“And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM; and He said, thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hast sent me unto you.”
Recently, during some Bible study sessions, someone posed some questions that are worth looking at in some more detail and depth. The questions being (1) What is the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, the Trinity of Triune God? (2) What is the name of God that Jesus manifested to the disciples? (3) Is God the Father a fire?
So, let us start with the first question, “What is the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost”? When we open our Bible, the first line we read is as follows; “In the beginning God”, here the word God is “Elohim”. All throughout the first chapter the same word God, “Elohim” is used. Now, beginning in Chapter 2:4, we see the use of the term “Lord God”, which translates to Jehovah Elohim, Jehovah (Heb. YHWH) literally means, The Self-Existing One. When we read through the Old Testament, we will come across a large variety in the names or titles that address God in different ways and forms, each addressing the differing character of God. Following is a short list of some of those titles.
God = EL, ELAH, ELOHIM Gen. 1:1
Lord = YHWH, JEHOVAH Gen. 2:4, Ex. 34:6
Lord = ADON, or ADONAI (The meaning of ADONIA is Master) Gen. 15:2
Compounded with EL = God
Almighty God = EL SHADDAI (Gen. 17:1)
God = EL ELYON (Gen. 21:33)
Mighty God = EL GIBBOR (Isa. 9:6-7)
Compounded with Lord = Jehovah
Lord God = JEHOVAH, ELOHIM (Gen. 2:4, Ex. 34:6)
Lord God = ADONAI (Gen. 15:2)
Lord of Host = JEHOVAH SABAOTH (1Sam. 1:3)
There are also some others such as:
JEHOVAH-JIREH, “the Lord will provide”, Gen. 22:13-14.
JEHOVAH-RAPHA, “the Lord who healeth”, Ex. 15:26.
JEHOVAH-NISSI, “the Lord my banner”, Ex. 17:8-15.
JEHOVAH-SHALOM, “the Lord our peace”, Judges 6:24.
JEHOVAH-TSIDKENU, “the Lord is righteous”, Jer. 23:6.
JEHOVAH-SHAMMAH, “the Lord is present”, Eze. 48:35.
As we can see from all these different titles, each is indicative of the various characters of God, and in that sense they are titles and not names. The only name by which God called Himself is the one by which He identified Himself to Moses, namely “I AM”.
In John 17:6 Jesus spoke the words “I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world; thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word.” Now the question is what is the name of God that Jesus manifested to the disciples? Throughout the Gospels, Jesus in His discourse with His disciples mainly used the term “Father” when mentioning God, but on some occasions, Jesus simply referred to the Father as God, no specific name was used. In John 14, Philip, one of the Lord’s disciples, asked Jesus to show the “Father” to them, whereupon Jesus replied “Have I been such a long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? He that has seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, show us the Father?” (John 14:9). In John 10:30 Jesus declared, “I and the Father are one”. Through His actions and ways, through His preaching and healing the sick, the lame and the blind, Jesus showed not only the disciples, but the whole world the essence of the Father, not by giving the Father a name, but showing who and what the Father is.
In Deut. 4:24 we read, “The Lord thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God.” And Heb. 12:29 also says, “For our God is a consuming fire.” Now, our friend’s last question is, “Is God the Father a fire?” God is the ever-present Spirit, Force, and Power in the Universe. He is everywhere and everything. Therefore, God can be anything that He wants or needs to be depending on the circumstances. When we read the passages mentioned in their whole context we see that this fire of God is the outpouring of God’s wrath and anger over the disobedience and sin of His people and mankind in general. We should never forget that the Bible makes us aware that God is a jealous God and jealous for His name, a name that we as people often defile with our sinful actions and words. We read in Isa. 30, “Behold, the name of the Lord cometh from far, burning with His anger, and the burden of it is heavy; His lips are full of indignation, and His tongue like a devouring fire….And the Lord shall cause His glorious voice to be heard, and shall show the lighting down His arm, with the indignation of His anger, and with the flame of a devouring fire, with scattering, and tempest, and hailstones.” (Isa. 30:27,30)
Throughout the Scriptures, the most overriding factor is the fact of God’s compassion and love for both His creation and His people, a love culminating in God sacrificing His only begotten Son on our behalf for the propitiation of our sin. A loving father chastises a wayward son in order to teach the son the difference between right and wrong. It is the same with God. He chastises His children, His people, by whatever means He deems necessary when they go astray.
God’s wrath is not constant but passes away when we repent, but His truth and His love is constant and thus is ever with us. The Apostle John says it most aptly. “And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love, and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.” (1John 4:16)