All throughout Scripture the believer is confronted with a multitude of names, or titles, of God. Very few of these sacred Names are explained, so the believer reads Scripture without any knowledge or understanding regarding the power of the Names that are being uttered. This state of spiritual obliviousness does not allow the believer to fully experience the presence and power of God within any given situation.
In Exodus 6:2-4 the believer is told about how the patriarchs called on God by the title “El Shaddai,” or Almighty God. Then God reveals to the believer His true name, “Yahweh.” It is from that point on that the Israelites, and the entire world, were to call out to God using His true Name. But even still, neither the title of El Shaddai nor the great Name of Yahweh are ever explained.
These names, or titles, have powers attributed to them that was understood and utilized by a vast majority of ancient people the world over. The further human beings moved away from exhibiting those qualities that were the distinguishing faculties between man and animal, these God names/titles along with their power has been forgotten.
When typically transliterated from Hebrew to English, this great Name in Scripture is given as “LORD.” The word in all capital letters signify the preeminence of this Deity. By definition the word “lord” means “master, govermor, or ruler.” Ascribing this title to Yahweh denotes His status among the ancient tribes of Israel.
Initially Yahweh was a nature Deity attributed to the element of fire. Har Chorev, or Mount Horeb, as a range of mountains in the Sinai Peninsula, was the dwelling place of Yahweh. In Exodus 3:1 it states that Moshe (Moses) came to the “mountain of God” while tending the sheep of his father-in-law. It is on this same mountain that Moshe (Moses) saw the burning bush, where he received the Ashereth ha-Davarim (Ten Commandments), and where Yahweh spoke to Moshe (Moses) out of blazing fire. “Seeing that Yahweh, our God, is a consuming fire, He is an impassioned God” Deuteronomy 4:24)
Upon realizing that “esh” (fire or energy) was not soley a devouring element, but that it also possessed creative and purifying potential, the ancient people began to identify the Sun as the only symbol in all creation with the same attributes given to Yahweh. So the isolated nature Deity of Har Chorev, or Mount Horeb, became the sovereign cosmic Deity viewed as the progenitor of all creation. In this capacity Yahweh is regarded as Abba, or Father, to us all. “But now, O Yahweh, You are our Father; we are matter and You are our Artificer, we are all the workmanship of Your hands” (Isaiah 64:7).
As the God concept continued to evolve among the ancient people, the creative and life generating principle of the Sun that caused it to become synonymous with Yahweh was beginning to be recognized as the exact same creative and life generating principle indwelling all humanity. That same esh (fire or energy) that Moshe (Moses) encountered at Mount Horeb is the same esh (fire or energy) that is responsible for the animation of all creation. Comprehending that this esh (fire or energy) is an inherent principle due to the Elohim, or Gods, making man in Their image (Genesis 1:26-28). It was also believed that we could function as co-creators with Yahweh on this material plane.
An affirmation of us manifesting our innate divinity can be read in Micah 4:5, “Though all the peoples walk each n the names of its gods, we will walk in the power of the character of Yahweh, the innate God, forever and ever.” By uttering the great Name of Yahweh, we invoke/evoke the divine power and presence of God into our life and whatever circumstances that need to be recified.
The very first place this title is mentioned in Scripture is Genesis 17:1. In this verse Yahweh appears to Avraham (Abraham) and establishes His covenant with Abraham. “I am El Shaddai. Go about as Me and be upright.” It was also El Shaddai Who blessed and gave Yaaqov (Jacob) the new name of “Israel.”
However, traditionally El Shaddai was a Canaanite/Phoenician deity whose wife was said to have been Asherah. Both were regarded as deities of prosperity and success. As a title, an “El” was someone who held immense power and authority. Those individuals and their professions varied greatly. Men and women who excelled in their feild and had some social influence were considered “Elim,” or gods and goddesses.
The prophet Joshua was considered an El. “And Joshua said to the Israelites, ‘Come closer and listen to the words of Yahweh your God. By this,’ Joshua continued, ‘you shall know that a living El is among you…’ ” (Joshua 3:9-11) Here Joshua is deemed “El Chai,” which means “living God.” El Chai as a title signifies someone who has attained a balance between judgment (or discernment) and mercy (or kindness), and can demonstrate true compassion for all creation.
As mentioned before, when the God concept of the ancient people evolved, so did the identification of El. Once the consciousness of the ancient people was raised, the wealthy and influential social elite were no longer held in high esteem due to their persistent moral transgressions. The titles “El” (god or noble one) and “Elah” (goddess or noble one) became monikers given to individuals that were able to consistently demonstrate high morality.
“Perceive how El is self-reliant; He is not contemptuous; He is undaunted in strength and mind” (Job 336:5). Since the quality of omnipotence is share by El and Yahweh, and because Yahweh is he highest expression of inherent Divinity, the title of El Shaddai (Almighty God) was respectully applied to the ancient exalted Self-Existent Being, Yahweh. The title can be chanted when we, as believers, seek to shift the balance of or influence the spiritual forces in play throughout creation.
DONOVAN DAVID CLARK