NAMES OF GOD EXPLAINED
In Jewish tradition, a name is much more than a name as we see it today. They believe that a name transforms a person’s identity, which is why so many names in the Old Testament describe the character of the person.
And the same goes for God. We see name after name explaining His different characteristics and nature throughout the Old Testament and then once you hit the New Testament we get to know Him even more through the life of Jesus.
But what do all of these names like YHWH, Adonai, El Shaddai, Jehovah Jireh, really mean?
We’ll start with Yahweh because that’s the personal name of God and appears 6,500 times in the Old Testament. There’s this story in Exodus 3 where Moses is out in the wilderness for 40 years, he actually ran away from Egypt and was hiding out there. One day God shows up to Moses in the form of a burning bush and tells him about all of these miracles He’s going to perform through Moses. And Moses asks Him, “who should I say sent me?” And God said, tell them my name is “Yahweh” in Hebrew, which is translated as “I Am who I am”, so he said, “tell them that “I Am” sent you”.
Now this is the personal name of God. And when you see the name LORD in all caps in the Bible, that’s this word, Yahweh.
But the Jewish people wanted to show their respect for the sacred name Yahweh so over time they changed the name throughout the Hebrew Bible to the name Adonai, which in Hebrew means Lord, not all caps. And we see this name a lot throughout the Old Testament as well.
Some other names that we see describing God’s character are:
King of kings and Lord of lords and Ancient of Days
In Hebrew we have El-Shaddai, meaning God Almighty.
And Elohim, showing the 3 persons of the trinity in one name and also that He is Lord of lords.
And Jehovah Jireh, meaning "God will provide".
And Jehovah Rapha, “The God that heals”.
Or Jehovah Nissi, "the Lord is my banner”.
And my favorite, “Father”. Because we are His children and He loves each and every one of us more than anything.
So what does your name mean? If you don’t know, look it up online this week. Is it an accurate description of your life? Or were you named after someone? Maybe a family member or significant person? Spend some time looking into it! You might be surprised with what you find out!