Divine Titles and their Significance

Part Four: We continue this month by considering several more divine titles of the Old Testament.

By A. J. Pollack

Jah: Contraction Of Jehovah
This is a contraction of Jehovah, occurring 43 times in the Old Testament and always translated “LORD” in most translations. With 5 exceptions, these all occur in the Psalms, the first being Psalm 77:11. The last is in Psalm 150:6, twice repeating this sacred name in the psalm’s closing verse, “Let everything that has breath praise the LORD [Jah]. Praise the LORD [Jah].”

Adon: Lord, Master 
This name as referring to God occurs first in Exodus 23:17 and is the singular of Adonai. It occurs 300 times in the Old Testament under the names “lord” or “master.” It refers far more often to earthly masters, kings, rulers and great men than to God. It is easily seen by the context whether the name applies to God or to an earthly master.

Eloah: God, An Object For Worship 
This name for God is the singular of Elohim and means “God, the Object of worship.” Its first occurrence is found in Deuteronomy 32:15, “But Jeshurun [a poetical name for the children of Israel] grew fat and kicked; you grew fat, you grew thick, you are obese! Then he forsook God [Eloah] who made him, and scornfully esteemed the Rock of his salvation.”

This name occurs over 50 times in the Old Testament, 41 times in Job. Seeing that Job gives us the story of the conflict between God and Job, it is understandable that this name for God should find a large place there. Job not only learned himself in the presence of God but he was likewise blessed in the true knowledge of God, from which flows the only true happiness.

The Lord (Adon) Of All The Earth 
This title of God, consisting of six words, sets forth His wide dominion. It only occurs three times in the Old Testament – in Joshua 3:11,13 and Zechariah 6:5. The verses in Joshua bring before us the striking scene of the ark (typical of Christ in resurrection) being carried over the Jordan River by the priests, thus preparing the way for the Israelites to pass over to take possession of the land of Canaan. How cheering to them that the Lord of All the Earth should give them a possession where they could live – prophetic of the time when the Son of Man shall take possession of the whole earth and “The earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea” (Hab. 2:14).

The portion in Zechariah brings before us the fact that the Lord of All the Earth has agencies everywhere, ready to carry out His will in relation to mankind. We read, “These are four spirits of heaven, who go out from their station before the Lord of all the earth” (Zech. 6:5).

The vision here teaches that behind all man’s apparent arranging and planning, God is directing earthly affairs for His own wise purposes and glory in the government of this world. In these four spirits is seen prophetically the rise and fall of the four great world-empires, first indicated in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of the great image made of gold, silver, brass and iron – the Babylonian, Medo-Persian, Grecian and Roman empires. We await the revival of this last empire in these closing days [which we undoubtedly are seeing being formed in the current European Union].

Elah: An Object Of Worship 
This name for God occurs 89 times and, with one exception (Jer. 11:11), is found only in Ezra and Daniel. The name means “an object of worship.” Occasionally it is applied to man-made gods, but otherwise to the only One to whom the word rightly belongs. In Ezra it occurs 43 times and always in connection with the building of the temple in the time of Zerubbabel and Joshua, and the verses that follow. While building the temple, surrounded by cruel and fanatical foes and with little strength of their own, we can understand how they turned to God again and again during their difficulties. 

Elah occurs 45 times in Daniel. In that book it is strikingly connected with the expression, the God of Heaven, which occurs 5 times. How naturally Daniel and his companions would turn to the God of Heaven when in a land of idols and captive in a strange country. What a resource is God to His people in all similar times and circumstances! GT

Related thoughts shared by Walter Scott
(adapted from The Bible Handbook)
God: Eloah
Israel, as a nation, was placed in the midst of an idolatrous world as a testimony against the gross idolatry and corruption of those not believing in God. It was also a witness to the unity of Jehovah – to Him who is alone and one in power, wisdom and goodness; in contrast to the numerous gods and deities of the world. An integral [necessary, basic] part of all divine testimony since the days of Abram is that “our God is one Lord” (Mk. 12:29; 1 Tim. 2:5 KJV). Thus where the idolatry of Jew or Gentile with their many gods and lords is in question, Eloah is generally used as being the name and expression of the only living and true God, the object of all testimony and worship.
To the unbelieving and idolatrous people, God sent a message in their own language that their gods (elohim) shall certainly perish from the earth and from under heaven (Jer. 10:11). This threat will be executed in the day of Jehovah’s anger, as Isaiah 2:18 solemnly tells us: “The idols He shall utterly abolish.”

Lord Of All The Earth
In taking possession of “all the earth,” of which Canaan was an example of what is to come and Joshua a type of the Lord in the taking of the inheritance, God selected this easily understood and fitting title. Under it the people crossed the Jordan and undertook the conquest of the land. When, however, the highly favored people would dare to connect God’s blessed name and presence with their evil and idolatry, God could but leave the earth, no longer having a home or throne in it. Thus, Ezekiel witnesses the glory (the divine majesty and divine presence) slowly moving away from Jerusalem and going toward its native home (Ezek. 1-11). To have remained in the defiled temple (Ezek. 8) or sanctioned [shown approval for] the iniquity of the throne would have been to lower His character, deny Himself and tarnish His glory as God. Governmental power, therefore, passed over from Jerusalem to Babylon, and from that important moment we date “the times of the Gentiles” (Lk. 21:24; Dan. 2). God could not sanction iniquity by His presence – although governmentally He might bless the power conferred upon the Gentiles – so long as His people were held in captivity by these powers and the cities of Judah laid waste. Hence, when the cause of Israel is again taken up the title will be re-asserted (Rev. 11:4, compare with Zechariah 4 and 6:5).

Nebuchadnezzer lauded the God of Heaven but not the Lord of All the Earth – that title only being taken up when Israel’s place of supremacy in the earth and amongst the nations is being made good. The central part of Revelation is God’s assertion of His right and title to the earth; the consequence being days of wrath and terror upon man – especially upon apostate Judaism and Christendom. These judgments will inspire such fear in the wicked that they will haste to give glory to the “God of heaven” (Rev. 11:13). But that is not the title expressive of the character of these awful days and times. Men will cheerfully own God’s title to heaven, His right to dwell and govern there, for, after all, that keeps God and man at a distance. However, when He announces His settled purpose to again take up this earth, to wrest it from the power and grasp of Satan, men will sternly refuse to own the title “God of the earth.” So the storm of divine judgment will roll on: the seals broken, the trumpets blown and the vials poured out. The thick black clouds will break and burst until the guilty world is thoroughly swept by the broom of destruction. Then the song from heaven will break upon a joyous and redeemed creation: “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever” (Rev. 11:15).

This, then, is a title which God asserted at the conquest of Canaan and will establish by power in judgment after the day of grace is closed, introducing the setting up of His kingdom on earth.

God Of Heaven
We have about 20 instances of this interesting title in the Scriptures. It is only found twice in the New Testament (in Revelation), but it occurs eight times in the book of Ezra. The book of Ezra details the religious state of the returned remnant from Babylon. God most graciously permitted a considerable number of His people to return to the city and land of Immanuel, but they did so under Gentile permission and protection. When returned they got blessing from God, but not the presence of God. In the five post-captivity books – Ezra, Nehemiah, Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi – the remnant is not once termed “My people,” except in distinct reference to the future. In earlier times this was the favorite expression of the prophets and was found abundantly in their books. But now after the captivity, although all the rituals may have been practiced, the presence of GOD – of Jehovah – was absent. The glory was departed from Israel. Their temple – beautiful and glorious – had no ark, no golden mercy seat, no golden cherubim and no Urim and Thummin. Where was the cloud of glory, the well-known symbol of Jehovah’s majesty and presence? It had vacated its place and retired into heaven. But it will yet return and occupy the magnificent millennial temple, filling it with glory (Ezek. 43). Those sunny days and times are not far distant.

Thus we account for the frequency of this title in the book of Ezra. God was indeed caring for and watching over the remnant of His people, but He did so secretly and providentially. The glory had left the house, hence the appropriateness of the title “God of Heaven.” God acts in and from heaven, not on earth, yet He directs and controls all for the blessing of His own. When He begins to act publicly on behalf of Israel, He will do so under His Joshua-title, “Lord of All the Earth.”

The point now for faith to recognize is that God is acting and directing. What a comfort in the presence of evil and evil men: “Be still and know that I am God” (Ps. 46:10). The book of Esther, in which the name of God does not once occur, shows the secret acts of God, exercised through the Persian monarchy. There we see that His people are watched over and protected by God Himself.

The expression “kingdom of heaven,” which occurs only in the gospel of Matthew, about 30 times, has its root in Daniel 6. It is an important phrase in connection with the title “God of Heaven.” This divine, and to us exceedingly important title, covers all the period of time from the scattering of Judah by the first imperial power until God again takes up the cause of the Jew.

Look for the continuation of this Series next month.