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STUDIES ON THE NAMES OF THE LORD

By Davis Huckabee

Introduction


Then began men to call themselves by the name of the Lord,” (Gen. 4:32; marg.).  “Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord and that thought upon his name,” (Mal. 3:16). Here is the first reference to the Name of the Lord in the Old Testament, and almost the last one of some 375 references in the Old Testament.  This is a subject that is both very broad, yet also very important since it tells us so much about Him that is the believer’s only hope.  The “Name of the Lord” is not an empty phrase, but stands for all that the Lord is, as manifest in the different names and titles by which He is known, as we will subsequently show.  And so, the more that one knows of the Name of the Lord, the more will this promote boldness in him, as we see in the case of the newly converted Saul of Tarsus.  “But Barnabas took him [Saul], and brought him to the apostles, and declared unto them how that he had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of the Lord… And he spake boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus, and disputed against the Grecians…,” (Acts 9:27, 29).  What a radical change took place when Jesus answered from heaven Saul’s question in Acts 9:3-6.  No longer was “Jesus” merely the name of a supposedly false prophet.  He was Jehovah incarnate.

We are commanded to believe “in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ,” (1 John 3:23), which indicates that the word “Name” is much more than an empty title, but has a saving, sanctifying, satisfying substance to it.  This is to be seen in God’s revelation of Himself in Exodus 3:13-15: “And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name?  What shall I say unto them?  And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.  And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, The Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you; this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.”  This passage that has mystified so many scholars simply shows that there is no past or future with God, but that He is eternally the same—immutable—unchanging, an inconceivable concept to us that are creatures if time and space.

  And another important passage is Psalm 72:17-19: “His name shall endure for ever; his name shall be continued as long as the sun; and men shall be blessed in him: all nations shall call him blessed.  Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel who only doeth wondrous things.  And blessed be his glorious name for ever: and let the whole earth be filled with his glory; Amen and Amen.”  This too emphasizes that “Name” here signifies much more than a mere title.  These things being said of the name Jehovah Elohim, that it is an eternal name, shows that, contrary to the rationalizing attempts to legitimize worship of any and every “god” under the plea that all refer to the one and only true God, God does not change His name from age to age or country to country. He is always and only Jehovah Elohim. We will later come back and examine these texts more fully as to their meaning, but for the moment we only want to establish the fact of the prominence of the “Name” that it is equivalent the one and only true God Himself.

This terminology is not just restricted to Bible usage, for “name” is of common usage in the secular world, and many people do not rightly understand it in that setting.  How could they understand its meaning in a spiritual context when they do not understand it in a civil sense?  It is for this reason that before we get into the study of the names and titles of the Lord in Scripture, we must first make sure that we understand its usage in ordinary speech.

 And another confusing factor is that this word is used in so many different ways and contexts in our English language.  In Webster’s New World Dictionary, College Edition, the noun “name” has seven different applications, while Webster’s original edition of 1828 lists twelve different applications, and he illustrated almost every one by a quotation from Scripture or from a human figure of renown.  And we doubt not but that the usage of the word in Holy Scripture can be found in an even greater number of applications.   

We live in a most blessed time, in one sense, for education has proliferated at an astounding rate in the last two hundred years or so, so that most people have at least a basic education, and many hold college degrees, as forecast in Daniel 12:4: “…to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.” But prior to two hundred years ago or less, most people could neither read or write, and so, were dependent for their knowledge upon church leaders, who were often wicked and manipulative, or upon public officials that were unsympathetic toward the poor and ignorant.  Today, however, even middle school children can get on the Internet and find almost any written information in the world, yet this has not made for a more spiritual people, but quite the contrary.  Many have used this accessibility to knowledge to try to disprove God’s existence, or at least to deny their own accountability to God, which only proves the biblical teaching of man’s innate, congenital, total depravity.  

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