The Name of the Lord
And it will come about that whoever calls on the name of the LORD Will be delivered… Joel 2:32
You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain. Exodus 20:7
In a recent trip to the Philippines I was continually asked regarding the name of the LORD. Quoting the above scriptures, there are some people going around teaching that if we do not pronounce the Lord’s name correctly, we will forfeit our salvation. This is a very divisive teaching. It is true, that Jesus’ real name would have been ‘Yeshua’, and that the name of God, revealed to Moses, was YHWH. Nevertheless, God gave us the New Testament in the Greek language, not Hebrew. Both LORD (YHWH) and lord (adonai) are translated into the same Greek word – kurios. ‚ To illustrate, consider these verses from 1st Peter chapter 3.
1 Pet 3:12 “For the eyes of the Lord (kyrios) are on the righteous…”
This quotes from Psalm 34:15 “The eyes of the LORD (YHWH) are toward the righteous…”
1 Pet 3:6 as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord (kyrios).
Gen 18:12 Sarah laughed to herself saying, “after I have become old, shall I have pleasure, my lord (adonah) being old also?”
Do you see that? The New Testament translates the Hebrew words YHWH (LORD), and adonai (Lord, lord), both as kyrios. If it had been so important for ALL Christians in EVERY NATION to retain the correct Hebrew pronunciation, then why does the New Testament say ‘kyrios’ rather than YHWH? The apostles could easily have written YHWH into Greek! But they didn’t. It was God who divided the languages, and each nation has their own peculiar accent. I can laugh at the Japanese not being able to distinguish between R and L. But then again, I still can’t get my tongue around the Japanese sound which is half way between R and L! Obviously such things are not going to be a condition for salvation. But what is the Name of the Lord, really?
A Good Name: A Good Character
In the bible, a person’s name is connected with their character and reputation. Consider the following two proverbs.
The name of the LORD is a strong tower. The righteous run into it and are safe.
The rich man’s wealth is his strong city. And like a high wall in his own imagination.
God’s name is trustworthy; as safe as a castle to those who trust in it. Here, the safety of God’s name rests in His good character, not just the title He is called by. The rich man thinks his wealth makes him safe. So which is greater; wealth or a good name?
A good name………………………. is to be desired more than…………. great wealth,
Favor …………………………………is better than “¦…………………………silver and gold. Proverbs 22:1