Yahweh and Jesus – The Name of El Elyon

Yahweh and Jesus – The Name of El Elyon

Yahweh and Jesus – The Name of El Elyon.

And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; now he was a priest of El-Elyon, God Most High. And he blessed Abram and said, ‘Blessed be Abram of El-Elyon, creator of heaven and earth; and blessed be El-Elyon, who has delivered your enemies into your hand.” (Genesis 14:18-23).

El-Elyon is a name for God that means God Most High. El is the shortened version of Elohim, the Hebrew generic name for God. Elyon means most high, uppermost, supreme to all creation. The name of God is elevated when referenced as Elyon, highly exalted, majestic, holding supremacy in the universe. Elyon is the only legitimate One that we could truly say is “above it all.” And amazingly, in the midst of His Lordship, Elyon desires our friendship. Elyon is a God who exists in the highest realms, but is willing to stoop to the lowest. He is somehow meek in His exaltation. He is out of our reach, but He is pleased to come within our reach.

The compound name El-Elyon appears in the Hebrew Bible twelve times. An example is Psalm 78:35“They remembered that God was their rock, their El-Elyon, their redeemer.” The name Elyon is found in the Hebrew Bible 34 times, frequently in the Psalms. A particularly poetic appearance of Elyon is in 2 Samuel 22:14, “Yahweh thundered, Elyon uttered His voice.” 

The first time we see this name in Scripture is in Genesis 14 above. The backdrop is the dramatic meeting between Abram and Melchizedek, the mysterious King of Peace (Salem) and the priest to God Most High. These two men met over a Communion meal of wine and bread. Melchizedek has no apparent history, no lineage, like he came out of nowhere. In Hebrews 7, Jesus was named as “a priest in the order of Melchizedek.” Who knows… Maybe Jesus made an appearance to Abram before His time? In Hebrews 7:3, Scripture states that “Melchizedek remains a priest forever, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, like the Son of God.” Jesus, the priest of God Most High, El-Elyon.

Gospel Fulfillment. While Jesus was never referred to as God Most High, He was called the Son of the Most High a number of times. The angel Gabriel’s birth announcement to Mary was notable: “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give him the throne of His father David. And he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.” (Luke 1:31-33).

There are many Scripture passages that point to Jesus having a higher status than everyone and everything. He was Son of the Most High, in union with the Most High, and was given responsibilities and status with He who is Highest. Jesus, the incarnation of Yahweh, fleshed out the true meaning of that name of God:

(1.) “And Jesus came and spoke to His disciples, saying, ‘All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth.”  (Matt. 28:18).

(2.) “Therefore God also has highly exalted Jesus and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Phil. 2:9-11).

(3.) “… according to the working of his mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principalities and powers and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that age which is to come. And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.” (Ephesians 1:19-23).

(4.) “For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, blameless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens.”  (Hebrews 7:26).

(5.) “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dromions or rulers or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.” (Col. 1:15-18).

The Son of the Most High is the incarnation of the Most High. Jesus fulfills a description of God’s name, El Elyon, fleshing out the very nature of Yahweh. Like Father, like Son.