The whole history of salvation is a self-revelation of God, glorifying Himself in creation and redemption. But the inner nature of a person or object is expressed in the name. 'The name of a thing is the imprint of its nature and the expression of the impression its nature makes."
Therefore that history, as the self-revelation of the Godhead, must be also the manifestation of essential names of God, and the self-descriptions of God become a pointer of His self-revelation in the history. But because here the principal matters are two, creation and redemption-for the third, the glorifying, arises of itself as the ultimate purpose of these two through their completion-so must there be in this whole matter a revelation of two principal names of God, one name of His sovereignty, rule and power, as Creator, and one name of His covenant, and of His redeeming love.
This is actually the case. Two divine self-descriptions govern the whole: 'Elohim,' the name of Creator and Universal Ruler, and 'Jehovah,' the name of the redeeming and covenant God.
That these two names are in fact the chief names is proved by their occurrence in the Holy Scriptures. While 'Adonai'(Lord) occurs 450 times, 'Zebaoth' and 'El'(Mighty God) each 230 times, 'Eloah' and El Shaddai'(Almighty) each some 50 times and 'El Eloyn'(The Most High God) no more than 32 times, 'Elohim' is found 2,570 times and 'Jehovah' almost 6,000 times. Thus altogehter the names of God occur in the Old Testament about 10,000 times. This shows their vast and exalted significance in the Biblical revelation.
'Elohim' from alah(Arabic aliha) 'to be in fear of,' is the Almighty God who is to be regarded with reverence. The name is strengthened by the plural ending 'im'(comp. cherubim, seraphim), the plural of Divine fulness, with which neverthe less the verb always stands in the singular, so that the Divine unity and plurality is plainly expressed. Out of the fulness of His divine power and essence God speaks of Himself in the plural. But the mystery of the trinity in the unity is first made manifest in the New Testament.
'Jehovah'(see note at end), from hawa 'to be, exist,' is the 'Existing, Abiding, Eternal;' therefore also the Steadfast, Permanent, and the Dependable True, 'Who is and will ever be,' or, as the exalted Lord Himself declares, 'He who is and He who was and He who comes'(Rev.1:4;4:8).
i.The Name Jehovah. In the most manifold way the glory of the name Jehovah irradiates the history of salvation.
The Foundation is
Jehovah-Jireh, the Lord Who provides, Who sees to the sacrifice which achieves atonement(Gen.22:14);
The Goal is
Jehovah-Shammah, the Lord is there, the Tabernacle of God with men(Ezek.48:35). And also
The Way to the Goal is Jehovah alone. He is
Jehovah-Rohi, the Lord my Shepherd(Psa.23:1);
Jehovah-Ropheka, the Lord the Physician(Exod.15:26);
Jehovah-Zidkenu, the Lord our righteousness(Jer.23:6);
Jehovah-Shalom, the Lord Who is peace(salvation, Judges 6:24).
And, in the battle against all powers that would rob us of these blessings, He is
Jehovah-Nissi, the Lord my banner(Exod.17:15); yea
Jehovah-Zeboath, the Lord of Hosts. 1
1"Zebaoth" is the feminine plural of Zaba(host, army), e.g. Exod. 6:26; 12:17, 51; I Sam. 17:45.
As such He is the Leader of the hosts of the stars and sun systems(Isa.40:26;45:12; Judges 5:20; Job 38:7), the chief Marshal of the angelic world(I Kings 22:19; II Kings 6:17; Josh.5:13-15; Neh.9:6; Psa.103:21; 148:2) and the Commander of His warriors here below on earth(I Sam.17:45; Num. 10:36). As Jehovah-Zebaoth He commands all His hosts, so as to lead His people to triumph and His kingdom to its perfection.
This is also the reason why in the period after the Babylonian captivity the name 'Lord of Hosts' became the chief Divine name. It is used by Jeremiah 80 times, by Haggai 14 times, by Zechariah 50 times, and by Malachi 24 times. For to the small and feeble remnant, born in deep distress, who had returned from captivity, the acknowledgment of God as 'Jehovah-Zebaoth' was a comfort affording assurance that the Lord, the invisible Commander of the powers of heaven, would bring His cause to victory and His people to the goal. Therefore also in the New Testament the Greek translation of this name of God(pantokrator, All-ruler), occurs in the revelation(nine times, 1:8;4:8;11:17;15:3;16:7,14;19:6,15;21:22), the very book in which is described the greatest distress of the people of God in the conflict with the power of the world, but also the decis ive blow against the anti-Christian host and the brilliant victory of the redeemed people of God.
Therefore 'Lord of Hosts' is His mightiest name, the most comprehensive expression of His world-wide power and the most exalted royal name of the Highest. 'Open wide the gate way, and make high the doors of the world, that the king of glory may enter. Who is this King of glory? He is the Lord Zebaoth! He is the King of glory!(Psa.24:9,10).
ii. The Double Name, 'Jehovah-Elohim'. Elohim is the exalted God, the supra-mundane, above the limits of the created: Jehovah is the intra mundane God, Who enters therein and testifies of Himself.
Elohim is the Creator, and thereby the Origin and the Goal: Jehovah is the Redeemer, the God of history.
Elohim is principally the 'God of the beginning and the end;' Jehovah is above all the 'God of the middle(period),' Who in the end glorifies Himself.
The kingdom of power shall become the kingdom of glory; in between lies the kingdom of grace, the essential content of which is the redemption; and Jehovah is the God Who in the course of this history mediates the beginning and the end and Who imbues the Elohim greatness of God for ever with the glory of Jehovah. So then the history of salvation becomes 'a pathway of the creation, of Elohim, especially of man, under the guidance of 'Jehovah,' back to 'Jehovah-Elohim,' and the double name 'Jehovah-Elohim' becomes the motto of the entire history of the universe, even as 'Jesus Christ' is the motto of the New Testament age'.
Note on Jahwe.
The correct pronunciation of the Hebrew "Tetragrammaton"(four-letter-name) JHWH is apparently Jahwe. The pronunciation "Jehovah" was first introduced by Christian scholars four centuries ago; and the first time that can be traced is by the Italian Franciscan monk Peter Galatinus, a baptized Israelite, in his book, "The Mysteries of Catholic Truth", (De Arcanis Catholicae Veritatis, 1518), and so a year after the nailing up of Luther's Theses in Wittenberg.
On the other hand, there is the tradition of the church father Theodoret(390-457) that the Samaritans said "Jabe." This pornunciation is confirmed by Epiphanius(died A.D. 403), and A. Deissmann has pointed out the Divine names "Jaoue" and "Jabe" in Jewish-Greek Papyri of the second and third centuries.
The correct pronunciation is lost, because the Jews, appealing to Lev. 24:16, fearedd to pronounce the name of God at all, and therefore, in place of JHWH, always said "Lord(Adonai), and because the original Hebrew namuscripts wrote only the consonants. But when later the Massorites(transmitters of the text) supplied the whole text with vowels, the vowels of "Adonai" were placed under JHWH, which one read out "Adonai". So the correct pronunciation was more and more forgotten and the false pronunciation "Jehovah" arose.
Christ and the New Testament guarantee the historicity and literality of the early chapters of the Bible. The Lord and His apostles everywhere treat them as narratives of actual events, and even draw afrom them instructive deductions. Matt.19:4-9; Rom.5:12-21; I Cor.15:21,22; I Tim.2:13,14; Jas.3:9; I John 3:12; Rev. 20:2. 'If therefore the New Testament is truth, then so is Gen.1-3 history.'
It is impossible to maintain an unbroken faith in Christ and at the same time to put away this evident fact, perhaps with the help of certain speculations concerning the self-humiliation(kenosis) of Christ, or by denying the freedom from error of the incarnate Son of God, or even by believing that, against His better knowledge(!), for educative purposes, Christ accommodated Himself to the errors of His contemporaries. That the Lord accommodated Himself to the language of His time is evident. But that He accommodated Himself to the errors of His time is utterly irreconcilable with His perfect truthfulness.
The attempt to explain the narratives of ancient history as 'allegorical language' on the ground that the early history and the final history belong together and the final history, especially the Revelation, is obviously foretold in allegorical language, cannot be maintained.
The same applies to the assertion, frequently made today, that the Old Testament can still be 'God's Word' even if the events therein stated(e.g. the early histories) did not literally happen; that it matters less what were the happenings of the past than what is the message for the present; that we are not spectators, but those addressed.
For whatever truth there may be in the last statement, the first is unintelligible and illogical; for the Old Testament does not give these narratives in visions or apocalyptic symbols, as does the Revelation of John, nor in the form of manifest myths, pictures, and parables, but as actual history(e.g.Gen.1-3), or, as regards the prophecies of Daniel, as actual predictions. Therefore these narratives, in the meaning of their writers, must be esteemed as actual history, without modifying the conception of 'history'. For God's Spirit can never promote divine truth by error and pious falsification. Therefore only as historical events that came to pass does the 'sacred history' still come to pass in us today.
The right of textual research as well as of literary and historical inquiry, as also for comparative studies of cultural and religious facts, is not thereby denied. Even so in exegesis, the underlying spiritual principles and typical meanings, which are contained in those past events, must at the same time be most forcibly emphasized.
It would exceed the space of our book to discuss in further detail the tension between the Biblical view of the world and that of modern natural philosophy which arises from the above matters of fact. Our task is not apologetic, nor defence of the faith, but only a history of salvation, and this only in outline. The Bible pictures quite simply the historical connexions in God's plan, and forgoes all detailed, philosophical, apologetic discussions. Elsewhere these are doubtless of great significance and to be heartily endorsed. Nevertheless, in the compass of an historical survey, before all else the reference to the authority of the Lord Jesus must suffice.