unless these words are an early gloss). In the First Epistle the idea recurs. The communication of the Divine life from God in this spiritual birth is connected, as in St. Paul, with ‘faith.’ ‘Every one who believes that Jesus is the Christ is begotten of God,’ 1 John 5:1 (cf. Galatians 3:26 ‘sons through faith’). But ‘love,’ and ‘doing righteousness’ are also the external signs of spiritual birth (cf. John 4:7 ‘Every one that loveth is born of God,’ and 1 John 2:29 ‘Every one that doeth righteousness is begotten of Him’). And just as in St. Paul adoption to sonship involved an increasing conformity to the likeness of the Son of God, so in St. John the birth from God involves the idea of freedom from sin. ‘Every one that is begotten of God does not commit sin’ (1 John 3:9; cf. 1 John 5:18). It carries with it also the certainty of victory over ‘the world,’ ‘Whatsoever is begotten of God overcometh the world’ (1 John 5:4). Just as it is characteristic of St. Paul, with his metaphor of adoption, to speak of Christians as ‘sons,’ so it naturally follows from St. John’s preference for the idea of re-birth to speak of them as ‘children.’ And lastly, just as St. Paul seems to look forward to the resurrection as the moment when adoption to sonship shall be consummated, so St. John looks forward to the manifestation of Christ as the moment when likeness to Him, which is involved in sonship, will be perfected (cf. 1 John 3:2 ‘Beloved, now are we the children of God, and it is not yet made manifest what we shall be. But we know that if he [3] shall be manifested we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is’).
3. 1 Peter.-Here, too, we find the conception that Christians have passed through a process of re-birth. The word used is not the simple ‘to beget,’ as in John 3:3; John 3:5, but a compound ‘to beget again,’ which is found also in ‘Western’ authorities of John 3:5. Thus when St. Peter speaks of God who ‘begat us again,’ he describes the life of Christians as a new life into which they had entered, and at the same time emphasizes this life as having originated by a Divine act of God. In 1:23 he speaks of Christians as ‘being begotten again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, through the word of God.’ The seed here seems to describe the Divine nature (cf. 1 John 3:9), and the ‘word’ apparently means the message of the Gospel of the incarnate ‘Word.’ It is in harmony with this conception of the re-birth of Christians that St. Peter speaks of them as invoking ‘a Father’ (John 1:17).
4. The idea of sonship finds little expression in the remaining books of the NT. In Hebrews 12:5; Hebrews 12:7-8 affliction is regarded as a proof that God deals with the sufferers as with sons. This is merely metaphorical. More to our point is Hebrews 2:10 f. ‘It became him, through whom are all things, and all things through him, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the leader of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For he that sanctifieth and they that are sanctified are all of one.’ Some would see in the ‘sons’ a reference to the universal Fatherhood of God, but more probably it is Christians who are meant, who have become ‘sons’ by uniting themselves with the one Son. Consequently He and they are all sons of one common Father. The use of ‘sons’ is in this case parallel to that of ‘children’ in John 11:52. The conception of sonship does not occur in James , 2 or 3 John, 2 Peter, or in Jude, for the phrase ‘God the Father’ in 2 Peter 1:17, 2 John 1:3, and Judges 1:1 seems to have reference rather to the relationship between God and Christ than to that between God and men. In the Apocalypse it occurs only in Revelation 21:7, where it is to be the privilege of those who inherit the new Jerusalem that they will be sons of God.
If we now try to summarize the teaching of the Apostolic Age as expressed in the writings of the NT on the conception of sonship of God, the following appear to be the main lines of thought: (1) There is a recognition of the universal Fatherhood of God, to be seen in the teaching of Christ when once it was detached from a literal Jewish interpretation (cf. especially the Parable of the Prodigal Son, and the use of the term ‘the Father’ in the conversation with the woman of Samaria). It appears, too, in St. Paul’s words to the non-Christian Athenians. Whether the inference that God is the Father of all men, from Ephesians 3:15, is a necessary one may be more doubtful. The correlative to this thought of the Fatherhood of God should logically be that of the universal sonship of men. But this receives very scanty expression in the NT (cf. again the Parable of the Prodigal Son, Acts 17:28, and perhaps Hebrews 2:10). (2) In a unique sense Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (3) The Christian disciple by virtue of his union with Christ becomes a son, or child, of God. In the language of St. Paul he is adopted to be a son. In the language of St. John and St. Peter he is born or begotten again. The condition of such sonship is faith. It is characterized by guidance by the Spirit, and it manifests itself in love and in righteousness. Consisting in the gift of new life from God (incorruptible seed, or the Spirit), it implies growth, i.e. a progressive assimilation to Christ Himself. The consummation of this process will be a final adoption at the resurrection (St. Paul), or likeness to Christ at His manifestation (St. John).
Literature.-For Sonship of God by new birth, in antiquity, see A. Dieterich, Eine Mithrasliturgie, Leipzig, 1903, p. 157ff.; for Adoption, see W. M. Ramsay, Hist. Com. on Galatians, London, 1899, p. 337ff. and article ‘Adoption’ in Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics . For Sonship at God in the NT, see the Theologies or the NT, e.g. G. B. Stevens, Edinburgh, 1899, pp. 69ff., 591f. For Sonship in St. John, see B. F. Westcott, Epistles of St. John, London, 1883, p. 120f.; O. Pfleiderer, Primitive Christianity, Eng. translation , i. [4] 365ff., iv. [5] 277ff.
W. C. Allen.
Charles Spurgeon's Illustration Collection - Communion With God: Power of
In driving piles, a machine is used by which a huge weight is lifted up and then made to fall upon the head of the pile. Of course the higher the weight is lifted the more powerful is the blow which it gives when it descends. Now, if we would tell upon our age and come down upon society with ponderous blows, we must see to it that we are uplifted as near to God as possible. All our power will depend upon the elevation of our spirits. Prayer, meditation, devotion, communion, are like a windlass to wind us up aloft; it is not lost time which we spend in such sacred exercises, for we are thus accumulating force, so that when we come down to our actual labour for God, we shall descend with an energy unknown to those to whom communion is unknown.
Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Hearing the Word of God
Is an ordinance of divine appointment, Proverbs 8:4-59 . 1618067048_55 . Mark 4:24 . Public reading of the Scriptures was a part of synagogue worship, Romans 10:17 . Acts 15:21 . and was the practice of the Christians in primitive times. Under the former dispensation there was a public hearing of the law at stated seasons, Deuteronomy 31:10 ; Deuteronomy 31:13 . Nehemiah 8:2-3 . It seems, therefore, that it is a duty incumbent on us to hear, and , if sensible of our ignorance, we shall also consider it our privilege. As to the manner of hearing, it should be constantly, Proverbs 8:34 . James 1:24-25 . Attentively, Luke 21:38 . Acts 10:33 . Luke 4:20 ; Luke 4:22 . With reverence, Psalms 89:7 . With faith, Hebrews 4:2 . With an endeavour to retain what we hear, Hebrews 2:1 . Psalms 119:11 . With an humble docile disposition, Luke 10:42 . With prayer, Luke 18:1-43 : the advantages of hearing are, information, 2 Timothy 3:16 . Conviction, 1 Corinthians 14:24-25 . Acts 2:1-47 : Conversion, Psalms 11:7 . Acts 4:4 . Confirmation, Acts 14:22 . Acts 16:5 . Consolation, Philippians 1:25 . Is. 40: 1, 2. Is. 35: 3, 4. Stennet's Parable of the Sower; Massilon's Ser. vol. 2: p. 131. Eng. trans. Gill's Body of Div. vol. 3: p. 340. oct. ed.
Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Care of God
Is his attention to and concern for the promotion of the welfare of his creatures, 1 Peter 5:7 .
1.That God does manifest this care is evident from the blessings we enjoy, the ordinances he has instituted, the promises he has given, and the provision he has made, Psalms 84:11 . Matthew 7:12 .
2.This care is entirely free, and unmerited on our part. Genesis 32:10 . Deuteronomy 7:6 . Romans 3:23 .
3.It is every way extensive, reaching to all his creatures and to all cases. Psalms 145:1-21 :
4.It is superior to all human care and attention. He cares for us when others cannot; when others will not care for us; or when we cannot or will not care for ourselves. Psalms 142:4-5 . Jeremiah 49:11 . Psalms 41:3 .
5.It is not only great, but perpetual. Through all the scenes of live, in death, and for ever. Hebrews 13:5 . John 17:9 .
See PROVIDENCE.
Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Self-Existence of God
Is his entire existence of himself, not owing it to any other being whatsoever: and thus God would exist, if there were to other being in the whole compass of nature but himself.
See EXISTENCE and ETERNITY OF GOD.
Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Foreknowledge of God
Is his foresight or knowledge of every thing that is to come to pass, Acts 2:23 . This foreknowledge, says Charnock, was from eternity.
Seeing he knows things possible in his power, and things future in his will, if his power and resolves were from eternity, his knowledge must be so too; or else we must make him ignorant of his own power, and ignorant of his own will from eternity, and consequently not from eternity blessed and perfect. His knowledge of possible things must run parallel with his will. If he willed from eternity, he knew from eternity what he willed; but that he did will from eternity we must grant, unless we would render his changeable, and conceive him to be made in time of not willing, willing. The knowledge God hath in time was always one and the same, because his understanding is his proper essence, as perfect as his essence, and of an immutable nature. "
To deny this is, (says Saurin, ) to degrade the Almighty; for what, pray, is a God who created beings, and who could not foresee what would result from their existence? A God, who formed spirits united to bodies by certain laws, and who did not know how to combine these laws so as to foresee the effects they would produce? A God forced to suspend his judgment? A God who every day learns something new, and who doth not know to-day what will happen to-morrow? A God who cannot tell whether peace will be concluded or war continue to ravage the world; whether peace will be received in a certain kingdom, or whether it will be banished; whether the right heir will succeed to the crown, or whether the crown will be set on the head of an usurper? For according to the different determinations of the wills of men, of king, or people, the prince will make peace, or declare war; religion will be banished or admitted; the tyrant or the lawful king will occupy the throne: for if God cannot foresee how the volitions of men will be determined, he cannot foresee any of these events. What is this but to degrade God from his Deity, and to make the most perfect of all intelligences a being involved in darkness and uncertainty like ourselves?"
See OMNISCIENCE.
Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Spirituality of God
Is his immateriality, or being without body. It expresses an idea (says Dr. Paley) made up of a negative part and of a positive part. The negative part consists in the exclusion of some of the known properties of matter, especially of solidity, and the vis inertiae, and of gravitation. The positive part comprises perception, thought, will, power, action, by which last term is meant the origination of motion. Nat. Theol. p. 481.
See INCORPOREALITY OF GOD.
Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Sovereignty of God
Is his power and right of dominion over his creatures, to dispose and determine them as seemeth him good. This attribute is evidently demonstrated in the systems of creation, providence, and grace; and may be considered as absolute, universal, and everlasting, Daniel 4:35 . Ephesians 1:11 .
SeeDOMINION, GOVERNMENT, POWER, and WILL OF GOD; Coles on the Sovereignty of God; and Charnock on the Dominion of God, in his Works, vol. 1: p. 690; Edwards's Sermons, ser. 4.
Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Will of God
Is taken,
1. For that which he has from all eternity determined, which is unchangeable, and must certainly come to pass; this is called his secret will.
2. It is taken for what he has prescribed to us in his word as a rule of duty: this is called his revealed will. A question of very great importance respecting our duty deserves here to be considered. The question is this: "How may a person who is desirous of following the dictates of Providence in every respect, know the mind and will of God in any particular circumstance, whether temporal or spiritual? Now, in order to come at the knowledge of that which is proper and needful for us to be acquainted with, we are taught by prudence and conscience to make use of,
1. Deliberation.
2. Consultation.
3. Supplication; but,
1.We should not make our inclinations the rule of our conduct.
2.We should not make our particular frames the rule of our judgment and determination.
3.We are not to be guided by any unaccountable impulses and impressions.
4.We must not make the event our rule of judgment.
1.Unless something different from our present situation offer itself to our serious consideration, we are not to be desirous of changing our state, except it is unprofitable or unlawful.
2.When an alteration of circumstance is proposed to us, or Providence lays two or more things before our eyes, we should endeavour to take a distinct view of each case, compare them with one another, and then determine by such maxims as these: Of two natural evils choose the least; of two moral evils choose neither; of two moral or spiritual good things choose the greatest.
3.When upon due consideration, nothing appears in the necessity of the case or the leadings of Providence to make the way clear, we must not hurry Providence, but remain in a state of suspense; or abide where we are, waiting upon the Lord in the way of his providence. In all cases, it should be our perpetual concern to keep as much as possible out of the way of temptation to omit any duty, or commit any sin. We should endeavour to keep up a reverence for the word and providence of God upon our hearts, and to have a steady eye to his glory, and to behold God in covenant, as managing every providential circumstance in subserviency to his gracious purposes in Christ Jesus." Pike and Hayward's Cases of conscience, p. 156.
Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Fear of God
Is that holy disposition or gracious habit formed in the soul by the Holy Spirit, whereby we are inclined to obey all God's commands; and evidences itself,
1. By a dread of his displeasure.
2. Desire of his favour.
3. Regard for his excellencies.
4. Submission to his will.
5. Gratitude for his benefits.
6. Sincerity in his worship.
7. Conscientious obedience to his commands, Proverbs 8:13 . Job 28:28 . Bates's Works, page 913; Gill's Body of Divinity, vol. 3: book 1:
Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Faithfulness of God
Is that perfection of his nature whereby he infallibly fulfils his designs, or performs his word.
1.It appears, says Dr. Gill, in the performance of what he has said with respect to the world in general, that it shall not be destroyed by a flood, as it once was, and for a token of it, has set his bow in the clouds; that the ordinances of heaven should keep their due course, which they have done for almost 6000 years exactly and punctually; that all his creatures should be supported and provided for, and the elements all made subservient to that end, which we find do so according to his sovereign pleasure, Genesis 9:1-29 . Isaiah 54:1-17 . Ps. clxv. Deuteronomy 11:14-15 . 2 Peter 3:1-18 .
2.It appears in the fulfillment of what he has said with respect to Christ. Whoever will take the pains to compare the predictions of the birth, poverty, life, sufferings, death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ, with the accomplishment of the same, will find a striking demonstration of the faithfulness of God.
3.It appears in the performance of the promises which he has made to his people. In respect to temporal blessings, 1 Timothy 4:8 . Psalms 84:11 . Is. 33: 16.
4.2. To spiritual, 1 Corinthians 1:9 . In supporting them in temptation, 1 Corinth. 10: 13. Encouraging them under persecution, 1 Peter 4:12-13 . Isaiah 41:10 . Sanctifying afflictions, Hebrews 12:4-12 . Directing them in difficulties, 1 Thessalonians 5:24 . Enabling them to persevere, Jeremiah 31:40 . Bringing them to glory, 1 John 2:25 .
5.It appears in the fulfilling of his threatenings. The curse came upon Adam according as it was threatened. He fulfilled his threatening to the old world in destroying it. He declared that the Israelites should be subject to his awful displeasure, if they walked not in his ways; it was accordingly fulfilled, Deuteronomy 28:1-68 :
6.See IMMUTABILITY.
Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Government of God
Is the disposal of his creatures, and all events relative to them, according to his infinite justice, power, and wisdom. His moral government is his rendering to every man according to his actions, considered as good or evil.
See DOMINION and SOVEREIGNTY.
Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Greatness of God
Is the infinite glory and excellency of all his perfections. His greatness appears by the attributes he possesses, Deuteronomy 32:3-4 . the works he hath made, Psalms 19:1 . by the awful and benign providences he displays, Psalms 97:1-2 . the great effects he produces by his word, Genesis 1:1-31 : the constant energy he manifests in the existence and support of all his creatures, Psalms 145:3 . not diminished by exertion, but will always remain the same, Malachi 3:6 . The considerations of his greatness should excite veneration, Job 1:1-222 . admiration, Jeremiah 9:6-7 . humility, Job xlii 5, 6. dependence, Is. 26: 4. submission, 1618067048_95 ; Job 2:1-13 ; Job 3:1-26 ; Job 4:1-21 ; Job 5:1-27 ; Job 6:1-30 ; Job 7:1-21 ; Job 8:1-22 ; Job 9:1-35 ; Job 10:1-22 ; Job 11:1-20 ; Job 12:1-25 ; Job 13:1-28 ; Job 14:1-22 ; Job 15:1-35 ; Job 16:1-22 ; Job 17:1-16 ; Job 18:1-21 ; Job 19:1-29 ; Job 20:1-29 ; Job 21:1-34 ; Job 22:1-22 . obedience Deuteronomy 4:39-40 .
See ATTRIBUTES, and books under that article.
Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Eternity of God
Is the perpetual continuance of his being, without beginning, end, or succession. that he is without beginning, says Dr. Gill, may be proved from,
1. His necessary self-existence, Exodus 3:14 .
2. From his attributes, several of which are said to be eternal, Romans 1:20 . Acts 15:18 . Psalms 103:17 . Jeremiah 31:3 .
3. From his purposes, which are also said to be from eternity, Isaiah 25:1 . Ephesians 3:11 . Romans 9:11 . Ephesians 1:1-23
4. From the covenant of grace, which is eternal, 2 Samuel 3:5 . Mac 5: 2. That he is without end, may be proven from,
1. His spiritually and simplicity, Romans 1:23 .
2. From his independency, Romans 9:5 .
3. From his immutability, 2Pe 1: 24, 25. Malachi 3:6 . Psa 3: 26, 27.
4. From his dominion and government, said never to end, Jeremiah 10:10 . Psalms 10:16 . Daniel 4:3 . That he is without succession, or any distinctions of time succeeding one to another, as moments, minutes, &c. may be proved from,
1. He existence before such were in being, Isaiah 43:13 .
2. The distinctions and differences of time are together ascribed to him, and not as succeeding one another: he is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever, Hebrews 13:8 . Revelation 1:4 .
3. If his duration were successive, or proceeded by moments, days, and years, then there must have been some first moment, day, and year, when he began to exist, which is incompatible with the idea of his eternity; and, besides, one day would be but one day with him, and not a thousand, contrary to the express language of Scripture, 2 Peter 3:8 .
4. He would not be immense, immutable, and perfect, if this were the case; for he would be older one minute than he was before, which cannot be said of him.
5. His knowledge proves him without successive duration, for he knows all things past, present, and to come: "he sees the present without a medium, the past without recollection, and the future without foresight. To him all truths are but one idea, all places are but one oint, and all times but one moment." Gill's Body of Divinity; Paley's Nat. Theol. p. 480; Charnock on the Divine Perfections; Clarke on ditto; Watts's Ontology, chap. 4:
Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Holiness of God
Is the purity and rectitude of his nature. It is an essential attribute of God, and what is the glory, lustre, and harmony of all his other perfections, Psalms 27:4 . Exodus 15:11 . He could not be God without it, Deuteronomy 32:4 . It is infinite and unbounded; it cannot be increased or diminished. Immutable and invariable, Malachi 3:6 . God is originally holy; he is so of and in himself, and the author and promoter of all holiness among his creatures. The holiness of God is visible by his works; he made all things holy, Genesis 1:31 . By his providences, all which are to promote holiness in the end, Hebrews 12:10 . By his grace, which influences the subjects of it to be holy, Titus 2:10 ; Titus 2:12 . By his word, which commands it, 1 Peter 1:1-25 . By his ordinances, which he hath appointed for that end, Jeremiah 44:4-5 . By the punishment of sin in the death of Christ, Is. 53: and by the eternal punishment of it in wicked men, Matthew 25:1-46 : last verse.
See ATTRIBUTES.
Chabad Knowledge Base - God
It is customary to insert a dash in G-d's name when written or printed on a medium that could be defaced.
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Son of God
Like a number of biblical expressions, ‘son of God’ may have different meanings in different parts of the Bible. Adam is called the son of God, because he came into existence as a result of the creative activity of God (Luke 3:38; cf. Acts 17:28; Hebrews 12:9). Angels are sometimes called sons of God, probably in reference to the fact that they are spirit beings (Job 1:6; Job 38:7; Daniel 3:25). The nation Israel was God’s son, for God adopted it as his own (Exodus 4:22-23; Romans 9:4). In a similar but higher sense, Christians are God’s sons, again through God’s gracious work of adoption (Romans 8:14-15; Galatians 4:5-6; see ADOPTION).
In Old Testament Israel, the Davidic king was considered to be God’s son, for through him God exercised his rule over his people (1 John 5:11-12; Psalms 2:6-7). The promised Messiah would also be God’s son, for he would belong to the Davidic line of kings. That Messiah was Jesus. But Jesus was more than God’s son in the messianic sense. He was God’s Son in the sense that he was God. He did not become the Son of God through being the Messiah; rather he became the Messiah because he was already the pre-existent Son of God (Matthew 22:42-45; John 1:34; John 1:49; John 20:31; see MESSIAH).
Eternally the Son
God is a trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, all of whom are equally and eternally God (see TRINITY). Although Jesus is the Son, that does not mean that he was created by the Father or is inferior to the Father. On the contrary, he has the same godhead and character as the Father (Matthew 11:27; John 1:1; John 1:14; Matthew 26:63-66; John 5:26; John 8:18-19; John 10:30; John 10:38; John 14:9; Hebrews 1:1-3; 1 John 2:23; see WORD), has the powers, authority and responsibilities of the Father (John 3:35-36; John 5:21-22; Galatians 4:4-5; John 13:3), and has the thought and purpose of the Father (John 5:17-20; John 5:30; John 8:16; John 8:28-29; John 14:10; John 14:24; see FATHER).
The relation between Jesus (the Son of God) and his Father is unique. It should not be confused with the relation between believers (sons of God) and their heavenly Father. In the case of Jesus, the sonship is eternal. The Father and the Son have always existed in a relation in which they are equally and unchangeably God. This is a relation that no created being can share (John 1:18; John 5:37). In the case of believers, they become sons of God only through faith in Jesus. God makes them his sons by grace. Jesus was never made the Son of God. He always has been the Son (John 8:18-19; John 17:1-5; 2 Samuel 7:14).
Jesus was careful, when talking to believers, to make a distinction between ‘my Father’ and ‘your Father’ (Matthew 5:16; Luke 2:49; Luke 12:30; John 20:17). Believers are not sons of God in the same sense as Jesus is the Son of God. Nevertheless, believers become sons of God through Jesus, the Son of God (Matthew 11:27; John 1:12-13; Romans 8:16-17). Through Christ they come into a close personal relation with God the Father, and can even address him as ‘Abba’ as Jesus did (1 John 4:9-104; Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:6; see ABBA).
The Son’s mission
As the Son of God, Jesus shares in the deity and majesty of the Father; yet he is also humbly obedient to the Father. Although he existed with the Father from eternity, the Son willingly took human form to fulfil his Father’s purposes for the salvation of human beings and the conquest of evil (Romans 8:3; John 5:43; Hebrews 2:14-15).
When Jesus was born in Bethlehem, the Son of God added humanity to the deity that he already had. His entrance into human life involved the supernatural work of God in the womb of the virgin Mary, so that the baby born to her, though fully human, was also the unique Son of God (Luke 1:30-31; Luke 1:35; Luke 2:42; Luke 2:49; see VIRGIN).
The earliest recorded words of Jesus indicate that even as a child he was conscious of his special relation with the Father (Luke 2:49). The Father reaffirmed this special relation at some of the great moments of Jesus’ public ministry (Matthew 3:17; Matthew 17:5; see BAPTISM; TRANSFIGURATION). Because the Son and the Father existed in this special relation, Satan tempted the Son to act independently of the Father. He tempted Jesus to use his divine powers contrary to the divine will (Matthew 4:3; Matthew 4:6).
There was often a difference between the way believers spoke of Jesus’ sonship and the way Jesus himself spoke of it. Believers usually spoke of it in relation to Jesus’ divine person and his unity with the Father (Matthew 16:16; John 20:31; Colossians 1:13; 1 John 2:23; 1 John 4:15). Jesus also spoke of it in this way, but in addition he emphasized the meaning of his sonship in relation to his earthly ministry and complete submission to his Father (Mark 13:32; John 4:34; John 5:19; John 7:16; John 8:28; John 8:42; cf. Hebrews 5:8).
The Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world, and the Son’s obedience to this mission meant that he had to suffer and die (John 3:14-16; John 12:27; Romans 5:10; Romans 8:32; 1618067048_74; 1 John 4:14). The Son completed that work, being obedient even to death (John 17:4; Philippians 2:8), and God declared his total satisfaction with the Son’s work by raising him from death (Romans 1:4).
However, the mission that the Father entrusted to the Son involved more than saving those who believe. It involved overcoming all rebellion and restoring all things to a state of perfect submission to the sovereign God (John 5:20-29; 2 Corinthians 5:19; Ephesians 1:10; 1 John 3:8). That mission extends to the whole universe, and will reach its climax when the last enemy, death, has been banished for ever (1 Corinthians 15:25-26). The conquering power of the Son’s victory at the cross will remove the last traces of sin. The Son will restore all things to the Father, and God’s triumph will be complete. God will be everything to everyone (1 Corinthians 15:24; 1 Corinthians 15:28).
Acknowledging the Son
One sign of the work of God in people’s lives is their acknowledgment that Jesus Christ is the Son of God (Matthew 11:27; Matthew 16:16-17; 1 John 5:10). It seems that in the early church, an open confession of Jesus Christ as the Son of God was a formal declaration that a person was a true believer (Acts 8:37; Hebrews 4:14; 1 John 2:23; 1 John 4:15).
Even Jesus’ opponents recognized in his works and his teaching a claim to deity. For this they accused him of blasphemy and in the end crucified him (John 1:18; Matthew 27:42-43; John 5:18; John 10:33; John 10:36; John 19:7). God, however, demonstrated dramatically that Jesus was his Son by raising him from death and crowning him with glory in heaven (Romans 1:4; Ephesians 1:20; Hebrews 4:14; cf. John 6:62; John 17:4-5). One day the Son will return to save his people and set in motion those events that will lead to God’s final triumph (1 Thessalonians 1:10; Titus 1:13). (See also JESUS CHRIST; SON OF MAN.)
Charles Spurgeon's Illustration Collection - God: Vague Conceptions of
One day, in conversation with the Jungo-kritu, head pundit of the College of Fort William, on the subject of God this man, who is truly learned in his own shastrus, gave me from one of their books, this parable;: 'In a certain country there existed a village of blind men. These men had heard that there was an amazing animal called the elephant, but they knew not how to form an idea of his shape. One day an elephant happened to pass through the place: the villagers crowded to the spot where this animal was standing. One of them got hold of his trunk, another seized his ear, another his tail, another one of his legs, etc. After thus trying to gratify their curiosity they returned into the village, and sitting down together they began to give their ideas on what the elephant was like: the man who had seized his trunk said he thought the elephant was like the body of the plantain tree; the man who had felt his ear said he thought he was like the fan with which the Hindoos clean the rice; the man who had felt his tail said he thought he must be like a snake, and the man who had seized his leg, thought he must be like a pillar. An old blind man of some judgment was present, who was greatly perplexed how to reconcile these jarring notions, respecting the form of the elephant; but he at length said, 'You have all been to examine this animal, it is true, and what you report cannot be false: I suppose, therefore, that that which was like the plaintain tree must be his trunk; that which was like a fan must be his ear; that which was like a snake must be his tail, and that which was like a pillar must be his body.' In this way, the old man united all their notions, and made out something of the form of the elephant. Respecting God,' added the pundit, 'we are all blind; none of us has seen him; those who wrote the astrus, like the old blind man, have collected all the reasonings and conjectures of mankind together, and have devoured to form some idea of the nature of the Divine being.'
The pundit's parable may be appropriately applied to the essence of theology. Some Christians see one truth and some another, and each one is quite sure that he has beheld the whole. Where is the master-mind who shall gather up the pith out of each creed, and see the theology of the Bible in completeness?: a sublimer sight than the believers in the world have yet been able to imagine.
Charles Spurgeon's Illustration Collection - Afflictions: Winning the Heart For God
Payson thus beautifully writes:–'I have been all my life like a child whose father wishes to fix his undivided attention. At first the child runs about the room, but his father ties up his feet; he then plays with his hands until they likewise are tied. Thus he continues to do, till he is completely tied up. Then, when he can do nothing else, he will attend to his father. Just so has God been dealing with me, to induce me to place my happiness in him alone. But I blindly continued to look for it here, and God has kept cutting off one source of enjoyment after another, till I find that I can do without them all, and yet enjoy more happiness than ever in my life before.'
Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Goodness of God
Relates to the absolute perfection of his own nature, and his kindness manifested to his creatures. Goodness, says Dr. Gill, is essential to God, without which he would not be God, Exodus 33:19 ; Exodus 34:6-7 . Goodness belongs only to God, he is solely good, Matthew 19:17 ; and all the goodness found in creatures are only emanations of the divine goodness. He is the chief good; the sum and substance of all felicity, Psalms 144:12 ; Psalms 144:15 ; Psalms 73:25 ; Psalms 4:6-7 . There is nothing but goodness in God, and nothing but goodness comes from him, 1 John 1:5 . James 1:13-14 . He is infinitely good; finite minds cannot comprehend his goodness, Romans 11:35-36 . He is immutably and unchangeably good, Zephaniah 3:17 . The goodness of God is communicative and diffusive, Psalms 119:68 ; Psalms 33:5 . With respect to the objects of it, it may be considered as general and special. His general goodness is seen in all his creatures; yea in the inanimate creation, the sun, the earth, and all his works; and in the government, support, and protection of the world at large, Psalms 36:6 ; Psalms 145:1-21 . His special goodness relates to angels and saints. To angels, in creating, confirming, and making them what they are. To saints, in election, calling, justification, adoption, sanctification, perseverance, and eternal glorification. Gill's Body of Civ. 5: 1. p. 133. 8 vo. ed.; Charnock's Works, 5: 1. p. 574; Paley's Nat. Theol. ch. 26; South's admirable Sermon, on this Subject, vol. 8: ser. 3.; Tillotson's Serm. ser. 143-146; Abernethy's Serm. vol. 1: No. 2.
Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Unchangeableness of God
See FAITHFULNESS and IMMUTABILITY OF GOD.
Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Favour of God
See GRACE.
Holman Bible Dictionary - Judgments of God
See Judgment Day ; Retribution, Divine; Eschatology
Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Long Suffering of God
See PATIENCE OF GOD.
Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Forbearance of God
See PATIENCE OF GOD.
Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Filiation of the Son of God
See SON OF GOD.
Holman Bible Dictionary - Inquire of God
Seek divine guidance, most often before battle (1Samuel 23:2,1 Samuel 23:4 ; 2Samuel 5:19,2 Samuel 5:23 ; 2 Kings 3:11 ; 2Chronicles 18:4,2 Chronicles 18:6-7 ), but in other situations as well. A variety of methods were employed to seek God's counsel: dreams (1 Samuel 28:6 ); priests with the ephod (1 Samuel 22:10 ; 1 Samuel 23:9-13 ); prophets (2 Kings 3:11 ); and direct consultation. In the early history of Israel, priests were consulted for divine counsel (Judges 18:14 ,Judges 18:14,18:17 ; 1 Samuel 22:10 ). The priests discerned God's will by the sacred lots, the Urim and Thummim (Numbers 27:21 ; 1 Samuel 14:36-42 ). Since these lots apparently were kept in a pouch in the priest's ephod (Exodus 28:30 ), references to inquiring of the ephod likely refer to the lots (1 Samuel 23:9-13 ; 1 Samuel 30:8 ). See 2 Kings 3:15 ; 1 Samuel 10:5-6 ). Prophets frequently took the initiative to announce God's will when no consultation was requested. With the rise of the synagogue, direct inquiring by prayer became the primary means of ascertaining the divine will. Not all methods of inquiring of God were looked upon with favor. The Danites consulted a Levite in charge of Micah's sanctuary (Judges 18:5-6 ,Judges 18:5-6,18:14 ). The method used by the Levite to ascertain the divine will is not clear. The sanctuary contained an ephod (with lots?), a cast idol, and teraphim (household gods), any of which might have been consulted. Such shrines were regarded as one example of the evil that resulted when there was no king and “every man did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 17:6 ). Other methods of discerning God's will rejected by the biblical writiers include: consulting mediums, wizards, and necromancers (Deuteronomy 18:10-11 ; 1Samuel 28:3,1 Samuel 28:7 ; Isaiah 8:19 ); consulting teraphim (Judges 17:5 ; Judges 18:13-20 ; Hosea 3:4 ; Zechariah 10:2 ); and consulting pagan dieties (Baal-zebub, 2Kings 1:2-3,2 Kings 1:16 ; Malcham or Milcom, Zephaniah 1:5 ). See Prophets, Prophecy; Necromancy ; Teraphim ; Milcom .
Chris Church
Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Trust in God
Signifies that confidence in, or dependence we place on him. This trust ought to be,
1. Sincere and unreserved, not in idols, in men, in talents, riches, power, in ourselves part, and him part, Proverbs 3:5-6 .
2. Universal; body, soul, circumstances, 1 Peter 5:7 .
3. Perpetual, Is. 26: 4.
4. With a lively expectation of his blessing, Micah 7:7 . The encouragement we have to trust in him arises,
1. From his liberality, Romans 8:32 . Psalms 84:11 .
2. His ability, James 1:17 .
3. His relationship, Psalms 103:13 .
4. His promise, Isaiah 32:16 .
5. His conduct in all ages to those who have trusted him, Genesis 48:15-16 . Psalms 37:25 . The happiness of those who trust in him is great, if we consider,
1. Their safety, Psalms 125:1-5
2. Their courage, Psalms 27:1 .
3. Their peace, Isaiah 26:3 .
5. Their end, Psalms 37:37 . Job 5:26 .
Charles Spurgeon's Illustration Collection - God: is Light
Suppose the case of a cripple who had spent his life in a room where the sun was never seen. He has heard of its existence, he believes in it, and indeed, has seen enough of its light to give him high ideas of its glory. Wishing to see the sun, he is taken out at night into the streets of an illuminated city. At first he is delighted, dazzled; but after he has had time to reflect, he finds darkness spread amid the lights, and he asks, 'Is this the sun?' He is taken out under the tarry sky, and is enraptured; but, on reflection, finds that night covers the earth, and again asks, 'Is this the sun?' He is carried out some bright day at noontide, and no sooner does his eye open on the sky than all question is at an end. There is but one sun. His eye is content: it has seen its highest object, and feels that there is nothing brighter.
So with the soul: it enjoys all lights, yet amid those of art and nature, is still enquiring for something greater. But when it is led by the reconciling Christ into the presence of the Father, and he lifts up upon it the light of his countenance, all thought of anything greater disappears. As there is but one sun, so there is but one God. The soul which once discerns and knows him, feels that greater or brighter there is none, and that the only possibility of ever beholding more glory is by drawing nearer.: Rev. W. Arthur.
Easton's Bible Dictionary - Justice of God
That perfection of his nature whereby he is infinitely righteous in himself and in all he does, the righteousness of the divine nature exercised in his moral government. At first God imposes righteous laws on his creatures and executes them righteously. Justice is not an optional product of his will, but an unchangeable principle of his very nature. His legislative justice is his requiring of his rational creatures conformity in all respects to the moral law. His rectoral or distributive justice is his dealing with his accountable creatures according to the requirements of the law in rewarding or punishing them (Psalm 89:14 ). In remunerative justice he distributes rewards (James 1:12 ; 2 Timothy 4:8 ); in vindictive or punitive justice he inflicts punishment on account of transgression (2 Thessalonians 1:6 ). He cannot, as being infinitely righteous, do otherwise than regard and hate sin as intrinsically hateful and deserving of punishment. "He cannot deny himself" (2 Timothy 2:13 ). His essential and eternal righteousness immutably determines him to visit every sin as such with merited punishment.
Charles Spurgeon's Illustration Collection - God: His Benevolence in Creation
The benevolence of our great Creator is chanted even by things unpleasant to the ear. 'The nuptial song of reptiles,' says Kirby, 'is not, like that of birds, the delight of every heart; but it is rather calculated to disturb and horrify than to still the soul. The hiss of serpents, the croaking of frogs and toads, the moaning of turtles, the bellowing of crocodiles and alligators, form their gamut of discords.' Here, also, we may read beneficent design. Birds are the companions of man in the lawn and forest, in his solitary walks, amidst his rural labours, and around the home of his domestic enjoyments. They are, therefore, framed beautiful to the eye, and pleasing to the ear; but of the reptile tribes, some are his formidable enemies, and none were ever intended to be his associates. They shun cultivation, and inhabit unfrequented marshes or gloomy wilds. Their harsh notes and ungainly or disgusting forms, serve therefore to warn him of danger, or to turn his steps to places more fit for his habitation: –H. Duncan's Sacred Philosophy of the Seasons.
Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Existence of God
The methods usually followed in proving the existence of God are two; the first called argumentum a priori, which beginning with the cause descends to the effect; the other argumentum a posteriori, which, from a consideration of the effect ascends to the cause. The former of these hath been particularly laboured by Dr. Samuel Clarke; but after all he has said, the possibility of any one's being convinced by it hath been questioned. The most general proofs are the following:
1. "All nations, Heathens, Jews, Mahometan, and Christians, harmoniously consent that there is a God who created, preserves, and governs all things. To this it has been objected, that there have been, at different times and places, men who were atheists, and deniers of a God. But these have been so few, and by their opinions have shown that they rather denied the particular providence than the existence of God, that it can hardly be said to be an exception to the argument stated. And even if men were bold enough to assert it, it would not be an absolute proof that they really believed what they said, since it might proceed from a wish that there was no God to whom they must be accountable for their sin, rather than a belief of it, Psalms 14:1 . It has also been objected, that whole nations have been found in Africa and America who have no notion of a Deity: but this is what has never been proved; on the contrary, upon accurate inspection, even the most stupid Hottentots, Saldanians, Greenlanders, Kamtschatkans, and savage Americans are found to have some idea of a God.
2. "It is argued from the law and light of Nature, or from the general impression of Deity on the mind of every Prayer of Manasseh 1:1 :e. an indistinct idea of a Being of infinite perfection, and a readiness to acquiesce in the truth of his existence, whenever they understand the terms in which it is expressed. Whence could this proceed, even in the minds of such whose affections and carnal interests dispose them to believe the contrary, if there were no impression naturally in their hearts? It has been observed by some writers, that there are no innate ideas in the minds of men, and particularly concerning God; but this is not so easily proved, since an inspired apostle assures us that even the Gentiles destitute of the law of Moses, have the 'work of the law written in their hearts, ' Romans 2:15 .
3. "The works of creation plainly demonstrate the existence of a God. The innumerable alterations and manifest dependence every where observable in the world, prove that the things which exist in it neither are nor could be from eternity. It is self-evident that they never could form themselves out of nothing, or in any of their respective forms; and that chance, being nothing but the want of design, never did nor could form or put into order any thing; far less such a marvellous and well connected system as our world is. Though we should absurdly fancy matter to be eternal, yet it could not change its own form, or produce life, or reason. Moreover, when we consider the diversified and wonderful forms of creatures in the world, and how exactly those forms and stations correspond with their respective ends and uses; when we consider the marvellous and exact machinery, form, and motions of our own bodies; and especially when we consider the powers of our soul, its desires after an infinite good, and its close union with and incomprehensible operations on our bodies, we are obliged to admit a Creator of infinite wisdom, power, and goodness."
4. "It is argued from the support and government of the world. Who can consider the motions of the heavenly luminaries, exactly calculated for the greatest advantage to our earth, and its inhabitants; the exact balancing and regulating of the meteors, winds, rain, snow, hail, vapour, thunder, and the like; the regular and never-failing return of summer and winter, seed-time and harvest, day and night; the astonishing and diversified formation of vegetables; the propagation of herbs, almost every where, that are most effectual to heal the distempers of animal bodies in that place; the almost infinite diversification of animals and vegetables, and their pertments, that, notwithstanding an amazing similarity, not any two are exactly alike, but every form, member, or even feather or hair of animals, and every pile of grass, stalk of corn, herb, leaf, tree, berry, or other fruit, hath something peculiar to itself: the making of animals so sagaciously to prepare their lodgings, defend themselves, provide for their health, produce and protect, and procure food for their young; the direction of fishes and fowls to and in such marvellous and long peregrinations at such seasons, and to such places, as best correspond with their own preservation and the benefit of mankind; the stationing of brute animals by sea or land, at less or greater distances as are most suited to the safety, subsistence or comfort of mankind, and preventing the increase of prolific animals, and making the less fruitful ones, which are used, exceedingly to abound; the so diversifying the countenances, voices, and hand-writings of men, as best secures and promotes their social advantages; the holding of so equal a balance between males and females, while the number of males, whose lives are peculiarly endangered in war, navigation, &c., are generally greatest; the prolonging of men's lives, when the world needed to be peopled, and now shortening them when that necessity hath ceased to exist; the almost universal provision of food, raiment, medicine, fuel, &c., answerable to the nature of particular places, cold or hot, moist or dry; the management of human affairs relative to societies, government, peace, war, trade, &c., in a manner different from and contrary to the carnal policy of those concerned; and especially the strangely similiar but diversified erection, preservation, and government of the Jewish and Christian churches: who, I say, can consider all these things, and not acknowledge the existence of a wise, merciful, and good God, who governs the world, and every thing in it?"
5. "It is proved from the miraculous events which have happened in the world; such as the overflowing of the earth by a flood; the confusion of languages; the burning of Sodom and the cities about by fire from heaven; the plagues of Egypt; the dividing of the Red Sea; raining manna from heaven, and bringing streams of water from flinty rocks; the stopping of the course of the sun, &c. &c."
6. "His existence no less clearly appears from the exact fulfilment of so many and so particularly circumstantiated predictions, published long before the event took place. It is impossible that these predictions, which were so exactly fulfilled in their respective periods, and of the fulfilment of which there are at present thousands of demonstrative and sensible documents in the world, could proceed from any but an all-seeing and infinitely wise God."
7. "The existence of God farther appears from the fearful punishments which have been inflicted upon persons, and especially upon nations, when their immoralities became excessive, and that by very unexpected means and instruments; as in the drowning of the old world; destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah; plagues of Pharaoh and his servants; overthrow of Sennacherib and his army; miseries and ruin of the Canaanites, Jews, Syrians, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Persians, Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Saracens, Tartars, and others."
8. "Lastly, the existence of God may be argued from the terror and dread which wound the consciences of men, when guilty of crimes which other men do not know, or are not able to punish or restrain: as in the case of Caligula, Nero, and Domitian, the Roman emperors; and this while they earnestly labour to persuade themselves or others that there is no God. Hence their being afraid of thunder, or to be left alone in the dark, &c." As to the modus of the Divine existence, it would be presumption to attempt to explain. That he exists, is clear from the foregoing arguments; but the manner of that existence is not for us to know. Many good men have uttered great absurdities in endeavouring to explain it, and after all none of them have succeeded. The wisest of men never made the attempt. Moses began his writings by supposing the being of a God; he did not attempt to explain it. Although many of the inspired writers asserted his existence, and, to discountenance idolatry, pleaded for his perfections, yet no one of them ever pretended to explain the manner of his being. Our duty is clear. We are not commanded nor expected to understand it. All that is required is this: "He that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him." Hebrews 11:6 .
See Gill's Body of Div., b.i.; Charnock's Works, vol. 1:; Ridgley's Div. , ques. 2; Brown's System of Div.; Pierre's Studies of Nature; Sturm's Reflections; Spect. de la Nat.; Bonnet's Philosophical Researches; and writers enumerated under the article ATHEISM.
Easton's Bible Dictionary - Son of God
The plural, "sons of God," is used (Genesis 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 ( Romans 8:14,19 ; 2 co 6:18 ; Galatians 4:5,6 ; Philippians 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 (Romans 1:3,4 . Compare Galatians 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.
Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - God
The self-existent, infinitely perfect, and infinitely good Being, who created and preserves all things that have existence. As the Divine Being possesses a nature far beyond the comprehension of any of his creatures, of course that nature is inexplicable. "All our knowledge of invisible objects is obtained by analogy; that is, by the resemblance which they bear to visible objects; but as there is in nature no exact resemblance of the nature of God, an attempt to explain the divine nature is absurd and impracticable. All similitudes, therefore, which are used in attempting to explain it must be rejected." Yet, though we cannot fully understand his nature, there is something of him we may know. He hath been pleased to discover his perfections, in a measure, by the works of creation and the Scriptures of truth; these, therefore, we ought to study, in order that we may obtain the most becoming thoughts of him. For an account of the various attributes or perfections of God, the reader is referred to those articles in this work.
There are various names given to the Almighty in the Scriptures, though properly speaking, he can have no name; for as he is incomprehensible, he is not nominable; and being but one, he has no need of a name to distinguish him; nevertheless, as names are given him in the Scriptures, to assist our ideas of his greatness and perfection, they are worthy of our consideration. these names are, El, which denotes him the strong and powerful God, Genesis 17:1 . Eloah, which represents him as the only proper object of worship, Psalms 45:6-7 . Shaddai, which denotes him to be all-sufficient and all-mighty, Exodus 6:3 . Hheeljon, which represents his incomparable excellency, absolute supremacy over all, and his peculiar residence in the highest heavens, Psalms 50:11 . Adoni, which makes him the great connector, supporter, lord, and judge, of all creatures, Psalms 110:1 . Jah, which may denote his self-existence, and giving of being to his creatures, or his infinite comeliness, and answerableness to himself, and to the happiness of his creatures, Exodus 15:2 . Ehjeh, I am, or I will be, denotes his self-existence, absolute independency, immutable eternity, and all-sufficiency, to his people, Exodus 3:14 . Jehovah, which denotes his self- existence, absolute independence, unsuccessive eternity, and his effectual and marvellous giving of being to his creatures, and fulfilling his promises. Genesis 2:4 , &c. In the New Testament, God is called Kurios, or Lord, which denotes his self-existence, and his establishment of and authority over all things; and Theos, which represents him as the maker, pervader, and governing observer of the universe.
Charles Spurgeon's Illustration Collection - Immutability of God
There be many Christians most like unto young sailors, who think the shore and the whole land doth move when they ship, and they themselves are moved. Just so not a few do imagine that God moveth, and saileth, and changeth places, because their giddy souls are under sail, and subject to alteration, to ebbing and flowing. But the foundation of the Lord abideth sure.: Samuel Rutherford.
Charles Spurgeon's Illustration Collection - Heart (Broken): Its Prevalence With God
What man among you can stand against his children's tears? When King Henry II., in the ages gone by, was provoked to take up arms against his ungrateful and rebellious son, he besieged him in one of the French towns, and the son being near to death, desired to see his father, and confess his wrong-doing; but the stern old sire refused to look the rebel in the face. The young man being sorely troubled in his conscience, said to those about him, 'I am dying, take me from my bed, and let me lie in sackcloth and ashes, in token of my sorrow for my ingratitude to my father.' Thus he died, and when the tidings came to the old man outside the walls, that his boy had died in ashes, repentant for his rebellion, he threw himself upon the earth, like another David, and said, 'Would God I had died for him.' The thought of his boy's broken heart touched the heart of the father. If ye, being evil, are overcome by your children's tears, how much more shall your Father who is in heaven find in your bemoanings and confessions an argument for the display of his pardoning love through Christ Jesus our Lord? This is the eloquence which God delights in, the broken heart and the contrite spirit.
Charles Spurgeon's Illustration Collection - Serving God: the Sure Reward of
When Calvin was banished from ungrateful Geneva, he said, 'Most assuredly if I had merely served man, this would have been a poor recompense; but it is my happiness that I have served him who never fails to reward his servants to the full extent of his promise.'
Webster's Dictionary - Belly-God
(n.) One whose great pleasure it is to gratify his appetite; a glutton; an epicure.
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - o God, Whose Hand Hath Spread the Sky
(O God, Whose Hand Hath Spread The Sky) Hymn for Vespers on Wednesday. This hymn was probably written by Pope Saint Gregory the Great (540-604). There are 13 translations. The English title given is by J. Neale.
Holman Bible Dictionary - God of the Fathers
A technical phrase used as a general designation of the God of the patriarchs. Some references to the formula within the biblical narratives speak of the “God of my [1] father” (Genesis 31:5 , Genesis 31:29 ; Genesis 43:23 ; Genesis 49:25 ; Genesis 50:17 ), without mention of a particular father. Other references include the name of a particular patriarch, as “the God of Abraham” (Genesis 31:53 ; Genesis 26:24 ; Genesis 28:13 ; Genesis 32:9 ), “the God of Isaac” (Genesis 28:13 ; Genesis 32:9 ; Genesis 46:1 ), or “the God of Nahor” (Genesis 31:53 ). Given the polytheistic environment of the time, originally the formula could refer to tribal or clan gods (Joshua 24:2 , Joshua 24:14-15 ). Each of the patriarchs apparently had a special name for God: “Fear of Isaac” (Genesis 31:42 ), “Mighty One of Jacob” (Genesis 49:24 ).
The “burning bush” story (Exodus 3:1 ) identified the “God of the Fathers” with Yahweh. Faced with the prospect of telling the people that “The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you,” Moses was worried that they would ask him, “What is his name?” (Exodus 3:13 ). God commanded Him to answer: “Yahweh, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me to you” (Exodus 3:15 ). Exodus 6:2-3 reveals that the “God of the fathers” was not known by the name of Yahweh, but as “El Shaddai” (God Almighty).
The biblical witness consistently uses the formula to emphasize continuity between the God who is revealed to Moses and the God who guided the patriarchs, even by a different name. Likewise, in the Old Testament, “God of thy fathers” or “God of our fathers” functions to link the author's generation to the God of earlier generations, especially with reference to the promises to the patriarchs (Deuteronomy 1:11 , Deuteronomy 1:21 ; Deuteronomy 4:1 ; Deuteronomy 6:3 ; Deuteronomy 12:1 ; Deuteronomy 26:7 ; Deuteronomy 27:3 ). In contrast, abandonment of this historic connection is also emphasized (1 Chronicles 12:17 ; 2 Chronicles 20:33 ; 2 Chronicles 24:24 ; 2 Chronicles 29:5 ; 2 Chronicles 30:7 ; 2 Chronicles 36:15 ; Ezra 7:27 ). In the New Testament the formula is transformed to mark the continuity between historic Israel and Christianity. The God revealed in Jesus Christ is the same as the God revealed to the patriarchs (Matthew 22:32 ; Mark 12:26 ; Acts 3:13 ; Acts 5:30 ; Acts 7:32 ; Acts 22:14 ). See Names of God ; Patriarchs; Yahweh.
Dixon Sutherland
Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Children (Sons) of God
CHILDREN (SONS) OF GOD . There are a few passages in the OT in which the term ‘sons of God’ is applied to angelic beings ( Genesis 6:1-4 , Job 1:6 ; Job 2:1 ; Job 38:7 ; cf. Daniel 3:25 RV [1] ). Once the judges of Israel are referred to as ‘gods,’ perhaps as appointed by God and vested with His authority (but the passage is very obscure; may the words be ironical?), and, in parallel phrase, as ‘sons of the Most High’ ( Psalms 82:6 , cf. John 10:34 ; also, Psalms 29:1 ; John 14:1-31 RVm [2] ).
With these exceptions, the term, with the correlative one of ‘Father,’ designates the relation of men to God and of God to men, with varying fulness of meaning. It is obvious that the use of such a figure has wide possibilities. To call God ‘Father’ may imply little more than that He is creator and ruler of men (cf. ‘Zeus, father of gods and men’); or it may connote some phase of His providence towards a favoured individual or nation; or, again, it may assert that a father’s love at its highest is the truest symbol we can frame of God’s essential nature and God’s disposition towards all men. Similarly, men may conceivably be styled ‘children of God’ from mere dependence, from special privilege, from moral likeness, or finally from a full and willing response to the Divine Fatherhood in filial love, trust, and obedience. It is, therefore, not surprising that the Scripture facts present a varying and progressive conception of God as Father and of men as His children.
I. In the OT. The most characteristic use of the figure is in connexion with God’s providential dealings with His people Israel. That favoured nation as a whole is His ‘son,’ He their ‘Father’: it is because this tie is violated by Israel’s ingratitude and apostasy that the prophets rebuke and appeal, while here, too, lies the hope of final restoration. Thus Hosea declares that God loved Israel and called His ‘son’ out of Egypt ( Hosea 11:1 , cf. Exodus 4:22 ‘Israel is my son, my firstborn’); and, in spite of the Divine rejection of the Northern Kingdom ( Hosea 1:9 Lo-ammi , ‘not my people’), prophesies that it shall still be said to them ‘ye are the sons of the living God’ ( Hosea 1:10 ). So too Isaiah: ‘I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me … Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider’ ( Hosea 1:2-3 ). In Deuteronomy the same figure is used ( Deuteronomy 1:31 ; Deuteronomy 8:5 , Deuteronomy 14:1-2 ), and in the Song of Moses ( Deuteronomy 32:1-52 ) receives striking development. God is the ‘Father’ of Israel, whom He begat by delivering them from Egypt, nourished in the wilderness and established ( Deuteronomy 32:6 ; Deuteronomy 32:10-15 ; Deuteronomy 32:18 ); the people are His ‘sons and daughters,’ His ‘children’ ( Deuteronomy 32:19-20 ). Yet they are warned that this sonship has moral implications, and may be forfeited by neglect of them ( Deuteronomy 32:5 ‘they have dealt corruptly with him, they are not his children’); and the hint is given of the bringing in of the Gentiles through a sonship based, not on national privilege but on faith and obedience ( Deuteronomy 32:21 , cf. Romans 10:12-13 ; Romans 10:19 ).
Thus the relation is not merely formal but ethical, and on both sides. The Divine Fatherhood towards Israel is manifested in protecting and redeeming love: it involves the Divine faithfulness, to which His people may make appeal in their extremity (Jeremiah 31:9 ; Jeremiah 31:18-20 , Isaiah 43:6 ; Isaiah 63:16 ; Isaiah 64:8-12 ). The fact of Israel’s sonship carries with it the obligation of filial response: ‘a son honoureth his father … if then I be a Father, where is mine honour?’ ( Malachi 1:6 ). But such response is, of necessity, not only national, but also, and first, individual; and the way is opened for a conception of God as Father of every man (cf. Malachi 2:10 ), and of all men as, at least potentially, ‘children of God.’
The Psalms have been left for separate reference. For if the religion of Israel had really attained to any clear conception of God as Father and of men as His children, it would most naturally find utterance in these compositions, in which we have at once the devoutest expression of the personal religious consciousness and the chosen vehicle of the worship of the congregation. But the dominating conception is of God as King and of man as His servant. True, the Divine care for man and the Divine help are set forth under a wealth of imagery: God is shield, rock, fortress, refuge, shepherd, light, salvation, but not Father. Twice only is the name used of Him, not as appellative but in simile, to describe His tender mercies. He is ‘a Father of the fatherless’ ( Psalms 68:5 ); ‘Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him’ ( Psalms 103:13 , cf. Isaiah 66:13 ). Once the term ‘thy children’ is applied to ‘Israel, even the pure in heart’ ( Psalms 73:15 ; Psalms 73:1 ); and in several passages the term ‘son of God’ is used of the theocratic king, as representing ideal Israel ( Psalms 2:7 ; see also Psalms 89:26-27 , 2 Samuel 7:14 , Hebrews 1:5 ).
It cannot, then, be said that in the OT we have a doctrine of men as ‘children of God,’ springing from, and developed under, a conception of God as essentially Father. Nor is it clear that later Judaism made advance towards this closer and more individual conviction of sonship.
Bousset affirms that ‘the belief comes to light, more and more frequently the nearer we approach to Jesus’ own time, that God is the Father of each individual believer’ ( Jesus , p. 113, Eng. ed.). But against this may be set the judgment of Wendt: ‘In the later Judaism, down to the time of Jesus, there was by no means a development of the conception of God … inclining to a more prevalent use of the name of Father. The development proceeded rather in the way of enhancing to the utmost the idea of God’s transcendent greatness and judicial authority over men. According to the Pharisaic view, the moral relation of man to God was one of legal subjection’ ( Teaching of Jesus , i. 190).
The relevant passages in the Apocrypha, at least, leave the gulf unbridged between OT and NT ( Tob 13:4 , Wis 5:5 ; Wis 14:3 , Sir 23:1 ; Sir 23:4 ; Sir 36:12 ; Sir 51:10 , Ad. Est 16:16), and nowhere does our Lord’s teaching appear in sharper contrast to current religious ideas than in relation to the Divine Fatherhood ( e.g. John 8:39-42 ).
II. In the NT. The outstanding fact is that in the self-revelation of Jesus Christ, as well as in His teaching, the characteristic name for God is ‘Father.’ He enters into full inheritance of the OT conception of the Divine power and transcendence, proclaims a Kingdom of God, and develops its meaning for His disciples; but the King is also Father, and the stress of Christ’s teaching on this side is not on the Kingship but on the Fatherhood of God. In what unique sense He knew God as ‘His own Father,’ Himself as ‘Son of God,’ we do not here inquire (see Jesus Christ), noting only how simply, in the deepest experiences of joy or trouble, His faith uttered itself in the name ‘Father’ ( Matthew 11:25 ; Matthew 26:39 , Luke 23:46 ). But there was that in His religious consciousness which He could freely share with His disciples as ‘children of God’: the faint and halting analogy of the OT became through Him a clear and steadfast revelation of the Divine Fatherhood, and of sonship, in its fullest sense, as the possible and indeed normal relation of human to Divine.
1. The Synoptic Gospels . The essential and universal Fatherhood of God appears in such sayings as that of Matthew 5:43-48 , and, supremely, in the parable of the Prodigal Son. Even when, as generally, it is in discourse to the disciples that the term ‘your Father’ is used, it still connotes what is in God, awaiting in man that obedient recognition which is sonship. It is the appeal of Christ to His disciples against hypocrisy, unforgivingness, lack of faith ( Matthew 6:1 ; Matthew 6:15 ; Matthew 6:26 ); it stands as symbol of the Divine providence, forgiveness, redemption in a word, of the Divine love ( Luke 6:36 ; Luke 11:13 , Mark 11:25 ), and hence it gives the ground and manner of all access to God, ‘Whensoever ye pray, say, Father’ ( Luke 11:2 ).
If with Jesus the Fatherhood of God lies in His disposition towards men, not in the mere fact that He created them, so the filial relationship is ethical. God is Father, men must become children. In the Synoptic Gospels the term implying generation ‘child (children) of God’ is not used, and the references to ‘sons of God’ are few, though sufficient to emphasize the moral conditions of sonship. Thus, the peacemakers ‘shall be called sons of God’ ( Matthew 5:9 ): love to one’s enemies has for its motive ‘that ye may become sons of your Father which is in heaven’ ( Matthew 5:45 , cf. Luke 6:35 ). But since sonship is virtually identical with membership of the Kingdom of God, these direct references must be supplemented by the many sayings in which the conditions of entrance into the Kingdom are laid down: it is the righteous (and what the term means is set forth in the Sermon on the Mount) who ‘shall shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father’ ( Matthew 13:43 ).
2. The Gospel (and 1 Ep.) of St. John . In the Fourth Gospel (considered here rather than in its chronological sequence, for the sake of comparison with the Synoptics) certain elements in our Lord’s revelation of the Father receive new emphasis.
( a ) The unique Sonship of Jesus is the prevailing theme ( John 1:14 ; John 1:18 ; John 20:31 ). Hence the Synoptic phrase ‘your Father’ all but disappears. What it implies is not absent, but is to be reached through a rich unfolding of, and fellowship with, the personal religious consciousness of Jesus Himself, under the terms ‘my Father’ and, especially, ‘the Father.’ Only once does He speak to the disciples of ‘your Father,’ when, after His resurrection, He links them with Himself as’ brethren’ in the message, ‘I ascend unto my Father and your Father, and my God and your God’ ( John 20:17 ; cf. John 14:20 ).
( b ) The sonship of the disciples is to be attained through Jesus Christ : ‘No one cometh unto the Father but through me’ ( John 14:6 ). What is exceptional in the Synoptics ( Matthew 11:25 , Luke 10:22 ) becomes the normal teaching of the Fourth Gospel: to see, know, believe, love, confess the Son, is the one way of access to the Father ( Psalms 89:6 ; John 15:1-27 ; John 16:1-33 ; John 17:1-26 , 1 John 2:23 ). Moreover, the impulse of attraction to Christ is itself from the Father ( John 6:44 ; John 6:65 ), and the Divine initiative, as well as the completeness of the break required with ‘the world’ and ‘the flesh’ ( 1 John 2:16 , John 3:6 ), is described as being ‘born anew,’ ‘born of the Spirit,’ ‘born of God’ ( John 3:3-8 ; John 1:13 , 1 John 3:9 ). In 1 Jn. the moral fruits of this new birth are set forth righteousness, incapability to sin, love, faith in the Son of God, victory over the world ( 1Jn 2:29 ; 1 John 3:9 ; 1Jn 4:7 ; 1 John 5:1 ; 1 John 5:4 ).
These are the elements which combine in the conception of sonship in the Johannine writings: the actual phrase ‘children (not ‘sons’) of God’ occurs John 1:12 ; John 11:52 , 1 John 3:1-2 ; 1Jn 3:10 ; 1 John 5:2 .
3. The Epistles of St. Paul . St. Paul speaks both of ‘children of God’ and of ‘sons of God.’ His doctrine comprises the mystical and the ethical elements already noted, while it is enriched and developed by additional features. In his speech at Athens ( Acts 17:28 ) he for a moment adopts the Greek point of view, and regards all men as the ‘offspring’ of God. Apart from this, he like the Fourth Gospel, but in his own way connects sonship with faith in Christ: it is part of his doctrine of redemption, a status and privilege conferred by God upon men through faith in Christ, attested by the indwelling Spirit and His fruits. ‘Ye are all sons of God, through faith, in Christ Jesus’ ( Galatians 3:26 ); ‘The Spirit himself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are children of God’ ( Romans 8:16 ); ‘As many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God’ ( Romans 8:14 ). It is as ‘children of God’ that his converts have a moral mission to the world ( Philippians 2:15 ).
The idea of sonship as a Divinely conferred status is expressed by St. Paul under the Roman custom of ‘Adoption’ (wh. see), by which a stranger could be legally adopted as ‘son’ and endowed with all the privileges of the ‘child’ by birth (Ephesians 1:5-14 , cf. Romans 8:29 ). The figure suggests fresh points of analogy. To the Romans, St. Paul makes moral appeal on the ground that in exchange for the ‘spirit of bondage’ they had received the ‘spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father’ ( Romans 8:15 ). In the passage Galatians 3:23 to Galatians 4:7 be likens the state of the faithful under the Law to that of ‘young children’ needing a ‘tutor’; ‘heirs,’ yet, because under guardians, differing nothing from ‘bondservants.’ The Law as ‘tutor’ has led them to Christ, in whom they are now ‘sons of God’; Christ has ‘redeemed’ them from the bondage of Law that they might ‘receive the adoption of sons,’ and, because they are sons, ‘God sent forth the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, Abba, Father.’ The spiritual sonship, open to all believers, should be no stumbling-block to Israel, though to them specially belonged ‘the adoption’ ( Romans 9:4 ). It fulfils the typical distinction within Israel itself of ‘children of the flesh’ and ‘children of the promise’: by Divine election alone men become ‘children of God,’ ‘sons of the living God’ ( Galatians 4:28 , Romans 9:8 ; Romans 9:26 ).
St. Paul further conceives of sonship as looking forward for its full realization. We are ‘waiting for our adoption, to wit the redemption of our body’ (God, Come to my Assistance
First words of Psalms 69; the usual beginning of each hour of Divine Office.
Holman Bible Dictionary - Presence of God
God's initiative in encountering people. Biblical words for the presence of God usually relate to the “face” of God.
Old Testament Usage During the patriarchal period, God used a variety of means of revelation to communicate with the people (
Genesis 15:1 ; Genesis 32:24-30 ). These are often described as theophanies, appearances of God to humanity. Moses had a close relationship with God. He encountered God in the burning bush and knew God “face to face” (Deuteronomy 34:10 ). The presence of God was also closely related to the tabernacle, the place for ancient Israel to encounter God in worship. The tabernacle was the place of the Lord's name or glory, a manifestation of God's presence and activity in the world (Exodus 40:34 ,Exodus 40:34,40:38 ). The cloud and fire symbolized the presence of God leading on the journey to Canaan.
Perhaps the primary tangible symbol of God's presence with the people was the ark of the covenant, the container for the tablet of the law and the seat of God's throne. It led the people in the journey to Canaan and into battle (Joshua 3:1-6 ). The ark was associated with the sanctuary and eventually came to rest in the Temple, the place of the presence of God. Here Isaiah had a powerful vision of the holy God (Isaiah 6:1 ).
God also manifested Himself in other ways: in fire (1 Kings 18:1 ) and in a still small voice (1 Kings 19:1 ), both to Elijah. The Psalms speak of God's presence with the worshiping community (Psalm 139:1 ) and of the apparent absence of this present God (Psalm 13:1 ). In either case, God is still addressed. Ezekiel spoke of the Exile in terms of the glory (presence) of God leaving ancient Israel but then returning at the end of the Exile in Babylon (Ezekiel 43:1-5 ). Much of the Old Testament discussion of the presence of God centers on the fact that God is utterly free to be where God wills but constantly chooses to be with His people to give them life.
New Testament Usage The primary New Testament manifestation of the presence of God is in Jesus Christ, Emmanuel, “God with us” (Matthew 1:23 ; John 1:14 ; Hebrews 1:1-3 ). This presence did not end with the death of Christ. The risen Christ appeared to the disciples (John 21:1-14 ) and to Paul. Through the apostles, Paul and the disciples, Christ's work continued (Acts 1:8 ; Acts 26:12-18 ). The Holy Spirit is an important manifestation of the presence of God and continues the redemptive work of God. The return of Christ will bring permanence to the presence of God with His people.
The church is called to be a manifestation of God's presence. That community is fed by the presence of God found in communion between worshiper and God.
W. H. Bellinger, Jr.
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - Martyr of God, Whose Strength Was Steeled
Hymn for Lauds for the Common of one martyr. It was written in the 10th century, but it is not known by whom. There are twelve translations; the English title given is by P. Dearmer.
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - o God of Truth, o Lord of Might
Hymn for Sext throughout the year. It is possible that Saint Ambrose wrote it. About twenty translations are in existence; the English title given above is by J. Neale.
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - o God, of Those That Fought Thy Fight
Hymn for Vespers for the Common of One Martyr, out of Paschal Time; Ambrosian school, 6th century. There are 16 transations; the English title given above is by A. McDougall.
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - my God, i Love Thee Not Because
Hymn, not found in the Breviary. It was written by Saint Francis Xavier and has about 25 translations. The English title given is by E. Caswall.
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - Image of God
Man is made according to the image of God (Genesis 1). This image or likeness lies chiefly in the soul, intellect, and free will distinguishing him from the brute. It overflows from the soul to the body, making him fit to rule over lower creation. Essential likeness is perfected accidentally by natural and supernatural virtues, especially by charity and justice.
Holman Bible Dictionary - Repentance of God
Old Testament description of God's reaction to human situations. The Hebrew verb (nhm ) expresses a strong emotional content, perhaps with a reference to deep breathing of distress or relief. It should be noted that “repent” is not always the best translation for nicham but was the translation used by the KJV. The scope of possible translations includes “repent” ( Jeremiah 18:8 ,Jeremiah 18:8,18:10 RSV), “grieve” ( Genesis 6:7 NIV), “pity” ( Judges 2:18 NAS), “change of mind” ( Psalm 110:4 REB), and “relent” ( Psalm 106:45 NAS). Therefore, the concept of the repentance of God would also include God's grieving, pitying, changing His mind, and relenting.
The concept of God's repentance is not limited to one section of the Old Testament, but can be found throughout the Law, Prophets, and Writings. The repentance of God became Israel's creed alongside other attributes of God like “gracious,” “merciful,” “slow to anger,” and “great in covenant-love” (Joel 2:13 ; Jonah 4:2 ).
The repentance of God was usually in response to His creation, such as human disobedience (Genesis 6:6-7 ), intercessory prayer (Amos 7:1-6 ), or repentance (Jonah 3:6-10 ). In many instances God is said to “change his mind” about some evil that he had planned to do (Exodus 32:12 ,Exodus 32:12,32:14 ; Jonah 3:10 ). In one instance God is said to “change his mind” (Jeremiah 18:10 ) about His good intentions.
God's repentance plays an important role in our understanding about the role of prayer and about certain attributes of God, such as immutability, timelessness, and impassability. The God who repents is free to answer prayer and to interact with people. This freedom is part of His being the same forever.
M. Stephen Davis
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - my God, my God, Why Hast Thou Forsaken me
One of the last words of Our Lord dying on the Cross, as narrated by Matthew 27, and Mark 15.
Holman Bible Dictionary - Revelation of God
The content and process of God's making Himself known to people. All knowledge of God comes by way of revelation. Human knowledge of God is revealed knowledge since God, and He alone, gives it. He bridges the gap between Himself and His creatures, disclosing Himself and His will to them. By God alone can God be known.
Modern thought often questions the possibility and/or reality of revelation. Biblical faith affirms revelation is real because the personal Creator God has chosen to let His human creatures know Him. The question remains, “How can a person know God.” The Bible appears to distinguish two ways of knowing God, general and special revelation.
Biblical emphasis points to Jesus Christ as God's final revelation. God has provided ongoing generations of believers a source of knowledge about Himself and His Son. That source is the Bible.
Definition The word revelation means an uncovering, a removal of the veil, a disclosure of what was previously unknown. Revelation of God is God's manifestation of Himself to humankind in such a way that men and women can know and fellowship with Him. Jesus explained to Peter: “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven” ( Matthew 16:17 NIV). The knowledge of Jesus' sonship was not attained by human discovery, nor could it have been; it came from God alone.
All Christians recognize that God has acted and spoken in history, revealing Himself to His creatures. Yet, a variety of opinions seek to define what constitutes revelation.
General Revelation The physical world—nature—is not a part of God as my hand is a part of me. Yet, God might reveal Himself through His actions in that world. Besides saying or writing things, persons may reveal facts about themselves in other ways, such as physical gestures or facial expressions. Sometimes persons' actions communicate whether they are selfish or generous, clumsy or skillful. A grimace, a smile, or a frown can often be telling. Transferring these things to a theological context is not simple, because God is not visible. He does not have facial features or bodily parts with which to gesture. To say God reveals Himself through nature means that through the events of the physical world God communicates to us things about Himself that we would otherwise not know.
What sort of things might God tell us in this manner? Paul explained “What can be known about God is plain to them, for God Himself made it plain. Ever since God created the world, his invisible qualities both his eternal power and his divine nature, have been clearly seen; they are perceived in the things that God has made. So those people have no excuse at all” (Romans 1:20 TEV). The psalmist ( Psalm 19:1 ) saw the glory of God through the spectacles of special revelation. What the psalmist saw was objectively and genuinely there. We can rephrase these observations to say that all that can be known about God in a natural sense has been revealed in nature. This is what we call natural or general revelation. General revelation is universal in the sense that it is God's self-disclosure of Himself in a general way to all people at all times in all places . General revelation occurs through (1) nature, (2) in our experience and in our conscience, and (3) in history.
In the wonders of the heavens and in the beauty of the earth God manifests Himself. Jesus taught that God “causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matthew 5:45 NAS), thus revealing His goodness to all. “The living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them has not left himself without a witness in doing good—giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, and filling you with food and your hearts with joy” ( Acts 14:15-17 NRSV). God makes Himself known in the continuing care and provision for humankind. The universe as a whole serves the Creator's purposes as a vehicle of God's self-manifestation.
God also reveals himself in men and women. They are made in the “image” and “likeness” of God (Genesis 1:26-27 ). Humans, as a direct creation of God, are a mirror or reflection of God. People are God's unique workmanship evidenced by their place of dominion over the rest of creation; in their capacity to reason, feel, and imagine; in their freedom to act and respond; and in their sense of right and wrong (Genesis 1:28 ; Romans 2:14-15 ). Especially through this moral sense God reveals Himself in the consciences of men and women. The fact that religious belief and practice is universal confirms the apostle's statements in Romans 2:1 . Yet, the creatures who worship, pray, build temples, idols and shrines, and seek after God in diverse ways do not glorify God as God nor give Him thanks (Romans 1:21-23 ). Nevertheless, because each person has been given the capacity for receiving God's general revelation, they are responsible for their actions.
God manifests Himself in the workings of history. All of history, rightly understood, bears the imprint of God's activity and thus has a theological character. Primarily, God is revealed in history through the rise and fall of peoples and nations (compare Acts 17:22-31 ).
God's general revelation is plain, whether in nature, in human conscience, or in history. Even though it is plain, it is often misinterpreted because sinful and finite humans are trying to understand a perfect and infinite God. What we have seen so far is compatible with the following:
(1) Religious belief is a nearly universal human phenomenon.
(2) Such religious belief is implanted by God.
(3) All people ought to acknowledge God on the basis of what they learned from the world around them.
(4) All people believe in God and show their belief even though they do not admit it.
(5) No one, no matter how seemingly insignificant or weak-minded can be excused for missing God's revelation.
The light of nature is not sufficient to give the knowledge of God necessary for salvation. For God's power (Romans 1:20 ), goodness (Matthew 5:45 ), and righteousness (Romans 2:14-15 ) have been revealed, but not His salvific grace. That is revealed only through special revelation. Special revelation is necessary to instruct people how to worship God rightly. God in His general revelation reveals Himself, but because of our sinfulness, humans pervert the reception of His general revelation, a revelation so plain it leaves all without excuse. It is as if a lawyer were offered the information necessary to solve a case, yet chose perversely to ignore it.
In sum, humans lack the willingness to come to a pure and clear knowledge of God. Men and women suppress God's truth because they do not like the truth about God. They do not like the God to which the truth leads them so they invent substitute gods and religions instead. The universality of religion on earth is evidence of truths discussed above. According to Paul, the act of suppressing the awareness of God and His demands warps our reason and conscience. Because of this rejection of God, He righteously reveals His wrath against humankind. God's general revelation does not bring one into a saving relationship with God; it does reveal God to His creatures and they are, therefore, responsible for their response. This view of general revelation can only be accepted through special revelation.
Special Revelation God has revealed Himself in nature, human experience, and history, but sin's entrance into the world has changed the revelation as well as the interpretation of it. What is needed to understand God's self-disclosure fully is His special revelation. Divine truth exists outside of special revelation, but it is consistent with and supplemental to, not a substitute for special revelation.
In contrast to God's general revelation which is available to all people, God's special revelation is available to specific people at specific times in specific places, it is available now only by consultation of sacred Scripture. Special revelation is first of all particular. God reveals Himself with His people. These people of God are the children of Abraham, whether by natural ( Genesis 12:1-3 ) or spiritual descent (Galatians 3:16 ,Galatians 3:16,3:29 ). Does this mean that God confines knowledge of Himself to a particular people? Not necessarily, because God's general revelation has been given to all, though perverted and rejected by the universal wickedness of humankind. He now chooses to whom and through whom He will make Himself known. As with Abraham, God said: “In thee shall all families of the earth be blessed” (Genesis 12:3 ). God manifests Himself in a particular manner to His people so they will be a channel of blessing to all others.
Special revelation is also progressive . Biblical history witnesses to a developing disclosure of God, His will, and His truth in the Old and New Testaments. The development is not contradictory in any fashion. It is complementary and supplementary to what had been previously revealed. We should not think of the progress from untruth to truth, but from a lesser to a fuller revelation (Hebrews 1:1-3 ). The revelation of the law in the Old Testament is not superseded by the gospel, but is fulfilled in it.
Special revelation is primarily redemptive and personal . In recognition of the human predicament God chose at the very beginning to disclose Himself in a more direct way. Within time and space God has acted and spoken to redeem the human race from its own self-imposed evil. Through calling people, miracles, the Exodus, covenant making, and ultimately through Jesus Christ, God has revealed Himself in history.
The ultimate point of God's personal revelation is in Jesus Christ. In Him, the Word became flesh (John 1:1 ,John 1:1,1:14 ;John 1:14;14:9 ). The Old Testament promise of salvation as a divine gift to people who cannot save themselves has been fulfilled in the gift of His Son. The redemptive revelation of God is that Jesus Christ has borne the sins of fallen humanity, has died in their place, and has been raised to assure justification. This is the fixed center of special revelation.
Special revelation is also propositional . It includes not only those personal, redemptive acts in history, but also the prophetic-apostolic interpretation of those events . God's self-disclosure is propositional in that it made known truths about Him to His people. Knowledge about someone precedes intimate knowledge of someone. The primary purpose of revelation is not necessarily to enlarge the scope of one's knowledge. Yet, propositional knowledge about is for the purpose of personal knowledge of.
We can thus affirm that special revelation has three stages: (1) redemption in history, ultimately centering in the work of the Lord Jesus Christ; (2) the Bible, written revelation interpreting what He has done for the redemption of men and women; (3) the work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of individuals and the corporate life of the church, applying God's revelation to the minds and hearts of His people. As a result, men and women receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and are enabled to follow Him faithfully in a believing, covenant community until life's end.
The content of special revelation is primarily God Himself. Mystery remains even in God's self-revelation. God does not fully reveal Himself to any person. God, does, however, reveal himself to persons to the degree they can receive it. Special revelation is the declaration of truth about God, His character, and His action and relationship with His creation to bring all creation under Christ, the one head (Ephesians 1:9-10 ).
The proper setting of special revelation is Christian faith. God makes Himself known to those who receive His revelation in faith (Hebrews 11:1 ,Hebrews 11:1,11:6 ). Faith is the glad recognition of truth, the reception of God's revelation without reservation or hesitation (Romans 10:17 ).
For today, the Bible is of crucial importance. Through the Bible the Spirit witnesses to individuals of God's grace and the need of faith response. In the Bible we learn of God's redemption of sinners in Christ Jesus. Our faith response to God's Word and acts, recorded and interpreted by the prophets and apostles, calls for us to embrace with humble teachableness, without finding fault, whatever is taught in Holy Scripture.
In sum we can say that God has initiated the revelation of Himself to men and women. This revelation is understandable to humankind and makes it possible to know God and grow in relationship with Him. God's self-manifestation provides information about Himself for the purpose of leading men and women into God's presence. For believers today, the Bible is the source of God's revelation. In the written word we can identify God, know and understand something about Him, His will, and His work, and point others to Him. Special revelation is not generally speculative. The Bible primarily speaks on matters of cosmology and history where these issues touch the nature of faith. God has manifested Himself incarnationally through human language, human thought, and human action as ultimately demonstrated in the incarnation of Jesus Christ.
David S. Dockery
Holman Bible Dictionary - God
The personal Creator worthy of human worship because of His holy nature and His perfect love revealed in creating the universe, electing and redeeming His people, and providing eternal salvation through His Son Jesus Christ.
God is unique in nature. No person, object, or idea can be compared to God. Anything said about God must be based on His revelation of Himself to us. Anything said about God must be said in human terms, the only terms we have and understand. The reality of God is always much greater than human minds can understand or express.
God as the Bible's Primary Subject The Bible and history begin with God (Genesis 1:1 ). The last chapter of the Bible describes God as the “Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end” (Revelation 22:13 NRSV). All the way through Scripture God is primary. For Christians the primacy of God is reassuring, liberating, and instructive. It reassures us that God controls all existence. It liberates us to know the loving, redeeming God seeks to set us free. It instructs us to be able to look for signs of God throughout His universe.
God as Present with Us God is present in His world in a unique manner. He is never separated from any part of His creation. As spirit, God has the perfect capability of being present everywhere in the world at once. The psalmist exclaimed, “Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there” (Psalm 139:7-8 ). The prophet looked for the Messiah to be named Emmanuel, meaning, “God with us”; and Matthew reported that God fulfilled that promise in Jesus (Isaiah 7:14 ; Matthew 1:23 ). The end time will make the presence of God even more clear: God will live with His people (Revelation 21:3 ). Atheists affirm the total absence of God, saying God does not exist, but most human experience affirms a sense of the divine within the reality of life. In some mysterious way God is immanent, that is, He is present in the day-to-day human existence. He enters into personal relationships with the people who inhabit His world.
The Bible speaks of God's presence in two major ways: in space and in relationships. Theologians used the term omnipresence , derived from Latin, to speak of God's presence everywhere in all the world's space. Moses experienced that presence on a wilderness mountain (Exodus 3:1 ); Isaiah, in the Jerusalem Temple (Isaiah 6:1 ); and Paul, on an international highway (Acts 9:1 ). Most often the Bible speaks in terms of God being present in relationships. He called Israel to be His people (Exodus 19:3-6 ). He appeared to Elijah in a “still, small voice” (1 Kings 19:12 ). Most of all God appeared Person to person in the human flesh of His Son Jesus.
God as Mystery Revealed in Christ The personal presence of God in Jesus Christ is the central and normative source of knowledge about God. Christ is known today through the witness of inspired Scripture and through the personal witness of the Holy Spirit. Still, what is revealed is the mystery of Christ. Even as it is revealed, God's revelation in Jesus Christ remains mysterious (Romans 16:25-26 ; Ephesians 3:1-10 ; Colossians 1:24-27 ; Colossians 4:2-4 ). Faith believes that what remains hidden in mystery is totally consistent with what is revealed in Christ.
Revelation of Christ in the form of Bible narrative allows us to describe God but not to define Him. Perhaps the closest we can come to a definition is that God is the holy Being who is love in servant form. This rises out of Bible statements: “the Lord our God is holy” (Psalm 99:9 ); “God is love” (1John 4:8,1 John 4:16 ). These contain partial descriptions, not definitions. The norm for a definition comes in Jesus, who said, “but I am among you as one who serves” (Luke 22:27 NRSV). Thus Christian preaching echoes Paul: “we do not proclaim ourselves; we proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord; and ourselves as your slaves for Jesus' sake” (2 or. Luke 4:5 NRSV).
God's Unique Nature God is the only God. He is not simply the greatest of many gods—He is the only true God. God is the living God. This separates Him from all other gods and idols, which are merely forms humans have created in the image of things God created ( Isaiah 41:22-24 ; Isaiah 44:9-20 ; Isaiah 46:1-2 ,Isaiah 46:1-2,46:6-7 ). “The Lord is the true God, he is the living God, and an everlasting king” (Jeremiah 10:10 ; compare 1 Thessalonians 1:9 ). Christians see this in Jesus, joining Peter in confessing, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16 ).
The living God is also Lord and Master. In English translations He is Lord in two ways. Lord spelled with small caps represents the Hebrew Yahweh , the personal name of God, by which He introduced Himself to Moses (Exodus 3:15 ; Exodus 6:3 ). See Exodus 34:23 ). He is “Lord of lords” (Deuteronomy 10:17 ). The New Testament proclaims, “let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36 NIV). Thus Jesus receives the same titles as the Father, leading to a doctrine of the Trinity.
God is holy . The most basic word we have to describe God is holy. This is the unique quality of God's existence that marks Him off as separate and distinct from all else. Holiness includes the ideas of righteousness and purity, but it is more. Holiness belongs to God alone. It sets Him above us in majesty, power, authority, righteousness, and love. Persons or objects can be said to be holy only by virture of being drawn into relationship with God. (Compare Isaiah 5:16 ; Isaiah 6:3 ; 1 Peter 1:15-16 .)
God is eternal . He has no beginning and no ending. All else begins and ends as an expression of the will of God, but God has always existed and will always continue to exist.
God is spirit . He is not material or physical as we are. As spirit, He does not have the limitations of material form. Spirit is the highest form of existence. It enables God to be with His people everywhere simultaneously. As spirit, God chose to humble Himself and take on the form of human flesh (Philippians 2:6-11 ).
God is love . “God is love itself” is the nearest humans can get to making a non-symbolic statement about God (1John 4:8,1 John 4:16 ). His love is coordinated perfectly with His righteousness. God's love is always righteous, and His righteousness is always marked by love. Love is the primary motivation behind revelation (John 3:16 ). God's love is expressed as His mercy in forgiving sinners and in rescuing or blessing those who do not deserve His attention. His love is expressed in grace, the love and power of God reaching to those who do not deserve His blessing. God's grace is shown in forgiveness, conversion, blessing, nurturing, and chastising of individual persons. God's grace creates a response of love, faith, and obedience in the hearts of people whom He is trying to reach. His grace also works in and through His servants to give them guidance and power as they seek to carry out His will.
God is Father . The love of God finds supreme expression as Father. God is known in Scripture as Father in three separate senses that must not be confused: (1) He is Father of Jesus Christ in a unique sense—by incarnation (Matthew 11:25-27 ; Mark 14:36 ; Romans 8:15 ; Galatians 4:6 ; 2 Peter 1:17 ); (2) He is Father of believers—by adoption or redemption (Matthew 5:43-48 ; Luke 11:2 , Luke 11:13 ; Galatians 3:26 ); (3) He is Father of all persons—by creation (Psalm 68:5 ; Isaiah 64:8 ; Malachi 2:10 ; Matthew 5:45 ; 1 Peter 1:17 ).
God is intimate . He is not an impersonal force like gravity, exerting influence in some mechanical, automatic way. He has personal characteristics, just as we do. God is living, working in His world, and relating to His people. He is aware of what is going on, makes plans, and carries them out. He forms relationships and has purpose and will. He is a jealous God, taking himself seriously and insisting that others take Him seriously (Exodus 34:14 ; Nahum 1:2 ; 1 Corinthians 10:22 ). He wants more than divided loyalty or indifference from His people.
Attributes of God God has distinctive qualities that summarize what He is like.
God's glory refers to the weight or influence He carries in the universe and to the overwhelming brillance when He appears to people ( Exodus 16:7-10 ; Isaiah 6:3 ; Ephesians 1:12-17 ; Hebrews 1:3 ). It is His presence in all His sovereign power, righteousness, and love. Sometimes the Bible describes the glory of God as a physical manifestation. Sometimes it is a spiritual perception as in a sense of tremendous awe before God. We see the glory of God when we are deeply impressed with a sense of His presence and power.
God's wisdom is His perfect awareness of what is happening in all of His creation in any given moment. This includes His knowledge of the final outcome of His creation and of how He will work from beginning to ending of human history ( Job 11:4-12 ; Job 28:1-28 ; Psalm 139:1 ; Romans 11:1 ). It also includes His ability to know what is best for each and every one of His creatures. Sometimes this is called His omniscience.
God's power is His ability to accomplish His purposes and carry out His will in the world. He can do what needs to be done in any circumstance ( Job 36:22-33 ; Isaiah 40:10-31 ; Daniel 3:1-30 ; Matthew 19:16-26 ; 1 Corinthians 1:18-25 ). This is sometimes called His omnipotence.
God's righteousness expresses itself in many ways ( Exodus 2:23-25 ; Joshua 23:1-16 ; Psalm 71:14-21 ; Isaiah 51:5-8 ; Acts 10:34-35 ; Romans 3:5-26 ). He is the ultimate standard of right and wrong. He is faithful, constant, and unchanging in His character. He works for the right, seeking to extend righteousness and justice throughout the world. He defends the defenseless, helpless, victimized, and oppressed. He opposes evil through personal expressions of His wrath, anger, judgment, punishment, and jealousy. He sits in present and eternal judgment on those who do evil.
His attributes show that God is able to accomplish His will. Nothing can limit Him except limits He places on Himself.
God at Work in His World God is not an inert being far removed from the world. God is the personal God who cares about and works in the world He created. Creation was His first work but certainly not His last.
God works as Redeemer to save the sinful, rebellious human creatures and to renew His fallen creation. He makes salvation possible. His love makes Him a saving kind of God. He redeemed Israel in the Exodus from Egypt ( Exodus 1-15 ); through the prophets He promised a Messiah who would save His people, and in Jesus Christ provided that salvation (John 3:16 ). Redemption in Christ completes creation, carrying out the purposes of God and making final, complete salvation possible.
God works in history . The sovereign God exercises His lordship or ownership of the world by continuing to work in His world and through His people. God allows people the freedom to be themselves and make their own free choices but works within those choices to accomplish His eternal purposes. This is called God's providence. God has not predetermined all the events of human history; yet He continues to work in that history in ways we do not necessarily see or understand.
God works toward and in the end time to fulfill His eternal purposes. God will one day bring His purposes to fulfillment, bringing history to a close and ushering in eternity. The sovereign, absolute Lord will accomplish His will in His world.
God as Trinity Finally, God has revealed Himself as Father and Creator, as Son and Savior, and as Holy Spirit and Comforter. This has led the church to formulate the uniquely Christian doctrine of the Trinity. New Testament passages make statements about the work and person of each member of the Trinity to show that each is God; yet the Bible strongly affirms that God is one, not three (Matthew 28:19 ; John 16:5-11 ; Romans 1:1-4 ; 1 Corinthians 12:4-6 ; 2 Corinthians 13:14 ; Ephesians 4:4-6 ). The doctrine of the Trinity is a human attempt to explain this biblical evidence and revelation. It is an explicit formulation of the doctrine of God in harmony with the early Christian message that “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself” (2 Corinthians 5:19 ). It expresses the diversity of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit in the midst of the unity of God's being. See Christ; Holy Spirit ; Trinity .
John W. Eddins, Jr. and J. Terry Young
Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Fatherhood of God
Throughout the Bible we find God portrayed as a Father. This portrayal, however, is surprisingly rare in the Old Testament. There God is specifically called the Father of the nation of Israel (Deuteronomy 32:6 ; Isaiah 63:16 ; [1] 64:8; Jeremiah 3:4,19 ; 31:9 ; Malachi 1:6 ; 2:10 ) or the Father of certain individuals (2 Samuel 7:14 ; 1 Chronicles 17:13 ; 22:10 ; 28:6 ; Psalm 68:5 ; 89:26 ) only fifteen times. (At times the father imagery is present although the term "Father" is not used [2]). This metaphor for God may have been avoided in the Old Testament due to its frequent use in the ancient Near East where it was used in various fertility religions and carried heavy sexual overtones. The avoidance of this description for God can still be found in the intertestamental literature. There its use is also rare: Apocrypha ( Wisdom of Solomon 2:16 ; 14:3 ; Tobit 13:4 ; Sirach 23:1,4 ; 51:10 ); Pseudepigrapha (Jub 1:24,28; 19:29; 3Macc 5:7; 6:4,8; T. Song of Solomon 2:16; T. Judah 24:2); and Dead Sea Scrolls (1 QH 9:35f.).
The teaching of the Fatherhood of God takes a decided turn with Jesus, for "Father" was his favorite term for addressing God. It appears on his lips some sixty-five times in the Synoptic Gospels and over one hundred times in John. The exact term Jesus used is still found three times in the New Testament (Mark 14:36 ; Romans 8:15-16 ; Galatians 4:6 ) but elsewhere the Aramaic term Abba is translated by the Greek pater [3]. The uniqueness of Jesus' teaching on this subject is evident for several reasons. For one, the rarity of this designation for God is striking. There is no evidence in pre-Christian Jewish literature that Jews addressed God as "Abba . " A second unique feature about Jesus' use of Abba as a designation for God involves the intimacy of the term. Abba was a term little children used when they addressed their fathers. At one time it was thought that since children used this term to address their fathers the nearest equivalent would be the English term "Daddy." More recently, however, it has been pointed out that Abba was a term not only that small children used to address their fathers; it was also a term that older children and adults used. As a result it is best to understand Abba as the equivalent of "Father" rather than "Daddy."
A third unique feature of Jesus' teaching concerning the Fatherhood of God is that the frequency of this metaphor is out of all proportion to what we find elsewhere in the Old Testament and other Jewish literature. (Note 165+ times in the four Gospels compared to only 15 times in the entire Old Testament!) This was not justa way Jesus taught his disciples to address God; it was the way. They were to pray, "Father, hallowed by your name" ( Luke 11:2 ). This is why the Greek-speaking Gentile churches in Galatia and Rome continued to address God as Abba . They used this foreign title for God because Jesus had used it and taught his followers to do so. It should be pointed out that although Jesus addressed God as "Father" and taught his disciples to do the same, he never referred to God as "our Father." (Matthew 6:9 is not an exception, for here Jesus is teaching his disciples how they [4] should pray. ) His "Sonship" was different from that of his followers. He was by nature the Son; they were "sons" through adoption. This is clearly seen in John 20:17 in the distinction between "my" God and "your" God. It is also seen in Matthew 5:16,45 , 48 ; 6:1,4 , 6 ; 7:21 ; 10:32-33 , where Jesus refers to "your" (singular and plural ) and "my" father but never "our" father.
Because of Jesus' use of this metaphor, it is not surprising that the rest of the New Testament also emphasizes the Fatherhood of God. In the Pauline letters God is described as "Father" over forty times. It occurs in blessings (Romans 1:7 ; 1 Corinthians 1:3 ), doxologies (Romans 15:6 ), thanksgivings (2 Corinthians 1:3 ; 1 Thessalonians 1:2-3 ), prayers (Colossians 1:12 ), exhortations (Ephesians 5:20 ), and creeds (1 Corinthians 8:6 ; Ephesians 4:6 ). For Paul this fatherhood is based not so much on God's role in creation but rather on the redemption and reconciliation he has made available in Jesus Christ. This is why Paul refers to "the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Romans 15:6 ; 2 Corinthians 1:3 ; 11:31 ). It is through the work of Christ that God invites us to call him "Abba, Father." It is through Christ that grace and peace have resulted and we have become God's children (Romans 8:12-16 ; 1 Peter 1:3-4 ; 1 John 3:1 ).
The description of God as "father" is under attack today in certain circles. It is charged by some that this leads to a false view that God is a male. This criticism should be taken seriously in that God is not a "man" (Numbers 23:19 ). He is a Spirit (John 4:24 ) without sexual parts. When God is referred as a father, this is simply the use of a metaphor in which he is likened to a kind and loving father. Elsewhere God's love and care can be compared to that of a concerned and caring mother (Isaiah 49:14-16 ; Luke 13:34 ). Yet to avoid the metaphor of father as a description and designation for God is to lose sight of the fact that Jesus chose this as his metaphor to address God and that he taught this as the metaphor by which his disciples should address God. It also loses sight of the continuity established by the use of this metaphor with those who have called God "Father" over the centuries. These include the disciples; the earliest congregations ( Romans 8:15 ; Galatians 4:6 ); the earliest church councils ("I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth "); and Christian churches all over the globe who over the centuries have prayed together "Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed by thy name."
Robert H. Stein
See also God ; God, Names of
Bibliography . J. Barr, JTS 39 (1988): 28-47; R. Hamerton-Kelly, God the Father ; J. Jeremias, The Prayers of Jesus ; J. Scott Lidgett, The Fatherhood of God ; W. Elwell, TAB, pp. 42-44.
Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Unknown God
(Acts 17:23; Authorized Version and Revised Version margin ‘to the Unknown God,’ Revised Version ‘to an Unknown God’ [1])
It is often stated that light is thrown on this subject by an incident in the life of Epimenides as related by Diogenes Laertius (Epimen. i. 110). We are told that the hero, in a time of plagueat Athens, took white and black sheep to the hill Areopagus and let them loose. Wherever one of the animals rested, an altar was erected, in the supposition that the sheep was pointing to the god whose shrine was situated nearest to that particular spot. The reason for this procedure was that the people were ignorant as to which deity was offended, and they hoped in this way to ascertain which god they ought to propitiate in order that the plague might be stayed. Among the ancients such a dilemma seems to have been frequent (cf. at Rome, Aul. Gell. ii. 28; Horace, Epod. v. 1, Sat. II. vi. 20; see also Theophrastus, Char. 17). But the chief objection to this theory is that the altars are distinctly said to be ‘anonymous,’ which can only mean that they bore no inscription.
It is just possible that some such inscription as that in the text was afterwards added, but not likely. Nor are we helped by Jerome, who states (on Titus 1:12) that the inscription actually read, ‘To the gods of Asia and Europe and Africa, to unknown and strange gods,’ for such an altar could not possibly be that referred to by the Apostle. The main difficulty lies in the fact that no extant inscription exactly bears out the Apostle’s words; and yet there is sufficient evidence to lead us to suppose that he is correctly reported. For instance, Pausanias (I. i. 4) says that on the road from the Phaleric port to the city he had noticed ‘altars of gods called unknown, and of heroes’ (βωμοὶ δὲ θεῶν τε ὀνομαζομένων ἀγνώστων καὶ ἡρώων), which may quite well mean that he saw several altars bearing inscriptions similar to that mentioned by St. Paul, yet in V. xiv. 6 he speaks again of ‘an altar of unknown gods’ (πρὸς αὐτῷ δʼ ἐστὶν ἀγνώστων θεῶν βωμός). Similarly Philostratus (Vit. Apollon. vi. 3) says that at Athens are found ‘altars of unknown deities.’ It is, therefore, impossible to say with certainty whether such altars were erected ‘to an (or ‘the’) unknown god’ or ‘to unknown gods.’ The only passage where direct support is found for the words of Acts is in the dialogue of Philopatris-attributed to Lucian-where one of the characters swears ‘by the unknown god of Athens.’ But, as this work belongs to the 3rd cent. a.d., it may only be a quotation from this passage. The same objection is in part valid with regard to the Mithraic inscription of Ostia, now in the Vatican Museum; a sacrificial group is represented bearing the legend ‘the symbol of the undiscoverable god.’ The date of this is probably the 2nd or 3rd cent.; but, on the other hand, the Mithraic cult is a good deal older than that. The Greek word (ἄγνωστος) translated ‘unknown ‘possibly bears also the meaning ‘unknowable,’ though it is less probable. In this connexion we may compare a passage from Plutarch (de Is. et Osir. 9) which tells of an inscription on the veil of Isis at Sais. It runs as follows: ‘I am, and I was, and I shall be; no mortal has lifted my veil.’ Such suggestions as that there is a reference in ‘unknowable’ to Jahweh, who was spoken of by Gentile writers as ‘wholly hidden’ (Justin Martyr, Apol. ii. 10), or that such an altar might date from the period when writing was unknown, are quite fanciful and cannot be entertained.
Some writers, as F. C. Baur and E. Zeller, regard the whole incident as unhistorical, from the fact that the inscription is in the singular, whereas none such has been found, while the plural is more in keeping with the prevalent polytheism. At any rate there is an element of doubt in some of the references, and, had the writer so wished, he could easily have fallen into line in this matter. Even F. Overbeck admits that the above references allow the possibility of such an inscription. It is difficult to suppose that a mere romancer would have invented such a point; and, if St. Paul made any such reference, it is unthinkable that he would have been inaccurate.
Literature.-See the Commentaries on Acts; also E. H. Plumptre, Movements in Religious Thought, London, 1879, p. 78 ff.
F. W. Worsley.
Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Decrees of God
Are his settled purposes, whereby he foreordains whatsoever comes to pass, Daniel 4:24 . Acts 15:18 . Ephesians 1:11 . This doctrine is the subject of one of the most perplexing controversies that has occurred among mankind; it is not, however, as some think, a novel doctrine. The opinion, that whatever occurs in the world at large, or in the lot of private individuals, is the result of a previous and unalterable arrangement by that Supreme Power which presides over Nature, has always been held by many of the vulgar, and has been believed by speculative men. The ancient stoics, Zeno and Chrysippus, whom the Jewish Essenes seem to have followed, asserted the existence of a Deity, that, acting wisely but necessarily, contrived the general system of the world; from which, by a series of causes, whatever is now done in it unavoidable results. Mahomet introduced into his Kiran the doctrine of absolute predestination of the course of human affairs. He represented life and death, prosperity and adversity, and every event that befalls a man in this world, as the result of a previous determination of the one God who rules over all.
Augustine and the whole of the earliest reformers, but especially Calvin, favoured this doctrine. It was generally asserted, and publicly owned, in most of the confessions of faith of the reformed churches, and particularly in the church of England; and to this, we may add, that it was maintained by a great number of divines in the last two centuries. As to the nature of these decrees, it must be observed that they are not the result of deliberation, or the Almighty's debating matters within himself, reasoning in his own mind about the expediency or inexpediency of things, as creatures do; nor are they merely ideas of things future, but settled determinations founded on his sovereign will and pleasure, Isaiah 40:14 . They are to be considered as eternal: this is evident; for if God be eternal, consequently his purposes must be of equal duration with himself: to suppose otherwise, would be to suppose that there was a time when he was undetermined and mutable; whereas no new determinations or after thoughts can arise in his mind, Job 23:13 ; Job 14:1-22 :
2. They are free, without any compulsion, and not excited by any motive out of himself, Romans 9:15 .
3. They are infinitely wise, displaying his glory, and promoting the general good, Romans 11:33 .
4. They are immutable, for this is the result of his being infinitely perfect; for if there were the least change in God's understanding, it would be an instance of imperfection, Malachi 3:6 .
5. They are extensive or universal, relating to all creatures and things in heaven, earth, and hell, Ephesians 1:11 .Proverbs 16:4 .
6. They are secret, or at least cannot be known till he be pleased to discover them. It is therefore presumption for any to attempt to enter into or judge of what he has not revealed, Deuteronomy 29:29 . Nor is an unknown or supposed decree at any time to be the rule of our conduct. His revealed will alone, must be considered as the rule by which we are to judge of the event of things, as well as of our conduct at large, Romans 11:34 .
7. Lastly, they are effectual; for as he is infinitely wise to plan, so he is infinitely powerful to perform: his counsel shall stand, and he will do all his pleasure, Isaiah 46:10 . This doctrine should teach us,
1. Admiration. "He is the rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are judgment; a God of truth, and without iniquity; just and right is he, " Deuteronomy 32:4 .
2. Reverence. "Who would not fear thee, O King of nations? for to thee doth it appertain, " Jeremiah 10:7 .
3. Humility. "O the depth of the riches, both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!" Romans 11:33 .
4. Submission. "For he doeth according to his will in the armies of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?" Daniel 4:35 .
5. Desire for heaven. "What I do, thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter, " John 13:7 .
See NECESSITY, PREDESTINATION. Decrees of Councils are the laws made by them to regulate the doctrine and policy of the Church. Thus the acts of the Christian council at Jerusalem are called, Acts 16:4 .
Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Name of God
By this term we are to understand,
1. God himself, Psalms 20:1 .
2. His titles peculiar to himself, Exodus 3:13-14 .
3. His word, Psalms 5:11 . Acts 9:15 .
4. His works, Psalms 8:1 .
5. His worship, Exodus 20:24 .
6. His perfections and excellencies, Exodus 34:6 . John 17:26 .
The properties or qualities of this name are these:
1. A glorious name, Psalms 72:17 .
2. Transcendent and incomparable, Revelation 19:16 .
3. Powerful, Philippians 2:10 .
4. Holy and reverend, Psalms 111:9 .
5. Awful to the wicked.
6. Perpetual, Is. 55: 13. Cruden's Concordance; Hannam's Anal. Comp. p. 20.
Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Submission to God
Implies an entire giving up our understanding, will, and affections, to him; or, as Dr. Owen observes, it consists in
1. An acquiescency in his right and severeignty.
2. An acknowledgment of his righteousness and wisdom.
3. A sense of his love and care.
4. A diligent application of ourselves to his mind and will.
5. Keeping our souls by faith and patience from wearniness and despondancy.
6. A full resignation to his will.
See RESIGNATION, SORROW.
Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Dominion of God
Is his absolute right to, and authority over, all his creatures, to do with them as he pleases. It is distinguished from his power thus: his dominion is a right of making what he pleases, and possessing what he makes, and of his disposing what he doth possess; whereas his power is an ability to make what he hath a right to create, to hold what he doth possess, and to execute what he hath purposed or resolved.
Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Omnipotence of God
Is his almighty power. This is essential to his nature as an infinite, independent, and perfect being. The power of God is divided into absolute, and ordinate or actual. Absolute, is that whereby God is able to do that which he will not do, but is possible to be done. Ordinate is that whereby he doeth that which he hath decreed to do. The power of God may be more especially seen,
1. In creation, Romans 1:20 . Genesis 1:1-31 :
2. In the preservation of his creatures, Hebrews 1:3 . Colossians 1:16-17 . Job 26:1-14 :
3. In the redemption of men by Christ, Luke 1:35 ; Luke 1:37 . Ephesians 1:19 .
4. In the conversion of sinners, Psalms 110:3 . 2 Corinthians 4:7 . Romans 1:1-32 .
5. In the continuation and success of the Gospel in the world, Matthew 13:31-32 .
6. In the final perseverance of the saints, 1 Peter 1:5 .
7. In the resurrection of the dead, 1 Corinthians 15:1-58 :
8. In making the righteous happy for ever, and punishing the wicked, Philippians 3:21 . Matthew 25:34 , &c.
See Gill's Body of Div. vol. 1: oct. edit. p. 77; Charnock's Works, vol. 1: p. 423; Saurin's Sermons, vol. 1: p. 157; Tillotson's Sermons, ser. 152.
Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Patience of God
Is his long suffering or forbearance. He is called the God of patience, not only because he is the author and object of the grace of patience, but because he is patient or long suffering in himself, and towards his creatures. It is not, indeed, to be considered as a quality, accident, passion, or affection in God as in creatures, but belongs to the very nature and essence of God, and springs from his goodness and mercy, Romans 2:4 . It is said to be exercised towards his chosen people, 2 Peter 3:9 . Romans 3:25 . Isaiah 30:18 . 1 Timothy 1:16 . and towards the ungodly, Romans 2:4 . Ecclesiastes 8:11 . The end of his forbearance to the wicked, is, that they may be without excuse; to make his power and goodness visible; and partly for the sake of his own people, Genesis 18:32 . Revelation 6:11 . 2 Peter 3:9 . His patience is manifested by giving warnings of judgments before he executes them, Hosea 6:5 . Amos 1:1 . 2 Peter 2:5 . In long delaying his judgments, Ecclesiastes 8:11 . In often mixing mercy with them. There are many instances of his patience recorded in the Scriptures; with the old world, Genesis 6:3 ; the inhabitants of Sodom, Gen. xviii; in Pharaoh, Exod. v; in the people of Israel in the wilderness, Acts 13:18 ; in the Amorites and Cannaanites, Genesis 15:15 . Leviticus 18:28 . in the Gentile world. Acts 17:30 ; in fruitless professors, Luke 13:6 ; Luke 13:9 ; in Antichrist, Revelation 2:1-29 ; Revelation 13:6 ; Revelation 18:8 .
See Charnock's Works, vol. 1: p. 780; Gill's Body of Divinity, vol. 1: p. 130; Saurin's Sermon's vol. 1: ser. 10 and 11, 148, 149; Tillotson's Sermons.
Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Omnipresence of God
Is his ubiquity, or his being present in every place. This may be argued from his infinity, Psalms 139:1-24 : his power, which is every where, Hebrews 1:3 ; his providence, Acts 17:27-28 , which supplies all. As he is a spirit, he is so omnipresent as not to be mixed with the creature, or divided, part in one place, and part in another; nor is he multiplied or extended, but is essentially present every where. From the consideration of this attribute we should learn to fear and reverence God, Psalms 89:7 . To derive consolation in the hour of distress, Is. 43: 2. Psalms 46:1 . To be active and diligent in holy services, Psalms 119:168 .
See Charnock's Works, vol. 1: p. 240; Abernethy's Sermons, ser. 7; Howe's Works, vol. 1: p. 108, 110; Saurin's Sermons, vol. 1: ser. 3; Gill's Body of Div. b. i; Spect. vol. 8: No. 565, 571; Tillotson's Sermons, ser. 154.
Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Omniscience of God
Is that perfection by which he knows all things, and is,
1. Infinite knowledge, Ps. cxivi. 5.
2. Eternal, generally called foreknowledge, Acts 15:18 . Isaiah 46:10 . Ephesians 1:4 . Acts 2:23 .
3. Universal, extending to all persons, times, places, and things, Hebrews 4:13 . Psalms 50:10 . &c.
4. perfect, relating to what is past, present, and to come. He knows all by his own essence, and not derived from any other; not successively, as we do, but independently, distinctly, infallibly, and perpetually, Jeremiah 10:6-7 . Romans 11:1-36 .
5. This knowledge is peculiar to himself, Mark 13:32 . Job 36:4 . and not communicable to any creature.
6. It is incomprehensible to us how God knows all things, yet it is evident that he does; for to suppose otherwise is to suppose him an imperfect being, and directly contrary to the revelation he has given of himself, 1 John 3:20 . Job 28:24 . Job 21:22 .
See Charnock's Works, vol. 1: p. 271; Abernethy's Sermons, vol. 1: p. 290, 306; Howe's Works, vol. 1: p. 102, 103; Gill's Div. vol. 1: p. 85. oct.
Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Compassion of God
Is the infinite greatness of his mercy and love, whereby he relieves the miseries of his people. This perfection of Jehovah is conspicuously displayed in the gift of his Son, John 3:16 . the revelation of his will, Hosea 8:12 . the bounties of his providence, Psa 114: 9. the exercise of his patience, Romans 2:4 . the promise of his mercy, Psalms 78:38 . the manifestation of his presence, Matthew 18:20 . and the provision of eternal glory, 1 Peter 1:4 .
See MERCY.
Charles Spurgeon's Illustration Collection - Service of God: to be Constant
Look at yon miller on the village hill. How does he grind his grist? Does he bargain that he will only grind in the west wind, because its gales are so full of health? No, but the east wind, which searches joints and marrow, makes the millstones revolve, and together with the north and the south it is yoked to his service. Even so should it be with you who are true workers for God; all your ups and your downs, your successes and your defeats, should be turned to the glory of God.
Charles Spurgeon's Illustration Collection - Service of God: the Honour of
Of the old hero the minstrel sang:
'With his Yemen sword for aid; Ornament it carried none, But the notches on the blade.'
What nobler decoration of honour can any godly man seek after than his scars of service, his losses for the cross, his reproaches for Christ's sake, his being worn out in his Master's service!
Charles Spurgeon's Illustration Collection - so: God so Loved Etc
Plimy declares that Cicero once saw the Iliad of Homer written in so small a character that it could be contained in a nutshell. Peter Bales a celebrated caligrapher, in the days of Queen Elizabeth, wrote the whole Bible so that it was shut up in a common walnut as its casket. In these days of advanced mechanism even greater marvels in miniature have been achieved, but never has so much meaning been compressed into so small a space as in that famous little word 'So,' in the text which tells us that 'God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.'
Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Perfections of God
See ATTRIBUTES.
Charles Spurgeon's Illustration Collection - Spirit of God: the Fire From Heaven
Suppose we saw an army sitting down before a granite fort, and they told us that they intended to batter it down, we might ask them, 'How!' They point to a cannon ball. Well, but there is no power in that; it is heavy, but not more than half-a-hundred or perhaps a hundredweight; if all the men in the army hurled it against the fort they would make no impression. They say, 'No, but look at the cannon!' Well, but there is no power in that. A child may ride upon it; a bird may perch in its mouth. It is a machine, and nothing more. 'But look at the powder.' Well, there is no power in that; a child may spill it; a sparrow may peck it. Yet this powerless powder and powerless ball are put in the powerless cannon: one spark of fire enters it, and then, in the twinkling of an eye, that powder is a Rash of lightning, and that cannon ball is a thunderbolt which smites as if it had been sent from heaven.
So is it with our church or school machinery of this day; we have the instruments necessary for pulling down strongholds, but O for the fire from heaven!
Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Union With God
The idea of union with God, as conceived of by the apostolic writers, always implies an element of plurality and difference or distinctness as characterizing the being of which such union is affirmed (e.g. John 1:1). It is thus incompatible with the pantheistic conception of God as embracing all reality within an un-differentiated unity of being. Further, according to the apostolic conception, union with God, while it is not equivalent to simple identity with God, admits also of varying degrees of intimacy or perfection.
1. Union of Christ with God.-The apostolic idea of union with God, in the highest degree of intimacy and perfection, is most clearly illustrated and exemplified in the case of the historic personality of Jesus Christ, whose union with God is so intimate and complete that He can say with truth, ‘I and the Father are one’ (John 10:30).
Yet this oneness is not that of simple identity, so that Jesus could say, ‘I am the Father,’ but rather a oneness which is compatible with plurality and distinctness such as makes it possible for Him to say, ‘My Father is greater than I’ (John 14:28). This oneness of the historic Christ with God is explained by the apostolic writers in two ways, or as due to two sources or conditioning causes, one of which may be described as metaphysical and the other as moral or spiritual.
(a) From the metaphysical point of view, the oneness is explained as being due to the fact that the historic personality of Jesus Christ is the incarnation of a pre-existent Divine principle, or power of Deity, termed in the Fourth Gospel the Word or Logos, which belongs to the Divine essence, or eternally co-exists with God, and in the fullness of time becomes man (John 1:1-2, ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God’; John 1:14, ‘And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us’).
By St. Paul this pre-existent Divine principle or power of Deity, termed in the Fourth Gospel ‘the Word,’ is represented as already personal, and as becoming man by an act of voluntary condescension or ‘self-emptying’ motived by love (2 Corinthians 8:9, ‘Ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might become rich’; cf. Philippians 2:5-7, ‘Christ Jesus who, being in the form of God, counted it not a thing to be grasped to be on an equality with God, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men’). This conception of the nature and origin of the human personality of Jesus Christ, supplemented by the definite personification of a third principle or power of Deity, viz. the Holy Spirit, which, while one in essence, is yet also regarded as in some way distinct in function and activity alike from the Father and from the Son (John 14:16-17; John 16:7, etc.), gave rise to the Catholic Christian doctrine of the Trinity or Triunity of God which was explicitly set forth by the Council of Nicaea in a.d. 325. Union with God, metaphysically conceived of as predicated of Jesus Christ and of the Holy Spirit, was thus regarded not as equivalent to simple identity, but as admitting of plurality and distinctness within the fullness of the one God.
(b) From the moral and spiritual point of view, again, the oneness of Christ with God is explained by the apostolic writers as due to the perfect harmony of thought and feeling, desire and volition, subsisting between the historic Christ and God the Father Almighty. This point of view is seen in such sayings as Luke 2:49, ‘Wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?’; Matthew 11:27, ‘All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him’; John 4:34, ‘My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work’; John 5:17, ‘My Father worketh hitherto, and I work’; John 8:28, ‘I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak’; John 14:10, ‘The words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.’
From this point of view, while the metaphysical background of the historic personality of Christ in the pre-existing Logos is not denied, it is not emphasized or made prominent as that which constitutes the oneness; the emphasis is on the rational, emotional, and volitional activities of the historic human personality, which are so intimately in harmony with the mind and will of God the Father that Christ is described as ‘the effulgence of his glory, and the very image of his person’ (Hebrews 1:3). Christ Jesus, by the free exercise of those faculties of knowledge, feeling, desire, and will which are the characteristic elements of human personality, so lifted human nature into union with the Divine that in His historic personality the invisible God is expressed or manifested in human form (John 1:18, ‘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 14:9, ‘He that hath seen me hath seen the Father’). From this ethical and spiritual point of view, the oneness of Jesus Christ with God is not conceived of as a oneness completed from the first, apart from historical and ethical process, but as a oneness progressively realized or exhibited in a truly human life lived under human conditions. And, inasmuch as this oneness with God does not de-personalize or de-humanize Christ Jesus, but is compatible with His being truly man-the Son of man par excellence (Matthew 12:8)-it becomes the incentive and inspiring motive-power whereby Christian believers, through faith-union with Christ and participation in His Spirit, may hope to reach an ethical and spiritual union with God similar to, if less complete and perfect than, that of Christ (John 17:21, 1 Corinthians 6:17). Neither in Christ’s case nor in the case of Christian believers does union with God involve the de-personalizing, in any pantheistic way, of those persons who attain to such union. Whether metaphysically or spiritually regarded, union with God, according to the apostolic teaching, admits of plurality and distinctness of personality, which are yet not a barrier to a true oneness with God.
2. Union of the material world with God.-The apostolic writers are far from thinking of a union of the material world with God in any pantheistic sense, such as would tend to eliminate the personal existence of God, or do away with the distinction between the world and God. According to them, the material world owes its existence to a creative act of the will of the personal God (Hebrews 11:3, Romans 1:20). It has a real existence for God, distinct from His own personal existence, though intimately related thereto. It is the expression of His thought, the product of His creative word, the instrument of His supreme all-controlling will.
Equally removed is their conception from a philosophic dualism like that of Plato, which would erect matter into a principle of being co-eternal with God the supreme Spirit, and serving, as the source of evil, to oppose an insurmountable limit to His omnipotence and infinitude.
Yet in the apostolic doctrine of the eternal Word, or the pre-existent Christ, and the way in which this is thought of in relation to God on the one hand, and to the material created world on the other, there are elements of affinity both with the dualistic and with the pantheistic view. Thus, in relation to God, the eternal Word is one with Him, yet there is plurality or distinctness (John 1:1). There is therefore an element of plurality or ‘dualism’ which is eternal, though not such as to be incompatible with the Divine oneness, or to thwart eternally the Divine sovereignty, for Son and Father are one.
Again, the eternal Word or pre-existent Christ is at once the active agent in creation, the underlying ground and teleological goal of the created universe, and the principle of coherence which gives meaning and system to the whole (John 1:3, ‘All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men’; Colossians 1:16-17, ‘All things have been created through him, and unto him; and he is before all things, and in him all things consist’ [1]).
Thus the created world is not something entirely external to or apart from God, but is in intimate union with God, through the Logos, in whom it has its source, and ground, and principle of subsistence or coherence.
Yet this union of the material world with God, through the Logos, is not incompatible with its having a distinct existence for God as the product of His creative will and the instrument of His all-controlling power (Hebrews 11:3). The union of the material world with God through the Logos, as thus presented, is metaphysical rather than moral or spiritual, and cannot be realized except through ethical and spiritual process. Yet the further thought seems to be expressed in the Pauline writings that, through the influx of sin, the created world as a whole has in some way become alienated from God, and ‘made subject to vanity’ (Romans 8:20), and that the issue of Christ’s redemptive mission to the world is to be the reconciliation, not of humanity only, but of the whole created world, to God, in a moral and spiritual union which is at present lacking. The completed redemption of mankind will be accompanied by a renewed world fitted to be the home of the redeemed sons of God (Romans 8:22-23, ‘We know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body’; Colossians 1:19-20, ‘It pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; and, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven’; Revelation 21:1, ‘And I saw a new heaven and a new earth’).
3. Union of man with God.-The apostolic conception of the Logos as an essential principle in the nature of God, and also the underlying principle and teleological goal of creation, which conditions the apostolic conception of the material world and its relation to God, conditions also in a special way the apostolic conception of man and his relation to God.
As the highest of the creatures, the crown of creation, man stands in a relation of special nearness to the Divine Logos, who, while immanent in all created existence, is immanent with special fullness in man. Thus man is described as ‘the image and glory of God’ (1 Corinthians 11:7) and as ‘living and moving and having his being’ in God (Acts 17:28). This furnishes the basis for affirming a certain metaphysical union between man and God, in virtue of creation, which is yet not incompatible with plurality and personal distinctness. Further, the union between man and God which is due to creation, or to the fact that man’s being is rooted and grounded in the Divine Logos, is not yet a complete ethical and spiritual union, but only furnishes the potential basis for such union, which awaits realization through ethical and spiritual process. Man as man is ‘made in the image of God’ (Genesis 1:26) and predestined ‘to be conformed to the image of his Son’ (Romans 8:29) and to participate in the Divine eternal life. But this can be realized only through ethical process, involving the exercise of freedom of will by man as a moral personality distinct from, though intimately related to and grounded in, God. The influx of sin, through man’s perverse misuse of his free will, is represented as hindering and preventing this intended spiritual union between man and God, which is the true goal of creation.
Sin is represented, in apostolic thought, as causing alienation and separation of man from God, with all the bitter consequences flowing therefrom (Romans 5:12, 1 John 3:8, James 1:15). Though man’s being, as man, is rooted and grounded in the Divine Logos (Acts 17:28), yet sinful men are not in spiritual union with the holy God as sons in whom He is well pleased, but are alienated from Him and under His wrath and curse (Romans 1:18; Romans 2:8; Romans 8:7-8, Ephesians 2:3, Galatians 3:10, etc.). That perfect spiritual union of man with God which the natural head of our human race, the first Adam, failed to attain to, through sin, has, however, been attained to and realized in the Person of Jesus Christ the second Adam, who is the perfect ‘son of man’ and also ‘son of God’ (1 Corinthians 15:22; 1 Corinthians 15:45-49). As made in the image of God, the form of man furnished a form of being capable of expressing the Divine Logos in fullness of measure. And, in the fullness of time, there appeared on earth a man in whom the Divine Logos was incarnate and dwelt in perfect fullness-the man Christ Jesus (John 1:14, Philippians 2:6-8). In Him the in-carnation of the Divine Logos receives supreme and perfect individual expression, and union of man with God is perfectly realized. And the aim and purpose of this incarnation of the Logos in the individual historic personality of the man Christ Jesus is said to be ‘the bringing of many soils unto glory’ (Hebrews 2:10)-the bringing into being of a kingdom of redeemed humanity under Christ as King, in which love, the principle of the Divine nature, reigns supreme (Colossians 1:13).
The fall of mankind under the power of sin, with all its bitter consequences, conditioned the task which the perfect Son of man and Son of God, when He appeared on earth, had to undertake and accomplish, in order to bring about reconciliation and effect the redemption and restoration of sinful men, and establish the Kingdom of God.
As the representative and head of our sinful race vicariously bearing our sins in His body (1 Peter 2:24) and on His Spirit (Matthew 8:17), He had to suffer and die, ‘the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God’ ‘(1 Peter 3:18). And it is through union with Him by faith that sinful men, alienated from God through sin, become reconciled to God and enter progressively upon that ethical and spiritual union with God which is man’s true goal (1 Corinthians 6:17, 2 Corinthians 5:17-21, etc.). Thus, according to the apostolic conception, union of man with God, in the ethical and spiritual sense, implied in the relation of sonship to God, is not something already belonging to man in virtue of creation, and persisting in spite of sin, but something to be attained to and realized through ethical and spiritual process. And for sinful men the only way of attainment is through union by faith with Jesus Christ the ‘one mediator between God and men’ (1 Timothy 2:5). This union with Christ, and thereby with God, realized in the life of Christian faith, is brought about by the gracious influence of the Holy Spirit in the minds and hearts of individuals, working through the means of grace, viz. the Word, the sacraments, and prayer.
But, while the agency of the Holy Spirit in bringing about this union is emphasized and made prominent by the apostolic writers, the individual human personality is regarded, not as purely passive in the process, but as co-operating through free will, at least to the extent of yielding freely to the Spirit’s gracious influences and allowing the life to be moulded thereby (Romans 8:14, Philippians 2:12-13, 2 Corinthians 3:18). Union with God, mediated through the gracious influences of the Spirit, is thus set forth by the apostolic writers as essentially of an ethical or spiritual rather than of a mystical kind. It is not an ecstatic rapture of a Neo-Platonic kind, tending to dissolve the individual personality in a wider whole, though traces of such a conception are not altogether wanting in the apostolic records (e.g. 2 Corinthians 12:2; 2 Corinthians 12:4). Rather is it an experience of an ethical and spiritual order, the goal of which is not the absorption of the individual in God, in a kind of Nirvana, but the completion and perfecting of all that is of worth and value in individual personality in loving communion with God through Christ (John 17:23, Revelation 21:2). The literature of the 1st cent., outside the canon of Scripture, including the epistles of Clement and Barnabas and perhaps the Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, fragments of Papias, and the Shepherd of Hermas, so popular in the Church during the 2nd and 3rd centuries, contains nothing new or distinctive bearing on the subject of union with God as compared with the apostolic writings.
Clement has some fine passages about creation (Ep. ad Cor. xx., lix., lx.) in which a clear distinction is drawn between Creator and creature. God’s name, he says, is ‘the primal cause of every creature’ (ch. lix.); and God’s immanence in man is recognized (‘His breath is in us’ [2]). He recognizes also, in a clear way, the mediatorship of Christ, through faith in whom we rise into union with God, ‘looking up to the heights of heaven’ and ‘tasting of immortal knowledge’ (ch. xxxvi.). He is eloquent, too, in praise of love as that which ‘unites men to God’ (ch. xliv.).
Barnabas dwells on the idea of believers being the spiritual temple of God through the indwelling presence of His Spirit in them (Ep. of Barn. xvi.).
In the Teaching of the Twelve Apostles the union of the world with God through His creative activity and sovereign controlling power is recognized (‘The workings that befall thee receive as good, knowing that apart from God nothing cometh to pass’ [3]; ‘Thou Master Almighty didst create all things for thy name’s sake [4]). The words ‘Let grace come and let this world pass away’ (ch. x.) seem to point, like Romans 8:22-23 and Revelation 21:1, to the coining of ‘a new heaven and a new earth’ as the result of the final triumph of Divine grace. Christ is recognized as the Mediator of spiritual union between man and God, through whom life and knowledge have been made known to men, and the Church of the redeemed is to be ‘gathered from the ends of the earth’ and ‘sanctified for the kingdom prepared for it’ (chs. ix., x.).
Papias says of believers that ‘they ascend through the Spirit to the Son and through the Son to the Father,’ and that in due time ‘the Son will yield up his work to the Father’ (frag. v.; cf. 1 Corinthians 15:25-28).
Hermas says of God, ‘who created and finished all things and made all things out of nothing,’ ‘He alone is able to contain the whole, but himself cannot be contained’ (Mand. 1). Again, ‘They only who fear the Lord and keep his commandments have life with God; but as to those who keep not his commandments, there is no life in them’ (Mand. 7), and ‘The Lord dwells in men that love peace, because he loved peace; but from the contentious and the wicked he is far distant’ (Sim. IX. xxxii. 2).
Literature.-J. Rendel Harris, Union with God, London, 1895; articles on ‘Union,’ ‘Oneness,’ ‘Unity,’ in Dict. of Christ and the Gospels ; The Apostolic Fathers, translation A. Roberts and J. Donaldson (Ante-Nicene Christian Library, i.), Edinburgh, 1867; J. R. Illingworth, Divine Immanence, London, 1898.
D. S. Adam.
Charles Spurgeon's Illustration Collection - Pride: in Dictating to God
The petty sovereign of an insignificant tribe in North America every morning stalks out of his hovel, bids the sun good-morrow, and points out to him with his finger the course he is to take for the day. Is this arrogance more contemptible than ours when we would dictate to God the course of his providence, and summon him to our bar for his dealings with us? How ridiculous does man appear when he attempts to argue with his God!
Charles Spurgeon's Illustration Collection - Ingratitude: to God
The Staubach is a fall of remarkable magnificence, seeming to leap from heaven; its glorious stream reminds one of the abounding mercy which in a mighty torrent descends from above. In the winter, when the cold is severe, the water freezes at the foot of the fall, and rises up in huge icicles like stalagmites, until it reaches the fall itself as though it sought to bind it in the same icy fetters. How like is this to the common conduct of men! Divine favors frozen by human ingratitude, are proudly lifted in rebellion against the God who gave them.
Holman Bible Dictionary - Sons of God
Divine beings associated with God in the heavens in what can be called the “divine council” (Psalm 82:1 NRSV) or the “council of the holy ones” ( Psalm 89:7 NAS). In Job, the earliest Greek translation translated “sons of God” as “angels of God” ( Job 1:6 ; Job 2:1 ) and “my angels” (Job 38:7 ). The phrase “sons of the living God” in Hosea 1:10 , however, refers to Israel.
The expression sons of God employs a Hebrew idiom in which “son(s)” refers to participants in a class or in a state of being, and the second word describes the class or state of being. Thus, in Genesis 5:32 , Noah is said to be a “son of five hundred years,” meaning he was 500 years old. In English an adjective often best translates the second term, so that “divine beings” rather than “sons of God” would be a better rendition of the Hebrew. This accords with the NRSV's translation “heavenly beings” for “sons of gods” in Psalm 29:1 ; Psalm 89:6 .
In the New Testament, “sons of God” always refers to human beings who do God's will (Matthew 5:9 ; Romans 8:14 ,Romans 8:14,8:19 ). Similar expressions with the same meaning are to be found in Matthew 5:45 ; John 1:12 ; Romans 9:26 ( Hosea 1:10 ), and 2 Corinthians 6:18 . The usual designation of the heavenly beings in the New Testament is “angels.” See Angels; Divine Council; God ; Son of God .
Fred L. Horton, Jr.
Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Fatherhood of God
FATHERHOOD OF GOD . See God, § 7 .
Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - God
GOD . The object of this article is to give a brief sketch of the history of belief in God as gathered from the Bible. The existence of God is everywhere assumed in the sacred volume; it will not therefore be necessary here to consider the arguments adduced to show that the belief in God’s existence is reasonable. It is true that in Psalms 14:1 ; Psalms 53:1 the ‘fool’ ( i.e. the ungodly man) says that there is no God; but the meaning doubtless is, not that the existence of God is denied, but that the ‘fool’ alleges that God does not concern Himself with man (see Psalms 10:4 ).
1. Divine revelation gradual . God ‘spake,’ i.e. revealed Himself, ‘by divers portions and in divers manners’ ( Hebrews 1:1 ). The world only gradually acquired the knowledge of God which we now possess; and it is therefore a gross mistake to look for our ideas and standards of responsibility in the early ages of mankind. The world was educated ‘precept upon precept, line upon line’ ( Isaiah 28:10 ); and it is noteworthy that even when the gospel age arrived, our Lord did not in a moment reveal all truth, but accommodated His teaching to the capacity of the people ( Mark 4:33 ); the chosen disciples themselves did not grasp the fulness of that teaching until Pentecost ( John 16:12 f.). The fact of the very slow growth of conceptions of God is made much clearer by our increased knowledge with respect to the composition of the OT; now that we have learnt, for example, that the Mosaic code is to be dated, as a whole, centuries later than Moses, and that the patriarchal narratives were written down, as we have them, in the time of the Kings, and are coloured by the ideas of that time, we see that the idea that Israel had much the same conception of God in the age of the Patriarchs as in that of the Prophets is quite untenable, and that the fuller conception was a matter of slow growth. The fact of the composite character of the Pentateuch, however, makes it very difficult for us to find out exactly what were the conceptions about God in patriarchal and in Mosaic times; and it is impossible to be dogmatic in speaking of them. We can deal only with probabilities gathered from various indications in the literature, especially from the survival of old customs.
2. Names of God in OT . It will be convenient to gather together the principal OT names of God before considering the conceptions of successive ages. The names will to some extent be a guide to us.
( a ) Elohim; the ordinary Hebrew name for God, a plural word of doubtful origin and meaning. It is used, as an ordinary plural, of heathen gods, or of supernatural beings ( 1 Samuel 28:13 ), or even of earthly judges ( Psalms 82:1 ; Psalms 82:5 , cf. John 10:34 ); but when used of the One God, it takes a singular verb. As so used, it has been thought to be a relic of pre-historic polytheism, but more probably it is a ‘plural of majesty,’ such as is common in Hebrew, or else it denotes the fulness of God. The singular Eloah is rare except in Job; it is found in poetry and in late prose.
( b ) El , common to Semitic tribes, a name of doubtful meaning, but usually interpreted as ‘the Strong One’ or as ‘the Ruler.’ It is probably not connected philologically with Elohim (Driver, Genesis , p. 404). It is used often in poetry and in proper names; in prose rarely, except as part of a compound title like El Shaddai , or with an epithet or descriptive word attached; as ‘God of Bethel,’ El-Bethel ( Genesis 31:13 ); ‘a jealous God,’ El qannâ’ ( Exodus 20:5 ).
( c ) El Shaddai . The meaning of Shaddai is uncertain; the name has been derived from a root meaning ‘to overthrow,’ and would then mean ‘the Destroyer’; or from a root meaning ‘to pour,’ and would then mean ‘the Rain-giver’; or it has been interpreted as ‘my Mountain’ or ‘my Lord.’ Traditionally it is rendered ‘God Almighty,’ and there is perhaps a reference to this sense of the name in the words ‘He that is mighty’ of Luke 1:49 . According to the Priestly writer (P [1] ), the name was characteristic of the patriarchal age ( Exodus 6:3 , cf. Genesis 17:1 ; Genesis 28:3 ). ‘Shaddai’ alone is used often in OT as a poetical name of God ( Numbers 24:4 etc.), and is rendered ‘the Almighty.’
( d ) El Elyon , ‘God Most High,’ found in Genesis 14:18 ff. (a passage derived from a ‘special source’ of the Pentateuch, i.e. not from J [2] , E [3] , or P [1] ), and thought by Driver ( Genesis , p. 165) perhaps to have been originally the name of a Canaanite deity, but applied to the true God. ‘Elyon’ is also found alone, as in Psalms 82:5 (so tr. [5] into Greek, Luke 1:32 ; Luke 1:35 ; Luke 1:76 ; Luke 6:35 ), and with ‘Elohim’ in Psalms 57:2 , in close connexion with ‘El’ and with ‘Shaddai’ in Numbers 24:15 , and with ‘Jahweh’ in Psalms 7:17 ; Psalms 18:13 etc. That ‘El Elyon’ was a commonly used name is made probable by the fact that it is found in an Aramaic translation in Daniel 3:26 ; Daniel 4:2 ; Daniel 5:18-21 and in a Greek translation in 1Es 6:31 etc., Mark 5:7 , Acts 16:17 , and so in Hebrews 7:1 , where it is taken direct from Genesis 14:18 LXX [6] .
( e ) Adonai (= ‘Lord’), a title, common in the prophets, expressing dependence, as of a servant on his master, or of a wife on her husband (Ottley, BL 2 p. 192 f.).
( f ) Jehovah , properly Yahweh (usually written Jahweh ), perhaps a pre-historic name. Prof. H. Guthe ( EBi [7] ii. art. ‘Israel,’ § 4 ) thinks that it is of primitive antiquity and cannot be explained; that it tells us nothing about the nature of the Godhead. This is probably true of the name in pre-Mosaic times; that it was then in existence was certainly the opinion of the Jahwist writer ( Genesis 4:25 , J [2] ), and is proved by its occurrence in proper names, e.g. in ‘Jochebed,’ the name of Moses’ mother ( Exodus 6:20 , P [1] ). What it originally signified is uncertain; the root from which it is derived might mean ‘to blow’ or ‘to breathe,’ or ‘to fall,’ or ‘to be.’ Further, the name might have been derived from the causative ‘to make to be,’ and in that case might signify ‘Creator.’ But, as Driver remarks ( Genesis , p. 409), the important thing for us to know is not what the name meant originally, but what it came actually to denote to the Israelites. And there can be no doubt that from Moses’ time onwards it was derived from the ‘imperfect’ tense of the verb ‘to be,’ and was understood to mean ‘He who is wont to be,’ or else ‘He who will be.’ This is the explanation given in Exodus 3:10 ff.; when God Himself speaks, He uses the first person, and the name becomes ‘I am’ or ‘I will be.’ It denotes, then, Existence; yet it is understood as expressing active and self-manifesting Existence (Driver, p. 408). It is almost equivalent to ‘He who has life in Himself’ (cf. John 5:26 ). It became the common name of God in post-Mosaic times, and was the specially personal designation.
We have to consider whether the name was used by the patriarchs. The Jahwist writer (J [2] ) uses it constantly in his narrative of the early ages; and Genesis 4:26 (see above) clearly exhibits more than a mere anachronistic use of a name common in the writer’s age. On the other hand, the Priestly writer (P [1] ) was of opinion that the patriarchs had not used the name, but had known God as ‘El Shaddai’ ( Exodus 6:2 f.); for it is putting force upon language to suppose that P [1] meant only that the patriarchs did not understand the full meaning of the name ‘Jahweh,’ although they used it. P [1] is consistent in not using the name ‘Jahweh until the Exodus. So the author of Job, who lays his scene in the patriarchal age, makes the characters of the dialogue use Shaddai,’ etc., and only once (12:9) ‘Jahweh’ (Driver, p. 185). We have thus contradictory authorities. Driver (p. xix.) suggests that though the name was not absolutely new in Moses’ time, it was current only in a limited circle, as is seen from its absence in the composition of patriarchal proper names.
‘Jehovah’ is a modern and hybrid form, dating only from a.d. 1518. The name ‘Jahweh’ was so sacred that it was not, in later Jewish times, pronounced at all, perhaps owing to an over-literal interpretation of the Third Commandment. In reading ‘Adonai’ was substituted for it; hence the vowels of that name were in MSS attached to the consonants of ‘Jahweh’ for a guide to the reader, and the result, when the MSS are read as written (as they were never meant by Jewish scribes to be read), is ‘Jehovah.’ Thus this modern form has the consonants of one word and the vowels of another. The Hellenistic Jews, in Greek, cubstituted ‘Kyrios’ (Lord) for the sacred name, and it is thus rendered in LXX [6] and NT. This explains why in EV [15] ‘the Lord’ is the usual rendering of ‘Jahweh.’ The expression ‘Tetragrammaton’ is used for the four consonants of the sacred name, YHWH, which appears in Greek capital letters as Pipi , owing to the similarity of the Greek capital p to the Hebrew h , and the Greek capital i to the Hebrew y and w [16].
( g ) Jah is an apocopated form of Jahweh , and appears in poetry ( e.g. Psalms 68:4 , Exodus 15:2 ) in the word ‘Hallelujah’ and in proper names. For Jah Jahweh see Isaiah 11:2 ; Isaiah 26:4 .
( h ) Jahweh Tsĕbâôth (‘Sabaoth’ of Romans 9:29 and James 5:4 ), in Ev ‘Lord of hosts’ (wh. see), appears frequently in the prophetical and post-exilic literature ( Isaiah 1:9 ; Isaiah 6:3 , Psalms 84:1 etc.). This name seems originally to have referred to God’s presence with the armies of Israel in the times of the monarchy; as fuller conceptions of God became prevalent, the name received an ampler meaning. Jahweh was known as God, not only of the armies of Israel, but of all the hosts of heaven and of the forces of nature (Cheyne, Aids to Devout Study of Criticism , p. 284).
We notice, lastly, that ‘Jahweh’ and ‘Elohim’ are joined together in Genesis 2:4 to Genesis 3:22 ; Genesis 9:26 , Exodus 9:30 , and elsewhere. Jahweh is identified with the Creator of the Universe (Ottley, BL p. 195). We have the same conjunction, with ‘Sabaoth’ added (‘Lord God of hosts’), in Amos 5:27 . ‘Adonai’ with ‘Sabaoth’ is not uncommon.
3. Pre-Mosaic conceptions of God . We are now in a position to consider the growth of the revelation of God in successive ages; and special reference may here be made to Kautzsch’s elaborate monograph on the ‘Religion of Israel’ in Hastings’ DB [13] , Ext. vol. pp. 612 734, for a careful discussion of OT conceptions of God. With regard to those of pre-Mosaic times there is much room for doubt. The descriptions written so many centuries later are necessarily coloured by the ideas of the author’s age, and we have to depend largely on the survival of old customs in historical times customs which had often acquired a new meaning, or of which the original meaning was forgotten. Certainly pre-Mosaic Israel conceived of God as attached to certain places or pillars or trees or springs, as we see in Genesis 12:6 ; Genesis 13:18 ; Genesis 14:7 ; Genesis 35:7 , Joshua 24:26 etc. It has been conjectured that the stone circle, Gilgal ( Joshua 4:2-8 ; Joshua 4:20 ff.), was a heathen sanctuary converted to the religion of Jahweh. A. B. Davidson (Hastings’ DB [13] ii. 201) truly remarks on the difficulty in primitive times of realizing deity apart from a local abode; later on, the Ark relieved the difficulty without representing Jahweh under any form, for His presence was attached to it (but see below, § 4 ). Traces of ‘Totemism,’ or belief in the blood relationship of a tribe and a natural object, such as an animal, treated as the protector of the tribe, have been found in the worship of Jahweh under the form of a molten bull ( 1 Kings 12:28 ; but this was doubtless derived from the Canaanites), and in the avoidance of unclean animals. Traces of ‘Animism,’ or belief in the activity of the spirits of one’s dead relations, and its consequence ‘Ancestor-worship,’ have been found in the mourning customs of Israel, such as cutting the hair, wounding the flesh, wearing sackcloth, funeral feasts, reverence for tombs, and the levirate marriage, and in the name elohim ( i.e. supernatural beings) given to Samuel’s spirit and (probably) other spirits seen by the witch of Endor ( 1 Samuel 28:13 ). Kautzsch thinks that these results are not proved, and that the belief in demoniacal powers explains the mourning customs without its being necessary to suppose that Animism had developed into Ancestor-worship. Polytheism has been traced in the plural ‘Elohim’ (see 2 above), in the teraphim or household gods ( Genesis 31:30 , 1 Samuel 19:13 ; 1 Samuel 19:16 : found in temples, Judges 17:5 ; Judges 18:14 ; cf. Hosea 3:4 ); and patriarchal names, such as Abraham, Sarah , have been taken for the titles of pre-historic divinities. Undoubtedly Israel was in danger of worshipping foreign gods, but there is no trace of a Hebrew polytheism (Kautzsch). It will be seen that the results are almost entirely negative; and we must remain in doubt as to the patriarchal conception of God. It seems clear, however, that communion of the worshipper with God was considered to be effected by sacrifice.
4. Post-Mosaic conceptions of God . The age of the Exodus was undoubtedly a great crisis in the theological education of Israel. Moses proclaimed Jahweh as the God of Israel, supreme among gods, alone to be worshipped by the people whom He had made His own, and with whom He had entered into covenant. But the realization of the truth that there is none other God but Jahweh came by slow degrees only; henotheism , which taught that Jahweh alone was to be worshipped by Israel, while the heathen deities were real but inferior gods, gave place only slowly to a true monotheism in the popular religion. The old name Micah (= ‘Who is like Jahweh?’, Judges 17:1 ) is one indication of this line of thought. The religion of the Canaanites was a nature-worship; their deities were personified forces of nature, though called ‘Lord’ or ‘Lady’ ( Baal, Baalah ) of the place where they were venerated (Guthe, EBi [7] ii. art. ‘Israel,’ § 6); and when left to themselves the Israelites gravitated towards nature-worship. The great need of the early post-Mosaic age, then, was to develop the idea of personality . The defective idea of individuality is seen, for example, in the putting of Achan’s household to death ( Joshua 7:24 f.), and in the wholesale slaughter of the Canaanites. (The defect appears much later, in an Oriental nation, in Daniel 6:24 , and is constantly observed by travellers in the East to this day.) Jahweh, therefore, is proclaimed as a personal God; and for this reason all the older writers freely use anthropomorphisms. They speak of God’s arm, mouth, lips, eyes; He is said to move ( Genesis 3:8 ; Genesis 11:6 ; Genesis 18:1 f.), to wrestle ( Genesis 32:24 ff.). Similarly He is said to ‘repent’ of an action ( Genesis 6:6 , Exodus 32:14 ; but see 1 Samuel 15:29 .), to be grieved, angry, jealous, and gracious, to love and to hate; in these ways the intelligence, activity, and power of God are emphasized. As a personal God He enters into covenant with Israel, protecting, ruling, guiding them, giving them victory. The wars and victories of Israel are those of Jahweh ( Numbers 21:14 , Judges 5:23 ).
The question of images in the early post-Mosaic period is a difficult one. Did Moses tolerate images of Jahweh? On the one hand, it seems certain that the Decalogue in some form or other comes from Moses; the conquest of Canaan is inexplicable unless Israel had some primary laws of moral conduct (Ottley, BL p. 172 f.). But, on the other hand, the Second Commandment need not have formed part of the original Decalogue; and there is a very general opinion that the making of images of Jahweh was thought unobjectionable up to the 8th cent. b.c., though Kautzsch believes that images of wood and stone were preferred to metal ones because of the Canaanitish associations of the latter ( Exodus 34:17 , but see Judges 17:3 ); he thinks also that the fact of the Ark being the shrine of Jahweh and representing His presence points to its having contained an image of Jahweh (but see § 3 above), and that the ephod was originally an image of Jahweh ( Judges 8:26 f.), though the word was afterwards used for a gold or silver casing of an image, and so in later times for a sort of waistcoat. In our uncertainty as to the date of the various sources of the Hexateuch it is impossible to come to a definite conclusion about this matter; and Moses, like the later prophets, may have preached a high doctrine which popular opinion did not endorse. To this view Barnes (Hastings’ DB [13] , art. ‘Israel,’ ii. 509) seems to incline. At least the fact remains that images of Jahweh were actually used for many generations after Moses.
5. The conceptions of the Prophetic age . This age is marked by a growth, perhaps a very gradual growth, towards a true monotheism. More spiritual conceptions of God are taught; images of Jahweh are denounced; God is unrestricted in space and time ( e.g. 1 Kings 8:27 ), and is enthroned in heaven. He is holy ( Isaiah 6:3 ) separate from sinners (cf. Hebrews 7:26 ), for this seems to be the sense of the Hebrew word; the idea is as old as 1 Samuel 6:20 . He is the ‘Holy One of Israel’ ( Isaiah 1:4 and often). He is Almighty, present everywhere ( Jeremiah 23:24 ), and full of love. The prophets, though they taught more spiritual ideas about God, still used anthropomorphisms: thus, Isaiah saw Jahweh on His throne ( Isaiah 6:1 ), though this was only in a vision. The growth of true monotheistic ideas may be traced in such passages as Deuteronomy 4:35 ; Deuteronomy 4:39 ; Deuteronomy 6:4 ; Deuteronomy 10:14 , 1 Kings 8:60 , Isaiah 37:16 , Joel 2:27 ; it culminates in Deutero-Isaiah ( Isaiah 43:10 ‘Before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me’; Isaiah 44:6 ‘I am the first and I am the last, and beside me there is no God’; so Isaiah 45:5 ). The same idea is expressed by the teaching that Jahweh rules not only His people but all nations, as in the numerous passages in Deutero-Isaiah about the Gentiles, in Jeremiah 10:7 , often in Ezekiel ( e.g. Jeremiah 35:4 ; Jeremiah 35:9 ; Jeremiah 35:15 of Edom), Malachi 1:5 ; Malachi 1:11 ; Malachi 1:14 , and elsewhere. The earlier prophets had recognized Jahweh as Creator (though Kautzsch thinks that several passages like Amos 4:13 are later glosses); but Deutero-Isaiah emphasizes this attribute more than any of his brethren ( Isaiah 40:12 ; Isaiah 40:22 ; Isaiah 40:28 ; Isaiah 41:4 ; Isaiah 42:5 ; Isaiah 44:24 ; Isaiah 45:12 ; Isaiah 45:18 ; Isaiah 48:13 ).
We may here make a short digression to discuss whether the heathen deities, though believed by the later Jews, and afterwards by the Christians, to be no gods, were yet thought to have a real existence, or whether they were considered to be simply non-existent, creatures of the imagination only. In Isaiah 14:12 (the Babylonian king likened to false divinities?) and Isaiah 24:21 the heathen gods seem to be identified with the fallen angels (see Whitehouse, in Hastings’ DB [13] i. 592); so perhaps in Deutero-Isaiah ( Isaiah 46:1 f.). In later times they are often identified with demons. In Eth. Enoch (19:1) Uriel speaks of the evil angels leading men astray into sacrificing to demons as to gods (see Charles’s note; and also xcix. 7). And the idea was common in Christian times; it has been attributed to St. Paul ( 1 Corinthians 10:20 ; though 1 Corinthians 8:5 f. points the other way, whether these verses are the Apostle’s own words or are a quotation from the letter of the Corinthians). Justin Martyr ( Apol . i. 9, 64, etc.), Tatian ( Add. to the Greeks , 8), and Irenæus ( Hær . iii. 6:3), while denying that the heathen deities are really gods, make them to have a real existence and to be demons; Athenagoras ( Apol . 18, 28), Clement of Alexandria ( Exh. to the Greeks , 2f.), and Tertullian ( Revelation 10 Revelation 10 ) make them to be mere men or beasts deified by superstition, or combine both ideas.
6. Post-exilic conceptions of God . In the period from the Exile to Christ, a certain deterioration in the spiritual conception of God is visible. It is true that there was no longer any danger of idolatry, and that this age was marked by an uncompromising monotheism. Yet there was a tendency greatly to exaggerate God’s transcendence , to make Him self-centred and self-absorbed, and to widen the gulf between Him and the world (Sanday, in Hastings’ DB [13] ii. 206). This tendency began even at the Exile, and accounts for the discontinuance of anthropomorphic language. In the Priest’s Code (P [1] ) this language is avoided as much as possible. And later, when the LXX [6] was translated, the alterations made to avoid anthropomorphisms are very significant. Thus in Exodus 15:3 LXX [6] the name ‘Man of war’ (of Jahweh) disappears; in Exodus 19:3 LXX [6] Moses went up not ‘to Elohim,’ but ‘to the mount of God’; in Exodus 24:10 the words ‘they saw Elohim of Israel’ become ‘they saw the place where the God of Israel stood.’ So in the Targums man is described as being created in the image of the angels , and many other anthropomorphisms are removed. The same tendency is seen in the almost constant use of ‘Elohim’ rather than of ‘Jahweh’ in the later books of OT. The tendency, only faintly marked in the later canonical books, is much more evident as time went on. Side by side with it is to be noticed the exaltation of the Law, and the inconsistent conception of God as subject to His own Law. In the Talmud He is represented as a great Rabbi, studying the Law, and keeping the Sabbath (Gilbert, in Hastings’ DCG [6] i. 582).
Yet there were preparations for the full teaching of the gospel with regard to distinctions in the Godhead. The old narratives of the Theophanies, of the mysterious ‘Angel of the Lord’ who appeared at one time to be God and at another to be distinct from Him, would prepare men’s minds in some degree for the Incarnation, by suggesting a personal unveiling of God (see Liddon, BL ii. i. β ); even the common use of the plural name ‘Elohim,’ whatever its original significance (see § 2 above), would necessarily prepare them for the doctrine of distinctions in the Godhead, as would the quasi- personification of ‘the Word’ and ‘Wisdom’, as in Proverbs, Job, Wisdom, Sirach, and in the later Jewish writers, who not only personified but deified them (Scott, in Hastings’ DB [13] , Ext. vol. p. 308). Above all, the quasi-personification of the ‘Spirit of God’ in the prophetical books (esp. Isaiah 48:16 ; Isaiah 63:10 ) and in the Psalms (esp. God
God's kingly rule or sovereignty. The Old Testament contains no references to the kingdom of God. However, in the Old Testament God is spoken of as ruling (for example, Psalm 47:2 ; Psalm 103:19 ; Daniel 4:17 ,Daniel 4:17,4:25-37 ). The Old Testament emphasis on God's sovereign power over all kings and kingdoms sets the stage for the New Testament teaching. Jesus made the kingdom of God central in His preaching. More than a hundred references to the kingdom appear in the Gospels, many in Jesus' parables. See Parable.
The kingdom of God was the central image in Jesus' preaching as clearly seen in Mark 1:14-15 , a summary of the preaching of Jesus. The kingdom of God is the heart of the summary.
In His parables Jesus spoke of the kingdom in many different ways. He said that the kingdom is like a farmer (Matthew 13:24 ), a seed (Matthew 13:31 ), a yeast (Matthew 13:33 ), a treasure (Matthew 13:44 ), a pearl merchant (Matthew 13:45 ), a fishnet (Matthew 13:47 ), an employer (Matthew 20:1 ), a king inviting people to a marriage feast (Matthew 22:2 ), and ten young women (Matthew 13:44-4651 ). He spoke also of the glad tidings of the kingdom (Luke 8:1 ) and of the mystery of the kingdom of God (Mark 4:11 ).
Jesus spoke Aramaic; the Gospel writers translated Jesus' sermons and parables into Greek. Mark, Luke, and John translated Jesus' words as “kingdom of God.” Matthew sometimes used this phrase too, but often he preferred to translate Jesus' Aramaic words as “kingdom of heaven.” The two phrases mean exactly the same thing, because they are translations of the same Aramaic words of Jesus. See Aramaic ; Greek.
What did Jesus mean when he spoke of the kingdom of God? He meant, quite simply, the rule of God. The kingdom of God is the reign of God.
This is best understood if it is distinguished from what Jesus did not mean. He was not speaking of a geographical area such as the Holy Land or the Temple. He was not speaking of a political entity such as the nation of Israel or the Sanhedrin. He was not speaking of a group of people such as His disciples or the church.
Rather, the kingdom of God is God's ruling. It is the sovereign reign of God. This rule is independent of all geographical areas or political entities. It is true that the rule of God implies a people to be ruled, and Jesus called upon people to enter the kingdom. The kingdom itself should be distinguished from the people who enter it.
Jesus taught that the kingdom of God looks unimpressive, but it is going to grow into something tremendous. The kingdom is like a tiny mustard seed which grows into a bush large enough to provide shelter for God's creatures (Mark 4:30-32 ).
Jesus never said that people are to build the kingdom of God. On the contrary, the establishment of the kingdom is a work of God. God will reign, and people can contribute nothing to that reigning of God.
When will God establish his kingdom? In one sense, the kingdom will not come until some unspecified time in the future (see, for example, Matthew 25:1-46 ). There is a sense in which modern Christians may still look forward to the coming of the kingdom of God.
On the other hand, Jesus also said that there is a sense in which the kingdom of God had come in His own time. “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand” (Mark 1:15 ). He said in an even more explicit way: “But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you” (Luke 11:20 ).
So the kingdom of God was the rule of God which He extended over human lives through the ministry of Jesus; and it also is His rule which will be consummated or made complete in the future. See Eschatology ; Future Hope .
Since people cannot build the kingdom of God, what response are they to make to Jesus' message about the kingdom? First, they can make the kingdom their priority and seek it ahead of everything else (Matthew 6:33 ). It is a pearl of such value that they should sell everything else they have in order to be able to purchase it (1618067048_2 ). Second, they can repent and believe the good news of the kingdom (Mark 1:14-15 ), and so enter the kingdom like little children (Mark 10:14 ). Third, they can pray for the rule of God to come soon: “Thy kingdom come” (Matthew 6:10 ; compare 1 Corinthians 16:22 ). Finally, they can be ready when the kingdom does finally come (Matthew 25:1-46 ).
The Lord's Prayer contains three requests, as follows: “Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:9-10 ). These three phrases mean just about the same thing, and they tell us a lot about the kingdom of God. “Hallowed be thy name” means: “Let Your name be hallowed, or honored”; or, “Bring all people to respect and reverence You.” “Thy kingdom come” means: “Extend Your rule over human lives.” “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” means: “Extend Your rule over human lives here and now so that they will reverence and respect You.” See Lord's Prayer.
In His preaching Jesus regularly invited people to enter the kingdom of God, that is, to open their lives to the ruling of God. It is important to notice whom He invited.
He invited everyone. That is the great surprise. He did not restrict the invitation to the respectable people, or the religious, or the wealthy or powerful (in Jesus' day wealth and power were often thought to be signs of God's blessing). Jesus included everyone without distinction. He spoke of God sending His servants out to highways and hedges to urge people to come in to the kingdom. He even said that it is more difficult for the rich to enter the kingdom than for a camel to go through the eye of a needle (Matthew 19:24 ). He said that the tax-collectors and prostitutes would go into the kingdom before the moral and religious people (Matthew 21:31 ). In brief, God is very gracious and loving toward all people, and His kingdom is offered to everyone.
After Jesus had returned to heaven, the apostles did not continue to make the kingdom the central theme of their preaching. Instead, they began to speak of eternal life, salvation, forgiveness, and other themes. In doing this, they were not deserting Jesus' concern for the kingdom of God. They were simply expressing the same idea in their way. To speak of salvation is to speak of the kingdom. We might express it as follows: God is graciously giving salvation as a free gift (extending His kingdom) to anyone who will receive it (enter the kingdom) through His Son Jesus Christ, and this salvation begins now (the kingdom is in the midst of you) and will be completed in the future (the kingdom will come like a thief in the night). As Paul put it, the kingdom of God is righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17 ). See Jesus; Christ; Salvation .
Fisher Humphreys
Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Lamb of God
LAMB OF GOD . The Iamb was the most common victim in the Jewish sacrifices, and the most familiar type to a Jew of an offering to God. The title ‘the lamb of God’ ( i.e . the lamb given or provided by God; cf. Genesis 22:8 ) is applied by John the Baptist to Jesus in John 1:29 ; John 1:38 . The symbolism which the Baptist intended can be inferred from the symbolic allusions to the lamb in the OT. Thus in Jeremiah 11:19 the prophet compares himself to a lamb, as the type of guilelessness and innocence. Again, in Isaiah 53:7 (a passage which exercised great influence on the Messianic hope of the Jews, and is definitely referred to Christ in Acts 8:32 ) the lamb is used as the type of vicarious suffering. It seems beyond doubt that these two ideas must have been in the Baptist’s mind. It is also quite possible to see in the phrase a reference to the lamb which formed part of the daily sacrifice in the Temple; and also, perhaps, an allusion to the Paschal lamb which would soon be offered at the approaching Passover ( John 2:18 ), and which was the symbol of God’s deliverance. Certainly this is the idea underlying the expressions in John 19:36 and 1 Peter 1:19 . Thus all these strata of thought may be traced in the Baptist’s title, viz. innocence, vicarious suffering, sacrifice, redemption.
The lamb is used 27 times in the Apocalypse as the symbol of Christ, and on the first introduction of the term in Revelation 5:6 the writer speaks specifically of ‘a Iamb as though it had been slain.’ The term used in the Greek original is not the same as that found in the Baptist’s phrase, but the connexion is probably similar. It seems most likely that the sacrificial and redemptive significance of the lamb is that especially intended by the Apocalyptic author.
The specific title ‘the Iamb of God’ may be an invention of the Baptist’s own, which he used to point an aspect of the Messianic mission for his hearers’ benefit, or it may have been a well-known phrase currently employed to designate the Messiah; we have no trace of such an earlier use, but it may have existed (see Westcott on John 1:29 ).
A. W. F. Blunt.
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - Holiness Church Church of God
Religious organization founded in Tennessee, August 1886, under name "Christian Union," reorganized in 1902 under name "Holiness Church," and in 1907 adopted the name "Church of God." They follow the teachings of Arminius, and also are in accord with the Methodist bodies. The requisites for membership are "profession of faith in Christ, experience of being 'born again,' bearing the fruits of a Christian life, and recognition of the obligation to accept and practise all the teachings of the church." The Lord's Supper, water baptism by immersion, and foot-washing are the sacraments observed by this body. The government is described as "a blending of congregational and episcopal, ending in theocratical, by which is meant that every question is to be decided by God's Word." The chief ruler is the pastor of the local church. They publish one periodical. According to the last census there were in the United States 923 ministers, 666 churches, and 21,076 communicants.
Holman Bible Dictionary - Lord, God of Israel
See God ; Lord of Hosts; Lord Sabbaoth.
Holman Bible Dictionary - Son of God
Term used to express the deity of Jesus of Nazareth as the one, unique Son of God. In the Old Testament, certain men and angels (Genesis 6:1-4 ; Psalm 29:1 ; Psalm 82:6 ; Psalm 89:6 ) are called “sons of God” (note text notes in modern translations). The people of Israel were corporately considered the son of God (Exodus 4:22 ; Jeremiah 31:20 ; Hosea 11:1 ). The concept also is employed in the Old Testament with reference to the king as God's son (Psalm 2:7 ). The promises found in the Davidic covenant (2 Samuel 7:14 ) are the source for this special filial relationship. The title can be found occasionally in intertestamental implications (Wisd. of Sol. 2Samuel 2:16,2 Samuel 2:18 ; 4 Ezra 7:28-29 ; 13:32,37,52 ; 14:9 ; Book of Enoch 105:2).
Jesus' own assertions and intimations indicate that references to Him as Son of God can be traced to Jesus Himself. At the center of Jesus' identity in the Fourth Gospel is His divine sonship (John 10:36 ). Jesus conceived of His divine sonship as unique as indicated by such assertions as “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30 NIV) and the “Father is in me and I am in the Father” ( John 10:38 NRSV). Elsewhere, He frequently referred to God as “my Father” ( John 5:17 ; John 6:32 ; John 8:54 ; John 10:18 ; John 15:15 ; Matthew 7:21 ; Matthew 10:32-33 ; Matthew 20:23 ; Matthew 26:29 ,Matthew 26:29,26:53 ; Mark 8:38 ; Luke 2:49 ; Luke 10:21-22 ).
At Jesus' baptism and transfiguration, God the Father identified Jesus as His son, in passages reflecting Psalm 2:7 . He was identified as Son of God by an angel prior to His birth (Luke 1:32 ,Luke 1:32,1:35 ); by Satan at His temptation (Matthew 4:3 ,Matthew 4:3,4:6 ); by John the Baptist (John 1:34 ); by the centurion at the crucifixion (Matthew 27:54 ). Several of His followers ascribed to Him this title in various contexts (Matthew 14:33 ; Matthew 16:16 ; John 1:49 ; John 11:27 ).
The term Son of God reveals Jesus' divine sonship and is closely associated with His royal position as Messiah. Gabriel told Mary that her Son would not only be called the Son of God, but would also reign on the messianic (David's) throne (Luke 1:32-33 ). The connection of Son of God with Jesus' royal office is also found in John (Luke 1:49 ; Luke 11:27 ; Luke 20:30 ), in Paul (Romans 1:3-4 ; 1 Corinthians 15:28 ; Colossians 1:13 ), and in Luke (Acts 9:20-22 ).
Primarily, the title Son of God affirms Jesus' deity evidenced by His person and His work. John emphasized Jesus' personal relationship to the Father. Paul stressed the salvation that Jesus provided (Romans 1:4 ; 1 Thessalonians 1:10 ), and the author of Hebrews focused on Jesus' priesthood (1 Thessalonians 5:5 ). All of these are vitally related to His position as Son of God.
David S. Dockery
Holman Bible Dictionary - Sovereignty of God
The biblical teaching that God is the source of all creation and that all things come from and depend upon God (Psalm 24:1 ). Sovereignty means that God is in all and over all.
Creative Sovereignty God is the Lord of creation, the source of all things, who brought the world into being and who guides His creation toward a meaningful end. God's creativity is not the result of chance or randomness. It holds promise and purpose which God intends.
Moral Sovereignty God's sovereignty, His authority over creation, is grounded in God's essential nature which is moral. God is to be obeyed not simply because He is mighty but because He is righteous (Psalm 50:6 ). God judges His creation on the basis of His profound moral character. He is both the source of all creation and the source of all goodness.
Transcendent Sovereignty God's sovereignty is transcendent, beyond our complete comprehension (Isaiah 6:1 ). God is separate from His creation and works in ways that human beings do not always understand. Transcendence is closely related to God's holiness, His surpassing moral purity and essential otherness. See Holy .
Purposeful Sovereignt God's sovereignty moves toward a particular end, a specific purpose (Philippians 2:13 ). God's purpose is to bring His creation—His whole creation—to fullness and completion, to fellowship with Him: “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself” (2 Corinthians 5:19 ). The kingdom of God is the end toward which God moves His creation.
Sovereignty and Freedom Divine sovereignty does not mean that everything which occurs in the world is God's will. God has created a world in which freedom is a real possibility. His permissive will provides for human freedom and the laws of nature. This freedom means that sovereignty must always be distinguished from “fate” or “destiny,” the belief that everything which occurs in the world has been predetermined, scheduled in advance, by God. That view, carried to extremes, makes human beings pawns or puppets of a mechanical universe in which all choices are made in advance and where freedom is not possible. Yet the gospel suggests that human beings find genuine freedom, not in doing everything they wish, but in submitting themselves to the sovereign will of God, the rule and reign of God in their individual and collective lives. The sovereignty of God involves God's self-limitation in order that His creation might also choose freedom in Him.
Sovereignty and Providence God guides, sustains, loves, and longs to have fellowship with His creation. He reveals himself as a parent in love and in relationship with humanity. He “has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows” (Isaiah 53:4 ). God has chosen to participate in human history to care for human beings in their strengths and their weaknesses. “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28 NIV). Those who belong to God will not be immune from suffering; they will not be spared the brokenness which life brings to all persons. The people of God may, however, find spiritual resources and strength to persevere in time of trouble. The sovereign God of the universe chose to identify with His creation in the cross of Christ. There is no greater example of his care for His creation. See God ; Providence .
William Leonard
Holman Bible Dictionary - Wrath, Wrath of God
The emotional response to perceived wrong and injustice, often translated “anger,” “indignation,” “vexation,” and “irritation.” Both humans and God express wrath.
Old Testament The wrath of God appears in the Old Testament as a divine response to human sin and injustice. When the Israelites complained to God at Taberah, “the anger of the Lord blazed hotly” (Numbers 11:10 RSV) Later, God reminded the people of various such experiences and warned, “Remember and do not forget how you provoked the Lord your God to wrath in the wilderness.” ( Deuteronomy 9:7 NRSV) Idolatry became the occasion for divine wrath also. Psalm 78:56-66 describes Israel's idolatry: God was “full of wrath,” “utterly rejected Israel,” and “gave his people to the sword.” The wrath of God is consistently directed towards those who do not follow His will. ( Deuteronomy 1:26-46 ; Joshua 7:1 ; Psalm 2:1-6 ) Historical calamity and disaster were to be expected when God was stirred to anger. God was wrathful over Saul's disobedience: “Because you did not obey the voice of the Lord, and did not carry out his fierce wrath against Amalek, the Lord will also give the army of Israel into the hands of the Philistines” (1 Samuel 28:18-19 NRSV).
The Old Testament often speaks of a “day” coming in the future which will be “The great day of the Lord a day of wrath” (Zephaniah 1:14-15 NRSV). Isaiah spoke of “the day of the Lord” as “cruel, with wrath and fierce anger” ( Isaiah 13:9 NRSV) This day referred to the present day of judgment in history, as when the Assyrians conquered Israel; but it also calls to mind a future day of final judgment at the end time when all will be called to give account to God.
The wrath of God was viewed in fear and awe. Yet God provided a way to gain divine favor. Repentance turns God's wrath away from the sinner. The psalmist reminded God that He had in times past forgiven the iniquity of His people and withdrawn all of His wrath (Psalm 85:1-3 ). Jesus affirmed the Old Testament teaching about such a day. He predicted a day that will come at an unknown time when “the earth will pass away” (Mark 13:31 ; compare the entire chapter).
New Testament Jesus' teaching supports the concept of God the Father as a God of wrath who judges sin and justice. The story of the rich man and Lazarus shows the rich man in hades in torment and anguish (Luke 16:19-31 ). The story definitely speaks of the judgment of God and implies that there are serious consequences for the sinner. In Luke 13:3 ,Luke 13:3,13:5 (NRSV) Jesus said, “Unless you repent, you will all perish.” John 15:1-11 warns that the unfruitful branches are to be “gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned” ( John 15:6 NRSV; compare Matthew 3:7 ).
God's wrath is restrained, held back from its full and final effect. John 3:36 (NRSV) records Jesus' saying “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever disobeys the Son will not see life, but must endure God's wrath.” The grace of God, His unmerited favour, holds the full effect of wrath back at the same time that wrath “rests upon” the sinner.
In Romans 2:5 (NRSV), Paul spoke to those who do not repent of their sin, warning that “by your hand and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath, when God's righteous judgment will be revealed.” The image of wrath being restrained for some future release is truly awe inspiring. However, the Christian has no fear of this day, since 1Thessalonians says that Jesus “rescues us from the wrath that is coming.” ( 1 Thessalonians 1:10 NRSV). The instruments of God's wrath may be angels ( Revelation 15:1 ,Revelation 15:1,15:7 ), nations, kings, and rulers as well as natural catastrophes.
Human wrath is always suspect. We are instructed by Paul not to take revenge (Romans 12:19 ), nor to “let the sun go down on your anger” (Ephesians 4:26 NRSV). Fathers should not provoke children to wrath ( Ephesians 6:4 ). We must rid ourselves of “all such things—anger, wrath, malice” (Colossians 3:8 NRSV). The Old Testament psalms of lament such as Psalm 53:1 ; Psalm 137:1 show how humans can freely express their anger to God.
To realize this freedom from the domination of wrath, the gracious work of the Holy Spirit is needed to sanctify and cleanse the heart of the attitudes and feelings of wrath and anger. Romans 8:1 pictures the mind filled by the Spirit which is “life and peace” ( Romans 8:6 NRSV). Such a spirit is no longer a slave of anger and wrath but is yielded “to righteousness for sanctification” ( Romans 6:19 NRSV). There is no need to continue in the fleshly spirit of wrath for the Holy Spirit provides inner peace ( Philippians 4:4-8 ).
W. Stanley Johnson
Holman Bible Dictionary - Names of God
The name of God holds an important key to understanding the doctrine of God and the doctrine of revelation. The name of God is a personal disclosure and reveals His relationship with His people. His name is known only because He chooses to make it known. To the Hebrew mind, God was both hidden and revealed, transcendent and immanent. Even though he was mysterious, lofty, and unapproachable, He bridged the gap with humankind by revealing His name. See Naming .
The truth of God's character is focused in His name. The divine name reveals God's power, authority, and holiness. This accounts for Israel's great reverence for God's name. The Ten Commandments prohibited the violation of God's name (Exodus 20:7 ; Deuteronomy 5:11 ). Prophets spoke with authority when they uttered God's name. Oaths taken in God's name were considered binding, and battles fought in the name of God were victorious. Other nations would fear Israel, not because it was a mighty nation, but because it rallied under the Lord's name. In the New Testament, God's name is manifested most clearly in Jesus Christ. He is called “the Word” (John 1:1 ), and Jesus himself makes the claim that he has revealed the name of God (John 17:6 ). God's name is His promise to dwell with His people.
God of the Fathers Before Moses' encounter with God in the Midianite desert, God was known generally as the God of the Fathers. Various names were used for God under this conception, most of which were associated with the primitive Semitic word El .
El is a generic term for God or deity. It appears in ancient languages other than Hebrew. One can see the similarities to the modern Arabic word for God, Al or Allah. The word El refers to an awesome power that instills within humankind a mysterious dread or reverence.
Even though El was a term for God in pagan or polytheistic religions, it is not a designation for an impersonal force like one would find in animism. Pagans worshipped El as a high and lofty God. He was the chief God in the Canaanite pantheon. See Canaan.
The word El in the Bible is often a reference to deity as opposed to the particular historical revelation associated with the name “Yahweh” (see below). More often than not, however, it is used interchangeably as a synonym for Yahweh, the God of Israel, and translated God.
One of the most interesting uses of El is its alliance with other terms to reveal the character of God. Some of these combinations are:
El-Shaddai “God of the Mountains” or “The Almighty God.” This term is more closely associated with the patriarchal period and can be found most frequently in the Books of Genesis and Job. John 10:1-1850 underlines El-Shaddai as the name revealed to the patriarchs. God used it to make His Covenant with Abraham ( Genesis 17:1-2 ).
El-Elyon “The Most High God” or “The Exalted One” ( Numbers 24:16 ; 2 Samuel 22:14 ; Psalm 18:13 ). Melchizadek was a priest of El-Elyon and blessed Abraham in this name (Genesis 14:19-20 ), refering to El-Elyon as “Maker of heaven and earth.” Canaanites at Ugarit also worshiped god as El-Elyon. El-Elyon seems to have had close ties to Jerusalem.
El-Olam “God of Eternity” or “God the Everlasting One” ( Genesis 21:33 ; Isaiah 26:4 ; Psalm 90:2 ). God's sovereignty extends through the passing of time and beyond our ability to see or understand.
El-Berith “God of the Covenant” ( Judges 9:46 ) transforms the Canaanite Baal Berith (Judges 8:33 ) to show God alone makes and keeps covenant.
El-Roi “God who Sees me” or “God of Vision” ( Genesis 16:13 ). God sees needs of His people and responds. Elohim A plural form for deity. It is a frequently used term and the most comprehensive of the El combinations. The plurality of this word is not a hint of polytheism. It is a plural of majesty. It is a revelation of the infinite nature of God. In the creation narrative, we read: “Then Elohim said, “Let us make man in our image.” (Genesis 1:26 ) This name suggests that there is a mystery to the Creator-God which humankind cannot fully fathom. God is absolute, infinite Lord over creation and history. The Christian sees in this term a pointer to the trinitarian reality of creation.
Other Uses The name El is frequently combined with other nouns or adjectives. Some examples are: Israe-el (One who is ruled by God), Beth-el (House of God), Peni-el (Face of God). In the crucifixion narrative ( Mark 15:34 ), Jesus employed a form of El when he cried from the cross, “Eloi, Eloi,” “my God, my God,” quoting Psalm 22:1 .
The Covenant Name The covenant name for God was “Yahweh.” Israel's faith was a new response to God based on His disclosure. This name was so unique and powerful that God formed a covenant with His people based upon his self-revelation. See YHWH .
Yahweh Titles appear in English translations as Jehovah. See YHWH .
Yahweh-Jireh “The Lord will Provide” ( Genesis 22:14 ). This was the name given to the location where God provided a ram for Abraham to sacrifice in the place of Isaac. This name is a testimony to God's deliverance.
Yahweh-Nissi “The Lord is my Banner” ( Exodus 17:15 ). Moses acribed this name to God after a victory over the Amalekites. The name of God was considered a banner under which Israel could rally for victory. The Lord's name was the battle cry.
Yahweh-Mekaddesh “The Lord Sanctifies” ( Exodus 31:13 ). Holiness is the central revelation of God's character. God calls for a people who are set apart.
Yahweh-Shalom “The Lord is Peace” ( Judges 6:24 ). This was the name of the altar that Gideon built at Ophrah signifying that God brings well-being not death to His people.
Yahweh-Sabaoth “The Lord of Hosts” ( 1 Samuel 1:3 ; Jeremiah 23:5-6 ; compare 1 Samuel 17:45 ). This can also be rendered, “The Lord Almighty.” It represents God's power over the nations and was closely tied to Shiloh, to the ark of the covenant, and to prophecy. The title designates God as King and ruler of Israel, its armies, its Temple, and of all the universe.
Yahweh-Rohi “The Lord is my Shepherd” ( Psalm 23:1 ). God is the One who provides loving care for His people.
Yahweh-Tsidkenu “The Lord is Our Righteousness” ( Jeremiah 11:20 ; Jeremiah 33:16 ). This was the name Jeremiah gave to God, the Righteous King, who would rule over Israel after the return from captivity. He would establish a new kingdom of justice.
Yahweh-Shammah “The Lord is There” ( Ezekiel 48:35 ) This is the name of God associated with the restoration of Jerusalem, God's dwelling place.
Other Names Baal This was the chief god of the Canaanite pantheon. In some ancient religions, Baal and El could be used interchangeably. There were tendencies within Israel to identify Baal with Yahweh, but Baal worship was incompatible with Hebrew monotheism. Prophets, such as Elijah and Hosea, called the people away from these tendencies and back to the covenant.
Adon (or Adonairo ) This is a title of authority and honor. It can be translated “Lord.” It is not exclusively a title for deity because it is used in addressing a superior, such as a king or master. In this sense, it is used to ascribe the highest honor and worship to God. Adon or Adonai was often used in conjunction with Yahweh. In time, Adonai became a substitute for Yahweh. In the postexilic period, it took on the connotation of God's absolute lordship.
Symbolic Titles A prominent characteristic of Scripture is its use of figurative language. Many of the names for God are symbolic, illustrative, or figurative.
Ancient of Days ( Daniel 7:9 ,Daniel 7:9,7:13 ,Daniel 7:13,7:22 ) The picture presented is of an old man who lived for many years. This, of course, is not a literal description of God, but a confession that He lives forever and His kingdom is everlasting. His rule encompasses the expanses of time. Unlike the portrait presented in other religions where the gods are bound within time, Yahweh is active in time and history. He gives history meaning and is drawing it to a conclusion. He is from “everlasting to everlasting.” (Psalm 90:2 )
Rock ( Deuteronomy 32:18 ; Psalm 19:14 ; Isaiah 26:4 ) God is strong and permanent. Yahweh is sometimes identified as “The Rock of Israel.”
Refuge ( Psalm 9:9 ; Jeremiah 17:17 ) God is a haven from the enemy.
Fortress ( Psalm 18:2 ; Nahum 1:7 ) God is a defense against the foe.
Shield ( Genesis 15:1 ; Psalm 84:11 ) God is protection.
Sun ( Psalm 84:11 ) God is the source of light and life.
Refiner ( Malachi 3:3 ) God is purifier.
Political Names Many descriptions of God came from political life.
King In the Ancient East, it was common to address gods as king. Kingship was also ascribed to Yahweh. His covenant people were to obey Him as a Sovereign. This title is the key to understanding the kingdom of God, which is the most frequent title used in Scripture to describe God's rule.
Judge The Judge was the political ruler during the time of tribal confederacy. Yahweh is the Judge who arbitrates disputes, sets things right, and intervenes for Israel in its military campaigns.
Shepherd God is frequently described as a Shepherd. This was a nurturing term to describe the care given to His covenantal people. It also had political or ruling connotations. Yahweh is the Shepherd King ( Ezekiel 34:1 ). In the New Testament, the image of God as shepherd is continued in parables (Luke 15:4-7 ) and in John's portrayal of Christ as the Good Shepherd (1618067048_8 ).
God the Father In the Old Testament, the word father is used for God to describe the close kinship that He enjoys with His worshipers. There are many figurative references to God's fatherhood. “As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him” ( Psalm 103:13 ). God is a “father to Israel” (Jeremiah 31:9 ) and speaks of Israel as His “son” (Exodus 4:22 ; Hosea 11:1 ).
Father is the distinguishing title for God in the New Testament. Jesus taught His disciples to use the Aramaic “Abba,” a term of affection that approximates our word Daddy , to address the heavenly Father. See Abba .
Father takes on a richer meaning when it is joined with other designations.
Our Father . Jesus taught His disciples to address God in this manner when they prayed (Matthew 6:9 );
Father of mercies (2 Corinthians 1:3 );
Father of lights (James 1:17 );
Father of glory (Ephesians 1:17 ).
When the Father title is juxtaposed with the word Son , the significance of God's name in relation to Jesus Christ is understood. Christ's claim to have come in his Father's name reveals that He was God's unique representative (John 5:43 ). He shares the Father's essential authority and works done in his Father's name bear witness to this special relationship (John 10:25 ). Christ has provided a full revelation of God because He has clearly declared His name (John 12:28 ; John 17:6 ).
Brad Creed
Holman Bible Dictionary - Lamb of God
. John the Baptist identified Jesus as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29 ,John 1:29,1:36 ). The meaning of this statement has been greatly discussed. Some regard “the Lamb of God” to be derived from an Aramaic phrase which could mean either “lamb of God” or servant of God.” John's testimony probably should be seen as a combination of both concepts. Acts 8:32-35 identifies Jesus as the servant of God whom Isaiah described as one “brought as a lamb to the slaughter” ( Isaiah 53:7 ), who “bare the sin of many” (Isaiah 53:12 ), and who was an offering for sin (Isaiah 53:10 ). The law for guilt offerings (Leviticus 5:1-6:7 ) prescribed a lamb for atonement to be made before the Lord. Peter stressed this sacrificial motif when he described redemption accomplished with “the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Peter 1:18 ). John's identification might also entail a reference to Jesus as the scapegoat sent into the wilderness on the Day or Atonement to bear the iniquities of the Israelites (Leviticus 16:1 ) or to the Passover lamb (Exodus 12:1 ). Paul, in fact, referred to Christ as “our Passover” who has been sacrificed (1 Corinthians 5:7 ). John 1:29 , therefore, signifies the substitutionary, sacrificial suffering and death of Jesus, the Servant of God, by which redemption and forgiveness of sin are accomplished.
Revelation often refers to the exalted Christ as a Lamb, but never as “the Lamb of God,” nor with the same Greek word for “lamb” as used elsewhere in the New Testament. See Atonement ; Christ, Christology ; Passover ; Redeem, Redemption, Redeemer ; Sacrifice and Offering ; Servant of the Lord
Barry Morgan
Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Lamb, Lamb of God
Definitions . In the pastoral setting of the Bible, there were numerous words for a lamb or a sheep. The Hebrew words were kebes [ Exodus 29:38-39 ); keseb [ Leviticus 3:7 ); so'n [ 1 Samuel 25:2 ); ayil [ Genesis 15:9 ); kar [ Isaiah 16:1 ); seh [ Isaiah 43:23 ); taleh [ 1 Samuel 7:9 ). The Aramaic immerin refers to lambs as sacrificial victims ( Ezra 6:9 ).
The Greek words were amnos [ John 1:29,36 ; Acts 8:32 ); aren [ Luke 10:3 ); Iarnion [ Revelation 5:6 ; 6:1 ); probaton [ Matthew 12:11 ; 18:12 ; Mark 6:34 ; 14:27 ; John 2:14 ; 10:1-16,26 ; Romans 8:36 ).
The Old Testament . Pastoral Economy . Lambs graze Isaiah 5:17 ; Hosea 4:16 ), provide wool (Job 31:20 ; Proverbs 27:26 ) and meat (2 Samuel 12:1-4 ), and are offered as sacrifices (Leviticus 9:3 ). Within the culture, the metaphor of the Lord being the shepherd of his people was quite vivid (Psalm 23:1 ; Isaiah 40:11 ; Ezekiel 34:12-16 ); thus, people without leaders are like sheep without a shepherd (Numbers 27:17 ; 1 Kings 22:17 ; Ezekiel 34:5 ).
The Passover Lamb . The Passover Feast marked the crucial tenth plague, which resulted in the deliverance of Israel from Egypt and slavery. Each family took a year-old male lamb without defect from their flock, and on the fourteenth day of the month it was slaughtered at twilight (Exodus 12:1-30 ). Some of the blood was put on the sides and top of the doorframe of the house. The lamb was then roasted and eaten. This became a very significant holy day in Jewish tradition and is prominent throughout the Old Testament.
The Sacrificial Lamb . Two-year-old lambs (kebes [ Exodus 29:38-41 ; Numbers 38:3-8 ). A lamb was offered as a sin offering (Leviticus 4:32-35 ), and as a burnt offering for the purification of the priests (Leviticus 9:3 ), a new mother (Leviticus 12:6-7 ), the temple and nation (2 Chronicles 29:21 ), and the returning exiles (Ezra 8:35 ). In addition to the central place of the sacrificial lamb at the Passover meal, seven to fourteen lambs were offered as burnt offerings during the Feast of Trumpets (Numbers 29:2 ), the Day of Atonement (Numbers 29:8 ), and the Feast of Tabernacles (Numbers 29:13 ).
The Suffering Servant/Lamb . The disfigured, suffering Servant of Isaiah 52:13-53:12 is commonly interpreted as a messianic prophecy. The Servant would arise from humble origins, be despised and rejected, suffer physical wounds, and be treated like a leper, while taking upon himself our infirmities, diseases, transgressions, iniquities, and deserved punishment for sin. The climax of the Servant's vicarious suffering is analogous to a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and is silent ( Isaiah 53:7 ).
The New Testament . The Gospels . The Fourth Gospel seems to give a composite of the Old Testament typology. John the Baptist testifies and introduces his disciples to Jesus, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" (1:29,36). To this title the Evangelist adds other titles: "Son of God" (1:34,49), "Messiah" (1:41), "King of Israel" (1:49), and "Son of Man" (1:51). Jesus, the Lamb of God, entered the temple courts at the time for the Passover (2:13,23), made a whip out of cords, drove out the sheep and cattle, scattered the coins of the money changers, and announced, "Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days" (2:19). The temple of which he had spoken was his body (2:21), but this was not understood until after his resurrection (2:22). The Passover is a prominent motif in John (2:13,23; 6:4; 11:55; 12:1; 13:1; 18:28,39; 19:14,31, 42), as are also the many references to the glorification of Jesus in his death upon the cross (3:14-15,16-17; 8:28; 12:23,32; 13:31; 17:1,5). The suffering Servant-Lamb collage of Acts 8:26-402 is completed in Jesus' washing of the disciples' feet (13:1-17). In both Mark 14:12 and Luke 22:7 , the arrest, trial, and crucifixion of Jesus are associated with the customary sacrifice of the Passover lamb.
Acts and the Epistles . Luke provides the interpretation of Isaiah 53:7-8 in the early church, through the preaching of Philip to the Ethiopian official ( 1618067048_57 ). The "lamb led to the slaughter" was at the theological center of the good news about Jesus (v. 35). This metaphor seems to have less meaning to Paul's urban, Gentile listeners, as "Christ, our Passover lamb" is only mentioned in 1 Corinthians 5:7 . Christ, the crucified Son of God, however, remains at the heart of Paul's gospel. Although the term "lamb" does not appear, Hebrews affirms that Jesus Christ was God's promised sacrifice, destined to die once, to take away sins (7:27; 9:26-28; 10:1-18). Those who believe are redeemed through "the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect" (1 Peter 1:19 ; cf. Mark 10:45 ).
Revelation . The christology of the Lamb of God rises to its zenith in the last canonical book, where arnion appears in the Greek text twenty-nine times. In the heavenly vision of chapter 4, the choir of twenty-four elders and four living creatures worship the "Lord God, " who sits on the throne, for he is worthy (v. 11). He holds a sealed scroll—Holy Scripture containing his will and testamentin his right hand. For the promised inheritance to become reality, the one who made the covenant must die. Through the ages people like John had been expecting a militant, divine warrior"the Lion of the tribe of Judah" (5:5)to appear in a magnificent display of power against evil. The triumph of God, however, came through his Son, a Son of David, who appeared like a Lamb (5:6). The Lamb, looking as if it had been slain (5:6,9, 12; 13:8), stood in the center of the throne. He alone was worthy to open the scroll. When he took the scroll, the prayers of the saints were fulfilled (5:8) and all heaven erupted in praise: "Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!" (5:12). Therefore, Jesus, the Lamb of God, is "Lord of lords and King of kings!" (17:14).
Melvin H. Shoemaker
See also Atonement ; Isaiah, Theology of ; Jesus Christ ; Offerings and Sacrifices
Bibliography . C. K. Barrett, NTS (1955): 210-18; G. R. Beasley-Murray, John ; R. E. Brown, The Gospel According to John(1-12) ; G. L. Carey, Tyn Bul 32 (1981): 97-122; J. D. Charles, JETS 34/4 (1991): 461-73; G. Florovsky, SJT 4 (1951): 13-28; N. Hllyer, EvQ 39 (1967): 228-36; J. Jeremias, TDNT, 1:185-86,338-41; 5:896-904; I. H. Marshall, Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels, pp. 432-34; H. Preisker and S. Schulz, TDNT, 6:689-92; M. G. Reddish, JSNT 33 (1988): 85-95; D. B. Sandy, JETS 34/4 (1991): 447-60; W. C. van Unnik, Melanges Biblicques en Hommage, pp. 445-61; S. Virgulin, Scr 13 (1961): 74-80.
Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Image of God
It would be difficult to overstate the centrality of the image of God as a crucial theme in biblical theology. From the beginning of the end in Genesis (protology) to the end of the beginning in Revelation (eschatology), the image of God is crucial for understanding the flow of redemptive history. God creates humans in his image, justly punishes them for rebellion, yet graciously provides redemption from that rebellion, and then finally consummates redemptive history by transforming the whole creation into new heavens and a new earth.
Genesis 1:26-27 indicates that God created humankind as male and female in his image ( tselem [1]) and likeness (demut [1]). It is doubtful that distinctions between the meanings of these two words are to be pressed. Rather, the pair of words conveys one idea through a literary device known as hendiadys. Later, in Genesis 5:1-3 , after God's image-bearers had sinned against him, the language of Genesis 1:26-27 is repeated as a prelude to a list of Adam's posterity. Significantly, this passage links God's original creation of humans in his likeness with the subsequent human procreation of children in Adam's image and likeness. Following the Genesis narrative further, after the flood of Noah, Genesis 9:6 indicates that due to the image of God capital punishment is required in cases of murder. To murder a creature who images God is tantamount to an attempt to murder the God who created the image-bearer, and the heinous nature of this offense warrants the forfeiture of the murderer's life as well.
But what is meant by the terms "image" and "likeness"? Three approaches to this question are commonly found, and no doubt all three have some merit. Many have concluded that humans are image-bearers due to their superior intellectual structure. Others have stressed that God mandates that humans function as rulers and managers of the creation as they image him (Genesis 1:26-28 ; Psalm 8:5-8 ). Yet another approach stresses the created relationships of humans; they image God as they relate to him, to each other, and to nature. Just as the Creator is a being in relationship, so are his creatures. Putting these views together, humans are like God in that they are uniquely gifted intellectually (and in many other ways) so that they may relate to God and to each other as they live as stewards of the world God has given them to manage. While an image is a physical representation of a person or thing (Exodus 20:4 ; Matthew 22:20 ), the human body does not mechanically image God, as if God had a body. Rather, the whole human being, including the body, images God's attributes by ethical living in concrete settings.
Sadly, the pristine beauty and harmony of this original created order were shattered by the rebellion of Adam and Eve, and the record in Genesis 3 as well as the history of human cultures show how alienation between humans and God, humans and other humans, and humans and nature quickly became the normal state of affairs. Yet even in this sorry state of alienation and disharmony, humans can still image God, although in an inconsistent and perverted fashion ( Genesis 5:1-3 ; 9:6 ; Psalm 8 cf. 1 Corinthians 11:7 ; James 3:9 ). God calls his redeemed covenant people to the highest ethical standard. They are to be like him; their ethical obedience images God.
In the New Testament the teaching of Jesus indicates the value of human beings implicit in their being God's image-bearers (Matthew 6:26 ; 12:12 ). More important, Jesus himself perfectly images God in his life and ministry as he relates sinlessly to God, people, and nature. As the first Adam failed the satanic test, the second Adam passed with flying colors (Matthew 4:1-11 ). Jesus did not forsake God as did Adam, but as the sin-bearer Jesus was forsaken by God (Matthew 27:46 ) so that he might restore his people to harmonious relationships to God, neighbor, and nature.
It is primarily Paul who develops the New Testament teaching on the image of God. Paul sees Jesus as the one who preexisted in God's form (morphe Philippians 2:6 ) and whose incarnation supremely imaged God (2 Corinthians 4:4 ; Colossians 1:15 ; cf. John 1:1,14 , 18 ; 14:9 ; Hebrews 1:3 ). Jesus' work of redemption is both compared and contrasted to Adam's work of rebellion (Romans 5:12-21 ; 1 Corinthians 15:22 ). Those who believe in Jesus are renewed in the image (eikon [ 2 Corinthians 3:18 ; Ephesians 4:22-24 ; Colossians 3:9-10 ). Their destiny is ultimately to be made like Jesus, to image him perfectly as he perfectly images God (1 Corinthians 15:49 ; Ephesians 4:13 ; Philippians 3:21 ). In this respect Christians are like children who look up to their big brother and want to be like him (Romans 8:29 ). For the Christian, then, godliness in a world is Christ-likeness.
For Paul salvation from start to finish, encompassing regeneration, sanctification, and glorification, is nothing less than new creation (Romans 8:18-30 ; 2 Corinthians 4:6 ; 5:17 ; Galatians 2:20 ; 6:15 ; Ephesians 2:10 ; cf. John 3:5 ; 5:24 ). This new creation is not merely individual but corporate and cosmic as well. The salvation of individual believers places them into community with other believers whose destiny augurs that of the physical uNIVerse itself (Romans 8:19-21 ; 1 Corinthians 15:24-28 ; Colossians 1:16 ; cf. Matthew 19:28 ; Hebrews 2:5-8 ). The community of believers in Jesus has already experienced image renewal and with perseverance they hope for the consummation of that renewal. In the meantime their ethical obedience is not merely to be like God but to be like Christ, who has provided not only an incarnate model for godliness but also a dynamic for attaining godliness through the Spirit (John 13:14 ; 1 Corinthians 11:1 ; Ephesians 4:32-5:2 ; Philippians 2:5 ; Colossians 3:13 ; 1 Thessalonians 1:6 ; 1 John 3:3 ).
Any discussion of the image of God would be incomplete without some elucidation of the glorious future that awaits those who have been renewed in the image of God. This is the prospect of new heavens and new earth where righteousness dwells. God's plan of redemption in Christ would be severely truncated if it involved only the "spiritual" salvation of individuals who believe in Jesus. The original created order encompassed not only a "spiritual" relationship to God but also a social relationship to other humans and a material relationship to the world. Thus biblical eschatology envisions the restoration of all three of these relationships in a world where God's people may experience unhindered fellowship with him (Revelation 21:3-5 ) because the Edenic curse has been removed (Revelation 22:3 ). Ever since Abraham, the prototypical person of God, God's people have longed for this time when life in all its facets may be lived fully to God's glory. This glorious biblical vision of a time when creatures will fully reflect the Creator's splendor ought to provide strong encouragement to Christians who presently reflect God's likeness in an imperfect yet improving manner.
David L. Turner
See also Adam ; Eve ; Fall, the ; Person, Personhood ; Salvation ; Sin
Bibliography . W. J. Dumbrell, The End of the Beginning ; D. J. Hall, Imaging God: Dominion as Stewardship ; A. A. Hoekema, Created in God's Image ; P. E. Hughes, The True Image: The Origin and Destiny of Man in Christ ; M. G. Kline, Images of the Spirit ; A. M. Wolters, Creation Regained: Biblical Basics for a Reformational Worldview .
Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - God, Names of
Names are more than labels. In Old Testament times a name expressed identification, but also identity. Significant meaning often attached to a name. Names had an explanatory function (cf. Abigail's explanation about her husband, "He is just like his name — his name is Fool" [1]). Name changes were important, since a message attached to the name. Abram (great father) became Abraham (father of a multitude) (Genesis 17:5 ; 32:28 ). In some sense a name was the expression of an inmost reality.
Scripture makes much of the name for deity because in the name lies a theology. "I am the Lord, that is my name!" (Isaiah 42:8 ; cf. Exodus 15:3 ). The name of God is a surrogate for God himself (Psalm 54:1 ; Proverbs 18:10 ; Jeremiah 23:27 ). To give attention to the name (i.e., to God himself) is to put oneself in the place of blessing (Malachi 3:16 ).
God ( Elohim [ Genesis 1:1 ). Elohim [ Genesis 31:29 ; cf. Nehemiah 5:5 ). Job and Psalms have most of the 238 occurrences of El [ Numbers 23:19 ; Deuteronomy 32:4 ), jealousy (Deuteronomy 5:9 ), and compassion (Nehemiah 9:31 ; Psalm 86:15 ), but the root idea of "might" remains.
The word Eloah [2] (60 times), occurring most often in Job, etymologically underscores the idea of "power." The term is also generic for "god, " and while it refers most often to the true God, it can refer in instances to any god.
Elohim [3] (God), a plural of Eloah [2], occurs more than 2,250 times, sometimes with an addition such as "God of Abraham/Israel, " but mostly it is free standing. Next to Lord (Yahweh), Elohim [3] is the major designation for God. Elohim [3] is generic, (as are El [7] and Eloah [2]) and refers to "deity" but comes virtually to be a name for the true God. All three are represented in the Septuagint as theos ("God"), which is also the New Testament term for God. Elohim [3] sums up what is intended by "god" or the divine.
The plural form (although used with verbs in the singular form) is likely a plural of majesty or perhaps of intensity, either of deity or of power to signify "highly or intensely powerful." The plural form is accommodating of the doctrine of the Trinity. From the Bible's first sentence the superlative nature of God's power is evident as God (Elohim [ Genesis 1:3,6,9 ). His actions also bespeak his power, enabling barren women such as Sarah and Rebecca to conceive (Genesis 18:10,14 ; 25:21 ), bringing an oppressed people out of Egypt (Exodus 20:2 ), and with power raising Jesus Christ from the dead (Romans 1:1-4 ). Believers, Peter writes, are "shielded by God's power" (1 Peter 1:5 ). In the name Elohim [3] is fullness of divine power.
Compounds with El . El Elyon . A pervasive compound is El 'Elyon (lit. God, most high). derives from the root "go up, " "ascend, " so that El 'Elyon may be thought of spatially as the highest. Abraham mentions El 'Elyon when addressing Melchizedek ( Genesis 14:18,19,20,22 ). Closely linked to temple services, twenty of its forty-five occurrences are in the Psalter. Sometimes the compound is construed as a name: "It is good to make music to your name, O Most High" (Psalm 9:1 ). El 'Elyon denotes exaltation and prerogative and belongs to "monarchical theology" for it speaks of absolute right to lordship. In the same vein may be found the question, "Who is like you?" ( Psalm 35:10 ). Yet this pointer to hierarchy is not about a God of arbitrariness, but about power in the service of life.
El Shaddai . To Abraham God appears as God Almighty, El Shaddai ( Genesis 17:1 ). The designation "Shaddai, " which some think is the oldest of the divine names in the Bible, occurs forty-eight times, thirty-one of which are in Job. The traditional rendering "God Almighty" is debated. A consensus of sorts holds that "shaddai" is to be traced, not to the Hebrew, but to an Accadian word that means "mountain" so that the expression produces a meaning like, "'El, the One of the mountains." If so, El Shaddai highlights God's invincible power. Or, the name may point to his symbolic dwelling. The juxtaposition of El Shaddai [ Numbers 24:16 ; Psalm 91:1 ) may suggest that El Shaddai is a God who is chief in the heavenly council, whose residence was sometimes broadly associated with mountains ( Habakkuk 3:3 ).
Other Compounds with El . Some compounds with El register a significant encounter with Elohim or may be loosely associated with certain geographical sites. The list would include El Ro' ("God of seeing, " Genesis 16:13 ), El Bethel ("God of Bethel, " house of God, Genesis 35:7 ), El 'Olam , ("Everlasting God, " Genesis 21:33 ), and El Berith ("God of Covenant, " Judges 9:46 ).
Yahweh/Yah . yhwh, the tetragrammaton because of its four letters, is, strictly speaking, the only proper name for God. It is also the most frequent name, occurring in the Old Testament 6,828 times (almost 700 times in the Psalms alone). Yah is a shortened form that appears fifty times in the Old Testament, including forty-three occurrences in the Psalms, often in the admonition "hallelu-jah" (lit. praise Jah). English Bibles represent the name yhwh by the title "Lord" (written in capitals to distinguish it from "lord" [11] [ Philippians 2:11 ).
In the postexilic period the Jews, for reverence reasons, did not pronounce the name but substituted for it the word adonai [12] (lord), and in written form attached these vowels to the tetragrammaton. The resulting misguided pronunciation of the name yhwh as a three-syllable word, Y [13]ehovah, continued in English Bible translations until early in the twentieth century. Evidence from Greek usage in the Christian era points to the two-syllable pronunciation, "Yahweh."
The meaning of the name yhwh may best be summarized as "present to act (usually, but not only) in salvation." The revelation of the name is given to Moses, "I am who I am" (Exodus 3:14 ), and later in a self-presentation, "I am the Lord" (Exodus 6:2-8 ). The name yhwh specifies an immediacy, a presence. Central to the word is the verb form of "to be, " which points in the Mosaic context to a "being present, " and may in Israel's later history, as some suggest, have come to mean "I (and no other [14]) Am" (Isaiah 41:4 ; 43:10 ). Such was Paul's understanding (1Col 8:4,6; 1 Timothy 2:5 ). Quite possibly we need to hear the Old Testament meaning for Yahweh behind the words of Jesus when he speaks of himself as "I am" ("It is I, " Matthew 14:27 ; "I am the one, " John 8:24,28 , 58 ). For Moses and for Israel the question was not whether the Deity existed, but how that Deity was to be understood.
The name yhwh was probably given to Moses as a new revelation; the "faith" that came to be associated with the name yhwh, although in continuity with that of the patriarchs, was different from theirs. Mosaic Yahwism differed from patriarchal religion in that Mosaic Yahwism stressed, among other matters, divine intervention in oppressive situations and holinessfeatures not central to patriarchal religion.
The theological significance that attaches to the name yhwh is multiple. Judging from the etymology, but more particularly from the context in which the name is disclosed (Exodus 3:12,14 ; 6:2-8 ), the name signifies "presence." God is "with, " he is near and among his people. This overtone of presence is reiterated in the naming of the wilderness structure as "tabernacle" (lit. dwelling), and in the promised name Immanuel ("God with us, " Isaiah 7:14 ; Matthew 1:23 ). Yahweh is present, accessible, near to those who call on him (Psalm 145:18 ) for deliverance (107:13), forgiveness (25:11), and guidance (31:3). Yahweh is dynamically near, but as God (Elohim [3]) he is also paradoxically transcendent.
The name yhwh defines him as involved in human struggle. Yahweh's name is forever tied, through the exodus event, with salvation and liberation (Exodus 15:1-13 ; 20:2-3 ). The salvation promise given in Exodus 6:6-8 is an expansive one, including intimacy with God and blessings of abundance, but is decidedly bracketed first and last with "I am Yahweh." The name yhwh is prominent in salvation oracles ( Zephaniah 3:14-17 ) and in petitions (Psalm 79:5,9 ; 86:1 ). The salvation dimension of the name recurs in the announcement of the incarnation: the one born is to be called "Jesus" for (as an echo of the name yhwh) "he will save his people from their sins" (Matthew 1:21 ). In the name yhwh God's character as the savior of a people is revealed.
Theologically the name of Yahweh resonates with covenant, partly because in the explication of the name in Exodus 6:6-8 the covenant formula is invoked ("I will be your God and you will be my people"). The name yhwh is a name to which Israel can lay particular claim. In covenant, matters such as justice ( Isaiah 61:8 ) and holiness (Leviticus 19:2 ) have an extremely high profile.
The name yhwh is anything but empty. The name carries overtones of presence, salvation defined as deliverance and blessing, covenantal bondedness, and integrity.
Compounds with Yahweh . Yahweh of Hosts . The most pervasive compound with Yahweh is "Lord of hosts, " which occurs 285 times in the Bible and is concentrated in prophetic books (251 times) especially in Jeremiah and Zechariah. The hyphenation has a double-edged meaning. As a military term it signifies that Yahweh is, so to speak, "Commander-in-chief" (1 Samuel 17:45 ). The "hosts" or "armies" may be heavenly beings, part of the "heavenly government" (1 Kings 22:19 ), the astral bodies of sun, moon, and stars (Deuteronomy 4:19 ), or Israel's armies (1 Samuel 17:45 ). As a military title, it signifies that God is equal to any adversary and well able to achieve victory. The Septuagint sometimes translates the compound as kyrios pantokrator [16] (Lord Almighty); this designation appears also in the New Testament.
A second "edge" to the compound is more royal than military, since it is monarchs who in the ancient Near East and Scripture are said to be "enthroned upon the cherubim" (1 Samuel 4:4 ; 2 Kings 19:15 ; Psalm 80:1 ). The expression "Lord of hosts, " frequent in worship-type psalms (especially those that mention Mount Zion), emphasizes God's royal majesty. It designates God as the regnant God (Psalm 103:19-21 ), the enthroned God whose royal decrees will carry the day (Isaiah 14:24 ; Jeremiah 25:27 ).
The title addresses religious pluralism, both past and present. God retains exclusive prerogative as deity. Any competing ideology is idolatry, whether that be the ancient worship of Baal or the modern preoccupation with technique, nationalism, or militarism. The title underscores God's presence, but also the force behind divine decisions affecting political history (Isaiah 19:12,17 ; Jeremiah 50:31 ).
Less Frequent Compounds with Yahweh . Several hyphenations or compounds are attached, for the most part, to some notable experience, as with Yahweh-Nissi ("The-Lord-is-my-Banner") where "banner" is understood as a rallying place. This name commemorated the desert victory of Israel against the Amalekites (Exodus 17:15 ). From the wilderness experience of bitter waters at Marah emerges another such "name": Yahweh Rophe ("The Lord who heals, " Exodus 15:26 ; cf. Psalm 103:3 ). Abraham memorialized God's provision of a sacrifice in the name Yahweh-jireh ("The Lord will provide, " Genesis 22:14 ). Jeremiah identifies the name of the "Righteous Branch" as "The Lord our Righteousness" (Jeremiah 23:5-6 ). Names for structures in which hyphenated Yahweh names occur include Gideon's altar, named Yahweh-shalom ("The Lord is peace, " Judges 6:24 ) and the temple Yahweh-samma ("The Lord is There, " Ezekiel 48:35 ).
Yahweh and Elohim . The combination, "Yahweh Elohim " (Lord God), is found in Genesis 2,3 (nineteen times; twenty-one times elsewhere). A double name was not strange for deities in the ancient Near East. The double name in Genesis 2:4b-3:24 , may be to emphasize that the majesty of God that attaches to the name Elohim [3] in Genesis 1 is not to be separated from the immediacy of a Yahweh in the garden. (English Bibles commonly also employ "lord God" to translate adonai Yahweh [18]).
The Deity named Yahweh (Lord) is identical with Elohim [ Deuteronomy 6:4 ) underscores that identity, as do expressions like "Yahweh your/our God." Yahweh as God is exclusively God: "This is what the Lord saysIsrael's King and Redeemer, the Lord Almighty: I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God" (Isaiah 44:6 ).
Titles, Epithets, Figurative Language . There are over one hundred descriptive "names" for God. The subject is large and the adjectives are overpowering.
Holy One . Of the fifty-six lexical attestations to God's holiness in the Old Testament, many include the name/title of "The Holy One" or "Holy One of Israel, " which occurs thirty-one times in the Old Testament, twenty-five occurrences being in Isaiah. The demand for human holiness is rooted in divine holiness or cleanness (Leviticus 19:2 ; 21:6 ). The "entrance liturgies" stress the importance of moral and ritual cleanness (Psalm 15 ; 24:3-6 ). Holiness speaks of God as supraworldly, as "Other, " and as one virtually unapproachable in majesty (1 Samuel 6:20 ; Isaiah 6:3 ; 33:14-16 ).
Ruler . A highly significant epithet for God, which is strikingly metaphorical, is "Ruler." The term occurs forty-three times. It is clustered in poetic passages in the prophets and the Psalter. The idea of rule is expressly asserted in the enthronement psalms (93,96-99), but is already found in Psalm 2 . This suggests that the entire Book of Psalms should be read with an emphasis on God's rulership. The origin of the epithet precedes the Israelite monarchy. It signals rulership and sovereignty, and so reinforces the names for God such as El Elyon and Lord of hosts ( Psalm 84:3 ). Kingly rule, however, also called for defense of the poor and needy (72:4) and deliverance of those victimized by wickedness (98:9). Around it cluster other epithets/metaphors, such as Judge (Isaiah 33:22 ; cf. Psalm 99:4 ).
Father . The Old Testament designation of God as Father (Deuteronomy 32:6 ; Isaiah 63:16 ; 64:8 ; Jeremiah 3:4,19 ; 31:9 ; Malachi 2:10 ) is employed often in the New Testament: by Paul (Ephesians 1:3 ; 3:14-19 ; 4:6 ; 5:20 ; 6:23 ; cf. Romans 1:7 ; 8:15 ; 15:6 ; 1Col 8:6); by Jesus (Mark 8:38 ; 11:25 ; 13:32 ; cf. "Abba , Father, " Mark 14:36 ). It is the word for God in the Lord's prayer (Luke 11:2 ). The epithet is strikingly frequent in John (108 times) and also in Matthew (forty times). The range of meanings include those of authority and discipline, but also those of compassion, care, protection, and provision.
Other Titles, Epithets, Figurative Language . "God of the ancestors (fathers)" is a title associated with the patriarchs, and especially with God's promises to them (Exodus 3:13 ). Other titles are "God of Abraham" (Genesis 28:13 ; 31:53 ; 1 Chronicles 29:18 ), "Fear of Isaac" (Genesis 31:42,53 ), "Mighty One of Jacob" (Genesis 49:24 ), and especially (more frequent than the foregoing three) "God of Israel" (Numbers 16:9 ; 1 Samuel 5:8 ; Psalm 41:13 ).
Rich symbolism is also found in role descriptions that include language pictures like judge (Isaiah 33:22 ), warrior (Exodus 15:3 ), and shepherd (Psalm 23 ). God is also pictured as a mother who gives birth, nurtures, and trains (Deuteronomy 32:18 ; Isaiah 49:15 ; Hosea 11:1-4 ). God is spoken of in metaphors such as Rock (Deuteronomy 32:4,15,18,31 ), the stability of which is proverbial.
Honoring the Name of God/Lord . That God discloses his name means that his name can be invoked, but it should not be invoked "in vain, " carelessly or glibly as in an oath (Leviticus 19:12 ), or misused in other ways (Exodus 20:7 ). Jesus instructed us to pray, "Hallowed be your name" (Luke 11:2 ). In stressful times one calls on the name of the Lord (Psalm 79:5 ; 99:6 ; Zephaniah 3:9 ). Foremost among the ways God's name is to be invoked is honorifically. His name is to be praised (Psalm 7:17 ; 9:2 ). Other admonitions call for blessing the name (103:1), offering thanks to the name (106:47), or ascribing glory or blessedness to the name (96:8; 113:2).
Elmer A. Martens
See also Fatherhood of God ; God ; God, Name of ; Presence of God
Bibliography . S. Dempster, Revue Biblique 98 (1991): 170-89; W. Eichrodt, Theology of the Old Testament ; D. N. Freedman, Magnalia Dei: The Mighty Acts of God, pp. 5-107; J. Goldingay, Tyn Bul 23 (1972): 58-93; C. D. Isbell, HUCA 2 (1978): 101-18; J. G. Janzen, Int 33 (1979): 227-39; G. A. F. Knight, I AM: This Is My Name ; L. Koehler, Old Testament Theology ; H. J. Kraus, Theology of the Psalms ; H. Kleinknecht, et al., TDNT, 3:65-123; G. T. Manley and F. F. Bruce, IBD, 1:571-73; E. A. Martens, Reflections and Projection: Missiology at the Threshold of 2001, pp. 83-97; T. N. D. Mettinger, In Search of God: The Meeting and Message of the Everlasting Names ; R. W. L. Moberley, The Old Testament of the Old Testament ; J. A. Motyer, The Revelation of the Divine Name ; G. H. Parke-Taylor, Yahweh: The Divine Name in the Bible ; M. Riesel, The Mysterious Name of YHWH ; H. Rosin, The Lord Is God: The Translation of the Divine Names and the Missionary Calling of the Church ; J. Schneider, et al., NIDNTT, 2:66-90; H. T. Stevenson, Titles of the Triune God: Studies in Divine Self-Revelation ; N. J. Stone, Names of God ; W. A. Van Gemeren, JETS 31 (1988): 385-98; R. de Vaux, Proclamation and Presence, pp. 48-75; W. Zimmerli, Old Testament Theology in Outline ; W. Elwell, TAB, pp. 10-34.
Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Son of God
See Adoption ; Jesus Christ, Name and Titles of
Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - High, God Most
See God, Names of
Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Likeness of God
See Image of God
Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Holy One of God
See Jesus Christ, Name and Titles of
Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - God, Presence of
See Presence of God
Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - God, Name of
The God of Israel was known by many different names, titles, and epithets. God's particular names derive both from his revealing his attributes and character to Israel and from Israel's response to him. However, alongside this wealth of names and epithets in the Bible, the concept of God's "Name" itself plays an important role. In the Bible God reveals his Name, puts his Name in a place, causes places to bear his Name, protects by the power of his Name, and Acts for the sake of his Name. People call on, pronounce blessings, minister, preach, speak, pray, believe, take oaths, and wage war in his Name. They may revere, fear, suffer for, blaspheme, misuse, be called by, be kept by, or build a temple for the Name.
As God's image-bearer Adam imitated God's creative speech by naming the creation (Genesis 2:19-20 ): this naming gave expression to the order in the universe and showed Adam's understanding of the character, place, and function of the animals. Adam may well have been able to name other creatures, but only God can assign his own name; only he can fully understand himself and reveal his character and nature (Exodus 3:13-14 ; 6:2-3 ). God's "Name" becomes a summary statement of his own nature and of how he has revealed himself to the world; it becomes virtually synonymous with the word "God" itself.
God's "Name" and God's "Glory." In studies of the Old Testament it has become commonplace to distinguish rather sharply between the "glory theology" of the cultic/priestly literature and the "name theology" of Deuteronomy and the Deuteronomistic history (Joshua through Kings). This distinction is ordinarily portrayed as emphasizing either God's transcendence or his immanence. Biblical literature oriented to the activities of the priests and Levites in their duties at the sanctuary is said to emphasize God's immanence, his real presence in the world. The pillar of fire and cloud—the theophany of the divine presence, the Shekinah gloryappears physically and materially with Israel in the wilderness and at her sanctuaries. The tabernacle and temple were viewed as God's dwelling-place (Exodus 15:13,17 ; Leviticus 15:31 ; 26:11 ; 2 Samuel 7:6 ; 15:25 ; 1 Chronicles 9:19 ; Psalm 84:1 ; 132:5,7 ). The ark was God's throne and footstool (1 Samuel 4:4 ; 2 Samuel 6:2 ; 1 Chronicles 28:2 ; Ezekiel 43:7 ). Wherever the ark went, God went. Israel served "in the presence of the Lord" at the tabernacle and temple. Some have argued that the development of a "name theology" in ancient Israel was given impetus by the loss of the ark itself.
Deuteronomy and the Deuteronomistic history are then widely viewed as a corrective to this earlier "cruder" concept that God dwelled in a building. Deuteronomy seeks to preserve the transcendence of God with an idea theologically more sublime and subtle. It is not God himselfmaterially and physicallywho dwells at the sanctuary, but rather God's "Name" dwells there. Deuteronomy is quite clear. Heaven is the dwelling-place of God (26:15 ). When Solomon dedicates the temple, he says, "But will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you. How much less this temple that I have built!" (1 Kings 8:27 ). Solomon goes on to pray that when the Israelites direct their prayers toward the temple, God would "hear from heaven, your dwelling place" (vv. 30,39,43,49 ). Rather than God's "Glory"the pillar of fire and cloudcoming to the city (Ezekiel 10:1-5,18 ; 43:3-7 ), Deuteronomy prefers to speak of God as "choosing a place as a dwelling for his Name" (12:11 ; 14:23 ; 16:2,6,11 ; 26:2 ) or "putting his Name in a place" (12:5,21 ; 14:24 ). The "Name" became a hypostasis for God, an alternative realization of his presence, but freed from the corporeal and physical notions associated with "glory theology"; this substitute way of speaking thus preserved the transcendence of God above and beyond the creation.
In spite of the fact that this contrast between "glory theology/immanence" and "name theology/transcendence" has been widely adopted among Old Testament scholars, it needs rather to be set in a different context, one that does not pit crude against sublime or early against later. A number of passages show the complete compatibility of the two concepts and suggest a different way of relating them. Most important in this regard is Exodus 33:12-23 . Here four different "manifestations" of God are described in juxtaposition: his presence, his glory, his name, and his goodness. In response to God's assurance that his presence would go with Israel, Moses requests to see God's glory (vv. 14,18). The Lord, however, declines this request and says instead, "I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and compassion on whom I will have compassion. But no one can see my face [1] and live" (vv. 19-20 ). This incident follows the account of Israel's worshiping the golden calf, a moment in her history that prompted deep concern that a holy God would not continue with this nation but would erupt in judgment against it. How can a holy God be in the presence of a sinful nation? In God's own answer to this issue, a careful distinction is made between God's presence/glory and his name/goodness. God's presence and glory were holy, awesome, and unapproachable, and sinners must be shielded from exposure (v. 22 ). But Moses could experience the name and goodness of God, both of which express the disposition of the divine nature to show mercy (v. 19 ). Those who worship the Lord become familiar with his name (Exodus 3:14 ; 6:2-3 ).
The distinction suggested here is borne out in the remainder of the Old Testament as well. God's glory remains an awesome, holy, unapproachable, and dangerous manifestation. When his glory appears before the nation, it is the cloud-encased pillar of firethe cloud shielding and protecting from exposure to the consuming fire of divine glory (Exodus 16:10 ; 24:16 ; 40:34 ; 1 Kings 8:11 ; 2 Chronicles 7:2 ). God's name, by contrast, is that which Israel can know, approach, and experienceit suggests his goodness and mercy. The psalmists do not trust in or call upon God's glory, but rather on his name. God's majestic self-manifestation in the form of his glory is common in dramatic and occasional theophanies attended by fire, noise, and earthquake, but his name is the mode by which he is known in the context of ordinary, ongoing worship. "Glory" is the form of the divine appearance in the dramatic events of redemptive historyat the exodus, at Sinai, at the dedication of the tabernacle and temple. But "Name" portrays God's approachability and mercy, and it is the mode of worship as Israel approaches the sanctuary, the "place where he has chosen to put his name."
But even with this more nuanced approach in view, God's glory and his name are both divine self-revelations and must be closely related. Isaiah most clearly takes this step: "See, the Name of the Lord comes from afar, with burning anger and dense clouds of smoke" (Isaiah 30:27 ). Here it is the Name that becomes the cloud-encased pillar of fire. Though name and glory are distinguishable for their own respective nuances, they are ultimately revelation of one and the same Lord, the God who is judge and yet who is disposed to show mercy.
Extrabiblical texts may also enhance appreciation for what it means that the Lord "set his name" in a place. A similar expression is found twice in the Amarna letters from the second half of the second millennium b.c. King Abdu-Heba "set his name in the land of Jerusalem." This expression suggests both ownership and conquest. For God to place his name on a place or nation is also to imply his ownershipof the world, of Israel, and of her land. In Deuteronomy where the emphasis is on possessing the land and on Israel's covenant with God, expressing God's presence through his "name" reminds the nation of his ownership and dominion. Rather than diminish or correct the notion of God's immanent presence, God's name in Deuteronomy affirms the very real presence of God in the fullness of his character and covenantal commitment to those on whom he had set that name.
God's Name in the New Testament . The New Testament draws on the Old and continues to use the wide range of idioms associated with God's name. God's name is the theme and basis for worship, prayer, and actions just as it was in the Old Testament.
Of particular interest in the New Testament, however, is the way in which the writers treat the theme "the name of Jesus." This is especially true in the writings of John. People are to believe on Jesus' name (John 1:12 ; 2:23 ) and to pray in his name (14:13-14 ). The power of God's name is in the name that God gave to Jesus (17:11-12 ). Jesus associates himself with God's mighty self-disclosure as "I AM" (8:58 ). John reports Jesus' promise to the one who overcomes, "I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on him my new name" (Revelation 3:12 ; 22:4 ). Just as God had put his name on the place Jerusalem in the Old Testament, now Jesus puts his new namethe name he won for himself in his warfare at the crosson individuals; he proclaims his ownership and dominion, that they belong to him through his conquest on the cross.
Paul also reports that God has given to Jesus a name that is above all other names, so that at the mention of his name every knee in heaven, on earth, and under the earth should bow (Philippians 2:9-10 ). The writer of Hebrews describes Jesus as the exact representation of the glory of God, one who has a name superior to that of the angels (1:4).
Raymond B. Dillard
See also God ; God, Names of ; Jesus Christ, Name and Titles of
Bibliography . J. Barr, Congress Volume, Oxford, pp. 31-38; R. de Vaux, Das Ferne und Nahe Wort, pp. 219-28; L. Laberge, Estudios Biblicos 43 (1985): 209-36; J. G. McConville, Tyn Bul 30 (1979): 149-64; G. von Rad, Studies in Deuteronomy, pp. 37-44; J. G. Wenham, Tyn Bul 22 (1971): 103-18, W. Elwell, TAB pp. 5-10.
Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Kingdom of God
The heart of Jesus' teachings centers around the theme of the kingdom of God. This expression is found in sixty-one separate sayings in the Synoptic Gospels. Counting parallels to these passages, the expression occurs over eighty-five times. It also occurs twice in John (3:3,5). It is found in such key places as the preaching of John the Baptist, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near" (Matthew 3:2 ); Jesus' earliest announcement, "The time has come… The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!" (Mark 1:15 ; cf. Matthew 4:17 ; Luke 4:42-43 ); the prayer Jesus taught his disciples, "your kingdom come" (Matthew 6:10 ); in the Beatitudes, "for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 5:3,10 ); at the Last Supper, "I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it anew in the kingdom of God" (Mark 14:25 ); and in many of Jesus' parables (Matthew 13:24,44 , 45,47 ; Mark 4:26,30 ; Luke 19:11 ).
It was once popular in certain circles to argue that the expressions "kingdom of God" and "kingdom of heaven" referred to two different realities. It is now clear, however, that they are synonyms. This is evident for several reasons. For one, the two expressions are used in the same sayings of Jesus, but where Matthew uses "kingdom of heaven, " Mark or Luke or both use "kingdom of God." Second, Matthew himself uses these two expressions interchangeably in 19:23-24, "it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven … for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." Finally, we know that "heaven" was frequently used as a circumlocution for "God" by devout Jews. Due to respect for the third commandment ("You shall not misuse the name of the Lordyour God" [1]), pious Jews used various circumlocutions for the sacred name of God (YHWH) in order to avoid the danger of breaking this commandment. One such circumlocution was the term "heaven." This is seen in the expression "kingdom of heaven" but also in such passages as Luke 15:18,21 ("Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you") and Mark 11:30 .
Various Interpretations Despite the centrality of this expression in Jesus' teachings, there has been a great deal of debate over the years as to exactly what Jesus meant by it. One reason for this is that neither Jesus nor the Evangelists ever defined exactly what they meant by this expression. They simply assumed that their hearers/ readers would understand.
The Political Kingdom . According to this view Jesus sought to establish a Davidic-like kingdom in Jerusalem. This kingdom was political in nature and sought to free Israel from the Romans. Jesus was in essence a political revolutionary who sought to arm his disciples (Luke 22:35-38 ), entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday as a king (Mark 11:11 ), challenged the political establishment by cleansing the temple (Mark 11:15-18 ), urged people to rebel by not paying their taxes (Mark 12:13-17 ; is reread to teach the opposite of its present meaning ), enlisted zealots as disciples (Mark 3:18 ), used the taking up of the cross (which was a symbol of zealot sacrifice for enlisting disciples Mark 8:34 ), and was crucified as a political rebel (Mark 15:26 ) between two other rebels (Mark 15:27 ).
This interpretation has found few supporters over the years, but it is continually raised. It is an impossible view, however, for the evidence against it is overwhelming. The presence of a tax collector among the disciples is impossible to explain if Jesus were a revolutionary, for tax collectors were seen as collaborators with the Romans and hated by zealots. Such teachings as Matthew 5:9 ("Blessed are the peacemakers"); 38-42 ("If someone [2] forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles"); 43-47 ("Love your enemies"); Matthew 26:52 ("all who draw the sword will die by the sword"); Mark 12:13-17 ("Give to Caesar what is Caesar's") simply do not permit such an interpretation. To claim that all such sayings in the Gospels are inauthentic or to reconstruct their supposed original form in a radical way is to manipulate the evidence to sustain a thesis, rather than to allow the evidence to determine the thesis.
The "Liberal" or Spiritual Kingdom . During the height of theological liberalism the kingdom of God was understood as God's rule in the human heart. One of the favorite passages used to support this was Luke 17:20-21 , "the kingdom of God is within you." Any eschatological thoughts associated with this expression were seen as unrefined, primitive, Jewish apocalyptic thinking that Jesus never outgrew and that was only the "husk" and not the "kernel" of his teachings. Or they were interpreted as symbols of the inner rule of God in the heart. The kingdom of God was God's spiritual reign in the life of the believer that resulted in an inner moral ethic. This ethic focused on Jesus' teachings concerning the universal Fatherhood of God, the infinite value of the human soul, and the love commandment.
Liberal theology, which was built upon a belief in continual evolutionary progress and the ultimate goodness of humanity, was dealt a mortal blow with the coming of World War I, and the subsequent years have done nothing to revive its naive optimism in humanity. This, along with the rediscovery of the eschatological element in the teachings of Jesus, brought about the demise of this interpretation. Like the liberal interpretation of the nineteenth century, modern attempts to eliminate the eschatological dimensions of Jesus' teachings by seeing them as symbols to which the present reader gives his or her own meaning, are also impossible to accept. One simply cannot eliminate the eschatological dimension of Jesus' teachings. The biblical evidence will not permit it.
The "Consistent" or Future Kingdom . At the turn of the nineteenth century the eschatological dimension of Jesus' teachings was rediscovered. It became evident that Jesus was not a nineteenth-century liberal but a first-century Jew. As a result it was clear that Jesus must have thought to a great extent like a first-century Jew. Since the kingdom of God was seen by most Jews in Jesus' day as a future, supernatural kingdom that would bring history to a close, it was logical to think that Jesus thought similarly. Jesus' sayings concerning the kingdom of God would have been understood by his audience as referring to such a kingdom, and since Jesus made no radical attempt to correct such thinking, we must understand his teachings on the kingdom of God as eschatological.
According to this view Jesus taught that the kingdom of God, which would bring history to its end, was future. Yet this event lay not in the far distant future. On the contrary, it was very near. It had not yet arrived, but it was to appear momentarily. Signs and powers of the kingdom were already at work, and prefigurements of its glory were already present. As a result Jesus taught along with announcement of the kingdom of God's nearness an "interim ethic" for this brief in-between period of history. Soon the Son of Man would come, the final judgment would take place, and world history as we know it would cease. During this in-between period believers were to live a heroic ethic. They were to avoid divorce, refrain from marriage, love their enemies, turn the other cheek, not retaliate, give to whoever had a need.
It is clear that this interpretation takes seriously the future dimension of Jesus' sayings concerning the kingdom of God. On the other hand, it ignored another kind of saying found in the Gospels, which involves the announcement that the kingdom has already in some way come. These sayings involving the arrival of the kingdom of God were usually seen as inauthentic and later creations of the church by advocates of this view.
The "Realized" or Present Kingdom . In response to the former view, which arose in Germany, there arose in England an opposing view. According to this view Jesus did announce the coming of the awaited kingdom. However, he did not announce that it was coming in the near future. On the contrary, he announced that it had already arrived. Now in Jesus' ministry the kingdom of God had already come. There was therefore no need to look for something in the future. The Son of Man had already come, and he had brought with him the kingdom. Nothing is still awaited. In its entirety the kingdom of God was realized in the coming of Jesus.
This view, like the "consistent" view, has the benefit of taking seriously certain biblical data. There is no doubt, as we shall see, that there are in the Gospels sayings of Jesus that announce that the kingdom has come. They do not announce simply that it is near. They announce that it is here . It is evident that these last two views, unless modified in some way, contradict one another. Yet both offer convincing biblical evidence in support of their views. (This cannot be said of the first two views.) Like the "consistent" view, this view also tends to see the biblical data that contradicted it as being inauthentic. Only in this instance it was the sayings that spoke of the kingdom of God being future that were inauthentic.
The Biblical Evidence It is evident that there is biblical evidence to support both the "consistent" and "realized" views. In certain passages, for example, it is clear that the kingdom of God is future. In the Lord's prayer we pray "Your kingdom come" ( Luke 11:2 ), and the kingdom must as a result be future. Jesus' saying that "Not everyone who says to me ‘Lord, Lord, ' will enter the kingdom of God" must also refer to a future event, for he continues "Many will say to me on that day " (Matthew 7:21-23 ). Jesus' institution of the Last Supper also looks forward to "that day when I [3] drink it anew in the kingdom of God" (Mark 14:25 ). Other passages associate the coming of the kingdom of God with the final judgment (Matthew 5:19-20 ; 8:11-12 ; 25:31-46 ; Luke 13:22-30 ). It cannot be denied therefore that there are numerous passages in the Gospels that indicate that Jesus understood the kingdom of God to be still future.
In other passages, however, it is equally clear that the kingdom of God is already present. Jesus told his hearers "if I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come to you" (Luke 11:20 ; cf. Matthew 12:28 ). In four of the other instances where the same verb "has come" (ephthasen ) is used in the New Testament it clearly means "has arrived, " is "now present" (Romans 9:31 ; 2Col 10:14; Philippians 3:16 ; 1 Thessalonians 2:16 ). In the other instance where it is future, however, the tense is future (phthasomen , 1 Thessalonians 4:15 ). Elsewhere Jesus declared that his coming marked the end of the old era when he said "The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John. Since that time, the good news of the kingdom of God is being preached" (Luke 16:16 ). Here two distinct periods of history are distinguished. The former is referred to as the period of the Law and the prophets. The second is the period of the kingdom of God. John the Baptist is seen as a bridge who both brings the "old" to its conclusion and announces the breaking in of the "new." This "new" thing, which cannot be mixed with the old (Mark 2:21-22 ), which gathers the outcasts (Matthew 11:4-6 ) and the lost tribes of Israel (Mark 3:13-19 ; Matthew 19:28 ), which manifests signs and marvels (Matthew 13:16-17 ), which inaugurates a new covenant (1 Corinthians 11:25 ), is nothing other than the arrival of the kingdom of God. Jesus also announced that now already the long-awaited messianic banquet had begun (Luke 14:15-24 ). The kingdom of God was now in their presence (Luke 17:20-21 — "among" is a better translation than "within" ).
How should one deal with this apparently contradictory data? Should we decide the issue by majority vote? If so, the "future" interpretation would win over the "present" one, because there are more examples in its support in the Gospels. Yet rather than claim that one group of these sayings is "authentic" whereas the other is not, we should first analyze carefully exactly what the word "kingdom" means. Perhaps this will provide the key for understanding what Jesus meant by the "kingdom of God." How is the term "kingdom" to be understood? Should it be understood statically as denoting a realm or place? If this is correct and "kingdom" refers to a territory or piece of real estate, then it is evident that the kingdom of God cannot have arrived. There has been no geographical or cosmic changes that have taken place in the coming of Jesus. The planet remains today essentially as it was in the time of Christ. No new territory exists. No place on this planet can be designated "the kingdom of God." On the other hand, should we understand the term dynamically as referring to the rule or reign of a king?
Both in the Old Testament and in the New Testament the term "kingdom" (malkut [4] and [4] basileia [4]) is understood as dynamic in nature and refers primarily to the rule or reign of a king. It is seldom used in a static sense to refer to a territory. As a result, in the vast majority of instances it would be better to translate the expression "kingdom of God" as the "rule of God." That Jesus understood it this way is evident from such passages as Luke 19:12 ("A man of noble birth went to a distant country to have himself appointed king, " literally "to receive a kingdom [7]"; cf. also v. 15); Matthew 6:33 ("seek first his kingdom"); and Mark 10:15 ("receive the kingdom of God like a little child").
Understood as the "reign of God" it is possible for Jesus to announce that in fulfillment of the Old Testament promises the reign of God has arrived. In Jesus' coming Satan has been defeated (Luke 10:18 ; 11:20-22 ), the outcasts of Israel are being gathered as predicted (Mark 2:15-16 ; Luke 14:15-24 ), the Old Testament promises are fulfilled (Luke 10:23-24 ), the resurrection of the dead has begun (1 Corinthians 15:20 ), a new covenant has been inaugurated (1 Corinthians 11:25 ), the promised Spirit has come as the prophets foretold (Mark 1:8 ). Indeed the kingdom is "already now" realized in history.
However, the consummation of the "already now" still lies in the future. The coming of the Son of Man, the final resurrection, faith turning to sight, are "not yet." The kingdom of God is both now and not yet. Thus the kingdom of God is "realized" and present in one sense, and yet "consistent" and future in another. This is not a contradiction, but simply the nature of the kingdom. The kingdom has come in fulfillment of the Old Testament promises. A new covenant has been established. But its final manifestation and consummation lie in the future. Until then we are to be good and faithful servants (Luke 19:11-27 ).
Implications If the kingdom is both already now and not yet, the believer must be on guard against the danger of emphasizing one aspect of the kingdom at the expense of the other. A one-sided emphasis on the "already now, " which emphasizes miracles, healing, victory over sin, and gifts God has given his church, and ignores the "not yet" may lead to an optimistic triumphalism that will result in disillusionment. Jesus' teachings concerning the tribulation(s) that lay ahead ( Mark 13 ; Matthew 24-25 ; Luke 21 ) warn against such optimism. The symbol of discipleship Jesus gave to his disciples is that of bearing a cross! The crown awaits the consummation. The enjoyment of the firstfruits of the kingdom must be tempered by the fact that we still live by faith and not sight. We still long for the perishable to become clothed with the imperishable, the mortal with immortality (1 Corinthians 15:53 ). In the meantime we are called to endure to the end.
On the other hand, a one-sided emphasis on the not yet may lead to defeatism and despair in this life and a neglect of the joy and victory over sin and death in the Spirit's having already come. The "gates of Hades" (Matthew 16:18 ) shall not overcome the church! Even in this life because the kingdom has come, we can be "transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory" (2 Corinthians 3:18 ). The now and the not yet must be held in tension. Believers can rejoice in having passed from death into life and in the abiding presence of the Spirit of God. But the victories in the present life, are also accompanied with all too many defeats.
Believers are thus encouraged both by the victories of the already now and the defeats of the not yet. The former having provided a taste of the glory which is to be revealed (1 Peter 5:1 ) causes us to long all the more for the not yet. Similarly, because of the experience of defeat, sorrow, and in seeing the corruption of the world around us, we also long all the more for the not yet that awaits. Thus Christians continue to look longingly toward the blessed hope (Titus 2:13 ), when the Son of Man will return and bring the kingdom to its consummation. Having tasted of the firstfruits that are already realized, the believer prays all the more earnestly "your kingdom come" (Matthew 6:10 ) and "Marana tha" ( 1 Corinthians 16:22 ; cf. Revelation 22:20 ).
Robert H. Stein
See also Jesus Christ
Bibliography D. C. Allison, Jr., The End of the Ages Has Come ; G. R. Beasley-Murray, Jesus and the Kingdom of God ; B. Chilton and J. I. H. McDonald, Jesus and the Ethics of the Kingdom ; O. Cullman, Christ and Time ; R. H. Hiers, The Kingdom of God in the Synoptic Tradition ; W. G. K mel, Promise and Fulfillment ; G. E. Ladd, Jesus and the Kingdom ; G. Lundstršm, The Kingdom of God in the Teaching of Jesus ; N. Perrin, The Kingdom of God in the Teaching of Jesus ; R. Schnackenburg, God's Rule and Kingdom ; R. H. Stein, The Method and Message of Jesus' Teachings ; W. Willis, ed., The Kingdom of God in 20th-Century Interpretation .
Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - God
The Old Testament . In the Old Testament the plural form elohim [1] became the favored generic term for God. This development is lost in obscurity, but the evidence from ancient literature contemporary with the Old Testament attests to the use of the plural form in other cultures around Israel as the designation of a single deity that embodies the entirety of divine life. Some have taken the plural form as a plural of intensity, representing the indescribable, or as an abstract plural, corresponding to our words "Godhead" or "divinity, " and there is justification for both views.
Precisely when and why the Israelites took this title for their God, rather than the singular el [2] or eloh , is not known. However, based on the Book of Genesis and the story of the revelation of the divine name in Exodus 3:14 , we suspect that elohim [1], along with other terms, was widely used by the Israelites from the earliest times as a designation for God.
In the course of time, however, God revealed his distinctive divine name, Yahweh, by which Israel should know him. This name, according to Genesis 4:26 , was known in the prepatriarchal era, but Exodus 3:14 leads us to the conclusion that it assumed a new and more distinctive meaning in the Mosaic era.
As a general rule, the literary context has a great deal to do with which of the terms (Elohim [1] or Yahweh ) the text used to designate Israel's God. Elohim [1] seems more appropriate for contexts that require a universal view of the deity, or contexts that connote his power and omnipotence, while Yahweh may be more appropriate for those contexts that deal with Israel and Israel's historical experience, or the deity's personal presence and involvement in Israel and the world. For example, the creation narrative of Genesis 1 employs Elohim [1] since the creation of the universe is in view and God is acting in his sovereign role, but the parallel narrative of Genesis 2 introduces the dual name Yahweh God (Lord God), in view of Yahweh's personal involvement in the creation of man and woman.
God as Creator . It is significant that the first impression of God the Bible gives is God as Creator of the heavens and earth (Genesis 1:1 ). The phrase "heavens and earth" is a merismus, which means that everything in the universe as we know it was created by God.
The Bible makes no attempt to prove that God exists. Rather, the universe is the affidavit of his existence. Moreover, the fact that he is the Creator means that the world belongs to him. So when God offers Abraham the land of Canaan, it is his right to give it because he created the world.
The gods of Canaan represented natural forces; there was no clear dividing line between nature and the divine. On the other hand, the creation narratives of Genesis 1-2 , which are best understood as depicting twenty-four-hour days, establish the theological premise that God is distinct from nature, that he brought nature into existence, and that he controls nature. In addition to being God's supreme witnesses in the world, human beings are also his representatives to bring the natural world into the service of God ("Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground, " Genesis 1:28 ). Thus the God of the Old Testament is from the beginning the God who stands apart from nature and rules over it. As the story of the Old Testament unfolds, it is appropriate to describe him as the God of history.
The creation narrative puts forward what is perhaps, along with the doctrine of the incarnation in the New Testament, the most remarkable concept for making God known in all of Scripture, the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27 ; 9:6 ). This distinctive of creation meant that God related to humankind personally and imparted something of his own nature to his creation. While the history of interpretation has offered no unanimity on the meaning of this phrase, the most satisfactory explanation is a comprehensive one. The image of God implies all that is distinctive to human nature: the spiritual, psychological, sociological, and physical aspects, all of which are reflections of God's nature. The spiritual implies that human beings are made to relate to their Creator; the psychological, that they are reasoning and emotional creatures; the sociological, that they are created to relate to one another; and the physical, that man's corporal form reflects an essential aspect of God's—not in the sense that he has a body, but in the sense that his being is multifaceted and multifunctional. He speaks, sees, hears, and walks, for example, without requiring the physical organs that human beings must have to enable these activities. The ultimate expression of this attribute of God's being is his incarnation in human flesh. So the image of God is not limited to one aspect of human nature, like the mind or the spirit, but is comprehensive. Therefore, when God created man in his image, he left the indelible stamp of his nature on human beings. They were not divine, but reflected the nature of the deity.
The view of God as personal is grounded in the image of God. He is a self-conscious being, who has will and purpose. The parallel creation narrative of Genesis 2:4b-25 further communicates this view of God as personal in anthromorphic terms as he forms man from the dust of the ground, breathes the breath of life into his nostrils, makes the birds and beasts of the field, fashions woman from the man, and finally plants a garden for their habitat in Eden. This initial portrait of God, therefore, invests the biblical story with a view of God who is personal. Regardless of whether the creation narrative is early or late in its composition, its canonical position in the Old Testament gives it anterior advantage, and the biblical reader proceeds through the Old Testament with this view of the Creator God who was personally involved in the world he created. So one is not surprised to find him walking in the garden, addressing Adam and Eve, laying out plans to save a morally debased world, covenanting with Abraham, intervening on Moriah to spare Isaac's life, speaking to Jacob in a dream, and preserving Joseph in a foreign and hostile environment in order to procure his will for the people he had chosen to bear his name in the world.
God of the Fathers . With the introduction of the patriarchs of Israel (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob), God became known as the "God Almighty, " El Shaddai ( Genesis 17:1 ; 28:3 ; 35:11 ; 48:3 ; 49:25 ; Exodus 6:3 ; Ezekiel 10:5 ), and less frequently "God everlasting" (El Olam ), "God of seeing" (El Roi ), and "God most high, " El Elyon ( Genesis 21:33 ; 16:13 ). The latter two terms arise out of specific historical situations and suggest something about God's involvement in the lives of his people.
The name of God is personalized in the general title "God of your fathers, " referring to the patriarchs (Exodus 3:13-16 ; Deuteronomy 1:11,21 ; 4:1 ; 6:3 ; 12:1 ; 27:3 ; Joshua 18:3 , etc. ). He is also called the "Shield of Abraham" (Genesis 15:1 ), the "Kinsman of Isaac" (Genesis 31:42,53 ), and the "Mighty One of Jacob" (Genesis 49:24 ). As a rule, the Canaanite deities were named by the place where they were worshiped, but in this personal form, the God of the patriarchs is revealed as an omnipresent God who is involved in history and the lives of those whom he chooses.
God of Israel's National Events. The Exodus . Perhaps the single most important era for the shaping of Israel's God-concept, despite the opinions of the historical critics, was the Mosaic era, and no text is more important in this regard than Exodus 3:14 , where God identifies himself to Moses as I am who I am . This text stands alongside Romans 2:4-5 in theological importance. Its complementary text is Exodus 6:2-9 . Numerous explanations have been offered for this enigmatic statement. The key word is the verb "to be" (haya [7]), occurring here in the imperfect form (lit. I will be who I will be), but the Hebrew imperfect verb can bear both the future and the present senses ("I am who I am"). The shortened form of the name occurs at the end of the sentence, "I am has sent me to you." And Exodus 3:15 equates I am with the God of the fathers: "The Lord the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacobhas sent me to you."
The most satisfactory explanation of this name is one that grows out of the context. Recognizing this, Walter Eichrodt suggested that its significance lies in the promise of God's presence. When Moses objected to Yahweh's plan that he should go to Pharaoh, Yahweh said, "I will be with you" (Exodus 3:12 ). This meaning not only takes seriously the immediate context, but the larger context of the Old Testament as well. Yahweh (the vocalization of the name is the contribution of modern scholars) will be with the Israelites. This promise of God's presence became a crucial factor during the Mosaic era and was the point of contention in Exodus 33 , when Yahweh responded to the golden calf episode by first declaring that his presence would not accompany Israel into Canaan. Moses thereupon pleaded with God to go personally with them, or otherwise not take them into Canaan at all. God acceded to this request and promised his personal presence. This promise of divine presence with Israel reaches its summit in the Old Testament text of Isaiah 7:14 , when God promises that a child would be born and that his name would be Immanuel, which means "God is with us."
The sum of the matter is that God or Yahweh is a God who is present with his people, present in the world he made, present in peace and war, present in crisis and serenity, especially present in the soon-occurring exodus from Egypt toward which Exodus 3:14 is pointing.
God as the saving God can be seen on a universal scale in the story of the flood (Genesis 6-9 ), and on a personal scale in the stories of the patriarchs (Genesis 12-50 ). This notion of God is raised to a national level in the exodus from Egypt, a narrative for which the Joseph story serves as an appropriate transition from the view of God as personal Savior to national Savior. God's saving Israel from Egypt becomes the paradigm of saving in the Old Testament, so that when Israel faces the national crisis of exile to Babylonia, the imagery of God's saving Israel from Egypt is the standard with which the return to Judea is compared. In the historical books, God as the saving God delivers his people from national oppression and humiliation, and in the psalms, delivers Israel and individuals from personal danger, sickness, and other threatening circumstances. While God's saving action in the Old Testament is largely set in time and space, it is the foundation on which the New Testament builds the doctrine of eternal salvation that transcends time and space. Further, already in the Fourth Servant Song of Isaiah (Isaiah 52:13-53:12 ), God's saving action becomes passive suffering and thus forms a link between the Old Testament view of God and the New Testament view of the suffering Messiah.
Sinai . What God had done on behalf of the patriarchs, he had done on Israel's behalf. Sinai was a summing up of his work that preceded it and that aimed to make Israel Yahweh's special people and shape them into a community loyal to him. God began this work when he created the world, and continued it in his work of grace executed in the lives of the heroes and heroines of faith, like Enoch who walked with God (Genesis 5:22,24 ), Noah who found favor in the eyes of the Lord (Genesis 6:8 ), Abraham whose faith God counted as righteousness (Lamentations 4:13-166 ), and Joseph whom God sustained in Egypt through adversity and success (Genesis 39:23 ). Sinai was the place where God revealed himself to Israel. This revelation took the form of Torah (law ). The reconciling work God had engaged in since the fall (Genesis 3 ) assumed institutional status in the Torah. God instituted an agent (priesthood) to serve as an intermediary of reconciliation between himself and Israel, a place (tabernacle) where he and Israel should meet each other in worship, and a means (sacrificial system) that provided the formal expression of Israel's and the individual's desire to do God's will and to live in obedience to his commandments.
While the Torah was the broad revelation of God's will and Israel's responsibility toward God, God put his signature on the Torah in a more formal arrangement called a covenant (berit [8]). The covenant he made with Abraham was activated on a national level at Sinai and designed with particulars that formalized the relationship between Israel and Yahweh. Not only did God commit himself to Israel, but he called Israel to a binding commitment to him.
In this covenant, God established the theological premise of his oneness: "The Lord our God, the Lord is one" (Deuteronomy 6:4 ). While this premise distinguishes him from the pluralistic notion of deity so common in the ancient Near East, it also makes a statement about his inner unity, involving his unity of both person and purpose. Although the Old Testament can speak of God in plural terms (e.g., "let us make man in our image, " Genesis 1:26 ), his plurality of inner being, perhaps indicative of the interactive and complex nature of his person, functions with a unity of purpose. He should not be conceived of, therefore, like the ancient pantheon of gods and goddesses who sometimes worked against one another's purposes. Rather, he is one in person and purpose. Thus, Israel was called to worship God with a singleness of devotion, giving their loyalty to him and to no other gods (Exodus 20:3-6 ). The prophets later helped Israel understand that this undivided loyalty was in fact directed to the only God who existed (e.g., Isaiah 45:5 ). The other gods were mere figments of the imagination.
The Sinai covenant had a dual purpose, stipulating how God would relate to Israel and how Israel should relate to God and the world. The same vocabulary that describes God in the Old Testament is used to call Israel to covenant loyalty.
For example, God calls Israel to be holy premised on his being holy: "Be holy, for I am holy" ( Leviticus 11:44-45 ; 19:2 ; 20:26 ; 21:8 ). The Sinai legislation provides no more distinctive concept of God than God as holy. This character of God by extension applies to the high priestly garments, the tabernacle, the Sabbath, and Israel. The Book of Leviticus is so devoted to the concept of holiness that chapters 17-20 have been called the Holiness Code. Basically the word "holy" connotes separation from the profane and appointment to Yahweh's service. Yahweh's holiness involves his power (1 Samuel 6:20 ), transcendence, and moral perfection (Isaiah 6:3 ; 35:8 ). His commandment to be holy does not imply the assumption of his incommunicable attributes by human beings such as transcendence and omnipotence, but requires one to fear him and to seek moral perfection. Isaiah, deeply moved by his encounter with the holy God (Isaiah 6:3 ), sensed his own uncleanness (v. 5). His recognition of God's holiness is confirmed by his frequent reference to God as the Holy One of Israel.
The moral core of the covenant, however, was described by another word, hesed, a rich concept requiring multiple terms in translation, such as "steadfast love, " "lovingkindness, " "mercy, " "faithfulness, " "trustworthiness, " and "loyalty." This "trustworthiness" or "loyalty" that characterized God is set down in the ethical centerpiece of the law, the Ten Commandments, where God declares that he will show hesed "to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments" (Exodus 20:6 ). In some instances, it also carries the idea of compassion (Jeremiah 16:5 ).
Whereas God related to Israel with a steadfastness of love and compassion, Israel should also relate to him with the same kind of loving loyalty. The prophet Micah (6:8) articulated it most clearly: "He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy (hesed ), and to walk humbly with your God."
Thus, at Sinai God spells out his holy and loving character toward Israel and calls Israel to the same kind of holy living and loving loyalty toward him and toward their neighbors.
Wilderness Wanderings and Conquest . The Old Testament God as a God of war becomes prominent in the era between the exodus and the monarchy. Already at the exodus from Egypt the Israelites proclaimed him as "warrior" (Exodus 15:3 ), and the writer of Samuel speaks of Israel's battles belonging to the Lord (1 Samuel 18:17 ; 25:28 ).
The Book of Judges operates on the thesis that Joshua tried to carry out the commandment to destroy the Canaanites, but the period of the judges operated by a new principle, allowing the Canaanites to remain in the land in order to test Israel's resolve to follow the Lord (Judges 2:20-23 ). In Judges, God intervenes in history at critical moments and manifests his sovereignty over nations.
Yet we must admit that the command to wage war against the Canaanites and God's involvement in such wars pose a challenge to Old Testament theology. At the same time, we also have to remember that the Old Testament speaks out of an ancient context in which survival was most often the survival of the fittest. War was part of life. When human beings reject God's kindness, he resorts to methods that characterize sinful human naturenot to redeem the methods, but to redeem Israel and the world. Paul articulated this principle clearly in Genesis 1:27 . Another dimension of the command to exterminate the Canaanites is that they posed a threat to Israel's faith (Exodus 23:23-33 ; Numbers 33:50-56 ; Deuteronomy 7:1-6 ; Judges 2:2 ). Even in the time of Abraham, the Lord noted that the iniquity of the Amorites (Canaanites) was not yet full (Genesis 15:16 ).
Thus, God's presence was critical to the success of the conquest of Canaan. He involved himself personally (Joshua 6:8 ; 10:11,12-14 ) and the writer of Joshua took account of this in his statement, "the Lord, the God of Israel, fought for Israel" (10:42).
Exile and Restoration . Israel's history concludes with the fall of Samaria in 722 b.c., and Judah's history dips into a hiatus called the exile with the fall of Jerusalem in 586 b.c. In these national crises, God is seen as a God of judgment and wrath, but in the return from exile and the restoration, the Old Testament presents him as the God of compassion and salvation.
From the time of Moses to Malachi, God sent his servants the prophets, as his messengers. Whereas he had spoken to the patriarchs in dreams and visions, and to Moses directly, he spoke to Israel through the prophets. Elijah was the exemplary prophet, calling Israel to return to Yahweh's covenant and worship only him. Through these intermediaries God again took the initiative in revelation and action as he had done in Israel's past, choosing the time and place where he would speak to his people. Just as he had entrusted his word to Moses, he also gave his word to the prophets and equipped them to speak it boldly (Isaiah 6:6-13 ; Jeremiah 1:9-10 ).
Their message was basically twofold. First, God is Judge . The sins of Israel had earned God's just punishment, which came ultimately in the form of conquest and the exile of Israel (722 b.c.) and Judah (586 b.c.), a series of events that the prophets were inclined to call the day of the Lord ( Amos 5:18-20 ). Yahweh was not a despot whose actions were irrational, but he acted according to the principles of justice that he had set forth in the Torah, and he required that Israel operate by the same standard of justice. At the heart of that system was the demand for undeviating loyalty to God and his will. This meant, as the Torah had commanded, that the Israelites should have no other gods besides Yahweh. Thus, the disloyalty for which the prophets indicted Israel was best summed up in their blatant idolatry. The Book of Lamentations stands as an assessment of Judah's fall and a witness to Yahweh's mercy, which is renewed every morning (Lamentations 3:22-24 ). The writer attributes the disaster to the failure of the prophets and priests, who were more interested in personal gain than the souls for whom they were responsible (1618067048_18 ). The restoration, originating in God's mercy, would be hastened by the people's despairing of their sin and hoping in the Lord. With a prayer for restoration the book closes (5:19-22).
Second, God is compassionate . The final word in prophetic theology is grace. No prophet knew that better than Isaiah, who announced the era of restoration as a time when Yahweh would comfort his people and proclaimed Yahweh's forgiveness of Judah's sins (40:1-2). God's actions to restore Judah after the exile to Babylonia would be as mighty and compassionate as his deliverance of their ancestors from Egypt; that is, he would perform a second exodus (Isaiah 35 ; 45 ). This miraculous era would manifest Yahweh's greatness in ways that would summon the nations to turn to him for salvation (Isaiah 45:22 ). So deep was God's compassion for Israel and the world that he would assume the form of a servant and take on himself Israel's suffering and sin (Isaiah 53:4-6 ).
The God of Israel's Sages and Singers. God of Israel's Sages (Wisdom) . God is known in the Old Testament as the God of wisdom in the Torah and Prophets, but this attribute never receives the kind of emphasis it does among the wise men (sages) and in the Wisdom Literature they produced (Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes). The idea of God's wisdom implies his understanding of the universe and its operation, both on the broad scale and the personal level. Thus, the wisdom of God includes his knowledge and administration of the created order (Job 38-39 ). It further implies that God implanted a certain orderliness and regularity in the universe, and that same design should be reflected in human life. It is this latter dimension of wisdom that contributes to the personal and practical expressions of wisdom in the Book of Proverbs. Thus, one must live an orderly (moral) life in society so that society might become a reflection of the orderly universe, which in turn reflects something important about the nature of God.
Rather than emphasizing the precepts of the Torah or the oracles of the prophets, wisdom stresses the design of nature as a means of divine revelation. Since God, then, speaks more indirectly through nature than the Torah and prophets, it is not surprising that the Book of Ecclesiastes describes him as sometimes elusive, particularly in revealing to men and women the meaning of life. Yet to the persistent, a modicum of meaning can be found in the routine and work of life (Ecclesiastes 2:24-26 ).
The God of wisdom operates on the principle of just rewards and punishment. That is, he rewards the righteous and punishes the wickeda principle promoted by Job's friends and espoused by the Book of Proverbs. Yet the view of Wisdom Literature is broad enough to consider those cases when the innocent suffer and the wicked prosper. This is the problem of Job; even though the principle of retribution is basic to an orderly universe, Job insists that God does not always honor that principle. When Yahweh finally speaks to Job out of the whirlwind (Job 38:1-42:6 ), he does not defend the principle or explain the breath of it, but proclaims his majestic knowledge and expert operation of the universe he made, and expounds the finite understanding of man. While human beings would argue the issue on the level of justice, God would prefer to argue it on the level of grace. So in the epilogue of Job (42:7-17), he not only restores Job's possessions but doubles them.
God of Israel's Singers (Psalms) . To sum up the view of God in psalms poses the same difficulty as the Torah and the Prophets. In the psalms God is so multifaceted and multifunctional that any summary is inadequate. Yet the psalms are a microcosm of Old Testament religion. They contain some law, some prophecy, and some wisdom. Whatever portrait of God one finds in these genres of the Old Testament can generally also be identified somewhere in the psalms. God is Creator and Sustainer (Psalm 104 ), Redeemer and Savior (Genesis 15:6 ), Vindicator of the Innocent (Psalm 26 ), and Giver of mercy to the guilty (Psalm 51 ). Although they portray God as the God of Israel who Acts on their behalf in history, the psalms are the basic Old Testament witness to personal religion. They are indeed Israel's hymnbook of worship, but they also document God's responsiveness to the devout worshiper who comes to him for mercy and help.
The New Testament . From the Christian point of view, the God of the Old Testament is the same God as in the New, except he manifests himself in different ways, most importantly in the incarnation. Yet the basic attributes of God are the same as those of the Old Testament. In one sense, the study of God in the New Testament is a study of Christology, even though that is not the focus of this article.
The generic term for God in the New Testament is theos, but kurios , the Greek rendering of the Hebrew YHWH, is frequently used instead of the generic term. Long before the Christian era, the Jews had stopped pronouncing the divine name so as not to disrespect of defame it. Instead, they gave to this four-consonant name (YHWH) the vowels of another Hebrew word, Adonai, which means "my Master" or "my Lord." Rather than pronouncing it, they pronounced the loan word, Adonai . When the Old Testament was translated into Greek, the name YHWH or Adonai was rendered by the Greek word kurios, which means "Lord." So the God of the New Testament is frequently called kurios or Lord, as is Jesus.
The New Testament, like the Old, does not try to prove God's existence. Rather it declares, also like the Old Testament, that he exists and manifests himself in
Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Presence of God
The Scriptures often speak of God's presence in human history. The most common Hebrew term for "presence" is panim [1], which is also translated "face, " implying a close and personal encounter with the Lord. The Greek word prosopon [2] has the same semantic range. The Greek preposition enopion [3] also commonly appears; several other Hebrew and Greek words occur only a few times.
God's presence carries a wide range of meaning. It may be something people fear. Adam and Eve's sinfulness drove them to hide from the Lord in the garden of Eden (Genesis 3:8 ). God's holiness cast light on Isaiah's sinfulness (Isaiah 6:5 ). Many people who encountered God or his angel feared for their lives (Judges 13:22 ; Luke 1:11-12 ; 2:9 ). Others tried unsuccessfully to escape his presence (Jonah 1:3 ). As God displays his presence through his great power, the whole earth trembles (Judges 5:5 ; Psalm 68:8 ). False gods also become powerless before him (Isaiah 19:1 ). Fear and trembling are proper responses before the One who controls all creation (Jeremiah 5:22 ).
God's presence provides comfort in times of trouble or anxiety (Joshua 1:5 ). The downcast seek him and find encouragement and strength to praise him (Psalm 42:5 ).
Knowing God is present should keep our behavior respectful and humble, for God hears our every word and holds us accountable (Ecclesiastes 5:2,6 ). He will not tolerate pride, and will bring our speech under his judgment (Ezekiel 28:9 ). However, he will exalt those who humble themselves before him (James 4:10 ).
God also displayed his presence at a place of worship. The Israelites brought their sacrifices to the tabernacle—and later the templebecause God chose to establish his name there (Deuteronomy 14:23,26 ). Worshipers thus experienced a special closeness to the Lord in such a place. Inside the place of worship, the bread of the Presence reminded Israel of God's nearness (2 Chronicles 4:19 ). When Solomon dedicated the temple, the manifestation of God's glorious presence prevented priests from fulfilling their usual duties (1 Kings 8:10-11 ). Reverent and proper behavior was important, for disastrous consequences might result if people did not follow God's pattern for worship (Leviticus 10:1-2 ).
God's presence also accompanied times of covenant renewal and other solemn occasions. Before Isaac died, he determined to bless his son "in the presence of the Lord" (Genesis 27:7 ). Aaron was confirmed as high priest in God's presence (Numbers 16:7 ; 17:9 ). As the Israelites prepared to enter Canaan, Moses told them they stood in God's presence (Deuteronomy 29:15 ). God would guide them as they undertook the enormous task of conquering the land (Numbers 32:29,32 ), and would provide Israel's leaders the strength they needed (Joshua 1:9 ). The apostle Paul charged Timothy to remain faithful to the Lord, reminding his son in the faith of God's watchful presence as Timothy performed his ministry (1 Timothy 5:21 ; 2 Timothy 4:1 ).
The Bible describes heaven as a place filled with God's presence. Angels stand in God's presence and act on his authority as he directs them (Luke 1:19 ). Satan came before the Lord when he sought permission to attack Job (1:6,12). The heavenly host rejoice before God when one sinner repents (Luke 15:10 ). Christ completed his earthly ministry by entering "heaven itself, now to appear for us in God's presence" (Hebrews 9:24 ). Since heaven is the highest, most exalted place of all, it is fitting that God display his presence there.
God's presence is a place where prayer is heard. David sought the Lord's presence when Israel faced a three-year famine (2 Samuel 21:1 ). God's spokesman called the nation to cry out to the Lord in the face of Jerusalem's destruction (Lamentations 2:19 ). Paul constantly interceded for the Thessalonian church, bringing their name before the Father's presence (1 Thessalonians 1:3 ). Christians may approach the Lord with confidence because of Christ's finished work on our behalf (Hebrews 4:15-16 ). Furthermore, God promises to hear and forgive those who come into his presence with humble repentance (2 Chronicles 7:14 ).
God's presence is also a place of judgment. The Lord cast his people from his presence (Jeremiah 15:1 ; 52:3 ). The Scriptures describe this action as God hiding his face (Isaiah 59:2 ; Ezekiel 39:29 ). But God's presence for judgment also carries an eschatological dimension. The Lord will one day summon all nations before him; heaven and earth will flee his holy presence (Revelation 20:11 ). Those who see this judgment coming will beg for deliverance, but to no avail (Revelation 6:16 ). The most awful aspect of God's judgment is eternal separation from his presence (2 Thessalonians 1:9 ).
But God's presence is also a place of blessing. David counted it a joy to experience the Lord's presence (Acts 2:25,28 ), and Peter described it as the source of blessing for all who place their faith in Christ (Acts 3:19 ). To experience God's presence is to experience the shining of God's face (Psalm 67:1 ). Believers always live in God's presence, and he notes all their deeds (Malachi 3:16 ). He has promised to be with us until he comes again (Matthew 28:20 ).
In the age to come, God's presence will be the ultimate blessing, for believers will see him face to face (1 John 3:2 ). His immediate presence will render a temple unnecessary (Revelation 21:22 ). It is the anticipation of this presence that should motivate Christians to faithful service in this present age (1 Thessalonians 2:19 ; 2 Peter 3:10-11 ).
Bryan E. Beyer
See also Ark ; Cloud, Cloud of the Lord ; Glory ; God ; Tabernacle ; Temple
Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Providence of God
The word "providence" comes from the Latin providentia (Gk. pronoia [ Acts 24:2 ), or negatively, as when Paul admonishes us to "make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires" (Romans 13:14 , ; RSV ). When applied to God the idea takes on a vastly larger dimension because God not only looks ahead and attempts to make provision for his goals, but infallibly accomplishes what he sets out to do. And because it is God's governance that is in view, it encompasses everything in the universe, from the creation of the world to its consummation, inclusive of every aspect of human existence and destiny. Providence, then, is the sovereign, divine superintendence of all things, guiding them toward their divinely predetermined end in a way that is consistent with their created nature, all to the glory and praise of God. This divine, sovereign, and benevolent control of all things by God is the underlying premise of everything that is taught in the Scriptures.
A doctrine of providence appears in intertestamental Jewish and Greek thought, as well as in the Scriptures. Much of Jewish thought closely paralleled that of the Old Testament and emphasized the freedom of God to accomplish his purposes (Genesis 12:1-3 ) and even used the term "providence." The Wisdom of Solomon identifies the providence of God with his will and wisdom, assuring us that one can embark on even the most perilous journey with assurance because God is in control (14:3-5). It also speaks of the inscrutability of God's providence and the vain attempts of the wicked to hide from the all-seeing control of God, calling them "exiles from eternal providence" (17:1-3). At the time of Jesus, one finds varying views on this subject. Josephus describes it this way: "The Pharisees say that some actions, but not all, are the work of fate, and some of them are in our power, and that they are subject to fate, but not caused by it. The Essenes affirm that fate governs all things and that nothing befalls us but what is according to its determination. The Sadducees take away fate, denying there is such a thing, affirming that the events of human life are not subject to it. All our actions are in our own power, so that we are the cause of what is good and we receive what is evil from our own folly" (Antiq. 13.5.9; see also War 2.8.14).
In Greek thought the most highly developed form of the doctrine was found in stoicism, an essentially pantheistic system. God was understood to be the immanent principle of Reason (Logos) within the universe that is ordering all things according to rational principles. The stoic system was essentially a determinism, even if defined as basically benevolent and rational.
The fundamental difference between Jewish (and biblical) understanding of providence and the stoic view lies in the emphasis of Greek thought upon the impersonal, though rational, nature of the divine immanent principle that could be approached by human minds and the personalistic approach of Jewish thought that sees God as a Person calling us to faith, not speculation. Jesus' profound contribution to this is his revelation that God is our heavenly Father, who cares infinitely for his helpless creation. We are to love and trust God, not necessarily to understand all that he does.
Foundational Ideas . Providence is a pervasive idea in the Scriptures, which makes it difficult to summarize. However, there are some general statements that can be made, before a specific look is taken at the various aspects of providence. Underlying any discussion of providence are these fundamental principles. First, God is sovereign in this universe and in complete control of all things (1 Chronicles 29:11-12 ; Psalm 24:1 ; 115:3 ; Isaiah 45:11-1257 ). Nothing is able to stand up to him, defy him, or do that which will defeat him in the end. Not only is this true on earth; this is true among the so-called gods. In fact, there are no other gods, only idols; God alone is God in all the universe (Deuteronomy 4:35,39 ; Isaiah 45:5-6 ; 1 Corinthians 8:4-6 ; 1 Timothy 1:17 ) and nothing is impossible for him (Jeremiah 32:27 ; Luke 1:37 ). Second, the one and only God created the world; hence, it is his and subject to him (Deuteronomy 10:14 ; Job 9:5-10 ; Psalm 89:11 ; 95:3-5 ; 1 Corinthians 10:26 ). It is impossible that anything or anyone, whether in heaven or on earth, whether supernatural being, king, or simple peasant, should imagine that they are self-sufficient or answerable only to themselves (1618067048_7 ; Jeremiah 37:17-23 ; Daniel 4:35 ; Revelation 20:11-13 ). Third, the God who alone is God and who made and governs this world has an eternal plan for it. This plan is not just what he desires will be done but is in fact the very essence of this world's existence and the explanation of it (Isaiah 10:5-14 ; Proverbs 19:21 ; Ecclesiastes 3:14 ; Isaiah 14:24-27 ; 46:8-11 ). Fourth, God's will and purpose are realized in and through Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:9-10 ; 3:11 ). God's will is not the outworking of some impersonal abstract principle, as with Greek thought, but the personal, saving will of a heavenly Father. God is involved directly in our affairs and we have learned through revelation (reason alone could never have guessed this) that he became one with us through the incarnation of his Son for our redemption. This was part of an eternal purpose that existed before the world began and was effectuated in time at the moment of God's own choosing. He decided when the time had arrived and brought it all to pass. On the basis of this God has spread his beneficence throughout all the ages and will someday draw all things together in Christ, for "from him and through him and to him are all things" (Romans 11:36 ). Finally, although the plan of God has been partially revealed to us, in its totality it remains an ultimate mystery. We are not capable of grasping what it ultimately means because God himself is ultimately beyond us (Job 11:7-9 ; 26:14 ; 36:26 ; Ecclesiastes 3:11 ; Ecclesiastes 11:5 ; Isaiah 40:28 ; 55:8 ). This limitation on our part is not designed by God to humiliate us, but to humble us, to help us realize our creaturely status and find our appropriate place in his scheme of things. We are not God. We will never understand the depths of God. This should call us to faith and trust in him and teach us to obey him, whether we discern what God intends or not. Our deepest prayer should be, as Jesus taught us, "your will be done on earth" (Matthew 6:10 ).
In summing up the general points that form the groundwork for the scriptural doctrine of providence, we find that the eternal God, who made and governs this universe, has a personal investment in it in the person of his Son Jesus Christ. Through Christ he deals redemptively with the world through all its ages, from creation to consummation. In the depth of the mystery of God's being he has formulated a benevolent, all-encompassing plan that is being worked out. This should evoke from us, not curiosity and speculation, but faith, praise, and submission. We may someday understand some of these things; we may not. But whatever the case, "God is his own interpreter, and he will make it plain, " as Cowper said.
The Extent of Providence . Simply put, providence encompasses every aspect of the created order. From beginning to end, from heaven to earth, from animate to inanimate, from individuals to nations, from hours to ages, from weeds to wheat, from birth to death, from catastrophe to calm—everything is within the loving presence and involvement of the heavenly father. In his wisdom, power, righteousness, and love he is hastening slowly to work out his own eternal purposes for his own glory and for our eternal good. Because this is such an all-pervasive theme throughout the Scriptures it is possible only to give a selective, though representative account of what is taught there.
God's Involvement in the Natural World Order . It has already been pointed out that God is the originator of the entire created order. Nothing exists (other than himself) that he did not create. In the supernatural created order, often simply called "heaven, " it is taken for granted that God's will is done (Matthew 6:10 ). In John's breath-taking vision of God upon his throne (Revelation 4-5 ) the picture is of ceaseless adoration and service of God by all that inhabit heaven. Day and night, thunderously and unendingly, all the heavenly beings cry out "Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty." God is also accomplishing his will in the material world order. Sun, moon and stars (Psalm 104:2,19 ; Isaiah 40:26 ; Jeremiah 31:35 ; Matthew 5:45 ), celestial activity (Job 9:7 ; Ezekiel 32:7-8 ; Amos 8:9 ), clouds (Job 37:15-16 ; Psalm 135:7 ), dew (Genesis 27:28 ), frost (Psalm 147:16 ), hail (Job 38:22 ; Psalm 147:17 ), lightning (2 Samuel 22:13-15 ; Job 36:30,32 ), rain (Deuteronomy 28:12 ; 1 Kings 18:1 ; Job 5:10 ), snow (Job 37:6 ), thunder (Exodus 9:23 ; Jeremiah 10:13 ), and wind (Psalm 147:18 ; Ezekiel 13:13 ) are all subject to God's command. They do his bidding under both ordinary and extraordinary circumstances, whether supporting earth functions for the sustenance of life or crashing down judgment upon evil. The earth itself is also included. God works his will through earthquakes (Job 9:6 ; Psalm 22:27-28 ), famine (Leviticus 26:18-20 ; Amos 4:6 ), drought (Psalm 107:33-34 ; Amos 4:7-8 ), fire (Ezekiel 20:45-48 ; Amos 7:4 ), plagues and calamities (Exodus 9:1-4 ; Ezekiel 38:22 ), floods (Genesis 6:17 ), and normal supply of water (Psalm 104:10-13 ; 107:35 ). All the forces of nature are subject to the sovereign word of God, who works his will through them.
God also has control over the plant and animal world. Plants, trees, grass, flowers, and crops are all under God's benevolent care (Psalm 65:9-13 ; 104:14-16 ; Isaiah 41:19 ; Matthew 6:28-30 ). Birds (Matthew 6:26 ; 10:29 ), fish (Jonah 1:17 ; Matthew 17:27 ), animals (Psalm 147:9 ; Hosea 2:18 ; Joel 2:21-22 ), indeed, every living thing is God's (Job 12:10 ; Psalm 145:13-16 ) and in their own way they are all praising God (Psalm 148:3,4,7-10 ).
God's Involvement in Israel and the Nations . God rules the destiny of all the peoples of the earth and of his people Israel in particular. This is in accordance with his own benevolent purposes in order to bring them all to a saving knowledge of himself (Acts 17:24-28 ). Israel, as the nation through which the redeemer would come, was guided by God in a specific way. It included the call of Abraham (1 Maccabees 3:60 ), the lives of the patriarchs (Genesis 17:3-8 ; 28:20-21 ; 49:22-25 ), bondage in Egypt (Genesis 15:13 ), redemption from Egypt (Deuteronomy 5:15 ), guidance and sustenance in the wilderness (Exodus 13:21-22 ; Nehemiah 9:19 ; Psalm 105:39-41 ; 136:16 ), entrance into the land (Exodus 15:13-18 ; Deuteronomy 4:37-38 ; Ezekiel 29:19-20 ), and the whole of their history (1 Chronicles 29:10-13 ; 2 Chronicles 32:22 ; Isaiah 43:1,15 ), including the judgments that fell upon them (Deuteronomy 32:15-26 ; Jeremiah 52:3 ; Malachi 3:5 ). God also guides the destinies of all the nations of the earth. He is their king and ruler (Job 12:23 ; Isaiah 13:13 ; 47:7-9 ; Isaiah 14:24-26 ; Amos 2:10 ). He has foreseen all that will take place in the course of time (Isaiah 22:11 ; 44:7 ), guides the national destinies of the peoples of the earth (Amos 9:7 ), uses them in his service (Job 12:23 ; Psalm 33:11 ; Jeremiah 27:3-7 ), and makes the choice as to who will do what in the accomplishment of his purposes (Isaiah 49:1-7 ; 54:16 ; Daniel 2:21 ; 4:34-35 ).
God's Involvement in Human Life . Every aspect of human life is included in God's providential orderings. Just as with the formation, growth, existence, fortunes, and destiny of the world as a whole, the nations of the earth, and Israel in particular, so is it with the individual. God formed us in the womb (Job 10:8-12 ;
Morrish Bible Dictionary - House of God
This is a name given to theTemple; and also to the Church. See TEMPLEand CHURCH.
Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Worship of God
(cultus Dei) Amounts to the same with what we otherwise call religion. This worship consists in paying a due respect, veneration, and homage to the Deity under a sense of an obligation to him. And this internal respect, &c. is to be shown and testified by external acts; as prayers, thanksgivings, &c.
Private Worship should be conducted with,
1.Reverence and veneration.
2.Self-abasement and confession.
3.Contemplation of the perfections and promises of God.
4.Supplication for ourselves and others.
5.Earnest desire of the enjoyment of God.
6.Frequent and regular.
Some who have acknowledged the propriety of private worship have objected to that of a public nature, but without any sufficient ground. For Christ attended public worship himself, Luke 4:1-44 : he prayed with his disciples, Luke 9:28-29 . Luke 11:1 ; he promises his presence to social worshippers, Matthew 18:20 . It may be argued also from the conduct of the apostles, Acts 1:24 . Acts 2:1-47 : Acts 4:24 . Acts 6:4 . Romans 15:30 . 1 Corinthians 14:1-40 : Acts 21:1-40 : 2 Thessalonians 3:1-2 . 1 Corinthians 11:1-34 : and from general precepts, 1 Timothy 2:2 ; 1 Timothy 2:8 . Hebrews 10:25 . Deuteronomy 31:12 . Psalms 100:4 .
Public worship is of great utility, as,
1.It gives Christians an opportunity of openly professing their faith in and love to Christ.
2.It preserves a sense of religion in the mind, without which society could not well exist.
3.It enlivens devotion and promotes zeal.
4.It is the mean of receiving instruction and consolation.
5.It affords an excellent example to others, and excite them to fear God, &c.
Public worship should be,
1.Solemn, not light and trifling, Psalms 89:7 .
2.Simple, not pompous and ceremonial, Isaiah 62:2 .
3.Cheerful, and not with forbidding aspect, Psalms 100:1-5 :
4.Sincere, and not hypocritical, Isaiah 1:12 . Matthew 23:13 . John 4:24 .
5.Pure and not superstitious, Isaiah 57:15 .
We cannot conclude this article without taking notice of the shameful and exceedingly improper practice of coming in late to public worship. It evidently manifests a state of lukewarmness; it is a breach of order and decency; it is a disturbance to both ministers and people; it is slighting the ordinances which God has appointed for our good; and an affront to God himself! How such can be in a devotional frame themselves, when they so often spoil the devotions of others, I know not.
See Watt's Holiness of Time and Places; Kinghorn and Louder on Public Worship; Parry's Barbauld's Simpson's and Wilson's Answer to Wakefield's Enquiry on the Authority, Propriety, and Utility of Public Worship; Newman on early Attendance.
Fausset's Bible Dictionary - God
(See GENESIS, on Εlohim and Υahweh ). ΕLΟΗΙΜ expresses the might of the Creator and Sustainer of the universe. ΕLΥΟΝ , His sublimity, (Genesis 14:22), "the Most High." SΗΑDDΑΙ , the "Almighty," His all sufficiency (Genesis 17:1; Philippians 4:19; 2 Corinthians 3:5; 2 Corinthians 12:9). JΕΗΟVΑΗ , His unchangeable faithfulness to His covenanted promises to His people. ΑDΟΝΑΙ , His lordship, which being delegated to others as also is His might as ELOHIM, ADONAI and ELOHIM are used occasionally of His creatures, angels and men in authority, judges, etc. (Psalms 8:5; Psalms 97:7 (Hebrew); Psalms 82:1; Psalms 82:6-7.) "Lord" in small letters stands for Hebrew ADONAI in KJV, but in capitals ("LORD") for JEHOVAH. ELYON, SHADDAI, and JEHOVAH are never used but of GOD; Jehovah the personal God of the Jews, and of the church in particular.
ΕLΟΑΗ , the singular, is used only in poetry. The derivation is 'aalah "to fear," as Genesis 31:42; Genesis 31:53, "the fear of Isaac," or 'aalah "to be mighty." The plural ELOHIM: is the common form in prose and poetry, expressing that He combines in Himself all the fullness of divine perfections in their manifold powers and operations; these the heathen divided among a variety of gods. ELOHIM concentrates all the divine attributes assigned to the idols severally, and, besides those, others which corrupt man never of himself imagined, infinite love, goodness, justice, wisdom, creative power, inexhaustible riches of excellence; unity, self existence, grace, and providence are especially dwelt on, Exodus 3:13-15; Exodus 15:11; Exodus 34:6-7. The plural form hints at the plurality of Persons, the singular verb implies the unity of Godhead.
The personal acts attributed to the Son (John 1:3; Psalms 33:6; Proverbs 8:22-32; Proverbs 30:4; Malachi 3:1, the Lord the Sender being distinct from the Lord the Sent who "suddenly comes") and to the Holy Spirit respectively (Genesis 1:2; Psalms 104:30) prove the distinctness of the Persons. The thrice repeated "LORD" (Numbers 6:25-27) and "Holy" (Isaiah 6:3) imply the same. But reserve was maintained while the tendency to polytheism prevailed, and as yet the redeeming and sanctifying work of the Son and the blessed Spirit was unaccomplished; when once these had been manifested the doctrine of the Trinity in Unity was fully revealed in New Testament.
The sanctions of the law are temporal rather than spiritual, because a specimen was to be given in Israel of God's present moral government. So long as they obeyed, Providence engaged national prosperity; dependent not on political rules or military spirit, as in worldly nations, but on religious faithfulness. Their sabbatical year, in which they neither tilled nor gathered, is a sample of the continued interposition of a special providence. No legislator without a real call from God would have promulgated a code which leans on the sanction of immediate and temporal divine interpositions, besides the spiritual sanctions and future retributions.
Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Hermas (Greek God)
(Ἑρμῆς, Romans 16:14)
Hermas was a very common Greek name, being the name of the popular Greek god. Lightfoot remarks that, in the Imperial household inscriptions, not less than a score of persons might be counted who bore this name about the date of Romans (Philippians4, 1878, p. 176). In the NT it is found as the third of a group of five names (all Greek) of Christians saluted by St. Paul (See Hermas). It is significant that a Christian should have no scruple in retaining as his name the name of one of the gods. Another instance is Nereus (Romans 16:15).
T. B. Allworthy.
Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Kingdom Kingdom of God
1 References in Synoptic Gospels.-The conception of the Kingdom which occupies so large a place in the first three Gospels finds a relatively small place in the remaining books of the NT. In our earliest, Gospel* [1] -that of St. Mark-the Kingdom of God is the main topic of Christ’s preaching. He began His ministry by announcing the good news that the Kingdom of God was at hand (Mark 1:15). To His disciples was entrusted the ‘secret plan’ about the Kingdom (Mark 4:11). The Parable of the Seed Growing Secretly explained that it would come like harvest after a period of growth, i.e. it would present itself in due time when the period of heralding its advent was over (Mark 4:26-29). Its coming would not be long delayed, for some who heard Christ speak would see it come with power (Mark 9:1). The possession of wealth was an impediment to entry into it; i.e. wealth hindered men from enrolling themselves as disciples of Christ, the coming King (Mark 10:23-24). Elsewhere we read not of the coming of the Kingdom, but of the Coming of the Son of Man (so in Mark 13:26, Mark 14:62). The meaning attached to ‘gospel’ in this book as the good news of the coming Kingdom preached by Christ is primitive, and earlier than the Pauline use of ‘gospel’ for the good news about Christ.
In the First Gospel the term is changed. We read now of the ‘kingdom of the heavens’ rather than of the Kingdom of God. But the main line of idea is the same (see W. C Allen, St. Matthew [2], pp. lxvii-lxxi). The emphasis which is placed in this Gospel upon this near coming of the Son of Man to inaugurate the Kingdom (cf. Matthew 16:28; Matthew 24:3; Matthew 24:34, etc.) is due largely to the Matthaean collection of discourses used by the editor.
St. Luke returns to the phrase ‘the Kingdom of God,’ and though in general outline the idea of the Kingdom is the name as in the two prior Gospels, there are one or two suggestions that St. Luke was beginning to realize that a considerable period of history might precede the coming of the Son of Man to inaugurate the Kingdom. Jerusalem is to be trodden down by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled (Luke 21:24). And there is a hint of the idea which was soon to overshadow the anticipation of the near approach of the Son of Man, that in a very real sense the Kingdom was already present (Luke 17:21, ‘within’ or ‘among you’).
2. References in other NT books.-References to the Kingdom occur in St. Mark some 16 times, in St. Matthew some 52 times, and in St. Luke about 43 times. By contrast with this the comparative paucity of references to the Kingdom in the remaining books is very striking. In the Fourth Gospel it occurs only 5 times, and in all these passages the conception is that of a spiritual Kingdom which might be conceived of as now present. In Acts it occurs 8 times, 6 of them being references to speaking or preaching about the Kingdom. In the whole of St. Paul’s Epistles it occurs only 13 times, in the Catholic Epistles only twice (James 2:5, 2 Peter 1:11), in Hebrews only twice (Hebrews 1:8; Hebrews 12:28), in the Apocalypse 5 times (Revelation 1:6; Revelation 1:9; Revelation 5:10; Revelation 11:15; Revelation 12:10).
3. References to Christ as King.-Outside the Gospels there is also a very infrequent reference to Christ as King except in so far as this was involved in the title ‘Christ’ or ‘anointed.’ In the Gospels such references occur almost entirely in connexion with the events of the last few days of the Lord’s life (entry into Jerusalem, trial before Pilate). The exceptions are Matthew Mat_2:2 (where the Magi inquire after the one who has been born King of the Jews), Matthew 25:34 (where the term ‘king’ is placed in the mouth of Jesus as descriptive of the Son of Man sitting upon the throne of glory), John 1:49 (where Nathanael addresses Him as ‘King of Israel’), and John 6:15 (where it is said that the multitudes wished to make Him a king). Nowhere in St. Paul, in the Catholic Epistles, or in Hebrews is the term applied to Christ, But in Acts 17:7 the accusation is made against Christians that they acted contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there was another king, one Jesus. Lastly, in the Apocalypse the exalted Lamb, and the Rider on the white horse, titled ‘the Word of God,’ are called ‘King of kings and Lord of lords’ (Acts 17:14, Acts 19:18; see preceding article).
4. Reasons for paucity of references in apostolic literature.-If we now ask why the idea of kingship as applied to Christ finds so little space in the literature of the Epistles, the answer must be manifold. (1) The conception of kingship found partial expression in the terms ‘Christ’ and ‘Lord.’ (2) The avoidance of the term ‘king’ was an obvious precautionary measure. Acts 17:7 is significant in this respect. The early Christian teachers had enough difficulties to contend with without inviting the accusation that they were guilty of treason against the State. Apart from Matthew, which was probably intended originally for circulation amongst Jewish Christians, the only writing of the NT which in so many words assigns the title ‘King’ to Jesus is the Apocalypse, a book written at a time when State persecution had driven the writer to an attitude of definite hostility to the Roman Empire, and had induced him to throw over the cautious attitude of a previous generation towards the State. (3) It was soon felt that the teaching of Christ was many-sided and capable of more than one interpretation. Roughly, there were two ways of thinking about the Kingdom. It might be thought of eschatologically as a Kingdom to be founded when Christ returned. This is perhaps the view which prevails in the NT. It is difficult to prove this, because the passages which speak of the Kingdom ate not brought into immediate connexion with those which speak of the Second Coming of Christ. And it is therefore often open to question whether the Kingdom referred to is a Kingdom to be established when He comes, or a Kingdom of which the Christian disciple feels himself even now to be an actual member by virtue of his relationship to God through Christ. But the eschatological sense is probable in 1 Thessalonians 2:12, where St. Paul prays that his converts may walk worthily of God, who calls them ‘to his kingdom and glory,’ and in 2 Thessalonians 1:5, ‘that you may be accounted worthy of the kingdom of God, on behalf of which you suffer.’ The same may be said of 2 Timothy 4:1, ‘his appearance and his kingdom,’ and 2 Timothy 4:18, ‘shall save me into his eternal kingdom.’ This eschatological sense appears also in 2 Peter 1:11, ‘an entry shall be granted unto us into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Saviour,’ and less certainly in Hebrews 12:28, ‘receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken.’ But the word ‘kingdom’ here may perhaps rather mean that Christians even now become members of a spiritual kingdom which will remain unshaken even during the final catastrophe which will cause the dissolution of the material universe. The passages which speak of Christians as inheriting a kingdom may refer to the Kingdom in the eschatological sense, or, less probably, to the Kingdom conceived as present (cf. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; 1 Corinthians 15:50, Galatians 5:21, Ephesians 5:5, James 2:5).
But the phrase ‘Kingdom of God’ might also be interpreted of the present life which Christians now live, in so far as this is governed by obedience to Him. The writers of the NT seem sometimes to regard Christians as already members of the coming Kingdom, living according to its laws, and enjoying even now in some measure its privileges. So St. Paul in Romans 14:17, ‘the kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but righteousness, and joy, and peace in the Holy Spirit,’ and in 1 Corinthians 4:20, ‘the kingdom of God is not in word but in power,’ So too Colossians 1:13, ‘hath translated us into the kingdom of the Son of his love.’ On the whole, this sense seems to be not primary but derivative and consequential. Just as the writer of the Hebrews thinks of the true rest as still in the future, belonging to the world to come (Colossians 4:9-10), and at the same time feels that Christians in some sense anticipate and enter into that rest even now (Colossians 4:3), so the NT writers think of the Kingdom of God as waiting to be manifested when Christ comes again, and yet feel that in some sense the Christian is even now a member of it, and that, as the number of Christian disciples increases, the Kingdom widens here upon earth. But in the NT this belief is always conditioned by the certainty that the Second Coming of Christ is necessary to the full manifestation of the Kingdom.
This double-sidedness of the conceptions ‘kingdom’ and ‘king’ may in some measure explain why the apostolic writers avoid them.* [3] And it is significant that another term which was closely connected with the doctrine of the Second Advent is also left unused outside the Gospels. The term ‘Son of Man’ is employed in the first three Gospels chiefly in connexion with the ideas circling round the thought of the Death, Resurrection, and Second Coming of Christ. Similarly in the Fourth Gospel it is used chiefly in passages which speak of the lifting up or glorification of the Son of Man. Outside the Gospels it occurs only once-in the mouth of Stephen; here too of the glorified state of the Messiah (Acts 7:56). The remaining NT writers never use it. And yet the thought of the Coming runs like a silver thread of hope through all their writings. They seem to have felt that on the one hand the phrase ‘Son of Man’ was too technically Jewish for Gentile readers, and on the other that the terms ‘King’ and ‘Kingdom’ were open to grave misconception. The King for whose appearance they looked was no earthly monarch, and His Kingdom was no rival to earthly kingdoms, nor even in so far as it was now partially present did it prevent men from loyal obedience to the existing government. Hence they choose other terms in which to clothe the Gospel hope of Christ’s return, and the state of felicity which would ensue. St. Paul uses such terms as the following: ‘to wait for his Son from heaven’ (1 Thessalonians 1:10), ‘the parousia’ of the Lord Jesus (1 Thessalonians 2:19; 1 Thessalonians 3:13; 1 Thessalonians 4:15; 1 Thessalonians 5:23), the Lord descending from heaven (1 Thessalonians 4:16), ‘the day of the Lord’ (1 Thessalonians 5:2, 2 Thessalonians 2:2, 1 Corinthians 1:8; 1 Corinthians 5:5, 2 Corinthians 1:14, Philippians 1:6), ‘the apocalypse of the Lord Jesus from heaven’ (2 Thessalonians 1:7), ‘waiting for the apocalypse’ (1 Corinthians 1:7), ‘until the Lord come’ (1 Corinthians 4:5), ‘until he come’ (1 Corinthians 11:26), ‘the day when Cod shall judge … through Jesus Christ’ (Romans 2:16), ‘from whence we await the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ’ (Philippians 3:20), ‘the Lord is near’ (Philippians 4:5), ‘the manifestation of Christ’ (Colossians 3:4), ‘the epiphany of our Lord Jesus Christ’ (1 Timothy 6:14), ‘the epiphany of our Saviour Jesus Christ’ (Titus 2:13).
In the Catholic Epistles we have: ‘the Parousia of the Lord is at hand’ (James 5:8), ‘the apocalypse of Jesus Christ’ (1 Peter 1:13), ‘when the chief Shepherd is manifested’ (1 Peter 5:4), ‘the day of the Lord’ (2 Peter 3:10), the manifestation of Christ (1 John 3:2); in Hebrews: ‘he that cometh will come, and will not tarry’ (Hebrews 10:37); and in the Apocalypse, the many references to the Coming of Christ, beginning with Revelation 1:7.* [4]
By thus expressing the Christian hope in terms of expectation of the Return of Christ, and by substituting for ‘King’ and ‘Son of Man’ such terms as ‘Lord,’ ‘Saviour,’ ‘Chief Shepherd,’ the apostolic writers were able to avoid suspicion of political propaganda, and to give to the thought of the Second Coming a far wider significance than any which they could have suggested by laying too much emphasis upon the future as the establishment of a Kingdom, however much they might have attempted to give to this term a spiritual and non-material connotation. For, after all, Christ is and will be more than king, and ‘kingdom’ does not go very far in expressing the conditions of the life with Him for which Christians long.
5. Apostolic conception of the Kingdom.-If we now ask what ideas the writers of the Apostolic Age attached to the term ‘Kingdom of God’ or ‘of Christ,’ the answer must be that for them as in the teaching of Christ in the Gospels it is a term to symbolize the inexpressible-that is to say, the future blessedness of the redeemed.† [5] The Anointed King had risen from the dead, and was seated at the right hand of God. His reign had therefore begun. Why then did they not conceive of His Kingdom as a heavenly one into which His followers were admitted at death? Mainly, no doubt, because of the teaching, ascribed to Christ Himself, that He would return to gather together His elect. Partly, too, because of the common apocalyptic teaching that before the inauguration of the Messianic Kingdom there must be the final act in the present world-order, the general resurrection, final judgment, and transformation of this world to fit it to be the arena of the heavenly Kingdom. Thus the Kingdom was in being, but it awaited its manifestation. The King was crowned, His subjects could serve Him. But however close the union between Him and them, there was a sense in which they were now absent from the Lord, and awaited His coming. The Kingdom would be fully manifested only when He came. Meanwhile the Kingdom could be spoken of as a present reality rather because the Christian could be transported by faith into the presence of the King than because be brought (by his Christian life) the Kingdom down into this present world.
There is hardly any trace in the Epistles of the mediaeval idea that the Church on earth was the Kingdom of God. And the idea of some modern theological writers, that this world as we know it will develop under Christian influence until it becomes the Kingdom, is quite alien to their thought. Indeed, the apostolic writers seemed to regard this world as incapable of becoming the arena of God’s Kingdom. They felt that human nature as now constituted could reach a very imperfect measure of Christian perfection. Limited as we are, even Christian knowledge must be imperfect; ‘now we see through a mirror, in a riddle,’ cries St. Paul (1 Corinthians 13:12).
There was also the problem of physical death. So long as that remained, Christ’s sovereignty could not be fully manifested. The ultimate perfection which is the goal of the individual Christian could only be dimly guessed at. ‘It doth not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that if he shall be manifested, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is’ (1 John 3:2). And in a wonderful passage St. Paul seems to express the belief that physical nature as now known to us must undergo some transformation at Christ’s return before it can be the scene of His Kingdom; ‘we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth together in pain even until now.’ ‘For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God’ (Romans 8:19; Romans 8:22).
Consequently, their anticipation for this world was far from being a hope of gradual amelioration. The period immediately preceding the coming of the Kingdom would be one of evil and not of good. Cf. 1 Thessalonians 1:10, ‘the wrath to come,’ 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12, ‘in the last day evil times shall come,’ 2 Timothy 3:1, and the Apocalypse, passim. The writer of 2 Peter stands alone in anticipating a destruction of the present world by fire (2 Peter 3:7). If any one of these writers had been asked whether the Kingdom was now present, he would have answered, No. Christ was King, but His Kingdom would be manifested only when He came. If he had been further asked what that Kingdom would be, or in what relation it would stand to this present world, he would probably have answered that nearly all that constitutes this present world would have vanished-imperfection, sin, death; and that as to the nature of the new world he could say but little save that Christ would be there, and that His servants would serve Him, and that that was enough for anyone to know.
When modern writers ransack the records of Christ’s teaching or the other apostolic writings for traces of the conception that the Kingdom of God is now present in human life, it is, of course, possible to find them. For, wherever a human soul is in communion with the absent King, there in some measure is the sovereignty of God exhibited and the reign of Christ realized. But in the NT the admission that the Kingdom is now in some sense present, whether in the subjection of the Christian soul to the Law of Christ, or in the Church of which He is the Head, or in the life of God streaming down into the world through the Spirit of Christ in the forms of righteousness and peace, is always made on the understanding that these foreshadowings of the Kingdom of God imply a far more perfect realization of the Kingdom in the future, and that when Christ comes again the Kingdom will come in such sense that by comparison it will seem never to have come before. The relation between the Kingdom now and the Kingdom of the future is perhaps much the same as that between the presence of Christ now and His presence when He returns. None has ever so fully been conscious of the life of Christ in him as was St. Paul: ‘I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.’ Yet none has ever looked forward more earnestly, with greater expectation of living hope, to the day of Christ’s return. He could even speak of this present life as a condition of absence from the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:6). By contrast with such knowledge as we have of Christ now, vision of Him when He come again would be ‘face to face’ (1 Corinthians 13:12).
Literature.-A. Robertson, Regnum Dei, London, 1901; A. B. Bruce, The Kingdom of God4, Edinburgh, 1891; J. S. Candlish, The Kingdom of God, do. 1884; J. Orr, article ‘Kingdom’ in Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible (5 vols) ii.; W. Sanday, ‘St. Paul’s Equivalent for the “Kingdom of Heaven” ’ in Journal of Theological Studies i. [6] 481.
Willoughby C. Allen.
Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - God
1. General aspects of the apostolic doctrine.-The object of this article is to investigate the doctrine of God as it is presented in the Christian writings of the apostolic period; but, in view of the scope of this Dictionary, the teaching of our Lord Himself and the witness of the Gospel records will be somewhat lightly passed over.
The existence of God is universally assumed in the NT. The arguments that can be adduced, e.g. from the consent of mankind and from the existence of the world, are only intended to show that the belief that God is is reasonable, not to prove it as a mathematical proposition. But undoubtedly the fact that the doctrine is by such arguments shown to be probable will lead man to receive with more readiness the revealed doctrine of God’s existence. The biblical writers, however, did not, in either dispensation, concern themselves to prove a fact which no one doubted. Psalms 10:4; Psalms 14:1; Psalms 53:1 are no exceptions to this general consent. The ungodly man (the ‘fool’) who said in his heart ‘There is no God,’ did not deny God’s existence, but His interfering in the affairs of men. ‘The wicked … saith, He will not require it. All his thoughts are, There is no God.’
The apostolic doctrine of God as we have it in Acts, Revelation, and the Epistles does not come direct from the OT. It presupposes a teaching of our Lord. At first this teaching was in the main handed down by the oral method, and the Epistles, or at least most of them, do not defend on any of our four Gospels, though it is quite likely that there were some written evangelic records in existence even when the earliest of the Epistles were written (Luke 1:1). St. Paul, writing on certain points of Christian teaching, tells us that he handed on what he himself had received (1 Corinthians 11:2; John 14:7-11; 1 Corinthians 15:3; the expression ἀπὸ τοῦ κυρίον in 1 Corinthians 11:23 probably does not mean ‘from the Lord without human mediation’: it was tradition handed on from Christ).
In approaching the apostolic writings we must bear in mind two points. (a) The NT was not intended to be a compendium of theology. The Epistles, for example, were written for the immediate needs of the time and place, doubtless without any thought arising in their writers’ minds of their being in the future canonical writings of a new volume of the Scriptures. We should not, therefore, a priori expect to find in them any formulated statement of doctrine. (b) There is a considerable difference between the Epistles on the one hand and the Gospels on the other in the presentation of doctrine. The Gospels are narratives of historical events, and in them, therefore, the gradual unfolding of Jesus’ teaching, as in fact it was given, is duly set forth. This is especially the ease with the Synoptics, though even in the Fourth Gospel there is a certain amount of progress of doctrine. At the first the doctrines taught by oar Lord are set forth, so to speak, in their infancy, adapted to the comprehension of beginners; and they are gradually unfolded as the Gospel story proceeds. In the Epistles, on the other hand, the writer treats his correspondents as convinced Christians, and therefore, though he instructs them, he plunges at once in medias res. There is no progress of doctrine from the first chapter of an Epistle to the last.
The question we have to ask ourselves is, What did the apostles teach about God? Or rather, in order not to beg any question (since it is obviously impossible in this article to discuss problems of date and authorship), we must ask, What do the books of the NT teach about God?
2. Christian development of the OT doctrine of God.-It is an essential doctrine of the NT writers that a new and fuller revelation was given by the Incarnation and by the fresh outpouring of the Holy Ghost.
(a) The revelation by the Incarnate.-That the Son had made a revelation of old by the part which He took in creation (see below, 6 (e)) is not explicitly stated, but is implied by Romans 1:20, which says that creation is a revelation of God’s everlasting power and Divinity (θειότης, ‘Divine nature and properties,’ whereas θεότης is ‘Divine Personality’ [1]). But the Incarnate reveals God in a fuller sense than ever before: ‘God … hath at the end of these days spoken unto us in [2] Son’ (Hebrews 1:1 f.). The revelation by the Incarnation is a conception specially emphasized in the Johannine writings, not only in the Gospel, but also in the First Epistle and the Apocalypse. The Prologue of the Gospel says that ‘God only begotten’ (or ‘the only begotten Son’ [3]) ‘which is in the bosom of the Father, hath declared him’ (John 1:18). ‘What he hath seen and heard, of that he beareth witness’ (John 3:32). The revelation of the Son is the revelation of the Father (1 Corinthians 11:23). The ‘life which was with the Father’ was manifested and gave a message about God (1 John 1:2-5). The revelation of eternal life which is in the Son was made when God bore witness concerning His Son (1 John 5:10 f.). This new and fuller revelation is that with which the Apocalyptist begins his book (Revelation 1:1): ‘the revelation (apocalypse) of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to shew unto his servants’ (see Swete, Com. in loc., who gives good reasons fox thinking that the revelation mode by Jesus, rather than that made about Jesus, is meant; cf. Galatians 1:12).
We find the same teaching, though in a somewhat less explicit form, in the Pauline Epistles. Christ is ‘the power of God and the wisdom of God … made unto us wisdom from God’ (1 Corinthians 1:24; 1 Corinthians 1:30). In Him ‘are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge hidden’ (Colossians 2:3). In the new ‘dispensation of the fulness of the times’ God has ‘made known unto us the mystery of his will’ (Ephesians 1:9 f., a passage where ‘mystery’ specially conveys the idea of a hidden thing revealed, rather than one kept secret). To St. Paul personally Jesus made a revelation (Galatians 1:12; see above). That our Lord made a new revelation is also stated in the Synoptics: ‘Neither doth any know the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son willeth to reveal [4]’ (Matthew 11:27; cf. Luke 10:22). So in Acts, Jesus bids the disciples ‘wait for the promise of the Father, which [5] ye heard from me’ (Acts 1:4); and St. Peter (Acts 10:36) calls the new revelation ‘the word which [6] sent unto the children of Israel, preaching good tidings of peace by Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all).’ Sanday (Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible (5 vols) ii. 212) points out that the passages about our Lord being the ‘image’ of God, and ‘in the form of God’ (see below, 6 (c)), express the fact that He brings to men’s minds the essential nature of God.
(b) The revelation by the Holy Ghost.-The new revelation of the nature of God by the full outpouring of the Spirit, in a manner unknown even in the old days of prophetical inspiration, is also, as far as the promise is concerned, a favourite Johannine conception (see especially John 14-16). The promise is, however, alluded to by St. Luke (Luke 24:49, Acts 1:4), and its fulfilment is dwelt on at great length in Acts, which may be called the ‘Gospel of the Holy Spirit,’ and in which the action of the Third Person in guiding the disciples into all the truth (John 16:13) is described very fully. Jesus gave commandment to the apostles ‘through the Holy Ghost’ (Acts 1:2). The guidance of the Spirit is described, e.g., in Acts 2:17 f.; Acts 8:9; Acts 10:19; Acts 11:12; Acts 13:2; Acts 16:6 f.; Acts 20:23; Acts 21:11, though these passages speak rather of the practical loading of the disciples in the conduct of life rather than of the teaching of the truth. St. Paul says that ‘the things which eye saw not’ (he seems to be paraphrasing Isaiah 64:4) have been revealed by God ‘unto us’ (ἡμῖν is emphatic here) ‘through the Spirit, for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God’ (1 Corinthians 2:9 f.; so 1 Corinthians 2:13). It is the Holy Spirit only who can teach us that ‘Jesus is Lord’ (1 Corinthians 12:3).
3. Attributes of God in the NT.-Before considering the great advance on the OT ideas made by the Christian doctrine of God, we may notice certain Divine attributes which are emphasized in the NT, but which are also found in the OT.
(a) God is Almighty.-The word used in the NT (as in the Eastern creeds) for this attribute is παντοκράτωρ, chiefly in the Apocalypse (Revelation 1:8; Revelation 4:8; Revelation 11:17; Revelation 15:3; Revelation 16:7; Revelation 16:14; Revelation 19:6; Revelation 19:15; Revelation 21:22), but also in 2 Corinthians 6:18, as it is used in the Septuagint , where it renders ṣebhâ’ôth and Shaddai. We notice in each instance in Rev. how emphatically it stands at the end: ‘the Lord God, which is and which was … the Almighty,’ ‘the Lord God, the Almighty’; not ‘Lord God Almighty’ as Authorized Version (the Authorized Version translates the word by ‘omnipotent’ in Revelation 19:6 only). The word omnipotens occurs in the earliest Roman creed.-But what does ‘Almighty’ imply? To the modern reader it is apt to convey the idea of omnipotence, as if it were παντοδύναμος, i.e. ‘able to do everything,’ on account of the Latin translation omnipotens. So Augustine understands the word in the Creed (de Symbolo ad Catechumenos, 2 [7]), explaining it, ‘He does whatever He wills’ (Swete, Apostles’ Creed, p. 22). Undoubtedly God is omnipotent, though this does not mean that He can act against the conditions which He Himself makes-He cannot sin, He cannot lie (Titus 1:2, Hebrews 6:18; so 2 Timothy 2:13 of our Lord). As Augustine says (loc. cit.), if He could do these things He would not be omnipotent. But this is not the meaning of ‘Almighty.’ As we see from the form of the Greek word (παντοκράτωρ), and as is suggested by the Hebrew words which it renders, it denotes sovereignty over the world. It is equivalent to the ‘Lord of heaven and earth’ of Acts 17:24, Matthew 11:25. Everything is under God’s sway (see Pearson, Expos. of the Creed, article i., especially notes 37-43). The Syriac bears out this interpretation by rendering the word aḥîdh kûl, i.e. ‘holding (or governing) all.’
(b) God is ‘living.’-He has ‘life in himself’ (John 5:26). He is ‘the living God’ (Revelation 7:2), ‘that liveth for ever and ever’ (Revelation 10:6); and therefore is eternal, the ‘Alpha and Omega, which is and which was and which is to come’ (ὁ ὢν καὶ ὁ ἦν καὶ ὁ ἐρχόμενος), ‘the beginning and the end’ (Revelation 1:8; Revelation 21:6; cf. Revelation 16:5)-these words are here (but not in Revelation 22:13; see below, 6 (e)) rightly ascribed by Swete to the Eternal Father. ‘One day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day’ (2 Peter 3:8; cf. Psalms 90:4; see also Romans 1:20).
(c) God is omniscient.-He knows the hearts of all men (καρδιογνῶστα πάντων, Acts 1:24; Acts 15:8.; The prayer in Acts 1:24 is perhaps addressed to our Lord); He knows all things (1 John 3:20). St. Paul eloquently exclaims: ‘O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God!’ (Romans 11:33), and ascribes glory ‘to the only wise God,’ i.e. to God who alone is wise (Romans 16:27; the same phrase occurs in some Manuscripts of 1 Timothy 1:17, but ‘wise’ is there an interpolation). Even the uninstructed Cornelius recognizes that we are in God’s sight (Acts 10:33). Such sayings cannot but be a reminiscence of our Lord’s teaching that ‘not one of them is forgotten in the sight of God’ (