Names of God


In early times, the Israelites identified their God by naming their ancestors who had a relationship with that God, as in this verse:  Exodus 3:5 “Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” 6 Then he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.

At the time of this verse, Moses was 80 years old.  He had run away from Egypt at age 40 because he had committed a murder.  He was making a living by watching sheep in the desert.  He saw a burning bush, and heard a voice.  After the voice identified itself (as above,) the voice told him to go to Egypt and lead the people of Israel out from their slavery there.  As the verse continues, the voice then tells its name:

13 Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?”
14 God said to Moses, “I am who I am . [2] This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ ”
15 God also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘The LORD , [3] the God of your fathers-the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob-has sent me to you.

I AM is one Hebrew word: it is the word for “is” in a certain grammatical form.  This name reminds us that God is self-existent: no one had to make Him.  He is the source of existence.  He is existence itself.

The Hebrew letters for this name are YHWH.  Although we do not know the true pronunciation, for convenience scholars pronounce it as “Yahweh.”  This name appears often throughout the Old Testament.    Sometime after the Old Testament was finished, the Jews stopped pronouncing this name as a demonstration of their reverence for it, and began the custom of speaking the word “Lord” whenever YHWH appeared in the Bible text.  Most English translations continue this custom: when you see the word LORD, all in caps, you know that the original Hebrew word there was YHWH.

The English word “Jehovah” was invented to represent the name YHWH.  German scholars wrote the divine name as JHWH (since J is pronounced like a y-sound in German), and English people inserted vowels between the letters to invent the word “Jehovah.”

Apply to Jesus.

The quotation below, from the New Testament, uses both of the concepts introduced above, and reminds us that the most complete revelation of who God is was given by Jesus Christ:  Ephesians 1:

3Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

The God of the Bible is not only the God of Abraham, but according to  Ephesians 1 He is also the God of _________.  (that is how we identify which God we are talking about).

Jesus is not only a man, but he is also God; in this verse, we are reminded of this fact because the verse called Jesus by the title __________.

John 1:18 says “No one has seen God at any time, but the only Son, who is at the bosom of the Father, has made Him known.

The one that the Son makes ________ is the true and only God.

In John 14:7, Jesus says, No one comes to the Father but by me.

Various religions may agree that there is only one God, but only Jesus can actually bring us into relationship with that one God.


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