Wednesday, 19 July 2017

How Many Names Does God Have?

The Bible’s answer

God has just one personal name. It is written יהוה in Hebrew and is usually rendered “Jehovah” in English. * Through his prophet Isaiah, God stated: “I am Jehovah. That is my name.” (Isaiah 42:8) This name appears about 7,000 times in ancient Bible manuscripts​—far more frequently than any other term for God or, indeed, anyone else’s personal name. *

Are there other names for God?

Although the Bible refers to God by only one personal name, it uses many titles and descriptions for him. The following list of some of those titles and descriptions shows how each one reveals an aspect of Jehovah’s nature or his personality.
Title
Reference
Meaning
Allah
(None)
Derived from Arabic, the word “Allah” is not a personal name but a title meaning “God.” Bible translations in Arabic and other languages use “Allah” as an equivalent for “God.”
Almighty
Has irresistible power. The Hebrew expression ʼEl Shad·daiʹ, “God Almighty,” occurs seven times in the Bible.
The Alpha and the Omega
“The first and the last,” or “the beginning and the end,” meaning that there was no Almighty God before Jehovah and there will be none after him. (Isaiah 43:10) Alpha and omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet.
Ancient of Days
Had no beginning; existed for an eternity before anyone or anything else came into being.​—Psalm 90:2.
Creator
Brought all things into existence.
Father
Life-giver.
God
An object of worship; a strong One. The Hebrew word ʼElo·himʹ is plural, indicating Jehovah’s majesty, dignity, or excellence.
God of gods
The supreme God, in contrast with the “worthless gods” worshipped by some.​—Isaiah 2:8.
Grand Instructor
Gives beneficial teaching and direction.​—Isaiah 48:17, 18.
Grand Maker
Brought all things into existence.​—Revelation 4:​11.
Happy God
Characterized by joy and happiness.​—Psalm 104:31.
Hearer of prayer
Personally listens to each prayer offered to him in faith.
I Am That I Am
Exodus 3:​14King James Version
Becomes whatever is needed to fulfill his purpose. This phrase has also been translated “I Will Become whatsoever I please” or “I Will Become What I Choose to Become.” (The Emphasised Bible, by J. B. Rotherham; New World Translation) This description helps to explain the personal name, Jehovah, given in the next verse.​—Exodus 3:​15.
Jealous
Exodus 34:14King James Version
Tolerates no rivalry in worship. This term has also been translated “does not tolerate rivals” and “known for requiring exclusive devotion.”​—God’s Word Bible; New World Translation.
King of eternity
His rulership has no beginning or end.
Lord
Owner or master; Hebrew ʼA·dhohnʹ and ʼAdho·nimʹ.
Lord of hosts, Lord of Sabaoth
Isaiah 1:9King James VersionRomans 9:​29King James Version
Commander of vast forces of angels. The title “Lord of Sabaoth” can also be rendered “Jehovah of armies” and “Lord of the [heavenly] armies.”​—Romans 9:​29New World Translation; NET Bible, footnote.
Most High
Occupies the supreme position.
Most Holy One
More holy (morally clean and pure) than any other being.
Potter
Has authority over individuals and nations, just as a potter has authority over clay.​—Romans 9:​20, 21.
Redeemer, Repurchaser
Isaiah 41:14King James Version
Recovers or buys back mankind from sin and death through the ransom sacrifice of Jesus Christ.​—John 3:​16.
Rock
A secure refuge and source of salvation.
Savior
Delivers from danger or destruction.
Shepherd
Cares for his worshippers.
Sovereign Lord
Has supreme authority; Hebrew ʼAdho·naiʹ.
Supreme One
The highest sovereign.

Place names in the Hebrew Scriptures

Some place names in the Bible include God’s personal name, but these are not alternate names for God.
Place name
Reference
Meaning
Jehovah-jireh
“Jehovah Will Provide.”
Jehovah-nissi
“Jehovah Is My Signal Pole,” or “my Banner.” (Today’s New International Version) Jehovah is a God around whom his people can rally for protection and help.​—Exodus 17:13-​16.
Jehovah-shalom
“Jehovah Is Peace.”
Jehovah-shammah
Ezekiel 48:35, footnote, American Standard Version
“Jehovah Is There.”

Reasons to know and use God’s name

  • God must feel that his personal name, Jehovah, is important, because he included it thousands of times in the Bible.​—Malachi 1:​11.
  • God’s Son, Jesus, repeatedly stressed the importance of God’s name. For instance, he prayed to Jehovah: “Let your name be sanctified.”​—Matthew 6:9; John 17:6.
  • Those who come to know and use God’s name take the first steps in building a friendship with Jehovah. (Psalm 9:​10; Malachi 3:​16) Such a relationship enables them to benefit from God’s promise: “Because he has affection for me, I will rescue him. I will protect him because he knows my name.”​Psalm 91:14.
  • The Bible acknowledges: “There are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth, just as there are many ‘gods’ and many ‘lords.’” (1 Corinthians 8:​5, 6) Yet it clearly identifies the one true God by his name, Jehovah.​—Psalm 83:18.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

DOES GOD FORGIVES ALL SINS?

The Bible’s answer

Yes, God will forgive your sins if you take the proper steps. The Bible says that God is “ready to forgive” and that he “will forgive in a large way.” (Nehemiah 9:17; Psalm 86:5; Isaiah 55:7) When he forgives us, he does so completely. Our sins are “blotted out,” or erased. (Acts 3:19) God also forgives permanently, for he says: “I will no longer remember their sin.” (Jeremiah 31:34) Once he forgives, he does not rehash our sins in order to accuse us or to punish us again and again.
However, God’s forgiveness is not based on weakness or sentimentality. He never bends his righteous standards. For this reason, he refuses to forgive some sins.Joshua 24:19, 20.

Steps to gain God’s forgiveness

  1. Acknowledge your sin as a violation of God’s standards. While others may have been hurt by what you did, you must first recognize that your sin is an offense against God.Psalm 51:1, 4; Acts 24:16.
  2. Confess to God in prayer.Psalm 32:5; 1 John 1:9.
  3. Feel a deep sorrow for your sin. This “sadness in a godly way” leads to repentance, or a change of heart. (2 Corinthians 7:10) It includes regret over the wrong steps that led to the sin.Matthew 5:27, 28.
  4. Change your course of action, that is, “turn around.” (Acts 3:19) This could mean that you avoid repeating a single wrong action or practice, or it could mean that you may have to change your whole way of thinking and acting.Ephesians 4:23, 24.
  5. Take steps to right the wrong or to repair the damage done. (Matthew 5:23, 24; 2 Corinthians 7:11) Apologize to those who suffered because of what you did or failed to do, and make restitution to the extent possible.Luke 19:7-10.
  6. Ask God in prayer for forgiveness on the basis of the ransom of Jesus. (Ephesians 1:7) For your prayer to be answered, you must forgive those who have sinned against you.Matthew 6:14, 15.
  7. If your sin is serious, speak to someone who is qualified to provide the spiritual help you need and who can pray in your behalf.James 5:14-16.

Misconceptions about gaining God’s forgiveness

“I have sinned too much to be forgiven.”
As long as we follow the steps that God sets out in the Bible, we will be forgiven, since his capacity to forgive is greater than our sins. He can forgive serious sins as well as those that have been repeated many times.Proverbs 24:16; Isaiah 1:18.

For example, King David of Israel was forgiven of adultery and murder. (2 Samuel 12:7-13) The apostle Paul, who felt that he had been the world’s worst sinner, was also forgiven. (1 Timothy 1:15, 16) Even the first-century Jews whom God held responsible for killing Jesus, the Messiah, were forgiven if they have a change of heart.
“If I confess to a priest or a minister, my sins are absolved.”
No human is now authorized to forgive a fellow human for sins against God. Although confessing to another person can help a sinner to recover, only God can forgive sins.Ephesians 4:32; 1 John 1:7, 9.
If that is so, then what did Jesus mean when he told the apostles: “If you forgive the sins of anyone, they are forgiven; if you retain those of anyone, they are retained”? (John 20:23) He was describing a unique authority that he would give to the apostles when they received the holy spirit.John 20:22.
As promised, the apostles received this gift when the holy spirit was poured out in 33 C.E. (Acts 2:1-4) The apostle Peter used this authority when judging the disciples Ananias and Sapphira. Peter miraculously knew about their deceptive scheme, and his judgment indicated that their sin would not be forgiven.Acts 5:1-11.
That miraculous gift of the holy spirit, like other gifts such as healing and speaking in tongues, ceased after the death of the apostles. (1 Corinthians 13:8-10) Thus, no human today can absolve another person of sin.