Glossary of Terms ‘T’

Written By Thomas Perez. December 14, 2010 at 6:30PM. Copyright 2010.

Tabernacle
The tabernacle was the structure ordered built by God so that He might dwell among His people (Exodus 25:8). It was to be mobile and constructed to exacting specifications. It is referred to in Exodus 25-27, 30-31, 35-40; Num. 3:25ff.; 4:4 ff.; 7:1ff. In all of scripture more space is devoted to the tabernacle than any other topic. Many books have been written on the spiritual significance of the tabernacle, how it represented Christ, and how it foretold the gospel. The tabernacle consisted of the outer court and the tabernacle. The outer court was entered from the East. The outer court contained the altar of burnt offering (Exodus 27:1-8) and the bronze laver (Exodus 30:17-21). The tabernacle stood within the court (Exodus 26:1ff.). It was divided into two main divisions: the holy place and the holy of holies which were separated by a veil (Exodus 26:31 ff.), the same veil that was torn from top to bottom at the crucifixion of Jesus (Matt. 27:51). Where the veil had represented the barrier separating sinful man from a holy God (Heb. 9:8), its destruction represented the free access sinners have to God through the blood of Christ (Heb. 10:19ff.). The tabernacle was a place of sacrifice. The holy place contained three things: first, a table on which was placed the shewbread, the bread of the presence (Exodus 25:23-30), second, a golden lamp-stand (Exodus 25:31-40) and third, an altar of incense (Exodus 30:1-7). In the Holy of Holies was the ark of the covenant which contained the Ten Commandments (Exodus 25:16). The holy of Holies was entered only once a year by the high priest who offered sacrifice for the nation of Israel.

Teleological Argument
An attempted proof of God’s existence based upon the premise that the universe is designed and therefore needs a designer: God.

Teleology
The study of final causes, results. Having a definite purpose, goal, or design.

Temptation
That which moves us to sin. God cannot be tempted (James 1:13). But we can be tempted by our lusts (James 1:13-15), money (1 Tim. 6:9), lack of self examination (Gal. 6:1), and the boastful pride of life (1 John 2:16), to name a few. We are commanded to pray to be delivered from temptation (Matt. 6:13) for the Lord is capable of delivering us from it (2 Pet. 2:9).

Testament
The word testament is a derivation of the Latin word testamentum, which was used in Jerome’s Vulgate to translate the Hebrew word b’rith, covenant. The Greek equivalent is diatheke, which also means covenant. The word has come to be used in describing the two main divisions of the Bible: The Old Testament and The New Testament. It should be understood then, that the Bible is generally to be looked at as a covenant between God and man.

Tetragrammaton (YHWH)
This is a term applied to the four Hebrew letters that make up the name of the nationalistic God of the Hebrews as revealed to Moses in Exodus 3:14. God said to Moses, “And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM;” and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.” YHWH makes up the base of the verb “to be” from which God designated His own name as “I AM.” In English the letters are basically equivalent to YHWH. It is from these four letters that the name of the Hebrew God is derived and has been rendered as Yahweh and Jehovah. The true pronunciation of God’s name has been lost through lack of use, because the Jews, who were first given the name of God, would not pronounce it out of their awe and respect for God. However, it should noted here that the name of God originally was/is simply EL – the Father of all – seemingly distinct from Yahweh/Jehovah.

Theism
The teaching that there is a God and that He is actively involved in the affairs of the world. This does not necessitate the Christian concept of God, but includes it. (Compare to Deism)

Theodicy
The study of the problem of evil in the world. The issue is raised in light of the sovereignty of God. How could a holy and loving God who is in control of all things allow evil to exist? The answer has been debated for as long as the church has existed. It is clear that God is sovereign, and that He has willed the existence of both good and evil, and that all of this is for His own glory. Prov. 16:4 says, “The LORD works out everything for his own ends – even the wicked for a day of disaster”; Isaiah 45:7 says, “I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the LORD, do all these things.”

Theology
The study of God, His nature, attributes, character, abilities, revelation, etc.

Theophany
A theophany is a visible manifestation of God usually restricted to the Old Testament. God has appeared in dreams (Gen. 20:3-7; Gen. 28:12-17), visions (Gen. 15:1-21; Isaiah 6:1-13), as an angel (Gen. 16:7-13; 18:1-33), etc. There is a manifestation known as the Angel of the Lord (Judges 6:20f.) and seems to have characteristics of God Himself (Gen. 16:7-9; 18:1-2; Exodus 3:2-6; Joshua 5:14; Judges 2:1-5; 6:11). Such characteristics as having the name of God, being worshiped, and recognized as God has led many scholars to conclude that the angel of the Lord is really Jesus manifested in the Old Testament. This does not mean that Jesus is an angel. The word “angel” means messenger. Other scriptures that describe more vivid manifestations of God are Gen. 17:1; 18:1; Ex. 6:2-3; 24:9-11; 33:20; Num. 12:6-8; Acts 7:2.

Tithe
A portion of one’s earnings, usually one tenth, that are given to those who perform the work of the Lord since it belongs to the Lord (Lev. 27:30-33). Those who received tithes in the OT consisted of priests (Num. 18:21-32). Further OT references are Gen. 14:20; 28:22; 2 Chron. 31:5f; Mal. 3:7-12). In the NT there is no command to tithe a tenth (since we are not under law but grace). But the tithe is mentioned in Luke 18:9-14; 1 Cor. 16:1; 2 Cor. 8).

Total Depravity
The doctrine that fallen man is completely touched by sin and that he is completely a sinner. He is not as bad as he could be, but in all areas of his being, body, soul, spirit, mind, emotions, etc., he is touched by sin. In that sense he is totally depraved. Because man is depraved, nothing good can come out of him (Rom. 3:10-12) and God must account the righteousness of Christ to him. This righteousness is obtainable only through faith in Christ and what He did on the cross. Total depravity is generally believed by the Calvinist groups and rejected by the Arminian groups.

Transcendence
A theological term referring to the relation of God to creation. God is “other,” “different” from His creation. He is independent and different from His creatures (Isaiah 55:8-9). He transcends His creation. He is beyond it and not limited by it or to it.

Transfiguration
This refers to the mysterious change that occurred to Jesus on the mount: “Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white.” (Matt. 17:1-2). The transfiguration preceded Jesus’ time on the cross and may have been the Father’s preparatory provision to strengthen Jesus as He prepared to bear the sins of the world.

Transubstantiation
The theory accepted by Catholicism, that in the Lord’s Supper, the elements are transformed into the actual body and blood of Jesus. However, there is no perceptible or measurable change in the elements. The transformation occurs during the Mass at the elevation of the elements by the priest.

Tribulation, The
According to premillennialism, this is a seven year period that immediately precedes the return of Christ and the millennial kingdom of His rule which lasts for 1000 years. It will be a time of great peace (the first 3 ½ years) and great war (the second 3 ½ years) when the Antichrist rules over many nations. At the midpoint of the tribulation (at the end of the first 3 ½ years) the Antichrist will proclaim himself worthy of worship. Many will bow down and worship the Antichrist and many will refuse. Those who refuse to worship the Antichrist will be killed. The second half of the tribulation is called the Great Tribulation. It will involve the whole world (Rev. 3:10). There will be catastrophes all over the world. (See Matt. 24; Mark 13; Luke 17.)

Trichotomy
The teaching that the human consists of three parts: body, soul, and spirit. (Compare with Dichotomy.)

Trinity
The word “trinity” is not found in the Bible. Nevertheless, it is a word used to describe God as a Trinity. This means there are three persons in one God, not three Gods. The persons are known as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit and they have all always existed as three separate persons. The person of the Father is not the same person as the Son. The person of the Son is not the same person as the Holy Spirit. The person of the Holy Spirit is not the same person as the Father. According to trinitarians, God is not one person who took three forms, i.e., the Father who became the Son, who then became the Holy Spirit. This belief is known today as the “Jesus Only Movement.” It is taught by the United Apostolic and United Pentecostal churches. Nor is God only one person as the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Way International, and the Christadelphians teach (These groups are classified as non-Christian cults). The Bible says there is only one God. Yet, it says Jesus is God (John 1:1,14); it says the Father is God (Phil. 1:2); and it says the Holy Spirit is God (Acts 5:3-4). Since the Son speaks to the Father, trinitarians say they are separate persons. Since the Holy Spirit speaks also (Acts 13:2), He is a separate person too. There is one God who exists in three persons

Tritheism
Tritheism is the teaching that the Godhead is really three separate beings forming three separate gods. This erring view is often misplaced for the doctrine of the Trinity which states that there is but one God in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

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