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God’s Name — 20 Comments

  1. I don't want to be a real pain by blowing this business of God's name out of proportion for I believe it is a relatively minor issue compared to the weightier matters that really need to be discussed that determine our destiny.

    When we have a prayer and append the phrase, "in the name of Jesus" what are we actually doing? Should we be concerned about the pronunciation? After all Hispanics will pronounce it differently than the majority of Caucasians in the U.S. and Europeans will say it differently than most people in North America. So, what is the important thing about the name of Jesus or God?

    If we would only realize that when parents in ancient cultures named their children they usually used a combination of common words to describe the qualities that they either saw in the child or wanted the child to have. A very simple study of the names of biblical characters using a concordance will confirm this method of naming. As an example of this from God look at the times He changed a person's name such as Abram ("exalted Father") to Abraham ("father of a multitude") (quotes from BibleWorks, Strong's data; see also Gen 17:5) or Jacob's name change, Gen 32:28. This also was used in the New Testament as well, for instance, Simon's name change to Peter (Matt 16:17-18; study the Greek meanings as opposed to the "Rock").

    To me then, what is important is not how we pronounce a name but rather what meaning we understand the name has. A good example of this idea is the answer that God gave to Moses when asked about His name. "Then Moses said to God, "Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them,`The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they say to me,`What is His name?' what shall I say to them?" And God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM." And He said, "Thus you shall say to the children of Israel,`I AM has sent me to you.'" (Ex 3:13-14 NKJ). Jesus understood this when He applied that name to Himself (John 8:58) and again when He said, "I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world." (John 17:6 NKJ, the entire chapter is worthwhile reading and understanding). Certainly, the Jews knew what God's name was - or did they? Christians above all other people on the earth should know what God's name is and what it means to them!

    • Thanks, Tyler. I really appreciate your comment.

      I believe you summarized it well when you wrote:
      "To me then, what is important is not how we pronounce a name but rather what meaning we understand the name has."

      That statement is consistent with the use of names in the Bible. It seems to me that attributing to God the kind of pettiness found in some people who are insulted if their names are not pronounced exactly right misrepresents God's character.

      When God told Moses to tell Pharaoh that "I AM" had sent him, He revealed Himself as the self-existent One to the Egyptian pharaoh, who was regarded as a god by his people. Pharaoh well knew that he was not self-existent, and so the name of God that Moses was asked to use demonstrated to Pharaoh, that the great God of the universe had sent Moses -- not some rival god.

      When Revelation 14:1 refers to the 144,000 having the Father's name written on their foreheads, it's not referring to a physical tattoo or anything similar. The 144,000 will reflect the Father's character in their innermost being.

  2. I want to add my thanks also to you for enlightening me on this point. I just want to know how some people came up with Yahweh? (I pray I have not been blasphemous!)

    • I believe that some people came up with "Yahweh" by taking the four consonants and guessing at the vowels. Their purpose seems to have been to create a less corrupted substitute for "Jehovah," in order to satisfy the purists. Evidently, it didn't work.

  3. Thank you for the well-researched and informative article. There were a couple of statements (opinions?), however, with which I am not quite comfortable.

    Firstly, I question why we should find it necessary to follow the tastes and opinions of the Jews in regard to the use of God's name? If God had not intended for us to pronounce His name, I question why He would have shared it with us, and explicitly told Moses to use it in introducing Him to the Hebrews.

    Secondly, I felt that the statements in regard to the use of "Jehovah" were a little on the strong side. When names get transliterated from one language to another, they do tend to get corrupted anyway. But, how much does this really matter? Isn't it the intent that counts? But, if it's not O.K. to use "Jehovah," then I deduce that neither is it O.K. to use "Jesus," for much the same reason. And I've never heard any Christian seriously trying to stop us from saying "Jesus." So perhaps we should engage those who worry about the pronunciation of the name of YHWH on more substantive issues, such as the divinity of Christ and the Second Coming.

    • Thanks for your input, R.G. Perhaps regarding the matter of "Isn't it the intent that counts?" we can look to our current Sabbath School Lesson. Surely Cain's intent was to offer a sacrifice to God when he offered produce from his crops, but from the account in Genesis, his intent was not enough to put him on a right path. Perhaps Proverbs 14:12 and Proverbs 16:25 are helpful on this issue. It seems it was important enough to be said twice.

      • Well, Stephen, the Bible doesn't tell us precisely what Cain's intent was, does it? 😉

        The way I see it, Cain's "intent" was to offer the work of his own hands to God, while choosing to ignore that the lamb that Abel offered was not just from his own flock (work of his hands), but representative of the Redeemer to come.

        Abel's sacrifice demonstrated His faith in the Seed to come, as promised to Adam and Eve. (Genesis 3:15, Hebrews 14:1)

        For Cain, offering a lamb required that Cain humble himself -- possibly in purchasing a lamb from Abel and definitely in acknowledging his sinfulness and his dependence on God for both temporal and spiritual life. And it seems that this is what Cain was not willing to do. He was not willing to offer a sacrifice of faith in the Redeemer to come.

        So it seems to me that the story of Cain demonstrates that the intent does count. 🙂

    • R.G., you wrote:
      "I question why we should find it necessary to follow the tastes and opinions of the Jews in regard to the use of God’s name."

      In the light of the "Sacred Name" movement among Adventists, I thought Stephen's remarks were appropriate -- that since the Jews did not even pronounce God's name, there is no way of knowing how the name given to Moses was originally pronounced. That is significant in view of the fact that some teach that only those who pronounce the "sacred Name" correctly (and different factions favor different pronunciations) will be part of the 144,000 -- possibly because of Revelation 14:1.

      I did not get the idea from Stephen's post that he considered it wrong to use the name "Jehovah," as given in the KJV, but that he thought there was no point in trying to figure out a correct pronunciation. (He can correct me if I got it wrong.)

  4. does it matter whom we worship? how can you know what you worship unless you can identify it by name. He is the Great I AM

    • The great I AM goes by many other names in the English Bible. Jesus simply called Him Father, or "Abba." And in non-English Bible, the names are certainly very different. (In some languages, the English version would be impossible to pronounce, and so would the Hebrew version.)

      Let's put it this way: I am known by a number of names, and each refers specifically to me by particular individuals. Let me count the names: Inge (German pronunciation), Inga (English pronunciation), (even Ingrid!), Mrs. Anderson, Ms. Anderson, Gramma, Grandma, Mom, Mother, Nana and a few other variations, without even mentioning the names on my birth certificate.

      I am not insulted by any of the names, though I prefer not to have my name pronounced to rhyme with "hinge." 😉 It is the intent that counts -- even when little lips can barely come close to "gamma."

      Are we not all children of our heavenly Father? Shall we regard God more petty than mere humans?

      My Bible tells me that God looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7) -- not the outward appearance, which covers pronunciation and names, the way I see it.

      God wants us to worship Him for Who He truly is -- our Creator and Redeemer, whose character is self-sacrificing love -- no matter what we call Him.

  5. It is all right to say Lord God but that Lord God has got a Name which is a memorial to all generations. Some, because not being sure what is the vowel between W and H are using first part of God's name only, just like you can find it in NKJB in Isaiah 26:4 "Trust in the Lord forever, For YAH, the Lord is everlasting strength". YAH ADONAI is everlasting strength. Yes Jehovah is corrupted God's Name but we can be sure that YAH is not. Jews may have considered that using God's Name is blasphemy but God Himself never considered that but encouraged us call upon Him by His Holy Name: Isaiah 52:6; Joel 2:32; Jer.29:12... So call upon The Name of YAH without fear as long as you do it in reverence.

    • Thanks for your post, Jaroslav. It does beg the question, though. All of your Biblical citations are from the Old Testament. If it is an important matter to "Call upon the name of YAH" could you please address why none of the apostles apparently did so?

      • Dear Stephen,
        yes all those texts are in The Old Testament which has been preserved in original Hebrew language unlike New Testament which has been translated into Greek and then all other languages. Yahshua The Son of God surely did not teach Israelites in Greek language but rather in Hebrew and Aramaic so I believe that originals were written in the same languages. All disciples were Jewish as well as all those who written books of The New Testament.
        However there are Bibles which corrected the mistake of Jews and restored The Name of God and His Son as true as they could be. There are Bible translations, a number of those already. One I like is RNKJV even when I do not like old English language and am looking forward for Restored Names New KJVB and also when it is only Tetragrammaton instead of full Name of God.
        One on line is free and anybody can have a look http://www.eliyah.com/Scripture/
        Then again it does not even matter if God's Name is not mentioned in New Testament. That does not make a difference that God's Name is not going to change because it is forever We can see that is Exodus 3:15 as well as in Revelation 14:1 and 15:4 Glorify Your Name? Which Name? One forever Name of course, YAH or YAHWEH Math.6:9; Rev. 3:12.
        May Yah Father and The Son bless you all.
        ""...they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, YAH or YAHWEH is my Elohim.""" Zech.13:9

        • Thank you for your reply, Jaroslav. You make a valid point about the Aramaic that was undoubtedly used by Jesus and the Disciples in their daily conversations. However, one cannot help but wonder if the exact pronunciation of the Divine name were so important why they would not insert the Hebrew into the text rather than the Greek? They had no trouble doing direct quotes in other places in the New Testament. See Matthew 27:46 for instance. One might certainly expect the Hebrew for the Divine Name to merit at least as much importance as the other words quoted. Wouldn't you think?

  6. There is a thing called "godly fear" that has a lot to do with how we treat GOD's name. Once you have a true sense of who GOD really is, just calling Him "GOD" will cause you to do so with reverence and awe. Do not forget that the Jews saw the grandeur of GOD on mount Sinai and they passed on this sacredness for the name of GOD to their posterity. It would do us all good to treat the name of GOD with reverence and godly fear. As a matter of fact, we have a certain amount of such fear for our parents for we do not go around calling them by their first names. Mommy and Daddy are used not only to show affection but also to show respect. If we can do that for our parents who like us are sinful, how much respect should we show to our holy GOD. Knowing His real name is not the important matter here, but loving Him with all our hearts and minds is.

  7. Surely we lie when we say that it is wrong to mention name of yahweh.

    Look and read exodus 3:15 he gave moses the pronunciation, he commissioned him to tell the children of Israel his name.
    Read romans 10:13 it says whoever calls on the name shall be saved,
    Isaiah 26:13 people are ruled over by titles we honor the name of yahweh.
    Ezekil 39:7 he made known his name to his people Israel. ezekiel 39:8 today is the day you start calling his name.

    Brothers and sisters dont be like the false prophets from the jews nation Jeremiah 23:25-27 let us not be among them. It will come to pass that his name will be one zephaniah 3:9.
    All this lies started since the building the tower of babel Genesis 11:4 people are still building it spiritually. dont be among them shalom

    • I believe that it is a gross misunderstanding of Scripture to teach that to "call on the name of the Lord" means to pronounce His Name correctly or even that it has anything to do at all with the way we say His Name.

      Throughout the Bible, a person's "name" stands for the person and particularly his character. That's why some people were renamed when they changed or when the Lord gave them a special promise. Think of the change from Abram to Abraham, and the change from Jacob to Israel.

      So to "call on the Name of the Lord" means to call on the Lord for salvation, trusting in the goodness of His character.

    • Lawrence, perhaps you have overlooked that in Romans 10:13, it does not say that ONLY those who call on the name of the Lord will be saved. Perhaps we err with a similar err as Simon the Magician when we reduce God to magical incantations based on His name. Perhaps you would be willing to grant that there is something deeper and more profound here than the simple reciting of the name in such a manner.

  8. People who think the gates of heaven will open to those who say "abracadabra" missed the point of the Bible.

    Repent of your sins and you shall live. Eze 18:32

    If calling the name of God is so important, Ex 20:7 would not be there to warn people not to misuse the name of the Lord your God.

    In the judgment Jesus will say in Matt 7:22-23 the many will say "Lord, Lord...". Then I will tell them plainly "I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers".

    On a side note, I think it is rude to call your father by his name. If you don't address your earthly father by his name, then calling our heavenly father by his name e.g. hey Johnny or Bill, is disrespectful.

    Until we are made perfect and holy, would we be able to call his holy name YHWH correctly from our hearts. Otherwise, we are breaking just breaking the 3rd commandment carelessly.


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