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The No-Name God

A Bible Study by Fred Kenison

 

1  Genesis


A god’s gradual revelation of himself

 

 

Yahweh elohim

Abraham

The revelation of Jehovah, elohim, in the development of Israel

 

Summary Highlights of Chapter 1

Attributes of Jehovah revealed in Chapter 1

 

 

"In the beginning (a) god (‘elohiym:H430) created the heavens and the earth." (Genesis 1:1). 

 

The word god comes from elohim, a common, or generic, noun; it is not capitalized, nor does it have the definite article. Therefore, this verse should read, "In the beginning a god created the heavens and the earth." 

 

The people of that time knew there had to be someone greater than themselves to bring about this creation. Therefore, they understood this someone, or some thing, to be a god. In the word elohim, the im signifies majesty or greatness, showing the highest of a type. It had to be a great god who could create all the things they could observe.

 

"And a god (‘elohiym:H430) said, let there be light and there was light." (Genesis 1:3). 

 

Although it appears that light was the first creation, it was not. A god spoke, and therefore this god’s word was the first creation. The word was spoken before this "a god" created light. This point will be highly significant later (i.e., in John 1:1).

 

Each of the different days of creation took place when "a god (‘elohiym:H430) said....", and on the sixth day of creation, man was made.

"So a god (‘elohiym:H430) created man in his own image, in the image of a god (‘elohiym:H430) he created him; male and female he created them." (Genesis 1:27).

 

On the seventh day, this "a god" (elohim) rested from all his work. Then, in the next chapter of Genesis, something new was introduced.

 

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Yahweh elohim

Genesis 2 gives another version of creation, a further explanation of what was revealed in the first chapter.

"These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that Yahweh (yehovah:H3068), a god (‘elohiym:H430), made the earth and the heavens." (Genesis 2:4.)

 

Based on the usage, elohim was not part of a proper name, but was explanatory. Therefore, the proper translation would be, "Jehovah, a god, made the heavens and earth." By capitalizing the word god (elohim), the translators of the scriptures, especially the KJV, made a serious error which causes great misunderstanding to this day.

This verse marks the first appearance of the word Yahweh (Jehovah), usually translated as "LORD" in the KJV. In the Old Testament, Jehovah is the only proper name used when referring to a god, other than the names used for some of the heathen gods. In addition, the Hebrew language does not use punctuation as English does, so it must be supplied from the context. Therefore, we have used a comma to separate the proper name, Jehovah, and the generic term, god.

 

Genesis 2:7 says,

"Then Yahweh (yehovah:H3068), a god (‘elohiym:H430), formed man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being."

 

This verse clearly states that Jehovah was the god who created man on the sixth day (Genesis l). Please keep this in mind, because it is an important point.

 

Genesis 2 marks a distinct departure from Genesis 1, where the creator god was identified only by the generic term elohim. In Genesis 2, a proper name, Jehovah, has been added. The common noun elohim is not used alone except at the first of this chapter.

 

Genesis 2:8 reports that Jehovah, a god, made a garden in Eden. Genesis 2:15 says that Jehovah, a god, put the man in this garden to till it. It was also Jehovah, a god, who brought all the animals to Adam to be named. He also caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, took a rib, and formed Eve, a helper for Adam.

 

Genesis 3:1 says that Eve was deceived by the serpent, which was made by Jehovah, a god. The serpent said to Eve,

"Indeed, did a god (‘elohiym:H430) say you shall not eat of any tree of the garden?"

 

Eve replied to the serpent that god, or a god, really had said that to her, but she added,

"You shall not eat from it, neither shall ye touch it, lest you die."

 

Like Eve, we still find it very easy to add to what the scriptures really say. Was Eve using the word god in reference to Jehovah? Probably not, especially in light of Exodus 6:3. We must remember that the god we know from the New Testament was only beginning to reveal himself to them (and, of course, to us) as we read of their experiences with Jehovah, a god.

 

Perhaps it would help to explain the term Jehovah, a god, by giving an example. We might introduce a friend who is a doctor by saying, "Please meet Mr. Smith, a doctor."  Smith is the name, and doctor would explain the capacity in which he functioned. The same is true of the expression Yahweh elohim, or Jehovah, a god. Jehovah is the name, and god is the capacity in which he functioned. Further scriptures will substantiate this, and we will comment more on this point later.

 

In Genesis 3:5, the serpent said,

"For a god (‘elohiym:H430) knows that when you eat of it, your eyes will be opened, and you will be as a god, knowing good and evil."

 

This was a lie. When Adam and Eve had eaten of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, all they realized was that they were naked; and they hid themselves. However, Jehovah, a god, came looking for them (Genesis 3:9-12). Jehovah, a god, chastised Eve for her disobedience, and although Adam blamed his wife, this excuse did not carry much weight with Jehovah, a god.

 

Then, because they realized they were naked, Jehovah made a new provision for them.

"And Yahweh (yehovah:H3068), a god (‘elohiym:H430), made for Adam and his wife garments of skins, and clothed them." (Genesis 3:21).

 

This act by Jehovah foreshadowed the later animal sacrifices which rolled the sins of mankind forward year by year. In this verse, animals died to cover the nakedness, or the sins, of Adam and Eve. Their nakedness was not a sin, but was a metaphor symbolizing the presence of sin, and their realization of sin.

 

The final result of Adam and Eve’s actions was their removal from the garden by Jehovah, a god.

 

This brings us to Genesis 4, where another change occurs in the references to a god. Remember, only the word elohim, a god, appeared in Genesis 1. In Genesis 2 and 3, the references were mostly to Jehovah, a god (elohim). Now, in Genesis 4, the proper name, Jehovah, begins to appear by itself.

 

Not only do the scriptures move along rapidly from one usage to another, but there is also a specific purpose for such changes when they occur.

When Eve gave birth to Cain, her first son, she said,

"I have gotten a man with the help of Yahweh (yehovah:H3068)." (Genesis 4:1).

 

This is the first time the word Jehovah stands by itself. Apparently there was no longer any need to add the explanatory elohim; it was simply understood that Jehovah was an elohim, or a god, which they knew.

 

Again, it is important that we not superimpose our greater knowledge about The God, the invisible creator god, because this enlightenment came only with Jesus, in the New Testament.

 

Genesis 4:3-4 describes how Cain and Abel brought offerings to Jehovah, and again the word Jehovah stands alone. It was Jehovah who took Cain to task for becoming angry that his offering was not "regarded" by Jehovah as was Abel’s.

 

After Cain killed Abel, it was Jehovah who asked Cain (Genesis 4:9),

"Where is Abel, your brother?"

 

Genesis 4:13-15 also shows the word Jehovah used alone.

"Cain said to Yahweh (yehovah:H3068), my punishment is greater than I can bear. Behold, thou hast driven me this day away from the ground; and from thy face shall I be hidden; and I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth and whoever finds me will slay me. Then Yahweh (yehovah:H3068) said to him, not so, if anyone slays Cain, sevenfold vengeance shall be taken. And Yahweh (yehovah:H3068) put a mark on Cain, lest any who came upon him should kill him."

 

When Eve bore another son, she

"called his name Seth, god (‘elohiym:H430), has appointed for me another child instead of Abel." (Genesis 4:25).

 

In context, elohim clearly refers to Jehovah because it was Jehovah who gave her Cain. This is another significant point, showing that the words elohim and Yahweh (Jehovah) were now being used interchangeably. It was becoming more common for the generic word elohim to refer to the proper name of Jehovah. When people said elohim, or a god, they were referring to a god they knew as Jehovah.

 

The definite article was first added to the word elohim in Genesis 5:22.

"Enoch walked with the god (the ‘elohiym:H430) after the birth of Methuselah...."

 

The definite article shows a reference to a specific god; but at this point in revelation, to which god would this be referring? It would be to the only god they knew, which would be the god they called Jehovah.

 

The definite article was repeated again with elohim in Genesis 5:24:

"Enoch walked with the god (the ‘elohiym:H430), and he was not, for the god (the ‘elohiym:H430) took him."

 

Genesis 5:29 says that,

"(Lamech) called his name Noah, saying, this one shall bring us relief from our work and from the toil of our hands out of the ground which Yahweh (yehovah:H3068) has cursed."

 

Jehovah had cursed the ground at the time of Adam’s sin (see Genesis 3:17). Lamech apparently believed that his son, Noah, would be the one who would undo that curse. The word Noah comes from the same basic word as repent, also translated as comfort. Was Lamech seeing things beyond his understanding? Does this mean that the curse put on the ground because of Adam’s sin was removed at the time of the flood? Has the curse already been removed and we are unaware of it? Or, does it mean that it would be through Noah’s descendants that Jesus would be born, and that he would remove the curse? This latter explanation seems most probable, especially given the text of Revelation.

 

Genesis 6:5 relates that,

"Yahweh (yehovah:H3068) saw the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart only evil continually. And Yahweh (yehovah:H3068) was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. So Yahweh (yehovah:H3068) said, I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the ground; man, and beast, and creeping thing, and the birds of the air; for I am sorry that I have made them. But Noah found favor in the eyes of Yahweh (yehovah:H3068)."

 

Please keep in mind that as far as the scriptures reveal, Jehovah was an invisible god to these people.

 

Genesis 6:9 says,

"Noah was a righteous man and was blameless in his generation, and Noah walked with the god (the ‘elohiym:H430)."

 

Here again, the definite article refers back to the previous mention of Jehovah in verse 6:8. A renewed mention requires the definite article, although it should also be noted that a definite article cannot be prefixed to a proper name. The same is true in English.

 

Therefore, the definite article being prefixed to the word elohim does not indicate that elohim is a proper name. We must also note that this verse does not mean that Noah never sinned; the word "blameless" simply means that his conduct was upright, that he was just in his dealings with others, and that he was mature in his relationship with his elohim, Jehovah.

 

In Genesis 6:11 and 6:13, the word elohim was used in reference to Jehovah, the maker of heaven and earth. Remember, Jehovah also made man.

"The earth was corrupt in the sight of a god (‘elohiym:H430), and the earth was filled with violence. And a god (‘elohiym:H430) said to Noah, I have determined to make an end to all flesh."

 

This god (elohim), Jehovah, had changed his mind, and now determined to destroy all flesh from the earth.

 

After this conversation, Noah was given instructions about how to build an ark for the safety of his family and some of the animals of earth. This ark was not built to travel, but simply to float. Noah had no means of steering it, or of seeing out of it, except by looking upward to the top in which he was instructed to build a window. It was out of this window that Noah sent forth birds to find if the waters had ebbed upon the earth (see Genesis 6:14 - 8:15).

 

After being told to build an ark, Genesis 6:22-7:1 reports that,

"Noah did all that a god (‘elohiym:H430) commanded him. The Yahweh (yehovah:H3068) said to Noah, go you and all your household into the ark...."

 

Here, again, we see how Moses, the attributed author of the first five books of the Bible, continuously used the word elohim to refer to their god, Jehovah. While it may appear to some that we are stretching a questionable point, it will become abundantly clear that this is the correct interpretation.

 

For example, in Genesis 6:22, elohim gave Noah commandments, but verse 7:1 says that Noah did what Jehovah commanded. This is clearly an interchanging of the terms elohim and Yahweh (Jehovah). Verse 7:1 indicates that Jehovah commanded, but verse 7:9 says that Noah did as elohim commanded.

 

Genesis 7:16 says,

"Jehovah (yehovah:H3068) shut him in."

 

It is quite clear that by now the people referred to Jehovah as their elohim, their god.

 

After Noah emerged from the ark, he built an altar.

"Then Noah built an altar to Yahweh (yehovah:H3068)." (Genesis 8:20).

 

After Noah made an offering to Jehovah,

"god (‘elohiym:H430) blessed Noah and his sons." (Genesis 9:1).

 

Again, Yahweh and elohim are used interchangeably.

 

The word elohim is used quite often in Genesis 9, while in other chapters the word Jehovah predominates. Many scholars believe that these are parts of scripture which were written by different groups of people. Those scriptures which use the word elohim predominantly are referred to as "elohistic," while those which use Jehovah predominately are referred to as "yahwistic" (or Jehovahistic, if you use the word Jehovah instead of Yahweh). Such scholars also refer to another group of scriptures as "priestly" writings. Personally, I do not believe in separating the scriptures into such categories.

 

Although the common wisdom is that Moses wrote Genesis, some scholars now believe that Genesis is a compilation of writings by different people or groups. This is how they account for the different word usages found in Genesis. However, assuming that the Bible was inspired, there must be another reason for using the different words to signify various aspects of the author’s thinking. Why were different words used, and what is the specific meaning attached to them?

 

Genesis 9:6 says,

"... for in the image of a god (‘elohiym:H430) man (was) made."

 

Since the terms Jehovah and elohim are interchangeable, then man was made in the image of Jehovah. This will also become even clearer as the study continues, particularly when we get to Abraham.

 

Genesis 9:26 demonstrates again how the two words, Yahweh and elohim, were sometimes used interchangeably.

"He (Noah) also said, blessed (be) Yahweh (yehovah:H3068), the god (‘elohiym:H430) of Shem."

 

Here, Jehovah is said to be the elohim, or god, of Shem. This usage will become very common as the revelation of The God continues through the scriptures.

 

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Abraham

Genesis 12 begins the story of both Abraham and the formation of the Hebrew nation. Since Abraham was 75 years old when Noah died, he probably heard many stories about the great flood from his early childhood.

"Now Yahweh (yehovah:H3068) said to Abram, go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation and I will bless you and make great your name so that you will be a blessing." (Genesis 12:1-2).

 

Jehovah promised to lead Abraham into a new life. This attribute of Jehovah is just now coming to light through the scriptures: Jehovah desires to direct the lives of his servants. This pattern will occur again and again.

 

Although Abram obeyed (Genesis 12:4), he also brought his nephew, Lot, with him, which would delay deliverance of Jehovah’s promises.

"Then Yahweh (yehovah:H3068) appeared to Abram and said, To your descendants I will give this land. So he built there an altar to Yahweh (yehovah:H3068) who had appeared to him." (Genesis 12:7).

 

The word appeared (ra’ah:H7200), has a wide range of different meanings, from being physically visible to the eye at one extreme, to only being seen mentally at the other extreme. It is not clear whether Jehovah was physically visible, although it is certainly possible. In the earliest stages of revelation, Jehovah did make himself visible to some people, although this would become rare in later stages (see later passages in Genesis and Exodus).

 

Up to this point, Jehovah had spoken only to five people: Adam, Eve, Cain, Noah, and Abram. Over a period of at least 2,000 years, he spoke or appeared to someone about every 400 years or so. Since these instances appear rather close together in the biblical text, it is easy to wrongly assume that Jehovah often appeared to people. However, by noting how many years took place between instances, it is clear that Jehovah only rarely spoke or appeared to someone.

 

Please note that Abram built an altar to Jehovah (Genesis 12:7). As we shall see, Jehovah was his god. Genesis 12:8 says that after he built the altar, Abram

"called on the name of Yahweh (yehovah:H3068)."

 

The word "name," as used by these early people, often referred not simply to a proper name as we would interpret it today, but referred more to a sense of power. According to the Student’s Hebrew Lexicon, the word name,

"when said of God, denotes that complex notion of his person and character taught by his various methods of manifestation," and things done "by the name" of God are "done through the exercise of his attributes."

 

In other words, Abram recognized Jehovah as being a god of great power, or name; therefore, he began to call upon this power, or name, for his desires.

 

Like Jacob, Abram could be deceitful. He had married his half sister, Sarai, and when he entered into Egypt, he was fearful that they would kill him to take his wife. He told Sarai to say that she was his sister, which resulted in Pharaoh taking her into his harem. In order to protect her, and Pharaoh, Jehovah afflicted Pharaoh’s house with many plagues until Pharaoh recognized the cause of the trouble: he had another man’s wife in his harem! Pharaoh then confronted Abram, and had him and all his possessions escorted out of Egypt (Genesis 12:10-20).

 

Later, Abram’s and Lot’s herdsmen began to argue over the grazing rights to the land where they were both abiding. Abram, not desiring any trouble with his nephew, told Lot to look over the land and choose which way he wanted to go, and that he, Abram, would go the other way, thereby settling the argument.

 

This is far more significant than it might at first appear. Earlier, we stated that bringing Lot delayed Jehovah’s promises to Abram. The reason was that Lot now saw that the land around Sodom and Gomorrah was rich and well watered. This was before Jehovah destroyed these cities, and to Lot the land appeared as

"the garden of Yahweh (yehovah:H3068)" (Genesis 13:10).

 

After Lot and Abram had separated, Jehovah told Abram to look in all directions as far as he could see, and that all the land he could see would be given to Abram and to his descendants for ever. He also told Abram that his descendants would be as many

"as the dust of the earth."

 

And, Abram built another altar to Jehovah (Genesis 13:14-18).

 

Some of the local city kings formed a consortium and went to war against the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah. During the ensuing battles, they captured Lot. However, Abram and his men rescued Lot and all his family and goods which had been taken. In the process of rescuing Lot, Abram also took a great deal of merchandise and animals from the defeated kings (Genesis 14:1-17). This event brings us to another important episode in Abram’s life, and another further revelation of Jehovah.

 

The first time we find that Jehovah had a priest occurs in Genesis 14:18. Not only is this the first mention of a priest in the bible, it is also the kernel of the priesthood which would later come into being.

"And Melchizedek, king of Salem, brought out bread and wine. He was (the) priest of god (‘el:H410) most high."

 

Genesis 14:19 says that this "god most high" is

"maker of heaven and earth."

 

Therefore, Melchizedek was referring to this god as the most high, el elyon, or the highest in a series, probably because this was the greatest god of which he was aware. El was a noun commonly used by the people, both Hebrews and others, in referring to the god they knew.

 

When Abram was blessed by Melchizedek, he answered

"I have lifted my hand (I have sworn) to Yahweh (yehovah:H3068) god most high (‘el:H410), maker of heaven and earth." (Genesis 14:22).

 

In saying this, Abram identified Jehovah as the god whom Melchizedek recognized as the god most high.

 

When Abram told Melchizedek that he refused to keep any of the captured materials, he took a step of faith in walking before Jehovah, his god. By doing so, Abram was also recognizing Jehovah as his adonai, lord, or master, to whom he owed obedience.

 

Abram also called Jehovah lord in Genesis 15:1-2.

"After these things came the word of Yahweh (yehovah:H3068) to Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram, I am your shield, your very great reward. But Abram said, Oh lord (‘adonay:H136) Yahweh (yehovih:H3069), what wilt thou give me, for I continue childless, and the son of acquisition (heir) of my house (he is) Eliezer of Damascus?"

 

When Jehovah spoke in a vision it must have frightened Abram, as Jehovah began with the words "fear not" (Luke 12:7, I Timothy 1:7). This was the first time that Jehovah had spoken to Abram by this means. This was also the first time that Jehovah had promised to protect and greatly reward a man. 

 

The Hebrew word adonai first appears in Genesis 15:2. Adonai has been translated as both lord and Jehovah. Lord indicates someone who is the master of another. The fact that one word is a common noun and the other a proper noun is significant, indicating that adonai describes a characteristic of Jehovah, revealing both the purpose and authority of Jehovah. Jehovah’s purpose was to bring glory to The God, and his authority was to be master, or ruler, of everything.

 

When Abram realized that Jehovah would reward him, he immediately asked for an heir, and Jehovah promised him a son (Genesis 15:2-4). Jehovah also caused a deep sleep to fall upon Abram, and

"On that day Yahweh (yehovah:H3068) made a covenant with Abram, saying, to your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates." (Genesis 15:18).

 

 The important point to remember here is that it was Jehovah who made this covenant with Abram, indicating that he is a covenant-giving god.

 

An interesting sidelight in the story of this covenant is that Abram fell into, "a deep sleep." (Genesis 15:12). This definitely shows that this was a one-party covenant given to Abram by Jehovah. Abram could only receive this great promise. This illustrates another aspect of Jehovah: he is a covenant-giving god.

 

Genesis 15:6 says that Abram,

"believed Yahweh (yehovah:H3068) and he reckoned it to him as righteousness."

 

This is one of the most misinterpreted verses in the Bible, usually understood to mean that Jehovah gave Abram righteousness in exchange for his belief.

 

Paul dealt with this issue in Romans 4:3-4, where he used the word "imputed" for "counted" or "reckoned it to him."  The word impute comes from an old Hebrew word meaning to weave. It originally referred to woven tapestries with raised designs, made by weaving together many different layers of threads.

 

This verse simply means that Abram was allowing Jehovah to take the loose strands of his life and weave it into any design Jehovah desired. [For more on this subject, see our book, Revealing the Truth in Romans.]

 

When Sarai, Abram’s wife, finally delivered a son, it provoked jealousy on the part of Hagar, the servant to Sarai and the mother of Abram’s son, Ishmael. When Hagar became rebellious, Sarai dealt with her harshly, and Hagar ran away into the desert, where the angel of Jehovah found her sitting by a spring. The angel of Jehovah told her to return to Sarai and to submit herself, which she did (Genesis 16).

 

In the first part of Hagar’s story, related in Genesis 16, the name Jehovah was used. But, Genesis 16:13 says that Hagar,

"called the name of Yahweh (yehovah:H3068) who spake unto her, thou art a god (‘el:H410) of seeing."

 

Here, the differences are contrasted between the name Jehovah and the appellative, or el roi, or "thou art a god of seeing."  Hagar, a Gentile, used el, the common word the early people used for Jehovah. This is the same word that Abram used earlier when identifying Melchizedek’s god as Jehovah. This noun el was also often used by Jacob and others.

 

Even Jehovah, himself, would sometimes use the word el to reveal some of his characteristics. For instance, in Genesis 17:1:

"When Abram was ninety years and nine years, Yahweh (yehovah:H3068) appeared to Abram and said to him, I am the god (‘el:H410) almighty (shadday:H7706)."

 

Although el shaddai is often translated as "god almighty," it would be more accurately translated as "the all sufficient one," or "the one who supplies all your needs."

 

In Genesis 17:7, Jehovah said,

"I will establish my covenant between me and you and (between) your descendants after you through their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be to you (a) god (‘elohiym:H430) and to your descendants after you."

 

Jehovah not only promised that Abram would have a son of his own, but that his descendants would be a multitude of nations (Genesis 17:4). Again, this reveals that Jehovah is a covenant-giving god. Surprisingly, Jehovah told Abraham that the sign of the covenant would be the circumcision of all the males in his tribe (Genesis 17:10).

 

Jehovah changed Abram’s name to Abraham (Genesis 17:5), and changed Sarai’s name to Sarah (Genesis 17:15). When Jehovah changed their names, the Hebrew letter he was added. This is a heavy breather, so called because one must breathe out strongly to pronounce it. The addition of this letter to their names was a sign that Jehovah had breathed upon them in order to give them his spirit. This rejuvenated them to the point that they were again able to have children.

 

Later scriptures also tell us that Jehovah gave the spirit to others, enabling them to perform some special duty. (Strong’s concordance will supply numerous scriptures; for example, see Numbers 11:29, 4:2; Judges 6:34, 11:29, 14:6; I Samuel 16:13; II Chronicles 15:1). This spirit-giving power is another revealed characteristic of Jehovah.

 

It is unfortunate that the KJV translated this new characteristic of Jehovah, el shaddai, as god almighty. To many English speaking people, this conveys a sense of power more than a sense of providence. However, it is providence that is clearly the characteristic, or quality, at the forefront in this appellative.

 

As mentioned earlier, the name Yahweh with the appellative el, is better understood if Yahweh is regarded as a proper name and el is regarded as an appellative, or common noun. El is a generic term applied to manifestations of Jehovah. Therefore, el shaddai would be a description of the providence, or the constant supply, given to mankind for their sustenance.

 

Genesis 17:1 relates that Jehovah spoke to Abraham, while the appellative elohim, or the elohim, was used in the rest of the chapter. These two terms refer to the office of Jehovah, the one who began the dialogue with Abraham.

 

If these verses are read in context, there is no discernible reason to suppose that one group wrote this section of the Bible while another group wrote the first verse (as some scholars maintain). This was simply referring to the speaker Jehovah by the name of his office, a god, elohim.

 

When definition or a renewed mention was made, then the definite article was prefixed. For instance, when Abraham was addressing this god, Genesis 17:18 says,

"And Abraham said to (the) god (‘elohiym:H430), O that Ishmael might live in thy sight!"

 

The definite article was used here because it was a renewed mention of "a god" back in Genesis 17:15.

 

The appellative elohim does not appear in Genesis 18. There is almost a complete metamorphosis to different appellatives: adon and adonai. Genesis 18:1 says,

"And Yahweh (yehovah:H3068) appeared to him by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the door of his tent in the heat of the day."

 

Abraham saw three men approaching his tent, and he welcomed them,

"My lord (‘adonay:H136), if I have found favor in your sight, do not pass by your servant." (Genesis 18:3).

 

He implored them to stay for a meal, which they agreed to do. Genesis 18:8 says that they ate of the fatted calf which had been prepared for them. This scripture does not indicate that Jehovah and the two angels with him were recognized as being anything more than men of some importance. Perhaps Abraham addressed them as adonai out of respect.

 

This is the first time that the scriptures state unequivocally that Jehovah appeared as a man. It was never quite clear whether Jehovah’s early appearances were physical or only mental. Here, however, it is definitely a physical appearance. But how could the spiritual being, Jehovah, appear as a man and partake of food? Keep this physical appearance in mind as it foreshadows a crucial event still far in the future (see Mark 9:8, Mark 15:39, Luke 7:8, John 1:30, or John 8:40).

 

Some scholars maintain that Genesis 18 was written by the person or group they call the Yahwist, and later compiled with other writings to form the book of Genesis. But, as stated above, it appears to be only a matter of context rather than a matter of compilation. Moses is commonly given credit for writing the first five books of the bible, and the simple explanation could be that Moses used the different words—el, elohim, adon, adonai, Jehovah—to express the definite meanings he desired.

 

The word Jehovah was largely used to indicate the times when Jehovah spoke, for example, when the scriptures say, "Jehovah said...."  One quite interesting example occurs in Genesis 18:17-19 concerning why Abraham will receive the promises given him.

"Yahweh (yehovah:H3068) said, Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do, seeing that Abraham shall become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall bless themselves by him."

 

This passage establishes that obedience is a criterion for blessing. This does not mean that it is works that qualify one for blessings, but that proper works indicate both faith and obedience. It is the faith and obedience that form the proper basis from which righteousness and justice (works) have their visible essence.

 

Genesis 21 is another example where Jehovah is identified as the speaker (21:1), and then he is referred to only as elohim, or the elohim, until verse 21:33, which says that Abraham

"planted a tamarisk tree in Beer-sheba, and called there on the name of Yahweh (yehovah:H3068), the everlasting (‘owlam:H5769) god (‘el:H410)."

 

This is another definitive reference identifying Jehovah as the el, in this case the el olam (‘owlam:H5769 ‘el:H410), the everlasting god. This adds another dimension to the characteristics of Jehovah: he is everlasting. Olam also means properly concealed, the vanishing point, time out of mind, or eternity.

 

Genesis 22 relates how Abraham was obedient to Jehovah, even under the most trying circumstances. He was told by his god, Jehovah, to offer Isaac, his son of the promise, as a burnt offering. Abraham obeyed all the instructions he received from Jehovah, but just as he raised his knife to slay his son, Jehovah stopped him.

"The angel of Yahweh (yehovah:H3068) called to him from heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I. He said, do not lay your hand on the lad or do to him anything, for now I know that you fear god (‘elohiym:H430). You have not withheld your son, your only son, from me." (Genesis 22:11-12).

 

Here again, the word elohim is equivalent to Jehovah, who had instructed Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. In addition, the term "angel of Jehovah" seems to be another way of stating that someone has heard the voice of Jehovah. It is usually associated with a message spoken by an unseen Jehovah.

 

This episode illustrates another attribute of Jehovah: he does not require human sacrifice, but provides his own sacrifice, in this instance, a ram. This point will be elaborated further in the New Testament [John 1:29].

 

Genesis 22:14 adds another appellative to the characteristics of Jehovah:

"Abraham called the name of that place Yahweh will provide (will see) (Jehovah jireh): as it is said to this day, On the mount of Yahweh (yehovah:H3068) it shall be provided (seen)."

 

Abraham added the appellative jireh to Jehovah, or Jehovah jireh, which means that Jehovah will see our need and provide for it. This is a symbolic reference to the later sacrifice of Jesus (after Jehovah became a man) for the sins of all mankind.

 

Abraham grew old, and since his son, Isaac, still lacked a wife, Abraham called his servant, Eliezer, and instructed him:

"Put your hand under my thigh, and I will make you swear by Yahweh (yehovah:H3068), the god (‘elohiym:H430) of heaven, and (god) (‘elohiym:H430) of the earth...." (Genesis 24:2-3).

 

The most interesting part of this passage is that Jehovah was identified as "the god of heaven, and the god of earth," at least in the eyes of whoever wrote these words.

 

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The revelation of Jehovah, elohim, in the development of Israel

 

Up to this point, only a small tribe of herdsmen, Abraham and his entourage, considered Jehovah as their god. Then,

"(and it was) after the death of Abraham god (‘elohiym:H430) blessed his son Isaac and Isaac dwelt at Beer-lahairoi." (Genesis 25:11).

 

The torch was passed to Isaac, who also turned to Jehovah for solutions to his problems. He must have learned from his father, Abraham, that Jehovah was el shaddai, the one who supplied all their needs.

 

Genesis 25:21 says,

"Isaac prayed to Yahweh (yehovah:H3068) for (on behalf of) his wife because she was barren, and Yahweh (yehovah:H3068) granted his prayer and Rebekah his wife conceived."

 

Rebekah became pregnant with twins, and

"the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it is thus, why do I live? So she went to inquire of Yahweh (yehovah:H3068), and Yahweh (yehovah:H3068) said to her, Two nations are in your womb and two peoples born of you shall be divided, and the one shall be stronger than the other; and the elder shall serve the younger." (Genesis 25:22-23).

 

When the twins were born, Esau was the eldest and Jacob was the second born. Some believe that Esau suffered from a low sugar condition, which leaves one feeling so weak that he can barely lift a hand, and sometimes not even that. This might help explain why he thought he was about to die, and therefore sold his birthright to his twin brother for a bowl of pottage (see Genesis 25:29-34). When he returned from hunting, Esau must have been very weak, and pottage is believed to be a quick remedy for someone with a low sugar condition.

 

On a personal note, the author has occasionally suffered with spontaneous insulin shock, and can easily understand how Esau may have thought he was dying. Because of this experience, the author has a much greater understanding of Esau’s possible predicament and is inclined to view him as not quite the villain he is often portrayed to be. As he asked, what good is a birthright if you are dead? Nevertheless, it was through this situation that Jacob, rather than Esau, became the father, or leader, of the tribe that would become the nation Israel.

 

Jehovah extended to Isaac the covenant that he had given earlier to Abraham:

"And Yahweh (yehovah:H3068) appeared to him, and said, Do not go down to Egypt; dwell in the land of which I shall tell you. Sojourn in this land, and I will be with you, and will bless you; for to you and to your descendants I will give all these lands, and I will fulfill the oath which I swore to Abraham your father. I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven, and will give to your descendants all these lands, and by your descendants all the nations of the earth shall bless themselves." (Genesis 26:2-4)

 

Notice that Jehovah called the covenant with Abraham his oath, or his word. Genesis 26:24 explains why Jehovah gave the blessing of the covenant, or his oath, to Isaac.

"And Yahweh (yehovah:H3068) appeared to him the same night and said, I am the god (‘elohiym:H430) of Abraham your father: fear not, for I am with you and will bless you and multiply your descendants for the sake of Abraham my servant."

 

As an aside, this verse raises two interesting questions. How often do you suppose that we have been blessed because of some godly ancestor? And, if we live godly lives, is it possible that our descendants might be blessed because of it?

 

Isaac lived a long life, and when he neared death, he asked Esau to go hunting and make him a savory stew, promising that afterward he would give him the blessing of the first-born. Rebekah told Jacob about this, and they developed a plot for Jacob to deceive his father and receive the first-born’s blessing instead (see Genesis 27:1-33).

"May god (‘elohiym:H430) give you of the dew of heaven, and of the fatness of the earth, and plenty of grain and wine. Let peoples serve you and bow down, and nations bow down to you. Be lord over your brothers, and may your mother’s son bow down to you. Cursed be every one who curses you, and blessed be every one who blesses you." (Genesis 27:28-29).

 

When Esau learned that he had been tricked again, he swore to kill Jacob, who then fled for his life.

 

Since Abraham, Jehovah has been dealing directly with one person of each generation, instead of only once in every four hundred years or so. Will this trend continue? The torch has now been passed from Abraham to Isaac and from Isaac to Jacob. Jehovah would surely have his hands full transforming this rascally trader into useable material. Names at that time often described a man’s character, and his name, Jacob, means deceiver, or usurper. Nevertheless, Jehovah extended the covenant to Jacob.

 

After Isaac’s death, the covenant was extended to Jacob, and Genesis 28:12-15 reveals a great deal about Jehovah being also the god of Jacob. While Jacob was in the wilderness, fleeing from the wrath of Esau, he laid down to rest.

"And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven. And behold the angels of god (‘elohiym:H430) were ascending and descending on it. And behold, Yahweh (yehovah:H3068) stood above it, and said, I am Yahweh (yehovah:H3068) the god (‘elohiym:H430) of Abraham your father, and the god (‘elohiym:H430) of Isaac. The land on which you lie, to you will I give it, and to your descendants. And your descendants shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south, and all the families of the earth shall bless themselves by you and by your descendants. Behold, I am with you, and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done that of which I have spoken to you."

 

In these three verses, Jehovah revealed three more of his attributes:

(1) his spiritual omnipresence: "I will not leave you;"

(2) his lordship, or authority, to distribute the land areas to whomever he desires: "the land on which you lie, to you will I give it, and to your descendants;"

(3) his ability to sustain people wherever they may go: "I...will keep you wherever you go." 

 

(Omnipresence means that Jehovah is a spiritual presence, unless he chooses to reveal himself as a man. For additional scriptures concerning his omnipresence, see Jeremiah 23:24; Psalms 139:7-9; I Kings 8:27; Isaiah 66:1.)

 

Note, too, that Jehovah is also lord over the land, and he is the one who succors, or saves, people, not from hell to heaven, but from their distresses. The idea of heaven and hell is not even mentioned in the Old Testament.

 

Jacob then began to bargain with his god, Jehovah, revealing that nothing had changed since he out-bargained his brother, Esau.

"Then Jacob made a vow, saying, If god (‘elohiym:H430) will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat and clothing to wear, so that I come again in peace to my father’s house; then shall Yahweh (yehovah:H3068) be my god (‘elohiym:H430)." (Genesis 28:20-21).

 

Jacob did the same thing many new "christians" do—he set forth his requirements that his god, Jehovah, must meet before he would agree to serve him. Jehovah, of course, would do all the things he had already promised to do whether or not Jacob served him.

 

Jacob would discover, as so many of us do, that Jehovah, his god, would bring circumstances about in such a way that he would be happy to be obedient in service to Jehovah. His experiences with his relative, Laban, is a perfect example of this (see Genesis 29-30). Nevertheless, Jehovah blessed Jacob with great wealth,

"Thus the man grew rich, and had large flocks, and maidservants, and menservants, and camels, and asses." (Genesis 30:43).

 

The trickery back and forth between Laban and Jacob strained the relationships between the two families, until finally,

"Yahweh (yehovah:H3068) said to Jacob, Return to the land of your fathers, and to your kindred, and I will be with thee." (Genesis 31:3). Jacob called his wives, and his children together, and told them, "Your father has cheated me, and changed my wages ten times; but god (‘elohiym:H430) did not permit him to harm me." (Genesis 31:7).

 

As he was instructed in a dream, Jacob gathered his family and his possessions and headed back toward the homeland he had fled so many years before (Genesis 31:17-18).

 

The one who instructed Jacob to leave Laban (Genesis 31:3) said,

"I am the god (‘el:H410) of Bethel, where you anointed a pillar and made a vow to me. Now arise, go forth from this land and return to the land of your birth." (Genesis 31:13).

 

Note that the one speaking identified himself as el. Jacob knew Jehovah as el, or a god. Now, Jehovah, or el, is going to collect on the vow Jacob made earlier that if Jehovah did all that he had promised, then he would be Jacob’s god, or the one to whom Jacob would owe obedience.

 

When they left, Jacob’s wife, Rachel, stole some of Laban’s images, teraphiym, or household gods, so Laban pursued them. However,

"But god (‘elohiym:H430) came to Laban the Aramean in a dream by night, and said unto him, Take heed that you say not a word to Jacob, either good or bad."

 

Although Laban believed in Jehovah, he also worshiped the household gods in that area, a common synergistic approach. When Laban caught up with Jacob’s party, they did not find the stolen images, and finally settled matters peaceably (Genesis 31:25-55). 

 

Laban and Jacob built a pillar, promising that they would not cross beyond it to do harm to one another. They said,

"The god (‘elohiym:H430) of Abraham, and the god (‘elohiym:H430) of Nahor, the god (‘elohiym:H430) of their father, judge between us. So Jacob swore by the fear of his father Isaac." (Genesis 31:53).

 

Note that each one went back to an earlier ancestor to swear by their god, as well as that of their own.

 

As Jacob continued his journey,

"the angels of god (‘elohiym:H430) met him. And Jacob said when he saw them, This is god’s (‘elohiym:H430) army. So he called the name of that place Mahanaim (two armies)." (Genesis 32:2-3).

 

By now, it has become quite common for people to interchange the name, Jehovah, with the descriptive appellative, god (elohim). The appellative, god, is what we might call the job description, while Jehovah is the proper name of the job holder.

 

Jacob was discovering that his god, Jehovah, was with him in every step he took back to his homeland. His god, Jehovah, was doing exactly as he had promised he would do some 20 years earlier. Nevertheless, Jacob dreaded his meeting with Esau, still fearing his wrath.

 

Jehovah, noting this fear, had sent two armies of angels to quiet Jacob’s fear. When he finally met his brother, Esau, Jacob found that Jehovah had also changed Esau’s heart from wrath to love (Genesis 32:1-33:16). This fulfilled Jehovah’s promise that he would bring Jacob to his homeland in peace.

"And Jacob said, O god (‘elohiym:H430) of my father Abraham, and the god (‘elohiym:H430) of my father Isaac, O Yahweh (yehovah:H3068) who didst say to me, Return to your country, and to your kindred, and I will do you good." (Genesis 32:10).

 

This verse identifies Jehovah as the god of Abraham and Isaac. Therefore, when they used the word god (elohim), they were definitely referring to Jehovah as their god. Jehovah, the covenant-keeping god, was now acting to fulfill the covenant he made previously with Jacob.

 

Before he met with Esau,

"Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day. And when he saw that he did not prevail against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and Jacob’s thigh was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. Then he said, Let me go, for the day is breaking.. But he said, I will not let you go unless you bless me. And he said to him, What is your name? And he said, Jacob. Then he said, Your name shall no more be called Jacob, but Israel: for you have striven with god (‘elohiym:H430) and with men and have prevailed. Then Jacob asked (and said), Tell me, I pray, your name. But he said, Why is it you ask my name? And he blessed him there. So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen god (‘elohiym:H430) face to face, and yet my life is preserved." (Genesis 32:25-31).

 

This is an interesting passage: it says that Jacob wrestled with a man. However, Hosea 12:4 says that he wrestled with an angel. Both are correct. Just as Abraham fed Jehovah and saw him as a man, Jacob saw the person he wrestled with as a man until after he was blessed by him. Then he recognized him as his god, el, or Yahweh.

 

Another interesting fact from this passage is that Jacob’s name now is changed to Israel, which means "led of god," or as some say, a prince of god. Personally, we prefer "led of god," because Israel was now the precursor of the nation Israel, which would also be led of god, or Jehovah.

Later, Jacob built an altar to Jehovah, signifying that he now accepted him as his god, or the one whom he would obey (see Genesis 33:20).

 

Genesis 35:1 reports that,

"God (‘elohiym:H430) said to Jacob, Arise, go up to Bethel and dwell there, and make there an altar to the god (‘el:H410) who appeared to you when you fled from Esau your brother."

 

Jacob is now willing to be obedient to his god, el, or Jehovah, and says,

"Let us arise, and go up to Bethel (beyth-’el:H1008) that I may make there an altar to the god (‘el:H410), who answered me in the day of my distress, and has been with me wherever I have gone." (Genesis 35:3).

 

Beth el means the house of el, or the house of god. Jacob called his god el, because he knew his god by no particular name, although the name Jehovah was often used by Moses when he wrote these words.

 

When Jehovah later appeared to Jacob, he identified himself as el shaddai.

"God (‘elohiym:H430) appeared to Jacob again when he came from Paddan-aram, and blessed him, and god (‘elohiym:H430) said to him, Your name is Jacob. No longer shall your name be called Jacob, but Israel shall be your name. So his name was called Israel. And god (‘elohiym:H430) said to him, I am el shaddai (god almighty) (‘el:H410, shadday:H7706). Be fruitful and multiply. A nation and a company of nations shall come from you, and kings shall go forth from your loins. The land which I gave to Abraham and Isaac, to you I will give it, and to your descendants after you will I give the land. Then god (‘elohiym:H430) went up from him in the place where he had spoken with him." (Genesis 35:9-13).

 

Here god, or elohim, or el, or Jehovah, renewed the covenant first given to Abraham, then to Isaac, and now to Jacob.

 

From this point on, Jehovah elohim speeds up the process of manifestation to people. Jacob, now Israel, had twelve sons. One of those sons, Joseph, whose brothers hated him for being their father’s favorite son, was sold into slavery.  After selling Joseph, his brothers told Jacob that he had been mauled by a lion and killed; however, this lie would catch up with them later. (Genesis 37:1-35).

 

Genesis reports that Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers because they hated him for being their father’s favorite son. This may have been because Joseph was the first-born son by Rachel, Jacob’s most beloved wife.

 

Genesis 38 reveals another aspect of Jehovah when people deliberately disobey him. Israel’s son, Judah, had taken a wife for his son, Er.  But, Er was wicked and Jehovah slew him. (Genesis 38:6-7). According to the law, another of Judah’s sons should have impregnated Tamar and raised up a son to his brother’s name so that Er would not be without heirs. But, Onan, the brother whom Judah sent in to Tamar, while having intercourse with her, withdrew, and spilled his sperm on the ground. The scriptures record that Onan displeased Jehovah, and it cost him his life. Jehovah apparently does not treat deliberate sin and disobedience lightly. (Genesis 38:8-10).

 

Genesis 39 relates that after his brothers sold him, Joseph became a slave of Potiphar (meaning "fat bull"), one of Pharaoh’s high officers. Whatever Potiphar asked Joseph to do, Joseph did it well because Jehovah blessed him in it, and

"Yahweh (yehovah:H3068) blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; and the blessing of Yahweh (yehovah:H3068) was upon all that he had in the house and in the field." (Genesis 39:5).

 

Therefore, Potiphar made Joseph overseer of his house, and all his possessions.

 

However, after being falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife, Joseph was sent to prison. But, even there, Jehovah continued to bless Joseph, giving him favor in the sight of the jail keeper. Jehovah also enabled Joseph to interpret dreams, which later led to his interpreting a dream for Pharaoh which none of his seers could interpret.

 

When Pharaoh began to praise Joseph for interpreting the dream, Joseph told him that it was his god, Jehovah, who had shown him what the dream meant. (Genesis 39:7- 41:38). As a result, Pharaoh put Joseph in charge of all his matters in Egypt.

"So Pharaoh said to Joseph, Since god (‘elohiym:H430) has shown you all this, there is none so discreet and wise as you are. You shall be over my house, and to your mouth all my people shall yield. Only as regards the throne will I be greater than you." (Genesis 41:39-40).

 

Joseph prepared Egypt for the seven years of famine, which was to come after seven years of plenty. Jehovah had managed Joseph’s life by putting him in a position to save his own family from starvation, because the famine was also being felt in Joseph’s homeland. When food ran out in Canaan, where Jacob and the other brothers lived, they heard that food was available in Egypt.

 

When Jacob sent some of his sons to get grain, Joseph recognized them, but they did not recognize him. Joseph maneuvered events and tricked his brothers into bringing Jacob and all his brothers to Egypt. When he revealed to them that he was their brother, Joseph, they fell on their faces before him, just as Joseph had earlier predicted they would (see Genesis 41:39-45:28).

 

Jehovah had managed Joseph’s life in order to position him where he needed to be in order to save his family from starvation. This shows that Jehovah is definitely interested in the lives of those who serve him.

 

When Jacob and his sons came to Egypt, Pharaoh allowed them to settle in rich pasture lands for their large flocks. Since shepherds were despised by the Egyptians, the Egyptians and the coming Israelites did not mix. Because of this hatred for shepherds, the future Israelite nation was left alone to grow in size. Seventy people came from Canaan into Egypt; and over two million people would leave about 430 years later. Again, we see the result of Jehovah’s providence (see Genesis 46:26-47:27).

 

Jacob died in Egypt, but his body was carried back to Canaan, where he was buried with Rebekah. Joseph also died in Egypt, but before he died he told the people they would return to the promised land sometime in the far future, and that he wanted them to take his bones and bury him in his homeland, the promised land (Genesis 47:28-50:26).

 

The early sections of the Old Testament unveiled many attributes of Jehovah, which was one purpose of this study. As we travel further into the Old Testament, fewer additional attributes will be found. If large areas of scripture seem to be "skipped over" it is because no new attribute of Jehovah was found in those parts of the scriptures.

 

Remember, we have diligently checked each instance of any word regarding elohim, Yahweh, adonai, or el (in either the Analytical Key to the Old Testament, or in Berry’s Interlinear Greek-English New Testament).  We have also read each instance in context.

 

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Summary Highlights of Chapter 1

 

# The word god comes from elohim, a common, or generic, noun; it is not

     capitalized, nor does it have the definite article. Therefore, this verse

     should read, "In the beginning a god created the heavens and the

     earth." 

 

# In the word elohim, the im signifies majesty or greatness, showing the

     highest of a type.

 

# A god spoke, and therefore this god’s word was the first creation.

 

# By capitalizing the word god (elohim), the translators of the scriptures,

     especially the KJV, made a serious error which causes great

     misunderstanding to this day.

 

# We must remember that the god we know from the New Testament

     was only beginning to reveal himself to them (and, of course, to us) as

     we read of their experiences with Jehovah, a god.

 

# Jehovah is the name, and god is the capacity in which he functions. The

     appellative, god, was what we might call the job description, while

     Jehovah was the proper name of the job holder.

 

# The nakedness of Adam and Eve was not a sin, but a metaphor

     symbolizing the presence of sin, and their realization of sin.

 

# It is important that we not superimpose our greater knowledge about

     the god, the invisible creator god, because this enlightenment came

     only with Jesus, in the New Testament.

 

# The words elohim and Yahweh (Jehovah) were now being used

     interchangeably. It was becoming more common for the generic word

     elohim to refer to the proper name of Jehovah. When people said

     elohim, or a god, they were referring to a god they knew as Jehovah.

     There was no longer any need to add the explanatory elohim; it was

     simply understood that Jehovah was an elohim, or a god, which they

     knew.

 

# Jehovah had cursed the land when Adam sinned.  It would be through

     Noah’s descendants that Jesus would be born, and he would remove

     the curse on the land.

 

# Please keep in mind that as far as the scriptures reveal, Jehovah was an

     invisible god to these people.

 

# Over a period of at least 2,000 years, Jehovah spoke or appeared to

     someone about every 400 years or so. Since these instances appear

     rather close together in the biblical text, it is easy to wrongly assume

     that Jehovah often appeared to people. However, by noting how many

     years took place between instances, it is clear that Jehovah only rarely

     spoke or appeared to someone.

 

# Jehovah’s purpose was to bring glory to The God, and his authority was

     to be master, or ruler, of everything.

 

# Genesis 15:6 is one of the most misinterpreted verses in the Bible,

     usually understood to mean that Jehovah gave Abram righteousness in

     exchange for his belief.  This verse simply means that Abram was

     allowing Jehovah to take the loose strands of his life and weave it into

     any design that Jehovah desired.

 

# Although el shaddai is often translated as "god almighty," it would be

     more accurately translated as "the all sufficient one," or "the one who

     supplies all your needs."  El shaddai would be a description of the

     providence, or the constant supply, given to mankind for their

     sustenance.

# It is unfortunate that the KJV translated this new characteristic of

     Jehovah, el shaddai, as god almighty. To many English-speaking

     people, this conveys a sense of power more than a sense of providence.

     However, it is providence that is clearly the characteristic, or quality, at

     the forefront in this appellative.

 

# There is no discernible reason to suppose that one group wrote this

     section of the Bible while another group wrote the first verse (as some

     scholars maintain). This was simply referring to the speaker Jehovah

     by the name of his office, a god, elohim.  It appears to be only a matter

     of context rather than a matter of compilation. Moses used the different

     words—el, elohim, adon, adonai, Jehovah—to express the definite

     meanings he desired.

 

# This is the first time that the scriptures state unequivocally that Jehovah

     appeared as a man, which foreshadows a crucial event still far in the

     future, when Jesus was born as a man.

 

# This passage establishes that obedience is a criterion for blessing. This

     does not mean that it is works that qualify one for blessings, but that

     proper works indicate both faith and obedience. It is the faith and

     obedience that form the proper basis from which righteousness and

     justice (works) have their visible essence.

 

# The term "angel of Jehovah" seems to be another way of stating that

     someone has heard the voice of Jehovah.

 

# Abraham added the appellative jireh to Jehovah, or Jehovah jireh,

     which means that Jehovah will see our need and provide for it. This is a

     symbolic reference to the later sacrifice of Jesus (after Jehovah became a

     man) for the sins of all mankind.

 

# Since Abraham, Jehovah began dealing directly with one person of

     each generation, instead of only once in every four hundred years or

     so.

 

# Genesis 32:25-31 is an interesting passage: it says that Jacob wrestled

     with a man. However, Hosea 12:4 says that he wrestled with an angel.

     Both are correct. Just as Abraham fed Jehovah and saw him as a man,

     Jacob saw the person he wrestled with as a man until after he was

     blessed by him. Then he recognized him as his god, el, or Yahweh.

 

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Attributes of Jehovah revealed in Chapter 1

 

# Jehovah was the god who created man

 

# Jehovah changed his mind.

 

# Jehovah desires to direct the lives of his servants.

 

# Jehovah is adonai, lord, or master, who was to be obeyed.

 

# Jehovah had a priest (Melchizedek).

 

# Jehovah promised to protect and greatly reward a man. 

 

# Jehovah’s purpose was to bring glory to The God.

 

# Jehovah’s authority was to be master, or ruler, of everything.

 

# Jehovah is a covenant-giving god.

 

# Jehovah (el shaddai) is the providence, or the constant supply, given to

     mankind for their sustenance.

 

# Jehovah is the spirit-giving god, who gave the spirit to others, enabling

     them to perform some special duty.

 

# Jehovah is everlasting.

 

# Jehovah does not require human sacrifice, but provides his own

     sacrifice.

 

# Jehovah will see our need and provide for it.

 

# Jehovah is omnipresent: "I will not leave you."  [Omnipresence means

     that Jehovah is a spiritual presence, unless he chooses to reveal himself

     as a man. ]

# Jehovah is lord over the land, with the authority, to distribute the land

     to whomever he desires: "the land on which you lie, to you will I give it,

     and to your descendants."

 

# Jehovah has the ability to sustain people wherever they may go: "I...will

     keep you wherever you go."

 

# Jehovah is the one who succors, or saves, people from their distresses.

 

# Jehovah is a covenant-keeping god.

 

# Jehovah does not treat deliberate sin and disobedience lightly.

 

# Jehovah is definitely interested in the lives of those who serve him.

 

 

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October 2009

 

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