Hebrew Names for God: Elohim

A Demonstration of the Power of Elohim

A while back I did an Old Testament study of the names of God.  I’d like to share it with you now.  This is the first of four of His names that we will study.

 Elohim is the Hebrew name of God I’ve been studying lately and I want to share this study with you.  I hope it will encourage you and help you to get to know God better.

Elohim is the name of God that is first mentioned in the Bible, and it appears in almost every verse in the first three chapters of Genesis.  If you look through the whole Old Testament, that name will appear about 2596 times. (Of course you will have to know the Hebrew language—or have some good Bible helps.  I don’t know Hebrew, but I have top notch Bible Software—with all the bells and whistles.  So in my study I was able to easily identify all the different Hebrew names of God.)

 Elohim is probably the most basic name of God, and maybe we could say a generic name for God, because it is also used for heathen gods, and for angels, rulers and judges.  But when Elohim is used of God (our creator God) it means “the one true God.”  It also means “the Strong One.”

 The most interesting thing about this name Elohim is that it is plural, which tells us that He (or they) are more than one person.  This of course implies the trinity—that Elohim is Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  This idea really comes out in Genesis 1:26, when “Us” and “Our” is used instead of “Me” and “My.”

 Then God [Elohim] said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

 Since Elohim is the only name of God mentioned in Genesis chapter one, I think we can get a good idea of what Elohim means—of the Elohim aspect of God—from looking at this chapter.  And we will also look at some of the Psalms.

From Genesis, chapter one, we see that Elohim created, hovered, spoke, saw, called, and made.

Elohim “created,” Genesis 1:1.  “In the beginning God [Elohim] created the heavens and the earth.”  He did it in six days.  He spoke it into existence.  What does that tell you about Elohim?  It speaks of His omnipotence and of His deity.  He, as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, is above all and is more powerful than we can imagine.  Psalms 104 speaks of His greatness in creation:

Ps 104:1-2

O Lord my God [Elohim], You are very great:

You are clothed with honor and majesty,

2 Who cover Yourself with light as with a garment,

Who stretch out the heavens like a curtain.

 

Ps 104:5

You who laid the foundations of the earth,

So that it should not be moved forever,

 

Elohim “hovered,” Genesis 1:2.  “And the Spirit of God [Elohim] was hovering over the face of the waters.”  Here we see the Spirit of Elohim hovering over the earth.

  In Psalms 18 I sort of see how God (Elohim) hovers, or flies over the earth.  In this passage we see particularly the power of Elohim answering David’s prayer in his time of distress.  David said in verse 6, “I cried out to my God [Elohim].”  Here is how Elohim is described as He answered David’s prayer for help.  Notice the power of Elohim

 He [Elohim] heard my voice from His temple,

And my cry came before Him, even to His ears.

7 Then the earth shook and trembled;

The foundations of the hills also quaked and were shaken,

Because He was angry.

8 Smoke went up from His nostrils,

And devouring fire from His mouth;

Coals were kindled by it.

9 He bowed the heavens also, and came down

With darkness under His feet.

10 And He rode upon a cherub, and flew;

He flew upon the wings of the wind.

11 He made darkness His secret place;

His canopy around Him was dark waters

And thick clouds of the skies.

12 From the brightness before Him,

His thick clouds passed with hailstones and coals of fire.

 

So here in this passage we see Elohim as master of the heavens, as He flies like a bird, or like an eagle, over the earth, who hovers over all those He loves.  He watches them and cares for them.  And in His power He will reign down terrible destruction on all His enemies—those who seek to harm His own.

 Elohim “said,” Genesis 1:3, 6, 9, 11, 14, 20, 24. 

Then God [Elohim] said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.

Then God said…

Then God said…

Then God said…

Etc.

Etc.

 

Here we see that Elohim spoke things into existence.  What power!!

 

Psalms 33:6 says,

 By the word of the Lord the heavens were made,

And all the host of them by the breath of His mouth.

 

Elohim “saw,” Genesis 1:4, 10 ,18 ,21, 25, 31.

 

And God[Elohim] saw the light, that it was good. 

And God saw…

And God saw…

And God saw…

And God saw…

Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good.

 

Elohim in His power put His seal of perfection on everything that He created.  When it says that He saw that it was very good, this means, I think, that He determined by His power that it be good.  Hence, because He saw it was good so can we.

 

Elohim “called,” Genesis 1:5, 8, 10. 

 God [Elohim] called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.”

God [Elohim] called…

God [Elohim] called…

 

When Elohim calls things what they are, He in fact is establishing what they are, is expressing their reality and assigning it its place.  Elohim has that kind of power!  In Psalms 74: 16 and 17 we see this power of Elohim in creation.

 

16 The day is yours, and yours also the night;

you established the sun and moon.

17 It was you who set all the boundaries of the earth;

you made both summer and winter.

NIV

 

Elohim “made,” Genesis 1:7, 16, 25, 31.  Elohim made the firmament; He made the two great lights and the stars.  He made the wild animals; He made everything, and made it good.

 This word “made” is much like “create,” but “made” involves more of the process of creating.  It entails the details of creation and the work of creation.  When Elohim made things He took much thought and care and work to make them.

 When I think of Elohim, I don’t know why, but I think of the great and terrible Oz—in The Wizard of Oz.  Kind of silly, hah?  But of course He is much more than that.  So much more.

 Elohim.  I love that name.  Elooooheeeeeem.  He is so great!!!!!

 Elohim,

Oh my Elohim,

How great and powerful You are!

 I want to call Him Elo, my Elo.  But that’s not His name.  His name is Elohim.  Elooooheeem.

 Some people call Him the man upstairs, the big guy, or big Daddy.  But that to me is disrespectful.  His name is Elohim, the one who created you from dust, who made you, who fashioned you with His hands, and who lovingly and powerfully made everything in just 6 days.

 When I think of how His Spirit hovered over the face of the waters (Gen. 1:2) and how He rides on the wings of the wind (as the Psalms describe), His name Elohim gives me goose bumps. He is such a mystery, such a terror in the skies. 

 

Elohim,

Oh my great Elohim,

Who can know Your greatness,

 Your awesome power? 

 

 

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About Stephen Nielsen

I'm an author, a self publisher, and a painting contractor. I live in beautiful Minnesota, USA . Welcome to my blog site.
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