“Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.'” (Exodus 3:14)
Heralding the Passover exodus that would change the world, God appeared to Moses and dramatically revealed His personal name, I AM. As you probably know, names in the Bible are very important. They reflect a person’s identity, character and destiny. What might God want revealed to His people through His name I AM at this season of Passover, Resurrection and the new year?
God’s name is ineffably holy. We were admonished not to use it carelessly, loosely, casually or in vain (Exodus 20:7). But God did intend for us to use His personal name—properly and reverently. The Scriptures never tell us to totally refrain from speaking His name. After Israel’s second exile, however, the rabbis began teaching that His name is too holy to utter. As a result, religious Jews today avoid saying or using not only God’s name, but also any words that merely refer to His name, such as Adonai (Lord) or Elohim (God). Perhaps you have seen Jewish writings referring, in English, to “G-d” or “L-rd.” This represents a double effort to not only not use His name, but to avoid using the words used instead of> His name! In normal conversation, a triple effort is employed, using only the term Ha Shem (The Name). This is how most Israelis, religious or secular, refer to God today.
Rather sadly, Bible scholars do not know for certain how to correctly pronounce God’s name in the original Hebrew. We do know that His name is spelled with the Hebrew letters Yud, Hay, Vav and Hay, forming YHVH. In modern Hebrew, these consonants could possibly be pronounced Yah-veh or Yi-ha-veh. But modern Hebrew is somewhat different from biblical Hebrew. Some say the modern V sound might have been a W; the vowels, which are not in the ancient scrolls, could form any number of two or three syllable combinations. Of one thing, however, we can be certain: God’s name was not pronounced Jehovah. Jehovah is a Latin derivative developed in the 1500’s, and adopted by the English language. Many theories abound about other possible pronunciations, but in the final analysis they remain just theories.
In the future, we believe God will again disclose His personal name to those who know and love Him—and perhaps, to all humankind. Meanwhile, we believe He wants us appreciating and appropriating the intrinsic power of His name to a far greater extent than most of us have done. If, as the Christian hymn goes, there is power in the name of Jesus or Yeshua—and indeed there is—can you begin to imagine the dynamic power in the name of YHVH?
The revelation of the name I AM, heralding God’s redemption at Passover, reveals His core identity, character, and relationship to humankind. In Exodus 3:14, the name I AM can also be accurately translated, “I Will Be Who I Will Be.” Both YHVH and I AM actually represent a verb form of “to be.” The name YHVH, considered together with the Hebrew translated I AM, consummately means, “He Is, Was And Will Be.” The name identifies “The One (or He) Who Is,” or “The One (or He) Who Will Be.”
Beloved, God’s name reveals that He is absolute and infinite. He can and can not be described. His name is a form of a verb; He is inherently active. YHVH is the source of all that was, is and will be. He is unchanging, yet He is the One who is ever coming into manifestation. He shows Himself as Creator, Provider, Deliverer, Healer, King, Savior and much more—eternally. He is who He is, without limit. Because He is love, mercy and grace, He is also who we need Him to be. There is no end to His wonders and riches, His goodness and splendor. This Passover and Resurrection season, and as a new year begins, may YHVH renew your understanding of who He is and therefore, who you are in Him. May He be in you all that He is and will be. And may you be in Him all that He wills you to be.