Divine Name and Character of God

Elohim – אלוהום means ‘God, Judge, Creator’

“In the beginning, God (Elohim) created the heavens and the earth.  Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness as over the surface of the deep and the Spirit of God (Elohim) was hovering over the waters.  And (Elohim) said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light’ (Genesis 1:1-3).

Some say that because Elohim is the plural of eloah used in these verses, it supports the trinity doctrine.  However, the meaning is actually the singular as it is used only with singular verbs and with adjectives and pronouns in the singular.

Hebrew Word Pictures

God – Elohim אלהים

Aleph א – An Ox means ‘first, strength’

Lamed ל – A Shepherd Staff means ‘to urge forward’

Hey ה – A Window means ‘reveal’

Yod י – A Closed Hand means ‘finished work’

Mem מ – Water means ‘large or massive like an ocean’

The Hebrew Word Picture for Elohim: “Strength propels to reveal a massive finished work.”

El Shaddai – אל שדי  means ‘Lord God Almighty, All Sufficient One’

El is translated ‘God’ and can be used in conjunction with other words relating to the aspect of God’s character.  It refers to God completely nourishing, satisfying and supplying His people with all their needs.  This is God’s first revelation to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as to ‘who’ He is – The Sustainer. The Hebrew etymology for shaddai includes a destroyer, a mountain and a bosom. 

“When Abram was ninety-nine years old, El Shaddai appeared to him and said, ‘I AM El Shaddai; walk before me faithfully and be blameless” (Genesis 17:1).

“So Isaac called for Jacob and blessed him.  … May El Shaddai bless you and make you fruitful and increase your numbers until you become a community of peoples” (Genesis 28:3).

“Jacob said to Joseph, ‘El Shaddai appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan, and there he blessed me” (Genesis 48:3).

El Elyon – אל אליון mean ‘The Most High God’

This character name of God expresses the Sovereignty and Majesty of God.   This is first used when Abraham returned from defeating Kedorlaomer and the kings allied with him.  Melchizedek, King of Salem brings out bread and wine and blesses Abram.

“Blessed be Abram by El Elyon, Creator of heaven and earth.  And praise be to El Elyon who delivered your enemies into your hand” (Genesis 14: 17-20).

YHVH Shammah – יהוה שמע means ‘Yahweh is Present’

This is more than a simple statement that God is in a place.  It is part of His name and a statement of His actual presence being with men and dwelling with men.  YHVH wants us to know that He is with us wherever we go until the end of the age.

“The distance all around will be 18,000 cubits.  And the name of the city from that time on will be: ‘YHVH Shammah’” (Ezekiel 48:35).

“YHVH replied ‘My shammah will go with you, and I will give you rest” (Exodus 33:14).

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.  And sure I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20).

YHVH Roeh – יהוה רעה means ‘Yahweh it the Shepherd’

“Hear the word of YHVH, you nations; proclaim it in distant coastlands: ‘He who scattered Israel will gather them and will watch over hi flock like a shepherd” (Jeremiah 31:10).

“YHVH is my shepherd I shall not be in need…” (Psalm 23:1).

“But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel” (Matthew 2:6).

YHVH Rapha – יהוי רפה means ‘Yahweh Healer, Restorer’

“There YHVH Rapha (at the waters of Marah) issued a ruling and instruction for them and put them to the test.  He said, ‘If you listen carefully to YHVH your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees,  I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am YHVH who heals you’” (Exodus 15:25-26).

“Praise YHVH Rapha, my soul, and forget not all his benefits – who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion …” (Psalm 103:2-4).

“The moon will shine like the sun, and the sunlight will be seven times brighter, like the light of seven full days, when YHVH Rapha binds up the bruises of his people and heals the wounds he inflicted” (Isaiah 30:26).

“On a Sabbath Yeshua was teaching in one of the synagogues, and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years.  She was bent over and could not straighten up at all.  When Yeshua saw her, he called her forward and said to her, ‘Woman you are set free from your infirmity.’  Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God” (Luke 13:10-12).

YHVH Tzidkenu – יהוה צדקנו means ‘Yahweh our Righteousness’

This attribute of God should bring comfort to believers for we do not have to rely on our own righteousness because YHVH is our Righteousness.  Anytime we are being accused or reminded of sin in our lives, either by the enemy, other people or ourselves, we just need to remember that Righteousness is the name of our God.

“In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, YHVH our righteousness” (Jeremiah 23:6).

“This righteousness is given through faith in Messiah Yeshua to all who believe.  There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Messiah Yeshua” (Romans 3:22-23).

YHVH Yireh –  יהוה יראה means ‘Yahweh  Provider’

The Hebrew word yireh  can also mean “will see, to be seen, to experience to be allowed to see, to understand.”   This verse is in reference to when YHVH provided the ram in the thicket in place of Isaac.    This significance of the event on Mt. Moriah with the binding of Isaac was that Abraham might see and understand the message of God’s plan of redemption through the ram.    

“So Abraham called that place YHVH Yireh.  And to this day it is said, ‘On the mountain of YHVH, it will be provided” (Genesis 22:14).

YHVH Nissi – יהוה נשי means ‘Yahweh My Banner, My Miracle’

This attribute of YHVH tells us something about God: He is in the center of the warfare of His people.Enemies attack all of us whether they are physical enemies or spiritual.  We are instructed to put on the whole armor of God which in essence is our battle standard.  It is under His name, His banner, that we will find victory and it is in His name that victory is won.

YHVH Nissi was revealed to Israel while wandering in the wilderness after crossing the Red Sea.  Amalek came against Israel in Rephidim.  In Exodus 17:8-16 Moses calls on Joshua to lead the Israelites into battle while he stayed on top of a hill to pray.  As Moses lifted his hands to pray, the Israelites prevailed in battle, but when he let his hands down, Amalek prevailed.  Eventually Moses’ brother Aaron and his assistant Hur sat Moses on a rock and held his hands up for him until the Israelites completely won the battle.  After the battle Moses built an altar to the Lord.

“Moses built an altar and called it YHVH Nissi” (Exodus 17:15).

“So shall they fear the name of YHVH from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun.  When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of YHVH will lift up a standard [banner] against him” (Isaiah 59:19).

“And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand as an ensign of the people, to it shall the nations seek: and his rest shall be glorious” (Isaiah 11:10).

“You have given a banner to them that fear you that it may be displayed because of the Truth” (Psalm 60:4).

YHVH Shalom – יהוה שלום means ‘Yahweh is Peace’

Shalom is the greeting one gives to another in Israel.   When Yeshua sent his disciples to the lost sheep of the House of Israel, he spoke of peace (John 10).  In verse 13, he says “If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you.”

“So Gideon built an altar to YHVH there and called it YHVH Shalom.  To this day it stands in Ophrah of the Abierzrites” (Judges 6:24).

“The God of peace be with you all. Amein” (Romans 15:33).

“For God is not a God of disorder but of peace … “ (1 Corinthians 14:33).

YHVH Mekoddishkim – יהוי קדש means ‘Yahweh Sanctifies, Makes Holy’

Mekoddishkim comes from the Hebrew word kodesh that means ‘to sanctify, make holy, or dedicate.’  Sanctification is the separation of an object or person to the dedication of the holy.

“Say to the Israelites, ‘You must observe my Sabbaths.  This will be a sign between me and you for the generations to come, so you may know that I AM YHVH, who makes you holy” (Exodus 31:13).

“Keep my decrees and follow them.  I AM YHVH, who makes you holy” (Leviticus 20:8).

YHVH Sabaoth – יהוה צבאת means ‘Yahweh of Hosts; Commander of the Angelic Armies’

Sabaoth means armies or hosts.  This attribute of YHVH denotes His Universal Sovereignty over the angelic armies both in heaven and on earth.   YHVH Sabaoth is King of all heaven and earth.

“Lift up your heads, you gates; lift them up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in.  Who is he, this King of glory?  YHVH Sabaoth – he is the King of glory” (Psalm 24:9-10).

“Woe to me!” I cried. ‘I am ruined.  For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, YHVH Sabaoth” (Isaiah 6:5).

©2010 Tent Stake Ministries (from Journey with Jeremiah: Nourishment for the Wild Olive.)

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