Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Importance of Names Part 1

The Hebrew word for name is shem. The concept of personal names in the Hebrew Scriptures often included existence, character, and reputation. Your name revealed something about you. It was not just a handle to be identified apart from someone else. "To cut off the name" meant to liquidate the person himself. When parents chose a name for a child it was often descriptive of their wishes or expectations for the personality that was to mature. If we are going to pray to "God", we should be addressing Him by His Name. If there is a name that brings salvation, we need to know it. Over the next few blog posts, we will look at names. Today, we start with Yahweh. Exodus 20:2 says: "I am Yahweh your Heavenly Father Who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage." This is the First Commandment. The word for our Father is not LORD or God. It is Yahweh, the covenant name of our Heavenly Father. The next verse tells us who not to worship: Exodus 20:3: Thou shalt have no other gods before me." (KJV) The Hebrew word translated "other" is acherand it means "strange, or hinder; ones left behind." The word translated "before" is al paneh. It means against. With this understanding of Hebrew, Exodus 20:3 should have read: "You shall have no hinder gods at all, they are against me." Yahweh was not saying He was a God; instead, He was stating that His followers were not to have any Gods at all! Yahweh is jealous. He is not a pagan god. He is our Heavenly Father. We need to investigate the language the Scriptures were written in and not rely on English translations. Names do change when they are translated. My name is Barry. If I am speaking in Spanish to someone and I want to introduce myself, I would say: "Mi nombre es Barry." Does any of this matter? Does He really care? The short answer is yes. If we are to pray to our Heavenly Father, we should address Him by His name and not substitute pagan references to deities. There is much idolatry and pagan practice in what is called the church. We will be attempting to expose those pagan practices. We shall be looking at the true meanings of Lord, God, and Jesus over the next few days. Until then, remember that Yahweh is your Father. It is He who created the world with His words. It is He that gives you your next breath. It is to Yahweh that we should be giving thanks.