The chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy Him. But we can only glorify Him and enjoy Him if we know Him. The knowledge of God is more important for the Christian, and even the whole world, than all things-put together. It is therefore vital that we know the names of God as revealed in His Word. Names in the Old Testament were often used as an indication of a person's character or some unique quality. So it is with the names of God.
When Jesus prayed for His disciples, He prayed that they might know the name of God.
Jn 17:3 - "they might know thee" Jn 17:6 - "I have manifested thy name" Jn 17:26 - "I have declared unto them thy name"
Moses asked God His name in Ex 3:13- 14
And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.
In the Lord's Prayer - "hallowed be thy name"
To know God is to know His names. The English language only affords us the general name GOD, which without investigation tells us nothing of His character.
The first name for God ever used in the Bible in Genesis 1 is ELOHIM. (used over 30 times in Genesis 1 -- used 2,570 times in the Old Testament)
There is a principle of Biblical hermeneutics called the "First Mention Principle." It simply means that the first time something is mentioned the foundation is laid for its truth throughout Scripture. See Genesis 1:1-4. Every time the English word God is mentioned it is ELOHIM.
This evening we want to see three major things about God's name ELOHIM.
I. The Plurality Of The Name Elohim
A. ELOHIM is in the plural (a noun)
B. But when used of the one true God, Elohim is always accompanied by verbs and adjectives in the singular.
(Genesis 1:1) In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
C. God in Genesis 1:1 begins to tell us of His plurality in one -- TRINITY
D. Notice God's plurality of oneness.
(Genesis 1:26) 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.
(Genesis 3:22) And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:
(Genesis 11:7) Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech.
II. "Elohim" Means Mighty, Or The "Strong One"
A. To understand we must see its origin
B. The root of Elohim is "El" which means mighty, strong.
(Deuteronomy 10:17) For the LORD your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward:
(Genesis 17:1) And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect.
C. ELOHIM contains the idea of creative and governing power, of omnipotence, and sovereignty.
1. It was ELOHIM who created the heavens and the earth.
2. And yet the N.T. says that it was Jesus who created the earth.
(John 1:3) All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
(Colossians 1:16-17) For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
3. How can this be? Elohim is plural it speaks of the Trinity
D. It is important that He first reveals Himself to us by this name.
1. That we might be humbled by His power
2. That we might believe and trust in His almighty power for all our needs.
III. "Elohim" Means The "One Who Keepeth Covenant"
A. Some say the origin of ELOHIM is the word "Alah" which means to declare or to swear.
B. Therefore, God is the "One Who Keepeth Covenant"
(1 Kings 8:23) And he said, LORD God of Israel, there is no God like thee, in heaven above, or on earth beneath, who keepest covenant and mercy with thy servants that walk before thee with all their heart:
C. To make a covenant implies the power and right to do so
D. So we see God (Elohim) throughout Scripture making covenants with man. (God has put Himself in covenant with man.)
(Numbers 23:19) God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?
E. So man is in a covenant relationship with God
(Hebrews 6:17-18) Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us:
1. "ELOHIM" made a covenant with Noah. Genesis 6:18 and Genesis 9:15, 16
2. "ELOHIM" made a covenant with Abraham. Genesis 15:18 and Genesis 17:2
3. "ELOHIM" made a covenant with Israel. Exodus 2:24, 25 4. "ELOHIM" has made a new covenant with us.
(1 Corinthians 11:25) After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.
F. The fact that God is "ELOHIM" or "the One that keepeth covenant" is the foundation of our hope in everything.
1. In Salvation He will keep His promise.
(John 10:28) And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
2. In Prayer He will keep His promise
(John 16:23) And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.
3. In Forgiveness He will keep His promise.
(1 John 1:9) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
4. In His constant care He will keep His promise.
(Hebrews 13:5) Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
He is ELOHIM the Strong One and the One that keepeth covenant. That is why He has revealed Himself to us.
(Leviticus 26:12) And I will walk among you, and will be your God, [Elohim] and ye shall be my people.
(Psalms 91:2) I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; [Elohim] in him will I trust.