God, What's Your Name, What Should I Call You?
The Names of God have been a popular teaching for years and have offered the body of Christ a greater understanding of God’s wonderful nature and character. Many believers have never known that they could call upon God in a time of crises because they didn’t understand the vastness of His goodness. God once proved His love and commitment to His chosen people by revealing Himself as the solution to their needs. In many cases, God showed His character while His people were in the midst of great conflict. Thus if the need for provision arose, then God would share that He is “The Lord that Provides.” Or if they needed healing, then God would show them that He is “The Lord Who Heals.”
These names of God are not a title, but rather they are a declaration of God’s character; this is “what He does”.
Other names of God are as follows:
• “The Lord Who Sanctifies”
• “The Lord Our Peace”
• “The Lord Our Righteousness”
• “The Lord Our Shepherd”
• “The Lord who is There”
• “The Lord of Hosts”
This use of the word “Lord” is sometimes substituted with “Jehovah”, however a more accurate and older translation of both is “YHWH”. It is pronounced “Yah-weh”. “Yahu or Yah”, as in Hallelu—”yah”. All of these forms reflect the active nature of God. In effect Yahweh means to “To exist, To Be, or To Bring into Existence”. Yahweh was present when Moses was preparing to go back to Egypt and deliver the Children of Israel. Prior to his journey Moses asks God, ‘What if they want to know your name and who it is that sent me?”
Exodus 3:14 God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’”
Subsequently, when God is called upon as the provider and healer etc. we are coming in contact with an active “I AM” Savior. He is virtually offering us the answer even as we speak.
For the Christian this is made living and active based on our connection with the Son of God. The same nature and character of the Father is present in the Son and embodies all the fullness of the “I Am”.
John 8:58 “Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!”
Scripture goes on to proclaim Jesus as the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being (Hebrews 1:3). *
In contrast, religion only teaches us about history’s God rather than a Savior that is currently present, living, and active. This is also true when having an Old Testament religious perspective. We could compare it to holding on to a picture of God, rather than being intimate and engaging the real thing. Subsequently, if we have been calling upon a religious substitute then our prayers are not actually getting answered as they should. The names of God must find their power in the Person of Jesus and that of His Spirit.
*Examples of Jesus as provision (1 Peter 4:11), healing (Matt. 12:15), sanctification (Heb. 1:3), peace (Eph. 2:14), Righteousness (1 Cor. 1:30), and Shepherd (John 10:11)
What about the name of Jesus? If we can find a more accurate description of God in the person of Yahweh, then is there a more suitable name for the Son?
The Name “Yeshua”
Philippians 2:9Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name,
John 17:12a While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me.
Due to various translations, transliterations and matters of tradition the name “Jesus” is widely received to represent the Son of God. Yet surprisingly, this is not the name that was first ascribed to Him. Let me explain.
The Name that is above every Name has gone through a number of changes within the last two thousand years. Here is the basic chronology surrounding those changes.
- At the time of His birth the angel Gabriel instructed that the child was to be named “Yehoshua” (Joshua) (Early Hebrew) or “Yeshua” (Late Hebrew) both of which mean “Yahweh is salvation”.
Matthew 1:21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Yeshua, because he will save his people from their sins.”
- The Greek name “Iesous” (pronounced “ee-ay-SUS”) eventually gained title within a predominantly Greek speaking culture.
- The Latin transliteration “Iesus” (pronounced “ee-SUS”) came into its own with the Latin vulgate in 200 A.D.
- Early English took from the Latin transliteration and in the mid 1500’s the letter “J” was added to the English language and Iesus became “Jesu”
- Our present day English calls Him “Jesus,” however that name is only about 500 years old.
So why change someone’s name to suit a different culture? Well as it happens languages and language structure are not always compatible. Hence sometimes names are derived from transliterations. A “transliteration” is an attempt to transfer the sound of a word rather than transfer its meaning. Arab’s call him ‘‘Esa’, the Dutch say “Jezus”, in Indonesia they say “Yesus”, the Danish utter Jesu Kristi, Italians say Gesú Cristo, Romanians say “Isus Hristos”, and the Spanish call him “Jesu Cristo”. But only one of the names previously listed retains any proper biblical meaning, the name “Yeshua”.
It is believed that one other possible reason for the name change was an intentional attempt to separate a predominately gentile Christian church from a decidedly Jewish influence. Many early church fathers where anti-Semitic to the extreme. Thus the name was changed to support the religious and political agendas of the day. For instance in an early King James Bible we find that the word “Yeshua” was replaced across the board with the name Jesus. They were so thorough in their attempts to expunge the name that they even changed Joshua (Yehoshua) son of Nun’s name by mistake.
Hebrews 4:8 (Early King James Version)
For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day.
It should have read:
Hebrews 4:8 (New International Version)
For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day.
This name issue does not necessarily bring into question our commitment to Christ, simply because salvation begins and ends with Him. But none the less this matter does raise some questions. For me I had to ask;
- What have I been doing all these years when I called upon the Name of Jesus?
- Was this a legitimate call upon the Son of God to intervene in prayer and in ministry?
- How do I properly honor the Son from this day forward?
First, we should take note that the Jews where a people asking to know “what God does” when they asked to know His name. IE “God is being salvation for us”. So as we call upon the Name it becomes both our authority and our assurance of salvation. Thus once we are secure in Yeshua whether we properly pronounce His name or not the grace of God remains with us.
Secondly; The Name is a seal upon our hearts which guarantees that we are His children. In every sense of the word we have been labeled as property of God Most High and all of heaven knows it.
2 Corinthians 1:21-23 Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, 22set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
Ephesians 1:13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit,
So it is safe to say that though I may be naive at times by calling the “Only Begotten Son of God” by a divine nick name (Jesus), there is a good chance that the Savior will still come to my rescue even if I called him “Harvey”! The only exception to this rule can be found when our religious attitudes take precedence over relational ties. You see, those that would seek to use the Name apart from this place of intimate connection, add insult to the Name and to their pursuit of our Lord and Savior This is where religion lays hold of God’s name with damaging effect and every man centered agenda finds a different use for the Name. In error religion defines its goals based upon an “icon” rather than on a genuine friend and Savior. This brings added depth to what was once spoken by Pau the Apostle.
2 Corinthians 11:4 For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough.
If we have added our own religious meaning to the Name, then we lie to our self and hinder others in their search for greater salvation. I can speak from experience when I say that I have lost numerous counterfeit gods once named “Jesus” as I challenged my religious and spiritual roots at the Cross. My participation in different religions had blurred the lines to a healthy connection with the one true God and I needed away out from their demonic influence. /christian-news/2022/07/the-purpose-driven-death-5-2609358.html
Though grace may cover a multitude of proper-nouns, I would like to suggest that the reader give special thought to their intimate connection with the Savior. Based on this relationship with the Son of God, ask Him, “What should I now call you?” I personally have found freedom to call Him “Yeshua” in my private prayer life. As I speak publicly, depending on the audience, I will use the name Jesus or Yeshua. Our call is to rest in the Son of God and allow His fullness to permeate our lives
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