May 22, 2014

Ho Theos: "God"

Revelation 1:4-8

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”
—Revelation 1:8


Rabbinic Jews reject the claim that Yahweh, the God of the Old Testament, is the Christian God. But although God reveals himself in far fewer names in the New Testament, he still claims to be Yahweh, the God who revealed himself to Israel.

The main name for God in the New Testament is Ho Theos, from the Greek noun for “god.” This name occurs more than 1,000 times in the New Testament. Theos can mean “god” or “goddess,” so it was also used as a general name for false deities. To avoid confusing God with the many Greek gods, the Jewish writers of the New Testament called him Ho Theos, “the God,” stressing that he alone is the true God.

Is Ho Theos of the New Testament the same as Yahweh of the Old Testament? The apostle John, who wrote Revelation, clearly believed that Yahweh was the same God in both Tes-taments. “Alpha and Omega” and “Almighty” echo God’s names and attributes revealed in the Old Testament. Even more significant, John’s words “who is, and who was, and who is to come” provide another way of describing Yahweh, “I AM WHO I AM” (Exodus 3:14).

The same God who revealed himself to Moses at the burning bush is the God proclaimed in the New Testament. As “I AM” promised to be with his people of old, he promises to be with us today.

O God, you are the same yesterday, today, and forever! Help us to live by this eternal truth, by your grace, and for your glory. Amen.

About the author — Kurt Selles

Kurt Selles is the director of ReFrame Ministries and serves as the Executive Editor of Today. He is a graduate of Calvin College and Seminary, and received his PhD from Vanderbilt University. Before coming to ReFrame, he served 19 years in Taiwan and China with CRC World Missions. Kurt later taught missions at Beeson Divinity School, where he also acted as the director of the school’s Global Center. Kurt and his wife, Vicki, reside in Grand Rapids and have three adult children.

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