Divine Titles and Their Significance

Part Three

By A. J. Pollack

Having considered ElohimJehovah and the compound names of Jehovah in the first two parts of this series, we will now consider a few other divine titles found in the Old Testament.

El:The Mighty God
The first mention of this name is in Genesis 14:18-20 where Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God who is the possessor of heaven and earth, blessed Abram. The title occurs over 240 times in the Old Testament and is particularly numerous in Job and the Psalms. It means the Mighty God, One victorious in power. It sets forth the true God in contrast to the false gods of the heathen. The following extracts indicate this character of God: “a jealous God,” “a mighty God,” “a mighty God and terrible,” “a God who avenges” and “God greatly to be feared” (KJV).

El is likewise allied to the grace of God, as the following interesting passage shows: “There is no other God [Elohim] besides Me, a just God [El] and a Savior; there is none besides Me” (Isa. 45:21 NKJV). How wonderful that the mighty God is our Savior. The full revelation of this is seen in the name “Jesus,” a translation from Hebrew words into Greek meaning “Jehovah Savior.”

Elyon: High, Highest, Most High 
This is a word for God which signifies High, Highest and Most High; and it refers to God some 31 times. It is applied once to Melchizedek, who is typical of our Lord, and the title applies several times to the temple as indicating its very sacred character. In Daniel it is connected with the saints of the Most High. It is a title of great dignity. Sometimes it is used as an adjective as allied to another name of God, as for instance, “I will praise the LORD [Jehovah] according to His righteousness, and will sing praise to the name of the LORD [Jehovah] Most High [Elyon] (Ps. 7:17). Note: Sometimes Elyon is spelled Gnelion.

Adonai: My Lord Or Lordship 
This name of God occurs first in Genesis 15:2. There we read, “But Abram said, ‘Lord [Adonai] GOD [Jehovah], what will You give me, seeing I go childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?’” The name Adonaioccurs about 300 times in the Old Testament and, being plural like Elohim (the only two names of God in Scripture in the plural), enshrines the thought of the Trinity. Its meaning is my Lord or Lordship.

It would be well to recall that the title Jehovah, whether translated as “God” or “Lord,” is always printed in most translations of our Bibles in small capital letters, while Adonai, always translated as “Lord,” is printed in small letters with an initial capital only. Adonai is largely used in the Psalms, Isaiah and Ezekiel. It is often expressed as “The Lord GOD [Jehovah-Adonai].” It was a name used largely by the LORD’s people in Old Testament times when turning to God for help, guidance, mercy and compassion.

The Angel Of The LORD 
This expression, the Angel of the LORD [Jehovah] occurs over 100 times in the Old Testament, meaning messenger or agent. Sometimes it describes an angelic messenger and other times it refers to the LORD Himself – the context easily makes it clear. The context of Genesis 16:7, for instance, clearly proves the Angel of the LORD is the LORD Himself. None but a divine Person could say, “I will multiply your descendants exceedingly, so that they shall not be counted for multitude” (Gen. 16:10).

That Hagar recognized this is evident. We read, “Then she called the name of the LORD [Jehovah] who spoke to her, You-Are-The-God-Who-Sees; for she said, ‘Have I also here seen Him who sees me?’ Therefore the well was called Beer Lahai Roi [the well of the One who lives and sees me]” (Gen. 16:13-14).

A striking case of the Angel of the LORD (Ex. 3:2) being Jehovah Himself is seen when the LORD called to Moses from out of the burning bush, saying, “I am the God of your father – the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob” (Ex. 3:6).

There is a beautiful variation of this title found in Isaiah 63:9: “In all their affliction He was afflicted, and the Angel of His Presence saved them; in His love and pity He redeemed them; and He bore them and carried them all the days of old.” None but a divine Person could use words such as these. 

Referring to a day yet future we read, “In that day the LORD will defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; the one who is feeble among them in that day shall be like David, and the house of David shall be like God, like the Angel of the LORD before them” (Zech. 12:8).

Shaddai: The Almighty 
This title for God is first mentioned in Genesis 17:1. In seven instances the word God [El] is combined with Shaddai and is generally translated “The Almighty.” Some interpret the name as “Almighty in sustaining resources” (as the mother’s breasts for her baby). It occurs 48 times in the Old Testament, 31 being in Job. There the thought stands out preeminently [above all others] that the Lord is Almighty. This is in character with the book of Job where we have the story of the controversy God had with Job, who got no relief or blessing until he arrived at a right estimate of himself in the presence of God. In chapter after chapter Job sought to vindicate his own self-righteousness while debating with his three friends. Finally God spoke to him, which brought him to the true confession, “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You. Therefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42:5-6). So Job found his highest blessing in this discovery and learned at last that the Lord is very compassionate and full of tender mercy (Jas. 5:11).

Related thoughts shared by Walter Scott 
(adapted from The Bible Handbook)Most High God is a beautiful millennial title, occurring four times in the typical kingdom picture of Genesis 14:18-24. It also occurs several times in the Gentile book of prophecy – Daniel. “The Most High God, possessor of heaven and earth” (KJV), will receive the worship of the millennial nations, and pour down His blessings upon them. The heavens and the earth will be filled with blessing and be vocal with praise. Melchizedek, in whom were united priesthood and royalty, points to Christ. It is in Christ that every glory centers and He alone is able and worthy to bear the double glory of kingly power and priestly grace, as said the prophet, “He shall be a priest upon His throne” (Zech. 6:13). Now, this blessing from God to man and from man to God (Gen. 14:19-20) is exercised mediatorially [having someone that goes between]. The coming kingdom, both in its celestial (upper) and terrestrial (lower) spheres, will be received from the Father (Lk. 19:12) and then for 1,000 years the Lord Jesus – the true Melchizedek – will:Sway the scepter in righteousness,Be God’s representative in the creation,Unite all things in the heavens and on the earth,Be the link of blessing from God to man, andBe the channel of worship from man to God.At the close of His glorious reign He will deliver up the kingdom to God (1 Cor. 15:24-28) in the divine perfection in which it was received. Thus the kingdom and all its connected glories will be mediatorial in character.The expression “Most High” in Daniel 7:27 is in an interesting passage showing the connection between the glory celestial and the glory terrestrial: “And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven shall be given to the people [Jewish people] of the saints [that is, the risen and glorified saints dwelling in the heavenly places] of the Most High whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey Him.” While earthly dominion is committed to the Jews on earth; the heavenly glory and rule over the earth will be enjoyed by the saints risen and glorified, and immediately associated with Christ. The connection between the heavens and the earth and the saints occupying both spheres is similarly shared in Revelation 21:12,24,26 and Hosea 2:21-23.Abraham, the pilgrim and stranger called out from an idolatrous world to walk with God, would find in the revelation of the “Almighty God” a sure and all sufficient resource. “God Almighty” in His grace, “Almighty” in His sustaining power, “Almighty” in divine resources and “Almighty” for an arm of flesh to lean upon – such would seem to be the force of this grand patriarchal title. To the pilgrim fathers of Israel God revealed Himself as the Almighty (Gen. 17:1, 28:3, 48:3) – the everlasting and memorial name of Israel’s divine Savior (Ex. 3:15). In announcing to Moses the approaching deliverance of His people, God thus spoke to His servant, “And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty; but by My name Jehovah was I not known to them” (Ex. 6:3). No doubt, the fathers of the people were for a long time familiar with the title “Jehovah,” as it is often found before the nation of Israel’s history. But God did not reveal Himself to the fathers as Jehovah, but as “God Almighty.” Thus God has revealed Himself to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as the “Almighty” One; to Israel as “Jehovah” and to Christians as “Father.” How appropriate! How divine is the wisdom in the use and value of these several displays and revelations of God. If a saint walking in the path of lowly obedience to the Word of God will clear himself from all false and unholy fellowships – sacred or secular – as did Abram (Gen. 12) in his day, how great are the divine resources and aids for such an one today! If the exhortations of 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 are imperative, calling for prompt and godly action, we find the encouragement and sustaining grace to be of the most blessed character now. Could anything exceed the sweetness of those words? “I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty” (vv.17-18).In the first book of Holy Scripture [Genesis] the “Almighty God” tells of all sustaining power and grace for the pilgrim saint and stranger. Meanwhile, the last book [Revelation] reveals God under the same title as all consuming in wrath and judgment toward unrepentant sinners (19:15).

Look for the continuation of this Series next month.