Hebrew Roots/Neglected Commandments/Honouring His Name/OT-Usage
HIS REVELATION TO THE PATRIARCHS
“I am Yahweh, I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty [El Shaddai] but by my name Yahweh was I not known to them” Exodus 6: 2-3
Some Bible expositors contend that this passage shows that Yahweh had not revealed His Name to the patriarchs. That even Moses did not know that His Name was Yahweh, but knew Him only as God or El Shaddai. This is incorrect as Yahweh revealed Himself to Moses by His Name in Exodus 3.
Moses anticipating Israel's response to his claims, says to Yahweh “ and they shall say to me ‘What is His Name?’ what shall I say unto them?” Exodus 3:13. From His response it is clear Yahweh invoked His personal Name and revealed it to Moses: "God said unto Moses, ‘I AM THAT I AM:’ and He said, Thus shall you say unto the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me unto you. ’And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shall you say unto the children of Israel, ‘Yahweh, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me unto you:’ this is My name forever, and this is My memorial unto all generations” Exodus 3:14 (Here He identified Himself as the One the fathers knew)
When Moses had gone aside to see the burning bush, he was told to remove his shoes as Yahweh’s presence consecrated the very ground upon which he stood. This meeting with Yahweh took place after Moses had spent 40 years on the back side of the desert and here He clearly reveals Himself to Moses. Moses heard Yahweh’s Name firsthand as he stood barefoot at the burning bush when he was commissioned to become the deliverer of Israel. Moses heard His voice again and saw His glory when He spoke to him in Exodus 6:1-8 and revealed His plans to free them and redeem them unto Himself. Moses mother’s name was Jochebed (Strongs 3115). It literally means, Glory of Yah, or Yahweh-gloried.
This is one of many evidences that the Name was known and incorporated in given names of the people even before Moses had this revelation of Yahweh's Name. Numbers 26:59
Yahweh's Name in Genesis
Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible and in Genesis alone “Yahweh” appears 164 times!
- The first place we find Yahweh’s Name is Genesis 2:4.
- The first woman, Eve, is quoted in Genesis 4:1, "I have gotten a man from Yahweh!" Eve, the mother of all living (Genesis 3:20), acknowledged Yahweh by name as the Giver of her son.
- The knowledge of the Name was known to mankind as early as the second generation after Adam. Speaking of that period of history, the book of Genesis relates, “At that time men began to call on the Name of Yahweh” Genesis 4:26.
- Yahweh often introduces Himself as the Mighty One of Abram, Isaac and Jacob who all knew and worshipped Him as Yahweh.
- When called out of Ur of the Chaldees, Abram built an altar unto Yahweh and also called upon the Name of Yahweh, Genesis 12:8.
- Isaac was visited by Yahweh at Beersheba, and the promises made to Abraham were renewed with Isaac. There Isaac built an altar and called upon the Name of Yahweh, Genesis 26:25.
- In a dream Jacob saw a staircase ascending to the heavens. "Behold, Yahweh stood above it, and said, I am Yahweh God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon you lie, I will give it to you and your descendants.” Genesis 28:13.
Thus, we see that prior to the Flood and afterward His people all knew and called upon the Name of the Sovereign Yahweh and worshiped in His Name, as did the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
HIS REVELATION TO ISRAEL
Prior to the time of His revelation to Moses, Yahweh had acted as the omnipotent El Shaddai, the Creator and omniscient Sovereign of the earth. Now He determines to reveal Himself in His redemptive power to Israel and bring them into covenant relationship with Himself. By acting on their behalf, to redeem and deliver them by mighty works of His intervention, they would comprehend the meaning of His Name, through the insight provided by deep personal experience.
“Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am Yahweh, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments: And I will take you to Me for a people, and I will be to you an God: and you shall know that I am Yahweh your God, which brings you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. ” Exodus 6: 6-8.
His acts demonstrated the meaning of His name as the One who would be all that they needed Him to be.
Israel anciently was known as 'the people of Yahweh', after they came into covenant relationship with Him. They were to represent Him and His way of life here on earth, and be a model nation for the heathen around them.
Yahweh calls Israel “His people”, and says they are called by His Name. This privilege of calling upon His Name as "Yahweh" was only to Israel, His people. Yahweh is the exclusive Covenant Name made known to His people with whom He is in relationship. Those who love Him and keep His commandments, are in a son/daughter family relationship with Him. Exodus 20: 5
He desires to allow only those dedicated to Him to know and invoke His Name, "Yahweh", as an identifying mark of those who truly love and serve Him. Thus, the literal expression, "call one's name over or upon" a people or place indicated a claim of possession or ownership. Declaring one's name was a chief means of revealing or manifesting oneself: "And in very deed for this cause have I raised you up, to shew in you My power; and that My Name may be declared throughout all the earth," Exodus 9:16.
"To a Semite a name establishes a mystic union between the knower and the known. To know the name of another is in some sense to have him in one’s soul. To pronounce his name is to make Him present here... To disclose one’s personal name is to surrender the inmost citadel of one’s self and hand over its keys. It is to lay oneself open to the reality, power, influence, needs, and love of the other. This view of names is fraught with consequences when Yahweh reveals His name to people and people name Him and name themselves to Him,” (Naming God, Scharlemann, pp. 6-10.)
Israel was fully identified as being His people, and He their God. Israel had been redeemed from the death and bondage of Egypt, and had ratified the Covenant proposed by Yahweh (Ex. 24:1-8).
Moses asked to see His glory, (Exodus 33:18) and Yahweh proclaimed His Name at the same time He revealed His glory: “And Yahweh descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the Name of Yahweh. And Yahweh passed by before him, and proclaimed, Yahweh, Yahweh God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation. And Moses made haste, and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshipped,” Exodus 34: 5-8.
Yahweh’s Name is intimately bound up in His glory and righteous character. Yahweh’s Name and glory reveal that He is merciful and gracious, patient, full of goodness and truth, exceedingly merciful. All of these attributes are bound up in His glorious Name.
Usage of the Name
As well as using the shortened form of the Name 'Yah' in given names, the Name was used in everyday speech and in greetings, as is seen in the following --
- Boaz greeting his reapers, "Yahweh be with you. And they answered him, Yahweh bless you." Ruth 2:4
- Samuel's instruction to the people, " turn not aside from following Yahweh, but serve Yahweh with all your heart" 1 Samuel 12:20
- In conversation Joshua uses Yahweh's personal name, e.g. - Joshua Ch.1:10-11, 17; 3:3-6; 4:21-24
- Note Joshua's final address to the people and their answer using Yahweh's Name Ch.24:14-18
- (using KJ Version wherever 'LORD' appears in capitals it is Yahweh in the original)
- His name was known to Rahab and the nations of that era for what He did at the Red Sea, Joshua 2:9-10
Yahweh was known by name as the God of Israel and the Name was in use in Israel as recorded in the scriptures, as well as by external records, until their apostasy and their captivity into Babylon. The Name of Yahweh is intended to be used by His people (Deuteronomy 28:10)
"O magnify Yahweh with me, and let us exalt His Name together" Psalm 34: 3
RESTORATION OF HIS NAME
Speaking of the end days, Yahweh says that He will purify and refine His people Israel in the land, and one third of them shall be saved, and, “They shall call upon My Name, and I will answer them. I will say, This is My people; and each one will say, Yahweh is my God.” Zechariah 13: 9 After He has judged them, they will be forgiven for polluting His name among the heathen where they have been, through their idolatry (Ezekiel 23:49)
"In those days and at that time, says Yahweh, the children of Israel shall come, they and the children of Judah together; with continual weeping they shall come, and seek Yahweh their God. (the 2 Houses) They shall ask the way to Zion, with their faces toward it saying, 'Come let us join ourselves to Yahweh in a perpetual covenant that will not be forgotten.'" Jeremiah 50: 4-5
"The Redeemer will come to Zion, and to those who turn from transgression in Jacob, says Yahweh. As for Me, says Yahweh, this is My covenant with them: My Spirit who is upon you, and my words which I have put in your mouth, shall not depart from your mouth, nor from the mouth of your descendants, says Yahweh, from this time forth and forevermore." Isaiah 59:20-21
"Therefore My people shall know My Name; therefore they shall know in THAT day that I am He who speaks” Isaiah 52:6 This is prophetic of the future restoration and deliverance of Israel when He will demonstrate His power on behalf of those who have returned to Him and call upon Him.
"And My holy Name I will make known in the midst of My people Israel; and I will not let My holy Name be profaned anymore; and the nations shall know that I am Yahweh, the Holy One of Israel" Ezekiel 39: 7
When Yahweh has brought His people back to the land and back to Himself then the 'Gentiles' also shall come to Yahweh from the ends of the earth and say, "Surely our fathers have inherited lies, worthlessness and unprofitable things. Will a man make gods for himself which are not gods?
"Therefore I am causing them to know at this time, I cause them to know My hand and My might. And they shall know My Name is Yahweh." Jeremiah Chapter 16 verses 19-21 of the passage, verses 14-21
When Israel once again begins to call on the Name of Yahweh, those of the nations who at that time have not identified themselves as 'Israel' will come to a realization of the deception, worthlessness and unprofitableness of their form of worship, which does not acknowledge the Name of Yahweh. The demonstrated true worship of Yahweh will expose that which is based on lies and has no real spiritual value and profit. The point in verse 21 is that they will know His Name is Yahweh.
"For then I will restore to the peoples a pure language, that they all may call on the Name of Yahweh, to serve Him with one accord" Zephaniah 3:9 This scripture is prophesying that all will know His Name. It is of great importance to Yahweh that His Name is known, for our inheritance is in His Name. By identifying with His Name we become identified as His covenant people - His spiritual family. The whole family of God is called by His Name (Eph. 3:15). He is our spiritual Father and we His children. We, who have come from the nations, have been grafted into the olive tree, Israel. Romans 11:17
So that now we are by adoption part of the nation of Israel, no longer "aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise " (Ephesians 2:12)
"I will call them My people who were not My people, and her beloved who was not beloved. And it shall come to pass in the place where it was said to them, 'You are not My people', there they shall be called the sons of the living God " (Romans 9:25-26 - quote of Hosea 2:23 & 1:10)
"For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. 'For whoever calls on the Name of Yahweh shall be saved'." (Romans 10:12-13 quote of Joel 2:32)
He has only one covenant people, the commonwealth of Israel, whom He instructs to call on His Name.