The Names of God Part II


Assisted by John Pence Wihelm III

 JUST A FEW Part 2

1. (YHWH) Yahweh

God has no shortage of names–He is called by almost 1000 different ones in the Bible. (WOW!) But one of these names stands alone, and that name is Yahweh. Yahweh means “THE LORD” – Yahweh is derived from the Hebrew word for “I AM.” YHWH the tetragrammaton because of its four letters, is, strictly speaking, the only PROPER NAME  for God. It is A Name TOO SACRED TO BE UTTERED.  It is also the most frequent name, occurring in the Old Testament 6,828 times (almost 700 times in the Psalms alone). This name is always used of God in His covenant with His people in redemption and personal revelation. It speaks of His “Faithful Presence” and means “The Lord [Yahweh] saves.” As the sacred, personal name of Israel’s God, it was eventually spoken aloud only by priests worshiping in the Jerusalem temple. After the destruction of the temple in A.D. 70, the name was not pronounced. Adonay was substituted for Yahweh whenever it appeared in the biblical text. Over time Elohim and Adonay were used as replacement names but Yahweh (YHWH) is used exclusively as a name for God.

1. Yahweh Is the Self-Existent, Eternal God

He is completely whole within himself, and He is eternal  – He has always existed, and He always will. He is the beginning and the end, the Alpha and the Omega.

He is the only one in existence who can be described this way. God stands alone in needing nothing, in being wholly self-sufficient.

2. Yahweh is a Relational God

Yahweh is only used in the Bible when the author is talking about God’s personal relationship with His people. A great example of this is Psalm 19. The author talks in the first 6 verses about Elohim(another name for God) and His relationship with the material world. Then, in verse 7, he shifts and starts to write about Yahweh and His relationship with those who know Him  and who are in covenant with Him. The fact that God introduces Himself to us as “Yahweh” tells us that His first priority in relating to us is making sure we know that He is an intensely personal God seeking to have a relationship with His people. This is a God who was so love- motivated to know us and to be in relationship with us that He came to earth as a human and took the punishment we deserved.

2. Elohim

Elohim means “God” – This name refers to God’s incredible power and might. He is the One and only God. He is Supreme, the true God in a world that promotes many false gods and religions. He is the one on whom we can fully rely; He is Sovereign; He is the one we can completely trust. He is the Mighty One over all of nature, this world, and the heavens above, our creative God who has worked wonders by His hands. God reminds us that He is Elohim every single day. His amazing power is at work in every sunrise, every sunset, in the way He holds the stars in the sky and carries His people through difficult times. You can be assured you are held by an Almighty God; you never have to fear. 

3. Abba

Abba means “Daddy, Father” – Abba is the most intimate form of God’s name, showing us His character as our loving daddy. He is the One who can be fully trusted, the One we can lean on, the One who cares about all that concerns us. In our most difficult or painful times in life, we can crawl up into the lap of our heavenly Father, and know that He is for us, and His arms will hold us secure. The range of meanings include those of authority and discipline, but also those of compassion, care, protection, and provision. A dear friend of mine once said that, like a parent, God probably has two hands: with one He swats us on the rear to discipline, with the other He pats us gently on the head. Just like a parent.

Many claim that all people are “children of God,” but the Bible reveals quite a different truth. We are all His creations and under His authority and lordship, and all will be judged by Him, but the right to be a child of God and call Him “Abba Father” is something that only born-again Christians have (John 1:12–13).When we are born again (John 3:1–8), we are adopted into the family of God, redeemed from the curse of sin, and made heirs of God (Romans 8:17; Galatians 4:7). Part of that new relationship is that God now deals with us differently, as family.

It is life-changing to understand what it means to be able to call the one true God our “Father” and what it means to be joint-heirs with Christ. Being children of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords calls us to a higher standard, a different way of life, and, promises us in the future, “an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade” (1 Peter 1:4).

4. Jehovah Rapha

Jehovah Rapha (Exodus 15:26) means “Healer, the Lord who heals you” – This name brings so much comfort and hope to many of us who have prayed for healing and deliverance from disease, illness, brokenness, or painful circumstances. Sometimes the healing doesn’t come in the time or way that we would choose, and that can be hard. But as believers we still have this hope and assurance: we will live forever free in heaven, far away from the burdens we’ve carried here in this life. Jesus promises to make all things new, and God will wipe away every tear.

Many years ago there was a very popular video making the rounds that was connected to the contemplative spirituality movement. It was based on Psalm 46:10. “ Be still and know that I am God.” There were two problems with it. First, the contemplative movement was an attempt to introduce the church to Eastern mystical thinking, in this case, to have people go into “the silence.”  That movement has grown in leaps and bounds as the decades have progressed. Secondly, the meaning of the word Rapha was taken totally out of context as the following explains. 

Be Still: This phrase is actually derived from the Hebrew word rapha which means “to be weak, to let go, to release.” Essentially, it means surrender.

And know: This phrase, in its original Hebrew, taken together with “Be Still,”  contains the meaning “in order to know.” So, you can tweak the wording to be “Surrender – in order that you may know…” God’s truth is that His strength is made perfect in our weakness. When we surrender ourselves, our lives, our will, our desires to Him, He is able to more fully reveal Himself to us and we are more able to fully experience Him. Can you trust God enough to let go of those things you’re clinging to so tightly, in order that you may know a deeper, more intimate relationship with Him?

That I am God: Surrender yourself in order that you may know that I am God… your refuge; your strength; your present help in trouble; your comforter and King in uncertain times; your security; the commander of the universe; the Lord of Hosts; the God of Jacob; the Victorious One; the One before whom every knee shall bow, on earth and in Heaven.