Is it important to know the name of God?
If true, then is it important to say that name in place of other titles that are common?
Do we need to call God only by His Hebrew names?
There are some who would definitely say yes to all the above questions.
Let us look at several verses in the Bible that support these statements.
Therefore My people shall know My name; Therefore they shall know in that day That I am He who speaks: ‘Behold, it is I.’(Isaiah 52:6 NKJV throughout unless otherwise noted)
Our help is in the name of the LORD, Who made heaven and earth.(Psalms 124:8)
The name of the LORD is a strong tower; The righteous run to it and are safe.(Proverbs 18:10)
And it shall come to pass That whoever calls on the name of the LORD Shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be deliverance, As the LORD has said, Among the remnant whom the LORD calls.(Joel 2:32)
For "whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved."(Romans 10:13)
For I proclaim the name of the LORD: Ascribe greatness to our God.(Deuteronomy 32:3)
So the nations shall fear the name of the LORD, And all the kings of the earth Your glory.(Psalms 102:15)
This is just a small sampling, but even from this sample we can see that His name seems to be very important. But what is His name?
Due to many of our modern translations, most do not know what His name is. Some may think it is LORD, since it is in our Bibles nearly 7,000 times. Interestingly, most of those following Judaism specifically avoid calling on His name because of the command:"You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain. (Exodus 20:7)
Instead many say Adoni (Lord) or HaShem (the Name).
I believe God always intended for His people to use His name in a respectful and honoring way. There are those who say that unless you correctly pronounce the name of God, then you cannot be saved. This statement I can only assume comes from scriptures like (Romans 10:13)For "whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved."
If we stop at this verse, one could possibly draw this conclusion. However Yeshua (Jesus) Himself said.
"Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.(Matthew 7:21)
At first glance it appears this is a contradiction. If the Bible contains no contradiction, there must be another answer.
How important is it to call God by the "original Hebrew" names?
First let us go to Jeremiah 23:27…who try to make My people forget My name by their dreams which everyone tells his neighbor, as their fathers forgot My name for Baal.
Take note of the last part of this verse "as their fathers forgot My name for Baal." Somehow the name of God was forgotten and replaced by the name Baal. We have heard of this name throughout the Bible, but what does Baal mean?
According to Strongs, Baal (Pronounced Bah-al): Baal = "lord".
Baal is the supreme male divinity of the Phoenicians or Canaanites.
Did you catch that, Baal is equal to lord.
Interestingly the translators for most English Bibles have substituted LORD for God’s name. They have in essence done exactly what Jeremiah said. The word Lord is used 6065 times in the old testament of the New King James version. Of those 6065 times, 5521 of them are translated as LORD which is a mistranslation. The Hebrew letters are actually used. YHVH are the English letters equivalent of , (read from right to left). This is the main name of God, one of the names shared by both the Father and the Son. But given this information, it may appear that it is very important to use the true name of God, YHVH (The letters are sounded as Yod Hay Vav Hay). Many agree this name should be pronounced as Yahweh, as the ancient pronunciation for Vav was a "W" sound.
But even here there is sharp disagreement. Some say it should be pronounced Jehovah, Some say Yehovah, some say Yahoweh; on and on. In fact, I believe that nobody truly knows how to pronounce the name of God.
But suppose someone happened to know the actual way that God Himself pronounced His name. Then if that person called on that name, would he then have a special advantage over another who did not?
Let us not forget the words of YeshuaNot everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. (Matthew 7:21) Or But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do the things which I say? (Luke 6:46)
You can see there is more than just calling Him Lord.
A fuller meaning of calling on His Name is to:
The Meaning of (YHVH):
What good does it do to know how to pronounce the Name, if you do not know the meaning?
In our modern culture, personal names are little more than labels to distinguish one person from another. Unfortunately, to many the names God or Lord convey little more than designations of a deity. It says little about His character, His ways, and what He means to each of us as human beings. But in Scripture, particularly Hebrew culture, names are descriptions of the character and disposition of the bearer. Hebrew names in the Bible describe the nature or purpose of that person. In Scripture, a person’s name identified them and stood for something specific. This is especially true of God. Naming carried special significance. It was a sign of authority and power. This is evident in the fact that God revealed His names to His people rather than allowing them to choose their names for Him. This is also seen in the fact that God often changed the names of His people: Abram to Abraham, Sarai to Sarah, Jacob to Israel.
God describes the meaning of His name in Exodus;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.’ (Exodus 3:14). I AM can also be translated as "to be, become, exist, happen." But how do we know this is the same as YHVH?
Let us read a few more verses to determine the answer.
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.’" Moreover God said to Moses, "Thus you shall say to the children of Israel: ‘The LORD 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 to all generations.’ "Go and gather the elders of Israel together, and say to them, ‘The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, appeared to me, saying, "I have surely visited you and seen what is done to you in Egypt;(Exodus 3:13-16)
The words (the LORD) in verse 16 are actually (YHVH). Remember that of the 6065 times the word ‘LORD’ or ‘the LORD’ appear in the Bible, 5521 of them are actually YHVH. So God defines the meaning of YHVH as I AM, or I Exist, or Eternal.
Understanding the Nature of God:
This short article can not do justice to the full meaning of this. Alas all the compilation of all the knowledge of all men who ever lived could not begin to describe the full nature of God. However the Names of God used in the Bible act as a roadmap for learning about the character and nature of God. Since the Bible is God's Word to us, the names He chooses in scripture are meant to reveal His true nature to us. In fact one of the best ways to learn of the nature of God is to read His word. Following is only a partial list. Note that I do not attempt to show the original Hebrew or Greek, as the English translation is best for the "Meaning" of the original.
NAMES AND TITLES OF GOD IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
God Of Abraham, God Of Isaac, And God Of Jacob: (Exodus 3:15)
The Great Mighty Awesome God: (Deuteronomy 10:17)
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Father Of Eternity, Prince Of Peace: (Isaiah 9:6)
Holy One: (Habakkuk 1:12)
Holy One Of Israel: (Psalm 78:41)
Light To The Nations: (Isaiah 42:6)
Our Dwelling Place: (Psalm 90:1)
Tower Of Strength: (Psalm 61:3)
Refuge: (Psalm 46:1)
Strength: (Psalm 46:1)
Shield: (Psalm 18:30)
Rock: (Habakkuk 1:12)
Rock Of My Strength: (Psalm 62:7)
Cornerstone: (Psalm 118:22)
Branch: (Zechariah 6:12)
Potter: (Isaiah 64:8)
Maker: (Psalm 49:2)
Creator: (Ecclesiastes 12:1)
Shepherd Of Israel: (Psalm 80:1)
Messenger Of The Covenant: (Malachi 3:1)
Redeemer: (Psalm 19:14)
Deliverer: (Psalm 144:2)
Savior: (Isaiah 45:15)
King Of Israel: (Zephaniah 3:15)
Lord Of All The Earth: (Micah 4:13)
Ancient of Days: (Daniel 7:9)
The Most High: (Deuteronomy 32:8)
Ruler In Israel: (Micah 5:2)
Messiah The Prince: (Daniel 9:25)
NAMES AND TITLES OF GOD IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
Yeshua Of Nazareth: (Matthew 26:71)
Messiah: (John 1:41)
Only Begotten Son: (1 John 4:9)
Son Of David: (Matthew 1:1)
The Root And Offspring Of David: (Revelation 22:16)
Son Of Man: (Matthew 26:64, see Daniel 7:13)
Son Of The Most High: (Luke 1:32)
Firstborn From The Dead: (Revelation 1:5)
The Last Adam: (1 Corinthians 15:45)
King Of Israel: (Mark 15:32)
The Word: (John 1:1)
The Word Of God: (Revelation 19:13)
The Word Of Life: (1 John 1:1)
The Life: (John 11:25)
I AM: (John 8:58, see Exodus 3:14)
Immanuel: [God with us] (Matthew 1:23, see Isaiah 7:14)
Savior Of All Men: (1 Timothy 4:10)
The Deliverer: (Romans 11:26)
Holy One: (Acts 3:14)
Righteous One: (Acts 3:14)
Judge Of The Living And The Dead: (Acts 10:42)
Passover Lamb: (1 Corinthians 5:7)
Advocate: (1 John 2:1)
Light Of The World: (John 8:12)
King Of Kings And Lord Of Lords: (Revelation 19:16)
The Faithful And True One: (Revelation 19:11)
Servant: (Acts 4:27)
The Great High Priest: (Hebrews 4:14)
The Author And Perfecter Of Faith: (Hebrews 12:2)
The Way, The Truth, And The Life: (John 14:6)
The Alpha And The Omega The First And The Last: (Revelation 22:13)
The Image Of The Invisible God: (Colossians 1:15)
The Bread Of Life: (John 6:35)
The True Vine: (John 15:1)
The Lawgiver And Judge: (James 4:12)
A Consuming Fire: (Hebrews 12:29)
Throughout scripture, YHVH is combined with other words to describe certain characteristics of God.
Have Faith in Him, to trust and obey Him, to do His will:
Another way, and arguably the best way, to know His name is to do His Will, to Obey Him, to Trust in Him. Remember the words of Yeshua: "Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven." (Matthew 7:21).
Below are some scriptures discussing trust and obey.
As forGod, His way is perfect; The word of the LORD is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him. (2 Samuel 22:31)
Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, And put your trust in the LORD.(Psalms 4:5)
And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; For You, LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You.(Psalms 9:10)
Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass.(Psalms 37:5)
In God I have put my trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?(Psalms 56:11)
Observe and obey all these words which I command you, that it may go well with you and your children after you forever, when you do what is good and right in the sight of the LORD your God.(Deuteronomy 12:28)
For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?(1 Peter 4:17)
God’s desire for His children is to believe Him, trust Him, and obey Him, much more than correctly enunciating His Name.
But what about the rest of the 544 names that are translated as Lord in the Bible? The Hebrew Adon, singular or Adoni, plural is translated as Lord in the bible. Adon means Master, or Lord. So in this case this word is correctly translated. In the Bible Adon or Adoni is used for descriptions of master or lord for both men and God.
What about the word "God"?
I have used this word several times in this article. The word we see in our Bibles as God is most often translated from the Hebrew word Elohim, plural or Eloah singular. Elohim is the first description for God found in the Bible, and it is used throughout the Old Testament over 2,300 times. Elohim comes from the Hebrew root meaning "strength" or "power", and has the unusual characteristic of being plural in form.
In Genesis 1:1, we read, In the beginning Elohim created the heaven and the earth. Right from the start, this plural form for the name of God is used to describe the One God. Often in scripture, Elohim is combined with other words to describe certain characteristics of God, (see the above list on the Names and Titles of God).
"EL" is another name used for God in the Bible, showing up about 200 times in the Old Testament. El is the shortened form arising from Elohim, and is often combined with other words for descriptive emphasis. Some examples: El HaNe'eman - The Faithful God: (Deuteronomy 7:9). El HaGadol - The Great God: (Deuteronomy 10:17). El Elyon - The Most High God: (Genesis 14:18). ImmanuEl - God Is With Us: (Isaiah 7:14). El Olam - The God Of Eternity (Genesis 21:33).
Let us end by going back to the beginning, and answering the 3 questions that we started with.
1) Is it important to know the name of God?
The simple answer is Yes, but only in the fuller meaning of knowing His Name. It is not only good to know His Name, but it is good to understand the meaning of His Name, the Nature of His Name, to trust and obey in Him.
2) If it is important to know the name of God, then is it important to say that name in place of other titles that are common?
Answer, Yes and No. The statement in Jeremiah 23:27 has become true as nobody really knows for sure how to pronounce God’s name. But, what is more important to God, knowing how to pronounce His name, or understanding His nature and obeying Him?
I tend to use Yahweh and Yeshua instead of Lord and Jesus, because to me these have more meaning. In my current understanding saying Yeshua and Yahweh is showing more respect and honor to God.
3) Do we need to call God only by his Hebrew names?
The short answer here is No. God would much rather have us believe in Him, trust in Him, obey His commands, than to run around proclaiming that we can only be saved by saying God’s name correctly.
Is it wrong to call him LORD? Yes, and No. Yes, because His name is not LORD. No, because Lord is used as a title of God. After all is not God our Adoni, our Master, our Lord?
Sources for this article was gleaned from various sites on the web, and God’s Word.
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