God? What’s in a Name

Moses and the Burning Bush

The average reader of the English Bible will come to the false conclusion that God does not have a personal name. It doesn’t help that the popular movie The Ten Commandments states that the Hebrew’s God had no name.

2 “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. 3  “You shall have no other gods before me. Ex. 20:2 -3

Notice that LORD is in all capital letters. This is there to indicate to the reader that the Lord’s name was there in the original Hebrew. Occasionally this is also done to the word GOD.

But he said, “O Lord GOD, how am I to know that I shall possess it?” Gen. 15:8 

This happens when the Hebrew has both the word for “lord” and the personal name of God in the same sentence.

YHVH/Jehovah

God’s name is YHVH/YHWH in Hebrew. However, at some point the keepers of the Text the Jews became superstitious about pronouncing the name of God. So they began a tradition of saying Adona meaning lord and bowing whenever they read the word. Later when they were putting together the Masoretic Text they added vowel pointing to all the words. Because ancient Hebrew has no vowels and they were beginning to forget how to pronounce the words. When they came to YHVH they inserted the vowels for Adona or lord. Now when the first translations were made into European languages they didn’t know the Jews had done this. Latin being the paramount language of Europe for the centuries to come use a J to make a Y sound. This set the precedence for a J. And that is where Jehovah comes from. It is YHVH with the vowels from Adona. 

FYI: This is why all the names that in Hebrew start with a Y sound are spelled in English with a J, e.g. Jesus, Jacob, John, Jerusalem, Jezreel, etc. Hebrew has NO hard J sounds.

Pronunciation?

Next question is always, How is it pronounced? Well, to be honest, no one really knows for sure. It is most likely either Yahvah or Yahwah.

JEHOVAH-MOGAN

YAHWEH-MAGEN

For an explanation of Jehovah/YHWH see also: God? What’s in a Name.

The Hebrew word for “shield” is” magen.” It is a shield of any size, full size or buckler. In Biblical usage, a shield can be used for defense, decoration, or an indication of wealth.

In the 3rd Psalm David expresses his great distress when fleeing his son Absalom. [c.f. 2 Sam. 15] David had few left who were loyal to him. He complains that his enemies claim that even God will not help him. But David understands there is no help for David except the LORD.

“But thou, O LORD, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head.” Psalm 3:3

The “LORD our shield” denotes divine protection. It is not the great and powerful that the Lord shields, for David is no longer king. He is running for his life. In worldly ways he is a disgrace, his crown has fallen from his head, his honor among men is gone.

Solomon decorated his palace with 300 shields of gold.

And he made three hundred shields of beaten gold; three minas of gold went into each shield; and the king put them in the House of the Forest of Lebanon. 1Kings 10:17

In this our Kingdom Age or Church Age, in the past, the congregation of the Lord has often faced great persecution. Great wars have been fought to force people to worship different deities in the way Popes and Kings wish people to worship. Many laid down their lives for the freedom to worship what had how they saw fit. The shield of their souls was the LORD himself.

For the LORD God is a sun and shield; he bestows favor and honor. No good thing does the LORD withhold from those who walk uprightly. Psa. 84:11

The sun is the source of all light on earth. Throughout the Bible, the light of God’s face shines on all that love Him.

After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.” Gen. 15:1 

. . . my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge, my savior; thou savest me from violence. 2Sam. 22:3

Thou hast given me the shield of thy salvation, and thy help made me great. 2Sam. 22:36

Is our God just an ornament that we display? Or is He our protector in times of stress and danger?  Is your shield a useful tool or just decoration?

See Also:

JEHOVAH-‘OR

JEHOVAH-GAAL

JEHOVAH-JIREH

JEHOVAH-NISSI

JEHOVAH-RAPHA

JEHOVAH-ROHI

JEHOVAH-SHALOM

JEHOVAH-SHAMMAH

JEHOVAH-TSIDKENU

JEHOVAH-YASHA

Sanctification

The word in question is the Greek word hagiasmos. It appears ten times in the New Testament. It means to be dedicated to God’s service. It is the equivalent of the Old Testament kadosh which means to be holy. Sometimes the English Bible translates hagiasmos as holiness sometimes sanctification.

Ok, here’s the rub for the Messianic/Hebrew roots community; The Calvinists use these verses to show that one must work to become holy, where the Arminians teach that holiness is imputed to us by the work of the cross.

I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once yielded your members to impurity and to greater and greater iniquity, so now yield your members to righteousness for sanctification. Rom. 6:19

But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the return you get is sanctification and its end, eternal life. Rom. 6:22 

He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, whom God made our wisdom, our righteousness and sanctification and redemption; 1Cor. 1:30

For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from unchastity; 4 that each one of you know how to take a wife for himself in holiness and honor, 1Th. 4:3-4

For God has not called us for uncleanness, but in holiness. 1Th. 4:7

But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God chose you from the beginning to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. 2Th. 2:13 

Yet woman will be saved through bearing children, if she continues in faith and love and holiness, with modesty. 1Tim. 2:15

Strive for peace with all men, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. Heb. 12:14

. . . chosen and destined by God the Father and sanctified by the Spirit for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you. 1Pet. 1:2

After reading through the verses there will be those of you who just realized for the first time in your life that you are a Calvinist, we’re truly sorry. (We here at Biet Sepher are firm Cal-arminians.) We hold that both views are absolutely true. At the same time, they are absolutely irreconcilable. Predestination vs. Freewill is one of Paul’s mysteries of the faith. They are opposite sides of the same coin.

So now that we are Calvinists we probably should look at Calvin’s Institutes on this. Book 2, chapter 7, paragraphs 7-12.

If you read the whole thing you will run into a word that you will probably be unfamiliar with, but that every Messianic/Hebrew roots should know. It is the word, Antinomian. It is a Christian heresy and you’re going to just love it. (There is nothing so sweet in a debate as when your enemy provides you with their own slanderous designation.) Anti means, “Opposed to,” nomean means, “the Law,” together it is the name for “those that reject the Law.” These are the people who hold that Christians are under no obligation to obey the Law. (See Also; Lawlessness)

The Three Uses of the Law

Civil, Salvation, and Obedience

  1. The Law restrains evil, even though the Law does not change the heart, it denounces, and pronounces punishment on those that are unchanged. The Law allows for earthly justice and promises a final judgment before a just God.
  2. The Law is a mirror where we discover our faults, and see the pure ugliness of our sin, and how far we have fallen from God’s ideals. It is not the mirror’s fault that our ugliness shows, just as it is not the Laws fault that we have missed the mark.
  3. The Law reveals what is pleasing to our Lord. It directs us to the proper ways in which we should seek to please Him, and avoid offending Him. This is the highest function of the Law. It is the instructions on how to honor and glorify our King.

. . . but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments. Deut. 5:10

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. John 14:15 

“For it is the best instrument for enabling them daily to learn with greater truth and certainty what that will of the Lord is which they aspire to follow, and to confirm them in this knowledge; just as a servant who desires with all his soul to approve himself to his master, must still observe, and be careful to ascertain his master’s dispositions, that he may comport himself in accommodation to them. Let none of us deem ourselves exempt from this necessity, for none have as yet attained to such a degree of wisdom, as that they may not, by the daily instruction of the Law, advance to a purer knowledge of the Divine will.” Calvin’s Institutes Book 2, chapter 7, paragraph 12. 

It is our duty to obey our King.

Images in the Church

“Triumph of Orthodoxy” over iconoclasm under the Byzantine Empress Theodora and her son Michael III. Late 14th – early 15th-century icon.

The question of when the corruption of the church began has many answers. There is no one great corruption from which the church changed from being the virgin bride to being the whore of Babylon we see today.

One of the earliest fights was between the iconoclast i.e. those that destroy icons and those who cherished or venerate the icons, called the iconolaters by the iconoclasts.

Council of Hieria (754)

Held by Byzantine Emperor, Constantine V (741–775)

The synod – which proclaimed itself as the “Seventh Ecumenical Council.” The council condemned the teachings of Patriarch Germanus I and John the Damascene and condemned icon worship.

“Supported by the Holy Scriptures and the Fathers, we declare unanimously, in the name of the Holy Trinity, that there shall be rejected and removed and cursed one of the Christian Church every likeness which is made out of any material and color whatever by the evil art of painters”.

The bishops declared, “the unlawful art of painting living creatures blasphemed the fundamental doctrine of our salvation–namely, the Incarnation of Christ, and contradicted the six holy synods. . . If anyone shall endeavor to represent the forms of the Saints in lifeless pictures with material colors which are of no value (for this notion is vain and introduced by the devil), and does not rather represent their virtues as living images in himself, etc … let him be anathema.”‘

Similar pronouncements on the issue of religious images had been made in Synod of Elvira (c. 305) which stated, “Pictures are not to be placed in churches, so that they do not become objects of worship and adoration.”

However, in just 33 years the tables were turned and the images were encouraged.

Seventh General Council or The Second Council of Nicaea (787AD)

This council restored the use and veneration of icons, which had been suppressed by imperial edict inside the Byzantine Empire during the reign of Leo III (717–741) The son of Constantine V.

The Fifth Session (October 4, 787) — Claimed that the iconoclast heresy came originally from Jews, Saracens, and Manicheans.

The reasoning behind this is found in The Seven Ecumenical Councils by Philip Schaff . The argument goes that St. Gregory Nyssen could not pass by a painting of Abram sacrificing Isaac without crying, so if the ignorant and the simple were to have icons they too might also be moved to tears.

Extracts from the Acts. Session IV.

Extracts from the Acts. Session VI.

Receiving the Kingdom

16  But Jesus called them to him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of God. 17 Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” Luke 18:16 

The Dispensational Futurist have a great deal of trouble explaining these verses. They become very obscure as they puzzle about what appears to them to be an enigmatic statement. This is because their Kingdom is future and literal. Yet neither John the Baptists of Messiah presented the Kingdom as anything but present or in their words “at hand.”

The Kingdom is a spiritual one, with a spiritual temple. We were given just two spiritual sacred sacraments of spiritual communion and a spiritual baptism.

This is why the Kingdom is hidden, lost, full of weeds or full of bad fish. Only those who seek can find it. Only those who listen can hear it.

The Kingdom is present and spiritual but only if one has eyes to see and ears to hear.

Little children have no trouble with the concept that God is here and there,  everywhere in time and space. It is only when one becomes an adult with preconceived notions and grand expectations does the truth become clouded and mysterious.

We need to sit down open our hearts and receive the Kingdom as it is, and not what we want or expect.

Announcement

For those of you who follow this blog, you may have noticed a real slow down in the posting of new papers in the past year. This is because we are working on the finishing editing of commentaries on Daniel and The Revelation. 

The Messianic/Hebrew Roots community has too long been prey to the Dispensationalist Futurist teachings that we have supposedly come out of. So we have produced two works intended to bring the Messianic/Hebrew Roots community back to the teachings of the Reformers so that we might continue their great work of reforming and correcting the errors within the greater Christian Church.

The Dispensationalist teach that the whole world will become corrupt when Antichrist comes. But the Text says that many antichrists have already come, they came from the church, and they were already present in the first century.

18 Children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come; therefore we know that it is the last hour.  19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out, that it might be plain that they all are not of us. 1John 2:18-19

Most of us have for the most part been indoctrinated with dispensationalism. Most have never been exposed to a different way of looking at prophecy. The simple rule that the Reformers used, was to go through the Old Testament and read the prophecies that are known to be fulfilled and look at the history they predicted. Then look at the unfulfilled prophecy for similar language that one should then expect to be fulfilled in a similar fashion.

Here is a brief rundown of the rules of interpretation which are called Hermeneutics.