Theology (The Doctrine of God)
Essence Of God
God is a Spiritual Being
In the Spirit there is no flesh and bones (Lk 24:39).
God is called the Father of spirits (Heb 12:9).
Moses called the Lord
the God of the spirits of all flesh (Num 16:22, 27:16).
The Spirit of God is neither flesh nor material.
As a spiritual being, God is omnipresent (Ps 139:7, 8; Jer
23:23, 24; Eph 1:23, 4:6).
The Spirit is invisible.
“Lo, he passes by me, and I see him not; he
moves on, but I do not perceive him” (Job 9:11; cf. Job 23:3, 8-9).
“Whom no man has ever seen or can see...” (1 Tim
6:16; cf. Jn 1:18; Heb 11:27).
The beloved Son is the image of the invisible
The Spirit is self-manifesting.
The Spirit is invisible. The Bible says that man
can only see God through his manifestations (Gen 18:1–3; Ex 24:9–10, 33:18–23).
In the Old Testament God often appeared as the
angel of the LORD (Gen 16:7–10, 13, 21:17–19, 22:11–12; Judg
God is Spirit and we should worship him in
spirit and truth (Jn 4:24). We must not make idols
for ourselves or worship them (Ex 20:4–5, 23; Acts 17:24–25).
God is “I AM WHO I AM”
I AM—God is self-existing.
All creatures have origins, for origins speak of
creation. But the origin of all origins is God (Heb 2:10). He is the First Cause,
a living Spirit who does not have any origin, for he is self-existing from all
eternity (Ex 3:14).
God is “I AM WHO I AM,” thus he has no beginning
of days (Heb 7:3). He is the First and the Last, the Alpha and the Omega (Isa 44:6; Rev 1:8).
Eternal existence means that there is no
beginning of days or end of life (Heb 7:3). The Bible says that God is he “who
alone has immortalityº” (1 Tim 6:16).
God is everlasting (Gen 21:33; Isa 40:28), and eternal (Deut 33:27). “For thus says the high
and lofty One who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holyº” (Isa
57:15). He is the incorruptible God (Rom 1:23), whose
years endure throughout all generations (Ps 102:24–28). He is the King of ages,
immortal, and invisible (1 Tim 1:17).
God is eternal, therefore he can give the
believers everlasting consolation (2 Thess 2:16),
eternal life (1 Tim 6:12), eternal glory (2 Cor 4:17,
5:1). All glory and praise be to God forever (Rom 1:25, 11:36; Gal 1:5; Eph
God is One
The Bible reveals that God is one.
The Lord God is one Lord (Deut 6:4; Mk 12:29).
There is one God (1 Cor
8:6; 1 Tim 2:5; Jas 2:19). God is one (Rom 3:30; Gal 3:20), the only true God (Jn 17:3), and the only wise God (Rom 16:27). There is one
Father who is in heaven (Mt 23:9; Mal 2:10).
There is no other god but the Lord.
The Ten Commandments show that we should not
have any other gods before the Lord God (Ex 20:3; cf. Deut 5:7; Isa 45:5).
God says, “See now that I, even I, am he, and
there is no god beside me...” (Deut 32:39; 1 Kgs
The Almightiness of God
God is Omniscient
The Bible reveals that God has
the complete knowledge of all things (Rom 16:27; 1 Jn
God knows the ways of humanity (Ps 139:3).
Man’s ways cannot be hidden from God (Prov 15:3; Jer 16:17).
God knew Achan took
accursed things from the enemy (Josh 7:10-12, 16-26).
God knew of David’s sin, though he committed
them in secret (2 Sam 12:12; cf. 11:2-21).
God remembered the good works of Cornelius (Acts
God cared for Jacob, who was ill-treated by Laban (Gen 31:23-24, 38-42).
God knows our words (Ps 139:4).
God will take into account the careless words of
people on the day of judgment (Mt 12:36, 37).
God heard what the king of Syria spoke in the bedchamber,
thought was supposed to be a secret plan (2 Kgs 6:8-12).
We should bridle our tongue (Prov
10:19; Jas 1:26, 3:2).
Words of guile, falsehood, and judgment should
not be spoken (Mt 7:1; Rom 2:1, 2; 1 Cor 6:10; Rev
God knows our thoughts (Ps 139:2).
God searches all hearts, and understands all the
imaginations of the thoughts (1 Chr 28:9; Acts 15:8).
God knew that Sarah laughed within herself at
the promise of giving birth to a son (Gen 18:10-15).
God knew the integrity of Abimelech’s
heart (Gen 20:6).
To allow our heart to stray away from
righteousness is a sin (Mt 5:28; Acts 8:21; 1 Jn
Keep your heart with all vigilance, because God
knows what is in it (1 Sam 16:7; Prov 4:23).
God is omniscient.
God determines the number of the stars and calls
them all by name (Ps 147:4; Isa 40:26).
All creatures are opened and laid bare to God’s
sight (Heb 4:13).
God declares the end from the beginning (Isa 46:9-10).
God’s understanding is infinite, and the depth
and riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God are beyond our description (Ps
147:5; Rom 11:33).
God is great in counsel and mighty in deed, for
he is omniscient (Jer 32:19; Rom 2:16).
God is Omnipotent
The Lord Jesus said, “With men
this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Mt 19:26). “Is
anything too hard for the LORD?” (Gen 18:14; Jer
32:17, 27). God is the Almighty (Gen 17:1; Job 37:23; Rev 11:17).
God’s omnipotence in relation to creation.
In the beginning God created the world and all
things. This is a sign of God’s awesome power (Gen 1:1; Heb 11:3).
At present, the heavens and the earth are
sustained by God (Ps 119:91; 2 Pet 3:7).
God made the sun and the moon stand still in the
valley of Ajalon for
about a whole day (Josh 10:12-14).
God opened the mouth of an ass and it spoke to
Balaam (Num 22:28–30).
God blessed the widow of Zarephath’s
jar of oil and flour to flow continuously until rain fell once more upon the
land (1 Kgs 17:14–16).
God fed one hundred men with twenty loaves of
(2 Kgs 4:42–44).
God’s omnipotence in relation to humanity.
God acts according to his will among the
inhabitants of the earth (Dan 4:35).
God cleansed the leprosy of Naaman,
commander of the army of the king
(2 Kgs 5:14).
God struck the army of Syria with blindness (2 Kgs 6:18–20).
God gave Abraham a son at the age of one hundred
(Gen 18:10–15, 21:2–5).
God raised the dead (1 Kgs
17:17–23; 2 Kgs 4:32–37).
During the 40 years of journey in the
wilderness, the clothing of the Israelites did not wear out, and their feet did
not swell (Deut 8:4; Neh 9:21).
God took up Enoch and Elijah without letting
them pass through death (Gen 5:24; 2 Kgs 2:11).
God’s omnipotence in other aspects.
Angels are obedient and to the word of God (Ps
God has power to bind Satan (Rev 20:1–3).
All creatures are nothing before him (Isa 40:15–17, 22–23; Job 6:14).
God’s mighty works are unfathomable (Job
11:7–11; Rom 11:33).
God is Omnipresent
“Am I a God at hand, says the
LORD, and not a God afar off? Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I
cannot see him? says the LORD. Do I not fill heaven
and earth? says the LORD” (Jer
23:23–24). David said, “Whither shall I go from thy Spirit? Or whither shall I
flee from thy presence? If I ascend to heaven, thou art there! If I make my bed
in Sheol, thou art there!” (Ps 139:7–8).
is above all (Eph 4:6).
The Lord has established his throne in the
heavens (Ps 103:19).
The Lord God says, “I dwell in the high and holy
place” (Isa 57:15, 66:1).
The Lord our God dwells on high, beholding the
things that are in heaven and on earth (Ps 113:5, 6).
God dwells in unapproachable light, and no flesh
has seen him or can see him (1 Tim 6:16).
God is through all (Eph 4:6).
God is before you (Isa
52:12; Mic 2:13).
God is around his people (Ps 125:2).
God says, “I will live in them and move among
them” (2 Cor 6:16).
God fills all in all (Eph 1:23).
is in all (Eph 4:6).
God says, “And I will put my Spirit within you,
and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to observe my ordinances”
The Lord Jesus promised to abide with the
disciples forever (Jn 14:15–17).
God will be with those with a contrite and
humble spirit (Isa 57:15)
We know that God abides in us by the Spirit
which he has given us (1 Jn 3:24, 4:13).
The Attributes Of God
God Is Holy
Holiness is one of God’s attributes.
“For I am the LORD your God; consecrate
yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy...” (Lev 11:44).
Joshua said, “For he is a holy God; he is a
jealous God” (Josh 24:19).
Extol the LORD our God; worship at his
footstool! Holy is he!” (Ps 99:5).
Moses said, “Who is like thee, O LORD, among the
gods? Who is like thee, majestic in holiness, terrible in glorious deeds, doing
wonders?” (Ex 15:11).
“God is light and in him is no darkness at all”
(1 Jn 1:5).
The place where God appears is a holy place (Ex
3:5; Josh 5:15).
Even the heavens are not clean in God’s sight
God detests wickedness.
God never does wickedness (Job 34:10).
God’s eyes are purer than the evil and
iniquities of humanity; God will not send his blessings upon the evil (Hab 1:13).
For all that do evil things and all who act
dishonestly are an abomination to God (Deut 25:16; Prov
God was sorrowful to see great wickedness done
on earth (Gen 6:5–6).
Twenty-four thousand died in the plague because
of adultery and fornication; God will punish those who live according to their
fleshly desires (Num 25:9–11).
God wants his children to be sanctified.
God said, “You shall be to me a kingdom of
priests and a holy nation” (Ex 19:6).
“For God has not called us for uncleanness, but
in holiness” (1 Thess 4:7).
“But as he who called you is holy, be holy
yourselves in all your conduct; since it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I
am holy’ ” (1 Pet 1:15–16)
“May the God of peace himself sanctify you
wholly; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at
the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thess 5:23).
“Because God chose you from the beginning to be
saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth” (2 Thess 2:13).
God discards sinners who will not repent.
Without holiness we shall not see the Lord (Heb
12:14; cf. Mt 5:8; Ps 24:3–4).
God will not hear the prayers of sinners (Isa 59:1, 2).
God will not dwell in an unclean place (cf. Deut
23:9–14; Mt 21:12–13).
God will not abide with the assembly or church
if even one person commits sin (Josh 7:11–12, 25).
The wicked shall not stand tall in the judgment,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous (Ps 1:5).
God is Just
The Scripture reveals that God is just.
God says that he is a just God (Isa 45:21; Jn 17:25).
“The LORD within her is righteous, he does no
wrong...” (Zeph 3:5).
Righteousness and justice are the foundation of
God’s throne (Ps 89:14, 97:2).
The Lord is just in all his ways,
and kind in all his doings (Ps145:17; Rev 15:4).
God’s legislation is just.
The ordinances of the Lord are true and
righteous (Ps 19:9, 119:172).
“And what great nation is there, that has
statutes and ordinances so righteous as all this law
which I set before you this day?” (Deut 4:8).
The testimonies that God has commanded are
righteous and faithful (Ps 119:138).
“So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy
and just and good” (Rom 7:12).
“The sum of thy word is truth; and every one of
thy righteous ordinances endures forever” (Ps 119:160).
God commands his children to be just.
God wants the chosen to do justice, to love
kindness, and to walk humbly with their God (Mic 6:8;
We should pursue righteousness, godliness,
faith, love, steadfastness, and gentleness (Isa 56:1;
1 Tim 6:11; 2 Tim 2:22).
God commands judges to be just in their
judgments (Lev 19:15; Deut 1:16–17, 16:18–20).
Never discriminate against the poor in
partiality to the rich (Jas 2:1–4).
Righteousness will deliver us from death (Prov 10:2, 12:28).
A royal throne is established by righteousness (Prov 16:12, 14:34, 25:5).
The judgment of God is just.
God will judge the world righteously (Ps 9:4, 8,
God will by no means count the guilty as
guiltless (Ex 34:7).
God’s judgments are right (Ps 119:75).
“All the words of my mouth are righteous; there
is nothing twisted or crooked in them” (Prov 8:8).
God will render a righteous judgment of everyone
according to their deeds (Gen 18:25; Rom 2:6; Rev 22:12).
God will punish the wicked.
Tribulation and distress will be “for every
human being who does evil” (Lam 1:18; Rom 2:8, 9).
The soul of a sinner will die (Ezek 18:4; Dan
Abimelech and the
wicked men of Shechem were struck by God because of
their iniquities (Judg 9:53–57).
Rehoboam fell in the
hand of Shishak, king of Egypt, after he had transgressed against
the Lord (2 Chr 12:1–7).
“The LORD works vindication and justice for all
who are oppressed” (Ps 103:6).
The wicked will be cast into hell in the final
judgment (Mt 13:36–42; 2 Thess 1:6–7; Rev 21:8).
God will reward the righteous
God will give glory, honor, and peace to every
one who does good (1 Kgs
8:32; Rom 2:10–11).
God will not forget man’s good work and labor of
love (Acts 10:4; Heb 6:10).
God blessed Caleb since Caleb followed him
faithfully (Num 14:23–24; Josh 14:6–14).
God saved Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and
his household from the great flood (Gen 7:1; 2 Pet 2:5).
“Let us not grow weary in well-doing, for in due
season we shall reap, if we do not lose heart” (Gal 6:9).
The righteous ones will be awarded crowns of
righteousness as they enter into the heavenly kingdom on the last day (Mt
13:43; Rom 2:7; 2 Tim 4:8).
God is Merciful
The Bible reveals that God is merciful.
God is love (1 Jn 4:8,
“God is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and
abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness” (Ex 34:6; Ps 86:15).
The Lord is gracious and full of mercy. His
compassion is over all his works (Ps 145:8–9).
God’s steadfast love endures for ever (Ps
118:1–4; Jer 31:3).
Who is loved by God?
God loves those who fear him.
God takes pleasure in those who fear him (Ps
who loves me (Jesus) will be loved by my Father” (Jn
14:21,23, 16:27, 17:23).
steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon those who
fear him” (Ps 31:19, 103:17, 145:19).
God will show steadfast love to those who love
him and keep his commandments, including their descendants (Ex 20:6).
God’s heart is toward our blessing, not cursing.
God loves the world (Jn
God desires all men to be saved (1 Tim 2:4).
God does not wish that any should perish (2 Pet
The Lord is good to all (Ps 145:9; Mt 5:45).
God loves sinners.
God has no pleasure in the death of the wicked
God is kind to the ungrateful and the selfish (Lk 6:35).
Jesus Christ died for all sinners (Rom 5:6–8;
God’s tender mercies are over all his works
(Ps 33:5, 36:6, 145:9, 15–17).
The love of God is clearly manifested before
God extends his loving care to his people and
The Lord feeds his people (Gen 48:15; Ex 16:1–4; Ps 23:1).
God keeps his people as the apple of his eye
God delivered Jacob from the hand of Laban (Gen 31:24, 42).
God delivered Israel from the Egyptians (Ex
The Lord shelters his people all the day long
God was afflicted in all the affliction of his
people, and here deemed them by his love and mercy (Isa
God chastises his children.
“For the Lord disciplines him whom he loves, and
chastises every son whom he receives” (Heb 12:6).
“For as often as I speak against him, I do
remember him still...” (Jer 31:20).
God was indignant over the misery of Israel
God does not willingly afflict or grieve
humanity (Job 37:23; Jer 29:11; Lam 3:32, 33).
The chastened will yield the peaceful fruit of
righteousness (Deut 8:2–7; Heb 12:9–13).
God sacrificed his only begotten Son, who
willingly gave up his life on the cross.
“Greater love has no man than this, that a man
lay down his life for his friends” (Jn 15:13).
God so loved the world that he gave us his only
begotten Son (Mt 20:28; Jn 3:16).
That Christ died for us is the manifestation of
God’s love (Jn 3:16; Rom 5:8; Gal 2:20).
God forgives the iniquities of humanity.
God often forgives us our iniquities, as he
delights in mercy (Ps 103:3–4; Mic 7:18–20).
God puts forward Jesus Christ as a propitiation by his blood, through faith, to demonstrate
his righteousness and forbearance by forgiving our sins (Rom 3:21–26).
We are called to be the children of God through
Jesus Christ, though formerly we were children of God’s wrath (Eph 1:5–6, 2:3;
1 Jn 3:1).
Through Christ, God blesses us with every
spiritual blessing in the heavenly places (Eph 1:3; 1 Pet 1:3, 4).
God’s love is unconditional and free.
God’s love is like a hen which gathers her brood
under her wings (Mt 23:37).
God’s love is like a shepherd tending his sheep
(Ps 23:1–6; Isa 40:11; Jn
God’s love is like a spiritual Father who pities
his children’s weaknesses (Ps 103:13; Lk 15:11–32).
God’s love surpasses that of our earthly parents
The love of God is beyond our knowledge (Eph
God is Truthful
The Bible reveals that God is the God of truth.
God is a God of faithfulness and without
iniquity (Deut 32:4).
God is faithful (1 Cor
All God’s work is done in faithfulness (Ps
God keeps faith forever (Ps 117:2, 146:6).
God’s word is truthful.
God cannot lie (Tit 1:2; Heb 6:18).
“God is not man, that he should lie...” (Num 23:19).
God will not alter the word that went forth from
his lips (Ps 89:34).
The ordinances of God are true and righteous (Ps
19:9, 119:142, 151, 160).
The promises of the Lord are pure, like silver
in a furnace that has been purified seven times (Ps 12:6, 119:140).
God keeps his covenant.
God keeps his covenant and steadfast love with
those who love him and keep his commandments, even to a thousand generations
God delivered Israel
out of Egypt
to fulfill his covenant with Abraham (Ex 2:24–25; Lev 26:42).
God kept his covenant with David so that Joash was kept alive when Athaliah
slew all the sons of the king (2 Kgs 11:2).
The covenant that the seed of David would become
the highest king was fulfilled in Jesus Christ, the son of David by genealogy
of the flesh (Ps 89:27–37; Mt 1:1; Heb 1:8; Gal 3:15, 16).
All the promises of God are positive (2 Cor 1:20).
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope
without wavering (1 Cor 1:9; Heb 10:23).
God is reliable.
God is faithful, and he will make a way for you
to escape when you are tempted (1 Cor 10:23; 2 Thess 3:3).
Often God, in his faithfulness, will afflict and
try us for our own good (Ps 119:75).
Cast all your burden on
the LORD (Ps 37:5, 55:22; 1 Pet 5:7).
Those who believe in God shall not be ashamed (Prov 30:5; Rom 9:33).
God And The World
The Almighty God, the Lord of
heaven and earth, created the universe long ago (Acts 17:24-25). God’s
providence maintains the divine order and harmony of this world, and he is
leading humankind towards salvation at present. In the future, God will judge
The Creation of the Universe
The Bible reveals that God created the heavens
and the earth.
In the beginning, God created the heavens and
the earth (Gen 1:1).
All things were created by God-in heaven and on
earth, visible and invisible (Jn 1:1–3; Col 1:16).
God is the builder of all things (Heb 3:4).
Scriptures relating to God’s creation include:
Exodus 20:11, Nehemiah 9:6, Isaiah 44:24, Jeremiah 10:12, Revelation 4:11, anGenesis chapters 1 and 2 provide detailed information.
The purpose of Creation.
Creation in relation to God.
Creation is a manifestation of God’s great wisdom
(Jer 51:15; cf. Ps 104:24, 136:5; Prov
redemption of Jesus Christ is the greatest manifestation of God’s profound
wisdom in creation (Eph 3:9–11).
The manifestation of God’s power and mighty
deeds (Ps 145:10–12; cf. Ps 19:1; Rom 1:20).
The manifestation of the glory of God (Ps 8:1;
cf. Ps 19:1; Rev 4:11).
The children of God, under God’s name, Jesus,
are made for God’s glory (Isa 43:7; cf. Ps 86:9; Isa 60:21; Eph 1:5, 6). Therefore, Christians should
(1 Cor 6:20, 10:31).
Creation in relation to humanity.
The earth is the abode of humankind (Ps 115:16; Isa 45:18).
Lights in the firmament of the heavens are to
divide the day from the night, and are for signs, seasons, days and years (Gen
Vegetation and animals are food for human beings
(Gen 1:29, 9:3; cf. Gen 2:16; 1 Tim 4:4, 6:17).
The wool of lambs can provide clothing (Prov 27:26).
Angels, the ministering spirits, are sent forth
to serve the heirs of salvation (Heb 1:14).
God gave man dominion over all living creatures
(Gen 1:26, 28; Ps 8:4, 6; cf. Gen 2:15, 19, 20).
The ways of God’s Creation.
God created all things for his will and pleasure
The world was framed by the Word of God (Ps
33:6, 148:5; Heb 11:3; cf. Gen 1:3, 6, 9, 14, 20, 24).
All things were made by the Spirit of God (Gen
1:2; Job 26:13; Ps 104:30).
God created all things from nothingness (Heb
Creation is the work of God alone (Isa 44:24; cf. Job 9:8; Isa
In six days the heaven and the earth were
created (Gen 2:1–3; Ex 20:11).
The first day: light, and the succession of day
and night (Gen 1:3-5; cf. Isa 45:7; 2 Cor 4:6).
The second day: the firmament (Gen 1:6–8; Isa 40:22).
The third day: land and vegetation (Gen 1:9–13;
cf. Ps 104:14).
The fourth day: sun, moon, and stars (Gen
1:14–19; cf. Ps 8:3, 104:19, 136:7-9).
The fifth day: sea creatures and birds (Gen
1:20–23; cf. Ps 104:25, 26).
The sixth day: land animals and human beings
(Gen 1:24–31; cf. Gen 5:1, 9:6; Jer 27:5).
The seventh day: God rested and sanctified this
day as the holy sabbath (Gen
2:1–3; cf. Ex 20:8–11, 34:21).
God’s Providential Guardianship over His
God created all things and
providentially cares for them. This is called Providence. “The LORD has established his
throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all” (Ps 103:19; cf. Ps 135:6).
God’s providence in the universe.
The word of his power sustains all things (Heb
1:3). “But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist have been
stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly
man” (2 Pet 3:7; Ps 119:91).
The seedtime and harvest, summer and winter, day
and night remain the same (Gen 8:22; cf. Ps 74:17; Jer
God prescribes the boundaries of the sea (Job
38:8–11; Jer 5:22; cf. Ps 104:9; Prov
God makes the wind his messenger (Ps 104:4; cf.
Ps 107:25, 29, 135:7). God caused a strong east wind to dry up the Red Sea,
thereby opening a way for Israel
to pass through (Ex 14:21). A strong wind brought quails from the sea to
desire for meat (Num 11:31).
God gives rain in due season (Jer 5:24; cf. Job 38:25–28). God gives rain from heaven,
and fruitful seasons (Acts 14:17; cf. Job 5:9, 10; Ps 65:9, 10; Isa 30:23). Famine or good harvest is in the hand of God.
God foretold that Egypt
would have seven years of good harvest, followed by seven years of famine (Gen
41:25–32). God also gave rain after three years of drought (1 Kgs 18:41–45; Lk 4:25; Jas 5:17).
God sends rain on the just and the unjust (Mt 5:45). The false gods of the gentiles
cannot cause rain (Jer 14:22). Sometimes God causes
rain for chastisement and at other times for mercy (Job 37:11–13). Take for
example, the deluge of forty days and forty nights, which destroyed a whole
generation of wickedness, but also kept Noah and his household alive (Gen
Lilies, flowers, and grass are also in the
providential care of God (Job 38:26–27; Mt 6:28–30).
God’s providence for birds and beasts.
“Man and beast thou savest, O LORD” (Ps 36:6).
God gives food to the beast, and to the young
ravens which cry (Ps 147:9; cf. Job 39:8; Ps 104:14, 20–22).
God sends the springs into the valleys which run
among the hills, which give drink to every beast of the field. There the wild
asses can quench their thirst (Ps 104:10–11).
The high mountains are habitats for wild goats;
rocks are a refuge for badgers (Job 39:6, 27–28; Ps 104:18).
“Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow
nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are
you not of more value than they?” (Mt 6:26). God provides subsistence for the
birds of the air.
No sparrow will fall to the ground without the
Father’s will, for he watches over even the most insignificant creation (Mt
God’s providence for the nations.
For the kingdom is the Lord’s; and he is the
governor among the nations (Ps 22:28; cf. Ps 66:7).
“He makes nations great, and he destroys them:
he enlarges nations, and leads them away” (Job 12:23).
God sets the boundaries or limits for his chosen
and humanity (Deut 32:8; Acts 17:26).
God removes and sets up kings (Dan 2:21; cf. Dan
Nebuchadnezzar’s dream was a precursor of
subsequent historical events that would take place among the nations (Dan
2:27–35). The image in his dream was revealed by God: the golden head
symbolized Babylon (Dan 2:38); the silver breast and arms symbolized the
kingdoms of the Medes and Persians (Dan 2:32, 38); the brass belly and thighs
symbolized Greece (Dan 2:32, 39); the iron legs symbolized the Roman Empire
(Dan 2:33, 40); and the feet partly of iron and partly of clay symbolized the
nations derived from the Roman Empire (Dan 2:33, 41–43).
God’s providence for humanity.
“But I trust in thee, O LORD, I
say, ‘Thou art my God.’ My times are in thy hand” (Ps 31:14–15).
God calls and appoints humanity even when they
are in their mothers’ wombs.
God sees our unformed substance (Ps 139:16).
God “had set me apart before I was born, and had
called me through his grace” (Gal 1:15).
God foreknows our ways (Gen 25:21–23).
The paths of humanity are directed by the Lord (Prov 20:24; Jer10:23).
God sanctified and sent Jeremiah before he was
born (Jer 1:5).
The dreams of Joseph’s rise to power (Gen
37:5–11) were fulfilled in the later years when Joseph was made prime minister
(Gen 41:37–43, 50:19-20).
Marriage is instituted by God (Mk 10:7–9).
Houses and riches are the inheritance of
fathers; but a prudent wife is from the Lord (Prov
God prepared Rebecca for Isaac (Gen 24:7,
Children are a heritage of the Lord (Ps 127:3;
cf. Gen 33:5, 48:9).
Isaac was granted a child by God (Gen 25:21).
God heard the request of Hannah and gave her a
child named Samuel (1 Sam 1:10–20).
God gives us the power to attain wealth (Deut
8:18; 1 Chr 29:12).
Blessed by God, Isaac received a hundredfold from
the land (Gen 26:12, 13).
God made Solomon prosperous (1 Kgs 3:13, 10:14, 15, 21, 27).
God allows us to advance in positions and ranks
(1 Sam 2:7; Ps 75:6, 7).
Daniel was appointed as governor (Dan 1:9, 17,
Mordecai was promoted to be the prime minister
to the king (Est 6:1–11,
God has the power to kill and make alive (Deut
32:39; Jas 4:13–15).
God determines our times (Job 14:5; Acts 17:26,
God delivers us from death (Ps 68:20, 91:3–7,
God extends the number of our days; e.g., 15
years were added to Hezekiah’s life (Isa 38:1–8), and
Dorcas was raised from death to life (Acts 9:36–41).
“The fear of the LORD prolongs life” (Prov 10:27).
Those who honor their parents may live long on the earth (Eph 6:1–3).
The righteous pass away earlier in their days so
as to avoid the evil days to come (Isa 57:1). No one
can make straight that which God has made crooked (Eccl 7:13). We do not have
the forekowledge of life, death, happiness, or
adversity. Therefore, Paul said, “It depends not upon man’s will or exertion,
but upon God’s mercy” (Rom 9:16). So we should always humble ourselves under
the mighty hand of God (1 Pet 5:6). We must not take pride in our own
understanding, nor lean on our own wisdom (Prov 3:5).
If there is anything magnified and honorable, praise and glory should be given
to God. Nebuchadnezzar, after he was chastised by God, realized all glory and
might belongs solely to God; we too must learn this lesson (Ps 115:1; Dan
Ways of Providential Care
God’s providence through the wicked.
Hindrance: God often hinders people in their
plans in order to keep them from sinning or to deliver them from evil.
God prevented Abimelech
from defiling Sarah (Gen 20:1–7).
God held back Laban
from persecuting Jacob (Gen 31:24, 42).
The king of Babylon could not burn Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to death
Tolerance: God tolerates sinners while abhorring
their sins. God is holy, and he detests sin. God should punish sinners, but he
often tolerates them in order to lead them to repentance (Rom 2:3, 4). But if
we take God’s grace for granted, we may face a time when God gives us over to
our own lusts. By then, it is too late for last minute repentance, for God’s
grace period is over (Rom 1:28; 2 Thess 2:10–12).
God let all the nations walk in their own ways
(Acts 14:16; Rom 11:24–28).
did not listen to God, therefore he gave them up to the lust of their own
hearts and allowed them to walk in their own ways (Ps 81:11–13; Hos 4:17).
The Lord delays his second coming, which shows
his forbearance toward us. God wishes that all would come to repentance (2 Pet
Irony: God detects the wicked’s
treacherous plans. God may directly hinder the wicked with obstacles;
ironically, God may also carry out his will conversely by allowing the wicked
to carry out their plans (Ps 76:10).
The obstinate Pharaoh, who refused Israel’s
request to depart from Egypt, caused the report of the ten plagues to spread
among the nations, through which God’s mighty deeds were manifested (Ex
9:13–17; Neh 9:9–10; Rom 9:17).
Joseph was sold to Egypt (Gen 37:28), put in jail (Gen
39:19–20), and forgotten by the butler for two years (Gen 40:23). However, all
these events led to Joseph’s promotion by Pharaoh (Gen 41:37–43, 50:20).
The Jews crucified Jesus. But, ironically, the
crucifixion fulfilled God’s redemptive plan (Acts 2:23–24, 4:27–28).
Restriction: God often tests the faith of his
chosen people. At times, God allows Satan or wicked people to tempt and attack
God’s children; still, these tests are held within God’s limits (cf. 1 Cor 10:13).
God restricted Satan in his assault on Job (Job
David was not delivered to king
Saul (1 Sam 23:7–14, 24–29).
God ordered the angels not to spread the plague,
which limited the plague (1 Chr 21:27; cf. 1 Chr 21:13–26).
Before the appointed time, no one could arrest
Jesus (Jn 7:30, 8:20).
God’s providence for the righteous.
Assistance and Support: “The king’s heart is a
stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will” (Prov 21:1). God gives support to his beloved by moving and
controlling the hearts of other people.
The Spirit of God moved Amasai
to follow David (1 Chr 12:18).
God made the nations fear David (1 Chr 14:17).
God moved Israel to obey the commands of
Hezekiah in order to fulfill his purpose (2 Chr
Protection: “The angel of the LORD encamps
around those who fear him, and delivers them” (Ps 34:7). Though we are usually
not conscious of the Lord’s spiritual protection, the Lord, in the midst of his
people, is mighty (Zeph 3:17).
God moved Pharaoh’s daughter to nourish Moses
when he was only a child. Afterward, God arranged for Moses to grow up in
Pharaoh’s household to learn all the wisdom of the Egyptians, which of course
prepared Moses in his work for the Lord (Ex 2:1–10; Acts 7:18–22).
God protected Isaac from the oppression of the
herdsmen of Gerar (Gen 26:24; cf. Gen 26:12–31).
God protected Jacob during his times of hardship
(Gen 28:13–15, 48:15–16).
Opening a Way: God is faithful, and he will open
a way for his chosen ones during their trials and adversities.
God opened up a path in the Red Sea for Israel
to escape from the Egyptian soldiers (Ex 14:10–31).
God rained manna in the wilderness to keep Israel
from starvation (Ex 16:1–5; Deut 8:2, 3).
God mightily drove away the Syrians in order to
rescue the Israelites (2 Kgs 7:1–20).
Responding to Requests: The Lord Jesus once
said, “Ask, and it will be given you...” (Mt 7:7). God hears our prayers (1 Jn 5:14), and will fulfill the desire of those who fear him
God heard Joshua’s request to let the sun and
the moon stand still until there was victory over the five kings for Israel
Ezra and the others fasted and prayed to God for
a safe passage in their return to Jerusalem;
God heard their prayers and granted their request (Ezra 8:21–23, 31).
God heard Elijah’s prayers and caused a drought
that lasted for three years and six months. Afterward, God heard Elijah’s
prayer again and it began to rain (1 Kgs 17:1,
18:41–46; Jas 5:17, 18).
David prayed to God to turn Ahithophel’s
counsel into foolishness (2 Sam 15:31). God heard David’s request and moved
Absalom to accept Hushai’s counsel rather than Ahithophel’s (2 Sam 17:1–14, 23). God’s providence is
righteous, truthful, and merciful (Ps 145:17). Just like Paul, we too must be
confident that all things work together for good for those who love God and are
called according to his promise (Rom 8:28).
The Holy Name Of God
How God Revealed His Name to Humanity
God revealed his name to Moses (Ex 3:13–15). The
LORD said, “I AM WHO I AM ... Say this to the people of Israel ... the God of
Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you: this is my
name for ever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations” (Ex
3:14–15). “I AM” is the memorial name of God (Ex 3:15, 34:5–6). In the English
Bible, God’s memorial name is rendered by the capital letters, i.e, “LORD,” “the LORD GOD,” and “God.”
God revealed his name to Israel. At Mount Sinai God declared
“I am the LORD your God” (Ex 20:2, 5, 7, 11).
God announced his name to the Gentile kings in
the past. God’s name is mighty among the nations (Jer
10:6, 7), and glorious in all the earth (Ps 8:1). To Cyrus, king of Persia,
God said, “I am the LORD, and there is no other” (Isa
45:1, 5–6); subsequently, Cyrus acknowledged the LORD (2 Chr
36:23; Ezra 1:2-3).
How Elohim, El, and Jehovah
Have Been Used
The word Elohim, which
is translated “God,” is found more than 2300 times in the Scriptures. Elohim is the plural form of El. El and Elohim
denote the official title of God.
El is found 250 times in the Scriptures. It is
often used in proper names such as Israel (striven with God, Gen
32:28), Ishmael (God heard, Gen 16:11), Samuel (asked of God), and Elijah (the
LORD is my God). The singular form of El is found in Eli and Elah.
The words El and Elohim,
in biblical usage, can apply to both the true God and false gods. In Genesis
31:32, Exodus 34:17, Leviticus 19:4, Deuteronomy 6:14, Elohim
is used for false gods, i.e., idols.
The usage of El and Elohim
is applicable to “God.” Deuteronomy 7:9 reads: “Know therefore that the LORD
your God [Elohim] is God [Elohim],
the faithful God [El with the preceding adjective].” Deuteronomy 7:21 reads:
“For the LORD your God [Elohim] is in the midst of
you, a great and terrible God [El preceded by the adjective].” In Joshua 22:22,
it records, “The Mighty One, God, the LORD! The Mighty One, God, the LORD!
[Jehovah El-Elohim, Jehovah El-Elohim].”
Most Bible scholars hold that “God” has the same meaning in its plural or
singular form. The plural form of God has been interpreted to mean God as a
representative of the heavenly court and/or to denote factors or multiplicities
“God” in Greek is Theos,
which has the same usage as El.
emperor), a Chinese translation, is not the name of the true God. Shang-ti is the name for idols, e.g., Yu-huang Shang-ti (jade
sovereign/high emperor), or Xuan-tian Shang-ti (the high monarch in the remote heaven).
Therefore, Shang-ti in Chinese translations of the
Bible are pagan usages that found their way into a
Chinese translation of the Bible.
The LORD Is Elohim
The Lord spoke to Abram, “I am God Almighty [El Shaddai]” (Gen 17:1).
Moses mentioned God in Genesis 2 and 3, that
“the LORD God” in Hebrew is Jehovah Elohim (Gen 2:4,
5, 7, 8).
Elohim is a collective
noun denoting the class of deity. God and the pagan gods belong to this
category. However, Jehovah God is the true Elohim. A
capital letter “G” for God is thus used for this Creator, in contrast to the
class of gods. For instance, in Genesis 1:1–31 Elohim
refers to God, the true Elohim.
Although El and Elohim
can denote gods or idols, they cannot be compared to the true God and are
therefore false gods. For this reason, the true God says, “Besides me there is
no god” (Isa 44:6, 45:5–6).
The LORD is the only true God in all the world (Gen 14:19; Ps 83:18; Isa
The Names and Titles Which Reveal God’s
Character and Purpose:
Almighty God [El Shaddai]
Most High God [El Elyon]
(Gen 14:18; Heb 7:1–3)
God of seeing [El Roi]
God of faithfulness (Deut 32:4)
Jealous God (Ex 34:14)
Righteous God (Isa
Holy God (Josh 24:19)
Everlasting God [El Olam]
The Lord (Ps 16:2, 62:12; Jn
6:68; 1 Tim 6:15)
The LORD will provide [Jehovah-Jireh] (Gen 22:14)
The LORD as the healer [Jehovah-Rapha] (Ex 15:26; 1 Pet 2:24)
The LORD who sanctifies [Jehovah-Qadash] (Lev 20:8; Heb 10:9–10)
The LORD is our banner [Jehovah-Nissi] (Ex 17:15)
The LORD is peace [Jehovah-Shalom] (Judg 6:24; Eph 2:14)
The LORD is our righteousness [Jehovah-Tsidkenu] (Jer 23:6; 2 Tim 4:8; 1
The LORD is there [Jehovah-Shammah]
The LORD of hosts [Jehovah-Sabaoth]
(1 Sam 1:3; Isa 1:9; Jas 5:4)
The LORD is my shepherd [Jehovah Ra-ah] (Ps
23:1; Jn 10:7, 11, 14, 16; 1 Pet 2:25, 5:4)
Jesus Is the Name of God
Jehovah (the LORD) is not the real name of God.
“Jehovah” is not a noun, but derived from the
verb root haya, which means “to be” or “to exist,”
and can mean “he who is” or “he who brings into being” (Ex 3:14). Moses was
instructed to tell the people: “I AM has sent me to you” (Ex 3:14). In the next
verse (3:15), the instructions are more specific. Moses was to tell the people
that Jehovah/Yahweh, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had sent him. The
sacred name, transcripted from Hebrew to English as
JHVH/YHWH, is called the Tetragrammaton. There are no
vowels in the Tetragrammaton because the Hebrew
alphabet does not have vowels.
AM” is the first person singular of the verb haya (to
be, to happen, to exist); JHVH is the third person singular of the same
verb—that is “he brings into being,” or better “he causes to be.” The
pronunciation Jehovah appeared in late medieval times. It is an attempt to
vocalize the Tetragrammaton using the vowels written
under it by the scribes. The vowels were never intended to be combined with the
four consonants of JHVH. That the pronunciation of JHVH or YHWH in ancient
times was Jehovah or Yahweh is derived from transcriptions of texts from the
early church fathers.
According to some biblical scholars, the
Pentateuch is a text in which several traditions, each with their own
characteristics, have been blended together to create a composite work.1
The Yahwist tradition
(J) traces the worship of Jehovah far back beyond the period of Moses; this
tradition affirms that in the time of Enosh, the
grandson of Adam, men first began to invoke the name of Jehovah (Gen 4:26). The
consistent use of the name from the creation onward represents a theological
attempt to view the whole of human history in light of convenantal
faith and the demonstration that Jehovah is not only the God of Israel but of
On the other hand, the Elohistic (E) and the Priestly (P) sources seem to give a completely
different view in Exodus 6:2–3. “And God (Elohim)
said to Moses, ‘I am the LORD. I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob,
as God Almighty [El Shaddai], but by my name the LORD
I did not make myself known to them” (cf. Gen 17:1, 28:3, 35:11, 48:3, 49:25).
In the Bible it seems that the name
of JHVH was familiar to the patriarchs (Gen 12:7–8, 13:18, 15:1–2, 22:14), so
it is theologically correct to say that the J tradition affirms Jehovah, the
God of Israel, as both the Lord of creation and history. Furthermore, as we are
told by Exodus 6:2–3, the patriarchs did not know the name of Jehovah;
therefore, the E and P sources suggest that the name Jehovah/Yahweh became
commonly accepted during the time of Moses, to whom we ascribe authorship of
the Torah. God’s revealing of the name Jehovah/Yahweh signifies that Israel
was to worship God, the only true God, and to worship him alone. All the
traditions agree rather than contradict; Moses did not introduce Israel
to a new god. Jehovah was not born in the Mosaic period. The God who spoke to
Moses was none other than the God who had also led the patriarchs in their
journey (“the God of the fathers”), the God who had been known previously as El
Shaddai, or by some other name (such as the Jehovistic or Elohistic
God did not reveal his name to Jacob (Gen 32:29;
cf. Judg 13:18).
The Ten Commandments forbid Israel to take the name of God in
vain (Ex 20:7).
God promised to send an angel who comes in the
name of the Lord—God’s name is in him (Ex 23:20–21; Ps 118:26).
God’s name is Jesus.
The name of Jesus comes from the English form of
the Hebrew Yeshu, which is short for Yeshua, which in turn is the shortened form of Yehoshua (Joshua). Jesus’ name means “Jehovah is
salvation.” It is the personal name of the LORD, a heavenly name revealed by
the angel Gabriel (Mt 1:21; Lk 1:30–31).
He (Jesus) comes in the name of the LORD (Mt
21:9; Lk 19:37–38).
The name of the heavenly Father, the LORD God,
Jesus said, “I have manifested thy name to the men
whom thou gavest me out of the world ... I made known
to them thy name, and I will make it known” (Jn 17:6,
The name of Jesus is given by God: “Keep them in
thy name, which thou hast given me ... I kept them in
thy name [Jesus]” (Jn 17:11–12).
In the Bible, Jesus did not declare Jehovah or
other names of God to his disciples. Peter testified that “there is no other
name [Jesus] under heaven given among men by which we
must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
Jehovah, the covenantal or memorial “name” of
God in the Old Testament, and the compound names of God, like the Jehovistic and Elohistic
combinations illustrated above, reveal the progressive revelation of God’s true
name. Through this progressive revelation, we can better understand the full
meaning, power, and significance of the true name of God—Jesus. Therefore, the
name Jesus is the consummation of God’s revelation of his name, and thus
himself, to the world.
The name of Jesus, which is above every name
(Phil 2:9–11), is the name of God.
The Father, the Son, and the Holy
Spirit are one (Jn 10:30; Rom 8:9). Therefore, when
the Lord Jesus instructed the disciples to baptize people “in the name of the
Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Mt 28:19), the disciples were
clear in their understanding and baptized people in the name of the Lord Jesus;
for they understood that Jesus is the name (singular) of the Father, Son, and
Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38; 8:16; 19:5; cf. Isa 9:6).
The name of God is only one.
We should preach, act, and live
in the name of Jesus. In the Lord’s church we exalt and magnify the name of
Jesus; we must never exalt in the name of any organization, early church
worker, or denomination (Deut 12:5; 1 Kgs 8:43; Zech
14:9; Mt 6:9; Col