The name of God


Published on

understadning the real meaning of God's name

Published in: Spiritual
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

The name of God

  1. 1. The Name of God with Pastor Del Phillips Worship CenterName of God – General Overview/ Research Discussion
  2. 2. Name of God – General Overview/ Research DiscussionIntroductionGeneral Overview/ Research DiscussionWhat do we know about the meaning of: G - o - d? What is the etymology of this threeletter word? How many different cultures use this term in their languages and literature?These are questions we want to explore in this study. We will also analyze the use of theGod’s name in scripture. The English translation of our modern day Bible often uses theword “God” as a generic place holder to represent Him as creator, sovereign king, andgreat redeemer. With a closer look at the Hebrew and Aramaic text we will find a deeperdefinitive meaning of the name of God.We will begin the study by challenging the class to research as many explanations anddefinitions about the term expressed as “God”. We will review the results of the studentresearch in a series of several classes asking students to be prepared to make briefpresentations to the student body. Some discussions classes may be led by an appointedstudent facilitator to guide discussion and feedback on research presentations. Duringthe discussion classes the Pastor will provide instructional response to researchpresentations and present additional teaching points in developing the overall study.God - (Genesis 1:1)“In the beginning God…”The etymology of GodWe have read this open passage of scripture repeatedly. We learn the beginning ofeverything from words we read in this text. In the English presentation of this text welearn little if anything about the creator Himself. The three letters that are used torepresent the architect of creation are not found or used in the original Hebrew text.The English word itself is derived from the parent Germanic language (Proto-Germanic)which includes English, Dutch, German, Norwegian, Swedish, Frisan, and others associatedprimarily with ancient Germania. The original Germanic rendering of the word Godwould be “ǥ uđan”. In similarity, the word “ǵ hu-tó-m / ǵ hau(ə)” to render the wordGod in parent language of Sanskirt (Ancient India) Greek, and Latin (Proto-Indo-European). The definition of the word used for God from both parent languages means"to call", "to invoke", or in some translations “to pour out”. These are earliestderivations of our three letter word known to us today. The oldest printed document thatuses the word that represents “God” found in these languages is dated for the e early 6thcentury after the resurrection of Jesus Christ. 2|Page
  3. 3. Cultural use of the reference to: “God”Evidence of a belief system in some type of a higher supreme authority can be found inevery major culture. We have archeological evidence outside of scripture that will attestto the offerings and sacrifices to a higher host dating back to the beginning of humancivilization.The three letters that have become commonly associated with the Christian reference tothe supreme creator and sustainer of life have also simply become common. The problemwith the generic common use of “God” has led to great misuse of what is supposed to bea reverent term.i.e. –godiva (1067) – lady divagod child, daughter, mother, *father (1200) – to describe a child one sponsors at baptismgod + damn (late 1400’s) -goddess (1400’s) god + mortal womangodspeed (1520) – move quicklydemigod (1520) – the child of sexual intercourse between deity and mortal; mortal raised to divine rankgodsend (1814) – god’s messengergodforsaken (1856)godawful (1878) - to describe terriblegodfrey (1900’s) – the peace of God 3|Page
  4. 4. Hebraic expression for “The Name”In the Hebrew text of scripture the opening verse of Genesis reads: - [read right to left] resheet Elohiym bara/ Beginning Elohiym created.In this verse we find the first expression of the Hebrew name for God, - “Elohiym”. In Hebrew,“Elohiym” is a multi-faceted word that refers to the divine attributes of God, His might, Hiscreative power, and His attributes of justice and king. The definition of “Elohiym” is built upontwo compound Hebrew terms “EL” which means “deity” and “iym” at the end of the word whichmakes the noun singular. In straight forward terms “Elohiym” can be interpreted to mean: theone deity- (EL) or better elucidated as the single and only deity that creates.The letters g,o,d, do not have the same value or meaning of the Hebrew word “Elohiym”. InEnglish the term “god – from gudan” does not refer to a specific deity as does “Elohiym”. Thedistinction as the “one and only creator” is significant; the Hebrew text intends to distinguish theGod that creates from all other known “gods”. The Hebraic use of “Elohiym” emphasizes the factthat there are many gods but only one single deity that is “The Creator”. The English term“gudan” by its very definition “to call or invoke” places emphasis on what man does inrelationship to God as opposed to what God does in relationship to His creation.Hebrew culture regarding “The Name”In Hebrew culture the name attributed to creator could not be used casually.The commandments instruct the Hebrews not to use the “name” of Elohiym in vain. Jewishliterature would explain to use “the name” in vain was a law applied to swearing or making falsecovenants in God’s name. The translation of “in vain” literally means “for falsehood”. The Namewas intended to be honored among Jewish brethren and not dishonored by making covenantspledged by His name and then broken by the men swearing the oath.To protect people from violating this command, the Jews proposed regulations that would guardthe name of Elohiym. Rabbi’s determined that the name of Elohiym should not be written orspoken casually. When writing the term “Adonai”, which means “my lord” would be used in itsplace. When spoken in prayer, the speaker would use “Adonai”; outside of prayer the word“hashem” which means “the name” would be used as a spoken place holder for “Adonai” or anyother common verbal reference to the sacred name. It should also be noted that the reasons forsuch precautions against writing out “The Name” were based upon honoring and not defacingGods name. Once the official name of God had been written they were forbidden based uponscripture to remove or to deface His name. (Deut. 12:3-5) 4|Page
  5. 5. Exodus 20:7 - Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. [to ruin, desolate, “rush over”; to use uselessly, falsely, wastefully without intent] Study Group Questions (from Genesis 4:26) Group One: Define what it means to call upon the name of the Lord. “And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of the Lord.” - Gen. 4:26 (answer/explanation) What does it mean to call upon “the name”? In Genesis 4:26 the scripture reads men begin to call upon “the name” of their god but worship of the creator begin with Adam and Abel. There is a dual meaning behind this text that would only be discovered by comparing the written and vocalization versions of the text. When the text is only read, the written form appears to refer to men to “calling upon the name of God” as if it is the beginning of formal worship. However the text cannot be a reference to the initiation of worship because the rituals of worship have already begun to be expressed earlier in this same chapter through the sacrifice and offerings of Abel and Cain. The written text stipulates that men began to call upon “the name” of the Lord. The emphasis is upon the fact that men of that era knew “The Name” of God. How did they know His name? The preceding verse takes us back to the birth of Adam’s replacement son Seth. The third son of Adam is noted as “another seed instead of Abel”. Without the birth of Seth, the human genealogy would have continued with Cain, the seed of iniquity, as its sole father. Seth is the replacement seed of righteousness that Cain tried to destroy. With the birth of Seth the generations of humanity will branch from two seeds, one of iniquity and one that is righteous. The placement of the pronouncement that men begin calling upon “The Name” of the Lord is not arbitrary. The text has a dual meaning that can only be revealed from its Hebraic origin. The descendants of Seth begin to call upon “The Name” of the Lord; calling God by “The Name” passed down to them from the first father Adam. The written text reveals that men continued to correctly call upon the Lord by His name: “Elohiym”. When the text is vocalized, the words “to call “, actually refer to a profane use of the name of God. The profanity is not revealed until the words are spoken because in Hebrew spoken words have markings beneath vowel letters to indicate how the word should be sounded. The markings are called “nikud”, also called vowel pointing. * ] In Hebrew, vowel pointing can change not only how the word sounds but in some cases what the word or phrase means. Genesis 4:26 is intended to contrast that some men continued to call upon “The Name” correctly while others begin to “pierce or profane” “The Name” by calling other objects or idols as God. In the written Hebrew text the scripture verse would read: “to call upon the name of their gods…”. Note the ellipsis (…) after “their gods”. The ellipsis is a reference to something not written but implied. Those that profaned “The Name” were descendants of Cain. A ellipsis: (definition)1. The omission from speech or writing of a word or words that are superfluous or be understood from contextual clues.2. A set of dots indicating such an omission 5|Page
  6. 6. Group Two: What is the name of the Lord?(answer/explanation)What is: “the name”?The Bible inaugurates calling upon the “name” of God in Genesis 4:26.“And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then beganmen to call upon the name of the Lord”.The Name of God is “Elohiym”. This name would have been transcended from Adam to allsucceeding generations. The first use and appearance of this name is found in Genesis. Moses isthe author of Genesis, but Moses was not present during the time of Genesis. The only way for usto have an account of the facts and details of creation and the first generations of the humanpopulation would require the transmission of a firsthand witness to succeeding generations.Writing symbols do not appear before 3100 BCE, therefore the only method of passing historicalinformation from one family or one generation to another would have been by oral transmission.The fact that the name “Elohiym” appears in Genesis confirms that this name that Adam wouldhave used to worship God.In this passage the word name in English does not reveal the broader use of the word in Hebrew.The actual word used here in Hebrew is “Shem” which is a composite of two Hebrew words:“sum” – to mark and “shamayim” – the lofty sky or celestial heavens.In the Hebrew to call upon the name of the Lord would also mean to “mark the sky with the nameof the Lord. In the profane use, men begin to mark the sky with names of idol deities and thenbegan to worship them. In the correct use, men begin to mark the sky by the signs God created totell the story of redemption. In Genesis 1:14, the Bible explains that the lights: Sun, Moon, andStars are given as “signs” in the heavens. God uses the “signs (stars)” in the heavens to tell thestory of redeeming mankind; He also commanded men not use His name in vain or in associationwith anything in the heavens to devalue the creator. (Note: “Shem” is the word used for name inthe commandment of Exodus 20:7)Men have continued to profane what God has ordained even in modern times. The story of God’sredemption in modern day culture has been re-invented to be a cultic-art to associate humanbehavior with star patterns and to interpret a man’s future by star signs. These cultic-arts use thesame star patterns that God intended to be used to tell His story of redemption. There are 12signs or star patterns and they are divided into three books with four stories in each book. Seeoutline below:Book One – The Redeemer 1. Virgo: prophesy of the promised seed 2. Libra: atoning work of the redeemer 3. Scorpio: redeemer conflict 4. Sagittarius: redeemers triumphBook Two – The Redeemed 1. Capricornus: results of redeemers suffering 2. Aquarius: blessings assured 3. Pisces: blessings in abeyance 4. Aries: blessings consummated ndBook Three – The Redeemer 2 coming 1. Tarus: mission; coming to rule/judge 2. Gemini: mission; coming King of Kings 3. Cancer: mission; redeemed possessions 4. Leo: mission; final triumph 6|Page
  7. 7. Group Three: When did worship of God begin?(answer/explanation)When did men begin to worship God?Worship requires man initiating contact with the object or person of worship. In the garden Godinitiated contact with Adam therefore there was no need for formal worship. Once outside ofthe garden Adam would have to seek God through offerings and sacrifice.Worship through sacrifice and offerings must have been taught to Abel and Cain and we see thepractice of their instruction in Genesis 4:1-5. The first form of worship is mentioned in verse threeof this same passage. Verse three of Genesis chapter four says: “that in the process of time…Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering:” The word used in this passage that provokescuriosity is Hebrew word for process: “mane”. The word in Hebrew is actually a musical termthat means “to be apportioned to; or a part of something”, as one single note is a part of a musicalchord. The key learning from the definition demonstrates that Cain (and Abel as implied), bringingan offering for worship was a part of something that preceded them. The offerings that arementioned in this passage were but one single note in a complete chord that would have begunwith Father Adam. It is interesting that the word used here is a musical term that identifies thatillustrates the necessity of each note performing its task to maintain the integrity of the completechord. The focus of worship is larger than one single worshipper. The objective of worship shouldbe placed on the continuation of worship that began in generations before us.In the New Testament worship is furthered illuminated by the Greek word used to define theterm. In John 4:24, the word used in the Greek for worship is proskuneo. At first glance thedefinition of this word might be misleading. The Greek definition of worship means: “to kiss; ormake contact”. To illustrate the meaning of proskuneo the Greek definition refers to a dog kissingthe hand of his master. Using the illustration of a dog kissing the hand of his master is intendedto emphasize a higher principle by contrasting it against the lowest form by which the principlecould be applied. If a dog is able to kiss and acknowledge the hand his master and owner thenmen should likewise be able to worship and acknowledge they hand of their master and ownerthrough worship.The objective of worship is to honor and to know our God. The conversation between Jesus andthe Samaritan woman ended with the revelation that worship requires knowing the God that youworship and to honor the God that you know. God is seeking the true worshippers. “Elohiym” ispursuing those that are correctly pursuing Him.We worship in Spirit and in Truth. The Spirit of worship draws us into harmony or same “chord” ofbelievers and worshippers that preceded us. We cannot worship without un-selfishly recognizingthat worship did not begin with us. The Truth of worship requires identifying who “is” our masterand owner. The lowest forms of creation know who their creator is. Men and woman that occupythe higher form of creation, created in God’s image, are more often than not, unwilling toacknowledge their creator and prostrate themselves to worship Him. 7|Page
  8. 8. Bonus: What is the: “tetragrammaton”YHVH: The TetragrammatonThe most powerful and effable Name of God, which appears in the Torah, is YHVH, alsoreferred to as the Tetragrammaton and the Ineffable Name. Its pronunciation has beenlost; it was formerly uttered only by the High Priest on Yom Kippur (The Day of Atonement).Many scholars have speculated on its pronunciation, producing names like "Yehova" and"Yaweh".Yud: maleHei: female (used twice vs. but only counted once when determining textual gender)Vah: maleGematrian value: 26Where Do Other Names Come From?Some Names of God come directly from the Torah, or are abbreviations or polite alternativesused in ordinary speech, the liturgy, etc. Some of these are listed below.However, there are many Names which have been developed over the centuries by the Jewishmystics. Some of these were very secret. Some exist whose meanings and origins have beenlost to us.Many alternate names were derived through various formulas applied to Biblical verses andalready existing Names of God. These methods included:Notarikon, in which the initial or final letters of the words of a verse or verses are used tomake an acronym; for example, the Name Tzamarkhad is derived from the final letter of thefirst five verses of Genesis.Temura, a form of letter substitution. A number of popular systems existed, ad some werefairly simple to understand; "Atbash", for example, transposed the first letter of the Hebrewalphabet with the last, the second with the second-to-last, etc. Its the equivalent of swappingA for Z, B for Y, C for X, and so on.Gematria, a system of determining the numerical value of a name, word, or phrase, andrelating it to other words, etc. with the same value. Hebrew letter also serve as numbers,which is what makes this possible. So for example, Metatron the angel was perceived to beparticularly powerful because numerically, his name is equivalent to Sheddai ("Almighty"), aName of God. The rarely-encountered Name Adirion has the same numerical value as the22-letter Name of God (see below).Which Names were in use depended partially on the time, the place, and the Kabbalistic sect.For example, certain Names seem to have been utilized primarily by Middle Eastern Jews, andwhen the Samaritan sect broke away from Judaism in 722 BCE, they proceeded to develop 8|Page
  9. 9. their own Names. Zucatos unpublished work Sefer Shoreshay Hashemot contains severalthousand Names of God, along with their origins.The MonogrammatonThe letter heh (H) is commonly found on Western European amulets, either alone or repeatedfive times to represent the Name of God.DigrammatonTwo two-letter Names of God are encountered, yod-yod (YY) and yod-heh (YH). Both arecontractions of the Tetragrammaton (see below). YY is particularly common in the liturgy, andis pronounced with the substituted word "Adonai" (Lord).Jews do not even attempt to pronounce this name; rather, a lesser Name is substituted, mostcommonly "Adonai" in prayer, though some Jews may use "casual" and respectful substitutessuch as "Adoshem" or "Ha-Shem" ("The Name") outside of prayer.This Name, and permutations of it, was often used in meditations, amulets, and various typesof prayer. See The 8- and 12-Letter Names and Name Permutation In Meditation for moredetails. 9|Page