Introduction to the Abstracts of the Names of God
The heart-cry of every truly redeemed soul unto their God is, “Show me Thy glory” (Exo. 33:18). And to them, as well as to the Lord, this is all one and the same as seeing God’s face! For the Lord responded to this sudden and irresistible supplication from the heart of His servant Moses, “Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live” (Exo. 33:20). And yet this is the eternal pursuit of every beloved one of God; that which he beckons us to, and to which we ourselves are attracted to with the very magnetism of eternity! Was not this the heart of David so plainly put in the 27th Psalm, “One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple,” which was David’s answer to the divine call, as described later, “When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek” (v. 4,8).
This is the simply profound reduction of the saint’s life.
The breathtaking equivalence does not end here! Launch out yet further into the depths of profundity, and you will know that there is yet more to know. Seeking the glory of God, synonymized with seeking His face and/or beholding His beauty, is yet further, and more richly equated with knowing His name! For not only was this first equivalence implicitly declared by the Almighty in the holy mount (i.e. God’s glory = God’s face), but the Lord’s first response to Moses’ request was, “I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee” (Exo. 33:19). And so we are made to see that beholding the glory of God is as good as a man seeing His face, and since no man can behold His face, the Lord will answer the saint’s deepest wishes by proclaiming His name unto them! What a revelation! What a noble pursuit!
Furthermore, as the subsequent generations of God’s people would reflect back upon this wondrous moment on Sinai, feeling themselves caught up in the plot, and making it their own, the Lord was pleased to enlarge the vision still more! So that in Psalm 103, as David invoked this very moment when the Lord declared the name of God unto Moses, he was inspired by heavenly wisdom to declare it thus, “He made known his ways unto Moses, his acts unto the children of Israel” (v. 7)! Revealing that the names of God, are the ways of God, or His acts!
Beholding this, we make the glad discovery that there is a method by which the Lord has determined to reveal Himself unto His people in His word, by His Spirit; and this method is, the Names of God.
The diligent inquiry which should much involve the heart and minds of God’s people is that into the manifestations of Christ to the soul which He has graciously granted to the lover of God. The soul is cold and nigh lifeless if this is not the fervent devotion, the all consuming passion, the engrossing vision! As was declared of the prophets, that the sum of their lives was bound up in the profound, yet simple pursuit of Christ, in His revelations of Himself to their soul. As it was written, “Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow” (I Pet. 1:10,11).
Thus the burning heart of the Bride of Christ ought to be ecstatic at the conclusion of all of these things: that the glory of God is something that can be seen, known, and learned, in perpetuity! O what a glorious day when the word of God was thus opened to my soul to behold it, and how I hail the day of sovereign grace when the Lord showed the accessibility of His glory through the knowledge of God — a near, and attainable revelation of the Son of God to the soul of man!
The experience of initial conversion is described in the second epistle to the Corinthians to be the glory of God being made known to the heart, as the light of Christ’s countenance shines upon our darkened soul (II Cor. 4:6)! Or, as it may read, the knowledge that the glory of God is exclusively vested in the face of Christ, is the light that suddenly shines into our hearts, illuminating our darkness! A truly converting experience!…
Is it any wonder then that this same experience of initial justification would be immediately applied to the saint’s present and progressive sanctification! As justification was effected alone by the influence of the person of Christ in its beginning, so is sanctification alone an ongoing work of the glory of God in Christ, powerfully quickened again, and again to the soul! To prove this, Paul asserts as his very introduction to this cause of initial conversion the reality of our sanctification made possible by none other than the very same method! “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (II Cor. 3:18). In this text the apostle infallibly defends the upward course of the true believer as one of a progressive revelation of the glory of God, which in only three short verses from hence he will reveal as the face of Christ! And thus and thus are we brought into a holy collision with the seamless testimony of the scriptures, the Spirit bearing witness, of these Divine Equivalences. Truly, as said our Lord, “This is eternal life [i.e. the ongoing experience of saints from beginning, through the endless ages of eternity], that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3).
And so the ever expanding, and deepening knowledge of God, and the developing revelation of the names and ways of God to the soul, is, in reality, a continual conversion experience! In other words, the soul is dynamically effected, forever changed, enduringly impacted by the growing knowledge of His name! This soul converting experience — which is what it was at the first, as sure as you are saved — is not static! It is kinetic! And seeing as we are not perfected in knowledge at the inception of this work of God in our souls, then we ought to be careful to not limit the Holy One of Israel our Savior. “Hearken unto this, O Job: stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God… Dost thou know the balancings of the clouds, the wondrous works of Him which is perfect in knowledge?” (Job 37:14,16). It ought to be the labor of the elect of God to meditate long, and consider full well how unsearchable is the depth of His knowledge, and His ways past finding out (Rom. 11:33)! This exercise will tend to mellow the soul, and hide pride from its eyes; that it be not lifted up through this spiritual slothfulness, failing to give diligence in this worthy labor of the soul before the magnanimity of the name of God!
To further illustrate this ongoing and inexorable declaration of the name of God, which we see in retrospect to be in a kind of continual crescendo throughout the pages of biblical chronology, we should cast our eyes into the prophecies of futurity, and see if they will show us the promise of yet further revelation of His great name… and if it be so, then we can judge ourselves to be still in the climactic crescendo! I speak thus for we know that the crescendo rose to the climax of the revelation of Jesus Christ, “Thou shalt call His name Jesus!” (Matt. 1:21). But we find that the strains of revelation and glory are only climaxing still, even unto the end of the Bible, in the REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST! O what glory of Jesus Christ is in the Revelation revealed to be yet unrevealed! It is there in which a most (if not the most) fascinating promise is given by Christ to His overcoming people: “Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name” (Rev. 3:12)!
All of this — let alone with the knowledge that there is so much more! — should serve to profoundly prostrate the soul into the posture needful to approach such a subject as the Names of God.
— — —
Now let my reader beware, for these words provided are meant to be abstracts only upon these ineffably blessed Names, and by no means are they intended to furnish the whole scope and magnitude of what is to be declared thereby. The following is intended to open a door of due consideration, and to shine a spotlight upon a subject, merely, and not a floodlight. Thus this is intended to be more of a devotional pursuit of this holy matter, as it were, than a comprehensive or exhaustive treating thereof.
Thus I beg your carefulness to consider what is contained herein more fully than I am setting it forth, as it is my humble desire that these meditations would strike at the heels as a serpent, so to speak, that as the entire man is thereby suddenly consumed in the effect of its venom, likewise (yet so much more), you would be struck in wonder at the sudden mention of His glorious and terrible name, till you are absolutely absorbed in its thrall, and forever captivated by its beauty! Amen.