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Theology (The Doctrine of God)
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Theology (The Doctrine of God)

I.       The Essence Of God

A.     God is a Spiritual Being

1.        In the Spirit there is no flesh and bones (Lk 24:39).

 a.      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).

 b.      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).

2.        The Spirit is invisible.

 a.      “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).

 b.      “Whom no man has ever seen or can see...” (1 Tim 6:16; cf. Jn 1:18; Heb 11:27).

 c.      The beloved Son is the image of the invisible God (Col 1:15).

3.        The Spirit is self-manifesting.

 a.      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).

 b.      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 2:1–2).

 c.      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).

B.     God is “I AM WHO I AM”

1.        I AM—God is self-existing.

 a.      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).

 b.      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).

2.        Eternal existence.

 a.      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).

 b.      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).

 c.      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 3:21).

C.     God is One

1.        The Bible reveals that God is one.

 a.      The Lord God is one Lord (Deut 6:4; Mk 12:29).

 b.      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).

2.        There is no other god but the Lord.

 a.      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).

 b.      God says, “See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god beside me...” (Deut 32:39; 1 Kgs 8:60).

II.    The Almightiness of God

A.     God is Omniscient

The Bible reveals that God has the complete knowledge of all things (Rom 16:27; 1 Jn 3:20).

1.        God knows the ways of humanity (Ps 139:3).

 a.      Man’s ways cannot be hidden from God (Prov 15:3; Jer 16:17).

 b.      God knew Achan took accursed things from the enemy (Josh 7:10-12, 16-26).

 c.      God knew of David’s sin, though he committed them in secret (2 Sam 12:12; cf. 11:2-21).

 d.      God remembered the good works of Cornelius (Acts 10:1-4).

 e.      God cared for Jacob, who was ill-treated by Laban (Gen 31:23-24, 38-42).

2.        God knows our words (Ps 139:4).

 a.      God will take into account the careless words of people on the day of judgment (Mt 12:36, 37).

 b.      God heard what the king of Syria spoke in the bedchamber, thought was supposed to be a secret plan (2 Kgs 6:8-12).

 c.      We should bridle our tongue (Prov 10:19; Jas 1:26, 3:2).

 d.      Words of guile, falsehood, and judgment should not be spoken (Mt 7:1; Rom 2:1, 2; 1 Cor 6:10; Rev 14:5).

3.        God knows our thoughts (Ps 139:2).

 a.      God searches all hearts, and understands all the imaginations of the thoughts (1 Chr 28:9; Acts 15:8).

 b.      God knew that Sarah laughed within herself at the promise of giving birth to a son (Gen 18:10-15).

 c.      God knew the integrity of Abimelech’s heart (Gen 20:6).

 d.      To allow our heart to stray away from righteousness is a sin (Mt 5:28; Acts 8:21; 1 Jn 3:15).

 e.      Keep your heart with all vigilance, because God knows what is in it (1 Sam 16:7; Prov 4:23).

4.        God is omniscient.

 a.      God determines the number of the stars and calls them all by name (Ps 147:4; Isa 40:26).

 b.      All creatures are opened and laid bare to God’s sight (Heb 4:13).

 c.      God declares the end from the beginning (Isa 46:9-10).

 d.      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).

 e.      God is great in counsel and mighty in deed, for he is omniscient (Jer 32:19; Rom 2:16).

B.     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).

1.        God’s omnipotence in relation to creation.

 a.      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).

 b.      At present, the heavens and the earth are sustained by God (Ps 119:91; 2 Pet 3:7).

 c.      God made the sun and the moon stand still in the valley of Ajalon for about a whole day (Josh 10:12-14).

 d.      God opened the mouth of an ass and it spoke to Balaam (Num 22:28–30).

 e.      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).

 f.       God fed one hundred men with twenty loaves of barley
(2 Kgs 4:42–44).

2.        God’s omnipotence in relation to humanity.

 a.      God acts according to his will among the inhabitants of the earth (Dan 4:35).

 b.      God cleansed the leprosy of Naaman, commander of the army of the        king of Syria (2 Kgs 5:14).

 c.      God struck the army of Syria with blindness (2 Kgs 6:18–20).

 d.      God gave Abraham a son at the age of one hundred (Gen 18:10–15, 21:2–5).

 e.      God raised the dead (1 Kgs 17:17–23; 2 Kgs 4:32–37).

 f.       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).

 g.      God took up Enoch and Elijah without letting them pass through death (Gen 5:24; 2 Kgs 2:11).

3.        God’s omnipotence in other aspects.

 a.      Angels are obedient and to the word of God (Ps 103:20).

 b.      God has power to bind Satan (Rev 20:1–3).

 c.      All creatures are nothing before him (Isa 40:15–17, 22–23; Job 6:14).

 d.      God’s mighty works are unfathomable (Job 11:7–11; Rom 11:33).

C.     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).

1.         God is above all (Eph 4:6).

 a.      The Lord has established his throne in the heavens (Ps 103:19).

 b.      The Lord God says, “I dwell in the high and holy place” (Isa 57:15, 66:1).

 c.      The Lord our God dwells on high, beholding the things that are in heaven and on earth (Ps 113:5, 6).

 d.      God dwells in unapproachable light, and no flesh has seen him or can see him (1 Tim 6:16).

2.        God is through all (Eph 4:6).

 a.      God is before you (Isa 52:12; Mic 2:13).

 b.      God is around his people (Ps 125:2).

 c.      God says, “I will live in them and move among them” (2 Cor 6:16).

 d.      God fills all in all (Eph 1:23).

3.         God is in all (Eph 4:6).

 a.      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” (Ezek36:27).

 b.      The Lord Jesus promised to abide with the disciples forever (Jn 14:15–17).

 c.      God will be with those with a contrite and humble spirit (Isa 57:15)

 d.      We know that God abides in us by the Spirit which he has given us (1 Jn 3:24, 4:13).

III. The Attributes Of God

A.     God Is Holy

1.        Holiness is one of God’s attributes.

 a.      “For I am the LORD your God; consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy...” (Lev 11:44).

 b.      Joshua said, “For he is a holy God; he is a jealous God” (Josh 24:19).

 c.      Extol the LORD our God; worship at his footstool! Holy is he!” (Ps 99:5).

 d.      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).

 e.      “God is light and in him is no darkness at all” (1 Jn 1:5).

 f.       The place where God appears is a holy place (Ex 3:5; Josh 5:15).

 g.      Even the heavens are not clean in God’s sight (Job 15:15).

2.        God detests wickedness.

 a.      God never does wickedness (Job 34:10).

 b.      God’s eyes are purer than the evil and iniquities of humanity; God will not send his blessings upon the evil (Hab 1:13).

 c.      For all that do evil things and all who act dishonestly are an abomination to God (Deut 25:16; Prov 15:9, 26).

 d.      God was sorrowful to see great wickedness done on earth (Gen 6:5–6).

 e.      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).

3.        God wants his children to be sanctified.

 a.      God said, “You shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Ex 19:6).

 b.      “For God has not called us for uncleanness, but in holiness” (1 Thess 4:7).

 c.      “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)

 d.      “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).

 e.      “Because God chose you from the beginning to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth” (2 Thess 2:13).

4.        God discards sinners who will not repent.

 a.      Without holiness we shall not see the Lord (Heb 12:14; cf. Mt 5:8; Ps 24:3–4).

 b.      God will not hear the prayers of sinners (Isa 59:1, 2).

 c.      God will not dwell in an unclean place (cf. Deut 23:9–14; Mt 21:12–13).

 d.      God will not abide with the assembly or church if even one person commits sin (Josh 7:11–12, 25).

 e.      The wicked shall not stand tall in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous (Ps 1:5).

B.     God is Just

1.        The Scripture reveals that God is just.

 a.      God says that he is a just God (Isa 45:21; Jn 17:25).

 b.      “The LORD within her is righteous, he does no wrong...” (Zeph 3:5).

 c.      Righteousness and justice are the foundation of God’s throne (Ps 89:14, 97:2).

 d.      The Lord is just in all his ways, and kind in all his doings (Ps145:17; Rev 15:4).

2.        God’s legislation is just.

 a.      The ordinances of the Lord are true and righteous (Ps 19:9, 119:172).

 b.      “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).

 c.      The testimonies that God has commanded are righteous and faithful (Ps 119:138).

 d.      “So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and just and good” (Rom 7:12).

 e.      “The sum of thy word is truth; and every one of thy righteous ordinances endures forever” (Ps 119:160).

3.        God commands his children to be just.

 a.      God wants the chosen to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with their God (Mic 6:8; Mt 23:23).

 b.      We should pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, and gentleness (Isa 56:1; 1 Tim 6:11; 2 Tim 2:22).

 c.      God commands judges to be just in their judgments (Lev 19:15; Deut 1:16–17, 16:18–20).

 d.      Never discriminate against the poor in partiality to the rich (Jas 2:1–4).

 e.      Righteousness will deliver us from death (Prov 10:2, 12:28).

 f.       A royal throne is established by righteousness (Prov 16:12, 14:34, 25:5).

4.        The judgment of God is just.

 a.      God will judge the world righteously (Ps 9:4, 8, 96:10, 98:9).

 b.      God will by no means count the guilty as guiltless (Ex 34:7).

 c.      God’s judgments are right (Ps 119:75).

 d.      “All the words of my mouth are righteous; there is nothing twisted or crooked in them” (Prov 8:8).

 e.      God will render a righteous judgment of everyone according to their deeds (Gen 18:25; Rom 2:6; Rev 22:12).

5.        God will punish the wicked.

 a.      Tribulation and distress will be “for every human being who does evil” (Lam 1:18; Rom 2:8, 9).

 b.      The soul of a sinner will die (Ezek 18:4; Dan 9:7–14).

 c.      Abimelech and the wicked men of Shechem were struck by God because of their iniquities (Judg 9:53–57).

 d.      Rehoboam fell in the hand of Shishak, king of Egypt, after he had transgressed against the Lord (2 Chr 12:1–7).

 e.      “The LORD works vindication and justice for all who are oppressed” (Ps 103:6).

 f.       The wicked will be cast into hell in the final judgment (Mt 13:36–42; 2 Thess 1:6–7; Rev 21:8).

6.        God will reward the righteous

 a.      God will give glory, honor, and peace to every one who does good (1 Kgs 8:32; Rom 2:10–11).

 b.      God will not forget man’s good work and labor of love (Acts 10:4; Heb 6:10).

 c.      God blessed Caleb since Caleb followed him faithfully (Num 14:23–24; Josh 14:6–14).

 d.      God saved Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and his household from the great flood (Gen 7:1; 2 Pet 2:5).

 e.      “Let us not grow weary in well-doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we do not lose heart” (Gal 6:9).

 f.       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).

C.     God is Merciful

1.        The Bible reveals that God is merciful.

 a.      God is love (1 Jn 4:8, 18).

 b.      “God is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness” (Ex 34:6; Ps 86:15).

 c.      The Lord is gracious and full of mercy. His compassion is over all his works (Ps 145:8–9).

 d.      God’s steadfast love endures for ever (Ps 118:1–4; Jer 31:3).

2.        Who is loved by God?

 a.      God loves those who fear him.

(a)     God takes pleasure in those who fear him (Ps 147:11).

(b)      “He who loves me (Jesus) will be loved by my Father” (Jn 14:21,23, 16:27, 17:23).

(c)      “The steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon those who fear him” (Ps 31:19, 103:17, 145:19).

(d)     God will show steadfast love to those who love him and keep his commandments, including their descendants (Ex 20:6).

 b.      God’s heart is toward our blessing, not cursing.

(a)     God loves the world (Jn 3:16).

(b)     God desires all men to be saved (1 Tim 2:4).

(c)     God does not wish that any should perish (2 Pet 3:9)

(d)     The Lord is good to all (Ps 145:9; Mt 5:45).

 c.      God loves sinners.

(a)     God has no pleasure in the death of the wicked (Ezek 33:11).

(b)     God is kind to the ungrateful and the selfish (Lk 6:35).

(c)     Jesus Christ died for all sinners (Rom 5:6–8; Gal 1:4).

(d)     God’s tender mercies are over all his works
(Ps 33:5, 36:6, 145:9, 15–17).

3.        The love of God is clearly manifested before humanity.

 a.      God extends his loving care to his people and children.

(a)     The Lord feeds his people (Gen 48:15; Ex 16:1–4; Ps 23:1).

(b)     God keeps his people as the apple of his eye (Deut 32:10).

(c)     God delivered Jacob from the hand of Laban (Gen 31:24, 42).

(d)     God delivered Israel from the Egyptians (Ex 14:19, 20)

(e)     The Lord shelters his people all the day long (Deut 33:12).

(f)      God was afflicted in all the affliction of his people, and here deemed them by his love and mercy (Isa 63:9).

 b.      God chastises his children.

(a)     “For the Lord disciplines him whom he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives” (Heb 12:6).

(b)     “For as often as I speak against him, I do remember him still...” (Jer 31:20).

(c)     God was indignant over the misery of Israel (Judg 10:10–16).

(d)     God does not willingly afflict or grieve humanity (Job 37:23; Jer 29:11; Lam 3:32, 33).

(e)     The chastened will yield the peaceful fruit of righteousness (Deut 8:2–7; Heb 12:9–13).

 c.      God sacrificed his only begotten Son, who willingly gave up his life on the cross.

(a)     “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (Jn 15:13).

(b)     God so loved the world that he gave us his only begotten Son (Mt 20:28; Jn 3:16).

(c)     That Christ died for us is the manifestation of God’s love (Jn 3:16; Rom 5:8; Gal 2:20).

 d.      God forgives the iniquities of humanity.

(a)     God often forgives us our iniquities, as he delights in mercy (Ps 103:3–4; Mic 7:18–20).

(b)     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).

(c)     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).

(d)     Through Christ, God blesses us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places (Eph 1:3; 1 Pet 1:3, 4).

 e.      God’s love is unconditional and free.

(a)     God’s love is like a hen which gathers her brood under her wings (Mt 23:37).

(b)     God’s love is like a shepherd tending his sheep (Ps 23:1–6; Isa 40:11; Jn 10:11).

(c)     God’s love is like a spiritual Father who pities his children’s weaknesses (Ps 103:13; Lk 15:11–32).

(d)     God’s love surpasses that of our earthly parents (Ps 27:10).

(e)     The love of God is beyond our knowledge (Eph 3:18, 19).

D.     God is Truthful

1.        The Bible reveals that God is the God of truth.

 a.      God is a God of faithfulness and without iniquity (Deut 32:4).

 b.      God is faithful (1 Cor 1:9, 10:13).

 c.      All God’s work is done in faithfulness (Ps 33:4).

 d.      God keeps faith forever (Ps 117:2, 146:6).

2.        God’s word is truthful.

 a.      God cannot lie (Tit 1:2; Heb 6:18).

 b.      “God is not man, that he should lie...” (Num 23:19).

 c.      God will not alter the word that went forth from his lips (Ps 89:34).

 d.      The ordinances of God are true and righteous (Ps 19:9, 119:142, 151, 160).

 e.      The promises of the Lord are pure, like silver in a furnace that has been purified seven times (Ps 12:6, 119:140).

3.        God keeps his covenant.

 a.      God keeps his covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, even to a thousand generations (Deut 7:9).

 b.      God delivered Israel out of Egypt to fulfill his covenant with Abraham (Ex 2:24–25; Lev 26:42).

 c.      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).

 d.      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).

 e.      All the promises of God are positive (2 Cor 1:20).

 f.       Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering (1 Cor 1:9; Heb 10:23).

4.        God is reliable.

 a.      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).

 b.      Often God, in his faithfulness, will afflict and try us for our own good (Ps 119:75).

 c.      Cast all your burden on the LORD (Ps 37:5, 55:22; 1 Pet 5:7).

 d.      Those who believe in God shall not be ashamed (Prov 30:5; Rom 9:33).

IV.  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 world.

A.     The Creation of the Universe

1.        The Bible reveals that God created the heavens and the earth.

 a.      In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth (Gen 1:1).

 b.      All things were created by God-in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible (Jn 1:1–3; Col 1:16).

 c.      God is the builder of all things (Heb 3:4).

 d.      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.

2.        The purpose of Creation.

 a.      Creation in relation to God.

(a)     Creation is a manifestation of God’s great wisdom (Jer 51:15; cf. Ps 104:24, 136:5; Prov 3:19).

(b)             The redemption of Jesus Christ is the greatest manifestation of God’s profound wisdom in creation (Eph 3:9–11).

(c)     The manifestation of God’s power and mighty deeds (Ps 145:10–12; cf. Ps 19:1; Rom 1:20).

(d)     The manifestation of the glory of God (Ps 8:1; cf. Ps 19:1; Rev 4:11).

(e)     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 glorify God
(1 Cor 6:20, 10:31).

 b.      Creation in relation to humanity.

(a)     The earth is the abode of humankind (Ps 115:16; Isa 45:18).

(b)     Lights in the firmament of the heavens are to divide the day from the night, and are for signs, seasons, days and years (Gen 1:14–17).

(c)     Vegetation and animals are food for human beings (Gen 1:29, 9:3; cf. Gen 2:16; 1 Tim 4:4, 6:17).

(d)     The wool of lambs can provide clothing (Prov 27:26).

(e)     Angels, the ministering spirits, are sent forth to serve the heirs of salvation (Heb 1:14).

(f)      God gave man dominion over all living creatures (Gen 1:26, 28; Ps 8:4, 6; cf. Gen 2:15, 19, 20).

3.        The ways of God’s Creation.

 a.      God created all things for his will and pleasure (Rev 4:11).

 b.      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).

 c.      All things were made by the Spirit of God (Gen 1:2; Job 26:13; Ps 104:30).

 d.      God created all things from nothingness (Heb 11:3).

 e.      Creation is the work of God alone (Isa 44:24; cf. Job 9:8; Isa 40:13, 45:12).

 f.       In six days the heaven and the earth were created (Gen 2:1–3; Ex 20:11).

(a)     The first day: light, and the succession of day and night (Gen 1:3-5; cf. Isa 45:7; 2 Cor 4:6).

(b)     The second day: the firmament (Gen 1:6–8; Isa 40:22).

(c)     The third day: land and vegetation (Gen 1:9–13; cf. Ps 104:14).

(d)     The fourth day: sun, moon, and stars (Gen 1:14–19; cf. Ps 8:3, 104:19, 136:7-9).

(e)     The fifth day: sea creatures and birds (Gen 1:20–23; cf. Ps 104:25, 26).

(f)      The sixth day: land animals and human beings (Gen 1:24–31; cf. Gen 5:1, 9:6; Jer 27:5).

(g)     The seventh day: God rested and sanctified this day as the holy sabbath (Gen 2:1–3; cf. Ex 20:8–11, 34:21).

B.     God’s Providential Guardianship over His Creatures

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).

1.        God’s providence in the universe.

 a.      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).

 b.      The seedtime and harvest, summer and winter, day and night remain the same (Gen 8:22; cf. Ps 74:17; Jer 33:20, 25).

 c.      God prescribes the boundaries of the sea (Job 38:8–11; Jer 5:22; cf. Ps 104:9; Prov 8:29).

 d.      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 satisfy Israel’s desire for meat (Num 11:31).

 e.      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 7:11–12, 21–23).

 f.       Lilies, flowers, and grass are also in the providential care of God (Job 38:26–27; Mt 6:28–30).

2.        God’s providence for birds and beasts.

“Man and beast thou savest, O LORD” (Ps 36:6).

 a.      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).

 b.      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).

 c.      The high mountains are habitats for wild goats; rocks are a refuge for badgers (Job 39:6, 27–28; Ps 104:18).

 d.      “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.

 e.      No sparrow will fall to the ground without the Father’s will, for he watches over even the most insignificant creation (Mt 10:29).

3.        God’s providence for the nations.

 a.      For the kingdom is the Lord’s; and he is the governor among the nations (Ps 22:28; cf. Ps 66:7).

 b.      “He makes nations great, and he destroys them: he enlarges nations, and leads them away” (Job 12:23).

 c.      God sets the boundaries or limits for his chosen and humanity (Deut 32:8; Acts 17:26).

 d.      God removes and sets up kings (Dan 2:21; cf. Dan 4:17, 5:19–21).

 e.      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).

4.        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).

 a.      God calls and appoints humanity even when they are in their mothers’ wombs.

(a)     God sees our unformed substance (Ps 139:16).

(b)     God “had set me apart before I was born, and had called me through his grace” (Gal 1:15).

(c)     God foreknows our ways (Gen 25:21–23).

 b.      The paths of humanity are directed by the Lord (Prov 20:24; Jer10:23).

(a)     God sanctified and sent Jeremiah before he was born (Jer 1:5).

(b)     The dreams of Joseph’s rise to power (Gen 37:5–11) were fulfilled in the later years when Joseph was made prime minister of Egypt (Gen 41:37–43, 50:19-20).

 c.      Marriage is instituted by God (Mk 10:7–9).

(a)     Houses and riches are the inheritance of fathers; but a prudent wife is from the Lord (Prov 19:14).

(b)     God prepared Rebecca for Isaac (Gen 24:7, 44–48).

 d.      Children are a heritage of the Lord (Ps 127:3; cf. Gen 33:5, 48:9).

(a)     Isaac was granted a child by God (Gen 25:21).

(b)     God heard the request of Hannah and gave her a child named Samuel (1 Sam 1:10–20).

 e.      God gives us the power to attain wealth (Deut 8:18; 1 Chr 29:12).

(a)     Blessed by God, Isaac received a hundredfold from the land (Gen 26:12, 13).

(b)     God made Solomon prosperous (1 Kgs 3:13, 10:14, 15, 21, 27).

 f.       God allows us to advance in positions and ranks (1 Sam 2:7; Ps 75:6, 7).

(a)     Daniel was appointed as governor (Dan 1:9, 17, 20, 6:1–3).

(b)     Mordecai was promoted to be the prime minister to the king (Est 6:1–11, 10:1–3).

 g.      God has the power to kill and make alive (Deut 32:39; Jas 4:13–15).

(a)     God determines our times (Job 14:5; Acts 17:26, 28).

(b)     God delivers us from death (Ps 68:20, 91:3–7, 121:3–8).

(c)     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).

(d)     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 4:28–37).

C.     God’s

Special Ways
of Providential Care

1.        God’s providence through the wicked.

 a.      Hindrance: God often hinders people in their plans in order to keep them from sinning or to deliver them from evil.

(a)     God prevented Abimelech from defiling Sarah (Gen 20:1–7).

(b)     God held back Laban from persecuting Jacob (Gen 31:24, 42).

(c)     The king of Babylon could not burn Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to death (Dan 3:19–27).

 b.      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).

(a)     God let all the nations walk in their own ways (Acts 14:16; Rom 11:24–28).

(b)     Israel 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).

(c)     The Lord delays his second coming, which shows his forbearance toward us. God wishes that all would come to repentance (2 Pet 3:7, 9).

 c.      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).

(a)     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).

(b)     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).

(c)     The Jews crucified Jesus. But, ironically, the crucifixion fulfilled God’s redemptive plan (Acts 2:23–24, 4:27–28).

 d.      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).

(a)     God restricted Satan in his assault on Job (Job 1:12, 2:6).

(b)     David was not delivered to king Saul (1 Sam 23:7–14, 24–29).

(c)     God ordered the angels not to spread the plague, which limited the plague (1 Chr 21:27; cf. 1 Chr 21:13–26).

(d)     Before the appointed time, no one could arrest Jesus (Jn 7:30, 8:20).

2.        God’s providence for the righteous.

 a.      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.

(a)     The Spirit of God moved Amasai to follow David (1 Chr 12:18).

(b)     God made the nations fear David (1 Chr 14:17).

(c)     God moved Israel to obey the commands of Hezekiah in order to fulfill his purpose (2 Chr 30:12).

 b.      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).

(a)     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).

(b)     God protected Isaac from the oppression of the herdsmen of Gerar (Gen 26:24; cf. Gen 26:12–31).

(c)     God protected Jacob during his times of hardship (Gen 28:13–15, 48:15–16).

 c.      Opening a Way: God is faithful, and he will open a way for his chosen ones during their trials and adversities.

(a)     God opened up a path in the Red Sea for Israel to escape from the Egyptian soldiers (Ex 14:10–31).

(b)     God rained manna in the wilderness to keep Israel from starvation (Ex 16:1–5; Deut 8:2, 3).

(c)     God mightily drove away the Syrians in order to rescue the Israelites (2 Kgs 7:1–20).

 d.      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 (Ps 145:19).

(a)     God heard Joshua’s request to let the sun and the moon stand still until there was victory over the five kings for Israel (Josh 10:12–14).

(b)     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).

(c)     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).

(d)     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).

V.     The Holy Name Of God

A.     How God Revealed His Name to Humanity

1.        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.”

2.        God revealed his name to Israel. At Mount Sinai God declared to Israel, “I am the LORD your God” (Ex 20:2, 5, 7, 11).

3.        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).

B.     How Elohim, El, and Jehovah Have Been Used

1.        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.

2.        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.

3.        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.

4.        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 of power.

5.        “God” in Greek is Theos, which has the same usage as El.

6.        Shang-ti (high 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.

C.     The LORD Is Elohim (God)

1.        The Lord spoke to Abram, “I am God Almighty [El Shaddai]” (Gen 17:1).

2.        Moses mentioned God in Genesis 2 and 3, that “the LORD God” in Hebrew is Jehovah Elohim (Gen 2:4, 5, 7, 8).

3.        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.

4.        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).

5.        The LORD is the only true God in all the world (Gen 14:19; Ps 83:18; Isa 54:5).

D.     The Names and Titles Which Reveal God’s Character and Purpose:

·         Almighty God [El Shaddai] (Gen 17:1)

·         Most High God [El Elyon] (Gen 14:18; Heb 7:1–3)

·         God of seeing [El Roi] (Gen 16:13)

·         God of faithfulness (Deut 32:4)

·         Jealous God (Ex 34:14)

·         Righteous God (Isa 45:21)

·         Holy God (Josh 24:19)

·         Everlasting God [El Olam] (Gen 21:33)

·         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 Jn 2:29)

·         The LORD is there [Jehovah-Shammah] (Ezek 48:35)

·         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)

E.     Jesus Is the Name of God

1.        Jehovah (the LORD) is not the real name of God.

 a.      “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.

 b.       “I 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.

 c.      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

 d.      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 all mankind.

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 combinations).

 e.      God did not reveal his name to Jacob (Gen 32:29; cf. Judg 13:18).

 f.       The Ten Commandments forbid Israel to take the name of God in vain (Ex 20:7).

 g.      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).

2.        God’s name is Jesus.

 a.      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).

 b.      He (Jesus) comes in the name of the LORD (Mt 21:9; Lk 19:37–38).

3.        The name of the heavenly Father, the LORD God, is Jesus.

 a.      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, 26).

 b.      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).

 c.      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).

 d.      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.

4.        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).

5.        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 3:17).

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