THE GLORIOUS NAME OF YAHWEH
“Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended?
Who hath gathered the wind in his fists? Who hath bound the waters in a garment? What is his name, and what is his son’s name, if thou canst tell? (Prov. 30:4).
In Hebrews chapter 2, we read of our Lord Jesus Christ:
“Both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the ecclesia will I sing praise unto thee” (Heb. 2:11-12).
From these words, we learn that Jesus declared his Father’s Name to his brethren. Similarly, John chapter 17 narrates the prayer of Jesus to his Father, including these words:
“I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them” (Jno. 17:26).
Declaring his Father’s name then, formed part of the testimony of Messiah. For the Greek word translated “declared”, Strongs Concordance gives the definition: “in earlier Greek it means “to gain a knowledge of” or “have thorough knowledge of.” As brethren of Christ, it is therefore important that we have a thorough knowledge of our Father’s Name. Indeed, to give attention to our Father’s Name is a characteristic of the faithful. So Malachi described: “Then they that feared Yahweh spoke often one to another: and Yahweh hearkened and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared Yahweh and that thought on His Name” (Mal. 3:16). If we are the servants of Yahweh, thinking upon his Name and speaking to each other about the holy things written in the Word are things that we will delight in.
Brethren have often made the point that the translation in Exodus 3:14 which defines that name should read: “I will be who I will be” and not, as in the AV “I am that I am.” i.e. it expresses the Creator’s purpose specifically of the future. This interpretation can also be seen when we consider the stated meaning of Messiah’s Name: “… she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins” (Mat. 1:21). The Hebrew for Messiah’s Name is made up of two words: the first being Yah: an abbreviation for Yahweh, and the word “to save”. Hence the meaning is “Yah saves” or to be more literal, showing the future tense of the Name: “he shall save” – which is the Spirit’s translation given in Matthew 1:21, thus providing confirmation that Yah is a future, not present tense.
TAKING YAHWEH’S NAME IN VAIN
The Old Testament record of the 10 commandments includes the command:
“Thou shalt not take the name of Yahweh thy God in vain; for Yahweh will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain” (Exo. 20:7, Deut. 5:11).
But the question is, What does it mean to take the Name in vain? The word “vain” as the use of a concordance will show, signifies “empty” or “nothingness”. The sense then is to consider the Name as being nothing, empty of importance. But what greater way can Yahweh’s name be brought to nothing, than to systematically remove every time it occurs in the holy writ so that nothing is left? And substituting it for a different word with a radically different meaning? Yet that is what most English translations do: they substitute the Name for the words “LORD” and “GOD” in block capitals! Yahweh chose to place His Name well over 6,000 times in Scripture, but each and every one has been removed by men. Paradoxically however, the translators chose to indicate that something more than “lord” or “god” is being meant, by rendering the words in block capitals on each occurrence where the Name is present in the Hebrew.
There are those who consider that it is wrong to use our Father’s Name. A variety of reasons are given, ranging from it being a Hebrew word, and we don’t speak Hebrew, to the claim that we are denying the Lordship of God by changing “LORD” back to “Yahweh”, and the claim that Jesus never used the Name (which is unsustainable, as in our opening citation, he specifically stated that he “declared” it to his brethren – something difficult to do without saying what that name was). But Scripture teaching is contrary to this position:
“sing unto God, sing praises to his name: extol him that rideth upon the heavens by his name Yah, and rejoice before him” (Psa. 68:4. See also: Ex. 3:15; Deut. 32:3; Psa. 102:21; Am 6:10; 1 Kings 8:33; Psa. 22:22; Isa. 26:13).
According to Scripture, the suppression of the Name is a characteristic of false prophets:
“… they are prophets of the deceit of their own heart; which think to cause my people to forget my name for their dreams which they tell every man to his neighbour, as their fathers have forgotten my name for Baal” (Jer. 26-27).
Interestingly, the word “baal” is often the word for “lord” in Scripture: the Fathers had forgotten the Name of Yahweh for “the Lord”!!!
The truth of the matter is expressed thus:
“I am Yahweh: that is my Name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images” (Isa. 42:8).
We ought to honour our Creator by addressing Him by the Name He has indicated that he wishes us to use. An analysis of Bible teaching on the Name follows:
Call on the Name (Gen. 13:4; 1 Kings 18:24; Zeph. 3:9; 1Chron. 16:8, Joel 2:32, Lam. 3:55; Psa. 80:18; 105:1)
Not take the Name in vain (Deut. 5:11, Prov. 30:9)
Fear the Name (Deut. 28:58; Psa. 102:15; Isa. 59:19)
Publish the Name (Deut. 32:3)
Declare the Name (Psa. 102:21)
Sing Praises to Name (2Sam. 22:50; Psa. 7:17; 68:4; 18:49)
Praise the Name (Psa. 44:8; 69:30; 92:1; 54:6; 74:21; 113:1; 135:1; 149:3; Joel 2:26)
Confess the Name (1 Kings 8:3; Isa. 26:13)
Glory in the Name (1Chron. 16:10; Psa. 105:3)
Give Thanks to Name (1Chron. 16:35; Psa. 106:47; 122:4; 140:13)
Bless the Name (Neh. 9:5; Job 1:21; Psa. 96:2; 100:4; Psa. 103:1; 145:1)
Love the Name (Psa. 5:11; 69:36; 119:132; 56:6)
Know the Name (Psa. 9:10)
Remember the Name (Psa. 20:7; 119:55; 44:20; 45:17)
Glorify the Name (Psa. 29:2; 86:9; 115:1)
Trust in the Name (Psa. 33:21; Isa. 50:10)
Exalt the Name (Psa. 34:3)
Wait upon the Name (Psa. 52:9)
Honour the Name (Psa. 66:2)
Sing to the Name (Psa. 66:4)
Extol our Creator by his Name (Psa. 68:4)
Seek the Name (Psa. 66:4)
Rejoice in the Name (Psa. 89:16)
It should be the desire of our soul (Isa. 26:8)
Sanctify the Name (Isa. 29:23)
Bless the Name (Dan. 2:20)
Walk in Name (Mic. 4:5)
Think upon the Name (Mal. 3:16)
Fear the Name (Mal. 4:2)
Not despise the Name (Mal. 1:6)
The Name is:
A Memorial (Ex. 3:15)
Glorious and Fearful (1Chron. 29:13; Isa. 63:14)
Great (Psa. 76:1; Jos 7:9; Mal. 1:11)
Magnified for ever (2 Sam. 7:26; 1 Chron. 17:8,21,24)
Excellent (Psa. 8:1,9; 148:5,13)
Shall Endure for Ever (Psa. 72:17; 135:13)
Will be blessed for ever (Psa. 72:19).
Great and Terrible (Psa. 99:3)
Holy and Reverend (Psa. 111:9)
A Strong Tower (Prov. 18:10)
Exalted (Isa. 12:4)
Holy (Isa. 57:15)
Everlasting (Isa. 63:12,16)
Great in Might (Jer. 10:6)
Majestic (Mic. 5:4)
The Name will be declared to Israel (Psa. 102:21; Isa. 52:6, 39:28, Zech. 13:9)
And also to the heathen (Isa. 64:2; Eze. 38:23; 39:7; Zeph. 3:8; Mal. 1:11; Psa. 102:15; 145:21)
It should be spoken (Ex. 3:15; Deut. 32:3; Psa. 102:21; Amos 6:10; 1 Kings 8:33; Psa. 22:22; 68:4 Isa. 26:13)
Yahweh’s People are called by His Name (Jer. 14:9; Dan. 9:19)
The New Testament:-
We should Hallow (regard as holy) the Name (Mat. 6:9; Luke 11:2)
Christ came in the Name (Mat. 21:9; 23:39; Luke 13:35, 19:38; Jno. 5:43; 10:25, 12, 13)
Believers are baptised into the Name (Greek: Mat. 28:19)
The Name is Great and Holy (Luke 1:29)
Was glorified by Christ (Jno. 12:28)
Was manifested by Christ (Jno. 17:6)
Was declared by Christ (Jno. 17:26; Heb. 2:26)
Believers kept in the Name (Jno. 17:2)
Name was declared to all the earth at the time of Moses (Rom. 9:17)
We must show love towards the name (Heb. 6:10)
We should give thanks to His Name (Heb. 13:15)
The Saints in the Kingdom will use the Name (Rev. 19:1,3,4,6)
The Saints are those who have the Name in their thinking (Rev. 14:1; 22:4)
Gentiles are called to be a people for his Name (Acts 15:14)
It is significant that the final references to our Father’s Name in both the Old and New Testaments speak of thinking upon the Name, and in both cases those who do this constitute the Faithful. We must therefore not ignore the Name – it is important for our salvation. It is characteristic of false teachers that they will tell us to forget the Name (see Jer. 23:27), and characteristic of the faithful that they will remember it, and encourage others to remember it (Psa. 20:7, 45:17).
The fact that the Name is spoken of in prophecies of the Kingdom proved that it was not disannulled by the passing of the Law of Moses. The fact that both Jew and Gentile will be educated in the Name in the kingdom proves that both Jew and Gentile should seek to understand it.
“Yahweh” is the Name of our Father: we become His sons through Baptism. As in the natural, where it is customary for sons to bear their Father’s surname, so it is in the spiritual, when we are baptised into that Name (Mat. 28:19). It is therefore our family Name which speaks of our Father’s intention to perpetuate His Character through a whole multitude of Sons (see Phanerosis & Eureka Vol. 1). It is a New Testament principle that as Gentiles called out for the name (Acts. 15:14), we should Hallow the Name (Mat. 6:9) and love the Name (Heb. 6:10), as a token of our honour to the One who bears it.