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The Name Above All

The Lord (YHVH) is the name of elō·hîm (God). Elohim is plural for God; namely the Father, Son & Holy Spirit. YHVH is a Him who is three that bears one name elō·hîm among many others. So it appears from personal study, but there are other perspectives also. 

430. אֱלֹהִים elohim (43b); pl (plural). of 433; God, god:—divine(1), divine being(1), exceedingly(1), God(2326), god(45), God’s(14), goddess(2), godly(1), gods(204), great(2), judges(3), mighty(2), rulers(1), shrine*(1).

Thomas, R. L. (1998). New American Standard Hebrew-Aramaic and Greek dictionaries : updated edition. Anaheim: Foundation Publications, Inc.

3068. יהוה Yhvh (i.e. יְהוָֹה Yehovah or יַהְוֶה Yahveh) (217d); from 1933b; the proper name of the God of Israel:—GOD(314), LORD(6399), LORDS(111). 

Thomas, R. L. (1998). New American Standard Hebrew-Aramaic and Greek dictionaries : updated edition. Anaheim: Foundation Publications, Inc.

(1) Proper names: El, Yahweh, Adonai, Theos, Kurios (God).
(2) Personal names: Father, Abba, Son, Jesus, Holy Spirit.
(3) Titles: Creator, Messiah/Christ, Paraclete/Comforter.
(4) Essential names: Light, Love, Spirit.
(5) Descriptive names: Rock, Ba’al, Master, Rabboni, Shepherd.
(6) Attributes: names of virtues or characteristics of the triune God-head.

Van Groningen, G. (1988). God, Names Of. In Baker encyclopedia of the Bible (Vol. 1, p. 881). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

El in the OT is used particularly in the earlier books, where it describes God’s exercising dynamic power as distinguished from authority. El speaks of God as the great doer and producer. He is the One who exercises such power that whatever is made, done, kept, or destroyed is his doing (cf. Ex 15). El is also used to express the idea that God is not to be identified as part of creation but as the One who is above, behind, and beyond creation (Ps 19:1). In relation to man, the crown of creation, God as El is totally other (Ez 28:2; Hos 11:9).

Elohim is also commonly used as the name of God, occurring over 2500 times in the OT. There are differences of opinion concerning the exact origin and meaning of this plural name. Some have suggested that Elohim is the plural form of El, but it seems more likely that it is a plural of Eloah, which appears in the poetical writings. Some critical writers have suggested that this plural form is borrowed from pagan polytheistic sources; but no such plural form is found among pagans as the name of a deity. Others have suggested that the plural form is used to indicate the triune nature of God, and support for this has been seen in the use of a singular verb with this plural noun. The biblical doctrine of the Trinity, as it is developed throughout the Scriptures, does not appear to be based on the use of this plural form of God’s name, even though the two positions are not contradictory.

The plural form, Elohim, is best understood as expressing intensity. God makes himself known by this name as the Lord of intense and extensive glory and richness as he exercises his preeminence and power in the created cosmos. Hence, when the Scripture speaks of creation, it states, “In the beginning Elohim created the heavens and the earth” (Gn 1:1). This name is repeated 35 times in Genesis 1 and 2 in connection with God’s power revealed in creation. In the Book of Deuteronomy the name Elohim is used repeatedly to stress the majestic power of God which was shown in Israel’s release from bondage in Egypt, her preservation in the wilderness, and her preparation for entrance into the Promised Land. In this context, God (Elohim) is also recognized as the lawgiver who will powerfully execute judgment on covenant-breakers. The psalmists also used this name repeatedly as they acknowledged and praised God the majestic ruler who had demonstrated his omnipotence in many dimensions of life (see Ps 68, in which Elohim appears 26 times.)

Evangelical scholars such as A. Juke and G. Campbell Morgan have interpreted Elohim as an expression of God’s covenant relationship with his people. They point to the use of Elohim when God spoke to Abraham and said he would be Elohim to the patriarch and his seed, that is, God would be in a covenant relationship to them (Gn 17:1–8). Included in this relationship is the idea that God is ever ready to use his power on behalf of those who are in covenant with him. Thus Elohim also expresses the concept of God’s faithfulness in regard to the covenant and the promises and blessings involved in it.

Van Groningen, G. (1988). God, Names Of. In Baker encyclopedia of the Bible (Vol. 1, pp. 881–882). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House..

Yahweh (Joseph). Yahweh is a distinctly proper name of God. It is never used to refer to any pagan gods; neither is it used in regard to men. It appears 6823 times in the OT, occurring first in Genesis 2:4, where it is joined with Elohim. Yahweh is used 164 times in Genesis, and it appears 1800 times in Exodus through Joshua. It never appears in a declined form in the Hebrew language, and it never occurs in the plural form or with suffixes. It is abbreviated as Yah and Yahu (cf. Ex 15:2; Ps 68:4; Is 12:2, etc.).

The exact meaning of the name “Yahweh” is difficult to determine. Some have sought the root in the verb hayah (“to be”) or in an ancient form of that same verb hawah. There is no agreement as to whether or not the qal or hiphil form of the verb should be considered as the root. Those who opt for the hiphil form read Yahweh to mean, “cause to be”; thus Exodus 3:14 would read, “I will cause to be what has come to be.” Others look to the qal form and then translate the name as “I Am” or “I Shall Be.” Still others are inclined to disassociate the name from the verb hayah and regard it as an original and independent term, expressing the uniqueness of Israel’s gracious God.

Translators of the OT have not agreed upon the correct translation of the name “Yahweh.” Since it is translated into the Greek as kurios, which means “Lord,” many have rendered Yahweh as “Lord.” But “Adonai,” which is best rendered “Lord,” appears with Yahweh in various instances. The KJV, for example, translates “Yahweh” as “God,” and “Adonai” as “Lord.” Many modern translators have chosen to use Yahweh. The name “Jehovah,” as used in the ARV (1901) is judged unacceptable. This name arose due to the Jewish practice of not pronouncing Yahweh because of Leviticus 24:16, “He that names the name of Yahweh shall surely be put to death.” This warning against a vain or blasphemous use of the name was taken in an absolute sense, especially after Israel’s deportation (cf. Am 6:10). Hence, when reading the OT the Jews substituted either Elohim or Adonai for Yahweh. From this, the practice of adding the vowels of Adonai to YHWH (JeHoWaH) became established.

An interesting question is whether Yahweh was used initially in a specifically geographical area. Some scholars have concluded that Moses first learned of the god called Yahweh while in the desert of Midian. Later it became the name used of the god worshiped in southern Canaan, that is, the area of Judah and Simeon. These scholars posit that Elohim was the name used in northern Canaan. They also suggest that each area developed its own religious traditions and wrote its “records of religious beliefs,” each employing the divine name in use in its respective area. Later, when the nation of Israel was united, the two documents were joined, and the names “Yahweh” and “Elohim” were both used to refer to their common god. This view of the origin and use of the names of God finds no basis in the text of the OT. Both names are used in unique combinations and are also shown to have been known and used long before the time of the exodus. Abraham, for example, spoke of lifting his hand to Yahweh, El Elyon (Gn 14:19–22), and Abraham and Isaac built altars to Yahweh and called on his name (13:4; 26:25).

The interpretation of Exodus 6:2, 3 has caused much debate. “And God said to Moses, ‘I am Yahweh; I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as El Shaddai, but by my name Yahweh I did not make myself known to them.’ ” This passage has been understood to mean that the name Yahweh was not known or used prior to the time of Moses. But that is not what the passage states; rather it speaks of the patriarchs not knowing God as Yahweh. They knew him as El Shaddai in actual revelatory historical deeds. They had not come to know God according to his unique character, that is, as Yahweh. In other words, God had always been Yahweh; he is saying to Moses that the descendants of the patriarchs would come to know the full rich meaning of the name by the way God dealt with them.

This name “Yahweh” reveals God’s nature in the highest and fullest sense possible. It includes, or presupposes, the meaning of the other names. Yahweh particularly stresses the absolute faithfulness of God. God had promised the patriarchs that he would be their God, that he would be with them, would deliver and bless them, keep them, and give them a land as a place of service and inheritance. Moses is told by God that Israel is about to behold and experience the unchangeableness of God as he steadfastly and wondrously remembers his word and executes it to the fullest degree. God would prove to be a faithful, redeeming, upholding, restoring God. In working out this redemption, God would demonstrate that he is all that his name implies: merciful, gracious, patient, full of loving-kindness, truthful, faithful, forgiving, just, and righteous (Ex 34:5, 6). Truly, Jacob had received an insight into the meaning of the name when he exclaimed, “I wait for thy salvation, O Yahweh” (Gn 49:18).

Yahweh, then, is the name par excellence of Israel’s God. As Yahweh he is a faithful covenant God who, having given his Word of love and life, keeps that Word by bestowing love and life abundantly on his own.
In view of the richness of the name Yahweh, it can be understood why there were stringent rules regarding its proper use (Lv 24:11, 16). It also explains why thankful, rejoicing, worshiping Israelites used the abbreviated form of Yahweh in song when they sang Hallelujah: “Praise Yah” (Pss 104:35; 106:1; 149:1; 150:1).

Yahweh is used in a number of phrases which are considered names of or ascriptions of God. The most common of these compound names is Yahweh Sabaoth (“hosts”). The word “hosts” is used very frequently in the Pentateuch to refer to the armies of Israel (cf. e.g., Nm 10:14–28). This is because the word is derived from the verb saba which means “to wage” war. It also means “to serve” in some contexts; for example, Numbers 8:24 clearly has reference to the service performed in the tabernacle. The noun sabaoth first occurs in Genesis 2:1, where it refers to the many components of the earth and heaven. Some would limit the reference in these contexts to the stars. Still others would suggest that the sabaoth refers to the angels, appealing to Psalm 33:6 for confirmation.

The compound name, Yahweh Sabaoth first appears in 1 Samuel 1:3. In view of the frequent use of sabaoth in 1 and 2 Samuel to refer to armies (1 Sm 12:9; 14:50; 17:55; 2 Sm 2:8; 8:16; 10:16, etc.), it is thought that the compound name refers to Yahweh as the God of armies, that is, God has his armies to serve him. These are considered to be armies of angels who are ministering servants to God. It has been correctly pointed out that the compound name, Yahweh Sabaoth, is used most frequently by the prophets (Jeremiah 88 times, Zechariah 55 times, Malachi 25 times, Haggai 14 times) at times when God’s people had either suffered defeat at the hands of enemy armies or were threatened by defeat. So the compound name was used to remind them that their covenant God had great hosts to fight and work for him on behalf of his people. Thus, though Israel’s armies failed, their covenant God was sufficient for every possible circumstance. And it was to this Yahweh Sabaoth that Israel’s commanders were to give allegiance (Jos 5:14, 15), and in whose name Israel was blessed (2 Sm 6:18).

Van Groningen, G. (1988). God, Names Of. In Baker encyclopedia of the Bible (Vol. 1, pp. 883–884). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

Light Unto My Feet

Photo by Edu Grande on Unsplash

There was a recent posting a April Cassidy’s site about how to know God’s will. It was in reference to George Mueller’s outline about how to understand, discern or follow God’s will. In faith once it is understood, recognized or accepted.

How to know God’s will for you:

1. I seek at the beginning to get my heart into such a state that it has no will of its own in regard to a given matter. Nine-tenths of the trouble with people is just here. Nine-tenths of the difficulties are overcome when our hearts are ready to do the Lord’s Will, whatever it may be. When one is truly in this state, it is usually but a little way to the knowledge of what His will is.

2. Having done this, I do not leave the result to feeling or simple impression. If so, I make myself liable to great delusions.

3. I seek the Will of the Spirit of God through, or in connection with, the Word of God. The Spirit and the Word must be combined. If I look to the Spirit alone without the Word, I lay myself open to great delusions also. If the Holy Ghost guides us at all, He will do it according to the Scriptures and never contrary to them.

4. Next I take into account providential circumstances. These often plainly indicate God’s Will in connection with His Word and Spirit.

5. I ask God in prayer to reveal His Will to me aright.

6. Thus, through prayer to God, the study of the Word, and reflection, I come to a deliberate judgment according to the best of my ability and knowledge, and if my mind is thus at peace, and continues so after two or three more petitions, I proceed accordingly. In trivial matters, and in transactions involving most important issues, I have found this method always effective.

Further interest about the amazing life of George Mueller is in this podcast:  George Mueller’s Strategy for Showing God

Survived by Fire

According to the inerrant and inspired word of the Lord, there are specific rewards for accomplishments and work done through the faithfulness of His followers. There is a spectrum of reward at the judgment seat of Christ. When his saints appear before him, their works will either become burned up due to futility, carnality, or by having no value to the glory of God. Or there will be a specific series of rewards survived as by fire according to scripture.

Judgment of the Saints

“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.”

New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). (2 Co 5:10). La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

11 For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
12 Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw,
13 each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work.
14 If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward.
15 If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.

New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). (1 Co 3:11–15). La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

Five (5) Crowns. At least that we know about. Specifically mentioned in scripture. 

  • Crown of Life
  • Crown of Righteousness
  • Crown of Glory
  • Crown of Incorruptibility
  • Crown of Rejoicing

Crown of Life
For those who have suffered for His sake.
“Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.”  -James 1:12

Crown of Righteousness
For those who loved His appearing.
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.” -2 Tim 4:7-8

Crown of Glory
For those who fed the flock.
Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed, shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.” – 1 Pet 5:1-4

Crown of Incorruptibility
For those who press on steadfastly.
“And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.” – 1 Cor 9:25

Crown of Rejoicing
For those who win souls. 
For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming? For ye are our glory and joy. – 1 Thes 2:19

Moth to the Flame

Scroll the video with your mouse cursor to get a 360 degree view.

My dad is dying. Terminal cancer and he will be gone soon. So I am closer to him and the Lord than ever before. 

“Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act.” -Ps 37:4

So a few days back, I am in prayer about what is on my heart. And I recall this verse, “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Then without second thought or hesitation, the overflow of my heart was, “YOU LORD are the desire of my heart.”

Yet His blessings are abundant when the winds are strong and the uncertainty prevails day by day. So I only trust and believe. 

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ps 37:4–5). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

Life Eternal

A short video segment that follows the KJV word for word. About how to pass from death to eternal life and exist in the Lord’s kingdom without the presence of time, pain, suffering, or sin. This is a precise view of what it is to be born again. Becoming born of the Spirit is to invite Jesus into your life, admitting in truth your sinfulness and accepting the Holy Spirit to lead you all your days. Believe in Jesus, what He has said and what He has done. Call upon Him and you will be saved. You will become born of the Spirit. His Spirit will enter into you and will begin to regenerate you (Titus 3:5-7).

Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.” -Jn 3:4-8

The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Jn 3:4–8). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

5  He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,
6  whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,
7  so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. -Titus 3:5-7

New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). (Tt 3:5–7). La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

Follow the Light

Light in the Midst of Darkness

Last night a delivery was made to my dad’s house. In the dark a knock at the door from a man who had a large bag which contained a supply of morphine. What is morphine? A pain medication of the opiate type which is found naturally in a number of plants and animals. It acts directly on the central nervous system. It is the latest attempt at relieving the pain associated with my Dad’s cancer that is terminal and has grown throughout his body. He has tried numerous pain suppression types to now involve a more potent form of medicine, but this is the substance to relieve trauma all the way through to his passing.

He doesn’t have long. In the past two weeks, I have been pouring into his soul through prayer, testimony, time in the word, encouragement and daily help here and there. Entering a time of hospice, he will become closer to our Lord’s kingdom. From a couple of days ago, he has approximately two months or so left. Another image of God moving into eternity toward His glory and His purposes. 

Source & Absorption

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While reading Ps 21 today, I came to two verses that stood out the most. While the overall chapter is about the favor of the Lord upon His king, these verses are entirely descriptive of the relationship between the two. Especially when the Lord is most glorified in the Psalm of David. Among His people and among the king’s enemies. 

“His glory is great through Your salvation,
Splendor and majesty You place upon him.
For You make him most blessed forever;
You make him joyful with gladness in Your presence.”

New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). (Ps 21:5–6). La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

“His glory is great in thy salvation:
Honour and majesty hast thou laid upon him.
For thou hast made him most blessed for ever:
Thou hast made him exceeding glad with thy countenance.”

The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Ps 21:5–6). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

Numerous times through the day and remainder of the week, it came to mind that the source of splendor, majesty, honor is from the the LORD YHWH. I let that dwell within me while out and about to absorb and contemplate. 

Vanishing Act

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Among all the differences between various bible translations, there are verses and phrases which are entirely missing. For the reason, “Many manuscripts do not contain this verse.” So the ESV and NIV would entirely skip verses such as John 5:4 or Acts 8:37. As amazing as it is, there is meaning among words otherwise present within the KJV or NAS.

3 In these lay a multitude of invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed.
5 One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years.

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Jn 5:3–5). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

3 In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water.
4 For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had.
5 And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years.

The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Jn 5:2–5). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

Previously, I used to accept ESV and NIV as thoroughly valid. And I still do for mere reading purposes. However, not for careful study and meditation. If there was a decision made about which version to center upon for a lifetime of study, begin with the NAS or KJV. 

Image Bearers

“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.  So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.”

The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Ge 1:26–28). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

When Jesus commands us to love others, it had not occurred to me the reasons why. Not necessarily for their merit, work or status per se. Yet because they bear the image of God. People are a visual expression by appearance in what God looks like. Therefore, I am to love them as God’s imprint on creation and flesh made over the generations.

Love God above all with everything you’ve got. Love others as they are loved by God. Love them because they are among creation and bear God’s likeness. By following this line of understanding and rationale, it is far easier to demonstrate and place thoughts of love upon others as people groups or as individuals. Even if there is full denial of God’s existence and rightful place in their lives. Even if they are enemies, accusers and those who are due forgiveness.

Lion of Judah

It is said, “If He be for us, who can be against us?” How we fight is not by means of familiar physical, mental or emotional harm done to others. It is by enduring the faith and fighting that which would come against us spiritually. It is fighting against temptation and relying upon God for strength, wisdom and help in our time of need. He is the source of our strength. His word is the means of our offense. 

Things are not as though they seem. When the daily life of living in Christ gets exceptionally difficult, the commitment is to honor our duty and fight. The evil, the oppression and the principles that would come against the knowledge of God in every place it is found. 

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”

The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Eph 6:12–13). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.