We all go by different names. Many people know me as Debra, though I am also known as Debbie, Mrs. Pedrow, Mom, Aunt Debra, and D. Just like you, I also have names that not only identify my person, they describe what I do and who I am.
I was born a daughter, sister, granddaughter and niece at the moment of my birth. I soon became a cousin, neighbor, friend, student, Girl Scout, Rainbow Girl, Christian, Color Guard, babysitter, artist, employee, wife, mother, Girl Scout mother, volunteer, writer, mother-in-law, and much more.
Each “name” offers clues to who I am and the direction of my heart. And God’s names, all found in the Bible, also offer insight to the reader as to what His true being and character are.
God’s names help us understand His being.
1. YHWH is the spelling of God’s original proper name in Hebrew. It uses only consonants, written before vowels originated. Once vowels were incorporated in written word, the spelling became YAHWEH. Translated to English the name becomes all capitals, LORD.
When God spoke to Moses and told him to go to Pharaoh and tell him to free the Israelites from slavery, God revealed His name to Moses.
Exodus 3:13-14 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.’ ”
In a very simple description, YHWH is written to describe God’s character that HE IS—God is present. YAHWEH, LORD, and the name JEHOVAH, all reveal by the same definition that GOD IS always present and accessible to all that call on His name.
2. Elohim is a Hebrew word for God. It is used in the very first sentence of the Bible and continues over 2,500 times in the Old Testament. Elohim is the One True God, our Creator.
Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God [ELOHIM] created the heavens and the earth.
3. El Shaddai, uses EL as the shortened form of Elohim then adds another word to form a compound name of God meaning: “God Almighty”. The first usage of El Shaddai is in Genesis 17 when God is about to mention His covenant with Abram for the third time. (God’s covenant is first mentioned in chapter 12 then again in chapter 15.)
Genesis 17:1 When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty [El Shaddai]; walk before me faithfully and be blameless.
4. El Elyon, is a name of God which again identifies His character. It means: “God Most High”. The name is used by king Melchizedek when he blesses Abram for rescuing Lot, Abram’s nephew, and for recovering personal possessions and defeating several regional kings.
Genesis 14:18-20 Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High and he blessed Abram, saying, “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth. And praise be to God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand.” Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.
5. Abba, the most personal and intimate name for God, means: “Father”. It is used in the New Testament three times and each time the name appears, it is followed by the Greek translation, Father. In the book of Mark, Jesus uses the devoted name as He calls to God while agonizing in prayer, knowing He is about to be separated from The Father while taking on the sins of the world on The Cross.
Mark 14:36 “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”
In Romans, Paul writes that new believers receive the Spirit and are “adopted” into the family of Christ. Adoption gives the believer full rights in the family, just as if they were natural heirs. By this right, we Christians claim an endearing relationship with “Abba, Father”.
Romans 8:15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”
Paul, again writes “Abba, Father.” to the Galatians, explaining the intimate relationship they may now claim with God.
Galatians 4:4-7 But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.
Friends, why wait any longer?
God wants you to fully experience your sonship and daughtership! Jesus loves you, He died for you, and His desire is that you fully know Him on a personal level.
YHWH is our Elohim [God], the El Shaddai [God Almighty], who is El Elyon [God Most High]—He is Abba, our personal Father”.