This is an extensive glossary and was deliberately designed as such. The author is aware that many readers may be new to the subject of this book and that it can be frustrating to meet new words or expressions, whose meaning has to be sought or clarified elsewhere. However, he recognises that there may still be words or expressions which have been missed for some readers.
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Aaronic Priesthood (see Levites)
Abrahamic Covenant is the everlasting covenant made between God and Abraham in which God declared that he would make a great nation of Abraham’s descendants through Isaac (and Jacob) and that he would give them the land of Canaan as an everlasting possession.
Aelia Capitolina was the name given to the city built on the ruins of Jerusalem by the Roman Emperor Hadrian following the Bar Kochba revolt which ended in AD 135. The Romans were enraged and determined to erase Judaism from the province which they renamed Syria Palaestina.
Aliyah (lit. ascent or going up) means immigration to the land of Israel (Eretz Yisrael) from the worldwide Diaspora of Jews. In modern times the First Aliyah occurred between 1882 and 1903. These were principally Jews fleeing persecution in Russia. The Second Aliyah followed further persecution between 1903 and 1914. There have been subsequent aliyahs up until Israel’s independence in 1948. Since then Jewish immigration to Israel is often described as “making aliyah”.
Allegory is an extended metaphor. There is a sense of an unfolding story. For example, Jesus Christ is described as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah (Revelation 5:5). This is a simple metaphor. On the other hand the Valley of Dry Bones in Ezekiel Chapter 37 is an allegory for the restoration of the nation of Israel. The story unfolds as the bones come to life and we are told that they represent the whole house of Israel.
Amillennialism, (see Millennium).
Anti-Semitism is belief or behaviour which is hostile to Jews simply because they are Jewish.
Apocalypse (lit. unveiling) is the prophetic revelation given to the Apostle John as recorded in the book of Revelation. Apocalyptic means pertaining to this revelation; prophesying disaster or doom.
Apologetics is the intellectual defence of Christianity.
Apostasy means falling away from the Christian faith. It can also be used in relation to other faiths and political causes.
Apostle: The twelve apostles of Jesus Christ were the human founders of the Christian Church, (led of course by the Holy Spirit). An apostle is someone with a call to spread the gospel by planting or founding churches.
Apostolic Church, sometimes called the New Testament Church, is significant in that it is thought to provide a template for the way churches, in any age, should function.
Ashkenazim are Jews generally originating from Eastern Europe and Russia.
Bedouin are nomadic, desert-dwelling Arabs, found across the Middle East. The Bedouin of Israel live in the Negev desert. Many Israeli Bedouin are now semi-nomadic or urban dwellers.
Born-Again means the renewal of one’s spirit by coming into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. It comes from Jesus’ words to Nicodemus in John Chapter 3.
Byzantine Empire: This was the Roman Empire in the East centred on modern day Greece and Turkey. The Roman Empire in the West collapsed in the fifth century AD, leaving the Catholic Church to dominate Italy. The Eastern Empire, however, continued to function centred on the Orthodox Church. The Empire lasted from AD 395 until defeated by the Muslim Ottoman Empire in 1453. Its capital was Byzantium, later to be Constantinople and now modern day Istanbul.
Canaan, land of: This was the area of land west of the River Jordan that lay between the Sinai Desert in Egypt to the south and Mount Hermon in the north. It was the land of which Abraham was told to walk the length and breadth (Genesis 13:17).
Canaanites were the principal tribe of people living in the land of Canaan at the time of Israel’s conquest of the Promised Land.
Canon of Scripture is the list of books considered to be inspired by the Holy Spirit and which therefore constitute the Bible as we know it today. The process of consolidating the canon was spread over time. The Old Testament canon (which the Jews call the Tanakh) was thought to have been completed by the end of the first century AD, possibly at a Council of Jamnia circa AD 90. The New Testament canon (of 27 books), however, was not settled until the end of the fourth century AD, where it was accepted as closed at the Council of Carthage in AD 397 under the leadership of St. Augustine.
Charismatic Revival refers to the Holy Spirit Renewal in the traditional churches from the middle of the twentieth century. This led to Christians being ‘baptised in the Holy Spirit’ with the accompaniment of supernatural gifts such as prophecy and ‘speaking in tongues’. It had been preceded by the Pentecostal awakening earlier in the century with the establishment of Pentecostal denominations.
Christian Zionist/Christian anti-Zionist: These terms are defined early in Chapter 2, Conflicting Theologies
Church Fathers were the leading Christian theologians in the early centuries of the Church, ending with St. Augustine in the fourth century AD. They were especially significant in Church history as they formulated doctrine in the years before the Canon of Scripture was finalised.
Covenant is a binding, unbreakable obligation between two parties which in former times was sealed in blood. It is a solemn undertaking between two people or groups of people; or between God and a person or group of persons. The most significant covenants are those which express God’s relationship with people.
Covenantalism is the term employed by Stephen Sizer to distinguish his theology from Dispensationalism. It has the following tenets:
- It sees the coming of Jesus as the fulfilment of the promises made to Israel.
- It sees God as having one ‘Chosen People’ at any given time in history.
- It regards the promises relating to the land, Jerusalem and the Temple as annulled or fulfilled in the Church. (Stephen Sizer, Zion’s Christian Soldiers P.12-13).
Covenantalist is one who holds these views. This author has used the term Covenantalist throughout the book to denote those who subscribe to Replacement Theology or some variant of it. They are usually, but not necessarily, anti-Zionist.
Crusaders were soldiers mainly from France and Northern Europe in the early Middle Ages (circa 1095-1291) who led a series of campaigns (Crusades) to win back Jerusalem and the Holy Land for Christianity from Muslim control. They were anything but Christian in action, slaughtering Muslims, Jews and even local Christians, in their attempts.
Decapolis: This was a geographical area comprising ten cities in the Roman provinces of Judea and Syria in Jesus’ time. It extended from the Sea of Galilee and Northern Samaria across the River Jordan into what is today the State of Jordan and Southern Syria.
Diaspora (lit. scattering or dispersion) refers to the dispersion of the Jews from their homeland which began with the Assyrian and Babylonian exiles in the seventh and sixth centuries BC. It was completed with the further dispersion between AD 70 and AD 135. Also: A collective name for the Jews living outside Israel.
Dispensationalism is the theology which divides biblical history into distinct periods or ages, (most commonly seven). The last two: ‘the Church age’ and ‘the Kingdom (Millennial) age’ are the two relevant ages to a contemporary view of Israel. Dispensationalists tend to think the Church age has run its course and that God has now turned his attention back to Israel. (Some writers – this author included – would argue that the theology of the Church and Israel does not have to be an ‘either the Church or Israel’ theology. It can be both.)
Druze: The Druze are a distinct group of people of Arab descent who live in Northern Israel, Lebanon and Southern Syria. They speak Arabic, but consider themselves separate from Arabs. Their religion, although originating in Islam, is now distinct from it. Their faith is monotheistic and is an eclectic mix of beliefs from Islam, Judaism, Christianity and Greek philosophy originating in the eleventh century AD.
Dual-Covenant Theology is the view that Jews are reconciled to God simply by keeping the Mosaic Law and that unlike Gentiles (Non-Jews), they do not need the salvation of Jesus. This error arises from a confusion about the relationship between the three covenants: Abrahamic, Mosaic and New Covenant of Jesus. The New Testament makes clear that both Jews and Gentiles need to be saved.
Durban Conference is the name given to the United Nations World Conference against Racism held in Durban, South Africa, in 2001. There were two follow-up conferences in Geneva (2009) and New York (2011). They became a venue for Arab and Muslim nations to denigrate Israel and the latter two conferences were boycotted by several Western nations in protest.
Ecclesiology is the theological study of the Christian Church: its origin, its relationship to Jesus Christ, its relationship to believers, its role in salvation and its destiny.
Empires: There were five great successive empires concerned with the exile and government of the Jewish people in biblical times. (These are approximate dates for their involvement):
Assyrian 740 – 612 BC
Babylonian 612 – 539 BC
Medo-Persian 539 – 333 BC
Greek 333 – 146 BC
Roman 146 BC – AD 135
There were preceding Assyrian and Babylonian empires which did not impact upon the Jewish nation. The Greek Empire fractured into subsidiary empires, for example the Ptolemaic and Seleucid kingdoms, after the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC.
Eschatology is the doctrine of the end-times, both preceding and following Christ’s return to earth.
Evangelical Christian is one who has had a personal encounter with the risen Jesus Christ and who feels motivated to share the Good News.
Exegesis is the explanation or interpretation of scripture.
Exodus is the departure of the Israelites from Egypt under Moses. This famous event heralded the establishment of the nation of Israel under God’s rule. It is frequently referred to in both the Old and New testaments as an example of God’s deliverance of his people from oppression by another nation.
Final Solution was the Nazis’ evil plan to destroy the Jewish race by mass extermination. It was drawn up by the Wannsee Conference in 1942. Prior to that the Nazis had executed thousands of Jews, but the ‘Final Solution’ was the plan for systematic genocide of European Jews in the concentration camps.
First Advent (of Jesus Christ) was the Son of God’s first appearance on earth when he came as the suffering servant to die on the Cross for the sins of mankind. (See: Second Advent).
Forced Conversion refers to the choice given to Jews in Spain, and later Portugal, either to convert to Christianity or to suffer increasing persecution in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. In 1492, if they refused to convert, they were expelled en masse from Spain. The converts were known as Conversos or Marranos and often continued to practise their Jewish faith in secret.
Fulfilment Theology is the view which says that the Old Testament promises concerning Israel find their fulfilment in Jesus Christ and/or the Church. (It is a variant of Replacement Theology).
Gaza is the strip of land to the south-west of Israel bordering the Sinai Desert (Egypt) and the Mediterranean Sea. Like the West Bank its population is Palestinian and it was intended by the Oslo Accords that it should become part of a future Palestinian state.
Gentile: Any member of the human race who is not Jewish. The New Testament occasionally refers to Gentiles as Greeks.
God: The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. This is the Trinity or Triune God of Christianity. The mystery of God is that he is one God existing in three Persons.
Gospel: This is the good news of forgiveness of sins and salvation through Jesus Christ. It refers also to one of the four accounts of the life of Jesus in the New Testament.
Great Tribulation (Jacob’s Trouble): This is the time of very great trouble coming upon the world in the period prior to the Second Advent or the return of Jesus Christ, and which will be centred on the land of Israel and the Middle East. There are many prophecies in the Old Testament and passages in the New Testament which refer to such a time. Some writers believe, from passages in Daniel and Revelation, that the duration of this time of trouble will be seven years. Other writers think this time has already happened with the destruction of the Temple in AD 70, but this view is difficult to sustain in the face of passages from the New Testament, especially the book of Revelation.
Green Line: This is the armistice line agreed under the auspices of the United Nations at the end of Israel’s War of Independence in 1949. It came to represent the de facto border of the new State of Israel. The Green Line has ongoing significance in relation to the territories occupied by Israel during the Six-Day War in 1967.
Hamas is a political-military organisation with its roots in the Muslim Brotherhood which came to the fore in the West Bank and Gaza during the First Intifada. It has never renounced its Charter which calls for the destruction of Israel and it has waged relentless rocket and other attacks against Israel and Israeli citizens. It currently holds power in Gaza and is in conflict with its rival party, Fatah, in the West Bank.
Hasmonean. This refers to the Hasmonean dynasty which oversaw a brief period of Jewish independence during the second and first century BC. The dynasty was established by the Jewish family, the Maccabees who rebelled successfully against the Temple desecration by the Seleucid (Syrian) King Antiochus IV Epiphanes.
Hebrew: 1) Abraham and his descendants through Isaac and Jacob were known as Hebrews. With the Exodus from Egypt they became known as Israelites; 2) The spoken and written language of the Israelites in the Old Testament, revived in modern times in the modern State of Israel.
Hellenist Philosophy is the basis of Western philosophy. It embodies the principles of philosophy developed by the ancient Greeks like Plato and Aristotle. Early Christian leaders like Clement and Origen who were based at the Greek school of philosophy in Alexandria, sought to set Christian theology in a Greek philosophical framework. (This is explained more fully in Chapter 10 under Allegories in scripture).
Hermeneutics denotes the art and science of text interpretation. In biblical hermeneutics, the allegorical, typological and literal would be different ways of understanding scripture.
Hezbollah (Hizbullah, lit. Party of Allah): Like Hamas this is a political-military organisation, this time with its roots in the Iranian Islamic revolution. It was founded in Lebanon in response to the Israeli occupation from 1982. (Israel had invaded South Lebanon to put a stop to the armed attacks of Yasser Arafat’s Palestinian Liberation Organisation). Hezbollah is now a major player in the politics of Lebanon, but its principal objective as stated in many declarations and in its revised manifesto of 2009, remains the obliteration of what it calls the ‘Zionist entity’ (i.e. Israel).
Holocaust (Hebrew Shoah): This was the genocide of six million European Jews by the Nazis in World War II.
Holy Land: This is an alternative name for Israel/Palestine. It emphasis God’s dealings with the Israelites, and in particular, the fact that Jesus lived and died there.
Idolatry is the worship of a false god. This god may be represented by an idol such as an inanimate carving in wood or stone, or it may be an idea or a person.
Intercessory Prayer: Literally this means prayer on behalf of a person or situation, as distinct from adoratory, confessional or thanksgiving prayers. However, with the advent of the charismatic movement it has come to mean prayers motivated and led by the Holy Spirit himself – prayers which really engage God with the person or situation being prayed for.
Intifada (lit. shaking off): This was the Palestinian uprising against the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, first from 1987 to 1993 and secondly from 2000 to 2006. The First Intifada was primarily a campaign of non-violent civil disobedience and resistance which included strikes, boycotts of Israeli products and refusal to pay taxes. There was, however, loss of life on both sides and inevitably the intifada came to be defined as a violent clash between stone-throwing Palestinian youths and the Israel Defence Force (IDF) because this was the media portrayal. Most of the action was in the occupied territories and the Israeli civilian population was largely unaffected. The Second Intifada, however, was much more deadly for the Israeli civilian population. It was an armed insurrection from the start involving armed incursions and rocket attacks in Israel itself. Most deadly for the civilian population were the suicide bombers who struck anywhere within Israel and eventually led to the creation of the Separation Barrier. The loss of life on both sides was much greater than in the First Intifada.
Islam (Islamic or Muslim faith): Islam is the monotheistic religion founded by Muhammad in the seventh century AD and which spread rapidly across the Middle East. Its adherents are known as Muslims. Today it holds sway in all Arab countries and many others. Its holy book is the Qu’ran and its god is called Allah. It has two main sects, the majority Sunnis and the minority Shia, and its religious and social law is known as Sharia (Islamic Law). Militant Muslims desire all Islamic countries (and eventually the rest of the world) to be governed by Sharia Law. Islam does not accept the foundational belief of the Christian faith: that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that salvation is found through his atoning death on the Cross.
Israel – several meanings:
1) The name given to Jacob after he had wrestled with the Angel of the Lord.
It means “Having power with God”.
2) The name given to the descendants of Jacob, who came out of Egypt at
the time of the Exodus.
3) The nation-state under the kingship of David and Solomon.
4) The northern kingdom, following the Civil War after the death of Solomon.
5) The modern State of Israel.
6) Israel is sometimes used as a collective name for the Jewish people
in the New Testament.
Israelite: The term given to a citizen of Israel from the time of the Exodus until the division of Solomon’s kingdom. Thereafter citizens tended to be called Jews, especially after the partial return from Babylon. Israelite is occasionally used in the New Testament.
Jerusalem was first captured from the Jebusites by King David and became the capital of his united kingdom. Despite the vicissitudes of war, it has remained central to Jewish hopes and aspirations ever since. It is clearly significant to God as it is mentioned several hundred times in the Bible. It was the place of Jesus’ First Advent and is prophesied in both the Old and New Testaments as the place of his return.
Jew: The term Jew came to replace the word Israelite at the time of the Babylonian captivity. It is derived from Judah, the fourth son of Jacob. It probably came into widespread use because it was principally the people of Judah who returned from Babylon to rebuild the Temple and later on, the walls of Jerusalem.
Judah: 1) The fourth son of Jacob. 2) The southern kingdom after the civil war following Solomon’s death. After the return from Babylon it came to be called Judea. It was later the province of Judaea in the Roman Empire at the time of Jesus.
Jubilee, Year of: This was the fiftieth year in the Hebrew Calendar. In the Mosaic Law God instituted both the Sabbath Year occurring every seventh year and the Jubilee Year occurring after seven Sabbaths. They both related to husbandry of the land and to property rights. The land was to remain fallow and rested during the Sabbath and the Jubilee years. The Jubilee also celebrated the redemption of land by the family of the original owners, and the freedom for slaves who had not been able to redeem themselves. This applied to people who had had to sell land, or themselves as bond servants, through poverty.
Justification by faith: This means that we have been made righteous in God’s sight. Because of the sacrifice of Jesus and the punishment which he took for our sin, God has cancelled our sin and we are seen as righteous in his sight. This is the free gift of God received through his unmerited favour or grace. We have done (and can do) nothing to merit this favour.
Kibbutz (pl. kibbutzim; lit. gathering, clustering). This was the name given to the agricultural settlements when the Jews started to return to the land in the 1880s. They were utopian ventures in which the land and property were communally owned and which were largely self-sufficient. They were in fact co-operatives, a concept which spread to industrial plants. Today there is much more private (capitalist) ownership both within and outside the kibbutzim. Kibbutz production today amounts to about 10% of Israel’s industrial output and 40% of its agricultural output.
Kingdom of God: This kingdom is the rule of God in the hearts of all created beings who are willingly subject to him and thus in fellowship with him. This excludes unregenerate man, the devil and his fallen angels who, as the Bible makes very clear, are in rebellion against God.
Law of Return: This is the law of Israel enacted in 1950 which gives Jews from the Diaspora the right of return and settlement in Israel and to gain Israeli citizenship It was modified and broadened in 1970 and now includes ‘born Jews’ (having a Jewish mother or maternal grandmother), those with Jewish ancestry (having a Jewish father or grandfather) and Gentile converts to Judaism. It also includes the non-Jewish spouses of Jews.
Levites: These were the priestly tribe of Israel, the descendants of Jacob’s son Levi. Aaron and Moses were both Levites. Aaron was given the unique position of High Priest (Kohen Gadol) and his descendants were to be a family dynasty of priests carrying out particular duties, first in the Tabernacle and then in the Temple. Descendants of this dynasty are known as Kohanim and surnames like Cohen, Cohn, Kahn etc., may indicate descent from the Kohanim. The remaining Levites carried out the subsidiary duties of the priesthood of which there were many. Surnames like Levy, Levine, Levitt etc., may indicate descent from the Levites.
Literalism: This refers to the hermeneutic whereby prophetic scripture is understood to have a literal, rather than an allegorical meaning.
Maccabees: This was the family led by Mattathias Maccabaeus who rebelled against the profanities of the Seleucid King Antiochus IV Epiphanes in 167 BC. The father and a succession of sons defeated the Seleucid army though guerrilla warfare and set up a dynasty (the Hasmonean dynasty) which ruled an independent or at times semi-independent Jewish state between 164-63 BC. It was finally defeated by the Roman General Pompey and incorporated into the Roman Empire as a province. They cleansed and rededicated the Temple, reintroduced Temple practices and the reading of the Torah and re-established circumcision. In short they reversed Antiochus’ brutal attempts to eradicate Judaism.
Marranos (Conversos): These were Jews who were forced to convert to Christianity in fifteenth century Spain. After the establishment of the Catholic Inquisition in 1481 and the expulsion of all Jews from Spain in 1492, remaining Jewish became a capital offence. Many converts secretly retained their Jewish beliefs and practices. They were Catholic by day and Jews by night. They also fled to Spanish and Portuguese Colonies in the New World at the time of Columbus. This is the origin of such communities in North and South America today. ‘Marranos’ meaning ‘swine’ was the contemptuous name given to Jews who were forced to convert.
Messiah: The Messiah or ‘Anointed One’ is the saviour or liberator of the Jewish people, who at some point in the future will rule over the united tribes of Israel and usher in the messianic age of peace. For Christians the Messiah is Jesus Christ who ushered in the Kingdom of God in men’s hearts through his death on the cross. He will return as the victorious King at his Second Advent.
Messianic Jew: These are Jews who have come to a personal faith in Jesus Christ as their saviour and messiah. They are in God’s family along with Gentile Christians, but prefer to be known as Messianic believers as a means of retaining their identity as Jews.
Metaphor is a figure of speech in which one object (or being) is described as another object (or being) in order to illustrate or emphasise its nature. For example, Jesus describes himself as the vine and believers as its branches.
Middle East is a variable geographical term. It tends to mean the countries extending from Egypt in the West to Iran in the East and from Turkey in the North to the Arabian Peninsula in the South. It, of course, includes Israel, the West Bank and Gaza.
Millennium: A period of 1000 years when Christ reigns on earth during a time of peace and blessing. It is mentioned specifically in Revelation 20:5, but it is thought that several passages in Isaiah are describing such a period e.g. Isaiah 11:6-9, 65:20-25. Christians may believe that this is a literal period in history or that it is symbolic, and this has led to sharply different views.
1) Amillennialism: The amillennialists take the 1000-year reign as symbolic and apply it to the whole of Church history between the first and Second Advents of Jesus Christ. Jesus reigns in heaven rather than on earth and the saints who share this reign are divided between those already in heaven and those still on earth. The reign is exercised through the kingdom of God in men’s hearts wherever Satan’s spiritual darkness is pushed back. There is not the same sense of optimism found among the postmillennialists that Christianity will take over the world as men and women are won for Christ. Amillennialists do not envisage a reign of Christ once he returns. His return is followed immediately by the day of judgement and the creation of a new heaven and earth. Since amillennialists believe we are already in the symbolic 1000-year period, they are really a sub-group of the postmillennialists.
2) Postmillennialism: The postmillennialists (also known as Restorationists) take the 1000 years literally, but they believe that it applies to the 1000-year period of Church history prior to Christ’s return. They have an optimistic approach to the future on earth. They believe that the world will have been Christianised to such an extent that governments will have been taken over by Christians and that the kingdom of God will have been established on earth. The Church can then present this kingdom to Jesus Christ on his return as a reigning king. Since the world is nowhere ready to receive Jesus as a reigning monarch, postmillennialists are not yet concerned about the point in history of his return, since it must still be a long way off. They are pre-occupied with winning souls and building the kingdom here on earth. Jesus called us to gather in the harvest, so winning souls for Christ is spot on. Premillennialists should be doing that as well. There is, however, a sharp difference of opinion about building the kingdom of God on earth, in the face of increasing spiritual darkness.
3) Premillennialism: The premillennialists believe that Jesus will return at the end of the existing Church age to a world of increasing chaos and violence. Israel will be surrounded by foes and will be the centre of world attention. He will alight on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem from the place where he ascended into heaven when he said goodbye to the apostles (Acts Chapter 1). He will defeat Israel’s foes and will usher in the 1000-year millennial kingdom where he will reign from Jerusalem with the help of his Church of born-again believers. The essential point is that Jesus will return at the beginning of the 1000-year reign. It is the only millennial view which attaches significance to the nation of Israel.
4) Preterism: This is a more recent category, which suggests that end-time prophecy was fulfilled very early on in the generation that witnessed the death and resurrection of Jesus and the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in AD 70. The reasoning behind this is that much New Testament predictive prophecy, such as Jesus’ own words in Matthew and Luke, and other apocalyptic writings in the New Testament, could refer to the traumatic event of the destruction of the Temple.
Mizrahi Jews (Mizrahim): These are Jews descended from Jewish communities in the Middle East and the Caucasus.
Molech was a Canaanite god to whom children were sacrificed by burning. The Israelites were given strict instructions not to undertake the abominable, idolatrous practices of the tribes whom they were told to expel from the Promised Land.
Mosaic Law: This was the set of laws and commands given by God to the Israelites through Moses for governing every aspect of their lives. It was headed by the Moral Law or Ten Commandments and consisted in total of 613 statutes (mitzvot) including the two Genesis commands, “be fruitful and multiply” and male circumcision.
Mountains of Israel: These are mentioned several times in the book of Ezekiel and clearly refer to the central uplands of Judea and Samaria.
Nazarene was the term used by rabbinic Jews to describe the early Christians. They were considered a sect and the term was used because Jesus had come from Nazareth.
Negev Desert is the large area of desert in the South of Israel. It runs south of the town of Beersheva to the Sinai in the South-west and the Gulf of Aqaba in the South. It receives little rain and is very arid.
New Covenant: The New Covenant was first announced for the Jews in Jeremiah 31:31-34. It was enacted when Jesus died on the Cross for the sins of mankind and was subsequently resurrected. For those who accept this sacrifice on their behalf, both Jew and Gentile, God gives them a new heart and writes his law upon it. It both fulfils and takes the place of the Old (Mosaic) Covenant.
New Heavens and Earth: This concerns the promise of God that the existing heavens and earth will be burnt up and new ones created in their place. It is referred to in both the Old Testament (Isaiah 65:17 and 66:22) and the New Testament (2 Peter 3:7 and Revelation 21:1).
New Jerusalem is a new city of Jerusalem which comes down out of heaven onto the new earth (Revelation 3:12 and 21:2).
New Testament: This is the part of the Bible which reveals to us the unfolding of the New Covenant. It is therefore about the life and death of Jesus and the things which flowed from this.
Oath: An oath is a sworn promise or declaration, testifying to the truth of a statement or the binding nature of a promise. As we have seen in the Chapter on Covenants, God binds himself by an oath as well as expecting men to do so.
Occult Beliefs (lit. hidden): These are beliefs and practices pertaining to Satan’s kingdom of darkness. Readers of the Bible are explicitly warned (Deuteronomy 18:10-12) against involvement in any kind of witchcraft, divination, fortune telling or contact with the dead.
Old Covenant: This is the covenant inaugurated between God and Moses who represented the Israelites. It is often called the Mosaic Law and is not to be confused with the Abrahamic Covenant. It set down the rules by which the Israelites should govern their relationship with God and between themselves. It displayed the full panoply of moral conduct and social laws, as the people were about to enter statehood as a nation.
Old Testament: This is the first and larger half of the Bible. It deals primarily with God’s choice of a people, Israel, to represent him on earth. It was from this race that a worldwide saviour would ultimately be born.
One-State Solution is the political proposal for solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with one state embracing both Jews and Palestinians, as opposed to the better-known proposal of a two-state solution. The problem for Israel with this suggestion is that an Arab majority could soon vote out the Jewish nature of the state and restrict further Jewish immigration.
Orthodox Church refers to the Eastern Church that was centred on Constantinople (modern day Istanbul) and which later gave rise to the Greek and Russian Orthodox churches which we have today. The Orthodox and Catholic churches gradually grew apart, much of the difference centred on who was to exercise Church authority. The ‘Great Schism’ between East and West churches occurred in AD 1054 when the Patriarch of Constantinople was excommunicated by Rome. Against the worldly, structural and liturgical differences, the theological differences between these great churches seem relatively minor. A principal difference relates to the Holy Spirit. The Catholic Church declares that the Holy Spirit proceeds from both the Father and the Son, while the Orthodox Church declares that he proceeds only from the Father. (This is known as the Filloque Controversy).
Oslo Accords: These agreements laid the foundation for a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza. The Oslo Agreement Part I was signed by Israel’s Prime Minister Yitzak Rabin and the Palestine Liberation Organisation’s Chairman Yasser Arafat in 1993, while Part II was signed in 1995. The two agreements led to the establishment of the Palestinian Authority with responsibilities for governing defined areas in the West Bank and Gaza starting in 1994. The implementation of these agreements stalled with the advent of the Second Intifada (see Intifada) and they remain only partially implemented. They were meant to lead to final negotiations on the establishment of a Palestinian state.
Ottoman Empire: This was one of the largest and most extensive empires in history. It began in what is modern-day Turkey around AD 1300 and lasted until 1922 after its defeat by the allies in World War I. It was Muslim in religion. In 1453 it defeated the remnants of the Byzantine Empire and Constantinople (now Istanbul) became its capital. It dominated the Middle East including Palestine for 400 years from 1517 to 1917.
Paganism: The word pagan relates to religion derived from nature and the material world. Paganism rejects monotheistic religion. It tends to believe in a plurality of gods (polytheism) and to ascribe a living soul to inanimate objects (animism). It ranges from celebrating nature to full involvement in the Occult. Pagan practices in the Old Testament were often morally repugnant, and abhorrent to God.
1) The area of land approximating to the land of Canaan. The word was never used in Old Testament times. It was first used by the Romans following the defeat of the Bar Kochba revolt AD 132-135. They were determined to erase as much of Judaism as possible and they renamed the province of Judaea, Syria Palaestina.
2) Modern-day Palestine was part of the Turkish Ottoman Empire for 400 years until 1917 and its borders were never clearly defined. It was part of Greater Syria. It encompassed the traditional area along the Mediterranean Coast, West of the River Jordan and an equivalent area to the East of the River, in what is now the State of Jordan.
Palestinian Authority: The Palestinian Authority (PA) was established as the interim governing body for the Palestinians as part of the Oslo Accords. It is responsible for civil and security matters over the main Arab conurbations in the West Bank – Area A (17%). It has civil authority over other parts – Area B (24%), with security meanwhile remaining in the hands of Israel. The future of the remaining 59% – Area C which includes all settlements and their access roads, was to be negotiated at a later stage. Technically the PA is responsible for Gaza, but in practice Gaza is now run by Hamas a rival organisation to Fatah, the main political party in the West Bank.
Palestinian Christians: Under the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Gaza it is essential to have a religious denomination, be it Muslim or Christian, for many social functions, such as the issue of a marriage certificate. Many of the people calling themselves Christians will be nominal Catholic or Orthodox Christians, but there is a small group (several hundred strong) who are committed Christian believers. These are the Evangelical Palestinian Christians.
Parable is an allegorical narrative of real or imagined events from which a moral is drawn for the listener. The Parable was a popular teaching method with Jesus.
Passover (Hebrew Pesach) is the annual Jewish festival which celebrates the Exodus of the Israelites from bondage in Egypt, under the leadership of Moses.
Pentecost (Feast of Weeks, Hebrew Shavuot): The Day of Pentecost was the occasion described in Acts Chapter 2 when the Holy Spirit fell on the assembled disciples of Jesus and they were supernaturally empowered to ‘speak in tongues’ and to preach the gospel. In modern times Pentecostal has come to mean the reappearance of the experience of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit in the Christian Church, such as happened in the Acts of the Apostles. Churches espousing this experience are called Pentecostal.
Pharaoh: Pharaohs were the kings of ancient Egypt. The Bible often refers to the king as ‘Pharaoh’ as if it were his name, but it is in fact his title.
Pharisee: The Pharisees resembled a religious political party/social movement in Israel in the century immediately preceding the birth of Christ. They attached great importance to the Talmud or Oral Law which they believed was legitimate interpretation of the written Law or Torah, given to Moses. Their principal rivals were the Sadducees who represented the priestly caste, the priests and Levites. They rejected the Oral Law insisting on a literal interpretation of the written Law.
Philistine: The Philistines were inhabitants of Philistia, a small kingdom on the Mediterranean Coast in the south-west of Canaan. They were made famous by the battle between Goliath, the giant Philistine and David, the future king of Israel.
Plato (427-347 BC): was one of the great fathers of Greek philosophy whose teachings influenced early Christian theologians such as Origen.
Pogrom is an organised attack usually involving the destruction and pillage of property and the massacre of inhabitants, upon a particular group of people. The word has most frequently been used for attacks on Jews.
Postmillennialism, (see Millennium).
Premillennialism, (see Millennium).
Preterism, (see Millennium).
Promised Land: This was the land of Canaan first promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; a promise reiterated to Moses and Joshua.
Prophecy in the Bible is a supernatural revelation from God. It may reveal his heart for his people or his views on a subject, or it may be a message revealing future events. In the time of the Old Testament, speaking through Prophets was God’s way of warning Israel, and urging them to return to him and his laws.
Protestant Church: This was the Church which emerged from the break with the Catholic Church during the Reformation in the sixteenth century. The Reformation, spearheaded by Martin Luther, affirmed the principles of justification by faith alone (i.e. not by good works), the priesthood of all believers and the authority of the Bible as God’s revealed word to humanity. The Reformation encouraged people to read the Bible for themselves. It did away with the mediatory role of the priests and the idolatry of Mary, the mother of Jesus. It encouraged believers to relate directly to God in prayer, within the context of Church authority. There are today many denominations within the Protestant Church who vary in aspects of theology or Church practice, but all subscribe to this overarching theology.
Ptolemaic Dynasty, (see Seleucid Kings).
Rabbinic Judaism has been the mainstream form of Judaism since the early centuries AD. It attaches great importance to the Oral Law which is an interpretation by Rabbis of the Written Law (Torah). It grew out of Pharisaic Judaism. It contrasts with Karaite Judaism which does not recognise the Oral Law as having divine authority. Although there is not a recognised historical link, this form of Judaism can be seen as a successor to the Sadducees.
Rapture: The Rapture is a phenomenon whereby one particular generation of Christians will not die, but be translated directly to heaven either shortly before or at the time of the Second Advent of Jesus Christ. Christians dispute the reality of the Rapture depending upon their millennial view of Christ’s return (see Millennium), but two scriptures do seem to testify to such an event (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and 1 Corinthians 15:50-52).
Reformation, (see Protestant Church).
Replacement Theology holds that the promises concerning Israel in the Old Testament find their fulfilment in the Church in the New Testament. It is an overarching term for Supersessionism, Fulfilment Theology and Covenantalism.
Roman Empire, (see Empires): The Roman Empire was the last great empire concerned with the government and exile of the Jewish people in biblical times. As it was the empire in power at the time of Christ and the birth of the Church, it is frequently referred to in the New Testament.
Sadducee: The Sadducees were the second major group of Jews after the Pharisees in Jesus’ time. They represented the priestly caste, the priests and Levites. They rejected the Oral Law, insisting on a literal understanding of the Written Law (Torah). They also rejected the idea of resurrection from the dead on the grounds that it did not appear in the Torah.
Salvation is the process whereby we recognise that we are sinners in the sight of a holy God, and accept his solution through the death of Jesus Christ on the Cross. When we do this we are forgiven our sin, and our spirit is regenerated by the Holy Spirit. We are saved from judgement by God and said to be ‘born-again’ to spend eternity with him.
Samaria: In biblical times Samaria was the northern part of the Mountains of Israel centred around its chief town, Samaria. It became part of the northern state of Israel after the Civil War following the death of Solomon. This divided Israel into two kingdoms, Judah to the south and Israel to the north.
Sanctification is the process whereby the Holy Spirit works in our life to make us holy, that means separated to God and separated from the sinful world. Whereas justification is an instant event following salvation in which we are seen as righteous by God, sanctification is a process taking place over time. (It is only fair to say that some Christian teachers see sanctification as a state of holiness, rather than a process of becoming holy).
Satan (lit. accuser): The Bible reveals that Satan, the devil, was once Lucifer, ‘son of the morning’ and full of light, but pride at his splendour caused him to sin and fall from grace. Since then he and his fallen angels have been the enemies of God and of the human race who are made in the image of God. (see Isaiah 14:12-14 and Ezekiel 28:11-19).
Second Advent (of Jesus Christ): This refers to the return of Christ at the end of the age. It is prophesied in both the Old and New Testaments. Few evangelical Christians doubt that this will be a literal return of the Lord Jesus Christ as a reigning King, though there are numerous variations in belief as to when and how this will happen. (See Millennium).
Seleucid Kings: Following the death of Alexander the Great at a young age in 323 BC, the vast Greek Empire was left without an heir. After years of strife among his generals it became divided into several sub-kingdoms. The two kingdoms pertinent to the Holy Land were the Ptolemaic dynasty in Egypt to the south (under Ptolemy I) and the Seleucid dynasty over Syria and Asia Minor to the north (under Seleucus I). A succession of Ptolemaic and Seleucid kings vied for and exercised influence over the Holy Land during this time. One of the most infamous Seleucid kings was Antiochus IV Epiphanes who desecrated the Jewish Temple and tried to eradicate Judaism. This led to the revolt of the Maccabees in 167 BC and to an independent or semi-independent Jewish state for 100 years (see Maccabees). The Seleucid dynasty was finally crushed by the Roman General Pompey in 64 BC, while the Ptolemaic dynasty came to an end with the death of Cleopatra VII in 30 BC. This followed the conquest of Egypt by the Roman General Octavius, soon to become the first Roman Emperor Augustus.
Separation Barrier: This is the wall or fence built by the Israelis which separates Israel from the West Bank. It was started in 2002 and is still to be finished. It is a concrete wall in built up areas (10% of its length) and a fence for the remainder. When finished it will extend for 723 km and will completely separate Israel from the West Bank. Israel took the decision to build the barrier to prevent armed incursions and in particular to prevent suicide bombings which had traumatised Israeli civilians. It is contentious because the route has not followed the Green Line, but has encroached on West Bank land in order to protect settlements built in the vicinity of Israel’s border. It has also caused hardship to ordinary Palestinians who must now pass through checkpoints in order to visit relatives or go to work in East Jerusalem.
Sephardi Jews (Sephardim) are those who originally settled in the Iberian Peninsula of Spain and Portugal (Sepharad is Hebrew for ‘Spain’). Following their expulsion from Spain in 1492 they settled elsewhere along the Mediterranean coast and also in the New World of America. The Sephardim have their own Jewish style of liturgy.
Settlement: This can mean any Jewish settlement in Palestine from the First Aliyah in 1882. However, its overwhelming use is in relation to the settlements which have been established in land that was captured in the Six-Day War in 1967. This covers the West Bank, Gaza, the Golan Heights and East Jerusalem. The settlements in Gaza were dismantled in 2005, but those in East Jerusalem and the West Bank in particular, remain contentious for reasons which were examined briefly in Chapter 1.
Simile: A comparison of one thing with another to emphasise a particular aspect in the first. For example, a man might be described as being “as strong as a lion”. A simile does not go as far as a metaphor in making the comparison.
Six-Day War: This was the Jewish-Arab War of 1967 in which Egypt and Syria prepared to attack Israel with the declared intention of destroying the Zionist state. Egypt dismissed the United Nations peacekeeping forces along the Sinai-Israel border, amassed troops in the Sinai and mined the Straits of Tiran. This closed them to Israeli shipping which blocked Israel’s Red Sea port of Eilat. Israel considered the blockade to be an act of war and pre-empted further attack by destroying the Egyptian and Syrian air-forces on the ground. Jordan also came into the war which was won decisively by Israel within six days. This war was the reason Israel came to occupy the West Bank, Gaza, the Golan Heights and the Sinai desert. The Sinai was returned to Egypt when the two nations signed a peace treaty in 1979.
Spiritual Conflict: It is clearly expressed in the New Testament that when we become Christians we enter into conflict with the spiritual enemies of God led by Satan. This is what the apostle Paul meant when he called his protégée, Timothy, a good soldier of Jesus Christ (2 Timothy 2:3-4). We are instructed by Paul in Ephesians about the nature of the enemy we fight, the defensive armour available and the weapons of offense. The Word of God and the power of prayer are the principal weapons available for this (Ephesians 6:10-18). Israel and the Jews are right at the centre of this conflict, as explained in Chapter 12.
Supersessionism is the view that the Christian Church has superseded Israel as the inheritor of the Old Testament promises made to the Israelites by the Old Testament prophets. It is an alternative name for Replacement Theology.
Synagogue (lit. assembly) is a Jewish house of prayer. Synagogues may have appeared as places of worship in response to the destruction of the First Temple, perhaps during the exile in Babylon. There are certainly archaeological remains of synagogues in the first century BC and they are mentioned frequently in the Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles. It is likely that they served as meeting places for Jews who otherwise would only go up to the Temple once a year. The synagogue certainly came into its own following the destruction of the Second Temple in AD 70. From then on there was no central place for Old Testament worship and no designated place for animal sacrifice.
Syria Palaestina was the name given to the Roman province of Judaea by the Emperor Hadrian following the suppression of the Bar Kochba rebellion between AD 132-135. It was part of his attempt to eradicate all traces of Judaism. (See Aelia Capitolina).
Tabernacle: The Tabernacle was the tent of meeting between God and his people. Moses was given instructions about how to build this on Mount Sinai, while the Israelites were still en route to the Promised Land. The system of Priests and Levites (assistant priests) together with the extensive system of animal sacrifice were all instituted for the Tabernacle. The presence of God dwelt in the inner sanctum, the Holy of Holies. The Tabernacle was later replaced by a permanent building, the Temple.
Talmud: The Talmud is the collective writings of rabbis over the centuries on numerous topics including law, ethics, philosophy, customs, history, and practical subjects like medicine, agriculture and hygiene. It is known as The Oral Law in contrast to the Torah which is the written Law of Moses. For centuries it was conveyed orally, but following the destruction of the Second Temple (AD 70) it came to be written down in the early centuries AD. It is over 6000 pages long and contains the views of countless rabbis. It quotes the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh) at least once on every page. It is used as a guide to interpreting the Torah.
Tanakh: The Tanakh is the Hebrew Bible; that which the Church calls The Old Testament.
Temple: The Temple was central to Jewish belief and practice in the Old Testament. It took the place of the Tabernacle, first built while the Israelites were still on the move. King David desired to build a permanent home as a dwelling place for the Lord’s presence, but this privilege was granted to his son, Solomon, who built the magnificent First Temple. This embodied the system of Priests and Levites and all the practices which belonged to the Tabernacle. This Temple was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar when the people of Judah went into exile in Babylon. It was rebuilt as the Second Temple under the leadership of Zerubbabel when the Jews were allowed to return after seventy years of exile. (This Temple was completed circa 516 BC) Although built to replicate the First Temple, it lacked certain items such as the Ark of the Covenant and the Tablets of Stone which had been lost at the time of the destruction. According to Jewish tradition, it also lacked the Shekinah glory or Presence of God. This Second Temple was then enlarged and made more magnificent by Herod the Great in the first century BC. This was the Temple destroyed by the Romans in AD 70.
Theocracy is government directly from God, mediated by priests. This was the government instituted by God for the Israelites through Moses. God was disappointed and offended when the Israelites sought a king to rule over them during the time of Samuel, but they were still bound by the Mosaic Law.
Theology is the in-depth study of the Jewish and Christian faiths. It deals with God’s nature, his attributes and his relationship to his creation. It uses the Bible as its primary source.
Torah: The Torah is the Pentateuch or first five books of the Old Testament. It contains the Jewish written law as distinct from the Talmud or oral law which is used by rabbis to interpret the written law.
Trinity: The Trinity is the three persons of the one eternal God: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. This theology is unique to the Christian faith. Judaism does not recognise this distinction.
Twelve Tribes: The tribes of Israel are named after the twelve sons of Jacob. There are in reality thirteen tribes because Jacob gave Joseph’s two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim an inheritance. This means that twelve tribes were allocated land and one tribe, the Levites, were set aside as priests and not given an allocation of land. The twelve sons were born to Jacob’s two wives, Leah and Rachel, and to their two maids, Zilpah and Bilhah.
Leah: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun
Rachel: Joseph, Benjamin
Zilpah: Gad, Asher
Bilhah: Dan, Naphthali
Reuben lost the blessing given to the first-born son (Genesis 49:3-4). This was given to the fourth son, Judah, who is thus the ancestor of King David and of Jesus the Messiah.
Two-State Solution: This is the idea that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict should be resolved by the creation of a Palestinian State in the West Bank and Gaza to exist alongside the State of Israel. At a human level it is considered to be the most practical solution to the conflict. Whether such a solution has God’s approval and whether it would bring peace to the region are different questions. (See One-State Solution).
Typology is a hermeneutic in which Old Testament ‘types’ are seen as being fulfilled in the New Testament. For example, Joseph is seen as a ‘type’ to represent Jesus, while the prospective sacrifice of Isaac by his father Abraham is seen as a ‘type’ for the crucifixion of God’s Son. It does not exclude a literalist hermeneutic running parallel to a typological one.
United Nations (UN): The United Nations organisation is the international body set up after the Second World War to stop wars between countries and to provide a platform for dialogue. It facilitates co-operation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress and human rights. It replaced the League of Nations which had become discredited in the 1930s as it failed to halt the rise of the fascist states and their bid for expansion which led to World War II. There are currently 193 member states, which include all the fully recognised independent states.
Universalise is a word used by some Covenantalists (for example, David Holwerda) to argue that a promise given to Israel in the Old Testament can be universalised in the New Testament. It is used in particular about the land. Thus they argue that the land of Israel has now become the whole earth.
Warsaw Ghetto: This was the location in Warsaw, Poland, in which the Nazis forced Jews to live separately from the rest of the city during World War II. It was established in October 1940 with nearly half a million Jews residing in an area of only 3.4 square kilometres (1.3 square miles). It was a place and time of great hardship, poverty and starvation and also the place from which 250,000 Jews were sent to the Treblinka extermination camp. The Ghetto came to an end with the Warsaw Ghetto uprising against the Nazis in April 1943. The Jews fought the Nazis for ten days. In the end they were defeated and some 50,000 Jews lost their lives in the fighting or were deported to concentration camps. The Ghetto was razed to the ground, but the Jews who survived took pride in their gallant resistance to the Nazis.
Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) is a term which tends to be used about nuclear, chemical or biological weapons which can cause destruction of life and/or material damage on an enormous scale. It has also been used of large-scale aerial bombing with conventional weapons of high explosive.
West Bank: This is the area of land captured by Israel from Jordan during the Six-Day War in 1967. Jordan had in turn occupied this part of Palestine during Israel's war of independence in 1948. It lies east of the Green Line and west of the River Jordan. In biblical terms it covers the area of Judea and Samaria. It is the major part of the land that would form a Palestinian state if ever this were agreed.
Yellow Star of David: This was the badge of shame sewn onto an outer garment which Jews in Europe were forced to wear by the Nazis. Yellow later became the required colour. At various stages in their history the Jews were forced to wear marks of identification. Muslims required Jews in Baghdad to wear a yellow badge on their headdress, emphasising their inferior status in the twelfth century AD. The Catholic Church at the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215 under Pope Innocent III, to its shame, ordered Jews to wear an identifying badge. This requirement, to wear a mark of identity, continued on and off, all through the Middle Ages.
Yom Kippur War: This was the Israeli-Arab war in October 1973 started by the Arabs with a surprise attack on Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement), the Jews’ holiest day of the year, when all civilian activity was at a standstill. The war was waged by Egypt and Syria with support from other nations. Jordan stayed out of the War. This time Israel had a much tougher time than in the Six-Day War and its losses were greater. By the end of the war Israel had managed to retain control of all the land it had gained in 1967. The Arabs’ principal gain, particularly for Egypt, was to restore its fighting honour, following the disastrous showing in the Six-Day War.
Zion/Mount Zion: This term has several meanings:
1) The rocky escarpment first captured by King David from the Jebusites on
which he founded the original City of David. In Jerusalem this is situated to
the south of Mount Moriah, or the Temple Mount.
2) The City of Jerusalem itself.
3) Israel as a nation.
Zionist/anti-Zionist: These terms are defined early in Chapter 2, Conflicting Theologies