Doctrine of God 0001 - Lesson 4

  1. THE NAMES OF GOD

NOTE: The following passage from The Doctrine of God by Herman Bavinck (p.84-86) gives an excellent introduction to the importance of the names of God: “There is a very close connection between God and his name. According to Scripture also this connection is not an arbitrary one, but established by God himself. Men do not give him a name; he gives himself a name. God’s name is, therefore, most of all God’s revelation of himself whereby he actively and objectively makes himself known. Furthermore, the name of God is identical with the virtues or excellencies which he reveals outwardly: with his glory (Psalm 8:1; Psalm 72:19); honor (Leviticus 18:21; Psalm 86:11; Psalm 102:15); redeeming power (Exodus 15:3; Exodus 23:21); etc. The name is God himself as he reveals himself in one quality or another (Leviticus 24:11, 16; Deuteronomy 28:58). Hence, that name, being the revelation of God, is great (Ezekiel 36:23); holy (Ezekiel 36:20); terrible [(Psalm 99:3); holy and reverend (Psalm 111:9)]; a strong tower (Proverbs 18:10).

“By means of proper names, especially by means of the name Jehovah, God made himself known unto Israel. Through the [Angel] in whom his name abides (Exodus 23:20-21) he revealed himself to Israel. Through him he put his name upon the children of Israel (Numbers 6:27). Through him also he recorded his name among them (Exodus 20:24); put his name among them and caused it to dwell among them (Deuteronomy 16:11; Deuteronomy 12:5); especially in the temple established for his name (2 Samuel 7:13). In that temple his name now dwells (2 Chronicles 20:9; 2 Chronicles 33:4). By that name he saves (Psalm 54:1); and because of that name he cannot leave Israel (1 Samuel 12:22; Isaiah 48:9, 11; Psalm 31:3; Psalm 23:3; Psalm 143:11). Hence, Israel is forbidden to profane, desecrate, or take in vain that name (Exodus 20:7; Leviticus 18:21; Leviticus 19:12; Leviticus 24:11). On the contrary, that name must be invoked, proclaimed, exalted, made known, confessed, feared, magnified, cherished, sought, sanctified (Genesis 4:26; Genesis 12:8; Exodus 9:16; Deuteronomy 28:58; 1 Kings 8:33; Psalm 5:11; Psalm 34:3; Psalm 52:9; Psalm 83:16; Psalm 122:4; Isaiah 26:8; Matthew 6:9; John 12:28; etc.).

“In the New Testament God’s name receives an even richer and deeper meaning; for the [Word], who was in the beginning with God and in the bosom of the Father, hath declared the Father unto us (John 1:18) and hath revealed his name (John 17:6, 26). Whereas no one knoweth the Father but the Son, only that person to whom the Son reveals the Father obtains a knowledge of God (Matthew 11:27). He who confesseth the Son hath the Father (1 John 2:23); he who hath seen him hath seen the Father (John 14:9). Hence, the name Jesus Christ guarantees our true knowledge of God as well as all the benefits connected with that knowledge.

His name is Jesus because he saves his people from their sins (Matthew 1:21): his is the only name given under heaven, whereby we must be saved (Acts 4:12). By his name miracles are wrought (Acts 4:7); we receive remission (Acts 2:38); the right to become children (John 1:12); and eternal life (1 John 5:13). Where two or three are gathered in his name, he is in the midst of them (Matthew 18:20). Whosoever prayeth in his name is heard (John 14:13). Whosoever calleth on the name of the Lord shall be saved (Acts 2:21)… [Believers are baptized into the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost (Matthew 28:19).] And in the New Jerusalem an even greater revelation awaits believers (Revelation 3:12) when God’s name shall be upon the foreheads of all (Revelation 22:4)…

“The name of God in Scripture does not designate him as he exists in himself, but in his manifold revelation and relation to the creature. Nevertheless, this name is not arbitrary, but God reveals himself as he is. Hence, God’s name stands for his honor, glory, excellencies, revelation, and divine essence. Hence, whosoever receives a revelation of that name receives a special privilege, and is, therefore, under special obligations. Whereas God reveals himself by means of his name, he requires his creatures to call him in accordance with that name. The ‘name by which God reveals himself’ becomes the ‘name by which we address him.’…

“Whatever God reveals of himself is expressed in certain definite names. To his creatures he grants the privilege to name him and to speak to him on the ground of and in conformity with his revelation. The one name of God, as inclusive of his entire revelation both in nature and in grace, is for us resolved into many, very many names. Only in that way do we obtain a view of the riches of his revelation and of the deep significance of his name. We are indeed privileged to address him in accordance with all that is revealed of his being in creation and redemption. Nevertheless, whereas all these names which we use to address him are names of God, we are obliged to sanctify and extol them. It is the one name, the full revelation, and in so far, it is the very being of God with which the names have to do.”

David Reagan

Daily Proverb

Proverbs 5:11

And thou mourn at the last, when thy flesh and thy body are consumed,