Names of God Series #2: El Elyon, the Most High God


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Last week we studied the most divine name of God, YHWH or Yahweh, which is a name that focuses on God’s description of Himself to Moses at the Burning Bush (Exodus 3:14). We also discussed the name of God Elohiym, which is the plural of El, the basic name of God. The Triune Name of God Elohiym is found in the very first verse of the Book of Genesis:

Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God (Elohiym) created the Heaven and the earth.

This makes Elohiym one of the earliest names of God in Scripture. The first part of Elohiym – El – is the singular form of the name of God. Many scholars believe that El means “The Powerful or Strong One”. When the Father of faith Abram was 99 years old and still childless the Lord appeared to him:

Genesis 17:1-2 And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD (YaHWeH) appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; (Shadday El) walk before me, and be thou perfect. 2 And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly.

In Genesis 17:1 God pairs El with Shadday which means “the God Who is mighty to provide”. We will eventually study El Shadday – though not tonight. In the Bible the name of God El is often paired with other terms to describe our God. Let’s look at El Elyon.

In the Old Testament El Elyon occurs 28 times – 19 times in Psalms. Elyon (Biblical Hebrew עליון) means The Supreme, the Highest”. There is nothing greater than our God.

El Elyon (God Most High)
[Pronounced Ell Elly-Own]

Genesis 14:1-3 And it came to pass in the days of Amraphel king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of nations; 2 That these made war with Bera king of Sodom, and with Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, and Shemeber king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela, which is Zoar. 3 All these were joined together in the vale of Siddim, which is the salt sea.

The Kings of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim, and Bela revolted against the forces of a confederation of four other kings in the Valley of Siddim where the Dead Sea is. For twelve years the five kings served the larger four kingdom confederacy. Finally the five kings decided to break free. The problem is, they were not strong enough. We read:

Genesis 14:10-12 And the vale of Siddim was full of slime pits; and the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, and fell there; and they that remained fled to the mountain. 11 And they took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their victuals, and went their way. 12 And they took Lot, Abram’s brother’s son, who dwelt in Sodom, and his goods, and departed.

The reason that the Bible records this series of battles and defeats is to show us that our God is the Most High God.

Last week we talked about Abram (whom we call Abraham) and his nephew Lot. Lot was a believer in God. Yet at some point in his walk with God Lot stopped trusting the Most High God. Lot became idolatrous. Lot’s idolatry is seen in his behavior. In the previous chapter we read:

Genesis 13:7-11 And there was a strife between the herdsmen of Abram’s cattle and the herdsmen of Lot’s cattle: and the Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelled then in the land. 8 And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdsmen and thy herdsmen; for we be brethren. 9 Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left. 10 And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar. 11 Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other.

Idolatry is the worst of all sins. When El – our Mighty God – gave us Ten Commandments, the first two of the commandments were against idolatry.

Exodus 20:2-6 I am the LORD (YaHWeH) thy God (Elohiym), which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. 3 Thou shalt have no other gods (Elohiym) before me. 4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: 5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD (YaHWeH) thy God (Elohiym) am a jealous God (El), visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; 6 And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

Idolatry creeps in, and can creep into even the Christian heart. The Bible calls Lot “righteous Lot” (2 Peter 2:7). Lot was saved by faith in God. He trusted himself to the God of Scripture just as Abram (Abraham) did. Both Lot and Abraham were righteous because of their faith in the Gospel. Yet idolatry crept in.

Lot looked up he did not look up to God (El) nor to the Triune God (Elohiym), but looked up at his own riches.

Abraham was willing to trust God in Lot’s decision, and Lot followed the way of greed, which is a form of idolatry. We as believers in Christ are to heed the Scripture:

1 John 5:19-21 And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness. 20 And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life. 21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.

Colossians 3:3-5 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. 5 {Put to death} therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:

Lot put himself in a bad spot because of idolatry. Settling in Sodom and Gomorrah, Lot made himself a target. This is why we are told:

Genesis 14:12 And they took Lot, Abram’s brother’s son, who dwelt in Sodom, and his goods, and departed.

Lot lost everything because of idolatry. He lost his freedom, lost his goods, lost his land. When we chase after idols we lose the blessings of God. Our God is The God Most High, El Elyon. He is worthy of worship.

Deuteronomy 32:8 … the most High (El Elyon) divided to the nations their inheritance

The devil and his followers try to take God’s place. They say:

Isaiah 14:14 … I will be like the most High (El Elyon)….

Idolatry Destroys. Follow El Elyon To Victory

Lot’s idolatry got him in trouble. But Abram loved El Elyon. The Bible tells us:

Genesis 14:13-15 And there came one that had escaped, and told Abram the Hebrew; for he dwelt in the plain of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol, and brother of Aner: and these were confederate with Abram. 14 And when Abram heard that his brother {fellow countryman} was taken captive, he armed his trained servants, born in his own house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued them unto Dan. 15 And he divided himself against them, he and his servants, by night, and smote them, and pursued them unto Hobah, which is on the left hand of Damascus.

This is a beautiful picture of faith.

Four mighty nations had defeated five other nations. In this terrific battle the five nations fell, and Lot with his household was taken captive. The Bible tells us that faith is to believe that God is El Elyon, the Most High God, regardless as to what is going on around us. The devils try to take the place of the Most High God. The backslidden Christian follows idols, which are an abomination to the Most High God. But the faithful believer – like Abram – looks upward.

If Abram is following the Most High God – El Elyon, the One Who establishes the nations – then the four nations he goes to battle with are going to fall. God is in control. He is the El Elyon – The Most High God.

As Abram returns from the battle – 318 trained commandos against four nations armies – he brought back all of the goods along with Lot, his goods, the women and the people besides (see verse 16). The five kings come to meet with Abram – five royal figures that Abram ignores. But then a mysterious king previously not mentioned steps in. We read:

Genesis 14:18-20 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. 19 And {Melchizedek} blessed {Abram}, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God {El Elyon}, possessor of heaven and earth: 20 And blessed be the most high God {El Elyon}, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And {Abram} gave {Melchizedek} tithes of all.

Who is this Melchizedek, King of Salem. The name Melchizedek means “King Of Righteousness”. The Book of Hebrews discusses him in:

Hebrews 7:1-3 For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him; 2 To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace; 3 Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually.

Gary Staats in his book A Christological Commentary on Hebrews (2012), p. 71: wrote “[The writer of Hebrews] is identifying Melchizedek as a king of righteousness and a king of peace. He thus becomes a beautiful type of Jesus Christ who is also the final King of righteousness and the final King of peace.”

Many believe that Melchizedek, King of Salem is an Old Testament picture of Jesus Christ. When Melchizedek came to Abraham He is described as the priest of the most high God (El Elyon). In the New Testament Jesus our Lord declared to the Pharisees:

John 8:56 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.

I believe that this moment in time when Melchizedek met Abraham (Abram) is when the father of faith saw Jesus. Others may disagree with me, and you are free to do so. But I believe that in Melchizedek, Abram met Jesus. Abram’s response was to give Melchizedek tithes of all that he had. By honoring Melchizedek, Abram was honoring El Elyon, the Most High God. When the five kings tried to get Abram to compromise with them, that wonderful old man said:

Genesis 14:22-23 And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lift up mine hand unto the LORD, the most high God {El Elyon}, the possessor of heaven and earth, 23 That I will not take from a thread even to a shoe latchet, and that I will not take any thing that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich:

Abram was not tempted to idolatry in the area of riches. So many people in America today are tempted with idolatry, especially worship of money. Our God – El Elyon – is the sole Possessor of Heaven and Earth. He owns all things. He is the Most High God. He owns our lives. He owns our stuff.

Someone has asked me, “Preacher, do we have to tithe a portion of our goods to God? Wasn’t the tithe a part of the Law? Wasn’t the Law fulfilled in Christ?” Beloved, Abram gave tithes of all that he had. Abram – or as we call him Abraham – is the Father of our faith. Abraham tithed many years before the Law was given through Moses. The tithe was incorporated into the Law, just as was the commands not to murder, commit adultery, or to steal. But the tithe was pre-Law of Moses. If your God is money – and many people worship the God of money – then you are like Lot. You are NOT following El Elyon, the Most High God. If you have been given Grace, if you are unconditionally saved by faith in Christ, then you owe everything to El Elyon. As the Psalmist said:

Psalm 57:1-3 … Be merciful unto me, O God {Elohiym}, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast. 2 I will cry unto God {Elohiym} most high; unto God {El Elyon} that performeth all things for me. 3 He shall send from heaven, and save me from the reproach of him that would swallow me up. Selah. God {El} shall send forth his mercy and his truth.

Jesus warned us that:

Matthew 6:24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon {money}.

We who believe in Christ do not tithe of all our goods because the Law says so. We tithe because God is El Elyon, the Most High God in our lives. Money is not our God. Stuff is not our God. That is the dangerous path that Lot walked, and suffered for following. No Beloved, we who are His by the Blood of Christ do not worship idols. We trust God. He is our most High God. We will follow Him, trusting Him and Him alone, until the day He takes us home!

A man once went to his pastor and said “How can you say that God is the owner of everything. After all, I worked for everything I have!” The pastor replied, “Ask me that question again in a hundred years”. Think about it. God owns it all. God will get it all. God asks that we not make idols. That we give Him as El Elyon:

one heart
one day out of seven
one tenth out of a hundred

God deserves more than we give Him. Let us give Him our all – for He is, indeed, the El Elyon – the God Most High! May Jesus Christ touch your hearts to surrender to Him this very day. Amen!

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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