YHWH Is There
Pronounced Yä-wá' (or Yod-Há-Väv-Há') shäm'-mä, the compound name appears in the Old Testament only once in Ezekiel 48:35 to portray YHWH's presence in the coming millennial kingdom: "It shall be eighteen thousand reeds round about; and the name of the city from that day shall be, Yahweh Is There [YHWH-Shammah]." (WEB)
The name "YHWH-Shammah" may very well be the most exciting and comforting name God has given us. Why? Because in "YHWH-Shammah" is the promise and pledge of God completing the work He began in us at creation, to bring us to our final rest and glory; for as the Catechism says: "The chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever."
The word "shammah" is derived from the Hebrew word "sham", which means "there" or "at that place". YHWH-Shammah is the last name God revealed through His Old Testament prophets. In the historic setting in which it's given, this name reassured Israel that God had not abandoned them during their 70-year period of Babylonian captivity, and that there would eventually be a restoration of Jerusalem and the Temple.
As Ezekiel had prophesied 25 years earlier that Jerusalem and the Temple would be utterly destroyed and the people's hopes of one day returning were declining this prophesy was a promise to them that God was indeed in Jerusalem: YHWH-Shammah! There are several beliefs concerning the fulfillment of Ezekiel's prophecy:
Orthodox Judaism believes this has a strictly literal interpretation that will be fulfilled in the restoration of the Temple and the sacrificial system, following which time the Messiah will come to reign in Jerusalem as the Son of David. Then, "Yahweh-Shammah" will be realized.
Other Bible scholars interpret the name solely in a spiritual sense with no fulfillment in an earthly Jerusalem.
A third group of scholars combine the two interpretations and believe it has both a literal and a spiritual fulfillment.
If one considers the entire Scripture, both Old and New Testaments, then the third theory seems most plausible. As Bible scholar Nathan Stone wrote in "The Names of God":
"It has been seen that the fulfillment of this name was limited in the Old Testament both in its manifestation and scope. Every manifestation of God's presence in the midst of His people, though real, could only be but a shadow of a glorious reality to come. As to its scope, it was limited to the nation Israel.
"In the New Testament dispensation it has a wider scope in that it is more spiritual than symbolic, and more personal rather than national. For now it has been fulfilled ideally in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ.
"As man, and representing the human race, 'the whole fullness of God was pleased to dwell in Him' (Colossians 1:19, marg.). He was the effulgence of God's glory and the very image of His substance (Hebrews 1:3, ASV). 'The Word became flesh and tabernacled among us,' says John, 'and we beheld his glory' (John 1:14, ASV). Thus He became 'God with us,' the Immanuel of Isaiah 7:14, the Child, the Son, the mighty God, the everlasting Father of Isaiah 9:6.
"The One who in the Old Testament came in occasional, mysterious appearances as the Angel of Jehovah, the Angel of His Presence, the Angel of the Covenant, the Angel in whom is Jehovah's name became in Christ both the Presence itself and the Temple in whom the Presence resided so that in Him and of Him it could be said Jehovah-Shammah, Jehovah is there.
"This Presence is now in believers as living temples of God. 'Know ye not that ye are a temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you' (I Corinthians 3:16, ASV)."
What an excellent name is this YHWH-Shammah! YHWH is there . . . YHWH is here . . . YHWH is in me . . . YHWH is in you....! As you meditate on that, remember what we learned in the third study in this series: YHWH is very serious about where and in whom His name abides!
Oh, praise His holy name! YHWH, the Covenant-Keeping God of the Universe, has chosen for His name His very essence, His fundamental nature, His inherent characteristics, and His authority to abide in me and in you! Knowing that He is always with us should bring immediate comfort, an infusion of courage, and a sense of confidence to endure. Hallelu YAH!
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