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#1.THE HEBREW NAMES OF GOD USING EL, ELOAH, ELOHIM

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Introduction 1

This bible study explains the meaning of each Old Testament Hebrew name of God using El, Eloah and Elohim, and how each of them apply to the Lord Jesus Christ. Before we examine the various Hebrew names of God, it would be wise to consider what "a name" means according to scripture. In Hebrew, names have meaning, and knowing a persons name can reveal something important about him. In fact a name can indicate several different things:

   (1) The Name can indicate physical characteristics

The fact that a name can indicate some physical characteristic can be seen from the example of Esau, Jacob’s brother, when he was born:

(Genesis 25:25) "And the first came out red, all over like an hairy garment; and they called his name Esau."

Esau means "hairy", which was one of his physical characteristics (Genesis 25:25; 27:11), and was given to him when he was born, although he was later also called Edom, which means "red" (Genesis 25:30). This use of a name is not applicable to God, because he is not a physical being (Numbers 23:19), but a spirit (John 4:24).

   (2) The Name indicates authority

What did Jesus mean when he said, "I am come in my Father’s name" (John 5:43)? One meaning is that he came in his Father’s authority. The Father sent him (Mark 9:37; Luke 4:18; John 3:17; 4:34; 5:23; 5:30), he gave him work to do (John 5:36; 9:4; 17:4), and Jesus did these works in his Father’s name (John 10:25). Also the scripture says:

(John 3:35) "The father loves the Son, and has given all things into his hand."
(John 5:26-27) "For as the Father has life in himself; so has he given to the Son to have life in himself; And has given him authority to execute judgement also,"
(John 13:3) "Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands,"

The Father had handed full authority over to Jesus, who again confirmed this when he said, "All authority was given to me in heaven and on earth." (Matthew 28:18). He was not just saying that this authority had been given to him after his resurrection, but also that he had this authority during his earthly ministry, before his death (Matthew 9:6; 26:53; John 3:35; 5:26-27; 10:17-18; 13:3).
Often when people were appointed to a new position of authority they would be given a new name. Pharaoh gave Joseph a new name when he appointed him ruler over all Egypt (Genesis 41:45), Daniel and his three companions were renamed when they went into exile in Babylon (Daniel 1:6-7), while Jesus gave Simon the name Peter when he was appointed to go and preach (Mark 3:13-16). When Jesus sent his disciples to preach, "he ... gave them power (Gr. δύναμιν, Gtr. dunamin) and authority (Gr. ἐξουσίαν, Gtr. exousian) over all demons, and to cure diseases." (Luke 9:1), and to some other disciples he said, "I give to you power (Gr. ἐξουσίαν = authority) to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power (Gr. δύναμιν) of the enemy:" (Luke 10:19 KJV). What then is this authority that Jesus gave to his disciples? Partly his name: for "at the name of Jesus, every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;" (Philippians 2:10). So when they cast out demons in his authority, they did it "in the name" of Jesus (Mark 9:38; 16:17; Luke 9:49; 10:17), and when they healed the sick in his authority, they also did it "in the name" of Jesus (Acts 3:6; 4:10). Thus we may conclude that there are times when the word "name" literally means "authority", and that the various names of God will reveal his authority to us.

   (3) The Name reveals the Character

For this study this is an important consideration. The fact that the name reveals the character is true for people as well as for God. Nabal is a good example, Nabal means "folly" (acts of foolishness), and his wife Abigail said of him, "as his name is, so is he;" (1 Samuel 25:25). Nabal was a foolish man, and his name revealed it. The name Jacob means "heel-catcher, supplanter, deceiver, defrauder", the very character of Jacob. Esau said of him, "Is not he rightly named Jacob? for he has supplanted me these two times: he took away my birthright; and, behold, now he has taken away my blessing." (Genesis 27:36). Later, when his character changed, and he wrestled with "God", and prevailed (Genesis 32:24-30), God changed Jacob’s name to Israel; "Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince you have power with God and with men, and have prevailed." (Genesis 32:28). Israel has been variously translated to mean "Prince with God", or "Soldier of God", or "One who wrestles with God". Having prevailed against men (Genesis 25:29-34; 27:1-29; 31:1-55), and now with God (Genesis 32:24-30), as God’s chosen, Jacob’s name had to be changed to suit his new character. Changing someone’s name often went along with a change of position or character; Jesus gave Simon the name Cephas (John 1:42), also called Peter (Matthew 10:2) (Gr. πέτρος, Gtr. Petros), which means "a stone" or "a rock". It was a name which described something solid, steady, and firm, which he eventually was to be like.
We have already seen that when Jesus said, "I am come in my Father’s name," (John 5:43), that he came with his Father’s authority, but another meaning to the statement is that he came to manifest his Father’s character. In every way Jesus portrayed the Father, to such a degree that he could say, "I and my Father are one." (John 10:30), and "he that has seen me has seen the Father;’ (John 14:9). The very words that he spoke were exactly as the Father gave him to say (John 3:34; 8:28; 8:38; 12:50; 14:10; 17:8), and the works that he did were those given to him by the Father (John 5:36; 9:4; 17:4). One literal name can never reveal the fullness of the character of God, because he has far too many attributes, but in the Old Testament God revealed himself through many names, each one of which he used to reveal to his people some part of his nature or character. In this study we will examine the various Hebrew names of God, which will reveal his character to us. We will also give scriptures showing how Jesus fulfilled these Old Testament names, proving beyond doubt the deity of Jesus Christ.

#1.1 THE HEBREW WORDS FOR "GOD"

#1.11 Hebrew אֱלוֹהַּ Htr. ’elōah, English Eloah

Eloah is generally considered to be the singular of Elohim, and is occasonally used of a false "god" (2 Chronicles 32:15; Daniel 11:37; Habakkuk 1:11 etc.), but most often translated "God" when referring to the one true God. It is used 41 times in the book of Job, but only 17 times elsewhere.

#1.12 Hebrew אֱלֹהִים Htr. ’elōhîm, English Elohim

Elohim is generally considered to be the plural of Eloah. Occasionally it is translated "the judges" (Exodus 21:6; 22:8-9), quite often "the gods" when referring to false gods (Genesis 31:30; Exodus 12:12; 18:11 etc.), but mostly translated "God", and used with singular verbs when referring to the one true God. This is commonly regarded as a plural of majesty, which is quite a common feature of the Hebrew language. It is used of Jesus in this plural form where it is translated, "O God" (Psalm 45:6), and where it is clearly being addressed to "the Son" (Hebrews 1:8). Therefore it does not prove a plurality of persons in the Godhead, as some have suggested.

#1.13 Hebrew אֵל, Htr. ’ēl, English El

El is an alternative term for God; occasionally translated "the mighty" (Psalm 82:1), "god" (Deuteronomy 32:12; Psalm 44:20; Malachi 2:11 etc.), "goodly" (Psalm 80:10), "idols" (Isaiah 57:5), "strong" (Ezekiel 32:21), but is mostly translated "God", referring to the one true God. It is so used in the compound names which follow.

#2.1 THE COMPOUND NAMES USING "EL"

#2.11 Hebrew אֵל עֶלְיוֹן Htr. ’ēl ‛elyôn, English El Elyon

The name ’ēl ‛elyôn literally means "God supreme, or God most high", and is translated "the most high God" (Genesis 14:18-22; Psalm 78:35). This name was fulfilled by Jesus in the following scriptures:

EPHESIANS 1:19-21 (Paul)
19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power towards us who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,
20 Which he worked in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,
21 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:

HEBREWS 7:26
26 For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;

#2.12 Hebrew אֵל שַׁדַּי Htr. ’ēl shadday English El Shaddai

The name shadday literally means "almighty" or "all powerful" and ’ēl shadday is translated "the Almighty God" (Genesis 17:1; 28:3; 35:11; 48:3 etc.). This name was fulfilled by Jesus in the following scriptures:

MATTHEW 28:18
18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, All power is given to me in heaven and in earth.

EPHESIANS 1:19-21 (Paul)
19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power towards us who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,
20 Which he worked in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,
21 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:

PHILIPPIANS 2:9-11 (Paul)
9 Therefore God also has highly exalted him, and given him a name that is above every name:
10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

#2.13 Hebrew אֵל עוֹלָם Htr. ’ēl ‛ôlâm English El Olam

The word ‛ôlâm literally refers to "a long or hidden period of time, the beginning and end of which may or may not be defined". It may refer to future time, past time, or both, and is usually translated for ever, perpetual, always, everlasting, etc.. The name ’ēl ‛ôlâm is translated "the everlasting God" (Genesis 21:33). This name was fulfilled by Jesus in the following scriptures:

MICAH 5:2
2 But you, Bethlehem Ephratah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall he come forth to me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.

JOHN 1:1-3
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 The same was in the beginning with God.
3 All things were made by him, and without him was not anything made that was made. (This shows that Jesus Christ existed as the Word of God, before anything was created.)

REVELATION 1:18 (Jesus)
18 I am he who lives, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive forever more, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.

#2.14 Hebrew אֵל גִּבּוֹר Htr. ’ēl gibbôr English El Gibbor

The word gibbôr literally means "mighty or strong" and is used of YHVH when it is translated "the Mighty God" (Isaiah 9:6; 10:21; Jeremiah 32:18). This name was used concerning Jesus in the following scripture:

ISAIAH 9:6
6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

#2.15 Hebrew אֵל נֹשֵׂא Htr. ’ēl nōsē’ English El Nose

The word nōsē’ comes from the verb nāsā’, which means "to lift up, to carry, to bear, to forgive". Literally ’ēl nōsē’ means "God forgiving" and is translated "a God who forgave" (Psalm 99:8). This name was fulfilled by Jesus in the following scriptures:

MARK 2:5
5 When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the sick of the palsy, Son, your sins are forgiven you.

LUKE 7:47-48 (Jesus)
47 Therefore I say to you, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.
48 And he said to her, Your sins are forgiven.

ACTS 5:30-31 (Peter)
30 The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you slew and hanged on a tree.
31 Him has God exalted with his right hand to be a prince and a saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.

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