El-elyon - Possessor of Heaven and Earth, Part II
Dr. Joe Temple

Introduction

Chapter 14 of the book of Genesis is a portion of the Word of God which we looked at in our last lesson. We would like to continue that study at this time, so please notice Genesis, chapter 14, the paragraph beginning with verse 17:

Genesis 14

17And the king of Sodom went out to meet him after his return from the slaughter of Chedorlaomer, and of the kings that were with him, at the valley of Shaveh, which is the king's dale.
18And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God.
19And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth:
20And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.
21And the king of Sodom said unto Abram, Give me the persons, and take the goods to thyself.
22And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lift up mine hand unto the LORD, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth,
23That I will not take from a thread even to a shoelatchet, and that I will not take any thing that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich:
24Save only that which the young men have eaten, and the portion of the men which went with me, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their portion.

We do not want to take the time today to dwell on this incident itself. Suffice it to say that Abraham's nephew, Lot, was taken captive by the kings of the plain and Abram armed the servants of his household and rescued Lot from the kings of the plain. When he was returning from the battle, he was met by Melchisedek, who was the priest of the most high God, and by the king of Sodom, who was willing to give Abram a great deal of material goods for his efforts in the battle. Abram, of course, refused to accept any of those material goods because he said he didn't want anyone to say that they had made Abram rich. “I want God to have all the glory in my life.”

The reason that we are looking at this passage of Scripture is that we have been thinking with you for quite some time about what we have referred to as the Compound Names of God . We have told you that there are three basic names of God in the Bible. There is the name Jehovah . Sometimes you see that name Jehovah ; sometimes you see it LORD , with every letter capitalized. Then you see the word Lord with only the first letter capitalized, and that is Adonai . Then, of course, you see the word God very often in the Scripture which is the translation of the word El , singular, or Elohim , which is the plural. Whenever the word Elohim is used, it is a reference to the Holy Trinity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

Then we told you there are compound names of God, when one of those names is taken and added to another Hebrew word which describes a particular characteristic of God. For example, there are seven compound names of Jehovah. We won't attempt to review them today; but by way of illustration, there are the names Jehovah-Jireh , Jehovah-Tsidkenu , Jehovah-Raaw , Jehovah-Shalom , etc., all of them indicating a definite characteristic of God. For example, Jehovah-Tsidkenu is the LORD our righteousness .

What is true of Jehovah is also true of El or Elohim . The passage of Scripture at which we have looked is a presentation of the compound name Elohim . You will notice in verse 19 when Melchisedek met Abram, he blessed him and said, “Blessed be Abram of the Most High God, possessor of Heaven and earth.” Notice the phrase, Most High God . The word God is the translation of the word El in Hebrew, and the words Most High are the translation of the word Elyon in Hebrew. So the compound name of God at which we are looking at the moment is El-Elyon . This is a name of God which is presented in the Bible for the first time here in Genesis, chapter 14. Then you will notice down in verse 19 he said:

Genesis 14

19And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth:

Then notice down in verse 20:

Genesis 14

20And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.

Down in verse 22, when Abram was acknowledging his loyalty to God and not to man, Abram said to the king of Sodom:

Genesis 14

22…I have lift up mine hand unto the LORD [ El-Elyon ], the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth,

I have suggested to you that each one of these compound names presents to us a certain characteristic of God, and it is that characteristic that we wish to notice today reminding you today that we believe that the Bible is verbally inspired. We believe that the words in the original text were chosen, and we believe that God takes the name of God that particularly deals with the situation at hand and uses it. For example, we believe that the Holy Spirit would not have thought to use the name Jehovah-Tsidkenu here. It would not have fit into the picture. He used the name El-Elyon because it describes the picture. What characteristic is presented to us here? The possessor of Heaven and earth. This name is used whenever God wants to remind us that He is soveriegn, when God wants to remind us that He is in full control of the entire situation, that He is in control of things in Heaven and that He is in control of things on the earth.

Satan Cast Out of Heaven

I would like for you to turn with me now to the book of Isaiah, chapter 14, for one illustration of God as the possessor of Heaven. Notice verse 12:

Isaiah 14

12How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!
13For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:
14I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.

We will stop our reading there, noticing in verse 13 the word God , which is the translation of the Hebrew word El . Down in verse 14, the last two words in the verse are Most High , which are the translation of the two words Elyon . There we have our name again—El-Elyon .

How is God presented to us here as possessor of the Heaven? This passage of Scripture describes that event that occurred in prehistoric times when the devil, the greatest angel that was ever created, decided that he didn't want God to rule in the Heavens any more, that he was going to take the place of God; and he ascended up into the sides of the Heavens, as the Scripture says, and attempted to get on God's throne. When he did, because God is the possessor of the Heaven—God is in full control of the situations in Heaven—God cast the Devil down into the earth.

The New Testament counterpart of this characteristic of God is found in the book of Colossians and in the first chapter of the book of Hebrews, where we are reminded that everything in the Heavens is held together by the word of the power of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ is the possessor of the Heavens in the New Testament, and everything in the New Testament is held together by the word of His power. You don't need to be afraid, for example, of this earth suddenly going out of orbit and crashing into some other planet, regardless of what the scientists may say, because it is held together by the word of the power of the Lord Jesus Christ.

National Boundaries Set By God

Please turn to the book of Deuteronomy. We are more interested, as far as our personal lives are concerned, about what the Bible has to say about God's being the possessor of the earth than we are in God's being the possessor of the Heavens because we are related more to the earth at the moment than we are to the Heavens. So turn to chapter 32 of the book of Deuteronomy, verse 1:

Deuteronomy 32

1Give ear, O ye heavens, and I will speak; and hear, O earth, the words of my mouth.
2My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass:
3Because I will publish the name of the LORD: ascribe ye greatness unto our God.
4He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.
5They have corrupted themselves, their spot is not the spot of his children: they are a perverse and crooked generation.
6Do ye thus requite the LORD, O foolish people and unwise? is not he thy father that hath bought thee? hath he not made thee, and established thee?
7Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations: ask thy father, and he will shew thee; thy elders, and they will tell thee.
8When the Most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel.
9For the LORD's portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance.

Notice the truth that is presented in verse 8. When the Most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when He separated the sons of Adam, He set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel. This verse of Scripture reminds us that God divided the world into nations, and God ordered or ordained the boundaries of the nations of the world. He ordered or ordained the boundaries of the nations of the world according to the nation of Israel, which means that He set the nations of Israel in the very center of the earth. Geographically, that is so. Then He put the other nations of the world as the spokes are related to the hub of a wheel. He put the other nations of the world in their proper places related to the nation of Israel. If we were to turn to chapter 17 of the book of Acts today, we would discover that He did that for one specific reason. He wanted all the world to know Him. He wanted all the world to come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, and He appointed the nations in their proper places so that might be.

I remind you that God did this because He is El-Elyon , because He is the Most High, because He has a right to order the events of the earth as it pleases Him, and He need not make explanation to any individual about that. I would like to suggest to you today that all of the trouble that we have in this present day, racially speaking, all of the troubles that we have among the nations of the world is because man has ignored the way God ordered things and because man ignored the plan that God originally had. We are reaping today what our forefathers have sown, and I am frank to say to you that personally I do not believe that it would behoove any child of God to get in a heat over what is happening. I think that all we can do is do what we can in the light of the circumstances because the seed has been sown and the harvest is going to be reaped in spite of anything we do.

The Watchers of Heaven

Turn, please, to the book of Daniel, chapter 4, as we see a more personal illustration of how God is the possessor of the earth as well as the Heavens. Here is the story presented of the king who thought that he could leave God completely out of his life if he would, and God ordained otherwise because He is El-Elyon . Nebuchadnezzar decided he could run his own life and his own nation as he pleased, and he did for a while; but there was a council meeting in Heaven of heavenly beings called the watchers . The watchers examined very carefully what Nebuchadnezzar had done, and they voted that he was going to come to an end, that he had gone along as far as he was going to go, that it must be brought to an end. We read in verse 17:

Daniel 4

17This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men.

Notice in that verse of Scripture the thing that had happened to Nebuchadnezzar when he lost his mind and roamed for seven years as a wild beast in the open fields did not happen by accident. It happened because God is the possessor of the Heaven and the earth. It happened because God said, “I want all men to know that I am in control and that I set up over the kingdoms of the world whom I will, and sometimes I choose the very basest of men to set up over the kingdoms of the world.” You may have been distressed in relation to the condition of the world today. For example, I don't know how many times I have heard some people say, “I cannot see how a just God could let a man like Kruschev reign over a people and a country, nations such as are under the Iron Curtain.” When Hitler was in his prime, people said, “How could a just God let a man like Hitler rule and reign?” The answer is that God is the possessor of the earth and He sets up over the kingdoms whom He will, and when they reach the end of their rope, when they go as far as He intends for them to go, they come to an end.

I did not worry about Kruschev, and I did not worry about when his regime would come to an end. I will tell you this much: When he stepped down, he didn't step down of his own accord. It was God who deposed him, and Kruschev did not step down until God was ready for him to step down in spite of all the efforts, diplomatic and otherwise, that the nations of the world may have put forth. So it is with Castro in Cuba and anyone else we might name.

The Power of Prayer

Of course, there is no point in our knowing these spiritual things in the Word of God unless we are able to make practical application of these truths to our lives. So you might be saying, “Well, what are we going to do about it? What can we do about it?” I suggest to you that aside from taking a stand on the matter of your own convictions, which you always ought to do even it if costs you your life, you have a tremendous power in your hands and that is the power of prayer, for you have an inside track with the Individual Who is in control of Castro. You have an inside track with Him Who is in control of all the nations of the world. If you and I would take more advantage of that inside track, only time can reveal what could happen. I wonder sometimes how much responsible we are for the long tenure of office of these people about whom we are concerned. Perhaps if we prayed as we should, these people would be long gone.

There is prayer and then there is prayer, and the Lord Jesus Christ reminded His disciples, who were nonplused because certain demons could not be cast out of certain individuals, that some things happen only by fasting and by prayer. Regardless of what you may feel about fasting and regardless of how much of it should be carried on today, I remind you that we all must agree from that story that there are different kinds of praying that bring different kinds of results. Sometimes we have to get more in earnest than we do at other times.

Notice the third chapter of the book of Daniel, where you see an even more personal application of this name about which we are thinking. In verse 26, you will notice these words:

Daniel 3

26Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, came forth of the midst of the fire.

Notice the phrase that we are looking at there, the Most High God , the translation of the Hebrew word El-Elyon , another name of God. You are familiar with the story of the three Hebrew children in the fiery furnace. They refused to bow down to a heathen god, and they were cast into the fiery furnace, heated seven times hotter than it had ever been heated before, so that it killed the man that came close to it, but these three men were not harmed by the fire. Why? Because they were the servants of the Most High God. What did that have to do with it? Well, remember, the Most High God is the possessor of the earth. He is in control of the earth and He is in control of the fire of the earth, and if the Most High God says to the fire, “Don't come near this child of Mine,” the fire can't do it no matter how hot it may be, no matter how strong it may be. I would like to suggest that we learn to depend more on the Most High God.

Depending On the Most High

Turn with me to Psalm 56, because I want you to see how you can claim this characteristic of God in your own life. There is no use in knowing about it if you are not able to apply it to your life. You may think about Nebechadnezzar's being an unusual character, and so what happened to him couldn't happen to you. You may think about the three Hebrew children being different from you, and what happened to them couldn't happen to you, but you will all agree that David was a very ordinary and a very human man, and he learned to depend upon El-Elyon ; he learned to depend upon the Most High God. He said in Psalm 56:

Psalm 56

1Be merciful unto me, O God: for man would swallow me up; he fighting daily oppresseth me.
2Mine enemies would daily swallow me up: for they be many that fight against me, O thou most High.
3What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.
4In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.

Do you see what David said? He said, “Yes, I am afraid. I am scared to death. I am not going to lie about it.” Of course, some folk, you know, go around not acting scared when they are; but he said, “I am; I am scared to death, but I just want you to know that when I am scared, I am going to put my faith in El-Elyon . He is the possessor of the earth. He is in control of things, and even though I may tremble in my boots, I am going to hold my hand in His, and I am going to trust Him to work things out.”

Conclusion

This old world is in a sad, sad shape. You don't need me to tell you that. No one knows what the future holds. But there is one thing that you can be exactly sure of, and that is that El-Elyon is in control of things, and if you will look to Him, the possessor of the earth, God will see you through.

Prayer

Thank you, Father, for enabling us to think of Thy Word this hour. We pray that Thou will bless it to our hearts. We ask this in Jesus' name. Amen.


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