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Sunday, January 17, 2010

(31) Names of God

How many names of God can you think of? Why all of these names? The non-believer, especially the anti-theist, would say it's because Christianity/Judaism is like any other polytheistic religion who worship many gods. And instead of actually learning about why there these names, they will go on ridiculing the believer for this. But the real answer is not because there are many gods, but because the One True God is multi-faceted. His power is so immense that He needs names to describe Him. And this is proven by the very first sentence of His word; In the beginning, God created.

Bereshit bara Elohim ha shamayim ha erets. The first name in the Bible is God's. Elohim. The first thing this shows is ownership. It's His book talking about His creation. But Elohim is even deeper than that. Every time you see the term "el" it is dealing with the power of God. The term "im" in Hebrew stands for plurality as the "s" does in English. But that does not mean He is many. It means He is complete. It also is a foreshadow that Christ and the Holy Spirit are part of who He is. What about the "h" sound? It may be perhaps because that sounds represents life. When Abram had his name changed to Abraham, it was because he was going to be the father of many. Eve's Hebrew name is Havah, mother of all. Other names of God that include "el" (but not exhaustive):
  • El Shaddai- God Almighty, used when we need to understand He is all powerful
  • El Elyon- God Most High, used when we need to understand He stands above all
  • El Roi- God that sees, used when we need to understand He sees all and knows all
  • El Olam- The Eternal God, used when we need to understand He is the Alpha and Omega
Technically, we are only given though one personal name of God we have written to us in the Bible. It is Yud-Heh-Vav-Heh. It has been translated into the Hebraic Tetragrammaton, Y-H-W-H or Yahweh. Since Latin became the universal language due to the Roman Empire Yahweh has been changed to Jehovah and now is more commonly used by the world. This also corresponds with "I AM" or "I WILL BE". It is written in Exodus 3:14
  • God said to Moses, "I am who I am . This is what you are to say to the Israelites: 'I AM has sent me to you.'
The first "I AM" in this verse is Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh which means 'I will be who I am', in other words God never changes and will always be. The second "I AM" is Y-H-W-H. This time if you take the H-W-H, you would get "at hand" and the Y would be God. So the translation would be "God who is always at hand". Every time you see the term Yahweh (Jehovah) it is dealing with the omni-presence of God. Check out Psalms 23. Each time you see a new verse you see a new name of God. Some other terms (but not exhaustive) that include Jehovah, or God's personal name:
  • Jehovah Jireh- God provides, used when we need to understand that no matter situation, God is there and will take care of us
  • Jehovah Rophi- God that heals, used when we need to understand that God is the maker of us and He knows our bodies, He can heal us
  • Jehovah Nissi- God is our banner, used when we need to understand that we belong to God
  • Jehovah Shalom- God of peace, used when we need to understand that He can give us peace of mind and heart in times of trouble
The scriptures are filled with other names of God, such as Adonai, Ancient of Days and tens of others that are more symbollic than names or titles. And just as the ones mentioned above have a purpose so do each and every one them. Even Jesus has some names that served His purpose. His earth given name was Y'shua. But His personal name is still Y-H-W-H since He is still God, part of Elohim.
  • Lamb of God
  • Emmanuel
  • Prince of Peace
  • Alpha and Omega
  • Son of God, Son of Man, Son of David
  • Christ, Ha Mashiach, the Messiah
  • Bread of Life, The Way, The Truth, The Life
  • Rock of My Salvation, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, etc.
And of course we can not forgrt the Holy Spirit. As part of the trinity of God, His personal name is also Y-H-W-H. But the Holy Spirit's names are less prevelant than God the Father or God the Son. For example, Counselor is probably the only one many would know. Spirit of the Living God, the Voice in the Wind may also be considered names of the Spirit.
Here is the main point of this whole lesson: no matter what you call Him, even if you call Him "unreal", His name is so powerful that one day all will have to bow before Him just at the sound of it. Mountains will bow down, the seas will roar, the earth shall tremble just due to the sound of it. His name puts fear into Satan and his demons have to flee and sicknesses have to cease. When you pray "in the name of Jesus" you are saying something so powerful that the world does not know what to do with it. If only we believed more in it.
Philippians 2:9-11 says it all.
  • Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Wouldn't it be better to bow on our own will and not be forced to do so? For more on the names of God here is suggested reading: All the Divine Names and Titles in the Bible, Herbert Lockyer.


Anonymous said...

This is extremely helpful. It helps me in my personal devotional times with GOD. This enables me to become more intimate with HIM.

Gozreht said...

Thank you. I hope it opens up more desire for you to want to find out more names so the relationship can be even more personal. Come on back anytime and discuss what you find so others can learn with you.

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