"My People Shall Know My Name"

"My people shall know my name: therefore [they shall know] in that day that I am he who does speak; behold, it is I." (Isaiah 52:6, World English Bible)

Throughout the Bible we are told that God has a Name, but many people are completely unaware of what that actual Name is. When asked, many will simply say, "His name is the Lord." But is "Lord" His actual Name? Isn't the word "Lord" a title rather than a name? There are many humans in royal lineages that are referred to as "Lords." In fact, the term "Lord" is the same as "Sir" and "Mister" or "Master." People who rent an apartment from someone, refers to the actual home owner as "landlord." You see, there are many "lords," but we are able to distinguish the Lord of the universe from all these human lords by His distinct, personal Name.

"I praise the name of God with a song, and I magnify Him with thanksgiving" (Psalm 69:30, Young's Literal Translation).

God's Name Revealed to His People

God's personal Name is revealed in His own Word the Bible. From the book of Exodus, we read: "God spoke to Moses, and said to him, 'I am Yahweh; and I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty; but by my name Yahweh I was not known to them" (Exodus 6:2, 3).

Here we see that God reveals His own personal Name as "Yahweh." A few translations use another rendering of the Divine Name such as "Jehovah," or "Yahve." The Name "Yahweh" is often considered by scholars to be the best transliteration or pronunciation of the four Hebrew letters "YHWH". By adding certain vowels to these letters, we are able to give pronunciation to God's Holy Name.

Is a Title the Same as a Name?

Where else can we find God's Name in the Bible? Most English Bible translators have chosen to use the title "Lord" instead of God's real Name. For example, the Geneva Bible and the King James Version contain only a few instances of the Divine Name in the form of "Jehovah." Other translation such as the New International Version, Revised Standard Version, the New Living Bible, the New King James Version — and many others — do not use God's Name at all as the translators obviously felt it was not necessary for people to know what the Holy Name is, but as will be shown later in this article, there is a great danger in not knowing what God's true Name is. But there are other translations that have been faithfully rendering the Divine Name. For example, the Holman Christian Standard Bible uses "Yahweh" throughout the "Old Testament" scriptures, as well as the World English Bible, and the modern Spanish translation of the Aramaic Scriptures, "Biblia Peshitta". Young's Literal Translation uses the form of "Jehovah" throughout the "Old Testament" as does the American Standard Version.

God's Name in the King James Version

As noted, you can find God's Name in the King James Version. In thousands of verses the King James translators chose to use a title rather than the Name of God, such as "LORD." But there are a few places you can still find the Holy Name; for example, as shown below, Genesis 22:14; Exodus 6:3; 17:15; Judges 6:24; Psalm 83:18, Isaiah12:2; 26:4.

Genesis 22:14... "And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovah-jireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen." Here "Jehovah" is used in a place name.

Exodus 6:3... "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."

Judges 6:24... "Then Gideon built an altar there unto the LORD, and called it Jehovah-shalom: unto this day it is yet in Ophrah of the Abiezrites."

Psalm 83:18... "That men may know that thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the most high over all the earth."

Isaiah 12:2... "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."

Isaiah 26:4... "Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength."

A Shortened, Yet Familiar Form of God's Name

The King James Version also preserves the shortened form of Gods' Name such as "Yah" or in the case of the King James Version, "Jah." "Sing unto God, sing praises to his name: extol him that rideth upon the heavens by his name JAH, and rejoice before him." (Psalm 68:4)

The same shortened form of God's Name is also found in the phrase "Hallelujah" or "Alleluia" (hallelu-Yah, allelu-Ia) which means "praise Yahweh." For some of these instances, see Psalms 112 and 150. You can also see this in Revelation 19:3-6. (Note, the King James Version and some others translate the Hebrew phrase "Hallelu-Yah" instead of transliterating it, which often reads "praise ye the LORD.")

The Aramaic form of God's Name is also "Yah", usually appended to the title "Mar", as in "Maryah" meaning "Lord Yahweh." The original Aramaic texts of the Bible renders the Divine Name as "Yah" throughout both the Old and New Testaments, just as the Hebrew text of the Old Testament has "Yahweh" over 6,000 occurrences.

The Importance of Knowing God's Name

A careful reading of the Bible shows that when God's people forgot about His Name, they often ended up in trouble. In the case of our first verse in this article from the 52nd chapter of Isaiah, God said He would make sure His people know His Name. Let's read more from the Scriptures to see what was taking place back in ancient times and consequently what is taking place with many professing believers today because they either do not know God's Name or they have refused to use it due to false teachers and prophets.

Let's take a close look at the 23rd chapter of Jeremiah...

"I have heard what the prophets have said, who prophesy lies in my name, saying, I have dreamed, I have dreamed. How long shall this be in the heart of the prophets who prophesy lies, even the prophets of the deceit of their own heart? who think to cause my people to forget my name by their dreams which they tell every man to his neighbor, as their fathers forgot my name for Baal. The prophet who has a dream, let him tell a dream; and he who has my word, let him speak my word faithfully. What is the straw to the wheat? says Yahweh. Isn't my word like fire? says Yahweh; and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces? Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, says Yahweh, who steal my words everyone from his neighbor. Behold, I am against the prophets, says Yahweh, who use their tongues, and say, He says. Behold, I am against those who prophesy lying dreams, says Yahweh, and do tell them, and cause my people to err by their lies, and by their vain boasting: yet I didn't send them, nor commanded them; neither do they profit this people at all, says Yahweh." (Jeremiah 23:25-32, World English Bible)

As indicated in the passages above, the God of the universe, whose Name is Yahweh, was angry at the prophets (teachers) who were prophesying lies in God's Name, claiming that they were having dreams, when in fact, they were speaking outright lies. Yahweh asked how long were these false teachers going to carry on in such a manner.

Yahweh said that the false teachers had caused His own people to forget His Holy Name and had caused His people to replace that Name with that of "Baal." The term "Baal" literally means "master" or "lord." The people had forgotten the Name of God due to the doctrines and lies being spread by false teachers or prophets at the time. They literally replaced God's Name Yahweh with a title. How much more disrespect could have been accorded to God's own personal Name?

In these verses we also read that Yahweh admonished the prophets, that if they are going to prophesy and teach, then it should be truth rather than lies, and to speak His Word faithfully. Yahweh said, "I am against the prophets ... who steal my words everyone from his neighbor" because those false teachers cause His own people to fall into error.

The same situation has been going on for centuries. False teachers, pastors, ministers and others who profess to teach the Word of God are actually stealing from it the very words of Almighty God, replacing the Holy Name with names, titles and false gospels of their own making. Such doctrines of men are often purported as being inspired or prophetic. However, a closer examination, with guidance from the "spirit of truth" (John 16:12-13) reveals that those teachers are not representing Yahweh at all, and just as in ancient times, He is angry with them. Similar to the merchants in the Temple who were selling birds to the people during Messiah's earthly ministry, Yahweh is angry with those false teachers today who sell their own version of the Gospel in place of the clear, unadulterated truth of God's Word. False teachers and ministers have brought a great deal of corruption into the House of God. "He said to them, 'It is written, My house shall be called a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of robbers!'" (Matthew 21:13)

By following the doctrines of men, rather than the clear and plain Word of God, especially espoused by the ancient prophets who truly had the Spirit of God upon them, and the Son of God who promised the spirit of truth to his disciples, we lose sight of the truth of God's Word and we forget His Holy Name, which He has clearly indicated is too important for us to not know.

Messiah Made God's Name Known

When praying to God the Father, use His Name, for it distinguishes Him from all the false gods and lords that are worshipped by men in the world. Yeshua Himself made that Name known to his disciples, and therefore we too should become familiar with it — for it is the Name of our Heavenly Father.

"Father, I desire that they also whom you have given me be with me where I am, that they may see my glory, which you have given me, for you loved me before the foundation of the world. Righteous Father, the world hasn't known you, but I knew you; and these knew that you sent me. I made known to them your name, and will make it known; that the love with which you loved me may be in them, and I in them." (John 17:24-26, World English Bible)