Proverbs 30:4 Who has gone up to heaven and come down? Who has cupped the wind in the palms of his hands? Who has wrapped up the waters in his cloak? Who established all the ends of the earth? What is his name, and what is his son’s name? Surely you know!
What is God’s name?
God is a title and not a name. When we see LORD or GOD (in all caps) in English, it is actually the tetragrammaton, the Four Letter Name of God/ יהוה /YHVH. Psalms is one of the best preserved biblical scrolls as seen in the picture above of the Dead Sea Scrolls. In the Dead Sea Scrolls, Psalms 133 shows God’s name written in PaleoHebrew. I have marked them in red boxes.
As I have mentioned in my blogs on the Hebrew letters of the aleph-bet, the forms of Hebrew have changed throughout the years.
Isaiah 42:8 I am YHVH; that is my name. I yield my glory to no one else, nor my praise to any idol.
In Hebrew, God’s personal name YHVH יהוה is used over 6,800 times. In Rabbinic Judaism the name is not written or said, it is usually referred to as ‘haShem’ which means the name. In this blog, I am not debating on how to pronounce the name, but I am blogging about the importance of the name and what it means.
In the Last Days as prophesied by Yoel, we see the Day of YHVH being referenced.
Joel 3:3 I will show wonders in the sky and on earth- blood, fire and columns of smoke. 4 The sun will be turned into darkness and the moon into blood before the coming of the great and terrible Day of YHVH.” 5 At that time, whoever calls on the name of YHVH will be saved. For in Mount Tziyon and Yerushalayim there will be those who escape, as YHVH has promised; among the survivors will be those whom YHVH has called.
The revelation of God’s name occurs in the parsha Shemot which means names.
Exodus 3:13 Moshe said to God, “Look, when I appear before the people of Isra’el and say to them, ‘The God of your ancestors has sent me to you’; and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what am I to tell them?” 14 God said to Moshe, “Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh [I am/will be what I am/will be],” and added, “Here is what to say to the people of Isra’el: ‘Ehyeh [I Am or I Will Be] has sent me to you.'” 15 God said further to Moshe, “Say this to the people of Isra’el: ‘Yud-Heh-Vav-Heh [YHVH], the God of your fathers, the God of Avraham, the God of Yitz’chak and the God of Ya’akov, has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever; this is how I am to be remembered generation after generation.
Here we are told that this is His name forever (Ex 3:15). Throughout scripture, we are told repeatedly to call upon His name.
1 Kings 18:24 Then, you, call on the name of your god; and I will call on the name of YHVH; and the God who answers with fire, let him be God!” All the people answered, “Good idea! Agreed!”
1 Chronicles 16:8 Give thanks to YHVH! Call on his name! Make his deeds known among the peoples.
Psalm 105:1 Give thanks to YHVH! Call on his name! Make his deeds known among the peoples.
Zephaniah 3:9 For then I will change the peoples, so that they will have pure lips, to call on the name of YHVH, all of them, and serve him with one accord.
We should know His Name.
What then is the revealed, personal Name of the creator of the universe as established in scripture?
Isaiah 52:6 Therefore my people will know my name; therefore on that day they will know that I, the one speaking- here I am!
Micah 4:5 For all the peoples will walk, each in the name of its god; but we will walk in the name of YHVH our God forever and ever.
Hosea 2:18 “On that day,” says YHVH “you will call me Ishi [My Husband]; you will no longer call me Ba’ali [My Master].
Didn’t the Children of Yisrael know His name before Exodus/Shemot 3?
Exodus 3:15 God said further to Moshe, “Say this to the people of Isra’el: ‘Yud-Heh-Vav-Heh [YHVH], the God of your fathers, the God of Avraham, the God of Yitz’chak and the God of Ya’akov, has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever; this is how I am to be remembered generation after generation.
When looking at this verse, the first thought is that the name of YHVH was not known to the patriarchs prior to this time.
Genesis 3:8 They heard the voice of YHVH, God, walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, so the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of YHVH, God, among the trees in the garden.
Genesis 4:26 To Shet too was born a son, whom he called Enosh. That is when people began to call on the name of YHVH.
Furthermore, he addresses himself as YHVH to both Avraham and Ya’akov in Genesis.
Genesis 15:7 Then he said to him, “I am YHVH, who brought you out from Ur-Kasdim to give you this land as your possession.”
Genesis 28:13 Then suddenly YHVH was standing there next to him; and he said, “I am YHVH, the God of Avraham your [grand]father and the God of Yitz’chak. The land on which you are lying I will give to you and to your descendants.
If the children of Yisrael already knew the name of Elohim, then why is this revelation of the name so important?
Exo 6:3 And I appeared unto Avraham, unto Yitzchak, and unto Ya’akov, as El Shaddai, but by My Shem YHVH I did not make Myself known to them.
What YHVH is teaching us is more about the descriptions and attributes of who He is. Elohim is the name of the creator of the universe. El Shaddai means Elohim the Sufficient One. Even though, men knew the name YHVH, they had not yet experienced the fullness of this attribute of Elohim. Up to this time in the history of the children of Yisrael, they had only known Elohim as Creator and Sustainer.
Yet, notice exactly what Elohim said to Moshe.
Exodus 3:14 God said to Moshe, “Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh [I am/will be what I am/will be],” and added, “Here is what to say to the people of Isra’el: ‘Ehyeh [I Am or I Will Be] has sent me to you.’
The Hebrew text reads: “ehyeh asher ehyeh.” The word ehyeh is derived from hayah which means to be or to exist. This is not His Name, but it is an explanation that leads up to the revelation of His Name in verse 15, namely: YHVH יהוה.
He was – (היה)
He is – (הוה)
He will be – (יהיה)
His name יהוה YHVH reveals that His attributes are limitless. YHVH is a composite of various forms of to be. He is beyond time itself and is present in all. We find this same description of Yahshuah in the Brit Chadashah.
Rev 1:8 Ani Hu the Aleph and the Tav, says YHVH Adonoi, the One who is and the One who was and the One coming, Adonoi Tzivos (L-rd of armies).
So, what are YHVH’s other attributes? Well if we take Moshe’s life as an example, we get a better picture. During the events of the Exodus, we can see all of the miraculous examples of YHVH’s power.
YHVH does not work within the laws of nature. Instead, He would perform miracles. These miracles would go against the laws of nature and clarify that their creator was the creator of the universe and did not need to follow the laws of science or nature.
Just as Moshe displayed YHVH’s miraculous power to the world, another prophet like Moshe would arise.
Deuteronomy 18:15 “YHVH will raise up for you a prophet like me from among yourselves, from your own kinsmen. You are to pay attention to him,
Likewise, Yahshuah did many miracles that proved that he was truly the son of YHVH.
John 20:30 In the presence of the talmidim Yeshua performed many other miracles which have not been recorded in this book. 31 But these which have been recorded are here so that you may trust that Yeshua is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by this trust you may have life because of who he is.
Numerical Value and Meaning
As I have mentioned in my blogs on the hebrew letters, each Hebrew letter not only has a numerical value, but holds a meaning as well. By looking at each letter of YHVH’s name, we find another hidden revelation.
י yud is a hand -value of 10
ה hey is behold, revelation or spirit- value of 5
ו vav is nail, connector, or man- value of 6
ה hey is behold, revelation or spirit – value of 5
As we can see from the Hebrew letters of YHVH’s name, we see the hidden message “hand behold nail behold.”
Who is this message talking about? According to Zechariah’s prophecy, one who was pierced.
Zechariah 12:10 and I will pour out on the house of David and on those living in Yerushalayim a spirit of grace and prayer; and they will look to me, whom they pierced.” They will mourn for him as one mourns for an only son; they will be in bitterness on his behalf like the bitterness for a firstborn son.
Yahshuah even states that He comes in His father’s name. Yahshuah has the shortened version of YHVH in it as written in Psalm 68:5 Sing to God, sing praises to his name; extol him who rides on the clouds by his name, Yah; and be glad in his presence.
John 5:43 I have come in my Father’s name, and you don’t accept me; if someone else comes in his own name, him you will accept.
John 20:25 When the other talmidim told him, “We have seen the Lord,” he replied, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands, put my finger into the place where the nails were and put my hand into his side, I refuse to believe it.” 26 A week later his talmidim were once more in the room, and this time T’oma was with them. Although the doors were locked, Yeshua came, stood among them and said, “Shalom aleikhem!” 27 Then he said to T’oma, “Put your finger here, look at my hands, take your hand and put it into my side. Don’t be lacking in trust, but have trust!”
Now, let’s look at the values of each letter that spells YHVH. The yud is a value of 10. 10 means divine ,ordinal perfection or divine time. The Hebrew letter hey has a value of 5. 5 is a picture of Torah. It is also a picture of grace. It is through YHVH’s grace, Torah, that we know what sin is ( 1 John 3:4) . The Hebrew letter vav is the value of 6. It represents man and his world.
SO, putting it all together, we can see another message. At His divine appointed time, God will show his grace by a man full of grace.
Now, putting this numerical message together with the pictorial message a further hidden revelation of His name:
At His divine appointed time, God will show his grace by a man full of grace that hands behold a nail. BEHOLD!
This mystery was purposely hidden, but revealed to those who seek.
Proverbs 25:2 God gets glory from concealing things; kings get glory from investigating things.
He Places His Name on Us
Numbers 6:27 “In this way they are to put my name on the people of Isra’el, so that I will bless them.”
His name YHVH that represents His character and attributes was to be placed upon His people. In the end, we see His name upon His people. How was this done? By reciting what is called the Aharonic Blessing.
Numbers 6:24 ‘Y’varekh’kha YHVH v’yishmerekha. [May YHVH bless you and keep you.] 25 Ya’er YHVH panav eleikha vichunekka. [May YHVH make his face shine on you and show you his favor.] 26 Yissa YHVH panav eleikha v’yasem l’kha shalom. [May YHVH lift up his face toward you and give you peace.]’
In the Torah, we read a description of the first Tabernacle worship service where Aharon lifts up his hands and blesses the people.
Lev 9:22 Aharon then lifted up his hand toward the people and blessed them, and came down from making the sin offering, and the burnt offering, and the peace offerings.
In Temple times, Talmud tells us that the priests would lift up their hands over the people while pronouncing the Aharonic blessing. When they did this, they spread their fingers apart in a way as to make the shape of the ancient letter, shin (ש).
Traditionally, this is the abbreviation for El Shaddai. By making the sign of this letter while lifting their hands and pronouncing the blessing, they were in a way putting His Name on the children of Israel.
Did Yahshuah ever say the Aharonic blessing? We do find Him blessing His disciples just before He ascended into heaven:
Luke 24:50 And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them.
It seems that Yahshuah’s way of blessing His disciples is consistent with the way that the priests blessed the children of Yisrael. Yahshuah was also placing YHVH, part of His own name on the people.
This is why I believe that it is important for us to use the name. When we replace title LORD with YHVH, we can see the God’s grace and plan for man even from the very beginning.