This Shabbat I was led to do an ancient Hebrew study on the different names that describe our God, YAH. It dawned on me that knowing Yah and His nature should really have been the very first study I ever did. How can I know who I am if I don’t know who He is, and since the Son who came in the Father’s name came down for the purpose of directing humanity back to the Creator it seems only befitting that I should endeavor to know all I can know about my Father. Seems like a no brainer yet this is the first time doing a study on the names of God even came into my mind to do. I am convicted just saying that, but I believe having that kind of heart makes the difference between those who only knows his acts, from those who he will make known His ways. (Ps 103:7)
Having an understanding of the name that is above every name automatically means studying him from a language unpolluted. (Zeph. 3:9; Php 2:9) As with anything we study it is important to start from the beginning and in the beginning the first Hebrew word we see that references God our Creator is the word ELOHIM. This word in Hebrew is phenomenal because it provides clarity to the extra biblical term that has caused so much controversy within Christendom in the West. The word is “trinity”, although the word used is not in the bible it is an accurate description to define the One God we serve in His triune nature. Many illustrations have been used to attempt to understand how this word “trinity” applies to Yah but most illustrations still seem to leave a flare of confusion that causes people to believe that “trinity” is some sort of admission to a Polytheistic god, in which Christendom is in full agreement doesn’t exist. We understand that God is definitely One God and He has no schizophrenic tendencies.
However, Zephaniah 3:9 tells us that Yah would restore unto us a pure language and one thing this pure language should have the capacity to do is lift the mystery from things that we didn’t understand and provide clarity where confusion exist. The word Elohim in Hebrew does exactly that, let’s take a look shall we.
The first thing we must know is that Hebrew is written from right to left so we would begin constructing the meaning of this word from that order. The universality of the Ancient Hebrew characters is my primary reason for believing that this is the pure language that God originally gave us in the Wilderness at Mt Sinai. It is a language that is not ambiguous in nature and doesn’t have the cloudiness of abstract symbols, and is plain enough that you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to understand it. It is a language that is for the people and is based on what you do, not what you think. It is a concrete language based on things we have handled or have seen in our lifetime from the youngest to the oldest.
In Hebrew unlike English each symbol has a meaning, name, numerical value, and concrete function. Unlike English which is abstract and descriptive driven, Hebrew is concrete and function driven. It is verb intense rather than adjective intense. For example in English if we were required to describe something we would list how it looks, which is Greek minded, whereas in Hebrew you would describe its function, what it does.
Having this understanding we can now construct the meaning of this first descriptive word we see in the Bible to describe God. The first thing we must know is how to determine if a word is plural or singular in the bible and like English which add’s an “s” to the end of a word to make it plural or an (‘) then “s” at the end of a word to make something possessive, Hebrew also has its rules for making such things known. In Hebrew the last three characters we see pluralizes the word for God, and has been a source of confusion for many. We can in English confirm this by reading the following passage which uses the exact same word we see in Genesis 1:1.
|(Gen 1:1) In the beginningH7225 GodH430 createdH1254 (H853) the heavenH8064 and the earth.H776(Gen 1:26) And GodH430 said,H559 Let us makeH6213 manH120 in our image,H6754 after our likeness:H1823 and let them have dominionH7287 over the fishH1710 of the sea,H3220 and over the fowlH5775 of the air,H8064 and over the cattle,H929 and over allH3605 the earth,H776 and over everyH3605 creeping thingH7431 that creepethH7430 uponH5921 the earth.H776
See where the two words above have the same corresponding numbers next to it “H430”? This is distinguished from the singular word for God “El” by the number “H410”. All one would need to study this out is a Strong’s Concordance or E-Sword (computer bible program) on laptop or phone to see how this works. Now see how in verse 26 we see God uses the pronoun “us” to describe what he is doing. This is a clear indication that the word “God” here is referencing him in His plurality. However, how can we make sense of the One God we serve referencing himself in a plural form? As we put the characters together it will become increasingly clear. So enough with the suspense here it is already.
Strongs #430: AHLB#: 1012-H (c)
Now with the meaning of the word attached we can see how this word “Elohim” reveals the triune nature of our Creator. We can understand this in three w’s as a means of committing to memory. Let’s take the first two characters together as we have already discussed the first two characters is the equivalent of the singular form for the title “God” and both characters together reflect the picture of God as the “Strong Shepherd” or if we take its numeric value we would say he is the “first shepherd”. This would be a very accurate depiction of the Father. The third character means to reveal, so this would make the last two characters the object of what the Father reveals to us within his own nature. The fourth character shows us that the “strong shepherd” which is the Father, “reveals” himself by his “work”. The last character reveals to us another way He has made himself known to us and that is by what he spoke, as water is not only known by the waves we see, but also by the waves we hear, known as sound waves. Thus the invisible things of God from the creation of the world are clearly seen by the things which he has made (such as water) even his eternal power and Godhead. (Rom. 1:20) Therefore we have the witness of God’s existence and triune nature because they are revealed by his power (work) and his eternal word.
Finally, I mentioned above the three w’s that help us understand the trinity and those three w’s that you can share with anyone is God is revealed by His will, by his work, and by his word. Indeed He has made us in His image and likeness as stated in Genesis 1:26 because the bottom line is, how do you express your invisible will to someone else? By what you say and what you do. This is the Creator’s signature on His masterpiece.
Next time in “There’s Something About that Name” we will explore the actual name of God YHWH and why it has been mysteriously disguised in our English bibles under the title “LORD”.
All Ancient Hebrew Characters provided by Jeff Benner Ancient Hebrew Research Center