February 5, 2016
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
I am beginning a study of the names of God based on the Hebrew word YHWH (pronounced Jehovah by combining the vowel letters of Adonai – LORD; my LORD – with the Latin letters YHWH.) About two hundred years before the birth of Christ, the Jews began to avoid pronouncing YHWH out of respect for third of the Ten Commandments: “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain…” (Exodus 20:7).
The first mention of YHWH in the Bible is found in Genesis 2:4: “This is the history of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD [YHWH] God made the earth and the heavens….” God revealed Himself to Moses in Exodus 3:14 by using the primitive Hebrew root word haw-yah’ (which is the basis of YHWH). Haw-yah’ means to exist or to be, and so God was introducing Himself to Moses and the Israelites as the self-existent One. Here is Exodus 3:13 through 15:
Then Moses said to God, “Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel
and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers hath sent me to you,’ and they
say to me, ‘What is His name?’ what shall I say to them?” And God said
to Moses, “I AM [haw-yah’] THAT I AM [haw-yah’].” And He said, “Thus
you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM hath sent me to you.’” More-
over God said to Moses, ‘Thus you shall say to the children of Israel: “The
LORD [YHWH] God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of
Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you. This is My name forever,
and this is My memorial to all generations.”
So Jehovah is the sacred name of God in the Old Testament – so holy that pious Jews will not pronounce it! He is the self-existent One – the great I AM!
In John 8:24 and 28 In the New King James Version – as well as several other translations (for example, Lexam English Bible; Young’s Literal Translation; American Standard Version; Bible in Basic English; Douay-Rheims Bible; English Standard Version) – the word He is added to I am to help the reader understand the passage. Here are these two verses:
Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not be-
lieve that I am He, you will die in your sins….When you lift up the Son of
Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself….
I italicize Scripture I reproduce in these blogs to help make them stand out from the rest of the text. In the text of most of the versions named above, the statement Jesus made in both verses would read, “…I am He…” – the word He being italicized to show that it is not in the original language, but was inserted in the English translation to facilitate understanding. The problem is, in this case it muddies the waters! What Jesus was saying to the Jewish leaders was, “…if you do not believe that I AM, you will die in your sins….When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I AM…” (John 8:24, 28 – Literal Translation of the Holy Bible). If you do not believe that Jesus is God – the very Jehohah God of the Old Testament – you will die in your sins! Because…
• …only God can set the penalty for sin! “The soul who sins shall die.” (Ezekiel 18:4, 20). Death – both physical and eternal (hell)!
• …only God can pay the penalty on our behalf! “…Christ died for the ungodly.” (Romans 5:6 – see also Isaiah 53:5, 6; I Corinthians 15:3; II Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 1:3, 4; 3:13; Ephesians 1:3-7; Colossians 1:12-14, 20-22; Titus 2:13, 14; Hebrews 1:1-3; 9:11, 12, 26; 10:18; 13:2; I Peter 1:18, 19; 2:24; 3:18; I John 1:7; Revelation 1:5; 5:9).
• …only God can give us eternal life! “…God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life.” (I John 5:11-13 – see also John 3:36; 5:24).
And, as Paul wrote concerning Jesus in Colossians 2:9, “For in Him dwells all the fulness of the Godhead bodily….” Jesus Christ is the great I AM – Jehovah God – who manifests Himself in three Persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit! He is just as much Jehovah God as is the Father!
So what is YOUR relationship to this marvelous God?