THE NAMES OF GOD Chapter 8
Jehovah-Shammah: The Lord Is There
With the eye of inspired prophecy, Ezekiel looked beyond all the struggles, trials, heartaches, and bitter tears which must be endured by God’s elect in this world. He looked beyond satan’s fury and the world’s opposition to the church’s conquest and final triumph, in the last chapter of his prophecy, the Holy Spirit moved Ezekiel to describe the fullness and completion of God’s church, his Holy City. When the end comes, all God’s elect shall be saved; the Holy City shall be fully inhabited. Ezekiel describes it in these words: “It was round about eighteen thousand measures: and the name of the city from that day shall be, The Lord is There.” Ezekiel’s final word is this: The name of God’s church, the New Jerusalem, shall be Jehovah-Shammah: “The Lord is There.”
When Ezekiel measured the city of his vision, he tells us that its circumference is eighteen thousand measures, which is thirty-two thousand miles. He is telling us that the City of God is perfect, exact and exceeding large. But the figure is not to be taken literally. Obviously, Ezekiel is not talking about a literal city. He is talking about the latter day glory of God’s Church, the New Jerusalem, when our God shall make all things new. A large city it will be. It will be a city whose inhabitants are gathered from the four corners of the earth, elect, redeemed sinners out of every nation, kindred, tribe and tongue, a multitude which no man can number. And the name of that city is: Jehovah-Shammah: “The Lord Is There.”
The church, the City of God, is given many names in the Scriptures. Jeremiah tells us that it shall be called, “The Lord our Righteousness” (33:16). Isaiah tells us that the Church of God shall be called “Hephzibah,” which means, “The Lord’s Delight” and “Beulah,” which means, “Married to the Lord” (62:4). Again the prophet Isaiah tells us that the church of God shall be called, “The Holy People,” “The Redeemed of the Lord,” “Sought Out,” and “A City not Forsaken” (62:12). The apostle Paul calls the Church “Jerusalem which is above” (Gal. 4:26), “Mount Zion,” “The City of the Living God,” and “The Heavenly Jerusalem” (Heb. 12:22). When the apostle John saw the final glory of the church, the Bride of Christ, the Lamb’s wife, he described it very much like Ezekiel. He called it “That Great City, The Holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, having the glory of God” (Rev. 21:10-11). All of these names describe not a literal earthly city, but the church of God, that vast multitude who are chosen, redeemed and called by the grace of God. They do not describe God’s church as the world now sees it, but as God sees it, as it shall be in the end, as the world shall see it in the last day, and as it really is. Of all the names given to God’s church, none is more blessed than this: Jehovah-Shammah: the “Lord is There.”
The blessedness and glory, happiness and security of God’s church on earth and in heaven is the presence of God with her. This name, Jehovah-Shammah, given to God’s Church means that God dwells with us, “The Lord is There.” It is true, God is with all his creatures in a general way. He is everywhere at all times because he is omnipresent. And he is everywhere in a providential way, sovereignly accomplishing his purpose in all things. But when the Holy Spirit calls the church Jehovah-Shammah, he means for us to understand that “The Lord is there” in a special way to exercise his grace and power and make himself known. Therefore the Psalmist sang, “God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early. The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice: the earth melted. The Lord of Hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge” (Ps. 46:5-7). The prophet Zephaniah said, “The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee singing” (3:17). And the Lord himself declares, “I will be unto her a wall of fire round about, and will be the glory in the midst of her” (Zech. 2:5). All of these things God has promised to his church as a whole. And that which is true of the whole body is true of every member of the body.
JEHOVAH-SHAMMAH IS A NAME SUITABLE FOR GOD’S ORIGINAL CREATION, FOR THE LORD WAS THERE. “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” In great patience, our glorious Creator took six days to make the world and all things in it. He was preparing a place where he might place man, a place where he and man might walk together in high, holy communion. God planted a garden eastward in Eden, well-watered and fertile. In that garden he gave man everything he could possibly need. Then God created man in his own image and after his own likeness. “And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.” For Adam’s further happiness and satisfaction, God took one of Adam’s own ribs and made for man a woman, “and brought her to the man.” The first wedding ceremony was performed by God himself. He brought the woman he had made and gave her to the man he had made.
The earth was a place of majesty, beauty, and splendor in those days. The slimy trail of the serpent had not yet marred the handiwork of God. Adam and Eve lived in happiness and holiness to the glory of God. Much could be said about that beautiful garden of innocence and bliss. One of these days, God is going to do it again. He will make a new heaven and a new earth, even superior to Eden. But the best, most glorious, most blessed thing that can be said of paradise is this: Adam and Eve “heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day.” The Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, in whose image Adam was made, walked in the garden with Adam. God walked with man; and man walked with God. This was the highest bliss and glory of Eden. This was the great incomprehensible privilege and inexpressible happiness of Adam in his innocence - The Lord was There!
Though Adam fell, the Lord did not forsake his creation. God still came to his own and made himself known. Though he would destroy the world with a flood, he commanded Noah to build an ark. And the Lord was there with Noah in the ark. When Abraham and Isaac went up to worship upon Mt. Moriah, the Lord was there. When Jacob was fleeing from Esau, he saw a ladder reaching from earth to heaven. Christ met him in the desert and he called the place, “Bethel,” the house of God, because the Lord was there. Wherever men and women met and worshipped God, wherever men were found in those ancient days who believed God, the Lord was there. I cannot here describe the Lord’s presence in the tabernacle in the wilderness, the land of Canaan, during the times of the Judges, the Kings, and the Prophets in Israel. I cannot here describe God’s presence in the temple, at the altar, in the most holy place and with the ark of the covenant. But some four thousand years after the fall of our father Adam, in a filthy cow stable, in the little Judean town of Bethlehem, a child was born, and the LORD was there.
JEHOVAH-SHAMMAH IS A NAME MOST APPROPRIATE FOR THE MAN CHRIST JESUS. That one who was born at Bethlehem is “Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.” That baby is God Almighty, wrapped up in a body of human flesh! That child who was born in Bethlehem, was and is the Son of God given to redeem fallen sinners. His name is Immanuel, God with us! Jesus Christ the man is Jehovah our God. And Jehovah-Jesus, is Jehovah-Shammah, for wherever Jesus Christ is, “The Lord is There.” God was in Christ, for Christ is God. “In him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Col. 2:9). All the fullness of the Godhead dwells in the body of that man who is our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. That man is God; and God is that man.
Throughout the thirty-three years of his earthly life, God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself. In all that he said, in all that he did, in all that he experienced, from the moment that he came into the virgin’s womb until the moment that he was seated in glory again, Christ Jesus was performing the work of our salvation. And wherever you see him, the name of that place is Jehovah-Shammah: “The Lord is There.” When the baby comes forth from the womb, “The Lord is there,” coming to save His covenant people (Heb. 10: 5-10; Matt. 1:21). When that baby was carried into the temple to be circumcised on the eighth day, the Lord was there, “made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law.” In order to redeem us from the law’s curse, our Lord Jesus Christ must first fulfill the law’s commands. When that holy man was tempted in the wilderness, the Lord was there, both suffering from and overcoming the devil on our behalf. He learned obedience by the things he suffered (Heb. 5:8). Having been tempted like we are, yet without sin, he is able to help his tempted children (Heb. 2:17-18; 4:15-16). And the Lord was there, showing us how to overcome the tempter’s power by faith.
Throughout the course of His life, the Lord was there, establishing righteousness for us as a man, by which we might be forever accepted in his presence (Rom. 5:19). And when we see our Lord Jesus Christ hanging upon the cursed tree, suffering ignominious, horrible agony until at last he was dead, the name of that place called Calvary is Jehovah-Shammah, “the Lord is There” (II Cor. 5:21; Isa. 5:9-12). God was there punishing sin; and God was there being punished for sin. God was there satisfying his justice; and God was there upon whom justice was satisfied. God was there bruising the cursed one; and God was the cursed one being bruised. God was there forsaking the sufferer; and God was the sufferer forsaken. God was there pouring out the vials of his wrath and damnation; and God was there drinking wrath and damnation dry. God was there killing the sinner’s Substitute; and God was the sinner’s Substitute who died. I give you these things for your heart’s meditation. Yet, I have said nothing compared with all that might be said, should be said, and shall be said. One day soon, the Lord himself who was there shall tell us what he did and suffered. Then, but not until then, shall we know, how much we owe. Now we will turn from the scene of Calvary where the Lord suffered to consider those for whom he suffered.
JEHOVAH-SHAMMAH IS A PROPER NAME FOR EVERY ELECT SINNER IN THE WORLD, BECAUSE WHEREVER YOU FIND ONE OF GOD’S ELECT, THE LORD IS THERE. Is Jehovah-Shammah the name of all God’s elect? Then certainly that is the name of each one of the elect multitude. The Lord is there before conversion in his marvelous prevenient grace, taking care of the chosen object of mercy and preparing the way for his saving grace (Hos. 2:8). The Lord is there at conversion in saving power, awakening the dead, giving faith, and turning the hearts of his chosen to Christ (Ezek. 16:6-8). The Lord is there in all the trials of his people (Isa. 63:9). He is always there to comfort, teach, deliver, and preserve the objects of his love. And when the time appointed comes for God’s elect to leave this world, the Lord is there (John 14:1-3). He will not leave his saints to fend for themselves in that last struggle. He will carry them safely through the shadow of death and into the realms of everlasting life.
THE NAME OF GOD’S CHURCH UPON THIS EARTH IS JEHOVAH-SHAMMAH, FOR THE LORD IS THERE (Matt. 18:20; 28:20). Wherever you find the church of God, whether you look upon the whole church universally or consider individual, local assemblies of God’s saints, let it never be forgotten - ”The Lord is There!” This is the security of God’s church in the face of all her adversaries and troubles. He that touches you touches the apple of his eye. This is the power of God’s church by which she carries on and succeeds in her labors. This is the peace and unity of the church. Find a church where the Lord is and you will find peace and unity. This is the happiness of God’s church in this world - ”The Lord is There!” This is the beauty, the glory, and the attraction of God’s church -”The Lord is there!”
JEHOVAH-SHAMMAH IS THE NAME OF GOD’S CHURCH IN HER EVERLASTING GLORY. There is a day soon coming when all God’s elect shall be gathered in. The City of God will be complete. The House of God will be full. Then cometh the end! Our Lord Jesus Christ is coming again. There will be a resurrection of the dead. The present heavens and earth shall be destroyed. Somewhere in there, the judgment seat will be set. Then our God shall make all things new. When all the things of time have passed away, when sin is no more, when satan is no more, when sorrow is no more, when time is no more, there shall yet be a City Foursquare, which shall cover all the earth. It is the church, the Bride of Christ, the Holy Jerusalem. And the glory of that City of this: “The Lord is there.” The name of that City shall be Jehovah-Shammah: “The Lord is there!”