What’s in a 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.