Names of God
"And the name of the city from that day shall be Jehovah-shammah" (Ezekiel 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" (Romans 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.
began his prophecies at a time when the nation
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
The last great vision and prophecy was uttered in the twenty -fifth year of the
captivity and fourteen years after
and only a poor, miserable remnant left in the land.
Ephraim's crown of pride was laid low in the dust. It appears they had been delivered
from bondage in
the psalmist tells
us, they sat and wept, as they remembered
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
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
Perhaps with the passing of the years, or with the easing of the conditions of
captivity, enthusiasm for
who twenty -five years before had prophesied to the early
the destruction of
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
Jehovah who had departed from the old
abominations of His people (Ezekiel 10:18, 19; 11:22-24) and destroyed by
His judgments, now returns by the same way into a new and glorious city and
by righteousness, justice, and holiness. The glory of Jehovah would fill this
new place, and His presence would dwell and abide there forever (Ezekiel 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
their heartening and hope.
THE MEANING OF THE NAME
uniqueness and glory of
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 (Exodus 23:20). In v. 23,
this angel is "my Angel." He is the angel of Jehovah who appeared to Moses at
the burning bush (Exodus 3:2), and who announces Himself to Moses as the
"I am that I am"-Jehovah Himself (Exodus 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?" (Exodus 33:14-16). Moses reminds the children
therefore he chose their seed after them, and brought thee out with his presence"
(Deuteronomy 4:37, ASV). And in a wonderful passage of Scripture, Isaiah
remarks: "In all their affliction he was af flicted, 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
he bath desired it for his habitation. This is my rest forever: here will I dwell;
for I have desired it" (132:8, 13, 14).
were figures of the true, the pattern of things in the heavens (Hebrews 9:23, 24).
Everything about them was highly typical of God's presence and glory. Of their free
and willing gifts the children of
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
throughout all their journeys (Exodus 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"
Samuel 7:5 -7). And when that magnificent
on the very site of
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" (II Chronicles 7:1 -3).
The fullness of Jehovah's presence was the hope and end of all prophetic e xpectation.
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
Also speaking of a future fulfillment, Jeremiah says: "At that time they shall call
of God," says the psalmist of
despised, Isaiah says: "They shall call thee The City of Jehovah, The Zion of the
is represented as "the indwelling Helper." Here
mention is made of "the city of
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
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
on the very occasion of the dedication of the
deed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain
thee; how much less this house that I have builded!" (1 Kings 8:27).
The orthodox Jewish interpretation of this vision has always been a strictly literal one.
fulfillment is to be realized in an earthly
sacrificial system restored. Then Messiah is to come and reign as the Son of David
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
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.
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
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
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" (Colossians 1:19,
margin). He was the effulgence of God's glory and the very image of His substance
(Hebrews 1:3, ASV). "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
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
Corinthians 3:16). "What agreement
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" (II Corinthians 6:16).
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 (Ephesians 2:19-22). Christ promised His abiding
presence to His Church (Matthew 28:20), being present even where two or three
should be gathered in His name. It will certainly have a larger fulfillment yet
every man shall dwell safely under his own vine and fig tree, when the mountains
of the house of Jehovah shall be established (Micah 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 (Zechariah 6:12, 13), there can be no doubt unless the plainest
prophecies are so spiritualized as to rob them of all sens e 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 abo ut 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: 1 shall be satisfied, when I awake with thy likeness" (Psalm
17:15). "My flesh shall rest in hope," for "in thy presence is fullness of joy;
at thy right hand there are pleasures forevermore" (Psalm 16:9, 11). And the
New Testament declares that our "citizenship is in heaven" (Philippians 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
the streams whereof shall make glad the city of
tabernacles of the most High" (Psalm 46:4). The great cities of the world are
built on the banks of broad, deep streams, but
ideal, a heavenly
Abraham looked for a city which had foundations, whose builder and maker is God
(Hebrews 11:10). He saw the final fulfillment of the promise "afar off." He desired
a better country than any earthly
his true home, for he confessed himself a stranger and pilgrim on the earth
(Hebrews 11:13-16). The writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews tells us: "Ye are
and to innumerable hosts of angels, to the general assembly and church of the
first-born who are enrolled in heaven" (Hebrews 12:22, 23, ASV). 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" (Revelation 21:22).
ideal and eternal character of this city of
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 I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem,
coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a brid e 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" (Revelation 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" (Revelation
Copied from Names of God by Nathan Stone
Courtesy of Moody Press Chicago