“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.”
Romeo and Juliet (II,ii,1-2) Shakespeare
If I understand Mr. Shakespeare correctly it doesn’t really matter what we call something because the “name” doesn’t change the “it”. A rose will still smell wonderfully regardless of what we call it. So, then the name only means something to us. A name makes it possible for us to understand each other when discussing – a rose – for example. When, in conversation, I mention my rose garden, you will have a very good idea of what I am referring to. Maybe not the actual size, type or color roses, but you will know that we are not talking about oranges. Even then, the name Orange brought something to mind – didn’t it?
Wikipedia says that “a name is a word or term used for identification. Names can identify a class or category of things, or a single thing, either uniquely, or within a given context. A personal name identifies, not necessarily uniquely, a specific individual human. The name of a specific entity is sometimes called a proper name“
Another site defines “name” similarly “Generally a name is a label for a noun – a person, place or thing. More specifically a name is a label for a specific person, place or thing.”
Gods’ Word tells us “A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches” Proverb 22:1 KJV
What then, does the names of God tell us? When, in conversation, I mention my belief in God what do you see in your minds eye? Do you see the white-bearded figure painted on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel? Or, maybe the Name God brings to mind a vengeful figure who rains fire and brimstone upon those who defied Him? Do you see a young child sitting beside His Sainted Mother? Maybe the name God causes you to think of the suffering Savior nailed to a cross? Or the victorious Lord Who rose on the third day and ascended into Heaven?
For everyone the answer will be different. Say the name God or Jesus and people will conjure up what they will based on their beliefs. But God can be a vague and general term and Jesus is not limited by what that one name refers to – Jesus means God Saves!
Our God has many names and each one tells us about His character and nature so that we aren’t left doubting or disputing about Him. In this series I hope to shed some light on the many names of God and hope to pull back the curtain to reveal a little bit more about Who He is based on His Word.
The Old Testament Names of God and their meaning
Jah or Yah – LORD (King/Master/Head) Ps.68:4
Jehovah or Yahweh – I AM/The eternal One/Unchangeable Ex 3:13-14
Jehovah Adon (singular) Jehovah Adonai (plural) – LORD of lords Ps. 109:21
Jehovah El – LORD God (singular form) Ps. 31:5
Jehovah Elohim – Uni-plural form (3-in-1) – LORD Gods/Strong or mighty an object of fear/God as creator, governing and redeeming man/God of Israel Gen 2:4
Jehovah Elyon – The LORD most high Ps. 7:17
Jehovah Jireh – The LORD will provide Gen 22:13-14 / Phil 4:19
Jehovah Makeh – The LORD smites, punishes sin Ezk 7:9
Jehovah Mekaddishkem – The LORD our sanctifer Lev 20:7-8
Jehovah Nissi – The LORD my banner or ensign Ex. 17:10-12
Jehovah Rapha – The LORD who heals Ps. 103:3; 107:20
Jehovah Roi – The LORD my shepherd Ps. 23:1 / Mk. 6:34; Heb 13:20
Jehovah Saboath – The LORD of hosts (angelic armies) 1Sam 1:3 /James 5:4
Jehovah Shalom – The LORD our peace – Judges 6:24 / Jn 14:27
Jehovah Shammah – The LORD is present Ezk 48:35
Jehovah Tsidkenu – The LORD our righteousness Jer 23:6; 33:16 / 1Cor 1:30
EL Elyon – Most high God, Exalted, elevated Ps. 21:7
El Olam – Everlasting God Isa 40:28
EL Roi – The God of sight, who keeps watch Gen 16:13
EL Shaddai – God Almighty both powerful and nourishes, sustains Gen 17:1
Wow! What a resume. These are the very impressive characteristics of our God as revealed to us by His own words. He wants you to know Him intimately. Even as He knows YOU.
Now, when, in conversation, I say God, I am talking about the great and mighty Everlasting God Who is Creator, Lord and Master of all. The One who sits on high and watches to see everything. The One who punishes sin but nourishes and sustains His people. He Who gives His righteousness to those He sanctifies and shepherds to a place of safety under His banner and provides for. One Who is ever present and ready to send healing and peace.
Can you see Him?
The next post in this series will be on the New Testament names of God. Thank you for stopping by. Please come back soon and be blessed, AL