The Names of God 2

Over 40 000 people change their names in Britain each year. One man lost a drunken bet and is now called ‘Happy Adjustable Spanners’. Some of the other rather eccentric name changes recorded are ‘Luscious Lemons’, ‘General Ninja Ant’ and ‘In A Cup Boogie Woogie Brown’.


I am not sure how serious some of there people are about their personal names, but God is very serious about His. The most frequent, and proper, name of God in the Old Testament is transliterated from the Hebrew as ‘YHWH’. We don’t actually know how it was pronounced. Many centuries ago Jewish scholars, considered that this name is so holy that that they thought it should never be used in vain (see Exodus 20: 7). And so they deleted all of the vowels in it from the pages of Scripture, which made it unpronounceable. About the closest we can get today is to say it as ‘Yahweh’. It was also translated into English a very long time ago as ‘Jehovah’.


In our English Bibles it is represented as LORD. Note that it is all in capitals to distinguish it from Lord – representing another name for God which we will consider later. (Can you see the difference between the two?)


What does Yahweh mean?


Well, the basic meaning of this name is “to be” or to “have being”. He revealed Himself to Moses as “I am who I am”. Exodus 3:14. Nathan Stone wrote “When we read the name LORD in our Bible, we think in terms of being or existence and life. We must think of Him as the Being who is absolutely self existent, the One who in Himself possesses essential life and permanent existence.”


The Bible tells us that we may call upon the LORD for forgiveness of sin (Psalm 25:8 -11), safety (Psalm 107:13) and for Him to be our refuge (Psalm 31:1 – 3).

Graham Kissack