To describe God is impossible. When a person meets someone with a multiplicity of talents, capabilities and abilities, it is difficult to determine their entire personality and character.
Imagine, God who has no limitations and is always creative. God has built everything and can do all things (Hebrews 3:4). How do you attempt to get a glimpse of The True God? God has different names so humans can understand His many capabilities. God, Himself, is nothing more than a miracle.
God needs many names to describe Him perfectly. (Read the book, Who Is God?) Human minds are too limited to understand God. All human minds can’t, collectively, equal His mind. Who can compare to Him? No one!
Individuals call other individuals by what they do or how they behave. Take the name John Taylor for example. The father or grandfather may have had a career of being a clothier. His family name takes on the name of Tailor. If his first name is John and he sews clothing, he is eventually named John Tailor or John Taylor. How simple.
Others are not named after their abilities because a person may not know what they do. This is especially true when they are too diversified. For example, they know the family is living by a river called a fjord. When explaining who that person is, individuals will call him by his first name. To distinguish one person from another with the same first name and both live by a river, they usually designate a person according to the area they come from. Thus one person may be called John Rivers and the other would be called John Ford.
Names are symbols to identify each other. Look in the telephone book and when many have the same first and last name, some will take on a middle name or initial. Then an address or a town may be designated. How does anyone give a name to a creator who has no limits to what He can do? There is no way. It’s impossible.
God had no parents to name Him. He is Holy, perfect and without any flaws. He is complete goodness. He is unique. He is the only one who can be whatever He chooses to be. He can do anything. He can be everything.
Moses asked God, “Who shall I say sent me?” Remember, The Pharaoh believed in many gods. God told Moses to tell Pharaoh that “I AM” sent him. It’s brilliant! “I AM” merely identifies The One who can build all things and always existed. It’s perfect! God is, therefore, The Only One who can build and do everything. What is God’s surname? There is only One God.
God informed Moses that His surname is “YHWH,” meaning “The I AM.” The “I AM” is defined as “He always existed.” He can do whatever He chooses to do and His name is YHWH. What is YHWH?
The High Priest
A Priest could say the name YHWH only on The Day of Atonement. According to The Levitical Law, only a Priest could use His name in The Temple. God was very jealous about with whom He would share His first name. Here is the reason, “You shall make yourself no molten Gods.” Why not?
God knew that Israel believed in many gods because that is what they had been taught in Egypt. Which God is The Only God who builds all things? That is why God said, “I am the first and I am the last and beside me there is no God.”
In archeology, The Sumerians in The Land of Shinar at The Tower of Babel called this God The SkyGod. He was unknown. He lived somewhere in the sky.
God told Moses He would only make a contract with him and Israel which was called The Old Covenant (Exodus 34:27 and Deuteronomy 5:3). None of the fathers or The Gentiles had this covenant promise. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were not under this agreement (Deuteronomy 5:3). Even Adam was not under The Law of Moses in The Old Covenant.
Adam and Eve never sinned according to the law because it was codified later by Moses. They missed the mark by making wrong choices (Romans 5:13-14). That was their sin. They rejected their Father’s word.
When The Old Covenant Law was ratified (codified) with Israel, a person knew how to pronounce or call God by His surname. His real name was YHWH. Having only vowels and no consonants, no one but The High Priest could pronounce His name. Only The Levitical Priests could pronounce God’s name. God’s name was unknown for an extremely good reason and purpose.
“For you shall worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God” (Exodus 34:14). Can you grasp what God just told Moses? God defined the meaning of His surname. What does God’s surname mean in the original Hebrew? God told Moses His name means “jealous.” God is a jealous God and has given Himself that name. God defines the name “YHWH” as a mystery which is, yet, to be discovered.
The Sumerians, at The Tower of Babel did not know God’s real name. They called Him “Anu, The SkyGod,” meaning “somewhere off by Himself.”
Obviously, God did not tell everyone His surname (YHWH). Without the consonants the best anyone could do was to guess. In fact, God never told The Israelites His name. Why?
God, being jealous, is very careful about with whom He entrusts His name. Israel lacked faith and had a wrong heart (Hebrews 3:8-10). The only name Israel knew for their God is “The I AM.” It was exactly the name Moses told Pharaoh.
Israel knew God was jealous about His name and called Him “Hashem” in Hebrew, which means “The God With No Name.” Israel was not given God’s name. God still accepted Israel as His people. Quite clear! Christianity, The Jews and The Muslims are not required to know God’s exact name in order to be His people.
The Apostle, Paul knew God did not demand His people to call Him by His name. Even God does not always call Himself by His name. At times, God uses one of His many titles that fit the context of what He is doing. “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). God chose not to use His name “YHWH” but rather He used “Elohim.”
God told Moses “The Lord [is] your God” (Deuteronomy 18:15). Here God uses His name Elohim, who is The Lord. “The Lord” in Hebrew is “YHWH.” God’s title as “God of Hosts” means “host of all armies.” But, remember God has many titles.
The Athenians were Polytheists and worshipped many gods (Acts 17:23). They knew the real God was “the unknown God” just like The Sumerians, Israelites and, later, The Greeks.
It is clear that God does not want anyone, even His people, to say or know His name, “YHWH.” Here is the only requirement God gives for His people in order for them to be accepted by Him, “Then Peter opened his mouth and said, Of a truth I perceive that God [not YHWH] is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that fears him and works righteousness [good works] is accepted of him” (Acts 10:34-35).
No demand or requirement is given about pronouncing His name correctly. God must have a different reason for saying His name “YHWH.” All God demands of His people is to fear Him and do good works. That’s it! It is His only request or demand.
The Day Of Atonement
Only on The Day of Atonement was The High Priest permitted to say God’s first name. Why? Because that was the only time The Priest was allowed to stand before God’s Ark of The Covenant, the mercy seat. The Priests had to atone (repent) for their sins and the sins of the people. On The Day of Atonement, God pardoned their sins and reconciled with His people. Sin separates you from God (Isaiah 59).
Paul, The Apostle, explains the meaning of entering God’s presence. Before you come before God, you must be like babes and spiritually grow to manhood, like Christ (paraphrased). Until then, “We see through a glass [mirror], darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known” (I Corinthians 13:11-12). “But when that which is perfect [fulfilled] is come, then that which is in part [body] shall be done away” (I Corinthians 13:10). My, my, only when you are face-to-face with God can you know His name, YHWH and say it correctly.
You are closer to understanding why God is jealous of His name. In Hebrew and English, the word “jealous” connotes “zeal” or “zealous.” God jealously guards His name for a very loving reason. God is always motivated by His goodness.
Abraham, Moses, Daniel And Jesus
Four men, Abraham, Moses, Daniel and Jesus, held a very special place with God. What did they have in common? “And the Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. And he turned again to the camp: but his servant Joshua, the son of Nun a young man, departed not out of the tabernacle” (Exodus 33:11).
This is amazing. You can only face God when you are a perfect Son of God. Then, you become a friend of God. Only then, will God tell you His first name. Friends call each other by their first names. Friends think alike and will do nothing to harm each other.
Did Moses really see and hear God? No! No man has seen or heard God, as Jesus said. God was shrouded in a dark cloud. Moses faced God as a friend, but heard the voice of an angel (Acts 7:38). When Moses faced God and His glory, Moses’ face began to shine like the sun’s glory (II Corinthians 3:8-13).
Abraham, Daniel and Jesus were regarded as His friends. That is why Abraham, Daniel and Jesus had a friendly relationship with God.
You now know why God is jealous about His name and whom He allows to call Him by His surname. They must be more than Sons − they must have absolute faith in God as a friend. Through this faith, God is making man in His image. By faith, you are saved. With this complete trust growing into The Love of God, it completes The Law (Romans 13:10). As a friend of God, He allows you to call Him by His name, “YHWH.”
God’s name, “YHWH,” is “The I AM.” His name Elohim is all that God was, is and will be. He is The Godhead, “For this cause I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Of whom the whole family in heaven [angels] and earth [humans] is named” (Ephesians 3:14-15). The name “Elohim” means “one who builds all things” (Genesis 1:2 and Hebrews 3:4).
God’s first name is given only to those exceptional people who are more than Sons of God. They are considered a friend that God knows by name. They are the friends of God who can stand face-to-face with Him and have a friendly discussion.
Moses discussed divorce and marriage with God. Moses’ gave the statute for divorce in Deuteronomy 24:1-22 (Exodus 33:12).
Abraham, as God’s friend, convinced God that if ten righteous men were in Sodom, He would not destroy it. Wow! God allows only His friends to know and use His first name, YHWH. You are finally, coming to the answer of God’s sacred name.
God, The Father
The Commandments mandate that you do not take God’s name in vain (Exodus 20:7). Why? All of mankind’s works are for nothing. They are unprofitable (John 6:63). All the efforts of man are useless.
Unless God gives you permission to use His first name, you have no right to use it. God allows only His friends to use the true meaning and pronouncement of “YHWH.” There is a good reason why God allows only a few to call Him by His first name. “When a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken, but the prophet has spoken it presumptuously: you shall not be afraid of him” (Deuteronomy 18:22). A false prophet is no friend of God because they spread false gossip about God. God has friends that He knows by name (personal) and He knows their faith. God only tells His name to His friends who know The Word of God. “For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother and sister and mother” (Matthew 12:50). You are in Christ’s family as long as you follow God’s will. To be God’s friend is a great honor. Jesus’ His Twelve Disciples were His friends (John 15:14).
You, too, are God’s people and part of His family as long as you seek God’s will. Being God’s friend is a special relationship. God will discuss His thoughts and purposes with you through The Bible. God personally calls you by your name and you can call Him by His first name, “YHWH,” because you are a friend of His.
What does God want you to call him? When you are like Abraham, Moses, Daniel or Jesus, you will be on intimate terms with God. Christ further explains God’s sacred name. When you pray, you must say, “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed [holy] be thy name [YHWH]” (Matthew 6:9).
Christians and Messianic Jews are to call God “Father!” For God to allow you to call Him by His first name, you must be considered as one of His friends. God will determine your absolute faith and trust “In Him.” A repentant world calling Our God (Elohim) as Our Father is sufficient. God’s personal name is only reserved for His friends.
Christ said when you pray, since you do not know how to pronounce His first name, you should describe what His name is. “Hallowed be thy name.” God’s name is private and only to be used by His friends when speaking face-to-face. You, as one of God’s people, must acknowledge that His personal name is very private. God will allow you to call Him by His first name only when you see Him face-to-face, as a friend of His. It is sufficient for you to call Him Our Father because you know His name is Holy.
You may, also, call God by His many titles like Elohim. Jesus did not reveal His Father’s name but Christians should keep His name and Hallow it in reverence to Him.