The name of God

Session 6 – God’s Grand Design Seminar

There are many names for God but only one name of God. There are many titles for God but only one name by which we may be saved. The Bible reveals the name of God.

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Transcript of “The Name of God” (Session 6)

In the book of Acts we read that, after the day of Pentecost, the apostles preached powerfully and effectively in the name of Jesus. Jesus was proclaimed to be the Messiah ... the One who was crucified, and rose from the dead.

Peter said, “There is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved. ” (Acts 4:12) There is only one way to be saved ... to believe in Jesus, that He died and rose again, and to proclaim His name, the only name.

The clearest statement in the Bible for salvation is in Romans chapter 10: "If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved."

That is a promise. Meet the condition, receive the promise. The condition? Confess Jesus as the One who died and rose again.

This is the Gospel.

In the book of Acts, we read how the Kingdom of God was proclaimed. They didn't go around trying to fix up the world. They simply went around telling people about Jesus.

The proclamation of this good news released the power of God.

There is only one name that should be on the lips of believers ... Jesus.

God gave Jesus the name which is above every other name.

There are many words for God, and many titles for God. But there is only one name of God. And that name is Jesus.

We can speak in general terms about God, the LORD, the Almighty; we can use titles like "the God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob", the Messiah, the Christ, and many others; but the name we are to proclaim, to English speakers, is Jesus.

But wait, English wasn't spoken at the time of Jesus. English is a relatively modern language. We are using a name for Jesus, the Messiah ... a name that didn't exist when He was on earth. Is that a problem for you? It shouldn't be.

The Gospel is simple. It's a simple message that could be told to anyone and can be understood by anyone.

We get slight variations in Jesus' name only because there are slight variations in the alphabet of different languages.

Jesus was a Jew. He spoke Hebrew. Jesus' first disciples were Jews. They spoke Hebrew.

Jesus' name to Hebrew speakers was, and is, Yeshua. God gave Him this name because "He will save His people from their sins." Yeshua in Hebrew means "salvation".

When the Gospel went out to the Gentile world, it was written in Greek, because that was the most widely spoken language in the world at that time. Yeshua became Iesous in Greek. That is how it's recorded in the original writings of the New Testament. It's proclaiming the same person ... the One who died and rose again. The only Saviour.

It's not a different name. It's a slight variation on the way of saying the same name because of slight variations in the language.

Yeshua if you speak Hebrew. Iesous if you speak Greek. Jesus if you speak English.

The knowledge that salvation is only in the name of Jesus came after His death and resurrection. The Old Testament had many "hints" that the Messiah would have to die and rise again, but the Gospel wasn't clearly stated.

After the Holy Spirit was poured out, Peter was able to say that salvation is in the name of Jesus, and "there is no other name by which we must be saved".

Before this, there was only a hint of the name that would bring salvation.

In the Old Testament, there are many words for God and many titles for God. But only one word, that represents the name of God. That name is spelled Yud Heh Vav Heh in Hebrew. It appears more than 6,800 times in the Old Testament, but it wasn't a name that was spoken. Jews before Jesus wouldn't say this as a name. Jews today won't say this as a name.

When they come to these four Hebrew letters in the Bible, they say "Ha Shem" (the name), or they say "Adonai" (LORD).

When the Hebrew Scriptures were translated into Greek in the years before Jesus, the Jewish translators didn't attempt to come up with a Greek version of this name. They used the Greek for LORD, Kyrios. And, when Jesus read from the book of Isaiah and said "the Spirit of the LORD God is upon Me", the word in Hebrew is Yud Heh Vav Heh, but the record of this incident in the New Testament Greek uses the word "Kyriou".

There is nowhere in the New Testament where any attempt whatsoever is made to come up with a Greek version of Yud Heh Vav Heh.

Wherever this four-letter word appears in the Hebrew text, and the New Testament quotes the Old Testament, the word that is used is the Greek for "LORD".

It has only been in the past four hundred years that Christians have applied English alphabet letters, changing Yud Heh Vav Heh to JHVH or YHWH, and then adding some completely made-up vowel sounds and coming up with artificial names like Jehovah or Yahweh.

The problem with any focus on such artificial names is that they detract from the name of Jesus ... from "the only name by which we must be saved".

How can anyone imagine that Jews themselves were incapable of adding vowel sounds and turning those four Hebrew letters into a pronounceable name if that was all it took to have the name ... a name ... through which people could find salvation? Actually, God promised that a time will come when His people "will know His name" (Isaiah 52:6) , implying of course that they didn't know and couldn't know a specific name before that. The revelation had to come through the Holy Spirit and after the good news of Jesus' death and resurrection was declared.

It's not as if YHVH is the name of the Father and therefore in some way superior to the name of Jesus. Firstly, the New Testament says that the name of Jesus is "above every other name" (Philippians 2:9).

Secondly, the New Testament leads us to believe that the name of the Father is in fact Jesus.

There is no confusion in Scripture ... no confusion in the New Testament. “God gave Jesus the name which is above every other name ...” (Philippians 2:9)

Before He went to the cross, Jesus prayed, “ Father, keep them in Your name, the name which You have given Me ...” (John 17:11). And, “While I was with them, I was keeping them in Your name which You have given Me ...” (John 17:12).

What could be clearer than that? The Father has given this name, His name, to the Son.

I'll make two more points and I'm done.

In the Gospel of John it is recorded that Thomas was not with the others when Jesus appeared after His resurrection (John 20:24). When the disciples said that they had seen the LORD, Thomas said, “unless I see in His hands the imprint of the nails ... I will not believe.” (John 20: 25)

Eight days later, Jesus appeared again, and said , “Reach here with your finger and see My hands ...” And Thomas said, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:27-28).

The letter Yud Heh Vav Heh, from the point of view of Hebrew pictograms, represent "Hand revealed; nail revealed".

Finally, I would make the point that this word Yud Heh Vav Heh is a compound of Hebrew words for past, present and future.

The Hebrew word for “was” is “hayah” (Heh Yud Heh). The Hebrew for “is” (present tense) is “hovah” (Heh Vav Heh) . And the Hebrew for “will be” is “yehiyeh” (Yud Heh Yud Heh).

So we see in these three words how the word Yud Heh Vav Heh is compounded from the Hebrew words for “was”, “is” and “will be”.

And then we read in the book of Revelation Jesus saying: “I am the Alpha and the Omega, who is and who was and who is to come ...” the Almighty.” (Revelation 1:8)