SECRETS OF THE NAME
by Monte Judah from www.lionlamb.net
Note: Monte Judah is a Messianic Jew and is the founder and director of Lion and Lamb Ministries. Monte is one of only a handful of men that I respectfully call one of my teachers. I sincerely believe his walk matches what he teaches as much as any man I know. Monte is a gifted Torah teacher and I wholeheartedly recommend you read these and others articles written by him. Be sure to check out his website.
The name of God is a very important subject to believers. Some believers, particularly in the Messianic Movement, have emphasized the importance of Godís name to an almost critical level. By critical level, they have taught that a failure to pronounce Godís name in their specified Hebrew sounding way constitutes everything from a flaw in oneís spiritual walk to a failure to know God and His salvation. Letís agree on one point right from the beginning. Godís name is important. He has made it important. Knowing the name of God and honoring His name are extremely important spiritual matters for all believers. God, Himself, has given commandment not to take His name in vain. Therefore, we should do that which brings honor and glory to His name. But, there is more. God is manifesting Himself in His name.
What name of God are we talking about? The name  in question is the four-letter name given to Moses at the burning bush. The four letters in question are Yod, Hey, Vav, Hey. (Remember, Hebrew is read right to left.) Each letter means something special. God is not hiding Himself, but for many, His name is full of secrets.
Then Moses said to God, "Behold, I am going to the sons of Israel, and I shall say to them, ĎThe God of your fathers has sent me to you.í Now they may say to me, ĎWhat is His name?í What shall I say to them?" And God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM"; and He said, "Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ĎI AM has sent me to you.í" And God, furthermore, said to Moses, "Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ĎThe Lord , the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.í This is My name forever, and this is My memorial name to all generations." EXO 3:13-15
The King James Version bible pronounced the name "Jehovah." Most bible scholars prefer "Yahweh." The exact pronunciation is in question. Consequently, most English bibles print "LORD" (all caps) for "Yahweh" and "Lord" (upper and lowercase) for the word Adonai. What do Rabbis and the sages of Israel say? They wonít pronounce it.
You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain. EXO 20:7
In keeping with the commandment of not taking His name in vain (to make common), most Rabbis follow a tradition of rendering the greatest respect possible by avoiding the pronunciation. Instead, they will say HaShem (the name). In traditional blessings, Hebrews say the word "Adonai" (Lord) in place of it. This is because Moses used "Adonai" when addressing God directly at the burning bush. Many go to the length of removing the vowels from the words "God" and "Lord" by writing G-d or L-rd. It is not that Jews donít know the name; it is a matter of not making Godís name common in language, or in vain. When the temple was operational, the name was spoken, especially when the priest would bless all of Israel. However, anyone hearing the name would fall on their face and say, "Blessed be His name, whose glorious kingdom is forever and ever." This is where we get the second line of the Shema in the "watchword" of our faith.
Christian scholars throughout the years have speculated on the pronunciation and have generally agreed that Yahweh is the most probable. They have treated it in a somewhat academic fashion primarily emphasizing the knowledge of God is through His Son, Jesus Christ. They have placed no special significance in the name. All attention is directed toward the Christ.
The modern Messianic Movement led by believing Jews knows full well that referring to the Jewish Messiah as Jesus Christ will get you nowhere in the Jewish community. They have used the name Yeshua (the Hebrew name for Jesus) and referred to Him strictly as Messiah from the Hebrew "Meshiach" to avoid Christ from the Greek derivation "Christos." With all this attention of getting back to our Hebrew roots, it was inevitable that the actual name God gave to Moses for the sons of Israel would also take on greater attention.
Some Messianic believers in their zeal have abandoned the name Jesus, despising the Greek transliteration, and prefer a strictly Hebrew pronunciation. However, there is even some debate over whether His name is "Yeshua" or "Yahshua." More so, some have rejected the substitutions of the Hebrew "Adonai" in blessings and the word "Lord" in the common English expressions. Sometimes their zeal knows no bounds. Some of our brethren assert that failure to pronounce the name "Yahweh" means your heart is not circumcised nor the Shekinah Spirit of God is present. They assert that the name referred to in John 1:12 must be "Yahweh" or "Yahshua."
But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, JOH 1:12
This whole argument strikes me more as an effort to spiritually Judaize brethren and smacks of ancient gnosticism (I am spiritually superior because of my knowledge).
The assertion of "Yahshua" for "Yeshua" has a bit of a humorous twist. There is no question that "Yah" is an expression of God. I also believe that Yeshua was the fullness of God and therefore deity in every sense of the definition. According to Yeshua, He was present with Abraham and gave the commandment at Mount Sinai. I am convinced that Yeshua was in the burning bush. Therefore, there is no issue as to whether Yeshua is God; the question is the Hebrew pronunciation of His name.
Letís see if we can follow the bouncing ball on this one. First, let me explain the difference between a transliteration and a translation. A transliteration is a spelling to make you sound the word. A translation is the use of another word in another language that means the same thing. The King James Bible wanted to give the phonetic sound to the name of Jesus, so in the story of Lukeís Gospel they transliterated the name that the angel is heard to say to Mary...
And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Joshua. LUK 1:31
Joshua! What does Joshua have to do with all this? In Old English, the "J" sound was a "Y" sound. In an attempt to get English readers to say "Yeshua," they transliterated it as Joshua. However, Joshua is actually another Hebrew name. Remember Joshua led the children of Israel across the Jordan and took the land of Israel.
Watch the bouncing ball... Next, Christian scholars learned of their transliteration mistake and went back to use the Greek transliteration which was even worse than Joshua. The Greek text had tried to do the same thing and tried to phonetically sound the name with "Iesous."
Watch the bouncing ball... Next, the Christian scholars translated the Greek Iesous into Jesus.
Watch the bouncing ball... Next, some other brethren striving for the Hebrew roots in all this found the name Joshua in the KJV and translated it back to the Hebrew Yehoshua. The name Yehoshua (Joshua) means God is Salvation; whereas, Yeshua is just Salvation.
Mary was told to name her son "Salvation" for He would save His people. Simeon, the old man in the temple waiting for the Messiah, held up Yeshua and said, "Mine eyes have seen the Salvation of Israel."
However, these other brethren have done the translating of Joshua and are convinced that Yeshua is really Yahshua (a western dialect of Yehoshua). The Strongís word number from the King James Bible clearly shows it is a name for Joshua and Jesus. It is amazing what a simple mix-up in transliterations and translations can do. There is no secret in this.
Let me stop and share with you that I believe God is smart enough to know when someone is attempting to say His name and speak with or about Him. I believe He also knows our heart and intent in how we speak His name, whether it be honorable or profane. Therefore, I believe God hears and answers His people even if they pronounce a Greek transliteration that was then translated into to English to make "Jesus." I believe He even understands Hebrew, Spanish, and all the languages of the world. Calling upon the name of God is what God wants all people to do. He has ears to hear and a heart that understands. Furthermore, He most likely is watching the controversy of the name pronunciation shaking His head in wonder at how we can waste so much energy on this matter and cause so much discord among brethren.
Some of our brethren flaunt the use of Yahweh as though it is the very standard of the faithful. This is wrong. As you can see, not only do I take issue with my New Covenant Church brethren who act like Sadducees, I also take issue with my Messianic brethren who behave like Gnostic Greeks.
However, the purpose of this article is not to point out the weaknesses of our brethren. Instead, there is something wonderful and glorious about Godís name that Moses received. I believe that Godís name is very special and reveals God to us. I believe God is truly trying to manifest Himself in differing ways. There are many patterns in the Bible and it is clear that God wants us to know Him. I see a whole series of patterns in accomplishing that. One of those patterns is in the name (Yod-Hey-Vav-Hey) given to Moses.
Before we dive into a deeper understanding of Godís name, letís review a couple of those patterns to see how God has been manifesting Himself.
The Secret Pattern of the Ages
From the biblical standpoint; a macro pattern of God revealing Himself is seen in the three biblical ages (2,000 year periods). The first 2,000 years of biblical history ranges from creation and Adam up through the flood. The second 2,000 years ranges from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to the sons of Israel leaving Egypt, entering the land, Kings and Prophets, to the Son of God, Yeshua of Nazareth. The last 2,000 years extends from Yeshua to the exile of Israel and the modern state of Israel reformed is this generation. Using the Bible themes themselves, the first age has the dominant theme of the fathers. Adam became the father of Seth, Seth became the father of ... The second age carries the theme of sons. Abraham was promised a son. The sons of Israel dominate every story until Yeshua, the Son of God comes to do the work of redemption. The last 2,000 years is introduced to us with the giving of the Holy Spirit and the Gospel going to all nations. The pattern is simple yet unmistakable. God has used biblical history, all 6,000 years, to show us the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
The Secret Pattern of the Fathers
A much more detailed pattern is shown to us in the lives of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Abraham was originally called Abram (father of many). God called him from his fathers house to establish him as a father to us all. Specifically, God promised that He would bless all the descendants of Abram. "In your seed will all the families of the earth be blessed." Abramís name was finally changed to Abraham which means "father of many nations." This was accomplished by God with the addition of the letter Hey to his name. The letter and name change reflects the honor and destiny upon our father Abraham. Clearly the theme of Abraham is the role of father.
Isaac was the promised son of Abraham. His most significant moment was being bound on Mt. Moriah to be offered as a sacrifice by his father. Therefore, the theme of Isaac is the role of son.
Jacob is much more complex figure and his life is fully told to us from birth through death. Jacob had a very difficult life. He had to flee from this twin brother after getting the birthright blessing. His uncle Laban cheated and deceived him resulting in marriage to Leah and Rachel. The result was children from multiple mothers and having to face his angry brother Esau. Even though peace was achieved, his own sons brought sorrow and dismay to him with the sale of Joseph to Egypt and the torn, bloodied coat of Joseph being handed to Jacob. The famine caused the brethren to also go to Egypt where upon Joseph was restored to the Jacob. In Jacobís own words, he concludes the story of his life this way.
And he [Jacob] blessed Joseph, and said, "The God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, the God who has been my shepherd all my life to this day," GEN 48:15
Jacob testified to Godís Spirit being with him all the days his life to his very last days. Jacob also was glorified with a name change to Israel. However, unlike Abram/Abraham which became only Abraham, Jacob and Israel still exist with subtle spiritual nuances. One such nuance is Jacobís name and life being the pattern for the end of the ages (the time of the Spirit). The great tribulation ushering in the Kingdom is called "Jacobís trouble." The future Kingdom is called Israel. Prior to Jacobís trouble is the prophecy of the greatest outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the whole house of Israel and all mankind. Jacobís life is the theme of the Holy Spirit. Abraham is the Father of all; Isaac is the sacrificed Son; Jacob is the testimony of the Spirit that shepherded him from his birth to the end of his days.
The Secret Pattern in Abrahamís Covenant
Before we leave the fathers, the pattern of Godís manifestation is also found in the three elements of Godís covenant made with Abraham. This covenant is referred to as one covenant extending through Isaac and Jacob to us. But look more closely at the three parts given to Abraham.
First God calls Abram out of his father house with the original blessing.
Now the Lord said to Abram, "Go forth from your country, and from your relatives and from your father's house, to the land which I will show you; and I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and so you shall be a blessing; and I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed." GEN 12:1-3
The prevailing theme is being a father. Next, God gives Abram another part of the covenant with the promise of a son.
After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, saying, "Do not fear, Abram, I am a shield to you; Your reward shall be very great." And Abram said, "O Lord God, what wilt Thou give me, since I am childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?" And Abram said, "Since Thou hast given no offspring to me, one born in my house is my heir." Then behold, the word of the Lord came to him, saying, "This man will not be your heir; but one who shall come forth from your own body, he shall be your heir." And He took him outside and said, "Now look toward the heavens, and count the stars, if you are able to count them." And He said to him, "So shall your descendants be." Then he believed in the Lord; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness. GEN 15:1-6
Abraham questions God as to how he will receive Godís reward and God instructs him to prepare a sacrifice.
And he said, "O Lord God, how may I know that I shall possess it?" So He said to him, "Bring Me a three year old heifer, and a three year old female goat, and a three year old ram, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon." GEN 15:8-9
Finally, God gives the last part of the covenant to Abram. This is when He changes his name and gives the rite of circumcision as the seal of the covenant.
Now when Abram was ninety_nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, "I am God Almighty; Walk before Me, and be blameless. And I will establish My covenant between Me and you, and I will multiply you exceedingly." And Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying, as for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations. No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I will make you the father of a multitude of nations. And I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come forth from you. And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after you. And I will give to you and to your descendants after you, the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God." God said further to Abraham, "Now as for you, you shall keep My covenant, you and your descendants after you throughout their generations. This is My covenant, which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you: every male among you shall be circumcised. And you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be the sign of the covenant between Me and you." GEN 17:1-11
The pattern is clear with Abrahamís covenant. It was made with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
The Secret Pattern of Godís Name
Now letís look at one more pattern, maybe the most powerful of them all in Godís name. The name that most are struggling with to pronounce illustrates the great manifestations of God. These manifestations always involve multiple persons and Godís voice is heard. While Abraham became the father of us all spiritually by his faith being counted for righteousness, what Moses learned of Godís name at the burning bush took precedence on the name issue. Let me point out very quickly that Abraham didnít know the name (YHVH) and yet his faith was counted for rigtheousness. Clearly, you donít need to know the name given to Moses for salvation. Instead, It is an example of God progressively manifesting Himself to us.
God spoke further to Moses and said to him, "I am the Lord [Yahweh]; and I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as God Almighty [El Shaddai], but by My name, Lord [Yahweh], I did not make Myself known to them." EXO 6:2-3
At the burning bush, God stated His name in response to the questions of Moses. Moses knew that he was incapable of convincing either Pharaoh or the children of Israel. God explained to Moses and later showed all that by Godís hand the children of Israel were brought out. The first letter of Godís name is the Yod. It means hand. In fact, the very shape of the letter is in the shape of a hand.
The second letter of Godís name is Hey. It is the shape of a slightly open door and it means "what comes forth." There are actually two Heyís in Godís name. Moses and the children of Israel learned that "salvation" and "deliverance" were to come from the "hand" of God.
When Yeshua came to Israel teaching His disciples, there came a moment as He was entering Jerusalem the final time that He made reference to Godís name and the voice of God from heaven responded.
"Father, glorify Thy name." There came therefore a voice out of heaven: "I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again." JOH 12:28
This is very intriguing conversation. Yeshua later said that the voice was given for our sakes. What is it that we are to know and understand in the words, "I have glorified it, and will glorify it again?"
Remember Abraham? His name used to be Abram and God added a letter Hey to it just before he received the rite of circumcision and his promised son Isaac. The letter Hey added glory and honor to Abram. He would now become the father of many nations, not just a son. In an effort to honor the name of Joseph, Hebrews after the life of Joseph refer to him as Yehoseph. They add the letter Hey to his name to honor him.
There are two Heyís in Godís name. They represent the coming forth of Godís Son. First, He comes to do the work of Godís Salvation. Secondly, He will return to deliver the whole world and establish His earthly kingdom.
But what about the letter Vav, the third letter in Godís name? The Vav is the shape of a nail. When Yeshua died on the cross, He was lifted up like Mosesí staff and we saw the picture of Godís name. Salvation and deliverance comes from the nailed hand of God. The sign above Yeshua at the crucifixion read, "Yeshua of Nazareth, King of the Jews." This was written in four Hebrew words Ė Yeshua Hanetzeret Vímelech Hayehudim. The first letters of the four words are YHVH (Yod-Hey-Vav-Hey). No wonder the religious Jews wanted the sign changed. It was as Yeshua had said that they would see I AM when the Son of Man is lifted up (John 8:28).
But there is more to the letter Vav. The meaning of the nail is to make secure, to attach, to hold together. On the day of Pentecost (Hebrew Shavuot), the Holy Spirit was poured out on the same day the voice of God was heard from the mountain. The disciples began to preach and Peter explained that what was happening was like what the Prophet Joel spoke of. Joel said that God would some day pour out His Spirit on all mankind, causing many to prophesy and see visions. He also said it would precede the day of the Lord. While Peter made reference to Joel and the outpouring of the Spirit, Peterís day was not the fulfillment of the prophecy. What is it that we should be expecting to fulfill the great "outpouring of Spirit" prophecy? To understand that, we need to understand how and why the nation of Israel went into exile.
The nation of Israel split into two kingdoms after David and Solomon. They were called the House of Judah and the House of Israel. The House of Israel went into exile by the hand of the Assyrians approximately 720 B.C. (before the common era). Moses had said that we would all be scattered to the nations. Later the House of Judah went into Babylonian captivity for 70 years. But after returning, they again provoked the Lord. The House of Judah finally went into multinational captivity at 70 A.D. (common era) as a result of the Romans. Moses and Ezekiel also said that we would one day be gathered from all the nations. Some of my brethren argue that the two houses were reunited after the Babylonian captivity of Judah. However, Yeshua came with the New Covenant for the separated houses of Judah and Israel well after that return just as Jeremiah prophesied.
"Behold, days are coming," declares the Lord, "when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them," declares the Lord. JER 31:31-32
More evidence can be shown that the two houses were still separated at the time of Yeshua. The Apostle Paul spoke of a time at the end of the age of the Gentiles when all Israel would be saved. This is like what Ezekiel (chapters 37-39) spoke of at the end of the age when Israel would become a nation out of dry bones. He said Godís Spirit would begin to move in us and that He would cause the House of Israel (Ephraim) to be rejoined to the House of Judah. The modern Messianic Movement matches these prophecies. He went on to say that there would be a war in the land of Israel with the enemy Gog and Magog. The aftermath would be a great victory and God would show Himself to the nations. All peoples are to then know that there is a God in the midst of Israel. With that, two incredible events take place: the exile is over and God pours out His Spirit on us.
And I shall set My glory among the nations; and all the nations will see My judgment which I have executed, and My hand which I have laid on them. And the house of Israel will know that I am the Lord their God from that day onward. And the nations will know that the house of Israel went into exile for their iniquity because they acted treacherously against Me, and I hid My face from them; so I gave them into the hand of their adversaries, and all of them fell by the sword. According to their uncleanness and according to their transgressions I dealt with them, and I hid My face from them. Therefore thus says the Lord God, "Now I shall restore the fortunes of Jacob, and have mercy on the whole house of Israel; and I shall be jealous for My holy name. And they shall forget their disgrace and all their treachery which they perpetrated against Me, when they live securely on their own land with no one to make them afraid. When I bring them back from the peoples and gather them from the lands of their enemies, then I shall be sanctified through them in the sight of the many nations. Then they will know that I am the Lord their God because I made them go into exile among the nations, and then gathered them again to their own land; and I will leave none of them there any longer. And I will not hide My face from them any longer, for I shall have poured out My Spirit on the house of Israel," declares the Lord God. EZE 39:21-29
The restoring of the two houses of Israel comes after the nation of Israel is re-established after a great exile. This was not fulfilled after the Babylonian exile. History and our generation has seen the modern nation born out of the ashes and dry bones of the Holocaust. The "unwalled villages" of Ezekiel 38 are the modern nation of Israel, not ancient Israel. The enemy sitting in the mountains of Israel today is the Palestinians. A minor Bible study will convince you that they are Gog and those with them, Magog, are the surrounding Arab nations.
The great outpouring of the Holy Spirit comes after a great battle and the name of Israel is never put to shame again ( Joel 2:37-38). This is yet to happen.
So, how does this take us back to the letter Vav and the name of God? The next step in the pattern of Godís name is the outpouring of Godís Spirit after the exile is ended. The Vav is the manifestation of Godís Spirit binding and securing the House of Judah and Ephraim together into one stick. Look at the letter. It is like the Yod, a hand but something is being poured out. It also looks like a stick.
Godís name, therefore, reveals to us a pattern of first the Yod, the Fatherís hand delivering the children of Israel out of Egypt. The first Hey shows us the Son of God bringing us Salvation and being our Redemption. The Vav is the Spirit of God, poured out to bind us together again. The final Hey is the Messiah returning on the clouds of Heaven with power and great glory. This is not a secret to us. All of these events share one thing in common Ė to glorify Godís name.