The Different Names of God and Their Meanings – Part One

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “Who is and Who was and Who is to come, the Almighty.” Revelations 1:8

In that one verse, Revelations 1:8, God reveals five of His names:

  1. I Am – the name God used to introduce Himself to Moses in Exodus 3 at the Burning Bush.
  2. The Alpha and The Omega – He is the Beginning and the End.
  3. The Lord God – YAHWEH Elohim or Adonai YAHWEH depending on capitalization in the OT.
  4. Who is and Who was and Who is to come – He is the God of past, present and future.
  5. The Almighty – from the Hebrew word Shaddai, first used in Genesis 17:1.

God has many names and each one of them reveals an aspect of God’s character and Who He is. As you discover the different names of God and their meanings, you’ll find certain names will mean more to you at different times of your life.

LORD

There are three names that mean Lord and they all come, directly or indirectly, from the name God used to refer to Himself while He was speaking to Moses at the burning bush. These three names are:

  1. YAHWEH
  2. Adonai
  3. Jehovah

When God appeared to Moses in the burning bush (Exodus 3:1-17), Moses asked Him, “What should I say when the people of Israel asked what Your name is?” God said, “I AM WHO I AM. Tell them, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ ” The four Hebrew letters for YHWH come from the name, “I AM WHO I AM.” The “A” AND “E” are added to make it easier to pronounce which is how we get the name, YAHWEH.

In the Old Testament, when LORD is in all caps, it originally was the Hebrew word YAHWEH. When Lord just has the first letter capitalized, it originally was the Hebrew word Adonai. The children of Israel would not speak the name, YAHWEH, because they felt the name was too holy to even pass through their lips so they used the name, Adonai, instead which is the term used to refer to a husband or father as the Lord of the house.

There are different opinions as to how the name, Jehovah, came to be but to make it simple, Jehovah comes from the name YAHWEH so it indirectly comes from “I AM WHO I AM.” Many people use Jehovah instead of YAHWEH. For example, YAHWEH Yireh can be JEHOVAH Jireh both meaning, “The LORD Will Provide.

YAHWEH Yireh or Jehovah Jireh – The LORD Will Provide

God promised Abraham that he would have a son. Then, twenty-five years later, when Abraham was 100 and his wife Sarah was 90, she gave birth to Isaac, Abraham’s promised son. After all that, one day God asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac to Him.

Abraham prepared to do it and on the way up the mountain, Isaac asked his father where the lamb for the sacrifice was. Abraham told him that the LORD would provide the lamb. After they got to the top of the mountain, Abraham tied up Isaac and put him on the altar. Then he reached and got the knife to slay his son, but at the last second, God stopped him.

Abraham then looked over and saw a ram caught in a bush. The LORD had indeed provided the sacrifice just as Abraham had told Isaac He would! Abraham sacrificed the ram and named the place, YAHWEH Yireh which means, “The Lord Will Provide.” (Genesis 22:14)

In seasons of your life when you are in need, those are the times that you need to call out to God as YAHWEH Yireh or Jehovah Jireh and let Him reveal Himself to you as your Provider!

YAHWEH Raphe or Jehovah Raphe – The LORD Who Heals You

After the children of Israel were led out of the bondage of slavery by Moses, they witnessed God perform awesome miracles on their behalf, but between each miracle, they would whine and complain to Moses over every problem.

After witnessing God part the Red Sea, the Israelites traveled in the desert three days without water, and then came upon an oasis of water that was too bitter to drink. Once again they complained so Moses cried out to God for help. And God, as usual, fixed the problem and made the water good to drink.

At this point, God decided it was time to give them some rules to test their faithfulness. God told them that if they would listen to Him and be obedient to what He would tell them, then He would keep them from having any of the diseases that He inflicted on the Egyptians. Then God said, “For I am YAHWEH Raphe,” which means, “The LORD Who Heals You.” (Exodus 15:26)

God does supernaturally heal people. That part of His character did not go away after the first century. So if you or someone you care about is sick, cry out to YAHWEH Raphe or Jehovah Raphe.

YAHWEH Nissi or Jehovah Nissi – The LORD Our Banner

Many times while I’m reading the Bible, I’ll think about what it would have been like to experience what those people got to witness, like the events recorded in Exodus 17. The children of Israel were led once again complaining to Moses acting like God hadn’t already miraculously saved them and provided for them several times!

They were led complaining that day because they had come to a place in the wilderness called, Rephidim, and there was no water there for them to drink. God had Moses hit a big rock with his staff and then water came gushing out of the rock. Can you imagine that?

After God miraculously provided water for Israel, the Amalekites showed up. Amalek was the grandson of Esau and the Amalekites hated Israel. The nation of Amalek symbolized rejection of the things of God. It is said that after the Amalekites would kill a Jewish man, they would cut off the part of him that was circumcised and throw it up at Heaven to represent rebellion against the covenant that Israel had with God.

When Amalek came to fight Israel at Rephidim, Moses told Joshua to gather men to fight and Moses went up on a hill with Aaron and Hur where they could see the battle from above. Moses lifted his arms and Joshua and his men started defeating Amalek. If Moses got tired and put his arms down, Amalek would start winning but as soon as Moses would lift his arms, Joshua would gain victory once again. So Aaron and Hur got on each side of Moses and held his arms up for him, and Israel prevailed and defeated Amalek that day,

After the victory, God said to Moses, “Write this as a memorial in a book and recite it in the ears of Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven.” Then Moses built an altar and named it, YAHWEH Nissi, which means, “The LORD Our Banner.” (Exodus 17:15)

When a banner was raised after a battle, it represented victory. YAHWEH Nissi or Jehovah Nissi represents that the LORD causes you to have victory, and He is your victory!

Conclusion

God’s character is just too awesome for Him to be limited to one name! I have only covered some of them in this article. I will reveal more of His names in Part Two.

Up to this point, we’ve seen God as, “I Am Who I Am” which you can receive as Him saying to you, “I am what you need me to be at this point in your life!”

And we have seen Him be YAHWEH Yireh, The LORD Will Provide, to Abraham and Isaac, and YAHWEH Raphe, The LORD Who Heals You, and YAHWEH Nissi, The LORD Our Banner, to Moses and the children of Israel. And in revealing Himself to them all those years ago, He was also speaking and demonstrating to us in the future, Who He is and will always be.

Learn Biblical Hebrew Online


Please feel free to leave any questions or comments you have at the bottom of this page. Thank you!

Yours In Christ,

Shiloh Mandi Griffin, M.Ed.

Founder of PrayingProphet.net

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4 comments on “The Different Names of God and Their Meanings – Part One

  1. Derek Marshall

    Very interesting read and thank you kindly for sharing it with us. I learned something today in this article “I am”.

    For me, regardless of religious text the “I Am” is the universal oneness of all being and living creatures, I think more of god dwelling within man rather than outside. “Seek ye the temple within and ye shall find”.

    Reply
    1. Shiloh Griffin Post author

      Hey Derek,
      It’s interesting what you said. It makes me think about how the Bible says our bodies are the Temple of the Holy Spirit!
      Thank You for Your Comment!
      Shiloh

      Reply
  2. erlend

    Hi, thanks for this interesting article.

    I have heard various religious people used different names about God (which they all believe is right). Especially the name Jehovah I have heard a lot in my childhood (because my family had a lot of visits by Jehovah’s Witnesses). I remember they were extremely concerned about the importance of using that name.

    Your approach was new and quite fascinating. You are right, a great creator or God, may not be limited by a simple name?
    “In AM Who I Am” is well-suited description, and the other names are situational. When someone needs healing, then God is YAHWEH Raphe etc.

    I look forward to part two of your article, this will be interesting to read!

    Thank you for taking the time to inform and share all of this.

    Reply
    1. Shiloh Griffin Post author

      Hey Erlend,
      We had a lot of visits from Jehovah Witnesses when I was growing up too. I actually had some family that were Jehovah Witnesses. They wanted me to start coming to their church called a Kingdom Hall. I did visit but I decided to keep going to the church that I was attending at the time.
      I really like what you said about how “I Am Who I Am” is a well-suited description. I couldn’t have said it better myself!
      Thank You for Commenting,
      Shiloh

      Reply

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