JACOB (c.1792-1662) obtained the
right to the genealogy of ABRAHAM
from his twin brother ESAU.
On his return from marrying two of his cousins and their maids (Genesis
28-30) Jacob was given the name Israel after wrestling in prayer with
the Son of God (Genesis 32:24-30, compare 32:30 with John
1:18). As a result his sons became the ancestors of the twelve tribes
of Israel. The account of his journey to JOSEPH
in Egypt is given in Genesis 42 to 49. His body was embalmed and
taken to be buried in the tomb which ABRAHAM
had acquired inCANAAN
JAINISM As part of the SIXTH
CENTURY REVOLT against the priestcraft of the ancient world Vardharma
(c.540 - 468 BC) found enlightenment when he was aged forty. He was later
known as Mahavira (the great hero) and the conqueror (Jina from
which the name Jains was derived). The main Hindu sects believe that the
only hope for moksha (freedom from the round of transmigration)
is by freeing oneself from the grip of KARMAby
some form of meditation that allows one to attain oneness with the Absolute.
But Mahavir taught that karma consists of fine particle of matter
that adhere to the soul. Selfish and cruel actions produce heavy
weighs the soul down. But the karma from good deeds has no bad effects.
Suffering that is willingly endured through fasting and penance can then
disperse the accumulated karma, and free the soul for the eternal
rest of NIRVANA.
This model is totally atheistic, but there is room for beautiful temples
and contemplation. The way of salvation has Three Jewels. Right knowledge
is needed to understand the difference between good and bad karma.
Right faith gives the motivation to pursue the tough way that is required.
And right conduct is by living a life of
That means avoiding violence to any living being, whether human, animal,
or insect. Jains are therefore the strictest of vegetarians. An extreme
view makes it impossible to be a farmer who injures plants, insects, and
the soil, or a carpenter who has to hurt the wood he works with. The only
safe professions are trading and money-lending, and Jains tend to become
wealthy as merchants or bankers.
JAMES, Epistle Jesus had four brothers
and several sisters (Mark 6:3, Matthew 13:55). These lived in Nazareth,
and must have been born after Jesus was born, otherwise James would have
been the legal heir to the throne of David. After the resurrection Jesus
appeared to James (1 Corinthians 15:7) who previously had refused
to believe Jesus could be the Messiah (John 7:5). He soon became
the presiding elder of the church in Jerusalem (Acts 12:17, 15:13, 21:18,
Galatians 1:19, 2:9, 12). Later he has the faith to call his brother
"our glorious Lord Jesus, the Messiah" (James 2:1). But in his first
German Bible Martin LUTHER
called the letter "an epistle of straw" because he thought it denied his
model of JUSTIFICATION by faith alone.
It we translate the Greek terms (dikaioo, dikaiosune) as
put right and the state of being made right (see Romans
Commentary Introduction) there is no contradiction. As Paul explains,
there is nothing we can do to make ourselves right by good works, but James'
point is that when the Holy Spirit changes us there will be obvious differences
in the way we behave (James 2:17-26).
JANSENISTS The movement originated
with Cornelius Otto Jansen (1585-1636). He spent sixteen years studying
to find a way to oppose the extremes of the COUNTER-REFORMATION
and the pernicious work of the
book, Augustinus (begun 1628, published 1640 after his death) was
based on the attacks of
of HIPPO on PELAGIANISM.
Jansenism was organized around Saint-Cyran du Vergiers who became the spiritual
director of the convent of the CISTERCIANS
for their best known supporter). Jansenist views were later condemned by
the Sorbonne (1649) and by Pope Innocent X (1653). From the point of view
of this website the Jansenists were right to say that it is impossible
for human effort to produce love for God or any other fruit of the Spirit
on Romans 7:16-8:5). But they were wrong to follow Augustine in
concluding that man is under a natural determinism or PREDESTINATION
(see the helpful dictum of
JAPAN see BUDDHISM,
JAPHETH In the Table of Nations
seven names are listed under under the people descended from Japheth:
Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshech, and Tiras. Two of these
are easy to identify. Madai includes the Medes and Persians.
Javan includes all the Greek speaking people of the Greek mainland and
Greek islands (Genesis 10:2-5). Other INDO-EUROPEAN
people are hard to connect with the other names in the list. But
we can tell from the structure of their language that the Sanskrit speaking
Aryans (see VEDAS)
who invaded North India (c.2000-1500 BC) and the Germanic and Scandinavian
people belonged to this linguistic group, as do the Latin, Slav, Celtic,
and other small groups such as as KURDS.
When immigrants come into a nation the children and grand children adopt
the new language, and they are soon classified as members of that people.
JEHOVAH To solve the problem of
translating the Lord's name Galatinus invented the term Jehovah (1520).
It is a combination of the Hebrew root YHWH
with the vowels added by the Hebrew Massoretic text. It was adopted for
evangelical hymns such as "Before Jehovah's Awful Throne" (Isaac Watts,
1674-1748). "Guide me, O Thou Great Jehovah" (William Williams, 1717-91,
Peter Williams 1722-96) was later set to the tune of Cwm Rhonda
(John Hughes, 1873-1932), and it became a favorite of the Welsh Revival.
Jehovah was used in the American Standard Version (1901) as a personal
name for the Son of God. But scholars have come to agree that the term
capital letters (as used in KJV, RSV, NRSV) is much more appropriate to
avoid offending Jewish readers (see GOD'S
JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES A draper in
Pittsburgh named C.T. Russell (1852-1916) could not accept the doctrine
of eternal punishment (see HELL).
He founded a movement called the International Bible Students (referred
to by others as Russelites). His study of the book of
him conclude that the SECOND
COMING took place secretly in 1874, and Jesus was working behind
the scenes to establish his Messianic Kingdom on earth. He began publishing
Watchtower (1879) magazine which was soon translated into other languages
to be distributed from door to door. He wrote Food for Thinking Christians
which was republished as Millenial Dawn (1886). Joseph Franklin
Rutherford (1869-1941) succeeded Russell as leader of the movement (1917).
He changed the date of Christ's coming to 1914 which coincided with the
beginning of the great war of 1914-18. He took the movement (often known
as The Watchtower Society) in a more revolutionary direction (for
which he was jailed, 1918-19). As preached by his followers, now known
as Jehovah's Witnesses the main emphasis is a rejection of the TRINITY
and the adoption of a UNITARIAN
model of God. The movement which meets in buildings called Kingdom Halls
requires an intense commitment to evangelism as a means of salvation.
JEROME (c. 342-420) translated
the Bible into Latin, the language of the Roman Empire. His translation
(later called the Vulgate, 384-404) was invaluable throughout Europe for
a thousand years. But no translation is perfect. It will always reflect
the culture of the translator. And unfortunately, instead of the family
language of the love of God, Jerome used terms such as justificio (justify)
and justificatio (justification) from the Roman law courts. It was these
Roman law court terms that Augustine (354-430) used to develop his doctrine
of original sin, the death of Christ as a law court payment in the heavenly
law court, and salvation only by Christian baptism. During the Reformation
period other translations appeared in English, French, and German, and
they continued Augustine's law court (forensic) interpretation of Paul's
Epistle to the Romans. But these law court terms do not at all capture
the sense of the Greek text which speaks of us being made right or put
right by the Holy Spirit.
JERUSALEM Jesus was deeply moved
to say "Jerusalem, Jerusalem. How often have I desired to gather your children
together" (Luke 13:34), but in the same verse he called it "the
city that kills the prophets" (see EXILE).
Paul said, God "made all nations to inhabit the whole earth . . . so that
they would search for God and perhaps grope for him and find him" (Acts
17:26-27). Which proves that the Lord cares about every city in every
nation, and people can only be safe under the protection of his wings.
But Jerusalem has huge symbolic importance. About 3800 years ago Melchizedek,
the priest king of Salem, "brought out bread and wine" to welcome Abraham
14:18). Exactly on that spot the Jewish temple was built and the Arab
Dome of the Rock now overlooks the city. One way the Jewish and Arab children
could make peace would be by eating together in that place! The city is
also important because the eternal Son of God took birth in Bethlehem,
which is a nearby suburb, and Jesus' family used to go up to the temple
every year for Passover (Luke 2:41). Jerusalem was also where the
Messiah was crucified, buried, rose again, and then poured out the Holy
Spirit in that city on the Day of Pentecost. Heaven will be "the new Jerusalem"
JERUSALEM, Prophecies When his
disciples were admiring the temple, Jesus said that "Not one stone will
be left here upon another" (Mark 13:1-2, Matthew 24:1-2, Luke 21:6).
He used the imagery of the toppling of Babylon (Isaiah 13:6-11)
to indicate that it would be his "Day of the Lord" on Jerusalem (Mark
13:24-25; Matthew 24:29-30). Knowing the suffering that would be involved
(in the siege of AD 68-70), he wept over the city. "Your enemies will set
up ramparts around you. They will crush you to the ground, you and your
children within you" (Luke 19:41-44). When that happened they would
recognize "The Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory"
(Mark 13:26; Matthew 24:30; Luke 21:27). The fall of the city would
be preceded by a first preaching of the good news in the Roman Empire (Mark
13:10, Matthew 24:14, as in Romans 15:19). After the fall of
Jerusalem (AD 70) the Messiah would send his messengers (anggeloi)
to bring in people "from the four winds" (Mark 13:27; Matthew 8:11;
24:31). And we know that by the end of the first century there were
hundreds of churches all the way to China. All this would take place during
the lifetime of his hearers (Mark 13:30; Matthew 24:34; Luke 21:32,
see also CLOUDS, COMING, PAROUSIA,
would then be "trampled on by non-Jews (Gentiles), until the times of the
nations (Gentiles) are fulfilled" (as in Romans 11:25)
JESUITS The society of Jesus was
founded by Ignatius Loyola (c.1491-1556) in northern Spain. He had been
wounded as a soldier, but he had a conversion in which he gave up his sword
for the cross (1522) and exchanged his clothes with a beggar. He soon began
writing The Spiritual Exercises which he revised and expanded as
a manual which has had a huge influence, and is still used in the preparation
of priests for ordination. He continued his studies for the next twelve
years and founded the Jesuit Order (1534, sanctioned by the Pope, 1540).
It required poverty, chastity, and a pilgrimage to Jerusalem if possible
But the three main thrusts were the reformation of the church from within
the preaching of the Gospel in the newly discovered pagan world in South
and North America, and the fight against Protestants and other heretics.
JESUS Both John the Baptist and
Jesus were given their names by God before their conception. The angel
of the Lord said "Do not be afraid, Zechariah. for your prayer has been
heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear a son, and you will name him John"
(Luke 1:13). The name John (Greek
is a transliteration
of the Hebrew Yokhanan which means YAHWEH
has been (or is) gracious. Six months later the angel Gabriel said to Mary
"You will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus"
(Luke 1:31). And Joseph was told "She will bear a son, you are to
name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins: (Matthew
1:21) The name Jesus (Greek Iesous) is a transliteration of
the Hebrew Yeshua, which is a shortened form of Yehoshua which
means "Yahweh saves." Jesus was a name given to him as a human when he
took birth. But he already had many names as the Son of God (Luke 1:32).
He is Yahweh (meaning He is, Exodus 3:13-15). He reigns as Sovereign
King of the Kingdom of heaven (Psalm 8:1, 9, 9:7, etc.). As Lord
of Hosts he directs all the angels of heaven (Psalm 24:10, 46:7,11,
Isaiah 1:9, 24, 2:12, 3:1, etc.). He is the
that keeps taking away the sin of the world (John 1:29).
JESUS' BROTHERS The family of Joseph
and Mary was well known in Nazareth. When Jesus came back to preach there,
they said "Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James
and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us.?"
(Mark 6:3, reproduced exactly in Matthew 13:55). According
to Roman Catholic tradition Mary remained perpetually a virgin, so cannot
have had other children. On this view the brothers and sisters of Jesus
must have been the children of Joseph by a previous marriage. But if that
had been the case James (not Jesus) would have been the legal heir to the
throne of David (see the genealogy in
Matthew 1:1, 16). Assuming
that Jesus' brothers and sisters were born after the return from Egypt,
James would have been say four years younger than Jesus (see JAMES,
JESUS, Sacrifice On this website
we view the CROSS
as the visible expression in our space/time world of the eternal heart
of God. How then do we explain the once-for-all nature of Jesus' sacrifice?
"We have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus the
Messiah once for all" (Hebrew 10:10). When the Messiah had offered
for all time a single sacrifice for sin, he sat down at the right hand
of God" (10:12, 14). The Epistle to the Hebrews makes clear that
the sacrificial system of the Jewish tabernacle was meant to be a copy
of the "true tent" in heaven. "We have such a high priest, one who is seated
at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a minister
of the true tent that the Lord, and not any mortal has set up" (8:2-3).
The sacrificial system set up for the Old Testament tabernacle was "a sketch
and shadow of the heavenly one" (8:5, 9:11, 24) which was already
in existence. That means the eternal Son of God was already absorbing human
sin long before he took birth among us.. As JOHN
THE BAPTIST said, he is the LAMBof
God that continually takes away (a Greek present tense) the sin of the
world (John 1:29). What the cross on earth did was to disclose the
eternal reality. "By this the Holy Spirit indicates that the way into the
sanctuary has not yet been disclosed" (Hebrews 9:8). Having seen
the eternal heart of our High Priest (8:1-2), the sacrificial system
on earth is no longer required, and it was ended with the destruction of
the temple (AD 70).
JEW The question of who is a Jew
is a key question in modern Israel. A simple answer is to include only
those children of Abraham who are descended through the twelve sons of
Jacob (Israel). The descendants of Ishmael, and Abraham's other close relatives,
became the Arab nation (see ARABS).
But in the Old Testament period it was possible for people of other nations
to become Jews. "The aliens who reside among and have begotten children
among you shall be to you as citizens of Israel" (Ezekiel 47:22,
see also Numbers 9:14, 15:14, Deuteronomy 16:11, 23:8, Isaiah 56:3,
6-7). Paul gave a spiritual definition. "A person is not a Jew who
is one outwardly, nor is true circumcision something external and physical.
Rather a person is a Jew who is one inwardly, and real circumcision is
a matter of the heart - it is spiritual not literal" (Romans 2:28-29).
All the leaders of the first Christian churches were Jewish, and neither
Jews or people of other nations lost their Roman citizenship when they
believed Jesus was the Messiah (as in the case of Paul, Acts 22:25,
28, 25:10-12). For many centuries Christian churches insisted Jews
stopped being Jews when they were baptized. Happily we now recognize that
Jews can be Christians (Messiah people, Acts 11:26) without giving
up their nationality.
JEWISH The language-game for being
Jewish or Judaism has nothing to do with a particular religion or ideology.
In Jesus's day you could adopt one of several explanatory models of what
Jewish faith was about (e.g. the ESSENES,
In our day Jews can function as Chasidim (as in the books of Chaim Potok),
Atheists, Orthodox, or Zionists, and even Marxists (Karl Marx remained
a Jew). So it is true that Paul did not cease to be a Jew (Acts 22:3,
Romans 11:1) when he began to preach our Trinitarian God of grace,
including the power of the Holy Spirit to do in us all that legalism had
failed to deliver.
Sadly by the second century it was assumed that you could not be both
a Jew and a Christian. Conversion and denial of one's Jewish heritage was
required. This became an essential dogma of the mediaeval church and of
all later evangelical denominations. In the nineteenth century it caused
tragic disruption in hundreds of families such as the Disraelis, Mendelssohns,
and Wittgensteins. And it was one of the main causes of the holocaust.
Being a Jew is a matter of race, and you can believe in Jesus as the Messiah
without losing any of your Jewishness.
JEWISH RELIGION . In Jesus's day
you could adopt one of several explanatory models of what Jewish faith
was about (e.g. the ESSENES,
The question of who is a JEW is a key question
in modern Israel. In our day we can identify several kinds of explanatory
model which are proposed in North American JUDAISM.
Orthodox are committed to God as creator (THEISM)
and life after death in heaven for the righteous and hell for those who
reject God. The Conservative model is theistic, but tends to reject
life after death. It is committed to maintaining the Jewish traditions
with a view to the preservation of the Jewish people as the supreme value.
The Reform model is also theistic and mostly denies the afterlife,
rejects the authority of the Torah and many parts of Jewish tradition.
It stresses the autonomy of the individual who is created in the image
of God for the improvement of the world. The Reconstuctionist model
accepts the human authorship of all religions including other branches
of Judaism. The Messianic model accepts Yeshua/Jesus as the Messiah,
and uses a model of Trinitarian Theism similar to most Christians.
JEWS see ASHKENAZI,
Jews, and HASIDIM.
JEWS, under Islam The quarrel between
and Jews has gone on for 3800 years since
was sent away by Abraham at Sarah's urging (see Ishmael
the Arab, 1866-1792 BC). But during the DAMASCUS
CALIPHATE (661-750) and the Abbasid Caliphate (750-1258) of
Jewish merchants and bankers prospered in the Middle East and North Africa.
Jews were given the right to control their own legal system. Seventy scholars
had the hereditary right to make rulings based on the Bible and the Babylonian
They also flourished as civil servants and in many other professions during
the Arab occupation of Spain (712-1492). It was in Europe that the Jews
were badly treated by the Roman Catholic church.
JIHAD Where a country is under
submission to Allah and the QUR'AN
it is viewed as dar al-islam
(the domain of ISLAM).
All other countries are viewed as dar al-harb
(the domain of war)
and under certain circumstances they must be forced to submit by jihad
war, which some interpret as any effort in the cause of the Prophet). Where
Islam has conquered, MUHAMMAD
allowed for Jews and Christians (people of the book) to continue
(subject people) but idol worshipers and other heathen
must be forced to convert. Fundamentalists insist there can be no peaceful
coexistence with any other religion or secular society (based on sura
9 in the
prefer to explain that for Muhammad supreme jihad
is the battle
for inward purification.
JOB Among the ARABS
poetry was (and still is) the most valued of human arts. From the first
verse we know that the story of Job was first recited among the Edomites.
"Rejoice and be glad, O daughter of Edom, you that live in the land of
Uz" (Lamentation 3:21). As a result the language has dialect variations
from Biblical Hebrew. In contrast to the Jewish temple and priesthood,
Job is a typical Arab sheikh who offers his own sacrifice (Job 1:5).
As is common among Arab poets, there is a very brief prose introduction
(1:1-2:13), and an even briefer prose ending (42:1-17). The
rest of the book consists of 40 chapters of superb poetry. The original
audience would know that no human could have heard the conversation between
God and Satan, and the poet was therefore presenting the problem of human
suffering in a vivid dramatic form. Why did God arrange (by whatever means)
to have this book in the CANON
of the 66 books of the Bible? As we hear the arguments of Job's friends
we can see they are based on human assumptions about how God deals with
us. You reap what you sow. Have faith. We learn from chastening. God answers
prayer. God is great. Better humble yourself. There is truth in these but
no such pious thoughts explain why God allows human suffering. (Isaiah
55:8-9, Romans 11:33-36).
JOHN, the Apostle. Zebedee
had his two sons, James and John, working with him in their
business on the Lake of Galilee. John had been a disciple of John the Baptist
but was probably baptized and became Jesus' first disciple (John 1:35-36).
When Jesus called John and his brother to accompany him, they accepted
immediately and left their father to continue with the help of the hired
men (Mathew 4:21, Mark 1:19-20). Both of them were chosen to be
among Jesus' first twelve apostles (Matthew 10:2). Jesus named them
Boanerges "sons of thunder"(Mark 3:17) because they were hot tempered
(as in Luke 9:52-55). When Jesus was dying on the cross he entrusted
his mother to the care of the disciple he loved (John 19:26-27).
He is mentioned as working with Peter after the Day of Pentecost (Acts
3:1, 4:1). John was the author of the Gospel of John, but again and
again he carefully avoided mentioning his own name (John 13:23, 18:15,
19:26, 21:7, 20-24). Nor does he identify himself in his three Epistles
(1 John, 2 John, 3 John). He does refer to himself by name in the
book which he wrote when he was in exile on the Island of Patmos (Revelation
1:1, 4, 9).
JOHN THE BAPTIST The parents of
John the Baptist were very old (Luke 1:5-7, 24, 57-80), and it is
possible he was sent to boarding school with ESSENES
SEA SCROLLS) of the Qumran monastery by the Dead Sea. John baptized
Jesus, and several of Jesus' apostles had begun as disciples of John the
Baptist (John 1:24-35, 4:1). And Jesus contrasted his own work with
that of the prophet. One was a flute player at a wedding, the other a mourner
at a funeral. "The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, 'Look,
a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners." John
was an ascetic who never bought food in the market, but he collected locusts
(hopefully roasted) which he flavored with wild honey. He wore a leather
belt around a rough camel hair garment (Mark 1:6, as in 2 Kings
1:8, 2:13). Both were rejected by people for different reasons. John
was the greatest representative of the law and the prophets, "yet the least
in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he." John knew this and kept pointing
to the one who would come to empower his disciples with the Holy Spirit
(Matthew 11:7-19). John's beheading is described in Mark 6:14-29.
JOHN THE BAPTIST, Followers Twenty
years after the resurrection of Jesus there were still disciples of John
the Baptist in Alexandria (Acts 18:24-25) and Ephesus (Acts 19:1-6).
They believed in God as Creator, but they did not view themselves as disciples
of Jesus, and they had no experience of the Holy Spirit (Acts 19:2,
5-6). There is to this day a community of 80,000 Mandean Sabaeans in
Iraq. They look back to the teachings of John the Baptist, and others they
view as prophets such as
as recorded in their holy book, the Kanza Rama (Aramaic for Great
Treasure). As in the case of the followers of John the Baptist they practice
baptism, but they do not view themselves as disciples of Jesus, nor do
they speak of the Holy Spirit. Washing with water is part of their weekly
ritual, but not the bread and wine of communion.. Saddam Hussein donated
money for the Sabaean temple in BAGHDAD.
This temple has a cross that is always covered with baptismal linen to
indicate it is not a Christian cross. Their explanatory model is therefore
rather than TRINITARIAN,
and they hardly distinguish themselves from the MUSLIMS
among whom they live. Their numbers (less than 100,000 worldwide) are dwindling
because nobody can be converted into their community. You have to be born
into the Sabaean faith. (based on Brian Anthony, "Loyal Followers of John
the Baptist," Toronto, Globe and Mail, October 5, 2002, religion
JONAH During the reign of Jeroboam
II (786-746 BC), Jonah the prophet prophesied (c.750 BC) that the borders
of the Northern Kingdom would be restored (2 Kings 14:25). This
restoration was only short-lived, and Samaria fell to the Assyrians (722-721
BC, 2 Kings 17:6). Probably after this event Jonah was called to
go to Nineveh (over 500 miles, 800 km to the north and east). This was
to warn the Assyrians of their ruthless wickedness as they terrorized the
nations (Jonah 1:1). Jonah did not relish this, so he escaped
from Samaria and traveled two days (30 miles, 48 km) down to the port of
There he boarded a ship to Tarshish (perhaps Tarsus). The Book of Jonah
describes the storm that hit the ship, his being thrown overboard, his
prayer in the belly of a large fish, and his being disgorged on the shore
in Assyrian territory. Jonah was again called to preach in Nineveh, and
when he did this King Sargon II (721-705 BC) called his citizens to repentance.
As a result "God changed his mind" about destroying the city at that time
(Jonah 3:10). The Assyrian empire continued for a hundred years
till Nineveh fell to the Babylonians (612 BC). Jesus used the story of
Jonah's return from near death in the fish's belly to illustrate his own
resurrection (Matthew 12:39-40, Luke 11:29-30).
JOPPA The city is first mentioned
as the harbor through which timber was shipped for the building of the
temple in Jerusalem (2 Chronicles 2:16, see Ezra 3:7). Later Jonah
sailed from there to run away from the Lord before he was thrown overboard
(Jonah 1:3). There is no mention of Jesus visiting Joppa, but PHILIP
the Evangelist may have begun the church in that city (Acts
8:40), and Peter was called by the disciples to raise Dorcas from the
dead (Acts 9:36-43). He stayed on with that church, staying at the
house of Simon the Tanner, and it was there he had the vision to"kill and
eat" every species of unclean animals, reptiles, and birds, which resulted
in the end of the kosher laws and opened up table fellowship between
Jewish Christians and all other peoples (Acts 10: 9-28). Paul would
have passed through on his way to and from Jerusalem. The city was 35 miles
(58 km) from Jerusalem and 30 miles (48 km) south of Caesarea (see Acts
9:30, 18:22, 21:16-27).
JORDAN From its sources near Mount
Hermon in the north, to where it drops down below sea level into the Dead
Sea the Jordan, is only 200 miles (320 km) long. Before reaching the Sea
of Galilee it used to go through Lake Huleh (sea of reeds), but that is
now only a valley. It was viewed as the eastern boundary of the land promised
. Unfortunately Bible translators (KJV to NRSV) have wrongly translated
the Hebrew word parat
(overflowing river) as the Euphrates. The
promised to Abraham (Genesis 15:18 - here "great river" is great
compared with the wadis of the Negeb, see Deuteronomy 1:7 ) was
Canaanite territory. It stretched from the river of Egypt (the wadi Besor
south of Beersheba in the Negeb) to the parat
as when Joshua and his army crossed it, Deuteronomy 11:24, Joshua
3:15, 1 Chronicles 12:13). The Jews have never claimed
more than the strip of land "from Dan to Beersheba" (Judges 20:1, 1
Samuel 3:20). This is why the word parat should be translated
as the river Jordan in every other place in the Old Testament (2 Samuel
8:3, note that Megiddo, 2 Kings 23:29 is near the Jordan, as
in 2 Kings 24:7). Carchemish (city of Chemosh, the god of Moab)
is also by the Jordan (2 Chronicles 35:20, Jeremiah 46:2,10),
and Jeremiah hid his loin cloth in a cleft of rock near the Jordan (Jeremiah
as the scroll in 51:63), which was certainly not in
which would have been a six week return journey 300 miles (480 km to the
north) and no Jew would have seen what he did..
JOSEPH (c.1702-1592) The next to
youngest of the sons of JACOB (by his wife
Rachel) was sold into Egypt, imprisoned unjustly, and eventually became
the administrative head of Egypt (Genesis 37 to 50). His body was
embalmed in Egypt, and taken out in the EXODUS
(Genesis 50:25-26, Exodus 13:19) to be placed in the family tomb
JOSHUA The LEADER
who succeeded MOSES
turned out to be a great military commander. He learned his profession
by working as personal assistant to the one he succeeded (s, 32:15-17,
Numbers 11:28). Moses changed his name from Hoshea which was
a prayer meaning "may the LORD save" to the confident assurance "the LORD
saves." His first task was to go on a reconnaissance into the promised
land (Numbers 13:1-16). When Moses knew it was time to appoint a
successor he asked the LORD to guide him. God said that Joshua was "a
man in whom is the Spirit" and Moses was to commission him by the laying
on of hands (Numbers 27:16-23). He showed great COURAGE
in crossing the River Jordan, and then equally great restraint in circling
the city of Jericho for seven days before it fell (Joshua 6:1-20).
JOY Joy is not being happy, cheerful,
full of fun. Clowns are the most miserable of all people. Joy could just
be gritting one's teeth when all hell breaks loose. "I am bringing you
good news of great joy for all the people" (Luke 2:10). Christmas
Joy is the sense that with God all is well and going to be well. But there
is no point in trying to work at it. People who try to put it on (like
a cosmetic) are a pain, no joy to anyone. Joy is a fruit of the Spirit
(Galatians 5:22). It bubbles out from our heart. It is expressed
in finding yourself thankful. And thankful people are a joy to everyone.
JUDAISM When the Jews were taken
into their seventy year exile by the Babylonians (c.587 BC) their temple
had been destroyed, and they began meeting wherever they could to pray,
and read the books of Moses (torah), the Psalms, prophetic books
and other writings. A gathering (sunagogy in Greek) would have elders,
a rabbi to teach, and a building if possible. Their religion was later
called Judaism (as in Galatians 1:13-14), and it focused on TORAHmemorization
and studies. In Jesus' day there were two different forms of interpretation
(models) among the PHARISEES
Many of these were baptized and formed Christian synagogues of Messiah
believers (as in Acts 2:41-42, 4:4, 5:14, 6:7). After the destruction
of the temple in AD 70 Jewish synagogues collected copies of the Old Testament
in Hebrew and the commentaries of the various rabbis in the
and other writings. Present day Jews look back to the promises made
(as do their MUSLIM
cousins), and celebrate the PASSOVER
and other national celebrations. Modern synagogues often follow one of
the Reform models, but the Orthodox try to obey the sabbath and
of the torah exactly.
JUDGES In the period after they
had occupied the promised land, the Jewish people were again and again
oppressed by invading armies. When the children of Israel cried out to
God for deliverance he raised up men and women as judges (actually military
leaders) who were empowered by the Holy Spirit to free them (see Judges
2:16-19; 3:15, 31; 4:3-10; 6:7-12).
JUDGING We all have to make judgments.
We evaluate the best home, car, appliances, food to buy, doctor or lawyer.
We also make judgments about who to date and marry. Judging in the wrong
sense is making people feel guilty, or writing them off as garbage. Judging
in the right sense means that we assign consequences for inappropriate
behavior. "You cannot be part of the Sunday School team if you are absent
without making other arrangements." In a Toronto church congregation the
organist had to be fired because he never turned up on time for choir practice.
If we have to call in the police for criminal behavior, we still love and
care for the person. (See CHURCH
DISCIPLINE). Even in a civil court a judge could condemn a man
to life imprisonment, and still love and care for him and his family. In
a community of the Spirit there are judgments about those who will best
take care of the building, keep the books, read and preach, lead music,
organize a young people's week-end. But even when people fail and behave
abominably, we never condemn. "Do not judge, so that you may not be judged"
JUNG, Carl Gustav (1875-1961) built
on the work of FREUD
The Psychology of the Unconscious (English edition,
1916). Jung stressed the difference between analytical thinking (logic,
science, linear argumentation) and symbolic thought (the images and symbols
expressed in poetry, art, music, religion, and our dreams and fantasies).
This enabled him to replace the strong sexual emphases in Freud's writings
with a theory of racial archetypes which influence us, without our knowing,
behind the scenes of our mind. Psychiatric treatment can expose and work
with these. It is obvious from Jesus' use of PARABLES
that faith is much more to do with picturing than with logical argumentation.
as a conversation opens us up to archetypes (such as creativity, family,
vindication, resurrection) in the mind of God. And we can see that sharing
helps us into the experience of being welcomed at the family table, thanksgiving,
sacrificial love, membership in a body, forgiveness, healing, and much
else that frees us from negative influences and depression.
JUST WAR Thomas Aquinas (c.1225-74)
wrote "There are three conditions of a just war. First the authority of
the sovereign by whose command the war is to be waged. For it is not the
business of the private individual to declare war or to summon the nation.
The second condition is that hostilities should begin because of some crime
on the part of the enemy. Wherefore Augustine observes that a just war
is wont to be described as one that avenges wrongs, when a nation or state
has to be punished for refusing to make amends for the injustices done
by its people or to restore what has been seized unjustly. The third condition
is a rightful intention, the advancement of good or the avoidance of evil.
It may happen that a war declared by legitimate authority for a just cause
may yet be rendered unlawful through a wicked intention. Hence Augustine
declares that the passion of inflicting harm, the cruel thirst for vengeance,
a plundering and implacable spirit, the fever of turmoil, the lust of power
and suchlike, all these are justly condemned in war" (Summa Theologica,
2a-2ae. xl.1, trans. by Thomas Gilby, Saint Thomas Aquinas :
Philosophical Texts, Oxford University Press, 1951). A further condition
(among many other suggestions) was that the war must be waged by proper
means (F. de Victoria, who died 1546 ?). See WAR,
JUSTICE People assume that justice
is some kind of reality that exists for us to live by. But all we can do
is describe how the word justice works within a particular human activity.
We need to define the very different
of Life (Wittgenstein) in Islamic Law, a Marxist State, a Bill
of Rights, English Common Law, Napoleonic Law, the latest resolutions of
the United Nations, or the countries where they ask "How much justice can
you afford?" Within each particular form of life we will need to learn
GAMES for words such as rights, crime, trial, witness, guilty.
If we fail to specify the form of life we are discussing, and misunderstand
the accepted meaning of each word that is used, all we say about justice
is nonsense. In the Bible God wants us "to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God" (Micah 6:8). We are to "Give justice
to the weak and the orphan; maintain the right of the lowly, and the destitute,
rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked"
(Psalm 82:3-4). All those words have meanings given to them in the
Bible. We cannot assume that those meanings will apply in other systems
JUSTIFICATION When the New Testament
was translated into the Latin Vulgate Jerome (384 to 386 AD) unfortunately
used the Roman law court terms justifico and justificatio
for the Greek verb dikaioo and the noun dikaiosune. In Greek
the ordinary meaning of the verb is to make free, pure, or right, and the
noun means righteousness or uprightness. But Augustine and other Latin
speaking theologians set the whole work of our atonement (at-one-ment)
in a heavenly lawcourt. Because of original sin we all deserve eternal
damnation, but Jesus the Son of God made a judicial payment on the cross
instead of us, and if we accept it we are justified. The essential truth
of that explanation is that we are indeed forgiven, and there is now "no
condemnation for those who are in (part of) the Messiah" (Romans 8:1).
But what changes our situation is not a law court payment but the love
of the eternal Son of God who was willing to absorb our sin in his own
body, and then give the power of the Holy Spirit in our hearts (Romans
8:2, 4-6). It is the Spirit who gives us the fruit and gifts we need
for this life, and Paul assures us that the Spirit "who raised the Messiah
from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through
his Spirit that dwells in you" (Romans 8:11). That
is not a merely law court transaction.