THE NAMES OF GOD #12
by Nathan Stone (1944)
AND THE NAME of the city from that day shall be,
Jehovah-shammah" (Ezek. 48:35).
The meaning of the name Jehovah-shammah is Jehovah is there.
In the light of its setting and significance it is a most fitting
name with which to climax the Old Testament revelation of God. By
His various names Jehovah had revealed Himself in the power and
majesty and glory of His person and as meeting every need of that
man whom He had made in His image and for His glory. His name
Elohim revealed Him not only as Creator and Ruler, but as
covenanting to preserve His Creation. The name Jehovah revealed
Him in special relationship to man. For since that name indicates
absolute self-existence, and therefore One who is infinite and
eternal, it could be revealed only to creatures who could
apprehend and appreciate the infinite and eternal. And since the
name Jehovah sets God forth in His moral and spiritual
attributes, the special relationship between Him and the crowning
work of His Creation, the man made in His image, was a moral and
spiritual one. That moral and spiritual relationship was broken
by man's disobedience and sin and fall. After that, the names of
God compounded with Jehovah reveal Him as providing redemption
for fallen, sinful man, and depicting every aspect of that great
transaction of redemption by which man is fully restored to
God-healing, victory, peace, sanctification, justification,
preservation, care, and guidance. Jehovah-shammah is the promise
and pledge of the completion of that purpose in man's final rest
and glory, for man's end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.
For, as Paul says, "Whom he did predestinate, them he also
called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he
justified, them he also glorified" (Rom. 8:30), a past tense, but
speaking the language of eternity.
THE OCCASION OF THE NAME
The name Jehovah-shammah is found in the last verse of the
Book of Ezekiel. Ezekiel began his prophecies at a time when the
nation Israel was at the lowest ebb of its history, spiritually
and nationally. The sun of its strength and glory had long set,
and the night was fast closing in. Every one of his prophecies
was uttered in captivity where he had been taken several years
before the destruction of Jerusalem. The last great vision and
prophecy was uttered in the twenty-fifth year of the captivity
and fourteen years after Jerusalem had fallen, the Temple
destroyed, and only a poor, miserable remnant left in the land.
Israel's spirit was broken, and Ephraim's crown of pride was laid
low in the dust. It appears they had been delivered from bondage
in Egypt only to go into bondage in Babylon. By the rivers of
Babylon, the psalmist tells us, they sat and wept, as they
remembered Zion. Song had departed from them. They hung their
harps upon the willows. "How shall we sing Jehovah's song in a
strange land?" they answered their captors when they demanded of
them one of the songs of Zion. In the land of their humiliation
and sorrow they had time to reflect upon their follies and to
realize the pleasantness of their heritage now laid waste and the
beauty of Jehovah's sanctuary now destroyed. Then they vow: "If I
forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning.
If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my
mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy" (Ps. 137:5,
Perhaps with the passing of the years, or with the easing of
the conditions of captivity, enthusiasm for Zion was beginning to
wane. At any rate, the Ezekiel who twenty-five years before had
prophesied to the early captives in Babylon the destruction of
Jerusalem and the Temple, now brings this prophecy of hope and
consolation which predicts the restoration of land and people in
a measure far beyond anything they had ever experienced in the
past, or could have imagined. The pledge of all this is the name
Jehovah-shammah, Jehovah is there.
The Jehovah who had departed from the old Temple, desecrated
by the abominations of His people (Ezek. 10:18, 19; 11:22-24) and
destroyed by His judgments, now returns by the same way into a
new and glorious city and Temple, purged of all the old
abominations and oppressions, and characterized by righteousness,
justice, and holiness. The glory of Jehovah would fill this new
place, and His presence would dwell and abide there forever
(Ezek. 43:1-7). Ezekiel heard a voice saying to him: "Son of man,
this is the place of my throne, and the place of the soles of my
feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel
forever." All this vision Ezekiel was commanded to take back from
Jerusalem, where he had been taken in spirit, to the captives in
Babylon, for their heartening and hope.
THE MEANING OF THE NAME
The uniqueness and glory of Israel's religion as contrasted
with the religions of the surrounding nations had always been the
presence of a holy God dwelling in their midst. The condition of
His continued presence among them was to be their faithfulness to
a covenant by which they promised to be a holy people to this
holy God. This again was in striking contrast to the surrounding
nations whose worship was as cruel and licentious as their gods.
Jehovah had promised His presence among His people from the
beginning. Whatever the outward symbols or manifestation, the
Presence was real and felt. "Behold, I send an Angel before thee,
to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I
have prepared," He said to Moses (Exod. 23:20). In verse 23, this
angel is "my Angel." He is the angel of Jehovah who appeared to
Moses at the burning bush (Exod. 3:2), and who announces Himself
to Moses as the "I am that I am"--Je-hovah Himself (Exod. 3:14,
15). In answer to Moses' plea to continue with His people in
spite of their great sin and provocation, Jehovah says: "My
presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest." And
Moses continues: "If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up
hence. For wherein shall it be known here that I and thy people
have found grace in thy sight? is it not in that thou goest with
us?" (Exod. 33:14-16). Moses reminds the children of Israel as
they are about to enter the Promised Land, "because he loved thy
fathers, therefore he chose their seed after them, and brought
thee out with his presence" (Deut. 4:37, A.S.V.). And in a
wonderful passage of Scripture, Isaiah remarks: "In all their
affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved
them: in his love and pity he redeemed them; and he bare them and
carried them all the days of old" (63:9). In a beautiful psalm,
which tells of David's desire and purpose to build a house for
Jehovah to dwell in, we read: "Arise, O Jehovah, into thy rest;
thou, and the ark of thy strength ... For Jehovah hath chosen
Zion; he hath desired it for his habitation. This is my rest
forever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it" (132:8,13,
Both tabernacle and Temple were the place of His abode and
His visible manifestation in Israel. The New Testament makes it
quite clear that these Old Testament edifices were figures of the
true, the pattern of things in the heavens (Heb. 9:23, 24).
Everything about them was highly typical of God's presence and
glory. Of their free and willing gifts the children of Israel
erected these costly and beautiful buildings. As soon as the
tabernacle in the wilderness was completed and dedicated, we are
told that the glory of Jehovah filled it, and the cloud of
Jehovah was upon the tabernacle by day, and there was fire
therein by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel,
throughout all their journeys (Exod. 40:34-38).
David desires to build a "house" for Jehovah to dwell in
because all these centuries since they had first entered the land
Jehovah had "walked in a tent and in a tabernacle" (11 Sam.
7:5-7). And when that magnificent Temple was built by his son
Solomon on the very site of Mount Moriah, where Jehovah had
revealed Himself to Abraham as Jehovah-jireh, a great and
dramatic scene ensued. At the end of Solomon's great prayer of
dedication, the fire, fitting symbol of Jehovah's presence and
power, came down from heaven, consumed the sacrifices on the
altar, "and the glory of Jehovah filled the house. And the
priests could not enter into the house of Jehovah, because the
glory of Jehovah had filled Jehovah's house" (2 Chron. 7:1-3).
The fullness of Jehovah's presence was the hope and end of
all prophetic expectation. After the glorious prophecy of
Messiah's universal reign in the eleventh chapter, Isaiah pens a
beautiful psalm of praise in chapter 12 which ends with the
words: "Cry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion: for great is
the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee." Also speaking of a
future fulfillment, Jeremiah says: "At that time they shall call
Jerusalem the throne of the Lord" (3:17). "Glorious things are
spoken of thee, O city of God," says the psalmist of Zion (Ps.
87:3). Of the city trodden under foot and despised, Isaiah says:
"They shall call thee The City of Jehovah, The Zion of the Holy
One of Israel" (60:14). In Psalm 46, that great psalm of
confidence, Jehovah is represented as "the indwelling Helper."
Here mention is made of "the city of God, the holy place of
the tabernacles of the most High. God is in the midst of her ...
The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge."
Whereas all about in the earth is turmoil and tumult, war and
ruin, there is safety, security, tranquility, in the city of
Jehovah's constant presence.
But to return to Ezekiel's vision and prophecy, was the
fullest meaning of the name Jehovah-shammah to be realized in any
earthly habitation? "Will God," asks King Solomon on the very
occasion of the dedication of the Temple, "will God in very deed
dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens
cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have
builded!" (I Kings 8:27).
The orthodox Jewish interpretation of this vision has always
been a strictly literal one. Its fulfillment is to be realized in
an earthly Jerusalem, a temple rebuilt and the sacrificial system
restored. Then Messiah is to come and reign as the Son of David
with Jerusalem as His throne and the spiritual and political
center of the earth. So Jehovah-shammah is realized.
Some Christian interpreters have also supported the view of a
strictly literal interpretation and as having no other
significance. Others have interpreted the vision only in a
typical, spiritual sense, as having no literal fulfillment
whatever in an earthly Jerusalem and a restored, national Israel.
There are still others who combine the two interpretations and
declare that the vision has both a literal fulfillment and a
wider, spiritual and final fulfillment. Israel will indeed be
restored to their land and resume their worship. Messiah, the
Prince, will indeed appear for their salvation and the setting up
of His kingdom when every knee shall bow before Him and every
tongue confess Him as Lord. But there is an even fuller, a final
application to be made of this prophecy, that of a new heaven and
new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness, a home eternal in the
heavens. For it is quite obvious that even though Ezekiel was
bidden to carry this vision back to Babylon for the hope and
encouragement of the captives there, it had a much larger
significance than could ever have been realized by their return.
And as a matter of fact, nothing in the program of this vision
was adopted by them when they did return.
THE FULFILLMENT OF THE NAME
It has been seen that the fulfillment of this name was
limited in the Old Testament both in its manifestation and scope.
Every manifestation of God's presence in the midst of His people,
though real, could only be but a shadow of a glorious reality to
come. As to its scope, it was limited to the nation Israel.
In the New Testament dispensation it has a wider scope in that it
is more spiritual than symbolic, and more personal rather than
national. For now it has been fulfilled ideally in the person of
the Lord Jesus Christ.
As man and representing the human race "the whole fullness
of God was pleased to dwell in him" (Col. 1:19, marg.). He was
the effulgence of God's glory and the very image of His substance
(Heb. 1:3, A.S.V.). "The Word became flesh and tabernacled among
us," says John, "and we beheld his glory" (John 1:14). Thus He
became "God with us," the Immanuel of Isaiah 7:14, the Child, the
Son, the mighty God, the everlasting Father of Isaiah 9:6. The
One who in the Old Testament came in occasional, mysterious
appearance as the Angel of Jehovah, the Angel of His Presence,
the Angel of the Covenant, the Angel in whom is Jehovah's name,
became in Christ both the Presence itself and the Temple in whom
the Presence resided so that in Him and of Him it could be said
Jehovah-shammah, Jehovah is there.
This Presence is now in believers as living temples of God.
"Know ye not that ye are a temple of God, and that the Spirit of
God dwelleth in you" (I Cor. 3: 16). "What agreement hath a
temple of God with idols?" Paul further says to the Corinthians:
"For ye are a temple of the living God; even as God said, I will
dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and
they shall be my people" (2 Cor. 6:16).
Like Israel of old, the Church as a whole, as the Body of
Christ, is also called the habitation of God. Of the true Church
it can be said, "Jehovah is there." Speaking of the Gentiles,
Paul calls them no more strangers but fellow citizens together
with believing Jews, with the saints, and of the household of
God, built on the same foundations of apostles, prophets, and
Christ the chief cornerstone. He describes it as a building fitly
framed, growing into a holy temple in the Lord, a habitation of
God in the Spirit (Eph. 2:19-'22). Christ promised His abiding
presence to His Church (Matt. 28:20), being present even where
two or three should be gathered in His name.
It will certainly have a larger fulfillment yet for Israel
in a millennial kingdom. Of a restored Israel and Palestine,
where every man shall dwell safely under his own vine and fig
tree, when the mountains of the house of Jehovah shall be
established (Mic. 4:1-6), and Messiah, The Branch, the beautiful
and glorious Branch of Jehovah, shall build the temple, and bear
the glory and rule as prince and priest upon His throne, with
counsels of peace (Zech. 6:12, 13), there can be no doubt unless
the plainest prophecies are so spiritualized as to rob them of
all sense and understanding, and destroy the meaning and
integrity of prophecy.
But, as already indicated, the name Jehovah-shammah has a
final and eternal fulfillment. This was intimated by the Lord
Jesus in His parting discourses to His disciples. He spoke about
the many mansions in His Father's house from which He would
return to take His disciples to Himself that they should be with
Him there (John 14:2, 3). "Father, I will that they also, whom
thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold
my glory" (John 17:24).
The ideal of life even in the Old Testament was never
conceived of as being fully realized on earth. "As for me," says
the psalmist, "I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall
be satisfied, when I awake with thy likeness" (Ps. 17:15). "My
flesh shall rest in hope," for "in thy presence is fullness of
joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures forevermore" (Ps.
16:9,11 ). And the New Testament declares that our "citizenship
is in heaven" (Phil. 3:20).
The ideal and future life was often pictured under the
figure of a city. Even the psalmist must have had in mind
something of what Ezekiel saw in his vision, something more than
the earthly Zion he knew, when he wrote: "There is a river, the
streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place
of the tabernacles of the most High" (Ps. 46:4). The great cities
of the world are built on the banks of broad, deep streams, but
Jerusalem had no river. It is an ideal, a heavenly Jerusalem in
which this saying finds its final and fullest realization.
Abraham looked for a city which had foundations, whose builder
and maker is God (Heb. 11:10). He saw the final fulfillment of
the promise "afar off." He desired a better country than any
earthly Canaan could be, that is, a heavenly country, as his true
home, for he confessed himself a stranger and pilgrim on the
earth (Heb. 11:13-16). The writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews
tells us: "Ye are come unto Mount Zion, and unto the city of the
living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable hosts of
angels, to the general assembly and church of the first-born who
are enrolled in heaven" (Heb. 12:22, 23, A.S.V.). And of that
city the Book of Revelation says that there was no temple there.
There was no further need of any outward symbol of Jehovah's
presence, "for the Lord God, the Almighty, and the Lamb are the
temple thereof" (Rev. 21:22).
The ideal and eternal character of this city of God, the
place of His full and glorious presence, finds its most sublime
expression in Revelation 21 and 22. "I saw a new heaven and a new
earth: for the first heaven and the first earth are passed away;
and the sea is no more. And 1 saw the hoyl city, the new
Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a
bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of
the throne saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and
he shall dwell [or tabernacle] with them, and they shall be his
people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God"
(Rev. 21:1-3). In that beautiful city, foursquare with its
precious stones, its crystal river, its delectable fruits, and
tree of life with its leaves for the healing of the nations, all
will be light, and love, and holiness, and worship, and joy, and
safety. There shall be no more curse, no adversary, no
defilement, no sorrow, for every wicked doer shall be cut off
from that city of the Lord or Jehovah. Then will be realized the
full and final rest of the redeemed, the Sabbath rest of creation
restored. The glory of Jehovah will be fully manifested in the
Lamb that was slain. He will be seen and known in the full
meaning and beauty of all the names by which He had revealed
Himself to man's imperfect apprehension. And we shall join in
saying "unto him that sitteth on the throne, and unto the Lamb be
the blessing, and the honor, and the glory, and the dominion
forever and ever" (Rev. 5:13).
The names of God is an interesting subject. It was especailly
important for ancient Israel, to know about the true God, His
power, character, miracles, grace, favor, deliverer, protector,
healer, giver, salvation, and all the rest you have studied.
Today for the New Covenant child of God, we should (especially
from reading the New Testament) know all that God is without
having to understand Hebrew. For those who have been true
Christians for any length of time, what you have read and
studied, you should have already known. But bringing it out in
such a study as this, just brands what you know deeper in the
Our Father and His Son Christ Jeus are indeed ALL IN ALL -
perfect and mighty and righteous and salvation - as much as the
whole universe could hold.
Praise be to them for their LOVE towards us weak and imperfect
humans. Praise to them that they have such LOVE they want to
share it with us in their FAMILY.
If you have not yet read and studied my study called "A
Christian's Destiny" then you really do need to do so, for God
the Father created us to become like Himself. It is mind-blowing,
and it is humbling, and you should then appreciate salvation as