GOD and the NAMES
BY: LLOYD ELLEFSON
Our Lord is that Spirit! That Spirit is the Spirit of Christ, the Son of God. God is manifested in His spiritual offspring. Our carnal mind and fleshly desires can no longer be our Lord; neither can anything printed be our Lord! Only that Spirit is our Lord! “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” (Rev. 3:22)
Reason cannot determine nor comprehend the spiritual meaning of the scriptures; it can only pervert the scriptures. No wonder Paul said, “Who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter, but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” (2 Cor. 3:6) The letter of the scriptures ministers death! Paul said we should not walk in the oldness of the letter, but in the newness of life!
Our Bible is not translated from the inspired original, but from copies of the original. It is generally acknowledged that the original is the only infallible evidence for divine truth. The Hebrew and Greek manuscripts in our possession, are NOT the original ones. No Hebrew manuscript (except Isaiah) dates back more than a 1000 years. Before that time old copies were usually destroyed when new ones took their place. The Greek and other translations, some of which go back a thousand years earlier, reflect a text which often differs from the one now being used in our Bibles. We also have the Dead Sea scrolls. Just as our English has changed over the years, so the Hebrew has changed. It has changed so much that one Hebrew scholar said that if the Jews who lived in Jesus’ day would be alive today, they would have a very difficult time understanding the Hebrew of today. In the translation of these manuscripts, a concordance of the meaning of the Hebrew of that day is essential – not lexicons or scholarly commentaries.
I want to talk about some of the changes in the MEANING of the scriptures that have developed over the years through man’s reasoning processes. It is these that cause people to go astray. There is nothing wrong with the original manuscripts; it is simply that man’s reasonings want to predominate even after he has been touched by God and received forgiveness.
God distinctly told the Israelites that there is only one God. He also gave them a progressive revelation of Himself through His names. Israel‘s disobedience consisted of participating in the worship of some of the thirty false gods of the neighboring nations.
One of the questions that has troubled humanity throughout the ages has been about the nature of God. Who is He and what is He like? Everyone has a different understanding of who He is. Even Christians disagree on this subject; they differ in their ideas of God according to their denominational doctrines. People cling to their doctrines, but they don’t know their God! We cannot know God intuitively or by natural reasoning processes – He has to be revealed to us by the Holy Spirit. Natural man is unable to receive the things of the Spirit, so he cannot know Him, for God is spirit. Jesus Christ, the Word, was made flesh, and God has been revealed in and through His Son. Mankind rejected that revelation – and it still does! But now that the Spirit has come, we have the opportunity to hear and know God!
Does God ever cause judgment and death? I think He does, because He is truth, and truth judges everything that is not truth. Jesus is the truth, and the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth. He gives spiritual realization, not natural reasoning. Truth is a great destroyer – it will destroy everything that is not truth. Truth is the bottom line; it cannot be destroyed, nor is there anything beyond truth. So when truth came, judgment of the lies and delusions came. However the visible, external actions were judged by the law. The unseen, internal judgment of truth is typified by fire in the New Testament. This judgment destroys the false sense of being that is in man. It destroys man’s own realization of himself, and it destroys his ideas of God; it destroys his reason for the world and his part in it. Human nature has perverted the truth of all these things. Truth destroys the perversions!
Many people have wondered about the difference between the God of the Old Testament and the God of the New Testament. In the Old Testament we find that God punished people by opening up the earth and having people swallowed up by it, by having people put to death, by commanding the Israelites to war and kill, etc. But in the New Testament Jesus taught a passive resistance. He told us to love our enemies and to fight evil with good, not with evil. Jesus never used physical resistance; nor did He ever use the power of God to physically hurt anyone. But the truth He spoke was very disturbing to the hierarchy, and it incited the crowds against Him. People couldn’t understand what Jesus said, and their leaders wanted to protect their traditions. To protect their traditions, they thought they had to kill Jesus and get Him out of the way. This desire was in their hearts long before they actually got Him to be crucified. It was there ever since He began to testify of God and His own sonship. Their hatred of Him was so intense that killing Him by stoning was too humane; only the most cruel death could satisfy them. But in order to crucify Him they had to get permission from the Romans. This shows us that the Jews did not know their God even though He had revealed Himself to them through His names and acts. They thought they could get rid of Him by crucifying Him, but He is just as alive in us today as He was when He walked in Galilee.
The first name for God in the scriptures is Elohim or Alohim. This name occurs about 2,200 times in the Old Testament. Under this name we see God working on a dark and ruined creation, till by His Word all is set in order and made “very good”. Elohim is a three-part word, called a plural noun. The first part, El, means the Mighty. Therefore He can subject everything to Himself. The IM points to a plurality. But the plural of EL is Elim – not Elohim. So the H in ELOHIM points to the true etymology of the name and it means to swear as in Heb. 6:13, “Because He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself.” He will keep His promise to subject everything to Himself! He subjects everything to Himself according to the counsel of His own will, which is His Word made flesh, namely Christ Jesus.
“And when all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, that God may be all in all.” (1 Cor. 15:28) Since the Lord is that Spirit, it is through Christ (His manifestation in the Spirit) that all is subjected to Him. The name ELOHIM expresses a covenant-relationship with His creation. Since He is in covenant relationship with His beloved Son, He must be in covenant with all that is created by Him! He is the mighty God, the one and only source of everything! The mystery of this name is in its plurality. Although God speaks of Himself as “US” in various scripture passages, He also makes it very clear that there is only ONE God.
El, meaning the mighty One, is used by itself and in combination with other words to portray the being of God. El Elyon means the Most High God; El Shaddai means God Almighty; El Olam has been translated as the Everlasting God. It is also found as a prefix or affix in a lot of the names in the Old and the New Testament. Prefixed, as in Elijah, Eleazar, elder; affixed, as in Bethel, Nathanael.
In Genesis 2:4 we are introduced to the name LORD God from the Hebrew YHWH (Yahweh or Jehovah) Elohim. The original Hebrew YHWH has no vowels – vowels were vocalized with the spoken word. Naturally, their alphabet did not correspond with the English alphabet. Yahweh Elohim is translated into English as LORD God; both names are very frequently used in the Old Testament separately and in combination. There is even a scripture which says, “My God is Yahweh the Elohim.” Yahweh is seen as someone with power, might and judgment. For some reason, our English New Testament does not clearly distinguish between these two names. In the King James version, the name GOD is used most frequently, and the name Yahweh or Jehovah is translated as LORD (in capital letters). God usually answers to ELOHIM of the Hebrew.
In the New Testament God has revealed Himself in Christ and by His Spirit. The perfect name was spoken by our Lord Jesus Christ, even “the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” Notice that it does not say in the “names” but in the “name”. It is ONE name.
Yahweh it is who loves in virtue of quality, and therefore must judge evil. Yet He makes His creatures righteous by giving them His righteousness! But because the people thought it represented the power and the might and the law with its penalty for every disobedience, the people feared to use that name. They even thought something evil or fearful would come upon them if they used it. You will remember that it was Yahweh who came down on Mount Sinai with fire and smoke, and all the people became so frightened that they didn’t want God to speak to them. They wanted Moses to be an intermediary; God could speak to him on the mountain, and then he could come back and communicate to them what God had said. They promised to do everything God told them to do. So the people feared to use the name Yahweh and substituted it with Jehovah. Thus we understand that it has the same meaning as Yahweh. So when you read your Bible and see LORD in capitals, you know it is the English translation of the Hebrew Yahweh.
Today we don’t fear that name because we recognize that Jesus Christ is the expression of God’s love! He does not put anything good to death; He only puts to death those things which are in opposition to His own nature. He does this according to His own purpose and counsel.
You may have noticed that many Old Testament names were prefixed by “Je” – like Jehoshaphat and Jeremiah. The Hebrew name for Joshua is actually Yeshuah – the same name which is translated JESUS in the New Testament. Jesus was given the Hebrew name Yeshuah, and it means Yahweh is salvation. In the translation, the YE became JE, and in the case of the name Joshua, it became JO. Many people today, want to use the names YAHWEH and YESHUAH because they think the Hebrew names are the only correct names for God and Jesus, and if they address God by these names when they pray, they are praying correctly. They think names like Jesus and God are the names of other deities; at the very least it would indicate a wrong idea of God. However this is superstition again. As I said in the beginning, it is important what is in your heart and in your understanding of who God is!
When we talk about Jesus Christ, it is critical to know the meaning of the word CHRIST. Christ is translated from the Greek word CHRISTOS, which means anointing. The anointing made Jesus the Anointed One. He is Jesus the Christ or Yeshuah the Anointed, because the word CHRIST means MESSIAH or THE ANOINTED ONE. The anointing is very important for it is the key to understanding the Spirit that lies behind the letter of the scripture. So it is essential that we hear what the Spirit is saying!
It is also important to differentiate between the Spirit and the Bible. The Bible is a wonderful testimony, but we need to hear the Spirit in order to receive life! Through the years, humanity’s reasoning has produced changes in the scriptures. The Spirit who inspired the testimonies of all the writers of the scriptures, also has to bring a resurrection of that understanding to us, because natural man is unable to understand them correctly; he is unable to comprehend spiritual realities.
A true understanding of God shows us that the God of the Old Testament is the same God we have in the New Testament, even though it may not seem that way on the surface. How can we reconcile a God who puts people under the bondage of the law, has them sacrifice animals, tells them to go to war and kill people, is an avenger, a God who punishes people for their evil deeds, sends armies in to fight and capture them, etc., with Christ’s message of life, non-resistance, love, compassion, acceptance of rejection, abuse – even crucifixion on behalf of others? Was the God of the Old Testament only a type and shadow which has now passed away? Of course not, for how can He be a type and shadow of Himself? These acts were an expression of God against evil in a natural kingdom. The people violated the laws given them by God and suffered the consequences. Yet even these judgments were redemptive in nature! Although He divided Israel and dispersed them among the nations, He kept His promise to bring the Shiloh or the great rest through Judah. He saved a remnant of Judah through whom Jesus, the Christ, was born. In Him we have a spiritual kingdom and a new law – the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus!
A passage from Isaiah will give us the background to help put this in proper order and to see how the God of the Old Testament fits in with the message of Jesus Christ. In Is. 9 we read, “So the LORD cuts off head and tail from Israel, both palm branch and bulrush in a single day. The head is the elder and honorable man, and the prophet who teaches falsehood is the tail. For those who guide this people are leading them astray; and those who are guided by them are brought to confusion.” (vv.14-16) (Notice that LORD consists of capital letters – meaning Yahweh. If it is printed Lord, it refers to a master or boss.) The leaders, the hierarchy and the false prophets are being cut off. This is not bad – this is wonderful! Everything that is old and wrong has to be judged by God before the true light can come in and bring us the new covenant. This new covenant consists of a new spiritual sense of being, a new relationship, and a new understanding.
Isaiah 9:6-7. “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us: and the government will rest on his shoulders…there will be no end to the increase of his government or of peace, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this.” Yahweh is actually the name of God used here to prophesy about this child that will be born, and which we now know is Jesus Christ.
Isaiah 1:1-2 reads, “The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, concerning Judah and Jerusalem…Listen, O heavens, and hear, O earth; for the LORD speaks…” In other words, the whole prophecy of Isaiah comes from the LORD (Yahweh). Those who want to throw out the book of Isaiah, would throw out a lot of the prophecies concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. In chapter 2:3 and 5 it says, “And many peoples will come and say, `Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; that He may teach us concerning His ways, and that we may walk in His paths.’ For the law will come forth from Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem…Come, house of Jacob, and let us walk in the light of the LORD.”
Here is a prophecy that says the law will come forth from Zion. This is not the law that was given Moses on Mt. Sinai. That law is a ministration of death as it says in 2 Cor. 3:7-8, “But if the ministry of death, in letters engraved on stones, came with glory, so that the sons of Israel could not look intently at the face of Moses because of the glory of his face, fading as it was, how shall the ministry of the Spirit fail to be even more with glory?” Israel only saw the glory of the law; they would not acknowledge the fact that it was fading away. They still don’t! Yet Jesus said, “For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote of Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?” (John 5:46-47) What an indictment! If you throw away the law then how will you believe that your own righteousness can never attain to the righteousness in Christ? The Law of Moses is a schoolteacher until Christ comes to us. Jesus said, “I did not come to destroy the law. I came to fulfill the law.” How did He do it? The law was literal and natural, depended upon man, and man could not fulfill it! Jesus fulfilled the law, so the law is now a spiritual realization in us.
In Hebrews 12:18-19 it says, “For you have not come to a mountain that may be touched and to a blazing fire, and to darkness and gloom and whirlwind, and to the blast of a trumpet and the sound of words which was such that those who heard begged that no further word should be spoken to them.” We have not come to that mountain! “But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God…and to the spirits of righteous men made perfect…” (vv.22-23) This new law, the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, comes out of Zion! It does not come out of Mount Sinai but out of the center of the capital city in Zion! Praise God, this is wonderful! This law cannot be obeyed or fulfilled by the mind or the flesh. It can only be fulfilled spiritually by the nature of the Spirit within us, and that Spirit is our Lord!
In Isaiah 2:11-12 it says, “The proud look of man will be abased, and the loftiness of man will be humbled, and the Lord alone will be exalted in that day…For the LORD of hosts will have a day of reckoning against everyone who is proud and lofty, and against everyone who is lifted up, that he may be abased.” Yahweh, the LORD of hosts destroys the pride of man! In 3:11 it says, “Woe to the wicked! It will go badly with him, for what he deserves will be done to him.” That is what Yahweh does. Man only has the breath of his nostrils. In Isaiah 11:2 and 10b it says, “The Spirit of the LORD will rest upon Him…His resting place will be glorious.” This is a prophecy of Christ concerning the true resting place – the true Sabbath!
“Wail, for the day of the LORD is near.” (Is. 13:6) God is not responsible to anyone; He always does what is right! The day of the LORD destroys natural reasoning, yet man wants to hold on to it. Man deals with the sins of others by trying to get even with those who have wronged him. But God is not like man; He deals with individual sins differently. The truth in Christ destroys the lies and delusions of man, for His truth is the great destroyer! He only destroys for man’s good! God has dealt with sin on Calvary, and as we grow spiritually, we overcome the desires of the flesh.
The light of God in Christ Jesus is an eternal light – a day that has no end, no beginning and no darkness. It is light – and it’s forever! The light in Jesus Christ began God’s work of creation and brought it to its fulfillment in 6 days. The 7th day, the Sabbath, brought the rest of God, because it was the completion of everything. This is typified by the gathering of manna in the wilderness. The Israelites gathered it for six days, and it was enough for the seventh. No more picking, no more work, no more gathering food for their life and soul. Jesus Christ has become the fulfillment of all that!
We live in a day in which people are confused and cannot differentiate between the old and new covenants. Although they have both the Old and New Testaments, they still wonder when the fulfillment of the prophetic utterances will occur. Friends, JESUS CHRIST IS THE FULFILLMENT OF THE LAW AND THE PROPHETS! Everything is in Him – in Christ, the Anointing! The fulfillment comes in the Spirit and He brings us the mind of Christ!
It is not in the physical Jesus. After Jesus had lived under the law for 30 years, He was baptized in the Jordan and got the Anointing. By doing this He demonstrated God’s purpose for us! After the law has done its work in us (in the Yahweh sense of God), it has pronounced its judgment on all the evil, lascivious things of the flesh which come out of the heart of man.
A death has to take place. The law is a ministration of death, but its purpose is not to destroy humanity. The law brought about the death of Jesus on the cross. Through His death and resurrection we can be brought into sonship, into a relationship with God, into immortality, into the mind of Christ, into an understanding of spiritual realities – into an understanding of the mysteries of the kingdom, the mystery of iniquity, the mystery of lawlessness, and into the mystery of Christ in us! O there are so many mysteries, and the Spirit of Christ unveils them to us!
The last trumpet to sound is the voice of Jesus Christ. There is no greater trumpet, there is no greater voice! When the voice of the Son of God is heard, the mystery of God is finished. It doesn’t mean we understand everything, but it does mean that the mysteries have been opened up! The heavens were opened to Jesus when the Spirit came upon Him at the Jordan. And that is where the mysteries lie – in the kingdom of heaven, that is, in God and His Christ, ready to be revealed. The seals have been opened, heaven has been opened, and the ark of the covenant is seen in heaven. All things are fulfilled in the Spirit of Christ which you receive when the law has done its work in you.
In Isaiah 11:1-2 it says, “Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, and a branch from his roots will bear fruit. And the Spirit of the LORD (Yahweh) will rest on Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and strength, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD (Yahweh).” This is a wonderful prophecy of Jesus the Christ! It is the fulfillment of the death of human understanding and a resurrection into spiritual understanding. Praise God for that!
I now want to say something about the way Jesus addressed God, and therefore how we should address Him. In John 17:1-6 it says, “These things Jesus spoke; and lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said, `Father, the hour has come; glorify Thy Son, that the Son may glorify Thee, even as Thou gavest Him authority over all mankind, that to all whom Thou hast given Him, He may give eternal life. And this is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent. I glorified Thee on the earth, having accomplished the work which Thou hast given Me to do. And now, glorify Thou Me together with Thyself, Father, with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was. I manifested Thy name to the men whom Thou gavest Me out of the world; Thine they were, and Thou gavest them to Me, and they have kept Thy word’.”
Jesus addressed God as FATHER. When Jesus taught the disciples how to pray, He told them to say, “Our Father”. He didn’t tell them to pray to Yahweh or to Jesus. Furthermore, in John 16:23, He said, “And in that day” referring to the time when the Holy Spirit would come, “you will ask Me no question. Truly, truly, I say to you, if you shall ask the Father for anything, He will give it to you in My name.” Jesus always prayed to the Father and spoke of the Father! That is why the Jews hated Him and wanted to kill Him. They told Jesus that they did not hate Him because of His works, but because He was blaspheming by calling God His Father. His testimony and confession that God was His Father resulted in His being put on the cross.
Jesus did not address God by the Old Testament names, such as Elohim, Yahweh, El Shaddai, Jehovah Rapha, Jehovah Sabaoth, El Elyon or El Olam – all of which represent an aspect of God’s character. He addressed God as FATHER and spoke of Him as His Father. This name denotes relationship! He said, “I manifested Thy name to the men whom Thou gavest Me out of the world.” This name was not revealed to all, because not all were in sonship. The Jews’ idea of God was based on the law, so they rejected God as their Father. To them Jesus said, “Don’t call any man on earth your father.” He even told the Jews that they were of their father, the devil. He obviously said that because their thinking was not based on truth but on the lie.
Through the Spirit a new consciousness is working in us! The holy name of FATHER can only truly be used by the sons of God. That is why Jesus said that He only manifested that name to those who were given Him out of this world. He guarded them, that not one of them perished but the son of perdition. (v.12) “For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.” (Rom. 8:14) This is not a prophecy for future fulfillment, but a statement which is relevant for the present. Those who are being led by the Spirit operate as sons!
“For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, `Abba! Father!'” (v.15) In biblical terminology, the word ADOPTION does not have the same meaning as its current usage. It does not mean that we have to be adopted into the family of Israel. Scripturally, adoption refers to the placing of a son – when the child is ready to take the responsibilities required of sons. (Gal. 4) After we have been born of God and receive the Holy Spirit, “the Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God” and causes us to cry “Abba! Father!” The Spirit speaks to us even as He did to Jesus. He spoke to Jesus at the Jordan saying, “This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased,” and on the Mount of Transfiguration, “This is My beloved Son, listen to Him.”
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth. When He bears witness to us that we are the children of God – that is the truth! If we hear that Spirit – which is the voice of the Son of God – we will live! And if we are children then we are heirs of God. Our inheritance does not consist of things like lands, money, good bodies, prestige, etc. It is much greater than that! WE INHERIT GOD! And God is an invisible Spirit who lives in a realm that the natural man can’t know.
WE ARE JOINT HEIRS WITH CHRIST if we suffer with Him that we may also be glorified together. In Phil. 1:29 it says, “For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake.” This has been granted to us! It is none of our doing; it is not in our department to try to take on sufferings for ourselves.
In Gal. 4:1 it says, “Now I say, as long as the heir is a child, he does not differ at all from a slave although he is owner of everything.” As long as we are under the law, we are servants. But there comes a time when the Father places us over the servants and over the law; at that time we are manifested as sons. By coming out of the law we are manifested as sons of God, for sonship brings about the destruction of servanthood.
“So also we, while we were children, were held in bondage under the elemental things of the world.” (v.3) The elemental things of the world are in the realm of natural thinking – natural thinking about God and Jesus, the millenium, the temple, the holy city, materialism, etc.
“But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law.” (v.4) Jesus stayed under the law for 30 years, “in order that He might redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.” (v.5) Wow! That’s redemption – at least a part of redemption. If we are under the law we don’t receive the adoption as sons, do we? No! If the law is our righteousness or our motivation for righteousness, we haven’t got it!
“And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” (v.6) What do we cry when the Spirit comes? Do we cry Jesus, Jehovah, Hallelujah? What name did Jesus bring us? When we understand this correctly, we see that we don’t cry Yahweh, Jehovah, Elohim, El Shaddai, El Elyon, etc., after we have received His Spirit. God has placed His Spirit in our hearts, so we automatically cry FATHER. We don’t have to use all the Old Testament names. The great name is FATHER! The Spirit gives us this wonderful understanding that we can call God our Father!
“Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.” (v.7) We are no longer slaves under the law, but sons who are over the law. We are heirs through God. “See how great a love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.” (1 John 3:1) We are children of God because of the Father’s great love for us! It has nothing to do with our attainments! We can’t make ourselves sons; we can’t birth ourselves; we can’t raise ourselves up. This has to happen through the action of God! Unless we hear God in our spirit, we are living in the law or in the natural. We will think everything is for the future – salvation or damnation, heaven or hell, millenium or tribulation. The world does not know God, and it did not know Him at that time either. God sent Christ to take away our darkness and to translate us into the kingdom of His dear Son! This is for now! Let us behold the greatness of the Father’s love!
“Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we shall be. We know that, when He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is.” (v.2) Not everything has been completely unveiled to us at this time. In this passage John is actually talking about God, not Christ, but obviously they are the same! Christ said, “When you have seen Me, you have seen the Father.” John is saying that God is being unveiled to us as the Father. The word APPEARING is the same as UNVEILING or taking away the curtain so we can see the reality!
“We shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is.” When Jesus was on earth, He lived a righteous life, did many miracles, had compassion on the sick, raised the dead, and simply declared the wonderful truth of God. He didn’t fight against the hierarchy nor against the Romans! The people saw Him and followed Him by the thousands! But when He went to the cross everyone forsook Him. Nobody stood up for Him – not even His disciples! Although God had revealed to Peter that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God, Peter still denied Him and said, Three times he denied Him, cursed and swore that he didn’t know Him! We need a resurrection in spirit before we can live victoriously over the persuasions of the world and the evil that is in man’s nature.
“And we shall see Him as He is.” The people living in Jesus’ day did not see the Christ in Jesus. They did not see what was going on within Him. Now we have the unveiling of Christ! Many think this refers to His visible appearance in the clouds. No, if He came back in visible form, people would only see the external again; they would not see beyond the veil of His flesh. But when He is unveiled to us we shall see Him as He is! We shall see that He actually is the Son of God; He is the Spirit, bringing us life – not condemning us, not destroying anything that is of the truth! He brings us light that automatically dispels our darkness! “And every one who has this hope fixed on Him, purifies himself, just as He is pure.” (v.3) He is purified as he is obedient to the light he has received.
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever! He doesn’t change, and neither does the Spirit change. Even though the translations of the scriptures are not always perfect, and at places incorrect, God gives us the right understanding of these things through the Spirit He has given us. So we see that the God of the Old Testament is not an evil God taking revenge on people. All His judgments are redemptive and are to bring people to Himself. Many of the Old Testament happenings are simply type and shadow of spiritual realities.
Peter said that the prophets longed to understand what they were predicting. Even though they did not understand, they obediently prophesied the message God gave them! Many of their prophecies referred to the natural. They prophesied against Jerusalem, Israel, Egypt, Assyria, etc., and against cities, villages and towns. They were literal prophecies of the destruction of the physical, earthy, of the natural, and of the reasonings of man.
Jesus Christ brings us into a new dimension and understanding of the kingdom of God. We need the Holy Spirit to quicken our spirit in order for us to communicate with God! Jesus Christ is now the mediator of a new covenant, and we are brought into a new relationship with God, namely, a FATHER-SON relationship! This relationship does not consist of the carnal man trying to please God by trying to keep the law. All the Old Testament names of God are wonderful and have their purpose, but the greatest name is Father, for it is the only one which makes us sons! If we are not sons, we don’t have a father, and a father has to have a child to make him a father. Even as Mary pondered and meditated upon what she had heard, so let us meditate upon these spiritual realities! May the Spirit give you understanding! Amen.
GOD and the NAMES [Lloyd Ellefson] 1