Anointing: See Messiah. The consecration of a prophet, priest and king, involving the application of or anointing with oil, as depicted in the Bible.
Aramaic: A Semitic language related to Hebrew and Arabic, the language of Jesus’ nation.
Beelzebub: A popular name for Satan, the chief of the evil spirits.
Bible: See Appendix 1.
Calvary: A hill outside the walls of Jerusalem on which Jesus the Messiah was crucified.
Centurion: A Roman military officer in charge of one hundred soldiers. See Romans.
Christ: See Messiah.
Covenant: A compact or agreement between two parties. The Bible speaks of covenants between God and Noah (Genesis 9:9-17), God and Abraham (Genesis 17) and God and the Children of Israel through Moses (Exodus 19:4-6). As indicated by the prophets (Deuteronomy 18:15-18 and Jeremiah 31:31-34), God made a final covenant with humanity through Jesus the Messiah and His sacrifice.
Exorcism: The casting out of evil spirits. Christian exorcism rejects magic and magic formulas, and operates only in the name of Jesus the Messiah.
Father, Heavenly Father: God is our Creator and we are His servants. God defined as ”Heavenly Father” expresses His love for us all, His desire to save us so that we become His children, and the obedience He expects from us. See Chapter 8.
Festival of the Passover: See Passover.
Gentiles: Non-Jewish peoples and nations.
Gospel: “Good News”, from the Greek word “Euangelion” (English: “Evangel”). The Arabic word “Injil” is also derived from “Evangel”; thus, the Injil of ‘Isa al-Masih, i.e., the Good News of Jesus the Messiah. Jesus Himself is the Good News and proclaims the Good News, God’s Good News of healing and saving. There is only one Gospel (Injil), Jesus the Messiah, and four witness accounts of the Gospel under the names of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
Herodians: A political party formed in support of the dynasty of Herod in Palestine. They joined with the Pharisees and Sadducees in opposing Jesus.
Holy Communion (The Lord’s Supper, the Eucharist): This farewell supper of Jesus the Messiah with His disciples just before His arrest and crucifixion marks God’s New Covenant with His people through the Messiah. Ever since this event Christians have celebrated Holy Communion regularly in remembrance of God’s love for them and His sacrifice of the Messiah. See Mark 14:12-25.
Holy Spirit (Spirit of God; Spirit of Jesus; Spirit of Truth): The Holy Bible frequently refers to God’s Holy Spirit, His personal presence and power. The Holy Spirit guides God’s people and their leaders, and inspires His prophets. The Holy Spirit continuously empowers God’s Messiah, His Word and His works. He is also called the Paraclete, the advocate and helper. The Holy Spirit should not be identified with the angel Gabriel (Jibril).
Israel: Another name of Jacob (Ya‘qub), the son of Isaac (Ishaq), the son of Abraham (Ibrahim); hence also “the Children of Israel”, the patriarchs of the tribes of Israel and the nation Israel. Jesus was a descendant of Jacob’s son, Judah, whence the name “Jews”.
Jerusalem (al-Quds): Israel’s holy city containing God’s holy temple (haikal).
Jesus (‘Isa): Jesus is called “Jesus” “because He will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). For Jesus as Messiah, see Messiah.
John: A disciple and apostle of Jesus to whom the fourth Gospel account in the New Testament is attributed.
John the Baptist (Yahya ibn Zakariyya): John the Baptist is a prophet and more than prophet, according to Jesus. He prepares the way for Jesus the Messiah. John the Baptist should be distinguished from John, the disciple and apostle of Jesus.
Job (Ayyub): See the book of Job in the Bible. Job is remembered especially for his patience and unfailing trust in God, even under the most difficult circumstances.
Kingdom of God (Kingdom of Heaven): The eternal and kingly rule or sovereignty of God in contrast to the kingdoms of this world. The Kingdom of God comes when God’s will is done on earth. The Kingdom of God endures, while all the kingdoms of the world pass away. Jesus said: “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.”
Law of Moses (Torah, Tawrat): The first five books of the Holy Bible; it regulates the religious, moral and social life of the nation Israel.
Kufr: Arabic word having a meaning similar to “blasphemy”.
Lent: A period of forty days from Ash Wednesday to Easter Eve which Christians devote to prayer, fasting and penitence in remembrance of Jesus the Messiah’s forty day fast in the wilderness as His preparation for His ministry and His suffering and death on the cross for humanity’s salvation. Ash is a symbol of repentance.
LORD, Lord (lord): One must distinguish between the use of this title with reference to God and with reference to humans. It is a special title of honor and majesty with reference to God (Lord). When written in capital letters (LORD) it designates the original Hebrew name of the God of Israel, “Yahweh” or “Jehovah”. Because this name is so holy it is not used by Jews in everyday life. Christians have followed Jews in this practice. With reference to humans it (lord) can mean simply ”master” or ”sir”.
Messiah (Greek “Christos”; English “Christ”; Arabic “Masih”): A Hebrew word meaning “the Anointed One”, whose coming into the world God continually promised through His prophets in the Holy Bible. These promises were fulfilled in Jesus when He came into this world to bring God’s Kingdom through His ministry of preaching, teaching and healing, and especially through His suffering, His death on the cross and His resurrection from the dead. As the Messiah, Jesus is also known as “the Son of David”, “the Son of Man”, the Prophet, the Priest and the King, whose Kingdom is an everlasting Kingdom. See Son of Man.
At the time of Jesus the Jews generally looked forward to a Messiah who would drive out the Roman rulers and restore power to themselves. With the nation, Israel, the Messiah would rule over Rome and all other nations rather than being ruled by them. The Messiah’s Kingdom would be very much a kingdom of this world.
The Messiah, however, clearly affirmed that God’s Kingdom was not a kingdom of this world. He had come to establish the Kingdom of God, not the Kingdom of Israel or any other human kingdom. He had come to liberate people from Satan and from Satan’s dominion in their hearts. God’s Kingdom, He demonstrated, was marked by God’s people serving, not being served. He Himself had come “not to be served, but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for people” (Mark 10:45). Hence, so many Jews and their leaders rejected Jesus as the Messiah.
Since the nature of Jesus’ Messiahship was so easily misunderstood and misinterpreted, He often told people to be silent about what He did and who He was. Even His disciples really understood only after His resurrection from the dead. Jesus’ Messiahship, so unique in its nature and so different from the nature of the governments of this world, took time to grasp, to penetrate beyond the mind into the heart, to imitate …. See also Chapter 2C.
Likewise, though the evil spirits might recognize Jesus and understand who He was as Messiah, Jesus did not want their testimony.
From the Qur’an Muslims, too, understand Jesus to be the Messiah. It is hoped that this book will help them to better understand God’s many promises through His prophets to send the Messiah, His plan and purpose in making Jesus to be the Messiah, and what Jesus’ Messiahship really means. See Appendix 3.
New Testament: See Bible, Appendix 1.
Old Testament: See Bible, Appendix 1.
Palm Sunday: The Sunday before Easter Sunday when Jesus’ disciples welcomed Jesus with palm branches as He entered Jerusalem on a donkey.
Passover: This great annual festival of the people of Israel recalled how God had liberated them from slavery in Egypt through Moses. It also served to celebrate the covenant between God and the people of Israel. It was during the Passover season that Jesus celebrated His Last Supper with His disciples. See Holy Communion.
Pharisees: An influential Jewish religious party strongly committed to observing the Law of Moses, even with added restrictions. They believed in angels and the resurrection of the dead. In general they opposed Jesus on matters concerning the Sabbath, cleanliness and tithing. While they awaited the coming of the Messiah, the Son of David and the restoration of King David’s kingdom, they rejected Jesus as the Messiah. Yet some of them supported Jesus and even accepted Him as the Messiah.
Priest, High Priest: Descendants of Aaron (Harun), a descendant of Levi, one of the sons of Jacob (Israel). They were responsible for Temple administration and for the sacrifices and other religious ceremonies. The High Priest served as the principal priest and president of the supreme council (Sanhedrin) of the Jews.
Rabbi: “My Master”, a title of respect for religious teachers. “Rabboni” is another form of the same word.
Redeemer: One who purchases the freedom of someone enslaved. Biblically, God redeems us who have been enslaved by sin and death, and who live under the power and dominion of Satan and all of the powers of evil in this world. He does this to reveal to us our personal plight and His great love for us. He does this for each one of us through Jesus the Messiah “who has redeemed me, a lost and condemned creature, purchased and won me from all sin, from death and from the power of the devil, not with gold or silver, but with His holy precious blood and innocent suffering and death – so that I may be His own and live under Him in His eternal Kingdom”. (Martin Luther)
Romans: For some years before and during the time of Jesus the Romans ruled over the Jews. The Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, presided over Jesus’ trial. The Romans normally crucified political conspirators. The Jewish leaders contended that since Jesus claimed to be the Messiah and, hence, a king, He was a threat to Roman rule and worthy of death.
Sabbath: Saturday, the seventh day of the week, set aside by God in the Law of Moses as the day of rest and worship. The Children of Israel reckoned the day to be from sunset to sunset and, hence, the Sabbath was from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset. A conflict between many of the Jews and Jesus focused on the legality of Jesus’ healing of people on the Sabbath. Shortly after the Messiah’s resurrection from the dead and God’s inauguration of the New Covenant through the Messiah, the disciples of Jesus began to worship on the first day of the week (Sunday) in celebration of His victory over sin and death on that day.
Sadducees: A small, aristocratic Jewish party that exerted considerable religious and political influence upon Jewish society. They accepted only the first five books (Torah) of the Bible. They denied the existence of angels and the resurrection of the dead. During the time of Jesus it seems that they controlled the supreme council of the Jews (Sanhedrin) and also the high priesthood.
Samaritans: They acknowledged Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to be their forefathers, Moses as God’s prophet, the Torah as God’s Scriptures, and awaited the coming of the Messiah. When they rejected the temple in Jerusalem, they established their own temple on Mt. Gerazim.
After Assyria conquered most of Israel several centuries before the time of Jesus, many Israelites married Assyrians. Their children were called Samaritans. At the time of Jesus bitter hostility existed between the Samaritans and the Jews (the so-called pure Israelites). This enmity forms the background to Jesus’ (a Jew) famous story of “The Good Samaritan”.
Satan (Shaitan), the Devil (Iblis): Also called “the ruler of this world”, “the ruler of evil”, ”the father of lies”.
Scribes: See Teachers of the Law.
Shirk: An Arabic word meaning “association”, i.e., associating someone or something with God, having another deity together with God, idolatry.
Son of David: A popular Jewish title for the coming Messiah whom the prophets frequently recognized as a descendant of Israel’s great king, David, and David’s father Jesse. See Messiah.
Son of God: Probably no designation of Jesus needs more explanation than Jesus as the Son of God – especially for Muslim readers. So often Muslims are unaware of its Biblical meaning; so often Christians are unaware that it needs special explanation for Muslims. Therefore we note:
In brief, Jesus as Son of God means God revealing Himself to us in this world as a person in order that we can truly begin to understand Him, our relationship with Him and what He has done for us. God, who is everywhere, is above us, below us, beyond us, and uniquely with us in Jesus Emmanuel (“God with us”). He calls us to be His children and to accept Him as our Heavenly Father. See especially John 1:1-14.
Son of Man: Centuries before Jesus came into this world, God spoke through the prophet Daniel about the coming of the Son of Man who would reign forever. Jesus the Messiah saw Himself as the fulfillment of this prophecy also. Thus Jesus is the Son of God and the Son of Man, ruler and judge, who came to serve and to ransom mankind. See Chapter 6, Part 1.
Son of Mary: Jesus is called “the Son of Mary” in the Bible (Mark 6:3) and the Qur’an – undoubtedly with reference to Jesus’ virgin birth. See Son of God.
Son of the Most High: See Son of God.
Spirit of God: See Holy Spirit.
Synagogue: The community place of worship where the Jews met on the Sabbath day.
Tax collectors (Publicans): Some Jews collected taxes from their own people under the Romans and were supported with Roman power. They were often viewed as extortioners and traitors and, hence, were generally despised and hated by their own people.
Teachers of the Law: They studied, interpreted and taught the Law. Most of them were Pharisees.
Temple: The Children of Israel’s central place of worship, located in Jerusalem and originally constructed by King Solomon (Sulaiman). Sacrifices were offered in the Temple only. The Romans destroyed the Temple in 70 A.D., leaving only some walls, at which many Jews even today pray. The Dome of the Rock and the El Aqsa mosque are close to these wall remains.
Zion: Name of the Mountain on top of which the Temple of Jerusalem was built. Often, “Zion” is simply another word for Jerusalem.