Updated: Nov 14, 2021
God replied to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: I AM has sent me to you."
What is in a name?
Naming is a cultural practice. All cultures do not use first and last names as we are accustomed. People have names for identification and linage purposes. Early cultures used one name and then as populations in the world grew two names were often used. Often names would be linked to occupations like Tim the Tailor, or Roger the Blacksmith.
Surnames or family names refer to a father’s name to express linage for example Leif, Son of Eric. The power of a name has long been illustrated in poetry and prose throughout the ages. All of us recognize himself or herself by a name.
A name is the grouping of several letters of an alphabet, or symbols, which represent the identification of a person or an object.
The human mind is unique and allows us the ability to reason on a conscious level. To think consciously, one must use language and it is impossible to think without language.
God (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) made man in his image and gave us a special status and authority.
Adam or the man is also translated dominion or what is often called “The Dominion Mandate.”
The history of naming that flowed out of the first human is indeed a fascinating area of study.
But what of God?
God named himself first in Genesis 1 as Elohim and refers to himself in a singular nature. God also reveals himself to be a personal God who values human relationships as he revealed different names for Himself to different people.
Interestingly as God becomes more involved with his fallen children, we see in scripture that he gives himself additional names or his referred to by names that have different expressions.
Jews do not recognize the triune nature of God but instead related in the abstract sense as the "plural of majesty, honor, or fullness;" God is the God of gods. Christians see the plural form as a literal expression as demonstrated by the active participation of Jesus (John 1:1-3; Col 1:16) and the Holy Spirit (Gen 1:1-2) and God the Father.
Moses asks God for His name, so he will have an answer when the people of Israel ask. In English, God’s answer is translated as “I AM WHO I AM … tell them I AM has sent me to you” (Exodus 3:14). This is known as the Tetragrammaton - the Hebrew name of God transliterated in four letters as YHWH or JHVH and articulated as Yahweh or Jehovah, now pronounced as Adonai or Elohim in substitution for the original pronunciation forbidden since the 2nd or 3rd century b.c. The Tetragrammaton appears over six-thousand times in the Bible, including modern English translations. The Hebrew scribes were incredibly careful to neither say aloud, nor fully spell out the holy and sacred name of God, Yahweh. Instead they would put it in all capital letters and say Adonai. They put the vowels of Adonai into the consonants of Yahweh to get YAHOWAH, which later English Christians translated into Jehovah. Today, any time a translator wants to acknowledge where YHWH is in the original Hebrew text, they use the word LORD in all capital letters.
Want to know more about the names of God? Listen to the You tube video by Eric Ludy/Ellerslie Discipleship Training.