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Who Is God?

The English word God originated from an old Anglo-Saxon word which itself was derived from the Germanic word Gott which was used to refer to all sorts of "gods," not necessarily the True God (just as "god" still is). In English-language translations of The Holy Bible (the Old Testament was written mostly in Hebrew, while the New Testament mostly in Greek) "God" is used to translate a number of actual Divine Names, specific to the True God, as recorded in the Scriptures. Using "God" as a name for God rather than a statement of what He is can perhaps be compared to calling your best friend "Human" instead of by their actual name.

"What is His Name?' What shall I say to them?"

Elohim, from the Hebrew pronounced el-oh-heem, is the most frequently recorded name for God, more than 2,500 times in the Old Testament. Elohim is actually the plural form of its root word, but singular in usage - after all, there is only one God (see The Logos).

The Tetragram Examples where Elohim was translated as God:

"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" (Genesis 1:1 RSV)

"Then God said, "Let Ss make man in Our image, after Our likeness" (Genesis 1:26 RSV)

The second most common Name for God is the YHVH, or "Tetragram" as it has been called. It is shown in the illustration along with the names of the Hebrew letters and their approximate sounds (note that Hebrew is written right to left).

The ancient pronunciation of the YHVH is uncertain, and there have been a number of interpretations. The most common is "Jehovah," which some Bibles use in their translation, while others render the YHVH as "Lord." For example, for Exodus 20:2-3, the American Standard Version has, "I Am Jehovah thy God, Who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before Me," while the King James Version has, "I Am The Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before Me."

There are also a number of Names which use the YHVH in combination. Examples, using the "Jehovah" interpretation: Jehovah-ropheka, "Jehovah that heals" (Exodus 15:26), Jehovah-meqaddeshkem, "Jehovah Who sanctifies you" (Exodus 31:13), Jehovah-tsabaoth, "Jehovah of hosts" (1 Samuel 1:3), "Jehovah-elyon, "Jehovah Most High (Psalm 7:17), Jehovah-roi, "Jehovah my shepherd (Psalm 23:1)

El is used over 200 times as a Name for God, often in combination as El, Eloah and Elyon. Many of the faithful people of God had "el" in their name e.g. Elijah ("The Lord is God"), Daniel ("The Lord is my Judge"). Another name for Jesus Christ was Immamuel (Matthew 1:23) which means "The Lord is with us."

Shaddai is found almost 50 times in the Old Testament, and is usually translated as Almighty. It was first recorded when God spoke to Abraham: "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. And I will make My covenant between Me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly." (Genesis 17:1-2 KJV)

In the New Testament "God" is used for the original Greek word Theos

How did "God" answer Moses' question about The Name?

"Then Moses said to God, "If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they ask me, 'What is His Name?' What shall I say to them?"

God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM." And he said, "Say this to the people of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to you.'" God also said to Moses, "Say this to the people of Israel, 'The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you': this is My Name for ever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations." (Exodus 3:13-15 RSV)

Fact Finder: What is the Third Commandment?
Exodus 20:7
See also The Ten Commandments


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