About the Name of God -- YHWH


Fr. Anthony

The Second Book of Moses in the Torah has a very important passage to the Hebrew people and Christians.

Exodus 3 provides some important insights for me with regard to the Blessed Holy Name of God -- YHWH (called the "tetragrammaton").

A few years back I studied Hebrew at the Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary.  Now, a happlily confirmed Roman Catholic, the Hebrew I learned a s a Baptist Christian, seems to have "stuck" with me, particularly for this wonderful subject surrounding the Name of our LORD  -- YHWH.

YHWH is certainly expressive of  "He who IS," additionally, (and you may be aware of this already), there is another word used thrice in the context of Moses and God's conversation, or, should I say, God's Self-revelation to Moses and thereby you and me?

Moses asks the Name of God.  God replies with --


(May the Lord forgive me for the above if it is not an exact transliteration from the Hebrew text, since I am going by memory).  However, it translates -- "I proceed to be who I proceed to be. . .I proceed to be has sent me unto you."

Of interest here is the the verb HYH in the Hebrew may mean "he is (in the sense of being)" or "he is (in the sense of becoming)".  As always, though, the context would determine the specific meaning.  This is not to say that God has a beginning in the sense of becoming (as would be the idea of the creation itself becoming, per John 1:1-4).  Yet, in the truest sense of the words, our God in Jesus Christ, the Word of God, has become Humanity, the Last Adam.

Yet, one only needs to read Psalm 90, the Prayer of Moses the man of God to understand God has no beginning -- God is Creator, YHWH.

But, let us back to the Name, YHWH.

The Name YHWH may be said to derive from HYH -- the sense of being / becoming.  Also, the Name YHWH seems to derive from HWH - meaning, "he is (being)".  If you combine these two words, they would appear to contract into the tetragrammaton, YHWH, the Y remains / the two H's combine and the consonants of the two verbs combine, forming -- YHWH

Let me illustrate --

HYH -------  ------- HWH


EHYH emphasizes the activity (not passivity) of God.  God is YHWH on our behalf.  God IS who God IS.

The Name for Jesus in Greek / Hebrew means -- YHWH is SALVATION or SALVATION IS YHWH.  Perhaps, it derives from, simply from the Hebrew word for  -- "Salvation."   That adds light to the reality that God was actually with us -- IMMANUEL, meaning -- "with us God."

This whole line of contemplation and reflection lines up very nicely with St. John's Gospel, 1:1-4, where the eternal "Word of God," (Greek -- HO LOGOS TOU THEOU, "the Word of God" ), became the Man, Jesus "the Christ" (HO CHRISTOS)  Christos is the Greek form for the Hebrew word for Messiah,  the "Anointed (one)."

All of this parallels, it would appear, the Self-revelation of YHWH to Moses and all of us. St. John the Apostle was the closest to our YHWH, as they reclined at the table where the Bread of Life had become Flesh, dwelling among us.

Jesus, feeling our pain and suffering, and hearing our cries under the whip of taskmasters in Egypt, literally and spiritually speaking, had come down to see and do something about all of this.

Our First Love, our God, is truly Wonderful.

God gets involved with each one of us in the Church and certainly calls us from the Chaos of a fallen creation, note Genesis 1:1-3 and John 1:1-4.  We come from the chaos to the light, via the Light of the world.

Let me again quote John from memory.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Note the threefold use of  "Word" (the Logos) with three verbs (the imperfect, denoting continuous action in the past - HN), showing the eternity of the Word of God, Jesus.  Jesus is identified with (YHWH).

For, the same was in the beginning with God.

John 1:3,4 says -- All things (BECAME) by him and without him was not anything BECOME that BECAME.

This is an akward translation here, but, it seems to make the point.  The word for "made" is actually GINOMAI, meaning "become."

In him was life and the life was the light of men.

Note --


I get the point!

I sense triunity here, though we are not being dogmatic in this sense.  There is no new doctrine here.

The whole issue here is the abundance of God Self-revelation and the Character of YHWH's revelation in the Holy Scriptures, and how that has played out in the authoritative teaching of the Church over the centuries.

The Church is after all the pillar and ground of the truth.  Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life.  Jesus is the only Way to the Father -- YHWH.

God is the God who is, who acts in history.

God is the God who is, who becomes involved with you and me in our contexts.

God is the God who so loved (since, God is Love) the world that he gave his only begotten Son in order that whoever trusts in him may not perish, but, have everlasting life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but, in order that the world through him might be saved.

Thanks be to YHWH, the Great I AM (EHYH). . .

Deus et Sanctissima. . .


In Xp --  Ron