18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high El.
Hebrew Titles Of Deity
But at this stage of our inquiry it behoves us to pause and to look into the signification of certain words brought before us in these and other passages of the sacred writings. This is the more necessary, because the names of God which occur in the Bible are not arbitrary sounds; and one of the chief imperfections of the English authorised translation, or rather version, is the slovenly manner in which all the names by which God has been pleased to make Himself known to His people, have been rendered, after the fashion of the Septuagint, by the two words, "Lord" and "God."
These words do not convey the ideas of the Spirit in its use of terms. Lord is of Saxon origin, and signifies monarch, ruler, governor, something supreme or distinguished. The word to which it answers in the Septuagint and New Testament is kyrios. Under this word Parkhurst says:
"Plutarch informs us, that the name of Cyrus, who in Isaiah 44:28; 45:1, is called koresh, did in Persic signify the Sun." "This name," then continues Parkhurst, "seems an evident corruption of the Hebrew, the sun; and as the sun is manifestly the great ruler in material nature, and the idolators of several nations accordingly worshipped Him under the title of meleck, the King, and Baal, the Ruler, Lord; so from the same word, keres, may, I think, be deduced the Greek kuro, authority, and kurios, lord; and even the word kuro, to exist; for it was a heathen tenet, that the sun was self-existent. Thus, for instance, the Orphic hymn, Eis Helion, 1.3, calls him Autophues, self-born."
But, if this be the radical idea of kyrios it fails to represent the meaning of Ail (Dr. Thomas invariably transliterates "El" as "Ail," thus spelling the word as it is pronounced. - Publishers.).
Eloahh, Elohim, Shaddai, Yahweh, for all of which it is often, or rather, most frequently, and almost generally used. The word Adon is properly enough rendered by Lord, in the singular; but not the other words, for which it should never be used. Elohim, Shaddai and Adonai, are plural names of Deity, and require terms of the same number to express them.
The common use of God in the English language, is as little justifiable as that of the word Lord. "God" in Saxon, signifies good: a meaning which cannot possibly be extracted from any of the names recited above. God is indeed good, exclusively so, as we are taught by Jesus himself while in the mortal state. In this sense, he refused to appropriate the word good, saying to one who styled himself so,
"Why callest thou me good? No one is good except one, that is God" (Matt. 19:17).
Jesus was free from personal transgression, and therefore in character good; as he did not refer to character, he could only have had reference to nature, or to God as substance. He is good in the sense of being deathless or incorruptibility itself; which, when Jesus refused the term, did not define the nature the Spirit was tabernacling in, and was encumbered with.
"In me, that is, in my flesh," says Paul, "dwells no good thing."
God, then, whether in the sense of moral, or of material goodness, while it is a term expressive of the truth, is not a translation of any of the words before us; and where used in their stead, leaves the mind in the dark concerning the things they were intended to convey.
To Melchizedec and Abram the alone "Good One" was known as Ail Elyon, "Most High Ail," which teaches by implication that there were Ailim of inferior rank, station and power. Melchizedec, King of Jerusalem, was the priest of the Highest Ail, whom he understood and proclaimed to be konai,
"Possessor of the Heavens and Earth."Phanerosis
22 And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lift up mine hand unto Yahweh, the most high El, the possessor of heaven and earth,
In Gen. 14:22, Abram is made, by transcribers, to call the "Most High Ail" by the name Yahweh; though we are expressly told in Exodus 6:3, that Abraham did not know Him by that name. He knew Ail, and he knew Shad-dai; but with any superior or divine being of the name "Yahweh," he had no acquaintance.
The name has no doubt been substituted for Adon, Lord or Ruler, which the Most High is by virtue of His being the owner or sole proprietor of the heavens and the earth. The use of the word Yahweh is evidence that Genesis was compiled at least 430 years after the events of Chapter 15.
Abram, the Hebrew, spoke the language of Moses. This is evident from the narrative, and the name applied to altars and to God by his immediate family. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, all called upon the Possessor of the Heavens and Earth, by the word Ail-Shaddai, which in Gen. 17:1, He bestowed upon Himself, saying ani-ail-Shaddai-
"walk before Me, and be thou perfect";
and in verse 3 it says, "and Elohim talked with him": and Ail told him through Elohim that He would be to him lai-lohim, "for Elohim and to his seed after him" (verse 8).
As often as this word ail passed before his mind, the idea of POWER, might, strength, would stand out in bold relief. "It always," says Gesenius,
"presented to the Hebrews the idea of strength and power."
Nebuchadnezzar is styled in Ezek. 31:11, Ail Goyim, the Mighty One of Nations; and in Isaiah 9:5, Messiah is termed Ail Givbor, the Mighty Warrior.
Shaddai is plural, and comes from the root shadad, to be strong or powerful. Shaddai signifies mighty or powerful ones. Several appeared to Abraham, and three of them at one time condescended to partake of his hospitality. Their power is tremendous when they choose to exert it upon the wicked, as in the instance of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboim, cities of the Plain; but towards "the Heirs of Salvation" they are ministering spirits, beneficient and good (Heb. 1:14; 13:1).
But, by what were these Shaddai so powerful that they could stand by cities and send them into the abyss profound? Was it by their own power, or by the power of another? By the power of another certainly; even by His power who is higher than they; and who, being Possessor of the Earth hath alone the right to lay its cities in heaps, and sweep it with terror and distress.
And because this is the fact, therefore, the Possessor of the Heavens and the Earth announced himself to Abram, Isaac and Jacob, as Ail-Shaddai, or THE STRENGTH of the POWERFUL ONES, whose might he had witnessed in the destruction of the Plain.
Phanerosis - Hebrew titles of the Deity