Reformation Thought: Names
We sing, “Blessed be the name of the Lord…”
We pray, “..hallowed be Your name…”
We say, “The name of the Lord is a strong tower…”
His name. I’m sure I never really understood how very important His name is, until recently. Yet there are literally hundreds of verses of Scripture pointing to the significance of His name. How is it that I could go for decades and NOT understand the significance?
Interestingly, the second book of the Bible is called Shemot, a Hebrew word meaning ‘names.’ In this book we are introduced to a number of players in the grand plan of our Father, but Shemot (Exodus) 3: 15 introduces us to the most important!
“God, furthermore, said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is My name forever, and this is My memorial-name to all generations.”
I read that in English and say, “No wonder! I don’t know His name because the text doesn’t say it!”
The Hebrew text says (simply inserting the proper name into the NASB translation), “God, furthermore, said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘Yahweh, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is My name forever, and this is My memorial-name to all generations.”
This verse clearly says, ‘This is My name forever, and this is My memorial-name to all generations.’
Most translations use ‘God’ (class of being) and LORD (title) but never use His proper name.
So why do the English translations use (capital) LORD instead of His proper name?
The simple answer is, The Jewish Rabbis were disobedient and we have continued to this very day in their disobedience. See, during and after the Babylonian exile, in an effort to make sure Judah did not break Yahweh’s commandments and again cause Him to bring judgment, they erected fences around the Law. In this case, they ceased to say the name of Yahweh and began substituting the word Adonai (Lord) in its place when reading or saying any piece of Scripture. (Matthew 15:2 and following explain how Jesus handled a similar ‘fence.’) The rabbis meant well, but in doing so, violated the very Word of Yahweh in Exodus 3:15. Not good! We are told in Exodus 20:7, among other places, not to take His name in vain, or not to make it common. No where are we ever told not to use His name. Yet, that is just what they did, and what we have learned, by tradition, to do.
Instead of ‘Yahweh’ in the nearly 7000(!) places His name appears in the Hebrew text, we find ‘LORD’ or occasionally ‘GOD.’
Interestingly, most all good study Bibles have the name ‘Yahweh’ printed right in them, but not between Genesis 1:1 and Revelation 22:21. Yep, you guessed it. The publisher’s notes or Foreword tells you, in more detail, exactly what I just wrote.
Read and absorb the following verses with His proper name. Marinate in the significance of knowing His proper name. See each verse in context… even begin to read your Bible and mentally say His proper name each time you see ‘LORD.’ At first it may seem hokey, but if you will do it, I guarantee you will be blessed beyond what you can imagine. His name truly is wonderful.
“Therefore behold, I am going to make them know— This time I will make them know My power and My might; And they shall know that My name is Yahweh.”
“ I am Yahweh, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another, Nor My praise to graven images.
Even Yahweh Sabbaoth, Yahweh is His name.
He who made the Pleiades and Orion And changes deep darkness into morning, Who also darkens day into night, Who calls for the waters of the sea And pours them out on the surface of the earth, Yahweh is His name.
“And it will come about that whoever calls on the name of Yahweh Will be delivered; For on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem There will be those who escape, As Yahweh has said, Even among the survivors whom Yahweh calls.
“And I will bring the third part through the fire, Refine them as silver is refined, And test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, And I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are My people,’ And they will say, ‘Yahweh is my God.’”
And here is an interesting one….
For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until you say, ‘BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF YAHWEH!’”
Seems pretty important to the King of Kings! If we want to see Him, maybe we should learn His Father’s name!
We can save the name of Jesus for a later date… But here’s a hint: There is no letter ‘J’ or ‘J’ sound in Hebrew or Greek. Even in Latin, there is no ‘J’ sound…. That showed up around the 12th century. Just a thought.
The Reformation is only beginning. We must seek to worship in spirit and truth.
The next Reformation Thought: Olam!