Assurance - The resurrection of Jesus ( Acts 17:31) is the "assurance" (Gr. pistis, generally rendered "faith") or pledge God has given that his revelation is true and worthy of acceptance. The "full assurance [Gr. plerophoria, 'full bearing'] of faith" ( Heb. 10:22) is a fulness of faith in God which leaves no room for doubt. The "full assurance of understanding" ( Col. 2:2) is an entire unwavering conviction of the truth of the declarations of Scripture, a joyful steadfastness on the part of any one of conviction that he has grasped the very truth. The "full assurance of hope" ( Heb. 6:11) is a sure and well-grounded expectation of eternal glory (2 Tim. 4:7,2 Tim. 4:8). This assurance of hope is the assurance of a man's own particular salvation.
This infallible assurance, which believers may attain unto as to their own personal salvation, is founded on the truth of the promises ( Heb. 6:18), on the inward evidence of Christian graces, and on the testimony of the Spirit of adoption ( Rom. 8:16). That such a certainty may be attained appears from the testimony of Scripture ( Rom. 8:16; 1 John 2:3;1 John 3:14), from the command to seek after it ( Heb. 6:11; 2 Pet. 1:10), and from the fact that it has been attained (2 Tim. 1:12;2 Tim 4:7,2 Tim. 1:8; 1 John 2:3;1 John 4:16).
This full assurance is not of the essence of saving faith. It is the result of faith, and posterior to it in the order of nature, and so frequently also in the order of time. True believers may be destitute of it. Trust itself is something different from the evidence that we do trust. Believers, moreover, are exhorted to go on to something beyond what they at present have when they are exhorted to seek the grace of full assurance ( Heb. 10:22; 2 Pet. 1:5-10). The attainment of this grace is a duty, and is to be diligently sought.
"Genuine assurance naturally leads to a legitimate and abiding peace and joy, and to love and thankfulness to God; and these from the very laws of our being to greater buoyancy, strength, and cheerfulness in the practice of obedience in every department of duty."
This assurance may in various ways be shaken, diminished, and intermitted, but the principle out of which it springs can never be lost. (See FAITH.)
Assyria - the name derived from the city Asshur on the Tigris, the original capital of the country, was originally a colony from Babylonia, and was ruled by viceroys from that kingdom. It was a mountainous region lying to the north of Babylonia, extending along the Tigris as far as to the high mountain range of Armenia, the Gordiaean or Carduchian mountains. It was founded in B.C. 1700 under Bel-kap-kapu, and became an independent and a conquering power, and shook off the yoke of its Babylonian masters. It subdued the whole of Northern Asia. The Assyrians were Semites ( Gen. 10:22), but i n process of time non-Semite tribes mingled with the inhabitants. They were a military people, the "Romans of the East."
Of the early history of the kingdom of Assyria little is positively known. In B.C. 1120 Tiglath-pileser I., the greatest of the Assyrian kings, "crossed the Euphrates, defeated the kings of the Hittites, captured the city of Carchemish, and advanced as far as the shores of the Mediterranean." He may be regarded as the founder of the first Assyrian empire. After this the Assyrians gradually extended their power, subjugating the states of Northern Syria. In the reign of Ahab, king of Israel, Shalmaneser II. marched an army against the Syrian states, whose allied army he encountered and vanquished at Karkar. This led to Ahab's casting off the yoke of Damascus and allying himself with Judah. Some years after this the Assyrian king marched an army against Hazael, king of Damascus. He besieged and took that city. He also brought under tribute Jehu, and the cities of Tyre and Sidon.
About a hundred years after this (B.C. 745) the crown was seized by a military adventurer called Pul, who assumed the name of Tiglath-pileser III. He directed his armies into Syria, which had by this time regained its independence, and took (B.C. 740) Arpad, near Aleppo, after a siege of three years, and reduced Hamath. Azariah (Uzziah) was an ally of the king of Hamath, and thus was compelled by Tiglath-pileser to do him homage and pay a yearly tribute.
In B.C. 738, in the reign of Menahem, king of Israel, Pul invaded Israel, and imposed on it a heavy tribute (2 Kings 15:19). Ahaz, the king of Judah, when engaged in a war against Israel and Syria, appealed for help to this Assyrian king by means of a present of gold and silver (2 Kings 16:8); who accordingly "marched against Damascus, defeated and put Rezin to death, and besieged the city itself." Leaving a portion of his army to continue the siege, "he advanced through the province east of Jordan, spreading fire and sword," and became master of Philistia, and took Samaria and Damascus. He died B.C. 727, and was succeeded by Shalmanezer IV., who ruled till B.C. 722. He also invaded Syria (2 Kings 17:5), but was deposed in favour of Sargon (q.v.) the Tartan, or commander-in-chief of the army, who took Samaria (q.v.) after a siege of three years, and so put an end to the kingdom of Israel, carrying the people away into captivity, B.C. 722 (2 Kings 17:1-6,2 Kings 17:24;2 Kings 18:7,2 Kings 17:9). He also overran the land of Judah, and took the city of Jerusalem ( Isa. 10:6,Isa. 10:12,Isa. 10:22,Isa. 10:24,Isa. 10:34). Mention is next made of Sennacherib (B.C. 705), the son and successor of Sargon (2 Kings 18:13;2 Kings 19:37; Isa. 7:17, Isa. 7:18); and then of Esar-haddon, his son and successor, who took Manasseh, king of Judah, captive, and kept him for some time a prisoner at Babylon, which he alone of all the Assyrian kings made the seat of his government (2 Kings 19:37; Isa. 37:38).
Assur-bani-pal, the son of Esarhaddon, became king, and in Ezra 4:10 is referred to as Asnapper. From an early period Assyria had entered on a conquering career, and having absorbed Babylon, the kingdoms of Hamath, Damascus, and Samaria, it conquered Phoenicia, and made Judea feudatory, and subjected Philistia and Idumea. At length, however, its power declined. In B.C. 727 the Babylonians threw off the rule of the Assyrians, under the leadership of the powerful Chaldean prince Merodach-baladan (2 Kings 20:12), who, after twelve years, was subdued by Sargon, who now reunited the kingdom, and ruled over a vast empire. But on his death the smouldering flames of rebellion again burst forth, and the Babylonians and Medes successfully asserted their independence (B.C. 625), and Assyria fell according to the prophecies of Isaiah 2 Kings 10:5-19), Nahum 2 Kings 3:19), and Zephaniah 2 Kings 3:13), and the many separate kingdoms of which it was composed ceased to recognize the "great king" (2 Kings 18:19; Isa. 36:4). Ezekiel (31) attests (about B.C. 586) how completely Assyria was overthrown. It ceases to be a nation. (See NINEVEH ; BABYLON.)
Astrologer - ( Dan. 1:20;Dan 2:2,Dan. 1:10,Dan. 1:27, etc.) Heb. 'ashshaph', an enchanter, one who professes to divine future events by the appearance of the stars. This science flourished among the Chaldeans. It was positively forbidden to the Jews ( Deut. 4:19;Deut 18:10; Isa. 47:13).
Astronomy - The Hebrews w ere devout students of the wonders of the starry firmanent ( Amos 5:8; Ps. 19). In the Book of Job, which is the oldest book of the Bible in all probability, the constellations are distinguished and named. Mention is made of the "morning star" ( Rev. 2:28; comp. Isa. 14:12), the "seven stars" and "Pleiades," "Orion," "Arcturus," the "Great Bear" ( Amos 5:8; Job 9:9; Job 38:31), "the crooked serpent," Draco ( Job 26:13), the Dioscuri, or Gemini, "Castor and Pollux" ( Acts 28:11). The stars were called "the host of heaven" ( Isa. 40:26; Jer. 33:22).
The oldest divisions of time were mainly based on the observation of the movements of the heavenly bodies, the "ordinances of heaven" ( Gen. 1:14-18; Job 38:33; Jer. 31:35; Jer 33:25). Such observations led to the division of the year into months and the mapping out of the appearances of the stars into twelve portions, which received from the Greeks the name of the "zodiac." The word "Mazzaroth" ( Job 38:32) means, as the margin notes, "the twelve signs" of the zodiac. Astronomical observations were also necessary among the Jews in order to the fixing of the proper time for sacred ceremonies, the "new moons," the "passover," etc. Many allusions are found to the display of God's wisdom and power as seen in the starry heavens ( Ps. 8; 19:1-6; Isa. 51:6, etc.)
Asuppim - (1 Chr. 26:15,1 Chr. 26:17, Authorized Version; but in Revised Version, "storehouse"), properly the house of stores for the priests. In Neh. 12:25 the Authorized Version has "thresholds," marg. "treasuries" or "assemblies;" Revised Version, "storehouses."
Atad - buckthorn, a place where Joseph and his brethren, when on their way from Egypt to Hebron with the remains of their father Jacob, made for seven days a "great and very sore lamentation." On this account the Canaanites called it "Abel-mizraim" ( Gen. 50:10,Gen. 50:11). It was probably near Hebron. The word is rendered "bramble" in Judg. 9:14, Judg. 9:15, and "thorns" in Ps. 58:9.
Ataroth - crowns. (1.) A city east of Jordan, not far from Gilead ( Num. 32:3).
(2.) A town on the border of Ephraim and Benjamin ( Josh. 16:2,Josh. 16:7), called also Ataroth-adar ( Josh 16:5). Now ed-Da'rieh.
(3.) "Ataroth, the house of Joab" (1 Chr. 2:54), a town of Judah inhabited by the descendants of Caleb.
Ater - shut; lame. (1.) Ezra 2:16. (2.) Neh. 10:17. (3.) Ezra 2:42.
Athaliah - whom God afflicts. (1.) The daughter of Ahab and Jezebel, and the wife of Jehoram, king of Judah (2 Kings 8:18), who "walked in the ways of the house of Ahab" (2 Chr. 21:6), called "daughter" of Omri (2 Kings 8:26). On the death of her husband and of her son Ahaziah, she resolved to seat herself on the vacant throne. She slew all Ahaziah's children except Joash, the youngest (2 Kings 11:1,2 Kings 11:2). After a reign of six years she was put to death in an insurrection (2 Kings 11:20; 2 Chr. 21:6;2 Chr 22:10-12;2 Chr 23:15), stirred up among the people in connection with Josiah's being crowned as king.
(2.) Ezra 8:7. (3.) 1 Chr. 8:26.
Athens - the capital of Attica, the most celebrated city of the ancient world, the seat of Greek literature and art during the golden period of Grecian history. Its inhabitants were fond of novelty ( Acts 17:21), and were remarkable for their zeal in the worship of the gods. It was a sarcastic saying of the Roman satirist that it was "easier to find a god at Athens than a man."
On his second missionary journey Paul visited this city ( Acts 17:15; comp. 1 Thess. 3:1), and delivered in the Areopagus his famous speech 1 Thess 17:22-31). The altar of which Paul there speaks as dedicated "to the [properly "an"] unknown God" (23) was probably one of several which bore the same inscription. It is supposed that they originated in the practice of letting loose a flock of sheep and goats in the streets of Athens on the occasion of a plague, and of offering them up in sacrifice, at the spot where they lay down, "to the god concerned."
Atonement - This word does not occur in the Authorized Version of the New Testament except in Rom. 5:11, where in the Revised Version the word "reconciliation" is used. In the Old Testament it is of frequent occurrence.
The meaning of the word is simply at-one-ment, i.e., the state of being at one or being reconciled, so that atonement is reconciliation. Thus it is used to denote the effect which flows from the death of Christ.
But the word is also used to denote that by which this reconciliation is brought about, viz., the death of Christ itself; and when so used it means satisfaction, and in this sense to make an atonement for one is to make satisfaction for his offences ( Ex. 32:30; Lev. 4:26; Lev 5:16; Num. 6:11), and, as regards the person, to reconcile, to propitiate God in his behalf.
By the atonement of Christ we generally mean his work by which he expiated our sins. But in Scripture usage the word denotes the reconciliation itself, and not the means by which it is effected. When speaking of Christ's saving work, the word "satisfaction," the word used by the theologians of the Reformation, is to be preferred to the word "atonement." Christ's satisfaction is all he did in the room and in behalf of sinners to satisfy the demands of the law and justice of God. Christ's work consisted of suffering and obedience, and these were vicarious, i.e., were not merely for our benefit, but were in our stead, as the suffering and obedience of our vicar, or substitute. Our guilt is expiated by the punishment which our vicar bore, and thus God is rendered propitious, i.e., it is now consistent with his justice to manifest his love to transgressors. Expiation has been made for sin, i.e., it is covered. The means by which it is covered is vicarious satisfaction, and the result of its being covered is atonement or reconciliation. To make atonement is to do that by virtue of which alienation ceases and reconciliation is brought about. Christ's mediatorial work and sufferings are the ground or efficient cause of reconciliation with God. They rectify the disturbed relations between God and man, taking away the obstacles interposed by sin to their fellowship and concord. The reconciliation is mutual, i.e., it is not only that of sinners toward God, but also and pre-eminently that of God toward sinners, effected by the sin-offering he himself provided, so that consistently with the other attributes of his character his love might flow forth in all its fulness of blessing to men. The primary idea presented to us in different forms throughout the Scripture is that the death of Christ is a satisfaction of infinite worth rendered to the law and justice of God (q.v.), and accepted by him in room of the very penalty man had incurred. It must also be constantly kept in mind that the atonement is not the cause but the consequence of God's love to guilty men ( John 3:16; Rom. 3:24, Rom. 3:25; Eph. 1:7; 1 John 1:9;1 John 4:9). The atonement may also be regarded as necessary, not in an absolute but in a relative sense, i.e., if man is to be saved, there is no other way than this which God has devised and carried out ( Ex. 34:7; Josh. 24:19; Ps. 5:4; Ps 7:11; Nahum 1:2, Nahum 1:6; Rom. 3:5). This is God's plan, clearly revealed; and that is enough for us to know.
Atonement, Day of - the great annual day of humiliation and expiation for the sins of the nation, "the fast" ( Acts 27:9), and the only one commanded in the law of Moses. The mode of its observance is described in Lev. 16:3-10; Lev 23:26-32; and Num. 29:7-11.
It was kept on the tenth day of the month Tisri, i.e., five days before the feast of Tabernacles, and lasted from sunset to sunset. (See AZAZEL.)
Augustus - the cognomen of the first Roman emperor, C. Julius Caesar Octavianus, during whose reign Christ was born ( Luke 2:1). His decree that "all the world should be taxed" was the divinely ordered occasion of Jesus' being born, according to prophecy ( Micah 5:2), in Bethlehem. This name being simply a title meaning "majesty" or "venerable," first given to him by the senate (B.C. 27), was borne by succeeding emperors. Before his death (A.D. 14) he associated Tiberius with him in the empire ( Luke 3:1), by whom he was succeeded.
Augustus band - ( Acts 27:1.: literally, of Sebaste, the Greek form of Augusta, the name given to Caesarea in honour of Augustus Caesar). Probably this "band" or cohort consisted of Samaritan soldiers belonging to Caesarea.
Ava - a place in Assyria from which colonies were brought to Samaria (2 Kings 17:24). It is probably the same with Ivah 2 Kings 18:34;2 Kings 19:13; Isa. 37:13). It has been identified with Hit on the Euphrates.
Aven - nothingness; vanity. (1.) Hosea speaks of the "high places of Aven" Isa 10:8), by which he means Bethel. He also calls it Beth-aven, i.e., "the house of vanity" Isa 4:15), on account of the golden calves Jeroboam had set up there (1 Kings 12:28).
(2.) Translated by the LXX. "On" in Ezek. 30:17. The Egyptian Heliopolis or city of On (q.v.).
(3.) In Amos 1:5 it denotes the Syrian Heliopolis, the modern Baalbec.
Avenger of blood - (Heb. goel, from verb gaal, "to be near of kin," "to redeem"), the nearest relative of a murdered person. It was his right and duty to slay the murderer (2 Sam. 14:7,2 Sam. 14:11) if he found him outside of a city of refuge. In order that this law might be guarded against abuse, Moses appointed six cities of refuge ( Ex. 21:13; Num. 35:13; Deut. 19:1, Deut. 19:9). These were in different parts of the country, and every facility was afforded the manslayer that he might flee to the city that lay nearest him for safety. Into the city of refuge the avenger durst not follow him. This arrangement applied only to cases where the death was not premeditated. The case had to be investigated by the authorities of the city, and the wilful murderer was on no account to be spared. He was regarded as an impure and polluted person, and was delivered up to the goel ( Deut. 19:11-13). If the offence was merely manslaughter, then the fugitive must remain within the city till the death of the high priest ( Num. 35:25).
Avim - a people dwelling in Hazerim, or "the villages" or "encampments" on the south-west corner of the sea-coast ( Deut. 2:23). They were subdued and driven northward by the Caphtorim. A trace of them is afterwards found in Josh. 13:3, where they are called Avites.
Awl - an instrument only referred to in connection with the custom of boring the ear of a slave ( Ex. 21:6; Deut. 15:17), in token of his volunteering perpetual service when he might be free. (Comp. Ps. 40:6; Isa. 50:5).
Axe - used in the Authorized Version of Deut. 19:5; Deut 20:19; 1 Kings 6:7, as the translation of a Hebrew word which means "chopping." It was used for felling trees ( Isa. 10:34) and hewing timber for building. It is the rendering of a different word in Judg. 9:48, 1 Sam. 13:20,1 Sam. 13:21, Ps. 74:5, which refers to its sharpness. In 2 Kings 6:5 it is the translation of a word used with reference to its being made of iron. In Isa. 44:12 the Revised Version renders by "axe" the Hebrew maatsad, which means a "hewing" instrument. In the Authorized Version it is rendered "tongs." It is also used in Jer. 10:3, and rendered "axe." The "battle-axe" (army of Medes and Persians) mentioned in Jer. 51:20 was probably, as noted in the margin of the Revised Version, a "maul" or heavy mace. In Ps. 74:6 the word so rendered means "feller." (See the figurative expression in Matt. 3:10; Luke 3:9.)
Azal - ( Zech. 14:5) should perhaps be rendered "very near" = "the way of escape shall be made easy." If a proper name, it may denote some place near the western extremity of the valley here spoken of near Jerusalem.
Azariah - whom Jehovah helps. (1.) Son of Ethan, of the tribe of Judah (1 Chr. 2:8).
(2.) Son of Ahimaaz, who succeeded his grandfather Zadok as high priest (1 Chr. 6:9; 1 Kings 4:2) in the days of Solomon. He officiated at the consecration of the temple (1 Chr. 6:10).
(3.) The son of Johanan, high priest in the reign of Abijah and Asa (2 Chr. 6:10,2 Chr. 6:11).
(4.) High priest in the reign of Uzziah, king of Judah (2 Kings 14:21; 2 Chr. 26:17-20). He was contemporary with the prophets Isaiah, Amos, and Joel.
(5.) High priest in the days of Hezekiah (2 Chr. 31:10-13). Of the house of Zadok.
(6.) Several other priests and Levites of this name are mentioned (1 Chr. 6:36; Ezra 7:1; 1 Chr. 9:11; Neh. 3:23, etc.).
(7.) The original name of Abed-nego ( Dan. 1:6,Dan. 1:7,Dan. 1:11,Dan. 1:16). He was of the royal family of Judah, and with his other two companions remarkable for his personal beauty and his intelligence as well as piety.
(8.) The son of Oded, a remarkable prophet in the days of Asa (2 Chr. 15:1). He stirred up the king and the people to a great national reformation.
Azazel - ( Lev. 16:8,Lev. 16:10,Lev. 16:26, Revised Version only here; rendered "scape-goat" in the Authorized Version). This word has given rise to many different views. Some Jewish interpreters regard it as the name of a place some 12 miles east of Jerusalem, in the wilderness. Others take it to be the name of an evil spirit, or even of Satan. But when we remember that the two goats together form a type of Christ, on whom the Lord "laid the iniquity of us all," and examine into the root meaning of this word (viz., "separation"), the interpretation of those who regard the one goat as representing the atonement made, and the other, that "for Azazel," as representing the effect of the great work of atonement (viz., the complete removal of sin), is certainly to be preferred. The one goat which was "for Jehovah" was offered as a sin-offering, by which atonement was made. But the sins must also be visibly banished, and therefore they were symbolically laid by confession on the other goat, which was then "sent away for Azazel" into the wilderness. The form of this word indicates intensity, and therefore signifies the total separation of sin: it was wholly carried away. It was important that the result of the sacrifices offered by the high priest alone in the sanctuary should be embodied in a visible transaction, and hence the dismissal of the "scape-goat." It was of no consequence what became of it, as the whole import of the transaction lay in its being sent into the wilderness bearing away sin. As the goat "for Jehovah" was to witness to the demerit of sin and the need of the blood of atonement, so the goat "for Azazel" was to witness to the efficacy of the sacrifice and the result of the shedding of blood in the taking away of sin.
Azaziah - whom Jehovah strengthened. (1.) One of the Levitical harpers in the temple (1 Chr. 15:21).
(2.) The father of Hoshea, who was made ruler over the Ephraimites (1 Chr. 27:20).
(3.) One who had charge of the temple offerings (2 Chr. 31:13).