NAJAF see IRAQ, Najaf

NAME When Moses was charged with bringing his people out of slavery to the promised land, the first thing he needed to know was the Messiah's name. The answer was "I AM WHO I AM." And that gave Moses the authority to say "I AM has sent me to you" (Exodus3:13-14). The third person verb I AM (eheyeh) became the third person HE IS (iheyeh) translated into English as Jehovah or Yahweh. Jews thought this name too sacred to pronounce, so they say "The Lord" or "The Name." But where two or three are gathered in the Messiah's Name, he is there (Matthew 18:20). Prayer in his Name is answered (John 14:13-14, 15:16,16:23-24), people are healed (Acts 3:16, 16, 4:10-12, 30), and demons are cast out (Mark 16:17, Luke 10:17). Disciples are baptized to be taught in his name (Acts 8:16, 10:48, 19:5), though the great commission specifies that all three Persons of the Trinity are to be named as the subject of baptismal teaching (Matthew 28:19-20). Every knee will bow to the name of the risen Christ (Philippians 2:10), who is also called "The word of God" and "King of kings and Lord of lords" (Revelation 19:13, 16).

NAPOLEON As a result of the FRENCH REVOLUTION (1789) the monarchy was abolished and France became a republic. In the political confusion that followed a Corsican of Italian descent, Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821) became a French general, and abolished the Directorate (1799). Within five years he crowned himself Emperor in the presence of the Pope (the First Empire only lasted from1804 to1814). His lasting influence was the establishment of the Napoleonic Code of Law, which still rules France and the Province of Quebec in Canada. Napoleon tried to establish his dominion over Europe. But Nelson had destroyed his ships at the Battle of the Nile (1798) and again defeated the French navy at the Battle of Trafalgar (1805). Napoleon made a disastrous attack on Russia (1812), and his army was cut to pieces in the retreat from Moscow . He abdicated (1814) and was exiled to the island of Elba near his home in Corsica. From there he returned to power the next year for a hundred days before being finally defeated at the Battle of Waterloo (June 18, 1815). This time he was exiled to the island of St. Helena where he died six years later.

NARNIA In the seven books that make up The Chronicles of Narnia (see LEWIS) the spiritual realities behind our world are pictured through the eyes of four children, the lion ASLAN, and various characters that opposed them. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (1950) is still the best known. It has been read to millions of children in many languages throughout the world. It describes how Jadis, the White Witch, kept Narnia under her cruel icy grip. Aslan came to defeat her, and with the help of the children a new reign of peace and freedom began. The Last Battle (1956) pictures a defeated warrior, who has fought all his life for the god Tash, being welcomed by Aslan as "my good and faithful servant" (see God of Many Names). This illustrates the fact that a person's mind may be gripped by a false religion, but at heart they may love the light of the Son of God (John 1::1-9, 3:19-21).

NATIONS, Old Testament Jews and Christians often imagine that in the Old Testament God is only concerned for the Jewish people as they prepared for the coming of the Messiah. It is true that after the table of nations (Genesis 10) the story narrows down to the Shemitic people, Among them those descended from Arpachshad (probably the Sumerians Genesis 11:12) were the ancestors of Abraham. The importance of the vast Arab nation (Genesis 16:10) is then underlined. "As for Ishmael, I have heard you; I will bless him and make him fruitful and exceedingly numerous; he shall be the father to princes (sheikhs), and I will make him a great nation" (Genesis 17:20, see Ishmael the Arab). But as the story of the Jewish children of Israel goes on the LORD makes clear that he is equally concerned for the blessing of other nations (as promised to Abraham in Genesis 12:3). "All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the LORD; and all the families of the nations shall worship before him. For dominion belongs to the LORD and he rules over the nations" (Psalm 22:28, see also 66:7, 67:2-5, 68:32, 72:17, 82:8, 86:9, 96:3, 10, 102:15). In the last chapter of Isaiah the LORD says "I am coming to gather all nations and tongues; and they shall come and see my glory . . . they shall declare my glory among the nations" (Isaiah 66:18, see Joel 2:28). In the Book of Acts we see the Messiah's plan for his church to be planted in every city of the world.

NATIONS, Judgment Our world lives in constant fear of nations getting out of control. But Isaiah shows how the Son of God deals with nations (chapters 13-23). Amos refers to the LORD's wrath interventions (chapters 1-3). There are many references in the Psalms to the LORD reigning and judging among the nations. "The LORD judges the peoples" (Psalm 7:8). "You have rebuked the nations" (9:5)."He will execute judgment among the nations" (110:6). Jesus was obviously in control of events around his home town (Chorazin, Bethsaida, Capernaum were razed to the ground by the advancing Romans in AD 68). And he predicted his own judgment on Jerusalem in that generation (Matthew 24:1-30, see Advent Comings of the Lord among the Nations). The parable of the Sheep and the Goats is about nations. "All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people from one another" (Matthew 25:32). Although it is the nation that is judged, it is individuals in it who care for the sick, visit prisons, welcome strangers. And in Sodom only a few individuals who loved God would have deflected wrath (Genesis 18:23-32). This is why planting churches is the best thing we can do for a country. And when the wrath comes, there is a way of escape (Matthew 24:15-16).

NATIONS, Territory One of the good results of the United Nations is that people all over the world have accepted the fact of national territorial boundaries. In the past 50 years, since the end of the 1939-45 war, it seems that Tibet is the only nation that has been absorbed so that it has ceased to exist as an independent entity. When Saddam Hussein tried to take over Kuwait to be part of Iraq other nations agreed this must be stopped by the Gulf War. The AMERICAN EMPIRE acts as a world police force, but it has not taken over additional territory. It has supported smaller countries gaining their political identity. Nations like Austria, the Czech and Slovak republics, Hungary, Albania, and Romania which had been taken over by Germany and/or Russia have regained their freedom. With the break-up of the U.S.S.R. the Ukraine, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and ten other countries quickly gained their independence. In what used to be Yugoslavia there are now the new nations of Bosnia, Croatia, and Kosovo. The Bible makes it clear that as King of the kingdom of Heaven, Jesus the Messiah, is interested in NATIONS each having their own identity. Paul explained that "He made all nations to inhabit the whole earth, and he allotted the times of their existence, and the boundaries of the places where they would live, so that they would search for God and perhaps grope for him and find him" (Acts 17:26-27).

NAZARETH Joseph was descended from the royal DAVIDIC LINE and was raised in the village of BETHLEHEM. This meant his life was in danger from Herod's spies. So he moved to find work as a carpenter a week's journey in the Galilean hills to the north. There he was betrothed to Mary of Nazareth, and by God's command he took her to be registered with him in his home town (Matthew 2:1-7), where Jesus was born. After escaping to Egypt, they returned (Matthew 2:22-23) and settled among Mary's relatives, and built up a carpentry business. Jesus was raised there (Matthew 2:23, Luke 2:51).. The village was insignificant (John 1:46), and Jesus was called a nazoraios or nazarenos (Matthew 26:71, Mark 1:24, 10:47, 16:6 , Luke 4:34, 18:37, 24:19, John 18:5,7, 19:19). In his thirties Jesus moved away to CAPERNAUM (Matthew 4:13) and called that his own city (Matthew 9:1). When he returned to Nazareth he was asked to preach, but his message was not accepted and he just escaped lynching by being thrown down from a cliff (Luke 4:16-30).

NAZISM Hitler (1889-1945) seized power in Germany (1933), and soon set about trying to establish a world empire. When he invaded Poland (September 1, 1939), other nations declared war on Germany resulting in a second world war (1939-45). His Nazi model for empire was based on the simple proposition that the world was in terrible confusion. Only the Aryan race (see INDO-EUROPEAN), and the German people in particular, had the qualities needed to run the world for the good of all. The Jewish people were Semitic (see SHEM), and by devious financial control they would prevent Germany and Austria from fulfilling their destiny. Hitler's "final solution" was their extermination by every means including gas chambers, and six million of the Jewish people were killed in the Holocaust (see ASHKENAZI JEWS). When the Third Reich ended in the fall of Berlin (1945), Germans and people all over the world discovered what had happened and there was a revulsion that ended Nazism for ever. But Nazi (Fascist) type models of racial or religious supremacy quickly become attractive in countries that becomes strong enough to dominate others (see EMPIRE).

NEPAL, Early Historical records begin with the arrival (c. 700 BC) of Kiratis from the east. They were followed by the Lichhavis. BUDDHA may have visited Nepal, and BUDDHISMwas established (c. 500 BC). By about 200 AD Budhhism was mostly replaced by an older form of HINDUISM based on the VEDAS, and including animal sacrifice. Soon Brahmin priests were able to establish themselves at the top of a CASTE system. After 27 years of fighting led by Prithvi Narayan Shah from the eastern region of Nepal, the Shah Dynasty made Kathmandu as their capital. The MONGOLS under Genghis Khan (1162-1227) and Kublai Khan (1216-94) invaded the area now called Nepal, but instead of merely taking tribute and moving on, many of them settled. Then for 500 years a group of Hindu and Hindi speaking Gurkha tribes divided the country among them. There was a war against the British (1814-16) which was ended by the Treaty of Sagauli (1816). This established a British Resident to watch over commercial interests. As usual, the British did not interfere with the local rulers (Ranas, or Rajahs and Maharajahs in India) or the practice of Hinduism. The succeeding Ranas lived in huge palaces, while the people lived in mediaeval poverty. Five regiments of Ghorka soldiers (called Gurkhas by the British) were recruited for the Indian Army. The kukri swords which they used for silent night attacks terrified the German army in North Africa and Italy. In 1946 Jung Bahadur seized control by butchering his opponents, and proclaimed himself Rana with absolute power. British withdrew when India became independent (1947).

NEPAL, Recent After much unrest against the absolute power of the Ranas, King Tribhuvan formed a government (1951) with the Nepali Congress Party. They allowed a grouping of eight missions to form the United Mission to Nepal (March 5, 1954), and they established modern hospitals and educational facilities. The UMN workers were not allowed to preach, but their ideas permeated the country. Some Nepalis who became Christians were persecuted. By their preaching in prison hundreds came to faith, and congregations of Nepali Christians began to mushroom. After coming to power Rana Birendra (1972) decided to dissolve his cabinet, legalize political parties, and allow elections. By May 1991 the Nepali Congress Party and the Communist Party of Nepal shared most of the votes. The Maoist rebellion (which began1996) attacked police stations all over the country to topple the power of the Ranas and establish Nepal as a secular state. Apparently unconnected with this, there was a massacre of most of the royal family - including King Birendra (June 2001)- by a Crown Prince. This resulted in Prince Gyanendra, the brother of King Birendra, becoming the Rana. But warfare with the Maoists continued. On April 2, 2003 Dr. Baburam Bhattaria, leader of the Maoists, who had been the underground leader of the Maoists for seven years, met with Upendra Devkota the leader of negotiations for the government. The two were friends who graduated together in the class of 1970 from the United Mission to Nepal High School in Gorka (Nepali Times April 25, 2003).

NESTORIAN CHURCHES By the second century there were large numbers of Christians in Syria, present-day IRAQ, and PERSIA. They used SYRIAC (a form of ARAMAIC) for their translation of the Bible, and in their liturgies and hymns. The first Persian persecution was fomented by the ZOROASTRIANS under Sapor II (339-379) when five bishops and a hundred clergy refused to deny Jesus as Lord and were killed with the sword. But the Christians rallied, and they had a synod with dozens of bishops at Markabta (424). The holy and learned Ibas supported NESTORIUS but was outvoted at the Council of Ephesus (431). Ibas was made Bishop of EDESSA (435-457) which was known as "the Athens of Syria" till its famous theological school was closed (489). A pupil of Ibas named Barsumas (c.420-c.490) became the Metropolitan of Nisibis in Persia, and founded a theological school there (some time after 457). At one time it had 800 students who were training as priests to serve under the Nestorian Bishops all the way to India and China. (For an account of the Church of the East see John Stewart, Nestorian Missionary Enterprise, Glasgow: T. & T.Clark, 1928, reprinted in Trichur, Kerala, 1961).

NESTORIUS As a young man Nestorius (c.380-c.451) studied and taught in the church of ANTIOCH . He was appointed Patriarch of Constantinople (428). For two hundred years since the time of ORIGEN (c.185-c.254) it had become common to call the Virgin Mary theotokos (God-bearer). Nestorius did not think this was a useful Greek term and preferred to call Mary christotokos (Messiah bearer). Cyril, the Patriarch of Alexandria (412-c.444) argued that this divided Jesus into two persons, the Son of God and the human son of Mary. Cyril relentlessly hounded Nestorius and had him condemned at a council in Rome (430), deposed at the Council of Ephesus (431), and with the help of the emperor Theodosius had him banished to Upper Egypt (436) where he died. Sadly the church in Rome treated the NESTORIAN CHURCHES as schismatic, and failed to recognize their great missionary endeavors. Rome also encouraged the Latin term dei genitrix which made Mary the MOTHER OF GOD. Most of Nestorius' letters and sermons were destroyed, but his treatise called The Bazaar of Heracleides was finally discovered (c.1895) and published (1910). It now seems unreasonable to call him a heretic. He was a faithful Trinitarian Christian, and he was condemned for a difference of language about Mary.

NEWMAN, John Henry (1801-90). Having studied at Trinity College, Oxford, Newman was appointed (1828) as the Church of England vicar of St. Mary's Church, Oxford. He was one of the founders of the OXFORD MOVEMENT, and wrote 24 of their Tracts for the Times in defense of APOSTOLIC SUCCESSION and the BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER as the rule of faith but expressed through a greater emphasis on worship and ceremonial. He was one of the editors of the Library of the Fathers (1836). He began to doubt the right of the Church of England to remain separate from Rome (1839). At the age of 44 Newman followed other members of the Oxford Movement who were received into the Church of Rome (1845). To defend his denominational change he wrote his Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine (1845, see DEVELOPMENT OF DOCTRINE). A later explanation was Apologia pro vita sua (1864), and his mature thought is in Grammar of Assent (1870). When Newman was 78 Leo XIII (Pope 1878-1903) made him a Roman Catholic Cardinal (1879). So he is often known as Cardinal Newman.

NEW TESTAMENT The word "testament" means a will, and it comes into force when the previous situation has ended. In that sense the New Testament (agreement) came into force when the Old Testament had been replaced by a new covenant (agreement, contract). Paul explained that "The law, which came four hundred and thirty years later, does not annul a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to nullify the promise" (Galatians 3:17). This means that the new covenant replaces the system of legal and ceremonial laws for the Exodus written in Moses' Book of the Covenant (Exodus 24:7-8). The New Testament does not annul the universal promises made to ABRAHAM (in Genesis 12:1-3), but, as Paul insisted, it certainly frees us from the PATRIARCHAL and KOSHERlaws of the PHARISEES of Jesus's day. As the prophet Jeremiah said "The days are surely coming says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant that I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to bring them out of Egypt - a covenant which they broke, though I was their husband, says the LORD. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people" (Jeremiah 31:31-33). This change would be effected by the Holy Spirit (see NEW TESTAMENT, Preparation).

NEW TESTAMENT, Preparation It seems the voice of the Holy Spirit was silenced in the four hundred years after Malachi, the last of the Old Testament prophets. Instead of listening to the Spirit, the learned rabbis discussed and commented on the torah (the 5 books of Moses). The preliminary signs of the New Testament work of the Holy Spirit appeared suddenly with the announcement of the birth of JOHN THE BAPTIST. His father was told "Even before his birth he will be filled with the Holy Spirit. He will turn many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. With the spirit and power of Elijah he will go before him" (Luke 1:15-17, see 1:80). When Mary wondered how she could conceive the Messiah while still a virgin, the angel explained "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you" (Luke 1:35). Joseph thought Mary had been unfaithful, but he was told "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit" (Matthew 1:20). When Mary came to see her, Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, "was filled with the Holy Spirit" and greeted her as the bearer of the Messiah (Luke 1:41-42). At the circumcision of John the Baptist his father Zechariah named him John, and he was filled with the Holy Spirit to sing a prophetic song (Luke 1:63, 67-79). Simeon was Spirit filled (Luke 2:25-27) to welcome the baby Jesus in his arms.

NICEA Among the Jews present on the Day of Pentecost were some from "CAPPADOCIA, PONTUS, ASIA MINOR, PHRYGIA, and PAMPHYLIA (Acts 2:9). Pontus was the province next to Bithynia, so some of these must have taken the good news of Jesus the Messiah back to Nicea (modern Isnik) , the capital of Bithynia. Twenty years later during Paul's second overseas missionary journey when Paul, Silas, and Timothy had attempted to go north past the Province of Mysia into BITHYNIA the "Spirit of Jesus did not allow them. So they retraced their steps and went to the port city of TROAS (Acts 16:6-7). This means the Church of Nicea must have been planted by others. But the city later became famous as the place where 220 Bishops (tradition says 318 Fathers of the Greek speaking churches) gathered (325 AD) for the Council of Nicea (see CREEDS).

NICENE CREED A large group of Bishops and theologians were gathered by the Emperor CONSTANTINE at NICEA (325 AD). The purpose was to answer the objections of ARIUS (see ARIANISM) to a fully Trinitarian form of THEISM. The Nicene Creed, first adopted at the Council of Nicea (325 AD), follows the same Trinitarian outline as the Apostles' Creed which was designed as a syllabus of basic teaching for disciples after BAPTISM. A longer and final form of the Nicene Creed was adopted at the Council of Chalcedon (451 AD), and that is the form still used in many DENOMINATIONS. The theologian ATHANASIUS is credited with insisting on the key term homoousios (of one being with) to protect Jesus' eternal divinity. As a result among Canadian Anglicans (using The Book of Alternative Services) the Nicene Creed begins with "We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen. We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one being with (homoousios) the Father. Through him all things were made."


NIMROD The Table of Nations (Genesis 10:6-12) tells us that a Hamitic general from Ethiopia (see QUEEN OF SHEBA) made a raid across the desert to take over the Sumerian cities of Babel (Babylon), Erech, and Accad (all in the land of Shinar). His armies then moved north into Assyria to build the cities of Nineveh, Calah, and Resen. Then they moved south to occupy the area on both sides of the Euphrates from Baghdad down to present day Basra. Slowly their Akkadian language (see HAM) replaced the SUMERIAN LANGUAGE, though the latter continued as the classical language of science, business, politics, and religion for hundreds of years.

NINEVEH After taking control of Babel, Erech, and Accad (key cities of the SUMERIANS), the HAMITIC general NIMROD used the booty he had collected to move north and build the great cities of Nineveh (with Rehoboth-ir, meaning its city squares), Calah and Resen The ruins of Nineveh can be seen just across the TIGRIS river from Mosul (capital of Kurdistan, see KURDS).

NIRVANA In Original Buddhism as taught by Gautama Buddha (born about 560 BC) what prevents us from enjoying peace is the fact that we have desires (for money, fame, power, comfort, pleasures, entertainment, sex). If we could lose all our desires, we would attain the state of nirvana which is the bliss of having no desires. That is the only way we can be freed from the wheel of rebirths (samsara). And the way to achieve this is by becoming a monk in a Buddhist monastery where in the company of others we learn to eradicate our desires (like weeds in garden) one by one. When the final desire has ended, we have nirvana and are free. By this severe discipline devout Buddhists attain tremendous peace and resignation. "Whether my son lives or dies, I have no desire." But of course the loss of all desires means the end of our own personality. We are merged into perfect nirvana peace (which is very different from ETERNAL LIFE). The later Mahayana Buddhism offered a simpler way to escape from constant TRANSMIGRATION by faith in the Buddha.

NOMINALISM Mediaeval philosophers divided themselves on the question of UNIVERSALS. Realists followed Plato's theory of forms in viewing concepts (truth, justice, beauty, love, and the genus and species in botany and zoology) as having a separate existence. Nominalists (including ABELARDand OCCAM) distinguished between names and things (see more recently WITTGENSTEIN).

NON-VIOLENCE - Mahatma Gandhi used the term non-violence (Sanskrit ahimsa). And it is often suggested that Jesus was so loving that he was totally non-violent. But we need to factor in his words: "Those enemies of mine who did not want me to be King over them - bring them here and slaughter them in my presence" (Luke 19:27). He is the owner of the vineyard who "will come and destroy those tenants, and give the vineyard to others (Luke 20:15-16). As Lamb Jesus was willing to be sacrificed, but in his reign as Messiah Son of God in the Old Testament, and in the destruction of Jerusalem, he assigned terribly violent consequences. The last book of the Bible suggests that he continues to do this (Revelation 6:16, 9:15, 11:18, 14:14-20, 19:11-16). How can our loving Lord be so violent? One reason is that the death of anyone is a terrible tragedy for the bereaved, but in Trinitarian Theism it is never viewed as an ultimate tragedy. Love cares about the liberation of others, and from the Messiah's point of view freedom from oppressive forces may require violent means to preserve it. That does not give us the right to wage wars of religion or territorial conquest, but it does give us a perspective for the traumatic events of our time.

NON-VIOLENT FORCE The principle of Ahimsa (not harming any living creature) has been taught and practiced in India for 2500 years by the Jains (founded by Vardhamana Mahavira, c. 540-468 BC). To this day the Jains of Calcutta and Bombay will not even kill a mosquito or bedbug. Under the influence of BUDDHISM many Hindus became vegetarian to avoid violence to animals. But GANDHI used ahimsa as a non-violent means of political force by civil disobedience against overwhelming British military power. Gandhi often quoted the Sermon on the Mount, "You have heard that it was said, 'an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth'. But I say to you, 'Do not resist an evil doer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also' (Matthew 5:38-39, see also 5:43-44). Neither Jesus, nor the early Christians ever used these texts for non-violent action against the Romans. But Martin Luther King successfully organized non-violent marches to gain basic civil rights for Black people in the United States.

NORMAL SCIENCE was the term used by KUHN to describe the paradigm (we prefer the term model) which sets out the accepted definitions and methods of the current scientific method. When there is a Scientific Revolution, as with Copernicus (1473-1543) and Einstein (1879-1955), all the facts change their flavor. In Medicine there are alternative models, each with its normal science, understanding and practicing medicine (see MEDICAL MODELS). In the case of religions and ideologies we work with 24 alternative models which humans adopt to order their lives. Each of these has the equivalent of its own normal science. "This is how we understand and practice our religion." As opposed to science which moves by a succession of scientific revolutions, the models that explain the logic of various religions and ideologies move in parallel as they keep reappearing throughout human history. CONVERSION is the move from one form or religion of ideology to another (seeGod of Many Names, chapter 2 & 3)

NOT EATING WITH If a church congregation welcomes all and sundry for teaching with a view to them being changed in due course by the Holy Spirit, some are going to attend whose behavior is not acceptable. Criminals must be handed over the police (see HANDING OVER to Satan). EXCOMMUNICATION usually works very inconsistently, and it is precisely at the Lord's Table that the Holy Spirit does his transforming work. What then did Paul mean by "I am writing to you not to associate (sunanameignumi means to get mixed up together) with anyone who bears the name of a brother or sister who is sexually immoral (pornos means one who sleeps around) or greedy (pleonektys is one who is greedy for gain) or is an idolater, reviler (verbally abusive person), drunkard, or robber (arpax means a rapacious person or swindler). Do not even eat with such a one" (1 Corinthians 5:11). A personal refusal to join in with others (Let's go to a brothel, let's get drunk, let's try a ouiji board, let's go and beat him up, let's get undressed for the party, let's gossip) is not judgmental. It is a necessary expression of our Christian freedom. And anybody has a right to choose who to invite to one's home for a meal. Nor do we accept a business lunch to discuss shady business. This kind of discipline is personal and one on one, not handed over to a priest or minister or church court to enforce (usually with very bad results).