His Name is… Elohim

Written by Cheryl Erasmus

I want to look into the way Jesus lived so that I can become the disciple He has called me to be— His learner-follower.  Not only for the purpose of knowing Him better, of entering into a deeper personal relationship with the Saviour, but also so that His plan for me in this world of people, whom God loves, can be accomplished.  So as a point of departure, I thought I would visit the Scriptures in the Old Testament, where Jesus in His pre-incarnate Person visited and interacted with people.  Perhaps if you will join me, we can then spend time in the Gospels, skimming and dipping into His life on earth—His parables, His miracles, His living in Israel, His death, burial and resurrection and forward.  Join me on this journey to see where He leads…as we learn about Father, Son and Holy Spirit all at the same time.

It is generally believed, with confirmation found in the text, that the references made to “The Angel of the Lord” in the Old Testament, are in fact Jesus before He became man in the fullness of time.  Let us consider what He reveals with these visitations, both in terms of purpose and revelation of God.  For if God did not reveal Himself to mankind there is no way we could know the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
The implication is clear therefore that if there has been revelation, there is also to be purpose – yes purpose for both you and me!

But let us first go back to the beginning – to that first revelation of THE NAME – where God introduces Himself to His creation.  We go back to look at “the first mention”…invariably found in Genesis (but not always).

Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God (ELOHIM) created the heavens and earth…

I am no Hebrew scholar, but just in looking up Hebrew words often opens the lid to hidden treasure for me.  See this…God introduces Himself as ELOHIM with this noun being plural but always uses the verb in singular format.  He is telling us that there are three - the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit - but in the same breath teaches us that there is such unity between these three persons that they act and speak as one.  (We see this so clearly in Jesus’ example of daily living from His Father’s presence.)

Using this Name of ELOHIM throughout Scripture God declares Himself the Creator – the King – the Judge – the Lord – the Saviour – Almighty - Majestic.  His character is compassionate and gracious and faithful to His every Word.  When this name or its abbreviated form of EL is used with Gods unique Name of Jehovah, the vastness and depth is more than my words can describe. Read some OT Scriptures with me for these speak more clearly than my words can ever do.

Genesis 5:1 When God (ELOHIM) CREATED man, He made him in the likeness of God (ELOHIM)…
Deuteronomy 7:9 Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; He is the FAITHFUL God…
Psalm 47:7-8 For God is the KING of all the earth; sing to Him a psalm of praise. God reigns over the nations; God is seated on His holy throne.
Psalm 50:6 … the heavens proclaim His righteousness, for God himself is JUDGE…
Psalm 100:3 Know that the Lord is God…
Hosea 13:4 But I am the Lord your God, who brought out of Egypt.  You shall acknowledge no God but me, no SAVIOUR except me.

This God who is beyond our finite comprehension introduces Himself to His creation, drawing us into fellowship with Him.  I recently learnt something that blesses me beyond words and I hope I can explain properly.  In Hebrew, Genesis 1:1 is written using seven words of which the central word is not translated.  This word appears thousands of times in the OT but it is in not translatable.
This central word in that first sentence with which God introduces Himself is made up of the first and last letter of the Hebrew alphabet i.e. Aleph and Tav.  It reminds us of course of Jesus saying to John in Revelation 1:8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega… who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty”. In this case the words for the first and last letter of the Greek alphabet was used in translation.  But in all likelihood Jesus would have spoken to John in Hebrew in which case He would have said “I am the Aleph-Tav…”

But see now the old Hebrew pictures for these two letters – Aleph is an ox and Tav is a cross!
So the great ELOHIM in introducing Himself to His creation silently declares in the middle of the first sentence that Jesus would die on the cross to purchase back His own, because He is the beginning and end of all creation.  Then this word occurs untranslated thousands of times in Scripture, reaffirming His promise of redemption for those who come to Him as Lord and Saviour.

How marvellous!  How awesome!

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