"And he said unto them, I am an Hebrew; and I fear the Lord, the God of heaven, which hath made the sea and the dry land" (Jonah 1:9).
It was by these words that the prophet Jonah identified himself to the merchants of Tarshish as he was fleeing on their ship from the presence of the Lord. This special title, "the God of heaven," seems generally to have been used by the Jews when they were talking to men of other religions, stressing that their God was no mere tribal deity, but the true God who had created the very heavens.
The title was first used by Abraham, speaking to his servant: "And I will make thee swear by the LORD, the God of heaven, and the God of the earth . . ." (Genesis 24:3). At this time, the nation of Israel existed only in the promise of this "God of heaven."
It also appears frequently in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, first in the decree of Cyrus the Persian: "The Lord God of heaven . . . hath charged me to build Him an house at Jerusalem" (Ezra 1:2). Even though the Persians followed lesser gods, Cyrus knew that the one God of heaven was the Creator. The name then reappears several times in the book of Daniel, who was living in the palace of the heathen king of Babylon. Its final Old Testament occurrence is Daniel 2:44: "The God of heaven |shall| set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed."
In the New Testament it occurs only twice, both in Revelation. In one instance, John writes that the ungodly nations "blasphemed the God of heaven"; in the other, he says they "gave glory to the God of heaven" (Revelation 16:11; 11:13). In our own witnessing today, especially to those who don't know or believe the Bible, it is also good to stress that our God is not just the God of Judaeo-Christian tradition, but the Creator of all things. HMM