Bible Dictionary
(A) (B) (C) (D) (E) (F) (G) (H) (I) (J) (K) (L) (M) (N) (O) (P) (Q) (R) (S) (T) (U) (V) (W) (X) (Y) (Z)

The Definition of the word Anathema


Anything laid up or suspended; hence anything laid up in a temple or set apart as sacred. In this sense the form of the "word is anath(ee)ma, once in plural used in the Greek New" "Testament, in Luke 21:5, where it is rendered "gifts." In the" LXX. the form anathema is generally used as the rendering of the "Hebrew word herem, derived from a verb which means (1) to" consecrate or devote; and (2) to exterminate. Any object so devoted to the Lord could not be redeemed (Num. 18:14; Lev. "27:28, 29); and hence the idea of exterminating connected with" the word. The Hebrew verb (haram) is frequently used of the extermination of idolatrous nations. It had a wide range of application. The anathema_ or _herem was a person or thing "irrevocably devoted to God (Lev. 27:21, 28); and "none devoted" "shall be ransomed. He shall surely be put to death" (27:29). The" word therefore carried the idea of devoted to destruction (Num. "21:2, 3; Josh. 6:17); and hence generally it meant a thing" "accursed. In Deut. 7:26 an idol is called a herem = anathema, a" thing accursed. "In the New Testament this word always implies execration. In some cases an individual denounces an anathema on himself unless "certain conditions are fulfilled (Acts 23:12, 14, 21). "To call" "Jesus accursed" [anathema] (1 Cor. 12:3) is to pronounce him" "execrated or accursed. If any one preached another gospel, the" "apostle says, "let him be accursed" (Gal. 1:8, 9); i.e., let his" conduct in so doing be accounted accursed. "In Rom. 9:3, the expression "accursed" (anathema) from Christ, "i.e., excluded from fellowship or alliance with Christ, has" occasioned much difficulty. The apostle here does not speak of his wish as a possible thing. It is simply a vehement expression "of feeling, showing how strong was his desire for the salvation" of his people. "The anathema in 1 Cor. 16:22 denotes simply that they who love not the Lord are rightly objects of loathing and execration to all holy beings; they are guilty of a crime that merits the severest condemnation; they are exposed to the just sentence of everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord.

The Old Testament

The New Testament