The 12 Names of God
In our language God is God. We may sometimes refer to Him as The Heavenly Father, or God Almighty, but our language only gives us the one name - God. But in the original text of the Bible, in the language of those who wrote it, there are twelve different names for God, each describing a different aspect of His person and His relationship to man.
By knowing these different names, and how and where they are used in the Bible, we can gain a greater understanding of what God is saying to us in the particular passages where these names are used. It gives us a better understanding of how the writer perceived God at that time. The following explains briefly the meaning of each of these names in its original language, and gives an example of how and where they are used in the Bible.
1.) The First Name : ELOHIM
Meaning : The Creator
Pronounced : el-lo-heem'
This name is seen in Genesis 1:1. It is the name that introduces us to God. As The Creator in the very beginning of the Bible, it is made clear from the start that Elohim is the one true God, in supreme control of not only our world, but the entire universe. This name defines His infinite power and our relationship to Him as one of obedience. This is the name the angels know Him as -- The Creator, the Great Elohim.
2.) The Second Name : JEHOVAH
Meaning : The Lord God
Pronounced : je-ho'-vah
This name is seen in Genesis 2:7. It is under this name that man is created. It is here that God is introduced as "Father." God transcends from "The Creator" of things, to the "Father" of man. With this name, we see a relationship being born along with Adam. Jehovah, "The Lord God," is the name used to establish covenants with man. As Elohim, "The Creator," we respect His greatness and obey Him, but as Jehovah, "The Lord God," ~ "Father," we love Him. The name Jehovah defines our relationship with God as that of a Father and his child. The angels don't know God in this way. They are creations that obey "The Creator," not children adoring their "Father."
3.) The Third Name : EL SHADDAI
Meaning : Supplier/The Source
Pronounced : el-shad-di'
This name is seen in Genesis 17:1. It is with this name that God addresses Abraham. As El Shaddai, "The Source, The Supplier," God makes a covenant with Abraham. God reveals and pronounces Himself as "The Supplier, The Source" to man. This name defines His ultimate control over our lives, even when it may not be apparent.
Children see their parents as a source, a supplier, because parents supply their wants and needs. In return, children trust them. As children of God, we must see God as The Source, The Supplier, and trust Him to fulfill His promise to be so. Remember, God as The Supplier, and The Source has unlimited resources. Trust Him as your "Father" to be your sole Supplier.
4.) The Fourth Name : ADONAI
Meaning : Lord/Master
Pronounced : a-do-ni'
This name is seen in Genesis 18:3. It is with this name Abraham addresses God. The Lord appears to Abraham mysteriously as three travelers. Abraham says, "If I have found favor in your eyes my Lord, do not pass your servant by. Here the name Lord, is "Adonai". Replace Lord in this verse with Adonai/Master, and see how this meaning is revealed: "If I have found favor in your eyes 'Master,' do not pass your servant by."
Abraham saw God as a "Master," and felt honored to be permitted to serve Him in every way. This is our first example of servitude. In Biblical Times, serving a guest well was something to be taken seriously. Being a good servant to your guests partially defined your code of honor, and your stature in the community. It was disgraceful to be a poor host.
The name "Adonai" defines God's ultimate authority over all, it represents ownership of all His creation. As followers of Christ, we must see God as "Adonai," the Master and Lord of our lives. In order to do so, we must learn to "submit" to Him and give Him the authority over our lives that is rightfully His, and become the humble and eager servant.
5.) The Fifth Name : JEHOVAH-JIREH
Meaning : Provider
Pronounced : je-ho'-vah jeer'-eh
This name is seen in Genesis 22:14. Here we see the story where Abraham is tested. Many of us have a hard time understanding this story. It does seem to be an extreme thing God asked Abraham to do. The lesson here is that Abraham obeyed. He didn't understand - but he obeyed anyway. When God saw his obedience, He "provided" an alternate sacrifice. Obedience begats God's provision.
6.) The Sixth Name : JEHOVAH-ROPHE
Meaning : Healer/Deliverer
Pronounced : je-ho'-vah ro'-fay
This name is seen in Exodus 15:26. In this passage we see the Israelites in the wilderness, hot and thirsty and making demands. God uses Moses to perform a miracle, making bitter water drinkable. Then God relays a message to His people through Moses, giving a list of conditions they must keep, and promising to be their "Healer" and "Deliverer" in return.
God makes Himself very clear in that they must do their part in order to receive God's part.How many times have we looked to God and questioned, "Where are you?" without looking first to ourselves. In Exodus 15:26 God says, "If you Listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in His eyes, if you pay attention to His commands and keep all His decrees ..." then He will be your "Healer" and your "Deliverer." Only after fulfilling all of these did God promise to be their "Healer" and their "Deliverer." How many times have we gotten ourselves into problems because we neglected to listen to God, did something wrong in His eyes, then wondered why He didn't deliver us from it when we asked Him to. God is merciful and gracious and always loves and forgives us, but He doesn't bail us out of every jam.
As parents, although it is often painful for us, we try to let our children learn from their mistakes. We let them suffer the consequences of their actions so that they can become upright and righteous citizens. A good parent doesn't bail their children out of every problem, so that they can learn for themselves. Remember to see God as a parent, our "Father," who, in His infinite wisdom, will sometimes let you suffer the consequences of your actions in order for you to learn from your mistakes. And God, like human parents, suffers with His children.
7.) The Seventh Name : JEHOVAH-NISSI
Meaning : Victory/My Banner
Pronounced : je-ho'-vah nee'-see
This name is introduced in Exodus 17:15. Here we see the end of a victorious battle with the Amalekites. Go back and read the story (Exodus 17:8-14). As long as Moses had his hands in the air, raised to Heaven, the Israelites prevailed. When Moses lowered his hands, they began to lose. When Moses lifted himself and the group unto the will of God, they succeeded, when he got tired, they didn't. Aaron and Hur had to help Moses keep his hands up.
Obedience often doesn't make sense, but it is always a requirement if we want God to intervene on our behalf. The Lord is our Victory, He is the Conquerer over sin and death. Moses said, "The Lord is my banner," but they would have lost the battle had it not been for Moses' obedience - without questioning it's logic. God, like we as parents, rewards obedient children who don't question His methods, but trust His judgement.
Also take note in this story that Moses could not do it alone. His brother and friend stood by him. Stand by your brothers and sisters in Christ that need your help to hold their hands up to God. And don't be afraid to ask your brothers and sisters in Christ for help when you need to hold your hands up to God, but are too tired to do it alone.
8.) The Eighth Name : JEHOVAH-MIKADDESH
Meaning : My Sanctifier
Pronounced : je-ho'-vah m'-kad'-desh
This name is introduced in Leviticus 20:7-8. Leviticus is the book of law, and in this verse God is talking to Moses, establishing laws, and the punishment for breaking those laws. Then God says, "Consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am the Lord your God." Then in verse 8 He says, "Keep my decrees and follow them. I am the Lord (Sanctifier), who makes you holy." This is a covenant - an agreement - a promise. You do this, and in return I'll do this. But who's doing what? First let's understand our terminology:
Consecrate- To devote, to dedicate.
Sanctify- To set apart, to make free from sin, to purify.
So, God says, "Devote yourselves, dedicate your lives to following MY words. Not just sometimes - all the time. Dedicate your lives to me." Then, if you do this, God says, "I am The Sanctifier." God says, "I am the one that can set you free from your sin. And IF you do as I ask, THEN, I will set you apart from the rest, I will purify you and set you free." Remember that salvation is free, but it is not unconditional. It requires your devotion and your complete dedication to a God that loves you so very much that He sent His Son to die for you. Will you devote yourself to Him?
9.) The Ninth Name : JEHOVAH-TSIDKENOU
Meaning : The Lord is my Righteousness
Pronounced : je-ho'-vah sid-kay'-noo
This name is introduced in Jeremiah 23:5-6. In these two verses we find an exciting promise. God is foretelling the arrival of the Messiah, the coming of His Son, Jesus. Jesus is the righteous branch from David, the King who will reign, from the tribe of Judah. Then at the end of this passage God says, "This is the name by which He will be called : The Lord Our Righteousness."
God reveals to us here that Jesus does not give us our righteousness, He is our righteousness. Man is a sinful flawed creature incapable of righteousness without Jesus. Only when man and Jesus are one can we be righteous in God's sight. Only when the Father looks at us through "Jesus Colored Glasses" can the sin be removed. Without Jesus, man cannot bridge the gap to the Father in Heaven.
When we look at God as a Father of children (us), we see the ultimate love and sacrifice He has given. He has made every possible provision for our success, yet gave us the option of failure with our own free will. As parents, we must use God's perfect example and give our children every possible provision for their ultimate success as future Christian citizens. We must give them Biblical training, knowledge of God's promises for them, but most of all, we must give them Jesus ~ The Lord Our Righteousness.
10.) The Tenth Name : JEHOVAH-SHALOM
Meaning : The Lord is my Peace in Life
Pronounced : je-ho'-vah shal-lom'
This name is introduced in Judges 6:24. Here we have a story about Gideon. Gideon is a wonderful example of God using the insignificant to do great things. Gideon was a faithful servant of the Lord. Gideon believed God, even when it went against everything he'd been taught. Even when everything around him suggested the contrary.
In verse 22, Gideon realizes he has looked an angel of the Lord in the face. He has been taught that to look on a "Heavenly Creature" would surely cause death. He is seriously afraid here. Then in verse 23 God says, "Peace! Do not be afraid. You are not going to die." Gideon takes God at His word and in verse 24 he builds an altar, which is a symbol of praise and thanksgiving. He rejoices and calls his altar "Jehovah Shalom," - The Lord is my Peace.
"There is an important lesson to be learned from this story. When God said, "Don't be afraid. You're not going to die." Gideon DID NOT answer saying, "yes I am!" Gideon NEVER questioned, not even for a second, even though this went against everything he had been taught about God and His nature. He began to praise God instead. When God promises you something whether it be in prayer or in His WORD, do you doubt, question and worry - or do you trust, believe and start praising God for the blessings you can't see yet?
11.) The Eleventh Name : JEHOVAH-ROHI
Meaning : The Lord is my Shepherd
Pronounced : je-ho'-vah ro'-hee
This name is introduced in the first verse of the 23rd Psalm. Most Christians know this Psalm by heart, but do we ever stop to think about what it means to us? There are many great promises in this Psalm, but do we consider what they are, do we apply them to our lives?
First of all - what is a shepherd? - what does he do for his sheep? He tends to their needs. He provides them with everything: food, water, shelter, safety - EVERYTHING. Do we allow God to provide for our needs, or do we think we can do it ourselves? Don't misunderstand, ofcourse you work and make money to pay bills - but do you worry about what will happen, or do you have faith to know God can handle it? Do you become afraid, or do you trust the Lord to know what is best for you?
Sheep are pretty stupid. They will follow each other into destruction. They will stand in rushing waters drinking until their wool is saturated and they drown. They do not learn from their mistakes. Sound familiar?
Reread the 23rd Psalm. Dont say it - READ it. Read it in different Bible translations. Pick it apart line by line. Discover some new revelations about God and His love for you in the words. Think about it - it can change the way you see God, and yourself, forever.
12.) The Twelfth Name : JEHOVAH-SHAMMAH
Meaning : The Lord is my Divine Presence
The Anointed One
The Lord is There
Pronounced : je-ho'-vah sham'-mah
This name is introduced in the last chapter of Ezekiel, 48:35. As Ezekiel is a prophetic book where things have more than one meaning, such is true in the case of this verse, and this name of God. To many, this section of Ezekiel seems somewhat boring. Facts and figures and measurements of "who gets what" and where. At the end of these "statistics," a great acclamation is made, "And the name of the city from that time on will be: THE LORD IS THERE." (Ezekial 48:35).
This, to the men and women living there, was a great promise. They had lived in bondage for some time and felt that God had turned His back on them. This was a promise that God would dwell in the city of Jerusalem from now on.
But being a prophetic book, there is more to this verse than meets the eye. This is a promise of impending freedom they could not conceive. This verse is a promise of the coming Messiah. It promises that Jesus will come to Jerusalem and give them a freedom they couldn't understand.
As with prophesy, nothing is two-dimensional. There is yet another promise in this seemingly simple statement. It foretells of a glorious future, when Jesus will set His foot on the Mount of Olives and return, and there will be a new Heaven and a new Holy City, and all evil will be destroyed.
What set the Israelites apart from the other religions of their day was the "presence" of their God. The work of their God was visible to all. What sets Christians apart from other religions of today is the same. We serve a "Living God." We serve a "Risen Savior," we read the "Living WORD," and have a "Personal Relationship" with our Lord. We see His handiwork, we feel His presence, we KNOW that He is there. Paul said, "I know that I know." Do you know the Living God? Do you know "Jehovah Shammah," The God that is there?
-- Posted in a Christian Forum