It was fun that the last post on the Name of God in the Hebrew Scriptures generated so much discussion. Who would have thunk it?
The one thing that has always stuck in my craw, and caused a little bit of doubt about the saying (perhaps even the writing) of The Name, Yahweh, is that it is never used in the New Testament. There is no indication that Jesus said it; it isn’t used in the letters the apostles wrote. It is not avoided, but it seems like the NT simply falls in line with the decision of the translators of Septuagint (for some background on the Septuagint – aka LXX see the fairly good Wikipedia article on it here). Contrast this with the text that we are going to look at for the message this week at Journey, 1 Kings 18. The Name Yahweh is all over the place. There is no doubt that Elijah and the people spoke the name in the conversations that are recorded for us in the narrative. Now the NT writers don’t seem to avoid it. They use the word God freely. But it’s always been, in my mind the best argument for those who don’t use it.
Last week, after the post & the discussion, in my devotional time I read this in Luke:
Luke 24:3 But when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. For some reason the words the “Lord Jesus” stuck out to me. So I did a quick check, and want to know something interesting? (You are like, “it’s about time”) Only AFTER the resurrection is the appellation “Lord Jesus” used. Lord would be the equivalent of adonai; Jesus / Yashuah means Yahweh saves.
Let’s look at Luke’s sequel, Acts or more accurately, “The Apostles Strike Back” (he didn’t put a title on it really so this may be what he wanted all along, ya never know). After healing a lame man in the name of the Jesus Christ (Yashua Ha-Mashiach in Hebrew) they get called in to face the religious authorities and say this when told to knock it off:
Acts 4:12 “And 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.”
The Name by which one could be saved, every Jew knew, was God’s name, the covenant name. The highest of all names! And speaking of the highest of all names look at what the former Pharisee Paul of Tarsus wrote about “Names”
Phil. 2:9 For this reason also, God highly exalted Him (Jesus), and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name,
We get a hint into how the very first Christ-followers understood this when we read things like this in Acts:
Acts 10:48 And he (Peter) ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.
If you are flowing with the thought here, you should be asking, “didn’t Jesus, himself tell these guys, including Peter, to baptize people in THE NAME of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit? (See Matt 28:18-20). Apparently, in the Name of Jesus, the full person of God is brought to bear.
In conclusion, in a very real sense the New Testament writers did pronounce the Name. Every time they utter Yashuah or if they were more comfortable in Greek, Iesou, or if you are a gringo, Jesus.
So when you read the Bible, feel free to read His Name when He seems to want you to. Next time you pray Psalm 8, don’t say the nonsensical, O Lord our Lord how majestic is Your name in all the earth. Say O Yahweh, Our Master / Lord, how majestic is that Name of yours in all the earth. Remember, “knowing God personally” or “in a personal way” or “not religion, but relationship” is not a cool Christian innovation that Jesus invented. It was in the Hebrew Scriptures from day 1. It was what the prophets called His people back to. It is the blessing that God has that changes the way we do life.
Jer. 9:23 Thus says Yahweh, “Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; 24 but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am Yahweh who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,” declares Yahweh.