Given for the Saints at Medicalodge, Neosho, MO, 9/17/06
"Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name" (Phil. 2:9).
The title is the first line of a chorus we sang at the church where Lenny and I met, and where John Gavazzoni was the pastor. It came to me as I was contemplating the topic of this writing, which is the names of God. As I recall, the chorus goes like this: "Make mention that His name is exalted; make mention that His name is exalted, for He hath done excellent things. This is known in all the earth." The question then becomes, which name is it that we are to exalt? I'm sure you have known people who refer to Christ by His Hebrew name, Yahshua ha Maschiach (Jesus the Anointed One). Occasionally, you encounter folks who refer to God as Yahweh, which is one possible construction of the four-letter name of God, known as "the Tetragrammaton: YHWH." Ancient Hebrew had no vowels, and there is some disagreement about how these four Hebrew letters should be pronounced, though perhaps "Yahweh" is the most used. "English translations of the Bible generally render YHWH as 'Jehovah' in several locations, while replacing the name altogether as 'the LORD' (in small capitals), and 'Adonai' as 'Lord' ( in normal case). In a few cases, where 'Lord YHWH' appears, the combination is written as 'Lord GOD.'" (See link at end to access the Wikipedia site from which I obtained this information.)
No matter how it is pronounced, YHWH is an extremely sacred name in Judaism, and according to my research into the Hebrew names of God, "All modern denominations of Judaism teach that the four letter name of God, YHWH, is forbidden to be uttered except by the High Priest, in the Temple. Since the Temple in Jerusalem no longer exists, this name is never said in religious rituals by Jews. Orthodox and Conservative Jews never pronounce it for any reason. Some religious non-Orthodox Jews are willing to pronounce it, but for educational purposes only, and never in casual conversation or in prayer. Instead of pronouncing YHWH during prayer, Jews say 'Adonai.'"
One of the commandments Moses brought down from Mount Sinai to the people was "You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain" (Ex. 19:7). The punishment for violating this commandment was death by stoning: "He who blasphemes the name of the LORD shall be put to death; all the congregation shall stone him; the sojourner as well as the native, when he blasphemes the Name, shall be put to death" (Lev. 24:16).
Because the punishment was so severe, the Jews took great pains not to blaspheme, even by accident. I have heard that the scribes who copied the sacred texts took extraordinary measures when copying the Tetragrammaton, such as washing their hands and changing their clothing before writing it.
The article went on to explain that because "Adonai" was limited to prayer only, "In conversation, many Jewish people will call God 'Hashem,' which is Hebrew for 'the Name' (this appears in Lev. 24:11)."
The phrase, "The name of the Lord" appears 106 times in the RSV version of the Bible. It was used to describe events, places, assignments and acts of worship. About this name, "Moses said to God, "If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they ask me, 'What is his name?' what shall I say to them?" God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM." And he said, "Say this to the people of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to you'" (Ex. 3:13-14).
The wikipedia.org article says the Hebrew phrase is "Ehyeh-asher-ehyeh," which can be translated "I will be because I will be"; I shall be what I shall be or I am that I am." However it is translated, by the Spirit, we see that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Moses, and our God as well, is present AND future tense. He is and ever shall be, world without end, amen.
Therefore, of what use is it to affect a Hebrew name for Him when we are NOT among Hebrew speakers in or out of Israel, but are, in fact, English speaking Christians? When I see or hear Hebrew names used, I can't help but wonder if the person is either wanting to impress me, or God with his or her scholarship, or maybe feeling insecure about his/her relationship with the Father and wanting to make it more secure.
Let me share an experience I had with God on this topic. In a vision, which is the best way to describe what happened, Jesus appeared to me and escorted me into the Throne Room of God. That made me somewhat nervous, but when He left me there alone, I was even more uneasy. I finally got it that Christ had turned me over to the Father, and that was scriptural, and had to be OK with me, but it was also traumatic because the Lord Jesus Christ had been my best friend, my Savior, my champion and ever present companion ever since He baptized me in the Spirit. I talked to Him all the time and when He spoke to me, I always thought "Lord," rather than "Father." After Jesus left me alone with God, I hesitatingly asked Him, "Is it OK if I still call You LORD?" He assured me that this name was fine with Him. Since then, I don't worry about what other people call Him, but only rely on what He said I may call Him.
I share that experience to make this point: God is the God of all peoples, all nations, all religions, all denominations. Before we call, He answers, Isaiah said (Isa. 65:24). Each of us must by the Spirit address Him in love, as He is to us. If we forget to say, "In Jesus' name" at the end of a prayer, as many of us were taught, He still hears us, and will not withhold what He was going to give us because of our oversight. Whether we call Him God or LORD, Father, Abba or Adonai, Yahweh, Jesus, or Yahshua, He is the same, yesterday, today, and forever.
The Word came to earth clothed in flesh that men might see and know the Father. That was and is His "job description." Neither the world, the flesh, nor the devil will stop His getting that job accomplished. One of the explanations of the name God gave Moses for the people in Egypt was "I am the Name." That speaks to me, for He is who He is, and He is what He does.
Solomon said at the commemoration of the Temple He built, "And Yah Veh raises the word he worded: and I rise in the stead of David my father and settle on the throne of Yisra El as Yah Veh worded; and build the house for the name of Yah Veh Elohim of Yisra El" (II Chron. 6:10, Exegeses parallel Bible). "Now the LORD has fulfilled his promise which he made; for I have risen in the place of David my father, and sit on the throne of Israel, as the LORD promised, and I have built the house for the name of the LORD, the God of Israel" (II Chron. 6:10, RSV). No matter which language you read it in, under the Old Covenant, God dwelt in a house, a temple built for His name. Under the New Covenant, He has written His name on our hearts, and He dwells in us. Paul reminded the Corinthians: "Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you?" (I Cor. 3:16). "For God's temple is holy, and that temple you are" (I Cor. 3:17).
The Apostle John wrote, "He who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God; never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name" (Rev. 3:12).
I believe that when God opens our eyes to see that He dwells in us and His name is written on our hearts, we will rejoice and immediately lose the feelings of insecurity and inferiority which plague so many Christians, causing them to lay laws on each other and themselves, rather than trust that God is capable of finishing what He began before the foundation of the world.
Our relationship with our Heavenly Father is not about what name we use to call Him, dear Saints, but about the Name above all names that HE has given us to BE. Even as our earthly fathers gave us their name and their DNA, which contains all that we are, even so our Heavenly Father has regenerated us by His imperishable seed. We have been born again by the "living and abiding word of God" (I Pet. 1:23). Therefore, we can but be no other than like Him, for we are partakers of His Divine Nature by the Holy Spirit (II Pet. 1:4).
"Cry out and shout, thou inhabitants of Zion. Cry out and shout, thou inhabitants of Zion. For great is the Holy One. Great is the Holy One of Israel."
Father, we thank You for allowing us to manifest Your Name and Your nature to the world and the cosmos. We praise You for our New Birth, our New Name, and our destiny as Your Sons. We exalt Your Name, and give You the glory for all You are, now and forever. Amen. Jan Antonsson
Jan and Lenny Antonsson
17178 Highway 59, Neosho, MO 64850 (Snail Mail)
Hebrew Names Of God
The Glory Road
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This page was uploaded to the web on 9/15/06
by Jan Antonsson, Webmeister,
and last edited on10/09/08.