Jehovah Shammah: The New Name of God’s Capital

The vision of the messianic kingdom of a united and restored Israel culminates in the amazing words, “The Lord is there” (Ezekiel 48:35). This is the new name of the capital, but it is also the most important characteristic of the renewed relationship between Israel and God.

God returns the people to the promised land, but He also returns Himself. The people are not returning to an empty land, but to a land filled with the glory of the Lord.

God’s presence sanctifies the whole nation and the whole earth. The land is again returned to the tribes of Israel, but it is subject to redistribution according to Divine instructions. By agreeing with God’s plan, each tribe and each individual has their respective place. And God Himself takes center stage. Everything belongs to him – the people and the land, the temple and the city.

Twelve city gates bear the names of the sons of Jacob. Instead of Ephraim and Manasseh, we meet the names of Joseph and Levi. Thus, the more ancient, original covenant of God with Israel is renewed. As if there was no Egypt, slavery, captivity.

The scattered Israel gathers again in the land of their fathers, returns to the beginning of their history in order to renew their covenant with God and be established in this covenant. But in this return to God, the people find a much greater blessing – inconceivable, unimaginable and previously inaccessible intimacy.

“The Lord is there” is an amazing name for a city. Not only the temple, but the entire capital will be filled with God’s glory. Not only the priests and Levites, but also the prince and the rulers of the people, all together will worship and serve God.

On the one hand, this title obliges people to meet the highest requirements of holiness and purity, because “nothing unclean and no one who is devoted to abomination and lies” will enter the city of God (Rev. 21:27).

On the other hand, the name does not so much call for the preparation of oneself, but characterizes a new reality, denotes an already completed process. “The Lord is there” is not about our increased level of holiness, it’s about God’s sovereign decision to be with us no matter what.

“The Lord is there” is the result of God’s patient work with the chosen people. The new name corresponds to the new spiritual level and calling of people.

The book of Ezekiel opens with a bright vision of God’s holiness and glory, and then darkens with pictures of abominations committed by the rebellious and unfaithful children of Israel. But after the purifiying judgments, the Lord again makes Israel able to return to their original messianic task – to manifest God’s glory to the whole world.

“The Lord is there” is an important reminder to all of us of God’s faithfulness and closeness, but also of our mission in this world. May the new name given from above fill us with joy and confidence in God’s constant presence. May the glory of the Lord shine in us so that every pagan and every nation can exclaim in admiration: “The Lord is there!”.

Author — Mikhail Cherenkov /


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