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Archive for YHWH

The Seven “I Am’s” of Jesus

YHWH shall be King over all the earth (Zech. 14:9). We are searching out the identity of this King. In a recent blog, I said that the Jews grew to understand the mysterious YHWH by adding His name to the ways that He interacted with them. For instance, YHWH (I AM) Jireh, provision; YHWH (I AM) Shalom, peace, etc. Let’s do the very same thing with the Lord Jesus Christ. Since Jesus is YHWH manifest in human flesh, one would expect Him to reveal His ministry to us exactly as YHWH did in the Old Testament. The Greek equivalent of the Hebrew word YHWH (I AM) in the Old Testament are the words Ego Eimi (I AM) in the New Testament. Jesus Christ unveils His ministry to us with seven manifestations as the great “Ego Eimi.”

Ego eimi, I am the door of the sheep (Jn. 10:7-9). He is the only door that opens into the sheepfold – which must be symbolic of God’s Kingdom. To get in, one must come through the door, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Ego eimi, I am the light of the world (Jn. 8:12). A strange characteristic of light is that it is invisible. Light rays cannot be seen, yet when no invisible light rays are present, nothing can be seen. What we see is a reflection of the light. Jesus Christ as the light of the world makes the invisible God visible. Jesus is the reflection of the light of God. Light is the starting place of all life. Without light, nothing lives. Jesus Christ as the light of the world is the source of life, real life, eternal life. He is the only means of removing the spiritual blindness of the soul. To know Him is to have the light of life (1 Jn.1:4).

Ego eimi, I am the bread of life (Jn. 6:35). Recall the manna that God fed the Jews as they wandered in the wilderness for forty years (Ex. 16:4). This mysterious bread met their need and sustained them physically. The psalmist called it “the bread of heaven” (Psalm 78:4). The Lord Jesus Christ unveiled the fact that the manna actually spoke of Him. He is the bread that came down from heaven. The one who comes to Him will never hunger nor thirst.

Ego eimi, I am the vine, you are the branches (Jn. 15:5). The vine gives its life through the branches. And the branches must be connected to the vine. Life and fruit will not come unless the branches are connected. Jesus said, “He who abides in me (the vine) will bear much fruit. For without Me, you can do nothing.”

Ego eimi, I am the resurrection and the life (Jn 11:25-26). “The one who believes in Me though he may die, he shall live – and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die.” These are the words spoken by Jesus Christ to Martha at the death of her brother Lazarus.

Ego eimi, I am the way, the truth, and the life (Jn. 14:6). We live in a world that teaches that there are many ways to God. Many mistakenly believe that it does not make a difference what one believes, as long as they are sincere. This is not what Jesus Christ taught. Jesus told His followers He was going back to His Father’s house from which He had come. He was going to prepare a place for them and would return and take them there (Jn. 14:1-3). Thomas asked the question that we probably would have asked. “Where are you going and how can we know the way?” Jesus responded, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” That’s definite!

Ego eimi, I am the Good Shepherd, and I know my sheep and I am known by My own (Jn. 10:14; 25-27). The Good Shepherd said that He knew His sheep, and that they would follow Him. He said that He would give to them eternal life and they would never perish, and no one could ever take them out of His hand (Jn. 10:14, 27–28). There were some Jews in the crowd still asking the Good Shepherd for proof that He was the Christ. Many were just not convinced. The good Shepherd tells them why! John 10:25 gives us His exact words with no spin. We are still asking the question concerning the identity of the one named King over all the earth (Zech. 14:9). Stay safe and stay tuned.

 

“The LORD Jesus Christ”

“And YHWH shall be King over all the earth and His name one” (Zech. 14:9). We are searching for the identity of YHWH who is to be King over all the earth. The only way we will ever grow to truly love God is to learn truth about Him revealed from His word that we know man did not write – truth that has never entered into the mind of man, and truth prepared for those who truly love Him (1 Cor. 2:9). In yesterday’s post we searched out the many ways that the Jews grew to understand the mysterious YHWH by adding His name to the ways that He interacted with them. Let’s begin to apply this same formula to Jesus Christ and see what we come up with. If Jesus Christ is YHWH in human flesh, we would expect – like YHWH – His titles to reflect this.

Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John each emphasize different titles of the person and work of Jesus Christ. Matthew reveals Him as the King of the Jews (Matt. 2:1–2). Kings must have genealogies, so Matthew includes Christ’s royal genealogy beginning with Abraham, from whom the King was to come. Mark makes Him known as the Suffering Servant “who did not come to be served, but to serve and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). There is no genealogy in Mark, because servants did not have genealogies. Luke presents Him as the Son of Man, showing that He is connected to true humanity. For this reason, Luke takes Christ’s genealogy all the way back to Adam – the first man (Luke 3:38). The Gospel of John reveals Christ as the very Son of God (John 1:34). It is interesting that no family tree is given in John. God, who is from everlasting has no genealogy! John takes Christ back to the beginning with God (John 1:1–2). The Word of God holds tightly to truth.

What is Christ’s name? Like His titles, His name should reflect His person. His name is the Lord Jesus Christ. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Eph. 1:3). The name “Lord” is interesting. Paul told the Jews that if they confessed with their mouth the Lord Jesus (Literally “Jesus as Lord”) and believed in their heart that God had raised Him from the dead, they would be saved (Rom. 10:9). “Lord” is the Greek word kurios. This name was used by both Greeks and Romans to refer to royalty.

The New Testament is written in Greek, so the Hebrew name YHWH does not appear. When the Greeks published their version of the Hebrew Old Testament (the Septuagint) they had a problem. The name YHWH was just as mysterious to them as it was to the Jews. They did not have a Greek word to match it. The closest they could come was the name Kurios. All through the Septuagint, Kurios was substituted for the name YHWH. Kurios in the New Testament became the equivalent to the Old Testament name YHWH. The New Testament apostles and prophets used the Septuagint. Zechariah says (in Hebrew), “YHWH shall be king over all the earth” (Zech. 14:9). But in the Septuagint, we read, “Kurios shall be king over all the earth.” Interesting! The name Kurios, Lord, in the Septuagint connected Jesus Christ to deity.

Now we understand what Paul meant in Romans 10:9: “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus [Jesus as Kurios, YHWH] and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” Paul was asking the Jews to confess that Jesus Christ is God. The Jews understood perfectly what Paul was asking, and they were not willing to do that (Deut. 6:4).

What about the name “Jesus”? Mary would bring forth a Son and call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins. (Matt. 1:21). The name Jesus is found in the four Gospels 612 times, and in the rest of the New Testament 71 times. Jesus is the name under which our Lord was born, lived, and died. It is the name of His humiliation, His humanity. It tells us that God became a man. Jesus is the Greek form of the Hebrew word Joshua and means “YHWH our Savior.” When Lord and Jesus are placed together, the names mean that GOD was humiliated, taking upon Himself the form of a man in order to die for sin (Phil. 2:5–11). Amazing!

Now, what is the meaning of “Christ”? Jacob begot Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus who is called Christ (Matt. 1:16). The name Christ means “Anointed One.” This is the official title of the Son of God. It is the equivalent of the Old Testament name Messiah. The Lord Jesus as the God-man was equal with God in every way and also equal with man. “Christ” combines YHWH and Jesus together. The name reveals the one who could represent God to man and man to God—the mediator between God and man (1 Tim. 2:5). When all three of His names are placed together, the gospel clearly comes into focus. The eternal God became a man to die for sin and by His resurrection and session (being seated next to the Father), He is now exalted to the position as Mediator between God and man – the perfect Mediator between us and the Father (Heb. 4:14-16). To understand Christ’s name is to know the way of salvation. When one calls upon His name, that one will be saved (Rom. 10:13). Those who know your name will put their trust in You (Psa. 9:10). Amazing!
Tomorrow we will apply the same formula that the Jews did to YHWH to Kurios and see what we come up with. Stay safe and stay tuned.

Names for YHWH

We are learning the identity of the One named YHWH who is to be king over all the earth (Zech 14:9). The name YHWH, the great I Am, is properly applied to God alone. It can never be given to another. “I am YHWH [LORD], that is My name; and My glory I will not give to another, nor My praise to carved images” (Isaiah 42:8; Ex. 3:15). Throughout the Old Testament, the Jews learned God’s character because of the many ways in which He interacted with them. When God met a particular need they had, they assigned to Him a name attached to YHWH that described exactly how He had helped them. Let’s investigate.
YHWH instructed Abraham to take his only son to Mount Moriah and offer him to GOD as a sacrifice. This seemed totally irrational to a human mind, but Abraham obeyed God without flinching. He had learned that no matter how it appeared, he must trust in the Giver not in the gift. As long as he had the Giver, he could not lose the gift – never. Abraham had learned to love and trust YHWH, with all his heart, soul, mind, and strength (Deut. 6:5). To Abraham, YHWH would always provide. YHWH provided a ram in the place of His son. Abraham called Him, YHWH Jireh, the LORD will provide (Gen. 22:13-14).
As the Jews wandered toward their new home in Canaan, they faced many enemies. One of these was a tribal warrior named Amalek of the family of Esau. The Amalakites were much stronger than the Jews. Moses climbed a hill and held up in his hand a rod, the symbol of God’s power. God gave Israel an amazing victory over the Amalakites. The name they gave to GOD was YHWH Nissi— The LORD, your victory (Ex. 17:15–16).
The Jews had left Egypt and were winding their way through the wilderness. YHWH said if they would do what was right and keep His commandments, He would not bring upon them any of the diseases that He had brought upon Egypt. He identified Himself as YHWH Rapha— “The LORD who heals you” (Exodus 15:25–26).
King David was at one time, a shepherd boy. He realized that GOD was his shepherd because GOD took care of His people just as a good shepherd takes care of his sheep. David called him YHWH Ra-ah— “The LORD, my shepherd” (Psalm 23:1).
Israel’s army once again faced a much stronger enemy – the Midianites. Gideon was the general. Gideon’s stress was unbearable at times. He wisely called upon the name of the Lord. The Lord’s response was to flood Gideon’s heart with peace – real peace. Gideon called Him YHWH Shalom —“The LORD our peace” (Judges 6:24).
Speaking through the prophet Ezekiel, God gave a description of the New Jerusalem. He said that the new city would have a special name. The name reveals that GOD will dwell in the city. The name of the city will be YHWH Shammah — “The LORD is there” (Ezekiel 48:35).
One of the most memorable narratives in the Old Testament is the battle between David the shepherd boy and Goliath, the giant from Gath, the Philistine champion. What chance would a small boy have against such an enemy? Just before the battle began, David called out to GOD, using a name that revealed that he really knew who God was. He realized that God’s army was far superior to any human army that he would ever face. David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of YHWH Sabbaoth—“The LORD of hosts whom you have defied.” David killed the giant and cut off his head. GOD’s army is more powerful than any army in the entire universe (1 Samuel 17:45).
Despite all the turmoil in our nation and the world, Jeremiah prophesied a time when Judah would be saved, and Israel would dwell safely in their own land. There will be real peace on earth. It is all because of an amazing King that is coming to reign. The king’s name gives us another big clue to His identity. Jeremiah called His name YHWH Tsidkenu— “The LORD is our righteousness.”
The names for GOD teach us that God is the source of all power, He is the master over all of His creation, and that He is eternal. These names also reveal that GOD was going to provide a sin sacrifice for us, that GOD is our victory, that it is GOD who heals us of our diseases, that GOD shepherds us, that GOD is our peace, that God has an army far superior to any human army, and that GOD will one day dwell in a city called the New Jerusalem. This gives a fresh look at the meaning of “calling on the name of the LORD,” and another hint identifying the coming King over all the earth. Stay safe and stay tuned.

YHWH is None Other Than Jesus Christ

And YHWH shall be king over all the earth and His name one (Zech. 14:9). Since we really do not know how to pronounce God’s proper name, we are going to leave it as it is found in Exodus 3:14….. YHWH. The translators penned the name YHWH in Scripture as – “LORD” or “GOD” (all caps). The other names (Elohim or Adonai) are written “Lord” or “God.” They are easily distinguished in the Bible. I think that the writers were motivated to do this because of the words of Exodus 3:15. God said, “This is My name forever, and this is My memorial to all generations.” God’s name is special to Him, and it is to be a memorial to Him throughout the ages. The reason? “And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; For You, LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You” (Psa. 9:10).
With this truth in mind, these words of the Christ become extremely important: “No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him” (Jn. 1:18). Let’s begin to discover the identity of this one named King over all the earth (Zech. 14:9). Job was a frail, limited human being who had the desire to communicate with an eternal, infinite God. But how does a limited human being speak with an infinite God? Job said that God is not a man like him that the two could go to court together. Nor was there a mediator between the two (Job 9:32–33). Job recognized his limitations. He knew that as a physical, limited sinful man he could not possibly talk to an infinite, sinless God, man to man – mano e mano. He longed for one who could mediate between the two of them, someone God enough to represent God and man enough to represent man. The mediator had to be someone equal with both.
This gives extreme importance to what is called “the incarnation.” This is a big word that means that there was a point in time – a moment – when an almighty, infinitely holy God physically touched sinful humanity for the very first time. This happened when the Holy Spirit attached a tiny embryo to the womb of young Mary’s. But because of the virgin birth, her womb remained free from the stain of Adam’s corrupt seed. Taking nothing away from young Mary, but she was a frail weak sinner with a body of clay. But the incarnation was like sunlight touching the clay. The sunlight brings light and warmth to the clay, but the clay does not change the character of the sunlight at all. Mary was a sinner in need of a Savior. She had a human father – Heli (Lk. 3:23).
Because Eve was legitimately deceived, God allowed Mary’s womb to remain free of her sin – spiritually sterile. So neither her sinful body (the clay) nor the fruit of her womb (God’s Son) could be touched by sin. Back to Job! Paul’s words to Timothy give us the answer for Job’s dilemma. There is only one God who can mediate between God and man, the man Christ Jesus (1 Timothy 2:5). Jesus Christ became that mediator. He is the most unique person in the entire universe. The Bible reveals Him as undiminished deity. This means that He is fully God. Not one small part of deity was lost in the incarnation. He was also perfect humanity, fully human. He is not part God and part man. He is not 50 percent God and 50 percent man. He is 100 percent God and, at the same time, 100 percent man.
This is a miraculous truth, but the living God is a miraculous Being. This incredible union made it possible for a holy God and sinful man to be brought together. Jesus Christ is the God-man and as such He is the perfect mediator between the two. He can take God by one hand and man by the other, and bring the two together. Paul testified that Jesus Christ is the very image of God (Phil. 2:5–6). He used the word form, which means “the exact image.” He also said that Christ is equal with God and that in Christ dwells all of the fullness of the Godhead in bodily form (Col. 2:9). Deity in its complete form abides in Jesus Christ. No Bible text could be any more definite. But one might argue that Jesus said, “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:24). Yes, but God in the person of Jesus Christ took on flesh in order for the spiritual God to become visible, knowable, and understandable. He left the realm of the invisible – the splendor of heaven – and fashioned Himself in the form of a man so that we could know Him (Jn. 1:18). Job had the perfect Mediator and so do we. This is our first clue to who will be the King over all the earth. Stay safe and stay tuned.

Who is YHWH?

We are beginning at the end, with the reign of the King in view. “The LORD shall be King over all the earth and His name one” (Zech. 14:9). Who is “the LORD” that is to be king? There are three major names for God used in the Old Testament. Elohim, the one who puts for power, is found in Genesis 1:1. Adonai, master or owner, is found in Genesis 15:2. What about the name in our passage? In order to know, it we must go to Exodus 3:4-15 to the very place that this name is first appeared.

Moses saw a bush burning but not being consumed. Strange! He went up the mountain to investigate. God spoke from the flames and told Moses to take off his shoes because he was standing on holy ground (Ex. 3:2). God explained to Moses that His people, the Jews, had been enslaved by the Egyptians for a time and now they will be free. He wanted Moses to lead them out. Moses was obviously shaken. God told Moses that He would go with Him. Moses asked God for His name. God’s name?  God said, “I AM WHO I AM.” You shall tell the people “I AM” has sent you to them. Moses was obviously puzzled!

“I AM” in the Hebrew is YHWH (the Tetragrammaton, meaning four letters). The name is a Hebrew being verb simply meaning I exist. Explained further, it means I always was who I am now and shall forever continue to be. Wow! God was saying, “I live.”  He had no beginning, and He will have no end. He is a self-existent being. He did not come to be! No one or nothing created Him. He was here before there was time. He created time, but He is not subject to it. He was here before there was a universe with its billions of galaxies. He exists outside of all that He has created. There never was a moment that He did not or will not exist. He is from eternity past to eternity future. In Psalm 90:2 David said that God is from everlasting to everlasting. How far back does everlasting go? Forever! How far forward does to everlasting go? Forever! This name reveals that God is an everlasting God. This is the awesome mystery surrounding the name YHWH.

The name YHWH can be written but not spoken. The reason? There are no vowels. How does one pronounce YHWH? Answer, you don’t. It came to be pronounced in early history as Jehovah and later as Yahweh. It may have been that vowels were added from the other names in order to allow this name to be pronounced. But the truth is, no one really knows how YHWH is to be pronounced. What is known is that the early Jews highly revered the name. It was beyond awesome and above incomprehensible. It is a very holy (set apart) name.  

Every family or clan among the early Jewish people had a scribe – usually someone with sufficient intelligence and who could write plainly. They were appointed to copy the Old Testament writings in order to preserve them for future generations. The copies had to be done with special care. Every Hebrew letter was assigned a number. As the letters were copied from the original, the scribe would add the numbers as he wrote.  When he got to the end of a sentence, he would record the added numbers. The line of the copy had to add up exactly with the line of the original. If there was one mistake, it was to be found and corrected. If there were two mistakes, they would be found and corrected. But if there were more than two mistakes, the entire line had to be started again. Such was the care that was taken to preserve accuracy of the Bible that we have today.

When the scribe came across the name Adonai, he would carefully pronounce the name, change pens, and then write it. When he came across Elohim, he did the same. But when he came across the word YHWH, he could not pronounce it. It held a certain mystery – an awe. This is God! This is God who spoke all of creation into existence at a moment of time (Gen. 1:1). God created time but He is not subject to it.  This is God who is in absolute control of everything that is (Dan. 4:34-35). This is God who is eternal life (Ps. 90:2).  This is God who is love (1Jn. 4:8).  This is God who righteousness (1Jn. 1:5). This is God who is just (Deut. 32:4).  This is God whose knowledge is infinite (no bounds) (Psa. 147:5).  This is God who is everywhere present (Psa. 139:7-12). This is God who is all powerful (Psa. 33:6-9). This is God who never changes (Mal. 3:6). The scribe would put down his pen and leave the document – go and take a bath and change clothes – then return, prayerfully approach the document, and after getting a new pen – he would carefully write the name – YHWH. This is a picture of the incredible weight that the name carried with the Jews. This is also one reason we know that when we hold in our hand the Bible, we are actually holding the very word of God. Amazing! Our passage says YHWH shall be king over all the earth and His name one. Who is YHWH? Stay safe and stay tuned.


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