BIBLE GLOSSARY

Alphabetical list of Biblical terms or phrases with a brief explanation.

AFRAID, DO NOT BE
“Do not be afraid” was often a phrase used at the time of a divine vision in the Bible. For instance, vision to Abraham (Gen 15:1), Joshua’s vision of God (Joshua 1:9), vision to Daniel (Daniel 10:12, 19), Angel Gabriel to Zachariah (Luke 1:13), Angel Gabriel to Mary (Luke 1:30), angel to shepherds (Luke 2:10), and appearance of the Risen Lord to the apostles (Luke 24:36).

ANGELS, NAMES OF
There are three angels specially mentioned by name in the Bible:
(1) Michael in Hebrew means “Who is like God.” Michael presides over the prayers and offerings of the faithful.
(2) Raphael means “The Medicine of God.” Raphael presides over the healing of human bodies. He restored sight to Tobit when he was blind. (Tobit 11: 7-15).
(3) Gabriel means “The Power of God.” Gabriel presides over the conflicts and wars of the faithful as in Daniel 12. He is also a messenger of God. Angel Gabriel appears four times in the Bible communicating God’s message to His faithful servants: to Prophet Daniel (Ch. 10), to John the Baptists’ father Zachariah (Luke 1:5-20), to mother of Jesus, Mary (Luke 1:26-38) and to John in the book of Revelation (Rev. 1:1-2).

BETHLEHEM of Judea
The Evangelist Mathew specifies the birthplace of Jesus as “Bethlehem of Judea” to distinguish it from another Bethlehem near the Sea of Galilee that was part of the tribe of Zebulun. (Joshua 19:15). Bethlehem was six miles south of Jerusalem and was formerly known as Ephrath. Bethlehem means “the house of bread” because it was a fertile land for farming and rearing animals. Some Old Testament events had happened in Bethlehem. Jacob’s favorite wife Rachel died on the road to Ephrath (Bethlehem) and she was buried near Ephrath where Jacob erected a pillar to mark her grave. (Genesis 35:19-20, 48:7). Ruth had lived and married Boaz here. (Ruth 1:22). Bethlehem was the home and city of David. (1Samuel 16:1, 17:12, 20:6). God had promised to David that the Messiah would come from his line (1 Chronicles 17: 11-14) and prophet Micah had specified that the Messiah will come from Bethlehem. (Micah 5:2).

CAESAR AGUSTUS
He was the first and greatest of the Roman emperors who ruled between 27 BC and 14 AD. Julius Cesar, before his assassination in 43 BC through a conspiracy of 40 Roman senators, had selected his sister’s son Gaius Octavius as his successor. He was later known as Caesar Augustus. He defeated Mark Antony and Cleopatra in 31 BC and afterward gained control over Rome and its extensive territories. He was named emperor in 27 BC and given the honorary title Augustus. Augustus means ‘majestic.’ During his region, he brought peace and prosperity to the empire. During those days, there was no common religion. Emperor was considered as god or son of god. Greek inscriptions reveal that Augustus was regarded as “savior” and “god” in the empire. After becoming emperor, Caesar Augustus maintained peace in the empire called “pax Augusta.” Jesus was born during his reign. However, Luke, the evangelist presents the true God and Savior who brought peace into the world in the child Jesus.

CHALICE / CUP
Cup or chalice, in the Bible, signified the wine that it contained because the chalice was to hold wine in it. Sharing a cup of wine by the groom and bride was a Hebrew tradition for betrothal. When the groom offered the wine and bride drank from it, she was agreeing to share all the joys and hardships of his life. For Jesus, he used the term “cup” in a spiritual sense to signify his mission of passion, death and resurrection. Cup or chalice also had a positive sense in the Bible. A cup could mean whatever God fills in one’s life (Psalm 11:6 16:5), or the blessings of life that God provides (Psalm 23:5), or a thank-offering from man to God (Exodus 29:40, Psalm 116:13).

CHILDLESS, (LATE BIRTH)
Some of the prominent persons in the Salvation History were born late to their parents when it was impossible by the laws of nature.  Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Samson, Samuel and John the Baptist are examples. According to the Proto-evangelium of St. James, Mary the mother of Jesus was also born late to her parents Joachim and Anne. The late birth when there was no hope as per natural law was an indication of the divine intervention in the birth of these chosen leaders.

CHILDREN, LATE-BORN
Usually, a late-born child had been a special child of God. Sarah’s son Isaac (Gen. 11:30; 21:1-2), Rebekah’s son Jacob (Gen. 25:21), Rachel’s son Joseph (Gen. 29:31; 30:22), Samson whose mother’s name is not given (Judg. 13:1-3), Hannah’s son Samuel (1 Sam. 1:5-6, 20) are examples of late-born sons, who had special roles in Salvation History. Mary herself was a late-born daughter of Joachim and Anne.

CIRCUMCISION
Circumcision was a symbol of covenant between God and Abraham. The act of circumcision was called the bris, which means “covenant.” According to the God’s covenant with Abraham, “Throughout the ages, every male among you, when he is eight days old, shall be circumcised, including house born slaves and those acquired with money from any foreigner who is not of your descendants.” (Gen 17:12). So, the practice of circumcision was continued from the time of Abraham among the Jews and it was a sign of covenant relationship with God.

CRUCIFIXION
Crucifixion was a most disgraceful and most brutal manner of death. It was originated probably by Assyrians and Babylonians and later developed by Persians in the sixth century BC. Romans perfected it and used it until the Christian Emperor Constantine I abolished it in the fourth century AD. According to Deuteronomy 21:23, anyone who was hanged on a tree was a curse of God. Jesus became the “curse” for us sinners.

DESERT, SPIRITUALITY
Desert has been considered as an ideal place for fasting, prayer, and to be in communion with God. It provided silence, seclusion, non-proximity to material goods, and concentration for prayer. Moses, Prophet Elijah, the Essenes community, John the Baptist, and many early fathers of the church selected desert as perfect place for communion with God. Jesus also selected desert for his spiritual nourishment in preparation for his public ministry.

EIGHTH DAY
Number eight, according to the Biblical numerology stands for recreation. God completed creation of the universe including a day of rest in seven days. So, eighth day means a new beginning. The covenant with Abraham through circumcision was also a new beginning of salvation. So circumcision, that signals the beginning of the child’s covenant with God and initiation into Israel, was supposed to be performed on the eighth day. The importance of the eighth day is clear from that fact that even if the eighth day was a Sabbath when work was prohibited, circumcision was performed on that day as an exception.

ESSNES COMMUNITY
The Essenes were a group of priests who left Jerusalem in disagreement with the governing priests of the Temple of Jerusalem. They moved to the wilderness to prepare for the way of the Lord and concentrated on the study of the Holy Scripture. They were active for about 100 years by the time Jesus started his public ministry. John might have been trained by this group though there is no evidence for it now.

FIREY SNAKE
While wandering in the desert, the Israelites complained against Moses and God for lack of food and water and the quality of food they got by the grace of God. In response, God punished them by sending fiery serpents.  The snakes were called “fiery” because the bite by these snakes caused great fever and inflammation leading to death. Some other interpreters guess that these snakes had the color of fire. People asked Moses to intercede for them to God to take away the serpents. Instead of eliminating the serpents, God asked Moses to make an image of the fiery serpent made of bronze and raise it on a pole so that it could be seen from all parts of the camp. Whoever bitten by snake was asked to look at the bronze snake and their life was saved from death.

FIRST BORN
According to the Jewish law, the firstborn son had special rights and privileges. He shall be offered to God and then redeemed (Num. 18:15-16) and he shall inherit a double share of his father’s property (Deut. 21:17). The duty for the firstborn son was required regardless of whether other sons were born or not. So, the presentation of Jesus as firstborn does not mean that Mary had other sons.

FOURTY
According to Biblical numerology 40 stands for preparation, purification, or test and is mentioned 146 times in the Bible. Moses was on Mount Sinai for 40 days on two occasions for receiving the laws from God. (Exodus 24:18, 34:1-28). Life of Moses was divided into three sections of 40 years: 40 years in Egypt under Pharaoh, 40 years in Midian, and 40 years in the wilderness. Israel was in the desert wandering for 40 years. Moses, while in the wilderness, sent 12 spies for 40 days to investigate Canaan. (Numbers 13:25, 14:34). Nineveh was given 40 days for repentance. Prophet Ezekiel laid on his right side for 40 days to symbolize Judah's sins (Ezekiel 4:6). Elijah was without food or water 40 days at Mount Horeb. Jesus was in the desert with fasting and spiritual preparation for 40 days. Jesus spent 40 days after his resurrection from his death to ascension. Jerusalem was destroyed after 40 years from the crucifixion of Jesus.

GABRIEL, ANGEL
The name of Gabriel, the angel of the Lord is specified in three instances in the Bible. The first appearance of Angel Gabriel was to Daniel (Daniel 8:16) to interpret his dream, the second was to Zechariah (Luke 1:19), and the third was to Mary (Luke 1:26). The only time Angel Gabriel appeared in the Temple was when Gabriel appeared to priest Zachariah to announce the birth of John the Baptist.

GOOD SHEPHERD
The “good” here stands for commitment for the sheep distinct from regular shepherds. The goodness of a shepherd is exemplified by stating that he “lays down his life for the sheep.” A typical example is that of David who told King Saul when he was questioned on his ability to attack the giant Goliath: “Your servant used to tend his father’s sheep, and whenever a lion or bear came to carry off a sheep from the flock, I would chase after it, attack it, and snatch the prey from its mouth. If it attacked me, I would seize it by the throat, strike it, and kill it. Your servant has killed both a lion and a bear. (1 Samuel 17:34-36).

HEROD THE GREAT, KING
Herod, the king of the Jews was half Idumean. His mother was Jew and father an Idumean Antipater. Roman Emperor Augustus Caesar first appointed him as governor in 47 BC and in 40 BC gave him the title of king. He ruled Jews for a long period until his death in 4 B.C. He was also known as King Herod the Great because he was an able ruler, brought peace and order during chaos, constructed prominent structures including the famous Temple of Jerusalem. He was generous to his people when they had economic difficulty or starvation. Because Herod was a non-Jew and not from the lineage of King David whose descendants were supposed to be the kings of Jews, Herod was not acceptable to the Jews as their king. Herod was afraid when he heard from the Magi that a king was born for the Jews. So, he ordered to kill the children below two years of age causing the Holy Family to flee to Egypt as refugees.

I AM

“I am” is the name of God revealed to Moses. (Exodus 3:14). When Jesus used “I am” for himself the Jews tried to stone him (John 8:56–59) because they understood that Jesus was making himself equal to God. He used “I am” in seven pronouncements about himself combining it with metaphors which express his saving relationship with humanity. All of them appear in the gospel of John as follows: I AM the Bread of Life (John 6:35, 41, 48, 51); I AM the Light of the World (John 8:12); I AM the Gate for the Sheep (John 10:7, 9); I AM the Good Shepherd (John 10:11,14); I AM the Resurrection and the Life (John 11:25); I AM the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14:6); and I AM the True Vine (John 15:1, 5).

JESUS, GENEOLOGY
Matthew and Luke give the genealogy of Jesus. Matthew starts his Gospel with the genealogy of Jesus tracing back to David, the famous king of the Israel and to Abraham, the father of faith (Matthew 1:1-17). God had made covenant with both and had made promise of a savior of the world from their lineage. So, Matthew’s pre-history of Jesus goes back to Abraham tracing back from the lineage of Joseph the foster (legal) father of Jesus. Luke gives a genealogy of Jesus through his mother Mary (Luke 3:23-38). Here the genealogy of Jesus goes back through King David to Adam, the son God. The first covenant of God with humanity was through Adam. God had promised a savior after the fall of the first parents. (Genesis 3:15).

JESUS, NAME OF
Jesus is Joshua in Hebrew, and Joshua means “Yahweh is salvation.” Joshua was the successor of Moses who led the Israelites to Canaan, the Promised Land. Joshua was only a representative of God in waging and winning the war against the Canaanites who were bigger and stronger than them.  Jesus is the new Joshua who waged war against Satan, became victorious, and led his people to the new Promised Land, heaven. He is also Emmanuel, as Isaiah had prophesied, God who dwelt among us in human flesh.

JOACHIM AND ANNE
Mary’s father Joachim was from Nazareth in Galilee and her mother Anne was from Bethlehem. They were childless and God opened the womb of Anne in her old age to give an extraordinary child as it happened to Sarah, wife of Abraham in the Book of Genesis. Joachim and Anne had promised to God that they would entrust their child to the temple for the service of the Lord. So, they brought Mary, at the age of three, to Jerusalem to offer her as promised by them before her birth. While Mary grew up in the temple, her aged parents died. A girl could not continue in the temple from her puberty. So, between the age of 12 and 14, the priests of the temple betrothed her to Joseph who was divinely selected to marry her. Joseph, originally from Bethlehem, had moved to Nazareth for job because he was a construction worker. Joseph took Mary from Jerusalem to Nazareth.

JOHN THE BAPTIST, WHY HE LIVED IN DESERT?
Some scholars believed that at an early age of John, his parents might have fled to the wilderness for fear of King Herod the Great who had ordered to kill all male children two years or younger. This was the time when Holy Family fled to Egypt. Then the aged parents of John might have died sooner and John might have continued to live in the wilderness with the Essenes community.

JOSEPH, FOSTER FATHER OF JESUS
The story of Joseph’s marriage is given in the apocryphal writings. These writings are not officially approved canonical books. So, they may be true or myth. However, they help us to connect the gaps in the life story of Jesus. According to the apocrypha, when Joseph was 40 years old, he married Salome (Melcha or Escha). They lived 49 years together and had four sons and two daughters. The youngest was James the Less, also known as “the Lord’s brother.” This story helps us to understand the connection of ever Virgin Mary and the brothers and sisters of Jesus in the gospel. (Mark 6:3), (Mathew 13:55-56). “A year after his wife's death, as the priests announced through Judea that they wished to find in the tribe of Judah a respectable man to espouse Mary, then twelve to fourteen years of age. Joseph, who was at the time ninety years old, went up to Jerusalem among the candidates; a miracle manifested the choice God had made of Joseph, and two years later the Annunciation took place.” (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08504a.htm). The role of Joseph, though legally married to Mary, was to protect her life and her virginity. However, God called him also to be the foster father of the redeemer.

LENT, DIFFERENCE IN EAST AND WEST IN GREAT LENT
According to the Latin Rite, the Great Lent starts on Ash Wednesday. There are 46 days between Ash Wednesday and Easter. Since Sundays are for the celebration of the Resurrection of the Lord, they are exempt from Lenten observance. When excluding the six Sundays during the season of the Great Lent, there are only 40 days for Lent. The Eastern churches have 50 days for the Great Lent starting with seven Sundays before Easter (Petratha) and ending with Easter. The lent is observed continuously for 40 days as Jesus fasted in the wilderness. The culmination of this is on the 40th Friday. The following days are for the observance of the passion of the Lord and his glorious resurrection. Thus the 50 days Lent starts with the feast of Petratha (The Eve of Great Fast) and ends with the great feast of Easter.

MAGI
Magi were Medes from the Median tribe that was part of the Persian empire. They had attempted to overthrow the Persians and establish the rule of Medes. When that failed, they became a tribe of priests like Levites of Israel. They also served as teachers and advisors of Persian Kings. Hence, they were men of holiness and wisdom. Magi were experts in all branches of knowledge at their time. They were also astrologers, fortunetellers and interpreters of dreams. Bible does not specify how many wise men came. One tradition was that they were 12. The universal acceptance of three is associated with the three gifts they gave to Infant Jesus. The legends gave them names: Melchior, Gaspar and Balthasar. Though Mathew does not specify the Magi as kings, some texts in the Old Testament predicting the arrival of kings with the same gifts that Magi brought led to the interpretation that they were kings. (Psalm 72:10, 15; Isiah 60:6). Another interpretation came from Palms 72:11. “May all kings bow before him, all nations serve him.” “According to Western church tradition, Balthasar is often represented as a king of Arabia or sometimes Ethiopia, Melchior as a king of Persia, and Gaspar as a king of India.” (https://www.britannica.com/topic/Magi). The Magi were considered as people of different ages. Melchior was old man with gray hair and long beard who carried gold acknowledging the kingship of the child. Gaspar (Caspar) was young and beardless who brought frankincense honoring Jesus as God. Balthasar was middle aged, dark-complexioned with new black beard carrying myrrh signifying that the Messiah had to die.

MANY, REDEMPTION OF
In Matthew 20:28, Jesus said, “the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.” The term “many” is a reference to Isaiah 53:11-12 where it did not mean for few but the outcome of Christ's redemption. Jesus used the same word when he instituted the Holy Eucharist. After blessing the cup, he said: “This is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed for many.” (Mark 14:24; Matthew 26:28). The rabbis and the Qumran community used this term for the community of faith or the chosen people. St. Paul also use “all” and “many” as interchangeable terms in his letter to Romans verses 18 and 19. So the redemption of Jesus is intended for all. Many will find salvation from him.

MARY AND MIRIAM THE SISTER OF MOSES
Miriam is the Hebrew word for Mary. Miriam in the Old Testament was the sister of Moses.  Just as Moses is a prototype of Jesus, Miriam is a prototype of Mary, the mother of Jesus. Miriam (Mar Yam) in Hebrew means myrrh, or bitterness of the sea. When Miriam was born, the Israelites had the bitter destiny to throw their children to River Nile by the order of Pharaoh. However, when the Israelites crossed the Red Sea her name was changed to Mariam (Mara Yam) meaning “Mistress of the Sea.” Miriam was the leader of the women when the people crossed the Red Sea while Pharaoh and his soldiers were drowned by the power of God. According to St. Ambrose, Mary of the New Testament leads us through the sea of the world to the Promised Land, heaven.

MARY, AVE
“Ave” means “Hail,” the reversal of the Latin word Eva for Eve. Mary reversed the situation of humanity by her obedience to God. Eve, the mother of all, brought death by her disobedience. Whereas, Mary brought life to the world. So according to Serarius, “Ave” means life.

MARY, IMMACULATE CONCEPTION / FULL OF GRACE
Just as Adam and Eve were created by God free of sin, so also the New Adam Jesus and the New Eve Mary were born free of sin so that they are not contaminated by the stain of original sin. Only a non-contaminated container can be used to contain a sterile medicine or equipment for treatment. So also, God created Mary free from original sin to contain Jesus the redeemer of all sinners in her body. Hence, she was full of grace in body and soul. Both Jesus by his nature as God, and Mary who carried him for more than nine months and allowed her womb to develop his human flesh, were born free from sin. Mary was filled with the grace of God, by God’s choice, to become the new ark of God’s divine presence in her womb. That was why the angel greeted Mary during the annunciation a “full of grace.”

MARY, VIRGINITY OF
According to the apocryphal book, The Gospel of the Nativity of Mary, the blessed mother had made a vow of virginity at the temple of Jerusalem during her life from three to 12 years of age. That was why she asked Angel Gabriel, how she, a lifelong virgin, could give birth to a child. Catholic Church and some other churches teach the perpetual virginity of Mary. This was also the fulfillment of another prophesy: “Therefore, the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14). Virgin birth became a sign of the birth of the Messiah.

NAMING A CHILD
According to Jewish tradition, the father of the child used to give the child a name declaring that the child was his beloved one. There were exceptions when mothers also named the children. For sons, the naming was done on the eighth day after birth during circumcision. Girls could be named anytime within 30 days of their birth. Usually, the name of the grandfather, and in exceptional cases that of the father, was given to the first male child. Father’s name was given when there was uncertainty on the continuation of his name in the future generation. That might be the reason for Zachariah’s relatives and neighbors considered to give Zechariah’s name to his child because Zechariah’s name could not be assured of transmitting to the next generation as John was his only son.

NAMING BY GOD
In exceptional cases like in the case of John the Baptist or Jesus, the child was named before conception. Instead of the human father, the Divine Father named such children making them God’s special children born of human parents. Such children had some extraordinary mission from God. Examples of naming given by God before the birth are: Ishmael (Gen. 16:11), Isaac (Gen. 17:19), Jezreel (Hos. 1:4), Lo-Ruhamah (Hos. 1:6), Lo-Ammi (Hos. 1:9), Jesus (Mt. 1:21) (Lk. 1:31) and John (Lk. 1:13). Adam is believed to be named by God. Examples of name changes by God are: Abram to Abraham (Gen. 17:5), Sarai to Sarah (Gen. 17:15), Jacob to Israel (Gen. 32:29) (Gen. 35:10), Solomon to Jedidiah (2 Sam. 12:24-25) and Simon to Peter (Mt. 16:17-18).

NARROW GATE, STRIVE TO ENTER THROUGH
“Strive” is the key word here. The entry into the Kingdom of God is not easy but maximum effort is required for this entrance. It can be compared to an athlete who does all kinds of strenuous preparations to win the contest. St. Paul had clarified this, “Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.” (1 Cor. 9:25). Again, he says. “Fight the good fight for the true faith.” (1 Tim 6:12a).
Conversion and reconciliation cannot be postponed. They should be followed up by constant dedication and commitment for the church and the people. We see such lifestyle in the lives of many saints, especially St. Paul, St. Augustine, Fr. Damien of Molokai, and Mother Theresa of Calcutta.

NAZARETH
During the ministry of Jesus, Nazareth was a small, hilly and fertile village 12 miles southwest of the Sea of Galilee. Nazareth in Hebrew means branch. Though Hellenistic (Greek) culture was widespread in Galilee at that time, this village remained conservative keeping all Jewish traditions and values. People spoke Aramaic language that was a later version of Hebrew, but with many words and phrases that were borrowed from Babylonian and other languages and cultures. This might be because of 70 years of Babylonian exile of the Jews. Jesus spoke this Aramaic language. Jesus from Nazareth was considered as a fulfillment of the prophesy of Isaiah in 11:1. “But a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom.”

NAZERITE
Nazirites were people who consecrated themselves at the service of the Lord and set apart by Nazirite vow (Numbers 6:2). They had to abstain from drinking wine or any alcohol related items (Numbers 6:3-4). They were not supposed to cut their hair (Num. 6:5). And they were not to encounter corpses even of their parents (Num. 6:7). Examples of such Bible characters are Samson (Judges 13:4–5), Samuel (1 Samuel 1:11) and John the Baptist (Luke 1:14).

PHARISEES
Pharisee in Hebrew means “separate” or “detach” because this group had separated themselves from the ordinary people in their strict religious observances. They were against the Hellenistic influence in the Jewish religion. Besides the laws given through Moses, the Pharisees developed their own interpretations and applications of the Law.  They gave importance to the traditional rituals that were not in the Mosaic laws but were handed over by the elders of previous generations claiming that they were also of divine origin. This group originated during the post-exilic times when there was a thirst for maintaining the purity of the Judaism according to the written laws and oral traditions. Though some Pharisees appreciated the teachings of Jesus and invited him for dinner (Luke 7:36-50, 14:1), many of them objected him because Jesus did not strictly follow their man-made rituals and traditions.

RECLINE AT TABLE
“Recline at table” represents the love, relaxation, joy, intimacy, and communion of saints at the Kingdom of God. During Biblical times, people were not sitting around the table as we do now. According to Jewish and Roman custom, the dining table was low slab with couches around its three sides. This was how Jesus used to eat at houses and at the last supper.

RESURRECTION OF JESUS
The resurrection of Jesus is attributed to the Most Holy Trinity. All the three persons of God are involved according to the Bible. St. Paul writes in Romans 6:4, “Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father.” Examples of other references of God the Father raising Jesus are: Acts 2:32; 2:24; 10:40; 13:30 and Galatians 1:1. Jesus himself came back to life according to John 2:19: “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.” In John 10:18, Jesus said that he had power to lay his life down, and power to take it up again.” St. Paul in Romans 8:11 and St. Peter in 1 Peter 3:18 specify that the Spirit of God raised Jesus from the dead. Thus, we see that the resurrection of Jesus is attributed to the Most Holy Trinity.

SANHEDRIN
Sanhedrin literally meant “sitting together” or assembly. Sanhedrin was established after Babylonian exile with religious, civil, and criminal jurisdiction over the Israelites. Each city in the ancient land of Israel had a Sanhedrin consisting of 23 rabbis. The Sanhedrin in Jerusalem consisting of 71 judges headed by the Hight Priest was the supreme council and tribunal.  It also acted as the Supreme Court, taking appeals referred by lesser Sanhedrin. When “The Sanhedrin” was used it was referring to the Great Sanhedrin in Jerusalem. This Sanhedrin met every day except festivals and the sabbath day in the Hall of Hewn Stones in the Temple. Romans had restricted their authority.

SCRIBES
The scribes were a group of people whose main job was studying, copying, and interpreting the Holy Scripture. They thrived from the time of Babylonian exile to 70 A.D. They were very serious in copying the Bible without error. Deprived of them Old Testament could not have been preserved in the past when there were no durable writing materials and copying devices. Though some of them were priests like Ezra (Ezra 7:5-6), Levites and common people also became scribes. They were also experts in the judicial procedures and served the Sanhedrin. Jews respected them because of their knowledge in the Bible, dedicated service, and adherence to the Laws. They gained authority among the Jews and joined Pharisees in opposing Jesus for his liberal approach on man-made laws. Some of them were members of the Sanhedrin and wise scribes were also titled as Rabbi.

SHEKINAH
The glory of the Lord or the presence of God manifested among the people in the Old Testament was known as Shekinah which means “that which dwells.” Though that term is not used in the Bible, its concept is clear. Shekinah was coined by the Jewish rabbis to signify the dwelling of God on this earth. It was first visible when the Israelites departed from Succoth escaping from Egypt. The Lord appeared to them in a cloudy pillar during the day and a fiery pillar by night. (Exodus 13:20–22). The Lord’s glory later filled the tabernacle. “Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.” (Exodus 40:34). This glorious presence of God continued in the temple of Jerusalem (1 Kings 8:10–11).

SON OF GOD
The title "son of God" is used in the Old Testament for persons who had intimate relationship with God. Angels, Adam, the descendants of Seth, the selected representatives of God to lead Israel like the kings, princes, and judges, just or pious men were known as the "sons of God." (Job 1:6; 2:1; Psalm 89:7; Wisdom 2:13). God considered the nation of Israel as his first-born son. (Exodus 4:22). However, the Son of God when applied for Jesus had a special meaning in the New Testament because of divinity of Jesus. So, the initial letter of “Son” is capitalized when used for Jesus to distinguish him from other sons of God.

SON OF MAN / SON OF GOD
The Hebrew phrase "the Son of Man" means a human being. (Ezekiel 2:1). However, when the same phrase was used in the vision of Prophet Daniel (7:13), it acquired divine qualities because the son of man came with the clouds of heaven. Ordinary humans cannot travel on the clouds.  Jesus chose this phrase for himself out of his humility while others used “Son of God” that gives emphasis to the divine origin of Jesus. A So, it designates the human and divine nature of Jesus.

TEMPLE OF JERUSALEM
The temple of Jerusalem had different sections. The most sacred place was the Holy of Holies, a dark place where only the high priest entered once a year on the feast day of Atonement with a lamp to incense. This was where the Ark of the Covenant was kept in the first temple built by King Solomon. However, Prophet Jeremiah had removed it before the destruction of the temple by the Babylonians. (2 Maccabees 2:4-8). The Ark was never restored for the second temple built by Ezra or the third temple reconstructed by King Herod the Great. At the entrance of the Holy of Holies within the Holy Place was the golden altar of incense where incense was burnt every day before the morning sacrifice and after the evening sacrifice. Only priests were allowed in the Holy Place where there were also menorah lamps and the table of showbread on which there were 12 pieces of bread representing the 12 tribes of Israel. The priests used to replace the bread with fresh ones on every sabbath. Ordinary people would pray outside the entrance of the Holy Place waiting for the priest to come and bless them. They could not see what was happening inside the Holy Place of the temple.

THIRD DAY, RESURRECTION ON THE
The resurrection on the third day does not necessarily mean that Jesus was buried for 72 hours or three full days. Jews of Jesus’ time counted even a part of the day as one day. So, the death of Jesus at 3:00 P.M. on Friday and burial before 6:00 P.M. was counted as the first day. Friday from 6:00 P.M. to Saturday 6:00 P.M. was the second day. Early morning before sunrise on Sunday was the third day.

THREE
According to Biblical numerology three stands for emphasis (superlative like Holy, Holy, Holy meaning Most Holy) or completeness. Number three is used 467 times in the Bible and is the first of the four numbers that stand for spiritual perfection (3, 7, 10 and 12). Trinity, three righteous patriarchs before (Abel, Enoch and Noah) and three righteous "fathers" after the deluge (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob), 27 books of the New Testament (3x3x3), Jesus taking three disciples (Peter, James and John) to special places (like mount of Transfiguration, rising of Jairus’ daughter and to the Garden of Gethsemane), Peter was asked three times to express his love to Jesus before making him head of the church, Jesus spent three years doing his public ministry and training his disciples, three prayers of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus suffering on the cross for three hours, Jesus pinned to the cross with three nails, three hours of darkness at the time of his crucifixion, Jesus rising from the dead on the third day are examples of the importance of three in the Bible.

VIRGIN BIRTH
The ever-virgin motherhood of Mary is a miracle. Fathers of the Church taught that Jesus was born while his mother’s womb was closed. This is compared to sun rays penetrating through glass. Since Blessed Virgin Mary was born free from original sin, she was exempt from the punishment God gave to Eve, “I will intensify your toil in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children.” (Genesis 3:16). So, Fathers of the Church believed that Mary was free from pain when she gave birth to Jesus.

ZECHARIAH, PRIEST AND FATHER OF JOHN THE BAPTIST
Just as David’s family was blessed to have kings of Jews including the promised Messiah descend from it, Aaron’s family was blessed to have priests emerge from it. Every direct descendant of Aaron was automatically a member of Levitical priesthood. Since there were many priests by birthright, King David had divided them into 24 sections. Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist was from the division of Abijah, eighth of the 24 sections who served in the temple of Jerusalem. (1 Chronicle 24:10).