Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a word spoken in right circumstances. Proverbs 25:11

























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Ransom. The price paid to release another or others from slavery or captivity (see Friberg). Specifically, the price Jesus Christ paid (His own blood and life) to deliver mankind from slavery to sin, decay, and death in all its aspects.

The English word "ransom," in its simplest form, is the Greek word lutron (3083). Lutron is used only twice in the NT, in Matt. 20:28 and Mark 10:45, in the context of parallel incidents in the life of Christ and His disciples. In Matt. 20:20-21 the mother of the sons of Zebedee came to Jesus with a request. Her request was that, in Jesus' kingdom, her two sons would sit, one on Jesus' right hand, the other on Jesus' left. In other words, she wished her two sons to be elevated to the two most prominent positions of authority under Christ in His coming kingdom. In Mark 10:35-37, it was the two disciples who made the request. In both instances, Jesus replied to the disciples that they really didn't know what they were asking, and that it was not His prerogative, but rather His Father's, to appoint positions of authority in His coming kingdom (Matt. 20:22-23; Mark 10:38-40). Predictably, the ten remaining disciples were indignant with the two (Matt. 20:24; Mark 10:41). Jesus pointed out that it was customary for Gentile rulers to "lord it over" their subjects, but not so in His kingdom. In His kingdom those who were great needed to be a servant (diakonos, 1249) and a slave (doulos, 1401) of others (Matt. 20:25-27; Mark 10:42-44). Jesus then used Himself as an example: "Even as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his soul a ransom (lutron, 3083) in the place of (anti, 473) many" (Matt. 20:28, author's translation; Mark 10:45). The broader contexts of the incidents in both gospels indicate that by "ransom" (lutron, 3083) Jesus meant His sacrificial death to pay for the sins of the world's people in their stead (Matt. 27:1-66; Mark 15:1-47).

It should be noted that both Matt. 20:28 and Mark 10:45 associate the word "ransom" (lutron3083) and the word "in the place of" (anti473) in the same statement. Paul, in his first letter to Timothy, combined both words into one, antilutron (487)  (1 Tim. 2:6). There he stated, "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, the one having given Himself as a ransom-in-the-place-of on behalf of all, the testimony at the proper time" (1 Tim. 2:5-6, author's literal translation). Antilutron appears only once in the NT, here (1 Tim. 2:6). I have translated it as "'ransom-in-the-place-of." Since Jesus gave Himself as a "ransom-in-the-place-of" (antilutron, 487) on behalf of all (pas, 3956), Calvinism's claim that Jesus died only for the sins of the elect is thereby refuted and repudiated.


Rapture
.  Jesus Christ's return to Earth's atmosphere to retrieve the Church, His bride, from Earth and take His bride back to heaven to be with Him always.  This event is presented in John 14:1-3; 1 Cor. 15:51-52; 1 Thess. 4:13-18 and a number of other passages.  The word rapture is never found in Scripture.  The term comes from the Latin Vulgate translation of  the Greek word harpadzo, "caught up" (1 Thess. 4:17). See a more extensive treatment of the Rapture.

Pre-Tribulation Rapture.  In this view, the Rapture is presumed to take place prior to the Great Tribulation, a time of unprecedented trouble that is to befall the entire earth.  There are several reasons why a pre-tribulation rapture is more likely than a mid-tribulation rapture or a post-tribulation rapture. 

1)    A pre-tribulation rapture fits in best with the prophetic time-table for God’s dealings with Israel as outlined in Daniel 9:24-27.  The pre-tribulation Rapture of the Church to Heaven paves the way for God to conclude His dealing with the Church in this era and resume His dealings with Israel.

2)    A pre-tribulation Rapture model best explains the “imminence” feature of the rapture.  Imminence is the view of the rapture presented in Scripture, that it could occur at any time.  The doctrine of imminence is derived from observations that certain passages which discuss Christ’s return do not present any intervening signs which must take place prior to His return (John 14:1-3; 1 Cor. 15:51-52; 1 Thess. 4:13-18).  Other passages which discuss the Second Coming of Christ present multiple signs that must be fulfilled before His arrival (Zech. 14:1-4; Matt. 24; Rev. 6-19).

3)    A pre-tribulation Rapture best fits an orderly exposition of the events outlined in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11 and 2 Thessalonians 1-2.

4)    A pre-tribulation Rapture best explains the exemption of the Philadelphia church from the hour of testing which is about to come on the whole world (Rev. 3:10).

5)    A pre-tribulation Rapture best explains the call to John to come up to heaven after having received the messages to the seven churches and the entire Church Age.  His movement to heaven, described in Rev. 4:1-5:14, symbolizes the Church’s call to heaven prior to the Tribulation period, discussed in great detail in Rev. 6:1-18:24. See a more extensive treatment of the (Pre-Tribulation) Rapture.

Mid-Tribulation Rapture:  In this view, Jesus returns for His Church at the middle of the Tribulation.  This view mixes up God’s working with the Church and His subsequent working with Israel.

Prewrath Rapture: In this view, Jesus returns for His Church after the Sixth Seal has been opened (Rev. 12:6-17), and before the 7 Trumpet (Rev. 8:1-11:19) and 7 Bowl Judgments (Rev. 15:1-16:21).  One advocate [This link is now defunct] of a Prewrath Rapture stipulates the following: 

1) The church will enter the Great Tribulation which begins at the midpoint of Daniel's seventieth week. 2) The church will be raptured just after the sixth seal and at [the] coming of Christ which ends the Great Tribulation. 3) The wrath of God begins after the rapture of the church has occurred.

Prewrath Rapture advocates hold that the return of Christ in Matthew 24:29-31 describes the Rapture, the event recorded in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. Pre-Tribulational advocates, however, hold that the Rapture referred to in 1 Thess. 4:13-18 is a different event than the Second Coming of Christ in power, described in Matt. 24:29-31.

The greatest difficulty with the Pre-Wrath position is its insistence that the Six Seals (Rev. 6:1-17) constitute the wrath (thumos) of Satan (Rev. 12:12) and not the wrath of God. One reason for this distinction is that the word wrath (orge) does not appear in the book of Revelation until Rev. 6:16-17. Yet it is Jesus who breaks each of the Seals, initiating each of the judgments. The Fourth Seal alone destroys a quarter of the earth's population (Rev. 6:7-8). How can this not be the wrath of God? Furthermore, it is clear that the people of earth are already experiencing the wrath of God and the wrath of the Lamb during the course of the sixth seal (Rev. 6:12-17). That is why they ask for mountains and rocks to hide them.

A Pre-Tribulation Rapture best explains prophetic details, exempts the Church from experiencing the wrath of God (1 Thess. 1:10; 5:9), and differentiates God's dealing with the Church in the Church Age from His dealing with Israel at the commencement of Daniel's Seventieth Week (Dan. 9:24-27).

Alan Kurschner, of Prewrath Rapture.com is a good example of a Prewrath Rapturist. His article, "The First Six Seals Are Not God's Wrath..." aptly illustrates the Prewrath take on the timing of the Tribulation. WordExplain does not concur with Alan Kurschner's conclusions, nor with the conclusions of Charles Cooper, on the editorial staff of the blog, nor does it concur with the conclusions of Prewrath Rapturists in general. 

Post-Tribulation Rapture.  This view teaches that the Church will go through the Tribulation.  Like the Mid-Tribulation view and the Prewrath view, this view mixes up God’s working with the Church and His subsequent working with Israel.  It also flies in the face of Scriptures which teach that the Church is exempt from God’s judgment of the world (1 Thess. 1:10; 5:9). Historic Premillennialism espouses a Post-Tribulation Rapture. 

    One of the greatest logical difficulties of the Post-Tribulation view is to explain how the Millennial Earth will be populated with people in their natural bodies. For example, Isaiah 11:6-9 predicts a small boy leading a young lion and a fatling. The same passage also predicts a weaned child playing with a viper. Isaiah also speaks of Israelis bearing children during the Millennium (Isa. 65:23). If Jesus only returns to earth once, and that is at the end of the Tribulation, then all believers of all ages will either be resurrected at that time, or, if alive, will be given heavenly bodies (1 Cor. 15:50-58; 1 Thess. 4:13-18). Under the scenario of a Post-Tribulation Rapture, who would be left alive in their natural bodies to marry and to bear children? The answer is, "No one," for Jesus said that in the resurrection there is no marriage (Matt. 22:30; Luke 20:35). Furthermore, there are Millennial passages that speak of death (Isa. 65:20-22). Assuming for the moment a Post-Tribulation Rapture, who would be left alive in their natural bodies to die? The answer is, "No one." Furthermore, the Apostle John clearly predicted that after the Millennium, Satan would be released from his prison and would deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth. They will revolt against King Jesus and His regime, and will surround Jerusalem to destroy it and those headquartered there. Fire will come down from heaven and consume them (Rev. 20:7-10). Again, assuming a Post-Tribulation Rapture, when all the saints are either resurrected or glorified, who will be left alive in their natural bodies to be tempted successfully by Satan, revolt against King Jesus, and die a fiery death? The answer is, "No one." Simply put, a Post-Tribulation Rapture does not fit with the data of Scripture.

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Reconcile, Reconciliation. God's act of removing the impediment of sin and spiritual death so that He might resume a relationship with fallen man, originally created as  holy. The verb "to reconcile" is katallassō (2644), and the noun  "reconciliation" is katallagê (2643). It is impossible to identify the nature of reconciliation unless we first quantify the need for reconciliation. A good illustration is that the verb is used as describing the restoration of amity between a woman and her husband, from whom she is estranged (1 Cor. 7:11).

The Need for Reconciliation. When God first created man, He created man in his own likeness and image (Gen. 1:26-28). That means that God designed man for a warm, personal exhilarating "God - Man" relationship. In other words, God created man to have fellowship with him. It is important to observe also that when God created man, He created man as very "good" (tob, 2896) (Gen. 1:31). This means that not only was man "pleasant, agreeable" from an aesthetic point of view, but he was "pleasant, agreeable" from a moral point of view. There was not one hint of rebellion, evil, or disrespect toward God and His standards. Man was in full agreement with God. It was customary for God to talk with man (Gen. 2:16-17, 18), provide for man (Gen. 2:18-22), and even to come to the Garden of Eden and walk with Adam and Eve (Gen. 3:8-9). But God created man as a moral creature with both a responsibility to obey and a capacity to disobey. God warned man that if he disobeyed in one specific, prescribed area, he would most certainly die (Gen. 2:16-17). Tragically, Satan succeeded in deceiving Eve. Adam, though not deceived (1 Tim. 2:14), participated (Gen. 3:1-6). Immediately the couple died spiritually. This was seen in the impairment of their relationship with one another (Gen. 3:7), in their act of hiding from God (Gen. 3:8), and in their avoidance of responsibility by blaming others (Gen. 3:11-12, 13). Not only had committed an act of sin, but they had become corrupted, unholy, and suspicious of God, avoiding fellowship. This propensity Adam would pass on to his descendants (Rom. 5:12-14; 1 Cor. 15:21, 22) in such a way that the Apostle Paul, quoting OT Scripture, could accurately state that "there is none righteous" (Rom. 3:10), "there is none who seeks for God" (Rom. 3:11), "there is none who does good" (Rom. 3:12), and that man is "dead" in his "trespasses and sins" (Eph. 2:1), and as such is a child destined for "wrath" (Eph. 2:3). Moreover, man's body began to decay and would ultimately die physically. In addition, God placed a curse upon the entire earth (Gen. 2:17-19). It would be impossible for man's decaying, dying body to inherit the kingdom of God (1 Cor. 15:50). So man was separated from God, dead spiritually, and dying physically. Unless God took the initiative to restore the loss of fellowship, man was doomed to be separated from God forever (Rev. 20:11-15).

The Nature of Reconciliation. The Apostle Paul, on the one hand, intoned that "the wages of sin is death;" on the other hand, he trumpeted, "but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Rom. 6:23). Reconciliation describes the necessary steps that God had to take to remedy the condition of spiritually dead men so they could be saved. The extended passage of Romans 5:6-11 explains the concept of reconciliation. Paul is addressing believers in Christ, but in this paragraph he first looks back to what God did for us while we were still in a state of enmity against God.

(1) "While we were still helpless (asthenês, 772) , at the right time Christ died for the ungodly" (asebês, 765) (Rom. 5:6). " (2) Few would dare to die for a good person (Rom. 5:7), but God expressed His love for fallen mankind in that the Messiah died for us "while we were yet sinners" (hamartōlos, 268) (Rom. 5:8). (3) Paul continued, "Much more then, having now been justified (declared righteous, dikaioō, 1344) by His blood, we [believers] shall be saved from the wrath (orgê, 3709) of God through Him" (Rom. 5:9). (4) Now, to the point, "For if while we were enemies (echthros, 2190) we were reconciled (katallassō2644) to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled (katallassō2644), we shall be saved by His life" (Rom. 5:10). (5) The climax is found in the next verse, "And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation" (katallagê, 2643) (Rom. 5:11).

Elsewhere, Paul wrote of "God, who reconciled (katallassō2644) us to Himself through Christ ..." (2 Cor. 5:18). He further described God's action, "...God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them ..." (2 Cor. 5:19). The nature or reconciliation is this: God, in Jesus, has paid the necessary price to ensure that the debt incurred by all human sin has been paid in full. Indeed, it has (John 19:30)! This removed any barrier on God's part preventing His reestablishment of relationship with the human race in general, and with individual people in particular.

God's Part in Reconciliation. God has done all that needs to be done to remove the barrier that impedes a relationship between Him and any human beings. All that is left is for man to accept God's payment on his behalf. Tragically, the debilitating effect of sin -- death -- is so severe that man is oblivious of God and is unable to make any positive moves toward God. That means God has needed to use heroic means (beyond the death of His own Son!!!) to accomplish reconciliation. In this regard it is helpful to distinguish between potential reconciliation and accomplished reconciliation. Potential reconciliation is the status of every human being. But accomplished reconciliation, in which man actually accepts the reconciliation offered, requires additional steps by God. The additional acts include the following: foreknowledge, election, predestination, calling, justification, and glorification. Apart from God taking these steps, no human will ever take advantage of the reconciliation Jesus purchased with His own blood.

Man's Part in Reconciliation. Reconciliation is a gift offered to all mankind by God through Jesus. In simplest terms, man must actually receive the reconciliation (Rom. 5:11). Let us quantify these steps.

Repentance / Faith. The Bible does not directly use the term "repentance" in conjunction with "reconciliation." However, the word is not absent from the New Testament. Both John the Baptist and the Lord Jesus announced, "Be repenting (metanoeō, 3340), for the kingdom of the heavens has drawn near" (Matt. 3:2; 4:17; Mark 1:15, author's literal translation). Metanoeō means, strictly speaking, "Perceive afterward," "with the implication of being too late to avoid consequences" (Friberg). As both John and Jesus used the term, it meant not only contrition for and forsaking of sins (Matt. 3:6; Mark 1:4, 5), but also believing the good news about the identity of the King in order to participate in His Kingdom (Matt. 11:20-21; Mark 1:14-15). It is interesting that, while Matthew, Mark, and Luke used the terms "Repent" and "Repentance" several times, each of them used the terms "faith" and "believe" more often. At the same time, John, in his gospel, never used the terms "repent" or "repentance," but he used the term "believe" a staggering 98 times! We conclude, then, that "Repentance" and "Faith" are the two sides of the same coin. (See also "A Biblical Theology of Repentance.") So for man to access the reconciliation God has provided, he must understand that Jesus died to pay for his sins, and he must also believe in (or trust) in Jesus as God's Messiah (primarily meaning "Anointed to be King"). In addition to the Scriptures above concerning the word "repent" (metanoeō, 3340), we also include several references containing the word "believe" (pisteuō, 4100) ( John 1:12; 3:16, 18, 36; 4:39, 41, 42; 5:24; 6:40; 11:25-26, 27; 20:30-31; Acts 13:38-39).

Evangelism. Not only is man to "perceive afterward" about his own sinful condition and understand the identity and requirements of the King, and to believe, or trust in Him, but we who believe are commanded to carry the good news about the King to others! Jesus' command to bear witness to Him we call "The Great Commission" (Matt. 28:16-20; Luke 24:45-49; Acts 1:8). But Paul couched the "Great Commission" in terms of the Ministry and Message of Reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:18-19). It is on this account that we Christians understand we are "Ambassadors for Christ." And so we be others to "be reconciled to God" (2 Cor. 5:20).

Redeem, Redemption. In a theological sense, God's payment, through Christ's death, of the purchase price necessary to secure the deliverance of believers from the curse of the Law and the ravages of sin. In certain instances it refers to the political deliverance of the nation of Israel and to the efficient use of time. The English words "redeem" and "redemption" appear under a variety of Greek words:  

    The verb lutroō (3084) occurs only in the middle or passive tense in the NT. Its meaning (in the middle tense) is to "redeem, set free, deliver" (Friberg). (1) In Luke 24:21 Cleopas and another, unnamed disciple had hoped that Jesus would not only spiritually, but primarily also politically deliver Israel. (2) Paul wrote to Titus that Jesus gave Himself on our behalf to set us free (lutroōfrom every lawless deed in the present time (Tit. 2:14). (3) Peter wrote that it was not by means of perishable commodities like silver or gold that we were set free (lutroō) from a meaningless lifestyle inherited from our forefathers, but rather with the costly blood of Christ -- blood as from a lamb without blemish or spot (1 Pet. 1:18-19). Of the three uses in the NT, one speaks of a political deliverance for Israel, while the other two speak of deliverance in the present life of believers from evil deeds and a futile way of life.

    The related noun lutrōsis (3085) means, strictly, "loosing." In the active voice it means providing a ransom, releasing from slavery or captivity. In a figurative and passive voice in the NT it means deliverance, freedom, liberation (Friberg). (1) In Zacharias' Spirit-filled prayer, he prophesied (Luke 1:67), "Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, because He visited and made deliverance (lutrōsis3085) for His people" (Luke 1:68, author's translation). By this Zacharias referred to the impending birth of Jesus, the Davidic King, who would ultimately provide political salvation for Israel, saving her from all her hateful enemies, enabling her to serve God without fear and in holiness and righteousness always (Luke 1:68-75). (2) When the prophetess Anna discovered the baby Jesus in the temple, she kept publicly acknowledging to God His provision, and kept speaking concerning the child to all who were expecting the deliverance (lutrōsis3085) of Jerusalem, pinned under the boot of Rome (Luke 2:38). (3) The writer of Hebrews spoke highly of Christ, the high priest who entered the greater, heavenly tabernacle (Heb. 9:11). He did not bring the blood of goats and calves. but entered the holy place through His own blood once for all, having obtained eternal deliverance (lutrōsis3085) (Heb. 9:12). So of the three occurrences in the NT, two speak of political deliverance for Israel, and one speaks of eternal deliverance for Christians.

    The noun apolutrōsis (629), on a literal level, refers to the action of buying back a slave or captive through payment of a ransom (Heb. 11:35). On a figurative level, it speaks (a) of deliverance from sin (Rom. 3:24; Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14; Heb. 9:15); (b) of the deliverance of the body from the throes of death and decay (Rom. 8:23). This will take place at our final adoption as sons; and (c) of Jesus Christ as the means of our ultimate redemption (1 Cor. 1:30) (adapted from Friberg). Other uses of apolutrōsis (629) include (d) the deliverance to be granted saints (especially Israeli saints) alive during the Tibulation when Jesus Christ returns to earth (Luke 21:28; cf. Luke 21:24-28); and (e) the ultimate deliverance guaranteed to Church saints by virtue of the sealing presence of the indwelling Holy Spirit (Eph. 1:14; 4:30). 

    The verb agoradzō (59) means, strictly, to buy, or purchase, or do business in the marketplace (adapted from  Friberg). Instances of that literal meaning include Matt. 13:44, 46; 14:15; 21:12 (in this case the marketplace was in the temple precincts!); Matt. 25:9, 10; 27:7; Mark 6:36, 37; 11:15 (purchasing in the temple); Mark 15:46; 16:1; Luke 9:13; 14:18, 19; 17:28; 22:36; John 4:8; 6:5; 13:29; 1 Cor. 7:30; Rev. 13:17; 18:11. In a figurative sense the word is used (a) in a spiritual sense "as being no longer controlled by sin - set free; from the analogy of buying a slave's freedom for a price paid by a benefactor - redeem" (1 Cor. 6:20; 7:23); (b) as referencing the fact that Jesus paid the price to purchase false teachers who, nonetheless, deny Him (2 Pet. 2:1); (c) the people of the church at Laodicea were urged by Jesus to purchase from Him gold refined by fire and white garments and eye salve so they can be truly wealthy, not be embarrassed at being naked, and see (Rev. 3:18); (d) as recited in a song sung by the four living creatures and the 24 elders up in heaven stating the Lamb was worthy to open the scroll with seven seals of judgment upon earth inasmuch as through His own blood He had purchased for God individuals from every tribe, tongue, people, and nation (Rev. 5:9); (e) and as twice referring to the 144,000 Israelis up in heavenly Mt. Zion "who had been purchased from the earth" (Rev. 14:3) and have been purchased from among men as first fruits to God and the Lamb" (Rev. 14:4). 

    The verb exagoradzō (1805). Literally, "to buy out of the marketplace." According to Friberg, in the active voice, the verb means to "buy back" or "buy up." Figuratively, it speaks of "Jesus' liberating atonement -- deliver, redeem (Gal. 3:13)." In the middle voice, it speaks "of making the most of an opportunity -- make the best use of, take advantage of (Eph. 5:16). Let us examine each of the four uses of this word in the NT. (1) Paul wrote that those who are "of the works of the Law are under a curse" because they cannot possibly keep every commandment (Gal. 3:10). But Christ has "bought us out of the marketplace (exagoradzō1805) of the curse of the Law, having become a curse on our behalf, because it is written, 'Cursed is every one hanging on a tree'" (Gal. 3:13, author's literal paraphrase). (2) Later, Paul wrote to the Galatians, 4 "Moreover, when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, having been born of woman, having been born under Law 5 in order that He might purchase out of the marketplace (exagoradzō1805) those under Law in order that we might receive from [Him] the adoption" (Gal. 4:4-5, author's literal paraphrase). (3) Paul exhorted the Ephesians,  15 "Watch carefully, therefore, how you walk, not as unwise [people], but as wise, 16 buying back (exagoradzō1805) the time because the days are evil" (Eph. 5:15-16, author's translation). (4) "Walk in wisdom toward those outside, buying back (exagoradzō1805) the time" (Col. 4:5, author's translation). Conclusion: We see, then, that Christ, by His sacrificial death, has purchased believers out from the marketplace of being a slave under the curse of the Law (Gal. 3:13; 4:5) in order that we might receive adoption (placement as sons) (Gal. 4:5). Both of these instances appear in the active voice of the verb. The verb appears in the middle voice in Eph. 5:16 and Col. 4:5, and so both instances are translated as "buying back" (the time).

    Complete List of Vocabulary along with Scripture References. The vocabulary for "redemption" includes the noun lutrōsis (3085) (Luke 1:68; 2:38; Heb. 9:12) and the noun apolutrōsis (629) (Luke 21:28; Rom. 3:24; 8:23; 1 Cor. 1:30; Eph. 1:7, 14; 4:30; Col. 1:14; Heb. 9:15; 11:35). The vocabulary for "redeem" includes the verb lutroō (3084) (Luke 24:21; Tit. 2:14; 1 Pet. 1:18); the verb agoradzō (59) (Matt. 13:44, 46; 14:15; 21:12; 25:9, 10; 27:7; Mark 6:36, 37; 11:15; 15:46; 16:1; Luke 9:13; 14:18, 19; 17:28; 22:36; John 4:8; 6:5; 13:29; 1 Cor. 6:20; 7:23, 30; 2 Pet. 2:1; Rev. 3:18; 5:9; 13:17; 14:3, 4; 18:11); and the verb exagoradzō (1805) (Gal. 3:13; 4:5; Eph. 5:16; Col. 4:5).

Reformed Theology. A major branch of Protestant theology that followed the teachings of men such as John Calvin, William Farel, Theodore Beza, and John Knox. Some of the main tenets of Reformed Theology, at least in its early stages, include the centrality of Scripture (Sola Scriptura), the sovereignty of God, the fallenness of man, salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, and an emphasis on certain covenants, including a presumed covenant of works, a presumed covenant of grace, and the Biblical New Covenant. (In fairness, the Westminster Confession, Chapter VII, identifies the "Covenant of Grace" with the New Covenant, although it mis-states that it operated both in the Old Testament and New Testament eras.)  In this regard, "Reformed Theology" is sometimes called "Covenant Theology." While the reformers corrected certain abuses in the Roman Catholic Church, especially in the areas of Bibliology, Soteriology, and Ecclesiology, they did not correct Rome's non-literal hermeneutic in prophetic passages. Consequently Reformed Theology is Amillennial and thus, anti-Dispensational. Reformed Theology is perhaps best known for its doctrine of salvation, encapsulated under the acronym "TULIP": Total Depravity; Unconditional Election; Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace, and Perseverance of the Saints. WordExplain agrees with many tenets of Reformed Theology. It rejects Limited Atonement; it rejects the Covenants of Work and Grace because neither are so designated in Scripture; and it rejects its nonliteralism in prophetic Scriptures (Amillennialism); and it rejects its conclusion that the Church is the new Israel. In the Twentieth Century, influential Reformed theologians included Abraham Kuyper, Herman Bavinck, B. B. Warfield, and Martyn Lloyd Jones. Conservative modern day Reformed theologians include J. I. Packer and R. C. Sproul. The Westminster Confession is perhaps the best-known creedal expression of Reformed Theology.

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Regathering of Israel.  God's drawing of expatriate Jewish people from all over the world back to Israel, there to repent for having forsaken Him, to place their faith in Jesus  as their Messiah, and joyfully to take part, with hearts softened by the Spirit of God, in Jesus' Kingdom (Psa. 107:1-3; Isa. 11:11-16; 27:12-13; 43:1-7; 49:20-22; 60:4-9; Ezek. 36:22-28; 37:1-14; 37:15-28; Zech. 10:6-12). The present-day Aliyah is but a pre-cursor to the prophesied Regathering, because the vast majority of Israelis reject Jesus as their Messiah. One day this will change dramatically (Zech. 12:10-13:1).

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Regeneration. The act of God whereby He makes alive a spiritually dead sinner who has placed his faith in Jesus Christ. The term "regeneration" (paliggenesia, 3824) in this sense is used only in Titus 3:5. The literal meaning of paliggenesia (3824) is from palin ("again") and genesis ("birth"). Though the words are slightly different, the same concept is to be 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. Regeneration, or spiritual rebirth, 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 than circumcising an Israeli's organ of procreation could circumcise his heart (Romans 2:29). See Four Different Types of Baptism.

There is a second use of paliggenesia (3824), found in Matthew 19:28. Jesus assured His twelve apostles, "Truly I say to you that you, the ones having followed me, in the regeneration (paliggenesia, 3824), when the Son of Man shall sit upon a throne of His glory, you also will sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel" (author's translation). Here the "re-birth" refers to the glorious Millennial Kingdom of Christ. Physical as well as moral and spiritual and political conditions will be greatly modified in that time. This passage may also refer to the Eternal State upon New Earth.

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.

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Remnant. Theologically speaking, the fraction of the nation of Israel who, throughout Israel's history, exhibit repentance for sin, genuine faith in God, and, ultimately, faith in Jesus of Nazareth as their Messiah. One of the Hebrew words that specifies this remnant is sheerith (7611). In the NASB it is translated as "remnant" (55X); "rest" (7X); "survivors" (2X); "left" (1X); and "those who had escaped" (1X). Scriptures which speak of this faithful remnant, using sheerith, include Jer. 23:3; 31:7; Mic. 2:12; 4:7;  5:7, 8; Zeph. 2:7, 9; 3:13; Hag. 1:12, 14; 2:2; Zech. 8:6, 11, 12. Other passages speak of a surviving residue of the people of Israel or Judah, but without necessarily specifying their theological faithfulness to Yahweh. Such passages include 2 Kings 19:31; Ezra 9:14; Isa. 37:4, 32; 46:3; Jer. 40:11, 15; 41:10, 16; 42:2, 15, 19; 43:5; 44:7, 12; Ezek. 5:10; 9:8; 11:13; Amos 5:15; Mic. 7:18.

    Another word translated "remnant" is shear (7605), translated in the NASB as “rest” (13X); “remnant” (11X); “remainder” (1X); and “survivors” (1X). Several times, particularly in Isaiah, shear refers to a faithful, purified residue of Yahweh’s people, the people of Israel (Isa. 10:20, 21, 22; 11:11, 16; 28:5).

    In the NT, Paul used the word hupoleimma (5275) once to describe the faithful remnant of Israel (Rom. 9:27, quoting Isa. 10:22). One time Paul used the word leimma (3005) to describe the faithful remnant of Israel (Rom. 11:5). Both words are hapax legomena.

    Clearly, despite the pronouncements of Replacement Theologians among Amillennialists and even many in the camp of Historical Premillennialists, God has a future for the people of Israel as a redeemed nation. Presently, Jewish people who believe in Jesus have dual citizenship. They are part of the Church, but they are also part of the Nation of Israel. After the Rapture of the Church, Jewish people who subsequently choose to place their faith in Jesus as their Messiah will become part of the Remnant, i.e., Redeemed Israel.

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Repent, Repentance. Literally, "to perceive afterwards," i.e., to change one's mind and behavior regarding sin or regarding Jesus Christ. Both John the Baptist and the Lord Jesus announced, "Be repenting (metanoeō, 3340), for the kingdom of the heavens has drawn near" (Matt. 3:2; 4:17; Mark 1:15, author's literal translation). Metanoeō means, strictly speaking, "Perceive afterward," "with the implication of being too late to avoid consequences" (Friberg). As both John and Jesus used the term, it meant not only contrition for and forsaking of sins (Matt. 3:6; Mark 1:4, 5), but also believing the good news about the identity of the King in order to participate in His Kingdom (Matt. 11:20-21; Mark 1:14-15). It is interesting that, while Matthew, Mark, and Luke used the terms "Repent" and "Repentance" several times, each of them used the terms "faith" and "believe" more often. At the same time, John, in his gospel, never used the terms "repent" or "repentance," but he used the term "believe" a staggering 98 times! We conclude, then, that "Repentance" and "Faith" are the two sides of the same coin. (See also "A Biblical Theology of Repentance.") So for man to access the salvation God has provided, he must understand that Jesus died to pay for his sins, and he must also believe in (or trust) in Jesus as God's Messiah (primarily meaning "Anointed to be King"). In addition to the Scriptures above concerning the word "repent" (metanoeō, 3340), we also include several references containing the word "believe" (pisteuō, 4100) (John 1:12; 3:16, 18, 36; 4:39, 41, 42; 5:24; 6:40; 11:25-26, 27; 20:30-31; Acts 13:38-39).

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Replacement Theology. The theological view of Amillennialism that the Church has permanently replaced or fulfilled Israel as the sphere of God's blessing and redemptive program. In the view of “Replacement Theology,” the present nation of Israel has little or no meaningful relationship to end-time events since, in their view, the Church has replaced Israel.  Another term for "Replacement Theology" is "Supersessionism," which holds that the Church has superseded Israel. It is difficult to read Paul's apologia for Israel in Romans 9-11 and make any sense out of it if, in fact, the Church has permanently superseded Israel

If Replacement Theology is true, countless passages like
Isaiah 2:1-4; Isa. 11:1-16; Isa. 60:1-22; Ezekiel 40:1-48:35; and Zechariah 12:1-14:21 cannot be taken at face value – they mean something other than what the readers in that day would have taken them to mean. Clearly God's covenant with Abraham and his physical descendants through Isaac and Jacob in the land as a permanent possession is an eternal covenant. The neglect or misinterpretation of these fundamental truths cannot abort the eternal commitment of God. See also Supersessionism.

For an extensive treatment of Supersessionism, or Replacement Theology, see Michael J. Vlach, Supersessionism Articles.



Restrainer. The Holy Spirit in the Church. There are only two references to "the restrainer." Both are found in 2 Thess. 2:6, 7. They occur in the midst of a discussion about "the man of lawlessness" (2 Thess. 2:3), or "that lawless one" (2 Thess. 2:8). The Apostle Paul also identified this sinister individual as "the son of destruction" (2 Thess. 2:3), the one who will display himself as being God in the temple of God (2 Thess. 2:4), the one whose coming (parousia, 3952) will be according to the energy (energeia, 1753) of Satan with all power, signs and wonders based on falsehood (2 Thess. 2:9). Paul states clearly that the Day of the Lord (2 Thess. 2:2) cannot come to pass until, first (a) the apostasy comes and until (b) "the man of lawlessness is unveiled" (2 Thess. 2:3). But there is something or someone presently restraining (katechō, 2722) him (2 Thess. 2:6), preventing him from being revealed until the proper time. In fact, "the mystery of lawlessness is already at work," even in Paul's day. "Only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way" (2 Thess. 2:7).

So there is some entity, "that which restrains the lawless one," presently in operation.
No merely human government or other entity is powerful enough to restrain evil over long periods of time. Only God can do that. The neuter gender present participle (to katechon) ("that which is restraining") (2 Thess. 2:6) is consistent with the neuter gender (grammatically) of the Holy Spirit (pneuma, 4151). But in the next verse Paul identifies the Holy Spirit as "the one restraining" (ho katechōn, a masculine gender present participle). This is consistent with the fact that the Holy Spirit is a person, not a force.

While the Holy Spirit is powerful enough to restrain evil in the world, how can He be removed? He is omnipresent. The answer is that the time is coming when the Holy Spirit in the Church will be removed from this world. That will take place at the Pre-Tribulation Rapture, identified in 2 Thess. 2:1. When that happens, evil will sweep over the world. With no restraint, the Lawless One, the Antichrist, will be revealed, and he will quickly move to implement his Satan-inspired agenda during the "Day of the Lord," the Tribulation period.

We conclude, then that "the restrainer" or "that which restrains" is the Holy Spirit in the Church. With the Church absent from the earth, there will be nothing to oppose or restrain evil people all over the world, and the Lawless One, the Antichrist, will establish his malevolent agenda. See also Thomas Constable's explanation.


Retribution. In the terminology of WordExplain, Retribution refers to that second stage of Christ's parousia (3952) in which Jesus returns all the way to earth to execute vengeance upon His adversaries and those of His people, then to set up His Regime.. Paul clearly states the retributive aspect of Christ's return in 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9:

7and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, 8dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power,

     Other passages also reveal Retribution in connection with Christ's return: Isaiah 63:1-6; Zechariah 14:1-15; Revelation 19:11-21. It is worth noting that the Retributive phase of Christ's return is consistently presented as having many signs that must be fulfilled prior to Christ's return. For example, in Matthew 24:1-51, a great many signs (semeion, 4592) must be fulfilled before Christ's return and the end of the age (Matt. 24:3).

These signs include false Messiahs, wars, rumors of wars, international conflict, famines, and earthquakes. All these are but the early onset of labor pains (Matt. 24:4-8).

Jesus predicted there will be tribulation, martyrdom, hatred by all nations because of His followers' allegiance to His name, apostasy, betrayal, reciprocal hatred, false prophets, deception, increasing lawlessness, and the waning of love and trust. The good news of the kingdom shall be proclaimed in the whole world as a testimony to all nations before the end comes (Matt. 24:9-14).

The "Abomination of Desolation" will appear in the rebuilt Jewish Temple. (This apparently marks the mid-point of Daniel's Seventieth Seven of Years, at which "the prince who shall come" will break his seven-year treaty with Israel (Dan. 9:27). Then residents of Judea must flee to the mountains! Then there will be "great tribulation" unprecedented in the history of the world! False Messiahs and false prophets will arise and show great signs (semeion, 4592) and wonders so spectacular they almost deceive God's chosen ones (eklektos, 1588) (Matt. 24:15-28).

"Immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken (Matt. 24:29). And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory (Matt. 24:30). And he will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other" (Matt. 24:31).

     Similarly, in the book of Revelation a great many signs must be fulfilled prior to Christ's Return for Retribution as described in Revelation 19:11-21. After the Church Age, addressed in Revelation 2:1-3:22, preparations are made in heaven (Rev. 4:1-5:14). Then there will be unleashed upon the earth during the Tribulation period seven seal judgments, seven trumpet judgments, and seven bowl judgments, described in Revelation 6:1-16:21. Two witnesses will testify during half the Tribulation period (Rev. 11:1-14). The Antichrist and his lieutenant must gain power over the entire earth (Rev. 13:1-18). Babylon, the Great Prostitute, must be burned with fire (Rev. 17:1-18:24) to pave the way for the revelation of New Jerusalem, the Bride of Christ (Rev. 21:1-22:5).

     The point is that the Second Stage of Christ's parousia, the Retribution phase, cannot possibly be construed as an imminent event. A great many signs must be fulfilled prior to Jesus' return for Retribution. A Single-Stage Parousia simply does not fit the evidence. Only a Two-Stage Parousia accounts for all the details found in Scripture.

Reunion. In the terminology of WordExplain, Reunion refers to that First Stage of Christ's parousia (3952) (return) in which Jesus returns to the earth's atmosphere to summon up deceased believers of the Church Era along with living believers of the Church Era to a joyous meeting in the air. We call this reunion the Rapture.

This reunion is graphically described in a key passage, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. This stage of Christ's parousia incorporates a resurrection of deceased Church Age believers. For those Church-Age believers who are alive when Christ returns, their bodies will be changed (allasso, 236) instantaneously from mortal to immortal, from perishable to imperishable (1 Cor. 15:50-53). Immediately, these changed, now immortal believers, along with the resurrected believers, will be snatched up (harpadzo, 726) together into the clouds for a meeting (apantesis, 529) with the Lord in the air. Paul's exultant phrase, which aptly characterizes this stage of Christ's parousia, is "and so we shall always be with the Lord!" (1 Thess. 4:15-17).

The focal point of this stage of the parousia is REUNION! We will be reunited with Christ and reunited with Church-Age believers who had died before Christ returned. They did not miss the Rapture; rather they are an integral part of it. It is no wonder that this Reunion is a cause for great comfort (1 Thess. 4:18).

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 does not specify what happens to these resurrected, transformed, and snatched up Church-Age saints. The model that best fits the evidence is found in John 14:1-6, where Jesus stated that there were many dwelling places in His Father's house. He would depart to prepare a place for His followers. He would come again and receive them to Himself, so that they might be reunited - always with Him. The implication is that He would take them back with Him to His Father's house and permit them to dwell in the place He had prepared for them. Jesus Himself is the Way to the Father and the Father's house!

The context of John 14:1-6 does not lend itself well at all to the interpretation that Jesus would come and transport them individually to His Father's house upon their death. This is not funeral talk - it is wedding talk! This is the language of a bridegroom betrothed to his bride-to-be, a reference to the Church. He will depart from them in order to prepare a place (singular) for them (plural) among the many dwelling places already in existence in His Father's house. Upon His completion of the preparations, He will come again (a reference to the First Stage of His Second Coming) and receive them (plural - corporately) to Himself in order that where He Himself is they (plural - corporately), the bride, might be (plural - corporately) also. So this is not an individual coming at the death of each saint, but a one-time coming for the corporate bride . The presumption is that He will take the bride to the dwelling place He has prepared for them.

The Reunion phase of Christ's parousia is consistently presented as an imminent event. Unlike the Retribution phase of Christ's parousia, It could happen at any time. There are no intervening events that must be fulfilled prior to the Reunion phase of Christ's return.

Chronologically, the Reunion phase of Christ's parousia is the next event on God's prophetic calendar. The Reunion event will occur prior to the horrific events of the Tribulation. It is an imminent event. Nothing prophetically needs to happen before Christ returns for His bride.


Revelation. On a literal level, the Greek word apokálupsis (602) describes the action of uncovering, disclosing, revealing (Friberg). It was used in this sense in 1 Samuel 20:30 in the LXX. The word is translated "nakedness" in the NASB's translation of 1 Sam. 20:30 from the MT. Typically, in the NT the noun is used on a figurative level, where it means "revelation, disclosure.". It is used, for example, (1) to describe God's disclosure of truth to humans (Rom. 16:25; 1 Cor. 14:6, 26; 2 Cor. 12:1, 7; Gal. 2:2; Eph. 3:3). It is also used (2) to describe the disclosure, revelation, unveiling, or appearing of Jesus Christ Himself at His Second Coming (1 Cor. 1:7; 2 Thess. 1:7; 1 Pet. 1:7, 13; 4:13; Rev. 1:1). In my opinion, in Rev. 1:1 the word refers both to Jesus revelation of facts about the future and also to His revelation of Himself in His glory, both to John (in Rev. 1) and to the world (Rev. 19:11-21).


Righteousness. The quality or trait of uprightness, justice, or moral, ethical, and spiritual correctness. The Greek noun is dikaiosúnê (1343), which appears 92 X in 91 verses in the NT, and is almost universally translated, "righteousness" in the NASB. A person possessing righteousness is said to be righteous (díkaios, 1342).

A number of passages speak of the righteousness of God: Matt. 6:33; Rom. 1:17; 3:5, 25, 26; 10:3; James 1:20.

Several passages link righteousness to Jesus Christ: Acts 17:31; 2 Pet. 1:1; Rev. 19:11.

At least one passage links righteousness to the Holy Spirit: John 16:8

Most passages using "righteousness" refer to human righteousness. These fall into three categories.

Imputed righteousness: That righteousness from God credited to the account of a sinner saved by grace through faith. These passages include the following: Rom. 4:3, 5, 6, 9, 11, 13; 8:10; 10:6, 10; 2 Cor. 5:21; Gal. 3:6; Heb. 11:7; James 2:23. This imputed righteousness is stated to be a gift: Rom. 5:17. One passage explicitly states that imputed righteousness (in the NT era) comes through faith in Jesus Christ : Php. 3:9.

Personal righteousness: The practice or state of righteousness as found in a human: Matt. 5:6, 10; 6:1; Luke 1:75; Acts 10:35; Rom. 6:13, 16, 19; 14:17; 2 Cor. 6:14; 1 Tim. 6:11; 2 Tim. 2:22; 2 Tim. 3:16; Heb. 11:33; 12:11; James 3:18; 1 Pet. 2:24; 3:14; 2 Pet. 2:5; 1 John 2:29; 3:7, 10.

Permanent, or Completed righteousness: The state of permanent righteousness anticipated by the believer in eternity, where he will be unimpeded by a fallen nature and a sin-cursed body: Gal. 5:5 (the hope of righteousness); 2 Tim. 4:8 (the crown of righteousness. Note that this crown does not consist of metal, but of the intangible, yet very real quality of righteousness); 2 Pet. 3:13 (in the New Heavens and New Earth, only righteousness will exist. Unrighteousness and unrighteous people will be forever banished – Rev. 21:8; 22:15).


RSVCE. Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition.


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Updated December 21, 2016

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