God - Popular Cyclopedia Biblical LiteratureThe two principal Hebrew names of the Supreme Being used in the Scriptures are Jehovah and Elohim. Dr. Havernick proposes the reading Jahveh instead of Jehovah, meaning 'the Existing One.'Both names, he admirably proves, are used by Moses discriminately, in strict conformity with the theological idea he wished to express in the immediate context; and, pursuing the Pentateuch nearly line by line, it is astonishing to see that Moses never uses any of the names at mere random or arbitrarily, but is throughout consistent in the application of the respective terms. Elohim is the abstract expression for absolute Deity apart from the special notions of unity, holiness, substance, etc. It is more a philosophical than devotional term, and corresponds with our term Deity, in the same way as state or government is abstractedly expressive of a king or monarch. Jehovah, however, he considers to be the revealed Elohim, the Manifest, Only, Personal, and Holy Elohim: Elohim is the Creator, Jehovah the Redeemer, etc.
To Elohim, in the later writers, we usually find affixed the adjective 'the living' (Jer 10:10; Dan 6:20; Dan 6:26; Act 14:15; 2Co 6:16), probably in contradistinction to idols, which might be confounded in some cases with the true God.
The attributes ascribed to God by Moses are systematically enumerated in Exo 34:6-7, though we find in isolated passages in the Pentateuch and elsewhere, additional properties specified, which bear more directly upon the dogmas and principles of religion, such as e.g. that he is not the author of sin (Gen 1:31), although since the fall, man is born prone to sin (Gen 6:5; Gen 8:21, etc.). But as it was the avowed design of Moses to teach the Jews the Unity of God in opposition to the polytheism of the other nations with whom they were to come in contact, he dwelt particularly and most prominently on that point, which he hardly ever omitted when he had an opportunity of bringing forward the attributes of God (Deu 6:4; Deu 10:17; Deu 4:39; Deu 9:16, etc.; Num 16:22; Num 23:19, etc.; Exo 15:11; Exo 34:6-7, etc.).
In the Prophets and other sacred writers of the Old Testament, these attributes are still more fully developed and explained by the declarations that God is the first and the last (Isa 44:6), that He changes not (Hab 3:6), that the earth and heaven shall perish, but He shall endure (Psa 102:26)—a distinct allusion to the last doomsday—and that He is Omnipresent (Pro 15:3; Job 34:22, etc.).
In the New Testament also we find the attributes of God systematically classified (Rev 5:12; Rev 7:12), while the peculiar tenets of Christianity embrace, if not a farther, still a more developed idea, as presented by the Apostles and the primitive teachers of the church.
The expression 'to see God' (Job 19:26; Job 42:5; Isa 38:11) sometimes signifies merely to experience His help; but in the Old Testament Scriptures it more usually denotes the approach of death (Gen 32:30; Jdg 6:23; Jdg 13:22; Isa 6:5).
The term 'son of God' applies to kings (Psa 2:7; Psa 82:6-7). The usual notion of the ancients, that the royal dignity was derived from God, may here be traced to its source. This notion, entertained by the Oriental nations with regard to kings, made the latter style themselves gods (Psa 82:6).
'Sons of God,' in the plural, implies inferior gods, angels (Gen 6:2; Job 1:6); as also faithful adherents, worshippers of God (Deu 14:1; Psa 73:15; Pro 14:26).
'Man of God' is sometimes applied to an angel (Jdg 13:6; Jdg 13:8); as also to a prophet (1Sa 2:27; 1Sa 9:6; 1Ki 13:1).
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Popular Cyclopedia Biblical Literature
John Kitto (1804 – 1854) was an English biblical scholar of Cornish descent.
Dr. John Kitto's encyclopedia was the first Bible Dictionary or Encyclopedia to have experts in each subject share their knowledge. Many subsequent Bible dictionaries and encyclopedias reference Kitto's work.