101 Bible Secrets
Bible Secret Number 17 

What Should Man Call God?

Some people insist that God the Father and Christ Jesus should only be called by their Hebrew names (that is, pronounced the way the early Hebrews would have uttered them). What does the New Testament teach?
 

There are people who are concerned about the pronunciation of Godís names, and they should be. The Jews were actually forbidden in the Old Testament to pronounce the Tetragrammaton (YHVH) with its vowels (which would make it to sound like "Yahweh" or some say "Jehovah") in a public way from the sixth century B.C. onward (my research "The Suppression of the Divine Name" shows why). Indeed, this is a very serious matter which religious Jews are well aware of. You will never find them saying in an audible way the correct pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton. It follows that anyone who claims to be an Israelite today (or a derivative of being an Israelite, such as a Jew, whether a spiritual or an actual Jew or a spiritual or an actual Israelite) is forbidden by God to use the Tetragrammaton publicly. The apostle Paul and other biblical writers (who were Jews) understood this prohibition and they avoided the use of the Hebrew pronunciations by giving substitute ones such as "Lord," the "Almighty," etc. And, these substitute words must be retained in the New Testament if one is to do public reading from the texts.

No one has to use the Hebrew names and the apostle Paul deliberately avoided using them in public. He preferred substitute words. While in Athens, Paul saw a Greek inscription to the "Unknown God" (Acts 17:23). The word for "God" was the Greek theos. Paul said that he was a spokesman for that theos. "Him declare I unto you" (verse 23). Paul had no scruples over using Greek terms for Godís name. In fact, Paul was prone to avoid the use of the Tetragrammaton in order not to offend the Jews who were forbidden to pronounce it in public anywhere else but in the Temple at Jerusalem. The one generic title for God that all are privileged to adopt in appeals to God is the term "Father." The prayer that Jesus gave ("Our Father which art in heaven") is a model reference to God which cannot in any way be improved. This is the best title to use.

It must be understood, however, that those who comprehend the advanced teaching of the New Testament are at liberty to use the Tetragrammaton at any time as long as it is done respectfully and with honor. Question Eighty-One in this book explains the reason why this is now allowable. But for those Christians who still identify themselves with Israel (in any way), they are strictly forbidden by the teachings of the Bible to use the Tetragrammaton in public.


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