God’s will part 8b.
Who is Jesus? The true identity of Jesus Christ is more important to our eternal destiny than any other single factor.
Who is Jesus?
Who do Men say that I am?
When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”
They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven.
And I tell you that you are Peter (PETROS), and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it”.
What are the characteristics that make God, GOD?
What properties does He possess that no one else can claim to possess?
God’s unique characteristics
Holy and Sinless
Jesus Christ posses all these characteristics…
Jesus is the “Creator”.
Yahweh created alone:
Isaiah 44:24 …I am Yahweh, who
makes all things; who ALONE
stretches out the heavens; who
spreads out the earth BY MYSELF.
But Jesus created alone:
John 1:1-4. In the beginning the Word
already existed. He was with God, and
he was God. He created everything
there is. Nothing exists that he didn’t
Col 1:15-16. For by him (Jesus) all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.
Jesus was worshipped.
Jesus accepted worship...
From the wise men - Mat 2:11
From the leper - Mat 8:2
From the ruler - Mat 9:18
From His disciples in the boat - Mat 14:33
From the Canaanite woman - Mat 15:25
From the disciples following His ascension - Luke 24:52
Thomas - John 20:28
All creation worships both Father and Lamb: Rev 5:11-14
When Jesus healed the blind man: John 9:38. Then the man said (to Jesus), “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.
Jesus is “Holy and Sinless”.
2 Cor 5:21. God made Him (Jesus) who knew no sin to be sin for us …
1 Peter 2: 21-22. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. ‘He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in His mouth.’
Hebrews 7:26. For such a high priest was fitting for us: holy, guiltless, undefiled, separated from sinners, and made higher than the heavens
Jesus is Omnipotent (All powerful)
Jesus the creator who is Holy and Sinless and accepts worship, has all the characteristics deemed peculiar to God.
Omnipotence “ALL POWER” is bestowed in Jesus, an attribute peculiar to God.
Matthew 28:18. And Jesus coming up spoke to them, saying, All power has been given me in heaven and upon earth.
Phil: 3:20-21: For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.
Eph. 1:21-22: far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And He put all things in subjection under His feet...
Jesus is “Omnipresent” (All present)
Matthew 28:20. And surely I (Jesus) am with you always, to the very end of the age.
Romans 8:34. Christ Jesus, who died – more than that, who was raised to life – is at the right hand of God …
If Jesus has promised to be with His disciples ALWAYS and yet is at the right hand of the Father in heaven, the only possible explanation is that He is omnipresent.
Matthew 18:20. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am in the midst of them.
Jesus is “Omniscient” (All knowing)
The third time he said to him, Simon son of John, do you love me?
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, Do you love me? He said, Lord, you know all things; You know that I love you.
Why then did Jesus say only the Father knew the day of his second coming?
Of course the answer is that the incarnation created a special circumstance, wherein God became flesh and allowed Himself to the limitations of a man. In the same way that as a man Jesus got tired, thirsty and hungry and was clearly not omnipresent, so too his knowledge was limited while on earth. This is clear from the following Scripture:
Jesus is “Omniscient” (All knowing)
Philippians 2:7. (Jesus) … emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men
Anti-Trinitarians will typically take Scriptures that apply to Jesus humanity and incarnation and then try using them to prove that Jesus wasn’t God.
There were however self-imposed temporary limitations that Jesus accepted in his incarnation.
Jesus is “Immutable” (Unchanging)
Jesus too has the property of deity of never changing, though everyone and everything else does.
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
But of the Son he says... They all will grow old like a garment does. As a mantle, you will roll them up, and they will be changed; but you are the same...
The “Eternal pre-existence” of Jesus.
Isaiah 9:6. For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
The above prophecy concerning Jesus shows that He is EVERLASTING or ETERNAL.
Hebrews 1:8,11-12. But of the Son he says... They will perish, but you continue. They all will grow old like a garment does. ... Your years will not fail.
John 1:1. In the beginning was the Word…
Colossians 1:17. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
John 8:57-59. You are not yet fifty years old, the Jews said to him, and you have seen Abraham! I tell you the truth, Jesus answered, before Abraham was born I AM!
Jesus: is in very nature GOD
We have selected 8 characteristics unique and peculiar to God alone.
We have gone on to show that Jesus has all 8 characteristics; thus by induction we have proven that Jesus is God. You can make a god out of anything, but it will not be God by nature i.e. possess the characteristics of God. Heathen gods fall into this category of those you are worshiped as gods while not being God by nature.
Galatians 4: 8: Formerly when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods.
Jesus: is in very nature GOD
Jesus, however, does not fall into this category as He is God by nature.
Philippians 2:5-6: Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: who being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped…
Concerning the term “nature” (morphē) or as the NASB and KJV translates, “form”, theologian, Charles Ryrie notes that the word nature (morphē) in the Greek connotes: that which is intrinsic and essential to the thing.
Thus here it means that our Lord in His pre-incarnate state possessed essential deity.
What is the purpose of Salvation?
The purpose of Salvation is not the forgiveness of your sins. That had to take place to fulfil the purpose of Salvation
The purpose of Salvation is not that you may escape Hell! That is the draw-card for many, but Salvation is more than a fire escape from hell.
The purpose of Salvation is
that you may have a
relationship with God.
It is important to remember that God made man so that he could have a relationship with him and when through man’s disobedience that relationship was broken, he died on the cross to restore it.
Apprehending God (Pursuit of God by A W Towzer)
(O taste and see..-Psalm 34:8)
It was Canon Holmes, of India, who more than twenty five years ago called attention to the inferential character of the average man's faith in God.
To most people God is an inference, not a reality. He is a deduction from evidence which they consider adequate; but He remains personally unknown to the individual. "He must be," they say, "therefore we believe He is."
Others do not go even so far as this; they know of Him only by hearsay. They have never bothered to think the matter out for themselves, but have heard about Him from others, and have put belief in Him into the back of their minds along with the various odds and ends that make up their total creed.
To many others God is but an ideal, another name for goodness, or beauty, or truth; or He is law, or life, or the creative impulse back of the phenomena of existence.
These notions about God are many and varied, but they who hold them have one thing in common: they do not know God in personal experience. The possibility of intimate acquaintance with Him has not entered their minds. While admitting His existence they do not think of Him as knowable in the sense that we know things or people.
Christians, to be sure, go further than this, at least in theory. Their creed requires them to believe in the personality of God, and they have been taught to pray, "Our Father, which art in heaven.“
Now personality and fatherhood carry with them the idea of the possibility of personal acquaintance. This is admitted, I say, in theory, but for millions of Christians, nevertheless, God is no more real than He is to the non-Christian. They go through life trying to love an ideal and be loyal to a mere principle.
Over against all this cloudy vagueness stands the clear scriptural doctrine that God can be known in personal experience. A loving Personality dominates the Bible, walking among the trees of the garden and breathing fragrance over every scene. Always a living Person is present, speaking, pleading, loving, working, and manifesting Himself whenever and wherever His people have the receptivity necessary to receive the manifestation.
The Bible assumes as a self-evident fact that men can know God with at least the same degree of immediacy as they know any other person or thing that comes within the field of their experience. The same terms are used to express the knowledge of God as are used to express knowledge of physical things. "O taste and see that the Lord is good." "All thy garments smell Of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia, out of the ivory palaces." "My sheep hear my voice." "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." These are but four of countless such passages from the Word of God.
Who is Jesus?
Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, that all may honour the Son just as they honour the Father.
Whoever does not honour the Son does not honour the Father, who sent him.
Who is Jesus?
Sir, the woman said, I can see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem. Woman, Jesus replied, believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.
You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.
The woman said, I know that Messiah (called Christ) is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us. Then Jesus declared, I, the one speaking to you, I am he.
Over 200 names and titles of Christ found in the Bible.
I want to look at some of the more prominent ones, organized in three sections relating to names that reflect the nature of Christ, His position in the tri-unity of God, and His work on earth on our behalf.
Names in the Bible have meaning and point to the nature and character of a person.
There are a number of instances in the Bible where God changed the names of key characters.
Abram to Abraham: When God changed a person's name and gave him a new name, it was usually to establish a new identity. God changed Abram's "high father" name to “Abraham,” "father of a multitude" (Genesis 17:5) and his wife's name from “Sarai,” “my princess,” to “Sarah,” “mother of nations” (Genesis 17:15–16)
Jacob to Israel: When born, Jacob is given the name "Jacob" meaning, "trickster, supplanter, heel grabber." After he wrestles at Jabbok, he is renamed "Israel" meaning "strives with God.
His position in the trinity. Who is Jesus.
I Am: (John 8:58, with Exodus 3:14)
When Jesus ascribed to Himself this title, the Jews tried to stone Him for blasphemy. They understood that He was declaring Himself to be the eternal God, the unchanging Yahweh of the Old Testament.
Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?” God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” God also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ “This is my name forever, the name you shall call me from generation to generation.
By using these words, Jesus was deliberately quoting Exodus 3:14 and calling attention to His deity
Jesus said “Before Abraham was, I am”
The Jews answered him, Aren’t we right in saying that you are a Samaritan and demon-possessed? I am not possessed by a demon, said Jesus, but I honour my Father and you dishonour me. I am not seeking glory for myself; but there is one who seeks it, and he is the judge. Very truly I tell you, whoever obeys my word will never see death. At this they exclaimed, Now we know that you are demon-possessed! Abraham died and so did the prophets, yet you say that whoever obeys your word will never taste death. Are you greater than our father Abraham? He died, and so did the prophets. Who do you think you are?
Jesus said “Before Abraham was, I am”
John 8:48-59 (continued)
Jesus replied, If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me. Though you do not know him, I know him. If I said I did not, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and obey his word. Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad. You are not yet fifty years old, they said to him, and you have seen Abraham! Very truly I tell you, Jesus answered, before Abraham was born, I am! At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds.
His position in the trinity.
Emmanuel: (Isaiah 9:6; Matthew 1:23)
Literally “God with us.” Both Isaiah and Matthew affirm that the Christ who would be born in Bethlehem would be God Himself who came to earth in the form of a man to live among His people.
How do we respond to the invitation of the Almighty God to walk with Him, to get to know Him, to hear His heart and understand His desires and plans and purpose for our lives.
The Nature of Christ.
Chief Cornerstone: (Ephesians 2:20)
Jesus is the cornerstone of the building which is His church. He cements together Jew and Gentile, male and female, all saints from all ages and places into one structure built on faith in Him which is shared by all.
Firstborn over all creation: (Colossians 1:15)
Not the first thing God created, as some incorrectly claim, because verse 16 says all things were created through and for Christ.
Rather, the meaning is that Christ occupies the rank and pre-eminence of the first-born over all things, that He sustains the most exalted rank in the universe; He is pre-eminent above all others; He is at the head of all things..
The Nature of Christ.
Head of the Church: (Ephesians 1:22; 4:15; 5:23)
Jesus Christ, not a king or a pope, is the only supreme, sovereign ruler of the Church, those for whom He died and who have placed their faith in Him alone for salvation.
Holy One: (Acts 3:14; Psalm 16:10)
Christ is holy, both in his divine and human nature, and the fountain of holiness to His people. By His death, we are made holy and pure before God.
Judge: (Acts 10:42; 2 Timothy 4:8)
The Lord Jesus was appointed by God to judge the world and to dispense the rewards of eternity.
King of kings & Lord of lords: (1 Timothy 6:15; Revelation 19:16)
Jesus has dominion over all authority on the earth, over all kings and rulers, and none can prevent Him from accomplishing His purposes. He directs them as He pleases.
The Nature of Christ.
Light of the World: (John 8:12)
Jesus came into a world darkened by sin and shed the light of life and truth through His work and His words. Those who trust in Him have their eyes opened by Him and walk in the light.
Prince of peace: (Isaiah 9:6)
Jesus came not to bring peace to the world as in the absence of war, but peace between God and man who were separated by sin. He died to reconcile sinners to a holy God.
Son of God: (Luke 1:35; John 1:49)
Jesus is the “only begotten of the Father” (John 1:14). Used 42 times in the New Testament, “Son of God” affirms the deity of Christ.
Son of man: (John 5:27)
The phrase “Son of Man” emphasizes the humanity of Christ which exists alongside His divinity. It is also a messianic title (Daniel 7:13-14; Mark 14:63).
Jesus is the Son of God.
Simon Peter answered, You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.
Jesus is called the Son of God more than 40 times in the Bible.
What does that title mean exactly, and what significance does it have for people today?
First, the term does not mean Jesus was the literal offspring of God the Father, as each of us is the child of our human father.
Second, it does not mean God the Father mated with the virgin Mary and fathered Jesus in that way.
The Bible tells us Jesus was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit. It was a miraculous, virgin birth.
Third, the term Son of God as applied to Jesus is unique.
It does not mean he was a child of God, as Christians are when they're adopted into God's family. Rather, it points out his divinity, meaning he is God.
Jesus is the Son of God.
Satan tests Jesus and questions His deity. (This is a vital truth)
The tempter came to him and said, If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread. Jesus answered, It is written: Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God. Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple.
If you are the Son of God, he said, throw yourself down. For it is written: He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
Jesus is the Son of God.
We saw that Satan tried to cast doubt in Jesus mind as to His deity.
Jesus however knew by the time He was 12 who He was.
Even the Unclean spirits, terrified in the presence of Jesus, said:
“You are the Son of God.”
By 12 Jesus already knew He was the Son of God.
When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom. After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. Thinking he was in their company, they travelled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you. Why were you searching for me? he asked. Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house? But they did not understand what he was saying to them. Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart.
Jesus is the Son of God.
John the Baptist declared that Jesus was the chosen one, The Lamb of God.
The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel.”
Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One.”
But John too was tested by Satan to question whether Jesus was the Messiah, The Christ, The Son of God.
Jesus is the Son of God.
John the Baptist questioned whether Jesus was the Christ, the Messiah, The Lamb of God.
John, was offended with Jesus for leaving him in prison.
When John, who was in prison, heard about the deeds of the Messiah, he sent his disciples to ask him, Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else? Jesus replied, Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.
Jesus The Son of Man.
The expression "the Son of man" occurs 81 times in the Greek text of the four Canonical gospels, and is used only in the sayings of Jesus.
Son of man.
Luke 22: 66-71.
At daybreak the council of the elders of the people, both the chief priests and teachers of the law, met together, and Jesus was led before them. “If you are the Christ, they said, “tell us.”
Jesus answered, “If I tell you, you will not believe me, and if I asked you, you would not answer. But from now on, the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the mighty God.”
They all asked, “Are you then the Son of God?” He replied, “You are right in saying I am.”
Then they said, “Why do we need any more testimony? We have heard it from his own lips.”
Son of man.
Notice how in this exchange Jesus does not answer their question about his being the ‘Christ’. Instead, he refers to his being something totally different – the ‘Son of Man’.
But his accusers don’t seem puzzled by that abrupt change of topic. For some reason they seem to understand him, though opposed, even though he does not answer their question about being the ‘Christ’. So why? And where does the ‘Son of Man’ expression come from and what does it mean?
Jesus also believed the Son of Man, the Son of God, and the Messiah (Christ) were the same person.
Not only did He claim to be all three separately, but in an interesting passage He responds in the affirmative to the Jewish leadership’s linking both Son of God and Christ, then adds Son of Man:
We see this in Matthew 26:63-66...
Son of man.
The high priest said to him, I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God. Yes, it is as you say, Jesus replied. But I say to all of you: In the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven. Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, He has spoken blasphemy! Why do we need any more witnesses? Look, now you have heard the blasphemy. What do you think? He is worthy of death, they answered.
Jesus understood the Son of Man to exist prior to His human birth:
No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven, the Son of Man.
John 6:62. What if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before!
Son of Man.
The phrase “Son of Man” comes from Daniel 7:13-14.
I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed
Son of man.
The phrase “Son of Man” also emphasizes who Jesus is in relation to His incarnation and His work of salvation.
In the Old Testament (Leviticus 25:25-26, 48-49; Ruth 2:20), the next of kin (one related by blood) always functioned as the “kinsman-redeemer” of a family member who needed redemption from jail.
Jesus became related to us “by blood” (that is, He became a man) so He could function as our Kinsman-Redeemer and rescue us from sin.
The Nature of Christ.
Word: (John 1:1; 1 John 5:7-8)
The Word is the second Person of the triune God, who said it and it was done, who spoke all things out of nothing in the first creation, who was in the beginning with God the Father, and was God, and by whom all things were created.
Word of God: (Revelation 19:12-13)
This is the name given to Christ that is unknown to all but Himself. It denotes the mystery of His divine person.
Word of Life: (1 John 1:1)
Jesus not only spoke words that lead to eternal life, but according to this verse He is the very words of life, referring to the eternal life of joy and fulfilment which He provides.
Alpha and Omega: (Revelation 1:8; 22:13)
Jesus declared Himself to be the beginning and end of all things, a reference to no one but the true God. This statement of eternality could apply only to God.
His Work on earth.
Author and Perfecter of our Faith: (Hebrews 12:2)
Salvation is accomplished through the faith that is the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8-9) and Jesus is the founder of our faith and the finisher of it as well. From first to last, He is the source and sustainer of the faith that saves us.
Bread of Life: (John 6:35; 6:48)
Just as bread sustains life in the physical sense, Jesus is the Bread that gives and sustains eternal life. God provided manna in the wilderness to feed His people and He provided Jesus to give us eternal life through His body, broken for us.
Bridegroom: (Matthew 9:15)
The picture of Christ as the Bridegroom and the Church as His Bride reveals the special relationship we have with Him. We are bound to each other in a covenant of grace that cannot be broken. sense.
His Work on earth.
Deliverer: (Romans 11:26)
Just as the Israelites needed God to deliver them from bondage to Egypt, so Christ is our Deliverer from the bondage of sin.
Good Shepherd: (John 10:11,14)
In Bible times, a good shepherd was willing to risk his own life to protect his sheep from predators. Jesus laid down His life for His sheep, and He cares for and nurtures and feeds us.
High Priest: (Hebrews 2:17)
The Jewish high priest entered the Temple once a year to make atonement for the sins of the people. The Lord Jesus performed that function for His people once for all at the cross.
His Work on earth.
Lamb of God: (John 1:29)
God’s Law called for the sacrifice of a spotless, unblemished Lamb as an atonement for sin. Jesus became that Lamb led meekly to the slaughter, showing His patience in His sufferings and His readiness to die for His own.
Mediator: (1 Timothy 2:5)
A mediator is one who goes between two parties to reconcile them. Christ is the one and only Mediator who reconciles men and God. Praying to Mary or the saints is idolatry because it bypasses this most important role of Christ and ascribes the role of Mediator to another. a temporal and an eternal sense.
Rock: (1 Corinthians 10:4)
As life-giving water flowed from the rock Moses struck in the wilderness, Jesus is the Rock from which flow the living waters of eternal life. He is the Rock upon whom we build our spiritual houses, so that no storm can shake them.
His Work on earth.
Resurrection and Life: (John 11:25) – Embodied within Jesus is the means to resurrect sinners to eternal life, just as He was resurrected from the grave. Our sin is buried with Him and we are resurrected to walk in newness of life.
Saviour: (Matthew 1:21; Luke 2:11) – He saves His people by dying to redeem them, by giving the Holy Spirit to renew them by His power, by enabling them to overcome their spiritual enemies, by sustaining them in trials and in death, and by raising them up at the last day.
True Vine: (John 15:1) – The True Vine supplies all that the branches (believers) need to produce the fruit of the Spirit— the living water of salvation and nourishment from the Word.
Way, Truth, Life: (John 14:6) – Jesus is the only path to God, the only Truth in a world of lies, and the only true source of eternal life. He embodies all three in both a temporal and an eternal sense.
Names of God
Below are the various names of God listed in the order of their first appearance in the Bible.
First seen in Genesis 1:1 – Used 2599 times in the Bible
This is the very first name given to God found in the very first verse of Genesis. This name shows that God is the majestic ruler over all. Elohim is actually a plural word and it’s use as the first name of God and sets him high above all other gods. It also foreshadows the later revelation of the triune Godhead – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
God- Elohim –plural Created- singular
The reason this plural noun is translated into other languages as a singular noun is because it's being used with a singular verb.
The OT - Plurality in the Godhead
In Hebrew grammar, nouns and verbs have 4 different forms:
Male (singular & plural)
Female (singular & plural)
Thus, whereas in English we have one word for the verb ‘want’, in Hebrew there are 4, depending on who wants something, e.g.
The male plural tense is indicated by the suffix ‘im’.
Ani rotse (I want)
Anakhnu rotsim (We want)
Ani rotsa (I want)
Anakhnu rotsot (We want)
Eloah (El) & Elohim (Elim)
SINGULAR: Eloah, El – translated ‘God’.
PLURAL: Elohim, Elim – based on context, translated as God, gods, angels.
Although Elohim is a plural, it is consistently used with singular verb forms and with adjectives and pronouns in the singular. In this case it is translated ‘God’.
Consider Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning God
created the heavens and the earth.”
Now look at the Hebrew, which reads right to left:
In the beginning
The Shema has always been Israel’s great confession
with which the Jewish synagogue starts the daily
liturgy morning and evening, and which every Jew
is supposed to repeat at least once daily.
The Shema comes from Deuteronomy 6:4:
KJV: Hear, O Israel, the LORD our
God is one LORD.
WEB: Hear, Israel: Yahweh is our God; Yahweh is one.
The literal translation is “Hear Israel, Yahweh our gods; Yahweh is one”.
Despite using the plural ‘gods’ we are told that Yahweh is ‘one’.
However, when we examine the word ‘echad’ translated ‘one’, we discover an interesting meaning. This word ‘echad’ comes from a Hebrew root ‘achad’ which means “to unify” or “to collect together”, a “united one”. 2
1 Elohenu comes from ‘Elohim’ (Gods) with ‘enu’ being the plural possessive pronoun-suffix denoting things which belong to us.
2 http://www.blueletterbible.org/ Comm/ mark_eastman/ messiah/
Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.
Genesis 3:22 (NKJ).
"The LORD God said, 'Behold, the man has become like one of US, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever'“
Again in Genesis 11:7, God is discussing His solution to the whole earth having one language at the time of the Tower of Babel:
Genesis 11:7 (NKJ).
"Come, let US go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another's speech.“
The fact that the LORD (Yahweh) refers to Himself in these passages as "Us," indicates the plurality of God.
In Ecclesiastes 12:1 we read: (Young's Literal Translation, 1898)
"Remember also thy Creators in the days of thy youth, While that the evil days come not, Nor the years have arrived, that thou sayest, 'I have no pleasure in them.'"
The word Creators is a plural form of the word "bara," which means to create out of nothing.
The notion of plural Creator is also seen in :Isaiah 54:5,
“For thy Maker is thy husband, Jehovah of Hosts is His name, And thy Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel, 'God of all the earth,' He is called.'" (Young's Literal Translation, 1898)
In this verse the word "Maker" is the plural form of the word "asa," which means to form or make.
These verses present a remarkable paradox. The Bible clearly teaches that there is but one God and one Creator. Yet this one God is a plurality of more than one personage, each of which has the attributes of God and performs the works of God.
The solution to this paradox may be found in one of the strongest monotheistic passages in the entire Bible, Deuteronomy 6:4 (KJV)
"Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one LORD!"
In this verse we are told that God is One. However, when we examine the word "echad," translated "one," we discover an interesting meaning. This word, "echad," comes from a Hebrew root which means "to unify" or "to collect together," a "united one."
We can get a better feel for it's usage by examining a couple of additional verses. After the creation of man we find the establishment of the marriage relationship:
"Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife, and they shall be one (echad) flesh" Genesis 2:24, (Jewish Publication Society version, 1917)
Regarding the people of the earth after the flood we read: Genesis 11:6. "And the LORD said: They are one (echad) people, and they have all one language." (Jewish Publication Society version, 1917)
In each of these verses we see the idea of separate persons viewed as a unified "one."
The man and woman become "one flesh."
The people of the earth become unified together as "one people."
This unification in these verses obviously does not mean that they physically unite into a single being. The individuals still retain their personal identity and distinct personage.
The word "one" here implies a "compound unity."
It is in this sense that we can understand the "One of God" in Deuteronomy 6:4.
He is clearly One God, yet He manifests Himself in more than on distinct personage - something totally compatible with the Christian concept of the Trinity.
Finally, we see a hint of the Trinity, the three in One, in a number of provocative verses which declare the holiness of God. Isaiah 6:1-3.
"In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said: 'Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory”
In Revelation John is given a view of the four living creatures around the throne of God;
Revelation 4:8. (NKJ) "And the four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying: 'Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!'"
Why "Holy, holy, holy?" This is just another hint of the plurality of God and the three in one seen throughout the Scripture.
Yahweh (Lord, Jehovah)
First seen in Genesis 2:4 Used 6519 times in the Bible
Yahweh is the promised proper name of God. It means Lord and Master.
By Jewish tradition this name is too holy to pronounce or write. Therefore they just wrote four letters without any vowels: YHWH. Jews stopped saying the name all together in the third century AD. They stopped saying this name because they were afraid of violating the fourth commandment that prohibits misusing, or taking the Lord’s name in vain. Therefore scholars today don’t know for sure if the original pronunciation was Yahweh or Jehovah.
Tradition follows the convention used in the King James Version which translates YHWH by itself as LORD with a capital L and small capital letters for the rest of the word. This is done to set it apart from other uses of the word lord. Then whenever YHWH occurs as a compound name with other words the translators use the word Jehovah instead.
El Elyon (The Most High God)
First seen in Genesis 14:18 Used 52 times in the Bible (sometimes without El, simply as Elyon)
El is likely related to the word Elohim and is used in conjunction with other descriptive words to specifically reference a particular characteristic of God.
Elyon means highest or most high. Used together El Elyon means The Most High God. It refers to the characteristic of God that is above everyone and everything.
This name describes his position as sovereign majestic preeminent God.
Adonai (Lord, Master)
First seen in Genesis 15:2 Used 434 times in the Bible
Because the Jews have a tradition of not pronouncing nor spelling out the promised proper name of God they often would use Adonai instead of YHWH.
Adonai means Lord, Master, or Owner.
This name emphasizes that God is in charge of his creation and his people, Lord of lords.
El Shaddai (Lord God Almighty)
First seen in Genesis 17:1 – Used 48 times in the Bible (sometimes without El, simply as Shaddai)
O Lord, our Lord, How excellent is Your name in all the earth! Shaddai derives from the word for a woman’s breast (shad) and literally means “many breasted one.” This denotes God as provider, supplying, nourishing, and satisfying his people with their needs as a mother would her child. God our sustainer.
Shaddai is also related to the Hebrew word shadad which means to overpower or destroy, referring to God’s absolute power. This describes God as the one who triumphs over every obstacle and all opposition. Used together El Shaddai is usually translated Lord God Almighty. God is our all-powerful and all-sufficient sustainer.
El Olam (The Everlasting God)
First seen in Genesis 21:33
Used 439 times in the Bible
Olam means forever, always, continuous existence, perpetual, everlasting, evermore, perpetual, indefinite or unending future, eternity.
Used together El Olam means The Everlasting God. He exists beyond time and space. We can take comfort in the fact that God always was, and always will be God. Nothing we can ever face will change that because God is unchangeable
Jehovah Jireh (The LORD Will Provide)
Only occurs once in Genesis 22:14
Jireh means to see or provide.
When Isaac asked Abraham where the lamb was for the sacrifice, Abraham replied that the Lord would provide. After God provided the ram for the sacrifice Abraham named that place on Mount Moriah Jehovah Jireh, meaning
The LORD Will Provide.
God is quietly arranging things behind the scenes so that they will be in just the right place exactly when we need them.
Jehovah Rapha (The LORD Who Heals You)
Occurs only once in Exodus 15:26
Rapha means to heal or make healthful.
Together Jehovah Rapha means The LORD Who Heals You. God is the Great Physician who heals his people. This truth in God’s name applies equally to emotional, psychological, and physical healing as well as to nations and individuals alike.
Jehovah Nissi (The LORD Is My Banner)
Occurs only once in Exodus 17:15
Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
Nissi means flag or banner so together Jehovah Nissi means
The LORD Is My Banner.
God himself is our banner and victory.
He gives us hope and a focus, and is the one who wins our battles.
El Qanna (Jealous God)
First seen in Exodus 20:5 Used 6 times in the Bible
Qanna means jealous, zealous, or envy.
Used together El Qanna means Jealous God. God’s jealousy is a holy, loving jealousy without any of the insecure manipulation or control that comes packaged with worldly jealousy.
It draws from the marriage relationship with a picture of a husband jealous for his wife.
God longs for each of us to put him first in our lives in priority and importance, not out of ego, but because he knows that is truly what is best for us.
Jehovah Mekoddishkem (The LORD Who Sanctifies You)
First seen in Exodus 31:13
Only other occurrence is in Leviticus 20:8
Mekoddishkem means holy or set apart.
It is the process of sanctification, which is the separation of something so that it is holy. Used together Jehovah Mekoddishkem (can have the variant spelling Jehovah M’Kaddesh) means The LORD Who Sanctifies You.
God sets us apart as his children when we become believers. He sanctifies us and makes us holy because we are incapable of it on our own.
Jehovah Shalom (The LORD Is Peace)
Occurs only once in Judges 6:24
Shalom means peace, absence of strife, complete, or sound.
Used together Jehovah Shalom means
The LORD Is Peace.
When it seems like the whole world is against you or that you are completely unable to deal with whatever problem is in front of you, turn to the God of peace to find comfort and strength.
Jehovah Sabaoth (The LORD of Hosts)
First seen in 1 Samuel 1:3
Used in the Bible more than 285 times
Sabaoth means an army going out to war.
Used together Jehovah Sabaoth means
The LORD of Armies or The LORD of Hosts.
The Lord reigns over a vast well ordered host in the heavenlies.
God is always there to defend us, fight our battles, and win our wars.
There is no enemy he cannot defeat.
Jehovah Raah (The LORD Is My Shepherd)
Occurs once in Psalms 23:1.
Raah is also used in reference to God in
Genesis 48:15, Genesis 49:24, and Psalm 80:1
Raah means to shepherd or feed, to supply with food, and to be a good friend.
Jehovah Raah means
The LORD Is My Shepherd.
God is a friend who provides extravagant nourishment, protection, as well as rest for our weary bodies and souls.
Jehovah Tsidkenu (The LORD Our Righteousness)
First seen in Jeremiah 23:6
Only other occurrence is in Jeremiah 33:16
Tsidkenu means justice, rightness, righteousness, deliverance, victory, and prosperity.
Used together Jehovah Tsidkenu means
The LORD Who Is Our Righteousness.
God himself stands for us and provides us with His righteousness and justice when we don’t have any in ourselves.
He is the one who provides victory and our prosperity.
Jehovah Shammah (The LORD Is There)
Occurs only once in
And the name of the city from that time on will be: THE LORD IS THERE.
Shammah is an adverb that simply means there, although when it’s used in relation to time it means
then. Together Jehovah Shammah means The LORD is There.
God revealed this name at a time when Israel was in rebellion and in captivity.
God was letting the Jews know that he had not forsaken them and that he was still there, both in their present as well as in their future. Regardless of what you are going through, or what you are heading into, you can take comfort knowing that God is already there.
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Scripture quotations taken from the NASB:
New American Standard Bible®,
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