Goodnews Christian Ministry

THE NAME OF GOD

"The Jews then said to Jesus, 'You are not fifty yet, and you have seen Abraham?'
Jesus replied: "I tell you most solemnly,
before Abraham ever was, I Am'."
John 8:57-58

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There are some who teach that God's real name is "Yahweh". That is a name our ancestor's used for Him when they did not know His true name. We do.

God's real name is "Jesus Christ".

The word "Yahweh" means "He is".

It comes from the ancient Hebrew root: "Yah" which stems from the archaic word, "to be".

These are terms derived from the divine name of God as revealed by Him to Moses in Exodus 3:14+: "I Am", or "I Am He":

"Then Moses, speaking to God, said to Him, 'I should go, then, to the sons of Israel and say to them, "The God of your fathers has sent me to you?". But what if they ask me God's name, what am I to tell them then?" And God said to Moses, 'I Am who I Am'. "

This', God added, 'is what you must say to the sons of Israel: "I Am has sent me to you".

And God also said to Moses, 'You are to say to the sons of Israel: "Yahweh" (i.e., 'He is'), "who is 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 for all time; by this name I shall be invoked for all generations to come." (Ex.3:13-15).

Bible scholars have defined two ancient traditions in the formative area of the earliest scriptures, "Yahwistic" and "Priestly". Out of this division has appeared two different interpretations relating to God's name.

In the first interpretation, the name "Yahweh" ('He is') is used to indicate that no one can define God. According to Hebrew philosophy knowing the name of something gave a person power over it. That meant that if a person knew God's name, he would be able to call on him and be certain of a hearing. To the Hebrew mind, this would make God a slave to man. Iin other words, an impossibility. So the formula "Ehyeh asher ehyeh ("I am who I am', 'I am what I am') when used by man, becomes "Yahweh", 'He is'.

Theologically, this produces a name that does not define God but still reveals His love for His people. It images the transcendence of God.

The second tradition, follows the Septuagint and interprets the Hebrew "Ehyeh asher ehyeh" as meaning 'I am the One who is'. I am who am'. The name 'Yahweh' ('He is') in this sense does not address the absolute nature of God's essence, but speaks to His eternal existance, a condition not attainable by earthly gods.

These differences seem subtle to the ordinary reader, but to theologians the chasm between them is vast.

I have shown many times in my writings that prophecy in scripture invariably argues that when two different views of the same subject are presented in the Bible, both are correct. It is up to us to dovetail them into a unified model. They are not contradictions, but two different, yet equally correct, viewing platforms. That applies here as well.

When Jesus came, He gave God a name. Doing so, He spoke right into Semitic thought, giving man power over God in such a way that man could call on Him and be certain of a hearing. He also defined the limits of that power in terms of "faith". The more faith a person had, the greater their power to invoke this unheard-of capacity.

Theologians have long argued that the true God would never make himself man's slave, and that is why they feel He could never reveal a name expressive of his essence.

But He did.

How do we know this is true?

Jesus has a name and Jesus told us He was God:

"The Jews then said to Jesus, 'You are not fifty yet, and you have seen Abraham!' Jesus replied: "I tell you most solemnly, before Abraham ever was, I Am'. (John 8:57-58)

This defines Jesus' position in the Trinity. He is God in the flesh. And He has a definite name; He came in definite form. Because the Trinity is one God, Jesus has given it, in its entirety, a finite name.

"Jesus went on:
'You are from below; I am from above.
You are of this world; I am not of this world.
I have told you already: You will die in your sins.
Yes, if you do not believe that I am He,
you will die in your sins.'"

"So they said to him, 'Who are you?'
Jesus answered: 'What I have told you from the outset." (John 8:23-24).

In other words, 'I am who I have told you I am'.

We are saved by an infinite God who has made Himself finite in order to give us power to escape our captivity to sin. He has given us power to follow Him by the exact path He defined, and thus gain eternal salvation.

The name of God that gives us that power is "Jesus Christ". We had no power to call on God and be certain of a hearing in the name "Yahweh" (He is), but in knowing His name in its true essence (i.e., Jesus) our power is enormous and limited only by the boundaries of faith.

 


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