Monthly Archives: September 2014

What’s in a Name ?

They know My Name

When we meet someone, one of the first questions we ask is “what is your name”? Jesus (Yeshua) died for our sins, to restore our relationship with our Father. We relate to God as our heavenly Father, so it is good to call Him Abba (Aramaic for Father or Daddy). But we also know from scripture that He has a name, and that His children are even called by His name – see II Chron 7:14 and Isa 43:7 (“…everyone who is called by My name, whom I created for My glory…”). And should you believe that knowing and speaking God’s name is only for Israel, see Amos 9:12 where God speaks through Amos and says “…And all the Gentiles [nations] who are called by My name, says the LORD…”.

So, how do we know that God wants us to know and speak His name? There are over 100 scriptures in the Torah, Psalms and Prophets where God says that He wants all the earth to know, speak, and praise His name (e.g. Ex 9:16; Num 6:27; Ps 9:10; Ps 66:4; Ps 91:14; Ps 105:1,3; Ps 105:1,3; Ps 119:132; Ps 148:13; Isa 42:8; Isa 52:6; Jer 16:21; Mal 4:2). The other question that pops up is whether God’s name is to be remembered by everyone for all time? This question is answered soundly by Ps 45:17 “I will cause Your name to be remembered in all generations; therefore nations will praise You forever and ever”. A prime example of God blessing His people when they remember His name is in Ex 20:27 “In every place where I cause My name to be remembered I will come to you and bless you.”

What does Yeshua have to say about the name of God? In Matt 23:39, when He was weeping over the people of Jerusalem because they had not recognized Him as their Messiah, He said “for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ ”. “The LORD“ in this verse is actually YHVH, not Adonai (the Hebrew word for Lord). Yeshua was quoting directly from the prophecy in Ps 118:26, which was talking about the future end times when people would speak those words, and use God’s true name in place of the generic title of “The LORD”. In John 17:6, when Yeshua was praying to Abba Father on behalf of his disciples, He said “I made your name known to the people you gave me out of the world. They were yours, you gave them to me, and they have kept your word.”

In Acts 2:21, Peter quotes Joel 2 when he says “And it shall come to pass that all who call upon the name of the Lord [YHVH] shall be saved”. Just as in Matt 23 above, “the Lord” in this verse is not the generic title for Lord, but rather YHVH (written as The LORD in the Old Testament). In the end times (as reported in Zech 13:9), YHVH says “They will call on My name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘This is My people’; and each one will say, ‘The LORD [YHVH] is my God.’”

So now that we have established that YHVH wants His name to be known, spoken, praised and glorified in all the earth, how can we know how to speak and pronounce His name? I will go into this in more detail in future blogs in this series, but in summary we know the following to be true:

  • God always wanted us to know His name (from the time He spoke His name to Moses in Ex 3:15)
  • God’s name (the full pronunciation of YHVH) was spoken regularly by people up until the time of the Second Temple, after the return from Babylon – see Ruth 2:4
  • The speaking of God’s name was progressively restricted to a smaller and smaller group of Jews during the Second Temple period (first only the priests, and eventually only the high priest, before and during Yeshua’s time)
  • As stated in John 17:6 above, Yeshua revealed the true name of YHVH to His disciples while He was on the earth (which had been hidden from the common people for several hundred years)

As far as the actual pronunciation of God’s name, there is great dispute, but through our research over a number of years, we believe that His name (YHVH), which is written 6828 times in the Hebrew scriptures, is pronounced as Yehovah (or Y’hovah). We also believe that His name is being revealed to many in this age, as another of the many signs of the approach of the end times that are now unfolding. Finally, we believe it is all part of Yehovah’s plan, that His name would be hidden for a time, and then revealed again to His remnant when the time was right. Stay tuned for further chapters in this story and why we and others believe as we do.

Religion vs. Relationship (Part 1)

Knock-On-Door

According to Merriam-Webster (m-w.com), religion is defined as:

  • the belief in a god or in a group of gods
  • an organized system of beliefs, ceremonies, and rules used to worship a god or a group of gods
  • an interest, a belief, or an activity that is very important to a person or group

Many of us grew up with religion. We learned about God and we thought this was the same as actually knowing Him. Many people still think so. Does religion really provide what we need? Let us examine the definitions listed above.

Is it enough to believe in God? Even Satan knows that YHVH (God) exists.  You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that–and shudder (James 2:19 NIV). Therefore, believing in YHVH does not set anyone apart even from Satan.

Participating in an organized system of beliefs, ceremonies and rules used to worship a god is much like being in a fan club. Members of the fan club devote their lives running from concert to concert or movie to movie, sharing newly-discovered facts on Facebook or Twitter, and day-dreaming about what it would be like to be with one’s idol. Obsession with an imaginary relationship distorts reality.

Relationship is defined by Merriam-Webster (m-w.com) as:

  • the way in which two or more people, groups, countries, etc., talk to, behave toward, and deal with each other
  • a romantic or sexual friendship between two people
  • the way in which two or more people or things are connected

Relationship requires that individuals interact with each other. It is better to relate directly to YHVH than to merely acquire facts and opinions about Him. YHVH created us to have a close relationship with Him. He has no use for religion which is a poor substitute for a personal relationship. Yeshua paid a heavy price to restore our broken relationship with His Father.  YHVH desires to be close to us and to love us.

Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them (John 14:23 NIV).

Our relationship with YHVH is even more intimate than a sexual relationship since YHVH knows our thoughts, motives, and intentions even when we don’t know them ourselves. He knows our deepest needs and desires and responds to them in the most loving way. When we seek YHVH’s face rather than His hand, He will reveal more of Himself to us. We can relate to YHVH on a deeper, more personal level than with any human on earth. Why settle for a dismal substitute when you can have the real thing?

Witness in the Stars?

Constellations2

Have you ever wondered why God says in Scripture that He counts the stars and calls them all by name (Ps 147:4)? What does He mean by that? Why would He want to name them, and are the names significant to us? When Abba Father took Abraham out and showed him the stars, He said “look towards heaven, and TELL the stars, if you will be able to list them; and He said unto him, ‘So shall your seed be’” (Gen 15:5). The word that is translated TELL is actually the same word used for taking a census, and means to not only count the stars but to call each of them by their names! Could it be that God told His people the names of the stars and was actually telling a story to them through those names? Read Ps 19:1-4 and see how this passage tells about the witness given by the stars, which Paul quoted as an irrefutable testimony in Rom 10:18 (also see Ps 89:37: “…Even like the faithful witness in the sky.”).

God created everything for a purpose. He created the heavenly bodies to give light, to separate the day from the night and to be for signs and seasons, and for days and years (Gen 1:14). We know that the sun and moon separate the day from the night, and the sun’s daily cycle allows us to keep a count of the passing days. The moon was God’s original light to help us keep track of the months of the year. However, it is much more difficult to keep track of the seasons and years strictly based on observing the daily movements of the sun and the monthly cycles of the moon. Ancient astronomers knew how to use the movements of the sun and moon through the various constellations of the zodiac (called mazzerot in scripture) to keep track of the seasons and years.

The sun travels through all twelve of the constellations throughout the course of the year. At any one point in time, this would make it possible for our ancestors (without the benefit of modern scientific calendars) to track the progress of the year and to know the current “season”. The passage in Ps 19:5-6 describes the movement of the sun through the constellations of the mazzerot during the course of the year. However, when you meditate on this passage at a deeper spiritual level, you can see the allusion to Messiah (Ps 19:4 “In them He has set a tabernacle for the sun, which is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoices like a strong man to run His race.”). “Them” refers to the stars in this passage. Remember that Yeshua (Jesus) is the “Sun of righteousness” from Mal 4:2. Also, from the original Hebrew names of the stars, we know that Messiah is represented by the “strongman” in a number of the constellations (e.g. Orion, Hercules, Leo, etc.). One clear example of this strongman type pointing to Yeshua comes from the original Hebrew name of Hercules – El Gibbor, which means “The Mighty One”, a designation for both Abba and Messiah (Father and Son) in Isa 9:6.

Going back to the original Hebrew meaning behind Gen 1:14, we see that the “seasons” Elohim (God) wanted His people to keep track of were actually not the four seasons of the year we recognize, but rather His moedim (Hebrew for “God’s appointed times”) which correspond to His Feast days that occur at specific times of the year. These moedim (feasts) are associated with significant acts of Yeshua in both His first and second coming. Job 38:32 confirms the importance of the stars in keeping track of God’s seasons: “Can you direct the sequence of the seasons or guide the Bear with her cubs across the heavens?” (Hebrew meaning of the “Bear and her cubs” refers to Yeshua’s sheepfold as His flock).

One of the strongest confirmations that Elohim has given us the Gospel message in the stars can be seen within the constellation Taurus. The Hebrew name for Taurus (bull) is shur, which means “the One who comes to rule”. This “Bull” is definitely a picture of Messiah, who is coming to rule on the earth. The Pleiades, a cluster of stars, is close to the head of the Bull, and is seen “Riding on the neck of Taurus”. Pleiades is sometimes called the 7 Sisters, but its Hebrew name is kimah, which means “congregation of the judge or ruler”. This agrees with Jude 14-15, which says: “Behold the LORD comes with 10,000’s of His saints (righteous ones) to execute judgment on all and to convict all who are ungodly.” Thus, through these and the other constellations, we have a very strong testimony that Elohim put them there to teach all of His children His Gospel story (see Rom 10:18, Ps 19:4).

RiversofLightHave you ever felt lonely or unappreciated? Have you ever been taken for granted or overlooked? Did you ever get the feeling that someone was being kind only for what they could get from you?

You are not alone. Not only are there countless others in the world who have had similar experiences, but there is One who is far greater than any of us who has experienced all of the above and more.  One who loves far more than any of us can imagine.

Do you know that YHVH loves you whether or not you realize that He exists? He loves you even if you don’t love Him. He loves you even if you take advantage of His kindness, or if you take His blessings and protection for granted. His love endures even if you complain loudly that He’s not answering your latest request.

YHVH created a beautiful world for you to live in.  Every good thing that you have ever had in your life came from Him.  God loves you for who you are.  He made you and is delighted with you.

So, my very dear friends, don’t get thrown off course. Every desirable and beneficial gift comes out of heaven. The gifts are rivers of light cascading down from the Father of Light. There is nothing deceitful in God, nothing two-faced, nothing fickle. He brought us to life using the true Word, showing us off as the crown of all his creatures (James 1:16-18 MSG).

Just as we want to be appreciated and loved for ourselves, YHVH desires to be appreciated and loved for who He is.  Thank Him every day for His many blessings and gifts. Tell Him that you love Him for who He is as well as for what He gives.

YHVH doesn’t need anything from us. He is totally self-sufficient. He does want something from us, though. He desires our love and our trust. He wants to have a relationship with us even though it will be a largely lopsided arrangement. He does most of the giving and we do most of the taking.  YHVH never overlooks us and never takes any of us for granted.

Many people have been churchgoers for all or most of their lives, yet some have never experienced a one-on-one relationship with YHVH.  If you feel that you have never encountered the one true God, call out to Him today. Even if it is just a whisper or a heart-cry, He will hear it.  He is waiting every day and night to hear from you.  You will never have to feel lonely or left out again.  YHVH offers us genuine love that endures forever.