The Name of Jesus
May 10, 2010
The main argument over the use of the Sacred Name usually goes like this:
1. Baal and Adonai mean "lord."
2. Baal and Adonai are pagan gods of Phoenicia.
3. Therefore, to use "lord" in reference to Yahweh is blasphemy.
If that logic is correct, then we should also argue this way:
1. Molech means "king."
2. Molech is a pagan god of the Moabites.
3. Therefore, to use "king" in reference to Yahweh is blasphemy.
I suspect that if one searched all the religious records of pagan religions, one could find virtually every title already in use among pagan religions, leaving no title at all that could be used exclusively for Yahweh.
The faulty logic is in the presumption that if a false religion commonly used a title in reference to a false god, then this somehow taints that word and makes it blasphemy to use for Yahweh.
Lord, King, God, and His Majesty are all titles. They are not names as such. It has always been considered a sign of respect to refer to monarchs and gods by their titles. I myself would NEVER call a false god by any of these titles, because no false god is my lord, king, or god.
The Scriptures use the term Elohim ("God" or "gods") to describe either Yahweh or false gods. Exodus 20:2 and 3 says,
(2) I am Yahweh your Elohim, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. (3) You shall have no other elohim before Me.
Notice that I spelled the first "Elohim" with a capital letter and the second one in lower case. There is no difference in the original Hebrew text. The words are exactly the same. So if elohim is used of false gods (such as Baal and Molech), how is it that this term is not tainted? Why do Sacred Name people insist upon forsaking the English term "God" but retain its Hebrew equivalent?
1. "God" is used of false gods.
2. Therefore it is blasphemous to apply the term to Yahweh.
By this logic,
1. "Elohim" is used of false gods (vs. 3 above).
2. Therefore, it is blasphemous to apply the term to Yahweh (vs. 2 above).
Personally, I wish that all Bible translations would retain the original names and titles, rather than mistranslating Yahweh by the term "Lord." When it speaks of "the name of the Lord," it would be more accurate to read the original text as "the name of Yahweh." I love accuracy, and in my view, everyone should be familiar with the biblical name "Yahweh." But if someone wants to pronounce it Jehovah, Yahvah, or Yehuvah, He is not insulted unless someone intended to insult Him in their heart. God always looks at the intent of the heart.
Hosea 2:16, 17 is often used in the argument against using "Lord" in reference to Yahweh.
(16) And it will come about in that day, declares Yahweh, that you will call Me ISHI [my Husband], and will no longer call me Baali ["my Lord"]; (17) for I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth, so that they will be mentioned by their names no more. (18) In that day I will also make a covenant for them . . .
The purpose of this passage is to prophesy a New Covenant with the house of Israel. If you have read my book, Old and New Covenant Marriage, you will see that the Old Covenant is called "Hagar" in Gal. 4:24, and its relationship is one of slavery to the husband. The New Covenant relationship is "Sarah" and she is a free woman, though married to her Husband.
The Old Covnenant that God made with Israel at Sinai established a master-slave marriage relationship between God and Israel. In such a relationship, she called Him "Lord," (Baal or Adonai were the common terms). But in a New Covenant relationship, it is different. God is no longer looking for a slave-wife, but for a double witness to establish all things in the earth.
The term ishi means "my man" and also had the meaning of "my husband." Hosea uses it to distinguish between the two covenants. I find it most interesting in that it is a subtle prophecy that Yahweh would become a man called Yeshua, and that He would seek a New Covenant Bride (of Christ).
This is what Hosea was prophesying, as seen by its Covenant context. If one wishes to extend this to focus upon the term Baal, let it be known that I have never called Yahweh by the title Baal. It is true that I have no problem calling Him "Lord," because that is the meaning of Adonai, the title which Scripture often uses in reference to Yahweh. Lord is not Baal unless that is the intent of one's heart.
In other words, "Lord" is only wrong if we intend to call Him Baal and by this we mean to identify Him with that false god. Few Christians (if any) use this title with that intent.
Likewise, this is why the Greek New Testament does not hesitate to use the term Kurios, "Lord." There is no need to edit the New Testament by replacing "Lord" with Yahweh, as if the original wording has been lost. Replacing "God" with Elohim is likewise a useless exercise, seeing that Elohim itself is often used of FALSE gods and is as "tainted" as its English equivalent.
Once a person begins scrutinizing every word that might be derived from a pagan source, this mindset begins to take over and become the focal point of all true religion. One can no longer use the term Christ, because it was supposedly derived from Krishna, the Hindu god. One can no longer use the name Jesus, because it is supposedly from Zeus, the king of the Greek gods.
The Greek term for Jesus is Iesus. There is no "Z" sound in this Greek name. It is not GEE-ZEUS. The word sus has no connection with Zeus. The difference between sus and Zeus is the same as the difference between sue and zoo. Jesus is actually a transliteration of the Hebrew: YAH-SUS, or "Yahweh's Horse." The horse was a symbol of salvation all through the Scripture, which is why Jesus is said to come on a white horse in Rev. 19:11.
The Hebrew word sus ("horse") is just two letters, spelled samech-samech. The samech is a letter that means "support, prop." We see, then, that sus means a double support, i.e., "salvation." This is the meaning of both Iesus and Yeshua. In the 1700's the English language added the "J" to its alphabet and began to spell the name as "Jesus." (Along with this, the term Iewe became "Jew.")
Many people prefer calling Jesus by the Aramaic Yeshua. I have no problem with this, and in fact I often use "Yeshua" in quoting Isaiah 12:2-3 and Exodus 15:2. It is very helpful to know how this name/word is used in these passages to prophesy the incarnation of Christ when Yahweh became Yeshua. However, there is nothing wrong with calling Him by the Anglicized name, "Jesus."
Any truth can become unbalanced. Someone learns a new "truth." He tries to share it, but it is rejected by the majority. In defending that truth, it takes on greater importance than is warranted, and soon the acceptance of that truth becomes the measure of one's salvation. It then becomes a fellowship issue, and a new denomination is formed, using that "truth" as its central focus. The denomination is then labeled by that "truth."
Knowing the name of Yahweh and its ten forms (such as Yahweh-Nissi) has its importance in Bible study. The names reveal the character of Yahweh and the manner in which He interacts with us. It is only when we start worshiping the name and its exact pronunciation that we make it an idol and no longer know the Person behind the name.
Dr. Stephen Jones