The Name of God - RR171H16

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Lesson[edit]

Professor: Rushdoony, Dr. R. J.
Title: The Name of God
Course: Course - Exodus; Unity of Law and Grace
Subject: Subject:Pentateuch
Lesson#: 16
Length: 0:32:24
TapeCode: RR171H16
Audio: Chalcedon Archive
Transcript: .docx Format
Exodus Unity of Law and Grace.jpg

This transcript is unedited. It was:
Archived by the Mt. Olive Tape Library
Digitized, transcribed, and published by Christ Rules
Posted by with permission.


When ye shall search for me with all your heart. Jesus said, “Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness for they shall be filled. Let us pray.

Almighty God, our heavenly Father, we come into thy presence, knowing our need, and beseeching thee to give us those things which are needful. Thou knowest, oh Lord, how we cry out so often for things which we believe we need. Supply us in thy wisdom, and not according to our wants, and make us grateful for that which thou dost give us, so that in all things, we may know that thy purpose is sovereign, and that thy will must be done on earth as it is in heaven. Grant us this, we beseech thee, in Christ’s name. Amen.

Our scripture is Exodus 6:1-8. Our subject: The Name of God. Exodus 6:1-8, The Name of God. “Then the LORD said unto Moses, Now shalt thou see what I will do to Pharaoh: for with a strong hand shall he let them go, and with a strong hand shall he drive them out of his land. And God spake unto Moses, and said unto him, I am the LORD: And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my name Jehovah was I not known to them. And I have also established my covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their pilgrimage, wherein they were strangers. And I have also heard the groaning of the children of Israel, whom the Egyptians keep in bondage; and I have remembered my covenant. Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgment: And I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God: and ye shall know that I am the LORD your God, which bringeth you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. And I will bring you in unto the land, concerning the which I did swear to give it to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; and I will give it you for an heritage: I am the LORD.” [00:03:24]

This particular passage is a delight to the modernist...[edit]

This particular passage is a delight to the modernist scholars because it gives them opportunity for debate and dissension, and they like nothing better than an opportunity to show off their scholarship. The point of issue is, of course, in verse three. God’s statement that in His revelations to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, he was not known by his name, Jehovah, or Yahweh, but as God Almighty, El Shaddai. Did God mean that, prior to the burning bush episode, God had never been called Jehovah or Yahweh? In all of Genesis, the term El Shaddai is only used six times. How common was its usage, and was Yahweh or Jehovah an unknown term during the centuries of Genesis? Well, there is another approach, a much more sensible one. Such scholars such as Youngblood, for example, have pointed out “to know” to mean “first.” Casual knowledge, or knowledge just by acquaintance, or second, personal, and more radical knowledge. Really knowing someone as we put it nowadays. And of course, what God obviously means as we look at the book of Genesis and Exodus, is that He was known as God Almighty to the patriarchs, they recognized Him in that respect. But the full implications of His name, Jehovah, Yahweh, I am what I am or that I am, or He who is, had not been fully been made known to them. This does not mean that the experience of the patriarchs was superficial. Certainly Abraham’s experience on Mt. Moriah was evidence of the depth of his religious experience.

The name, Yahweh, or Jehovah, I am that I am, or He who is, or I shall be what I shall be, is a very important one because it tell us that God, as we saw a month ago, is beyond definition. God is the definer of all things. To define is to limit, and it is God who ordains boundaries and limits. He is the definer, and therefore, beyond definition, and that’s what the name, if it can be called a name, Jehovah, means. El Shaddai means God Almighty, or God All Sovereign. It points to God’s self-sufficiency and omnipotence, and thus, is very close to Jehovah in meaning, as are all the variety of names applied to God throughout the scripture. [00:07:18]

As Gustav Eiler, more than a century ago, noted of...[edit]

As Gustav Eiler, more than a century ago, noted of the name Jehovah, and I quote, “Inasmuch as God is just what He is, and so determines Himself in the historic manifestation of His existence, instead of being determined by anything outside of Him. The name carries us into the sphere of the divine freedom. It expresses quite generally the absolute independence of God in His dominion. Through this fact {?} of its meaning, the name Jehovah is connected with El Shaddai.”

Now, all the terms applied to God in Genesis and the rest of the Pentateuch point to Jehovah. We should not, of course, expect them to contradict one another. The term Jehovah suggests God’s immutability, His eternity, and the fact that He is life, the living God, the creator. He is the Lord, or sovereign and much, very much more. The communicable attributes of God, which make up His image in man, such as knowledge, righteousness, holiness, and dominion, man can, to some degree, understand, because we share in those things.

But His incommunicable attributes are only dimly apprehended, we’ve cited some already. Others include His independent being, or asaity, His infinity, His unity of singularity and simplicity while being the trinity and so on. We have names for many things that we don’t fully comprehend. Eternity, for example, it is a concept that is beyond our grasp, and so much of our knowledge and of our science consists in giving names to things that we fully don’t grasp. When we, therefore, having named them, believe we have understood them. But we know God truly, in spite of all these problems, because all of His being is harmonious and self-consistent, so while we can never know God exhaustively, we can know Him truly because all His being is self-consistent. [00:10:19]

The name of God, which is not a name, in that it is...[edit]

The name of God, which is not a name, in that it is not a description, but rather a denial of comprehensibility by definition, is therefore a reminder to us that there is more to God than our world, our mind, or our experience can ever comprehend. To know, or to experience that term, Jehovah, or Yahweh, means to come face to face with the absoluteness and the total transcendence of God to the mind of man. Our definitions are all time-bound. They are in terms of the world and of time, the created world. Whereas, God and His being is the uncreated one and is not time-bound.

The name Jehovah thus compels us, compels us to look beyond the man-bound and a time-bound reference. In verse 7, however, God says, “And ye shall know that I am the Lord your God,” and he goes on to say, “Ye shall know that when I deliver you from Egypt.” The Hebrew word translated as “know” here and as “known” in verse 3 is the Hebrew “Ya da” which means to know, to see, to recognize, to understand, to acknowledge, and so on. In Psalm 50:21, we are told by God, “These things hast thou done, and I kept silence; thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself: but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes.” To know the meaning of the term, “Jehovah,” means to recognize, and to understand however dimly it is the transcendence of God and that He is not such a one as ourselves, and that the categories and causalities of time do not bind their maker. It was the full implication of this, of the term “Jehovah,” that was not known to the patriarchs.

Now, the royal pronouncement of Egypt’s monarch began with the words, as for example in Genesis 41:44, “I am Pharaoh.” God begins His royal decree similarly, “I am the Lord, or Jehovah, or Adonai. I am in command, not man.” Pharaoh had said, “I know not the Lord,” and God was now about to make sure that Pharaoh did know, and God does this with every man sooner or later who says that he does not know, or refuses to know, the Lord. George Raulinson said of the meaning of Jehovah, and I quote, “The primary idea of Jehovah is that of absolute, eternal, unconditional, independent existence.” Both Pharaoh and Israel were about to learn something of the meaning of Jehovah. For both the learning would be a hard experience as it always is when God teaches us who and what he is. For Egypt, it meant destructive judgment. For Israel, forty years in the wilderness. For us? Well, each of us must answer that question. [00:15:13]

In verse 5, God declares, “I have remembered My covenant...[edit]

In verse 5, God declares, “I have remembered My covenant,” and all that follows is because of the covenant. God, in His grace and mercy, gave His law to Abraham and his seed because a covenant is always a treaty of law and a treaty of grace when it is from a superior to an inferior. However, unfaithful Israel was in Egypt, God was faithful. As a result, in terms of that covenant, God now moves as he says in verse 6, to redeem Israel. The word “redeem” is a legal term, a very important one. And it means, as Clements so aptly summarized it, and I quote, “The right of a member of a family to acquire persons or property belonging to that family which was in danger of falling to outside claimants. Thus, if a member of a family was force to sell himself into slavery, other members retained a special privilege of purchasing his freedom. Here it expresses God’s protective action towards those who are regarded as belonging to Him”

Now, the family-oriented aspect of redemption is a very important one. To redeem a person who had been taken capture, for example, was a family responsibility belonging first to the next of kin. To redeem property that someone had lost, again was a family responsibility of the next of kin. This should enable us to understand why one of the terms applied to Jesus Christ is “redeemer.” It’s unfortunate that in our day, that term has tended to fall into the background, but is a central one, because to say that Jesus Christ is our redeemed is to say that He is our next of kin, that he became, God became incarnate, took upon Himself flesh, humanity, in order to be our next of kin. So the first act of redemption which God did through Moses in delivering Israel from Egypt, culminates in the redemption of people out of every tongue, tribe, and nation by Christ who became incarnate, to be our redeemer, our next of kin, and that’s why our prayers are “in Jesus name,” “in Christ’s name,” “in Him,” because He is our next of kin, and because He is also very God of very God, as well as very man of very man, it means through our next of kin we have access to the very throne of God. [00:19:26]

Not only is salvation a covenant fact, but prayer and...[edit]

Not only is salvation a covenant fact, but prayer and our daily lives. We are not only redeemed, but we are brought back into the family so that ours is the covenant life of the redeemed, the family member who has been brought back into the family. We thus have here, as we do throughout the Bible, a very wonderful juxtaposition of things. We have a strong reminder that Jehovah is God, that God is He who is, one far beyond our abilities of comprehension. Jehovah, God in His revelation to the patriarchs and to us through Christ, is the transcendent one. But he also appears to us. He redeems us. He gives His word to us so that you have the juxtaposition that which is absolutely and transcendent, and that which is closer to us than we are to ourselves. He transcends in being and person our minds, time and all creation. At the same time, He declares His total command of time, history, and all creation in terms of His covenant grace and purpose, and His covenant mercy to us. In terms of His total memory, He remembers in due time His covenant. His covenant made to Abraham, and He keeps His covenant. It is perhaps likely that many of the Israelites in Egypt no longer remembered the covenant, but God did.

In Revelation 6:9-11, we see all those slain for the word of God cry out from under the altar, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? They are then given the assurance that, in God’s good time, although more would be slain, there would be a full accounting, and God’s purpose would be fulfilled for us, and in terms of His kingdom. The timing is not man’s, but the covenant faithfulness is certain. [00:23:03]

For the present, God assures Moses, ...[edit]

For the present, God assures Moses, “Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh. He will be force to let them go, he will be forced to put them out of his country,” as Moppet renders it. Everything Pharaoh does will increase his judgment, and the ruin of his land will be his own doing. An old saying has it, “Whom God wishes to destroy, He first deprives of reason.” Longfellow, in the Mask of Pandora, revised it into its more familiar reading, “Whom the gods would destroy they first make mad.” It’s interesting that it’s paganized, by an heir of the Puritans. In any case, this was true of Pharaoh. In his conceit, Pharaoh, who began his proclamations with the words, “I am Pharaoh,” was destroyed by He who said, “I am that I am. I am the self-existent one, beyond definition.” He defined Pharaoh, who tried to put himself beyond definition. Let us pray.

Our Lord and our God, we thank thee that thou hast defined us. We thank thee in terms of thy creation and thy providence. Thy purpose in us shall be fulfilled. That we shall be broken where we need to be broken, and remade where we need to be remade, and that we shall serve thee. Thy will shall be done on earth indeed as it is in heaven. Give us grace to accept thy breaking, to trust in thee, to know that thou art God, and that in Jesus Christ thou hast made us next of kin unto thyself. How great and marvelous are thy ways, oh Lord, and we praise thee. In Christ’s name, Amen.

Are there any questions now, about our lesson first of all? Yes?

[Audience] The Israelites use these passages {?} especially to say that this gives them a franchise over that area in the Middle East. [00:27:16]

[Rushdoony] Yes, and the assumption that, because the...[edit]

[Rushdoony] Yes, and the assumption that, because the covenant was made with them, that it gives them a permanent hold on God, as it were, was one reason for the judgment on them, and a like assumption by the European peoples is bringing judgment upon them now, so this is a time when there is a great deal for repentance, or we will be judged as Jerusalem and Judea was judged. God does not allow us to be presumptuous, and presumption is spoken of as a sin, repeatedly. And, there is no question that, in the first century A.D., Judea was guilty of an incredible presumption, and this was its sin. It was a moral people, far more moral than any of the others of the day, advanced in many respects. They could justifiably look down on those around them, as they compared themselves to the other nations, but in terms of their relationship to God they were arrogant and presumptuous. Yes?

[Audience] In verse 6, where God is talking about redeeming the Israelites, prays an outstretched arm and the acts of judgment.

[Rushdoony] What was that?

[Audience] The phrase, “an outstretched arm and mighty acts of judgment,” {?} this very special significance to that?

[Rushdoony] Yes, let’s put it in boxing terms. If you’re jabbing, it doesn’t have quite the impact as a fully thrown punch, so when he says, “with a stretched out arm and with great judgments,” what he is saying is, it’s going to be a knock-out blow. So, Egypt is not going to be spared, it is going to be broken because it needs to be broken. And that’s Egypt’s opportunity if it will take it. So, when God breaks men and nations, He’s giving them an opportunity, He is breaking up the fallow ground, He is saying, “will you be productive now? Will you serve me?” Are there any other questions or comments? Well, if not, let us conclude with prayer. [00:30:32]

Lord, it is good for us to be here for thy word is...[edit]

Lord, it is good for us to be here for thy word is truth, and thy word speaks to our every condition and our every need. Lord, thou knowest how fretful we are and how resentful when thy judgments overtake us. When they break up those things which we cherish, when thy judgments disrupt and dismay us. Give us grace to know that, in Christ Jesus, thou art our next of kin, and thy purpose is our redemption, and thy ways are altogether righteous and holy. Make us strong by thy word and by thy spirit, and more than conquerors through Christ Jesus, our Lord. And now go in peace. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost bless and keep you, guide and protect you this day and always. Amen.

End of tape.