THE NAMES OF GOD!
What we call the "NATURAL LAWS OF NATURE" or "MOTHER NATURE" are in fact laws dependent on the continuous exercise and care of GOD'S POWER.
God made man in HIS image and man fell from that through sin. Our ancient forefathers sensed within themselves the reality of a spiritual realm, but manifested that reality with "gods of their own invention".
The central truth about God, a truth that has been continuously available to humankind, is that the word “God” can rightly be applied only to the One True Creator.
While God the Father Himself is Spirit and invisible, and not accessible to our senses, the creation testifies to what Paul calls God’s “eternal power and Godhead”.
Joh 4:24 ESV God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
Rom 1:18-20 ASV For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hinder the truth in unrighteousness; 19 because that which is known of God is manifest in them; for God manifested it unto them. 20 For the invisible things of him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, even his everlasting power and divinity; that they may be without excuse:
This witness to God in the creation is often referred to as “natural revelation.” What Paul is saying is that “what may be known of God”, His eternal power and Godhead is both broadcast in nature and is sensed inwardly by human beings. THEREFORE, man is without excuse for denying the One True God, and man is without excuse for substituting the truth of God for a man-made image.
God and His power are eternal. The material universe is not self-existent. Its existence is dependent on the power of God. Paul’s choice of the Greek word "aidios" in Rom.1:20, (which means “everlasting”) rather than the more common term "aionios" (which means “eternal”) indicates that God’s power is also continuously at work in maintaining the universe.
God brought the world into being, and the operations of what we sometimes call “natural laws” are in fact dependent on the continuous exercise of God’s power.
THE NAMES OF GOD!
The Greek word translated “Godhead”, “deity” or “divine nature” encompasses all the perfections of God. Rather than present a single quality or characteristic of God, His name indicates “the totality of that which God is.” In the creation we see a Being who is both Powerful and Personal and is the source of all.
A common illustration for the existence and power of God is explained in the story of the pocket watch.
Let's say that you were walking through a field and you find an old pocket watch laying there in the grass. You pick it up, look at it, and immediately realize that this object didn’t just happen into existence. You realize that the watch is too complex to just happen. The outside of the watch is polished metal. You notice the glass face that seems intended to protect the hands that move in a regular, consistent way. There are numbers painted on the face of the watch which the moving hands point to. Within the inside of the watch are complex gears that seem designed to maintain the regular movement of the hands.
Upon further reflection of your find, you realize that the features of the watch are interrelated. The removal of any one element would make it impossible for the rest of the watch parts to function as intended. In finding such a watch you would not assume for an instant that the watch “just happened.” The logical conclusion is that the watch had a maker, and that the maker was personal, intelligent, skilled, and had the full ability to design such a watch.
And so, when we look at the creation of the universe we simply must assume there was/is a Creator. Creation is too complex to have simply, "just happened." The design of the universe and the incredible multiple systems that keep our planet livable, each of them marked by interrelated mechanisms that must operate in concert with one another, must be the product of a personal, skilled, and intelligent agent. There simply must be a personal God to explain the existence of the material universe. AMEN!
THE NAMES OF GOD! For those of us who want to know God better, we need to explore the names, which God has presented Himself to us in His Word.
Why all this information about the names of God versus the names of false gods? It shows the foolishness of man to create a god in his own image and then bow down and worship it. Even if man looks into a mirror and worships himself, this humanistic mindset is still a false religion.
It is like Jeramiah chapters 1-8 all over again. Man carves an idol out of a tree and then carries it because it cannot walk, prays to it but it cannot hear, seeks it's counsel but it cannot speak.
But the Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is personal and known through His creation. Paul’s argument in Romans 1-2 that natural revelation makes it clear that God continuously makes Himself known to ALL human beings of ALL times and ALL places.
Psa 19:1-4 ASV For the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David. The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament showeth his handiwork. 2 Day unto day uttereth speech, And night unto night showeth knowledge. 3 There is no speech nor language; Their voice is not heard. 4 Their line is gone out through all the earth, And their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun,
THE NAMES OF GOD!
RELIGION IS A WAY OF DISTANCING OURSELVES FROM THE ONE TRUE GOD!
Our ancient forefathers sensed within themselves the reality of a spiritual realm, but manifested that reality with "gods of their own invention".
Most educated people are somewhat familiar with the pantheons of Greece and Rome. Here the mythological god Zeus is held up as the father of all the gods. I remember in Bible College reading as a required study the mythology recorded in the works of Homer describing the family relationship between the different gods. When speaking about these "man-made" gods they were viewed in human family terms, with husbands and wives and offspring. "This god produced this god, etc...etc...etc.
In the ancient writing the gods of Greek mythology are pictured more powerful than human beings, yet their motives and passions reflect what is morally worst in human society.
While the gods may take an interest in human affairs, their interest is making human beings vulnerable to becoming pawns in games played only for the benefit of the powerful deities.
These deities created in man’s image are far from being all-powerful. They are just ancient examples of our super-heros of today, like Superman, Spiderman, Batman, the Hulk, and the Avengers. They, like human beings, are subject to fate and destiny, and they too came into existence after the material universe was created. They have a beginning and an end, and it's all in the minds of mankind.
However, the God the Bible tells us about, God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, the One True God is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. He is unchanging and always righteous. He does not use mankind as pawns for His games but loves them and seeks to draw them to His heart.
THE NAMES OF GOD! RELIGION IS A WAY OF DISTANCING OURSELVES FROM GOD!
As we study the thought of man's religion distancing ourselves from God we need to realize and remember that the theory of evolution, which most people today unquestioningly accept, is essentially a religion. It utilizes a familiar strategy for distancing mankind from God. Like the religions of the ancient Middle East, of Egypt, and of Greece, evolution assumes that the material universe always existed and has been "evolving" through the ages.
Thousands of years ago mankind imagined that deities and gods came from pre-existing matter and gave our world its present shape. The evolutionist assumes that impersonal laws of nature and chance combined to spontaneously create life from non-living matter.
Our ancient forefathers sensed within themselves the reality of a spiritual realm, but manifested that reality with "gods of their own invention". Our modern "men of wisdom and knowledge" deny the existence of a spiritual realm or "deities", and insist that what can be touched and tested is all there ever was or will be.
The strategy of distancing mankind from God adopted by the superstitious priest of Mesopotamia 3,000 B.C. (before the Lord Jesus Christ), and by the rationalist scientist of America 2,000 A.D. (after the Lord Jesus Christ), is essentially the same. By over emphasizing the authority of the material universe they rule out the option that there is a God of Creation. They make the existence of a "god" subordinate to the material universe, and so deny their obligation to glorify Him or be thankful.
Today many believers, (those who believe in God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit and are truly saved) fail to recognize and worship the true nature of the One True God. Our God, whose Word calls Him Jehovah-Jireh (The Lord our Provider), Jehovah-Rapha (The Lord our Healer), Jehovah-Nissi (The Lord our Banner), Jehovah-Shalom (The Lord our Peace), Jehovah-Rohi (The Lord our Shepherd), and Jehovah-Tsidkenu (The Lord our Righteousness) is worthy to be praised above all man-made gods, religions, and ideologies.
NAMES: RELIGION IS A WAY OF DISTANCING OURSELVES FROM GOD!
All over the world we find that human beings retain "some" knowledge of "a" God but have persistently sought to distance themselves from Him. This distancing takes several forms.
One religious idea is reflected in stories of a High God who is uninterested in His creation. In other words, God created everything, placed the moon, sun and stars in rotation, placed man on earth, and then backed away forever to watch what happens, but never having intervention into the affairs of His creation. In this belief, God’s existence is acknowledged by mankind, but God is uninterested in the affairs of mankind. What a terrible belief system, to hold to the mindset that prayers are unheard and that there is a God who doesn't care what happens to His creation.
Another religious idea assumes that the gods were themselves created through the mind of mankind. These folks would say "Man created the gods in his image." Typically the many gods in such systems are organized by those who created them in hierarchies. The majority decides whose god is greater. This is very common religious thought for distancing ourselves from God. We just envision deities in our image. This means that god has the same weaknesses, strengths, and desires as we do. This results in mankind disavowing the concept of sin. Morality, the idea of that which is good or bad, is defined or rejected by the god that was created.
The enemy likes to reverse the Biblical order of God's creation. God made man in HIS image and man fell from that through sin. Then man, in his worldly, prideful, wisdom tries to create god in his image so that he can do what is right in his own eyes.
The One True God of the Word, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob does not operate in the morality concepts of mankind. He is the God of justice and righteousness. He has defined sin as anything that transgresses against His Word and His character. He imparts justice to all who refuse Him and He imparts His righteousness to all who believe in Him.
THE NAMES OF GOD
When I was in the Air Force we had a motto that says "think smarter, not harder". On the surface it sounds like good advice. But in reality, it is saying to find the easiest and most cost efficient way to accomplish something. This as a whole is a common trait of mankind. That is why we have the microwave oven. Using the microwave is faster and cheaper to heat something then using the oven.
So, for many, in the "so-called search" for God, it is in reality a search for something "faster" and more cost efficient. It is saying, "How can I have a self-satisfying religious life were it does not take a lot of time and it does not cost me much?" Well the only answer to this question is to change the "OBJECT" of worship. If we worship something other than the ONE TRUE GOD then we set the easiest of boundaries for our behavior and mindset.
Many times Christians are like water. Water seeks the path of least resistance and it seeks its own level. This is another way of saying what the Word of God says, "They do what's right in their own eyes."
So what are some of my options? There is the Animistic Theory. This belief says that animals, trees, and rocks possesses spirits and these spirits could be helpful or harmful. Therefore, people attempt to appease the harmful spirits and appeal to the helpful spirits. Really Pastor? Think about this the next time you "knock on wood" for some superstitious reason.
There is the Nature Worship Theory. This belief says many develop their religions by observing the forces of nature. To interact with the forces of nature, people personalized the forces of nature by giving names to the sun, the moon, and the storms and treating them equal to mankind, which is created in God's own image.
There is the Purist Biblical Theory, (fact). This belief says there is only One True God, manifesting Himself in three persons, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, who created all things for His glory. He does not trust mankind to reveal His nature and essence, so He chooses to reveal Himself and His many characteristics and names, by Himself. All of these revelations are recorded in His Holy Word, the Bible, by His Holy Spirit.
THE NAMES OF GOD!
For those of us who want to know God better, we need to explore the names, the titles, and the metaphors through which God has presented Himself to us in His Word. While what may be known about God through natural revelation is plain, we human beings seem to “suppress the truth in unrighteousness”
Rom 1:18 KJV For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
Rom 1:18 ASV For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hinder the truth in unrighteousness;
Paul writes in Rom.1:21-23 that “although they knew God, they did not glorify God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things”.
The knowledge of the One True God has been available to mankind from the beginning, but was rejected and is currently being rejected, suppressed, and corrupted. The word “god” has lost its original meaning and has been perverted by mankind to mean anything from a tree, to a bug, or to the wind.
In reality we can see that the “gods” of all the different peoples and places were not invented in a honest and pious search for Him, but rather in a desperate attempt to escape from Him and find a substitute. One of the traits of mankind is to find a stubstitute way of doing things. How do I know this? The Scriptures tell us that we will find HIM, (The One True God), if we seek HIM with all our hearts.
Deu 4:28-29 And there ye shall serve gods, the work of men's hands, wood and stone, which neither see, nor hear, nor eat, nor smell. (29) But if from thence thou shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.
NAMES! RELIGION IS A WAY OF DISTANCING OURSELVES FROM GOD!
All over the world we find that human beings retain knowledge of God but have persistently sought to distance themselves from Him. This distancing takes several forms. One religious idea is reflected in stories of a High God who is uninterested in His creation. God’s existence is acknowledged, but He has become uninterested in the affairs of mankind.
Another religious idea assumes that the gods were themselves created through the mind of mankind. Typically the many gods in such systems are organized in hierarchies, and humankind is to deal with the lesser gods.
A very common religious thought for distancing from God is to envision deities in man’s image. The enemy likes to reverse the Biblical order of God's creation. They would say that MAN MADE GOD IN IS IMAGE.
However, the Word of God tells us differently. GOD MADE MAN IN HIS IMAGE. God made man in HIS image and man fell from that through sin. Then man, in his worldly prideful wisdom tries to create god in his image so that he can do what is right in his own eyes.
I am thankful that I serve the ONE TRUE GOD who is "All-knowing", "All-present", and "All-powerful." AMEN!
THE NAMES OF GOD!
For those of us who want to know God better, we need to explore the names, the titles, and the metaphors through which God has presented Himself to us in His Word. While what may be known about God through natural revelation is plain, we human beings have the tendency to “suppress the truth in unrighteousness”
Rom 1:18 ASV For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hinder the truth in unrighteousness;
One of the ways to suppress the truth in unrighteousness is to substitute a relationship with God with a false religion. The Bible declares the origin of religions, which is clearly expressed by the Apostle Paul.
In the beginning, God created the material universe (time, space and matter), and the first human beings. But Adam and Eve fell, and in introducing sin into our race corrupted every gift God had given human beings. The spirit of man died, the soul of man (the mind or thoughts, the heart or emotions, and the will or choices) were twisted in the fall. The bond of love and obedience that had united God and man was broken.
God did not abandon human beings, human beings abandoned Him. Yet human beings retained an innate awareness of the reality of the spiritual world and the need for a god. True Biblical knowledge of God might be suppressed, but the need for God could not be. So as generation succeeded generation, over the centuries and millenniums, human beings remained a very “religious people.” But humanity’s religions reveal a drive not to find God but to distance themselves from Him by embracing dead, powerless, man-made religions.
NAMES! There is no other phenomenon so pervasive, so consistent from society to society, nation to nation, as the search for gods. Man, in his "so-called" incredible wisdom continues the search of god or gods, yet it will always end up to be what is right in his own eyes.
It is the religious nature of human beings to “search for a god or for many gods.” But does this desire to search start with man or does it start elsewhere? In Romans 1 the Apostle Paul offers a unique explanation for man’s preoccupation with religion. The Apostle Paul teaches that the desire within man to seek a god does not originate with him. Paul teaches that God has implanted awareness within the human spirit that there is a reality beyond mankind and beyond the material universe.
It is God who stirs the heart to seek after God and the things of God. Yet man, in his fallen nature, messes up the search and exchanges the search for "The One True God" to a search for "a god." Man exchanges the incorruptible for the corruptible. He is quick to sacrifice the eternal on the altar of the temporal.
Paul says that God has manifested Himself “in” people (See Rom. 1:19). It is as if God implanted in human beings a radio receiver that He Himself tuned to HIS signal. I can just hear the message. "NOW HEAR THIS, NOW HEAR THIS, I AM GOD AND I EXIST AND YOU NEED ME! SEEK ME WITH ALL YOUR HEART AND I WILL BE FOUND. The message that there is a God of the Universe was sent, and received in the hearts of men, but man chose darkness over light.
Rom 1:19-21 KJV Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. 20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: 21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
NAMES! For those of us who want to know God better, we need to explore the names, the titles, and the metaphors through which God has presented Himself to us in His Word. These names unveil the essence of who God is. Names are a funny thing. Find a globe map of the world. Spin it, and let your finger fall at random. Any place your finger falls, in any era of history or prehistory, people had a name for that place where your finger rests on the globe. AND every place where your finger falls there has been, is now, and will be in the future a people who have spoken about, is speaking about, or will speak about a “god” or “gods.”
Yet it would be a great spiritual and intellectual mistake to assume that what the peoples of Africa, China, South America, Europe, or the Ancient Middle East mean by the term “god” is the same as we, the Conservative Christian, means when we use that word. The word “god” has had different meanings to peoples of differing times and places.
Example: One of the key mistakes of many Christians is to believe that the god of Islam is the same as the God of Christianity. The God of Christianity is the Lord God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. We will discover a lot about HIS Name as we continue deeper in this study.
One of the first things we will do is look at HUMANISM, and its concept on the names for god. When we see what humanity has done to distort the image of God the Father we will be able to grasp what it can mean to us in our own personal relationship with the Lord in knowing HIS true NAMES and titles.
What would you rather have, a real 1,000 dollar bill or 100 fake 1,000 dollar bills? That was a "duh" question! Of course we would rather have the real bill instead of 100 or 1,000 or 10,000 fake ones. When I went to India a few years ago I preached to crowds of thousands about the ONE TRUE GOD! They worshipped 300,000,000 false gods. Over 800 people rejected and renounced their 300,000,000 false gods and accepted the ONE TRUE GOD to save them. AMEN! We need to remember that the religion of man is a universal phenomenon. Wherever people are found, there too resides religion and multiple gods. We, as believers, stand as the light and salt to introduce them to the ONE TRUE GOD.
NAMES! Have you ever given much attention to a name? It is the starting place for building relationships and getting to know people better. For those who want to know God better, explore the names, the titles, and the metaphors through which God has presented Himself to us in His Word. These names unveil the essence of who God is. These names describe His qualities and character, and they reveal His work in our lives.
The Scriptures present God as a loving and compassionate God, and yet we also see Him as a God who is angered by and will surely judge sin. With God we see grace, mercy, and love on one side, judgment and justice on the other. How can a loving God also be a God of wrath? God is said to be just and righteous. How can such a God of justice and judgment freely forgive sin? God is both GOOD and ALL-POWERFUL.
By studying His names we can reconcile these many facets of His character. Our God is an awesome God and One to be loved and adored and yet One to be feared in holy awe. As we look at the names of God we will see His nature in which He has revealed Himself so powerfully in the names, titles, and metaphors found in His Word. When we see God's love, grace and mercy we are overwhelmed by His goodness. But we sometimes get shaken when we see His judgment and justice. Studying His names will confirm our certainty that God can be trusted in all that He is and all that He does.
NAMES! Have you ever given much attention to a name? I know that when I am introduced to someone I listen and watch to see if the person I am introduced to is really interested in hearing and remembering my name. Many times the person whom I am being introduced to is already looking past me to the next person.
I don't think we take introductions serious. Introductions and knowing someone's name is the starting place for building relationships and getting to know people better. I don't think someone is really interested in getting to know me as a person and building a relationship if they can't remember my name. I visit a lot of churches and greet a lot of people. Many in the church come up quickly, shake my hand, and say with an automatic response, "It's good to meet you." I respond with, "We haven't met yet. My name is Charles, what's your name?" It throws people off from the quick greeting they are accustomed to. There is a big difference between a quick "glad to meet you" versus actually meeting someone by extending a pleasant acknowledgement and name exchange.
For those who want to know God better, there is hardly a richer approach than to explore the names, the titles, and the metaphors through which God has presented Himself to us in His Word. These names unveil the essence of who God is. These names describe His qualities and character, and they reveal His work in our lives.
For most of human history, names given to deity by pagans only served to distance human beings from the one true God. Man called God names that for the most part reflected their superstitions and religious ignorance. However God would not have us remain ignorant concerning His name and His character. God our Father stepped in to reveal Himself to His Old Testament people.
Why is it important for us to know God by His name and His character? If we know who God is in His power and character than as a believer I know that He can do what He says He can do. Example! I don't take my car to a Mexican restaurant to have repairs. I go to a place that has the name, reputation, and character of having the ability to accomplish the task I need. In reverse, I don't go to a car repair garage to eat Mexican food. I go to a restaurant that specializes in Mexican food. How do I know these places? By their name. So it is with our heavenly Father. As I know His different names I fully understand His character.
NAMES! Have you ever given much attention to a name? Like why is an elephant called an elephant? I guess it is because he looks like one. I think a lot about names and why people are called who they are called. I have learn to love my name. Having a love for my name was not true in my younger years. My last name "Morris" is one of the original Irish names and means "Negro" and "dark complexion." My family was not a part of the red-haired, light-skinned Irish but had a darker complexion with brown hair.
My first and middle name is Charles Wayne and comes from the doctor who delivered me. WHY? Because everyone, including my mom's doctor, told my mom that she would be having a girl. SURPRISE!!!! I came along and they had not thought about a boy's name. Therefore, someone suggested that I be named after my mom's doctor who was greatly known around the region. I was born at my grandmother's house in a small little town in Virginia called Craigsville, and named after the town doctor.
My mom recently told me that she did not get to name any of her four children because of the input from her parents or in-laws. As a child and teenager I never really had the opportunity to enjoy the name Charles because no one called me that. I was called Chuck, Charlie, Chaz, Charlie Brown, Charlie Tuna, Up-Chuck, Sorry-Charlie, or Morris the Cat, all of which I hated.
My grandfather did not like the family doctor therefore he did like the idea of me being named after him. Therefore, my grandfather named me "Luke" from the Bible and refused to called me anything other than that. Since grandpa called me Luke all of my aunts and uncles followed along and did the same. I did not actually start enjoying my name until 1997 when I was 43 years old. I started doing research on names and found them to be powerful indicators as to a person's destiny and assignment from the Lord. My name "Charles" is of German decent and means "a mighty valiant warrior before God". Why did I share all this about names? Because I want to share some truths about the different names of God. There is an attempt to rename and redefine Him for the sake of religious tolerance.
Charles Morris. Founder and Senior Pastor of RSIM USA.