HAGAR When Sarah had given up hope of having a child she gave her Egyptian slave-girl Hagar to ABRAHAM (c.1952-1777 BC) to have an heir by her. According to the custom of that time, Hagar's child would be hers (Genesis 16:1-3). As a result ISHMAEL became the firstborn legal heir of Abraham and Sarah. When God told Abraham that he would have a son by Sarah, Abraham prayed that his firstborn son Ishmael might also continue as a people, and God promised that "I will bless him and make him fruitful and exceedingly numerous; he shall be the father of twelve princes, and he shall become a great nation" (Genesis 17:18-20). Thirteen years later when Sarah miraculously had a child of her own, she named him Isaac, and she told Abraham to send Hagar and her son Ishmael away. They both nearly died of thirst (Genesis 21:8-20) but according to God's promise Ishmael had twelve sons who became the first sheikhs (kings) of the bene Ishmael (children of Ishmael). They were joined by other tribes of the Abrahamic family, who were eventually united by MUHAMMAD (c.570-632 AD) to form the huge family of ARABS, as Hagar had been promised (Genesis 16:10). The quarrel between the Arab and Jewish children of Abraham has now continued for 3800 years. For a reconstruction of the story see Ishmael the Arab.

HAIR Women have always been fascinated by their hair, and for men it is an important part of feminine attractiveness. "How beautiful you are, my love, how very beautiful! Your eyes are doves behind your veil, Your hair is like a flock of goats, moving down the slopes of Gilead." Jesus was not embarrassed to have Mary of Bethany anoint him and wipe his feet with her long hair (John 12:3). And Paul said that "if a woman has long hair, it is her glory" (1 Corinthians 11:15). Roman men had shaven or very short hair, but Paul did not think it appropriate for women to pray with their heads shaved (1 Corinthians 11:13. Here uncovered does not mean without a hat on). The reason may have been that shaving the head was the custom for women who acted as priests in temple prostitution. Paul and Peter both objected to elaborate hairstyles. "Do not adorn yourselves outwardly by braiding your hair" (1 Timothy 2:9, 1 Peter 3:3). But the reason was more to avoid upstaging those who could not compete. It was only nuns in convents who had to hide their hair. Before the time of MUHAMMAD (c.570-632) monasticism had already had a strong influence in Arabia, and the QUR'AN said that believing MUSLIM women can only go bareheaded in front of other women, their husbands, fathers, sons, nephews, servants, slaves and small children who "have no sense of the shame of sex." But in Christian churches all over the world women are free to arrange their hair in any way that suits them. Though the wearing of hats was never a Middle Eastern practice, many women in India feel more comfortable covering their head with their sari.

HAIR COVERING Paul set out a total MUTUALITY between wives and husbands (1 Corinthians 7:1-16). He also expected women to exercise gifts of the Spirit in congregational church life. But he wanted women to be distinguished by their hair covering. "Any woman who prays or prophesies with her head unveiled (uncovered) disgraces her head" (1 Corinthians 11:5. Here uncovered means that she has cut her hair like a man, which denies her dignity as a woman). Earlier in the chapter Paul spoke about HEADSHIP which is nothing to do with superiority. Wayne Gretzky was in no way inferior to the coach who was head of his hockey team. But to play in a game he had to put on the team uniform. This indicated he regarded himself under the team discipline, and he recognized the headship of the coach. Similarly Paul thought it was important for women to have longer hair than the Roman habit of men wearing short-cropped hair. In our day we might compare business women who have similar responsibilities to men in a corporation, but they should not dress like men. A pant suit can look very feminine, but it might not be appropriate for a woman to wear a three piece suit, and try to pretend she was really a man. This does not deny the principle that "in the Lord woman is not independent of man or man independent of woman. For just as woman came from man, so man comes through woman; but all things come from God" (1 Corinthians 11:11-12). But Paul admits his opinion on head covering is questionable, and depends on tradition. "If anyone is disposed to be contentious - we have no such custom, nor do the churches of God" (1 Corinthians 11:16).

HAJJ The last of the five pillars of Islam requires all Muslim men to make the hajj pilgrimage to the House of Allah (the KAABA shrine in Mecca) at least once in a lifetime if they can afford it. All wear ritual white clothing, which they keep for their burial shroud. This encourages a strong sense of equality and brotherhood, and a series of rituals that unify Muslims all over the world. It takes place in the twelfth month of the Muslim year (in 2003 it will be in February). Part of the pilgrimage is a visit to a hill called Mount Arafat (the Mount of Mercy) 24 kilometers east of Mecca. In the Jewish Old Testament there were annual visits for the festivals in Jerusalem (as in Jesus' family, Luke 2:41), And Paul made several visits to the church in Jerusalem, but pilgrimages are never encouraged in the New Testament.

HAMITES Some parts of the Old Testament are clarified when we note the Hamitic group of four languages (Genesis 10:6-20). Only the Jews were concerned for the purity of their racial GENEALOGY. Other nations were defined by the language they spoke. The Cushite language was spoken west and east of the Red Sea. But one of their generals named Nimrod took an army across Arabia to capture the Sumerian cities of Babel, Erech, and Accad. He then moved north-west to build Nineveh and other Assyrian cities (Genesis 10:8-12). As a result the Sumerian language and culture of Mesopotamia was displaced by the Hamitic language of Cush (later known as Accadian or Babylonian). Cushite was closely related to the ancient Egyptian language (mizraim), and the language of North Africa as far as Libya and Tunisia (put). The fourth linguistic grouping was CANAANITE. This explains how ABRAHAM, who was probably a Sumerian, learned Akkadian when Ur was taken over by the Hamite Babylonians. He could then use the same language all the way up the Euphrates, and he found a closely related language in Canaan, and another variant of this Hamitic language when he went into Egypt (Genesis 12:4-10). Abraham's son Ishmael spoke Canaanite, and that became the Arabic language of the ARABS. Old Testament HEBREW is also written in Canaanite, and when the Cushite Queen of Sheba came to visit Solomon they could easily understand each other. That same Hebrew is the language of modern Israel.

HANDEL, George Frederick (1685-1759) was a contemporary of BACH (1685-1750). Born in Saxony, and came to England in 1710. He had many disappointments over thirty years, and became a broken, penniless man. He was called "a German nincompoop." But with a sudden burst of inspiration (from the Holy Spirit) he was able to write in three weeks the music (based on words arranged by a country squire named Charles Jennens) for Messiah (1741, see HARMONY). After writing it he said "I did see all Heaven before me and the great God Himself." The first performance (1742) was in Ireland. The London premiere was the next year at Covent Garden (March 23, 1743), and at this performance the king stood for the Hallelujah chorus. But the performance was not well received. Puritans called the Messiah "a religious farce" and Handel was named a heretic. The Revd. John Newton (1725-1807, see AMAZING GRACE) and many others preached against it being sung. The only church performance during Handel's lifetime was the one that John WESLEY attended in Bristol Cathedral (August 17, 1758) just before Handel died. Recognition for Handel's masterpiece came very slowly. As Beethoven lay dying (1827) he pointed at his copy of Handel's Messiah and said "That is the truth!"

HANDING OVER to Satan Paul said the church in Corinth was to "hand this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh" (1 Corinthians 5:5). What could this mean? On the one hand Christians are freed from the world which is under the forces of darkness (Acts 26:18, Ephesians 6:12). But we also view the civil authorities as instituted by God "to execute wrath on the wrongdoer" (Romans 13:4). So this may be shorthand for handing the person over to the city magistrates for trial. The Greek and Roman world was very easy going about sexual behavior, but incest was a criminal act under Roman law, and Paul wants this man dealt with by the magistrates. What would the equivalent be in our day? Adultery and incest are no longer crimes in Canada, so the police would not act in such cases. But there are some types of criminal behavior which must be immediately reported to the police, and judges are appointed to assign the proper consequences. We had a case recently in the Cathedral in our city where the organist was known to be abusing boys in the choir. Child abuse is a serious crime, but some wanted to delay police intervention, but this resulted in more boys and their families being traumatized. In such cases immediate action needs to be taken (not the procedure for ordinary church quarrels in Matthew 18:15-17). Similar handing over to the police is necessary if a drug pusher tries to peddle drugs on church premises, or a pimp tries to draw young girls into prostitution, or a treasurer makes off with church funds (see CHURCH DISCIPLINE).


HARMONY In many cultures a musical performance is by a solo performer playing or singing a melody accompanied by a drummer. In India for example a tabla player kept the rhythm of the raga (melody) which the artist was singing. Harmony is the theory of how a note can blend pleasingly with other notes, as in four part singing. BACH (1685-1750) wrote choral music in this way, which made it possible for a large group of singers to sing as a choir . It requires the mutual submission of every singer and player to each other. In bigger groups, such a those who sing HANDEL's Messiah this requires a conductor to control the timing, volume, and rhythm to produce just the right performance. This gives a helpful metaphor for the mutual submission of many members in the one body of a church (Ephesians 4:2-4, 11-16) in which the conductor is the Holy Spirit. It is love that enables people to live and sing different parts with total respect for the differences of every other. "Above all, clothe youselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony" (Colossians 3:14-16).

HARVEST In his parables Jesus pictured seeds growing or not growing for harvest (Matthew 13:3-43). The main lesson seems to be that God longs for the good news of the kingdom to be sown (as in Psalm 126:5-6). He is grieved but knows that a proportion may be lost : even Jesus had the problem of losing disciples (John 6:66). The other lesson is that God knows that weeds will grow in every congregation (Matthew 13:30, as in Acts 20:29-30). But the Lord can intervene to take care of them in due course (Revelation 2:16, 20-23, 3:9). The grape harvest in the vineyards was also very important. Christian congregations begin with the excitement of the new WINE of each vintage. And as time goes on the spiritual connoisseurs prefer the matured old wine of their dignified services (Luke 5:37-39). But without a fresh harvest every year a congregation dies. The art is to allow the old wine to mature, and at the same time have young people who noisily stomp in the wine vat as they taste the new wine and sing the harvest songs (Colossians 3:16-17). As Jesus said "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest" (Matthew 9:37-38).

HASMONEANS As a result of the successful revolt of the MACCABEES, the Jews regained their religious freedom (163 BC). After the death of his brother Judas Maccabeus in battle (161 BC) Jonathan Maccabeus was eventually acclaimed as the Jewish general, governor of Jerusalem, and high priest of the temple (150-143 BC). He is usually viewed as the head of the Hasmonean dynasty which continued until New Testament times. ANNAS(Hebrew khanan-yahu meaning God is gracious) served as High Priest (6-15 AD) in the Hasmonean dynasty till he was deposed and succeeded by his son in law Caiaphas Annas remained as a highly respected power behind the scenes (Luke 3:2, John 18:13, 24, Acts 4:6). CAIAPHAS(John 11:49) presided over the Sanhedrin (Council) that condemned Jesus to death and handed him over to Pilate for crucifixion (Matthew 26:57-66, John 18:14). He was deposed in 36 AD, and the Jewish priesthood was decimated when the temple was destroyed by the Romans in AD 70. The Jewish priests were killed or taken off into slavery, and the office of Jewish High Priest ended for ever. By then Jesus was viewed by Christians as the High Priest for ever "according to the order of MELCHIZEDEC (Hebrews 4:14- 5:6, 6:20).

HASIDIM As opposed to the interminable discussions of the TALMUD among the other Jewish rabbis, Rabbi Israel ben Eliezer (1700-60) appealed to the hearts of poor village Jews who could hardly read the.Bible. He was known as their Tzaddiq (Hebrew for righteous person or leader, as in Psalm 1:6, Proverbs 10:6, etc.), and they called him Baal Shem Tob (Lord of the good name). They loved his stories of miracles and demons and of all they would enjoy when the Messiah came. If people could feel, and dream and trust their leader, their salvation was certain. The lives and hopes of the Hasidim (Hebrew for pious ones) are beautifully pictured in the novels of Chaim Potok. They stress the need to take time to pour out their doubts and frustrations in prayer alone with God. And they do this with strong bodily movements. They see God in every aspect of life and nature, and they sing beautiful dudule (German du means thou) prayers addressed to God. Having begun with by-passing rabbinic studies, there is now a strong emphasis on learning the torah. In modern Israel the Hasidim are legalistic, and tend to refuse doing military service. This causes an increasing rift between the Hasidim and other Orthodox Jews on the one hand and the secular atheistic Jews who oppose them.

HEADSHIP Paul said "The Messiah is the head of every man, and the husband is the head of his wife" (1 Corinthians 11:3). Feminists use this verse to prove the apostle was a male chauvinist. Men have taken it to mean they can treat their partner as a slave. And the verses that follow have been taken to mean that women must wear a hat in church (see HAIR COVERING). But headship is not a question of superiority. A choir director is not inferior to the soloist and other singers. Wayne Gretzky was paid much more as a hockey player than the coach who was head of the team. In a university, being head of the department is often viewed as a chore to be handed over to another professor as soon as possible. Without a foreman as head to make sure materials arrive on time builders are frustrated. Even with God there is a TRINITY of eternal persons in which the Son serves and the Father is head (see 1 Corinthians 15:24-28). Obviously Paul was not denying his previous explanation of the total MUTUALITY between husbands and wives (1 Corinthians 7:3-4, 14-16). But he insists on recognizing. differences. In a marriage the man has a certain headship in sexual intercourse. A man had to provide while his wife bore children. In Paul's day a family had to move to where the man could get work, which required the man's headship in relation to location. A similar situation often arises in our day, and roles must be reversed if the woman is the bread winner or is appointed say to a government position, or the husband becomes incapacitated.

HEALING The Pool of Bethzatha (Bethesda) is a tourist site next to St. Anne's Church in the northeastern part of old Jerusalem. It was a place where invalids were left for day care. In the KJV there is a strange addition found in later manuscripts. "An Angel of the Lord went down at certain seasons into the pool, and stirred up the water; whoever stepped in first after the stirring of the water was made well from whatever disease that person had" (John 5:7). We cannot imagine God used such an unfair method of healing by giving advantage to those who could hustle themselves to the head of the line. Modern medicine knows that faith in a means of healing improves the odds (the placebo effect). But Jesus asked the key question, "Do you want to be made well?" What is different about spiritual healing is the direction of faith. We look in the direction of the one who said "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I have come to call not the righteous but sinners" (Mark 2:17). For medication the Son of God assigns the Holy Spirit to effect the healing from deep within our inmost being. And that guarantees the total healing needed for the perfect love of heaven.

HEALING Service In the previous century the church's ministry of healing has been restored in many cities. Jesus sent his apostles out to heal as well as to announce the good news (Matthew 10:1, Luke 9:1). And special prayer for healing was offered in each congregation. "Are any of you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them, having anointed them with OIL in the name of the Lord. The prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise them up. Even if (the Greek kan) someone has committed sins (perhaps causing the sickness), there can be assurance of pardon. Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed" (James 5:14-16 literal translation). This verse was used as the reason for the last unction by a priest when death was imminent. For centuries this discouraged people off from seeking prayer for healing. Then healing services were unhelpfully taken over by professional healers. We need an opportunity to bring our need for healing to a quiet, leisurely service (often preceded by communion). It should be among friends where we can admit our problem and seek their united prayer as trusted leaders lay hands on us in the name of Jesus the healer (See HEALING,HEALINGTrinity).

HEALING, Spirit Paul listed the fruit of the Spirit as "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness (generosity), faithfulness,, gentleness, self-control" (Galatians 5:22-23). And every one of these nine fruit is a healing fruit. A heart filled with love is already healed. Joy is a healing agent. Anxiety is a dis-ease that grips us right in our guts, but the Spirit quietens us and gives us peace. Patience is another sweet healing gift of the Spirit. We are also healed by kindness. The Spirits prompts us into goodness to do those unexpected things that make a world a happier place. We lose our self-respect when we are erratic, slipshod, unreliable, keeping others waiting, failing to keep promises. Faithfulness makes us effective and dependable. The person who is harsh, abusive, rides rough shod over others is heading for a heart attack. The Holy Spirit heals by an inner gentleness. Alcoholics, and those addicted to drugs, gambling, and overeating, are not healed by guilt and self-effort. AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) encourages looking to the "Higher Power" which is of course another name for the Holy Spirit. So when we are sick the secret is to leave the medical profession to do what is needed by way of tests and procedures. Our task is to avoid focusing on our aches, pains, and dis-eases (the flesh) and, as Paul says, we set our minds "on the things of the Spirit (Romans 8:4-5).

HEALING, Trinity The three Persons of the Trinity are involved in our healing, but in quite different ways. Disease (dis-ease) is caused by feeling unloved and unappreciated. A feeling of being rejected by our family, partner, friends, work colleagues, is also very damaging. And doctors all agree that feelings of guilt and being unforgiven are a source of serious illnesses. When we know that God the Father loves us totally, accepts us as we are, and forgives the worst of sins, a huge amount of healing is already taking place. God the Son was called Jehovah Rapha (Yahweh heals) in the Old Testament. Sometimes he heals our environment. "The Lord will turn away from you every illness; all the dread diseases of Egypt that you experienced" (Deuteronomy 7:15). His direct healing power by touching or at a distance became visible in the Gospels. He also heals us through his body, the Christian community in which the different spiritual gifts of every member are working for us (1 Corinthians 12:4-7). The third Person of the Trinity, God the Holy Spirit does his healing from deep within us. That is why in the parable of the Vine the Father is the vine tender. The Son is the vine on which we depend for life. And the Spirit corresponds to the sap bringing the nutrients and healing that we need (John 15:1-15, see HEALING, Spirit).

HEALTH Three thousand years ago Solomon knew that "A cheerful heart is a good medicine, but a downcast spirit dries up the bones" (Proverbs 17:22). Wayne W. Dyer explained that "Laughter is the sunshine of the soul. And without sunshine nothing can live or grow. Perhaps the single most outstanding characteristic of healthy people is their unhostile sense of humor" (Your Erroneous Zones, 1977, p.222). Under LAUGHING we suggested that the best kind of humor is laughing at oneself. It drives out worry, anger, fear, unnecessary guilt, a sense of superiority, hardness of heart, all of which damage our immune system. But Christians view health as including confidence in death as a means of passing from our body in this life to a RESURRECTION BODY suited for our life in HEAVEN.

HEART We know the physical heart that pumps our blood. We also talk about losing heart, having no heart, getting to the heart of the matter. Character is governed by the heart. "Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person brings good things out of a good treasure, and the evil person brings evil things out of an evil treasure" (Matthew 12:34-35). King David knew that without a change of heart he would certainly fail again. "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me" (Psalm 51:10). As Jesus explained adultery begins in the heart (Matthew 5:28, see LUST). Which is why he said "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God" (Matthew 5:8). The change is not by trying to enforce rules (see LEGALISM) but by changing the human heart. "It is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come: fornication, theft, murder, adultery, avarice, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, folly" (Mark 7:21-23). Here the heart is like the source of a fountain. Instead of the polluted fountain, Jesus said "The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up into eternal life' (John 4:14). And the Father is eager to give the Holy Spirit to change our heart springs. "How much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him" (Luke 11:11).

HEART, Direction Jesus said "blessed are the pure in heart" and he invited us to love God "with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength" (Mark 12:30). Beginning with our heart direction is important. We get things back to front. False religions demand efforts (strength) to control our behavior (LEGALISM). Faith without works is dead, but works without heart are poisonous. Using our minds to understand is important, but intellectualism without heart experience can be deadly. In our day we have all sorts of psychological therapies and counseling to work on the soul (personality) without being able to change the human heart. But if we begin with heart direction, there is an immediate personality change, and that clarifies the mind to understand, which then results in doing good. "Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flows the springs of life" (Proverbs 4:23, see Proverbs, Heart). What then is heart direction? Christian faith begins by welcoming and rejoicing in the love of God our father, we have a very personal love relationship with God the Son, and we look to God the Holy Spirit to create love in our hearts.

HEART, Joyful In his PROVERBS Solomon noted how a joyful heart changes our looks. "A glad heart makes a cheerful countenance, but by sorrow of heart the spirit is broken (15:13). Joy in the heart even heals the human body. "A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a downcast spirit dries up the bones" (17:22). But when we are miserable we cannot produce joy in our heart by self-effort. Joy is a FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT. A good prayer would be "Holy Spirit, I am a miserable person. Others see it and I don't like it. I have tried to change myself but I certainly have no joy in my heart. I am now going to open myself to your love and joy and peace. Please work the miracle in my heart and change me."

HEAVEN  Before making major decisions about our long term goals it makes sense to ask what is the end we have in mind. Life after death is like life after birth. We can't know what it will be like on the other side. A baby in the womb couldn't be closer to it's mother. But when it is born the mother is right there and a huge new world begins to open up (Revelation 21:22-26). Pascal's wager was that if there is a heaven prepared for us, then we have everything to gain by ordering our life with that in mind. On the other hand if this life was all there is, we lose nothing by living with that hope in mind. Either way the best the happiest and best decisions are based living as if love is the be all and end of life.

HEBREW By about 1890 German philologists had proved the connection between Hebrew, Arabic, and Accadian (Babylonian). Unfortunately they called this group of languages Semitic. According to the Bible, Abraham was a Shemite descended from SHEM (Genesis 10:21-31). His mother tongue in Ur was probably Sumerian, but he would have learned the Accadian (Babylonian) language which was already dominant in Mesopotamia. In the promised land he used the very similar language of Canaan. . As a result Abraham's son Ishmael spoke Canaanite, which became the Arabic language of the ARABS. In Jesus'day Jews spoke Aramaic, a dialect of Hebrew (also known as Syriac) which was the trade language all the way to China. After the fall of Jerusalem (70 AD) Jews of the dispersion in Europe developed Yiddish which was based on German, but written in Hebrew characters. But their rabbis studied the books of the Old Testament in Hebrew. In 1948 that language was revived as the language of the Jewish state of Israel. Since Hebrew is a close cousin of Arabic (as close as Italian, French, and Spanish), the Jewish and Arab children of Abraham can understand each other in the 3800 year old battle for the land promised to Abraham. (for the origins of this quarrel see Ishmael, the Arab).

HEBRON When Lot separated from ABRAHAM the patriarch settled by the oaks of Mamre (3 km, 2 miles, north of present day Hebron, Genesis 13:8, 14:13, 18:1, 35:27). Sarah, the wife of Abraham died at Kiriath-arba, later called Hebron, and Abraham purchased a family burial plot around the cave of Machpelah just east of Mamre (Genesis 23:2-20). In the same cave ABRAHAM and his wife Sarah, ISAAC his wife Rebekah, JACOB and his wife Leah, and perhaps JOSEPH were buried (Genesis 25:9-10, 49:29-32, 50:13, 25, Exodus 13:19). The modern name is el-khalil (Abraham's name as the friend of God, 2 Chronicles 20:7, Isaiah 41:8, James 2:23), and a great sepulcher has been built over the original cave of Machpelah which is only 500 m east of the Hebron bus station. . That is why in our day Hebron is the focus of constant disagreement between the ARABS descended from ISHMAEL, and the JEWISHpeople descended from JACOB.

HELENA Though she was born (c.255) in a very poor home in BITHYNIA, the Emperor Constantius Chlorus chose her to be empress, and she gave birth to CONSTANTINE (c.280). Twelve years later she was dismissed (292) by the Emperor who wanted to marry the step-daughter of the Emperor Maximian. When her son Constantine suddenly became joint emperor (306), she immediately rose to great influence. It is not clear if she had come to faith before Constantine professed Christian faith (312), but she devoted her remaining years to supporting Christian causes. For the first three hundred years of church history there was apparently little interest in the exploration of holy sites in and around Jerusalem. But when Helena was over seventy she made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land (326) and supervised the building of a basilica in Bethlehem (330 AD) now known as the Church of the Nativity. Before she died (330) Helena "discovered" what she believed was the place of Jesus's burial on which was built the church of the Holy Sepulchre (335). Her archeological interests unfortunately spawned a huge interest in putting up church buildings wherever there might be connections with the life of Jesus in the Holy Land. And the recovery of these sites was one of the motivations of the disastrous CRUSADES.

HELL The word that is translated 'hell' is the Greek word gehenna (Matthew 5:22, 29, 10:28, 18:9, 23:15, 33, Mark 9:43-47, James 3:6). Gehenna was a transliteration of the Hebrew ge hinnom meaning the Valley of Hinnom. That was where garbage was dumped over the south wall of the city of Jerusalem. It was a terrifying sight with fires from burning cinders, and in the rainy season it was crawling with maggots - "where their worm never dies, and the fire is never quenched" (Mark 9:48). Having been put out of their homes, lepers gathered there to pick through the scraps. That is why hell (gehenna) became a metaphor for being trashed. Children were terrified of being thrown over the wall into "outer darkness" to land on that stinking garbage. That happened to the man expelled from the wedding (Matthew 22:13). Jesus used this metaphor when he spoke of people of many nations who would "eat with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven while the heirs of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness" (Matthew 8:11). These bad consequences always referred to disaster in this life. In no case does the Bible speak of eternal damnation to burn in hell for ever and ever. There is a darkness of finally rejecting the light and love of God (John 3:19), but that is a free choice of humans who choose eternal death, never the punishment of our loving God.

HELL, and Science Students at the University of Washington were given a bonus question for their chemistry mid-term exam. "Is Hell exothermic (giving off heat) or endothermic (absorbs heat)?" The one student who got an A wrote. "First, we need to know how the mass of Hell is changing in time. So we need to know the rate that souls are moving into Hell and the rate they are leaving. We can safely assume that once a soul gets to Hell, it will not leave. Therefore no souls are leaving. As for how many souls are entering Hell, let's look at the different religions that exist in the world today. Some of these religions state that if you are not a member of their religion, you will go to hell. Since there are more than one of these religions and since people do not belong to more than one religion, we can project that all souls go to hell. With birth and death rates as they are, we can expect the number of souls in Hell to increase exponentially. Boyle's Law states that in order for the temperature and pressure in Hell to stay the same, the volume of Hell has to expand proportionately as souls are added. This give two possibilities: If Hell is expanding at a slower rate than the rate at which souls enter Hell, then the temperature and pressure in Hell will increase until all Hell breaks loose. Of course, if Hell is expanding at a rate faster than the increase of souls in Hell, then the temperature and pressure will drop until Hell freezes over. So which is it? Another student during my freshman year said it would be a cold day in Hell before we ever had sex together. That proves Hell is exothermic and will not freeze."

HELMET Before picking up his sword a Roman soldier put on the helmet that would protect his head from rocks thrown at him by angry crowds, and the arrows and sword cuts of battle. But even more important for his morale was the eagle that crowned it. As he looked around him everyone of his comrades wrote the same legion insignia of their regiment. And he knew he could rely on them to be there to help him if he was under attack. The whole might of the Roman empire and its emperor was behind him. That is why Paul said "Take the helmet of salvation" as an essential part of our spiritual armor (Ephesians 6:17). We need to be able to say "I know I am saved (and safe)," not because we have any goodness or achievement of our own doing (Ephesians 2:5), but because we are totally loved and accepted just as we are. And each of our comrades has the same assurance. We also have the prayers and the whole might of the Messiah's church behind us. Even if we are killed in the battle on earth, the Messiah is there to meet us as we pass through the gates of glory. That is a great helmet to wear very proudly.

HENOTHEISM Having looked at our world and decided it must have a Creator (Artist), a person is called a THEIST. In the Hebrew Bible the one Creator God is called ELOHIM (Genesis 1). But it is the same God that the French call Dieu, in Hindi he is called Parmeshwar, and Urdu he is Khuda. Theists are always committed to MONOTHEISM(as opposed to POLYTHEISM among the early Greeks). It is however possible to believe in one God, but to describe him by various names that express facets of his character (the SON OF GOD is named LORD, Judge, Shepherd, Lamb, Rock). This appears to have been the Henotheism of the early Aryans (see INDO-EUROPEAN) who wrote the Sanskrit Vedas. "They call him Indra, Mitra, Varuna, Agni. And he is the heavenly noble-winged Garutman. To what is one sages give many a title. They call it Agni, Varuna, Matarisvan" (Rig Veda 1.164.46, see God of Many Names).

HESYCHASM The term is derived from the Greek word ysuchia meaning quietness, rest, silence, and the verb ysuchazo is to be quiet, rest, remain silent. It describes the practice of meditation developed among the monks of MOUNT ATHOS. The theory is that by ascetic practices it is possible to attain perfect quiet of body and mind which would result in the vision of God as uncreated light (compare YOGA). Perhaps its best known advocate was GREGORY PALAMAS (c.1296-1359). At first rejected and condemned, the Hesychast model has become part of the doctrine of the GREEK ORTHODOX denomination. John WESLEYwas greatly influenced by this teaching. On this website we teach our transformation and perfecting in love by the Holy Spirit (see our book Creative Love), but we do not agree with the Hesychast teaching that this needs a long period of ascetic discipline before the Spirit can begin his work.

HIGH PRIEST, see JESUS, Sacrifice

HINDUISM About 1200 AD the invading Muslims called the people of India "Hindu" (the Persian word for Indian). And in the broadest sense Hinduism is the religion of the people of India. It can roughly be divided into Shaivism (the worship of Shiva, the destroyer) and Vaishnavism (the worship of Vishnu in his incarnation as Krishna). But both believe in the constant round of samsara (reincarnation). Each of the main groups in Hinduism offers a different way of salvation (moksha) to escape from this miserable cycle of rebirths (as did original Buddhism by losing all desire). . In the west some of these ways have been adopted such as the various ways of meditation to attain oneness with the Absolute, transcendental meditation using a mantra (TM), or bhakti (as in the Hari Krishna devotees). Orthodox Hindus all give allegiance to the same original scriptures (the Vedas) and later Upanishads and Bhagavadgita, but ordinary people delight in the two great epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. In practice Hinduism was dominated by the caste system, which gave supreme authority and influence to the Brahmin priests. At the bottom of the pile were the untouchables (see DALITS).


HISTORY, Meaning World history is usually described as a clash of nations moved by impersonal forces and chance events. The Bible sees history (HIS Story) in the light of the eternal SON OF GOD, the MESSIAH, King of the KINGDOM OF HEAVEN,. He is, appointed to rule among the NATIONS, and he does that as human leaders are open to the WISDOM of the HOLY SPIRIT. If they lead their people into idolatry, oppress the POOR, WIDOWS, ORPHANS, and ALIENS, or engage in MILITARISMto attack other nations, the Messiah intervenes to topple them in his own time (see DAY OF THE LORD, WRATH and VINDICATION (see Advent Comings of the Lord among the Nations). Mary saw this work of Jesus her son in the Magnificat. "He has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly" (Luke 1:51-52). This means that history is not meaningless. The ultimate purpose that the Son of God has in mind is for people to be perfected in love for RESURRECTION into the perfect love of HEAVEN (seeSHEOL). The only ones excluded of any age in any country are those who reject his LIGHT to prefer the darkness of HELL (as in John 3:19-21).

HISTORY and Language The three main language groupings are listed in the Table of Nations (Genesis 10:1-32). One could view history as a sequence of conflicts between these linguistic groupings. The descendants of Japheth spoke INDO-EUROPEAN languages like Greek, Latin, French, English, German, Slav, Persian, and Sanskrit (see also CELTS, GOTHS). The descendants of Ham included the HAMITES who came north from Africa under NIMROD and spoke Assyrian, Babylonian, Canaanite, Egyptian, and Arabic. Then there is a grouping of agglutinative ALTAICLANGUAGES perhaps connected with SHEM, which we list among the SUMERIANS, HUNS, AVARS, MAGYARS, and MONGOLS who kept trying to move west from Mongolia and China. This model of linguistic conflict is by no means proved, but it is a plausible way of looking at world history.

HOCKEY A priest was explaining about the cubicle for confession . One boy asked "Is that like going into the penalty box?" Obviously there are some similarities. You can't play a game without rules. And if you shaft or trip or fight another player, or bad-mouth the referee, there are consequences before you can play again. The main cost of getting a penalty is that the whole team suffers. A difference is that CONFESSION requires admitting that you have done wrong. "If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). And as opposed to referees who make wrong calls, the only one who is "faithful and just" is Jesus the Son of God. He is not interested in making us feel bad about our faults, or making us pay for our sins, but changing our heart attitudes. The only way we can be cleansed from being mean spirited, vicious, vengeful, is by the HOLY SPIRIT giving us the sweet fruits of LOVE, JOY, PEACE, PATIENCE, SELF-CONTROL (Galatians 5:22-23). Does that mean Christians are wimps who could never play hockey? PAUL was certainly no wimp (2 Corinthians 11:23-28). And hockey is a good game for us to enjoy with those who play by the rules.

HOLINESS When we think of a holy person, we have the image of a saint in a stained glass window. But the first reference to the word is a piece of desert that was set aside for God to meet with Moses (Exodus 3:5). Then we find vessels, vestments, and anointing oils could be set apart from ordinary use for the temple. But far more significant was the setting aside of a people to accomplish God's purpose in the world. "You shall be for me a priestly kingdom, and a holy nation" (Exodus 19:6). That purpose had been revealed to Abraham. "In you all the families of the earth shall be blessed" (Genesis 12:3). When the first temple failed to do this, it was destroyed by the Babylonians, and the leaders of the people were taken off into exile for seventy years. Five hundred years later Jesus complained that instead of being a house of prayer for all nations the second temple had become a den of thieves (Matthew 21:13). He then predicted its destruction in that generation (the end came in AD 70). In its place the new temples of the Holy Spirit were set aside as holy for their purpose in every city of the world (1 Corinthians 3:16, Ephesians 2:21). "Let yourself be built a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus the Messiah (1 Peter 2:4-5).

HOLOCAUST The first Christians and their apostles were all Jews. But after the fall of Jerusalem (AD 70) the Jewish people were exiled for 1900 years from the promised land (see ABRAHAM). As Christian churches were established all over the world Jews began to be seen as foreigners. To become Christians a Jewish family had to be baptized and break off their Jewish connections. Those who refused were branded as Christ killers. In nation after nation Jews were blamed for anything that went wrong. Many Jews were expelled from the countries they lived in and thousands were tortured and killed. In Germany Adolph Hitler (1889-1945) seized power (1933) and taught that only a purified German Aryan race was fit to rule the world. By 1935 Jews were deprived of citizenship rights. During the second world war (1939-45) concentration camps were established (1941). And Hitler's "final solution" (1942) resulted in the extermination in three years of six million European Jews. Many Jews had already decided that their only hope was to reestablish themselves in PALESTINE as a national homeland. They began buying property and establishing kibbutz colonies. In 1948 the State of Israel was established, and HEBREW was adopted as the national language (see MESSIANIC JEWS).

HOLY CROSS When the Roman emperor Constantine made Christianity the official religion of the empire his mother Helena went to supervise the building of a church (335 AD) at the site of Jesus' crucifixion (now called the Church of the Holy Sepulcher). As the ground was being cleared a large piece of wood was found, which was venerated as part of Jesus' cross. Why should the cross be given such importance among Christians? The love of God was already celebrated in the Old Testament. There are thirty-six evidences of his "steadfast love" in Psalm 136. But there was no conclusive evidence that Jesus could absorb in himself the worst of human sin, and still keep loving and forgiving us (Philippians 2:8). There was also the hope that one day those in sheol, the abode of the dead, would one day be freed and resurrected. But when Jesus defeated and terminated sheol, and then appeared in his RESURRECTION body for the next forty days, death finally lost its sting (1 Corinthians 15:55). That is why Paul could say "I never boast of anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus the Messiah"
(Galatians 6:14). And he could himself share in the cross of suffering (Galatians 2:19, Philippians 3:10, Colossians 1:24) fully assured of his own resurrection (Philippians 3:10).

HOLY SPIRIT The Greeks knew that you cannot create great music or art or literature without inspiration. Aboriginal people looked to the Great Spirit for wisdom in difficult decisions. And for the design of the first Jewish place of worship "The Lord spoke to Moses: See, I have called by name Bezaleel son of Uri son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah: and filled him with the Spirit of God, with ability, intelligence, and knowledge in every kind of craft, to devise artistic designs" (Exodus 321:1-5). At their best, Jewish political leaders were filled with the Holy Spirit (Judges 3:9-10, 4:4, 6:34, 11:29, 14:6, 1 Samuel 11:6). As were their great prophets. When he preached in his hometown synagogue Jesus opened the scroll of the prophet Isaiah and quoted "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me; he has sent to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted" (Isaiah 61:1). The quickest way to improve our world would be to persuade our artists, politicians, writers, preachers, and all others in leadership positions to look to the Holy Spirit for wisdom and inspiration.

HOLY SPIRIT, Gifts The gifts of the Spirit are not divided by fixed boundaries, but by the way the Holy Spirit chooses (1 Corinthians 12:11) to use them in each city (see BODY, Church members). Here is one listing given by Paul : the utterance of wisdom, the utterance of knowledge, faith (mountain moving faith?), gifts of healing, working of miracles, prophecy, discernment of spirits, various kinds of tongues, the interpretation of tongues (1 Corinthians 12:7-10). These are arranged by the way Christians speak words of power (utterance). In the same chapter he has another listing by the functions that individuals perform in the community : apostles, prophets, teachers, deeds of power, healing, assistance, leadership (administration), speaking in tongues, working miracles, interpreting tongues (1 Corinthians 12:27-30). Another list includes : prophecy, serving (diakonia), teaching, exhorting (comforting), giving, leadership, exercising compassion (Romans 12:6-8). Writing to the Ephesians Paul reminded them of the gifts needed for building up the church : apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors (shepherds), teachers (Ephesians 4:11-12). As opposed to much teaching about the end times, the definition of prophetic ministry includes the ability to "speak to other people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation" (1 Corinthians 14:3). For an account of apostolic ministry see APOSTLE, and this is illustrated in the life of PAUL.

HOLY SPIRIT, Mission Jesus said that the wind blows wherever it chooses (John 3:8). And Roland ALLEN explained how threatening this is likely to be for western missionaries "We fear it because it is something that we cannot control. We welcome spontaneous zeal provided there is not too much of it" (The Spontaneous Expansion of the Church, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1962, p.12). And he pointed out that "We instinctively think of something which we cannot control as tending to disorder" (p.13). But he gave the caution that disorder only erupts when we attempt to control the spontaneous activity of the Spirit. "If men feel they are acting in any sense against the will, implied, or expressed, of authority, they burst all bounds, and then there is danger of the wildest excesses; for they begin by breaking the only order which they know" (p.14, see MONTANISM).

HOLY SPIRIT, Power see POWER, Gospel

HOMER There is much discussion among scholars about the dating (sometime before 700 BC) and historical origins of Homer as a writer. But all agree that the Iliad and the Odyssee are the masterpieces of Greek epic poetry, and they have had a huge influence on European literature.. At the beginning of both books Homer called upon Calliope, the Muse that created epic poetry to give him inspiration (see MUSES). The Iliad focuses on the nine year war between the Athenian Greeks and the Trojans 200 miles (320 km) across the Aegean Sea. The city of Troy (see TROAS) was on the western coast of present-day Turkey. Homer describes how it finally fell when the Athenians sent in a huge wooden horse full of soldiers who poured out with their weapons and cut down the defenders. The Odyssee describes the wanderings of Odysseus around the Mediterranean in the tenth year after the fall of Troy. Though Homer refers to Zeus as the King among the gods, he has no doubt that other lesser gods intervene in every situation as they quarrel and lust and fight for power (see POLYTHEISM)

HOME SCHOOLING One of the impressive results of being educated at home was in the life of Blaise PASCAL (1623-62). His mother died when he was four, and he and his two sisters were educated by his father. From his earliest days he suffered from terrible convulsions, and had to walk on crutches, but he soon became a mathematical and scientific genius. By the age of sixteen he had developed a precursor of the first computers, and written a "Treatise on Conic Sections" (1639). His other works included books on hydraulics, pure geometry, and the theory of probability. Regular schooling would have required the learning of the approved explanatory model in each main area of knowledge. But Pascal had the freedom to explore a rich variety of alternative models that contrasted and reacted with each other, and this resulted in his being open to conversion and faith in God. This appears in the fragments of his writings which were arranged by topics, and published after his death as his Pensees.

HOMINIDS In July 2002 a seven million year old skull was found in the Sahel area of the Sahara. The brain case of Toumai is about the size and shape of a Chimpanzee, but the face and jaw bones are hominid. But according to the Bible humans are not defined by skull and body shape, or by intelligence. Spiders, Bees and Termites instinctively build astonishing structures which haven't changed in a million years. Birds have the built in computing power to navigate by the stars and the earth's magnetic field. We are less skilled than they are, and we look more like monkeys. But what characterizes us is that God said " "Let us make humankind (humans) in our image, according to our likeness . . . so God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them, male and female he created them" (Genesis 1:26-27). We are able to talk to God, thank him, praise him, choose among alternative models for living our life, and we discuss what is right and wrong for us and for others. On this website we assume that the first image of God humans were suddenly given was the genes to engage in such unexpected activities about 4000 BC. Within a brief thousand years civilization had begun with the invention of pictographic scripts to record human language, and the mathematics needed for astronomy and building PYRAMIDS.

HOMOSEXUALITY Jewish judges were given seven categories of sexual behavior for which the death penalty was assigned (adultery, three kinds of incest, sex with a male "as with a woman, " and either male or female sex with an animal, Leviticus 20:10-16, see 18:22). In each case it is sexual penetration by the penis that defines the criminal act. Between men this is called buggery or sodomy (used to humiliate foreigners, Genesis 19:5). Intimacy between women (later called Lesbianism) is never in view because no penis is involved. What horrified Paul was that behavior, which was assigned the death penalty by Jewish law, was now openly approved (Romans 1:23-27). Instead of having sex with their husbands, women were getting their pet dogs to mount them, and the buggery of students, slaves, and animals was common. Paul puts malakoi (1 Corinthians 6:9, men who allow themselves to be buggered) and arsenokoitai (1 Corinthians 6:9, 1 Timothy 1:10, men who bugger other men) in the same list as pornoi (those who sleep around or engage in prostitution) and moichoi (adulterers) (1 Corinthians 7:9-10, see 1 Timothy 1:10). Such sexual sins were the second step down in the decline of Greek civilization; at the bottom of the pit were covetousness, maliciousness, envy, strife, gossip, pride, heartlessness (Romans 1:28-32, see the steps down in 1:21, 24, 26).

HOMOSEXUAL Preference Dozens of good and bad explanations have been offered as to why a proportion of men and women have no inclination for intercourse with the opposite sex. We have no documented proof for this, but a model that makes sense is that from conception to birth ten or more steps are needed in the developing ovum for a person to be fully heterosexual by preference. Any of these steps can be fouled up by chemical, environmental, and psychological traumas. These are part of the pervasive social SIN that surrounds us. If this is the case, the individual person can hardly be faulted. It also seems that same-sex orientation often goes with a high level of creative activity in music, theater, literature, and all the other arts. But, as in heterosexual behavior, what makes learning to love impossible is promiscuity (see PORNEIA), treating sex as a plaything, and using others as a means of sexual exploitation.

HONEST TO GOD The publication of John A. T. Robinson, Honest to God (1963) by a CHURCH OF ENGLAND Bishop and Theologian was greeted with acclaim by those who wanted to abandon the model of Christian THEISM set out in the Apostles' and Nicene CREEDS. ROBINSONcaricatured the idea of God as Creator by saying that what Christians believe in is a "God up there," obviously "down there" in Australia (see God of Many Names chapters 1-4). In chapter 2 "The End of Theism?" he then set out a form of Hindu MONISM, which is as old as the UPANISHADS.  Was he suggesting that he had invented this model, or was he really ignorant of its source? For a fuller discusssion of the alternatives see the chapter on "Theism or Monism" in Religion: Origins and Ideas Chapter 9.

HONORED Paul pointed out that in a human body the organs that do their work unnoticed behind the scenes are more essential for life of the body than our hands and our mouth. It is good to grasp this in any human organization, but especially in a church or synagogue. "Our less respectable members are treated with greater respect; whereas our more respectable members do not need this. But God has so arranged the body, giving greater honor to the inferior member, that there may be no dissension within the body, but the members may have the same care for one another (1 Corinthians 12:22-24). We might call this the principle of caring for those that God honors. That is very hard for the high and mighty of our world.

HOREB "Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian; he led his flock beyond the wilderness, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of a bush (Exodus 3:1-2). Moses reminded the people that it was at Mount Horeb that God gave them the permanent moral law of the TEN COMMANDMENTS (Deuteronomy 4:10, 5:2). This was less than a week's journey from where they had crossed the Red Sea. Scholars have often assumed that Horeb was the same as the Mount SINAI. But the Exodus people did not get to Mount SINAI till two or three months later (Exodus 19:1-2), where Moses gave the detailed ordinances of a COVENANT (Exodus 21:1-23:23 which was sealed in blood, Exodus 24:7-8). Six hundred years later when Elijah was scared and discouraged Horeb is where he went to be renewed (1 Kings 19:8-9). That would suggest that Jebel Musa, the location of the monastery dedicated to St. Catherine of Alexandria, is Mount Horeb, not Mount Sinai.

HOPE People hope they might just make it through the pearly gates. But Christian hope is very different. "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of he Holy Spirit" (Romans 15:13). Based on previous experiences of the Holy Spirit we will "abound in hope" knowing that the Holy Spirit will continue working the humanly impossible in our lives. "If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised the Messiah from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you" (Romans 7:11). When we first know that something has happened in us by the power of the Holy Spirit, we have hope that there is more to come. It is people who have a deep experience of the Holy Spirit teaching, healing, guiding, empowering them, who have a certain hope- not only of life after death but of continual blessing in this life.

HOSPITALITY The NRSV translation "Extend hospitality to strangers" (Romans 12:13) misses the force of the Greek participle "keep pursuing (striving for) the practice of hospitality." As opposed to "How can I keep my castle to myself?" we ask "How can I use my home to welcome others?" Cicero wrote "A palace only brings dishonor if solitude reigns in its noble halls" (Moral Duties, Basic Works, 1951, p.52). If we can't cook, we could take someone out to lunch. Paul wants an elder (bishop) chosen for his hospitality (1 Timothy 3:2, see 5:10; Titus 1:8, 1 Peter 4:9). Hospitals welcome the sick to be cared for. By our hospitality people can feel loved, renewed, healed from heartbreak, loneliness, depression. Paul was obviously grateful for the hospitality of those who looked after his needs. He mentioned "Gaius, who is host to me and to the whole church, greets you" (Romans 16:23). And he appreciated the leading man of Malta "who received us hospitably for three days" (Acts 28:7). When a delegation from a Roman Officer arrived "Peter invited them in and gave them lodging" (Acts 10:23). But hospitality should not be with the intent of being asked back (Luke 14:12-13). Nor should it involve cooking so many dishes that there is no time to listen to each other (Luke 10:41).


HUGUENOTS As a result of the REFORMATION a large number of French people adopted CALVINISM, and so became Protestants (those who rejected the authority of the Bishop of Rome). In France they were called Huguenots, and they had formed about 2000 Calvinistic churches in France by 1561. Roman Catholics felt threatened, and they organized a massacre of 200 Huguenot leaders on Saint Bartholomew's Day (23-24 August, 1572). Mobs took this as an opportunity to slaughter 3,000 Huguenot Christians in Paris, and thousands more were killed in twelve other provinces of France. The Huguenots fought back in a civil war, which ended with the Edict of Nantes (1598), which granted them freedom of religion. They were again persecuted under Cardinal Richelieu (1585-1642) who was determined to destroy their power among the merchant and professional classes. He besieged and took (1627-28) the stronghold of La Rochelle where many Huguenots tried to defend themselves. When the Edict of Nantes was revoked (1685), thousands of Huguenots fled and prospered in England, Holland, Switzerland, South Africa, and North America.

HUMBLE Already three thousand years ago people knew that "pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall (Proverbs 16:18). We are not thinking of the pride of a craftsman doing good work. The racial, or social, or professional PRIDE we hate involves cutting down others and humiliating them to bolster our self-importance. When an arrogant person is toppled from a pedestal we call it poetic justice. "Pride comes before a fall." But the Bible is quite clear that it is God who has a hand in it. "Uzziah was marvellously helped until he became strong. But when he had become strong he grew proud to his destruction" (2 Chronicles 26:15-16). If God works against pride and arrogance obviously HUMILITY before God is the only safe position to take. Which is why James, the Lord's step-brother (and so knew him personally), made the astonishing statement: "Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you" (James 4:10).

HUMILITY When people were asked what scared them, it turned out that women were afraid of being killed. Men dreaded the thought of being humiliated. Better go into certain death than be called a coward. Japanese men commit hara-kiri rather than lose their honor. But no woman would ever think of killing herself with a knife in the gut. Some claim that if there were enough women generals we would never have war. But if you must have a war to defend yourself, put men in the front line of battle, and give them medals on their chest. What is the difference between humble and being humiliated? Humiliation is being toppled from one's pedestal. The HUMBLEview the lives and petty pedestals of others as important as their own. If a humble woman does have to fight she will be as worried about the other dying as the fear of dying herself. A humble soldier will never humiliate a defeated enemy. Which is why Jesus could say "love your ENEMIES and pray for those who persecute you" (Matthew 5:44). In either case humility is the best antidote for war among nations, in an office, or in our own family.

HUNS Perhaps connected with the Hsiung-nu of China, the Huns came out of Mongolia. They spoke one of the ALTAIC LANGUAGES, as did the AVARS and MONGOLS who followed them. They were fierce horsemen and deadly archers. The Huns came into the Ukraine and then terrified and pillaged across eastern Europe. Atilla , King of the Huns (c.434-453) defeated the Roman colonies in the Balkans and invaded Gaul where he was defeated near Orleans (451). He recovered and attacked northern Italy (452) where he sacked Aquileia, Padua, Verona, and Milan. He died the next year After the death of Attila his sons quarreled with one another, and their forces were decimated probably in Hungary (455). Their distant cousins survived in Mongolia and China.

HURRY An Old Testament prophet said "in quietness and trust shall be your strength." He also explained that "The effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust for ever (Isaiah 30:15, 32:17). J. B. Phillips captured this perfectly when he wrote "If there is one thing which should be quite plain to those who accept the revelation of God in Nature and the Bible is that he is never in a hurry. Long preparation, careful planning, and slow growth, would seem to be the leading characteristics of spiritual life" (see RESPONSIBILITY). And Phillips added that "It is refreshing, and salutary, to study the poise and quietness of Christ. His task and responsibility might well have driven a man out of his mind. But he was never in a hurry, never impressed by numbers, never a slave of the clock. He was acting, he said, as he observed God to act - never in a hurry" (Your God is Too Small, London: Epworth Press, 1952, p.56). I must have read that fifty years ago, but I regret I still haven't learned to live that way.

HUSS, John (c.1372-1415) John Huss studied at the University of PRAGUE (M.A. 1396), and at the age of 29 was elected head of the University (1402). He was also a Roman Catholic priest (1400). But influenced by John WYCLIFFE(c.1329-84) of Oxford University he preached in the national language (Czech) on Sundays at the Bethlehem chapel. Pope Innocent VII ordered Huss to stop preaching (1407) but he refused to submit and continued to teach, and he translated Wycliffe's Trialogus into Czech. Pope Alexander ordered Wycliffe's writings to be burned (1410) and the next year John Huss was excommunicated by the antipope John XXIII. But his popular influence continued. Four years later, invited to defend his views, he was tried and condemned at the Council of Florence (1415). He remained full of faith as he was burned at the stake (July 6, 1415). This made him a national hero, and his influence continued among the Bohemian Brethren, who were continually persecuted. They eventually emigrated to Herrnhut in Germany, where they were received by Count ZINZENDORF, and had a world-wide influence through the MORAVIANS. The HUSSITES of PRAGUE were later received as a reform movement under the Pope (1457). But when a group of Roman Catholic priests (1919) asked for the liturgy in the Czech language, the right to marry, and for the laity to share in church government, these demands were rejected, and a Czechoslovak PRESBYTERIANdenomination was formed.

HUSSITES After the martyrdom of John HUSS (1415) there was a six year Hussite Revolution against the authority of the Pope. They drove out immoral priests, destroyed most of the monasteries, many monks were killed, and the estates of the monasteries were confiscated. The Hussites formulated the "Four Articles of Prague" (1420): the freedom to preach the Word of God in the Czech language, the use of wine together with the bread at communion, the abolition of church properties, and the public punishment of moral offenses. Unfortunately the movement was soon taken over by fanatical preachers who said that Christ was about to return and begin the MILLENIUM. Expecting the imminent SECOND COMING of Christ, many quit work, sold their lands, and formed cities of refuge where they awaited the end of the age. In the face of this break-down of order the more moderate followers of John Huss in PRAGUE later reunited with the Roman Catholics (1457).

HYPERBOLE is an exaggeration for effect, not meant to be taken literally. It is very common in Middle Eastern language, not least in Jesus' teaching. "If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off" (Matthew 5:29-30). Concerning money he said "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God" (Matthew 19:24). So we have an obvious hyperbole in the shocking words "Whoever comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, even life itself, cannot be my disciple" (Luke 14:26)? Our Lord did not hate his own mother. He said we were to love our neighbor as ourself, and surely that does not exclude love for one's close family. It was Jesus who said "but I say to you, love your enemies" (Matthew 5:44). But having guarded ourselves from extremism on the one hand we should not empty the words of their very strong content. When Peter became an apostle, sent out in missionary service, he had to leave his family behind. His parents and his wife (1 Corinthians 9:5) and children must have wondered if he hated them.

HYPOCRITES The most common complaint against church goers is that we are hypocrites, and. we admit that we often are. Hypocrisy is the temptation of politicians, civil servants, social workers, donors and charitable organizations, parents, and every business that offers us something good when they have other purposes in mind. Religious hypocrisy is particularly nauseating because it pretends to be serving God. "Whenever you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces to show others that they are fasting" (Matthew 6:16). Jesus certainly warned us of the danger: "Beware of practicing your piety before others in order to be seen by them" (Matthew 6:1). Though he said next to nothing about ordinary sins, he was ruthless in condemning the Pharisees of his day. Five times he said "woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites" (Matthew 23:13, 23, 25, 27, 29). And he picked up exactly the modern equivalent "They do all their deeds to be seen by others . . . they clean the outside of the cup and plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence" (Matthew 23:5, 25). The Pharisees would be decimated when Jerusalem fell in that generation (Matthew 23:36, as happened in AD 70). But hypocrisy is a perennial weed that is sown every year in the wheatfields of the Kingdom (Matthew 13:25, 37-42).