THE NAME AND TITLES OF THE DEITY
The article below is designed to address the following questions:
- Why must we use the Name and Titles? What is the purpose of the Titles?
- Why not just use “God”?
- What is wrong with using “God”? A generic reference! Is that respectful?
- What is the Divine Order? Is it that important?
- Where do we stand in the Divine Order? How should that guide our life?
- Does using the Titles when reading The Word make it much more powerful and easier to understand
USING THE NAME AND TITLES
Mankind, even those in the Household of Faith in these last days, has lost a lot of, or even all understanding of its place in the Divine order of respect. That is, man’s place in relation to The Deity, which as 1 Corinthians 11:3 tells us, is well below that of Yahweh’s status. Humanism has led to men humanising the Deity, which is, attributing human characteristics and behaviour to Yahweh, his Son and even the Angels. That is a massive error and is quite an insult to Yahweh, and therefore is an activity which we should not, nay, MUST not be involved with. It even tries to negate such scriptures as 1 Cor. 11:3 which gives us a clear description of the Divine Order. To prevent us becoming involved in such activities, we should and MUST know Yahweh, His Name and His character, all of which are learned by knowing His Name. Christadelphians claim to be Bible students, even to the extent of making such claims from the platform when giving public lectures and trying to describe our community. How can Bible students not fully know and promote the Divine Name as a primary tenet of our faith? It is a very visible problem these days.
Yahweh graciously gave us the access to His Name in Exodus 3. In verse 4 whilst Moses was at the burning bush, Yahweh Himself saw that Moses turned aside to look at the bush that was on fire yet was not being consumed. Yahweh, through the Elohim, spoke to Moses telling him that the ground upon which he stood was Holy Ground and then He identifies himself in verse 6, where He says “I am the Elohim of thy father, the Elohim of Abraham, the Elohim of Isaac, and the Elohim of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon Elohim.” Interestingly the word ‘father’ is shown in Acts 7:32 to be in the plural and this passage is also used by the Lord Jesus Christ in Matt 22:32 to prove the certainty of the coming resurrection, where he says “I am the Elohim of Abraham, and the Elohim of Isaac, and the Elohim of Jacob? Elohim is not the Elohim of the dead, but of the living.” He is thus implying that those forefathers will be living in Yahweh’s coming Kingdom. The one who spoke to Moses is termed, in verse 2, as “the angel of Yahweh”, “Yahweh” and “Elohim” in verse 4. As we have mentioned this event is referred to in Acts 7:30-35 where this being was described as an Angelic Being. Whilst literally being an Angel of Yahweh, he could also be termed “Yahweh” because he was a manifestation of the Creator, a representative of Yahweh, and speaking in His Name. Similarly he could be described by the plural term “Elohim” (meaning “mighty ones”) because he was one of the multitude of Angelic Beings, and therefore one of their representatives.
In Exodus 3:13, Moses said unto Elohim, “Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The Elohim of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? What shall I say unto them?” Here Moses shows that he has a need to identify Yahweh with a name, not only personalising (but NOT humanising) Him but giving the people a specific name upon which they can call and worship. Yahweh, then, through the Elohim, tells Moses how to address Him in verses 14 and 15:
“And Elohim said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you. 15 And Elohim said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, Yahweh Elohim of your fathers, the Elohim of Abraham, the Elohim of Isaac, and the Elohim of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.”
Yahweh has, in these verses told us that He is identified unto us as Yahweh – ‘for ever’ and ‘unto all generations’. The Authorised Version (The KJV) has it as “I AM THAT I AM.” This is not supported by the Hebrew text. The Hebrew words are “Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh” which means, “I Will Be Whom I Will Be” The Name of Israel’s Deity is thus expressive of His purpose to eventually become manifested in a great multitude of all the redeemed. Yahweh is a Deity Who IS, Who WAS and Who WILL BE. He is therefore a Deity who has conceived a plan with an ultimate object in view.
DESCRIBING THE ETERNAL CREATOR
The “I” in the meaning of the Name is first person, singular and speaks of the One Eternal Spirit Himself – the one source and fountain of all life and all living. The words “will be” indicate a future purpose to be manifested at a later date. The relative pronoun, “who” is both singular and plural, masculine and feminine; and can therefore speak of a great multitude. The final phrase “will be” relates to both the “I” and the “Who” – thus showing that the One, Singular Deity of all creation will ultimately be manifested in many. See John 17:17-23:
“Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.”
Literally, the Name is spelled YHWH (He Who Will Be) and pronounced as “Yahweh”.
Why then would we deny that great privilege and keep referring to Him with the word, ‘God’, which, comes from a pagan beginning and that evidently comes directly from a word that referred to a cast metal idol? Some believe it was a corruption of the word ‘good’ but most authorities now do not consider that to be the case these days. Who do we think we are to reject His generosity and love in giving us His Name and then refer to Him with a generic term that can refer to anything man loves?
In the Psalms there are many instances of instructions in knowing, loving, praising and respecting the Name of Yahweh. Look in Psalm 5:11 “But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee.”
There are about 102 instances of the word ‘name’ in the Psalms alone: whilst not all of them are in relation to the Divine Name, a great percentage are. For example, Psalm 99:3 “Let them praise thy great and terrible Name; for it is holy.” Psalm 145:21 tells us to “bless His Holy Name forever and ever”, this tells us that by being ‘holy’ His Name is separate from all other names, therefore we must not give Him a generic name as does the world today.
KNOWING THE FATHER’S NAME
How can we praise His Name if we don’t know what it is? To know the Divine Name is a basic fundamental of the Truth which I believe will be essential for our salvation. Our salvation, if we are chosen, is to be based on the grace and mercy of our Loving Heavenly Father and will not be because we have fulfilled the legalities of “thou shalt not’ (although those commands are an important guide to our lives), the main consideration will be our fervent, true love and respect for Yahweh, for His Character and for His plans and purpose for the earth and all therein, NOT just because we want to live for ever!
When the Authorised Version of Scripture was translated, there was an incredible amount of input by the “church.” King James gave the translators instructions intended to guarantee that the new version would conform to the ecclesiology of the Church, and what easier way to hide their hideous doctrine of the Trinity than to have a generic word covering all the aspects and characteristics of The Deity, that generic word being ‘God’. There would be no differentiation of Yahweh’s character, or of those characteristics manifesting His Name, thus making the Church’s insidious introduction of a triune “God” easier, especially in those days where most of the populous were illiterate and relied on the clergy of the day for their information and instruction. In following the tradition of just using that generic term we are compounding and supporting the error taught and promoted by the Catholic based religions.
The Catholic Church was responsible for the Latin Vulgate translation. The Vulgate is the AD 382 Catholic translation in Latin that removed the Tetragrammaton (YHWH) from its text and replaced it with Lord (Dominus, equivalent to Adonai in Hebrew), and replaced all other forms of Name or title with God (Deus). It followed what was also the case in the Septuagint, the Greek translation. It was claimed this was so because the Tetragrammaton is ‘unpronounceable’ and as the Jews do not vocalise it, those who used those texts were not encouraged to do so as well. This strangely enough, has not been the case with The Jerusalem Bible, a current Catholic Bible which uses the Name “Yahweh” where appropriate in the Old Testament but still hides the appellations and other descriptive names used to express the character of Yahweh behind the generic term “God”, which is also used for all referrals to The Deity in the New Testament.
An example of the difference a word can make is in the book of Jonah. In Jonah 1:5, whilst the ship in which Jonah had embarked to go to Tarshish in his attempt to distance himself from Yahweh and His directive for Jonah to prophesy against Nineveh, it was being pounded by the storm and tempest Yahweh had caused, the mariners were afraid and cried to their ‘gods’ (their mighty ones), of course to no avail. In verse 5 at the end of the verse, the captain found Jonah asleep in the bottom of the ship. In verse 6 he encouraged Jonah to call upon his Elohim. Even the translators of The King James Version make a small attempt at differentiating between the pagan gods of the mariners and the Elohim as they give the Elohim a capital letter whereas the mariner’s gods are not afforded the same deference. It also is an example that the true titles were known to be significant in meaning but were still given the generic title.
MORE THAN A MERE TITLE
Like other Hebrew proper Names, the Name of Yahweh is more than a mere distinguishing title or appellation. It represents the Hebrew conception of the divine nature or character and of the relation of Yahweh to His people. It represents the Deity as He is known to His worshipers, and stands for all those attributes which He bears in relation to them and which are revealed to them through His activity on their behalf. A new manifestation of His interest or care may give rise to a new name. So, also, an old name may acquire new content and significance through new and varied experience of these sacred relations.
It can readily be understood, therefore, how the Divine Name is often spoken of as equivalent to the divine presence or power or glory. In Ex. 23:20-23 it is promised that Yahweh’s angel will lead and give victory to His people, who must yield reverent obedience, for, Yahweh says, “my Name is in him.” The devout Israelite will not take the name of a false god upon his lips (Ex. 23:13; Josh. 23: 7; Hosea 2:16-17; Ps. 16:4). To make mention of Yahweh’s name is to assert confidence in His strength and His present and efficient aid. The Name excites emotions of love, joy, and praise (Ps. 5:11; 7:17; 9: 2; 20:1, 7). That Name is, therefore, especially connected with the altar or sanctuary, the place where Yahweh records His Name (Ex. 20: 24), or “the place which Yahweh your Elohim shall choose out of all your tribes to put His Name there” (Deut. 12: 5; comp. I Kings 8: 16, 29; 9:3; Jer. 7:12). The Temple is “the place of the name of Yahweh Tzavaoth, the mount Zion” (Isa. 18: 7). In one or two comparatively late passages, the phrase, “the Name” is used absolutely, doubtless as an equivalent for “the name of Yahweh” (Lev. 24:11, 16; comp. Deut. 28: 58).
In the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20:4, there is a commandment to not make or have any graven or molten images or likenesses of anything from heaven or earth, therefore would it not be of the highest insult and irony if we were to say that ‘God‘ (meaning from its Sanskrit root – a molten image) was the originator of that commandment? In verse 5 Yahweh even goes to the extent of naming Himself and emphasising that He is a jealous Elohim and will not tolerate those that ‘hate’ Him. Therefore to utilise a generic term, originating from a description of a molten image from a culture of the utmost heathens (the cultures from the Indian sub-continent), must be painful to Yahweh when it is used by those professing to love him but not bothering to truly know Him and His name.
A great example of how the Name was taken with extreme seriousness is shown at the commencement of the Levite’s prayer in Nehemiah 9:5 where they commence with “Stand up and bless Yahweh your Elohim for ever and ever: and blessed be thy glorious name, which is exalted above all blessing and praise.” They then continue extolling Yahweh and His character listing many events and works done by Yahweh throughout Israel’s history, showing how it is possible to learn from knowing The Name and He Whom it is describing.
Another reason to respect and promote the use and understanding of Yahweh’s Name and the Titles that describe his marvellous character is that we are totally reliant upon Yahweh’s Grace and Mercy, especially when it relates to our personal salvation and the opportunity to be with Him and the Divine Family for evermore. Why would Yahweh choose someone who insulted Him continually by using a word which in reality describes Him as a molten idol when they had the opportunity and ability to know, study and love His true Name, as we all do?
WHY NOT SIMPLY USE “GOD”?
There are many who will say, “But we know what we mean when we use the word ‘God’, so what does it matter? Why then do we as a community, mainly use the word “ecclesia” instead of “church” (although with the rapidly diminishing standards of today there are those who call themselves Christadelphians who use ‘church’ instead of ‘ecclesia’), so there must be reasons to improve our language in relation to things divine. Also there are times in the KJV where we substitute ‘illegitimate’ for a word many find offensive, even though it is the original English word for the purpose. Some even object and change the word ‘bloody’, which is perfect for the purpose when used in scripture as it describes what is being discussed to perfection, and it is only because some relate it to an expletive in common use (as also is the word ‘God’ in common idiom) which maybe says more about the minds of those concerned, than the word. We must not forget that we are referring to the Almighty Creator, our Creator and Sustainer, He who is due all praise, glory and especially respect, so why can we not respect Him enough to take the time and effort to even get his Name right – as He gave it to us back in Exodus.
The thing is, Yahweh knows, and He also knows that we know His true Name, and it is up to us to determine the respect and honour we think He is due. If we wish to be in His Kingdom in the near future – whether it is for reasons where we respect and love Him and only wish to please, honour and praise Him for evermore or if we wish to be in the Kingdom for our own selfish reasons, just so we can live for evermore (a circumstance which I believe will preclude us from the Kingdom), does not even logic instruct us to know, respect and use Yahweh’s most magnificent Name which He has kindly given us?
It is not even that hard to do so nowadays, there are translations which have done all the work and are available (for free), two being the “Restored Name King James Version” and one from The Institute for Scripture Research called TS2009 which is a very literal version that replaces the Anglicised Name with the original Hebrew and puts the order of the books into the order of the Tanakh Hebrew and Messianic Scriptures. Their description is – This is a literal translation of the Bible in English. This translation differs significantly from most common English translations in that it has restored the original book order of the Hebrew Scriptures, the Tanakh, and restored the Name of the Most High, (Yahweh) throughout.
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF “THE NAME”
So much was the Name embedded in ancient Jewish thought, that it was frequently designated merely as “The Name”.
The Name of Yahweh is likened to a strong tower of refuge and safety, Prov 18:10,
It is holy, Psalm 33:21,
the man of wisdom will strive to understand it, Micah 6:9, (where does that leave those who refuse to use it?)
there is a heritage to those who fear it, Psalm 61:5-8,
there is a reward for those who seek to know it, Psalm 9:10,
It is a source of confidence, Psalm 9:10
It is vocally important to identify Israel’s Deity, Joshua 9:9
Those who think upon “The Name” are recorded in Yahweh’s Book of Remembrance, Malachi 3:16
We are exhorted to:
Exalt His Name, Psalm 34:3-4,
To extol His Name, Psalm 68:4,
Remember His Name Psalm 20:7,
To fear the Name, Malachi 4:2,
Praise the Name, Psalm 112:1-3,
To love the Name, Psalm 69:36,
To bless the Name, Psalm 96:2,
To Glorify the Name, Psalm 29:2,
To know the Name, Isaiah 52:6,
To publish the Name, Exodus 9:16,
To sing the Name, Psalm 61:8,
We are to call upon the Name, 1 Chronicles 16:8
To pray to the Name, Psalm 140:13, Psalm 80:18,
False teachers will tell us to forget the Name, Jeremiah 23:27
And we MUST NOT despise the Name Malachi 1:6.
“In the path of Thy judgements, O Yahweh, we wait for Thee; Thy memorial Name is the desire of our soul…” Isaiah 26:8 (RSV)