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A Study into the Name of God

YHVH - God of the Tanach (Old Testament) is still the God of the Brit Chadashah (New Testament)



Foreword
An understanding of Jewish culture, practices, idioms, and faith is beneficial in understanding the true meaning of the scriptures.

First, we must remember that God did not give us the Bible in English. The original language of the Tanakh, the Old Testament Bible, was given to us in Hebrew! If we want to know exactly what God was saying to us we need to study His word as it was given to us: in Hebrew.

Secondly, the practice of titling the books of the Tanakh (Old Testament Bible) was done by using the first word, or words, of that book's text. For example, the second book of the Old Testament Bible is referred to as Exodus. In the Tanakh that same book is called "Shemot", which means Names.

The Tanakh has three sections: Torah, (the Law), Nevi'im (the Prophets), and Kethuvim (Writings).

God's Word, in its entirety, is a love letter to mankind - an incorruptible covenant between God and mankind - a promise to us. It is critical that our conclusions are based upon scripture ONLY .

I have used the text and the numbering of the Hebrew Tanakh for all Old Testament scriptures in this study. I have also included the chapter and verse numbers from the King James Version, hereafter referred to as KJV, for comparative study. I encourage anyone reading this to not accept this information as truth simply because it is stated here. I encourage you to conduct your own research to confirm that the information given here is not only true, but taken directly from God's Word.



The Name of God
The fact that the book of Exodus is, in fact, titled "Names" in the original language that God gave it to Moses (Moshe, in Hebrew) suggests that God places a great deal of importance on names. Therefore, it can be logically concluded that God's name itself is important to Him. So much so, that God Himself proclaims in Shemot 20:21 (Exodus 20:24 in the KJV) " ...in every place where I cause My name to be mentioned I will come to you and bless you." It should likewise be important to us.

In the third chapter of the book of Exodus, ("Shemot") Moses (Moshe) asked God what his name is. (Shemot 3:13 - 15) In the third chapter of the book of Exodus, ("Shemot") Moses (Moshe) asked God what his name is. (Shemot 3:13 - 15)
13"Moshe said to God, "When I come to the Israelites and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they ask me, 'What is His name?' what shall I say to them?"

14"And God said to Moshe, "Ehyeh-Asher-Ehyeh." He continued, "Thus shall you say to the Israelites, 'Ehyeh sent me to you.'""

15"And God said further to Moshe, "Thus shall you speak to the Israelites: YHWH, the God of your fathers, the God of Avraham, the God of Yitzak, and the God of Yakkov, has sent me to you: This shall be my name forever, This shall be my appellation for all eternity.""

The KJV renders this group of scripture, in Exodus 3:13 - 15, thusly:
"13And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them?

14And God 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.

15And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, the LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.
"

It is commonly known that the Hebrew people, for fear of having the name of God dishonored, substituted the all-uppercase word "LORD" for "YHWH", which is consonant-only version of the actual name of God, which is known as the Tetragrammaton. (The Tetragrammaton came into being as yet another safeguard intended to prevent blaspheming God's holy name.) For an comprehensive study on the Tetragrammaton, see: http://www.jewfaq.org/name.htm.



"I AM THAT I AM" Defined in Context
As illustrated above, "Ehyeh-Asher-Ehyeh" is the original Hebrew text that translates roughly into English as "I AM THAT I AM".

The word "Ehyeh" is a first-person-singular-present and future form of the Hebrew word "Hayah". This means that the meaning of "Ehyeh-Asher-Ehyeh." actually goes beyond merely "I AM THAT I AM", but declares a sense of eternity, much like in Revelation 4:8, where the scripture refers to God as the one who "was, is, and is to come." "Ehyeh-Asher-Ehyeh" also is translated as "I WILL BE WHAT I WILL BE" and "I AM WHO I AM" and "I AM THAT I AM". The actual name that God gives Himself in Shemot 3:15, "YHWH" is also associated with the root verb "Hayah", or "To Be."
Source: JPS Hebrew-English Tanakh, New JPS Translation, Second Edition, The Jewish Publication Society, Philadelphia, 1999.

Because the Hebrew scribes feared that God's name, YHWH, would be blasphemed or dishonored, they replaced every instance of it in most of their manuscripts with "Adonai", "HaShem", or, in English versions, "LORD", usually rendered in all upper-case letters. It is unfortunate that translators of the Old Testament copied the scriptures with the word "LORD" substituting for God's real name, and that ignorance has led us to believe today that this is how the original text was rendered. The Jewish culture was always aware of the fact that wherever the word "LORD" occurred in the Tanakh meant YHWH. This knowledge is not very widely publicized in modern Christian culture.



YHWH is Our Salvation
The Hebrew scripture also refers to one who will come to redeem mankind, one who will be the sacrificial lamb that will be sacrificed to cover all of the sins of mankind. For students of Hebrew, arriving at this name is very simple, because the Tanakh says His name will be "YHWH is Our Salvation" - Yahushua, often shortened to "Yeshua" or "Yahshua." This is the actual name that was given to the flesh manifestation of our God, Emmanuel, (God is with us, Matthew 1:23) - the man in whom resided all the fullness of the Godhead bodily during His time on Earth (Colossians 2:9), the man to whom we often refer to as Jesus.

It should come as no surprise that our God intended that his true name, and nature, be exposed to us. Nor should it be a surprise that He robed Himself in flesh, came to Earth in the form of a man to subject Himself in humility to His own creation, to die a human, agonizing, death, to pay for our sins. He loves us, and wants us to love Him.

Yet, it seems that most of the world, even many professing believers remain ignorant of these fundamental truths: God, himself, came to us robed in flesh to pay for our sins, and His name is Our Salvation: Yeshua.



In Closing
I sincerely hope and pray that this study has been a blessing to you, and leads you to dig deeper into the scriptures for yourself, and to come to know God in the way He intended that we know Him.

It is not my intention to fuel any dissent or contention within any fellowship, but rather, to cast light upon this subject. If I were in error, and my soul was at stake, I would be grateful if someone were to point out my error, that I might correct myself, and bring myself into closer fellowship with God. My intent in presenting this study is to bring about a shift in the way we think about God in this modern day and age, and to provide a basis on which we can begin to draw nearer to Him, through study of His Word, prayer, and fellowship.

Anyone wishing to contact me with questions or feedback, may feel free to do so here.






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