God is revealed in the O.T. (1) through His names as follows:
- God – El, Elah, or Elohim, Genesis 1:1
- LORD – YHWH (Jehovah), Genesis 2:4; Exodus 34:6
- Lord – Adon, or Adonai, Genesis 15:2
Compound with El = God:
- God Almighty – El Shaddai, Genesis 17:1
- Most High, or Most High God – El Elyon, Genesis 14:18
- Everlasting God – El Olam, Genesis 21:33
- Mighty God – El Gibbor, Isaiah 9:6-7
Compound with YHWH (Jehovah = LORD:
- LORD God – YHWH (Jehovah) Elohim, Genesis 2:4; Exodus 34:6
- Lord GOD – Adonai YHWH (Jehovah), Genesis 15:2
- LORD of hosts – YHWH (Jehovah) Sabaoth, 1 Samuel 1:3
This revelation of God by His names is invariably made in connection with some particular need of His people, and there can be no need of man to which these names do not answer as showing that man’s true resource is in God. Even human failure and sin but to evoke new and fuller revelations of the divine fullness.
(2). The O.T. Scriptures reveal the existence of a Supreme Being, the Creator of the universe and of man, the Source of all life and of all intelligence, who is to be worshipped and served by men and angels. This Supreme Being is One, but, in some manner not fully revealed in the O.T., is a unity in plurality. This is shown by the use of the plural pronoun in the interrelation of Deity as evidenced in Gen 1:26; 3:22; Ps 110:1; and Isa 6:8. That the interrelation of Deity includes that of Father and Son is directly asserted in Ps 2:7 (with Heb 1:5); likewise the Spirit is distinctly recognized in His personality, and to Him are ascribed all the divine attributes (e.g. Gen 1:2; Num 11:25; 24:2; Jud 3:10; 6:34; 11:29; 13:25; 14:6, 19; 15:14; 2 Sam 23:2; Job 26:13; 33:4; Ps 106:33; 139:7; Isa 40:7; 59:19; 63:10. See Zech 12:10).
(3). The incarnation is intimated in the theophanies, or appearances, of God in human form (e.g. Gen 18:1, 13, 17-22; 32:24-30), and distinctly predicted in the promises connected with redemption (e.g. Gen 3:15) and with the Davidic Covenant (e.g. Isa 7:13-14; 9:6-7; Jer 23:5-6). The revelation of Deity in the N.T. so illuminates that of the O.T. that the latter is seen to be, from Genesis to Malachi, the foreshadowing of the coming incarnation of God in Jesus the Christ. In promise, covenant, type, and prophecy the O.T. points forward to Him.
(4). The revelation of God to man is one of authority and of redemption. He requires righteousness from man, but saves the unrighteous through sacrifice; and in His redemptive dealings with man all the divine persons and attributes are brought to manifestation. The O.T. reveals the justice of God as fully as His mercy, but never in opposition to His mercy. The flood, for example, was an unspeakable mercy to unborn generations. From Genesis to Malachi He is revealed as the seeking God who has no pleasure in the death of the wicked, and who heaps up before the sinner every possible motive to persuade him tom faith and obedience.
(5). In the experience of the O.T. men of faith, their God inspires reverence but never slavish fear; they exhaust the resources of language to express their love and adoration in view of His loving-kindness and tender mercy. This adoring love of His saints is the triumphant answer to those who pretend to find the O.T. revelation of God cruel and repellent. It is in harmony, not contrast, with the N.T. revelation of God in Christ.
(6). Those passages which attribute to God bodily parts and human emotions (e.g. Ex 33:11, 20-23; Deut 29:20; 2 Chron 16:9; Jer 15:6) are metaphorical and mean that in the infinite being of God there exists that which answers spiritually to these things – eyes, a hand, feet, etc.; and the jealousy and anger attributed to Him are the emotions of perfect love in view of the havoc of sin.
(7). In the O.T. revelation there is a true sense in which, wholly apart from sin or infirmity, God is like His creature, man (Gen 1:27); and the supreme and perfect revelation of God, toward which the O.T. points, is a revelation in and through a perfect Man, the Lord Jesus Christ, God’s unique Son.
Adapted from commentary note on Malachi 3:18, p. 1223 in “The Scofield Study Bible, King James Version” Copyright 2003, Oxford University Press, Inc.