God’s Name Represents Authority
I grew up in a family in which the sense of authority was unmistakable. In Venezuela, where I was born, it is customary that when parents leave the house or come home, their children ask them for a blessing. But in our family, the younger siblings would also ask the older siblings for the blessing. This sign of respect is still maintained among my siblings, even though they have grown older. That respect derived from the hierarchical structure within the family. As a child, I was taught that my uncles, aunts, and grandparents had authority over me, and I had to obey them.
God’s name tells us what we can expect from Him and how we should relate to Him. He rules the universe. His name represents dominion over all creation. Nature obeys Him; He can create, destroy, or restore. Angels obey Him; demons and the devil himself are subject to His commands. (See Job 1:12 and 2:6; Mark 1:34 and 5:12.) This means that, by virtue of being God, He is able to accomplish everything He sets out to do on our behalf. His name, rather than filling us with terror, should motivate us to please Him and worship Him “with reverence and awe” (Hebrews 12:28).
Moses was alone with his thoughts on a mountainside, tending the flock of his father–in–law. Suddenly his attention was caught by a bush that was burning, but not burning up. Then he heard the voice of God issuing from the bush, calling his name. God commanded Moses to go to Egypt and lead His people, the Israelites, out of bondage. Moses resisted the idea; then he said, “By the way, what’s your name? If I do what you ask, the Israelites are sure to ask me, ‘What is the name of this God you say has sent you to us?’ ” “God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: “I AM has sent me to you.” ’ ” (Exodus 3:14) “I AM WHO I AM” is an attempt at an English translation of three words in the original Hebrew, which could also be rendered, “I WILL BE WHO I WILL BE.”
The name of God is a statement about His person. It says that God is eternal, without beginning or end. That was the message to Moses and to the Israelites; it was the message to Jesus’ disciples; it is the message for our time and for all time.
God revealed Himself to the Apostle John in these terms: “I am the Alpha and the Omega … who is, and who was, and who is to come.” (Revelation 1:8) Alpha and Omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet—the equivalent of “from A to Z.” Many years after Moses’ mountainside encounter with God at the burning bush, he would write these words: “Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, even from everlasting to everlasting you are God.” (Psalm 90:2)
God had no beginning. He did not and does not need anyone or anything else to exist. The Athanasius Creed, an early statement of Christian doctrine, declares, “The Father is made of none; neither created, nor begotten.” God has perfect, continuous, and endless life in Himself. (TW: 551)
Alan J. Gonzalez’ Spanish Colum for the War Cry (Excerpted from The Lord’s Prayer by Captain Alan J. Gonzalez. First Published by the US Southern Territory, Atlanta, GA, 2017. Available at Amazon.com)