I never knew it did before. Sure, I had read the Ten Commandments - even taught them to my kids - but I never studied them, never really interrogated the text. I had not even so much as questioned "The" commandments concerning whether they had been interpreted accurately... whether the words of the King of the Universe had been preserved carefully enough.
Studying prophecy and comparing it to current events is a common practice in our home. We read about world events and without hesitation compare what we see to Holy Scripture - all the time. Object lessons abound, and we can get "Current Events" credit while eating dinner. We do not wait for anything major or catastrophic. Ordinary, run-of-the-mill events give us plenty of fodder for discussion, then we move on to baths, laundry and dishes ~ other ordinary, run-of-the-mill events. But when I catch myself mentally rehashing recent happenings, when I think of them in the middle of the night and I just can't seem to let an issue go... I often sense the urging of the Holy Spirit to dig deeper, check things out, and see how all these things fit together.
My family knows I hate grey. Androgyny, ambiguity, politician-speak, circular logic, ecumenicalism, fence-sitting ... I hate them all. Say what you're saying, nail it down, pick a side, take a stand...choose... please. Concerning matters of normal life, the vagueness bothers me some... but when it comes to the things of eternal importance, the generalities anger me. So when I found that Pope Benedict prayed in a Muslim mosque to "the One God", and a Dutch bishop has suggested that Christians call their god "Allah" to keep from offending Muslims, I can promise that, as we say in the South, it stuck in my craw. This seemed to me to be more than just grey, it was wrong. So I went to the Word to check it out.
It appears that I am not the only one concerned about this "It's-all-the-same-god-let's-all-call-him-the-same-name" spiel- it is all over the "Christian" blogosphere. The problem is, that the rest of us "Christians" haven't been calling Him by the proper name, either. The King James Version incorrectly "translates" the third commandment, Exodus 20:7, "Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain." Taking in vain (Strong's #7723) means to desolate, make useless, or ruin. We usually think we are doing well if we don't curse... we wouldn't want to ruin the word "LORD" or "God", right? The problem is, that the command is not to take his *NAME* in vain, and neither LORD nor God is his name.
In the third commandment, and in at least 5,000 other places in the Scriptures, He tells us His name. I knew that a principle in studying scripture is that, the more times something is recorded, the more importance it should have. So when I compared this figure to second half of the commandment, I was frightened into doing more study. Realizing that I had never heard His name in church was enough to make me shudder. Remembering that the KJV - the one that eliminates His name - was the most widely used translation for hundreds of years made me cringe. The church as a whole has desolated His name. Gulp.
His name, in Hebrew, the language of Scripture, translates into the four English letters YHWH, usually pronounced Yahweh. It is also the name included in these verses: (As per the original Hebrew text, His name has been added back in.)
Micah 4:5 For all people will walk every one in the name of his god, and we will walk in the name of YHWH our God forever and ever.
Zephaniah 3:9 For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of YHWH, to serve him with one consent.
Isaiah 42:8 I am YHWH: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.
Jeremiah 16:21 Therefore, behold, I will this once cause them to know, I will cause them to know mine hand and my might; and they shall know that my name is YHWH.
Zechariah 13:9 And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, YHWH is my God.
Leviticus 24:16 And he that blasphemeth the name of YHWH, he shall surely be put to death, and all the congregation shall certainly stone him: as well the stranger, as he that is born in the land, when he blasphemeth the name of YHWH, shall be put to death.
Isaiah 47:4 As for our redeemer, YHWH of hosts is his name, the Holy One of Israel.
Isaiah 56:5-7 Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off. Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to YHWH, to serve him, and to love the name of YHWH, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant; Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called a house of prayer for all people.
Jeremiah 50:34 Their Redeemer is strong; YHWH of hosts is his name: he shall throughly plead their cause, that he may give rest to the land, and disquiet the inhabitants of Babylon.
Jeremiah 51:19 The portion of Jacob is not like them; for he is the former of all things: and Israel is the rod of his inheritance: YHWH of hosts is his name.
Joel 2:32 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of YHWH shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as YHWH hath said, and in the remnant whom YHWH shall call.
Amos 4:13 For, lo, he that formeth the mountains, and createth the wind, and declareth unto man what is his thought, that maketh the morning darkness, and treadeth upon the high places of the earth, YHWH, The God of hosts, is his name.
Amos 5:8 Seek him that maketh the seven stars and Orion, and turneth the shadow of death into the morning, and maketh the day dark with night: that calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth: YHWH is his name:
Amos 9:6 It is he that buildeth his stories in the heaven, and hath founded his troop in the earth; he that calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth: YHWH is his name.
Because I hate ecumenicalism and feel compelled to take a stand, I use the name of YHWH with no apologies. I desire to distance myself from all those that believe we "all worship the same god" because I worship the Holy One of Israel exclusively. I believe there is no difference in calling Him 'Allah' and calling Him 'God'. 'Allah' is just the Arabic word for 'God', and worse yet, 'Allah' in Hebrew, the language of scripture, means 'curse'. I can no longer call him by a title that in His language means curse (Allah), is the name of a false god mentioned in scripture (God), or is a name that actually goes back to Baal (the LORD). I just can't. In the same way that I want Phil to call me "Julie", and not "Wife"... I want to call Him by His name. My intimacy with Him makes me desire to call upon His name. Sure, calling on His name is more than proper pronunciation... it speaks to His character... who He is. But I can't think of a better way to distinguish which god with which character than to call on the personal name He has revealed to us.
"But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him" John 4:23. I am led to believe that part (by no means all) of worshipping in truth is calling Him by His real name, not some general title, used loosey-goosey by every Tom, Dick or Harry who considers themselves (or wishes to portray themselves as) "spiritual".
All this is to say that it matters. It matters to YHWH (hence the 5,000 times it is recorded in His Word), and it matters to me (hence this post). Whether it matters to you or not, is your call.
Joshua 24:15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve YHWH, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve YHWH.
Please, don't take my word... do your own homework on this. Edited: Look up the Strong's Concordance word #3068, count and consider for yourself. After thinking about it more, I really don't think the Strong's is that great of a help. If you're interested in this, I recommend searching Google - maybe search YHWH- and may He bless your search.
YHWH bless thee, and keep thee:
YHWH make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:
YHWH lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.
And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel; and I will bless them.