The Names of God


          Have you ever wondered about the goodness of God? I know I had struggled about who God really is and what was His true character because when I was a little girl and up to the time when I left home, I had been inundated with very destructive religious doctrine from a Southern Baptist preacher who taught nothing but hell, fire, and brimstone. His message was that no matter what we did, we were going to go to hell if we sinned.  I was never taught that God is loving, kind, and good. This particular preacher assassinated God’s character and never taught that Jesus is love.  I was so indoctrinated with this kind of thought that I was terrified of God and ran from Him for years.
          When I became a born-again-Christian at the age of 31, God began His work on me through His Word, through other Christians, and through sermons from the pulpit of real Christian ministers.  I had to re-learn about God’s nature and character.  This did not come easy for me.  I had a stronghold of fear in my soul and a part of that fear was the fear of God.  This fear I carried was deep seated and destructive.  My fear of God was not the kind of fear the Bible teaches in scripture that we are to fear God.  That fear really means reverence of God because He is Holy.  I make a point to write about God’s true character because I know I am not the only person who has doubted God’s goodness and love, and I won’t be the last.  One of Satan’s primary ways to keep people from knowing God is to cloud their minds with lies.  After all, Satan comes to “still, kill, and destroy” (John 10: 10, NIV), but Jesus came “that [we] they may have life and have it to the full” (John 10: 10, NIV).  However, in order for people to really know the true Character of God, they must spend time getting to know Him by reading His Word, The Bible, but even then, it is a process of spiritual growth that will take the rest of our lives while we remain on this earth.
          While on the road to spiritual awakening and growth, I still am delighted to share what I know and have been taught.  I know how important and vital to our Christian walk it is to know the one I proclaim as my Lord and Savior.  No doubt this is crucial because how can we believe and follow someone if we doubt His character? You would never entrust your life to someone you didn’t trust completely.  That would be totally foolish and destructive.  Therefore, an area of God’s nature and character that has intrigued me is all of the names of our God that I want to share.  You will find those names and their meanings listed below:
          El, Eloah:  God “mighty and strong, prominent” (Nehemiah 9: 17, Psalm 139: 19).  “El” seems to mean “power and might” (Genesis 31: 29). El is associated with other qualities such as “integrity” (Numbers 23: 19), “jealously” (Deuteronomy 5: 9), and “compassion (Nehemiah 9: 31) but the root idea of “might” remains.
          Elohim: God “creator, mighty and strong” (Genesis 17: 17, Jeremiah 31: 33). Elohim is the plural form of Eloah. Since Elohim is plural, the name accommodates the doctrine of the Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  From the Bible’s first sentence, the superlative nature of God’s power is evident as He (Elohim) speaks the world into existence (Genesis 1: 1).
          El Shaddai: “God Almighty,” “The Mighty One of Jacob” (Genesis 49: 24, Psalm 132: 2, 5 speaks of Ultimate Power over all)
          Adonai: “Lord” (Genesis 15: 2, Judges 6: 15) Adonai, used in the place of Yhwh, was thought by the Jews to be too sacred to be uttered by men. In the Old Testament, Yhwh is more often used in God’s dealings with His people, while Adonai is used more when He deals with Gentiles.
          YHWH/Yahweh/Jehovah: “Lord” (Deuteronomy 6: 4, Daniel 9:14). Strictly speaking, the only proper name for God, “LORD” all caps, is to distinguish it from Adonai, “Lord.” The revelation of the name is given to Moses “I am Who I am” (Exodus 3: 14). This name specifies an immediacy, a presence. It means Yaweh is ever-present, accessible, near to those who call on Him for deliverance (Psalm 107: 13), forgiveness (Psalm 25: 11), and guidance (Psalm 31: 3).
          Jehovah Jireh: “The Lord will Provide” (Genesis 22: 14). Jehova Jireh is memorialized by Abraham when God provided the ram to be sacrificed in place of Isaac.
          Jehovah Rapha: “The Lord Who Heals” (Exodus 16: 26). “I am Jehovah who heals you” both in body and soul.  He heals in body by preserving from and curing diseases, and in soul by pardoning iniquities.
          Jehovah Nissi: “The Lord our Banner” (Exodus 17: 15). “Banner” is understood to be a rallying place. This name commemorates the desert victory over the Amalekites (Exodus 17).
          Jehovah Mekoddishkem (Yahweh M’Kaddesh): “The Lord Who Sanctifies, makes Holy” (Leviticus 20:8, Ezekiel 37:28). God makes it clear that He alone, not the law, can cleanse His people and make them Holy.
          Jehovah Shalom: “The Lord Our Peace” (Judges 6:24). Jehovah Shalom is the name Gideon gave to the altar he built after the Angel of the Lord assured him, he would not die as he thought he would after seeing Him.
          Yahweh-Elohim: “Lord God” (Genesis 2:4, Psalm 59:5). This combination of God’s unique name, Yahweh and the generic word for “God” signifies that He is the Lord who is God.
          Yahweh Tsidkenu (tzid-kay-noo): “The Lord Our Righteousness” (Jeremiah 33:16).  As with Yahweh-M’Kaddesh, it is God alone who provides righteousness (from the Hebrew word tsidkenu) to man, ultimately in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ, who became sin for us “that we might become the Righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
          Jehovah Rohi (Ro-hee): “The Lord Our Shephard” (Psalm 23:1). After David pondered his relationship to his sheep, he realized that was exactly the relationship God had with him, and so he declares, “The Lord is my Shephard (Yahweh Rohi)”; I shall not want” (Psalm 23:1 ESV).
          Jehovah Shammah: “The Lord is there” (Ezekiel 48:35). This name was ascribed to Jerusalem and the Temple there, indicating that the once-departed Glory of the Lord (Ezekiel 8-11) had returned (Ezekiel 44:1-4).
          Jehovah Sabaoth: “The Lord of Hosts” (Isaiah 1:24, Psalm 46:7). “Hosts” means “hordes”, both of Angels and Man.  He is Lord of the Hosts of Heaven and of the Earth’s inhabitants, of Jews and Gentiles, of rich and poor, master and slave, and authority of God and shows that He can accomplish what He determines to do.
          El Elyon: “Most High” (Deuteronomy 26:19). This name is derived from the Hebrew root for “go up” or “ascend”, so the implication is of that which is the very Highest. El Elyon denotes exaltation and speaks of absime itselflute Lordship.
          El-Roi (Rohee): “God of Seeing” (Genesis 16:13). Hagar, who was alone and desperate in the wilderness after Sarah had driven her out, ascribed this name to the Lord (Genesis 16:1-14).  When Hagar met the Angel of the Lord, she realized she had seen God Himself in a theopathy; she also realized that El-Roi saw her in her distress and testified that He is a God Who lives and sees all.
          El-Olam (Oh-Lahm): “Everlasting God” (Psalm 90:1-3). God’s nature is without beginning or end, free from all constraints of time and He contains within Himself the very cause of time itself. “From everlasting to everlasting, You are God” (Psalm 90:2).
          El-Gibhor (Ghee-Bohr): “Mighty God” (Isaiah 9:6). This is the name describing the Mighty God, will accomplish the destruction of God’s enemies and rule with a rod of iron. (Revelation 19:15).


Alpha and Omega – beginning and end

Jehovah Makkeh – The Lord Who Smites or The Lord Who Strikes

Emmanuel – God with us(1)

          This is not an exhausted list of the names for our God; the Bible contains many, many more; however, the importance of a least familiarizing yourself with His names gives glimpses into His wonderful, marvelous character.  I believe so many people have such a narrow, even negative interpretation of God’s character which inevitably affects their trust in him.  This wrong belief about God’s character usually is a product of how they were raised – the environment of their home lives, as well as the teachings of the church that they attended.  I would surmise that this is the reason so many people walk away from faith or refuse to even come to Jesus for salvation.  I say this because at one time, I was one of those who ran from God because of my toxic home life as a child and because of the hell, fire, and brimstone teaching from the pulpit of a Southern Baptist preacher.  That man did a marvelous job of assassinating the character of God and killing any hope of ever reaching Heaven.  Not once in all the years I was forced to go to that church did I hear about the love, mercy, and goodness of our Heavenly Father.  I thank God every day that He never gave up on me and kept pursuing me!  And that is the kind of God He is. He never gives up on His chosen!  He will offer so many opportunities to get our attention; we just have to recognize that it is the Lord.  He might try to reach you by circumstances, through other people, through sermons – His methods are limitless.

          My prayer and sincere hope is that you will read each name and meditate on its meaning, not just literally, but also personally.  God’s seeking and calling you today.  All you have to do is let Him in.

Many Blessings,

Gwen Wilkinson, thehopeauthor

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