The Names of God in Holy Scripture: A Revelation of His Nature
Notes of a course of Lectures.
By Andrew Jukes

“They that know they name will put their trust in Thee.” (Psalm 9:10)

In this 12 chapter work by Jukes (Universalist), he examines some of the names of God, “God” or Elohim, Lord or Jehovah, God Almighty or El Shaddai, Most High God or El Elyon, Lord or Adonai, Everlasting God or El Olam, Lord of Hosts or Jehovah Sabaoth, then the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and partakers of the Divine Nature, and an Appendix.

Second Edition.
LONDON: LONGMANS, GREEN, AND CO.
1889. All rights reserved.

“I have manifested thy Name to the men which thou gavest me out of the world;… for the words which thou gavest me I have given them… And I have declared unto them thy Name, and will declare it, that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.” — St. John 17:6, 8, 26.

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The following Notes of a course of Lectures, delivered at Torquay in 1882, and lately repeated with some slight additions in London, are printed at the reiterated request of not a few of those who heard them. I could have wished to re-write them, for in their present form they very inadequately express even what by grace I have been permitted to see of the glorious vision to which they call attention. But I cannot now do what I would. These Notes therefore must go forth as they are, or not at all. Perhaps it is as well that they should remain in all their present imperfectness.

They are Notes, and but Notes, touching Him whose fulness is above all words, and before whose glory the brightest seraphs veil their faces. All that one can say upon such a subject is, as Newton said of what he saw of nature, only like picking up some shells on the shore of an ocean, which is unmeasured and immeasurable. And yet, so far as they go, these Notes, I believe, open something of the truth, which the varying Names of God, recorded in Holy Scripture, were intended to reveal to us.

The subject has long occupied my thoughts.

I was led to it, many years ago, by noticing the four differing Names of God in the first two verses of the ninety-first Psalm. The study of these drew me further to other titles of the same One Blessed God.

The Fathers on this subject helped me but little, at least directly. They rarely refer to the teaching of the Names of God, as given in the Old Testament.

What I think I most learnt from them was the lesson of our weakness; for their conflicts with the Gnostics shewed, how much there is in God and man, which in its height and depth must be beyond us, or at least unspeakable, so long as we are still in our present bodies of humiliation. And this consideration made me feel, how much we owe to God for the Names under which He has made Himself known in Scripture, which tell us all that we can here bear to know of Himself, His nature, and relationships. 

It was Parkhurst’s “ Hebrew Lexicon,” if I remember right, which first suggested to me how much the root or meaning of these Names threw light on the special aspect or attribute of God, which each varying title was given to indicate. Scholars differ as to the precise etymology of some of the Names, and it is at times very difficult to decide between them.

I have generally followed Parkhurst, who appears to have both reason and authority for his views, though I know some critics disagree with him. More than thirty years ago, in my “ Types of Genesis,” I expressed something of what I then saw, as to the difference between “ Elohim “ and “ Jehovah,” and the lessons taught under the Names “El Shaddai” and “El Olam.” The Name which latest opened to me was “ El Elyon,” or “ Most High.” For the opening of this Name I am, under God, indebted, more perhaps than I am aware, to a little work, entitled, “ Omnipotence belongs only to the Beloved,” by Mrs. Brewster Macpherson. On such subjects it is difficult, and indeed impossible, to offer proof which will satisfy or even be intelligible to all readers; for here, if anywhere, the Apostle’s words are true, that “the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, neither can he know them, for they are spiritually discerned.” But the truth, as we use it, is its own proof; as a key, by opening a complicated lock, sufficiently shews that it has been designed for it; a proof, as I have said elsewhere, which requires some capacity in the observer, and some exercise and intelligence in the things of God, but which will, I feel assured, be increasingly satisfactory to those who will test it in prayerful meditation and daily study of the Word of God.

The Lord grant that what is here said may serve to make Him better known. Where I have erred on any point, may He forgive it. Where by His grace the truth of His Name and Nature has been opened, to Him be all the praise. Each of His Names strikes but one note of that full chord which shall be heard, when that which is perfect is come, and that which is in part is done away. Meanwhile each separate note, however imperfectly it may here be heard, may awaken some thought of that harmony in God, which ever is, even if as yet it is above us.

Blessed be His Name, all shall one day know Him, from the least unto the greatest. “ Now we see through a glass darkly, but then face to face: now I know in part, but then shall I know, even as also I am known.”

January 27, 1888.

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INTRODUCTION.

What is the meaning of all the teaching and preaching, which by our Lord’s command is continued day by day both in the Church and in the world? It means that there is something which we do not know, which it is very important that we should know, and which we are all slow to learn. What is it that we do not know, which it is so important we should know, and which we are so slow to learn? Only two things: we do not know ourselves: we do not know God. All teaching and preaching are to make us know ourselves and God.

Do we know ourselves? Some of us have gone through colleges and schools, and have learnt this language or studied that science: nay, we may have gone round the world, and seen its peoples, its cities, and great sights, without, like the Prodigal, ever “ coming to ourselves,” And even when we have “ come to ourselves,” and so have “ come to our Father,”  ((St. Luke 15:17, 20.)) we may still not know our special weakness, and what we might do if tempted, or our strength in Christ, who is our true life, when He is manifested in us. St. Peter, the chief of

2 The Names of God.

the Apostles, is one of the many examples which Holy Scripture gives us to shew how true disciples, though they love Christ, and have given up much to follow Him, may be wholly ignorant of their own weakness, and of man’s true perfecting through death and resurrection. Who understands the wonderful contradictions which go to make up man? At times almost an angel; at times a beast or devil: now with aspirations high as heaven; now with self-love and envy low as hell. Who knows himself even as his neighbours know him? Well might the old heathen oracle say, “ Know thyself.” Well might the Psalmist again and again ask, “ Lord, what is man? “ ((Psalm 8:4; 144:3.))

And then as to God, do we know Him? Do we even know our true relation to Him? What are our thoughts about Him? Is He for us, or against us?

Is He friend or foe — a stranger or a Father? Can we trust Him as we trust an earthly friend? Or are those right who call themselves Agnostics, and say, not only that we do not, but even that we cannot, really know Him? Alas — it is too true: men know Him not. But this is not man’s proper state. This is not the will of God respecting us.

Does the book we call the Bible throw any light upon our present state of ignorance of God and of ourselves? Does it hold out any remedy for it?

One of its first lessons is to tell us how man became what he now is, fallen for a while from God, yet not forsaken by Him. Who has not heard the story,

Introduction. 3

little as it is understood, how a lower creature suggested a falsehood as to God and man, — that God was grudging, in denying that which looked so pleasant to the eyes and good for food, — untrue in saying that if man ate of it lie. should surely die;-and as to man, that he should be as God, with his eyes opened, knowing good and evil, if only he would act in selfwill and disobedience? Who has not heard, how, as the result of believing this lie, man learnt that he was naked, and hid himself from God, and sought to cover his nakedness with fig leaves, and his disobedience with excuses; yet that God sought him with a Call, a Promise, and a Gift, — a Call which is yet sounding in the ears of all, asking man where he now is, and why he is not still with Him who made him,—a Promise also of deliverance from his enemy, — and a Gift to meet his present need. ((Gen. 3:1-21.)) It is all in the Old Book: nay — it is being re-enacted every day; for the “ old man “ in us yet repeats old Adam’s folly. Men everywhere believe the lie, and hide from God, and seek to cover their shame with pretexts, which still leave them naked after all their labour. And the natural result is, man has hard thoughts of God, and high thoughts of himself. God’s character everywhere is gone with man, who has now more faith in creatures than in God, and more pleasure in them than in his Maker. Man’s thoughts of Him may be seen in the idols which he has set up to represent Him — some monstrous Moloch or Juggernaut, who

4 The Names of God.

can look unmoved at the destruction of His creatures.

Even a pantomime therefore, as Augustine says, can please us more than God. We would not pass a bag of money, if we might have it, because we could get some pleasure from it; but we can pass by God, morning, noon, and night, for we expect no good or pleasure from Him. So we eat without Him, drink without Him, buy without Him, sell without Him, live without Him: if we could, we would gladly die without Him. For does He not restrict and cross and punish us all through this fleeting earthly life, and will He not damn the mass of His poor miserable creatures at last with endless pain and hell-fire?

Such is the working of the serpent’s lie, which is rankling deep in every heart, till the remedy, which, lies as near us as the lie, is by God’s Spirit brought home to us.

For, thank God, there is a remedy, and the remedy is in God. God is God, spite of His creatures’ fall from, and wretched thoughts of, Him. All we need is to know God, and what He truly is, and His relation to His creatures. This is the remedy, the only remedy, for the evil. Revelation, that is an unveiling of Him, —for the serpent’s lie and its bitter fruits have almost wholly hidden God from us, — in a word, His shewing Himself to us as we can bear it, — is the means, not only to give us peace and bring us to God, but to change us again into His own image. Just as the sun, if it shines upon the earth, changes everything it shines on, — as the light, if it comes upon, the fields,

Introduction. 5

makes them partakers of its varied hues and brightnesses, — so does God’s revelation of Himself to His fallen creature restore in it His likeness. We become like Him just in proportion as we see Him as He is.

But how has God revealed Himself to man? Even as man yet reveals himself; for man was made in God’s image. Man shews himself by his words and works. God in like manner has done this. His Word is the express image of His person and the brightness of His glory; and by that Word, which is perfect truth, He has answered, and still answers, the false word of the serpent, which has been our ruin.

By His Word in nature, “ for the heavens declare His glory,” ((Psalm 19:1.))though to fallen man there seems “ no voice or language “ in them; — by His Word spoken through His servants, « at sundry times and in divers manners,” ((Heb. 1:1.)) coming to us from without and in the letter, because we could not bear His Spirit; — above all by His “ Word made flesh,” in Christ our Lord; ((St. John 50:14.)) — God has shewn us what He is, and thus by word and deed answered the lie that He is grudging and untrue, and that man can be as God in independence of Him. Does not God love? Is He not true? Christ is the answer. God is so loving, that, though His creature has fallen, He will come into his likeness for him, and will lift up man again to bear His own image. God is so true, that, if man sins, he must surely die. But God through death

6 The Names of God.

can destroy him that has the power of death, and say to death, “ I will be thy plagues, and to hell, I will be thy destruction. ((Hos 13:14.)) “Nay, He has already done it for us in Jesus Christ our Lord. Christ shews us man condemned, and yet justified. God has dwelt in man, born of a woman, in all the fulness of the Godhead bodily; ((Col. 2:9.)) and man, who has suffered and died, now dwells in God, with all power in heaven and earth, to destroy the works of the devil, and to reconcile and bring back all to God for ever. ((Col. 1:20.)) This is God’s answer to the serpent’s lie. The Word has been made flesh. ((St. John 1:14.)) God has taken on Him the curse, that man should be blessed, and bear His image evermore.

The perfect revelation then of God is in Jesus Christ our Lord. But the very fulness of the revelation, like the dazzling brightness of the sun, may keep us for a while from seeing all its wonders; and we may learn, even from the revelation in the letter, that is from Holy Scripture, specially from the varied names under which it has pleased God to reveal Himself to man from the beginning, things concerning His nature and fulness, which, though they are all more perfectly revealed in Christ, would perhaps be beyond our vision but for the help which even the shadows of the letter give us. What have men not learnt from the shadow of the earth upon the moon.

So the old revelation which God has given us of Him-

Introduction* 7

self in Holy Scripture, is “ God,” or “ Lord,” or “ Almighty,” or the “Most High,” though it is “piecemeal,” ((Heb. 1:1.)) as the Apostle says, may assist us, to see His fulness; just as the many figures which the same Scriptures give us, in the carnal offerings of the ceremonial law, help us to see the varied and apparently contradictory aspects of the one great perfect Sacrifice. We cannot yet see the things of heaven.

God therefore reveals them as we can bear it, with the accuracy of One who sees them as they are, and in a way in which they may be seen and understood by us. And we need all His teaching, even the partial revelations, which represent Him under varied names, by which He prepares us in due time to see Him as He is, ((1 John 3:2.)) and to know as we are known. ((1 Cor. 13:12.))

I purpose therefore, if God permit, to call attention to the names under which God has revealed Himself to man in Holy Scripture. The first four we find in the earlier chapters of Genesis. They are, first, “God,” (in Hebrew, Elohim;) then, “Lord,” (or Jehovah;) then, “Almighty,” (El Shaddai;) and then, “Most High,” (El Elyon.) These all reveal some distinct attribute or characteristic of the same one blessed God. Beside these we have three other names, which describe God’s relation to certain things or persons rather than His nature; namely “ Lord,” (in Hebrew Adonai;) then “The Everlasting God,” (El Olam;) and lastly,

8 The Names of God.

“ Lord of Hosts,” (Jehovah Sabaoth.) Bat the first four names tell as what God is. In every age these first four names have been the rest and refuge and comfort of His people. In the book of Psalms we find them all constantly repeated: in one place we have all four within the compass of a single sentence: — “ He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High, shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, (that is Jehovah,) He is my refuge and my fortress; my God, (that is my Elohim,) in Him will I trust.” ((Psalm 91:1, 2; so too in Psalm 77:7-11, we have four names.)) All these varying names are but the result of His being what He is, so wonderful and manifold, that no one name can adequately express what an apostle calls His “ fulness.” ((Eph. 3:19; Col. 1. 19; 2:9.)) Just as in the Gospels four distinct and varying presentations of the same One Lord, as the Lion, the Ox, the Man, the Eagle, are required to shew the Christ in all His varied aspects or relations, some of which, as we here apprehend them, under the limitations of our fallen nature, seem at times to clash with other no less true views of Him who is both Son of God and Son of Man; while it is no less true that in each distinct presentation of Him we may detect hidden intimations that He contains within Himself all the apparently varying characteristics which the other Gospels or Cherubic Paces reveal more particularly; ((See Characteristic Differences of the Four Gospels, pp. 2-14.)) so is it in the older revela-

Introduction. 9

tion, which God gave of Himself. He cannot fully speak of Himself under a single name or under one title. And yet each differing name contains, hidden in itself, (for God’s perfections are inseparable,) something of the special virtues which the other names bring out more separately. We may see this even n a man of varied gifts. To know David we must >e told that he was Shepherd, Warrior, King, Prophet, Poet, and Musician. All these are out3omes of a deep and rich nature. Shall we then wonder that God, the Maker, Judge, and Saviour of all, who in Himself is Love, and Power, and Wisdom, if He is to reveal His nature and relationships to those who know Him not, must be known by many names, each of which can only tell out something of His glory. At all events, God has thus revealed Himself to man, here a little, and there a little; and His children, as they grow up into His likeness, can only bless and praise Him for such a revelation.

My desire, then, in considering the names under which God has revealed Himself, is by them to lead some of His children and His creatures, if it may be so, to learn to know Him better. But indirectly and incidentally our study of this subject may also answer the objections of certain critics, who, from the varied names of God in Genesis, have argued that the book is a merely human composition, based on and compiled from several earlier and conflicting records, the differences and divergences of which

10 The Names of God.

shew that they are only the views or speculations of fallible minds as to the nature and character of God.

If these critics, whose criticisms I may say are continually destroying one another, instead of so confidently judging that “ Scripture,” which our Lord says “cannot be broken,” ((St. John z. 25.)) could have only more deeply considered the question how God can reveal Himself to fallen creatures, and whether it is possible, while they are as they are, to make them know Him fully as He is, — still more if they could have been “ disciples,” that is learners in the scchool, of Christ, before they set up to be teachers, — they might, and I believe would, have learnt the reason for the form of the revelation which God has given us in Holy Scripture. Surely from the beginning, seeing what man had become, God must have desired to make Himself known; and being All-loving and Allwise, He cannot but have taken the best method of doing it. But how could He do it, man being what he is? What can we shew of our nature to an infant child? What can we make a beast understand of our inward thoughts and feelings? Was it not a simple necessity of the case that God should shew Himself under many forms, and according to the limitations of the creature in and to whom He sought to reveal Himself? Was it not necessary that the revelation should be in creature form and grow from stage to stage, even as Christ, the Word

Introduction. 11

of God, when He was made flesh for us, grew in wisdom and stature unto the perfect man? ((St. Luke 2:52.))

The fact therefore, supposing it to be a fact, that those portions of the book of Genesis which speak of “ Elohim “ were part of an earlier or a later record than those which tell us of “ Jehovah,” can never prove that in its present form and order this book and the rest of Holy Scripture are not divinely given to us. In an elaborate mosaic the bits of stone have come from different quarries, but the pattern or figure which is formed by them shews that the work is not a mere chance collection of discordant atoms, but that a superintending mind has arranged and planned it with a special purpose. The fact too, which chemistry has proved, that the substances of which our flesh and bones are formed were all in the earth, and then in animal or vegetable forms, before they became parts of our present earthly bodies, is no disproof that these bodies are the work of God, or their form and arrangement the result of His purpose. So with the Bible. Even if it could be shewn that some portions of it have come from a record treasured by those who knew God only as “ Elohim,” while some other part was originally the vision granted to those who knew Him rather as “ Jehovah,” (which is not impossible, though it has not yet been proved,) such a fact, if it be a fact, would militate nothing against the unity or Divine inspiration of Holy Scripture as we now

12 The Names of God.

have it, but would only shew, what Scripture itself asserts, that God has spoken to man through partial revelations, till he could receive a more perfect knowledge of the truth through Christ and His Spirit.

Of course in such a case, if men are not aware of their state as fallen from God, and as such unable to see Him as He is, it is easy to object that one partial presentation or revelation of Him contradicts or clashes with another. But all nature is full of similar apparent contradictions, which are found to be no contradictions, as its secrets one by one are opened to us. Is not the one white light made up of seven differing rays and colours? Is not the order of the heavens, so quiet and so firm, the result of forces, centrifugal and centripetal, which seem directly antagonistic? Is not the balance of the heart’s life pre-; served by systole and diastole? Is not the unity of mankind made up of man and woman? In the moral world it is the same. Truth seems often opposed to love; yet are truth and love both outcomes and manifestations of the same one Blessed God.

Christ, the perfect image of God, reveals to us the unity of all apparent antagonisms. While however we remain in the flesh, we can only “know in part,” ((1 Cor. 13:12.)) and to meet us with such knowledge, He, whose fulness fills all things, has revealed Himself in a way which men may call imperfect, the very imperfection of which, if it may be called so, is its perfection, shewing its perfect adaptation for its

Introduction. 13

appointed end. If we can but see what the differing names of God declare, we shall be forced, I feel assured, like all who have seen this great sight, to fall down before Him, crying, “ Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord, God, Almighty, Most High, heaven and earth Are full of the majesty of thy glory.”

I will only add here, that, as these names of God speak of His nature, none can ever rightly see their import but those who are partakers of that nature; “for who knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.” Mere intellect therefore will never open what these names contain, nor will even the desire for light, unless that desire is joined with faith and prayer and humility.

On the other hand a walk of faith, a life of love, a daily waiting upon God for His Spirit, a humble treasuring of His words, even when at first they seem dark and mysterious, these things, as they come from God, will lead to God, and to a fuller knowledge of Him, and of His fulness, as He has revealed it in His written and in His Incarnate Word. He has made us to know and love Him, and to bear Hit; image, and so to reveal Him to a world which knows Him not. And just as by grace that image is restored in us, by the indwelling of Him who is the image of the invisible God, we may see what eye hath not seen, and hear what ear hath not heard, even the things which God reveals by His Spirit. There is indeed a stage of our experience, when the one question

14 The Names of 6od.

which occupies the. soul is, How can a sinner be brought to righteousness and peace? But there is no less surely another, in which the soul hungers after God, to know Him and His perfections, in the deep sense that to know Him is the way to be conformed to Him. The names of God serve both these ends. In the beatific vision God will be all. Even here, in proportion as His redeemed see Him, they are made like Him. May our meditations on His names serve this end, to His glory and our blessing evermore!

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GOD OR ELOHIM.

Having thus seen that in Holy Scripture God is spoken of under different names, each given with a purpose, to set forth some distinct virtue or characteristic of His nature, we may now turn to the first name under which He is revealed. This is “ God,” — in Hebrew, “ Elohim.” ((Heb. elohim)) This is the name, and the only name, by which God is set before us in the first chapter of the book of Genesis. Here we find it repeated in almost every verse. Under this name we see God, according to His own will, working on a dark and ruined creature, till by His Word all is set in order and made “very good.” This is the name which we need to know before all others.

This, therefore, is the first revealed in Holy Scripture; for it shews us One, who, when all is lost, in darkness and confusion, brings back, first His light and life, and then His image, into the creature, and so makes all things new and very good.

Now there are certain peculiarities connected with this name, which must be considered, if we would understand even in measure all that is divinely taught under it.

16 The Names of God.

This name then, (in Hebrew, “Elohim” or “ Alehim,”) is a plural noun, which, though first and primarily used in Holy Scripture to describe the One true God, our Creator and Redeemer, is used also in a lower sense in reference to the “ gods many and lords many,” (1 Cor. 8:6.) whom the ancient heathen feared and worshipped. Let us first look at the primary use of this name, in which we learn its highest significance.

We shall then better understand how it could be applied to the gods of the heathen, or to the idoh which represented them.

First then this name, though a plural noun, when used of the one true God is constantly joined witl verbs and adjectives in the singular. ((For singular verbs with Elohim, see Gen. 1. 1, 3, &c, and in countless places. For singular adjectives 2 Kings 6:4, 16; Psalm 7:9; Psalm 57:2, &c. (see Gesenius, Thesaurus under elohim, P. 96.))) We are thus prepared, even from the beginning, for the mystery of a plurality in God, who, though He says, “ There is no God beside me,” (Deut. 32:39:4) and “ I am God, and there is none else,” (Isa. 45:6, 22.) says also, “ Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; “ (Gen. 1:26.) and again, “ The man is become like one of us; “ (Gen. 3:22.) and again at Babel, “ Go to, let us go down and confound their language; “ (Gen. 11:7.) and again, in the vision granted to the prophet Isaiah, “ Whom shall I send, and who will go for us.” (Isa. 6:6.) And this same mystery, though hidden from an English reader, comes out again and again in

God or Elohim. 17

many other texts of Holy Scripture. For “Remember thy Creator in the days of thy youth,”

is literally, “ Remember thy Creators.” (Eccl. 12:1.) Again, “None saith, Where is God my Maker?” is in the Hebrew, “ God my Makers.” (Job 35:10.) So again, “ Let Israel rejoice in Him that made him,” is, in the Hebrew, “ in his Makers.” (Psalm 149:2.) And so again in the Proverbs, “The knowledge of the Holy Ones is understanding.” (Prov. 9:10.) So again where the Prophet says, “ Thy Maker is thy husband,” both words are plural in the Hebrew. (Isa. 54:5.) Many other passages of Scripture have precisely the same peculiarity. ((For example, “Holy Ones” in Job 5:1, and in Hos. 11:12; and “Thy Redeemers” in Isa. 44:24, &c.)) Therefore in heaven “ Cherubim and Seraphim continually do cry, Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord of Hosts,” (Isa. 6:3; Rev. 4:8) while on earth, taught by the Spirit of our Lord, we say, “ Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.” (1Cor. 13:14.) The plural form of the first name of God, that is “ Elohim,” shadows forth the same mystery; while the verb, and even the adjective, joined with it in the singular, as when we read, “ the living,” (2 Kings 19:4, 10; Heb. *n D’ilta*) or “ the righteous,” ((Psalm 7:9; Heb. Elohim yh)) or “ the Most High God,” » shew that this “ Elohim,” though plural, is but One God. ((Psalm 57:2; Heb. Elohim ngdyp – See Gesenius, Thesaurus, p. 96, under elohim.))

[12] In a very few places this name, “ Elohim,” is joined with 7; 5:26; Josh zadv. 19; 1 Sam. 17:26, 36; 2 Sam. 7:23; Psalm 58:12; Jer. z. 10; 23:36.) But in all these cases, except the first two, where perhaps angels are referred to, the name “ Jehovah “ is connected with “ Elohim; “ and the plural adjective or verb may be used to teach us, that in the One “ Jehovah “there is the plurality of the “Elohim.”

18 The Names of God.

Further, this name, like every other name in the Hebrew, has a distinct meaning, full of significance.

For the word “ Elohim” ((Heb.elohim.)) is formed from the Hebrew word, “ Alah,” ((Heb. elohim)) “ to swear,” and describes One who stands in a covenant-relationship, which is ratified by an oath. Parkhurst, in his well-known Lexicon, thus explains the name: — “ Elohim: “ “A name usually given in the Hebrew Scriptures to the ever blessed Trinity, by which they represent themselves as under the obligation of an oath… This oath, (referred to in Psalm 110:4, “The Lord sware and will not repent,’) was prior to creation. Accordingly ‘Jehovah’ is at the beginning of the creation called c Elohim,’ in Gen. 1:1, which implies that the Divine Persons had sworn when they created; and it is evident, from Gen. 3:4, 5, that both the Serpent and the Woman knew I Jehovah’ by this name, ‘ Elohim,’ before the Fall.” ((Parkhurst adds here, “ From this name (Elohim) of the true God, the Greeks bad their Zeis Hpicios. Hence, also, the corrupt tradition of Jupiter’s oath, which overruled even Fate itself” {Heb. Lex, in loc.). As to the view of some, that the word “Elohim” is derived directly from El, (EL) which signifies “ strong “ or “ mighty,” it may perhaps suffice to say that the plural of El is Elim, not Elohim. God surely may be and is called both “ El,” (Gen. 14:20, and in many other places,) and “ Elim,” (as in Psalm 29:1; and elsewhere,) that is “ The Mighty; “ hut the letter H in “ Elohim “ points to the true etymology of the name, as from n?K» “ to swear “; though, indeed, TVH is also probably connected with ^tf; for, as the Apostle says, (Heb. 6:16,) “Men verily swear by the greater; “ and the original idea of an oath may have been this affirmation by the *’ Strong “ or “ Mighty One.” In the case of God, as the same Apostle writes, “ Because He could swear by no greater, He sware by Himself.” (Heb 6:13.))) Here a wondrous deep plural adjectives, (see Gen. 20:13; 35:7;) and verbs, (Deut. iv.)

God or Elohim. • 19

opens to our view, as to the nature and being of God; Blessed be His name, that He has Himself, both by His Son and by His Spirit, given us some glimpses into the height and the depth here set before us, which flesh and blood never could have fathomed.

For this covenant-relationship, which the name “ Elohim “ expresses, is first a relationship in God.

He is One, but in Him also, as His name declares, there is plurality; and in this plurality He has certain relationships, both in and with Himself, which, because He is God, can never be dissolved or broken.

Thus, as Parkhurst says, this name contains the mystery of the Trinity. For the perfect revelation of this great mystery man had indeed to wait until it was declared by the Only-begotten of the Father, and even then only after His resurrection from the dead, to those whom He had called to be His disciples. But from the beginning the name “ Elohim” contained and shadowed it forth, and the visions and words of the prophets gave still clearer intimations of it.

Into this mystery, however, I do not here enter,

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farther than to say, with St. Augustine, that, if God is love, then in God there must be a Lover, a Beloved, and the Spirit of love, for there can be no love without a lover and a beloved. ((“ Ubi amor, ibi trinitas.” See Augustine, De Trinitate, lib. viii. cap. 10; lib. ix. cap. 2; and lib. xy. cap. 3.)) And if God be eternal, then there must be an eternal Lover, and an eternal Beloved, and an eternal Spirit of Love, which unites the eternal Lover to the eternal Beloved, in a bond of Love which is eternal and indissoluble. The relationship in God, in and with Himself, is one in which there can be no breach. From the beginning God is “ Elohim,” in covenant-union with Himself for evermore.

But the truth here, as to the covenant-relationship involved in the name “ Elohim,” goes still further.

For the Beloved is the Son, “ the Word,” “ by whom all things were made,” and “ in whom all things consist.” “ All things were created by Him and for Him.” (St. John 1. 3; and Col. 1:16, 17.) God therefore, or “ Elohim,” in covenant with the Beloved Son, must be in covenant with all that is created by Him, and which only consists, or is held together, in Him. For, as St. Paul says, He is “ the God who cannot lie, who promised eternal life before the world began,” (Titus 1:2.) — words which again refer to the covenant in Christ before the Fall: — “ the Faithful Creator,” as St. Peter adds, to whom we may “ commit the keeping of our souls; “ (1 Pet. 4:19; Rom. 11:36.) for “ Of Him, and through Him, and to Him are all things.” 5 And in virtue of this covenant-relationship, because He

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is “ Elohim,” though His creatures fail and fall, “ He will never leave us, nor forsake us.”

It may be asked, whether, when this name was first revealed, those who received it could have understood all that was thus implicitly contained in and taught by it. Probably they did not. When God first speaks, men rarely, if ever, fully understand Him.

It is only by degrees, and just in proportion as His servants and disciples treasure up His words and seek to obey Him, that those words, often very slowly, open to them. All our first apprehensions of Him and of His truth are imperfect, and mixed with fallacies arising from the senses. Nevertheless His words, even when little understood, convey true blessing to those who receive them, though the depths of Divine wisdom which they contain are more or less hidden. Who at first takes in all that Nature is saying to us? Who, when he first receives the Gospel or the Sacraments of the Gospel, understands all that they convey and witness to him?

And so with the names of God. Though even yet little understood, from the beginning they have been telling what God’s fulness is, and through His grace telling it in such ways and in such measures as fallen men were able to receive and profit by. Just in proportion as they walked with Him, His names and words would open to them, while, if they forsook Him, the selfsame words would first be dark and then perverted to misrepresent Him. For the Word of God, if not obeyed, ever becomes a curse and snare, even confirming men in their worst errors and delusions.

22 The Names of God.

It was so with this first and wondrous name, “ Elohim.” The truth it taught was soon abused and turned into a lie, as man departed more and more from God, and in His place “ worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator.” For the truth, that in “ Elohim,” who says, “ There is no God beside me,” there is plurality, was soon perverted into many gods; the manifold and diverse powers in nature, which had been formed to shew forth God’s fulness, being worshipped as so many distinct and differing deities; and then His covenant-relation to His creatures was made the ground of the doctrine, that each nation or people had its tutelary gods, who stood in special relationship to those who acknowledged and served them. Thus each country had its own gods, some the “ gods of the hills,” some those “ of the valleys,” ((Judges 10:6; 1 Kings 11:33; 12:23, 28.)) each of which was worshipped as more or less intimately related to different lands or peoples. For, looking at nature, fallen man saw power or force on every hand: power in the sun, which seemed to make the earth bring forth and bud: power in the earth to support and nourish all creatures: power in the sea, and in the air; in cold and lightning, and storm. Each of these seemed stronger than man: some served him at times, but could also cross and wound and slay him. So man, having let go the faith that God is Love, bowed to the powers which were around him, and looked to them and worshipped them as gods. Is there no

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such worship even now? Alas, the world always does this. For a worshipper by his very constitution man must be. And if he cannot trust a God of Love and Truth, the true “ Elohim,” he will surely look for help to some of the forces, seen or unseen, which compass him on every hand. ((Parkhurst, in his note on the secondary sense of the word, “ Elohim,” as applied to the gods or powers which the heathen worshipped, says, “The ancient heathen called, not only the whole heaven, but any one of its three conditions, (namely fire, light, and air or spirit,) * Elohim. 1 They meant not to deny the joint action of the material trinity, but to give it the glory of each particular attribute. See Hutchinson’s Trinity of the Gentiles, p. 246; and also his Motettine Principio, p. 116 *))

But to return to the name, “ Elohim,” as used in Holy Scripture of the One true God. The whole first chapter of Genesis shews us One, who, because He is “ Elohim,” in virtue of His own nature and covenant-relation to His creature, can never leave it, fallen as it is, till all again is very good. In that opening chapter, which is indeed the foundation and sum of all further revelation, we are told of a creation, by “Elohim,” of the heavens and the earth; and then that creation, or part of it at least, is shewn as fallen, “ without form and void,” with “ darkness upon the face of the deep.” But does “ Elohim “forsake it because it has become dark and void and formless? No. When nothing else moves, “the Spirit of God moves,” (literally, “broods,”) “over the face of the waters,” and then “ Elohim “ speaks, and by His Word, step by step, the wondrous change

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is wrought, till the day of rest is reached, when “ all is very good.”

For the fallen creature begins nothing, continues nothing, perfects nothing. Each stage of the restoration is the direct result of the unsought word and work of “ Elohim.” At every step again and again we read, “God said,” and “God made.” (Gen. 1:3, 6, 7, 9, 11, 16, &c.) Throughout, all is of God, whose name and nature in itself contains the pledge that He cannot rest till His fallen creature is restored and re-created. No wonder then that the early Church dwelt so much and often on the work of the Six Days, ((Almost all the Great Fathers have left us their Hexemerons.)) seeing in them a covenant-God, whose new creation from first to last is wholly His workmanship. And what a work it is! First “ Elohim” by His word brings “ light.” Then a “heaven” is formed in the yet restless creature, to divide the waters from the waters. Then a rising “earth “is seen emerging from the waters. Then come “ fruits; “then “lights;” then “living creatures,” first from the waters, then from the earth; till at last the “man” is created in the image of God to have dominion over all. Nothing hinders His work or changes His purpose. Again and again, even after He begins His work, the awful darkness rises for awhile, and in each returning “ evening “ seems to swallow up the light; but again and again the covenant-God, “ Elohim,” binds the darkness every “ morning,” and even incorporates it into “ days “ of ever-progressing blessing, for it is

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written, “ The evening and the morning made the day,” until the seventh day comes, when we read of no “ evening.” Blessed be God, not a few by grace know all these stages in their own experience. They know, that, until the Word has spoken, there is no light in them by which to see their rain. What barren restless waters does the light at first reveal. But the very discovery of the barrenness is progress. Till this is seen, no heaven is formed. Till the heaven is formed, the earth can yield no fruits or increase. Till the fruits appear, there are no lights in heaven, to rule the day and to rule the night, nor living creatures either from the waters or the earth. Every stage is a preparation for something yet more perfect. It is only as we know our need that we really know God. And by His work in us He makes us know what it is to have a covenant-God, whose fulness meets our every want, and whose very name and nature is the pledge of our deliverance.

And mark especially that “ Elohim “ works, not only on, but withy the creature. This indeed is grace, most wondrous and abounding. For it is all of grace that “ Elohim “ should restore and save His.fallen creature. It is still greater grace that in the restoration He makes that creature a fellow-worker with Himself. Yet so it is. For He says, “ Let the waters bring forth,” and “ Let the earth bring forth.” (Gen. 1:11, 20, 24.)

In other words, He calls the fallen creature to travail and labour with Him. His love indeed is the cause

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of all, and His Word the agent in effecting all; but in accomplishing His purpose He works, not apart from, but with, the creature. Herein is the root of the truth which lies in the doctrine of Evolution.

For it is not that Nature, unaided or apart from God, can re-create or change herself, or by herself evolve ever-advancing forms of life, all leading up to man in God’s image; but rather, that, even in her lowest fall, God accepts the captive powers of the fallen creature, as a matrix from which, through successive births, all quickened by His Word, He may, according to her advancing state, bring forth advancing forms of life, each shewing some nearer resemblance to His image. And the fact that this earth, when God began to work upon it, was itself the ruin of a prior creation, ((In Isaiah 45:18, God distinctly says that He did not create the earth “ without form; “ in Hebrew, “ tohu,” The formlessness was the result of some fall.)) — the debris, if I mistake not, of the once bright spiritual kingdom of Satan and his angels, destroyed and self-consumed by him, — may explain what seems so perplexing, namely that there should be in all nature, what some have called “a concausation of evil.” ((John Stuart Mill constantly repeats this thought, that in nature, not only do we see the presence both of good and evil, but further, that the evil is working with the good, in the composition of things as they now are; which to him appears a proof that nature cannot be the work of a perfectly good and powerful God. See his Essay on Nature, almost passim; and the second part of the Essay on Theism, entitled Attributes, pp. 184, 185, 186.)) God certainly adopted

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the darkness of each returning “ evening,” and incorporated it into “days” of ever growing order, until the seventh day comes without an evening.

Had not the “ earth “ and “ waters “ also germs in them of their fallen and corrupted nature, and do not these manifest themselves, even when they are commanded by Elohim to bring forth new life?

Certainly in our regeneration we see how the old man shews himself, and is even stimulated by the Word, which brings new and strange forms of life out of the fallen creature. Such a working shews what “Elohim” is, who in His faithfulness and grace bears with imperfect forms of life, the dumb “fish” and “creeping thing,” until He Himself “creates” (Gen. 1:27.) the man in His own image, when “nil is very good.” It has ever been so: Moses before Christ; the flesh or letter before the Spirit; yet both of God, and shewing forth His grace, who works not only on, but with, the creature.

Such is the light which the opening chapter of the book of Genesis throws on the special meaning of the first name of God, “ Elohim.” Fully to illustrate its import would require an examination of every passage, where this name occurs in Holy Scripture, But to attempt this here would be impossible. ((The name “ Elohim “ occurs about two thousand two handled and fifty times in the Old Testament.)) Nor is it necessary. Any careful reader, once in possession of the key which the Hebrew

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name carries in itself, can test how the idea conveyed by it is always that of “One in covenant.” A selection of texts would only give a part of the evidence.

But I may cite a few to shew how distinctly this name, “Elohim,” refers to and implies One who stands in a covenant-relationship.

Take the following as examples. First, God’s words to Noah: — “ And Elohim said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me,.. but with thee will I establish my covenant.” ((Gen. 6:13, 18.)) “ And I, behold I, establish my covenant with you, and with your seed, and with every living creature that is with you. And this is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you. I do set my bow in the cloud, and I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth.” ((Gen. 9:9, 17,)) So in His words to Abram, “ Elohim’s “ name pledges the same relationship: — “ I am the Almighty God: walk before me and be thou perfect; and I will establish my covenant between me and thee, and thy seed after thee in all generations, to be a God to thee, and to thy seed, and I will be their Elohim,” that is, I will be with them in covenant-relationship. ((Gen. 17:1-8.)) Therefore again and again we read that “ Elohim remembered: “ — “ Elohim remembered Noah; “ ((Gen. 8:1.)) and again, “ When God destroyed the cities of the plain, Elohim remembered Abram, and sent Lot out of the midst

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of the overthrow;” ((Gen. 19:29.)) and again, “ Elohim remembered Rachel.” ((Gen. 30:22; also Exod. 2:24.)) There is the same reference to a covenant in God’s words to Isaac, ((Gen. 26:24)) and to Jacob; ((Gen. 28:13, 14:9)) and Joseph’s dying words witness to the same:— “I die, but Elohim will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land, into the land which He sware to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.” ((Gen. 1:24.)) Moses no less refers to it. ((Exod. 6:2, 3, 4, 7, 8; and Deut. 7:9.)) David’s joy too in the Lord, his God, is, that “ He will ever be mindful of His covenant.” ((Psalm 111:5)) Therefore in His deepest trials he “ encourages himself in God,” saying, “ my soul, hope thou in God, who is the health of my countenance and my God.” ((Psalm 42:6, 11.)) His “ last words “ dwell on the same theme: “ Although my house be not so with God, yet hath He made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and sure;” ((2 Sam. 23:1, 3, 5.)) for “ Jehovah Elohim “ had said, “ My mercy will I keep for him for ever, and my covenant shall stand fast with him.” ((Psalm 89:8, 28.)) It is the same with all the saints. The fact that God is “ Elohim,” that is the “ One who keepeth covenant,” ((1 Kings 8:23.)) is the foundation of His creature’s hope in every extremity. “ God is our refuge and strength.” ((Psalm 46:1.)) “ He is my God, and my father’s God.” ((Exod. 15:2.)) And “ He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” ((Gen. 28:13, 15; and Heb. 13:5.))

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For “ He is God of gods, and Lord of lords: He doth execute the judgment of the fatherless and the widow.” ((Deut. 10:17.)) “ A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, is God, in His holy habitation.” ((Psalm 68:5.)) The faithful Creator ((1 Pet. 4:19.)) cannot fail His creatures. They may be, and are, unworthy, but He is “ Elohim “ for evermore. Therefore He says, “ Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth; for there is no Elohim besides me. I have sworn by myself, the word has gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, that unto me every knee shall bow and every tongue shall swear.” ((Isa. 45:22, 23.))

And this is the truth, which, above all others, the Gospel opens, in the life and ways of Him who is “ the image of the invisible God,” ((Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:3.)) who has come to reveal to us a Father’s love, which cannot fail because we are “His offspring.” ((Acts 17:28.)) We may need another view of God, as the One who “ loves righteousness and hates iniquity,” and who therefore must judge all evil, ((Heb. 10:30)) till it is destroyed, and “ mortality is swallowed up of life.” ((1 Cor. 5:4.)) And this, as we shall see, is the special lesson of the second name of God, “Jehovah.” But, before and beneath and beyond all this, God yet is “ Elohim,” that is, God, in covenant. His creatures may not know it. Even His Church may very dimly see it. But God has said, “ My covenant

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will I not break, nor alter the word that is gone out of my lips.” ((Psalm 89:34.)) Well may Paul argue, “ Though it be but a man’s covenant, yet, if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth or addeth thereto.” Seen as “Jehovah,” God may give law; and “ the law worketh wrath; for where there is no law, there is no transgression.” ((Rom. 4:15.)) But “the covenant which was confirmed before of God in, or to, ((Gr. els Xpiordv.)) Christ, the law which was four hundred years after cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.” ((Gal. 3:15-18.)) The law was needed in its place, to shew the creature what it is, and to slay in man the fallen life of independence.

But “ the ministration of death and condemnation “is “ to be done away,” while “ the ministration of righteousness and life remaineth.” ((2 Cor. 3:7-11.)) So the Apostle says again, even of those who slew and rejected Christ, “ God is able to graff them in again…

For this is my covenant with them, when I shall take away their sins. As concerning the Gospel, they are enemies for your sakes; but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes.

For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance… And God hath concluded all in unbelief, that He might have mercy upon all. the depth of the riches, both of the wisdom and knowledge of God;,.. for of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things.” ((Rom. 11:23-36.))

This is what the name “God,” or “Elohim,”

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brings oat so fully, in itself forestalling not a little of that which we now call the Gospel: this is what the ever-blessed God would teach us, when He assures us that He will be “ our God.” ((Isa. 40:1; Jer. 7:23; 11:4; 30:22; Ezek. 34:31; and Ezek 35:28, &c.)) “ For this is the covenant,… I will put my laws into their minds, and in their heart will I write them; and I will be unto them a God, and they shall be to me a people.” ((Heb. 8:10.)) In a word, God promises for both, saying not only, “ I will,” but “ They shall,” that is, pledging His word both for Himself and for His creatures. Our Lord’s own teaching only repeats the selfsame truth, in those blessed words, even yet so little understood, to Pharisees and Scribes, who objected that He “ received sinners.” ((St. Luke 15:1, 2, &c))“What man of you,” He says, fallen and wretched as you are, would be content to lose even a sheep, which had strayed and wandered from him? Or what woman would be content to lose a piece of silver? Would they not seek their lost until they found it? Is God’s love for His creature less than a man’s is for a sheep? Is not the lost creature really God’s loss? Can He rest, when it is lost, until He find it? And when it is found, is it not His joy even more than the recovered creature’s?

For it is not the joy of the recovered sheep, nor of the silver, nor of the once lost son, that our Lord declares in these Parables, but the joy of the Shepherd, and of the Woman, and of the Father, each of whom

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exclaims, “Rejoice with me, for I have found that which I had lost.” The name “ Elohim “ says all this, and more also. It says that “ God has sworn.” ((Heb. 6:13)) It declares that “ God, willing more abundantly to shew to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath, that by two immutable things, (His will and His word,) in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us.” ((Heb. 6:17, 18.)) This is our refuge: — “ God is not a man, that He should lie, or the son of man, that He should repent. Hath He said, and shall He not do it? or hath He spoken, and shall He not make it good? “ ((Num 23:19, 21.)) Herein is the creature’s hope. God is and shall be God for ever. A “ great voice from heaven “ has said, “ Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God; and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes, and there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain, for the former things are passed away.” ((Rev. 21:3, 4.)) Such is the first name of God which Holy Scripture gives us. What has here been said in illustration of it, though it affords the key to the view of God which this name reveals for the comfort of His creatures, necessarily fails, (for it is only a part of the wondrous record of “ Elohim,”) to express the overflowing riches of that unforsaking love, of which

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this name, wherever it occurs in Scripture, is the ceaseless witness. Blessed be God for such a revelation. Shall we not pray for opened eyes, to understand all that is treasured up for us and for all creatures in “ Elohim “? Shall we not bless Him who has said, “ I will be to you a God “? Shall not every heart reply, “My Elohim, in Him will I trust “? ((Psalm 91:2.))

[chapter:2. Lord or Jehovah.] [chapters:200,right] [chapter:3. God Almighty or El Shaddai] [chapters:200,right] [chapter:4. Most High God or El Elyon] [chapters:200,right] [chapter:5. Lord or Adonai] [chapters:200,right] [chapter:6. Everlasting God or El Olam] [chapters:200,right] [chapter:7. Lord of Hosts, or Jehovah Sabaoth] [chapters:200,right] [chapter:8. Father, Son, and Holy Ghost] [chapters:200,right] [chapter:9. Partakers of the Divine Nature] [chapters:200,right] [chapter:Appendix] [chapters:200,right]