What is eternal life? Many people think eternal life is going to heaven after they die. While this is an important aspect of eternal life, living forever in heaven isn’t all there is to eternal life. If this is all you think there is to eternal life, you are actually missing the main point of what eternal life is all about. I’ll explain. Look at John 17:3:
3 And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.
According to Jesus, eternal life is about knowing God. The word for know in this verse is ginōskō. Ginōskō means to know intimately and by experience. It is a deeper knowledge than to know by intellectual fact which is what the Greek word gnosis means. For example, 15 years ago I knew intellectual facts about Colorado Springs such as it is at the base of the Rocky Mountains, but I had never been there so I didn’t know it by experience. After living there for three years, I know it by experience. I can tell you things about the city, they don’t put on Wikipedia or in a travel guide.
I’m not saying that it’s wrong to know intellectual facts about God, but these facts are supposed to lead us into a deeper relationship where we experience Him in a personal way. For example, when we read 1 Peter 2:24 by His stripes you were healed, it is is supposed to lead us into a pursuit of God so we experience physical healing in our bodies.
Knowledge without personal experience is incomplete and leads to an emptiness in our hearts that the gospel is meant to satisfy. This is because the gospel is supposed be experienced spirit, soul, and body. It is not supposed to be reduced to an intellectual knowledge about God until we die.
One of the major ways God has helped me know and experience Him is through a revelation of the seven redemptive names of God from the Old Testament. Before I explain the seven redemptive names of God, let me explain why a name is so important. A name is important because a name gives a person an identity which reveals their destiny. For example, historically if a person was named John and he worked as a cook, his name would be shortened to John Cook. If a person’s name was William and he was the town blacksmith, he would eventually become William Smith. In the two examples I just gave, the person was given a name that described their identity which revealed their purpose.
The seven redemptive names of God reveal God’s character and nature. He gave each of these names to Himself because these names describe what He is like and what He does. These seven names are:
- Jehovah Jireh. This name comes from Genesis 22:14 and means the Lord our Provider. This means God wants us to know and experience His provision in every aspect of our lives.
- Jehovah Rapha. This names comes from Exodus 15:26 and means the Lord our Healer. This means God wants to bring healing into our lives. He wants us to experience healing spirit, soul, and body as His very name means healing.
- Jehovah Nissi. This name comes from Exodus 17:15 and means the Lord our Banner. Banners are a sign of victory which means God wants to bring His victory into every aspect of our lives. It’s His nature, which He can’t violate and He wants us to know and experience.
- Jehovah Shalom. This name comes from Judges 6:24 and means the Lord our Peace. This means the Lord wants us to know and experience His peace in every aspect of our lives.
- Jehovah Raah. This name comes from Psalm 23:1 and means the Lord our Shepherd. This means God wants us to experience His love and care in every aspect of our lives. It also means He wants us to hear His voice like a sheep hears a shepherd’s voice.
- Jehovah Shammah. This name comes from Ezekiel 48:35 and means the Lord is is There. When God says He is There it means the Lord is there with us in everything we go through. In the Old Testament There was a city, but today we are His city and He wants us to experience Him in everything we go through.
- Jehovah Tsidqenuw. This names comes from Jeremiah 23:6 and means the Lord our Righteousness. This name means God has provided us with His His righteousness. It means He was done everything for us and all we have to do is rest in His finished work. While this may start as head knowledge, God wants it to lead to an experience where we see ourselves like He sees and begin to live from a righteous position.
Each of these seven names reveal different aspects of God’s nature that God wants us to experience. Over the next seven weeks I’m going to explore each of these seven names in depth so we can get to know the Lord in a greater way. I’d encourage you to begin studying these names and ask God to help you personally experience each aspect of His character that is revealed by each of these seven names. God wants you to know Him personally. He doesn’t want you to know about Him. He wants you to know the real Him. I’m praying the Holy Spirit opens your eyes to who God is so you can know Him as well as He can be known as go through this study of the seven redemptive names of God together.