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Aaron Moses’ brother, who was chosen as the first high priest of Israel.
Abel The son of Adam and Eve who was killed by his brother Cain. Read Gen. 4:1-16.
Abib Or “Nisan,” the first month of the ancient Hebrew calendar. The name means “young heads of grain.” It was the beginning of spring, about mid-March to mid-April.
Abraham The most respected ancestor of the Jewish people. Through him God promised to make a great nation and bless all the people of the earth. Read Gen. 12:1-3.
Achaia The region in the southern part of Greece where the ancient cities of Athens and Corinth were located.
Adriatic Sea The sea between Greece and Italy, including the central part of the Mediterranean Sea.
adultery Breaking a marriage promise by committing sexual sin.
agreement A contract or agreement from God to his people. The agreement that God gave his people at Mount Sinai, based on the Law of Moses, became the most important for the Israelites or Jews. It replaced or renewed all other agreements, such as that given earlier to Abraham. In the New Testament it is referred to as the “old” or “first” agreement. After Jesus Christ came and offered his life as payment for the sins of all people, God was able to offer a “new” and “better” agreement based on Christ’s sacrifice.
Agreement Where this is marked, it is literally “Testimony,” a word that usually refers to the flat stones with the Ten Commandments written on them, which were evidence or “proof” of the agreement between God and Israel.
Agrippa Herod Agrippa II, great-grandson of Herod the Great.
Ahaz A king of Judah who ruled with his father Jotham from 735 to 732 b.c., and then alone from 732 to 715 b.c.
alabaster A beautiful kind of stone that can be carved.
aloes The oil from a sweet-smelling wood that was used to make perfume (Ps. 45:8; Prov. 7:17) or the bitter juice from a cactus-like plant that was used to prepare bodies for burial (Jn. 19:39).
altar A raised area, pile of stones, or table where sacrifices were offered as gifts to God. An important altar was the one in front of the Temple in Jerusalem. See also “golden altar.”
Amen A Hebrew word meaning “That’s right,” “True,” or “Yes.” It is used to express strong agreement with what has been said.
Anakites Descendants of Anak. They were a family famous for tall and powerful fighting men. See Num. 13:33.
ancestors Literally, “fathers,” meaning a person’s parents, grandparents, and all the other people that person is descended from. In the New Testament it usually refers to people who lived during Old Testament times.
anoint To pour a special oil on people or things to show that they have been chosen by God and set apart for a special work or purpose.
apostle A follower of Jesus chosen to represent him in a special way. During his earthly ministry, Jesus named twelve men as apostles. They had the specific responsibility and authority to represent him and proclaim his message throughout the world. Later, he appeared to Paul and gave him a similar commission, especially to non-Jewish people. Barnabas, Paul’s missionary companion, and James, the brother of Jesus, are also called apostles, as well as several others in the New Testament. Some of these occurrences of the word, however, have the more general sense of “messenger” or “representative.”
aqueduct A ditch or pipe that carries water from one place to another.
Aram A country north of Israel that included much of modern-day Syria. See Isa. 7:1; 17:3.
Aramaic The language of the Arameans, which became the main language of trade and diplomacy in the ancient near east during the Assyrian, the Neo-Babylonian, and Persian empires. Throughout this period of the first century b.c. it was common for official letters to be written in Aramaic. Similar to Hebrew, it later became the common language of many Jews and is the spoken “Hebrew” referred to in the New Testament.
Ararat The ancient country of Urartu, an area in eastern Turkey.
archangel The leader among God’s angels.
archer A person skilled in using a bow to shoot arrows.
Areopagus council A group of important leaders in Athens who served like judges.
armor bearer A young man who carried a soldier’s weapons.
armor The special clothes soldiers wore to protect themselves in war.
army officer A centurion, a Roman army officer who had authority over 100 soldiers.
Artaxerxes The king of Persia about 465-424 b.c. He was the son of Xerxes. See Ezra 4:7; 7:1.
Asherah pole A wooden pole (originally, perhaps, a tree trunk) that was set up to honor the goddess Asherah.
Asherah An important Canaanite goddess, the wife of the Canaanite god El and possibly Baal. People thought she could help them have children.
Ashtoreth Or “Astarte,” an important Canaanite goddess, the wife of the Canaanite god Baal and possibly El. Called the “Queen of Heaven,” she was the goddess of love and war.
Asia The geographical area, sometimes called Asia Minor, that is now the western part of modern Turkey.
Assyria A powerful nation northeast of Israel.
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