Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Names of God (El)

“Now the Egyptians are men, and not God; and their horses flesh, and not spirit. When the LORD shall stretch out his hand, both he that helpeth shall fall, and he that is holpen shall fall down, and they all shall fail together.” (Isa. 31:3)
A closer look:
God – El (the singular form of the plural “Elim”) means “mighty”
Holpen – helped

“El” is the oldest name for God.  The term El was also used to reference false gods, or even heros, but we use this name to designate the only true and living God, the God of the Bible.  Daniel 11:36 recognizes God this way: “the God (El) of gods…”  While the history of the name El is obscure, His self-disclosure as El is not obscure.  Often the Old Testament uses El as a prefix;  for example, in Gen. 33:20 He is called “Elelohe-Israel” (or God, the God of Israel) in order to differentiate God from that which is worshipped by others as false gods.  Sometimes El is used as a suffix;  for instance,  in Isa. 7:14 the Lord Jesus is called “Immanuel” (literally “with us is God” – Barnes, or commonly “God with us”).  His name “El” suggests two things:

1.  His strength, might and or power.  His power is over all of nature and beings.

2.  His uniqueness among all that is.  He is transcendent from everything and everyone.

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