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Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible

Hope

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HOPE. 1. Hope and faith (the soul’s forward and upward look towards God) are imperfectly differentiated in the OT, as with men who ‘greeted the promises from afar’ ( Hebrews 11:13-16 ); hope has there the greater vogue.

Amongst the several Heb. words thus rendered, (1) signifying restful hope ( leaning on J″ [Note: Jahweh.] , &c [Note: circa, about.] .), oftener appears as ‘trust’ and sometimes as ‘confidence’ ‘hope’ in Job 6:20 , Psalms 16:9 , Proverbs 14:32 , Ecclesiastes 9:4 , Jeremiah 17:7 . (2) A subjective synonym (radically, the loins ) is variously translated ‘hope,’ ‘confidence,’ and ‘folly’ (cf. AV [Note: Authorized Version.] and RV [Note: Revised Version.] in Job 8:14 ; Job 31:24 ; also Job 4:6 , Psalms 49:13 ; Psalms 78:7 ; Psalms 85:8 , Proverbs 3:26 , Ecclesiastes 7:25 ). (3) RV [Note: Revised Version.] corrects the ‘hope’ (AV [Note: Authorized Version.] ) of Jeremiah 17:17 , Joel 3:16 , into ‘refuge.’ (4) A synonym hardly distinguishable from (5) and (6), and rendered ‘hope’ or ‘wait upon,’ occurs 8 times ( Psalms 104:27 ; Psalms 146:5 etc.). The two most distinctive OT words for hope are frequently rendered ‘wait (for or upon).’ Of these (5) bears a relatively passive significance ( e.g. in Job 6:11 ; Job 14:14 , Psalms 33:18-22 ; Psalms 42:5 , Lamentations 3:24 ). (6) The term oftenest recurring, denoting practical , even strenuous, anticipation (rendered ‘expectation’ in Psalms 9:18 ; Psalms 62:5 ), has a root-meaning not far removed from that of the Heb. verb for ‘believe’; Genesis 49:18 , Ruth 1:12 , Job 14:7 , Psalms 25:5 ; Psalms 25:21 , Ezekiel 37:11 , Hosea 2:16 afford good examples.

It is to the OT rather than the NT that one must look for definite representations of the earthly hopes belonging to God’s Kingdom, the social regeneration and national well-being that come in its train (see, e.g. , Isaiah 9:6 f., Isaiah 11:1-9 ; 11:55, 60 f., Psalms 72:1-20 ; Psalms 96:1-13 ; Psalms 97:1-12 ; Psalms 98:1-9 , etc.); broadly interpreted, these promises are of permanent validity (see Matthew 6:10 ; Matthew 6:33 ; Matthew 13:33 , 1 Timothy 4:8 etc.). Hope plays an increasing part in the later OT books; it advances in distinctness, grandeur, and spirituality with the course of revelation. The Holy One of Israel made Himself ‘the God of hope’ for mankind ( Romans 15:13 ; cf. Jeremiah 14:8 ; Jeremiah 17:13 with Isaiah 42:4 ; Isaiah 51:4 ff., isa 51:60). When the national hopes foundered, OT faith anchored itself to two objects: ( a ) the Messianic Kingdom (see Kingdom of God); and ( b ), esp. in the latest times, the resurrection of the dead ( Isaiah 25:8 ; Isaiah 26:19 , Daniel 12:2 ; probably Job 19:25 ff., Psalms 16:8-11 ; Psalms 17:15 ) the latter conceived as necessary to the former, since otherwise those who had suffered most for God’s Kingdom would miss it (cf. Hebrews 11:35 , 1 Thessalonians 4:15 ff.). The OT heritage is developed in extravagant forms by Jewish Apocalyptic literature, which was the product of a powerful ferment in the Judaism of New Test, times. Philo Judæus, who represents philosophic Judaism at the farthest remove from popular Messianic enthusiasm, nevertheless makes hope (followed by repentance and righteousness ) the leader in his triad of the elementary religious virtues (cf. 1 Corinthians 13:13 ), while faith leads the second and highest triad.

2. To both factors of ‘the hope of Israel,’ separately or together, St. Paul appealed in addressing his compatriots ( Acts 13:32 ; Acts 23:6 ff., Acts 26:6 ff., Acts 26:22 ff., Acts 28:20 ). It was ‘a lamp shining in a dark place’ ( 2 Peter 1:19 ): hope at the Christian era was flickering low in the Gentile world (see Eph 2:12 , 1 Thessalonians 4:13 , 1 Corinthians 15:32 ff. amply confirmed by classical literature). ‘By the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead’ humanity was ‘begotten again unto a living hope’ ( 1 Peter 1:3 ; cf. Acts 2:22-36 , 1 Corinthians 15:12-26 , Revelation 1:17 f.): the Israelite hope was verified, and the Christian hope founded, by the return of Jesus from the grave. The Greek word for ‘hope’ ( elpis , noun; elpizô , verb) primarily meant expectation of good or evil commonly, in effect, the former; but ‘in later Greek, at the time when hope made its presence so powerfully felt in the Christian sphere, elpis elsewhere came to be increasingly used with the sense of anxiety or fear , of which there is not a single example in the LXX [Note: Septuagint.] or NT’ (Cremer); ‘evil hopes’ in the Gr. of Isaiah 28:11 is ironical, similarly in Wis 13:10 . The RV [Note: Revised Version.] rightly substitutes ‘hope’ for ‘trust’ in the 18 places where AV [Note: Authorized Version.] rendered elpizô by the latter; for the NT clearly differentiates ‘faith’ and ‘hope,’ referring the latter to the future good of Christ’s Kingdom longingly expected, while the former is directed to God’s past deeds of salvation and His present grace in Christ. ‘Hope’ is used by metonymy for the matter of hope , the thing hoped for , in Galatians 5:5 , Colossians 1:5 , Titus 2:13 , Hebrews 6:18 . It is sometimes replaced by ‘patience’ (or ‘endurance’), its expression in outward bearing (cf. 1 Thessalonians 1:3 and 2 Thessalonians 1:3 f.); and (as in the OT) the verbs ‘hope’ and ‘wait’ or ‘look for’ or ‘expect’ are interchangeable (see Romans 8:19-25 , 1 Corinthians 1:7 , Galatians 5:5 , Hebrews 10:13 ). St. Paul uses a graphic and intense synonym for hope. lit. ‘watching with outstretched head,’ in Romans 8:19 , Philippians 1:20 .

elpis appears first with its full Christian meaning in the NT Epp.; for it dates from our Lord’s resurrection and the gift of the Holy Spirit ( Romans 15:13 ). Its object is, in general, ‘the glory of God’ ( Romans 5:2 , 1 Thessalonians 2:12 ), i.e. the glorious manifestation of His completed redemption and the ‘coming’ of His ‘kingdom in power,’ which is to be realized, particularly, in the acknowledged lordship of Jesus ( 1 Corinthians 15:24-28 , Philippians 2:9 ff., Revelation 17:14 etc.), bringing about the glorification of His saints, shared by material nature ( Romans 8:17 ; Romans 8:25 , 2Th 1:10 f., 1 Corinthians 15:35 ff.). This will begin with the resurrection of the dead ( 1Th 4:16 , 1 Corinthians 15:12-23 , John 5:28 f.) and the transformation of the earthly body ( 1Co 15:50 ff., 2 Corinthians 5:1 ff., Philippians 3:21 ), ushering in for ‘those who are Christ’s’ the state of ‘incorruption’ which constitutes their ‘eternal life’ enjoyed in the vision of God and the full communion of the Lord Jesus ( Luke 20:35 f., 1 Corinthians 15:54 ff., Matthew 5:8 , John 14:2 f., John 17:24 , 1 John 3:2 , Revelation 7:14-17 etc.). Its goal is in heaven; and all the proximate and earthly aims of Christianity, whether in the way of personal attainment or of social betterment, are steps in the progress towards the final ‘deliverance from the bondage of corruption’ and ‘the revealing of the sons of God’ the great day of the Lord. Its ground lies in the ‘promise(s) of God’ ( Titus 1:2 , Hebrews 6:13-18 , 2 Peter 3:13 , 1 John 2:25 ), esp. the definite promise of the triumphant return of Jesus ensuring the consummation of the Messianic Kingdom ( Matthew 24:30 f., Acts 1:11 ; Acts 3:18-21 , 1 Corinthians 15:24-28 , Revelation 11:15-18 etc.); and its guarantee is twofold, being given objectively in the resurrection and ascension of our Lord ( Acts 17:31 , Romans 1:4 , Ephesians 1:18-23 , Colossians 1:18 , Hebrews 6:20 , 1 Peter 1:21 etc.), and subjectively in ‘the earnest of the Spirit within’ Christian ‘hearts’ ( 2 Corinthians 1:20 ff., Romans 8:16 f., Ephesians 1:13 f.). Its subjects are ‘the men of faith’ ( Romans 5:1-5 ; Romans 15:13 etc.): it is ‘the hope of our calling’ ( Eph 4:4 , 1 Thessalonians 2:12 , Revelation 19:9 ), ‘the hope of the gospel’ ( Colossians 1:23 ) that which the gospel conveys, and ‘the hope of righteousness’ ( Galatians 5:5 ) that which the righteousness of faith entertains; it belongs only to the Christianly pure, and is purifying in effect ( 1 John 3:2 f.; cf. Psalms 24:3-6 , Matthew 5:8 , Revelation 22:14 f.). Finally, it is a collective hope, the heritage of ‘the body of Christ,’ dear to Christian brethren because of their affection for each other ( 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 , 2 Thessalonians 2:1 , Ephesians 5:27 , Revelation 19:8 f., Revelation 21:1-7 etc.); and is cherished esp. by ministers of Christ for those in their charge ( 2 Corinthians 1:7-10 , 1 Thessalonians 2:19 f., Colossians 1:28 ; Colossians 3:4 , Philippians 2:16 etc.), as it animated the Chief Shepherd ( John 10:27 ff; John 12:26 ; John 14:2 ff; John 17:2 etc.). ‘In Christ Jesus’ hope is bound up as intimately with love as with faith ; these are the triad of essential graces ( 1 Corinthians 13:13 , 1 Thessalonians 1:3 , 2 Thessalonians 1:3 f., Ephesians 4:1-4 , Hebrews 10:22 ff.).

The whole future of the Christian life, for man and society, is lodged with ‘Christ Jesus our hope’ (1 Timothy 1:1 , Colossians 1:27 ); NT expectation focussed itself on His Parousia ‘the blessed hope’ ( Titus 2:13 ). Maranatha (‘our Lord cometh’ was a watchword of the Pauline Churches ( 1 Corinthians 16:22 ; cf. 1 Corinthians 1:7 f.). ‘The hope laid up for’ them ‘in the heavens’ formed the treasure of the first believers ( Colossians 1:5 ; Colossians 3:1-4 etc.); to ‘wait for’ the risen Jesus, coming as God’s son ‘from heaven’ ( 1 Thessalonians 1:9 f.), was half their religion. ‘By this hope’ were they ‘saved,’ being enabled in its strength to bear joyfully the ills of life and the universal contempt and persecution of the world around them, which stimulated instead of quenching their courage ( Romans 5:2-5 ; Romans 8:18-25 , 2 Corinthians 4:13 ; 2 Corinthians 5:8 , Philippians 1:20 f., Hebrews 10:32-36 , Revelation 7:13-17 ). According to the fine figure of Hebrews 6:18 ff., hope was their ‘anchor of the soul,’ grappled to the throne of the living, glorified Jesus ‘within the veil.’

G. G. Findlay.


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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Hope'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/hdb/h/hope.html. 1909.

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