Names of God | Elohim

God.

I hear that name all the time. It carries a variety of meanings and certainly is expressed contextually many different ways. My friend was speaking of Thor, god of thunder, as possibly being the most powerful character in the marvel universe. I mean, Thor duel wielding Mjolnir and Stormbreaker is like an unstoppable force. Norse and Greek mythology are full of gods and demi-gods. Brian talks about studying them in high school, venturing through things like Homer’s Odessey. (Fun fact, I never learned Greek Mythology as I went to a Christian high school) Very fascinating stuff, especially how these lores of old have continued to blend into our culture century after century. Yet no matter how many gods are discussed in literature, there is only one with a capital “G”, God.

God is defined by Webster’s dictionary as: The Supreme Being; Jehovah; the eternal and infinite spirit, the creator, and the sovereign of the universe. Supreme ruler of power, dominion and authority. Superior to all others.

That’s a pretty solid definition right there. Think about how many comic book characters have been created to replicate the magnitude of this being. We have the Beyonder, the Phoenix Force, Living Tribunal, the One-Above-All and yes, even Deadpool. Each and every one continues to fall short of God. Why? It is because as a created being we could never fully describe an indescribable God. So God reveals himself to us in his nearly 1,000 names to help us out a little.

Today, let’s discuss the Hebrew word for God, Elohim.

Elohim אֱלֹהִים ʼĕlôhîym, el-o-heem (God, Judge, Creator)

Genesis 1:1 is the 1st time God reveals himself as Elohim. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” That word for God is Elohim and is used over 2,000 times in the Bible. It is in the plural form and used specifically in reference of the Supreme God. This is how God introduces himself in the Bible as our Creator.

He is Transcendent

As our Creator, Elohim introduces us to a Transcendent God. This means that he exists apart from and not subject to the limitations of the material universe that he has created. Romans 1:20 states “Since the creation of the world his invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.” Revelations 1:8 sums this up “I am the Alpha and the Omega”, says the Lord God who is and was and is to come, the Almighty.” This revelation of God operating outside of time, means he is not limited to time. He is timeless. Time is part of a creation that he transcends.

He is Immanent

The second thing that is revealed of Elohim is that He is Immanent, permanently pervading and sustaining the universe. God, in his immanence, is the source of everything in the universe.

He is Omni-Present

A third attribute of Elohim is that He is omni-present. God is everywhere, Jeremiah 23:23-24 describes this, “Am I a God near at hand,” says the Lord, And not a God afar off? Can anyone hide himself in secret places, So I shall not see him?” says the Lord; “Do I not fill heaven and earth?” says the Lord.” Elohim fills the heavens and earth with his presence. God is a omni-present God.

He is a Triune God

The last thing we learn from this introduction to him is that Elohim is a triune God. Elohim is the plural form God, captured as Gods. He follows up his opening statement in Genesis 1:1 with Genesis 1:26-27, “Let Us make man in Our image and Our likeness…in the image of God he created them; male and female.” On a side, I find that passage interesting because it denotes that there is a feminine part of the Godhead that is represented when they created females in their image. Countless scriptures dive into the details of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. What does this mean? Quite simply, that there are 3 distinct people in one being known as Elohim. All three of them are God for us. So here they are representing a family which we are a part of.

The God of all that exists reveals himself as the Creator. What a way to introduce yourself. That’s my God, good ol’ Elohim.

Names of God | El Shaddai

The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous run into it, and is safe.
Proverbs 18:10

Brian and I recently preached on the Names of God. Many people are unaware of the resources and power we have available at our fingertips. All throughout the Bible, God constantly reveals himself and his character.

One of the things that we like to do as a family is to pray together. There are so many important elements to having a regular time of prayer with your family. So, this morning, like many other days, we prayed. My daughter had friends over, so we asked if they would like to be included in this time, which they were good with. Brian presented them with some options of the different names of God that we could use in our prayer time. After realizing that God has about 1000 names that describe his character, the name El Shaddai was selected. Knowing absolutely nothing about what El Shaddai meant, it was chosen as a powerful force that rhymed with “The Jedi”. So we embarked on learning about, El Shaddai the Jedi. It’s strange, right, like anyone ever watches a Star Wars movie in modern culture?  I mean, have you ever seen someone dressed up as stormtrooper, set your alarm for 3am to ride “Rise of the Resistance” or tote a purse with your favourite character, like baby Yoda?

Nonetheless, El Shaddai, was selected as the choice name of God.

Names tell a story and speak the future hope over people. My name means ‘beauty , grace, favour, slender and fair.’ My husband’s name, Brian, means ‘strength, virtue or strong one.’

The fact of the matter is names mean something to people. It’s special and unique to you, no matter who else bears it. They not only influence us, but those around us and their attitudes towards others.

The Bible says in Proverbs 18:21 “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” Every time we say a name, we are making a confession over someone’s life. Our identity is attached to it.

In the Bible, a name stood for a person’s reputation, character, desires and future hopes.

The Hebrew word “Shem” translated “name” in the Old Testament literally means “A mark or a brand.” It reveals personality, character and purpose. For example, Nabal, whose name means “fool,” is referenced in 1 Samuel 25:25 “For as his name is, so is he; Nabal is his name, and folly is with him:” Other examples include, David (beloved), Isaac (laughter), Satan (adversary).

Names are so important to God that he will even change your name to line it up with his destiny for you. Jacob (deceiver) was changed to Israel (God contends) or Abram (Exalted father) to Abraham (Father of a multitude).

When God reveals to us a name about himself, he is describing his character so we can know him better and he can be to us exactly who he is. Prayer is an excellent way for us to develop an intimacy with God. Knowing his names helps in this process.

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

Jesus is teaching us how to pray in this passage. He starts off by addressing God as our Father. This establishes a relationship with Him. He is our dad and we are his family.

He follows this up with the “hallowed be your name”. Hallowed means consecrated to a sacred use, reverenced, holy. Isaiah 6:3 states that there are angels who just speak of the holiness of God by just repeating over and over “Holy, Holy, holy is the Lord God almighty”.

God takes his name very seriously and so should we. In Exodus 20:7, “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain.” This literally means empty or without meaning, conveying an idea that something is without substance.

Our culture has developed a disdain and lack of honour for God. This stems from a lack of the Fear of God. Psalms 86:11 “Teach me Your way, O’ Lord; I will walk in Your Truth; Unite my heart to Fear your name.”.  The Fear of the Lord is a foundation stone in the life of a believer as it connects us to the reverence, honour and respect that we have for our Saviour.

You see, everything that we will ever need in life is in God. He is our father and we can go to Him when we pray and He will give us what we need. As we learn about the names of God, we can activate those revelations of him in our daily lives through PRAYER.

Let’s jump back to El Shaddai, which means Lord God Almighty and All-Sufficient One. It’s first referenced in Genesis 17:1 “When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless.”

These reveal to us not only the supreme eternal nature of God, but that he is also our sufficient source in time of need. This is important, for we need to understand that when we go to the source we will be sustained.

Let me further clarify.

Isaiah 60:16 “You shall drink the milk of the Gentiles, And milk the breast (shad) of kings; You shall know that I, the Lord, am your Savior and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.” and Isaiah 66:10-11 “Rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad with her, all you who love her; Rejoice for joy with her, all you who mourn for her; that you may feed and be satisfied with the consolation of her bosom (shad), that you may drink deeply and be delighted with the abundance of her glory.”

Shaddai comes from the root word shad, which is literally translated breast. These passages are used to describe the supply of nourishment, like a woman to her baby. So when God says He is El Shaddai, He is basically saying I’m the breasty one who supplies the nourishment needed to sustain your life.

What a revelation, God is the complete nourishment that we need to live every day. I’m pretty sure we need God in this capacity daily, so praying to El Shaddai is a great way to start the day off, and that is exactly what we did.

El Shaddai, the Jedi gave us nourishment for the day.