Elohim: A Name Reveals God’s Nature and Plan
God’s various names all reveal important aspects about Him. Elohim, for example, helps reveal the truth of who God is and God’s great plan for humanity.
Names are important to God. Names are not merely something you say to get the attention of a particular individual. To God, a name represents who that person is: his or her character, accomplishments, beliefs and personality. In the Bible, God chose to give new names to a select few people, such as Abram and Jacob.
Just as God pays great attention to what He names His human servants, He has selected the names He uses to identify Himself very carefully. The names God used to reveal Himself are specifically chosen to help teach the deep aspects of His character and nature.
Let’s explore one of the names God used to reveal Himself in the Old Testament—the Hebrew name Elohim.
A plural God?
In the English Bible, the word Elohim is often translated as “God.” But it’s interesting to note that the word is a plural form of the singular word Eloah. This is displayed throughout the Bible when this word, in reference to idols, is translated as “gods.” (Exodus 18:11 provides an example.)
Elohim is most often used to describe the one true God. While He was giving the 10 Commandments in Exodus 20, God used the word both ways: First He told Israel that He—Elohim—was their God. Then He proceeded to tell them that they should not have any other gods—elohim again—besides Him (verses 2-3).
It sounds odd, but it’s actually a hint at a fabulous truth!
The names God uses to reveal Himself are specifically chosen to help teach the deep aspects of His character and nature.God and Christ are one
Elohim is a plural noun; but when referring to God, it is usually treated as singular in the Bible.
The book of John and many other parts of the Bible give us more insight into why God used a plural word for Himself. John wrote that “the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). Verse 14 shows that he was talking about God the Father and Jesus Christ.
God and Christ are two separate beings, but They are still one. They work in complete unity and harmony in all things. Christ placed Himself under the Father so that He could save mankind. He was always one with God and followed His will (Matthew 26:39; Philippians 2:6-7).
God is a family
When Christ was on this earth, He declared that He would reveal the Father (Luke 10:22). Before this point, the Jews did not understand God was a family! Christ consistently referred to God as “Father,” and the Father declared of Christ, “You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Mark 1:11). The apostle John wrote that one must believe in “both the Father and the Son” (2 John 1:9).
These two powerful beings in the Godhead are family members!
A growing family
There is an awesome truth hidden behind the statement that God is a family: The Bible shows it’s a growing family!
God the Father and Jesus Christ, the Son, want to add members to Their divine family. For this purpose, They created mankind in Their own image (Genesis 1:26). God’s purpose for human beings is to bring “many sons to glory” (Hebrews 2:10). When human beings are born into God’s family, “We shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is” (1 John 3:2).
This blog post just skimmed the surface of the great truths revealed in this important name of God. We encourage you to continue with your own personal study of this topic.