The Power of the Name:
Name – Authority, character,
The people of the Bible were very conscious of the meaning of names. They believed
there was a vital connection between the name and the person it identified. A name
somehow represented the nature of the person. The connection between a name and
the reality it signified is nowhere more important than in the names of God revealed to
Moses in the burning bush—“I AM WHO I AM”—conveyed something of His character.
According to Exodus 34:5-9, when the Lord proclaimed the name of the Lord, He added
words that described His character. The name of the Lord was virtually synonymous
with His presence. “For your wondrous works declared that your name is near” (Ps 75:
1). To know the name of God is thus to know God Himself (Ps 91:14). For this reason
to “take the name of the Lord your God in vain” is to act in any way that is inconsistent
with the profession that He is the Lord God.
The New Testament writers also emphasized the importance of names and the close
relationship between names and what they mean. A striking illustration of this is Acts 4:
12: “For there is no other name under heaven…..by which we must be saved.” In this
instance the name is again practically interchangeable with the reality it represents.
Jesus taught His disciples to pray, “Hallowed be Your name” (Matt 6:9). Christians were
described by the apostle Paul as those who “name the name of the Lord” (II Tim 2:19).
A true understanding of the exalted Jesus is often connected with a statement about His
name. Thus, Jesus “has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name” than the
angels (Heb 1:4). According to Paul, “God also has highly exalted Him and given Him
the name which is above every name.” (Phil 2:9)
Names of God – the title or designations given to God throughout the Bible. In the
ancient world, knowing another’s name was a special privilege that offered access to
that person’s thought and life. God favored His people by revealing HIMSELF by
several names that offered special insight into His love and righteousness.
Yahweh – One of the most important names for God in the Old Testament is Yahweh, or
Jehovah, from the verb “to be,” meaning simply but profoundly, “He is,” His full name is
found only in Ex 3:14 and means “I am who I am” or I will be who I will be.” The four-
letter Hebrew word YHWH was the name by which God revealed Himself to Moses at the
burning bust. This bust was a vivid symbol of the inexhaustible dynamism of God who
burns like a fire with love and righteousness, yet remains the same and never
God is the author of life and salvation. His “I am” expresses the fact that He is the
infinite and original personal God who is behind everything and to whom everything
must finally be traced. “I am who I am” signals the truth that nothing else defines who
God is but God Himself. What He says and does is who He is. The inspired Scriptures
are the infallible guide to understanding who God is by what He says about Himself and
what He does. Yahweh is the all powerful and sovereign God who alone defines Himself
and establishes truth for His creatures and works for their salvation.
The divine name Yahweh is usually translated “LORD” in English versions of the Bible,
because it became a practice in the Old Testament Judaism not to pronounce the
sacred name YHWH, but to say instead “my Lord” (Adonai) LORD means rule,
sovereign, master, owner. A practice still used today in the synagogue. When the
vowels of Adonai were attached to the consonants YHWH in the medieval period, the
word Jehovah resulted (Deut 12:29-32). Elijah challenged the people to choose (I Kings
18). In Jeremiah 12:16-17 you see that man added to the name of God.
Today, many Christians use the word Yahweh, the more original pronunciation, not
hesitating to name the divine name since Jesus taught believers to speak in a familiar
way to God.
We are to call on the name of the LORD!! (Joel 2:32 and Rom 10:13)
Father – The Father was expected to assume certain responsibilities that can be
classified into three categories: spiritual, social, and economic. First of all, the father
was responsible for the spiritual well-being of the family, as well as of the individual
members of the family. Socially, the father’s responsibility was to see that no one took
advantage of any member of his family. Economically, the father was to provide for the
needs of the various members of his family. Jesus told us to pray Our Father.
Abba Father – An Aramaic word that corresponds to our “Daddy” or “Papa”
It is found 3 times in the New Testament: in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus Prayed
“Abba Father” (Mark 14:36); the apostle Paul linked the Christians cry of “Abba Father”
with the “Spirit of adoption” (Rom 8:15), and again Paul writes “Because you are sons,
God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts crying out, “Abba Father.” (Gal
4:6) What a blessed privilege it is to be given the right to call the great Creator, “Our
Jesus – Yeshua which means Yahweh is salvation (John 1:1, 20:28, Phil 2:8-11). Jesus
gave us His power of attorney!! (Matt 28:18-20, John 16:23-24)
Messiah – when Jesus made His declaration before the high priest and His colleagues,
He did so in response to the question: “Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?”
(Mark 14:61). He replied, “I am” (Mark 14:62). “It is as you said” (Matt 26:64).
Jesus is Lord is the ultimate Christian creed. “No one can say that Jesus is Lord except
by the Holy Spirit.” (I Cor 12:3) After His resurrection and exaltation, however, Jesus
was given the title Lord in its full sense. Peter concluding his address to the crowd in
Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost, declared, “Let all the house of Israel know
assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ”
(Acts 2:36) Another key New Testament text that shows the sense in which Jesus was
acknowledged as Lord is (Phil 2:5-11)
The world doesn’t mind if we pray to God or the Lord, it’s only when we pray in the name
of Jesus that they get upset. You can see that the name is very important. We are told
in Num 6:22-27 to pronounce this blessing over others.
There are a lot of pagan false gods and they all have names, but we are not to even
say the names of other gods (Ex 23:13). Yet all of our modern days of the week and
months of the year are named after pagan gods. The fact is that most Christians say
the name of other gods daily and rarely if ever say the name of Yahweh. Many times in
scripture the phrase for My name’s sake is used (Ps 23:3, 79:9, 106:8, 109:21, 143:11,
Isaiah 48:9, Ezek 20:44, Romans 1:5) Unfortunately, not many even know His name.
We should be speaking His name in reverence.