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By Nancy M. Tischler

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Extra resources for All Things in the Bible: An Encyclopedia of the Biblical World Volume 1 A-L

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From the moment of the Incarnation until after Jesus’s death and Resurrection, the Gospels indicate the presence of angels. In fact, the New Testament period is full of references to both angels and demons, indicating a general belief in them and their activities among humankind. Apparently, the liveliness of the belief in the spirit world became a threat to the young church, where some of its members turned to angel-worship. The New Testament specifically prohibits the worship of angels (Rev. 19:10, 22:9).

Practices such as polygamy and levirate marriage provided for the orderly distribution of property within the tribe. Other terms seem to imply a form of adoption or at least protection. For example, Ruth placed her child on Naomi’s breast, apparently allowing her to be the child’s nurse. Some believe that, because Ruth was a Moabite, her effort to seek refuge under the wings of the Lord was a desire to be adopted into the Israelite community. In the case of Elijah and Elisha, the casting of the mantle on the younger prophet appears to designate him as Elijah’s spiritual heir.

10:7; Rev. 9:11, 17:8, 20:1–3) Also called the “bottomless pit” or “the deep,” abyss sometimes refers to the primordial waters at the Creation, particularly the waters under the earth. More specifically, it seems to represent the realm of the dead in the underworld, the dwelling place of evil spirits under Satan or Apollyon. See also Afterlife; Creation. Further Reading Pleins, David J. When the Great Abyss Opened: Classic and Contemporary Readings of Noah’s Flood. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.

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