The Center for
Messianic Learning 

Unapologetically Pro-Torah
Unashamedly Pro-Israel
Irrevocably Zionist
ב״ה
“… out of Tziyon will go forth Torah, the word of ADONAI from Yerushalayim.”
(Isaiah 2:3)
Jew and Gentile (Synagogue and Church), one in Messiah. (Ephesians 2:14)
“For He is our peace, Who made both one, and broke down the middle wall of partition, …”
 

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Please Note: Nothing on this website should be taken as anti-Church. I am not anti-anything or anyone. I am only pro-Torah and pro-Truth. Sometimes the Truth upsets our long-held beliefs. Why isn’t my theology consistent throughout this website?

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Developing a
Systematic Messianic Theology

“The purpose of careful theological formulations is not to put barriers in the way of people who are seeking salvation, but to define clearly the truths upon which genuine [Biblical] faith rests, so that people will not be misled by false doctrines.” [Robert M. Bowman, Jr. Why You Should Believe in the Trinity: An Answer to Jehovah's Witnesses. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1989, p. 18.]
 

Names of God

This article was written in response to a question from one of my students:

“In what instances are the names of God used? I listened to a study one time that briefly touched on it but I’m still unsure. The person conducting the study was all over the place and very hard to follow. He said “Elohim” refers to God as Creator… Yahweh, as deliverer — and beyond that he lost me completely.”

I don’t have an answer for all of HaShem’s many Names and how they are used on what occasions, but I have gleaned at least of partial list of His many Names and Titles (and some of their uses) that I thought might interest you.

In Judaism, both Rabbinical and Messianic, the appellation[1]HaShem” is probably most frequently used to avoid uttering the Name of God that is considered by Judaism to be too sacred to be pronounced. HaShem is the Hebrew term that translates into English as “The Name.”

First and foremost, if HaShem has a “personal” Name we should probably consider that it is the Name that is considered by most too sacred to pronounce, represented by the four letters known as the Tetragrammaton. In Hebrew that Name is represented by the letters yud-hey-vav-hey [hwhy], and always pronounced in Judaism as “ADONAI,” the Hebrew word for “LORD.” In English the Tetragrammaton is represented by the letters YHVH or YHWH and when represented in most English Bibles, “The Name” is represented by the word “LORD” in small capital letters. When it appears in the text as ADONAI Elohim, it is generally rendered as either LORD God or Lord GOD, depending upon the word order in the Hebrew text. Most recent scholarship has located ancient Hebrew Bible texts in which the vowel points are found on the Tetrartammaton, allowing us to finally know that the proper pronunciation of the Sacred Name is “YeHoVaH.”

The use of a V or W as the third letter depends on what part of the world you are from.[2] In most parts of the world Jews (that is, those who speak Hebrew as a primary language) call the third letter “vav” and pronounce it the same as the English letter V. In other parts of the world the same letter is called “waw” and is pronounced like the English letter W. That’s why you will see it represented both ways. (It’s kind of like Hawaii or Havaii for the island state.)

There is, in fact, no adequate English translation for YHWH. The approximation “I AM WHO I AM” is inadequate, in that the Hebrew language doesn’t have a verb equivalent to the English verb “to be” — hence to translate the Name as “I AM” (first person singular, present tense, of the verb “to be”) is not actually grammatically accurate. Additionally, the “tenses” in Hebrew are determined more from the context than from the actual word construction; this is one of the reasons that I believe that Hebrew is the language spoken in Heaven and taught by HaShem to Adam and Cheva [Eve] in Gan Eden [the Garden of Eden]. It is the language that was spoken by all of humanity up until the dispersion from Babel, and I am convinced it will be the language of the olam haba [the world to come, or “heaven”]. I think it very appropriate that the eternal Creator, Who exists outside of the space/time continuum that He created, should teach our first parents to speak a language which has no tenses; that is, no past, present, or future tense per se.

Thus any approximation we attempt to provide for “YHWH” that uses any form of the verb “to be” will rem6ain inadequate: “I am Who I am” or “I will be Who I will be,” neither really works for Him Who was, and is, and is to come. Possibly the “best” English equivalent might be “The Self-Existent One” or simply “The Eternal.”

This is the Name by which He speaks of Himself in direct relation to His covenants, and is therefore most often referred to as His “Covenant Name.”

One thing that we know with absolute certainty, the word “Jehovah” is definitely not His name. In fact, “Jehovah” is not even a real word, and certainly neither Hebrew nor Aramaic, in that neither language has a letter equivalent to “J” and neither language has a “jay-sound.” The word “Jehovah” is therefore completely impossible to utter in either Hebrew or Aramaic. Go here for an expanded discussion.

When reading the four letters hwhy out loud, respect for the Creator dictates that it be pronounced as “ADONAI.”

There are 16 Names/Titles of HaShem which are compounded from the Name ADONAI, with an approximation of the meaning of the Title, with a reference to a verse or verses in which it is used):

 1. hwhy-Elohim: the Eternal Creator (usually represented in English Bibles as “LORD God”) (Gen. 2:4-25)

 2. Adonai-hwhy: Lord hwhy; Master hwhy; hwhy our Sovereign (usually represented in English Bibles as “Lord GOD”) (Gen. 15:2,8)

 3. hwhy-Yireh: ADONAI our Provider; ADONAI Who Provides; ADONAI Who Sees (Gen. 22:8-14)

 4. hwhy-Nissi: ADONAI our Banner (Exod. 17:15)

 5. hwhy-Ropheka: ADONAI our Healer (Exod. 15:26)

 6. hwhy-Shalom: ADONAI our Peace (Judges 6:24)

 7. hwhy-Tsidkeenu: ADONAI our Righteousness (Jer. 23:6; 33:16)

 8. hwhy-Mekaddishkem: ADONAI our Sanctifier (Exod. 31:13; Lev. 20:8; 21:8; 22:9,16,32; Ezek. 20:12)

 9. hwhy-Saboath: ADONAI of Hosts; ADONAI of Armies (1 Sam 1:3, etc; used 281 times)

10. hwhy-Shammah: ADONAI is Present (Ezek. 48:35)

11. hwhy-Elyon: ADONAI Most High (Ps. 7:17; 47:2; 97:9)

12. hwhy-Rohi: ADONAI my Shepherd (Ps. 23:1)

13. hwhy-Hoseenu: ADONAI our Maker (Ps. 95:6)

14. hwhy-Eloheinu: ADONAI our God (Ps. 99:5,8,9)

15. hwhy-Ekoheka: ADONAI your God (Exod. 20:2,5,7)

16. hwhy-Elohay: ADONAI my God (Zech. 14:5)

Some of the additional Names and Titles of God include the following:

 1. Elohim (2,701 times) / Plural of Eloah; literally, Gods / the Supreme God; the Creator God. Used to indicate the relation of HaShem to man as Creator, in contrast with hwhy which indicates Him in covenant relationship with His creation. The word elohim literally means “mighty ones” and is used also of false gods, idols, and the elders of Israel.

 2. hwhy (6,437 times) / The Eternal One / The covenant Name He revealed to Israel, and therefore became their national Name for Him. Represented in most English Bibles as LORD (all upper-case) or small capitals (LORD) except when used with Adonai (Lord) as part of a compound designation. For example: hwhy-Elohim would be LORD God, whereas Adonai-hwhy would be Lord GOD.

 3. El (220 times) / Strength; the Strong and Mighty One; the Almighty; the Most High God

 4. Eloah (56 times) / Deity; God; the Divine One

 5. Elah (76 times) / God (used only in Ezra and Daniel)

 6. Tsur (once) / Rock; Refuge (Isa. 44:8)

 7. El-Elyon (250 times) / Most High God; the Mighty One; Highest Sovereign; the First Cause; possessor of the heavens and earth

 8. El-Shaddai (218 times) / Almighty God / El signifies Strong One; Shaddai signifies Breasted One. Signifies HaShem as the Strong Nourisher, Strength-Giver, Satisfier, All-Bountiful, Fruitful One, Life Giver; Supplier of the needs of His people. Used in the narrative of making Avraham and Sarah fruitful.

 9. Adon (30 times) / Ruler, Master, Lord, Possessor

10. El-Olam / Literally, the Mighty Everything or the Mighty Eternity. The name of HaShem which expresses His eternal Being as well as His authorship of all eternal things, plans, and purposes in the universe. The word “olam” conveys the idea of time out of mind, eternity, everlasting, perpetual, always, everyplace and every time; the entire universe. It is translated in the KJV as “everlasting” 67 times, “ever” 238 times, “evermore” 15 times, “perpetual” 22 times, and “eternal” 11 times; it is also translated as “ancient,” “always,” “of old,” “for ever and ever,” “at any time,” “never,” “alway,” “the world,” and “long.” In every case, it expresses that which is without end whether used of HaShem, covenants, possessions, hills, mercy, distance, direction, or other subjects.

 11. Yah / An abbreviation of hwhy

12. Ancient of Days

13. Father

14. Most High

This list doesn’t include any of the titles of Messiah or of Ruach HaKodesh, which would be a whole other study in and of itself. I am sure that there numerous additional Names and Titles that I have missed.

_________________________

This list of names is gleaned from numerous locations throughout Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible by Finis Jennings Dake, Dake Bible Sales, Inc., Lawrenceville GA 30246, copyright 1963. Dakes’ approach and interpretation appears to be “hyper-Pentecostal” so I approach his commentary with considerable caution; but I doubt that you will find a more extensive and exhaustive resource for sheer statistics about the Bible.

Why we refer to God as HaShem Names of God

 

Page revised on Sunday, 24 January 2021

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  1. An appellation is a title used in place of a name, also called a circumlocution (a roundabout way of referring to someone or something), to avoid the use of the actual name. In Judaism, the name of God is considered too sacred to be pronounced except on the rarest of occasions, so alternate forms of reference are nearly always used instead. [RETURN]

 2.  . [RETURN]

Page last updated on Tuesday, 09 February 2021 01:20 PM
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