Hebrew Roots/Neglected Commandments/Honouring His Name/Know
God as the Creator of all things desired His creation to know Him. His creation of Adam was for the purpose of relationship. God the Father wanted a son with whom He could communicate, educate and train up to maturity so as to share with, and include him in His purposes.
“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him” 1 Corinthians 2: 9
Knowing Him involves personal relationship – going beyond knowing Him as Creator.
Relationship is interaction of one person in their individuality to another. It involves knowing the other person's character and the attributes of their personality, their capacities and capabilities. Such is what the Father envisages for His 'sons'.
He intimately knows everything about us, but He desires that we might reciprocate His love by also desiring to really know Him, and not merely know about Him. He has made known the essence and nature of His being in the Word so that we may understand Him in His character and the various other qualities of His being.
1. KNOWING HIM AS 'EL' - THE MIGHTY ONE
“El” is the most basic Hebrew word for 'God'. This is in the singular form and is the title that proclaims Him as “the mighty One”. Strongs Concordance 410 gives the meaning of 'el' as 'mighty' from a shortened form of 352 meaning 'strength'.
The name 'El' is an ancient Semitic term for the deity and was a frequently occurring name for the deity in proper names in the ancient Semitic cultures. It was not used just as a generic term, but for a personal deity as proved by the Ugaritic texts. (by Pope p.1 & 19 of 'El' in the Ugaritic Texts)
It is used 250 times in the scriptures and mostly with other epithets to denote His greatness and superiority over other 'gods'. It is not often used alone. From its root meaning it signifies “strong”, “first”, as the Great First Cause of all.
The attributes of God are usually attached to the title 'El', such as “El Elyon”, 'the Most High God' (Genesis 14:22) “El Olam” the everlasting God (Genesis 21:33) etc..
2. KNOWING HIM AS 'ELOAH' or 'ELOHIM' - THE ONE TO BE WORSHIPPED
“Eloah” is the singular form Strongs 433, and comes from 'Ahlah' to worship or to adore, and presents Him as the supreme object of worship. This word occurs about 65 times in the original.
“Elohim” is the plural form of "Eloah" Strongs 430, occurring about 2,500 times. It is often used with verbs and pronouns which are singular indicating the oneness of God, as being One Person and not plural Persons. The plural form of the noun “Elohim” is termed a 'majestic plural' as of His greatness, His expansiveness and His majesty of Person. This form occurs only in Hebrew and not in Aramaic or in any other of the Semitic languages, conveying the idea of the unity of the One God yet allowing for an expansiveness of His Being.
“Elohim” is not however the personal name for 'God' but is a descriptive title, which is also be used for other objects of worship, and for “mighty ones”, when speaking of angels. (2 Chronicles 13:9; Isaiah 37:19)
It is somewhat equivalent to our term 'God'. When used in reference to the Supreme Being, the word's inherent idea of creative and governing power, and of omnipotence and sovereignty comes into force. It is used for His attributes of might, power, justice and kingship.
ELOHIM IN CREATION
Elohim is the term used in Genesis 1, as creation was a creative act involving the plurality of the deity in His operation of forming order out of chaos.
The initiation of the 'plan' was within the Father's heart, spoken out by the Eternal Word and performed by the Spirit. The Eternal Son, the Word “spoke, and it was done; He commanded and it stood fast.” ! verse 9 of Psalm 33: 6-9; “By the word of Yahweh the heavens were made, and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth.” (v. 6)
In Genesis 1:2 we see the action of the Spirit of God brooding over the watery chaos to bring forth the Word of Elohim as He spoke it into existence in our physical realm.
“For by Him (the Son) all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.” Colossians 1:16-17
The Spirit is the energizing power through which the will of the Father, executed through the Son, is brought into being.
Y'SHUA THE REVELATION OF THE GODHEAD IN THE NEW COVENANT
We understand that Y'shua is the Son of God and yet He is also called “the everlasting Father” in Isaiah 9: 6 and spoken of as being “in the bosom of the Father” (John 1:18), and in answer to the Jews accusation that He was making Himself equal to God, He said, " the Father is in Me, and I in Him"; and, "I and the Father are one". (John 10:38b, 30) “For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God does not give the Spirit to Him by measure.” (John 3:34)
The Father dwelt in the Son by His Spirit within the limitations of physical flesh, so that it can be said, that,
- “He is the image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15)
- “For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily;” (Colossians 2: 9)
KNOWING HIM AS YAHWEH - COVENANT RELATIONSHIP
Yahweh is the personal sacred Name of the Almighty revealed to His people as His memorial Name for all generations. In the Hebrew it is four letters YHVH or YHWH. Those letters are YOD, HAY, WAW, HAY
It is called the Tetragrammaton which means 'the four letters'. Josephus in his 'Wars of the Jews' from the passage on Exodus 28:1-43 says that the priests tiara had a crown “whereon were embossed the sacred letters, to wit, four vowels” thereby revealing that these were four vowels and not consonants as is commonly supposed.
The Tetragrammaton YHWH (the Name Yahweh) is used 7,000 times in the scriptures and is the Almighty's signature to everything He says, endorsing it with His personal Name.
- In Strongs it is 3068 coming from, as supposed, the primitive root 1961 of the verb “to be” HAWA i.e. To become, to come to pass.
When He reveals Himself to Moses in Exodus 3:14, the simple imperfect of the verb “to be” HAWA is used, which would be understood to mean “I am what I am” or, “I am present is what I am”. Here He is spelling out as it were, the significance of His Name in being ever-present with His people to be what they need Him to be.
The 'faithful Presence' is God's testamentary nature or name. Exodus 6:2,4; Deuteronomy 7:9; Isaiah 26:4
His Name says what He is - The Eternal faithful divine Presence in covenant relationship.
He is the Ever-Present, Self-existent, Self-sustaining, Eternal One Who has life in Himself to impart to His people.
In verse 16 of Exodus 3, Yahweh tells Moses to say to Israel, “the LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, appeared to me” (KJ Version has LORD in capitals wherever 'Yahweh' is in the original). So it should read, "Yahweh the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham ... .." (Interlinear Bible - Hendrickson)
Here He identifies Himself as the One who appeared to the fathers and entered into covenant with them, and now, is revealing Himself again and renewing the covenant with the nation to lead them out of bondage.
PERSONAL COVENANTAL RELATIONSHIP
In Genesis Chapter 1 when Yahweh is spoken of in relation to creation, the generic term 'Elohim' is used.
But, when it comes to His personal interaction in the garden in Chapter 2 it is Yahweh ("the LORD God", as translated by the King James Version). His personal name is used all throughout from Genesis 2: 4 onwards as Yahweh prepares the garden and creates Adam from the elements of the earth. He was known by His personal Name Yahweh to Adam and Eve as is evidenced by Eve saying in Chapter 4:1, "I have acquired a man from Yahweh".
All of the patriarchs knew Him by His Name, but they did not know the depth of covenantal relationship carried in the Name, until revealed to Moses. For with Israel He committed Himself to an irrevocable covenant in fulfillment of the promise to Abraham. Deuteronomy 7:6-11; 29:1-15, 29 Luke 1:68-75
"Yahweh your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples .. .. because Yahweh loves you and because He would keep the oath which He swore to your fathers .." Deuteronomy 7: 6, 8
"All of you stand today before Yahweh your God, .. .. .. .. that you may enter into covenant with Yahweh your God, and into His oath, which Yahweh your God makes with you today .. .. "I make this covenant, and this oath, not with you alone, but .. .. .. as well as with him who is not here with us today." Deuteronomy 7:10, 12, 14,15
"For when God (Yahweh) made a promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no greater, He swore by Himself, .. .. "Thus God (Yahweh), determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it with an oath, that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God (Yahweh) to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us." Hebrews 6:13,17,18
When He spoke to Moses, He said, "I am Yahweh, I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty, but by My Name Yahweh I was not known to them." Exodus 6: 2-3
The verb 'known' - YADA means according to the Theological Wordbook, 'know but not in the fullest sense'. The Interlinear Bible translates it as 'revealed'. So although He came and gave the promises to them, they knew Him in their experience as the mighty 'EL', and not by the fullness of His covenant nature.
"The Name was in use, but not appreciated in the redemptive significance revealed to Moses" quoted from Th.Wordbook (J.A. Motyer "The Revelation of the Divine Name' from The Theological Wordbook)
Westminster Dictionary of the Bible Quote: "The name means: 'He who happens (upon us), he who befalls us, he who in the absolute sense exists and who manifests his existence and his character.' (Exodus 3:13-15) The creator, upholder and moral governor of the universe is 'elohim', God; the covenant God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; the God in whom lay their 'present strength' and their hope for 'future existence' is El Shaddai ('El Shadday) God Almighty; but the God of revelation and grace, dwelling with his people, guiding and delivering them and receiving their worship is Jehovah.
The Theological Wordbook states regarding the Name, that "It connotes God's nearness, His concern for man, and the revelation of His redemptive covenant". Therefore only those who enter into covenant really know His Name.
- Note - "Elohim shall enlarge Japheth" Genesis 9:27
- but, "Yahweh the God of Shem" :26
- "The heavens declare the glory of God Psalm 19: 1
- the law of Yahweh is perfect : 7
"He (Yahweh v.6) made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the children of Israel" Psalm 103: 7
Through rebellion they did not enter into covenant intimacy and only knew Him by His works.
But, in the New Jerusalem, "Yahweh is there" - YHWH SHAMMA Ezekiel 37:26
"They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads. There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God (Yahweh) gives them light. And they shall reign for ever and ever." Revelation 22: 3-5