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Jan Paron, PhD|November 13, 2017     

          Malachi 3:6 offers a strong statement about God’s own revelation of His name, “I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.” Lord in Hebrew means Jehovah—The Unchangeable One: He Who is, He Who was, and He Who is to Come (cf. Isa 44:6). The New Testament ascribes this same title and purpose to Jesus (1 Tim 1:16; Rev 1:7-8).

god-is-immutable  Image: shaynageorge

          God’s covenant restoration forms the basis of His name. The Unchangeable One has sought to reconcile His people into covenant with Him across the dispensations of time. Jehovah will fulfill His final covenant promise of crushing the serpent’s head and saving His people (Gen 3:15) to restore them to covenant with Him in His Millennial reign. As the immutable I AM, Jehovah vowed the promise of redemption to His people so “the sons of Jacob are not consumed” (Mal 3:6b), meaning perish (Brown, Driver, & Briggs, 2006). In an ever-changing world, Jehovah will remain unchangeable into the Everlasting.

Redemptive, Faithful Husband of Israel

          The Prophet Isaiah remarked, “For your husband is your Maker, The Lord of hosts is His name; And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel, Who is called the God of the whole earth” (Isa 54:5 AMP). The prophets described how God’s redemptive name revealed His unconditional love as the faithful Husband who sought to restore covenantal relationship despite His wife Israel’s adulterous actions.

          In Ezek 16, the prophet told of himself laying on the plywood with a model of Jerusalem on one side of his bed and him naked and facing away from her.  Israel played the harlot as the unfaithful bride to her Husband, putting herself out there to Egyptian, Assyrian, and Chaldean gods with spiritual adultery. Israel even sacrificed her own children and delivered them to the images of men (16: 21). The Prophet Ezekiel in chapter 16 painted a picture of Israel’s idolatry with blunt, graphic descriptors: harlot, fornication, whoredom, whore, whorish woman, abomination, and sin greater than Sodom’s. He cried out, “How weak is thine heart, saith the Lord God, seeing thou doest all these things, the work of an imperious whorish woman;” (v. 30 KJV). Yet, despite Israel breaking the marriage covenant, God kept His divine faithfulness by renewing covenant with her from the days of her youth and make it into an everlasting covenant (v. 60; cf. Gen 17:7-8; Jer 31:31-34).

          In the Book of Hosea, the prophet relayed God’s marital struggles with the wanton, whorish wife Israel. Despite her infidelity, God yearned for a renewed intimacy with His disobedient bride. Hosea described Israel as committing great whoredoms (Hos 2:2), indicating a departing from the Lord. His wife knew Baal (13:2). The God of Israel declared “Yet I am the Lord God from the land of Egypt, and thou shall know no god but me: but there is no savior beside me:” (Hos 13:4). Israel had turned from God by falling from their iniquity and backsliding (14:1).

          God’s showed mercy once again for Israel. Though He once called Israel children of a harlot, He would regather them as future sons of the living God. He likened their number to the sand of the sea that cannot be measured or numbered (Hos 1:10).  Even with Israel’s chronic unfaithfulness, God assured their restored covenant on the day of Jezreel (1: 11; cf. Rev 16:16).

          The unfaithful Israel also caused the Lord to lament in Jeremiah: “Surely as a wife treacherously departeth from her husband, so have ye dealt treacherously with me, O house of Israel, saith the Lord” (3:20). Once again the ever faithful Husband, the Holy One of Israel, robed Himself in flesh as Jehovah-Savior to redeem the House of Israel fulfilling His promise of a Messiah for His people.

Redemptive, Chosen Son of the Two Covenants

          God made covenants with Abraham and David (Gen 12:2; 2 Sam 7:8). When the Lord placed His expressed image behind Jesus, He revealed the Chosen Son of the two covenants—the descended Son of Abraham and David (Gen 22:17-19; 2 Sam 7:8; cf. Matt 1:1; 17; Luke 1:32; Acts 13:22, 23). God revealed His manifested character as well as His dual fulfillment when He raised Jesus from the dead and exalted Him as Lord (Eph 1:16-23). The title Lord attributed to Jesus in His exaltation and biblical expression “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” identified Jesus as the Incarnation of God and Father. Christ blessed us in Him as well as the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ blessed us in the person of Jesus who would bring forth a new and better covenant. The expression “The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” recognizes Jesus as the Chosen Son of the covenants and the Incarnation of Jehovah, the God of Israel of the two covenants.

Redemptive Word Robed in Flesh

          “God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man that he should repent:” (Num 23:19b). Repent means to change one’s mind. The I AM did not retract His promise of redemption when He revealed His nature in the person of Jesus Christ. Neither did God change His mind about His purpose for humanity when He robed Himself in flesh uniting divinity with humanity incarnated in Jesus. Rather, Jesus embodies all God’s divine (Phil 2:6a; cf. John 1:14d). Bernard explained Jesus’ divines essence “the incarnation of the fullness of God; in His deity He is the Father, Word, and Spirit” (2010, p. 210) while He also took on the nature of man (John 1:14b).

          Revelation 1:7-8 reveals the Lord subject to time through the Incarnation “the Lord which is; which was; and which is to come, the Almighty:”

  • “The Lord which was” revealed the crucified Christ of the Gospels. Christ took on the form of God, the Word in robed in flesh. Jesus’ first birth of a virgin, conceived of the Holy Ghost brought Him forth into time from eternity (Reeves, 1984, Supreme Godhead 11, p. 47).
  • “The Lord which is” expressed the Christ of the Gospels resurrected and exalted to the throne (Rev 3:21). Jesus’ birth out of death “who is the beginning, the first-born from the dead” brought time into eternity (Col 1:18).
  • “The Lord which is to come” will identify Jehovah as Christ as the coming King of kings, also the Son of David (Isa 44:6; Rev 1:7, 8). In the fullness of the appointed time as the supreme and authoritative head over all things in the Church, Jesus will put in subjection all things in every realm under His feet (Eph 1:22 AMP).

          God’s nature does not change due to His immutability (Mal 3:6a; e.g., Num 23:19; Isa 46: 9-11; Jas 1:13). His nature remains unchanged across the dispensations of time grounding itself in the same redemptive purpose with humanity. Time cannot subject God because of immutability, but does through the Incarnation in the person of Jesus Christ for the benefit of humanity’s redemption. Thus, the redemptive, faithful Husband of Israel expressed in the Old Testament manifested Himself in the substance of Jesus Christ in the New as the redemptive chosen Son of the two covenants and redemptive Word robed in flesh (Exod 3:14-15; John 8:56-59).

References

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Bernard, D. (2016). The glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. Dorset, UK: Deo Publishing.

Bernard, D. (2007). The oneness of God. Florissant, MO: Word Aflame Press.

Bullinger, E. E. (2007). The divine names and titles: In the Old and New Testaments. Bible Students Press.

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Paron, J. (2013, January 19). The three worlds of text. [Web blog post]. Retrieved from https://wordpress.com/post/specs12.wordpress.com/2017

Reeves, Kenneth. (1962). The Godhead, Book 1 (Revised) Seventh Printing. St. Louis, MO: Trio Printing Company.

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