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Names for God

 

John Baugh
March, 2009

 

Throughout the Old and New Testaments, those who love God have used their language to describe him as best as they were able, considering their situation and experience. Today, we have the benefit of many years of writings devoted to recording the human experience with our creator. As we look at the writings of the Old Testament and the New Testament and the words use in reference and description of God, we can build a picture of him based on the names that have been used in reference to him.

 

God in the Old Testament

 

There are many names for our Heavenly Father in the OT. They include:

 

Elohim: “God the Creator” (used 2570 times in OT) – Used in scripture to reference God the creator, absolute ruler and source of all things. Interestingly, Elohim is a plural Noun, indicating the greatest, highest and only God exists as a plurality.

 

El: “God”

 

El Elyon: “The most high God”, used in Melchizedek’s blessing (Genesis 14:19-20) of Abraham after he defeated the five kings. (and he blessed Abram, saying, "Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth. And blessed be God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand.”)

 

El Shaddhai: “God Almighty”. In Exodus (Exodus 6:2-3) God said to Moses I am Yahweh. I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as EL Shaddai. Some scholars trace the origin of the term “Shaddai” to the root word which refers to a mother’s breast. If this be correct the Name is one which suggests God’s grace and His making himself available at the level of humanity (his creation) to make Himself known and to give sustenance to them. It is a name which may be associated with God’s relationship with His children.

 

El Olam: “The Everlasting God” – God eternal – Our situation changes as time passes and various things impact our lives, but God is unchanging. From generation to generation, his love for us is consistent. He is inexhaustible. There is no searching his understanding.

 

El Roi: “The God who sees” – This term for God is only used once in the OT (Genesis 16:3)

 

Adonai: Refers to the Lord of an intimate (master / servant) relationship. Signifies a loving, caring God, who has a relationship with his servants in Love authority and faithfulness both on his part and our part. When Isaiah had his heavenly vision in Isaiah 6 he said “Here am I Adonai, send me”

 

Ra’ah:  “My Shepherd” - refers to God as the one who watches after and cares for his flock. Psalms 23 (The Lord is my shepherd), 79:13, 95:7, 80:1, 100:3; Genesis 49:24; Isaiah 40:11.

JUDGE: (shaphat as verb form) Psalms 7:8 (Judge me o Lord, according to my righteousness), 96:13.

 

JEHOVAH: “LORD” in our English Bible

 

JEHOVAH-JIREH: "The Lord will Provide." Genesis 22:14. From "jireh" ("to see" or "to provide," or to "foresee" as a prophet.) God always provides, adequate when the times come.

JEHOVAH-ROPHE: "The Lord Who Heals" Exodus 15:22-26. From "rophe" ("to heal"); implies spiritual, emotional as well as physical healing. (Jeremiah 30:17, 3:22; Isaiah 61:1) God heals body, soul and spirit; which includes all levels of man's being.

JEHOVAH-NISSI: "The Lord Our Banner." Exodus 17:15. God on the battlefield, from word which means "to glisten," "to lift up," See Psalms 4:6.

JEHOVAH-M'KADDESH: "The Lord Who Sanctifies" Leviticus 20:8. "To make whole, set apart for holiness."

JEHOVAH-SHALOM: "The Lord Our Peace" Judges 6:24. "Shalom" translated "peace" 170 times means "whole," "finished," "fulfilled," "perfected." Related to "well," welfare." Deuteronomy 27:6; Daniel 5:26; I Kings 9:25 8:61; Genesis 15:16; Exodus 21:34, 22:5, 6; Leviticus 7:11-21. Shalom means that kind of peace that results from being a whole person in right relationship to God and to one's fellow man.

JEHOVAH ELOHIM:  "LORD God" (Genesis 2:4; Judges 5:3; Isaiah 17:6; Zephanaih 2:9; Psalms 59:5, etc.)

JEHOVAH-TSIDKENU:  "The Lord Our Righteousness" (Jeremiah 23:5-6, 33:16). From "tsidek" (straight, stiff, balanced - as on scales - full weight, justice, right, righteous, declared innocent.) God our Righteousness.

JEHOVAH-ROHI: "The Lord Our Shepherd" (Psalms 23), from "ro'eh" (to pasture).

JEHOVAH-SHAMMAH: "The Lord is There" (Ezekiel 48:35).

JEHOVAH-SABAOTH: "The Lord of Hosts" The commander of the angelic host and the armies of God. (Isaiah 1:24; Psalms 46:7, 11; 2 Kings 3:9-12; Jeremiah 11:20 (NT: Romans 9:29; James 5:4, Revelations 19: 11-16).

 

YHWH:  (The most common expression, occurring over 6800 times). It signifies:

·        “I am the one who is”

·        “I am who I am”

·        “I will be what I will be”

·        Self existence, a state of eternal (unchanging) existence

·        The God of covenant existence with us

Yahweh Jireh (Yireh): “The Lord will provide.” Stresses God’s provision for His people (Genesis 22:14).

 

Yahweh Nissi: “The Lord is my Banner.” Stresses that God is our rallying point and our means of victory; the one who fights for His people (Exodus 17:15).

 

Yahweh Shalom: “The Lord is Peace.” Points to the Lord as the means of our peace and rest (Judges 6:24).

 

Yahweh Sabbaoth: “The Lord of Hosts.” A military figure portraying the Lord as the commander of the armies of heaven (1 Samuel 1:3, 17:45).

 

Yahweh Maccaddeshcem: “The Lord your Sanctifier.” Portrays the Lord as our means of sanctification or as the one who sets believers apart for His purposes (Exodus 31:13).

 

Yahweh Ro’i: “The Lord my Shepherd.” Portrays the Lord as the Shepherd who cares for His people as a shepherd cares for the sheep of his pasture (Psalms 23:1).

 

Yahweh Tsidkenu: “The Lord our Righteousness.” Portrays the Lord as the means of our righteousness (Jeremiah 23:6).

 

Yahweh Shammah: “The Lord is there.” Portrays the Lord’s personal presence in the millennial kingdom (Ezekiel 48:35).

 

Yahweh Elohim Israel: “The Lord, the God of Israel.” Identifies Yahweh as the God of Israel in contrast to the false gods of the nations (Judges 5:3 & Isaiah 17:6).

 

El Elyon: “Most High" from "to go up" (Deuteronomy 26:19, 32:8; Psalms 18:13; Genesis 14:18; Numbers 24:16; Psalms 78:35, 7:17, 18:13, 97:9, 56:2, 78:56, 18:13; Daniel 7:25, 27; Isaiah 14:14).

Abhir'Mighty One', "to be strong" (Genesis 49:24; Deuteronomy 10:17; Psalms 132:2, 5; Isaiah 1:24, 49:26, 60:1).

Branch: (tsemach), “The Branch”: (Zechariah 3:8, 6:12; Isaiah 4:2; Jeremiah 23:5, 33:15).

 

Kadosh"Holy One" (Psalms 71:22; Isaiah 40:25, 43:3, 48:17). Isaiah uses the expression "the Holy One of Israel" 29 times.

Shaphat"Judge" (Genesis 18:25)

El Roi: "God of Seeing" (Genesis 16:13). The God Who opens our eyes.

Kanna"Jealous" (zealous). (Exodus 20:5, 34:14; Deuteronomy. 5:9; Isaiah 9:7; Zechariah 1:14, 8:2).

Palet"Deliverer" (Psalms 18:2).

Yeshua: (Yeshua) "Savior" ("he will save"). (Isaiah 43:3). Jesus is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew "Joshua." The latter is a contraction of Je-Hoshua. ("Christ", the anointed one is equivalent to the Hebrew Maschiah, or Messiah).

Gaol"Redeemer" (to buy back by paying a price). (Job 19:25).

Magen"Shield" (Psalms 3:3, 18:30).

 

Stone: (Genesis 49:24).

Eyaluth"Strength" (Psalms 22:19).

Tsaddiq: "Righteous One" (Psalms 7:9).

El-Olam"Everlasting God" (God of everlasting time) (Genesis 21:33; Psalms 90:1-3, 93:2; Isaiah 26:4).

El-Berith"God of the Covenant" Used of Baal in Judges 9:46. Probably used originally to refer to the God of Israel.

El-Gibhor:  “Mighty God” (Isaiah 9:6)

 

Zur"God our Rock" (Deuteronomy 32:18; Isaiah 30:29).

Malachi calls Messiah "The Sun of Righteousness" (Malachi 4:2).

Isaiah calls Messiah "Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God (El Gibhor), Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace" (Isaiah 9:6).

'Attiq Yomin (Aramaic): "Ancient of Days," (Daniel 7:9, 13, 22).

Melekh"King" (Psalms 5:2, 29:10, 44:4, 47:6-8, 48:2, 68:24, 74:12, 95:3, 97:1, 99:4, 146:10; Isaiah 5:1, 5, 41:21, 43:15, 44:6; 52:7, 52:10).

"The Angel of the Lord: " (Genesis 16:7ff, 21:17, 22:11, 15ff, 18:1-19:1, 24:7, 40, 31:11-13, 32:24-30; Exodus 3:6, 13:21, Ezekiel 1:10-13. Seen in the theophanies, or pre-incarnate appearances of the Son of God in the OT (See I Corinthians. 10:3 NT).

Father: (2 Samuel 7:14-15; Psalms 68:5; Isaiah 63:16, 64:8; Malachi 1:6).

The First and Last: (Isaiah 44:6, 48:12).

 

 

 

God in the New Testament (Greek)

 

Theos – The only true God – unique – transcendent – savior.

 

Kurios – Usually translated as Lord, stressing authority and supremacy.

 

Despotes – usually translated as master. Expresses ownership where Kurios expresses authority.

 

Theotes: "Godhead" Col. 2:9; Rom. 1:20.

Hupsistos: "Highest" Matthew 21:9.

Soter: (soter) "Savior" Luke 1:4 7.

 

Logos: (logos) Word John 1:1ff

 

Pantokrator : (pantokrator) Almighty 2 Cor. 6:18, Revelation, 9t, e.g. 19:6.

 

Pater - Father (pater) – (used 182 times in the New Testament) - Through faith in Christ, God becomes our personal Father. This relationship is stressed by John in his gospel and Paul in His ministry.

 

After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
(Matthew 6:9)

 

Abba – this is a Syriac or Chaldee word found three times in the New Testament (Mark 14:36, Romans 8:15 and Galatians 4:6. In each case, it is followed by the Greek (Pater) indicating Father. It is a term of warm affection and filial confidence. There is no perfect equivalent word in English for “Abba”. Some modern day scholars translate it as “Daddy”.

 

And He was saying, "Abba! Father! All things are possible for You; remove this cup from Me;
yet not what I will, but what You will."
(Mark 14:36)

 

For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received
the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
(Romans 8:15)

 

And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts,
crying, Abba, Father.
(Galatians 4:6)

 

Jesus: Derived from the Hebrew "Joshua" (Y'shua) or "Je-Hoshua" meaning JEHOVAH IS SALVATION.

 

Christ: is equivalent to the Hebrew 'Messiah' (Meshiach), "The Anointed One."

Sophia: "The Wisdom of God," referring to Christ, refers back to Proverbs (I Corinthians 1,2)

 

ALPHA AND OMEGA: The First and the Last, The Beginning and The End (Revelations 1).

Other NT Titles for Jesus: Shepherd of the Sheep; Master; King of kings; Lord of lords; Bishop and Guardian of our Souls; Daystar, Deliverer, Advocate, Last (or Second) Adam, Ancient of Days, Branch, Chief Cornerstone, Immanuel, First Born, Head of the Body, Physician, Rock, Root of Jesse, Stone, Potentate; Chief Apostle; Great High Priest; Pioneer and Perfecter of our Faith (or Author and Finisher); Lamb of God; Lamb Slain before the Foundation of the World; Lord God Almighty.

 

Father, Son, Holy Spirit: Christian orthodoxy has always understood God to be One God in Three Persons (Elohim). In The NT each person of the godhead is called "God" and "Lord" at least once.

Names for the Holy Spirit: Counselor; Comforter; Baptizer; Advocate; Strengthener; Sanctifier; Spirit of Christ (not the same as the spirit of Christ); Seven-Fold Spirit (Revelations); Spirit of Truth; Spirit of Grace; Spirit of Mercy; Spirit of God; Spirit of Holiness; Spirit of Life.

 

Symbols for Holy Spirit in NT: (l) breath or wind; (2) fire; (3) water; (4) oil; (5) light; (6) a dove.

 

 

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