17 Symbolic Names
Table of Contents
ANCIENT OF DAYS, COVERT, CROWN, DIADEM, FORTRESS, GOVERNOR, HUSBAND, KING, MAKER, PURIFIER, ROCK, REDEEMER, REFINER, REFUGE, SHIELD, SUN, WALL OF FIRE
The above seventeen names for God are symbolic designations given to Jehovah God. There are many more, but these are given to show the use of symbolic designations and their relationships to our God. There are many types, symbols, emblems and striking figures of speech given in both the Old and New Testaments. Our Savior used parables as symbols or windows admitting spiritual light in order to disperse His message.
Ancient of Days - This symbol is peculiar to Daniel (7:9, 13, 21, 22) w hich read, I beheld till the thrones were placed, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like pure wool; his throne, was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire...I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of day s, and they brought him near before him...I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them, until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the Most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom.” The Ancient of Days (a very aged man) mentioned three times by Daniel must refer to Jehovah God or at least a symbol of Him. The prophet had just finished giving his vision of the four kingdoms that would have world-wide rule over the people of Israel, and he contrasts Jehovah and His throne which far exceeds the pow er and majesty of these four earthly kingdoms. These earthly kingdoms are temporary, whereas Jehovah’s kingdom will endure. In the Revelation (1:13, 14) John writes of “...One like the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girded about the breasts with a golden girdle. His head and his hair were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were like a flame of fire;...” Bible students seem to think that John refers to the Messiah.
Covert and Refuge - A covert is a hiding place, shelter, or a masking or concealing device. Such a Covert is Jehovah God. Two Hebrew words are translated covert in the Old Testament (sok meaning covert or booth; sether meaning secret place). The Psalmist (61:4) writes, “I will abide in thy tabernacle forever; I will trust in the shelter (cover t) of thy wings” with reference to Jehovah God. Isaiah writes of a covert in (4:6; 32:2), “And there shall be a tabernacle for a shadow in the daytime from the heat, and for a place of refuge, and for a cover t from storm and from rain...A man shall be like an hiding place from the wind, and a cover t from the tempest; like rivers of water in a dry place, like the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.” Both the Psalmist and Isaiah refer to trusting in Jehovah’s tabernacle, and Isaiah compares the covert to a rock that can overshadow a traveler during the heat of the hot Arabian sun. Jehovah God is man’s protection from the enemy, and He gives him refuge and comfort in a weary land. The cities of refuge are referred to in Numbers 35:9ff where an innocent man could go for safety in case of an unintentional murder. Psalm 9:9 reads, “The LORD also will be ar ef uge for the oppressed, a r ef uge in times of trouble.”
Crown or Diadem - These symbols take on added meaning in Isaiah 28:5, 6 which read, “In that day shall the LORD of hosts be for a crow n of glory, and for a diadem of
beauty, unto the residue of his people, and for a spirit of justice to him that sitteth in judgment, and for strength to those who turn the battle to the gate.” The prophet surely speaks of Jehovah as renowned for His luster and loveliness. Possibly the crown sparkles with His excellence, worth, sovereignty and glory. The diadem speaks of His radiance, attractiveness, and fascination. The Apostle Peter (I Peter 5:4) writes, And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crow n of glory that fadeth not away.” So a crown of glory is forthcoming for God’s children!
Fortress - A fortress is a stronghold or a permanent fortification. The Psalmist gives an insight into the Almighty power of Jehovah God when he writes (18:2), “The LORD is my rock, and my fortr ess, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my shield, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.” Several symbolic designations are given in this Psalm - a rock, a fortress, a deliverer, strength, shield, horn and tower. With Jehovah God as our stronghold and fortification, of whom shall we be afraid? Our Divine fortress is ever impregnable and indestructible.
Governor - A governor is an official who rules over territory. With reference to Jehovah God, He is the Ruler Who can rule in peace and safety because He is Almighty. Just as Joseph was ruler over all Egypt (Genesis 42:6) so the Psalmist (22:28) states, For the kingdom is the LORD’s; and he is the governor among the nations.”
Husband and Maker - The prophet Isaiah writes (54:5), “For thy Mak er is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; the God of the whole earth shall he be called.” More especially does this passage comfort the widows and children; for Jehovah God will be like a husband. Of course, Hosea 2 speaks of how he and Gomer are typical of Jehovah God and His adulterous wife. When Jehovah is referred to as our Maker, Job 35:10 and Psalm 95:6 come to mind, “But none saith, ‘Where is God, my mak er , who giveth songs in the night;’...Oh, come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our mak er .” The idea here is for Jehovah God’s ability to fashion something out of that which He has already made, not His ability as Creator. Abraham by faith “looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and mak er is God” (Hebrews 11:10).
King - Kings and kingdoms are clearly seen over and over again in the Scriptures. This reference to Jehovah God and His Messiah is most prominent in the Psalms (5:2; 10:16;
74:12; 84:3 and many others). These psalms read, “Hearken unto the voice of my cry, my K ing, and my God; for unto thee will I pray...The LORD is K ing forever and ever; the nations are perished out of his land...For God is my K ing of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth...Yea, the sparrow hath found an house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even thine altars, O LORD of hosts, my K ing and my God.” Just following the judges, the people of Israel asked Jehovah God for a king like other nations; however, this was displeasing to God. God wanted to be recognized as their King, but Israel was granted her request. She suffered the consequences - warfare, heavy taxation, and other burdens.
Purifier and Refiner - Jehovah God is able to purify and refine, removing the dross in the lives of His people. Silver and gold were precious metals in Israel’s day as they are
today. The outstanding Scripture concerning purifying and refining is Malachi (3:3), “And he (the Lord) will sit like a refiner and pur if er of silver; and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them like gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.” Jehovah God is the Purifier and Refiner of the lives of His people; He is able to remove the dross that prevents us from giving Him acceptable service. Someone has said that God boils the silver (He holds us over the fire) until He can see His image in us, then He removes the silver from the fire discarding the dross. The dross is removed, and He sees His image in us.
Rock - Jehovah God and His Son Christ Jesus are our Rock. This Rock is a huge granite stone which can give its shadow much like the covert that hides us from the ravages of nature and the darts of Satan. The first mention of Jehovah as the Rock is Deuteronomy
32:4, “He is our Rock , his work is perfect; for all his ways are justice; a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.” The Apostle Paul refers to this Scripture in Deuteronomy and also Exodus 17:6. In I Corinthians 10:4 we read, “And (they) did all drink the same spiritual drink; for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.” When Israel languished in the sweltering heat of Sinai their water-skins were empty so Jehovah God instructed Moses to “...take with thee the elders of Israel; and thy rod, wherewith thou smotest the river, take in thine hand, and go. Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the r ock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the r ock , and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.” This rock was a type of the Lord Jesus Christ smitten for our sins. The rock must not be viewed as a little stone but a great granite rock such as Gibraltar at the entrance of the great Mediterranean Sea or Diamond Head in Hawaii.
Redeemer - When we think of our Redeemer our minds go to Job 19:25 which reads, “For I know that my r edeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth;...” To redeem means to purchase one from the slave market or pay a price for one’s freedom. Exodus 6:6 reads, “Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will r edeem you with an outstretched arm, and with great judgments;...” A beautiful picture of redemption is found in the Book of Ruth where Boaz acted as a Kinsman-Redeemer (Ruth 4) thus redeeming Ruth, an ancestress of David, and one who was in the lineage of our Savior. Furthermore, Isaiah (47:4) writes, “As for our r ed eemer , the LORD of hosts is his name, the Holy One of Israel.”
Shield and Buckler - These symbols go together. Jehovah God is our Preserver and Protector; He is our Shield and Buckler. In Genesis 15:1 God told Abram after his encounter with the five kings at the Valley of Shaveh, “Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield and thy exceedingly great reward.” II Samuel 22:31 states, As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is tried: he is a shield (buck ler ) to all them that trust in him. The Psalmist writes of God’s protection (Psalms 3:3; 84:11; 119:114), “But thou, O LORD, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head...For the LORD God is a sun and shield , the LORD will give grace and glory. No good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly...Thou art my hiding place and my shield; I hope in thy word.”
Sun - As the sun is the source of physical light and heat, so Jehovah God is our Sun of righteousness. Malachi 4:2 speaks of Jehovah God in this way, “But unto you that fear my name shall the S un of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up like calves of the stall.” The Psalmist (84:11) writes, “For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD will give grace and glory. No good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.” Just as the sun governs all the planets and stars, so Jehovah God as the Sun governs our lives as God’s people.
Wall of Fire - Zechariah 2:5 reads, “For I, saith the LORD, will be unto it (Jerusalem) a wall of f ir e round about, and will be the glory in the midst of it.” A wall of fire around Jerusalem meant that Jehovah God was going to protect her for enemy forces.