“‘Father, glorify your name.’ Then a voice came from heaven: ‘I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.’” John 12:28, ESV
Last week I posted a scripture to introduce the direction this blog will be taking for the next couple of weeks (at least). I want us to focus on the glorification of the Name of the Father and Name of Jesus. I am not a Hebrew or Greek scholar, although I would much like to be. I am not a great theologian, bringing forth the deepest of truths from the scriptures. I am simply a man seeking to follow the Lord Jesus and bring glory to His Name.
In order for us to reverence the Name of Jesus, it is necessary for us to look back to God’s Name as He revealed it in Genesis and Exodus. In Genesis 2:4, we see the first use of the Name of God as He revealed it. “These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens” (ESV).
Our first clue that something special is going on is that we have a “title” in all capital letters. When we look at the Hebrew, we see four letters as pictured above. The letters do not spell the word, Lord. That word is Adonai, אֲדֹנָי. Adding to the intrigue, there are no capital letters in Hebrew. So, we are given a word other than the Hebrew word, in which all four letters are capitalized. What’s going on?!?
Men and women smarter and better educated than I have pointed out that the Name of God, called the tetragrammaton (literally four letters), was and is considered by Jews to be so holy that it should never be pronounced, lest it be used irreverently. Instead, where the tetragrammaton shows up in scripture it is pronounced Adonai. Sometimes HaShem (השם) is also substituted; it simply means “The Name.”
Scholars have debated for generations how The Name should be pronounced. I believe that a consensus has been reached on how it is not pronounced, but I’m certain we will never know for sure until we know even as we are known (1 Corinthians 13:12). In some ways it almost seems irreverent to try.
While Genesis 2:4 is the first place that the tetragrammaton shows up, it is how God revealed Himself to Moses in Exodus. “God also said to Moses, ‘Say this to the people of Israel: “The LORD, the 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 thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations” (Exodus 3:15, ESV italics mine). While the pronunciation has been lost (or kept secret), God demonstrates in this verse the high position of His Name. He wants to be remembered through His Name!!!
It is so common these days for people to curse using “God,” or to use “God” loosely and flippantly. Perhaps this is why the pronunciation of His revealed Name is unknown to this day.
Let us be careful of our speech, remembering the glory of The Name.
As always, these are the musings of a mindful disciple. Blessings on your week!