Thursday, December 29, 2011

Names of God - Jehovah

It's time for another post in the Names of God series. We have done a little study on the names Elohim, El Elyon, El Roi, El ShaddaiEl Olam, and Adonia.  Today we will look at the name that God says is His memorial name to all generations... Jehovah.

The first time the name Jehovah is used is in Genesis 2:4, but it is not until the book of Exodus that God lays out the meaning of this name before us to behold it and behold Him. This name of God is the most frequent name of God used in the Scriptures.

Jehovah is the most holy, glorious name of God. It was a name that made the Jews afraid and filled them with awe. It was so sacred that they would not even pronounce it. Did you know that every time they wrote the name Jehovah they would stop, take off their clothes, take a complete bath, put on clean clothes, and then use a pen that had never been used before to write the name Jehovah? That's how holy and sacred this name is for God! ~ Janna Arndt   

I hope knowing this gives you a whole new depth of meaning to the third commandment,

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.
Exodus 20:7 

As you read through your Bible you will find the name Jehovah translated as LORD. If you recall the last name we looked at was Adonia, which meant lord or master. The way you know if you are reading Jehovah or Adonia is by the capitalization of the name. Adonia is Lord, only the L is capital. Jehovah is LORD, all letters are capital.

The name Jehovah can also be Yahweh. The Hebrew letters for Jehovah are YHWH. It is unpronounceable to us because there are no vowels. We have changed the Y to J and the W to V and added the vowels e,o,a in order to be able to attempt to pronounce this name of God. Others add only an a and e and say Yahweh. This links the name of God to the Hebrew verb hayah which means to be, to exist.

This name of God, YHWH, which we pronounce Jehovah or Yahweh, implies a Being who is absolutely self-existent. He doesn't need anything outside of Himself to exist. I would say that it is no coincidence that the first time we see this name of God is in connection with Elohim, Creator.

This is the account of the heavens and the earth
when they were created,
in the day the YHWH Elohim
made earth and heaven.
Genesis 2:4 

This passage is the first use of Jehovah in Scripture, but when the meaning and importance of this name is slammed home to us is in Exodus 3:1-15... when Moses meets his God. It is here that Moses cries out to a burning bush that is never consumed though it resides in the midst of fire. Here this man who grew up being taught to serve a plethora of gods ask this God what is your name? Who shall I say has sent me?

God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM"; 
and He said, "Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel,
'I AM has sent me to you.'...
This is My name forever,
and this is my memorial-name to all generations." 
Exodus 3:14-15

God is the eternal I AM, He is the Self-existent One, the always present. This was His memorial name to all generations... so when He came to the earth as the Word made flesh...

Jesus said to them,
"Truly, truly, I say to you,
before Abraham was born, I am."
John 8:58

So when He said to them, "I am"
(He is not in the original text),
 they drew back and fell to the ground.
John 18:6   

Yep, His memorial name to all generations...
There is no God like Jehovah!

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