Article 8

God (Elohim/Deity) is known by many names, and we have looked at but only a select few. We’ve seen him as Yahweh — the Self-Existing One. He is Jehovah — the One who IS. He is Adonai — Lords and Masters, and El Shaddai — God who IS enough. He is El Hakkadosh — the Holy One. He is Chesed — Love, and Davar — the incarnate Word of God. Yet of all of God’s names, His favorite name must be Abba — Daddy.

Jesus used this Arabic expression when in the garden of Gethsemane. In Mark 14:36, we read that Christ, while praying for the possibility of not having to suffer for humanity’s sins, cried out in despair, “Abba, Father!” The Apostle Paul wrote, in his letter to the Romans, that as believers we have “received the Spirit of sonship. And by Him [the Holy Spirit] we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’” (Romans 8:15)

The CCM group known as NewSong reminds us to call out to our heavenly Daddy, in the song entitled Your Favorite Name is Father. The chorus reads, “Your favorite name is ‘father.’ You love to hear your children calling. You’re there to catch us when we’re falling. Your favorite name is ‘father.’” God is our “Abba Avinu,” our divine Daddy, and He cares so very much for us.

Even something as seemingly minor as our names, matter to God. Did you know that understanding just what our names mean can open up opportunities for us to glorify God? Scripture tells us that God concerned Himself with human names to the point that, when necessary, He would rename those whom He called. Abram was called by God, the Father, to become the father of His chosen people. God renamed Abram “Abraham,” which means in Hebrew “Father lifted up.” Abraham’s grandson (Jacob) was renamed by God, “Israel,” which in Hebrew means “Turns the Head of God.” On and on throughout Scripture we see many of Abba Avinu’s chosen renamed. So, why rename them? Do names really matter to that degree? Yes, I believe they do. Look with me at Jacob, again.

How great of a leader would Jacob have been without his name change? As a man, his character was being defined by what his heavenly Father was doing in his life. People surely would have followed him despite his name, if God was really ordaining him as his chosen ruler over His nation. Sure, God could’ve made Jacob into the patriarch He called him to be without the name change, but Jacob’s name meant “He grabs the heel” and this name described his old nature. That name “Jacob” symbolized his former life as a shyster, a con-artist, someone who was shady in character. That wasn’t Jacob’s new life, he no longer was living a life of deception. Jacob was now following God’s statutes. Jacob was now Israel — “Turns the Head of God.” Israel had God’s attention, he had the Father’s favor. Now that is a man capable of leading a nation, a man people can follow. A man who’s name and character had been changed, by God, for the completion of His divine plan. (You can read Jacob’s complete story in the book of Genesis, primarily in chapters 25-35.)

Even the Apostle Paul went through a name change. The man whom God used as His instrument for spreading the Gospel message through out Asia-Minor (a.k.a. Anatolia), and Rome, and who also was moved by God to write 13 of the 27 books in the New Testament, was originally named Saul. Saul, whose name in the Hebraic language means “Inquired of God,” was the son of a Pharisee and was himself a Pharisee. Saul studied the Mosaic traditions under the teachings of Gamaliel, and was known as a “Jew of Jews.” Strangely enough, Saul was also a citizen of Rome. You see Saul, though raised in Jerusalem, had been born in Tarsus, which was the capital of the Roman province of Cilicia. This birth right enabled Saul to claim a dual citizenship, between Israel and Rome.

Saul was in Jerusalem when Christ was crucified, and he became an integral part of the Jewish leader’s attempts to silence the Gospel message in Israel. Saul, too, was the man who held the cloaks of the men who stoned Stephen to death, and it was also Saul who was charged by the Jewish leaders to hunt down and kill all who preached the resurrected Christ. It would be this charge that would send Saul throughout Judea, and beyond the borders of Israel, executing the followers of Christ.

Now while Saul was traveling the road leading to the Greco-Roman city of Damascus, to continue his persecution of the followers of Christ, he saw the very message he was trying to silence appearing before him — the resurrected Jesus, Himself — the incarnate Word of God. From that moment on Saul devoted his life to spreading the Gospel message, not silencing it, and sometime after his decision to follow Christ he began to answer by the Roman name Paul, which means “small” or “humble.”

Whether God, the Father, changed Saul’s name to Paul, or whether Saul did this on his own, we really don’t know. Scripture and history don’t really tell us one way or the other, but what is significant here is the meanings of the names being changed. Saul, the Hebrew, was a man very proud of his blood line. He was a man living large in the ideals implanted into his life by the Pharisees and the Sanhedrin. Remember Saul’s pedigree made him a “Jew of Jews,” a man who “Inquired of God” to elevate himself above the Jewish masses. Paul, on the other hand, as a follower of Jesus came to realize just how small he was before God and humbled himself to serving the resurrected Christ and mankind. As with Jacob’s/Israel’s names, the name “Saul” represented his old life, but the name “Paul” connected him with his new one. (You can read of Saul’s transformation into Paul in the book of Acts, largely in chapters 7-13.)

So with that being said, was William Shakespeare correct when he wrote this phrase, in his tragic play Romeo & Juliet, “A rose by any other name is still a rose”? Certainly on a cellular level this statement is true, physically creation is what it is, but where people are concerned this phrase is false. Humanity is more than cellular, we are also mind and soul. Names and titles can affect people’s attitude, behavior, character, emotions, and thoughts. Just as a costume or fashion ensemble effects human behavior and thinking.

Most of us have worn a costume, at some point in our lives, or a fine ensemble of clothing and experienced a change in our behavior; how we felt about ourselves. Maybe it wasn’t a drastic change, but a change nonetheless. In a very similar way, names and titles can also cause this affect. For example, let’s say the name “Carl” happened to be your name, and you discovered that in Nigerian this name means “unintelligent” or “idiot.” How would you feel about your name? What thoughts would begin going through your mind about your parents giving you that name? How would you begin to see yourself, as you reflected on your life and how your name related to your experiences, both past and future? In contrast, say your name is “Aaron” and you discover that in Hebrew your name means “Strong and Powerful.” Now what do you begin to feel and think about your name, yourself, and your parents giving it to you? Our names aren’t hollow words and we can be affected by them, moreover affect others with them.

Now before we all go crazy looking up the meanings to our names, and possibly begin going about changing them too, let’s take a deep breath and allow for some clarification on why I included this topic in this study. Every aspect of our life, no matter how significant or insignificant we see it as being, is meant to glorify and worship our heavenly Father. Our names can be apart of that. Consider this when naming your children, parents. The names you give your children will affect them in some manner, at some point, in their lives. You, as an adult, may consider a name change due to a drastic conversion experience, or maybe upon accepting the Father’s calling on your life, but that should only be done if you are certain the Holy Spirit is moving you to do so. The attempt here was to simply engage our thoughts to the realization that names have meanings and that those meanings can affect our lives.

In closing, I want to bring your attention to the names in Noah’s genealogy. They are found in Genesis chapter 5, verses 1-29, and are as follows: Adam, Seth, Enosh, Kenan, Mahalalel, Jared, Enoch, Methuselah, Lamech, and Noah. Now note their Hebraic meanings. Adam means “Man.” Seth means “Appointed.” Enosh means “Mortal.” Kenan means “Lamentation,” or “Sorrow.” Mahalalel is an “el” construct meaning “Blessed of God.” Jared means “Descending.” Enoch means “Instruct.” Methuselah means “When He Dies, Judgment.” Lamech means “Made Low,” and lastly Noah’s name means “Comfort.” According to a study of Biblical names, conducted by the founder of Koinonia House, author, and Biblical scholar Chuck Missler, when these particular names are placed into a sentence structure we read these words:

Man (Adam) is appointed (Seth) mortal (Enosh) sorrow (Kenan); the blessed of God (Mahalalel) will descend (Jared) instructing (Enoch) that when He dies, judgement (Methuselah) will bring the lowly (Lamech) comfort (Noah).

The Gospel message hidden in the genealogy of Noah. You see? Our names, God’s names, all names are important. Get to know Abba, Father’s many names and truly begin to worship Him.

His Name Is . . . by J. Scott Harden is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://jasonmin.wordpress.com/.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

The “NIV” and “New International Version” trademarks are registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by International Bible Society. Use of either trademark requires the permission of International Bible Society.

Your Favorite Name Is Father lyrics and music written by Eddie Carswell and Michael O’Brien. Copyright © 2005 Integrity Media, Inc., 1000 Cody Road, AL 36695. All Rights Reserved.

If you want to use these lyrics, please contact the authors, artists or labs.

Chuck Missler‘s study entitled “Meanings Of The Names In Genesis 5,” Copyright © 1996-2012 by Koinonia House Inc., P.O. Box D, Coeur d’Alene, ID 83816, can be found at: http://www.khouse.org/articles/2000/284/

If your church or organization would like to talk with J. Scott Harden about a speaking engagement, or a writing project, please get in touch with Mr. Harden through Jason MinistriesTwitter account or Facebook page.

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Article 4

The Ten Commandments, starring Charlton Heston, Yul Brynner, Anne Baxter, Edward G. Robinson, Yvonne De Carlo, Debra Paget, and John Derek, is a 1956 epic film that tells the story of the Hebrew’s exodus from Egypt.

The Ten Commandments, which was the last film that famed director Cecil B. DeMille presided over, is one of the most financially successful films ever made, grossing over $65 million at the US box office. If you adjust for inflation, this makes it the sixth highest-grossing movie domestically, with an adjusted total of $1,025,730,000 in 2012.

The film received seven Academy Award nominations including “Best Picture,” and won the award for “Best Visual Effects.” The American Film Institute (a.k.a. AFI) later voted The Ten Commandments as the tenth best film in the epic genre.

As epic as this film is in cinematic history, so too is this story’s monumental affect on man’s history and future. For it’s in this saga of the Hebrew’s exodus from Egypt that we see the formal beginning of God’s salvation and redemption of humanity on display, and where we see a subtle visual of one of God’s earliest of names — El Shaddai.

I realize that for most the name “El Shaddai” is more closely connected in our thoughts and minds to the very popular song written by Michael Card and more famously performed by Amy Grant, rather than the story of the Exodus, but grant (no pun intended) me just a moment and I’ll explain the association.

“God of the mountains” or “el shaddai,” was a Mesopotamian term that was used in reference of a divine mountain. This name was but one of the patriarchal names for the tribal god of the Mesopotamians. Now in Exodus 6:3, “El Shaddai” is seen identified solely with the Creator — the God of Abraham — and with His name, Yahweh, which is why this particular name of God (El Shaddai) could be derived from the Hebrews experience of seeing God’s fire atop Mount Sinai and from hearing God’s thunder from the Israelite camp at the base of the mountain. It could also explain, in part, the more popular interpretation of the name “El Shaddai” as meaning “God Almighty,” but linguistically this interpretation comes many years later from the English translators of the Septuagint (i.e. the Greek translators of the Old Testament).

These English translators determined that “Shaddai” came from “shad-ad,” a root verb that means “to over power” or “to destroy.” It’s also seen translated in the Latin Vulgate as “omnipotens,” which is where our English word “omnipotent” comes from. Yes, God is everywhere. Yes, God is all-knowing, and all-powerful, therefore God is Almighty. But while this is very true of God, I don’t think this quite reveals the essence of what this name really means. Also, long before Moses and the exodus of the Hebrews from Egypt, God makes use of this very name when introducing Himself to the Hebrew patriarch, Abram.

In Genesis 17:1, our Creator used the name “El Shaddai” when He confirmed His covenant with Abram, and his descendants, and renames Abram to Abraham. The more popular name of “God Almighty” certainly could apply here, as God is mighty enough to make this promise and fulfill it, but there appears to be more implied here. Especially if “Shaddai” is seen as a compound word within a compound name.

“El Shaddai” is one of 27 compound names known as “El constructs.” The names are formed by combining a shortened form of the name “Elohim,” meaning “Deity,” with some other name or title, in this case the name “Shaddai.” Split apart “Shaddai” and we get two smaller words: “sha,” which means “who,” and “dai,” which means “enough.” So, a closer look at the Hebraic practice of shortening a name of God (El from Elohim), and combining that shortened name with a descriptive attribute (i.e. Shaddai), and we begin to see that “El Shaddai” could translate as “God who IS Enough.” Pause and ponder that name for a moment (selah) — God who IS Enough!

What an amazing revelation of God to Abraham, and to us. Yahweh wasn’t just making us aware of His might in this covenant. God was saying He was, is, and always will be sufficient to fulfill His promises to us, in us, and through us. Yahweh, is mighty! Yahweh, is enough!

We see another example of El Shaddai as being all sufficient in Genesis 49:22-26, as Jacob (Israel) is blessing his son Joseph. In this verse Israel says:

“Joseph is a fruitful vine, a fruitful vine near a spring, whose branches climb over a wall. With bitterness archers attacked him; they shot at him with hostility. But his bow remained steady, his strong arms stayed limber, because of the hand of the Mighty One [El Shaddai] of Jacob, because of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel, because of your father’s [Israel’s] God, who helps you, because of the Almighty [El Shaddai], who blesses you with blessings of the heavens above, blessings of the deep that lies below, blessings of the breast and womb. Your father’s blessings are greater than the blessings of the ancient mountains, than the bounty of the age-old hills. Let all these rest on the head of Joseph, on the brow of the prince among his brothers.”

See how God is described by Israel to be the mighty provider of Joseph’s blessings? God is shown to be Joseph’s strength to endure hardships. God is shown to be Joseph’s strong moral and spiritual foundation. God is shown to be Joseph’s sustenance and nourishment; not just to him, but to his children too. All in all, El Shaddai is Joseph’s “God who IS enough.”

So, how about you? Is God your strength in hard times, your foundation of truth, your sustainer in all you need, both physically as well as spiritually? Is God enough?

Do you allow God access to all areas of your life? Do you really have a deep enough relationship with God; one in which you can call upon El Shaddai in confidence? Do you really know “God who IS enough”?

Selah (Pause/Reflect).

I’ll leave you with this word from God to the Apostle Paul. It comes as a response to a painful plea that Paul made to our Creator to have a “thorn” removed from his life. God’s answer to Paul was not to remove the torment from his life, but to reveal Himself to Paul through the affliction. In this answer came an understanding; Paul came to know El Shaddai even more upon hearing and accepting these divine words:

“My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)

His Name Is . . . by J. Scott Harden is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://jasonmin.wordpress.com/.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

The “NIV” and “New International Version” trademarks are registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by International Bible Society. Use of either trademark requires the permission of International Bible Society.

Cecil B. DeMille‘s The Ten Commandments Copyright © 1956 Paramount Pictures. All Rights Reserved. TM ® & Copyright © 1999 by Paramount Pictures. All rights reserved.

If your church or organization would like to talk with J. Scott Harden about a speaking engagement, or a writing project, please get in touch with Mr. Harden through Jason MinistriesTwitter account or Facebook page.