Those who know Your Name will put their trust in You, for You, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You. (Ps. 9:10)
In the Bible God introduces Himself to mankind and it is only through the Bible that we can know Him and who He is.
The first verse in the Bible states a matter of fact, no cause for debate-
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth (Gen 1:1).
The English word “God” used here simply means a Supreme Being, a Deity. It is the same generic word used by all other pagan religions to refer to their gods in their local language. However, the God of the Bible unlike other gods, distinguishes Himself by causing His prophets to pen precisely what He reveals about Himself.
The word used for God in the original Hebrew text in Genesis 1.1 is “Elohim” and is a uniplural word. This means that God is a singular as well as a plural Supreme Being at the same time. This is very difficult for the human mind to comprehend. But God is God. He not only introduces Himself as a uniplural being, but He also goes ahead to show it in His words and actions.
From the scriptures we observe that God’s uniplural essence is three in one. Three inseparable beings in one. One inseparable being in three. Let us examine some scriptures that capture God in this respect.
In the Restoration and Creation of Earth
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
And God said, Let there be light: and there was light (Gen 1:3).
In Genesis 1.1-3, a careful reading and observation of the text shows God employing His uniplural being in creation of heaven and earth, restoration of the earth and the creation of man.
Firstly, He introduces Himself as God
“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Gen1.1)
Secondly, He introduces Himself as God as well as being a Spirit
“…And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters” (Gen1.2).
Finally, He introduces Himself as God in His Speech/Word
“And God said, Let there be light: and there was light” (Gen 1.3)
Just as God’s word and actions are not distinct from God himself, man is the same as his words and actions and is held responsible for them.
In John’s Gospel we are told that God and His word are the same and he created everything through His word.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (John 1:1).
All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made (John 1:3).
God is not separate or different from His Spirit. God is not separate or different from His Word. God is God and God is one in His Spirit and His Word. If God is eternal, God’s Spirit and Word are eternal.
In the creation of Man
In the creation of man when God refers to Himself with the words “Let us make man…” He employed the use of the pronoun “us” implying Elohim is uniplural. In the next verse, after the creation of man, He refers to Himself as God, Elohim. This means the “let us” – God, His Word and His Spirit- in v.26 had been united in the creation of man as one in three, three in one as God/Elohim in v.27.
And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them (Gen 1:26-27).
There are various other places from Genesis to Revelation where we see God as three in one or one in three or where one of the three is employed alone but we can observe it in unison with the other two.
Elohim stands as one of the compound names of God. It is from Elohim we have the compound names of God as Elyon, El Shaddai. It is the first of the three names of God that are used as compound names.
Elohim introduces us to God in His creative power. In His Strength. The prefix “El” means The Strong One. In Elohim we have God as omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent Who created the Heavens and the earth.
In addition to God/Elohim, there are two other Hebrew words translated “God” in the English Bible. The English word “God” does not capture the meaning from the original language. All other names of God necessarily extend from these three. For example, from God/Elohim seven compound names from this name are El Elyon- Most High God and El Shaddai- Almighty God.
All God’s names introduced from these three in an orderly progressive manner. They are all introduced in a sequence that reveals God and his gradual relationship with man in an unconfusing fashion.
LORD God – YAHWEH (JEHOVAH)
The second English word by which God is called is LORD God. It is Yahweh in Hebrew and Jehovah in English. When the word LORD is capitalized in the Bible it stands for the name Yahweh. It means “the self-existent one”. LORD God means Yahweh Elohim. We find its first use in Genesis
These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens (Gen. 2.4),
And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you (Exo 3:13-14).
The “self-existent one” means He is eternal and was not created. In summary we cannot trace the origin of Yahweh.
This name of God, Yahweh in Hebrew and Jehovah in English is used in the Bible when dealing with God’s act of creation and redemption and in His relationship with His creation, man and Israel.
Lord GOD- Adonai
And Abram said, Lord GOD, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus? (Gen 15:2)
In the above scripture it is customary to distinguish the use of the word “God” or “Lord” in the English bible by capitalization of the word Lord (LORD) or God (GOD). This is done to tie it to the original Hebrew word and meaning in the context. Lord is introduced here with capitalized GOD (Jehovah). It introduces another Hebrew word Lord, Adonai, to distinguish it from God, Elohim. Lord GOD in the Hebrew Bible is Adonai Jehovah. The emphasis in this context is on Adonai.
Adonai is the third name of God used in the Bible and it means Master. Abraham in asking
“..Lord GOD, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless…” (Gen. 15.2)
is addressing and acknowledging God as his Lord/Master.
It should be noted that the word Lord is also used uncapitalised when used in relationship of “husband and wife”
Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also? (Gen 18:12)
As well as in a “master and servant” relationship as is implicit in the relationship of Abraham and his servant Eliezer
And he said, O LORD God of my master Abraham, I pray thee, send me good speed this day, and shew kindness unto my master Abraham (Gen 24:12).
God is called by three names in the Bible, Elohim, Yahweh and Adonai. These names, each with is specific meaning are revealed to introduce in an orderly way and at appropriate times a specific relationship, nature and character of God to man.
Elohim- God is powerful in every respect; He created the Heaven and the Earth. He is Sovereign and can do what He wants, when He wants and how He wants and no man can question Him.
Jehovah– God created man to have a relationship with him and he does this as revealed in His Jehovah names. As Jehovah He covers all of man’s needs-
1. Jehovah-Nissi: Our Refuge (Ex. 17.11/16).
2. Jehovah-Jireh: Our Provider (Gen 22.13-14, Ps. 23.1).
3. Jehovah Rapha: Our Healer (Ex 15.26).
4. Jehovah-Shalom: Our Peace (Jud.6.4, Is. 9.6).
5. Jehovah-Raah: God Our Way and Shepherd (Ps. 23.1).
6. Jehovah Tsidkenu: Our Righteousness (Jer. 23.6, Ps. 23.3).
7. Jehovah-Shammah: Is There/Ever-Present (Ex 48.35).
Adonai- God as our Master; we should address Him so, and serve and obey Him as he directs.
O Lord GOD (Adonai), thou hast begun to shew thy servant thy greatness, and thy mighty hand: for what God is there in heaven or in earth, that can do according to thy works, and according to thy might? (Deut. 3:24)
I prayed therefore unto the LORD, and said, O Lord GOD (Adonai), destroy not thy people and thine inheritance, which thou hast redeemed through thy greatness, which thou hast brought forth out of Egypt with a mighty hand. (Deut. 9:26)
And Joshua said, Alas, O Lord GOD (Adonai), wherefore hast thou at all brought this people over Jordan, to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us? would to God we had been content, and dwelt on the other side Jordan! (Josh. 7.7)
God’s names are His authority and reputation. He stands behind them.