The Name of God

“The name of Adonai is a strong tower;
    a righteous person runs to it and is raised high [above danger].”

Proverbs 18:10

If you belong to Face Book, meaning you have a page registered on the site, you may have come across one or several sites that very clearly proclaim they (and only they) know the correct Name of God. This seems very curious to me, since Adonai, Himself, and others, who have interacted with him or His agents, have provided us with many names.

Let’s set the groundwork for this short teaching. In Hebrew, one’s name provides a description of the character of the person. For example, in the Book of Genesis, the first book of the Bible (Christian or Hebrew), we are given many names. For example, Adam, which originated as Adom, related to adamah – ground, and dam – blood, means ‘dust of the ground’, which describes how Adam was formed. His partner is Chava, whose name means ‘mother of all living’ in Hebrew. Then we find the name, Cain, derived from Kayin. Kayin in Hebrew means possessor or acquirer, whereas Abel, derived from Havel, means ‘to be empty’ or ‘without substance’. And, as we look through the Bible, we will find people’s names are associated with some form of description. Well, what about the Name of our Divine Head – God?

In Exodus 3, we are told God gave Moshe His Name as – Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh. These three Hebrew words mean “I am/will be what I am/will be.” Then, in the next verse, He adds – Yud-Heh-Vav-Heh, YHVH. Notice these are four consonants, without vowels. So, you tell me how His Name is to be pronounced?

Commentators around the world, through many generations, have claimed His Name should be pronounced Yahweh. Why? They have provided vowels, where none have been given, in order to produce a pronunciation. However, is this the only Name for God?

Hardly. Even the Name, God, is manufactured by humans. The first time it appeared was in the 6th Century, when the Codex Argenteus, an early Christian manuscript, was published. So, what are the Names of God? All through Scripture we find many Names for God, including Adonai, literally meaning ‘my Lord’, in Hebrew, Ketter – Desire, Chochmah – Wisdom, Binah – Understanding, Chessed – Kindness, Gevurah – Mighty, Tifferet – Compassion, Netzach – Victory, Hod – Glory, Yesod – Foundation, and Malchut – Royalty. Then we have the following phrases to describe the characteristics of YHVH – Adonai Yirah – God is my Provider, Adonai Raffa – God is my Healer and Adonai Tzivaot – Lord of Armies.

Do you see where I am going with this? Which Name would you wish to use for the Being you call God? It seems to me, given what human beings have created over the centuries and what Adonai, Himself, has declared, there are many choices. Are any of them wrong? That is not for me to decide; however, I would be careful; if you decide one or more of these are wrong and you know the correct Name for God, Adonai, Yahweh, etc. you may be drawing yourself into a trap.

Perhaps the most prudent Name to place on God is HaShem, Hebrew for ‘The Name’. We often use this Name for our Supreme Ruler, in order for us not to pronounce His ineffable Name – YHVH.

CONSIDER: What Name might you use to describe the Ruler of the universe and the Lover of our souls? If you called Him any Name, would you be incorrect? Would you be barred from spending eternity with Him? Consider these questions carefully.

ACTION: Perhaps you might approach His throne and ask Him what Name He would like you to use? Perhaps His Blessed Holy Spirit will give you one or more Names to use.

PRAY: Abba B’Shamayim, Heavenly Father, I am sure there are many of us who are confused by the many names that are used today, to describe You and . . . to Name You. I pray You will help all of us, who are seeking to communicate with you, to be free and open with whatever Name(s) you wish us to use. Allow is to find Your message in Your holy Word. B’Shem Adonai Yeshua, Mashichainu.

May the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob bless you fully and richly.

By heartformessiah

Dr. Michael Wodlinger is a Messianic Jew, living in Quebec, Canada. He has been a university professor and a rabbi of a Messianic Fellowship.

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