Keeping His Name Holy – Elohim

Keeping His Name Holy – Elohim

Keeping His Name Holy – Elohim. 

“In the beginning, Elohim created the heavens and the earth.”  (Genesis 1:1).

Elohim was the generic Hebrew word for God or gods or great persons. It is used for the God of Israel throughout Scripture, but is also used for the gods of the secular culture surrounding the Hebrews. Elohim is often shortened to “El,’ which implies a singular God of mighty power and tremendous strength. When referring to the God of Israel, it is pointing to a universal ruler with unsurpassed majesty. Elohim is used extensively in the Hebrew Bible, over 2,500 times. It is first used in the story of creation in Genesis, and is used 32 times in Genesis 1 alone. A shortened form of Elohim is even groaned by Jesus on the cross, “Eloi, Eloi, My God, my God…” (Matthew 27:46).

Elohim was often used in the context of God’s creative power in nature. Only Elohim was mighty enough to create something out of nothing. Only Elohim contains the super-abundant strength to become the Creator of the world, the majestic sovereign of the universe. Only the one and only Elohim has the raw, unlimited energy to be the Original Initiator, the First Mover.

All the virtues of pure goodness, and wisdom, and power, all the attributes of set-apart holiness, are wrapped up in the single Source of life… Elohim. Elohim is a collective word referring to all these divine characteristics of spiritual and material reality, personal and impersonal. In our current vocabulary, the plural nature of Elohim is a way to emphasize complete greatness and fullness. It would be like saying “SuperGod.” He is the Elohim above all other elohim. The God of gods. The more than super-powerful God of Israel. The Super-existent One. The One whose fullness overflows eternally.

All grammar goes out the window with this word Elohim. When used with many references, it is a plural word. When used with the singular reference “God,” it is a singular word. Christians believe the Trinity could be implied in the collective nature of Elohim, in the plurality of the word. But Jewish thinking believes that the divine Oneness cannot be divided, or it would alter the very nature of God. “The Lord God, the Lord is One.” (Deut. 6:4). But in the mystery of the Trinity, it seems that God can be both. There is a Unity in the Trinity… 1 Essence, 3 Persons. In fact, in Jesus’ parting word to His disciples before the Ascension, He told them to baptize “in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” (Matt. 28:19). Jesus used a singular word for “Name.” Three-in-One, and One-in-Three. The plurality of Elohim is fascinating.

A Prayer to Elohim (el-lo-heem)

We are in awe of you, Elohim, the God of gods. We adore you, your royal majesty, for you are the only one great enough to be our Creator and Sustainer and King. For, in the beginning, the vast universe was established by your wisdom, and the foundation of the earth was laid at your powerful command. Your understanding stretched out the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is in it, the seas and all that is in them. You alone made everything out of nothing. Only you give breath to the people of the earth, and life to everything you have made. In your vast power, O God, you have promised a faithful love beyond measure. And so we join the multitudes of heaven above and the creatures of earth below to worship you. We bow before you now, Elohim, and honor your holy Name. Amen.