(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)
This is the last of sixteen names of God revealed in the Old Testament. So it is the last Gem in this series!
But why would I preface Ezekiel 38:35 (where this name of God is found) with a passage from Revelation? Because Revelation 21:2 and 3 succinctly identifies the city named “THE LORD IS THERE”! So here is our featured Scripture, Revelation 21:2 and 3 with Ezekiel 48:35:
Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Be- hold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be with them, and be their God.” ...and the name of the city from that day shall be: THE LORD IS THERE.
Ezekiel unmistakably idenifies Jerusalem (New Jerusalem, as it is called in Revelation 21:2) as the city named THE LORD IS THERE (Jehovah Shammah). But the passage concerning the city is long – nine chapters! And while the study of the city’s description is profitable, we will concentrate on the city’s name!
From past Gems, we know that the meaning of Jehovah (Y hôvâh or YHWH) is “…the self-existing or eternal One….” (Blue Letter Bible). Shammah, in Hebrew is שָ מָה (pronounced shawm’-maw). Brown-Driver-Brigg’s Hebrew Definitions says it means “…there, thither…from there, thence…then….” Taken together, Jehovah Shammah means “THE LORD IS THERE”!
The Jews needed to know this, because God had departed from the temple at Jerusalem some years before (see Ezekiel 10:4; 18; 11:22, 23). The Jews’ heinous sins, you might say, drove the LORD out! (see for example Ezekiel 8:5-18). From the time of Ezekiel, through the ministry of Jesus, to the destruction of the temple by the Romans in 70 AD – the temple at Jerusalem was devoid of the shekinah glory of God! The return of God’s glory to Jerusalem has been an encouragement to pious Jews for over two and a half millennia!
Notice I said “The return of God’s glory to Jerusalem…,” and not to the temple!
- God, with His shekinah glory, will return to the temple!
✡ The temple will be rebuilt during the first half of the seven-year Tribulation, and the Jews will be able to once again sacrifice offerings to the LORD (see Daniel 9:27; Matthew 24:15-21; II Thessalonians 2:4; Revela- tion 11:1, 2). ✡ The return of God in His glory to the temple must be at His second coming! (see Matthew 25:31; Revelation 19: 11-16).
- He will not return to the temple in Revelation because John in a prophetic vision, is seeing the New Jerusalem, which comes down to earth after the Millennial Kingdom! In Revelation 21:22 John writes, “…I saw no temple in [the New Jerusalem]…for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb [Jesus Christ] are its temple.” Worship in eternity is not directed to the God of a holy temple (see I Kings 8:29-53), but to the Holy God Himself! (see I Chronicles 16:29; Psalm 29:2; 96:9). And He will be with His people forever throughout eternity!
“THE LORD IS HERE” (Jehovah Shammah) is an amazing reality!
For the Jews, the cry often heard throughout their history was, “Where is God? We need Him!” Is He Jehovah Shammah?
- Judges 6:12 and 13 – “And Gideon said to…the Angel of the LORD…‘O my lord, if the LORD is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about…?’ ”
- Psalm 13:1 and 2 – “How long, O LORD? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me? How long shall I…[have] sorrow in my heart daily? How long will my enemies be exalted over me?”
- Psalm 30:7, 8, and 10 – “LORD…You hid Your face, and I was troubled. I cried out to You, O LORD…have mercy on me…be my helper!”
- Psalm 44:23 through 26 – The sons of Korah who wrote this Psalm, ask, “Awake! Why do You sleep, O Lord? Arise, do not cast us off forever. Why do You hide Your face, and forget our affliction and our repression? For our soul is bowed down to the dust; our body clings to the ground. Arise for our help, and redeem us for Your mercies’ sake.”
- Isaiah 63:15 (Lexham English Bible) – “Look from heaven, and see from the lofty residence of Your holiness and glory. Where are Your zeal and strength? Your compassion and mercy to me hold themselves back.”
But God was never far from the faithful people in Israel!
- Psalm 4:3 (Good News Bible) – “Remember that the LORD has chosen the righteous for His own, and He hears me when I call to Him.”
Psalm 27:8 – “When You said, ‘Seek My face,’ my heart said to You, ‘Your face, LORD, I will seek.” To seek a person’s face meant to strive to get to know the total person – who he is, how he thinks, how he acts, what he likes and does not like, etc.
- Isaiah 55:6 and 7 – “Seek the LORD while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, and He will have mercy on him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.”
- Jeremiah 29:12 through 14 – “…you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the Lord….”
The sad and ironic thing that happened is this: God came into the very midst of the Jews…..and He was rejected!
- John 1:1 and 14 tell us, “…the Word was God…and the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us….” God the Son, Jesus Christ, incarnate in human flesh, lived in Palestine as a (sinless) human being for 33 years! (see Philippians 2:6-8; I John 4:2, 3).
- He showed forth the Father in a three-plus year ministry! (see John 14:9; Colossians 2:9; Hebrews 1:3).
- John 1:10 and 11 – “He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own [the Jews], and His own did not receive Him.”
- Acts 3:14 – Jesus was so rejected that Peter, in his second sermon, said to the listening Jews, “…Pilate…was determined to let Him go. But you denied the Holy One and the Just, and asked for a murderer [Barabbas] to be granted to you.” (see Matthew 27:16-26).
So what does Jehovah Shammah (THE LORD IS THERE) mean for us today? Before we get to this…
- To the Jews of Ezekiel’s day, THE LORD IS THERE was very significant!
✡ They had lost their temple, their city, their way of life when the Romans sacked and burned Jerusalem in AD 70. ✡ God was promising them a future time, a future city, a glorified return to a victorious Jewish life! ✡ So, in that sense, the LORD was not ‘there’ now, but He would be ‘there’ in the future!
- But THE LORD IS THERE could mean to some Christians today that “The LORD is there but not here, where I need Him!” So I checked with the seventeen Bible translations available on my e-Sword computer study application, and found three Bible versions translate Ezekiel 48:35 as “The LORD is here”!
So let’s go with this translation: THE LORD IS HERE!
- Yes, someday in the New Jerusalem, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God.” (Revelation 21:3).
• But NOW…
✞ Jesus said, ➔ “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5). ➔ “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20). ➔ “...I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever, even the Spirit of truth ....I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.” (John 14:16, 18). ✞ THE LORD IS HERE!
THE LORD IS THERE
THE LORD IS HERE !