Gehenna - Hypostatic Union

Gehenna

Originally, a location southwest of Jerusalem where children were burned as sacrifices to the god Molech. It later became a garbage dump with a continuous burning of trash. Therefore, it was used biblically, to illustrate the abode of the damned in Christian and Jewish theology. Gehenna is mentioned in Mark 9:43ff and Matt. 10:28 as the place of punishment of unquenchable fire where both the body and soul of the wicked go after death. It is apparently the future abode of Satan and his angels (Matt. 25:41).

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Gentile

Those who are not Jews. Gentiles were used by God to punish apostate Judea (Deut. 28:49; 1 Kings 8:33) and often included in blessings by God upon the Jewish people. "Gentiles" is often used biblically in reference to nations.

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Gifts, Spiritual Gifts

Spiritual abilities given by God for the purpose of building up the church. Every Christian has at least one (1 Cor. 7:7). They are listed and discussed in different places in the N.T. (Rom. 12:6-8; 1 Cor. 12:4-11, 28-30; Eph. 4:7-12). Following is a list of the gifts arranged in two groups. The first are gifts that require supernatural intervention and are possessed only by true Christians. The second are gifts that do not require supernatural intervention. Even non-Christians can have the second group of gifts. A further issue is whether or not the gifts are still in use today. Some believe they ceased with the apostles and the closing of the Canon (the completion of the writings of the Bible) and they are no longer needed for the building up of the body of Christ (Eph. 4:12). Others believe the gifts are still in use but not in the pure apostolic sense. In other words, they are still in use but not in the same way possessed by the apostles. Instead, they are available to the believer if and when God decides it is beneficial to use them.

Spiritual Gifts
1 Salvation Rom. 6:23
2 Word of Wisdom 1 Cor. 12:8
3 Word of Knowledge 1 Cor. 12:8
4 Faith 1 Cor. 12:9
5 Healing 1 Cor. 12:9
6 Miracles 1 Cor. 12:10
7 Prophecy Rom. 12:6 1 Cor. 12:10
8 Distinguishing of Spirits 1 Cor. 12:10
9 Tongues 1 Cor. 12:10
10 Interpretation of Tongues 1 Cor. 12:10
1 Serving Rom. 12:7
2 Teaching Rom. 12:7
3 Exhortation Rom. 12:8
4 Giving Rom. 12:8
5 Leading Rom. 12:8
6 Showing mercy Rom. 12:8

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Gnosticism

A theological error prevalent around the time of Christ. Generally speaking, Gnosticism taught that salvation is achieved through special knowledge (gnosis). This knowledge usually dealt with the individual's relationship to the transcendent Being. It denies the incarnation of God as the Son. In so doing, it denies the true efficacy of the atonement since, if Jesus is not God, He could not atone for all of mankind and we would still be lost in our sins. For more information. Please see Heresies for more information.

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God

The supreme being of the universe. He is the creator of all things (Isaiah 44:24). He alone is God (Isaiah 45:21,22; 46:9; 47:8). There have never been any Gods before Him nor will there be any after Him (Isaiah 43:10). God is God from all eternity (Psalm 90:2). In Exodus 3:14, God revealed His name to His people. The name commonly known in English is Jehovah. This comes from the four Hebrew consonants that spell the name of God. (See Tetragrammaton.)

God is a Trinity, knows all things (1 John 3:20), can do all things (Jer. 32:17,27 - except those things against His nature like lie, break His word, cheat, steal, etc.), and is everywhere all the time (Psalm 119:7-12).

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Gods, False

Gods that are not real, but invented by men or inspired by demons the purpose of which is to deceive people so they do not believe in the true and living God. Some of the false gods listed in the Bible are Adrammelech and Anammelech (2 Kings 17:31), Asherah (1 Kings 15:13; 18:19), Ashtoreth (1 Kings 11:5,33), Baal (1 Kings 14:23; 2 Kings 23:7), Baalzebub (2 Kings 1:1-16); Luke 11:19-23), Dagon (Judges 16:23-30), Molech/Moloch (Lev. 18:21; 20:1-5), Rimmon (2 Kings 5:18, and Tammuz (Ezekiel 8:14).

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Gospel

The Gospel is the good news that we have forgiveness of sins through Jesus. Specifically, the gospel is defined by Paul in 1 Cor. 15:1-4: "Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures."

The gospel comes from God (Gal. 1:10-12), is the power of God for salvation (Rom. 1:16), is a mystery (Eph. 6:19), and is a source of hope (Col. 1:23), faith (Acts 15:7), life (1 Cor. 4:15), and peace (Eph. 6:15).

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Grace

Grace is unmerited favor. It is God's free action for the benefit of His people. It is different than Justice and Mercy. Justice is getting what we deserve. Mercy is not getting what we deserve. Grace is getting what we do not deserve. In grace we get eternal life, something that, quite obviously, we do not deserve. But because of God's love and kindness manifested in Jesus on the Cross, we receive the great blessing of redemption.

Grace is God's Riches At Christ's Expense. Grace rules out all human merit. It is the product of God that is given by God, because of who He is not because of who we are. It is the means of our salvation (Eph. 2:8-9). We are no longer under the Law, but under grace (Rom. 6:14). (See 1 Cor. 15:11; Rom. 5:2, 15-20; 2 Cor. 12:9; and 2 Cor. 9:8).

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Great White Brotherhood

A New Age term designating the spiritual organization of Ascended Masters (great spiritual leaders of this world and other worlds) who have moved from the mortal realm to the Astral Plane (another dimension) and exist in a state of immortality. The members of the Great White Brotherhood often communicate to mortals here on earth through channeling. "White" refers to the light (aura) around the great spiritual teachers throughout history.

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Guilt

Being responsible for and accountable for an offense. Biblically, it is the state of being under a present or pending consequence due to a sin against God’s Law. It is also an emotional state as well as legal condition. Guilt feelings are used by the Holy Spirit to inform the sinner of broken fellowship with God (Isaiah 59:2; John 16:8). Because of our guilt before God, we need reconciliation (Rom. 5:6-9).

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Hades

New Testament term for the Hebrew “sheol,” which is the abode of the conscious dead. It is apparently a place (Acts 2:31). In Revelation it is referred to as a creature on a horse (Rev. 6:8). In Rev. 1:18, it says that Christ holds the keys to death and Hades.

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Hamartiology

The study of the doctrine of sin.

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Heaven

Heaven is the dwelling place of God and for those who go there a place of everlasting bliss.

Scripture implies three heavens, since "the third heaven" is revealed to exist (2 Cor. 12:2). It is logical that a third heaven cannot exist without a first and second. Scripture does not describe specifically the first and second heaven. The first, however, apparently refers to the atmospheric heavens of the fowl (Hosea 2:18) and clouds (Dan. 7:13). The second heaven may be the area of the stars and planets (Gen. 1:14-18). It is the abode of all supernatural angelic beings. The third heaven is the abode of the triune God. Its location is unrevealed. (See Matt. 23:34-37; Luke 10:20; and Rev. 22:2, 20-27).

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Hedonism

The teaching that pleasure is the principle good and proper goal of all action. Self indulgence.

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Hell

Hell is the future place of eternal punishment of the damned including the devil and his fallen angels. There are several words rendered as Hell: Hades - A Greek word. It is the place of the dead, the location of the person between death and resurrection. (See Matt. 11:23; 16:18; Acts 11:27; 1 Cor. 15:55; Rev. 1:18; 6:8). Gehenna - A Greek word. It was the place where dead bodies were dumped and burned (2 Kings 23:13-14). Jesus used the word to designate the place of eternal torment (Matt. 5:22,29,30; Mark 9:43; Luke 12:5). Sheol - A Hebrew word. It is the place of the dead, not necessarily the grave, but the place the dead go to. It is used of both the righteous (Psalm 16:10; 30:3; Isaiah 38:10) and the wicked (Num. 16:33; Job. 24:19; Psalm 9:17). Hell is a place of eternal fire (Matt. 25:41; Rev. 19:20). It was prepared for the devil and his angels (Matt. 25:41) and will be the abode of the wicked (Rev. 22:8) and the fallen angels (2 Pet. 2:4).

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Henotheism

The teaching that there are many gods but that only one of them must be honored and worshipped.

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Heresy

A doctrinal view that deviates from the truth, a false teaching. We are warned against it in Acts 20:29-32 and Phil. 3:2. Heresies include teachings that Jesus is not God and that the Holy Spirit is not a person (Jehovah's Witnesses, Christadelphians, The Way International), that men may become gods (Mormonism), that there is more than one God (Mormonism), that Jesus lost His divinity in hell and finished the atonement there, and that good works are necessary for salvation (all cults say this), to name a few.

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Heterodoxy

A set of beliefs or opinions that are not in agreement with accepted doctrinal beliefs of a church. See orthodoxy.

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Higher Self

A New Age term used to signify the divine part of each person that is capable of attaining the knowledge of perfection and "ultimate truth."

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Homiletics

That branch of theology concerned with preaching and sermons and the proper way in which to deliver them.

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Holy, Holiness

A quality of perfection, sinlessness, and inability to sin that is possessed by God alone. As Christians we are called to be holy (1 Pet. 1:16). But this does not refer to our nature. Instead, it is a command of our practice and thought. We are to be holy in obedience (1 Pet. 1:14). God has made us holy through His Son Jesus (Eph. 1:4; 1 Pet. 2:9).

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Holy Orders

In Catholicism, one of the seven sacraments by which men, bishop, deacons, and priests, are given the power and authority by a bishop to offer sacrifice and forgive sins.

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Holy Spirit, The

The third person of the Godhead. He is completely God. He is called God (Acts 5:3-4), has a will (1 Cor. 12:11), speaks (Acts 8:29; 13:2), and knows all things (John 14:17). He is not an "active force" as the Jehovah's Witnesses mistakenly teach. The Holy Spirit is alive and is fully and completely God. He is called the Spirit of God (Gen. 1:2), Holy Spirit (Psalm 51:1), the Helper (John 14:16,26), and Eternal Spirit (Heb. 9:14). He knows all things (1 Cor. 2:10-11), is all powerful (Luke 1:35), and is everywhere (Psalm 139:7-13). (See Trinity and Holy Spirit.)

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Holy Water

In Catholicism, special water that has been blessed by a priest, bishop, etc. or a liturgical ceremony. It is used to bring a blessing to a person when applied.

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Humanism

A philosophical system of thought that focuses on human value, thought, and actions. It is atheistic.  Humans are considered basically good and rationale creatures who can improve themselves and others through natural human abilities of reason and action. Secular Humanism is a late development emphasizing objectivity, human reason, and human standards that govern art, economics, ethics, and belief. As such, no deity is acknowledged.

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Humility

The attitude of the Christian that teaches us not to "...think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment..." (Rom. 12:3). It teaches us to prefer others over ourselves (Rom. 12:10). It is knowing our true position before God. It is not self-abasement or demeaning one's self. "God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble," (James 4:6). Humility is necessary to be a disciple of Jesus (Matt. 18:3-4). The humility of Jesus is described in Philippians 2:5-8, "Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death - even death on a cross!" (NIV).

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Hypostatic Union

This is the union of the two natures (Divine and human) in the person of Jesus. Jesus is God in flesh (John 1:1,14; 10:30-33; 20:28; Phil. 2:5-8; Heb. 1:8). He is fully God and fully man (Col. 2:9); thus, He has two natures: God and man. He is not half God and half man. He is 100% God and 100% man. He never lost his divinity.1 He continued to exist as God when He became a man and added human nature to Himself (Phil. 2:5-11). Therefore, there is a "union in one person of a full human nature and a full divine nature."2 Right now in heaven there is a man, Jesus, who is our Mediator between us and God the Father (1 Tim. 2:5). (For related information on Jesus and His two natures, see Incarnation, and the errors concerning His natures known as Eutychianism, Monophycitism, and Nestorianism.)

Jesus as God Jesus as Man
He is worshiped (Matt. 2:2,11; 14:33). He worshiped the Father (John 17).
He is prayed to (Acts 7:59). He prayed to the Father (John 17).
He is sinless (1 Pet. 2:22; Heb. 4:15). He was tempted (Matt. 4:1).
He knows all things (John 21:17). He grew in wisdom (Luke 2:52).
He gives eternal life (John 10:28). He died (Rom. 5:8).
All the fullness of deity dwells in Him (Col. 2:9). He has a body of flesh and bones (Luke 24:39).

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1. Divinity means the quality of being God. Jesus was always God. There are people within the Christian church who are teaching that after Jesus died on the cross, He lost His divinity and suffered in hell at the hands of Satan for three days and nights. This is absolutely wrong. See, A Different Gospel by D. R. McConnell, Peabody Mass., Hendrickson Publishers, 1988 and Christianity in Crisis, by Hank Hannegraaff. Harvest House Publishers, 1993.

2. B. Milne, Know the Truth (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1982, p. 145.

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About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.