Category Archives: Names of God

Jehovah-Rohi; The Lord is my Shepherd…

This look at one of the names of God is going to focus on one of His more popular names or roles; that of our Shepherd.  This name is commonly known because of Psalm 23 and its “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want…”  The fact that it is “Jehovah-Rohi” shows us that being a shepherd is a part of Who God is, meaning it is His character to be our shepherd.

We know from scripture that there are good shepherds and bad shepherds.  One of the differences was to see if the shepherd would be willing to give his life for his sheep.  In God we have the ultimate shepherd, He sees to us, cares for us lives alongside of us… and did indeed die for us.  If one of us goes astray, He comes for us, not to condemn us but to get us out of whatever trouble we’ve found and bring us home.

The other aspect of a shepherd that many people tend to forget is that they do desire the sheep to follow them.  A sheep knows the shepherd’s voice and was expected to follow along, staying close to the shepherd.  I always like to imagine the Holy Spirit as the Shepherd’s sheep dog.  Not in any negative sense of course, but in the sense that the Holy Spirit is what helps guide us, and helps us tune into the shepherd’s commands.  All we have to do is listen for the Shepherd’s voice and respond when He calls; we have to trust Him, in other words, faithe on Him.

One aspect of all of this that should give us comfort, is that God is so far above us, that we are compared to the sheep, while He’s the shepherd.  Sheep aren’t the smartest animals on earth, but have their place, and their uses.   But note; the Shepherd is in charge, and it is His duty to see to the sheep.  If a threat approaches the sheep, it is the Shepherd who deals with it.  How wonderful to be a sheep protected and loved by God Himself!

How wonderful to be able to say, as David did, the LORD is my Shepherd, it is He Who leads, guides, loves, and protects me.  If I stray, He comes to get me.  Another awesome aspect?  That Shepherd, God Himself, became a Lamb that gave its life for me, and you, and to rid of us of sin and the penalty of the law.  This Lamb is so perfect, He meets every criteria of a perfect sacrifice.  Hold on to the fact that God, the Creator of all things, is your Shepherd the second you heed His call.  When times get tough, remember Who your Protector is, call out to Him, He will hear you.

For my other articles on the names of God see; Jehovah-rapha, Jehovah-Shammah, Jehovah-Tsidkenu, and Jehovah-nissi

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Jehovah-Tsidkenu; The LORD our Righteousness…

Jehovah-Tsidkenu is another of the revealed names of God.  As noted above, in the title it translates into “The LORD our Righteousness.”  This is one of His names that should bring utmost peace and comfort to believers; for we do not have to rely on our own righteousness, which is as filthy rags to God, God Himself is our Righteousness.

Anytime we are being accused, being reminded of our sin, either by other humans, Satan, ourselves, etc… all we really have to do is return to this name of God.  He is our Righteousness, and no one can ever take away or put down a righteousness like that.

The name comes from Jeremiah 23:6 In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.

This name ultimately points to Christ, who does indeed become our righteousness, and anyone in Him has His righteousness imputed to them.

1 Corinthians 1:30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:

That is the only righteousness that counts for anything because it is a perfect righteousness.  This is why one must be in Christ to be reconciled to God, and we come to be apart of Christ by faithing in/on Him.

He is righteousness itself and He is the standard which we are called to meet; we cannot meet that standard on our own, which in turn is why we need Christ.

Romans 3: 21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; 22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: 23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; 26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.

This is why faith in Christ (and Christ’s own faith) is so important.  Come judgment day those that have not faithed in Jesus do not have His righteousness accounted to them.  They must rely on their own righteousness, and that cannot stand before Righteousness itself; before a completely Holy and Perfect God.

I don’t know how many times I’ve heard Christians beating themselves up over some slip or sin. I do it all the time (yes, both sinning and beating myself up ;) )…you start to question yourself, and realize what a wondrously adept sinner you really are, then that leads to questioning one’s salvation and it shouldn’t!  Why?  Because our righteousness does not come from ourselves, our righteousness is God Himself once we come to Him in faith!

Turn to this name to be reminded of that, and call out to God praising Him and thanking Him for being that Righteousness and providing us a means by His Grace to have that Righteousness accounted to us!  Thank God, literally, that I don’t have to present my sinful self to God without His righteousness being applied to me.  All believers, all faithers, in Christ have the exact same righteousness, and that is God Himself.

Other names of God I’ve blogged about thus far: Jehovah-Nissi, Jehovah-Shammah, Jehovah-Rohi, and Jehovah-Rapha.

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Apologetics; The Ontological Argument for God…

I must admit, right off the bat that this philosophical argument for God, in its “simplistic” form is one of my least favorites, though when seen as a set of arguments for God, it makes much more logical sense.  As with the other two philosophical arguments I’ve already blogged on: The Teleological and Cosmological, this argument is presented as a “general” support for God, not religion specific.

St. Anselm is kind of the “go-to” philosopher for the Ontological Argument, and it revolves around that idea of God, “that than which nothing greater can be conceived.”  Then, through different logical arguments winds up with the conclusion that God must then exist.

If God is defined, not as just a definition, but as a being that is the most perfect being in existence, or the greatest being possible, then the argument goes that He does indeed exist.  Why?  Because God is the greatest or most perfect being, and it is greater to exist than to not, therefore God must exist.

To put it simplistically; which would you rather have a million imaginary dollars, or a million real dollars?  Which is greater?

The big argument against the Ontological argument for God comes in the form of a question; Is existence a “predicate?”  A predicate is a defining property or, if you like, a defining characteristic or attribute.  Does the fact of existence actually add anything meaningful to the idea of God?

Well…that is a good question if we stop at Anselm’s first argument, but if we continue to look at his arguments it becomes clear that there is logical reason to see God’s existence a predicate.  This “second” argument of Anselm’s revolves around this notion; God is a greater being if He cannot not exist; if His existence is necessary.  If His existence is necessary, then it would indeed be a predicate.

Basically the logical idea boils down to two possibilities; since God is not a limited being, either His existence is impossible or it is necessary.  The existence of God is not impossible, therefore because of His nature and the nature of existence, His existence is necessary.

To put it in the words of Norman Malcolm (1963), “If God, a being a greater than which cannot be conceived, does not exist then He cannot come into existence or have happened to come into existence, and in either case He would be a limited being, which by our conception of Him He is not.  Since He cannot come into existence, if He does not exist His existence is impossible. If he does exist He cannot have come into existence (for the reasons given), nor can He cease to exist, for nothing could cause Him to cease to exist nor could it just happen that He ceased to exist.  So if God exists His existence is necessary.  Thus God’s existence is either impossible or necessary.  It can be the former only if the concept of such a being is self-contradictory or in some way logically absurd.  Assuming that this is not so, if follows that He necessarily exists.” (Knowledge and Certainty: Essays and Lectures)

Breathe.  Take your time and read it over again slowly…it definitely is a logical argument that can confuse if read too fast.  The first time I read the Ontological argument it felt as though someone was trying to pull the wool over my eyes, or just simply put one over on me.  It takes some time to really grasp the logical argument in all of this.

Scriptural backing for this philosophical idea from a Christian perspective?  I find the most compelling parallels in the very names of God, such as I AM that I AM, and also titles such as “The Almighty.”  The first shows God’s self-existence, and the second shows His supremacy over all things created.

Genesis 17:1 And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God…

The idea of God as the ultimate being is readily apparent as well:

Revelation 1:8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.

His necessity is also clear, when we read of Him being The Creator of all things;

Isaiah 40:28 Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding.

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

So, both we as humans define God in a certain way even just on a philosophical level, and God Himself has revealed to us that He is indeed the greatest being possible, that His existence is necessary, and that He does indeed exist.

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Apologetics; The Cosmological Argument for God

Again, this is a philosophical approach to the question of whether or not there is a God.  This argument is presented in philosophy in a general way; is there a God? Not, is there a specific being from any one religion.  The Cosmological Argument for God is the answer to the question; where did all of this (everything contained in our universe; space/time, energy, matter, etc…) come from?

The basic idea is this; nothing comes from nothing.  If there was ever absolutely nothing, nothing could ever come into being; therefore there had to be something.  This something must be transcendent.  It must not be bound by space/time, since space/time is the very thing that had a beginning, that had to come from something.

This is why the Cosmological Argument is sometimes referred to as the “First-Cause” Argument.  The first cause is God.  Also, a similar title for God; the Unmoved Mover comes up as well.  The universe is in motion…to have energy there needs to be “motion.”  Nothing can begin to move unless acted upon by a force…so, there has to be something to act to get everything moving.  You wind up, through a series of logical steps at God, Who is moved by no other (“unmoved”).  If you want to dig more into this from both a philosophical perspective, and a theological one, St. Thomas’ Five Ways are a good starting point.

These things point at the logical conclusion of the self-existence of God.  Many skeptics, at this point, ask; Well, who created God, and where did He come from?  This question shows a basic lack of understanding the philosophical arguments here.

One simplistic way to explain it is this; Every event (and effect) must have a cause and every created thing must have a creator.  God is neither an event (nor an effect), not a created thing; therefore has no need of a cause nor a creator.  God has no beginning, since that first “thing” would be transcendent, or outside of time.  If there is no time, there is no “beginning” only self existence.

Now, does the Bible back this idea up?  Absolutely.

First, you have God as the Creator of all; the originator of all things.  Secondly, we have His wonderfully descriptive title of Himself; I AM that I AM.

Exodus 3:14 And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you. 15 And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.

God reveals truth in His names, and He is very clear here; He is I AM; eternally self-existent…He also clearly tells Who He is in relation to Moses, so that he can relate to God in a more human fashion; The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.  God does not depend on anything or anyone else for existence unlike everything else.

This is yet another case where logic and reason points directly at the fact that a God does indeed exist and He is The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and that makes Him the Christian God.  Christ Himself alluded to His divine title, and the Jewish listeners understood Him quite plainly:

John 8:57 Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? 58 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.

What did the hearers do?  Picked up rocks to stone Him to death.  Jesus was indeed existent prior to Abraham, even as He was in their midst.  At that point in time, not only was He present with those people, He was also, at the same time, present before Abraham was.  He also was the Creator;

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

Just further support for the Cosmological Argument pointing at the Christian God…and also support for the triune nature of God.

Again, as a remind, if you are taking a philosophy course this argument is presented for the general idea of a God.  But, you can see that the Bible not only backs this argument up, it also points directly at The One and only God; The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

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Jehovah-rapha; The LORD that Healeth

Jehovah-rapha, The LORD that Healeth…as in the other names I have already covered (Jehovah-shammah, Jehovah-rohi, Jehovah-tsidkenu, and Jehovah-nissi) this name is to help us grasp a fundamental nature of God and His character. He is the LORD that healeth, and further more, this is one of His names that He revealed about Himself; He is the one that uttered, “for I am the LORD that healeth thee,” to the Israelites.

This name is revealed in the book of Exodus, after the Israelites were journeying away from Egypt.

Exodus 15:22 So Moses brought Israel from the Red sea, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur; and they went three days in the wilderness, and found no water. 23 And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah. 24 And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink? 25 And he cried unto the LORD; and the LORD shewed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them, 26 And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee. 27 And they came to Elim, where were twelve wells of water, and threescore and ten palm trees: and they encamped there by the waters.

Now, it is important to read those verses to get the context of this revelation. The Israelites had seen the plagues of God released upon the Egyptians that kept them as slaves, here God promises to never do this to the Israelites if they hearken to His word.

Notice that this revelation of His name is connected to another event; the miraculous occurrence of making the bitter waters sweet. I’ve blogged about water before, and how it is intimately connected to life itself, and of course we have Christ as our living water. Here we have a people that are desperately thirsty, and who see this body of water, and who are devastated when they realize it is unfit to drink.

God then “heals” the water by directing Moses to place the “tree” in the pool, which makes the water sweet, and fit to drink (wouldn’t you love to taste that water! ). Many see the parallel with Christ, who was raised up on a tree to heal us, and to offer us living water through His life, death, and resurrection.

Yes, God is the LORD that can healeth even our physical bodies, as He has shown abundantly through scripture and even in our own lives, or in the lives of those we know. However, the emphasis on healing both in the Old Testament, and even more so in the New, is NOT on physical healing, but on spiritual healing and renewal.

To many humans the physical side of healing is the end all and be all; but I submit that to those of us in Christ, it is the spiritual healing that is the awesome thing. Christ Himself put forth the teaching that the physical healing was symbolic of a deeper, more important healing…that of the forgiveness of sin.

Matthew 9:6 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house.

When we are sick in our physical selves, should we not cry out to God to see if He will heal our bodies? Of course! However, we must be very very careful, for there are those “teachers” out there teaching a false message; if you aren’t healed then you didn’t have enough faith. How despicable!

Paul himself prayed for healing, but was answered in a different way; 2 Corinthians 12:7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. 8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. 9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. Does it matter precisely what kind of infirmity Paul was praying to be healed?  The idea still stands; God has His reasons in all things, and in all answer to prayer.

The new covenant in Christ is beyond our physical selves, it is so much more. Christ, the Great Physician, offers healing on a much more fundamental level…and yes, for those that have faith in Him, someday everything about us will be healed fully when we are home; our physical selves, our minds, our wills…everything.

For now it is enough that we recognize that by giving ourselves to Him, and making ourselves a living sacrifice, that He is the one in control, and that He can either physically heal us or not, according to His will. This name of His; however, shows us that healing is in His very character, and we should never be ashamed or hesitant to call upon Jehovah-rapha to heal us in any way.

He is the one who makes the waters sweet, Who cleanses us from our sins, and makes us whole in Him. As always, Jesus contains this aspect of God made flesh. He walked amongst us, healing as He went, again, to underscore Who He was and is, and that He has the power to heal spiritually as well as on the “surface.” He also took upon Himself all of our sin, and went through a torturous death…He sacrificed His own health for us.

He heals situations as well…He uses them for good, even if they are bad situations, Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. We are not ever promised perfect lives, or perfect physical health when we become believers, quite the contrary. But, we are promised that He is with us, He is The LORD that heals on many different levels, and that He can use all things for good. We too, to really tap into this promise, should hearken to God and His Word, and put all our faith in Christ. Then we truly can be content in whatever situation we find ourselves, and also possess the knowledge that we can indeed call out to Jehovah-rapha, and He does indeed hear us.

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Jehovah-Shammah; The LORD is There…

“The LORD is There” is actually a name of God, like Jehovah-nissi, Jehovah-rapha, Jehovah-tsidkenu, and Jehovah-Rohi.  I had not planned to cover another name of God so soon, but felt drawn to it today.  This is a message for everyone; believer and non-believer alike.

This name, or title of God is like all the rest; it is given so that we might come to know God better.  He reveals certain key aspects of His character to us through the use of names.  This one comes from Ezekiel 48:35 It was round about eighteen thousand measures: and the name of the city from that day shall be, The LORD is there. This is the only “literal” occurrence of this name in scripture, though the concept is throughout various verses.

While this application was to be given to a city, God is teaching us all the time that He is with us no matter what.  God is omnipresent.  It is one of those concepts that people tend to “hurry past” without really absorbing what is being taught.  He is everywhere at once.

One of my favorite Psalms shows us that David reflected on this fact, and felt awe at it, and comfort, as we should: Psalm 139:1 O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me. 2 Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. 3 Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. 4 For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether. 5 Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me. 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it.

7 Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? 8 If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. 9 If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; 10 Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. 11 If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. 12 Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.

No mater what we are going through, The LORD is There with us.  Are we going through hard times? The LORD is there.  Is there a storm raging outside?  The LORD is there.  Are we scared and alone? The LORD is There.  Are we going through good times? The LORD is There.  Are we facing a mountain that seems impossible for us to climb?  We are never alone in the endeavour; The LORD is There.  Are we surrounded by people that do not care for us, or for people abusing us in some manner, either physically, emotionally, or mentally?  The LORD is There…

Not only should it bring us great comfort, but also great peace.  The LORD is with us all the time, and so sees and knows every action and every human heart.  We also know that the LORD is a LORD of justice, and of mercy.

Now, for the non-believer, especially atheists.  I just want you to know that the LORD is with you regardless of your belief in Him, or your lack thereof.  If you are scared, or lonely, or hurting, He is present with you, you are not alone.  Talk to Him and He hears you.  It is the truth.  If you ever find yourself afraid, despairing, in need…talk to Him about it.  Also know that He offers each human being a chance at even greater connection with Him, a one-on-one relationship with Him through Jesus Christ His Son.  That is the relationship that saves, that is the relationship that ultimately leads to the complete fulfillment of this name of God, as those who put their trust in Jesus will come to dwell with God in a very direct way after death, and at the end of things as we know them.

Everyone, keep reminding yourself even in everyday situations that The LORD is with you, the more you remind yourself of that, the more you’ll take it to heart, the more you’ll let that fact bring you more understanding of God, and bring you into a closer walk with Him.  He’s not just with us in the rough times, He is not just with us on Sunday at church, He is with us no matter the circumstance.

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Jehovah-nissi; The LORD my Banner…

I love learning the different names of God.  What I find interesting is that on one point, some atheists or agnostics have it right; if there is a God as we describe, He must be beyond human reckoning.  This is a good, fundamental philosophical idea; but, it misses one of the wonderful aspects of God; the revelation of Himself.

If God so chooses, and He has, He can reveal important aspects of Himself to us, in ways that we can understand and comprehend.  Of course His greatest revelation to us was in His Son; Jesus Christ.  He also has revealed Himself through creation, and through scripture.

One of the ways He does this, is by the various inspired names that He has given, and had recorded in scripture for all of us. BTW, a great resource and reference for the Names of God is Titles of the Triune God, by Stevenson.

Today, I wanted to introduce you to, or remind you, dear reader, of one of His names; Jehovah-nissi, which means The LORD my Banner.

It is found given as a place-name in Exodus 17:

Exodus 17:10 So Joshua did as Moses had said to him, and fought with Amalek: and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. 11 And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. 12 But Moses’ hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. 13 And Joshua discomfited Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword. 14 And the LORD said unto Moses, Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua: for I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven. 15 And Moses built an altar, and called the name of it Jehovahnissi: 16 For he said, Because the LORD hath sworn that the LORD will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.

We have to remember that even though this is the single instance of the name given in the form of a name, it tells us something about God that is further backed up elsewhere in scripture.  This title of God, this aspect, is associated with the warfare of His people.

Enemies assail us all; whether they be physical or spiritual.  We are instructed, by Paul, to put on the whole armor of God; how great it is to know that when we put on that armor, that isn’t the end of His help. He is also the very standard, or banner under which we fight.  It is He that gives victory, and it is in His name that victory is taken.

Notice too, that while all praise is due God, He still expects us to actually “get our hands dirty” so to speak.  If it is a spiritual battle we face, we are to be strong, do “our” part, and also rest in the assurance of His victory, if it is a physical battle, the same thing, legal, emotional, etc…  The Israelites actually fought Amalek, they didn’t sit back and complain that God wasn’t doing all the work; He told them what to do; they followed His orders, and emerged victorious.

If God is guiding us into a situation, and He puts us in it, sends us, then we are in the same position as the Israelites.  If we do indeed emerge in the moment triumphant (which can even seem like a defeat in the eyes of the rest of humanity), we too should proclaim that The LORD is my Banner.  When the Israelites won, they praised God, as we should do in all things.  No matter what fight we come to in our lives, we must acknowledge that without God there is no hope of an ultimately good outcome.

It’s not going to be easy, and Jesus has assured us that we will be persecuted in this life, with ultimate victory “over there,” when we are finally and completely changed, and we will dwell with our Banner forever.

Isaiah 59:19 So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him.

Isaiah 11:10 And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious. (This is referring to Jesus Christ, for those who don’t realize it.)

Never forget that no matter what your facing, or what the outcome, God Himself, Christ Himself, is our Banner; be of good courage… Psalm 60:4 Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth. Selah.

Other name of God I’ve blogged about; Jehovah-Rapha, Jehovah-Shammah, Jehovah-Tsidkenu, and Jehovah-Rohi.

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