Rabbi’s Reflections – Sunday, March 14, 2021

Shavuah Tov,

Daily Bread, reading plan by Lars Enarson (https://www.thewatchman.org/)

Sun 14 Mar-2021 1st of Nisan, 5781 Rosh Chodesh Nisan

Le 1:1-13 Isa 23 Pr 16 Ac 15 (Rev 9)

One God… Many Names

by Dr. Raymond Finney

COMMENT: This RR may not make good reading, as such. It may be useful to print the RR and keep a copy with your Bible for future reference. The list is not complete. Many more names could ave been included. “That which we call a rose || By any other name would smell as sweet;….” (line spoken by Juliet Capulet in William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”).

INTRODUCTION: In what has become known as the “Lord’s prayer,” Yeshua taught us to pray to our Father in Heaven (Matthew 6:9): “Therefore, pray in this way: ‘Our Father in heaven, sanctified be Your name.’” “Father” translates the Greek Pater, and is in keeping with other Biblical references emphasizing that we humans are children of God. This heritage is established in the very beginning of the Tanakh by the creation of man by Elohim– “God,” in the plural (Genesis 1:26a): Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness!….”

The Bible, especially the Tanakh, has many names for God the Father. In today’s RR, I will define some of these names, listed in alphabetical order. Rabbi Weiner touched on a small part of this RR in his March 1 RR, but I had already written this RR and I am too lazy to re-write it. Think of déjà vu as a learning reinforcement technique. In https://christiananswers.net/dictionary/namesofgod.html , one of the references appended to this RR, more than nine-hundred names for members of the Holy Trinity are defined. Of course, all names cannot be included in this RR.

My first name is Raymond. I was named after my father. But, my name does not define who I am as a person. We commonly give nicknames to people that seem to fit their character (“Shifty,” etc.) or appearance (“Red,” etc.). Such was also the case in the ancient world. For example, the Apostle Peter’s name, given to him by his parents, was Simon bar-Jonah (“Simon, son of Jonah”). He was, though, given nicknames of Cephas (from Aramaic, John 1:42) and Petros (from Greek, Matthew 16:18– “Peter” in English) – both of which translate to “Stone.”

In the ancient world, a name was used both for identification and for definition of the person’s character. Those who worshiped God many centuries ago called Him by names that were meaningful to them. Some of these names are only used once in the entire Bible. A partial list of God’s names follows:

Abba (of Aramaic origin– translation: “Father” or “Daddy”). Abba was not used by Jews in formal language in reference to God, but Yeshua prayed to His Father, Abba, in the Garden of Gethsemane (Mark 14:36). In the three B’rit Chadasah passages in which Abba is found, the title is followed by a qualification– Greek Abba, Pater (English “Abba, Father”). Some interpreters teach that Abba was a familiar, loving family name of trust, such as our English “Daddy.” We have all heard formal, stiff prayers prefaced by lofty names for God. When God’s Son prayed to Him in anguish in the Garden just hours before His crucifixion, surely God was more moved by a simple, loving prayer which began, “Daddy.”

Adonai (translation: “My Lord” or “My Master”). In the B’rit Chadashah, the Greek Kyrios is substituted for the Hebrew Adonai. Adonai (“My Lord”) is the personalized form of Adon (“Lord”). Adonai usually refers to God, my Lord and Master. Some Christian/ Believer authors suggest the plural form, Adonai, refers to the Holy Trinity– God in Three Persons. Adon (singular) usually refers to a human master. The Jews considered Yehovah (Yahweh– Jehovah) to be God’s personal name. The name Yehovah was “ineffable” (unutterable, that is, never to be said for fear of mispronouncing God’s holy name, taking the name of God in vain and violating Exodus 20:7). Interestingly, the full name of God is still not used by some in Israel. For example, in the English version of The Jerusalem Post, God is spelled “G-d.” Intentionally misspelling “God” as “G-d” must seem preferable to accidentally misspelling “God.” Adonai was often substituted for Yehovah, but adon is not exclusively limited to God as a human could be called a “lord.” See: Genesis 15:2. 

Rabbi Trail:  Notwithstanding the above, there is also an aversion to printing God’s name on anything that might be thrown into the trash.  In Judaism, therefore; God’s name is only written in prayerbooks or the Torah which will never be trashed.  End RT.

Bara. From Hebrew (translation: “Creator”). See: Isaiah 40:28. Also, Bara Yisrael (from Hebrew, translation: “Creator of Israel”). See: Isaiah 43:15. Also, Creator of the ends of the Earth, translated from Hebrew. See: Isaiah 40:28. 

Beginning and end. Refers to Yehovah (God), translated from Hebrew. See: Isaiah 41:4. Compare Yeshua’s title, “Alpha and Omega,” referring to the beginning (alpha) and ending (omega) of the Greek alphabet. See Revelation 1:8.

Deliverer. Refers to Yehovah (God), translated from Hebrew. See: 2 Samuel 2:22. Also, refers to Yeshua in the B’rit Chadashah (from Greek, Romans 11:26: ek Sion ho ruomenos = “Deliverer out of Zion”).

El (translation: “God”). El, borrowed from the Canaanite language, is commonly coupled with an adjective to define “God” more fully, as shown in following examples.

Elohim (translation: “Creator,” or “God,” or “Judge”). El is translated “God.” The -im suffix on a Hebrew noun makes it a plural noun. The plurality of this name creates a bit of confusion. The Bible begins (Genesis 1:1): In the beginning God created…. The word here translated “God” is Elohim (a plural name), rather than El (a singular name). Literally this verse could be translated: “In the beginning the Gods created….” The Jews were passionately monotheistic, though, believing there is only one God, as stated in the Sh’ma Yisrael, Deuteronomy 6:4: “Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.” Hebrew scholars explain that Elohim is a plural intensive with singular meaning. English has its quirks, too. Consider the sentence: “Look at the deer.” Is there one deer or more than one deer? 

Some Christian writers suggest that Elohim and other plural references to God (example: Genesis 1:26a: Then God said, “Let US make man in OUR image, after OUR likeness! ….”) show that Yeshua was present with God the Father at the beginning of time (at creation), as emphasized in John1:1-3: In the beginning was the Word. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. All things were made through Him, and apart from Him nothing was made that has come into being. [Here, John substituted “the Word” for the name of Yeshua.] [Elohim = Eloah. See: Deuteronomy 32:15.]

El Elyon (translation: “The Most High God” or “The Most Exalted God”). This name expresses the sovereignty and majesty of God. See: Genesis 14:18.

El Olam (translation: “Everlasting God” or “Eternal God”). This name,  expressing the eternal nature of God (no beginning, no end), came from oIam, the Hebrew word for eternity. See: Genesis 21:33.

El Roi (translation: “God who sees [me]” or “God of seeing”). See: Genesis 16:13.

El Shaddai (translation: “Lord God Almighty,” or “Almighty God,” or “The All-Sufficient One”). An important name for God, the Jewish High Priest would raise his hands above his head, forming the letter shin (the first letter of Shaddai), as he announced, “It [the year’s Passover sacrifices] are finished.” Yeshua, our High Priest, is thought to have died at the same time (3:00 pm) the Temple sacrifice of Passover lambs was finished. Yeshua announced on the cross, “It is finished” (John 19:30). Yeshua did not announce that His life was finished, as some  erroneously imagine. Rather, He announced that the earthly missions God the Father had given Him were finished. In the Greek B’rit Chadashah text, Yeshua is quoted as saying, “Tetelestai,” which was a Greek business term comparable to our business phrase, “Paid in Full.” (That is, the penalty for all of mankind’s sins had been paid in full by the death of Yeshua. Yeshua paid our debts for us!) Yeshua could lay down His life, knowing that His tasks on Earth had been completed. Also, many Jewish/ Messianic homes have a mezuzah (plural, mezuzot) affixed to the front door post. The mezuzah houses a tiny parchment scroll, the klaf, upon which is written a verse of Scripture (often, the Sh’ma Yisrael– Deuteronomy 6:4). The front of the mezuzah is often decorated with the Hebrew letter shin– the first letter in Shaddai. See: Genesis 17:1. 

Jehovah [Hebrew: Yehovah] (translation: “The Existing One” or “Lord”). Yehovah (Jehovah) comes from the Hebrew word Havah (translation: “to be,” or “to exist,” or possibly “to become known.”). This name recalls God’s answer to Moses (Exodus 3:14): God answered Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” Then He said, “You are to say to Bnei-Yisrael, ‘I AM’ has sent me to you.” [Bnei-Yisrael = “children of Israel”] 

God… (translated from Hebrew), with multiple qualifiers, such as: …Almighty (first used: Genesis 28:3). …Alone (see: Psalm 86:10). …Full of Compassion (see: Psalm 86:15). …Most High (see: Psalm 57:2). …My Maker (see: Job 35:10). …My Rock (see: Psalm 42:9). …of Abraham (see: Genesis 26:24). …of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (see :Exodus 3:6). …of All Families of Israel (see: Jeremiah 31:1). …of All Flesh (see: Jeremiah 32:27). …of Bethel (see: Genesis 31:13). …of Glory (see: Psalm 29:3). …of gods (see: Deuteronomy 10:17). …of Heaven (see: Genesis 24:3). …of Heaven and Earth (see: Ezra 5:11). …Yeshurun or Jeshurun [a poetic name for Israel] (see: Deuteronomy 33:26). …of Knowledge (see: 1 Samuel 2:3). …of My Life (see: Psalm 42:8). Et cetera.

Jehovah-Jireh [Hebrew: Yehovah-Yireh] (translation: “The Lord Will Provide”). Abraham called God Yehovah-Yireh– “The Lord Will Provide” – because God provided a substitute (a ram) on Mount Moriah to serve as the sacrifice in place of Abraham’s son, Isaac. See: Genesis 22:14.

Jehovah-Mekoddishkem (translation: “The Lord Who Sanctifies You” or “The Lord Who Sets You Apart”). Mekoddishkem comes from the Hebrew qadash (translation: “sanctify, make holy, dedicate.”) Sanctification is the separation of a person to be dedicated to something holy (more importantly, dedicated to Someone holy). Jehovah-Mekoddishkem recognizes that Jehovah (God) can set any person aside as a Holy One. In Heaven, resurrected and raptured persons will be called “saints.” “Saint,” coming from the Greek hagios, means “a most holy thing.” Although many use the word differently, I believe only a final cleansing from God can transform a Believer– all of whom sin in this life– into a Saint (hagios) –  an eternal soul who will not sin in the next life and who will be worthy to be in the presence of God. Is this (the final purification from sin) one of the rewards at the Bema Judgment in Paradise? See Exodus 31:13 (God makes us holy, not a panel of clerics). Incidentally, more than 10,000 saints have been inducted into the Roman Catholic Church. Even the Church does not know how many saints it has,  and the procedure for sainthood has become even more relaxed in recent decades. Curious about how one becomes a saint? See: https://focusequip.org/how-does-someone-become-a-saint-a-5-step-process/ .     

Jehovah-Nissi (translation: “The Lord My Banner” or “The Lord My Miracle”). 

Hebrew nissi is translated “banner.” Moses proclaimed that Jehovah was Israel’s banner (nissi) under which the Israelites defeated the Amalekites. We may use Jehovah-Nissi as our banner of encouragement and hope. See: Exodus 17:15.

Jehovah-Raah (translation: “The Lord My Shepherd” or “The Lord My Friend”).

Hebrew raah is translated “shepherd” (sometimes “friend”). God– usually depicted as Yeshua, the Shepherd– tends for His people, as a shepherd cares for his flock. See: Genesis 48:15.

Jehovah-Rapha (translation: “The Lord Who Heals”). Hebrew rapha can mean “to restore, to heal, to make healthful.” Yeshua is often called “the Great Physician.” Many pray to God and ask for healing– even, supernatural healing. See: Exodus 15:26.

Jehovah-Tz’vaoth (translation: “The Lord of Hosts” or “The Lord of Powers”). 

Hebrew Tz’vaoth is translated as “armies” or “hosts.” This name could be translated with equal correctness as “The Lord of Armies.” This name underscores God’s sovereignty, power, and ultimate rulership over every army and every force, whether physical or spiritual. See: 1 Samuel 1:3. 

Jehovah-Shalom (translation: “The Lord Is Peace”). Hebrew shalom is the well-known word for “peace.” Jehovah-Shalom is the name of an altar built by Gideon in Ophrah. Shalom comes from the Hebrew Shalem (English: Salem), originally meaning “to be complete.” The -salem portion of Jerusalem comes from this word. See: Judges 6:24.

Jehovah-Shammah (translation: “The Lord Is There”). Hebrew Shammah is derived from sham (translation: “there”). Jehovah-Shammah is a symbolic name for earthly Jerusalem (“The Lord is there”). See: Ezekiel 48:35.

Jehovah-Tsidkenu (translation: “The Lord Our Righteousness”). Hebrew tsidkenu can be translated “stiff, straight, righteous.” Jehovah-Tsidkenu can be translated “The Lord Who Is Our Righteousness.” See: Jeremiah 23:6.

Qanna El (translation: “Jealous God”). Hebrew qanna is usually translated as “jealous” (or, perhaps, “envious”). This word usually related to jealousy in marriage. God described Himself as Israel’s Husband. When Israel chased after other gods, she committed spiritual adultery, and God was jealous of His unfaithful wife. He has always been jealous in that He wants all of our praise for Him, not any praise for false gods. See: Exodus 20:5.

Yah (a shortened version of Yahweh; see Yahweh in next paragraph). Yah may also be spelled Jah (but, still pronounced, yah). Our word “Hallelujah” combines the Hebrew hallalu (“praise”) and Jah (“the Lord”). “Hallelujah,” then = “Praise the Lord.”

Yahweh (translation: “Lord” or “Jehovah” [Yehovah]). This name, used 7,888  times in the Bible (King James Version), is the most common name for God. The Jews considered Yahweh (Yehovah) to be God’s personal name. Yahweh (Yehovah) was “ineffable” (unutterable; not able to be spoken for fear of mispronouncing God’s holy name, thereby taking the name of God in vain, which would be considered breaking one of the Ten Commandments [Exodus 20:7]). Adonai (“My Lord”) was often substituted for Yahweh. Or, HaShem (“the Name,” which we are forbidden to utter) was substituted. 

Hebrew used only consonants, not vowels. Yahweh (Yehovah) was represented by four consonants (translated to English letters) – YHWH (sometimes written YHVH). These four Hebrew letters– yud, hay, vav, hay– formed the Sacred Tetragrammaton (the four letters which spelled God’s Holy Name). When Yeshua was crucified for blasphemy, Pilate wrote the charges against Yeshua on the titulus (title board) nailed to Yeshua’s cross. The four Hebrew words, which announced Yeshua’s “crime” of being the Jews’ King when Rome’s emperor was legally their “king,” started with the four first letters of the Sacred Tetragrammaton (yud, hay, vav, hay). When the Jewish priests read the charge against Yeshua, they immediately recognized the Sacred Tetragrammaton and begged Pilate to change the wording to any phrase other than what was written (because that would change the spelling). Pilate refused. See John 19:19-22: Pilate also wrote a sign and put it on the execution stake. It was written, “YESHUA HA-NATZRATI, THE KING OF THE JEWS.” Many Judeans read this sign, because the place where Yeshua was executed was near the city; it was written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek. The ruling kohanim of the Judeans were saying to Pilate, “Don’t write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but that He said, ‘I am King of the Jews.’” “What I have written, I have written,” Pilate answered. [Kohanim = Jewish priests] 

Pilate inadvertently, persistently announced through a sign– the titulus (title board)  nailed to Yeshua’s cross– that this Man crucified there that day was the “King of the Jews.” If Pilate had changed the wording to that suggested by the kohanim, no longer would the acrostic written by Pilate the cross read “YHVH”– Yehovah (“Lord”)! Catholics commonly write “INRI” in depictions of Yeshua’s crucifixion, which are the four letters of the beginning Latin inscription, Iesvs Nazarenvs Rex Ivdaeorvm (“Yeshua of Nazareth, King of the Jews”) also nailed to the cross that day.

To the horror of the Jewish priests, Yeshua was crucified under the name of God (YWHW– Yehovah). We usually say “Jehovah” instead of “Yahweh” or “Yehovah” because this name is easier for English-speaking people. English has relatively few words beginning with the letter “Y.” One of the Ten Commandments about not taking the name of the LORD in vain (Exodus 20:7) uses Yehovah (YHWH, YHVH) as the name of God. Yahweh was sometimes shortened to Yah (Jah), and you may see this shortened name (especially in music).

HOLY TRINITY NAMES: See Internet sources for names of the Holy Trinity:

● For names and titles used for God the Father, see:

https://christiananswers.net/dictionary/namesofgod.html and https://www.allaboutbible.com/names-for-god-in-the-bible/  .

● For names and titles used for Yeshua, see:

https://bibleresources.org/names-of-jesus/ .

● For names and titles used for the Holy Spirit, see:

https://www.biblestudytools.com/concordance/torreys-topical-textbook/titles-and-names-of-the-holy-spirit.html .

Do you have a personal relationship with God that you may call Him your Lord and  your Father? It is as easy as merely coming home to Him. He is waiting for you to come home, and to hear you say: “Abba, I come home. Thank you for waiting for me.”

UNHOLY TRINITY NAMES: While we are at it, there are also multiple names,  titles, and characteristics for the Unholy Trinity, including these Internet sources:

● For names and titles used for Satan, see:

https://www.blueletterbible.org/faq/don_stewart/don_stewart/80.cfm .

● For names and titles used for the Antichrist, see:

http://www.biblebelievers.com/Pink/antichrist06.htm .

● For names and titles used for the False Prophet, see:

https://www.patheos.com/blogs/jimerwin/2016/07/20/revelation-1311-18-seven-characteristics-false-prophet/ .

Until next Sunday, Shalom and Maranatha.