The first part of this article taken from the 1961 Youth Conference Notes appeared in the previous issue of “The Lampstand”. In that issue Brother H.P.Mansfield expounded the relationship between Yahweh’s Name and Purpose as revealed to Moses at the Bush (Exod 3). In the remainder of the article which follows, he shows how Yahweh’s Name is also synonymous with His Character as revealed to Moses in the Mount (Exodus 34).

Israel were delivered from Egyptian bondage by a mighty display of power. The terrible plagues poured out upon a rebellious people and the destruction of Pharaoh’s armies in the Red Sea, showed that Yahweh was not to be trifled with. At the same time, His tender care for His people, the extension of His power in bringing them safely across the ocean and caring for them in the wilderness, spake of His love.

So, on the one hand there was punishment for guilty Egypt, and on the other hand, mercy for Israel who had appealed for help. But Israel proved disobedient.

When Moses was in the Mount receiving the Law, the people forgot their Covenant with Yahweh and turned to other gods, deriding the One who had brought them out of Egypt and cared for them in the wilderness. Moses returned to a disobedient people to supervise the terrible punishment that was meted out to them, and then to return to the Mount to plead the mercy of the Father to overlook the sin of the nation.

He was worn out, weary and dispirited with the burden of leading the people, and in need of spiritual stimulation. How could he receive it? Only by gazing at the Glory set before him. He prayed to Yahweh: “Show me Thy Glory” (Exod 33:18). The reply came: “I will declare My Name, I will cause My Goodness to pass before thee”. Glory, Name and Goodness are used almost synonymously. The Glory declared in the Name is manifested in Yahweh’s Goodness.

Moses ascended the Mount for this purpose. On the top of Sinai, hid in a cleft of the Rock covered by the angel’s hand, he had the unspeakable privilege of beholding the Glory of Yahweh, and of hearin the declaration of His character. It was Yahweh’s Glory manifested through an angel of course (see Num 12:8), and Moses was only permitted to see the back of the angel, for the shining forth of full glory from the face of even an angel would have been too much for mortal flesh (cp Matt 28:3-4). Here was the Glory of Divine Nature, far transcending that of flesh.

Family Characteristics Of God’s Household

 Then came the declaration of Yahweh’s character. He was revealed to Moses as the POWERFUL ONE, whose mercy is greater than His vengeance. The Name of Yahweh was proclaimed in the following fashion:-

“YAHWEH, YAHWEH EL” – “He who shall be revealed in Power”. Merciful and Gracious Long-suffering Abundant in goodness and truth Keeping mercy for thousands Forgiving iniquity, transgression and sin. BUT By no means clearing the guilty Visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation. There are two sides to Yahweh’s Character – MERCY and VENGEANCE.

Paul therefore warns us: “Behold the goodness and severity of God; on them that fell severity, but goodness to those who continue in His goodness” (Romans 11:22).

 Goodness and Severity of God

 If we see these two sides to Yahweh’s character, we have a balanced picture. The Worthies of old manifested them. They are revealed in the life of Moses. He was meek (Num 12:3; 11:28-29), yet uncompromising (Exod 11:8). He was longsuffering and forgiving (Num 14:17-19; 12:11-13), yet by no means prepared to clear the guilty of such as Korah, Dathan and Abiram (Num 16:28-30) or Balaam (Num 31:3, 8).

Paul’s beautiful chapter on love (1 Cor 13), must be read in conjunction with his stern, public denunciation of Peter (Gal 2:11). The mercy of the Lord is found side by side with his bitter condemnation of the Pharisees (Matt 23:23-33).

The “goodness and severity” revealed by these men manifest characteristics of the Father. It is revealed in the ministry of the Lord. 1900 years ago he appeared as the Lamb of God for the sin of the world, to “bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of Yahweh” (Isa 61:1-2). He comes the second time to inaugurate “the day of vengeance of our God” (Isa 61:2).

1900 years ago – MERCY; the second coming – the day of VENGEANCE. “Behold the GOODNESS and SEVERITY of God”.

 What a hopeless condition if Yahweh’s character was all mercy and no vengeance. It would mean that sins would go unchecked; that He would never intervene to put down the present rule and establish the Kingdom of God; that the saints would never triumph in the earth. We must blend those two aspects of Yahweh’s character in our lives – love of the Truth, mercy and goodness to our fellows – hatred of error, repudiation of sin. We must match our love of the things of the Truth with our hatred of the things that are against the Truth.

The revelation of the Divine Character to Moses set side by side these two aspects of GOODNESS and SEVERITY. Moses knew of various examples illustrating this:-

Goodness                           Severity

Promise of Redemption     Sentence of death on Adam

Preservation of Noah         Destruction of the world of the

ungodly

Call of Abraham                 Destruction of Sodom

Deliverance of Israel          Judgment on Egypt

Blessings of the Law          Cursings of the Law

But in all this we see His goodness greater than His severity; mercy more powerful than vengeance. Yahweh has extended Mercy in many ways, though principally in His plan of Redemption. Man’s reaction to His mercy determines whether He will bestow goodness or severity. He must learn by experience that the wisdom from above is “first pure, then peaceable”.

 One Yahweh And His Name One

 Speaking of the future age when Christ will reign on earth as King, Scripture declares: “In that day there shall be one Yahweh and His Name one” (Zech 14:9).

Accompanying the triumphant Christ there will be a glorious company of immortals, “glorified together with him”. These are all brought together in one great beautiful and harmonious unity (John 17:21). They constitute the Family of God. The Creator is its Father; the Lord Jesus Christ is its elder Brother, and the members those whom he is not ashamed to call Brethren (Heb 2:11).

By observing the Law of Yahweh, they “fear this glorious and fearful Name, Yahweh Thy Elohim” (He Who shall be Thy Mighty Ones), (Deut 28:58). This title expresses the purpose of Yahweh; it describes the family of Yahweh. In this family is revealed the Glory of Yahweh in the glorified Brethren and Sisters of Christ. That is what the Glory of Yahweh can ultimately mean to us. That is our hope of Glory (Rom 5:2). Let us so live now that we shall then be clothed upon with the Divine Nature, that we may truly say, “OUR HEART’S DESIRE IS TO THY MEMORIAL NAME” (Isa 26:8).

Peter has shown us the way: “His Divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, THROUGH THE KNOWLEDGE OF HIM that hath called us to Glory and virtue: whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises; that by these ye might be partakers of Divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And besides this having all diligence, ADD to your faith virtue; and to virtue, knowledge; and to knowledge temperance … for if these things be in you and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:3-8).

Thus begotten from above with the word rooted in our hearts, the word as a way of life will help us to build into our lives the Divine characteristics we see in the Son of God. It will perfect us mentally and morally and ensure for us the clothing upon of Divine nature in the Age to Come (Hebrew 12:23; 11:40).