The Almighty

For then you will delight yourself in the Almighty, and shall lift up your face to God.

Job 22:26

The Hebrew word here translated ‘Almighty’ is shaddai (שׁדּי – H07706), which comes from a root word, shad (שׁדד – H7703), meaning ‘to be burly’ or ‘powerful’. It implies the ability to ‘ravage’ or ‘destroy’:

Ruth 1:[20] She said to them, “Don’t call me Naomi. Call me Mara; for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. [21] I went out full, and Yahweh has brought me home again empty; why do you call me Naomi, since Yahweh has testified against me, and the Almighty has afflicted me?”

Job 6:[4] For the arrows of the Almighty are within me. My spirit drinks up their poison. The terrors of God set themselves in array against me.

Isa 13:[6] Wail; for the day of Yahweh is at hand! It will come as destruction from the Almighty.

Yet for the people of God, it also implies God’s ability to bless, sustain, and protect them:

Gen 28:[3] May God Almighty bless you, and make you fruitful, and multiply you, that you may be a company of peoples,

Job 5:[17] “Behold, happy is the man whom God corrects. Therefore do not despise the chastening of the Almighty.

Job 37:[23] We can’t reach the Almighty. He is exalted in power. In justice and great righteousness, he will not oppress.

Psa 91:[1] He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

In the New Testament, the counterpart of shaddai is the Greek word pantokrator (παντοκράτωρ – G3841). Strong’s dictionary defines pantokrator as “the all-ruling, i.e. God (as absolute and universal sovereign):–Almighty, Omnipotent.”

2Co 6:[18] I will be to you a Father. You will be to me sons and daughters,’ says the Lord Almighty.”

Rev 1:[8] “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

Pantokrator is frequently used in the Septuagint to translate the word shaddai.

Taken together, these aspects of God’s character show us that God is described as ‘Almighty’ because he is omnipotent, or all-powerful:

God created the universe in six days and continues to sovereignly and actively uphold, control, and sustain it. [Gen 1:1-31; Gen 8:22; Exo 20:10-11; 1Sa 2:8; 2Ki 19:15; 1Ch 16:26; Neh 9:6; Job 9:5-9; Job 26:7-14; Job 28:24-27; Job 38:1-41, Job 39:1-30, Job 40:1-24, Job 41:1-34; Psa 8:3; Psa 19:1; Psa 24:1-2; Psa 33:6-9; Psa 74:16-17; Psa 89:11-12; Psa 90:2; Psa 95:4-5; Psa 102:25; Psa 104:1-32; Psa 121:2; Psa 124:8; Psa 136:5-9; Psa 146:6; Psa 147:7-9; Psa 148:3-12; Pro 3:19-20; Pro 8:23-31; Pro 30:4; Isa 40:26-28; Isa 42:5; Isa 44:24; Isa 48:13; Jer 10:12-13; Jer 27:5; Jer 31:35; Jer 32:17; Jer 51:15-16; Amo 4:13; Amo 5:8; Amo 9:6; Zec 12:1; Joh 1:1-3; Act 4:24; Act 14:15; Act 17:24-28; Rom 1:20; Eph 3:9; Rev 4:11; Rev 10:6; Rev 14:7]

Christian Confession of Faith, II.C.2

Most who come in the name of Christianity will readily agree that God orders and controls the universe; by which, they mean the stars and planets, sun and moon, and the great events of the earth. But they will not agree that God also controls the thoughts and actions of people, especially the wicked. Yet Scripture is very clear that this is true:

Deu 2:[30] But Sihon king of Heshbon would not let us pass by him; for Yahweh your God hardened his spirit, and made his heart obstinate, that he might deliver him into your hand, as at this day.

Pro 21:[1] The king’s heart is in Yahweh’s hand like the watercourses. He turns it wherever he desires.

This is the true extent of the Almighty’s omnipotence, and the true extent of his sovereignty over the universe. It extends even to the thoughts and actions of all human beings, including both the wicked and the righteous. In fact, if there were even one particle in the universe which was not under the control of God, then his promises could potentially be frustrated and made void. And because God is omnipotent and sovereign over the universe, including the very thoughts of wicked people, it shows us that he is entirely capable of fulfilling every one of his promises:

Jos 21:[45] Nothing failed of any good thing which Yahweh had spoken to the house of Israel. All came to pass.

Isa 46:[10] declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done; saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure;

If God were not sovereign even over the thoughts and actions of all people, then he would not necessarily have had the power to fulfill his promises. For example, God promised the people that Pharaoh would let them go (Exo 6:6-8); but if Pharaoh could have chosen differently, with a will free from God’s control, then God’s promise might have been frustrated (Rom 9:17). More importantly, if Pharaoh could have chosen to let the people of Israel go free before God inflicted the tenth plague on Egypt, then the Passover would not have happened.

Most importantly of all, God used specific sins and actions to bring about the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ:

Act 4:[27] “For truly, in this city against your holy servant, Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together [28] to do whatever your hand and your council foreordained to happen.

If Pilate, Herod, Judas, or anyone else connected with the death of Christ had chosen to do anything differently, then it might not have happened; or it might not have happened in the manner that God promised (Psa 22:18, Psa 34:20, Isa 53:9). And then God’s people would never have been cleansed of their sins:

Mat 26:[28] for this is my blood of the new covenant, which is poured out for many for the remission of sins.

Rom 3:[24] being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus; [25] whom God sent to be an atoning sacrifice,

2Co 5:[21] For him who knew no sin he made to be sin on our behalf; so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Gal 1:[4] who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us out of this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father

1Pe 3:[18] Because Christ also suffered for sins once, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring you to God; being put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit;

Rev 5:[9] They sang a new song, saying, “You are worthy to take the book, and to open its seals: for you were killed, and bought us for God with your blood, out of every tribe, language, people, and nation,

The salvation of the people of God depends on his Almighty omnipotence, and sovereignty. This is what it means for God to be ‘Almighty’.

Rev 21:[22] I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God, the Almighty, and the Lamb, are its temple.

See Also:

The Sovereignty of God and Human Responsibility

II. Theology Proper – The Doctrine of God

The Divine Attributes