FIVE NAMES OF GOD (Continuation of the Theological Statement posts)

For revelation to be relevant, revelation must be understandable. Communications primary key is connectivity. The names of God create pathways for communicative connections to exist between God and man. This is found primarily in the nominative value of designation over singular identification. In the varied expressions of God’s names as revealed in Scripture, God is known through his actions that are attached to the significant nomenclatures associated with him.

God’s names, as revealed in Scripture, lend themselves to the creation of a culture of shared values with the specific intent of communicating attributive qualities of nature and substance. Thus, God’s names are found to exist in the revelatory substance of God’s energies. This vehicular characteristic allows the intransigent qualities of God to be reduced into a knowable, understandable matrix that facilitates appropriate bonding between God and man.

This field of words that expresses God’s superiority above creation is seen in the various designates, such as El, El-Shaddai, El-Quanno, YHWH, and YHWH Sabboth. Each name presents a uniquely expressive aspect of God’s nature and character in a substantive posit. Within this framework, God makes himself known. The following presentation examines then, the five previous designations concerning God’s nomenclatures, as revealed in Holy Writ.

  1. El: The name El, in both its singular application, as well as El’s various multiple designations carries within its parameters a general revelatory examination of God. Dr. Thomas McCommisky in an article on: The Names of God, in The Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, states that: “El differs in usage from Elohim only in its usage in theophoric names and to serve to contrast the human and the divine (p. 465). ”

The El groupings of designative qualities convey the transcendent nature of God. He is the all-powerful One and is subservient to none. El conveys the eternality of God. He is not just the first being; He is El, the eternal being, who exists outside of creative substance. The extensive state of El’s being causes a respondent chord of fear, awe and respect to be sounded within creation’s comprehensive context.

  1. Elohim: This multiple designation for El, the compound or plural form, conveys God in his majesty, and according to Dr. Dan Mitchell, is the common designation for God in the Old Testament. Elohim “describes God in his original relationship with creation (Unpublished Lectures, THEO 626, Liberty Seminary).” The power of God’s names in this context, El, Elohim, El-Shaddai, El-Quanno and others, function with the capacity of creating externally knowable paradigms. As energies, these name designations are not intended to reveal the interior aspects of God’s nature. God is known through his external expressions. The active ability of God demonstrates his superiority.
  2. El-Shaddai: Etymologically, El-Shaddai’s meaning is obscured by the vast expanse of history’s shroud. “It has been connected with the Akkadian sadu (mountain)…with the word “breast”…and with the word sadad (to devastate) by others (McCommisky, pp. 464-65).” Dr. Mitchell suggests the meaning of “covenant” with El-Shaddai. This attaches readily with the Akkadian “mountain” designation . God has covenanted with man contextually on mountains; Abram and Isaac, salvation via a sacrificial substitute, Moses and Law’s communicant,

Jesus and the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7: all connote God covenanting through the usage of mountainous environs. The allusions of height, superiority over nature and the ability to see beyond natural limitations are expressed through the designation El-Shaddai. The jealous character of loves’ protective boundaries is equally seen in El-Quanno. God protects His servants through His jealous love.

  1. YHWH: Of all the nominative designations for God, none is held within the cradle of Judaism higher than YHWH. This definitive expression conveys the significant power of covenantal relationship. Although the Tetragrammaton was used prior to Moses’ encounter with the bush engulfed in flame and not consumed, the desert experience proved to be the primary teaching moment for the Jewish people in reference to God’s unique relationship with them as his people of promise. God is He who He is: the self-contained one. As an unpronounceable designate, the name YHWH implies the transcendent nature of God, in terms that convey his eminent qualities that defy description. Although God chooses to relate to humanity, humanity is restricted in appropriating actual knowledge pertaining to whom he exists as in his transcendent qualities.
  2. YHWH Sabboth, or Lord of Hosts: McCommisky suggests a variant translation has been opined that may merit consideration. “He creates the Heavenly Hosts, ” has been suggested for this appellative. This rendition carries within it the power of the sense that: He who Lords over all that exists, whether human, angelic or demonic. God’s rule extends over each contingency. None can challenge the powerful expression of who God is in his greatness. As such, not only is his rule unquestionable, God exists as the only one who is worthy of honor, glory and worship, as he who administrates power over armies, or hosts.

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