by Jerry Gentry
"Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation. (Isa. 12:2)
Who is this Lord Jehovah, this God of Israel? We know He is the One who parted the Red Sea and delivered Israel from Egypt. He is the One who descended upon the mount and talked with Moses in the Hebrew tongue. We know that the Ten Commandments were given to Moses on "tables of stone, written with the finger of God" (Exod. 31:18).
We read of the mighty miracles He performed throughout the Old Testament, how for Gideon "the LORD set every man's sword against his fellow" (Jdg 7:22); how He walked with David through "the valley of the shadow of death" (Psa. 23:4); how for Jehoshaphat "the LORD set ambushments against the children of Ammon, Moab, and mount Seir, which were come against Judah; and they were smitten" (2Chr. 20:22).
David said of this God: "The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower" (Psa. 18:2). For Gideon and Jehoshaphat and David, and the host of Israel of their day, this God was "the LORD." In their native Hebrew tongue, they spoke his name YHWH. Yes, YHWH was then the personal name of God, whose name is for ever.
"And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, the LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations" (Exo 3:15).
This God had made himself known to Moses by name: "And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you. (Exo 3:13-14). This I AM is the the name of the LORD JEHOVAH. It is the root word from whence is derived the Hebrew tetragrammaton, YHWH, often pronounced in English as Yahweh. This name is found in the Hebrew Masoretic texts of the Bible some 7000 times, but is found nowhere transliterated in the Greek New Testament, not even once. If this is His name for ever, why does this name never appear even once in the New Testament?
This fact poses a dilemma, an apparent contradiction, for every Christian. How can His name for ever, this name YHWH or JEHOVAH, appear nowhere even one time in the New Testament? Why did none of the eight New Testament writers--Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Peter, Paul, James and Jude--nowhere once pen that name for New Testament Christians? It is a sobering question, a puzzling riddle, for Christians who build their faith from the whole Bible, Genesis to Revelation. It is a perplexing question for many, who fail to let the Bible interpret the Bible, in all its fullness.
This is a puzzle that has confounded many scholars for the past century, and has caused many Israelites to take a detour from the New Covenant, and return to the Old, in order to find an acceptable name for Israel's God. It is a riddle of enormous consequences, yet solved simply and easily, when we understand that the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed, whereas the Old Testament is the New Testament concealed.
Long before the giving of the Covenant Law at Mt. Sinai, God was known to the fathers who spoke the Hebrew tongue. "And the LORD said unto Abraham. . . " (Gen. 18:13). This "LORD" is YHWH. Yet when Abraham talked personally with this God, he called Him "God Almighty," and pronounced el shaddai in the Hebrew tongue. Abraham never once pronounced the Hebrew name YHWH, because he did not know that name.
"And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my name JEHOVAH was I not known to them" (Exod. 6:3). This "JEHOVAH" is the Anglicized form of the Hebrew YHWH.
It was much later, during the life of Moses, that this Almighty God el shaddai became known by a new name of JEHOVAH or YHWH, in the Hebrew tongue. We know this fact for certain, because Moses asked:
"Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them?
"And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you" (Exo 3:13-14).
Why did not God tell Moses, "Tell them "Almighty God," el shaddai sent you?" That was the name used by Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Instead, He told Moses, "I AM THAT I AM," and the Hebrew words HAYAH HAYAH rolled off the lips of God. This HAYAH HAYAH name was soon combined and shortened into "the LORD," or YHWH in the Hebrew tongue, as the narrative of Holy Scripture reads:
"And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, the LORD [YHWH] God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations" (Exo 3:15).
Now we are back to our dilemma. This name is nowhere recorded even once in the New Testament. How could such an important name be left out of all 27 New Testament books? How could this YHWH, this "name for ever. . . unto all generations" be nowhere confirmed in the New Testament.
Failure to understand this New Covenant revelation has led many Israelite Christians in a fruitless search of the Old Testament scriptures to find the rightful name of Israel's God. The answer to this riddle is found nowhere but in the New Testament itself, just as every New Testament Christian would expect.
You see, this "mighty God of Jacob" this "Holy One of Israel," "the Lord" YHWH was married in covenant relationship with His people at Mt. Sinai. He was the "Rock of Israel who spake unto me [David]" (2Sam. 23:3), who had previously "brought thee forth water out of the rock of flint" (Deut. 8:15). Who was this God? If there was ever any unclarity as to the identity of Israel's God, during Old Covenant times, the New Testament makes His identity crystal clear for every Christian.
"Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea;
"And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;
"And did all eat the same spiritual meat;
"And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ" (1Cor. 10:1-4).
Now we know for sure. Now there is no doubt. The el shaddai of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob who became HAYAH HAYAH, shortened to YHWH for Moses, is the "Christ" of the New Covenant, alleluia!
This is also the Creator God, by whom "all things were made. . . and without him was not any thing made that was made" (John 1:3).
Further, he is "the Word. . . made flesh. . . [who] dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth" (John 1:14).
Herein is the secret to understanding the riddle of His name for ever. Here is the key that unlocks His name for ever. Christ of the New Covenant revealed Himself in two natures, both God and man, whereas in all times before the incarnation, Israel's God was only God in His Divine Nature. He was in fact the Word, the Christ, but preincarnate. He had divorced his wife Israel for her unfaithfulness. He had scattered her into captivity. But He had not forgotten her to whom He had pledged his covenant wedding vows for ever. As God alone, He could not remarry this wife He had put away, because she became an adulteress, through many whoredoms. By the law, only the death of her first Husband, would allow her to return to Him. Furthermore, God cannot die, because He is ever living. But by taking on the nature of man, and dying on the cross, He could later lawfully remarry the wife He always loved.
He is the one of whom Andrew told his brother, Simon Peter; "We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ." (John 1:41). This was the long awaited deliverer of Israel. And what is the personal name of this One Christ? "His name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb" (Luke 2:21).
The virgin Mary had been told by the angel, "And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS" (Luke 1:31). That Son of God, the very Messiah spoken of by Daniel the prophet, became the firstborn son of the virgin's womb. "The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us" (John 1:14). It is in his humanity that "his name was called JESUS" It is in his humanity that "Jesus, [was] made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec" (Hebr. 6:20), praise God. It was the man Jesus who died for our sins, because Israel's God, the LORD JEHOVAH in his Divinity, could never die. Knowing He could never die, and therefore never be reconciled with his wife Israel, He divested Himself of his Godhead and became man, that He might die for her and receive her again.
"But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
"And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
"Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
"That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth" (Phi 2:7-10), which the apostle Paul quotes from the Old Testament prophet Isaiah.
For "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13). Can you believe that this man Jesus called us His friends, and laid down his life for us?
It is the human name of "Jesus," the incarnate I AM, that is now and will be his name for ever, praise God. "For there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). The Old Covenant LORD JEHOVAH had yielded His name to the New Covenant man Jesus, that he might die for His people. Jesus is the incarnate Holy One, the fleshly LORD JEHOVAH, for ever. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16). And "if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another" (1John 4:11). Can we begin to see why the name of "Jesus" is above every name for ever?
"And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power" (Eph 1:19).
"Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places" (v. 20).
"Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come" (Eph 1:21).
There his name for ever is clinched. He is Jesus, whom Abraham knew only as the God Almighty el shaddai, but whom we now know, not just in His Divine Nature which Abraham knew, but also in his down to earth human nature, who "was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin" (Hebr. 4:15). Only Jesus, the man, could be tempted with sin, "for God cannot be tempted with evil" (James 1:13). Can you begin to see why his name Jesus is so very exhalted, "above every name that is named?" Can you begin to fathom this exalted one, whose name is Jesus for ever?
Even so, this Jesus submitted perfectly to the will of His Father, in all things. His name is subordinate to nothing but the Word of God, for David declared: "For thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name" (Psa. 138:2).
There is a school of theology which yet today looks for a new name for God, which denies that the name of Jesus will be exhalted above every name now, and even in the world to come. They read in Revelation: "Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name" (Rev. 3:12).
In this verse, those who seek to find a name other than Jesus, see room for some additional future name for God, especially when coupled with another verse: "And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Zion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads" (Rev. 14:1). Who is the Lamb's Father, and what is His name? The Bible asks the same question: "What is his name, and what is his son's name, if thou canst tell?" (Prov. 30:4). We can certainly tell the Son's name, because it is revealed as Jesus, some 942 times in the New Testament. But can we tell the Father's name? Can we build a doctrine of some future singular name for the Father, on a single obscure verse? Further, Isaiah tells us that: "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace" (Isa. 9:6). Here the Son's name is called "The everlasting Father."
Jeremiah says of the LORD: "I am a father to Israel. . . For the LORD hath redeemed Jacob" (Jer. 31:9, 11). Who is Israel's redeemer but Jesus Christ? Surely the Word of God is true, for Jesus is "The everlasting Father" to all who believe. Will there ever be a "new name" that is superior to the name of Jesus? Those who seek to find such a "new name" believe it is yet to be revealed and unknown today. Yet the Bible teaches that the new name of God is Jesus, revealed in His Word to be above "every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come," Alleluia. Christian, will you submit, not just to the divine LORD JEHOVAH of the Old Covenant, but to the new name of Jesus for ever? Today, that name is not yet fully written upon "him that overcometh," because we remain in our corruptible bodies. Having that name which reflects the very image of God the Father, written in us fully is yet future, but not the knowledge of what that name is. Christians have not yet fully yielded to "Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Col. 1:27). For "flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption" (1Cor. 15:50). Christians, walking in corruptible bodies as we all now possess, are unable to take on the brightness of His name in its fullness. It is impossible for us to reflect in this life anything near the full brilliance and light of that name Jesus, even though we know full well that is our goal.
It is the man Jesus, "Who being the brightness of his [the Father's divine] glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high" (Hebr. 1:1-3). Herein we find Jesus is our atonement, for in his humanity he alone "purged our sins." Remember, God cannot die. Only the man Jesus could die to redeem his kindred people.
The New Covenant Jesus brings to light and makes plain every secret hidden wisdom found in the Old Covenant, and openly reveals that the preincarnate divine LORD JEHOVAH became "the Word. . . made flesh," "called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb" (Luke 2:21).
"And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one" (Zech. 14:9). And what is that name? The Lord Jesus Christ, is that name, Alleluia, even as the Psalmist declares: "His name shall endure for ever: his name shall be continued as long as the sun: and men shall be blessed in him: all nations shall call him blessed" (Psa 72:17).
Bless the name of Jesus, above "every name that is named," His name for ever.