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Glossary - J



Jericho - Oasis next to a spring in the Great Rift Valley north of the Dead Sea. First city captured by the Israelites after wandering in the desert for 40 years.

Jerusalem - Located in the Judea Mountains west of the Dead Sea on the rim of the Great Rift Valley at the edge of the Judea Wilderness. King David captured the mountain spur, and the existing town, Jebus, which became "David's City," the Israelites' religious and political center. David purchased a threshing floor, the traditional site where Abraham prepared to sacrifice his son Isaac to God, as the future site of God's Temple that Solomom eventually built (2 Chron. 3:1). God the Father sent Jesus to Jerusalem to complete his messianic work by being executed, buried, and raised on the same mountain of Abraham's attempted sacrifice and where sacrifices in the Temple were made. This created a physical link between events of Jewish history and followers of Jesus. In the Bible, "heavenly Jerusalem" symbolized God's heavenly kingdom that will come at the end of time.

Jesus - The promised Messiah, lived a remarkable life as a Jewish rabbi. Through his ministry, death, and resurrection, God fulfilled his covenant promises.

Jew - At first, this was the name for someone from the tribe of Judah. Later it came to be used for anyone who was from the family of Jacob (Israel).

Jezreel - City gaurding the Valley of Harod and the route from the Valley of Jezreel to Beth Shean. Here Ahab and Jezebel had a summer palace, Ahab stole Naboth's vineyard, and Jezebel was killed.

Jezreel Valley - Means "valley of Megiddo." A fertile, agricultural valley whose strategic location led to frequent battles for control over the world trade route between the west and Mesopotamia. Used by biblical writers as the symbolic setting of the final triumph of God's power over evil, Armageddon. Nazareth is nearby.

Joppa - This Old Testament port city is on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. Jonah sailed from here.

Jordan River - Hebrew Yarden, meaning, "the descender." Headwaters are fed by snow melt on Mount Hermon and underground springs; flows into the Dead Sea; where John baptized Jesus. Largest river in Israel.

Jordan Valley - See Great Rift Valley. 

Joseph - The husband of Mary who was the mother of Jesus (Matt. 1:16-25).

Josephus - Jewish historian named Josephus Flavius, author of four major extra-biblical texts of Jewish life and culture. Born to a preistly family about the time of Jesus' death, he died approximately 100 AD; he was a Galilean commander in the First Jewish Revolt. Trapped in the doomed city of Jotapata, Josephus convinced the other survivors to commit suicide, arranging that he would be the last one alive. He surrendered to the Roman commander Vespian and prophesied that Vespian would become emperor. Vespian made Josephus a scribe and a member of his own family; he became a Roman citizen. He write extensively about the First Jewish Revolt and Jewish history, and confirmed that New Testament descriptions of life and culture were accurate.

Judah - Fourth son of Jacob from whom the tribe of Judah and Jesus descended. Also the name of the southern kingdom after Israel divided in 926 BC.

Judea - Region of Israel, named for the tribe of Judah, where Jerusalem was located. Ruled by Herod the Great and later given to his son, Archelaus; then directly under Roman authority. The Judean Temple leadership resisted Jesus' message and ministry.

Judea Wilderness - The eastern slopes of the Judea Mountains form a 10-mile-wide, 30-mile-long hot, dry wilderness frequently used as a refuge for those in hiding or seeking a spiritual retreat, including the Essenes at Qumran, John the Baptist, David, and Jesus. Site of Masada, the last battle in the First Jewish Revolt.

Judge - A strong leader of the people of Israel before Israel had kings. God brought judges to power to save the people from their enemies.

Judge's Platform - The platform on which the ruler of the city sat. The presence of the ruler or king ready to pass judgment in the gate of the city is behind the prophet Amos´┐Ż plea for "justice in the city gate."

Juno - Roman goddess of marriage, very jealous wife of Zeus, queen of gods.

Jupiter - Roman god of the sky, supreme god. Son of Saturn.


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