Yahweh and Jesus – The Name of Yahweh-Shammah

Yahweh and Jesus – The Name of Yahweh-Shammah

Yahweh and Jesus – The Name of Yahweh-Shammah.

“The four sides of the city measures a total of nearly six miles. From now on, the name of the city will be Yahweh-Shammah, “The Lord-is-there.” (Ezekiel 48:35).

The last name of God as written in the Hebrew Bible is Yahweh-Shammah, which means The Lord-is-there. This is the only time this name is used, and it refers to God’s presence in Jerusalem (very soon) and the New Jerusalem (the distant future).

Jerusalem. By the time Ezekiel had received his vision of the restoration of Jerusalem, the Jews had been exiled in Babylon for about 25 years. All the exiled Jews had distinct memories of their Temple being destroyed and their beloved city in ruins. While in Babylon, the Jews were not assured that they would ever again have a Temple in which to worship the Lord. They were unsure if God would ever again dwell in their midst. But then came this amazing vision of the prophet Ezekiel, when God promised that the Temple would be rebuilt and the city would be restored. This vision gave hope to the exiles that all was not lost. By closing his vision with God’s name that assured His presence in the restored city, the exiles lived in the hope that their God would once again be in their midst. Sure enough, in the year 516 BC, Zerubbabel led the construction and completion of the new Temple in Jerusalem (Ezra 6). Once again, the religious Feasts were celebrated and sacrifices were offered in the new Temple. It took the exiles about four and a half years to complete the new Temple, and “the children of Israel, the priests and the Levites and the rest of the descendants of captivity, celebrated the dedication of this Temple of God with joy.” (Ezra 6:16). Ezekiel’s prophecy was fulfilled, and indeed the Lord was there.

The greatest and most profound promise God could ever give to His people was to guarantee His presence among them. Any favorable perception of a life with God, whether now or in heaven, would have to include His eternal presence. God knew nothing could encourage or strengthen His people more than to be assured of His presence, that He plans on dwelling with them. Ever since His promise in Leviticus 26:12, mankind has been holding God to His promise with great hope, “I will set my dwelling place among you. I will walk among you and be your God, and you shall be my people.” 

There were many prophecies in the Hebrew Bible that anticipated the Lord’s eventual presence with his people in the future messianic age, when God would dwell in their midst. But are these verses only intended to be understood in the context of the New Jerusalem?

Ezekiel 37:27-28 = “My tabernacle also shall be with them; indeed I will be their God and they shall be my people. The nations also will know that I, the Lord, sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary is in their midst forevermore.”

Ezekiel 43:7 =” This is the place of my throne and the place of the soles of my feet, where I will dwell in the  midst of the children of Israel forever.”

Zechariah 2:10-11 = “Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion! For beh0ld, I am coming and I will dwell in your midst,’ says the Lord. ‘Many nations shall be joined to the Lord in that day, and they shall become my people. And I will dwell in your midst. Then you will know that the Lord of Hosts has sent me to you.” 

Gospel Fulfillment. God’s promise of His presence with humanity as read in those prophetic statements has a triple fulfillment. The promise was fulfilled with the people of Israel by way of the Tabernacle in the wilderness and the Temple in Jerusalem. His promise was fulfilled once again when Yahweh took on flesh… “The Word became a human being and made His home among us.” (John 1:14). In fact this promise was so important that Matthew framed his gospel with the assurance of Christ’s presence: In 1:23, when Jesus was called Immanu El, which literally means “with us is God.” And then in the last words of Jesus in 28:20, when He assured the disciples with these parting words, “Remember! I will be with you always, yes, even to the end of the age!” Or, as the Orthodox liturgy puts it, “Jesus is with us now, and forever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.” And how is Jesus truly with us now, before the end of the age? Jesus is present with us through His Holy Spirit. His Spirit is in us and around us and among us, completing the picture of Immanuel, God-with-us. This is truly the Good News! This is the Best News we could ever hear.

It seems that God has always yearning for the time when He would dwell with His people forever. In John’s Revelation, He gave full voice to this dwelling in Rev. 21:3“Behold! God’s home is now among the people! He will live with them and encamp with them, and they will be His people. God Himself will pitch His tent with His people, He will tabernacle with them as their God.” Once again, Ezekiel’s’ prophecy will be confirmed for all eternity as we live in the New Jerusalem. The Lord will indeed be there, and He will Himself be the Temple in which we worship Him (Rev. 21:22). The old earthly Tabernacle in the wilderness was only a shadow of how God Himself will tabernacle with the people in the new City of God, where He will always be Yahweh-Shammah.

A Prayer to Yahweh-Shammah (ya’way sham mah’), LORD-is-there, honoring Jesus, the ever-present Lord:

We are in wonder before you, Lord-is-there. For you are always there and eternally here, dwelling in our midst, with us even unto the end of this world and the duration of the next. We know that our flesh shall rest in hope, for in your presence is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. We look for that great day when we will be with you in your full glory and majesty. We will be finally satisfied, Lord, when we awake with your likeness and behold your face. With gladness we anticipate the day that we can see Jesus face-to-face and God spirit-to-spirit. We bow before you, Yahweh-Shammah, and marvel in your holy name. Amen.