- N -
Nation, Nations. A community of people typically sharing common ancestry, language, culture, laws, government, and territory. The fewer of these attributes are shared in common, the less cohesive that nation is. The Old Testament is the genesis and history of one particular nation, God's chosen nation of Israel. Indeed, that is the focus, to some extent, of the entire Bible. It is not without accident that the eternal capital of Israel and of the nations of the world as a whole is seen to be New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:1-22:5).
In the OT, the nations were identified as gôy (Singular), gôyim (Plural) (1471). Nations in the OT are typically portrayed in their relationship to God's chosen nation, Israel. This was based on God's promise to Abraham, "I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse" (Gen. 12:3). But God always had a heart for the other nations of the world. He added, "And you all the families of the world will be blessed" (Gen. 12:3). That blessing would come about through the ultimate descendant of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Jesus of Nazareth, God's Anointed King. And so, when Israel rejected her own King, in the infinite wisdom of God, He turned to the nations of the earth, the Gentiles to form His international Assembly, His Called Out ones, the ekklesia (1577), the Church. The marvel of the Church is that people from every nation, language, and ethnicity comprise the Church (Matt. 28:18-20; Acts 1:6-8; Rev. 5:9-10). But God is not through with Israel. In Christ's Millennial Kingdom, Israel will be the Number One Nation of all the Earth, and Jesus will reign from Jerusalem as her King, and indeed, the King of the entire world! In the New Heavens and New Earth, New Jerusalem will be the Capital City of Israel and of the World. She will be filled with Israelis and people of the Church. New Earth will be filled with the redeemed from among the Nations, and they will bring their glory and their honor into New Jerusalem. (See also the Glossary entry on Gentiles.)
Nebuchadnezzar. From a Biblical perspective, the greatest king of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, reigning from 605 to 562 B.C. He is known in history as Nebuchadnezzar II, also Nebuchadnezzar the Great. He is most noted in Scripture for his invasions of Israel (e.g., Dan. 1:1-2). He did so in 605, 597, and 586. In this final invasion he destroyed Solomon's temple and most of the city of Jerusalem, deporting many Jewish people to Babylon (2 Kings 25:1-12). Thus he became God's servant of judgment on Judah and surrounding nations (Jer. 25:8, 9). Judah and other nations would serve the king of Babylon for seventy years (Jer. 25:11). We learn a great deal about Nebuchadnezzar from a psychological and spiritual point of view from his interactions with the Jewish exile turned statesman, Daniel (see Dan. 1-4.) For a helpful off-site article this king, see "Who was Nebuchadnezzar?"
Neuter Gender. The gender in Greek nouns that is neither masculine or feminine. We might term it "neutral." Gender in nouns may appear to be somewhat arbitrary at times. In the Hebrew language, for example, the majority of words that have gender are masculine. In English, there is a certain arbitrariness as well. We men will speak of a favorite car as "she," (feminine gender) for example. In other contexts, we may refer to a car as "it" (neuter in gender). The key point at which gender makes a difference is in pronouns, adjectives, and relative clauses that refer to an antecedent. The gender of the prounoun, adjective, or relative clause corresponds with the gender of the appropriate noun which is its antecedent. This enables the careful observer to note the proper antecedent of a prounoun. For example:
Taking note of the gender may alter altogether what a sentence may seem to be saying in English. For example: "And receive...the sword of the spirit which is the word of God"( Eph 6:17). The word "sword" in Greek is feminine gender and the word "spirit" is neuter gender. So it is important in this sentence to find out what is the antecedent of the relative pronoun "which". (i.e. What is the "which" referring back to?) The word "which" in this sentence is neuter, therefore it is referring back to the word "spirit" and not "sword." Thus this sentence means: "And receive...the sword of the spirit which (spirit) is the word of God." (Corey Keating, Grammatical Gender of Nouns)
New American Standard Bible (NASB) 1995 Update. The most accurate English translation of the Bible in existence. Quotations in WordExplain are from the NASB 1995. WordExplain may reference the NASB 2020 update, so indicating, but will continue using the 1995 version to avoid the politically correct Gender policy of the 2020 version.
Since its completion in 1971, the New American Standard Bible has been widely embraced as "the most literally accurate English translation" from the original languages.... In 1995 the NASB was updated, increasing clarity and readability. Vocabulary, grammar, and sentence structure were carefully reviewed for greater understanding and smoother reading.... The New American Standard Bible has been produced with the conviction that the words of Scripture, as originally penned in the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek, were inspired by God.The above block quotations were excerpted from The Lockman Foundation's official website promoting the NASB.
The updated NASB represents revisions and refinements recommended over the last several years and incorporates thorough research based on current English usage. And rest assured, the translators and consultants who contributed to the updated NASB are, as always, conservative Bible scholars who have doctorates in biblical languages, theology, or other advanced degrees.
The translators do not attempt to interpret Scripture through translation. Instead, the NASB translation team adhered to the principles of literal translation. This is the most exacting and demanding method of translation, requiring a word-for-word translation that is both accurate and readable. This method follows the word and sentence patterns of the original authors in order to enable the reader to study Scripture in its most literal format and to experience the individual personalities of those who penned the original manuscripts. For example, one can directly compare and contrast the simple eloquent style of John with the deep complexity of Paul.
Instead of the translators telling the reader what to think, the updated NASB provides the most precise English translation with which to conduct a personal journey through the Word of God.
NASB 2020 Update. Like most other modern translations the NASB 2020 has succumbed to using Gender-Modified language propelled by the Feminist movement of the last and present century. At least, when there are occasions where its addition of "and sisters" in the NT (where "and sisters" does not appear in the Greek text) occurs, the words and sisters are supplied in italics. To read a more complete statement of the NASB 2020's Gender policy, read "Gender-Accurate Language in the NASB 2020." Occasional references to NASB 2020 in WordExplain are indicated with the words NASB2020. In the view of WordExplain, the OT and NT original texts should be faithfully reproduced in all translations. If the Bible teacher, pastor, or commentator wishes to explain that such a word should be understood to mean both men and women, let them say so. But leave the text of the translation unchanged. Do not tamper with the Word of God! If a Bible version wishes to explain that such and such a word applies to both men and women, let it do so in the footnotes. Do not change the translation to avoid offending modern day, politically-correct audiences. If versions wish to avoid offending modern day, politically correct audiences, then where does one stop? The creation narrative (Gen. 1:1-2:25) as it stands in the original Hebrew text does not permit evolution, and it does not permit an old earth (Gen. 5:1-32; Gen. 11:10-32). Are versions going to alter their translations to avoid offending people? And what about God's judgment on homosexuals (Gen. 18:16-19:29; 1 Cor. 6:9-11; Gal. 5:19-21; Rev. 21:8; 22:14-15)? Should modern versions tone down those passages to avoid offending the sensibilities of modern, politically correct audiences? By no means. Where do you stop? The best way is to let God's Word speak for itself! If you wish to explain something as a teacher or commentator, do so. If you wish to put your opinions in the text of Scripture, do so in a foot note. But DO NOT ALTER THE WORD OF GOD! (This Glossary entry was modified in WordExplain on Dec. 3, 2020.)
New Apostolic Reformation (NAR). A coalition of Charismatics and Pentecostals organizing to promote their view of Christianity as overcoming Satanic strongholds to resist and influence culture to establish Christ's kingdom in the here and now. Charles Peter Wagner, a foremost spokesman for the movement, identifies several beliefs as characteristic of NAR. These include (1) Apostolic Governance, that the office of apostle exists today with distinctive governing authority in churches across the globe. (2) The Office of Prophet, an authoritative mouthpiece from God. According to Wagner, "Every apostle needs alignment with prophets and every prophet needs apostolic alignment." (3) Dominionism, the belief that, according to Wagner, "When Jesus came, He brought the kingdom of God and He expects His kingdom-minded people to take whatever action is needed to push back the long-standing kingdom of Satan and bring the peace and prosperity of His kingdom here on earth." In this respect, NAR has aligned itself with Kingdom Theology. (4) Theocracy, meaning working towards placing "kingdom-minded people in every one of the Seven Mountains: Religion, Family, Education, Government, Media, Arts & Entertainment, and Business so that they can use their influence to create an environment in which the blessings and prosperity of the Kingdom of God can permeate all areas of society." "Theocracy" as defined by Wagner, thus is an outgrowth of "Dominionism." (5) Extra Biblical Revelation. It took God a couple of hundred years to reveal which books are in the Bible and which should not be. That, according to Wagner, is extra-biblical revelation, for nothing in the Bible affirms there must only be 66 books. Even so, he notes, Protestants and Catholics still do not agree on which books are biblical and which are not. According to Wagner, "Beyond that, I believe that prayer is two way, we speak to God and expect Him to speak with us. We can hear God’s voice. He also reveals new things to prophets as we have seen. The one major rule governing any new revelation from God is that it cannot contradict what has already been written in the Bible. It may supplement it, however." To which I (JTB) might add, if one believes in the legitimacy of apostles and prophets today, it would be inconsistent not to believe in extra-biblical revelation. If, on the other hand, there are no Biblical apostles or prophets today, why should one expect extra-biblical revelation? (6) Supernatural Signs and Wonders. Quoting Wagner, "Whenever Jesus sent out His disciples He told them to heal the sick and cast out demons. Why we should expect that He has anything else in mind for us today is puzzling." (7) Relational Structures. Some who have sought to research NAR have complained they were unable to grasp the movement succinctly. There is not a top leader or leadership team. There is no newsletter, no annual meeting, no printed doctrinal statement or code of ethics. Wagner explains the difference in that a denomination is a legal structure, whereas the NAR is a relational structure. "Everyone is related to, or aligned with an apostle or apostles." The relationship is voluntary, unbound by any legal strictures. The movement may not be as amorphous as some have claimed, however. There is an International Coalition of Apostolic Leaders (ICAL). At last count 45 countries are represented. ICAL's own website states, "ICAL was created in 1999 to facilitate new and ongoing opportunities to connect and combine apostolic wisdom. It is currently the largest known Christian society of God-ordained and man-recognized apostles in the world."
Certainly the apostles are man-recognized. Whether they are, indeed, "God-ordained" is open to question. For a critique of NAR, see WordExplain's Comparative Theology - New Apostolic Reformation.
New Birth. The act of God whereby He makes alive a spiritually dead sinner who has placed his faith in Jesus Christ. In his opening comments in his gospel, the Apostle John recorded that, though Jesus came to His own creation, His own people, the people of Israel, did not receive Him (John 1:11). On the other hand, to as many as did receive Him, also defined as those believing into Jesus' name, to them Jesus gave the authority to become children of God (John 1:12). These individuals John described as having been born (gennaō, 1080) not of bloods, nor of the will of flesh, nor of the will of a male, but of God (John 1:13). This concept of spiritual birth is also found in Jesus' statement to Nicodemus that he needed to be "born" (gennaō, 1080) "again" or "from above" (anōthen, 509) (John 3:3, 7), or else he could neither see nor enter the kingdom of God (John 3:3, 5).
Another term for "new birth" is "regeneration." The term "regeneration" (paliggenesia, 3824) in this sense is used only in Titus 3:5. The literal meaning of paliggenesia (3824) is from pálin (3825), "again" and génesis (1078), birth" or "beginning."
New birth, or regeneration, is necessary inasmuch as when man is born physically, he is already dead spiritually, i.e., separated from God (Eph. 2:1). We inherited a sin nature from our parents, and anyone who insists he has no sin (nature) is merely deceiving himself and is bereft of the truth (1 John 3:8). God's salvation is not based upon deeds which we have done in righteousness, but upon His mercy (Tit. 3:5). His salvation is accomplished by the washing (loutron, 3067) of regeneration (paliggenesia, 3824) and by renewing (anakainōsis, 342) accomplished by the Holy Spirit (Tit. 3:5). Similarly, Jesus linked the new birth in John 3:5-8 to the activity of the Holy Spirit. Both Roman Catholics and certain mainline Protestant denominations believe that the "washing of regeneration" in Tit. 3:5 and the water in John 3:5 refer to water baptism. But the noun "washing" (loutron, 3067) in Tit. 3:5 refers to a bath or bathing, not to baptism (baptisma, 908). And the washing is defined as being "regeneration," not baptism. And in the context of Jesus' and Nicodemus' discussion, being "born of water" in John 3:5 far more likely refers to natural birth ("that which is born of the flesh is flesh") (John 3:4, 6) than it does to the ceremonial act of baptism. How can physical water ever cleanse a sin-polluted soul or spirit? Water baptism can no more regenerate a sinner or wash away his "original sin" than circumcising an Israeli's organ of procreation could circumcise his heart (Romans 2:29). See Four Different Types of Baptism.
The Roman Catholic explanation of Titus 3:5; of John 3:5. Return to text. I have attended Lutheran funerals in which the pastor intoned that the deceased "put on Christ" when he was baptized. Return to text.
New Covenant. The new initiative of God whereby He formally committed to writing His laws on the hearts of certain people, enabling them to know Him and be His people and enabling Him to be their God (Jer. 31:31-34). The achievement of the New Covenant is God's unconditional commitment to convey true spirituality to the beneficiaries of the covenant through the power of the Holy Spirit. The beneficiaries of the New Covenant are, by Divine intent, first Israel, and then the Gentiles. The New Covenant was ratified by Jesus Christ through His death and resurrection, which actually paid for sinners' sins, something the Old Covenant could never achieve. The blessings of the New Covenant were inaugurated by the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. The New Covenant is partially fulfilled in the ministry of the Spirit to the Church. The New Covenant is accessed through faith in Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice. Chronologically, all Jews and Gentiles who believe in Jesus in this age partake of the benefits of the New Covenant as part of the Church. At Christ's Second Coming to establish His Kingdom upon earth, the believing remnant of the nation of Israel will benefit from the promises of the New Covenant. In New Jerusalem and on New Earth, all redeemed of mankind will benefit eternally from the New Covenant. See a more extensive treatment of the New Covenant.
New Creation. A term that can refer either to the New Heavens and New Earth that God will create to begin the Eternal State; or to the New Person God creates by means of the Regeneration / New Birth of the Holy Spirit at the point a person places his faith in Jesus, the Messiah.
The former is found in Scripture in Isa 65:17; 66:22; 2 Pet. 3:13; Rev.
21:1. The latter is found in John 3:3; Rom. 6:4; 2 Cor. 5:17; Gal. 6:15; Eph. 4:24; Col. 3:10.
New Earth. The future imperishable planet on which redeemed men will reside throughout eternity. New Earth will be situated in the New Universe, called "New Heaven." New Earth will be imperishable because no evil, and only righteousness will exist in the entire universe (2 Pet. 3:13). Most Christians think eternity will be spent in heaven, but that is because they have not carefully read the last two chapters of the Bible (Rev. 21-22). A careful reading reveals the Holy City, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven, the abode of God (Rev. 21:2). But God will not stay up in heaven for eternity. God will take up His eternal residence among men (Rev. 21:3). An angel carried the Apostle John to a huge and lofty mountain so he could best view New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:10). Why the need for the mountain view? For two reasons, I believe. First the city is enormous in size (Rev. 21:16). Second, the present tense used, "coming down out of heaven from God" (Rev. 21:2, 10), perfectly depicts the reality that the city never arrives - it is always in process. To me, that most likely means that New Jerusalem is a satellite city perpetually orbiting New Earth. While New Jerusalem is clearly the perpetual home of Israel and the Church, there are evidently masses of Gentiles who will inhabit New Earth, outside the confines of the orbiting city. "The nations," apparently living on New Earth, live by the light of the brilliant, satellite city. The kings of New Earth their "glory" and "honor" of all the nations on New Earth into the capital city, whose gates are never closed (Rev. 21:24-26). In the very beginning of recorded human history, God mandated man to rule over the earth and its animals in a benevolent, God-honoring fashion (Gen. 1:26-28). That has never been done. But under the rule of God and Christ from New Jerusalem, man will finally accomplish the mandate God has given the human race upon New Earth. See a more extended discussion of New Earth.
New Heaven. The new universe which God will create. The present universe has been irreversibly contaminated with evil. The long term solution can only be a fiery destruction (2 Pet. 3:7-12). But God did not create the universe as a temporary entity. When it has been destroyed, and all evil people who contaminate it have been deposited in the Lake of Fire (Rev. 20:12-15), God will create a new universe in which dwells only righteousness (Isa. 65:17; 66:22; 2 Pet. 3:13; Rev. 21:1). In the view of WordExplain, it would make little sense for God to create a new, but empty universe. Of course New Earth, along with its orbiting, brilliantly luminous capital city, New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:10-22:5), will exist in the New Universe. But can you imagine an otherwise empty sky? I cannot. A careful reading of Rev. 21:23 and Rev. 22:5 reveals that there will be no need (emphasis mine) of sun or moon to shine on the city of New Jerusalem. It does not preclude that there will be no stars or planets or distant galaxies or even other phenomena unknown today. Whatever physical entities appear in New Heaven (what we would call Outer Space) will be so designed that there will be no decay or deterioration, because there will be no sin. See a more extensive treatment of New Heaven.
New Israel. An errant definition of the Church. According to some, the Church is the New Israel, and has replaced the ancient nation of Israel. This aberrant view is based, in part, upon a faulty interpretation of passages such as Gal. 6:16, in which Paul speaks of "the Israel of God." Adherents of the Church as being New Israel wrongly interpret the designation, "the Israel of God" as referring to the Church. It does not it. It refers rather to Messianic Jews, those Israelis who believe that Jesus is their Messiah. Adherents of the Church as being New Israel use a typological hermeneutic in reference to Israel in the OT, and they decry the "literalistic" hermeneutic used by Dispensationalists. Typically, advocates of the Church as the New Israel hold an animus against the modern-day nation of Israel and a predisposition to support the cause of the Palestinians. All these features are readily illustrated in a well-written article entitled, "Who Is The New Israel," published online in 1989 by the Antiochan Orthodox Christian Archdiocese (viewed on September 10, 2015). WordExplain profoundly rejects the view expressed in the article that the Church replaces Israel. See also Replacement Theology. See also the review of the book, Future Israel, by Barry E. Horner. Horner advocates challenging what he terms, "Christian Anti-Judaism."
New Jerusalem. The eternal capital of New Earth, and the abode of God and His Son with redeemed and resurrected man throughout eternity (Rev. 21-22). A city of exquisite beauty and prodigious size, measuring twelve thousand stadia (1380 miles) in length, width, and height, it appears to be a satellite city that will ultimately descend out of heaven from God and orbit around New Earth, bathing it in brilliant light reflecting the glory of God and of the Lamb (Rev. 21:1-25). New Jerusalem will evidently be the primary home of Israel and the Church (Rev. 21:12, 14). The redeemed from among the Gentiles ("Nations") down through the ages who are other-than-Church will evidently populate New Earth. All citizens of New Earth will have ready access to their satellite city, for its gates will be open around the clock, enabling them to partake of the fruit and medicinal leaves of the tree of life (Rev. 21:25; 22:2). The Kings and Nations of New Earth will transport their honor and glory into the city, and they will behold the glory of God and Christ (Isa. 60:5, 11, 16; 61:6; 62:2; 66:12, 18; Rev. 21:24-26). In this city will be found the tree of life, the river of life, and the throne of God and of Christ. And His servants will see his face, and His name will be on their foreheads, and they will reign forever (Rev. 22:1-5). Only those whose names have been written in the Lamb's Book of Life will be permitted to enter this city (Rev. 21:27). See a more extensive discussion of New Jerusalem.
New Perspective on Paul. The New Perspective on Paul (NPP) is a Protestant revival of the centuries-old dogma of salvation by works advocated by Roman Catholicism both prior to the Reformation and afterwards, as spelled out in certain anathemas of the Council of Trent. The three main spokesmen for NPP are Ed Parish Sanders (1937-), James D. G. Dunn (1939-), and Nicholas Thomas Wright (1948-). Of these three, N. T. Wright alone describes himself as an evangelical, but frankly, that label has been diluted to such an extent that it is virtually worthless. None of the three is a conservative. The term “New Perspective on Paul” was coined by James Dunn, one of the three major proponents, in 1983. (See James D. G. Dunn, “The New Perspective on Paul,” Bulletin of the John Ryland’s Library 65  95 -122.)
The historical underpinnings of NPP certainly antedate the careers of Sanders, Dunn, and Wright. They include Jewish opposition to Jesus as portrayed in the Gospels; Jewish opposition to Paul and his stance on the Law and Judaism as described in the book of Acts and the Pauline letters; the anti-Semitism of Martin Luther late in his life; and the corrosive influence of historical criticism particularly as applied to Jesus as portrayed in the Gospels and, more recently, as applied to Paul as he is portrayed in his writings.
The Reformation perspective on Paul identified God’s justification (declaration of righteousness) of the individual who believes in Jesus as the cornerstone of Paul’s theology. It also identified Paul’s opponents as legalistic Jews (Judaizers) whom Luther and Calvin viewed as agreeing with the Roman Catholicism of their day.
Just as historical criticism, with its low view of the veracity of the Gospels, brazenly set about on a quest for the “historical Jesus,” so the formulators of NPP, with their low view of the veracity of the Pauline letters, set about to mimic and embellish historical critics who had begun the task of reinventing Paul and explaining him in terms that were less offensive to Jewish scholars. Their strategy has often been reduced to pitting the “Lutheran Paul” against the “historical Paul,” whom they construct sometimes without regard to an honest exegesis of the appropriate Biblical texts.
So what is the essence of NPP regarding Paul and his teachings? According to F. David Farnell, “NPP proponents either accuse Paul of misunderstanding or misrepresenting Judaism (i.e., Paul was wrong), or redefine the opponents that Paul was criticizing, asserting that Luther and the Reformation heritage have misperceived Paul’s opponents by misreading Paul.” Proponents of NPP insist that the Jewish leaders of Jesus’ day did not believe in salvation by works. They state that the Pharisees believed in grace, just as does the Protestant Church today. NPP proponents redefine justification for first century Palestinian Jews as “covenantal nomism,” by which they mean that Jewish people enter a covenant relationship with God through birth into the family of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but that they retain their covenant relationship by obeying the Law. The practical effect of their dogma is the implication that one can, through his good works, contribute toward his own salvation. That, of course, is a works salvation, but NPP advocates deny this. They insist, rather, that both the election of Jewish people and their keeping of the Torah are products of God’s grace.
There is a certain amount of correspondence between the practical results of NPP theology and its definition of “covenantal nomism” on the one hand and on the other, the Roman Catholic insistence that good works contribute grace towards one’s salvation (see The Council of Trent, Session VI, Chapter XVI, Canon XXXII). Anecdotally, it is my impression that accepting the tenets of NPP makes one more amenable to the Roman Catholic doctrine of justification, and hence susceptible to conversion from Protestantism to Roman Catholicism. I have seen it happen.
I acknowledge my indebtedness for this glossary entry to the article by F. David Farnell, The New Perspective on Paul: Its Basic Tenets, History, and Presuppositions.
New Testament. By common usage, the 27 books that comprise God's communication to man subsequent to the First Advent of the Jewish Messiah, Jesus, the Christ. These books consist of four historical narratives about the birth, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus. They are called the Four Gospels (Messages of "Good News") – Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Next their is a historical narrative detailing the progress of the infant Church authorized by Jesus. This narrative is entitled, "Acts," or, more formally, "The Acts of the Apostles." Next come the Epistles, or, less formally Letters, usually penned by someone notable such as Paul or Peter or James. In some letters, such as Hebrews, the author remains anonymous. There are letters written to specific churches, and there are personal letters, written to individual. Paul wrote most of the letters to churches. These include letters to the Romans, the Corinthians (two letters), the Galatians, the Ephesians, the Phlippians, the Colossians, the Thessalonians (two letters). Paul also wrote personal letters to Timothy (two letters), to Titus, and to Philemon. There are eight "General Epistles" or Letters, so-called because they were written to a broader, more general audience than the others. These include the letter to the Hebrews, a general letter from James, the half-brother of our Lord, two letters from Peter to a general audicence, three letters from the Apostle John to a general audience, and one letter from Jude, another half-brother of our Lord, and written to a general audience. The final book is the Book of Revelation, written also by John the Apostle. Sometimes it is called "The Apocalpyse" from the Greek word apokalupsis (602), which means, literally, "unveiling." The book of Revelation begins with the word Apokalupsis. I believe it is a play on words. The book begins, "The Unveiling of Jesus Christ ...." I believe it is Jesus' unveiling of Himself in all His glory (see Rev. 1) and also His unveiling of His messages to the Seven Churches (Rev. 2-3), followed by Jesus' unveiling of future events.
Nifal, Niphal. In
simplest terms, the Hebrew verb stem that is the Passive of Qal verbs, and,
in rare cases, the Reflexive. For a more detailed explanation see this
off-site discussion. See also this
paradigm. Sometimes this stem is spelled "Niphal."
Nineveh. Nineveh (5210), the capital city of Assyria. It was situated on the eastern bank of the Tigris River opposite the modern-day city of Mosul, Iraq. Nineveh, along with Rehoboth-Ir, Calah, and Resen, was one of four cities built by the enigmatic, sinister despot Nimrod (Gen. 10:8-12).
Nineveh receives substantial attention in the book of the prophet Jonah. As Assyria became a mighty Middle Eastern Empire, it developed into a major threat to both Israel and Judah. This was true to such an extent that the prophet Jonah, when ordered by God to preach a message of judgment to the people of Nineveh, Assyria's capital city (Jon. 1:1-2), fled the other direction (Jon. 1:3). He did so because he was afraid the people would repent and avert the judgment God had planned against Assyria. He wanted Assyria removed as a threat to Israel. But God, in His Sovereignty, prevailed against Jonah (Jon. 1:4-2:10), and Jonah finally preached his message to Nineveh (Jon. 3:1-4). Just as he had feared, Nineveh did repent (Jon. 3:5-9), and God averted His judgment (Jon. 3:10). Nineveh and Assyria lived to see another day.
Jonah depicts Nineveh as a vast city requiring three days' journey to traverse it (Jon. 3:3-4). Cynical scholars have objected that, since Diodorus Siculus (ii.3) stated the length of the city was 150 stadia, and since Herodotus (v. 53) notes that 150 stadia constituted a single day's journey, Jonah cannot be trusted in his details. Archaeologists have discovered, however, that the city of ancient Nineveh in the days of Jonah was a vast metropolitian area. An irregularly shaped quadrangle, at whose four corners were the cities of Kouyunjik, Nimrud, Karamless, and Khorsabad, is generally considered to constitute the city of Nineveh. It is also possible that the text in Jonah denoted a circuit of this massive area. The size of this quadrangle has been noted as 30 miles in length and 8-10 miles in width. Metropolitan Nineveh was, indeed, a vast city!
Noah. Son of Lamech (Gen. 5:28-29), father of Shem, Ham, and Japheth (Gen. 5:32; 6:10), and through them progenitor of the entire race of mankind (Gen. 7:13; 9:18-19), the rest of whom were destroyed in the Great Flood. Noah found favor in God's eyes (Gen. 6:8). He was a righteous man, blameless in his time, and walked with God (Gen. 6:9). To Noah God assigned the urgent responsibility to build a gigantic, three-story floating barge, called an ark, that would salvage mankind and representatives of the Biblical air-breathing animal species (Gen. 6:13-16). This was urgent because God was about to inundate the entire earth with a devastating global flood, called mabbűl (3999) (Gen. 6:17). God made a Pre-Flood Covenant with Noah that He would preserve Noah, his wife, their three sons and their wives and all the animals aboard the ark from the devasting inundation with which He would destroy and cleanse the entire earth (Gen. 6:18-21). Fortunately, Noah obeyed (Gen. 6:22).
The devastating Flood of Noah
is described graphically (Gen. 7:1-24). See A
Chronology of the Great Flood. The subsiding of the waters of the Flood
from the earth, and the exit of Noah and his family and representative
animals from the ark is narrated in Gen. 8:1-22. God's Post-Flood
commands and His Everlasting Flood Covenant with
Man and all Animal Life are recorded in Gen. 9:1-17.
The case in NT Greek that "names" or denominates" something or someone.
A noun or pronoun that is the subject of the sentence or the
subject of a clause is always in the nominative case.
Non-Literalism. A hermeneutical (interpretational) tactic used by some Bible scholars to avoid the plain intent of the original authors (both Divine and human) of a Biblical text. Non-literalism manifests itself in different scenarios.
(1) Non-literalism is sometimes employed, for example, in texts in which the Bible record intersects earth science. For example, some Biblical scholars who have succumbed to the unverifiable assertions of evolutionary scientists as to the supposed great age of the earth employ non-literalism in Genesis 1:1-31. They do so in order to allow for an evolutionary time framework of 4.54 billions of years. Clearly Moses used the term yom, day, with reference to a normal solar day, bounded by an evening and a morning. That can be verified by his subsequent references to the sabbath day (Gen. 2:1-4; Exod. 20:8-11). Some non-literal Biblical scholars feel compelled to adjust the meaning of "day" from a 24-hour, solar day to vast periods of time in order to accommodate the dogma of evolutionary scientists (see Day-Age Theory; Framework Hypothesis; Intermittent Day Theory; Gap Theory; Chaos Theory of Origins). The same thing happens in Genesis 7-8, where some non-literalists feel compelled to assert a local flood when the text clearly describes a global flood. This they do despite massive evidence all over the world of sedimentary deposits! Their dilemma is that science doesn't believe in miracles, so they apparently feel "unscientific" in asserting a global flood.Northern Kingdom: The northern ten tribes of the nation of Israel. Sometimes this northern confederation was called "Israel," other times, "Ephraim (Isa. 7:17; 9:9; 11:13; Jer. 31:9; Hos. 5:3)."
(2) This non-literalism also sometimes occurs in texts which intersect history. For example, some Biblical scholars, obviously influenced by evolutionary dogma, are reluctant to assign historical status to the historical account of the creation of Adam and Eve, our first parents (Gen. 1-2); to the historical account of the entrance of sin in Genesis 3; to the historical account of a global flood (Gen. 7-8); and to the historical account of the origin of multiple languages (Gen. 11:1-9) . So they assign mythical status to the opening chapters of Genesis (Gen. 1-11). Other scholars, also influenced, I believe, by the time framework associated with the dogma of evolution, feel compelled to assert that there are gaps in the genealogies of those first eleven chapters (Gen. 5; Gen. 11:10-32). They do this even though the language employed rules out gaps! I believe they do so because, if the chronology is air tight, one can assign a recent date to the creation of Adam and even to the creation of the earth. If one believes in the uniformitarian time framework of evolutionary scientists, that would be unthinkable!
(3) A third area in which non-literalism manifests itself is in the interpretation of Biblical prophecy. Otherwise conservative Biblical scholars have followed in the footsteps of Augustine, the first theologian to expound amillennialism in a systematic way. These scholars have employed Augustine's non-literal hermeneutic, the foundation of Replacement Theology, which asserts that the Church has forever replaced Israel as the people of God. And so, faced with prophetic Scriptures that plain reading would interpret as a glorious future for the nation of Israel, these amillennial scholars simply assign to the texts a metaphorical interpretation. And so, for example, they do not read the chapters in Ezekiel (Ezek. 40-48), which predict a glorious temple never yet built, in a literal way. To them it is a metaphorical temple symbolizing the great eschatological fellowship of God with the saints of all ages. They read almost the whole of the book of Revelation and label it Apocalyptic literature, thus justifying their non-literal interpretation. Sadly, this metaphorical approach to prophecy leads to a denigration of God's glorious future for the nation of Israel. And the Christian is stripped of any certainty as to the nature of eternity because of these scholars' metaphorical interpretation of the last two chapters of the Bible (Rev. 21:1-22:5).
Jacob's family consisted of two sisters as his wives and their two maids who later served as his concubines (Gen. 29:1-30:24). So there were fractures built into the family from the very beginning. The first king of Israel was Saul from the tribe of Benjamin, descendants of Jacob's favorite wife Rachel. The second king of Israel was David from the tribe of Judah, descendants of Jacob's unfavored wife, Leah. The tribe of Judah quickly acknowledged David as their king after the death of Saul (2 Sam. 2:1-4). But Abner, general of the now-deceased king Saul, engineered Ish-bosheth, son of Saul, as king over all Israel excluding Judah (2 Sam. 2:4-11). A civil war developed for a number of years (2 Sam. 2:12-4:12). Finally all Israel anointed David as their king (2 Sam. 5:1-16). Later, a man named Sheba instigated a rebellion against King David after Absalom's failed coup (2 Sam. 19:5-20:22). Finally, the kingdom was restored to David.
With some difficulty, David passed on the kingdom to his son Solomon just before he died. Solomon was very blessed by God. But he made political alliances through marriage. These wives turned his heart away from God. As a punishment, God arranged for one of Solomon's servants, Jeroboam, son of Nebat (1 Kings 11:26-40). When Solomon's son Rehoboam came to the throne, the ten northern tribes seceded from Rehoboam's jurisdiction and chose Jeroboam as their King (1 Kings 12:1-24). King Jeroboam instituted a system of idolatrous worship to prevent the people of Israel from returning to Jerusalem to worship (1 Kings 12:25-33).
That idolatry proved to be the Northern Kingdom's demise. All 19 kings were evil, embracing idolatry. God finally judged the idolatrous Northern Kingdom by sending the Assyrian army to defeat Israel. This happened in 722 B. C. Most of the people of Israel were taken captive into Assyria. They never returned. The King of Assyria repopulated the Northern Kingdom with captives from other parts of the Mediterranean world. They brought their false religions with them. Finally, Assyria found a priest who would teach the people the truths of Judaism. But there was a syncretism that developed.
The Northern Kingdom became known as Samaria. The Samaritans were looked down upon by the worshipers of the true God in Jerusalem, representing the southern kingdom of Judah, later known as Judea. The Southern Kingdom of Judah was taken captive by Nebuchadnezzar in 605, 596, and 586 B. C. After a seventy-year exile, a few of the exiles returned back to Jerusalem and the surrounding countryside. Nehemiah helped build the walls of Jerusalem. Eventually the temple was rebuilt, but it could not match the glory of the temple Solomon had built.