Names of God, Part 1
There are nine Hebrew and Greek words
translated into the English word God. Eight of the nine
words refer to God and one refers to demons (daimonion).
The Hebrew words el, elah, elohim, eloah, and the Greek word
theos all appear to have similar meanings and generally
refer to God as the one to be worshiped. According to Vines
they suggest God's power and preeminence. The words, el and
elohim, are identical in meaning except el is singular and
elohim is plural.
In one of the curious attributes of
the Hebrew language even though elohim is plural it takes a
singular verb! This is suggestive of the Godhead as set
forth in 1 John 5:7, "For there are three that bear record
in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and
these three are one." In the Genesis account of creation,
elohim, is the only Hebrew word used for God in chapter 1.
The plurality of the Godhead is manifested in verse 26, "And
God said Let us make man in our image, after our
likeness..." In many pagan religions the gods of their
worship were polytheistic but each of the gods were separate
and distinct entities. The God of the bible is separate and
distinct in that the scriptures plainly teach there is but
one true and living God yet the Godhead is made up of the
Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. While our carnal minds
struggle to understand such a concept, yet our God has
confirmed to us that it is true and has set the mark of the
Godhead on all of His creation: Rom. 1:20, "For the
invisible things of him from the creation of the world are
clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made,
even his eternal power and Godhead..."
The exclusive use of elohim in Gen.
chapter 1 correlates that name with God as Creator. There
is only one creator and that is God. Rev. 4:11 verifies
this fact: "Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and
honor and power! For thou hast created all things, and for
thy pleasure they are and were created." Gen. 1:1 thru Gen.
2:3 gives us an account of God creating all natural things.
In addition, Eph. 2:10 tells us that God is the creator of
all spiritual things as well: "For we are his workmanship,
created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath
before ordained that we should walk in them."
Seven times in the old testament the
word, el, appears with the word, shaddai or el shaddai
meaning God Almighty. The word Almighty refers to God as
the all powerful one who has power to create all things, to
control all things, and to uphold all things, thus the
combination of el shaddai as used in the old testament
speaks of God as the Powerful One executing God's promises.
Similarly, the seven times that the combination of God
Almighty appears in the book of Revelation is closely
associated with God as the powerful executor of his
everlasting covenant of redemption. Thus the name el
shaddai or God Almighty is linked in the scriptures to the
executor of the eternal covenant of grace (salvation) as
set forth in Rom. 8:28-30, "And we know that all things work
together for good to them that love God, to them who are the
called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow,
he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his
Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
Moreover whom he did predestinate, them, he also called: and
whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he
justified, them he also glorified." In considering this
covenant we can easily see the mighty power of God, who
created all things and who upholds all things, at work to
bring about the provisions of this eternal covenant.
In conclusion, the words el, elohim,
eloah, and elah describe God to us as the almighty,
all-powerful creator/upholder God and powerful executor of
the everlasting covenant. In addition the word elohim
describes the three and one Godhead. They all describe God
as the preeminent one who is worthy of our worship.
Next, we consider the
name Jehovah as it describes God to us.
Names of God, Part 2
Ex. 6:2, 3, "And God spake unto
Moses, and said unto him, I am the Lord: And I appeared unto
Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God
Almighty, but by my name JEHOVAH was I not known to them."
The name JHVH or YHWH appears in the old testament over 6000
times and is translated primarily into English as "Lord" or
"Lord God." According to Vines the tetragrammation YHWH
appears without its own vowels and its exact pronunciation
is debated (Jehovah, Yehovah, Jahweh, Yahweh). In the above
quoted text God tells us that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob did
not know him by the name Jehovah. It wasn't that the name
Jehovah was outside their mental knowledge, but they had not
experienced the fulfillment of that name. The name JEHOVAH
is God's covenant name. The name Jehovah translated Lord
God and Lord first appears in Gen. 2:4 and its chief use is
in connection with the covenants God made/fulfilled. The
name is used in connection with the covenant of the law of
sin and death and with the covenant of marriage both of
which are set forth for us in the second chapter of
Genesis. Furthermore the name is used throughout Gen.
chapters 3 and 4 as the scriptures unfold to us God's
dealings with man under the covenant of the law of sin and
death. In similar fashion in Gen. Chapter 12 when God began
to reveal his covenant promises to Abram the English word
Lord is translated from the Hebrew "Jehovah." Most
frequently when God spoke to Abram and to Isaac and to Jacob
about the covenant promises it was under the name Jehovah
that he spoke to them.
Now our text says that by the name of
Jehovah God was not known to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Now
it is apparent that they knew the name Jehovah in
association with the covenant promises. However, they did
not know the name experientially in the fulfillment of those
covenant promises. God is not only a covenant making God,
but he is also a covenant keeping God. In Ex. 6:1-8 the
name Jehovah appears six times as God proclaims to the
children of Israel thru Moses that he is going to fulfill
the covenant that he established with Abraham, Isaac, and
Jacob. Four times in the passage we see the phrase "I am
the Lord," which means "I am Jehovah." Thus as God declares
to them he is come to fulfill the covenant it is as the
covenant making/covenant keeping Jehovah that he comes to
fulfill his promises. Also in this passage there is a
declaration of seven things God is going to do to fulfill
These seven things are:
1. "I will bring you out from under the burdens of the
2. "I will rid you out of their bondage."
3. "I will redeem you with a stretched out arm and with
4. "I will take you to me for a people."
5. "I will be to you a God."
6. "I will bring you into the land..."
7. "I will give it you for a heritage."
Any discussion of the name Jehovah
would be incomplete without noting the everlasting covenant
of redemption which God made before the foundation of the
world and which God will completely fulfill at the end of
this time world. This covenant is set forth for us in Rom.
8:28-30, "And we know that all things work together for good
to them that love God, to them who are the called according
to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did
predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that
he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover
whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he
called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them
he also glorified." In this covenant that God made before
the world began there are five things that God has promised
to do for his covenant people.
1. Foreknew them.
2. Predestinate them.
3. Call them.
4. Justify them.
5. Glorify them.
Since God is Jehovah and we know by
the name of "Jehovah" God is both a covenant making and a
covenant fulfilling God we can rest with the sweet assurance
that Jehovah has/will fulfill all five provisions (promises)
of the everlasting covenant of redemption. Previously we
had noted that God as "God Almighty" manifest himself as the
power of execution of the covenant of redemption. Now we
conclude that as Jehovah, God manifests himself as the
covenant maker/fulfiller of this everlasting covenant of
Matt. 1: 25 And knew her not till she had
brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name
Luke 2: 7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and
wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger;
because there was no room for them in the inn.
Rom. 8: 29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did
predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that
he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
Col. 1: 15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the
firstborn of every creature:
Col. 1: 18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who
is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all
things he might have the preeminence.
Heb. 1: 6 And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten
into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God
Heb. 11: 28 Through faith he kept the passover, and the
sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the firstborn
should touch them.
Heb. 12: 23 To the general assembly and church of the
firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge
of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,
Rev. 1: 5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful
witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince
of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and
washed us from our sins in his own blood,
4416. prototokos, pro-tot-ok'-os; from G4413 and the alt. of
G5088; first-born (usually as noun, lit. or fig.):--firstbegotten
(Note: First, adj.-- 1.[Formost in order]- beginning,
original, antecedent, inceptive, in the beginning, front,