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1. Introduction

The Old Testament revelation of God is the first in the ‘Nature of God’ series. In Fellowship with the Mystery of His Will, we found that the Father’s desire, birthed out of His love nature, was to have sons and daughters. His plan was always to do this through Jesus Christ.

A. Old Testament Name of God.

The Old Testament Revelation of God, as Yahweh and Elohim, does not mean that He interacts with us as Yahweh Elohim now.
Jesus’ major revelation was that God is Father to His children. The question is, has God changed His nature from the Old Testament to the New Testament? The starting point for this valid question needs to start in the Old Testament Revelation of God.

B. New Testament Name of God.

Neither the New Testament nor the early church fathers support the need by some people to call God Yahweh or YHWH. The writings of Clement, the bishop of Rome from 88CE to 98CE, brings an interesting revelation of God’s name:

“Repent, O house of Israel, from your iniquity. Say to the sons of my people, If your sins reach from the earth to Heaven, and if they be redder than scarlet, and blacker than sackcloth, and ye turn to me with all your hearts and say ‘Father,’ I will listen to you as a holy people.”

First epistle of Clement 8

The First Epistle of Clement to the Corinthian church is the earliest known writing outside the New Testament.

Paul mentions Clement of Phillipi:

And I urge you also, true companion, help these women who labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the Book of Life.

Philippians 4:3

Here, Clement is saying to the house of Israel, use the name of Father, not Yahweh.

Also, the last words of Jesus on the cross refer to Father, not Yahweh.


2. Old Testament Revelation of God – Elohim:

A. Elohim – The First Name of God Mentioned in the Bible.

In Genesis 1:1, God is singular, not plural.

  • Although it is the plural of God, the word created is singular, so it is God as one.

In the beginning Elohim created the heavens and the earth.

Genesis 1:1
  • It is tempting to say that Elohim shows the Trinity in Genesis 1:1, but this is not entirely correct. We could translate it either way – One God or gods. 
  • However, the Trinity is in the first three verses. 

B. The Spirit of God is Found hovering over the waters.

The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

Genesis 1:2

C. The Word of God.
  • Before He was called Jesus, He was the Word, 

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God

John 1:1

has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds;

Hebrews 1:2
  • The Word spoke:

Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.

Genesis 1:3

 

3. Old Testament Revelation of God of Creation – Yahweh:

A. Elohim God was also called Yahweh (or Jehovah) when He created the heavens and the earth.

Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said:
“Who is this who darkens counsel
By words without knowledge?
Now prepare yourself like a man;
I will question you, and you shall answer Me.
“Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?
Tell Me, if you have understanding.

Job 38:1-4

 

4. God is Eternal and Temporal

The Old Testament Revelation of God is that the Trinity is eternal and lives inside time and creation (Temporal).


A. God is Eternal.

There is no doubt from Scripture that God is eternal in that He has always lived and will always live for eternity:

“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,” says the Lord, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

Revelation 1:8

B. God is Temporal.

He MAY live outside of time, but He is also temporal in that He lives inside of time and space.

After God created the heavens and the earth, He entered creation by His Spirit.

  • Elohim’s Spirit was on earth before time started in verse 3:

The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

Genesis 1:2

He isn’t just inside creation; He fills creation:

“Do I not fill heaven and earth?” says the LORD.

Jeremiah 23:24

C. The Bible Does Not Teach That God is Timeless.

Until Alexander conquered Israel in 334 BCE and the consequent Hellenization, the Jews believed that God existed inside of time. Greek mythology is that the gods lived outside of time. The Greek philosopher Plato brought this teaching that God is timeless. The cornerstone of all classical and reformed systematic theology is that God is timeless. Yet, the early church fathers did not believe in this philosophy until Augustine (354-430CE) and Anselm (1033-1109CE).

Unfortunately, Pentecostal theologians elected not to question classical or reformed theology until the last twenty years. Careful examination of scripture reveals nothing supporting this Platonic and Augustine philosophical hypothesis. There are zero biblical references in the Old or New Testaments that God lives outside of time.

Augustine, Luther and Calvin mistranslated αἰώνιος aiōnios; which means eternal, as timeless. It means agelong. Therefore the reader must decide how long the age is from the rest of the scripture. For example, Paul writes:

who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age (aiōnios) according to the will of our God and Father,

Galatians 1:4

It is not referring to timelessness in this passage; on the contrary, it refers to a specific time that Jesus delivered us. Paul refers to the age he lived before his death, sometime around 61-64CE.


D. There is Time in Heaven.

Job is chronologically very early, around the time of Abraham. Here we find a specific time (literally the heat of the day) in heaven.

Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them.

Job 1:6

Then in the last book of the Bible, we again find there is time in heaven. John felt that the time was around half an hour long.

When He opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.

Revelation 8:1

E. Spirit of God Inside Time and Space at the Creation.

Time began “In the beginning”, and the Spirit of Elohim was there.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

Genesis 1:1-2

If we take the word of God literally, then time begins at the beginning. In other words, there was never a time when time did not exist.

We can only come to one view if we put aside all Plato’s philosophy and Greek mythology. Time always existed, or there was no beginning and Genesis 1:1 cannot be trusted.

We see the same in the New Testament in the cornerstone scripture:

just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love,

Ephesians 1:4

The word ‘before’ necessitates that time must have existed. Just like ‘in the beginning’ necessitates time was present at the start, this scripture in the New Testament states that for there to be a “before”, there must have been time.


F. Lord God Inside of Time and Space at the Fall.

Yahweh Elohim walked with Adam in the garden; therefore, He was inside time and creation when man fell.

And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.

Genesis 3:8

G. Pre-Incarnate Jesus was Inside Time and Space.

“Look!” he answered, “I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.”

Daniel 3:25

H. Immanuel

Of course, Jesus came into space and time during His first advent.


I. The Spirit of God is inside of Time and Space Through the Believers.

The Trinity now lives inside believers of Jesus Christ.

The Holy Spirit lives inside of you because of the New Covenant:

And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said:
“I will dwell in them
And walk among them.
I will be their God,
And they shall be My people.”

2 Corinthians 6:16

J. King Jesus is Inside of Time and Space Through the Believers.

Because Jesus is inside of His believers, who are inside time and creation, He is also inside time and space.

“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.

John 15:5

K. Father God is Inside of Time and Space Through the Believers.

God, Himself, lives inside believers in Jesus.

one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

Ephesians 4:6

There is nothing to say God’s sovereignty allows Him to live outside of creation and time if He so pleases.

 

5. God’s First Interaction with Man.

The Old Testament Revelation of God is He chooses to interact with man in the first instance as both Yahweh and Elohim. Because He refers to Himself as Elohim Yahweh does not mean we need to see Him like that now.


A. When God Created man in His image, it was as Elohim.

Man’s physical body was in the image of God;

So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

Genesis 1:27

B. When He Created Man and Blew Life into Him, It was as Yahweh (Elohim).

And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.

Genesis 2:7

There is significance in this. Yahweh or Jehovah means Pre-Existing One. God intended we have eternal life before Adam and Eve sinned and sin entered the world.


C. When God Spoke with Adam, it was as Yahweh (Elohim).

And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat;
but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

Genesis 2:16-17

D. Elohim and Yahweh are the Same; the Names Reflect Different Aspects of Who He is.

 

6. Old Testament Revelation of God as Yahweh


A. The First Time that Yahweh Defines Himself.

Then Moses said to God, “Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they say to me, ‘What is His name?’ what shall I say to them?”
And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ ”

Exodus 3:13-14

B. What Does God Mean by “I am who I say I am”?

He says, “I define myself to you as I decide to reveal myself to you”. We will see over this series that God has revealed Himself to us in many ways. However, primarily, He has decided to reveal Himself through the person of Jesus.

who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person…

Hebrews 1:3

Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?

John 14:9

We will look at this more when we look at the first two attributes of Yahweh.


7. Old Testament Revelation of Yahweh as Showing Emotions

One of the Classical and Reformed Theology foundations is that God is Impassable. He cannot show emotions because He is totally “Other” from humanity.

However, the Old Testament contains examples where Yahweh or Elohim reveals emotions. Because of the incorrect cornerstone of classical and reformed theology (God is timeless), theologians call any expressions of emotions (e.g. anger) anthropomorphism.

Anthropomorphism interprets nonhuman things or events in terms of human characteristics. However, we must remember that the Bible is the Word of God. If we find some decision or emotion of God too challenging to understand, we cannot put it down as an anthropomorphism. We will not believe God’s word is accurate if we do so.


A. God’s Anger at His Friend Moses.

God was angry with Moses for not believing in God’s ability to move through him.

So the anger of the LORD was kindled against Moses, and He said: “Is not Aaron the Levite your brother? I know that he can speak well. And look, he is also coming out to meet you. When he sees you, he will be glad in his heart.

Exodus 4:14

B. God’s Rejection of the Israelites.

God’s rejection happened because the Israelites refused to believe in His goodness to give them the promised land.

According to the number of the days in which you spied out the land, forty days, for each day you shall bear your guilt one year, namely forty years, and you shall know My rejection.

Numbers 14:34


8. Yahweh is Relational

The Old Testament revelation of God is that He is relational.


A. Adam and Eve.

He enjoyed Adam and Eve’s company so much that He walked in the garden with them.

And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.

Genesis 3:8

If they heard the sound of God walking in the forest and were ashamed, this was not the first time they had heard God walking in the garden. We also see that He talked with them.


B. Enoch.

Enoch walked with God, and then God took him!

And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.

Genesis 5:24

Some have commented that God enjoyed Enoch so much that Enoch walked straight into heaven one day, as there is no record of him dying.


C. Abraham.

God considered Abraham, His friend! It does not say that Abraham called God His friend. Here is God saying Abraham is My friend!:

“But you, Israel, are My servant,
Jacob whom I have chosen,
The descendants of Abraham My friend.

Isaiah 41:8


9. Yahweh is a Covenant-Keeping God

The Old Testament revelation of Yahweh is of a Covenant-Keeping God.


A. He Wants to Enter into Covenant with Humankind.

We have seen that God enjoys His relationship with humankind but does not just want to be friends with a man. He also wants to enter into a covenant with man. For example, when a man and woman are great friends and romantically attracted, they may enter into a marriage covenant.


B. God’s Covenant with Abraham.

The first person God enters into a covenant with as Yahweh (Adam and Noah were as Elohim) is Abraham;

After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, saying, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.”
But Abram said, “Lord GOD, what will You give me, seeing I go childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?”
Then Abram said, “Look, You have given me no offspring; indeed one born in my house is my heir!”
And behold, the word of the LORD came to him, saying, “This one shall not be your heir, but one who will come from your own body shall be your heir.”
Then He brought him outside and said, “Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.”
And he believed in the LORD, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.

Genesis 15:1-6

C. God Makes Covenants Two-Directional.

As soon as God enters into a covenant with Man, we learn that God makes covenants two-directional. It is not that God enters into a covenant with you, and you do what God says without questioning.

Being two-directional is different from Classical Reformed theology, which only views covenant as one way, where God makes a covenant with those who believe in Jesus. Thinking God makes a covenant with man that is not two-way is because of their wrong Greek ideology that God is entirely “other” from man and that we cannot influence Him in any way.

Instead, a covenant is a two-way relationship-based binding agreement where God will listen to us. We see this truth when we look at God’s covenant with Abraham, where Abraham negotiates the coming judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah with God.

And Abraham came near and said, “Would You also destroy the righteous with the wicked?
Suppose there were fifty righteous within the city; would You also destroy the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous that were in it?
Far be it from You to do such a thing as this, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous should be as the wicked; far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?”

Genesis 18:23-25

Then he said, “Let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak but once more: Suppose ten should be found there?”
And He said, “I will not destroy it for the sake of ten.”
So the LORD went His way as soon as He had finished speaking with Abraham; and Abraham returned to his place.

Genesis 18:32-33

D. Two-Way Covenant is How your Sins are Forgiven

The New Covenant is two-way because God expects man to confess Jesus is Lord and believe that He died and rose again, seated at the Father’s right hand.

For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”

Hebrews 8:12

If the covenant was one-way, then those desiring to become sons or daughters of God could never give Jesus their sins. And if they could not provide their sins, then they could not receive God’s righteousness. Furthermore, If they could not receive God’s righteousness, they could not be born again. Understanding this “great exchange” is explained in Covenantal Atonement.


E. God Can Change His Mind Because He is Relational.

We see a similar thing with Moses when God is about to destroy the whole tribe of Israel immediately after God has made a covenant with Moses. Moses argues against God’s decision, and God changes His mind!

And the LORD said to Moses, “I have seen this people, and indeed it is a stiff-necked people!
Now therefore, let Me alone, that My wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them. And I will make of you a great nation.”
Then Moses pleaded with the LORD his God, and said: “LORD, why does Your wrath burn hot against Your people whom You have brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand?
Why should the Egyptians speak, and say, ‘He brought them out to harm them, to kill them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth’? Turn from Your fierce wrath, and relent from this harm to Your people.
Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants, to whom You swore by Your own self, and said to them, ‘I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven; and all this land that I have spoken of I give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.’ ”
So the LORD relented from the harm which He said He would do to His people.

Exodus 32:9-14

F. God was Forced to Act Decisively.

After God entered a covenant with Abraham, Abraham acted foolishly by not saying Sarah was his wife. She was gorgeous and Abimelech, a king from another country, decided to take Sarah as his wife. God needed to act decisively because God had made a covenant promise that a son would come to him through his wife. Therefore, he came to Abimelech in a dream, letting him know that Sarah was Abraham’s wife and that if he slept with her, death would come to him and his family! God takes His covenant responsibilities very seriously, even when we make unwise decisions.

Now Abraham said of Sarah his wife, “She is my sister.” And Abimelech king of Gerar sent and took Sarah. But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and said to him, “Indeed you are a dead man because of the woman whom you have taken, for she is a man’s wife.”But Abimelech had not come near her; and he said, “Lord, will You slay a righteous nation also? Did he not say to me, ‘She is my sister’? And she, even she herself said, ‘He is my brother.’ In the integrity of my heart and innocence of my hands I have done this.
“And God said to him in a dream, “Yes, I know that you did this in the integrity of your heart. For I also withheld you from sinning against Me; therefore I did not let you touch her. Now therefore, restore the man’s wife; for he is a prophet, and he will pray for you and you shall live. But if you do not restore her, know that you shall surely die, you and all who are yours.”

Genesis 20:2-7

G. God Changes His Mind because of Benevolence.

There is another example where God changes His mind with Gentiles who are not His covenant people.

Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it.

Jonah 3:10

He does it because He is love.

And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.

1 John 4:16
G. The Importance of Covenant in the Nature of God. 

Understanding God’s view of a covenant is potentially the most important of the Old Testament Revelations of God.


10. Summary:

The Old Testament Revelation of God so far:

  • The Trinity are the Pre-Existing Ones.
  • Our heavenly Father’s original plan was to have sons and daughters.
  • God lives inside His creation (but can choose to live outside of creation).
  • He lives inside of time (but can choose to live outside of time).
  • Yahweh/Elohim is relational with man, in the same way, Father God is relational with man.
  • God is covenant-keeping and, therefore, relational. These covenants are two-way.
  • He can change His mind except if it breaks the covenant.

In the following study, we will look at the first two attributes of Yahweh – Jireh and Rapha.

You can view the video introduction to this teaching here.


© Use by Permission Awakening Impact Ministries/ Dr Neville van Eerten 2022

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