What does the phrase El Olam mean? In Psalm 90:1-2, it says Lord [Adonai], you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. Before the mountains were born or you…
We learn of the name El Elyon in Genesis 14. The chapter opens with 9 kings engaging in battle—four against five. These are kings of city-states, meaning “each man was like the mayor of a great city, ruling over those within his walled city as well as those in the immediately surrounding area.”
When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord [YHWH] appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty [El Shaddai]; walk before me faithfully and be blameless. Then I will make my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers.” (Genesis 17:1-2)
We said in a separate article that God revealed His name to Moses as YHWH. Now, please understand that I am not a Greek or Hebrew scholar, and I certainly don’t have a seminary education, so I asked Jeff Pallansch, one of my coworkers, to read and comment on this article and help me navigate these rather turbulent waters.
Your first reaction to this title, Adonai, is probably to recoil in disgust or distress, quite possibly because of the context of slavery not only in the US, but in other countries where even today people are held in slavery and treated abominably. But would you, for just a moment, put away all your preconceptions of what it means to be the Lord—the master—and what it means to be a slave? Let the Bible inform you of what God is like as a Lord, and what He sees as His responsibility to those He rules.
In Exodus 3:13-15 God identified Himself to Moses as YHWH (pronounced Yahweh), and identified that as His “memorial name to all generations.” The root of this name is the Hebrew verb hayah, “to be”. This is the God who is—who He is now, who He has always been, and who He will always be.
“In the beginning, God [Elohim] created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1
Elohim is the first name God reveals for Himself in the Bible. It is based on a root word that means “strong” or “mighty”. The same word is used other times in the Bible to refer to pagan gods, to angelic beings, or to human rulers. A few examples:
When you think about God, what comes to your mind? Is He a grandfatherly figure who indulges the least little whim of His grandchildren?
Last week I wrote a rather lighthearted piece about anxiety in the face of natural disasters (Why Worry?). While I fully believe all God’s promises that I quoted in that piece, I was reminded over the weekend that we face things far more painful, far more devastating than tornadoes. You see, a dear friend has just put her husband of nearly 50 years under hospice care.
One thing working at a Christian apologetics ministry for nearly 40 years has taught me is that your idea of who God is, what He is like, is very important.