The Holy Bible contains what is typically referred to as theophoros or theophoric names. The term comes from the Greek word θεόφορος, (theophoros) and literally means “bearing or carrying a god.” This word refers to a person whose name contains a reference to the deity that the individual worships, invokes or identifies with. Theophoric personal names, containing the name of a particular god whom the individual entrusted himself/herself to, were very common in the Ancient Near East and Mesopotamia.
Two interesting theophoric names found in the Hebrew Bible are Aviyah (Abijah) and Achiyah (Ahijah):
“At this time, Aviyah the son of Yarov‘am fell ill. Yarov‘am said to his wife, ‘Please come, and disguise yourself, so that you won’t be recognized as Yarov‘am’s wife, and go to Shiloh. Achiyah the prophet is there, the one who said that I would be king over these people. Take with you ten loaves of bread, some cakes and a jug of honey; and go to him. He will tell you what will happen to the boy.’ Yarov‘am’s wife did this; she set out, went to Shiloh and arrived at the house of Achiyah. Now Achiyah could not see, because his eyes were dim with age. Adonai had told Achiyah, ‘Yarov‘am’s wife is on her way to you to ask about her son, who is ill. You are to tell her thus and thus; moreover, when she comes, she will be pretending she is another woman.’ When Achiyah heard the sound of her feet as she came in the door, he said, ‘Enter, wife of Yarov‘am! Why pretend you are someone else? I’ve been given bad news for you.’… All Isra’el buried him and mourned him, in keeping with the word of Adonai spoken through his servant Achiyah the prophet.” 1 Kings 14:1-6, 18 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)
Here is another example where the name Achiyah appears:
“Once, during this period, when Yarov‘am had gone out of Yerushalayim, the prophet Achiyah from Shiloh spotted him traveling. Achiyah was wearing a new cloak, and the two of them were alone in open country. Achiyah took hold of his new cloak that he was wearing and tore it into twelve pieces.” 1 Kings 11:29-30 CJB
The name Achiyah can also be found in the following verses:1 Kings 12:15; 15:27, 29, 33; 21:22; 2 Kings 9:9; 1 Chronicles 2:22; 11:36; 26:20; 2 Chronicles 9:29; 10:15; Nehemiah 10:26.
The name Aviyah means “Yah (Jehovah) is my Father,” just as the following lexical source affirms:
Abiyyah: “Yah is my father,” an Israelite name
Original Word: אֲבִיָּה
Part of Speech: Proper Name Masculine
Phonetic Spelling: (ab-ee-yaw’)
Definition: “Yah is my father”, an Israelite name
NAS Exhaustive Concordance
אֲבִיָּ֫הוּ proper name, masculine & feminine (Yah(u) is (my) father) — so 2 Chronicles 13:20,21 = אֲבִיָּם 1 Kings 14:31; 1 Kings 15:1,7 (twice in verse); 1 Kings 15:8 (ᵐ5 Ἀβιου, Ἀβια); = אֲבִי 2 Kings 18:2 (ᵐ5 Ἀβου, Ἀβουθ); = אֲבִיָּה 1 Samuel 8:2 22t. —
1 king of Judah, son & successor of Rehoboam 1 Kings 14:31; 1 Kings 15:1,7 (twice in verse); 1 Kings 15:8; 1 Chronicles 3:10; 2Chronicles 11:20,22; 12:16; 13:1,2,3,4,15,17,19,20,21,22; 2 Chronicles 13:23.
3 son of Jerob. I 1 Kings 14:1.
4 son of Becher, a Benjamite 1 Chronicles 7:8.
5 head of a priestly house 1 Chronicles 24:10.
7 wife of Hezron 1 Chronicles 2:24.
8 mother of Hezekiah 2 Kings 18:2; 2Chronicles 29:1. (Biblehub.com)
The astonishing part isn’t that an Israelite would refer to Jehovah as his Father, since the Hebrew Bible clearly attests that God is a Father to his covenant community:
“Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the LORD: “Israel is My son, My firstborn. So I say to you, let My son go that he may serve Me. But if you refuse to let him go, indeed I will kill your son, your firstborn.”’” Exodus 4:22-23
“You are the children of the LORD your God; you shall not cut yourselves nor shave the front of your head for the dead.” Deuteronomy 14:1
“Doubtless You are our Father, Though Abraham was ignorant of us, And Israel does not acknowledge us. You, O LORD, are our Father; Our Redeemer from Everlasting is Your name.” Isaiah 63:16
“But now, O LORD, You are our Father; We are the clay, and You our potter; And all we are the work of Your hand.” Isaiah 64:8
“Yet the number of the children of Israel Shall be as the sand of the sea, Which cannot be measured or numbered. And it shall come to pass In the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not My people,’ There it shall be said to them, ‘You are sons of the living God.’” Hosea 1:10
“When Israel was a child, I loved him, And out of Egypt I called My son.” Hosea 11:1
“Have we not all one Father? Has not one God created us? Why do we deal treacherously with one another By profaning the covenant of the fathers?” Malachi 2:10
Rather, it is the meaning of the name Achiyah which is, quite frankly, astounding since it literally means “brother of Yah”!
Achiyyah: “brother of Yah,” an Israelite name
Original Word: אֲחִיָּה
Part of Speech: Proper Name Masculine
Phonetic Spelling: (akh-ee-yaw)
Definition: “brother of Yah”, an Israelite name
NAS Exhaustive Concordance
אֲחִיָּ֫הוּ, אֲחִיָּה (always, except where other form noted), אֲחִי
proper name, masculine (brother of Yah(u), compare Phoenician חמלך brother of Milk, & especially אחתמלך sister of Milk, where אחת must be construct since מלך is a male deity; compare Carthaginian חתמלקרת Eut213).
1 a priest 1 Samuel 14:3,18.
2 Scribe 1 Kings 4:3.
5 grandson of Hezron 1 Chronicles 2:25, or perhaps proper name, feminine, mother of preceding four, compare Be.
7 one of David’s heroes 1 Chronicles 11:36.
8 a Levite, David’s time 1 Chronicles 26:20 .
9 a chief man under Nehem. Nehemiah 10:27.
10 a Gadite 1 Chronicles 5:15 (אֲחִי).
11 a man of Asher 1 Chronicles 7:34 (id.) (Biblehub.com)
To be called the brother of Jehovah is simply astounding since this means that Jehovah is mankind’s relative. Now the only that Jehovah could ever be humanity’s next of kin is if either Jehovah becomes a man or the human in question happens to be truly divine.
This is where the Christian proclamation helps to make sense out of this astonishing term.
God Our Brother Has Come!
According to the inspired NT writings, Jesus is Jehovah God Almighty, the Creator and Sustainer of all creation, who became flesh:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men… He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him… And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:1-4, 10, 14
“yet for us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live.” 1 Corinthians 8:6
“He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.” Colossians 1:13-17
“God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high… And: ‘You, Lord [the Son], in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands. They will perish, but You remain; And they will all grow old like a garment; Like a cloak You will fold them up, And they will be changed. But You are the same, And Your years will not fail.’” Hebrews 1:1-3, 10-12
“For this One has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as He who built the house has more honor than the house. For every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God. And Moses indeed was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which would be spoken afterward, but Christ as a Son over His own house, whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end.
In becoming a human being, Jesus became humanity’s next of kin:
“Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus, who was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was faithful in all His house. Then His brothers and His mother came, and standing outside they sent to Him, calling Him. And a multitude was sitting around Him; and they said to Him, ‘Look, Your mother and Your brothers are outside seeking You.’ But He answered them, saying, ‘Who is My mother, or My brothers?’ And He looked around in a circle at those who sat about Him, and said, ‘Here are My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of God is My brother and My sister and mother.’” Mark 3:31-35
“Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?” So they were offended at Him.” Mark 6:3
“Then His mother and brothers came to Him, and could not approach Him because of the crowd. And it was told Him by some, who said, ‘Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, desiring to see You.’ But He answered and said to them, ‘My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it.’” Luke 8:19-21
“Jesus said to her, ‘Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, “I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.”’” John 20:17
“Do we have no right to take along a believing wife, as do also the other apostles, the brothers of the Lord, and Cephas?” 1 Corinthians 9:5
“But I saw none of the other apostles except James, the Lord’s brother.” Galatians 1:19
Therefore, in the Person of Jesus Christ Jehovah has become humanity’s brother.
Christ did this to redeem human beings by his vicarious death, thereby granting them the gift of the Holy Spirit for the express purpose of making them the children of God:
“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” John 1:12-13
“For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh… But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors—not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, ‘Abba, Father.’ The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.” Romans 8:3, 9-17
“For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Galatians 3:26-29
“But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, ‘Abba, Father!’ Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.” Galatians 4:4-7
“But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone. For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying: ‘I will declare Your name to My brethren; In the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You.’ And again: ‘I will put My trust in Him.’ And again: ‘Here am I and the children whom God has given Me.’ Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For indeed He does not give aid to angels, but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham. Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.” Hebrews 2:9-18
What all this means is, since the one true God is a tri-Personal Being, human beings have God as both their Father and Brother due to the Spirit adopting human believers into the family of God!
“For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. For in fact the body is not one member but many. If the foot should say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body,’ is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear should say, ‘Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body,’ is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. And if they were all one member, where would the body be? But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you’; nor again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you.’ No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty, but our presentable parts have no need. But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually.” 1 Corinthians 12:12-27
Unless noted otherwise, all Scriptural citations taken from the New King James Version (NKJV) of the Holy Bible.