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Overview of The Bible

What Are Demons?

What is God's Spirit?

Who Wrote the Bible?

The Names of God

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What is Heaven?

What the Bible Teaches About Faith

A Beginner's Guide to Bible Prophecy

The Tree of Life

In this video we look at 3 names for God and how they relate to what he is doing at each moment in time.


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The Names of God


Have you ever considered that God might have a name? We always refer to God as "God. " When talking to somebody, you say, " Oh, have you thought about God before?" "Have you considered the God of the Bible?" Well, we always call him God. What does he call himself? Does he have a name? So, we often call God God. God is not a name. God is a title; often in Scripture, god is the Hebrew word Elohim.


Elohim is an interesting word because not only is this title usually translated as god, but it is a plural word that takes a singular verb. Now, I may have just completely lost you at that point. You might be the kind of person who went through grammar in school and thought, "Oh, I'm so glad I'm done with this when I graduated," but it's important to understand what's happening here. Plural means more than one, right, and in languages, nouns or subjects of sentences will always match their verb. So, usually, you would have a plural subject that takes a plural verb. Well, that's different from how it works with Elohim. Elohim is a plural word that takes a singular verb.

Now, whenever this kind of thing happens, you must ask, "What's going on here? Why is it like this?" Why is this breaking the 'rules' of grammar? This is probably why. Elohim is plural because it appears to be a very similar word to the word 'god' that all the pagan nations (all the Gentile Nations) around Israel used to describe their 'gods' plural. They had all these different gods that they worshiped: gods they thought brought the rain, gods they thought made the sun rise, all these different things. Elohim is a very similar word to those nations' words for god.

In other words, what God was doing was he was saying, "Look, you're gonna call me 'Elohim,' you're going to call me 'God' because I am actually the one who does all these things!" All the nations think that there's one god that makes the sun rise, one god who brings the rain, one god who controls the seasons, and God says No, in fact, I'm Elohim. I am all of those; I do all those things.

And so when you're reading in Hebrew, it's interesting to note that often the Hebrew will include the word "the" in front of the word God, and this doesn't end up in a lot of our English translations, but what you see is God calls himself 'the' Elohim. Or if you were to translate it really literally 'the gods .'He is the one God, whereas all these pagan nations believed in these different gods. So when we come to study and understand God's titles and names, we see a God who declares that he is 'it.' While all those ancient nations had a pantheon of gods they worshiped, God said, "No, I am the God; I am the one God." And in fact, that one God has a name.

The LORD, El Shaddai, and Elohim

So, in the beginning, God met Abraham in Genesis chapter 17, when he first declared his name. He meets with Abraham in Genesis chapter 17, and this is what he says. He appears to Abraham and says, "I am God Almighty." This is how we have it translated in our English translations. What does God almighty mean?

Well, if you look at the Hebrew, it's El Shaddai, and what this seems to indicate is this is a God who nourishes who builds up. It's pretty much a God who builds up a family. Now, here's where this gets interesting. This idea of El Shaddai is connected to a God who builds up a family, and when we get to the Book of Exodus (we were just looking at Genesis 17:1), look what it says in Exodus chapter 6 verse 3. I want to read this to you. In Exodus 6:3, God is now speaking to Moses, and here's what he says (listen for El Shaddai). It says, "I appeared to Abraham to Isaac and Jacob as God Almighty (there it is El Shaddai), but by my name the LORD I did not make myself known to them."

You might hear that and think, "What does he mean by that?" The LORD is not a name. The LORD is a title. Well, again, this is what happens in our English translations. This title of the LORD gets put onto the Hebrew name. This is often called 'the Tetragrammaton': different people will differ over how it's pronounced, and really, it was lost within Hebrew thousands of years ago, so nobody really knows how it's pronounced. Some might say 'Jehovah,' which is not how it's pronounced. That was, in fact, a corruption where certain Hebrew vowels were put with the Hebrew consonants of this word. Other people may say that it's 'Yahweh'. That is about the closest that we can get. In other words, God says, "I was known to Abraham Isaac and Jacob as El Shaddai, and now Moses, I've revealed myself to you as Yahweh."

Now, if you go back and look at Abraham's conversations with God, Isaac's conversations with God, and Jacob's conversations with God, what you'll notice is they, in fact, use the term 'Yahweh.' They use his name. So, this verse does not say they didn't know that name. Instead, it says God revealed himself to them as 'El Shaddai.' This was the God he was to them. He was this nourisher, this Builder of families, and now he will be Yahweh. As we look through Exodus, we see that Yahweh is this name that's connected not just to families but to building up and fulfilling those promises that he made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. And so that's why when God fully reveals himself to Moses as Yahweh, he says, "I am Yahweh, I am that I am, or I will be who I will be, the god of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob." Because Yahweh is The God Who fulfills those promises made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

So we have different names for God as he's doing and focusing on different things. So, in Genesis, he concentrated on building up the family, and in Exodus, he focused on fulfilling those promises.


Now, here's where this gets really interesting. We get another name for God as we get to the New Testament. Jesus taught his disciples to pray (in Matthew chapter 6), and here's how the prayer started: "Our Father who is in heaven." Our Father! And so what you see is in Genesis 17, God reveals himself as El Shaddai, in Exodus chapter 6, God reveals himself as Yahweh, and now in Matthew chapter 6, Jesus reveals God as father. This is again another term showing what God is doing. In Genesis 17, he was building up the family; in Exodus chapter 6, he was fulfilling the promises; and here in Matthew 6, he is now becoming the God, not just of families; I mean, we associate Father with a family, but even more than that, we have relationships with our fathers. We know our fathers, and we want to be like them. God has now shown himself to be the God who wants a deep, intimate relationship with his followers. The God Who is a father.

As God reveals himself with these different names, it doesn't mean he can't show those other aspects. God is not limited like that. So, when he was building up the family, that doesn't mean he wasn't also fulfilling the promises. When he was fulfilling the promises, that doesn't mean he wasn't building up the family or didn't want a close relationship with his followers. He's always wanted all of those things. God doesn't change. Instead, this shows us that God's Focus as he is fulfilling his plan changes with each stage of that plan. For us today, God calls himself "Father." That's a personal term. And so what that means is that this goes deeper than just a study or just an academic understanding. This is God's calling to each of us to, therefore, come and know him and to know him intimately.


The Names of God

In this video we look at 3 names for God and how they relate to what he is doing at each moment in time.

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