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Mysteries of the Hebrew Names of God Explained

Selichot (Jewish penitential prays) in the western wall

“O magnify the LORD with me, And let us exalt His name together.”  (Psalm 34:3)

Previously, we examined the following names of God:

In this Bibles For Israel ministry teaching, you’ll be delighted by the depth of meaning and richness in the next names we will explore:

  • Adonai Rophekha: The Lord Your Healer
  • Adonai Shammah: The Lord is There
  • Adonai Tzidkeinu: The Lord Our Righteousness

But first, let’s understand the significance of Hebraic names by looking at the very first name given to man, Adam.

Dung-gate-Jerusalem

The Dung Gate is southwest of the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem

Within a Hebraic context, names are not given randomly; rather, they are chosen purposefully to demonstrate something about the person’s character, calling or destiny.

God Himself seemed to set this trend when He named the first man Adam (אדם).

In fact, this is also the name He gave for all of humankind!

“Then the LORD God formed man [adam] from the dust of the ground [adama], and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.”  (Genesis 2:7)

This name, Adam (אדם), is directly related to the Hebrew word adama (אדמה), which means ground, earth, or even dirt/soil.

This name indicates something about the nature of Adam and all humankind, as well as his relationship with the earth itself.

“God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.  Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.’”  (Genesis 1:28)

“The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.”  (Genesis 2:15)

Saint Aignan-Chartres

A stained glass by Charles Lorin depicting Adam and Eve being banished from the Garden of Eden (Gan Eden).

Since Adam was created from adama, the dust of the earth, his name reflects his physical origin, earthly nature and destiny, both in life and death.

Because Adam sinned, death was introduced to the world and because of that, the body returns to the dust.

“By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.”  (Genesis 3:19)

The name Adam is also related to the Hebrew word adom, which means red.  This perhaps symbolizes the life-giving blood flowing through mankind.

The Book of Leviticus in the Torah accurately identifies that this precious red substance gives the body life, and also states that it makes atonement on the altar for sin (Leviticus 17:11).

Even though God created mankind and breathed into Adam’s body the breath that made us living beings, few people know anything about the Creator.

Rather than leaving mankind to speculate about Who He is and What He is like, one key way in which He has chosen to reveal Himself and His will to us is through His Names.

Jerusalem street-walled Old City-Jerusalem

A modern street in Jerusalem adjacent to the walled Old City of Jerusalem

The Lord Your Healer: Adonai Rophekha (יהוה רֹפְאֶֽךָ)

“If you listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in His eyes, if you pay attention to His commands and keep all His decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the LORD [YHVH], your healer [Rophekha].”  (Exodus 15:26)

The Hebrew word rophekha is derived from rapha, a verb that means to restore, heal or make healthy.  Here in Israel, we call a medical doctor a rophe (or ropha in the feminine gender) in Hebrew.

“Bless the Lord O my soul and forget not all His benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals [rapha] all your diseases.”  (Psalm 103:2–3)

This name first appears during the Israelite’s exodus from Egypt at the waters of Mara (bitter waters).  One of the primary healings we need is for deliverance from unforgiveness and bitterness.

Nevertheless, we understand from Exodus 15:26 that healing comes with a condition: complete obedience.

Bat Mitzvah in Jerusalem Reading Torah Scroll

A Jewish girl has her Bat Mitzvah in Jerusalem near the Western (Wailing) Wall.

Of course, we know that in our fallen humanity, none of us can claim this perfection, since we are in desperate need of spiritual healing.

God sent the cure in His Son, Yeshua, who gave Himself as our personal sin offering.

Messianic Prophecy of Isaiah 53:

“But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed [rapha].”  (Isaiah 53:5)

His life was characterized by powerful miracles of healing.  Yeshua healed lepers, epileptics, and paralytics.  He even raised the dead to a new life.

His healing power is still available to us today through faith.

“You know of Yeshua of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with Ruach HaKodesh (the Holy Spirit) and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by Satan, for God was with Him.”  (Acts 10:38)

Orthodox Jewish man-Books-Jerusalem

An Orthodox Jewish man surveys a selection of
books in Jerusalem.

The Lord is There: Adonai Shammah (שמה יהוה)

“The distance all around will be 18,000 cubits.  And the name of the city from that time on will be: THE LORD IS THERE.”  (Ezekiel 48:35)

The Hebrew word shammah is derived from the word sham, which simply means there.

For instance, Moses apparently named his son Gersham (גֵּרְשֹׁם) because he was a stranger (ger/ גֵּר) there (sham/ שֹׁם) in Egypt (Exodus 2:22).

This comforting name of God speaks of His faithfulness.

The name The Lord Is There (Adonai Shammah) occurs only once in the Tanakh (Hebrew Scriptures) in the prophetic book of Ezekiel.

Although it specifically refers to Jerusalem, it is a name of God.  This is the new name that Jerusalem will be called when Yeshua, the son of David, returns to reign in Jerusalem and God’s Presence permanently resides there.

In other words, Jerusalem will be so changed by God dwelling in Jerusalem that she will receive this name linking her to God Himself!

Jerusalem-Walls

Since ancient times, the city of Jerusalem has been surrounded by walls.

Other prophetic names for Jerusalem at that time will be “The Throne of the Lord” and “The Lord Is our Righteousness” (Adonai Tzidkeinu) (see Jeremiah 3:17, 33:16).

We can receive assurance from this name that God has not and will not abandon Jerusalem.

We can also understand that God is There for us in a real and personal way.

“And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Now the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them.  They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God.’”  (Revelation 21:3)

Our lives can be so permeated by His Presence that we can receive this new name that reflects our changed character and relationship to Yeshua (Jesus) and His Holy City, Jerusalem.

“Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God.  Never again will he leave it.  I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on him my new name.”  (Revelation 3:12)

Orthodox-prayer-Wall

An Orthodox Jewish man reads a siddur (Jewish prayer book) at Jerusalem’s Western (Wailing) Wall

The Lord Our Righteousness: Adonai Tzidkeinu (יְהוָה צִדְקֵנוּ)

The days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will raise up to David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land.  In His days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety.  This is the name by which He will be called: The LORD Our Righteousness [YHVH Tzidkeinu].”  (Jeremiah 23:5–6)

The name Adonai Tzidkeinu (The Lord our Righteousness) appears twice in the Tanakh, both times in Jeremiah (23:5–6; 33:16).

The word tzidkeinu comes from the root צדק (tz-d-k) meaning justice or righteousness.  The Hebrew words tzadik (righteous one) and tzedakah (charity, literally righteousness) share the same root.

While righteousness may not be popular in today’s modern society, this powerful name of God conveys His incredible mercy to the lost world in which we live.

God first revealed Himself as our righteousness in the midst of a people being judged for their sins.

While the Israelites were being sent into exile for their idolatry and unfaithfulness, He promised that one called YHVH Tzidkeinu would arise one day from the line of David (Jeremiah 23:5–6).

Who else could this be, other than the Messiah?

Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus, son of David, The Messiah) fulfilled this Messianic prophecy about 600 years later.

Yeshua—who was perfectly blameless, sinless, guiltless, holy, and innocent—took all of our sins upon Himself in order that we could become the righteousness of God in Him.

“He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”  (2 Corinthians 5:21)

"God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering, my son."  (Genesis 22:8)

“God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” (Genesis 22:8)

Not one of us can claim to be completely righteous and without sin (1 John 1:8); however, when we put our faith in Yeshua and follow Him, we become righteous in God’s eyes.

When Yeshua returns as King Messiah to sit on His throne in Jerusalem, this end-time prophecy will be fulfilled.

As we saw in the name Adonai Shammah (The Lord is There), Jerusalem will be transformed by His coming and the Holy City will reflect the nature of God to such a degree that a name given to the Messiah will also be given to the Holy City Jerusalem—The Lord our Righteousness.

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