The Names of God – Adonai

The Name of God – Adonai – May 22, 2022 – Pastor Marvin Engle



This study of the Names of God is a serious attempt to KNOW the God of the Bible BETTER through a study of His REVELATION OF HIMSELF to man by USING many NAMES, EACH REVEALING a certain aspect of His NATURE and CHARACTER, or His DESIRED RELATIONSHIP with men, especially with those who call Him “Lord.”

When we meet a NEW NAME of God, we should ask, “What does this NAME tell me about the God I know and worship?”  EACH of His NAMES is a GREAT TREASURE to those who know Him and have a sincere desire to know Him better.  God is pleased when BELIEVERS seek to KNOW HIM BETTER – Jeremiah 9:23-2423 Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches:  24 But LET HIM THAT GLORIETH GLORY IN THIS, that he UNDERSTANDETH and KNOWETH ME, that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord.

This morning we are learning a NEW NAME of God, one that speaks of HIS PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP to those who call Him “Lord.”  The names Elohim, Jehovah, and El Elyon REVEAL to us this or that PERFECTION of His NATURE.  The NAME, Adonai, we are learning about today speaks more directly of His RELATIONSHIPS to men, and even angels.

Those who printed the Hebrew Scriptures in English have done us a great favor in telling us WHICH NAME of God appears WHERE in Scripture.  Please listen carefully. The name “El” or its plural, “Elohim” is always translated God.  So whenever you see in your English Bible the word, God”, the name is El or Elohim.  The name “Jehovah” in Hebrew always appears in English translation as all capitals, either as GOD or LORD.  The NEW NAME we are learning this morning is a plural as well.  The name is “Adonai,” the plural of “Adon,” translated Lord.

Jehovah is the most sacred name of Deity, and stands for His holiness, His hatred of sin and His judgment upon sin.  But we learned the name Jehovah is also used when God speaks of His infinite grace and provision of salvation for men who have sinned and who will believe by faith in His way of salvation through the sacrifice of His Son on the Cross of Calvary.

            The reason I mention Jehovah as this time is to remind you the Jews feared to even try to pronounce this sacred name.  When they read the Scriptures aloud, they substituted the name Adonai for Jehovah.  This is still true today when they read the Hebrew Scripture aloud.

One more special item of interest before I get to the explanation of the meaning of Adonai in relation to God; Adon is the word that is translated “Master” or “Lord” in relation to the owner of slaves in the Bible, and when it speaks of men as “Master,” it is always a translation of the singular word Adon – Genesis 24:34-35, 3734 And he said, I am Abraham’s servant.35 And the Lord hath blessed my master (ADON) greatly; and he is become great: and he hath given him flocks, and herds, and silver, and gold, and menservants, and maidservants, and camels, and asses.  37 And my master (ADON) made me swear, saying, Thou shalt not take a wife to my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, in whose land I dwell:

Genesis 18:1212 Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord (ADON) being old also?

Sarai called Abraham, Adon,”… in that era the husband owned his wife; he was Master.

JEHOVAH GOD IS ADONAI:  Genesis 15:1-8

Genesis 15:2 is the first use of the name Adonai in the Scriptures.  Kindly notice that this came right after Abram learned the new name of El ElyonGenesis 14:18-20.  It is Jehovah who speaks to Abram in 15:1.  Now Abram calls his God Adonai Jehovah – 15:2Abram is calling his God Adonai, meaning Lord and Master!

            After acknowledging Jehovah as El Elyon, Abram now acknowledges his sovereign rule and Lordship over him as his Adonai.  Abram understood the Master-bond-slave relationship, for it was the relationship he had with his servant, Eliezer.   A bond-slave was far better off than a hired servant.  His Master’s duty was to protect him and provide for him according to his needs.  Such slaves were considered members of the household.

Abram (Abraham) was the Lord and Master of his servants.  He had purchased them and was the owner of his servants, they were his bond-slaves.  The bond-slave had no “rights” of his own; he was the rightful property of his master who also had ownership of all the servant possessed.  His Master (lord) had the right to command him and his duty was to obey.  The Master had the right, because of his position, to demand instant and absolute obedience from his servants-slaves.  In this unique relationship, the servant-slave had the right to expect his Master to provide for all his needs, to feed him and his family, and to provide supervision and direction in the Master’s will for each servant day by day.

A bond-slave was owned by his Master.  He had been bought with a price on the slave market and became the property of his Master.  This is illustrated in the life of Joseph when he was sold into slavery – Genesis 39:1-3And Joseph was brought down to Egypt; and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, BOUGHT HIM of the hands of the Ishmaelites, which had brought him down thither. And the Lord (JEHOVAH) was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master (ADON) the Egyptian. And his master (ADON) saw that the Lord (JEHOVAH) was with him, and that the Lord made all that he did to prosper in his hand.

The exciting truth, when applied to New Testament believers, is that every one of us was bought in the slave-market of sin and purchased (redeemed) by the precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ – I Peter 1:18-19Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed (BOUGHT) with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:   I Corinthians 6:19-20What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20 For ye are (BOUGHT WITH A PRICE): therefore glorify God in YOUR BODY, and IN YOUR SPIRIT, which are GOD’S.

When the Apostle Paul called himself a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ, he used the Greek word, doulos, to indicate that he was claiming to be a bond-slave of the Lord Jesus Christ – Romans 1:1; Philippians 1:1, etc.   Christ was his Lord and Master; he was Christ’s servant.  All believers belong to God.  He purchased us and brought us into his family.  Born-again believers are His bond-slaves and He is our Master.  As our Adonai, it is our duty  to recognize Him as Lord and submit to Him and give Him our absolute obedience! 


When Jehovah called Moses at the burning bush to lead God’s people out of Egypt in Exodus 3:2-14, He kept speaking to Moses in chapter 4, and Moses began to offer excuses why he could not do it.  BUT he went too far in Exodus 4:10-1410 And Moses said unto the Lord, O my Lord (ADONAI), I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue. 11 And the Lord (JEHOVAH) said unto him, Who hath made man’s mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the Lord? 12 Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say.13 And he said, O my Lord (ADONAI), send, I pray thee, by the hand of him whom thou wilt send. 14 And THE ANGER OF THE LORD was kindled against Moses, and he said, Is not Aaron the Levite thy brother? I know that he can speak well. And also, behold, he cometh forth to meet thee: and when he seeth thee, he will be glad in his heart.

Stephen tells us Moses was eloquent in his youth – Acts 7:2222 And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and in deeds.  He had lost all confidence after 40 years of speaking to sheep, but the moment he called God Adonai, his argument was lost!  Adonai is the Ruler and Sovereign Master of Moses.  Adonai had every right to expect obedience from Moses.  Moses is only a servant, and Moses must obey Adonai.  It is on that basis that Moses surrenders to Adonai.  Having been commissioned by his God, Adonai, Moses could never back down and refuse to obey in the future.  This is why God was angry with Moses!  Moses was refusing to submit to Him and obey his Adonai.   

The next 40 years were full of difficulties, trials and discouragement, but always the fact that he called Jehovah, Adonai, he could do only one thing – obey!

Joshua also met Him as Adonai when he was viewing Jericho and was met by One he called Adonai – Joshua 5:13-1513 And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries? 14 And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the Lord am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my Lord (ADONAI) unto his servant?15 And the captain of the Lord‘s host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so.

His Lord and Master then gave him instructions for the taking of Jericho, and let him know that He was “Captain of the Lord’s army,” and that He was taking charge of Jericho and commissioning him to obey Adonai’s instructions.  The instructions were unusual, to say the least, but there was only one thing for His servant to do – obey instructions!

Isaiah also had an experience of seeing Adonai sitting on a throne, high and lifted up – Isaiah 6:1, 3, 8 –  In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord (ADONAI) sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the templeAnd one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord (JEHOVAH) of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. Also I heard the voice of the Lord (ADONAI), saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.  Isaiah heard the call of Adonai; his answer was “Here am I; send me.  Isaiah was obedient to his Master’s call to serve Him.  Are you?


There are many other men who acknowledged God as Adonai!  I could take you to Gideon in Judges 6:12-16; to David in 2 Samuel 7:18-29 and in many Psalms; to Jeremiah in Jeremiah 1:2-10; to Ezekiel in Ezekiel 1:1-3; 2:7-8; and Daniel in Daniel 9:3-11, 15-19.  In each of these occasions, the men acknowledged themselves as his servants and were moved to action in obeying Him. 

            The men of the world live their lives as is they were their own, having no Lord, no dependence upon Him, and no obeying of Him.  Those who have accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, have One who is their Master and One to whom they owe obedience.  Do you claim the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior.  Do you obey Him and His Word?  Luke 6:4646 And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?  Have you yet come face to face with the reality of what He said in Matthew 7:21 (NIV)– 21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but ONLY THE ONE WHO DOES THE WILL OF MY FATHER who is in heaven.

Two week ago, when we studied the name Jehovah, we saw the proof that Jesus Christ of the New Testament is Jehovah God of the Old Testament.  This fact is clearly brought out in Matthew 22:42-4642 Saying, What think ye of Christ (MESSIAH)? whose son is he? They say unto him, The son of David. 43 He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying, 44 The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool? 45 If David then call him Lord (ADONAI), how is he his son? 46 And no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions.

Jesus was quoting Psalm 110:1The Lord (JEHOVAH) said unto my Lord (ADONAI), Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.

Jesus Christ is God.  He is One with the Father – John 10:30-31, 3330 I and my Father are one. 31 Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. 33 The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and BECAUSE that THOU, being a man, MAKEST THYSELF GOD.

If Jesus Christ is God, He is Adonai, our Lord and Master.  He must be honored and obeyed as GodPhilippians 2:10-11 –  10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

He is Supreme in authority!  He is absolute Master and Ruler of our lives.  One must confess Him as Lord to be saved – Romans 10:9, 13 (NIV) – If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

13 for,“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

If He is not Lord of your life, receiving your total obedience to His Word and seeking His will, Are you really saved?  Can a person deny His Lordship over his life and still go to Heaven?

Lordship means His total possession of me and my total submission to Him as my MasterLord/Adonai is more than a word; it is a relationshipIs He your Lord?  Master?