Pull out your Bible.  Open it and find the first reference to God.  It might be easier if you look in the Old Testament.  What do you see?  More likely than not you see “God,” or “LORD” (note: “Lord, lower case, refers to a title like “master”).  If you have a Jewish version, you probably see “ADONAI,” or perhaps “G-d” or “Hashem.”

These are all terms that we have learned to use as names of God.  However, none of them is God’s name.  They are, in fact, more accurately titles.  Just as “president” or “king” are titles and not names.

Why do we use titles for God rather than His name?  And why, truthfully, does it matter?

I’m glad you asked!  Using titles for God began with the Israelite people.  When God commanded them to not take His name in vain, they decided it was safest to not use it at all, lest they take it in vain quite by accident.  Better to be safe than sorry.  So they began to refer to Him as ADONAI, which means “the LORD.”  Hashem means “the Name.”  Or they used the generic term, God, except without the o…just in case.  Honestly, I really don’t know why Gentile Christians use our own version of these terms.  Especially considering the effort by the early church to completely separate itself from the Jews.  After all, we stopped obeying God’s command to observe the Sabbath and keep it holy because it was observed by the Jews.  We made our own Sabbath, contrary to God’s command, because we didn’t want to be “like them,” so why bother emulating them with God’s name?  Beats me!

Why does it matter what we call God anyway?  Isn’t the important thing that we call on Him at all?  Yes and no.  Of course, it is important that we call on God.  It is, in fact, the most important thing in life.  But let me ask you a question.  When you are calling on God, how do you know which god you are calling on?   Think about this: “god” is a title, not a name.  That is why Zeus is a god, as is Pluto, as is Buddha, as is Allah.  If we simply call God- God, He could be ANY god.  And if He could be any god, then why not Allah?  Who is to say that the God we worship isn’t, in fact, the same god that the Muslims worship? Or the Buddhists?  Haven’t we opened the door wide open to say that all gods are the same, and it doesn’t matter who you worship, as long as you do.

The problem is, that this is a lie!  And let me tell you, Satan loves it!  He has successfully used it for centuries to lead people down this slippery slope and directly to the pit of Hell.

We do have a god, and He has told us His name.  This name that distinguishes Him from every other god out there.  His name is YHVH (Yud-Heh-Vav-Heh).  Truthfully, we don’t know how to pronounce that because there hasn’t been a Jew alive who has pronounced it since the time of Moses.  Most English-speaking people pronounce it in one of three ways: Yahweh, Yehovah, or Jehovah.  Personally, I have called Him Yahweh because that is what I have learned.  However, as I look at the original Hebrew spelling, I have to say it looks more like Yehovah.

I want you to look at your Bibles again.  Go to Exodus chapter 3:15-16.  Notice that it says “the LORD.”  All caps.  Everywhere you see that, the original Hebrew translation read YHVH.  This is the first place in the Bible that God gives His name.  Prior to this, He was known by titles (or characteristics) primarily El Shaddai (meaning Almighty God).  From this point on, every time you read the LORD, you can fairly accurately, replace it with YHVH.  Read those verses with YHVH in its rightful place.

Moreover, God said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel:  YHVH, 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.”  Go and gather the elders of Israel together, and say to them, “YHVH, God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, appeared to me, saying, “I have surely visited you and seen what is done to you in Egypt.”

YHVH gave Moses, and the Israelites His name, and expected them to use it when referring to Him.  There was a reason for this.  In ancient times, every nation had their own god, and often gods.  They were territorial.  The gods of Egypt were in Egypt only.  If you crossed the border to another land, there were other gods there.  And they each had a name, usually based on their power (the god of the sun, the god of the moon, etc.).  There were no gods who were god over everything, and certainly none who dared to enter the realm of another god.  YHVH gave His name so that both the Israelites would know Him and recognize Him as their God.  He let them know that He was the same God whom their forefathers served.  By approaching them in Egypt, He was letting them know that He was God anywhere they were, not just the land of Canaan where their forefathers had come from.  And by sending the ten plagues on Egypt, He systematically defeated every Egyptian “god,” proving to Israel (and Egypt) that He was God of all gods.

When you read about the parting of the Red Sea, or the Jordan River, it was the god YHVH who did that.  When you read about the walls of Jericho tumbling down, it was YHVH who did that.  It was YHVH to whom King David sang, and for whom Solomon built that enormously stunning temple.  YHVH was the God who’s hand wrote on the wall before the Babylonian king Belshazzar.

It was not Allah, or Buddha, or any other god who sent His son to die for the sins of all mankind.  It was YHVH, who sent His son, Yeshua (incidentally another name not properly used) to save the world.  He is NOT the same as any other god.  And when He said, “I am YHVH your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.  You shall have no other gods before Me.  You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them.  For I, YHVH your God, am a jealous God.” He identified Himself by name so there would not be any doubt as to who He is and who we are to worship.

As I continue reading through Exodus, and the Old Testament, I am writing YHVH in my Bible where “the LORD” is written.  I will be writing Yeshua in above Jesus (for at the name of Yeshua every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that He is Lord).

Joshua 24:15b – “But as for me and my house, we will serve YHVH.”

*All Scripture passages taken from the New King James Version with YHVH added in the place of “the LORD” by me.

*If you have been blessed by this article, please take a moment to praise YHVH.