God's Name Was Not Secret

by
Jason Dulle
JasonDulle@yahoo.com


Question:

Praise the Lord! Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ! I have heard some Oneness Pentecostals teach that the patriarchs of the OT did not know a name for God (Jacob and Manoah, both asked but were told it was a secret). His name would only be declared later. Jesus declared that He had come in his Father's name. YHWH is Jesus. Please respond with more information on this marvelous subject.

 

Answer:

I have heard this teaching before from other preachers. It is a popular belief, but one that is not faithful to the Biblical record. God had declared His name in the OT. His name was and is YHWH (Yahweh). This name was revealed to Abraham (Genesis 12:8; Genesis 22:14), Sarah (Genesis 16:11), Isaac (Genesis 26:25), Moses (Exodus 3:15; 15:3; Deuteronomy 28:58), and countless others by God, who declared that it was indeed His name. God even testified that Yahweh was His name (Exodus 6:3; 20:7). God identified His name to Moses as "I AM" (Exodus 3:14). This Hebrew word is ehyeh which is the first-person singular form of the Hebrew word hayah, the Hebrew eqivalent of the English verb of being (is/am/are). "Yahweh" is also derived from hayah, but is the third-person singular form, meaning something akin to "he is." The difference between "I AM" and "Yahweh" is not a difference in name, but a difference in perspective (first-person or third). From Godís perspective He is "I am;" from our perspective He is the "He is." Either way, this is the revealed name of God. Jesusí name is Yeshua, which is a compound of two Hebrew words: Ya (an abbreviation for Yahweh) and shuwah (salvation). It basically means "Yahweh is salvation," or "Yahweh has become salvation." It is a compound form of Yahweh. If we deny that Godís truly revealed His name to be Yahweh, then we are also denying that Jesusí name is the name of God because Jesusí name is a compound form of Yahweh. The name Jesus, then, is not a new name for God, but describes a certain quality about God. It is descriptive about Godís person and activity. Christ was the saving God. It is not a matter of God not revealing His name in the OT, but that the ultimate expression of Godís name is found in Jesus, because Jesus is Yahweh who saves.

The Manoah episode (Judges 13) does not teach what some try to make it teach. The text does not say that it was the LORD who was speaking to Manoah, but rather the Angel of the LORD. Although there is some debate as to the identity of the angel (whether He is a theophany of God or a true angel), it cannot be demonstrated Biblically that the Angel is a theophany. Seeing that this text is questionable at best, it is not wise to base a doctrine off of this episode. Since it does seem that this was a genuine angel who is representing Yahweh, Manoah was asking for the angelís name, not the name of God (Judges 13:17-18). The context of this story gives us every reason to believe that Manoah and his wife believed the angel to be an angel, not God Himself. Manoahís comment that they had seen God need not indicate that he believed the angel was God Himself, seeing that the Hebrew word for God (elohim) is also used of angels (Psalm 8:5).

The same situation applies to Jacobís account of wrestling with the angel. The account even calls the angel a man (Genesis 32:24). Hosea, referring to this episode said that Jacob wrestled with an angel, not God (Hosea 12:4).

Concerning Jesusí statement that He had come in His Fatherís name (John 5:43), we should not understand this to mean that He came with His Fatherís name. Although this may be true, that was not Jesusí point. In order to understand the point Jesus was making we must understand the Biblical concept and significance of "names." To the Biblical authors oneís name is tantamount to their person, worth, authority, or presence. Jesusí point was that He had come in His Fatherís person. Jesus was the Fatherís representative who bore His Fatherís authority. I would suggest reading my paper titled The Biblical Significance of Names for further clarity on this topic.



Question:

Thanks for your reply. It appears to me that the name Jehovah and Yahweh are man made fabricated names. I understand YHWH are hebrew consonants that they are expressed as "ehyeh asher ehyeh" or "I am that I am" or "I am that I will be." The literal translation for YHWH is "WAS, IS, SHALL BE." In Exodus 3:14,15 God said that YHWH was His name forever. Word studies from Strong's Dictionary of Bible Words, from Vine's, from Wilson's Bible Word Dictionary, and many other sources interpret the word "name" as in "my name for ever" to mean "identity" The Tetragrammaton was not given as a proper name, but as a statement of fact: I AM THAT I AM (YHWH). Concerning Jacob wrestling with the Angel of the Lord, Jacob said himself "he wrestled with God face to face, and my life is preserved" Solomon the wisest man on earth asked "What is his name and what is his son's name if thou canst tell?" Psalm 22:22 "I will declare thy name unto my brethren....." Prophecy said His name would be declared or made known by the Messiah. The name he declared was JESUS, a name above every name according to the word.



Answer:

I understand what you are saying, but if YHWH is not God's name, then neither is "Jesus," which is only a compound form of the name YHWH. I agree that YHWH means "He is," but Jesus by extension only means "He is salvation." If we say that Yahweh is not a name, then neither is Jesus; it is only a description. Such an opinion is not consistent with the nature of Hebrew names. Hebrew names are often descriptions. Jacob means "supplanter" or "deceiver." Israel means "he contends with God." Nabal means "fool." Such is the nature of Hebrew names. One's name was often a complete sentence, such as in the case of YHWH and Israel.

When the Scripture says that the name of Jesus is above every name, it is not saying that the actual spelling of a nominal designation--JESUS--is the best name in the world. Jesus was a common name. What it means is that the person, Jesus Christ of Nazareth, is the most exalted person. Again, I refer you to my paper on the Biblical concept of "name."


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