God the Father
Lesson Two from
Those Things Most Surely Believed by Us
Text: Isaiah 63:8 "For he said, Surely they are my people, children that will not lie: so he was their Saviour."
In the last lesson, you studied about the one God of the Bible. Since Christianity is based on the Scriptures, it is clearly monotheistic. It embraces the truth that there is but one God and none other. Yet, the same Bible that teaches us that there is only one God reveals that God in three distinct persons. While the human mind cannot comprehend the Doctrine of the Triune God, it is a clear teaching of the Holy Scriptures.
While you cannot understand the Doctrine of the Trinity, you can accept it as a biblical truth. Therefore, first you must recognize the Bible clearly teaches that there is only one God. It is this truth that was presented in your last lesson. Secondly, you need to recognize that the same Bible reveals that this one God exists as the three persons of the Godhead.
While this triune God can be found throughout the Bible, you should note that the Bible gives us a progressive revelation of the three persons of the Godhead. While the triune God exists harmoniously in the Old Testament, it is God the Father that is most revealed in the writings of the Old Testament. In the writings of the Gospels, the Bible then reveals God the Son, who is Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh. Finally, God the Holy Ghost is revealed in the remainder of the writings of the New Testament.
In this lesson, you will study the person of God the Father. Remember it is He who is most prominently revealed in the writings of the Old Testament. While a technical name for the study of God the Father does not exists, it should be called Paterology. In order to understand more about God the Father, you will examine two aspects concerning Him. The first aspect you will examine consists of the titles or names that are used for God in the Old Testament writings. The second aspect you will examine is made up of the teachings about the Fatherhood of God. The examination of these two aspects will help you understand God the Father as revealed in the Bible.
Titles or Names of God the Father
The first aspect you will examine concerns the titles or names used for God the Father. There are three titles or names commonly used for God in the Old Testament. Since God the Father is most prominently portrayed in the Old Testament, these three titles are most often associated with Him. Unlike names given in American society today, each name has a special meaning which identifies the one named with certain characteristics or attributes.
The first Hebrew word used in the Bible which is translated God is the word Elohim. It is used over 2500 times in the Old Testament for God. This word, which is used first in Genesis 1:1, means “the strong one.” How wonderfully it portrays a father who in earthly families would be identified as the strong one of the family. Yet, this divine person of the trinity has such a magnitude of strength that all He has to do is to speak, and out of nothing comes forth all that was made.
The primary Hebrew word “El” also appears in combination with other Hebrew words to give us greater insight of the heavenly Father. Three of these compound words are given below.
- El Elyon: The first compound word is El Elyon and is found in Genesis 14. It is translated as “the most high God” in the King James Bible. In this passage of Genesis 14, Melchizedek identifies God as the most high God who is “possessor of heaven and earth” to Abraham who has just returned victorious from battle. This priest of God reminds Abraham that it is the most high God who has delivered “thine enemies into thou hand” (Genesis 14:20). As Abraham observed the substance the possessor of all had delivered unto him, he gave “him tithes of all” (Genesis 14:20). Surely, Abraham honored God as the owner of all that had been delivered unto him. The use of this word in context presents the heavenly Father as the One who sustains us.
- El Shaddai: The second compound word is El Shaddai and is found in Genesis 17. It is translated in the King James Bible as the “almighty God.” The first word in this compound word is “El.” It means the “strong one.” The second word “shaddai” comes from a root word “shad.” It means the breast. It actually pictures a mother nursing her child. Therefore, the heavenly Father is presented as the strength giver or nourisher. He is pictured as the Father Who strengthens us to accomplish His will. Therefore, we need not fight spiritual warfare in our own strength but in His strength. It is the strong one from whom all strength comes. He is the Father which strengthens us.
- El Olam: The third compound word is El Olam and is found in Genesis 21. This compound word is translated in the King James Bible as the “everlasting God.” It reveals God the Father who is able to span the ages because of His eternal nature. Therefore, He is able to offer eternal life to “whosoever” by faith become His children. It is through the use of these compound names for God that God the Father is presented as the one who sustains you, who strengthens you, and who spans the ages in your behalf.
In Genesis 2:4, you find the second name used for God which is Jehovah. This word is used over 5000 times in the Old Testament. The King James Bible uses the word LORD for this Hebrew word for God. It always uses all capital letters when this Hebrew word is employed.
There are two major meanings of the word Jehovah. First, this word means redemption. When this word is used, God the Father is portrayed as the God of Redemption. It was the LORD who clothed Adam and Eve with the coats of animals. In this act, He taught mankind the necessity of the blood redemption. Second, the word Jehovah translated LORD means the “self-existent one.” It is this meaning that Moses discovered when God revealed Himself to him as “I am that I am” (Exodus 3:14).
The name Jehovah is also used in combination with other words to help us better understand God the Father. Three of these combinations are considered below.
- Jehovah-jireh: The first combination is Jehovah-jireh. This combination means “the Lord will provide.” In Genesis 22:14, “Abraham called the name of that place Jehovah-jireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen.” Surely, this is one of the most wonderful accounts of the God of redemption. In this account Isaac is spared as God provides “Himself a lamb.” This event foretold of the day that God the Father would provide his own Son as a sacrifice for man’s sin. No wonder that John the Baptist spoke of Jesus as the “lamb of God.” As you consider Calvary, the accuracy of the words “In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen” becomes quite clear.
- Jehovah-nissi: Another combination which gives you insight of God the father is Jehovah-nissi. As Moses discovered the victory found in Jehovah, he “built an altar, and called the name of it Jehovah-nissi” (Exodus 17:15.) This combination means “the Lord is our banner.” This speaks of the victory which God the Father has provided in Christ Jesus. Of this eternal victory, Paul wrote, “But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1st Corinthians 15:57).
- Jehovah-shalom: The third combination you will consider is found in Judges 6 in the account of Gideon. This combination is Jehovah-shalom which means “the LORD our peace.” Gideon recognized in Jehovah there is peace. Yet this incident speaks of a battle much greater than the one that Gideon fought. It speaks of the enmity between fallen man and a holy God. Paul wrote of this peace, “For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; And, having made peace though the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, ye now hath he reconciled” (Colossians 1:19-21). Thank God Almighty, the LORD is our peace.
Through the combination of these words you learn that through God the Father there is redemptive provision, victory, and peace for those who by faith in Christ Jesus become members of the household of faith.
In Genesis 15, you find the third common title or name used for God the Father. It is the word Adonai, which means “one who rules.” In the King James Bible, the word used for Adonai is “Lord or lord.” Unlike the word Jehovah, it is found written in little letters rather than capital letters.
This word is used to speak of both earthly and eternal relationships. In the Bible, it may be used of the relationship between a master and a slave or a husband and a wife. More importantly, it reveals God the Father as one who owns and rules over all.
These three titles or names of God reveal God the Father as the God of strength, as the God of Salvation, and as the Sovereign God. Through the use of these names or titles, you gain insight as to the nature and identity of God the Father.
Teachings About God the Father
In the Old Testament writings, the most common titles or names used for God the Father is God, Jehovah or the Lord. But it is the New Testament that most commonly refers to Him as God the Father or just Father. This title is the most popular title used for Him by Christians today. This name indicates the intimate relationship with God made possible since Jesus Christ came down unto mankind. While the title Father may be used in reference to God the Father in four different ways, these can best be understood when placed within two different categories.
The first category is a corrupt usage of this title. Some falsely teach that God is the Father of all mankind since He is the creator of all. Thus they teach He is the Father of mankind. However, this is false reasoning. This reasoning would mean that He is Father of the rocks since he created them. No one would teach this. Yet, those who conclude that God is the Father of men because He created them is based upon the same faulty reasoning. These same teachers also teach the brotherhood of all mankind based of the same logic. Such teaching is unbiblical. Though God is creator of all men, He is not Father of all men. Therefore, this teaching espouses a corrupt usage of the title of God as Father.
The second category is the correct usage of this title. There are three ways this title is used correctly.
- Father of the Nation of Israel: Of this relationship, Hosea wrote, “When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt” (Hosea 11:1). Of this, Isaiah wrote, “Doubtless thou art our father, though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not: thou, O Lord, art our father, our redeemer; thy name is from everlasting” (Isaiah 63:16). Again, he wrote, “But now, O Lord, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand” (Isaiah 64:8). In these verses, He is presented as the Father of the nation of Israel.
- Father of Jesus Christ: As to this use of the title, Father, Isaiah wrote, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given . . .” (Isaiah 9:6). It is important to note that while a child was born, a son was given. He is the eternal Son of the eternal Father. Again and again in the New Testament, Jesus makes reference to God as His Father. He is the Father of Jesus Christ.
- Father of all Christians: Paul wrote of this relationship, “One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all” (Ephesians 4:6). The fact he wrote “in you all” makes it clear that he was speaking only of Christians in this verse. This verse speaks of God as the Father of all Christians. That is why John wrote, “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestoweth upon us, that we should be called the Sons of God” (1st John 3:1). Christians have been spiritually born of their heavenly Father.
God is the Father of the nation of Israel, Jesus Christ, and all Christians. These are the correct usages of the title of God as Father. He is the first person of the Trinity.
The titles or names of God the Father and the teachings concerning the fatherhood of God helps you to understand more about the first person of the Trinity–God the Father.
God the Father
- The study about God the Father should be known as .
- List two aspects which help you to understand more about God the Father. 1. 2.
- List three names or titles which are most often associated with God the Father. 1. 2. 3.
- These three titles or names of God reveal God the Father as the God of , as the God of , and as the God.
- The name Jehovah is also used in with other words to help us better understand God the Father.
- The title is the most popular title used for God the Father by Christians today.
- While God is creator of all men, He is not the of all men.
- It is correct to refer to God as the Father of the___________ of , the Father of_________ __________, and the Father of all _______________.