God's Name And Identity
It is extremely important and biblically mandated to use, respect, and actually call upon the name of God – Y’HoVaH (YHVH). In Genesis 4:26 it is written, “To Seth, also, was born a son, whom he named Enosh. That is when people began to call on the name of YHVH.”
Somehow, between the time of Enosh and the time of Moses, people forgot the name of God. In Exodus 3:13-15, Moses said to God, “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 that which I am. Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I am has sent me to you.’” And God said further to Moses, “Thus you are to say to the children of Israel, Yod-Heh-Vav-Heh (YHVH) 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; this is how I am to be remembered to all generations.’”
Thereby, God restores to His people a very precious gift – His actual name – which was spoken to Moses in Hebrew. Many people mistakenly think that God’s name is found in Exodus 3:14 – “I am that which I am,” but that is a misunderstanding of the text (especially the English text as translated in most of our Bibles). “I am that which I am” actually explains what YHVH is in Himself.
The word that YHVH speaks about Himself in Exodus 3:14 is echoed and made even more clear in Exodus 3:15 when God gives His actual name, YHVH, which means: 1. the self-existent one (that YHVH has His being of Himself, i.e., that He is not created); 2. the eternal, infinite one (unchangeable in His word as well as in His nature; always the same, yesterday, today, and forever; faithful and true to all of His promises); 3. the incomprehensible one (known by revelation, not by our search for Him or our human understanding of Him). It was the euro-languages translators that transliterated God’s name into four letters known as the tetragrammaton – YHVH (pronounced Y’HoVaH) or YHWH (pronounced Yahweh). We use and prefer “Y’HoVaH” because there is no “w” sound in Hebrew, but we are not adamant or divisive about it. There is also no “j” sound in Hebrew which is why we use the name “Yeshua” (instead of “Jesus”) and “Y’HoVaH” instead of “Jehovah.”
It should not escape us, as it has so many people, how important and essential it is to use God’s name. In the TaNaK alone, the Spirit of God inspired the Bible writers to use the tetragrammaton 6,828 times. Unfortunately, most modern translations of the Bible, including those in English and Spanish, do us a great disservice because they actually remove God’s name and replace it with titles or adjectives (like LORD, God, Adonai, etc.). Instead of YHVH / Y’HoVaH, most Bibles use the word “LORD.” In a very real way, this is a violation of the third Commandment: “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.” An even more accurate translation of this Commandment would be, “Do not bring the name of YHVH your God to nothingness (i.e., to non-use).” Most of us were taught that obeying the third Commandment means that we are not supposed to use YHVH’s name when we curse or swear. While it is totally disrespectful to use God’s name that way – even more to the point of the Commandment is that we should never stop calling upon or using God’s actual name – Y’HoVaH.
In light of God’s self-identifying revelation in Exodus 3, God mandates that all generations are to use and call upon His name – YHVH – not just Israelites or Jews. Later on in the scriptures, God’s word gives these warnings: “Pour out Your wrath upon the nations which do not know You, and upon the kingdoms which do not call upon Your name.” Psalm 79:6 And, “Pour out Your wrath on the nations that do not know You and on the families that do not call Your name.” Jeremiah 10:25a
At first, in one sense it can kind of feel weird to actually call on His real name because we’re not used to it – but it also feels weird because it is much more intimate. YHVH is personal and wants us to be personal and intimate with Him. That is why He gives us His name!
“O give thanks to Y’HoVaH, call upon His name; make know His deed among the peoples.” 1 Chronicles 16:8 “Call upon Me in the day of trouble, and I will deliver you and you shall glorify Me.” Psalm 50:15 In the Hebrew, “call upon me” literally means “address me by name.” This is a VERY IMPORTANT issue for the people of Y’HoVaH! Imagine how much the enemy would like to steal God’s name away from God’s children!